Friday News Bites: Tunisia and Arizona Shootings, Voting Rights + More

Friday, Friday, once again. Let’s catch up with some of the news stories that caught my eye over the last week.

Police have arrested a person in connection with the shooting at a Ferguson protest last week. Jeffrey Williams, 20, was not involved with the protesters, and he acknowledged firing shots, though he “may have been firing at someone other than the police.”

Another note on Ferguson and that Department of Justice Report: Ferguson has a population of 21,000, and “16,000 people have outstanding arrest warrants, meaning that they are currently actively wanted by the police.”

On Wednesday, gunmen entered the Tunisian National Museum and killed 17 foreign tourists and two Tunisians. Other injuries were reported, and authorities have not yet released the identities of the gunmen.

In Mesa, Arizona, Ryan Giroux, 41, was arrested after shooting six people, one of whom died, on Wednesday. Giroux is known to police as a white supremacist, and he’s been in and out of prison since 1993.

Police used tasers on that guy, a suspected murderer, and yet…

In Virgina, police severely beat a black UVA student for having a fake ID. Despite the officers’ report claiming otherwise, witnesses say that Martese Johnson was not resisting arrest.

And if you’d like some more disheartening news about weapons and violence:

In the spring of 2010, Afghan officials struck a deal to free an Afghan diplomat held hostage by Al Qaeda. But the price was steep — $5 million — and senior security officials were scrambling to come up with the money.

They first turned to a secret fund that the Central Intelligence Agency bankrolled with monthly cash deliveries to the presidential palace in Kabul, according to several Afghan officials involved in the episode. The Afghan government, they said, had already squirreled away about $1 million from that fund.

Within weeks, that money and $4 million more provided from other countries was handed over to Al Qaeda, replenishing its coffers after a relentless C.I.A. campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan had decimated the militant network’s upper ranks.

Illinois Representative Aaron Schock (R) resigned on Tuesday, after Politico “raised questions about tens of thousands of dollars in mileage reimbursements he received for his personal vehicle.”

Apparently, California only has one year of water left, according to a senior water scientist at NASA.

If you’ve purchased Kraft macaroni and cheese lately, do check the sell-by date. The company has recalled around 242,000 cases because of potential stainless steel shards in the boxes.

A Mars One finalist is voicing concerns that the entire project is a scam. Dr. Joseph Roche, an assistant professor at Trinity College’s School of Education, says that he’s never met the project’s organizers in person, and many of the finalists appear to have paid their way onto the list.

In Better News:

The Obama Administration is “investing $41 million this year to help communities accelerate testing of the estimated 400,000 rape kits that have been backlogged in law enforcement storage rooms and crime labs across the country.”

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Representative John Conyers (D-MI) have introduced the Democracy Restoration Act that would restore federal voting rights to the 4.4 million people convicted of felonies. (If we’re really about rehabilitating people, this is a step in the right direction.)

And in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown (D) has made voter registration automatic:

Under the legislation, every adult citizen in Oregon who has had business with the Department of Motor Vehicles since 2013 but has not registered to vote will receive a ballot in the mail at least 20 days before the next statewide election. The measure is expected to add about 300,000 voters to the rolls.

The Seattle Times investigated claims that the city’s new $15/hour minimum wage was the reason for recent restaurant closures. Their findings? That is not the truth.

The Presbyterian Church has decided to no longer ban same-sex marriage: “The vote amends the church’s constitution to broaden marriage from being between ‘a man and a woman’ to ‘two people, traditionally a man and a woman.'”

In Entertainment:

After The Jinx documentary subject Robert Durst was arrested for murder last weekend, the show’s producers have cancelled all interviews, as they are likely to be called as witnesses.

Now that Kathy Griffin has also left E! Fashion Police, the show is officially on hiatus. Can we just put the show out of its misery? The Fug Girls do a much better job anyway.

After designers Dolce and Gabbana made disparaging comments about alternative families and children born through IVF, the company’s creative director of the online magazine, Swide, has quit:

“I’m proud of being Italian, proud of our pasts and traditions,” [Giuliano] Federico said in his online statement. “But I believe that Italy can look at a more modern and equal future for our citizens and children. All children.”

During Tuesday night’s All In with Chris Hayes, Nancy Giles of CBS Sunday Morning accused hip hop and cultural commentator Jay Smooth of trying to appropriate black culture. His response? “I’m actually black, but you assumed otherwise.”

And finally, news came this week that Patti Smith will posthumously induct Lou Reed into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held on April 18, and will also induct the Smiths, Nine Inch Nails, Chic, Kraftwerk, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Ringo Starr, and Green Day.

Play us out, Lou…

Until next time, friends.

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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.

7 thoughts on “Friday News Bites: Tunisia and Arizona Shootings, Voting Rights + More”

  1. But without the fashion police, fashion anarchy will surface!

    On a more serious note, I do enjoy that the GFY people strictly follow the “they have bigger things to worry about” rule when applicable. I’m so tired of mainstream outlets like, “sure she lost custody of her kids and went public with her abusive relationship but did you see THOSE SHORTS?!”

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