Friday News Bites: U.S. Election Updates, LGBTQ Politics + More

Happy Friday, everyone. This week’s roundup is considerably less disheartening than last week, but there are still plenty of serious stories to cover. Let’s get the current crop of GOP ridiculousness out of the way first, shall we?

2016 U.S. Election Updates

You may have already heard how Donald Trump wants to bar Muslims from entering the U.S.  And you may have already heard that he thinks it’s fine that a #BlackLivesMatter protester was assaulted at one of his rallies. Here’s a look at how he “spooks the GOP establishment.”

We are all this eagle:

Bald eagle snaps at Trump
“Do not trifle with me, motherfucker!”

Personally, I’m hoping that, in the event of Trump dropping out of the race, they don’t try to pull a “Look how reasonable our other candidates are!” that gets Republicans out to vote and maybe makes Democrats complacent. Remember, Republicans lose when Democrats actually get out and vote!

Besides… In addition to his many other faults, Ben Carson’s campaign graphic about saying no to Syrian refugees didn’t even grasp basic U.S. geography.

And Marco Rubio thought it was fine to skip out on a security briefing after the Paris attacks (you know, part of his job as a current member of Congress) so that he could have another campaign rally.

Small Blessing: At least Bobby Jindal is out of the running for the Republican nomination.


Though the Supreme Court has not yet taken up the issue, there’s a case to be made that transgender discrimination was already outlawed with the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

After the Mormon church decided to rank same-sex couples on the same level of sin as pedophiles, and would thus bar their children from being part of the church, more than 1,000 members resigned in protest.

I think in the delay of sever changes and Thanksgiving, this link got lost in my news-shuffle: Last month, Congress held its first ever forum on violence against transgender people.

Here’s a look at the not-straight members of Congress whose votes regarding Syrian refugees show some major cognitive dissonance.

It’s been a little over a year since the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality: Here’s how many same-sex couples have married in Montana since then.

In Other News:

With more and more Planned Parenthood clinics shutting down in Texas, “[b]etween 100,000 and 240,000 Texas women between the ages of 18 and 49 have tried to end a pregnancy by themselves, according to a pair of surveys released Tuesday by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, a University of Texas-based effort aimed at determining the impact of the state’s reproductive policies.”

MSNBC and CNN not only practiced some sketchy journalistic “ethics,” they also disrupted an active area of investigation when they decided to enter the apartment of the San Bernadino shooters.

Another point in the Facebook “real names” policy errors: Native Americans are often told their real names are fake.

Former President Jimmy Carter says that his brain cancer appears to be gone. He will continue to receive immunotherapy treatments.

Canadian music journalist and radio host Nardwuar suffered a stroke last Saturday. He is currently recovering in a Vancouver hospital.


More researchers (and patients) are pointing out the flaws in the recent study of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome known as the PACE Trial:

The PACE trial has exerted a strong influence on American physicians: If you ask your doctor about CFS, odds are good you’ll hear that cognitive behavioral therapy (the flavor of psychotherapy used in the trial) and exercise are the only proven treatments for CFS.

The American scientific research community, on the other hand, has rejected the psychiatric model that PACE epitomizes and is instead looking for physiological explanations for the disease. Research efforts have been hamstrung, though, by scarce funding: the National Institutes of Health spends $5 million to $6 million a year on a disease that affects a million Americans. (For comparison, about the same number of people with HIV/AIDS, which receives $3 billion in NIH funding.)

As someone who has this illness, and contracted it after a prolonged illness, count me in the camp that says that the PACE study is some bullshit.

A team at Yale has been able to identify certain markers in the brain for people who have ADHD, shown by using a functional MRI.

There are some new recommendations on at what age  and how frequently people should get mammograms. (I was going to say “women,” but trans men who have not had top surgery and others within the spectrum of gender would also need screening.)

Railways in Japan and Suma Aqualife Park in Kobe have come up with a way to keep turtles off the tracks. It’s kind of adorable.

Last month, the Halifax airport launched its new therapy dog program, in partnership with St. John’s Ambulance:

[S]even volunteer dogs and their owners will be making regularly scheduled visits to the airport. The visits will take place on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.


New Zealand rugby legend Jonah Lomu died last month from kidney disease complications. He was 40 years old.

Actor Nicholas Smith, who had roles on Are You Being Served, Doctor Who, and others, died last Sunday. He was 81.

Holly Woodlawn, trans actress known for her work with Andy Warhol, also died on Sunday. She was 69.

And at 48 years old, singer Scott Weiland died while on tour in Minneapolis. Initial reports suggest an overdose, though an official cause of death has yet to be released.

In Entertainment:

Jon Stewart briefly returned to The Daily Show to scold Congress for denying health benefits to 9/11 first responders.

Pantone decided to declare two Colors of the Year, and neither is hideous.

The National Book Award winners were announced on November 18 (see what I mean about links getting lost in the past month?), and Adam Johnson’s Fortune Smiles won for best fiction. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between The World and Me won for nonfiction.

On Thursday, the 2015 Golden Globe nominations were announced. Perhaps the greatest surprise is the recognition for Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle. 

The Screen Actors’ Guild Award nominations were announced the day before, with the ceremony to be held January 30.

Serial, Season 2 is finally here. This time host Sarah Koenig covers the Bowe Bergdahl case.

And finally, a cat who just really wanted to live in Sainsbury’s, you guys.

Until next time, friends.

*Update: The original Holly Woodlawn link was incorrect, this post has been edited to correct the link.


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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