The Standing Rock Sioux Have A New Fighter In Their Corner — Ronda Rousey

FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2014, file photo, Ronda Rousey looks around after defeating Sara McMann in a UFC 170 mixed martial arts women's bantamweight title bout in Las Vegas. Rousey says her bantamweight title shot against Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 will be one of her final mixed martial arts bouts. Rousey spoke about her fight Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, during an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres talk show.
AP Photo by Isaac Brekken, File

Former UFC champion Ronda Rousey may not have seen much success in the ring lately, having suffered a stunning loss to Holly Holm in 2015 and gone down to an ignominious 48-second defeat at the hands of Amanda Nunes last month.

But let it not be said that “Rowdy” is one to duck a tough fight. Yesterday, she turned up in Standing Rock, North Dakota, where supporters of the local Sioux tribe have been protesting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Their demonstrations drew widespread attention, and thousands of veterans arrived at the site in early December to demand a halt to construction. Although the Army Corps of Engineers subsequently denied the permit required to complete the project, opting to “explore alternate routes,” they did so under a previous administration.

President Donald Trump is a longstanding supporter of the pipeline and has owned stock in the company constructing it, Energy Transfer Partners. (Although a spokesman said he sold the stock in June, he has not provided documentation to support the claim.) Yesterday, the president signed an executive memorandum ordering the secretary of the Army to expedite the approval process. He also moved to restart construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, fiercely opposed by environmentalists, who are pressing to reduce the use of fossil fuels that have been shown to cause climate change.

Last year, a group of former senior military officers and defense experts released a study pointing out the significant risk climate change poses for the U.S. military. Of the 1,774 installations around the world, many are located in coastal areas that are already experiencing increased flooding. The report also noted that environmental changes are expected to increase the incidence of global conflicts and mass migration, placing further strain on the nation’s armed forces.

Globally, 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded, setting a new high for the third year running.

Though the president has said climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese, he later claimed he was joking. Nonetheless, despite the entreaties of his daughter Ivanka, he appears eager to roll back environmental protections. “I am to a large extent an environmentalist,” he declared in a recent meeting with automotive executives. “I believe in it, but it’s out of control.” Meanwhile, the administration has reportedly ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to remove the page explaining climate change from its website.

Somehow, we doubt Rousey is going to change his mind.

Nothing says joint force battle management like a ride-sharing app. (Task & Purpose photo illustration)

The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.

The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.

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The newly painted F-15 Eagle flagship, dubbed the Heritage Jet, was painted to honor 1st Lt. David Kingsley, the namesake for Kingsley Field, and his ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air National Guard/Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

An F-15C Eagle is sporting a badass World War II-era paint job in honor of a fallen bomber pilot who gave everything to ensure his men survived a deadly battle.

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The wreckage of a U.S. Air Force E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft is seen after a crash in Deh Yak district of Ghazni province, Afghanistan on January 27, 2020 (Reuters photo)

A U.S. E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft crashed on Monday on Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has confirmed.

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In this June 7, 2009 file photo Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) points to a player behind him after making a basket in the closing seconds against the Orlando Magic in Game 2 of the NBA basketball finals in Los Angeles. Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. He was 41. (Associated Press/Mark J. Terrill)

Beloved basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. Two days earlier, Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore was killed during a vehicle rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations in Syria.

Which one more deserves your grief and mourning? According to Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, you only have enough energy for one.

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Jessica Purcell of St. Petersburg, a captain in the Army Reserve, was pregnant with son Jameson when she was told at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic not to worry about lumps under her arm. She now is diagnosed stage 4 cancer. Jameson is 10 months old. (Tampa Bay Times/Scott Keeler via Tribune News Service)

Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.

Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.

It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.

Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.

A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.

Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.

With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.

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