Gutting bills, domestic terrorism on the rise and more

Today’s random assortment of news articles looks at the Campus Safety bill (gutted), the rise in domestic terrorism, a new female-athlete-focused media company and a rocket attack in Iraq. Happy Wednesday.

Stripped down billSB163, Campus Safety Amendments passed out of the Senate after removing the Higher Education Student Safety Commission but leaving the reporting requirements. The commission would have looked at security at campuses across the state. There would have been one representative from each of the eight public universities in Utah, as well as each of the eight technical colleges. There could also be nonvoting members appointed to represent any private institution that wants to be involved, including Westminster College or Brigham Young University. The stripped down bill now heads to the House.

Domestic terrorism ‘metastasizing’ – FBI Director Christopher Wray says that the threats of domestic terrorism have roughly doubled since last year when he testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Domestic terrorism “has been metastasizing around the country for a long time now, and it’s not going away anytime soon,” Wray said. “Whenever we’ve had the chance, we’ve tried to emphasize that this is a top concern.” The bureau has seen a “huge uptick” in anti-government extremism. When asked Senator Durbin if there was any evidence that some of the violence at the Capitol was committed by “fake Trump protesters,” as some prominent conservatives have suggested, Wray said he had not seen evidence of that, nor had he seen evidence of left-wing “antifa” infiltration.

“We have not to date seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to antifa in connection with (January) 6th. That doesn’t mean we’re not looking and we’ll continue to look. But at the moment, we have not seen that,” Wray said. (Washington Post)

New female-athlete-focused media company launched – Four U.S. women Olympians, Alex Morgan, Sue Bird, Simone Manuel and Chloe Kim, launched a new media and commerce company called TOGETHXR that is designed to elevate women’s voices around sports. “The piece of the pie we have is so small,” Bird told, referring to a 2018 report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which found that only 4% of total sports media coverage focused on women’s sports. “When there’s such a small piece … you almost have to fight with one another to get it. I’m glad that we’re now at a point where [women athletes] all kind of look at each other like, ‘Wait, what? That’s not the problem here. The problem is we need a bigger piece.’” TOGETHXR focuses on young athletes and storytellers who are already changing the game. The centerpiece of yesterday’s launch is a photo series featuring the founders, shot by photographer Raven B. Varona. This focus on storytelling is completely new for women’s sports—and that’s kind of the point. 

Rockets hit airbase in Iraq – According to the Associated Press, at least 10 rockets hit a military airbase in Iraq that is hosting US-led coalition troops. No casualties were reported. It was the first attack since the U.S. struck Iran-aligned militia targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week, killing killed one militiaman and stoking fears of a possible repeat of a series of tit-for-tat attacks that escalated last year, culminating in the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani outside the Baghdad airport. Wednesday’s attack comes two days before Pope Francis’ is scheduled to visit Iraq in a much anticipated trip that will include Baghdad, southern Iraq and in the northern city of Irbil. 

That’s not how this works – A California man used a mannequin as his passenger so he could access carpool lanes for at least a year and a half. The mannequin wore a baseball cap, plaid shirt and a face mask and looked decently realistic. The driver was pulled over for tinted windows on the passenger side and the officer discovered the passenger was not real when the window was rolled down. The driver was cited for an HOV lane violation and faces a fine of $400. That might seem worth it. (Los Angeles Daily News, AP)