Here is some stuff in the news today...
RIP Muhammad Ali. The three-time world heavyweight boxing champion died late Friday night at age 74. My sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and fans. [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link.] His New York Times obituary is here. I also recommend this piece by Jamil Smith: "The Patience of Muhammad Ali." There have been, as every time a Black icon dies, a number of mostly white people saying things about how he transcended his race and religion. I will repeat what I said on Twitter: "If you 'didn't see race or religion' when you looked at Muhammad Ali, you weren't seeing Muhammad Ali. Our complex identities are part of our humanity. Refusing to 'see' parts of our identities is not elevating; it's dehumanizing." Ali challenged us very specifically to see his race and religion. He wasn't beloved in spite of that, but because of it. At least to people who really saw him.
[CN: Sexual violence; detailed description of assault and subsequent trauma; rape culture; rape apologia] "Here Is the Powerful Letter the Stanford Victim Read Aloud to Her Attacker." Her attacker who "was sentenced to six months in jail because a longer sentence would have 'a severe impact on him,' according to a judge." Six months. Half the time the woman he assaulted had to fight to try to get justice. This is one of those stories that I can't write about, because it is simply too difficult for me, because her attacker and mine share some things in common, which I am not inclined to detail. This story has been triggering as hell for me; I nonetheless read every word of her extraordinary victim's statement, for which I am deeply grateful, and I take up space in solidarity with her.
(Continued CN from above: And that asshole's father can go straight to hell.)
[CN: War] RIP David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna: "David Gilkey, a veteran news photographer and video editor for National Public Radio, and an Afghan translator, Zabihullah Tamanna, were killed while on assignment in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, a network spokeswoman said. Gilkey and Tamanna were traveling with an Afghan army unit near Marjah in Helmand province when the convoy came under fire and their vehicle was struck, the network's spokeswoman, Isabel Lara, said in a statement." My sincerest condolences to their family, friends, and colleagues.
Welp: "Donald Trump does not have a campaign: Donald Trump is a candidate without a campaign–and it's becoming a serious problem. Republicans working to elect Trump describe a bare-bones effort debilitated by infighting, a lack of staff to carry out basic functions, minimal coordination with allies, and a message that's prisoner to Trump's momentary whims. 'Bottom line, you can hire all the top people in the world, but to what end? Trump does what he wants,' a source close to the campaign said." Sounds terrific!
This is definitely one of my favorite headlines of the day! "Obama Is Eager to Hit the Stump for Hillary Clinton and Shred Donald Trump." I bet he is!
[CN: War on agency] In less favorite headlines: "Why Is Obama Afraid to Embrace Reproductive Rights? On June 14, the White House will host the United State of Women Summit to 'celebrate the progress we've made on behalf of women and girls and to talk about how we're taking action moving forward.' Yet abortion is nowhere on the agenda." This, as you certainly recall, has been one of my major complaints about the Obama administration. Erin Matson's piece is a must-read on the subject.
[CN: Privacy violations] What the fuck: "Right now, government scientists are working with the FBI to develop tattoo recognition technology that police can use to learn as much as possible about people through their tattoos. But an EFF investigation has found that these experiments exploit inmates, with little regard for the research's implications for privacy, free expression, religious freedom, and the right to associate. And so far, researchers have avoided ethical oversight while doing it." Obviously, if this program is not halted immediately, as it should be, it will not be constrained to people who are incarcerated. So let me save them some time: My tattoos mean I'm a fat feminist survivor who loves a Scotsman and holds her friends close.
Paul Feig is the best: Not only does he continue to push back against misogyny, but he's also straightforwardly addressing the concerns about Leslie Jones' character in Ghostbusters and his own failures regarding diversity: "I feel bad that many have taken a bad look at Leslie Jones' character. We originally wrote it for Melissa, and then when we were putting it together, we figured Melissa had played a role like that before. Leslie is so funny at playing this kind of a character that we put her in there. I am the first to admit, while I am a fighter for women, my record for diversity has not been as good and I take responsibility for that."
Whoa: "Galaxies 'waste' large amounts of heavy elements generated by star formation by ejecting them up to a million light years away into their surrounding halos and deep space, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder." Galaxy poop!
OMG LOLOLOL: "News Anchors Crack Up During Live Weather Report Because of Giant Penis Shaped Cloud." As advertised!
And finally! An otter eating lettuce. LOL! TOO CUTE!