Quickies: WBC vs Adam Hills, Chelsea Manning, Deadly Fungus

  • Westboro Baptist Church vs comedian Adam Hills – Outraged by the WBC’s threat to protest Robbin Williams’s funeral, Hills challenged the WBC to take their protest somewhere Christians are actually under attack, Iraq, and he offered to pay for their flights. The WBC replied via Twitter: “Iraq here we come.” Friday night Hill withdrew his offer, instead pledging to donate the money to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a charity Williams supported.
  • Brittney Griner WNBA’s defensive player of the year – While the NFL is still grappling with the idea of drafting out queers into the league, the WNBA has named Brittney Griner defensive player of the year. Not only is Griner out and proud, she recently announced her engagement to fellow WNBA star Glory Johnson. Congrats twice over!
  • Chelsea Manning is still being denied treatment – In a letter released to NBC News, Manning states, “Ultimately, I just want to be able to live my life as the person that I am, and to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin.” The prison is forcing the trans woman to adhere to male dress and grooming standards, male titles, and they are still using her former name.
  • Girl helps researchers discovers source of deadly fungus – Cryptococcus infections are the cause of roughly one third of AIDS-related deaths. Under the guidance of her father who was studying Cryptococcus gattii, thirteen year old Elan Filler collected over 100 swabs from trees and soil in the greater Los Angles area. She then grew and isolated C. gattii, and sent the specimens to researchers at Duke. Three specimens were found to be almost genetically identical to those taken from infected patients.
  • St. Louis officer suspended after Oath Keepers speech – “And if I need to, I’ll kill a whole bunch more. If you don’t want to get killed, don’t show up in front of me, it’s that simple. I have no problem with it. God did not raise me to be a coward.” This from a speech St. Louis County Officer Dan Page delivered in 2012 to the Oath Keepers of St. Louis and St. Charles, a militaristic right-wing anti-government group. The speech, which also included homophobic and racist remarks, was brought to light by CNN anchor Don Lemon, who was accosted by Page while reporting on the Ferguson protests.

Featured image: C. gattii via Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, Duke University

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  1. Kudos to Hill. He made a joke, realized that he really didn’t want any money going to WBC, and sent all the money to St Jude instead, mocking the impotence of the WBC, and at the same time respecting Robin Williams’ legacy.

    Distressing to hear that the US continues to mistreat prisoners so badly, but sadly not surprising.

  2. I had to check United to see if they’re even doing commercial flights into Baghdad – they are. Case 1: WBC is allowed into Iraq but can’t leave the green zone. They protest, harassing US and Iraqi diplomats and officials. Case 2: they’re allowed to leave the green zone. They protest, possibly getting attacked and killed. Either case the WBC presence hurts relations between the USA and Iraq and feeds into anti-US sentiment. Hills doesn’t want blood on his hands. He made the right choice.

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