What in the World?

Monday, October 6, 2014

What in the World: Marriage equality sweeps nation, a sing-in for Mike Brown, and the return of Twin Peaks

Posted By on Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 10:40 AM

MARRIAGE EQUALITY: The U.S. Supreme Court declined to weigh in on same-sex marriage cases in five states, effectively upholding the prior decisions by appeals courts to remove bans on marriage for gay and lesbian couples. As a result, 24 U.S. states now have equal marriage rights for LGBT people, and that number will likely increase to 30 when states in the relevant districts are included. (Think Progress)

PROTEST: Instead of sit-in, protesters in Ferguson recently pulled off a sing-in, with a flashmob style action at the St. Louis Symphony. About 50 protestors called for justice for the unarmed teen shot by police there, singing, "Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all, Which side are you on friend? Which side are you on?" during intermission from throughout the theatre to a mixed reception. (CNN

TWIN PEAKS: "I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange," Agent Cooper said in the cult classic TV show "Twin Peaks." And now, following suspiciously synchronized tweets from David Lynch and Mark Frost posting "that gum you like is going to come back in style," the offbeat director has confirmed via press release that the show will return for nine episodes on Showtime in 2016, set in the present day. (Rolling Stone)

Watch the video announcement below.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What in the World: Oregon's Honest Politicians, White People's Friends, and a Mideast Ceasefire

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 9:58 AM

  • Slate
CORRUPTION: According to a report by the Washington Post, Oregon is the least politically corrupt state in the union. The author went so far as to call Oregon "home of the most honest government workers in the country." Do you agree? (Washington Post)

RACE: The average white person in America has a friend network that is just 1 percent African-American (and 91 percent white), according to a PRRI's 2013 American Values Survey. Slate says this may explain why many white folks struggle to understand what's happening in Ferguson. (Slate)

GAZA: A ceasefire agreement has reportedly been reached between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt. It's scheduled to begin sometime tonight (Egypt says 5 pm local time, Hamas says 7 pm). (CNN)
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Friday, August 15, 2014

What in the World: Ferguson, Iraq, and Ebola

Posted By on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 10:29 AM

  • Reuters

St. Louis County Police named Officer Darren Wilson as the police officer who shot unarmed black teen Michael Brown. Police are also saying that Brown fits the description of a man who alleged manhandled a convenience store clerk and stole a box of cigars minutes before the shooting. Accounts of what led to the shooting are still being contested, with some witnesses saying Officer Wilson shot Brown while he was running away or when his hands were up, while police are claiming that Brown tried to get Officer Wilson's gun while he was still in his police car. (Washington Post)

IRAQ: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has resigned to allow Prime Minister-designate Haidar al-abaci to take over. The Iraqi and U.S. governments hope that the change of leadership will help to quell sectarian violence and create a more inclusive climate. (Bloomberg)

EBOLA: The World Health Organization is saying that the Ebola outbreak, already believed to have killed more than 1,000 people, may be worse than previously thought. Sierra Leona, Liberia, and Nigeria have all declared a national emergency. (Al Jazeera)
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What in the World: Police Shooting, Robin Williams and Iraq

Posted By on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 12:15 PM

A 2010 map from the Cato Institute's National Police Misconduct Reporting Project shows instances of reported excessive force.
  • A 2010 map from the Cato Institute's National Police Misconduct Reporting Project shows instances of reported excessive force.

In today's news you probably already know, but will want to continue reading about...

POLICE SHOOTING: Police in Ferguson, Mo., are refusing to release the name of the officer under investigation in the fatally shooting of an unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, on Saturday, citing concerns for his safety. Tensions are high in the town near St. Louis, with protests and riots being met with tear gas and rubber and bean bag bullets. Brown's family and community leaders are calling for calm. The shooting is the most recent in a spate of high profile killings and assaults by police of African Americans. (ABC / LA Times / Ebony)

ROBIN WILLIAMS: Beloved actor Robin Williams' death by suicide yesterday has sparked a broad discussion of the stigma and struggle of mental illness. The versatile performer suffered from bipolar disorder and addiction. As the nation mourns, celebrations of his life abound. (The Guardian / E Online!)

