HI EVERYONE. I'm Alex, the Merc's new News Editor, tasked with filling the meaningless void Dirk's departure has left you with. Longtime readers may recognize my aggressively Polish name from 2011-2012, when I interned/reported for the Mercury fresh out of journalism school. I've since lived and reported in Washington, D.C. and San Antonio, TX, two incredibly unique cities that have left me with a more nuanced perspective on the Rose City. I most recently lived in San Antonio, where I served as the News Editor for the city's own weekly rag, the Current, meaning I sometimes say "ya'll" now. Have a hot scoop? Feeling excluded or ignored by our coverage? Generally pissed off about something? Want to talk about breakfast tacos? Don't hesitate to drop me a line at email@example.com.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming:
End of Days: A self-driving Uber car hit and killed a woman crossing the street Sunday night in Tempe, Arizona. It's the first known pedestrian death linked to self-driving technology, according to the New York Times. In response, Uber immediately suspended all of its autonomous car testing across the country. Goodbye, human race. It's been a good run.
End of Days, part 2: On Monday, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant Bryant signed a bill banning abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, except in the case of a medical emergency or a fetal abnormality (note: it's rare that a doctor can detect an abnormality this early into a pregnancy). It comes with no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Bryant argues he's protecting the lives of unborn fetuses, but, it appears, his concern stops there. Mississippi still leads the country in its skyrocketing infant mortality rates (8.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births). The bill's signing has already ignited at least one major lawsuit.
What. Is. Happening: A package en route to Austin, Texas exploded early Tuesday morning at a FedEx distribution center outside of San Antonio, injuring one employee. It's the fifth in a series of small-scale explosions that have killed two Austinites and injured at least four more over the past month — and federal and local investigators still have no idea what's going on. Trump, preoccupied with shredding democracy, has yet to acknowledge the deadly bombings.
Up in Arms: Remember when Fred Meyer decided to axe gun and ammunition sales for anyone under age 21? Two weeks later, and the Kroger-owned company has announced it's getting out of the firearm business altogether—at least, eventually.
Spinoff Show or Real Life?: Cynthia Nixon, known for playing the only "Sex in the City" character who was a grown-ass, powersuit-wearing adult, is running for governor in New York. And with progressive New Yorkers growing increasingly jaded by Andrew Cuomo, she just may have a chance. Here's her shiny new ad campaign. Politics are weird.
Today in FEARFUL FACEBOOK NEWS: The top guy at Facebook advocating for more public transparency around Russia's meddling in the social media megalith is stepping down. According to current and past coworkers, Facebook's chief information security officer Alex Stamos' repeated requests to disclose information on Russian interference to the public has been shutdown by the company's anxious top brass.
Small Dose of Justice: The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC has not only filed for bankruptcy, but the once-booming Hollywood company has erased any of its remaining nondisclosure agreements preventing victims of alleged sexual harassment and rape (specifically coming from Harvey Weinstein himself) from talking. The company writes: "No one should be afraid to speak out or coerced to stay quiet. The Company thanks the courageous individuals who have already come forward. Your voices have inspired a movement for change across the country and around the world." You're welcome?
Presented Without Comment: President Donald Trump thinks executing drug dealers is a great idea.
Now, on a Deeply Tragic Note: The last male northern white rhino has died, leaving only two females left to somehow save the species from extinction. Here's a tribute to Sudan, the 45-year-old rhino dubbed "the lone bachelor."