Friday News Bites: Oregon Stand-Off, Gun Control + More

A lot seems to be happening in Oregon this week, not the least of which are some misguided white dudes with guns holding up a bird sanctuary. Let’s get into some of the news that caught my eye this week:

Some reporters called them “militia,” and some called them “protestors,” and I’m just going to call them whiny manbabies with firearms who are experiencing a hell of a lot of White Privilege™. Anyway, a group of Oregon and out-of-state ranchers are currently occupying a federal wildlife refuge building because they are upset that two other ranchers are going to prison for arson. Arson that they definitely committed to cover up their poaching. Okay.

Oregon Public Broadcasting has an additional breakdown of what is happening here.

Meanwhile, the Paiute tribe has pointed out that the land is really theirs, and maybe both these “protesters” and the federal government should GTFO:

She [Paiute tribal chairwoman Charlotte Rodrique] said the sprawling wildlife reserve is part of the tribe’s ancestral territory and is protected under terms of an agreement signed with federal officials more than a century ago. The tribe still uses the refuge for sacred religious and cultural ceremonies, such as collecting plants for medicine and crafts.

“This land belonged to the Paiute people as wintering grounds long before the first settlers, ranchers and trappers ever arrived here,” Rodrique said, “We haven’t given up our rights to the land. We have protected sites there. We still use the land.”

The birdwatchers are pissed too.

Then Oregon resident (and Montana native!) and Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy started  on Twitter. And it’s amazing.

In Other News:

The Obama Administration is enacting a series of executive actions to combat gun violence (meaning, they don’t need Congressional approval). The measures include stricter background checks and a Pentagon-based study on gun violence.

Did you know that President Obama met with every parent who lost a child at Sandy Hook Elementary?

EU Officials announced that just 272 Syrian refugees have been relocated — AKA just 0.17% of the pledged amount.

And Turkish police found a factory making fake life jackets, primarily for refugees to purchase. That’s a special level of horrendous.

Birth control pills are now available without a prescription in both Oregon and California. I do hope the form they have patients fill out at pharmacies adequately describes the potential health complications, especially for people who smoke.

All New York City single-occupancy restrooms are now required to be gender neutral. Huzzah!

Two new studies published in Journal of Bisexuality confirm that bisexuals experience discrimination from the not-straight community as much as they do outside of it. (And all the bi people out there say, “In ‘Water is Wet’ News…” but it’s good to have some studies to confirm anecdotes.)

We’ve got four new elements in the periodic table, according to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.


Pat Harrington, Jr. — known for his roles on One Day at a Time and The Jack Paar Show — died this week, aged 86.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond has died. He was 85.

Jason Wingreen, the original (and uncredited) voice of Boba Fett in Star Wars, also died this week. He was 95.

In Entertainment

Speaking of Star Wars, Hasbro doesn’t have Rey as a character in their The Force Awakens Monopoly set, and that’s some bullshit. Darth Vader isn’t even really in the movie, and he gets a figure!

Hey, want to read lots of kick-ass longreads by women, including queer women and women of color? Autostraddle has the list for you.

Janet Jackson wants you to know that she does not have cancer. 

And finally, Disney released a short look at their upcoming film Moana. Get excited:

Until next time, friends.

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Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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