IRAQ: Thousands of Yazidis (a small religious minority in Iraq), are still trapped on a mountain after fleeing from ISIS. (BBC)
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

What in the World: Porch Shooter Convicted, Economic Recovery Stalls, Drones Crashes at Yellowstone

Posted By on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 1:49 PM

photo credit: grimeshome via photopin cc

The 55-year-old Michigan man accused of shooting 19-year-old Renisha McBride in the face when she knocked on his door late at night seeking help after a car accident has been convicted of second-degree murder, among other charges. Theodore Wafer, who alternately claimed the shooting was self-defense and an accident, faces the possibility of life in prison. The case received national attention and drew comparison's the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin. (CNN)

MONEY: Despite the buzz about economic recovery, a new Federal Reserve study released today found that 1 in 3 households say they are worse off financially than they were 5 years ago. A similar number say they have delayed necessary medical care for financial reasons. And while 60 percent say they are, at least, "doing okay"—it's hardly a ringing endorsement of economic security. (Reuters)

DRONES: A tourist crashed a unmanned aircraft into Yellowstone National Park's largest hot spring, the Grand Prismatic Spring, just two month after drones were banned in national parks. Officials say the aircraft may have damaged the spring, but they are concerned that attempting to retrieve may actually cause greater damage. (USA Today)
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Monday, August 4, 2014

What in the World: Tribal Politics, Abortion Access, and Tunnel Wars

Posted By on Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 10:37 AM


Joe Pakootas (D) is the first tribal member to ever make a serious bid for Congress in Washington. He's not expected to unseat five-term incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R), but his campaign—and story—is still noteworthy. (Al-Jazeera)

A portion of an Alabama law that sought to require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital has been ruled unconstitutional. A similar law was recently blocked in Mississippi, where doctors come from out of state to perform abortions, since no doctors in the state will. (USA Today / MSNBC / Esquire)

TUNNEL WARS: Gaza isn't the only place where tunnels are being used for military operations. In Iraq, Islamic State insurgents are reportedly using tunnels built by Saddam Hussein to make their way to Baghdad. (Reuters) 

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Friday, August 1, 2014

What in the World: Cease Fire, Ebola, Bad Spies, and Facebook Problems

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 10:39 AM


A 72-hour cease fire between Israeli forces and Hamas reportedly failed within about 90 minutes, following an Israeli attack in Gaza and the subsequent capture of an Israeli soldier. Each side claims the other was the first to violate the cease fire and that they were only defending themselves. (CNN)

EBOLA: The U.S. State Department is preparing to conduct a medical evacuation of two citizens infected with Ebola from Liberia to the United States via a specially outfitted plane so that they can receive more advanced medical care. Officials say there is little risk of Ebola spreading in the United States. (NBC News)

CIA: The country's top spy, CIA Director John Brennan, is in hot water after an investigation found the agency inappropriately searched computers used by members of Congress. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) says that Brennan's job could be on the line.Though he has apologized for the breach, it begs the question: How good are the spies if they got caught? (Bloomberg News)

FACEBOOK: On a lighter note (or more earth-shattering, depending on your perspective), Facebook was down for many users this morning, displaying a message that said simply, "Sorry, something went wrong." Did the glitch ruin your morning or give you a much needed respite from our tech-saturated culture? (USA Today)
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Thursday, July 31, 2014

What in the World: Presidential Lawsuit, Hunger Games Soundtrack, and a Local Robbery

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 10:47 AM

LAWSUIT: The U.S. House of Representatives is moving forward with a lawsuit against President Barack Obama for delaying certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act. House Speaker John Boehner has argued that the President's use of executive orders violates the separation of powers. Five Republicans opposed the otherwise party line vote of 225-201. (CNN)

HUNGER GAMES: New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde (of "Royals" fame) has been tapped to select the soundtrack for the upcoming Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I, and will write a single for the film. (LA Times)

ROBBERY: Bend police are looking for a suspect in the Wednesday morning robbery of payday loan shop ACE Cash Express. The suspect is described as a 30-something white male, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10, wearing a blue hoodie, jeans, a black ball cap and black sunglasses. Call Detective Sergeant Jason Maniscalco at 541-693-6911 if you have any information. (KTVZ)
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What in the World: Ebola, Gaza and Debt

