Friday News Bites: #BlackLivesMatter, Obituaries, SPACE! + More

Happy New Year, unicorns! I hope you aren’t too hungover for some news today. I took last week off because of Christmas, and who needs grim news on Christmas? Certainly not me; I’ve had enough of that in the past. That said, I’ve also got some non-grim stories to take along with your Alka-Seltzer.

Let’s get started.


Four staff members on the Bernie Sanders campaign accessed confidential data regarding Hillary Clinton voters, causing the Democratic National Committee to briefly suspend the campaign’s access to their own data. Here’s a look at the how/why of what went down.

After long last, Congress passed a bill to fund the medical care of 9/11 responders. (Insert my own feelings of Much like the military, you are praised by the government for your service while you’re in, and on your fucking own when you’re out.)

Food stamp benefits are very helpful for millions of people, and the White House’s economic advisors would like you to know that.

Today 46.5 million Americans get SNAP benefits — on average about $125 a month per person to buy food from authorized retailers. The CEA report finds SNAP is best at doing what it’s intended to do: keep people from going hungry. But it also reduces poverty overall. According to the authors, in 2014 the program kept close to 5 million people out of poverty, 2 million of them kids.

Here’s an interesting editorial about the “subversiveness” of saying nice things about Hillary Clinton.


A grand jury declined to indict anyone in the death of Sandra Bland, and another grand jury did not indict the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed Tamir Rice. [auto-loading video on second link]

Bakersville, California has the deadliest police force in the nation, according to the organization Mapping Police Violence.

By the way, “[f]or 55 officers involved in fatal shootings this year, it wasn’t their first time.”

And because so many of the victims are black women, I’m going to categorize this link here: Bill Cosby has finally been arrested for felony sexual assault.


A federal judge has gone on record saying that discriminating against a person’s sexual orientation is sex discrimination.

New York City now requires employers to use the correct name and gender of all their employees, as well as prohibits places from requiring their male employees to wear ties.

The Red Cross has lifted its blanket ban on men-who-have-sex-with-men donating blood. Unfortunately, now they’re saying that not-straight men cannot have had sex with another man for the past year.


Researchers at Harvard think they may have found a brain link to people with autism.

It’s been a good few weeks for SPACE! travel: SpaceX successfully launched and landed their Falcon 9 rocket, and Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket accomplished a similar feat.

Economic science? Apparently some LEGO sets are a better investment than gold.

Artificial sweeteners may not be as bad for you as previously thought, if you need to assuage your guilt over your Diet Coke consumption.

More E. coli at Chipotle: Here are the latest cases.


Scott Weiland’s death has officially been ruled an accidental drug overdose.

Brooke McCarter, perhaps best known for his role in Lost Boys, died from a genetic liver condition on December 22. He was 52.

Scottish novelist William McIlvanney died earlier this month, “after a short illness.” He was 79.

Abstract artist Ellsworth Kelly died on December 27, aged 92. That’s a good run.

John Bradbury, drummer for The Specials, died this week, aged 62.

Legendary metal singer and bassist for Motörhead, Lemmy Kilmister died on Monday. He was 70. That’s 400 in hard-living musician years, right?

Singer Natalie Cole died Thursday night, aged 65.

In Entertainment

Here’s how bad design led to Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe snafu.

Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie playing spies in a miniseries? SIGN ME UP.

In the new West End play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, opening Summer 2016, Hermione Granger will be played by a black woman, Noma Dumezweni. JK Rowling was quick to point out that she never specified Hermione’s race, so racists need to settle TF down.

And finally, the Kennedy Center Honors were on TV the other night, and here’s Aretha Franklin bringing the President to tears with her rendition of honoree Carole King’s “(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman.”

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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