A Tribe Called Quest rapper Phife Dawg has died at the age of 45, The Telegraph reports based on news from the hip-hop community. Phife suffered from diabetes and had recently been in ill health, receiving a kidney transplant from his wife in 2008. The exact cause of death is not yet known.
A native of Queens, New York, Phife — who was born Malik Isaac Taylor — co-founded the influential rap group A Tribe Called Quest in 1985 with Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.
While the music certainly speaks for itself, watch Phife talk about his career with I Am Hip-Hop below. Jeva Lange
This year, Amazon is adding 120,000 temporary workers at its U.S. warehouses for the holiday season, expanding its workforce by about 40 percent. The e-tail giant is also dramatically speeding up its orientation process, The Wall Street Journal reports. While conventional warehouse jobs usually require up to six weeks of training, the company has been using technology such as touchscreens, robots, and scanners to get new hires up to speed in as little as two days. While Amazon's newest warehouses are extremely automated and filled to the brim with robots that do much of the heavy lifting, "the greater efficiency allows them to process even more orders, a task that still requires humans."
A shorter training period saves Amazon a lot of money and could potentially allow the company to pay employees more during these hectic winter months — a crucial lure Amazon needs as it competes with rivals like Walmart and package delivery services like UPS who are also looking for seasonal help. Amazon's holiday temps typically make more than minimum wage. Kelly Gonsalves
An Illinois high school is removing books from reading lists to shield students from "sexual" content. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy was the first book to be removed from the classroom after teachers expressed concern over some "questionable passages," reports the local Patch. After the school sent out a notice about the book's removal, parents called for the banning of any work that contains "literal, metaphorical, figurative, or allegorical" allusions to sex. They specifically urged the school board to remove Maya Angelou's classic autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and some parents openly referred to Roy's book as "smut" and "porn."
"We can't have 18-year-olds reading about masturbation or sexual issues," one parent said. "I don't care if it's from Dickens or who else."
President-elect Donald Trump's transition team apparently wants the Department of Energy to send over a list of every employee and contractor involved in brokering international climate meetings in the last five years, The Washington Post reported Friday. The request is part of a 74-question questionnaire the transition team has asked Energy Department officials to fill out.
Other inquiries in the questionnaire — which The Washington Post noted one department official called "unusually 'intrusive" — are about "which programs within the DOE are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama's Climate Action Plan" and about the social cost of carbon, a metric the Obama administration has used to determine "the benefits of regulations and initiatives that lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions."
Coupled with Trump's environmental policy proposals and his past remarks about climate change, The Washington Post said the questionnaire "provides the clearest indication yet of how Trump’s administration would begin to dismantle specific aspects of President Obama’s ambitious climate policies." "My guess is that they're trying to undermine the credibility of the science that DOE has produced, particularly in the field of climate science," said Stanford climate and energy researcher Rob Jackson.
Department officials reportedly have not yet decided how to address the questions specifically relating to its climate activities.
President-elect Donald Trump on Friday selected Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn to be the director of the National Economic Council, CNBC reported. Cohn, also the bank's COO, will be the third person in Trump's White House to have ties to Goldman Sachs, following Trump's choice of former Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary and his appointment of Stephen Bannon, who worked for the bank in the 1980s, as chief strategist.
In the post, Cohn will help Trump dictate global economic policy. Critics on the left, however, were quick to point out that Trump's tripling-down on alums from the nation's most powerful bank for his administration did not align with his campaign rhetoric decrying the Wall Street ties of his rivals:
Shot, chaser, etc. pic.twitter.com/6CZnL3QxaK
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) December 9, 2016
Also Friday, Trump tapped Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) to be his secretary of the interior, where she will be charged with advancing Trump's pro-fossil fuel agenda. McMorris Rodgers was elected to Congress in 2004, where she represents a largely rural district located in eastern Washington. In her time on Capitol Hill, The Wall Street Journal notes she has supported legislation to allow oil- and natural gas-drilling in the Atlantic Ocean; called for limiting the ability of the Interior Department to regulate fracking; and advocated for hydropower, a renewable source of energy popular in Washington state. She also serves on the House's Energy and Commerce Committee.
Trump has expressed a desire to undo much of President Obama's environmental policy. Obama has protected more public land than any other president. Kimberly Alters
Kellyanne Conway defends Trump's continued involvement with The Apprentice by pointing out Obama plays golf
If President Obama is allowed to play golf, then Kellyanne Conway doesn't see why it's a problem for President-elect Donald Trump to stay on as an executive producer for reality TV show The Apprentice. In an interview Friday on CNN's New Day, the top Trump aide pushed back against concerns Trump's involvement with the TV show would take away from time otherwise spent addressing presidential matters.
"Well, okay, but were we so concerned about the hours and hours and hours spent on the golf course of the current president? I mean, the presidents have a right to do things in their spare time or their leisure time," Conway said, arguing that the notion presidents "are going to be all work and nothing else all the time" is "just unrealistic."
But time isn't the only concern Trump's involvement with the show has raised. For every episode that airs, Trump will earn a sum "likely to be in the low five-figures, at minimum," Variety reported. Moreover, Trump's decision to stay involved with the show doesn't necessarily reflect the hard line between his past business endeavors and his present presidential duties that ethics experts have been pushing for.
But Conway argued Trump is "a very transparent guy." "Everyone can see what he's doing and the fact is that he is conferring with all types of experts to tell him what he is allowed to do and not to do as president of the United States," Conway said. Catch a snippet of Conway's interview below. Becca Stanek
A top White House official told reporters Friday morning that President Obama has ordered a "full review" of reports of hacking during the presidential election. "We may have crossed into a new threshold and it is incumbent upon us to take stock of that, to review, to conduct some after-action, to understand what has happened, and to impart some lessons learned," Obama counterterrorism and homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco said at a reporters' breakfast.
The report will be shared with "a range of stakeholders," but Monaco did not say whether the findings would be made public. Obama plans to have the review completed before President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017.
U.S. intelligence officials have blamed Russia-sponsored hackers for the cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee. Other Democratic committees and officials, including Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign chair John Podesta, also faced hacks during the election. Since his win, Trump has openly suggested that voter fraud caused him to lose the popular vote to Clinton, alleging without evidence that "millions" voted "illegally." Becca Stanek
The Federal Reserve has for months toyed with the idea of raising interest rates, repeatedly suggested rate hikes are forthcoming, and then backed off when economic forecasts offer a less sunny context than the central bank would prefer for its next move. But if the Fed does move ahead with its plans, the United States might also experience a bump from its current crime rates, which are at a historic low.
There's no direct causal relationship, of course, but crime rates offer a remarkably consistent mirror of interest rates over the past six decades. Social scientists argue that higher interest rates lead to economic stress, including job losses, and that in turn makes crime more likely. Increased divorce, suicide, and alcoholism are also correlated with greater economic stress.