+ A Philadelphia man, Pedro Redding, has been arrested in relation to the murder of Kiesha Jenkins, the 20th trans woman to be killed this year. Redding gave a statement to the police that he and several other men, who remain unapprehended, were involved in robbing Kiesha Jenkins, claiming that they “had the idea to rob her when they saw her.” Police say that they don’t think Jenkins was targeted because of their trans status, but at the same time say that Redding was involved in a similar attack on a trans person in 2012, and that he lives and commits robberies in an area known to be frequented by transgender sex workers. Redding has been charged with murder, conspiracy and related offenses.
+ Today Planned Parenthood announced they will no longer accept payments as part of its fetal tissue donation program — a direct action to combat conservative attacks. In a letter to the director of the National Institutes of Health, Planned Parenthood President Cecil Richards writes:
“In order to completely debunk the disingenuous argument that our opponents have been using – and to reveal the true political purpose of these attacks – our Federation has decided, going forward, that any Planned Parenthood health center that is involved in donating tissue after an abortion for medical research will follow the model already in place at one of our two affiliates currently facilitating donations for fetal tissue research. That affiliate accepts no reimbursement for its reasonable expenses — even though reimbursement is fully permitted under the 1993 law. Going forward, all of our health centers will follow the same policy, even if it means they will not recover reimbursements permitted by the 1993 law.”
+ Inside the US House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans, big change is in the air. Former Speaker of the House John Boehner, who brought us tears of rage and tears of laughter with his terrible opinions and his silly name, orange-looking face, and pouty facial expressions when seated behind Obama in front of TV cameras, is stepping down. He was an embattled Speaker while he held the position, widely disliked outside the Republican party while also having his share of critics within it. Although he wasn’t universally popular, the GOP is still having a heck of a time replacing him. As many as twelve candidates are being considered for the position, although it’s still unclear whether any of them will have “broad appeal” that can unite a deeply divided party. If this sounds familiar — say, like the GOP presidential race — you’re not wrong! Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has dropped out, and Paul Ryan appears to be the latest favorite; whoever is ultimately elected, however, needs at least 218 votes from their fellow members. It’s anyone’s game, really, at this point, and a theater that will be probably very stressful and also expose some major fissures in the party. We’ll keep an eye on it!
+ Two outside investigators looking at the case of Tamir Rice’s death — in which a twelve-year-old black boy was killed by a police officer who claimed he thought the boy had a real gun in Ohio, an open-carry state — have concluded that police acted “reasonably” in the situation. It isn’t a legal ruling; the criminal case against Cleveland police will be decided by a grand jury — but many are concerned that officials are trying to gradually ready the city for an outcome in which there are no consequences for the police. Prosecutor Timothy McGinty has defended the reports, saying they’re only “a small portion” of the information he intends to release related to the case, and that “Perhaps some of these community activists are outcome oriented and have understandably had their emotions regarding the absolutely tragic death of a child to influence their position.”
+ New legislation being introduced by Republican legislators in Wisconsin would bar transgender students from using the bathrooms and locker rooms appropriate to their true gender.
+ The family of Walter Scott, who was unarmed when he was killed by South Carolina police officer Michael Slager, will receive $6.5 million as a settlement from North Charleston.
Scott’s mother, Judy, said the settlement is little comfort for the loss of her son, but that she was grateful for the city’s offer of compensation. “It could have been a trillion dollars. It would never bring my son back. But I thank them for what they did,” she said.
+ A piece on race and medicine, about why the medical institution is willing to accept that so many diseases just affect Black patients more than white ones.
+ California governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have required colleges to have mandatory minimum punishments in sexual assault cases. It would also have required university transparency about how sexual assaults are punished on campuses, and a “uniform process” for handling sexual assault cases.
+ California has passed a law that will forbid in-state public schools and their athletic teams from using the anti-Native slur “redskins” as a team or mascot name. The law will apply to the four in-state schools that currently have the mascot.
+ California governor Jerry Brown has had a busy week! He also signed into law a bill that requires pregnancy crisis centers operating without a medical license to disclose that fact. Previously — and still true within most of the US! — pregnancy crisis centers that modeled themselves after medical facilities but existed mostly to dissuade pregnant people from seeking abortions could very easily pretend to be “real doctors.” Now, at least in one (large) state, they are required to tell people if they are not.
+ In the UK, 175 cases of “revenge porn” have been reported in the past six months, with some victims of it as young as 12.
“This huge increase in recording of ‘revenge pornography’ cases by the police is striking. We have to ask why this behaviour is apparently widespread. It is not casual – it is calculated behaviour intended to harm,” she said. The latest figures reveal that revenge porn victims were aged between 12 and 58 and the vast majority of cases involved explicit pictures of women shared without permission by their male ex-partners.
+ Perhaps due to her determined misrepresentations about Planned Parenthood, which are ambitious enough to stand out in a sea of misrepresentation, Carly Fiorina has lost her lead in the polls and is now at 6%.
+ France has been trying to get a gay Catholic man, Laurent Stefanini, as its ambassador to the Holy See for the past nine months; the Vatican has been rejecting him without explicitly saying why. Now, they’re reportedly given up the effort.
+ Britain’s only openly same-sex-married vicar has been elected to the Church of England’s General Synod.
Andrew Foreshew-Cain, the vicar of St Mary with All Souls, Kilburn and St James, West Hampstead, said he was “pleased but shocked” at his election in the London section of the nationwide ballot to the church’s governing body. “I wasn’t expecting to get on – I thought the clergy were too conservative to vote for a progressive like me,” he told the Guardian.
His election reflected a hope “for a more inclusive and tolerant church”, he added. “People would not have voted for me if they didn’t want to see the change we represent.”
+ Horrifically unsurprising, a new study has found that stereotypically Black names are reported to be “scarier” by whites.
“I’ve never been so disgusted by my own data,” lead author Colin Holbrook, a research scientist in the anthropology department in the UCLA College, said in a university release about the study. “The amount that our study participants assumed based only on a name was remarkable. A character with a black-sounding name was assumed to be physically larger, more prone to aggression, and lower in status than a character with a white-sounding name.”
+ Bernie Sanders has said he’s willing to “take another look” at his previously held position that you can’t sue gun manufacturers for gun violence.
“That was a complicated vote and I’m willing to see changes in that provision,” Sanders said. “Here’s the reason I voted the way I voted: If you are a gun shop owner in Vermont and you sell somebody a gun and that person flips out and then kills somebody, I don’t think it’s really fair to hold that person responsible, the gun shop owner. On the other hand, where there is a problem, is there is evidence that manufacturers, gun manufacturers, do know that they’re selling a whole lot of guns in an area that really should not be buying that many guns, that many of those guns are going to other areas, probably for criminal purposes?” he asked. “So, can we take another look at that liability issue? Yes.”