Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Guns] Rep. John Lewis, who is genuinely a national treasure, is leading a sit-in on the House floor "to push Republicans to address gun violence in the legislative chamber. Lewis wrote a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan demanding that he keep the House in session through its planned recess to debate and vote on gun control legislation. 'As the worst mass shooting in our nation's history has underscored, our country cannot afford to stand by while this Congress continues to be paralyzed by politics,' the Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon wrote. 'We urge you to lead the House into action and work with both sides of the aisle to pass commonsense solutions to keep American children and families safe.'" Wow. Thank you, Rep. Lewis.
[CN: Guns] "One day after the Senate failed to advance a series of new measures to rein in America's gun violence epidemic, a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans banded together to carve out a way forward so that individuals on the FBI terror watch list do not have access to guns. Led by Susan Collins, a Republican senator from Maine known to work with others across the aisle, the lawmakers dubbed their approach a middle ground method of implementing a 'No-Fly, No Buy' rule while protecting the due process of Americans who are wrongfully kept under surveillance by the federal government. Collins was joined in the push by three Republicans, four Democrats, and her Maine colleague Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats. The bill would authorize the US attorney general to stop firearm sales to individuals on the no-fly list or a 'selectee' list composed of people who are subject to extra screening at airports. Americans and green-card holders would be able to appeal if they believed they were wrongfully denied, and their legal fees would be reimbursed by the government were it proved they were put on the list by error." Welp, let's see if this gets anywhere.
[CN: Pulse shooting; homophobia; HIV stigma; self-hatred] "In an exclusive interview with Univision News, a man has stepped forward claiming he had a sexual relationship with Omar Mateen, the man who killed 49 people in an Orlando night club. ...The man, who Univision (Fusion's parent company) is calling 'Miguel,' said that he met Mateen on the gay dating app Grindr. He claimed the two met 15 to 20 times over two months before the relationship ended last December, when Miguel moved away from Orlando. ...He also told Univision that Mateen's rage about Puerto Rican gay men might have stemmed from a sexual incident in which Mateen had sex with two Puerto Rican men, one of whom later revealed that he was HIV positive. ...Mateen was 'terrified' of being HIV positive, Miguel said. 'When I asked him what he was going to do now, his answer was 'I'm going to make them pay for what they did to me,'' he added. The FBI confirmed to Univision that they have interviewed the man." Please note that this story, though already being widely reported, has not been independently verified, which is especially important given that "HIV panic" is an old, though rarely seen recently, narrative used to justify homophobic hatred.
[CN: Misogynoir] "Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, moved on Tuesday to block the Treasury Department's sweeping plan to represent women and civil rights leaders on American currency, including the placement of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. Mr. King filed an amendment to an annual appropriations bill that would prevent any money from being spent to redesign American currency. It is unclear whether it will ultimately get a vote when the full spending bill, which covers financial services and general government appropriations, comes before the House this week. The congressman's motivation for filing the amendment was also unclear." Oh, I think it's pretty fucking clear.
"Marco Rubio will seek Senate reelection, reversing pledge not to run." Shocking. He's also losing. Shocking.
[CN: Queerphobia] "Donald Trump today announced his Evangelical Executive Advisory Board which is a 'Who's Who' of anti-LGBT figures. Said Trump: 'I have such tremendous respect and admiration for this group and I look forward to continuing to talk about the issues important to Evangelicals, and all Americans, and the common sense solutions I will implement when I am President.'" Let's be clear: Trump is no friend to the LGBTx community.
[CN: Racism; child welfare] "A new federal rule issued this month under the Indian Children Welfare Act could keep more Native children in tribal communities, advocates say. The new regulation requires state child custody proceedings to more consistently apply the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by imposing several new standards. The first comprehensive update issued since ICWA's implementation in 1978, it requires state courts to ask all participants in child custody proceedings whether a child is an 'Indian child,' legally defined as being a member of, or eligible for membership in, a federally recognized tribe. The regulation, issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and set to go into effect in December, also clarifies when child custody cases can be transferred to tribal courts, and requires parents and the tribe to be notified when a family is involuntarily relinquishing a child, among other key provisions. Prior to ICWA's enactment, an estimated 25 to 35 percent of Native children had been separated from their families in what congressional testimony at the time described as an 'Indian child welfare crisis of massive proportions.'"
[CN: Police brutality; racism] A Chicago police officer was caught on video punching a man in custody. An Independent Review Board investigation will commence. The Chicago Police Department has issued a statement on the investigation, saying in part: "We are committed to the highest levels of integrity and professional standards and look forward to IPRA's review of this incident." Maybe investigate that commitment to integrity and professional standards while you're at it.
[CN: Climate change] Fuuuuuuuuck: "On Monday at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Hawaii, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) unveiled projections that show that water temperatures will be high enough in the coming months to carry the global bleaching event into a third year. Already, the bleaching event, which started in 2014, is the longest in global history—stretching into a third year would be 'unprecedented,' NOAA says. Bleaching is a grave threat to coral reefs. Corals, which are made up of tiny polyps that live symbiotically with photosynthetic algae, expel that algae when they get stressed by things like pollution or too-warm or too-cold water. This algae gives the coral its color, so when it's expelled, the coral turns white. Its photosynthetic abilities also provide food for the coral, so without the algae, the coral is greatly weakened; if ocean temperatures don't fall quickly enough for the algae to recolonize the coral, it can die. Right now, wide swaths of the world's coral are being bleached, thanks to warm water temperatures brought on by climate change and El Niño. According to NOAA, as of April, 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia was bleached. This bleaching has stressed corals in the Great Barrier Reef so heavily that over a third have died."
And finally! "Girl Uses Stuffed Toys and Her Rescue Dog to Recreate Scene from E.T.: We're not 100% sure if she had set up this scene to look just like a similar, famous scene in the film, E.T. The Extraterrestrial on purpose or not. However, she ended up doing an amazing job. Once you notice where little Snickle Fritz is in the photo, we're positive it will melt your heart." Heart officially melted!