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January 31, 2019

Mass shootings have become an everyday reality — and that's not an exaggeration. But take a look at Congress' schedule, and you wouldn't know it.

The Senate has only held a small handful of gun violence hearings since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, and the House hasn't had one. Now, that seems like it's about to change.

On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced he'd scheduled a gun violence prevention hearing for next Wednesday. Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chair Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) rightly pointed out that something like this hadn't happened for eight years, saying he "implored" the previous Republican majority to hold one of these hearings but was "denied."

Since the last hearing in 2011, 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Another 58 were killed at a Las Vegas music festival, and some of the survivors of that shooting were killed at a bar just over a year later. Shootings have also rocked nightclubs, churches, movie theaters, and every other aspect of life.

The chamber tried to have a hearing on gun violence in mid-2017, but it was canceled after the shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice. But now, after a slate of gun control activists poured money into the 2018 midterm elections, and gun control advocates like Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) were elected, that issue seems to be back on the table. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 19, 2018

Senators on Wednesday unanimously voted to approve a bill making lynching a federal crime.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said the Senate had previously failed nearly 200 times to make lynching a "federal civil rights crime." The bill, if approved by the House and signed by President Trump, would make lynching punishable by life in prison, reports The Washington Times.

"This is a very meaningful moment for this body," said Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). "Even though it cannot reverse irrevocable harm that lynching was used as a terror of suppression, the passage of this bill is a recognition of that dark past." Senators reportedly said that more than 4,700 people were lynched in the U.S. from 1882 to 1968, most of them black, and most perpetrators left unpunished. Harris, Booker, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) introduced the bill.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), who faced criticism after saying last month she would attend a "public hanging," presided over the bill's debate on the Senate floor.

The Senate apologized in 2005 for its failures to stop lynching in its heyday, citing "powerful Southern senators, such as Richard B. Russell Jr. (D-Ga.)" for shutting down legislation. A Senate office building is still named after Russell, and a proposal to rename it after the late Sen. John McCain has stalled amid Sen. David Purdue (R-Ga.)'s opposition. Read more at The Washington Times. Summer Meza

December 12, 2018

The House and Senate are finally tackling a big problem happening in their own halls.

The two chambers on Wednesday agreed on a bill to better handle sexual harassment in Congress, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a co-sponsor of the Senate's version of the bill, tells Politico. Other congressional staffers confirmed the news to The Washington Post and CNN.

Following the #MeToo movement's rise late last year, members of Congress started looking inward at the harassment aides and lawmakers had long faced. The reality became particularly clear after former Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) allegedly used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit, and after he and other lawmakers stepped down after their own sexual harassment scandals.

The House passed its harassment-fighting bill in February, under which lawmakers would be held "personally liable for harassment and discrimination settlements," per Politico. The Senate's latest version only made legislators pay for harassment settlements. Wednesday's compromise agrees on barring legislators from using taxpayer money to settle "harassment and retaliation for harassment claims, but not discrimination," staffers tell Politico.

Opponents of the Senate bill worried accused congressmembers would settle harassment claims as "sex discrimination," per CNN. So Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) say they'll craft a new bill to address discrimination, per Politico. The two chambers hope to pass the still-unfinalized bill within the next few days after working out a few more specifics, Blunt says. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 24, 2018

Elon Musk recently promised that Tesla will be profitable "every quarter, from here on out." So far, he's not wrong.

The electric car company turned a $312 million profit in 2018's third quarter, it revealed in an earnings report Wednesday. Tesla has previously only profited in two other quarters, and this rare move drove shares up 10 percent on Wednesday afternoon, reports The Washington Post.

This surprising profit follows a wild ride for Musk, who recently faced a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit and had to resign as Tesla chairman. But Musk's promise of "Teslaquila" isn't what turned things around. It was likely that Tesla doubled production of its popular Model 3 Sedan and pulled a profit on the car, The Verge suggests.

Estimates put Tesla's third quarter revenue at $6.33 billion, but it actually brought in $6.82 billion, CNBC says. This propelled the company to its third quarterly profit since going public in 2010, and created what Musk called a "historic quarter" in his earnings report. Kathryn Krawczyk

March 6, 2018

Start your engines! After a 22-year hiatus, Major League Baseball is bringing back the beloved bullpen cart, with the Arizona Diamondbacks the first team to retire physically running to the mound. "This is actually happening," the team tweeted Tuesday, evidently hardly able to believe it themselves:

"Those goofy, baseball-shaped carts that dominated baseball in the 1970s arrived with little fanfare and departed with even less," MLB.com writes in its history of the buggy. ESPN's Darren Rovell notes that an entire generation of fans has grown up without the vehicles roaring to the mound to deliver relief pitchers during pitching changes.

"Bullpen carts have such potential as much more than just a '70s throwback," argued Deadspin last month. "They look wonderfully stupid (or the best ones do, at least). They don't take themselves seriously. They recognize and support the fact that baseball is supposed to be fun."

Diamondbacks bullpen coach Mike Fetters told ESPN that pitchers can still opt out of taking the cart if they want to (but why would they?). Learn more about the rise and fall of the bullpen carts at Mental Floss, and check out what we've been missing all these years below. Jeva Lange

March 9, 2016

On International Women's Day, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that an "iconic" Canadian woman will appear on the next series of bank notes, expected for release in 2018.

Through April 15, Canadians can submit their nominations on the Bank of Canada's website. To be considered, the woman must be Canadian by birth or naturalization, and known for her outstanding achievement, distinction, and leadership in any field. Fictional characters will not be considered, and the woman has to have died at least 25 years ago. After all of the nominations are in, an advisory council will sort through them, and send their recommendations on to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

On Tuesday, Morneau said it was "high time to change," a sentiment echoed by Merna Forster, a historian who has been leading the charge to get a woman on money and called the move "long overdue." "This is an important step, and I hope we can look forward to gender equality on Canadian notes as in Sweden and Australia," she told CBC News. Trudeau did not say which denomination will receive the makeover. Catherine Garcia

June 20, 2015

Revenge porn, or sexually explicit media released without the subject's consent, will no longer show up in Google search results, the tech giant announced Friday.

"In the coming weeks," Google will post a form where victims can request revenge porn results removed. Of course, Google cannot remove the images from the internet itself.

"Revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims — predominantly women," the announcement read. Julie Kliegman

December 10, 2014

The doctors, nurses, and all those who have joined the fight against the global Ebola crisis were anointed Time's 2014 Person of the Year. "Ebola is a war, and a warning," said Time Editor Nancy Gibbs, explaining the magazine's choice. "The global health system is nowhere close to strong enough to keep us safe from infectious disease, and 'us' means everyone, not just those in faraway places where this is one threat among many that claim lives every day." She continued:

The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight. For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are TIME's 2014 Person of the Year. [Time]

The year's runners-up include the Ferguson protesters, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, and Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Check out the full Person of the Year coverage at Time. Samantha Rollins

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