Greetings, all. This week’s Friday News Bites are rather heavy on the Indiana-specific content, for a number of reasons, but we have some other governmental and entertainment matters to cover as well. Let’s get started:
After the governor signed the discriminatory “religious freedom” bill into law, the software corporation Salesforce announced that they would pull all business from the state.
Students and other Indiana residents have protested the new law, including a 3,000-person gathering in front of the State House.
Governor Mike Pence started his backpedaling on the law’s “purpose” almost immediately.
The Indy Star breaks down what the law really means here, and they were also the ones behind the bold front page headline reading, “FIX THIS NOW.” Though, supposedly, lawmakers are working on a “fix” for the discriminatory language. At the time of writing this post, the governor has not yet stated whether he backs these changes. [Warning: Auto-loading video on last link.]
Now that I’ve read up on it a bit, I don’t actually agree with a lot of the blanket boycotts people are waging against the state. From what I understand, the governor and some politicians were acting against the will of the electorate. Indianapolis has city laws that that staunchly protect LGBTQ people, and a lot of these conventions and other businesses pulling out of the state are harming a city that doesn’t back the law. Not to mention, boycotting a whole state implies that the entire state is behind the law. And it isn’t.
Ashley C. Ford writes about this much more eloquently at Talking Points Memo, “A Queer Hoosier on Still Loving Indiana:”
A little research—just a tiny bit—would show that Mike Pence doesn’t care about money. He signed the RFRA against the wishes of the people who funded his campaign. Ultimately, boycotting Indiana means boycotting the people. Financially and culturally starving a state does not change the minds of the people, even if it does change the minds of the government. Art and media changes minds—at least mine. My thoughts were pretty much in line with the bigoted ones of my church before I stayed up late and watched a Made-for-MTV movie about Matthew Shepard, the 21-year old gay student in Wyoming who was beaten, burned and left to die. I cried all through the movie, the night, and into the next day at school. After that, I couldn’t imagine making fun of someone who was gay. I was twelve years old when I connected the dots. Governor Mike Pence is much older.
SB 101 isn’t the only thing happening in Indiana. The government shut down clinics that helped teach safe needle-sharing and now we have around 80 new cases of HIV in one town. A woman was recently sentenced to prison for inducing her own miscarriage— “feticide” they called it.
On a related note: Georgia legislators freely admit they are trying to be discriminatory with their “religious freedom” bill.
And Arkansas, though it insists otherwise, just enacted a bill very similar to Indiana’s.
Thankfully, Montana defeated their religious freedom bill without it even leaving the House.
Speaking of Montana:
The Koch Brothers own a 2,000 acre cattle ranch in Montana, take $12 million in subsidies from the government, yet are actively trying to defeat Medicaid expansion in the state. Thankfully, their efforts don’t seem to be working.
However, I object to Salon‘s characterization of Montana being a “red state.” We’re purple. We have Democrat Steve Bullock serving as governor (who was elected after another Democrat governor, Brian Schweitzer, reached his term limit); and we have one Democrat senator, Jon Tester, who used to be one of two, before Steve Daines (R) won the second spot in the last election. This was after Democrat Max Baucus retired. Bizarrely, despite all these (D) people, our electoral college votes for president almost always go to the Republican candidate.
Anyway, much like Indiana, we’re not all conservative rednecks, thank you very much.
Elsewhere in our state government: Thankfully, a bill to allow guns on college campuses was also defeated.
And here’s an interesting/frustrating story: Despite an increase in enrollment, and despite the number of schools available compared to other states, Montana tribal colleges receive significantly less funding than their non-tribal counterparts.
In Other News:
Speaking of Medicaid expansion: More people are being diagnosed with diabetes, now that more low-income people can afford to go to the doctor.
Actor Michael Sheen is calling upon UK politicians to quit undermining the National Health Service. (Seriously, England, some of you don’t know how good you have it, so don’t lose it!)
Right after I turned in last week’s News Bites this happened: A gas leak in the East Village caused two buildings to collapse last Thursday and started a massive fire. The explosion killed two and injured 22 people.
The Germanwings pilot responsible for the crash that killed 150 people was apparently also having vision problems.
U.S. banks don’t much like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) calling out their bullshit.
Carly Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, is “higher than 90%” likely to run as a Republican Presidential candidate in 2016. I don’t really know enough about her to rank her better or worse than the other Republican candidates.
In what I hope is not an April Fool’s joke: Stanford University announced that families earning less than $125,000 per year would qualify for free tuition, if the student was accepted. For incomes less than $65,000, room and board would also be included.
Cards Against Humanity has issued a science-specific expansion pack, with “all proceeds are going towards a full-ride scholarship for women seeking degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM.”
This a long-but-interesting story on the history of condoms and why latex ones could be so much better.
This week marked Vincent Van Gogh’s 162nd birthday, and did you know that his paintings mimic turbulence in fluid flows with mathematical precision?
I’m not crying thinking of this episode, you are.
Cynthia Lennon has died of cancer at age 75. She was married to John Lennon for seven years, and together they had a son, Julian.
Deadline has apologized (badly) for their “white panic” article that went up last week.
And finally, David Bowie is co-writing a stage show based on The Man Who Fell To Earth. I’m already on board.
Until next time, friends.