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November 30, 2018

Michelle Obama can now add "best-selling author" to her very long resume.

Obama's political memoir Becoming debuted just over two weeks ago. But it's already sold 3.4 million copies, surpassing every other hardcover released this year to become 2018's bestseller, Axios reports.

In Becoming, Obama recounts everything from "her childhood on the South Side of Chicago" to her time in the White House, per the book's description. Those subjects are common in White House memoirs, but Becoming is sure selling better than all the rest. "Former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's memoir Living History needed a month to sell 1 million copies," The Associated Press notes, while Obama more than tripled that in half the time.

Becoming is also making waves around the world, becoming the bestselling adult nonfiction book in Germany, Spain, Greece, Finland, and other countries, per Axios. Obama will soon cater to those international fans by bringing her book tour to London, Paris, and Berlin next week. She's already traveled across the U.S. promoting her memoir, bringing pals like Oprah Winfrey, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Reese Witherspoon along as special guests — and perhaps picking up a few book-selling tips along the way. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 7, 2018

President Trump didn't even wait until 24 hours after midterm election polls closed to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Trump announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that Sessions is out as attorney general and Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, will take over until a permanent replacement is named. In his letter of resignation, Sessions makes clear that he was forced out. "At your request, I am submitting my resignation," he wrote. Trump on Twitter thanked Sessions for his service.

It was widely expected that Trump would fire Sessions or ask him to leave after the midterms, as Trump has made it clear that he was unhappy with Sessions ever since he recused himself from the probe into Russian election meddling. Trump publicly berated Sessions for this over and over, saying in September that "I don't have an attorney general."

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that a number of administration departures would follow after the midterms, potentially including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Whitaker, the new acting attorney general, wrote in an op-ed last year that Mueller's probe has "gone too far." Brendan Morrow

October 25, 2018

Two days after her controversial blackface comments, NBC may have already ended Megyn Kelly's show.

Megyn Kelly Today on Thursday aired an episode recorded in August, and NBC News said that re-runs would air for the rest of the week "given the circumstances," CNN's Brian Stelter reported. That's apparently referring to the controversy sparked by comments Kelly made Tuesday during a segment about Halloween costumes; Kelly had said that wearing blackface as part of a costume is not racist and suggested that those who think it is are just being too sensitive.

The backlash was immediate, and even Kelly's colleagues weren't happy — the hosts of Today called her comments "ignorant" and "racist." Kelly apologized for the remarks in an internal email Tuesday, and she issued another apology on-air Wednesday, saying, "I was wrong, and I'm sorry." Later on Wednesday, reports began to emerge that Kelly's show might be coming to an end. The Hollywood Reporter first wrote that it would be gradually winding down over the course of the year, and that Kelly would shift to a different role at NBC focusing on breaking news. The TV personality was reportedly already interested in ending her show in the near future, unrelated to her controversial blackface comments.

Now, however, CNN reports that Kelly's show might not return at all and her exit is "imminent," meaning Wednesday's apologetic broadcast may turn out to be her final episode. Brendan Morrow

October 3, 2018

If you still don't want to grow up, you're in luck: You may still be able to call yourself a Toys 'R' Us kid.

CNN reports that the owners of the embattled toy store are looking to revive the business after closing all of its U.S. stores earlier this year and filing for bankruptcy in 2017. The original plan was for the company's assets to be sold off in a bankruptcy auction, but that auction has now been canceled, and in court filings, the owners said they were planning to launch "a new, operating Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us branding company."

USA Today also reports that lenders are now operating a new venture called Geoffrey's Toy Box out of the Toys 'R' Us headquarters; they said in a press release they are working on "new and re-imagined" Toys 'R' Us stores. It's not clear what exactly will be different about the new stores, but at least one thing will be the same: Geoffrey the giraffe is still the mascot. He even made an appearance at a recent toy show with a cape that said, "Back From Vacation." Read more at CNN. Brendan Morrow

February 20, 2018

Florida lawmakers denied a motion to bring an assault weapons ban to a vote Tuesday, less than a week after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, by a teenager armed with a semiautomatic rifle. The effort failed to pass Florida's House by a 71-36 margin, The Associated Press reports.

The proposed assault weapons ban had previously been stalled in committee, but Democratic state Rep. Kionne McGhee pushed the state legislature to consider allowing the bill to be considered anyway. Florida's Spectrum News 13 said McGhee's motion was thwarted by "almost every Republican voting no."

Florida's state Senate, however, was able to make progress Tuesday on some legislation to address the safety of students. The Associated Press reported that the state's Senate Education Committee was able to attach an amendment "to put law enforcement officers in every school in the state" to an education reform bill that is now in consideration. Kelly O'Meara Morales

May 4, 2017

Almost immediately after President Trump signed an executive order Thursday protecting "religious liberty," the American Civil Liberties Union announced it will be filing a lawsuit fighting the order. In a statement, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero deemed Trump's order — which promises to "protect and vigorously promote religious liberty" — a "broadside to the country's longstanding commitment to the separation of church and state."

"President Trump's efforts to promote religious freedom are thinly-veiled efforts to unleash his conservative religious base into the political arena while also using religion to discriminate," Romero wrote in the statement. "It's a dual dose of pandering to a base and denying reproductive care. We will see Trump in court, again." The ACLU previously sued over Trump's immigration executive order, which temporarily blocked people from multiple predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.

Though Trump's order will not roll back anti-LGBT discrimination rules as was proposed in a draft, it does offer "regulatory relief" for faith-based employers mandated to offer contraception coverage in health-care plans. It also proposes reducing the "burden" of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt churches and organizations from actively supporting political candidates. Becca Stanek

March 1, 2015

Ronda Rousey needed just 14 seconds on Saturday night to defend her UFC bantamweight title against Cat Zingano, ESPN reports.

It was Rousey's (11-0) fifth UFC title defense; her last three have lasted just 66 seconds, 16 seconds, and now 14 seconds — the latter being the fastest finish of her career thus far and a UFC record for fastest ever in a title fight.

Rousey submitted Zingano with a straight armlock after Zingano rushed Rousey on the opening bell; Zingano quickly tapped out of the hold. Sarah Eberspacher

April 22, 2014

Marionville, Mo., Mayor Dan Clevenger is mayor no more. Clevenger resigned Monday, one week after he voiced support for Frazier Glenn Miller, the man who allegedly murdered three people at Kansas Jewish centers earlier this month.

After the shooting, Clevenger told a local news station he "kind of agreed with [Miller] on some things," adding "but I don't like to express that too much." Unfortunately for him, he did express that too much. Following his admission, reporters dug up some of Clevenger's past warnings about the "Jew-run, government-backed banking industry," the "Jew-run medical industry," and so on. When confronted, Clevenger doubled down on his anti-Semitic musings.

The town's aldermen voted during a raucous public meeting on Monday to begin impeachment proceedings, prompting Clevenger to jump ship. Clevenger previously said he would not resign, and when asked why he changed his mind, "he silently motioned to the residents who had come to the meeting," according to the Springfield News-Leader. Jon Terbush

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