Happy Friday! Welcome to your Ebola-free edition of xoNews. Today, I’m covering everything from ride-sharing protests and the government’s disapproval of an NFL Team (the President weighs in) to the shooting of a black teenager in St. Louis (no, you aren’t reading an old edition, you read that correctly) and a former child star pulling a Winona Ryder. I also have some very important news about a law that will be a huge game changer for sex on campus.
Is this information helpful to you? Are you just reading this because you don’t want to be at work right now? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @AmandaLauren.
Taxi Drivers Protest Uber and Lyft
If you were in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, you hopefully weren’t anywhere near Pennsylvania Avenue, where taxi drivers jammed up traffic completely while incessantly honking their horns to protest ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft. Taxi drivers in the District of Columbia (and many other major cities) have been none too thrilled with the rise of ride-sharing apps because they are less regulated than traditional taxicabs.
On Tuesday, the D.C. Council Committee on the Transportation and the Environment voted to pass a bill legalizing Uber X, Lyft, Sidecar and similar ride-sharing companies. The law requires that drivers are background-checked and carry $1 million in primary coverage insurance.
Instead of banning ride-sharing services, cities have realized that regulation is the only way to keep companies, consumers and the government happy. The text of the bill explains it best:
[The bill was] introduced this legislation to provide a legislative solution that would allow companies to freely operate, while still ensuring that safety and consumer protection requirements are satisfied.
The bill also requires cars to be marked (as with the Lyft moustache or Uber “U” stickers). The Taxicab Commission is also allowed to fine drivers who don’t comply with the rules. Furthermore, UberX, Lyft and Sidecar will be required to give one percent of their gross receipts to the Commission.
However, the Taxi Commission still isn’t happy with this bill. Chairman Ron Linton expressed his dissatisfaction in a statement to the media, proclaiming:
I believe the legislation would create a situation that anyone who uses the service being established endangers their personal safety and puts themselves at risk for consumer fraud.
St. Louis Cop Shoots Another Black Teenager
Wednesday evening, in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis, a white off-duty police officer shot and killed an 18-year-old black man, Vonderrit Myers, just a few miles from Ferguson, where Michael Brown was shot. The officer was working a second job as a private security guard, but still wearing his uniform. The teen was with two other men when the officer approached them on the street. They then fired three rounds at him before the gun jammed. The officer retaliated with 17 shots. Lt. Col. Alfred Adkins said,
As [the officer] exited the car, the gentlemen took off running. He was able to follow one of them before he lost him and then found him again as the guy jumped out of some bushes across the street. The officer approached, they got into a struggle, they ended up into a gangway, at which time the young man pulled a weapon and shots were fired. The officer returned fire and unfortunately the young man was killed.
A crowd of approximately 200 people later gathered at the scene, some from the protests in Ferguson, which are still going on.
Say Yes To “Yes Means Yes”
Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will hopefully prevent sexual assaults on campus and change how colleges and universities investigate them. The bill will requires "an affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision,” by all parties involved aka “yes means yes,” as opposed to “no means no” to engage in sexual activities. This will apply to all colleges and universities who accept state financial aid.
Senator Kevin de Leon was a supporter of this bill and said prior to the vote,
With this measure, we will lead the nation in bringing standards and protocols across the board so we can create an environment that's healthy, that's conducive for all students, not just for women, but for young men as well too, so young men can develop healthy patterns and boundaries as they age with the opposite sex.
The bill also requires that colleges and universities develop "victim-centered" policies to respond to campus sexual assault, in addition to implementing sexual assault prevention programs.
A group of Harvard students is currently petitioning their administrators to adopt a clearer version of this policy.
Obama Weighs in On The Redskins Controversy
For quite a while now, the Washington Redskins have been under fire for their name because many people view it as offensive to Native Americans. A federal ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office earlier this year canceled the team’s trademark of the Redskins logo (six logos total). This decision basically allows anyone to sell merchandise with the Redskins name and logo, and dilutes the team’s legal protection should they want to sue any unauthorized vendors or counterfeiters. But, it doesn’t mean the team can’t use the name or must change it, which is what many people have been pushing for.
This week, President Obama weighed in and said if he owned the team he would "think about changing [the name]” He also said:
[The name] offends a sizable group of people. I don't know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things. I don't want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here. They love their team and rightly so.
(If you were wondering what team Obama roots for, it’s the Chicago Bears.)
The team’s owner, Dan Snyder, said he won’t ever change the team’s name and is currently appealing the decision.
• First Lady Michelle Obama confessed publicly that she too wears Spanx, just like the rest of us. According to Eva Chen, the editor of Lucky Magazine, the first lady said, “We all wear them with pride,” at a fashion event in D.C. on Wednesday.
• Who ya gonna call? Some ladies to bust your ghosts! Paul Feig ("The Heat") announced on Twitter that he is making a new "Ghostbusters" movie starring a female cast.
• Amanda Bynes was busted for shoplifting at Barney’s New York in New York on Wednesday. She was stopped by security when she walked out of the store wearing a hat she had not paid for. Amanda claimed she fully intended to buy the $200 hat, but her purse and wallet were in her car. Four NYPD officers were on the scene, but security ultimately let her go. Bynes signed an agreement not to ever enter the store again. There is an additional report she tried to steal a shirt costing $128 from the boutique Pookie & Sebastian the same day.