Friday News Bites: Everything is on Fire + More

Let me bring you this week’s news of note through the haze of smoke enveloping my lungs.

Between fires in western Montana, parts of Idaho, and what seems like the entirety of eastern Washington, the air quality today in central Montana is… not good.

Hazy, smoky sky in Montana
“What do you MEAN, ‘bad air quality?’ I can ALWAYS stare directly at the sun for 15 seconds!” (photo by Paul Gallagher)

In Twisp, Washington, a quickly-moving fire killed three firefighters and the entire town had to be evacuated.

Spokane smoky hazy sky
(photo by Karla Mellinger)

In other regional (to me) news: Baseball has its first openly gay player, minor leaguer David Denson, who plays for the Helena Brewers. (If you happen to be near Helena this coming Sunday, area LGBTQ groups and allies are attending the Brewers’ game against the Great Falls Voyagers to show their support.)

In Politics:

Jeb Bush supporters decided to be extra awful and mocked #BlackLivesMatter activists by chanting back “White lives matter.” Gross.

A 15-year-old Iowan is the person behind the Independent Presidential candidate Deez Nuts, who is currently polling at 9% in North Carolina.

The White House hired its first openly transgender staff member: Raffi Freedman-Gurspan will work in the Presidential Personnel Office as an outreach and recruitment director.

The Department of Homeland Security is monitoring #BlackLivesMatter activists… Again, gross.

And AT&T has been super helpful in letting the U.S. spy on the internet. Sigh.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: The Department of Health and Human Safety found no violations of fetal tissue laws within Planned Parenthood. I’m so glad money was spent on such a valuable use of time. /sarcasm

In Phoenix, a federal judge has upheld the law banning pet stores from selling dogs from puppy mills:

The Phoenix law says “pet stores may only sell animals obtained from animal shelters or rescue organizations,” according to documents in the court case. It permits small-scale individual breeders to sell dogs directly to purchasers. The ordinance also prohibits carnivals and amusement parks from awarding animals as prizes, AZ Central reported when it passed.

In Other News:

Sex offender Josh Duggar spent almost $1000 dollars on his Ashley Madison account. He also appears to have had an OKCupid account as well.

Here’s an interesting story about a woman who is making jeans for people in wheelchairs. Front-thigh pockets FTW!

NASA’s LADEE spacecraft has detected neon in the moon’s atmosphere.

Now here’s a headline: “Cheese, Please: How Did Pizza Become One of Windsor, Ontario’s Hottest Exports?”


Civil rights leader Julian Bond died at age 75, Saturday. Bond was one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and also served as NAACP chairman.

Yvonne Craig, perhaps best known for her role as Batgirl in the 1960s, died this week from breast cancer. She was 78.

In Entertainment:

This is what happens when you do not adequately fund public television: HBO is now keeping Sesame Street alive:

In a new arrangement between HBO and the Sesame Street Workshop, HBO will provide Sesame Street with the critical funding it needs to continue, and not only that, your kids will be able to watch Sesame Street first runs on HBO, HBO Go, or the HBO standalone service. Even better, there will be twice as much new content each season now, and PBS will be able to license the series for free after a nine-month window.

Plus, Sesame Street Workshop will produce a Sesame Street Muppet spinoff series, as well as another new educational programs. HBO will have first-run rights to those new series, and new episodes of Sesame Street will premiere on HBO.

Straight Outta Compton was number one at the box office this past weekend, but Dee Barnes would like to remind you that you won’t see her and all the women Dr. Dre beat up.

Amy Poehler’s new show, Difficult People, has Julie Klausner making a really awful joke about Blue Ivy and R. Kelly. Not cool, to say the least.

And finally, Hayley Atwell says she’d love to play the Doctor. I SUPPORT THIS IDEA. (In the hands of someone other than Moffat, of course.)

Until next time, friends.

By 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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