Friday News Bites: Politics, Alan Rickman, Other Obits + More

Hello, fellow unicorns. I’d say “Happy Friday,” but with the way people are dying this month, it feels strange to do so. Let’s knock wood for all our favorite celebrities and take a look at other news stories from the past week.

Looks like Obama’s proposed gun control measures are largely supported, even by gun owners. Fancy that.

Ted Cruz’s mother’s name has appeared on Canadian voter registration documents, furthering the idea that the Canadian-born Cruz may not be eligible for the Presidency. Funny how you don’t hear as much noise about him as we did about our current President…

President Obama gave his final State of the Union address on Tuesday. NPR fact-checks the speech here.

For once, the GOP response to his speech wasn’t a “Bash Obama” session, but rather an indictment of Trump.

After a fairly civil primary campaign, Hillary Clinton’s new criticism of Bernie Sanders has resulted in a large increase in Sanders donations.

By the way, Bernie Sanders now has his own Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor, “Bernie’s Yearning.”


WTF: A Virginia state senator has proposed a bill that “would require schools to verify children’s genitals before using restroom.”

The CDC is still doing a not-great job at properly counting bisexual people in the United States.

The singular “they” as a pronoun is 2015’s Word of the Year, according to the American Dialect Society.

Some grammar nerds got in a twist about “they,” but here’s an article that (rightly) points out how we use it all the time, without even realizing it.

In Other News:

The Oregon “Militia” is still camped out in the bird sanctuary, and apparently they forgot to pack enough snacks and cigarettes.

So instead people thought it would be fun to mail them dildos. The “protesters” were very unhappy. The people were undeterred.

A dangerous strain of dog flu has spread throughout the western United States, with the most recent cases in Washington and Montana.

A bomb at a Pakistan polio center killed 15 people on Wednesday, with Taliban militants claiming responsibility.

The Guardian is maintaining a database of people killed by police in the U.S. 2016 is already up to 23 people.

Al Jazeera America is closing up shop, both on TV and online.


Actor and director (and Professor Snape in our hearts) Alan Rickman has died from cancer. He was 69.

Pajiba has two lovely tributes to him, an obituary and “I Wasn’t Ready For You To Go…”

Former EastEnders actress Sian Blake, 43, and her two sons were found dead. Police are looking for her partner in connection to the crimes.

Famed BBC DJ Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart has died, a few days after having a stroke. He was 74.

Writer and lesbian activist Jeanne Córdova died this week from cancer. She was 67.

Former Disney star Michael Galeota died on Sunday, aged 31. Galeota suffered from several health problems, but the official cause of death is yet to be released.

René Angélil, husband and manager for Céline Dion, died on Thursday after a long battle with throat cancer. He was 73.

Brian Bedford, respected actor and the voice of foxy Robin Hood, died from cancer this week. He was 80.

At 109 years old, William Del Monte, the last known survivor of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, has died. He was three months old when the quake devastated the city.

In Entertainment:

FOX News magnate Rupert Murdoch and actress Jerry Hall are engaged. Shudder.

The Golden Globes were on Sunday, and here are the winners.

Host Ricky Gervais had to make sure to get some extra mocking of presenter Mel Gibson, including a joke that was bleeped out on the broadcast. [auto-playing video]

And on Thursday, the Oscar nominations were announced. I would like Carol to win everything, please.

However, people noticed just how snowy-white the majority of the nominees were, and took to Twitter with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

Black Panther has a director nowCreed filmmaker Ryan Coogler.

Finally! Some Force Awakens merchandise with Rey!

The end is perhaps nigh for Steven Moffat as Doctor Who showrunner.

Emma Watson has started a feminist book club on Goodreads. Read more about it here.

And finally, after all the bad news and death this week, let’s just watch Oscar Isaac sing.

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.

5 replies on “Friday News Bites: Politics, Alan Rickman, Other Obits + More”

Hey, I’m trying to plan a trip to New Zealand to visit a friend this spring. She’ll be working for at least part of the trip. Do any of you guys know places I should visit while I’m there? I don’t know much about it, so I’m at a loss as to where to start.

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