News right now is discussing a comment by Gloria Steinem — not so much one that she made, but more one that she made apologizing for the first one that she made. The first one happened Friday during an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher (available in full here; the pertinent part stars at 2:43) during which she made an as-yet-unexplained comment appearing to imply that young women support Bernie Sanders in order to get boys.
It’s January — a time of credit card debt, resolutions you don’t intend to keep, and new legislation that kicked in at the turn of the calendar. What laws are going to be making your life better — or worse — in 2016? Let’s take a look.
During their weeks-long occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, armed militants have declared their intention to return the federal land to its “rightful owners.” They’ve also made it apparent that by “rightful owners,” they weren’t talking about the Burns Paiute tribe, whose ancestral lands encompass the reserve. And on Wednesday, they made their priorities clear when they bulldozed a path through a Burns Paiute archaeological site.
When a grand jury last week failed to pass down an indictment on Timothy Loehmann, the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in public park last winter, they did so under the influence of three reports declaring the shooting “objectively reasonable.” In other words, in light of the circumstances the officers thought they were facing, it was reasonable for them to shoot Rice after rolling up and assessing the situation for less than a second.
On Saturday, a group of armed men seized control of the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge outside of Burns, Oregon. The building was unoccupied at the time they took control and they hold no hostages, but Ammon Bundy (son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, he of his own anti-government standoff in 2014), has said that they “will be [t]here as long as it takes,” up to several years, adding, “We have no intentions of using force upon anyone, (but) if force is used against us, we would defend ourselves.”
Leia Organa often gets the fuzzy end of the lollipop where the casual Star Wars fandom is concerned. Most attention focuses on the cinnamon-roll hairdo and/or the bronze bikini. In honor of last night’s release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Nicki Salcedo gives Leia her due, celebrating her uncelebrated badassitude. (And providing me with my new rough-day mantra: Was your home planet just destroyed? Then pull it together, young Jedi.)
On Friday, a man armed with a long gun and several propane tanks killed three people and injured nine more at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. The shooting guy said to police, “No more baby parts,” and made rambling, hostile comments about Planned Parenthood, which we can only assume are unrelated to the Planned Parenthood clinic he was shooting up. Indeed, we have absolutely no idea why he committed this horrific crime, and we may never know.
Tomorrow, many people in the U.S. will gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, a sanitized version of a fictionalized account of an encounter between English settlers and the Wampanoag people already living on the land that was being “settled” that was the beginning of centuries of murder, abuse, and outright genocide. And while being thankful for what you have is good, celebrating it by dressing children up in construction-paper feathers and decorating with dried “maize” is a not-good, and in fact bad, way of doing it. Tomorrow in Plymouth, Massachusetts — home of that first cross-cultural dinner party — a National Day of Mourning, organized by the United American Indians of New England, will draw attention to historical and current attitudes, treatments, and issues facing Native Americans.
Alabama School Board member Betty Peters really, really hates Common Core. Like, a lot. A lot. No, seriously, you really can’t appreciate how much she hates Common Core. And it’s because the homosexualists are trying to make our sons wear outfits, and do math in stupid ways that didn’t get us to the moon, and the SPLC and their PowerPoint presentations full of charts, and we have to stand up for our children.
Tina Healy, a disability support worker and an advocate for Gender Diversity Australia, came out as transgender three and a half years ago. But she comes out to her mother every few weeks — her mother has Alzheimer’s, and her dementia started developing two years ago, around the time Healy first came out to her. Healy visits her mother every few weeks, and every time she does, she comes out again, and every time she does, she gets the “same, beautiful” response.
We’re now almost four weeks out from the shooting at an Oregon community college that killed nine people and injured ten more, and we know what that means: We can now stop “caring about mental health care” without guilt. Time heals all weaknesses in the mental health system, and while it becomes a subject under great scrutiny whenever a gunman commits a mass shooting, the passage of time, and the accompanying passage of fear, washes away those concerns pretty effectively. (Until the next shooting, of course.) And it happens isn’t because we manage to effectively address all of our problems in the interim but because discussions purportedly focused on Improving Mental Health Care are actually all about Protecting The Good People From The Crazies.
Not that it makes up for centuries of colonization and genocide, but more and U.S. cities are choosing each year to officially make the second Monday of October a celebration of the indigenous people of their region, and not of the deplorable individual credited with “discovering” them.