Celebrity gossip rag People isn't normally the kind of place you find political calls to action. That's all about to change in their newest issue on the Umpqua Community College shooting, which "[pays] tribute to the nine Oregon victims, as well as 22 other men, women, and children who've lost their lives in mass shootings [...] in the U.S. during the past 12 months." It's not just a tribute People is using its pages for, however. From editorial director Jess Cagle's note:
As President Obama said, our responses to these incidents — from politicians, from the media, from nearly everyone — have become "routine." We all ask ourselves the same questions: How could it happen again? What are we doing about gun violence in America? There are no easy answers, of course. Some argue for stricter gun laws, others say we should focus on mental health issues, some point to a culture that celebrates violence.
But this much we know: As a country we clearly aren't doing enough, and our elected officials' conversations about solutions usually end in political spin. [People]
Cagle goes on to urge readers to contact their representatives by devoting two entire pages of the magazine to a list of all 535 phone numbers of the voting members of the House and the Senate. That could mean a whole lot of phone calls: People is the 10th most circulated magazine in the United States, reaching 3.5 million subscribers.
"We need to know that our representatives in Washington, D.C., are looking for solutions and not giving up, and they need to know if we agree or disagree with their strategies," Cagle said. "Let's make sure they know from now on that routine responses just won't cut it." Feeling moved? You can find your own representative's number here. Jeva Lange
if you're ever stranded on a desert island, writing "SOS" in giant letters in the sand actually can help — or, at least, it helped a pair of boaters rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard from an uninhabited island in Micronesia on Friday.
— The Independent (@Independent) August 27, 2016
The pair began their journey on Wednesday, August 17, and were expected to arrive at their destination one day later. Instead, they landed on the empty island near the Chuuk Lagoon on Friday, August 19, and survived on limited supplies for a week until the SOS was noticed by a U.S. Navy plane. Before the SOS was spotted, rescuers searched some 17,000 square miles without success. Bonnie Kristian
The United States and Russia are close to reaching agreement on national ceasefire in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday, but have yet to sign a deal. Following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Kerry said there are still "a few narrow issues to be resolved" before a lasting accord can be reached.
"We don't want to have a deal for the sake of the deal," he explained. "We want to have something done that is effective and that works for the people of Syria, that makes the region more stable and secure, and that brings us to the table here in Geneva to find a political solution."
Donald Trump's personal physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein, wrote a letter in December declaring Trump the "healthiest individual ever" to have a shot at the presidency, with "astonishingly excellent" test results. Speaking publicly about the letter for the first time on Friday evening, Bornstein revealed he wrote it in "five minutes" while his limo driver waited outside. He did not proofread the letter.
As for the remarkably Trumpian style of the note, Bornstein insisted he wrote it himself, but admitted he "might have picked up [Trump's] kind of language and then interpreted it as my own." Bornstein also justified his claim about Trump's unparalleled health by saying all past presidents "are either sick or dead" — which I guess is at least half true, though you can't really fault guys born 200 years ago for failing to make it to 2016.
Watch Bornstein's remarks below, including the little giggle he can't resist while labeling Trump's mental health "excellent." Bonnie Kristian
A federal judge on Friday placed a temporary injunction on enforcement of North Carolina's controversial bathroom law, H.B. 2, which requires people to use restrooms matching the sex listed on their birth certificate. U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder's ruling only applies to three transgender people at the University of North Carolina, one employee and two UNC students, who will now be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice on campus.
"North Carolina's peeping and indecent exposure statutes continue to protect the privacy of citizens regardless of" the bathroom law, Schroeder wrote, referencing fears that a bathroom free-for-all would be abused by criminals, "and there is no indication that a sexual predator could successfully claim transgender status as a defense against prosecution under these statutes."
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory stood by the law on Friday, saying it is a "very, very complex issue," and asking for respectful disagreement. H.B. 2 will face constitutional challenge in court this fall. Bonnie Kristian
Speaking at a press conference Friday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage said while responding to a question about whether Maine police engage in racial profiling in drug arrests that the "enemy" his state faces is typically racial minorities:
"Look, a bad guy is a bad guy, I don’t care what color it is. When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red, don’t you? You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that. I just can’t help it. Those are the facts." [LePage, via The Hill]
Earlier on Friday, LePage found himself in hot water when he followed up an expletive-filled voicemail to a state lawmaker by saying he'd like to shoot the representative in the head. "I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you," he said, referencing Alexander Hamilton's famous duel with Aaron Burr. "I would point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt." Bonnie Kristian
A state funeral was held Saturday for 35 of the victims of this week's devastating earthquake in Amatrice, Italy. So far, 290 bodies have been found in Amatrice and nearby towns as rescuers continue to sift through rubble — though after three days there is little hope of locating additional survivors.
"Don't be afraid to bewail your suffering, we have seen so much suffering. But I ask you not to lose your courage," said Bishop Giovanni D'Ercole at the funeral mass. "Only together can we rebuild our houses and churches. Above all, together we can give life back to our communities."
Aftershocks continue to strike the mountainous region, the strongest with a magnitude of 4.2 around 5 a.m. on Saturday. About 150 families are living in a large gymnasium until rebuilding or relocation efforts can begin. Bonnie Kristian
"After a long day of napping and ripping the squeaky thing out of every stuffed toy in the house, your dog needs to wind down, too," says Tony Merevick at Thrillist. While you enjoy your glass of chardonnay, pour your pooch some CharDOGnay — or ZinfanTail, if she prefers reds. Brewed by Apollo Peak, a Denver-based company that also makes feline-friendly catnip wines, the wines for canines are herbal blends that contain no grapes or alcohol. The peppermint in the ZinfanTail can help with digestive problems and travel sickness, and the chamomile in the CharDOGnay is a mild relaxant. The beast booze runs at $18 per 12-ounce bottle — not bad for a classy evening with your best bud.