national headlines

Day Seventy-Eight

-“I got… I got…. I got…”  a girl began, building up to something surely astronomical. “I got… TROLLS!” the girl finally announced, an enormous grin overtaking her entire face. I am glad that it lived up to all of the hype.

-A man walked towards me as I was stocking candy, not speaking a word, merely approaching me with his hands outstretched, handing me several boxes of Legos. Upon realizing this was not an offering, I questioned why he did not wait at the register where the light was on and the average person would have gone first.

-I believe that the world-renowned fashion leader Kenneth Bone has gone incognito and is shopping at my store, certainly preparing to present himself as our hero only to prove himself a villain once more.

-I rang up a man with a forehead larger than my future and eyes so deep they could have been a Jaden Smith tweet.

-I passed a copy of the National Enquirer with the headline, “George Michael: The Last Potato”. Later I realized that the headline was actually regarding the last photo of the man, not the last potato. This makes much more sense, but I stand by not questioning it after I noted what magazine it was.

-A woman slammed down her items and shouted, “Now you hold on just one minute, I want to check something.” I complied, expecting questions on sales or prices. Instead, she spent the next thirty seconds examining and digging around inside the waistband of her grandson’s pants. I hope that she found what she was looking for.

-I was asked the ominous question, “Do y'all participate in the chip yet?” I am becoming more convinced as time goes on that The Chip is a technocratic cult sweeping the nation, and that if we have not already capitulated, we will.

-In a magnificent illustration of things not to do at the checkout line, woman in her mid-fifties put me on Facetime with her husband. I was willing to give her a chance, but after confirming that she was not, in fact, married to Ryan Reynolds, I wish nothing more than to forget this encounter.

-The amount of people with thinning hair pining over my thick fluff is growing concerning. It is only a matter of time until one of them attempts to make it their own. I must start preparing now.
Common, the National Announce Huge Planned Parenthood Benefit Concert
The night before the inauguration, Common and the National will headline a "call to action" and benefit for Planned Parenthood.

“Common and the National will co-headline the Planned Parenthood benefit Show Up! on January 19th. The event, billed as a “concert for reproductive health, freedom and justice” will take place the night before the presidential inauguration at Washington D.C.’s 9:30 Club.

“We plan to send a clear message to the incoming administration that millions of people across this country are prepared to fight attacks on reproductive health care and abortion services,” Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, said in a statement.

While Common and the National are on the bill as the only musical performers, the show, hosted by the All Access music and comedy series, will also feature activists, elected leaders, celebrities and more who support abortion rights and widespread access for women to reproductive health services. 

“Women should be able to make their own decisions regarding their bodies and health,” the National’s Matt Berninger offered in his statement on the event. “This is a basic human right, and we’re at the very beginning of a long and tough battle to defend these basic rights. A concert in D.C., inspiring people to take action, seems like a pretty good way to kick it off.”

Read the full piece here

The abduction of 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe in 2003 made national headlines, and led to one of the most in-depth investigations in Australian history. It only ended in 2011, when a rigorous search operation at a site in Queensland unearthed seventeen bones and a few scraps of clothing: all that remained of Daniel.

That he was dead came as no surprise, given that this was a week after Brett Peter Cowan was charged for the murder and taken into custody. The one-week period between the arrest and the discovery of the body sent search teams into overdrive, and news channels into a feeding frenzy. Channel 9, one of Australia’s biggest television networks, got in on the action – they even ended up with live coverage of the search being conducted at the suspected murder site.

Only, it wasn’t quite as live as they claimed it to be.

While the in-studio anchor explicitly stated that the reporter was directly over the search site, their helicopter was, in fact, hovering over the channel’s Brisbane studios on the first day, and simply sitting on the channel’s helipad with its blades whirring the next. That’s not even a good lie – you know, one in which you get credit for trying. That’s not turning in a report card with forged grades to your parents; it’s taping a picture of your smarter brother to your face and pretending you’re actually him.

5 Insane Ways The News Edited The Truth Out Of Huge Stories

                 THE HATE U GIVE by ANGIE THOMAS

“Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.”

