Friday News Bites: Policy Changes, YouTube Chicanery + More

From college funding to anti-discrimination to my using a weird word in a headline — it’s time for another sampler platter of news stories to see you into the weekend.

Starbucks announced this week that it will provide free college education for its employees, regardless if they stay with the company. I wonder if that also applies to employees who work at Starbucks inside places like grocery stores or Barnes & Noble, where they license the name but are considered employees of the store in which the coffee bar exists.

The White House has issued an executive order that bars federal contractors from discriminating based on LGBT or gender identification status. Equality high-five!

Also this week, U.S. Special Operations forces captured Ahmed Abu Khattala, one of the people responsible for the 2012 diplomatic compound attack in Benghazi, Libya. Somewhat predictably, this did not placate the Captain Ahabs at Fox News.

The U.S. Patent Office has canceled the trademark registrations for the Washington Redskins because it is “disparaging to Native Americans.” This isn’t the first time the case has been brought to them, as the first attempt by Native American groups to encourage a team name change was twenty years ago.

To the surprise of almost no one who lives here and who is paying attention: “The U.S. Has the Most Expensive, Least Effective Health Care System.” However, the study in the linked article does not include data after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which may make our stats slightly less pathetic.

PS: President Obama is totally TEAM HARD G when it comes to pronouncing the word “gif.” Take that, Jiffers.

In Other News:

If you enjoy tossing chia seed powder into your soups or smoothies, be aware of the recall in effect for certain brands. 21 people in 12 different states have been hospitalized after consuming chia seed powder contaminated with salmonella.

YouTube is preparing to change its site and start offering subscription-based streaming without ads. However, this is bad news for independent artists who decline Google’s “deal.” Something tells me we’re about to see a lot more Vimeo-based videos.

Google and Yahoo have released the gender and racial makeup of their workforce. Here’s how the numbers shake out, and also how they compare to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

In the UK, teaching Creationism as science is now banned in all public schools. SCIENTIFIC HIGH-FIVE!

In Entertainment News:

We lost former Top 40 DJ and voice actor Casey Kasem this week, who died in his home at age 82. Did you know he was the voice of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo? I had no idea.

Sherlock Holmes is now considered public domain, so ready thy marketable fan fiction, friends.

Dov Charney is well on his way to being officially fired from American Apparel, after the company’s board finally decided they could no longer excuse the mountain of sexual harassment claims made against him. Good riddance, dude.

And finally, MoMA announced that they will be hosting a Björk retrospective next year, featuring her prolific musical work and her collaborations with other artists, musicians, and designers.

Play us out, our Icelandic dream girl!

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Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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