On Thursday morning, Angela "Big Ang" Raiola died at the age of 55 after a year-long battle with cancer.
If you don't know who Big Ang is, you haven't seen the VH1 reality series Mob Wives, which follows a tight-knit group of women in Staten Island, New York, with alleged mob ties.
I was skeptical of the show, which in the first season seemed to be mostly quick-tempered and distrusting women screaming and clawing at each other. And while that drama doesn't let up, the second season saw a light in the catty darkness. Granted that light was this big-breasted, pinched-nosed, orange-hued, crushed-gravel-voiced hot mess named Big Ang, but there was no looking away. While the rest of the women plotted and fought, Big Ang just wanted to have fun. She would brush off tension with a mimosa, try to unite quarreling women with a house party, often act as the optimistic negotiator, and offer a surprisingly patient ear to any enraged mob wife who needed it.
Big Ang was the best part of this ridiculous reality series (so popular, in fact, that after appearing in the second season, she became a regular cast member through season six and even got her own breakout reality series, Big Ang) because she was fun to watch, sure, but also because she was surprisingly down to earth, warm, friendly, and open in a community that thrived on fortifying its walls. She embodied the "you do you" ethos and taught us all, if you've got it flaunt it.
A petition to Parliament arguing "if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum" on Brexit has attracted more than 3 million signatures from Britons since this past week's vote.
The request is so popular that its traffic briefly crashed the entire parliamentary website.
— Gissur Simonarson CN (@GissiSim) June 26, 2016
Though the effort is considered unlikely to succeed, petitioners do have on their side the fact that the original vote is technically not legally binding, so the government could (in theory) overrule it. Needless to say, the political backlash from such a move would be immense, and even a new vote might not swing results in favor of remaining in the European Union.
The Iraqi army retook the final piece of territory held by Islamic State fighters in Fallujah on Sunday, confirming a tentative win declared a week ago when a small number of terrorists had yet to be routed.
The city was controlled by ISIS since January of 2014, when the then-nascent terrorist organization had yet to declare a "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria. Sunday's victory came after five weeks of fighting in which 1,800 ISIS militants were killed.
"We announce from this place in central Golan district that it has been cleaned by the counter terrorism service," said Iraqi Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi, "and we convey the good news to the Iraqi people that the battle of Fallujah is over."
Now, however, a humanitarian crisis lingers, as refugees from the war-torn city are crowded into nearby camps with inadequate supplies of food, water, medicine, and shelter. Some 85,000 people have fled the fighting in Fallujah, and aid agencies are struggling to keep up. "People are going to die," said Karl Schembri of the Norwegian Refugee Council, "because they are exposed to the elements and the searing heat." Bonnie Kristian
Britain's Tory prime minister, David Cameron, announced his resignation following the Brexit vote — but now it looks like Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who supported remaining in the EU, may lose his position of power as well.
Corbyn fired Hilary Benn, his shadow foreign secretary, Saturday evening, and another one of Corbyn's senior advisers on the shadow cabinet soon resigned. "I do not believe you have the capacity to shape the answers our country is demanding," former shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander wrote in her public resignation letter to Corbyn, "and I believe that if we are to form the next government, a change of leadership is essential."
Additional resignations are expected amid rumors of a open party coup to oust Corbyn in the near future. With Alexander, Corbyn's opponents argue his failure to prevent Brexit bodes poorly for attempts to reclaim power in Parliament. Bonnie Kristian
Britain has voted to leave the European Union, but the now-official Brexit won't happen overnight. The EU has a formal, two-year exit process, which Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said Saturday should not coincide with an Irish unity vote.
"I share the view that at some stage in the future that the unification would be in the best interests of the people but only when there is a majority consent of the people in Northern Ireland," Flanagan remarked, adding, "We now have a situation following the referendum, where the UK is leaving the European Union. Any further referendums in Northern Ireland would cause a greater level of division than we have now and is therefore in my view particularly unhelpful."
His comments come after Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness called for the unity vote on Friday, arguing that the British government "now has no democratic mandate to represent the views of the North in any future negotiations with the European Union" because 56 percent of Northern Irish voters backed remaining in the EU. Bonnie Kristian
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump doesn't have much in the way of campaign infrastructure — in fact, one recent report revealed he employs a mere 30 campaign staff nationwide, the same as what his likely general election opponent, Hillary Clinton, has in Iowa alone.
But now that Trump is beginning to recognize he'll need more help to claim the Oval Office, he has discovered very few experienced GOP advisers are willing to work with him.
"Right now I feel no obligation to lift a finger to help Donald Trump," said Brent Swander, a Republican logistics coordinator who has worked on multiple presidential campaigns. "Everything that we're taught as children — not to bully, not to demean, to treat others with respect — everything we're taught as children is the exact opposite of what the Republican nominee is doing," Swander added. "How do you work for somebody like that? What would I tell my family?"
Scott Smith, formerly of the George W. Bush, Rick Perry, and Ted Cruz outfits, echoed Swander's sentiments. "It's very clear that none of us are going to work for Trump," he said. "Even if I wanted to work for Trump, my wife would kill me." Bonnie Kristian
A group of militants suspected to be from Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist terrorist organization launched an attack on a hotel popular among government officials in the country's capital of Mogadishu on Saturday.
The assault began when a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle by the gate of Hotel Nasa Hablod, after which additional fighters rushed inside the building, firing weapons. "We attacked the hotel which was frequented by the apostate government members," an al Shabaab spokesman told Reuters.
At least seven people have died in the raid so far, including hotel workers and civilians. "They were shooting at everyone they could see," said an eyewitness named Ali Mohamud. "I escaped through the back door," he added.
Local law enforcement have arrived at the hotel, where they have rescued people through the rear entrance and killed at least two of the terrorists. The fighters took an unknown number of hostages inside the building. Bonnie Kristian
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering a new policy which would request that foreign visitors to the United States voluntarily provide their social media accounts for the feds to peruse. Travelers would be asked to give "information associated with your online presence," including usernames on any social media network where they are active.
The department argues this information would "enhance the existing investigative process and provide DHS greater clarity and visibility to possible nefarious activity and connections by providing an additional tool set which analysts and investigators may use to better analyze and investigate the case."
But the plan is already subject to pushback. It's "very unclear what [federal officials] plan to do" with the information they would collect, said Joseph Lorenzo Hall of the Center for Democracy and Technology. After all, he added, the government has "a really horrible track record interpreting ... comments on social media, and interpreting them as meaning grave threats." Bonnie Kristian