1-22-19 Kamala Harris is running for president.

Kamala Harris is running for president.

The California senator is skipping the whole ‘presidential exploratory committee’ thing, instead launching straight into a full-blown presidential campaign. Following months of speculation, Harris finally made the announcement yesterday on “Good Morning America,” becoming the third senator and fourth woman to enter the 2020 race.

Why announce yesterday?

Harris picked Martin Luther King Jr. Day for a reason. She’s already made history as the first black senator and first black female attorney general of California, and she hopes to become the first black woman elected president of the United States.

Why is she running?

In her words, because “the future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values…I’m running to lift those voices, to bring our voices together.” We’ll learn more about her campaign this weekend, when she heads to her first campaign rally in Oakland, California.



Trump fails to mention Martin Luther King Jr. at the MLK Memorial.

President Trump and V.P Mike Pence dropped off a wreath off at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in D.C. yesterday morning. But, uh, they left after maaaybe two minutes without so much as mentioning the civil rights icon.

Anything else?

Unfortunately. Over the weekend, Pence quoted Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech while urging Congress to fund a border wall. Should go without saying, but that speech was definitely not about building walls. As Martin Luther King III told The Atlantic, his father “was a bridge builder, not a wall builder.”



Trump may have been in talks with Russia through election day.

In an interview with the New York Times on Sunday, Rudy Giuliani quoted Trump as saying that negotiations with Russia over a Trump Tower Moscow were “going from the day I announced to the day I won.” Sooo Trump’s own lawyer said Trump was working on a business deal with Russia when Americans voted in 2016. Then yesterday, he backtracked and called his statements “hypothetical.” Good lawyering, Rudy.

What’s actually new here?

The “hypothetical” timeline. Up until this point, the Trump team has maintained that any business dealings involving Russia were wrapped up well before the election. This new time frame would mean Trump was still in talks with Russia when he said, “I have nothing to do with Russia. I don’t have any jobs in Russia. I’m all over the world but we’re not involved in Russia,” on July 26, 2016.



Researchers find (another) secret missile site in North Korea.

new report has found an undeclared ballistic missile site about 212 kilometers north of the Demilitarized Zone. Ballistic missiles are the main tool used by North Korea to deliver nuclear warheads.

Wait, “another”???

Yeah…so it turns out there are 19 other missile sites like this. Because these sites haven’t been officially acknowledged by the North Korean government, it’s highly unlikely they have been the subject of any denuclearization talks with the United States.



Elizabeth Warren rallies with airport workers.

Warren joined furloughed workers and union leaders at the Boston Logan International Airport yesterday to call on President Trump to “open our government and pay our people for the work they do.” Can’t think of a better way to spend MLK day.



YouTube gamer raises over $340k for a transgender rights charity.

Over the weekend, YouTuber Hbomberguy played Donkey Kong 64 for 57 hours straight. His mission? To raise money for Mermaids UK, an organization that “supports children and young people up to 20 years old who are transgender and/or gender diverse.” A few high-profile guests joined the live stream to help raise awareness, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and trans activist Chelsea Manning.



Atlanta residents celebrate the renaming of Confederate Ave to United Ave.

New street signs have been up since November, but on MLK Day, “United Avenue” was formallycommemorated by the city of Atlanta. The change was brought about by city residents who decided to take action, one of whom told CNN, “This is one small step for humankind. But it’s the beginning of a new era.”



Four easy ways to look out for your mental health this year.

It’s not too late to add a couple self-care New Year’s resolutions. Here are some great ideas:

  1. Get out of the house. Make time to go to the movies, check out a museum, or see a play.
  2. Eat more vegetables — especially raw veggies.
  3. Boost your vitamin D levels by eating foods like fish, eggs, and mushrooms.
  4. Put down your phone. (At least, some of the time)

For more info on the science behind these tips, check out this article.



Millions could lose food stamps because of the shutdown.

by Reed Redmond 

This month, 39-year-old Sabrina Rubich received a text alert letting her know that she would receive her benefits from the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) a couple weeks early for the month of February. She had been hearing this might happen all month, but thought to herself, “No, they can’t be doing that.” Sure enough, it happened.

In the United States, 39 million people depend on SNAP benefits, which are often referred to as food stamps. Sabrina, who works a full-time job at a call center, is one of them. She and her wife receive $158 in SNAP benefits each month, and the money helps them keep food on the table for their two kids. 

On Jan. 20, Sabrina received her benefits for the entire month of February. It’s not extra money; it just came a couple weeks ahead of schedule. She recalls, “And sure enough, checked my balance on the app and was like, ‘Oh my god. This is real.’” She now has to stretch that money until March — assuming the government reopens by then.

What do food stamps have to do with the shutdown?

Like many federal programs, SNAP has been hit hard by the now month-long government shutdown. The USDA usually pays out around $4.8 billion in SNAP benefits each month, but without funding, the status of the program is unclear. February benefits were released early because the USDA found a funding loophole allowing them to use federal funds through Jan. 20. But that loophole won’t work for March, and the agency doesn’t know if it will be able to cover the cost without federal funding.

For now, Sabrina is trying to hold off spending her food stamps by making extra trips to a local food bank. She knows she will have to make them last, but without an end in sight for the shutdown, she doesn’t know how much longer. As she tells NPR, “I am losing sleep over this, man.”



The Leftovers:

Martin Luther King Jr. National Park opens for MLK Day. The park was closed during the shutdown, but Delta Air Lines paid to open it for a day.

Fox & Friends aired a graphic announcing the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The image showed the dates “1933-2019,” but, uh, SHE’S NOT DEAD!!!

In his first two years in office, Trump made 8,158 “false or misleading claims,” according to the Washington Post. In year one, he average around 6 per day, but he jumped up to over 16 per day in year two.

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley has asked the FBI to investigate DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for perjury. He says he’s “sick and tired of this administration lying to the American people.”

In 2018, the 26 richest people in the world owned as much as 3.8 billion other people. Like, combined.

U.S. intelligence officials have been meeting with North Korean spies for more than a decade. The secret channel helped bring about last year’s Trump-Kim summit.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted yesterday that Martin Luther King, Jr. “gave his life to right the wrong of racial inequality.” Twitter users were quick to point out that MLK did not “(volunteer) to be murdered.”

Lady Gaga interrupted a performance in Vegas to call Mike Pence “the worst representation of what it means to be a Christian” because he “thinks it’s acceptable that his wife works at a school that bans LGBTQ.”

Donald Trump has been nominated for ‘Worst Actor’ at the 2019 Razzies for his performance as himself in a couple documentary films.

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