Bleats

Who Had JK Rowling Being A TERF On Their 2019 Bingo Card?

Harry Potter And The Transphobic Tweet.

If you thought that 2019 would ease off on all the shit headlines now that we’re almost at Christmas, you’d be wrong. If everyone who predicted that JK Rowling would post TERF crap on Twitter could please tick that off on your 2019 bingo card, that would be great. 

*Joanne

TERF stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist, and is the name given to people who use feminism as a vessel for hating on trans people. The general attitude is that trans people shouldn’t exist, and that the ones who do are eroding women’s rights. Awful stuff.

Rowling, who has 14.6 million followers on Twitter, decided that this was a great thing to post.

What she was referencing was the case of Maya Forstater, who was a researcher that was fired from her job at an anti-poverty thinktank for being a massive transphobe. She took it to a tribunal and lost the test hearing because her views were deemed too “absolutist.”

If you aren’t convinced that Maya Forstater is horrible, suss what she said after misgendering Gregor Murray, who’s non-binary 

“I had simply forgotten that this man demands to be referred to by the plural pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’… In reality, Murray is a man … Women and children in particular should not be forced to lie or obfuscate about someone’s sex.”

Hot TERF garbage. But unfortunately, the sort of hot TERF garbage that JK Rowling has decided to publicly support.

Me reading her tweet

Like tons of people, I grew up with Harry Potter. One of the main points of the entire story is that we should be kind to one another, and that hate never wins. I know JK Rowling has made some questionable announcements since the series wrapped up – I’m particularly thinking of the announcement that wizards used to just shit wherever they stood – but none of them have been hurtful in the way this tweet is. 

Trans rights are human rights, and this tweet should definitely have stayed in the drafts.

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What Happens Now That Donald Trump Has Been Impeached?

It's not over yet.

There we have it, folks. Donald Trump is officially the third president of the United States to ever be impeached. The first was Andrew Johnson in 1868, then Bill Clinton in 1998, and now Donald J. Trump. So what happens now?

To backtrack just for a moment, the reason this impeachment vote went ahead is because Trump withheld nearly $US400 million worth of military-aid package to Ukraine, then only a few days later called up the Ukrainian President and asked their government to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Basically he used the title of President for personal gain, which is very illegal.

There were two specific charges that Donald Trump was being impeached on: The first vote which passed 230-197, was to impeach him for abuse of power. The second vote passed 229-198 and says that the president obstructed Congress. Only one person, Tulsi Gabbard from the Democrats, refused to vote.

The vote means that Trump is officially impeached, but he’s still very much the president. Today’s vote happened in the House of Representatives – which is controlled by the Democrats – and the next step is for Trump to face a Senate trial. It’s scheduled for early January, but may yet be delayed. We just have to wait and see.

If two thirds of the Senate agree that Trump has abused his power and obstructed Congress, then he’ll get the boot and Mike Pence will take over as President, but people aren’t very hopeful of that. The Senate has a Republican majority and is under the leadership of a Kentucky Republican named Mitch McConnell, who has been blocking legislation he doesn’t like for years. 

Recently, he even went on Fox News and bragged about blocking Obama’s nominations for federal judges.

This is Mitch McConnell

As for the rest of the Senate, the numbers are currently 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents. To hit the two thirds majority needed to throw him out, 67 people would need to vote to convict Trump. With all 53 Republicans insisting that they’ll vote to acquit Trump and let him stay on as President, it’s not a likely outcome. 

Donald Trump has been impeached, but if he isn’t convicted in the Senate then he’ll stay on as president, and it will be left to the American people to decide whether or not to reelect him in 2020.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

The Air Pollution In Aus Is Doing More Than Causing Us To Cough Up A Lung

Maybe we should all jet off to Hawai'i.

This week, Australia sweltered through its hottest day on record. Ever. On Tuesday the average national temperature hit 40.9C, and with a lot of the country still burning, the air quality is pretty crap. So crap in fact, that in some parts of the country, it’s been 11 times higher than the official hazardous level. Turns out that not only is the air pollution making us cough, it’s also giving us depression.

It gets worse than this

A systematic review of global data has found that people living in areas with air pollution experience higher rates of depression and suicide compared to people living in clean air environments. 

The World Health Organisation has called air pollution “the new tobacco” and “a silent public health emergency,” and for good reason. One third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease are due to air pollution, meaning that living in a polluted place is about as bad for you as smoking. 

Isobel Braithwaite was the leader of the research, and says that about 15% of depression cases could be prevented with clean air.

“We know that the finest particulates from dirty air can reach the brain via both the bloodstream and the nose, and that air pollution has been implicated in increased [brain] inflammation, damage to nerve cells and to changes in stress hormone production, which have been linked to poor mental health,” she said.

So what to do? The EU has a legal limit of air pollution, and that’s been working really well for them. The research shows that cutting down air pollution globally to the EU’s legal limit could prevent millions of people becoming depressed.

Here in Australia, we might have to wait for the fires to be put out before we start working on better air quality. We probably shouldn’t hold our breath on any amazing leadership on the matter, though. Maybe we should all just jet off to Hawai’i.

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with mental health issues, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

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