In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

The Supreme Court has issued a number of big decisions today:

1. "The Supreme Court has placed new limits on state laws that make it a crime for motorists suspected of drunken driving to refuse alcohol tests. Justices ruled Thursday that police need a search warrant before requiring drivers to take blood alcohol tests. But the court declined to require a warrant for breath tests, which it considers less intrusive."

2. "In a small victory for diversity in higher education, a hamstrung Supreme Court narrowly upheld the affirmative action program at the University of Texas at Austin, effectively allowing the school to keep using race as one of many factors in its admissions process. The case, Fisher v. University of Texas, was one of the oldest cases left undecided on the court's current docket." Crucially: "SCOTUS ruling steps back constitutional scrutiny of affirmative action programs, making them substantially more likely to be upheld."

3. "A tie vote by the Supreme Court is blocking President Barack Obama's immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation. The justices' one-sentence opinion on Thursday effectively kills the plan for the duration of Obama's presidency. A tie vote sets no national precedent but leaves in place the ruling by the lower court. In this case, the federal appeals court in New Orleans said the Obama administration lacked the authority to shield up to 4 million immigrants from deportation and make them eligible for work permits without approval from Congress." Shit. However: "There will be a later appeal, so Obama immigration policy will be revived if Clinton wins and a democratic nominee provides a 5th vote."

4. "SCOTUS ties 4-4 in fight over jurisdiction of tribal courts." (I'm continuing to try to find a complete story on this decision.) UPDATE: Here's a piece by the AP on the decision.

The final three SCOTUS opinions from this session, including the challenge to Texas' abortion restrictions, will be issued on Monday.

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[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; death] Goddammit: "Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., the third of six Baltimore City police officers to stand trial for their alleged role in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, was found not guilty of second-degree murder today by Judge Barry Williams." Goodson "faced the most serious criminal charges over the death of Freddie Gray" and his case "has been viewed as potentially the state's strongest shot at a conviction, and the defeat deals another blow to both activists' hope and state's attorney Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore’s beleaguered chief prosecutor who many hailed as a hero when she announced the charges on 1 May 2015."

[CN: Guns; terrorism] "A masked man who stormed into a German movie theater Thursday afternoon and opened fire has been shot and killed in a police raid. Authorities say between 20 and 50 people may have been hurt from tear gas used in the attempt to take out the attacker. No one is believed to have been injured by the gunman. One state official said that right now it's unclear if the man was armed with a real gun—it may have been a gas or stun gun. ...The chaos unfurled around 3 p.m. in the Kinopolis cinema complex in Viernheim, a small town outside of Frankfurt in western Germany. The masked man reportedly tried to barricade himself in the theater; after a brief standoff, he was taken out by police."

[CN: Guns] Rep. Steve King continues to be a terrible human being, responding to the Democratic sit-in to protest Republican obstructionism on gun reform by tweeting: "I've had it with the gun grabbing Democrats and their sit in anti 2nd amendment jihad. I'm going to go home and buy a new gun." I mean.

[CN: White supremacy] "An independent candidate for Congress from Tennessee has been swept up in a wave of criticism for his campaign billboard vowing to 'Make American White Again.' Rick Tyler, who is running for the 3rd Congressional District in the northeastern part of the state, said he put up the billboard alongside Highway 411 in Polk County to make a point that "the 'Leave It to Beaver,' 'Ozzie and Harriet,' 'Mayberry' America of old was vastly superior to what we are experiencing today.'" 1. America was never "white." Never. 2. Whoooooooooops your idea of "tradition."

Congratulations to Erin O'Flaherty, who was crowned Miss Missouri on Saturday, making her the Miss America pageant's first-ever openly lesbian contestant. "'I'm on cloud nine really just to be Miss Missouri,' she said. 'I don't know that I intended to be the first, but I am. So I'm very excited about it.' O'Flaherty believes she also will be the first openly gay woman to compete in the Miss America scholarship pageant, which is scheduled for Sept. 11 in Atlantic City, New Jersey."

Whoa: "Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Australian National University have developed new technology that aims to make the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) even more sensitive to faint ripples in space-time called gravitational waves. ...Although not part of the original Advanced LIGO design, injecting the new squeezed vacuum source into the LIGO detector could help double its sensitivity. This would allow detection of gravitational waves that are far weaker or that originate from farther away than is possible now."

YESSSSSSS! "You've seen Spy, right? I'm not sure if I just exist in a bubble and didn't hear it talked about much, or if it really is, even still, upsettingly underseen. Because oh wow is that movie phenomenal. And Paul Feig knows it. He created a perfect vehicle for Melissa McCarthy, and that's clear. But the supporting characters in this movie are equally brilliant, not least of all Jason Statham's face-off-machine-obsessed Rick Ford. Ford is such a great character, in fact, that Feig isn't done with him. He says Spy is 'the first thing [he] did that [he] set up to be a possible franchise and Melissa is dying to do it.' And Statham's Ford is a huge part of the story he already has planned out.
'Susan Cooper is one of my favourite characters I've ever come up with,' continues Feig, 'but Rick Ford is possibly the one I'll take to the grave with me. Will he get any more self-aware in the sequel? No, god no. He'll get less self-aware.' This is incredible news. In the current climate of unending sequels, this is a franchise we can firmly get behind. How can Rick Ford possibly get less self-aware? I have no idea, but I'm deeply upset that we can't find out right this instant." SAME!!!

And finally! "Senior Boxer & His Guinea Pig Copilot Are the Coolest Duo Since Batman & Robin." OMGGGGGGG LOVE.

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