• The Obama administration finally agrees that zero-tolerance policies in schools have lead to an absurd number of arrests and expulsions of minority students for nonviolent offenses. At long last, law enforcement should be a "last resort" for discipline in schools, the administration's new guidelines say. [New York Times]
• Syria is the most deadly place in the world for journalists. A new book recounts the work and death of legendary war correspondent Marie Colvin, who died while on assignment in Syria last winter. [Mother Jones]
This weekend, news broke that longtime feminist musician Ani DiFranco was planning to hold a songwriting retreat at Nottoway Plantation, a ritzy plantation-turned-hotel in Louisiana. It’s clearly a bad idea to hold a “Righteous Retreat” on a former plantation and many writers online have taken the opportunity to discuss how the incident brings up big issues of race, privilege, and activism.
The drawback of a dynamic online conversation is that it can be difficult to follow a discussion as it takes place across Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. So here in one place are five takes on the plantation retreat.
It's the last day of the year! Here's all the feminist news on our radar.
• If you missed the news yesterday that Ani DiFranco was planning to hold a songrwriting retreat on a former plantation (before cancelling the event after outcry this weekend), check out writer Mallory Ortberg's very funny satirical "Note from Ani DiFranco."[The Toast]
• The United States is slowly releasing innocent people from Guantanamo. Nine people have been freed this month, but we'reheading into 2014 with 155 prisoners remaining in Guantanamo, half of whom the military has cleared for release. [New York Times]
• Right now, the Israeli state health service only covers the cost of abortions in the case of medical emergencies, rape, or incest if the woman is between 20 and 40. Next year, it looks like the state might cover all abortions, regardless of reason. [The Frisky]
• Nearly all British internet service providers have been outfitted with "safety filters" meant to block porn—but they also block sex-ed advice. [Telegraph]
• I love reading through the New York Times' annual collection of obituaries of interesting people who died each year. Today, take some time for subversive domestic artist Ruth Asawa, actress Bonnie Franklin, and Nobel Prize-winning writer Doris Lessing. [New York Times]
• President Obama signed a major bill to combat sexual assault in the military. The new law provides legal assistance to victims and says that anyone who engages in sexual assault will get a dishonorable discharge—but it disappointingly still grants victims' commanders the power to hear assault claims and decide punishment. [ThinkProgress]
• Also in theaters this weekend, Saving Mr. Banks cuts out any reference to its leading lady's bisexuality and aims to make the free-thinking creator of Mary Poppins into "the role of the disagreeable-yet-acquiescent female." [After Ellen]