Friday News Bites: Flint Water Crisis, Obama Accomplishments + More

Hello, unicorns! How are we doing this week, in this world without David Bowie? Let’s catch up on some of this week’s interesting news stories…

The lead-poisoned water is getting worse and worse in Flint, Michigan, and authorities have done little to combat it. Now that national attention has picked up, the EPA administrator who was supposed to be overseeing the case has resigned.

President Obama has also officially declared a State of Emergency for the Flint area, which means they can access federal funding to correct the problem.

Meanwhile, celebrities are beginning to take up the cause. For instance, Cher is coordinating with Icelandic Glacial to donate 180,000 bottles of water to Flint.

Other Political News:

At The New York Times, Timothy Egan gives “Obama His Due” for accomplishing what he has with such an uncooperative Congress.

At the World Economic Forum, Vice President Joe Biden presented a “Call to Action” to cure cancer through research, funding, and private-sector cooperation.

Bernie Sanders called Planned Parenthood “part of the political establishment” after they endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary. Not helping PP, dude.

Shortly before the most recent Dem debate, Sanders released his “Medicare-For-All” plan, and here’s how he suggests paying for it.

This made me laugh: Ranking the Presidential candidates by their usefulness in a bar fight.

In Montana, Governor Steve Bullock signed an executive order that prevents state employees and contractors from being discriminated against “based on sexual orientation and gender identity.” Hooray!

In Other News:

Oklahoma serial rapist Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison, and the judge denied his request for a new trial. Rot away, motherfucker!

Both the BBC and Buzzfeed News have presented evidence of match fixing when it comes to professional tennis, stemming from an investigation that began in 2007. The Association of Tennis Professionals deny the allegations.

A ninth planet may exist in our solar system, beyond Pluto, scientists announced this week:

Dr. Morbidelli said a possible ninth planet could be the core of a gas giant that started forming during the infancy of the solar system; a close pass to Jupiter could have ejected it. Back then, the sun resided in a dense cluster of stars, and the gravitational jostling could have prevented the planet from escaping to interstellar space.

“I think they’re onto something real,” he said. “I would bet money. I would bet 10,000 bucks.”

Dr. Brown said that he had begun searching for the planet, and that he thought he would be able to find it within five years. Other astronomers will most likely also scan that swath of the night sky.

If the planet exists, it would easily meet the definition of planet, Dr. Brown said.

Speaking of David Bowie:

If you need more Bowie-related tributes beyond last week’s roundup here at P-Mag, and you like reading about space, you’ll be happy to know that David Bowie now has his very own constellation.

His son, Duncan Jones, came back online long enough to share an open letter of thanks from a palliative care doctor, who said that Bowie’s death helped him to talk to patients.

Jami Attenberg talks about the David Bowie tribute parade held in New Orleans this week. It’s lovely.

Noel Gallagher, Adele, and Damon Albarn are among the expected guests to pay tribute to the man at this year’s Brit Awards. Oasis did cover “Heroes” way back when, after all:


Actor Dan Haggerty, best known as Grizzly Adams, died from cancer this week. He was 74.

Céline Dion’s brother, Dan Dion, has also died from cancer, just a week after her husband succumbed to the same thing. Dion was 59.

Rap legend Blowfly died from liver cancer this week, aged 76.

Glenn Frey, singer and guitarist for The Eagles, has died, although not from cancer, but instead complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia. He was 67.

Dale Griffin, drummer for Mott The Hoople (and former Bowie drummer), has also died at 67, though from Alzheimer’s complications.

Helen Mirren has shared some of her memories of working with Alan Rickman in the theatre production “Antony and Cleopatra.”

And J.K. Rowling says that she told Rickman one vital thing when the Harry Potter movies began shooting, something that would inform how he performed as Snape.

In Entertainment:

Univision has purchased a “controlling stake” in The Onion this week. Interesting.

You’ll have to wait just a little bit longer for Star Wars: Episode VIII. Disney has pushed back its release date to December 2017.

Tim Curry will be involved in the Rocky Horror Picture Show remake, this time playing the narrator. I am still nervous about the quality (or frankly, the necessity) of this production, but I’m glad he’s involved.

Production on an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower rolls forward: Idris Elba has been cast as Roland Deschain.

Hooray! Jessica Jones will definitely get a second season!

PBS is going to air a behind-the-scenes documentary of the obsessed-over musical HamiltonDouble hooray!

And finally, we’re coming up on Puppy Bowl XII. Ready your Awwwws.

Meet Bella, the rat terrier. (via)
Meet Bella, the rat terrier. (via)

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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