Friday News Bites: Planned Parenthood Updates, Political Maneuvering + More

Greetings, unicorns, and Happy Friday. This week’s news updates are a little more entertainment-heavy at the end, but first let’s get to this week’s politics and other newsy items:

Hackers got into Planned Parenthood’s system, and although no client or provider data was released, it’s still another act of intimidation.

My local newspaper, the Great Falls Tribune, ran this atrociously racist and inaccurate anti-Planned Parenthood cartoon by Gary McCoy earlier this week. I know they get their cartoons from a syndication service, but they still have some wiggle room in what content they run in that category. You better believe I gave them an earful via email and Twitter.

Here’s an interesting New York Times opinion piece about how Planned Parenthood supporters can be more proactive than reactive.

Thankfully, Senate Democrats blocked a bill that would have defunded money allocated to Planned Parenthood — money that is already not allowed towards abortions, by the way — and Elizabeth Warren had an amazing comment towards some Republicans:

Did you fall down, hit your head, and think you woke up in the 1950s or 1890s? Should we call for a doctor?

Because I simply cannot believe that in the year 2015, the United States Senate would be spending its time trying to defund women’s healthcare centers. On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. The Republicans have had a plan for years to strip away women’s rights to make choices over our own bodies.

YAAAS, QUEEN. And here’s a factual rundown on how Planned Parenthood really does spend that government money.

My deadline is before the GOP Presidential debates on Fox News air, but here’s an interesting tidbit about one of the candidates: Did you know that Jeb Bush’s grandfather was a founding member of Planned Parenthood?

That’s not to say we are all beholden to our family history. However, it does make his comments about women’s health being “overfunded” extra ridiculous. Hillary Clinton made sure to criticize him on the matter, and he has since said he “misspoke.”

Another point of interest: Hillary Clinton has spent more in taxes than Jeb Bush has ever earned in his lifetime. She pays her share, motherfucker.

And speaking of voting, a Texas appellate court has ruled that the state’s ID law is a breach of the Voting Rights Act.

In Oregon, everyone eligible to vote is now automatically registered, unless they opt out. The new law is intended to increase voter turnout.

In Other News:

Over at bitches gotta eat, Samantha Irby has some advice regarding your rights while speaking to the police, and what to do if you’re detained.

Here are 13 Issues Facing Native People Beyond Mascots And Casinos.

Amnesty International will vote soon on whether or not to decriminalize sex work. Here are details about the full proposal.

And here’s another thing President Obama is trying to get done in his last year+ in office:

Yet another movie theater shooter, this time in Nashville. The 29-year-old suspect, killed by police at the scene, brought in an Air Soft gun and pepper spray to a screening of Mad Max: Fury Road. No one else was injured.

Netflix has announced they will provide unlimited maternity and paternity leave for its employees. Huzzah!

Thursday marks the 70th anniversary of the WWII bombing of Hiroshima. Here’s a morbidly fascinating way to see how your city would be affected if it were hit with the same nuclear device.


A trial from the Public Health Agency of Canada and developed by the pharmaceutical company Merck has led to an Ebola vaccine that appears to be 100% effective. The World Health Organization calls these results “a potential game-changer.”

Pluto and its big moon, Charon, are going to have a bunch of fun sci-fi names for their geographic features. High-fives for the TARDIS chasma that crosses the Gallifrey macula.

Cornell University has made their massive sound archive available to everyone. Get in on those bird call ringtones.

Women, this is why you’re always freezing in your office. Patriarchy even controls the air conditioning, man…


Canada’s hitchhiking robot, HitchBOT was attacked and decapitated in Philadelphia. Presumably by some jerk who does not appreciate fun science.

Wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper died this week from cardiac arrest. He was 61.

Novelist and NPR contributor Alan Cheuse died last Friday as a result of injuries from a car accident. He was 71.

In Entertainment:

Dame Helen Mirren posed with her three wax figures in Madame Tussauds, in honor of her 70th birthday. *swoons*

Helen Mirren poses with three wax figures of herself in Madame Tussads

Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani are divorcing. I’ve always been Team Gavin, but I assume she finally got tired of all his bad behavior, so good on them for trying-yet-calling-it-a-day.

Kermit and Miss Piggy have broken up too, if you are invested in that particular Muppet relationship. [auto-playing video]

Despite rumors to the contrary, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are not busting up. Click through for some cringe-worthy tweets.

Kate Pierson from the B-52s got married! She and new wife Monica Coleman made it official in Hawaii last weekend.

In Water is Wet news: Apparently people need to be told again that there is staggering inequality in Hollywood for anyone not straight, white, young, and male.

Idris Elba is on the cover Maxim though — the magazine’s first male cover star, no less — and for that, we can be thankful. Unf.

Oh God, we’ve reached Peak Minion.

Ryan Adams is doing a covers album of Taylor Swift’s 1989, saying, “Guaranteed saddest version of ‘Welcome to New York’ ever — or your tears back.”

Jon Stewart ended his Daily Show run this week, and Arby’s paid tribute with a funny self-deprecating ad.

And finally, this cat feeding method is amazing:

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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