8 Things You Need To Know This AM

Photo: Image Source/Rex/REX USA
Kevin McCarthy abruptly dropped out of the House Speaker race, even though House Republicans were just girls, standing in front of a boy, asking him to be second in the United States presidential line of succession.

The House Republicans are going to be blasting “Where Are Ü Now” all week after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy withdrew his candidacy for House speaker, despite being the odds-on favorite to fill the seat vacated by John Boehner. “If we are going to be strong, we’ve got to be 100% united,” McCarthy said in a prepared statement after sharing his decision with his colleagues in a closed-door meeting. “I think it’s best to have a new face.” It is now unclear when the election of a new speaker will take place. (New York Times)

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Ben Carson really wants you to know that he fears no shooter, since he once calmly “redirected” a gunman in a “Popeye’s organization.

Remember when Ben Carson shamed the victims of the Oregon shooting, implying that if they were a bit less terrified and immobile, they wouldn’t have been shot? Well, Carson knows what he’s talking about — in an interview with Sirius XM, the presidential hopeful revealed that he once had a “gun held on” him in a Baltimore “Popeye’s organization.” (We assume he means restaurant.) Instead of “letting” himself be shot, Carson just said, "I believe that you want the guy behind the counter,” and proceeded to TURN THE GUN ON AN EMPLOYEE. So Ben Carson’s signature method of defense is trying to get a different innocent person shot. So brave, Ben. (Chicago Sun-Times)

A massive coral bleaching crisis is currently unfolding due to warmer ocean temperatures, endangering reefs and the creatures that call them home.

While politicians are busy squabbling over whether or not climate change is a real phenomenon, the world continues to exhibit signs that we’re destroying everything. In the latest This Is Why Humans Can’t Have Nice Things Like Earth news, various scientists and federal agencies have confirmed that the third coral bleaching event in recorded history is now underway. The phenomenon causes coral to shed the symbiotic algae that live in its tissues, which leaves the coral a haunting white color and extremely fragile; it is expected to kill around 4,600-square-miles of reef by the start of 2016. "You kill coral, you destroy reefs, you don't have a place for the fish to live," said Mark Eakin, NOAA coral reef watch coordinator. (CNN)

UCLA sorority and fraternity members wore blackface and baggy clothes to a Kanye West-themed mixer in a post-Dear White People, post-Obama America.

Racism is alive and well and posing for Instagram pictures while wearing blackface at a college party. UCLA is allegedly investigating the Sigma Phil Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Phi sorority for hosting an incredibly ignorant “Kanye Western”-themed mixer at which white students partied with charcoal smeared on their faces and pads stuffed into their pants. The incident has sparked protest from UCLA groups like The Afrikan Student Union and outraged students have rallied around the hashtag #BlackBruinsMatter. “While we do not yet have all the facts, the alleged behavior is inconsistent with good judgment as well as our principles of community,” university officials said in a statement. (Los Angeles Times)

Celebrity cat Lil BUB is releasing a full-length debut album about her “universal adventure."

Lil BUB, the cat who achieved internet fame due to her distinct appearance that includes a permanently exposed tongue, is chasing a music career rather than her tail. After racking up features on albums by Run The Jewels and Andrew W.K., Lil BUB is coming out with a debut album, Science & Magic, which has been called “a soundtrack to the universe itself.” A quarter of the money raised by Science & Magic will be donated to Lil BUB’s Big FUND for the ASPCA, a partnership that aids pets with special needs. The 10-track album hits stores on December 4. A purchase of the limited-edition VIP copy snags you some exclusive artwork as well as Lil BUB’s signature. (Or should we say pawprint?) (Pitchfork)

A group of 32 Democrats penned a letter criticizing the TSA’s treatment of transgender passengers.

Back in September, trans television producer Shadi Petosky live-tweeted her traumatic and transphobic treatment by TSA employees when her trip through the full-body scanner caused her to be flagged for an anatomical “anomaly.” Inspired by Petosky’s ordeal, 32 Congressional Democrats are calling for new TSA guidelines that will ensure “employees are prepared to serve transgender individuals with the dignity, discretion, and respect that they, like all Americans, deserve.” Although no concrete laws have been set into motion, the Congress members’ letter urges Peter Neffenger, administrator of the TSA, to review current practices and “address any shortcomings that may, however unintentionally, subject transgender travelers to inequitable or improper treatment.” (Buzzfeed News)
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Stephen Hawking may be one of the greatest scientific minds of all time, but he still finds women an “intriguing mystery

In a Reddit AMA, world-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, a man who routinely thinks about blackholes and the origins of the universe, called women, who are people just like Hawking, but with vaginas, the mystery he finds “most intriguing.” Turns out even geniuses can be sexist. But we probably shouldn’t be too surprised that the author of A Brief History of Time has some outdated views — later in the open interview, Hawking revealed that the last thing that made him laugh was The Big Bang Theory. (Business Insider)

Rihanna’s eighth studio album is called ANTI and will be the first to feature physical braille in its cover art.

Months after the release of the feminist anthem “Bitch Better Have My Money” and 15 Snapchatted vacations later, Rihanna has finally made some steps towards gracing us with a new album. In a special event held at Los Angeles’ MAMA gallery, the singer revealed the exquisite abstract artwork for her eighth LP, which we now know is called ANTI. Bad gal RiRi commissioned seven new oil paintings by Israeli artist Roy Nachum for the unveiling, one of which will serve as ANTI’s cover art. The image of an elementary-aged Rihanna with a gold crown over her eyes and a black balloon in her grip incorporates braille poems by Chloe Mitchell. (Billboard)

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