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October 15, 2018

Paul Allen, the philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, died Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 65.

In a statement, his sister, Jody, said Allen was "a remarkable individual on every level." Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Allen "created magical products, experiences, and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world." Allen founded Microsoft in 1975 with Bill Gates, and after leaving the company, he founded Vulcan Inc., which oversaw his philanthropic and business endeavors.

One of the world's wealthiest people, Allen's net worth was estimated at more than $20 billion. He owned the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks, plus had a stake in the Seattle Sounders soccer team. Allen was diagnosed nine years ago with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and announced earlier this month he had started treatment for it again. Catherine Garcia

October 14, 2018

Brewing titan Bill Coors died Saturday at his home, beer conglomerate Molson Coors has announced. He was 102.

The grandson of Coors founder Adolph Coors, Bill helped transform his family's brand into a national empire. He was responsible for the introduction of recyclable aluminum beer cans in 1959, shifting the industry away from tin-lined steel packaging that was costlier and affected product taste. Coors also pioneered one of the country's first company wellness centers for employees and remained engaged with Molson Coors until age 100, acting as a beer taster in later years.

"Our company stands on the shoulders of giants like Bill Coors,” said Molson Coors CEO Mark Hunter. "His dedication, hard work, and ingenuity helped shape not only our company but the entire beer industry."

Coors is survived by three children, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Bonnie Kristian

September 29, 2018

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Marty Balin, cofounder of psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, died Thursday, his representative has confirmed to Rolling Stone. He was 76.

Born Martyn Jerel Buchwal, Balin helped found Jefferson Airplane in San Francisco in 1965. The group came to national fame within two years, playing shows including the Woodstock festival of 1969.

Balin quit the group in 1970, later citing prevalent drug use as a cause for departure. "[S]ome of the chemicals made people crazy and very selfish, and it just wasn't any fun to be around for me," he said. "So I bailed." He eventually reunited with some of the band members to form Jefferson Starship, of which he was a member until 2008.

Balin is survived by his wife, Susan Joy Balin, and three children. "Marty and I shared the deepest of love — he often called it Nirvana — and it was," Susan said in a statement. "But really, we were all touched by his love. His presence will be within my entire being forever." His cause of death has not been released. Bonnie Kristian

September 1, 2018

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama joined other Washington notables and the McCain family in honoring the late Sen. John McCain at his funeral on Saturday at the National Cathedral.

Both men drew implicit contrasts between McCain and President Trump, who was reportedly not invited to the funeral. McCain "detested the abuse of power and could not abide bigots and swaggering despots," Bush said. "He respected the dignity inherent in every life, a dignity that does not stop at borders and cannot be erased by dictators."

Obama likewise decried the tone of Trump-era politics. "So much of our politics can seem small and mean and petty," he said. "Trafficking in bombast and insult, phony controversies and manufactured outrage. It's a politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but is instead born of fear. John called on us to be bigger than that, to be better than that."

He also got in a joke at his own expense. "What better way to get the last laugh than make George and I say nice things about him before a national audience?" Obama said, referencing McCain's primary loss to Bush in the 2000 election and general election loss to himself in 2008.

Watch the full service below. Bush's eulogy begins around two hours and 38 minutes in, and Obama is the following speaker. Bonnie Kristian

August 30, 2018

You may think it's unbearably hot where you live, but at least humans get to enjoy air conditioning. Not so for our water-bound friends.

Soaring temperatures likely killed an estimated 2,000 striped mullet fish in Southern California last week, LiveScience reported Thursday.

The waters in Malibu Lagoon and Malibu Creek reached up to 82 degrees Fahrenheit last week, which has California State Parks officials suspecting that it simply got too hot for the poor fish to take. Craig Sap, the superintendent of California State Parks' Angeles District, said it was the biggest mass-fish-mortality event he'd ever seen.

Scientists say climate change has brought increasingly extreme heat to California, and this summer has been plagued by wildfires worsened by record-high temperatures across the state. The sizzling temperatures have brought unprecedented heat even to the coast, where weather is typically mild.

The lagoon-turned-hot-tub likely cooked the striped mullet to death, says LiveScience, and now officials are figuring out what to do with thousands of deceased fish bodies that are floating in the waters. State Parks staff have begun removing them — to predictably disastrous results. "The smell now that we're moving them is pretty odoriferous," said Sap. Read more at LiveScience. Summer Meza

August 26, 2018

Celebrated playwright Neil Simon died Sunday in Manhattan from complications of pneumonia. He was 91.

Simon was born in the Bronx on July 4, 1927, and launched his career as a writer for Sid Caesar and Phil Silvers. He made his mark on Broadway with Barefoot in the Park in 1963 and The Odd Couple in 1965; in 1966, he had four Broadway shows going at the same time. From 1965 to 1980, his plays and musicals were performed more than 9,000 times, and in 1991, he won the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for Lost in Yonkers. He also received accolades for the 1980s trilogy Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, and Broadway Bound.

In 1983, a Broadway theater was named after him, an honor rare for a living playwright. Simon was married five times, and is survived by his wife Elaine Joyce; daughters Ellen Simon, Nancy Simon, and Bryn Lander Simon; three grandchildren; and one great-grandson. Catherine Garcia

August 26, 2018

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was widely memorialized Sunday following his death Saturday. Here are three must-read reflections on McCain's life from those who knew him.

From McCain's fellow Arizonan, Sen. Jeff Flake (R), at The Washington Post:

"I am grateful for John McCain"

We may never see his like again, but it is his reflection of America that we need now more than ever. He was far too self-deprecating to ever have thought of himself as just such a towering figure, so I will go ahead and say it. He showed us who we are and who we can be when we are at our best. [Jeff Flake via The Washington Post]

From former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), McCain's partner in campaign finance reform, at The New York Times:

"John McCain was a committed leader. He was also really fun."

His fundamental respect for diverging viewpoints, his willingness to befriend people from different parties and philosophies, his intense desire not for political dominance but to get things done, and yes, his sense of humor, would have served our divided nation and fraught world well. John McCain, to paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, had the heart to demand joy in life. [Russ Feingold via The New York Times]

And from John Lehman, who advised McCain's 2008 campaign, at The Wall Street Journal:

"A life of service, lived with good-natured irreverence"

[W]hen McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer and began the long ordeal of his treatment, his character was undiminished. He always bore a laconic smile and frequently offered wisecracks, invariably comforted his many visitors, and occasionally hurled verbal thunderbolts at his former adversaries. ... He showed not a tinge of apprehension about his next great adventure. [John Lehman via The Wall Street Journal]

Read other remembrances from McCain's family, friends, and erstwhile political foes here. Bonnie Kristian

August 26, 2018

Sen. John McCain's family, friends, and even political foes offered their remembrances and well wishes after his death on Saturday.

His wife, Cindy McCain, daughter Meghan McCain, and McCain's one-time campaign rival, former President Barack Obama, all hailed McCain's courage, strong will, and fidelity to American ideals in statements on Twitter:

From McCain's years in the Senate, Former Vice President Joe Biden said he "cast a long shadow," and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recalled McCain's "wicked sense of humor" that "made every tense moment come out better." Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) described McCain as one of a "few truly great people" he has ever met, and "a truth teller — never afraid to speak truth to power in an era where that has become all too rare." Schumer has proposed renaming a Senate office building in McCain's honor.

President Trump, who had a contentious relationship with the Arizona senator and reportedly did not wish to speak of him while he was alive, posted a brief tweet offering "deepest sympathies and respect." To the McCain family, he added, "Our hearts and prayers are with you!" Bonnie Kristian

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