Morning Update: Gives Another Meaning To Facebook Stalking

The crowded Democratic field for 2020, Kavanaugh sides with the liberal wing, the healing books you need. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Dec. 11.

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Is it too early to start talking about the 2020 election?

It’s not yet 2019, but the Democratic field is already busy with people “considering a run” or “weighing their options,” or as we say in non-politics English: milling about until actual go time.

Our politics team has been all over the latest rumblings:

Sherrod Brown: A key ally of Brown has launched an organization to promote the Ohio senator as a 2020 presidential candidate.

Beto O’Rourke: The Texas Senate candidate may have lost to Ted Cruz, but last week he spoke with Al Sharpton, a key milestone for anyone considering a 2020 run. This comes a few weeks after he reportedly met with Barack Obama.

Bernie Sanders: The senator hasn’t announced whether he’s running, but his supporters want the O’Rourke 2020 talk to chill.

The Midwest: Republicans in the Rust Belt states are worried. Meanwhile, some Democrats see a path in the region with Amy Klobuchar and Sherrod Brown.

Who will be Trump’s next chief of staff? It doesn’t really matter.

After announcing that John Kelly will be leaving by the end of month, President Donald Trump is in the market for a new chief of staff.

The title was once among Washington’s most coveted. Trump had assumed for weeks that Vice President Mike Pence’s top aide, Nick Ayers, would accept the promotion.

However, Ayers announced that he, too, is leaving the administration. Now the president is starting from scratch.

Tarini Parti talked to people close to the administration. They said unless Trump changes how he views the role and actually empowers a chief of staff, his choice won’t change much for the White House.


Brett Kavanaugh sided with the liberal wing of the Supreme Court in declining to hear Planned Parenthood cases. Two cases that threatened to block federal funding to the nonprofit will not go before the court after a majority of justices, including Kavanaugh, declined to take them up.

NYPD officers are shown ripping a child from his mother’s arms at a food stamp center in an “appalling” video. The footage shows a young woman lying on the floor clutching her baby, surrounded by officers who are aggressively yanking the boy from her grasp.

A viral video shows a Columbia University student ranting about white supremacy and harassing black students. The white student was seen yelling about the superiority of his race, and the incident sparked a debate about the school's response to racism.

A high school football player was charged with killing a pregnant cheerleader. Aaron Trejo, 16, described by police as the baby's father, was arrested after the body of Breana Rouhselang was found in a dumpster behind a business just hours after she was reported missing.

The mother of the protester murdered at the “Unite the Right” rally confronted her daughter’s killer in court. Susan Bro spoke about her daughter Heather Heyer and the toll the tragedy had taken on her. She said, “I can't concentrate. I can't read books. Some days I can't do anything but cry or sit and stare.”

Facebook filed a patent to predict your future location

A throughline of this year has really been our changing relationship with big tech platforms. Many people are now wary of how their data is being used.

Still, Facebook takes no rest from planning its next steps on what to do with that information. The company has filed several patent applications for technology that uses your location data to predict where you’re going and when you’re going to be offline.

It’s worth noting that filing a patent doesn’t mean Facebook is planning to implement the technology — but it does show the company’s interest in tracking and predicting your whereabouts, an important tool for helping it serve you more effective ads.

Read Nicole Nguyen’s breakdown of what Facebook gets out of this.

14 books for anyone who’s had a tough year

The common denominators between everyone reading this newsletter are that 1) you like to read, and 2) you’ve had to contend with this difficult year in news. I hear you on both fronts.

I’m not much of a mystic, but I believe in the healing effect of a good book. To that end, we’ve compiled a reading list for anyone who found 2018 hard.

This doesn’t have to do with the news per se. If you were lonely or depressed, or struggled to get through the days or just needed extra motivation, there’s a book on this list for you.

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