“As we continue to fight the battle against police brutality and systemic racism in America, THE HATE U GIVE serves as a much needed literary ramrod. Absolutely riveting!” — Jason Reynolds, bestselling coauthor of ALL AMERICAN BOYS

“Angie Thomas has written a stunning, brilliant, gut-wrenching novel that will be remembered as a classic of our time.” — John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars

“Fearlessly honest and heartbreakingly human. Everyone should read this book.” — Becky Albertalli, William C. Morris Award-winning author of SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA

“This is tragically timely, hard-hitting, and an ultimate prayer for change. Don’t look away from this searing battle for justice. Rally with Starr.” — Adam Silvera, New York Times bestselling author of MORE HAPPY THAN NOT

“With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family. This story is necessary. This story is important.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

find The Hate U Give in stores February 28th, 2017

pre-order now!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Google Books

Bottled water donations in Flint, Michigan have plummetted, but the crisis remains

Months after massive water contamination in the city of Flint, Michigan drew national headlines, residents in the area are still relying on bottled water — but donations of purified, filtered water are limited. New statistics show that donations have decreased by an alarming percentage.

I’m greatly looking forward to the evening of March 3rd, when Boo Seeka headlines Popscene in San Francisco, especially after experiencing the utter beauty that is the Australian duo’s new single, Does This Last. This subtle and diaphanous indietronica aria glides weightlessly with feather light vocals and airy atmospherics. We spiral slowly within its confines, thoroughly entranced by Boo Seeka’s delicate yet expansive and gently emotive soundscape. Boo Seeka will also be hitting up SXSW next month, and they have a national headlining tour back at home set for April. 

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Spoiler Free Review of
The Hate U Give
By Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor black neighbourhood where she lives and the suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighbourhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does- or does not- say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.

I believe this book and books like this are critical in this day and age. It gives readers, teens especially, an outlet to learn and grow outside of what their parents may be willing to teach and show them.

On the back of the book, there’s a quote from the author Adam Silvera …
“Tragically timely, hard hitting, and an ultimate prayer for change. Don’t look away from this searing battle for justice. Rally with Starr”
I totally agree with a lot of this. How can we be in 2017 and still be dealing with these sort of issues, how have humans not evolved past this behaviour. It’s because it’s taught. Babies aren’t born with hate in their hearts, they don’t see skin colour or eye shape as something that signifies ones better than the other. That crap is taught, from parents, grandparents etc. The more stories and books we have that are based on minority characters or extreme situations like police brutality, the more knowledgeable the next generations can be in making their own choices.

I’m so impressed that this is Angie Thomas’ debut novel. The Hate U Give was a sit down and read till it’s finished kind of book for me. Before I knew it, the book was over and 6 hours had gone by in the blink of an eye. Angie takes you out of your own head and puts you right next to Starr, rooting for her with every step. Fear, and Sadness are two of the major players in this book, along with anger and even some giggling you are an emotional roller coaster till the very end.

This is a 5⭐️ read in more ways then one. Everyone should read this book, you may find you’re a better person by the end.


Milwaukee police: August was deadliest month since Jeffrey Dahmer case

August 2016 was the deadliest month in Milwaukee since the July 1991 discovery of remains inside Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment, police said Thursday.

While not all of Jeffrey Dahmer’s murders happened that July, the remains that were discovered at that time were recorded officially that month.

To make matters worse, Milwaukee had a higher homicide rate per capita than Chicago in August, statistics show.

Milwaukee recorded 24 homicides in August, compared to 90 in Chicago. When you adjust for population, Milwaukee has a higher rate per 100,000 people (4.0) than Chicago (3.3) during that time.

“While the national headlines are about Chicago’s deadliest month in nearly two decades, Milwaukee’s per-capita homicide rate was significantly higher,” Chief Ed Flynn said in a news release. “This, as our deployments continue to be reduced by the need to staff two man squads and the hundreds of officers called upon to restore and maintain order in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood.”

“Despite these challenges, our officers have taken over 1,600 guns off the streets in 2016; 211 in August alone,” Flynn continued.


Michelle Obama delivered a moving graduation speech at a Chicago high school 

The first lady spoke to the graduating seniors of Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School, which made national headlines in 2013 when student Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed days after marching in President Obama’s 2nd inaugural parade. The first lady’s tribute to Hadiya in the speech was incredibly powerful. 

