In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Terrorism; death; injury] The Islamic State continues to violently and viciously terrorize Iraqi civilians: "A wave of bombings struck outdoor markets and a restaurant in Shiite-dominated neighborhoods of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 69 people, officials said—the latest in deadly militant attacks far from the front lines in the country’s north and west where Iraqi forces are battling the Islamic State group. In an online statement, IS claimed responsibility only for the deadliest bombing of the day, which took place in Baghdad's northeastern Shaab neighborhood and where at least 34 people were killed and 75 others were wounded. ...Tuesday's bombings were just the latest in a wave of attacks in Baghdad and surrounding areas that has left more than 200 dead over the past week." Goddammit. I take up space in solidarity with the people of Iraq. I feel so utterly helpless, but my thoughts are with them.

Today, there are Democratic primaries in Kentucky and Oregon. "The Kentucky Democratic primary will award 60 delegates to go to the party's convention in Philadelphia while Oregon's primary will award 74. Kentucky's primary is closed, meaning only registered Democratic voters can participate. In Oregon, voters cast ballots entirely by mail."

Here's a cool headline: "Poll: Trump narrows Clinton's lead nationally to 3 points." That is actually not a narrow lead for a US presidential election! They are generally very close! Even closer than that! In fact: "We searched through all of the data to determine what the true state of the race is, and a single narrative has emerged—not only is the general election race not closing, it has widened in Hillary's favor in recent months. From December to February, by all accounts, this race was actually a close one. If the media are reporting now that the race is very close, it makes me wonder what they thought about the race over that time period." Spoiler Alert: They thought that she would win easily. "If this does not make sense to you, you are not alone. Somehow, when the race is separated by 5-7 points, it is a neck-and-neck horse-race but when the race was only separated by two points, it was a runaway. Let me propose a different idea—that now that the Republican nominee has been decided, a horse-race is a more compelling story to generate interest than a blowout of the type that is forecast under current polling levels." Huh.

[CN: Transphobia] Donald Trump is totally incoherent, as usual: "Trump gave an interview to the Washington Post on Monday saying he would rescind President Obama's sweeping directive to U.S. schools on transgender rights but said that trans people need to be protected." So how is he going to protect them? Magic? Fuck this guy.

Ian Millhiser on how "LGBT Rights Just Won an Unexpected Victory Despite Clarence Thomas." Yay!

In other SCOTUS news: "Supreme Court Punts on Birth Control Benefit Challenges." As always, the inimitable Jessica Mason Pieklo has the lowdown at the link.

[CN: Police brutality] Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced he will disband Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority and create a Civilian Police Investigation Agency. "Lori Lightfoot, who led the task force investigation, told the Chicago Tribune that while Emanuel's announcement is an important step, 'the devil will be in the details. How it will be different [from IPRA] is a fundamentally important question.'" Indeed.

[CN: Wildfire] Fuck: "Around 12,000 people have been urged to leave Canada's oil sands camps near the fire-hit town of Fort McMurray as a resurgent wildfire heads towards them. A regional official told the BBC that 8,000 people were given precautionary evacuation orders late on Monday, in addition to some 4,000 who had already been advised to leave. More than 80,000 people fled the fire that hit Fort McMurray two weeks ago. Air pollution in the Alberta city is still at dangerously high levels. A reading on Monday found the level to be 38—far exceeding the provincial index's most dangerous level of 10. The vast fire had moved away from Fort McMurray but in recent days it has started to threaten the area again."

[CN: Animal endangerment] Sadface: "The vaquita [the world's smallest porpoise] is the most endangered marine mammal on Earth, and according to a panel of scientists that's been tracking the animal's dwindling numbers, it's now teetering dangerously close to extinction. In a statement released on Friday, the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita announced that only 60 vaquitas are left in the wild. This represents a decline of more than 92 percent since 1997. Without a dramatic improvement in conservation efforts, this porpoise will be wiped off the face of the planet by 2022. 'We are watching this precious native species disappear before our eyes,' said panel chairman Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho."

Twitter will reportedly "soon stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit for messages, according to a person familiar with the matter. The change could happen in the next two weeks, said the person who asked not to be named because the decision isn't yet public. Links currently take up 23 characters, even after Twitter automatically shortens them. The company declined to comment." That seems like an uncharacteristically good idea from Twitter, who are usually intent on making changes that significantly worsen the user experience.

[CN: Rape culture] Hey, Adrien Brody, why don't you shut the fuck up? (Short version: Brody doesn't want to concern himself with the indiscretions, ahem, of famous men like Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and Bill Cosby.)

And finally! Dog and cat are BFFs and nap buddies. Awwwww!

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