Ammon Bundy once sought aid from the very federal government he is now decrying as tyrannical in the armed occupation of a national wildlife preserve in Oregon. Back in 2010 — roughly five years before Bundy headed up protests against the prosecution of two local ranchers and the federal government's land use at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge — Bundy received a federal small-business loan, Mother Jones reports:
Ammon Bundy runs a Phoenix-based company called Valet Fleet Services LLC, which specializes in repairing and maintaining fleets of semitrucks throughout Arizona. On April 15, 2010 — Tax Day, as it happens — Bundy's business borrowed $530,000 through a Small Business Administration loan guarantee program. The available public record does not indicate what the loan was used for or whether it was repaid. The SBA website notes that this loan guarantee was issued under a program "to aid small businesses which are unable to obtain financing in the private credit marketplace." The government estimated that this subsidy could cost taxpayers $22,419. Bundy did not respond to an email request for comment about the SBA loan. [Mother Jones]
By Dec. 30, 2015, however, that helping hand seemed to be forgotten. Bundy slammed the federal government in a Facebook post, saying it has "adversely stolen the lands and resources from the people, destroyed thousands of jobs, and the economy of an entire county."
Bundy has yet to comment on his federal loan. Becca Stanek
Adnan Syed, the Baltimore man at the center of the first season of the wildly popular true-crime podcast Serial, has been granted a new trial, NBC's Baltimore affiliate WBAL reports. Syed's attorneys tweeted Thursday that Syed had won a new trial after a Baltimore judge ruled that his original attorney failed to properly cross-examine incriminating cell-tower evidence.
Syed's current defense team successfully re-opened post conviction hearings this past February and in March filed a post-hearing motion to add new evidence to the record, partially due to the popularity of and unearthed information from Serial. Syed is currently serving a life sentence plus 30 years after being convicted in 2000 of murdering his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee while they were both seniors at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore. Kimberly Alters
Speaking 2,656 miles from the Mexican border in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday, Donald Trump interrupted his latest policy speech to point out a random passing airplane, warning that it could be "a Mexican plane up there, they're getting ready to attack."
Video: Trump sees a plane overhead, says "That could be a Mexican plane up there—they’re getting ready to attack." https://t.co/ryWXqnrMgx
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 30, 2016
It should be noted that we are not at war with Mexico. Jeva Lange
The oceans are rising, Oregon will basically fall into the sea when the Big One hits, and the globe just keeps getting hotter. But hey, look on the bright side — at least the giant hole in the ozone is on track to be fully healed later this century!
The spot of good news comes from Susan Solomon, the lead author in a study published Thursday in Science that appears to prove that the hole in the ozone above the Antarctic is on track to actually repair itself sometime around 2060. The researchers praise the 1987 Montreal Protocol as at least partially responsible for the progress, thanks to its ban of chlorinated compounds in refrigerator coolants and aerosols, which used to float up to terrorize the stratosphere.
"I think a lot of people feel that environmental stories always have bad endings. In this case, the recovery will happen, but it'll take time," atmospheric chemist Susan Strahan said after evaluating the researchers' evidence.
Solomon agreed. "This is a reminder that when the world gets together, we really can solve environmental problems. I think we should all congratulate ourselves on a job well done," she told Gizmodo.
There you have it — give yourself a pat on the back. Good work, team. Jeva Lange
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has announced that transgender members of the military will be allowed to serve openly, putting an end to the Pentagon's ban. Carter added that the changes will begin to be implemented over the course of the next year.
— CNN (@CNN) June 30, 2016
Although there are already thousands of transgender people in the military, they risked being discharged if discovered, just as gay and lesbian troops did before "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed in 2011. Still, some in the upper ranks of the military have worried that the "social experiment" could hurt the military's ability to operate effectively, although Carter has condemned the transgender ban as being outdated. Studies have also failed to prove that the inclusion of transgender members would stunt the military's preparedness. Jeva Lange
The United Nations Human Rights Council voted Thursday to create a role for a global LGBT rights monitor, the first position of its kind in the U.N. The person will be an "independent expert" who works as a watchdog for "violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity." The resolution passed in a vote of 23 to 18, with six nations abstaining, and it marks a major step toward the international community recognizing LGBT rights as legal, universal rights.
Pakistan led the opposition to the resolution on the behalf of the majority of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, with Albania being the only OIC member to support the resolution. The IOC managed to pass amendments highlighting the respect for local values, "religious sensitivities," and domestic policies, BuzzFeed reports. The bloc also managed to add an amendment disapproving of countries that take up "coercive measures" in order to influence local policies, such as when the U.S. changed its aid to Uganda following an anti-LGBT law that was passed there in 2014. Jeva Lange
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being vetted as Donald Trump's possible running mate, say sources who have been briefed on the process and who spoke anonymously with The New York Times. Trump's foe in the primaries, Christie has since settled in as the presumptive GOP nominee's right-hand man — the extent of which draws henchman-like comparisons as Christie has been rumored to fetch Trump McDonald's orders and was mocked for looking like a hostage as he shadowed Trump during a speech.
"I think he's been diminished by the way the Trump organization has used him, and I think that's really unfortunate," Christie's New Hampshire strategist, Joel Maiola, observed.
Still, those familiar with Christie's role in the Trump campaign aren't surprised that Trump has vowed Christie will find a prominent place in his White House. Christie has reportedly advised Trump on his speeches, policies, and was one of the insiders who suggested Trump drop Corey Lewandowski as campaign manager.
Trump has joked that Christie is even responsible for bulldozing fellow 2016 competitor Marco Rubio out of the way for him during the primaries. According to recent attendees of a fundraiser, Trump went as far as to thank Christie for "being the bad guy." Jeva Lange
The incident involving the capture of 10 American sailors by Iran in January was the result of "failed leadership at multiple levels from the tactical to the operational," according to a new report by military investigators released on Thursday. The numerous mistakes ranged from the crews being poorly prepared to the boats failing to be properly maintained to sailors' conduct after being captured not adhering to military standards, including an incident where one sailor disobeyed a direct order.
Additionally, the sailors apparently swung off course almost immediately and had no idea where they were when one of the boats suffered mechanical problems. However, the report found that while the Americans didn't break international laws, the Iranians did by impeding the boat's "innocent passage."