Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Extreme weather; death] More dire warnings about the blizzard bearing down on the US East Coast: "National weather experts are warning of a potentially '[debilitating] winter storm' bearing down on the eastern US from Friday through Sunday that began forming quickly late Wednesday, with deadly results. Washington DC is in the bull's eye of the approaching tempest, but storm conditions ranging from hail and severe thunder to several feet of snow are forecast from Florida to New England. ...By Thursday afternoon, one man had died in Maryland after being hit by a snow plow, one man was killed when his car slid off the road in snow in north-eastern Tennessee, and two women died in North Carolina in car accidents on icy roads. The storm is prompting warnings beyond routine winter snowfall because of the prospect of sustained winds making lengthy blizzard conditions especially dangerous and because it is unusual for a storm to bring a foot of snow or more to such a large area, according to the National Weather Service. Its meteorologists expect the snowstorm to affect up to 50 million people and its various effects to be felt across a third of the US."
Let's make it happen, Congress: "Yesterday, after months-long delay, the Senate Armed Services Committee held the confirmation hearing for Eric Fanning. Fanning has been acting secretary of the Army for months since the GOP has held up his confirmation. Fanning stepped aside from his post earlier this month after Republican senators complained that Fanning's serving as acting secretary without being confirmed. ...The timing for a vote on Fanning's confirmation is still unknown."
[CN: Racism; disablism; police brutality] "A white Atlanta-area police officer who shot a naked, mentally ill black veteran who was unarmed has been indicted on felony murder and other charges. The decision came on Thursday after DeKalb County prosecutors presented their case against Officer Robert Olsen, who fatally shot Anthony Hill on 9 March 2015 while responding to a call of a naked man behaving erratically outside a suburban Atlanta apartment complex. The family of the 27-year-old Hill says the US air force veteran struggled with mental health problems." You know what I'm going to say: Real justice will look like no more people being shot and killed by police.
[CN: Police brutality; video autoplays at link] Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, the black man who was killed by police after being detained for allegedly selling loose cigarettes, has endorsed Hillary Clinton, writing in an email that she is the "only candidate right now who's talking about how we can be strategic in trying to" address police brutality.
(It's interesting to me that Carr is endorsing Clinton because of her emphasis on strategy, which resonates with me. Just last night, Bernie Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weaver was on MSNBC saying that "presidential races are about who has the vision." And the strategy to back it up.)
[CN: White supremacy] WOW: "Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling has claimed the current campaign to boycott the 2016 Academy Awards over claims of a diversity deficit is racist to white people. Rampling, 69, is up for the best actress prize for her role in the British drama 45 Years... Asked for her take on the current furore over all-white lists of nominees on French Radio network Europe 1 on Friday morning, the British actor did not mince her words. 'It is racist to whites,' she said. 'One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list,' added Rampling." Holy shit. And Michael Caine showed his ass, too: "Speaking on the Today Show on Radio 4 on Friday, Rampling's fellow sixties icon Michael Caine advised black actors to 'be patient,' and said it had taken him 'years to get an Oscar, years.' Added Caine, 82: 'There's loads of black actors. In the end you can't vote for an actor because he's black. You can't say: I'm going to vote for him, he's not very good, but he's black, I'll vote for him.'" Someone show these two relics the door.
[CN: White supremacy] Meanwhile, here's Viola Davis, on the same subject, being awesome as usual: "The problem is not with the Oscars, the problem is with the Hollywood movie-making system. How many black films are being produced every year? How are they being distributed? The films that are being made, are the big-time producers thinking outside of the box in terms of how to cast the role? Can you cast a black woman in that role? Can you cast a black man in that role? ...You can change the Academy, but if there are no black films being produced, what is there to vote for?"
[CN: White supremacist nationalism] Donald Trump (again) retweeted something posted by a Nazi sympathizing white nationalist. And he really doesn't have any fucking excuse, since the account handle is "@WhiteGenocideTM." This fucking guy.
Yesterday I mentioned that there is a once-in-a-decade alignment of five planets in the morning sky. Andrew Fazekas explains how to see the the five planets align, and notes: "If you look at the right time, the moon will also be a part of the cosmic parade."
Whoa: "A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows off a cluster of brilliant stars that look like diamonds in the sky. The cluster Trumpler 14, which lies around 8,000 light years away from Earth in the Carina Nebula, features some of the brightest stars in our galaxy. The brightest star in the image—supergiant HD 93129Aa—is two and a half million times brighter than the sun, and 80 times as massive."
And finally! "7 Pictures of Scotland Looking Like Siberia as Husky Dogs Train for the Aviemore Sled Dog Rally." Awesome.