8 Things You Need To Know This AM — Oct 02 2015

Photo: Kristyna Wentz-Graff/AP Photo.

A shooting at a community college in Oregon was the 45th school shooting in the United States this year.


A gunman opened fire in two buildings at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, OR. More than 10 people are being reported killed, including the shooter, with more wounded. Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, there have been 142 school shootings. (Refinery29)

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A bipartisan group of senators have introduced a major criminal justice reform bill.

A bipartisan group of six senators led by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has unveiled a new criminal justice reform bill that seeks to combat over-incarceration by reducing mandatory minimum sentences for lower-level drug offenders. Hailed by Grassley as “the biggest criminal justice reform in a generation,” the long-awaited Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 would give judges more flexibility in sentencing, ease punitive measures against certain repeat drug offenders, and install new mandatory minimum guidelines for cases involving interstate domestic abuse. (Newsweek)

There’s a new app that will allow you to rate people as if they were restaurants on Yelp, which is great because we all really needed a real-life Burn Book.

Launched by two “empathetic” (insert “Why The Fuck You Lyin’” Vine here) female entrepreneurs, Peeple is a yet-to-be-launched app that allows users to rate and review the people in their lives, from exes to best friends. While you technically cannot keep yourself off the app, the database will only display positive reviews on your profile if you don’t have an account. “People do so much research when they buy a car or make those kinds of decisions,” app co-founder Julia Cordray said. “Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?” (Washington Post)

Comedian Jon Hendren trolled a cable news show by pretending Edward Snowden was Edward Scissorhands.

Forget the “ain’t nobody got time for that” lady or whatever you saw on The Newsroom (if you haven’t already) — the greatest TV news moment just occurred on an episode of HLN’s The Daily Share. During a segment on Edward Snowden’s new Twitter account, host Yasmin Vossoughian introduced comedian Jon Hendren as a Snowden supporter and proceeded to ask him about the whistle-blower’s actions. In a move that will go down in the annals of trolling, Hendren answered every question as if it were about Edward Scissorhands. “I was surprised that they didn’t cut me off immediately,” Hendren told Esquire. “So I just kept rolling with it, assuming at some point they’d hang up, and they never did for some reason.” (AV Club)

Serena Williams has withdrawn from the rest of the 2015 season, leaving her with plenty of time to call Drake.

After a disappointing loss at the U.S. Open semifinals that precluded her pursuit of a calendar-year Grand Slam, tennis star Serena Williams has prematurely ended her season, withdrawing from the final two tournaments, China Open and WTA Finals. Williams says she will use the time to recover and heal, writing in a statement on China Open’s site, “It’s not secret I’ve played injured most of the year...this is a very difficult decision, but one ultimately made because of the love of the game.” (ESPN)

A contingent of Brazilian Avril Lavigne fans believe the singer was killed and replaced with an identical actress, which is one way to explain why someone you respect would marry the lead singer of Nickelback.

While conspiracy theories centering around popular artists is nothing new (just type “Beyoncé illuminati” into Google if you have 17 hours to spare), a small group of Brazilian fans’ underground campaign to reveal “the truth” about Avril Lavigne is still pretty shocking. According to fan theories and blogs, the Avril Lavigne who just divorced Chad Kroeger is in fact an actress named Melissa Vandella — the real Lavigne entered into an insurmountable depression shortly after her debut album’s release and mysteriously died. Vandella, who conveniently looks exactly like the “Sk8tr Boi” singer, was hired to replace her — and the rest is history. (Paper)

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A new study suggests that your committed relationship with your phone is ruining your love life, but there’s probably an app for that, so don’t even worry about it.

Are you a “P-phubber”? No, that’s not some cute nickname generated by fans of the 1997 Disney movie Flubber. “P-phubbing” refers to the modern phenomenon of snubbing others in a social setting by constantly checking your phone and, according to a new study by business professors at Baylor University, may be your relationship’s undoing. After surveying over 450 American adults, researchers found that higher incidents of “phone snubbing” led to more conflict and dissatisfaction in a relationship. And things tended to escalate from there: “These lower levels or relationship satisfaction, in turn, led to lower levels of life satisfaction and, ultimately, higher levels of depression,” study co-author James Roberts, PhD, wrote. (Huffington Post)

Taylor Swift donated $50,000 to help her backup dancer’s young nephew battle cancer.

While the internet is busy mocking her perceived zeal for launching lawsuits, Taylor Swift is out doing good with the coin she is carefully protecting. After discovering that the 13-month-old nephew of one of her backup dancers was diagnosed with cancer, Swift donated $50,000 to a GoFundMe account set up to help defer the costs of treatment. “Taylor Swift is an angel and my family and I can’t thank her enough,” Swift’s dancer wrote on his screenshot of the donation. “This will help Lil Toshi in this time of need...Let’s pray for him to beat this...This unexpected gift is truly a blessing.” (People)
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