I’ve been to my share of fests, but I’ve yet to go to Coachella, or legendary Woodstock. I know, huge mistakes. But Jon Bellion’s new song, Woodstock (Psychedelic Fiction), sure tells a great tale to fill that empty void. Woodstock is a stellar Bellion tune, showcasing his finely crafted, signature indie pop meets electronic and hip hop sound. The ornately sugared tune is a bold reminder why Jon Bellion has such a bevy of devoted fans. With the new track comes an announcement that he’ll be embarking on a 27 city national headline tour set to start May 26th. I happened to catch this guy in San Francisco during his fall tour last year, and boy, did he kill it. It’s no surprise. He is a Grammy winner, since he contributed to Eminem and Rihanna’s The Monster. Watch for a huge break out year for Jon.

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Trump Hollywood Star Vandal Gets Sentenced

The 53-year-old Los Angeles man who destroyed the Hollywood Walk of Fame star belonging to Donald Trump last fall was sentenced Tuesday after pleading to a felony. 

James Lambert Otis pleaded no contest to one felony count of vandalism, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. 

Otis was then sentenced to three years of formal probation, 20 days of Caltrans work and ordered to pay $3,700 to the Hollywood Historic Trust and $700 to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, according to the district attorney’s office. 

Otis made national headlines when he was taped, dressed as a construction worker, destroying Trump’s star on Oct. 26 with a pickax and a sledgehammer. Once smashed, Otis removed the center brass medallion.

Otis told those taping him he was committing the act in response to remarks he said the then-presidential candidate had previously made concerning sexual assault. 

Read more: The Truth Behind the Infamous 2000 Oscar Heist

Stephanie Ilene Lazarus is a former Los Angeles police detective who was convicted in March 2012 of the 1986 first-degree murder of her ex-boyfriend’s new wife, Sherri Rasmussen. Lazarus is serving a 27-year to life sentence for the offense at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, California. Her case made national headlines.

Murder of Sherri Rasmussen

On February 24, 1986, Sherri Rasmussen, a critical care nurse was living in a condominium with her new husband, and Stephanie Lazarus’ ex-boyfriend, John Ruetten. That night, Ruetten found his new wife beaten to death, and shot numerous times with a .38 caliber revolver.

The crime was initially deemed to be a robbery gone awry, as Rasmussen’s BMW was stolen. The initial suspects were two Latino men who were believed to have committed other burglaries in Rasmussen’s neighborhood. Lazarus was also a suspect in the initial investigation, but was later cleared. Rasmussen’s family still believed Lazarus was involved, as they had both dated Ruetten and Lazarus had once showed up at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center where Rasmussen worked and threatened her, supposedly stating: “If I can’t have John, then nobody else will.” In the meantime, Lazarus continued working with the Los Angeles Police Department; she went on to start her own private investigation firm, Unique Investigations.

Status: Sentenced to 27 years to life in prison on May 11, 2012.
Here's How The Nation Responded When A Black Militia Group Occupied A Government Building
Nearly 50 years ago, a group of armed Black Panthers entered the California state Capitol to protest a gun control bill.

When armed militants seized a government building in Burns, Oregon, on Saturday, stating their willingness to “kill and be killed” and promising to stay for “years,” the official response was cautious and restrained. Many onlookers wondered whether this would still be the case if the militants were people of color instead of white people. If you’re not familiar with the history of protest in the U.S., you might not know that the armed occupation of government buildings hasn’t always been just for white guys. In fact, on May 2, 1967, a group of 30 Black Panthers walked into the California state Capitol building, toting rifles and shotguns and quickly garnering national headlines.

Just to be clear, there are a world of differences between the Black Panthers’ demonstration and what’s happening in Oregon now (although it is noteworthy that you have to go back to 1967 to find an example of something even remotely analogous). The two groups employed different tactics, fought for different causes and – predictably – elicited different reactions in vastly different places and times. But the 1967 incident serves as one example of the way Americans tend to respond to black protest – which some say is always likely to be vastly different from the way Americans react when it’s white people doing the protesting.


Recently a neighborhood in Brooklyn made national headlines for a fight over public schools. Lots of affluent, mainly white, families have been moving into new condos in the waterfront area called DUMBO, and the local elementary school is getting overcrowded.