Posted By on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 10:53 AM

  • Centers for Disease Control

At least 456 people in Africa have died in what is being called the "deadliest Ebola outbreak in history." Americans are paying attention now that a U.S. citizen, Patrick Sawyer, has died from the contagious disease following a trip to Liberia. Sawyer, who died in Nigeria, was the first documented case outside of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Two other Americans, aid workers in Liberia, have been infected. (CNN)

GAZA: The Israeli military attacked Gaza's only power plant today, dashing hopes of a cease fire and leaving the majority of Gaza's population in the dark. According to a statement from the Council for Arab-British Understand, the attack could qualify as a war crime, since “it is illegal under customary international law to target civilian infrastructure." (US News & World Report)

DEBT: More than one third of Americans are on a debt collectors list, according to a new report. Aside from being a reflection on the economy and spending habits, the figure represents the 1 in 3 people who may have trouble getting a job or finding an apartment due to their credit. In some cities, mostly in the west and south, more than half of residents have debt in collections. (Oregon Live)

(In other words, 35 percent of us have a really good reason to screen our phone calls.)

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Monday, July 28, 2014

What in the World: Weed, Weather and a Wacky Woman

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Marijuana legalization will be on the Oregon ballot in November.
  • Marijuana legalization will be on the Oregon ballot in November.
HIGH TIME: Dude. Weed is, like, totally trending. First, the suits over at the New York Times write an editorial calling for an end to the federal prohibition on marijuana ('cause it worked out so well for booze). Now, Rep. Scott Perry (a Republican from Pennsylvania), has introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would decriminalize low-THC strains,  potentially opening a door for nationwide medical usage. (New York Times / CNN)

FREAK OF NATURE: Blame climate change or the wrath of pissed off higher power, the weather is getting downright strange. A tornado outside of Boston, a fatal lightning strike at Venice Beach, and record low temps in the midwest and south. (Reuters / Washington Post / The Weather Channel).

YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH: Not enough Sarah Palin in your life? You're in luck. The controversial politician/talking head now has her own TV channel  Not show. CHANNEL. Yours, for the low low price of $99.95 a year. And what do you get for forking over that Benjamin? The "unfiltered" truth. Skeptical? There's a free trial. (TIME)
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Friday, July 25, 2014

What in the World: Jonah's Tomb Destroyed, Creepy Dolls a Kind Gesture, and Not-So-Rapid Transit

Posted By on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 10:50 AM

photo credit: Dire Penguin via photopin cc

Multiple news agencies are reporting that the militant group ISIS has bombed a site in Iraq believed to be the tomb of Jonah, who Abrahamic religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc.) teach survived inside of a whale. ISIS is a puritanical sect of Islam that believes all religious shrines are idolatrous, and has destroyed other religious sites revered by other Muslim groups. (CNN)

CREEPY DOLLS: Members of a California community started to get creeped out after porcelain dolls resembling their daughters showed up on their doorsteps. A police investigation revealed that they were simply friendly gestures by a church lady. (USA Today) 

TRANSIT: While its not uncommon to hear Bendites complain about the (lack of) speed of our transit system, it's worth knowing we aren't alone. A runner in Boston just proved that they can get around a little bit faster than a trolley on the nation's oldest and busiest rail system. (Runner's World)
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

What in the World: Drought Increases, Journalists Captured in Ukraine and Immigrant Children Housed in Portland

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 10:18 AM

  • New York Times
DROUGHT: Drought conditions are intensifying and scientists say it's due to climate change. Currently, 33 percent of the United States is experiencing some degree of drought, and 46 percent of the nation is abnormally dry. (NY Times)

UKRAINE: A freelance journalist working for CNN was detained by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine  CNN has so far unsuccessfully lobbied for Anton Skiba's release since he was taken on Tuesday. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, up to 10 foreign correspondents have been detained by separatists since arriving to report on the plane crash. (CNN)

IMMIGRATION: The federal government granted $3.7 million to Morrison Child and Family Services in Portland in 2014 to enable to the nonprofit to assist and houser unaccompanied immigrant minors. It is not clear if any of the Central American children who recently crossed the border will reside there. (Oregon Live)
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