The city wants to redraw the zones in a way that would send kids from this predominantly white school to a nearby school where enrollment is over 90 percent black and Hispanic, and which draws many of its students from a public housing project. Some parents on both sides of the line balked.

“Liberal hypocrisy,” was the headline in the conservative National Review.

The tacit assumption was that sending children to a majority-minority school would entail a sacrifice, one that pits their own children against their (presumably) progressive ideals.

But there’s plenty of evidence that suggests the opposite: White students might actually benefit from a more diverse environment.

The Evidence That White Children Benefit From Integrated Schools

Illustration: LA Johnson/NPR

The Anguish of North Carolina’s First Transgender Prom King

For more than two decades, Time Out Youth has been a central, celebratory hub for Charlotte’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens. On Wednesday afternoon, however, the mood at Time Out Youth was less than celebratory. Just two days earlier, Blake Brockington, a popular 18-year-old who was one of the group’s transgender members, apparently took his own life. “He was a leader, not just at our center, but in our community,” Rodney Tucker, Time Out Youth’s executive director, told TakePart.

Brockington’s death comes just weeks after the Charlotte community mourned the passing of Ash Haffner, a 16-year-old transgender teen who committed suicide. In recent months, several transgender teens across the country have committed suicide, driving a broader debate about our society’s understanding, and treatment, of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

Just a year ago, Brockington drew national headlines for becoming North Carolina’s first transgender prom king. Photos from that night show the short-haired senior at East Mecklenberg High School, in Charlotte, grinning ear-to-ear—with all the trappings of prom royalty: a light-blue button-up shirt, a black tie, a red-velvet coat, a yellow-studded tie.

“Throughout my life, I haven’t always been treated equally as a male, so I’ve always wanted this, and everybody has told me I couldn’t do it,” Brockington told local reporters at the time. Brockington hoped his story would inspire other transgender youth, and said: “Even though you go through some things, and have some negative encounters in your life, anything is possible. You can do anything you set your heart to.”

Brockington’s journey toward manhood began early. He was born into a deeply religious home in Charleston, South Carolina. Apparently, he was forced to wear dresses to church and family gatherings. “It didn’t make sense,” he told the Charlotte Observer earlier this year. “I felt like a boy.”

By the time he’d turned 12, Brockington had moved to Charlotte with his father and stepmother. The move complicated the already tricky puberty experience. “When I got my period my aunt told me, ‘Welcome to womanhood.’ I was like “Noooo!” he recounted to the Observer.

Brockington was a sophomore at East Mecklenberg High School when he began his gender transition.  Eventually, he chose the name “Blake,” apparently because it came to him in a dream. He told the Observer that he liked how masculine the name sounded. It was at Time Out Youth’s annual prom that he finally got to bask in being a transgender man, a friend of Brockington, Joanne Spataro, wrote on a local blog. “It was the first time that anybody had referred to me as my preferred name, my pronouns,” he said. “It was the only place where I felt kind of accepted.”

But Brockington’s family struggled to accept his transition. Eventually, he moved in with a foster family. “My family feels like this is a decision I made,” he told the Observer. “They think, ‘You’re already black, why would you want to draw more attention to yourself?’ But it’s not a decision. It is who I am. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

Brockington was caught in a web that’s familiar to many transgender youth. It’s difficult to accurately gauge the size of the LGBT youth population. But researchers have found that some LGBT youth—particularly those who lack family support–are eight times more likely to attempt suicide, and nearly six times more likely to report high levels of depression. Up to forty percent of the nation’s homeless youth are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to some estimates. In some cities, like New York, a significant share of homeless LGBT youth are of color.

The stakes are particularly high for the black transgender community. According to a National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 34 percent of black transgender people reported a household income of less than $10,000 per year, and 21 percent reported being refused medical care due to bias. More than 40 percent of those surveyed had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.

Brockington spoke bravely, and publicly, about his own battles. “I felt like I’ve lived my entire life as a lie,” he says in the trailer for a short documentary about growing up in  Charleston. “I’ve always been kind of different, and it was always a bad thing in my family,” he remembers. Even after winning homecoming king, and after raising more than $2,300 to help build a school in South Sudan, he said his classmates didn’t accept his gender identity. “It’s been really hard, Brockington says in the trailer. “High school’s been really hard.”

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