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Rapid Reads: 7 Big stories of the day

Ashley Austrew is a freelance writer who loves tacos, Target and screen time. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, The Stir, Mommyish and more.

Shooting at Penn Station, Missouri football players protest racism & more

Hit the snooze button one too many times this morning? That's OK because we've got you covered on all the morning news you missed. Here are the top stories everyone will be talking about:

1. Early morning tragedy

A rush-hour shooting at Penn Station left one dead and two others critically injured. The shooting took place around 6:14 this morning and authorities say it stemmed from an argument inside a McDonald's. The dispute continued into the subway station, where the shots were fired. Three suspects were spotted fleeing the scene and have not yet been caught. At least two of the three victims were patients at a nearby methadone clinic. — New York Post

2. Peaceful protest

Over the weekend, 30 black University of Missouri football players announced they're not playing until administrators take action to tackle the school's racism problem. In the past several months, students have been called racial slurs and someone smeared a swastika made out of feces in a residence hall. The players are protesting the university president's inaction and calling for his resignation. Yesterday, both the athletic department and the football coach said they stand with the players. The president says he's doing a "tremendous amount of reflection," which sounds a lot like he's still doing nothing at all. Kudos to these young people for standing up for themselves and their peers. — The New York Times

More: How to talk to kids about racism and diversity

3. Denied

Last week TransCanada put in a request to stall the decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline. In case you need a refresher, that's the controversial pipeline everyone has been freaking out about for the past year. Some call it a job creator, while others call it a massive oil spill waiting to happen. TransCanada wanted to put off the decision until a new president was in office, but the feds said nope and then Obama rejected the entire pipeline outright. His reason? It would have undermined U.S. action on climate change. Take that, TransCanada. — CNN

More: Neil Young and Willie Nelson protest Keystone XL pipeline

4. Despicable Dallas Cowboys

Over the weekend, files from Greg Hardy's assault case were released and they're pretty horrific. The Dallas Cowboys defensive end was charged with assaulting his girlfriend last year. Photos from the files show Hardy's girlfriend with bruises all over her body and give a terrifying account of the abuse. He was convicted, but then the charges were dismissed. The Carolina Panthers opted not to bring him back this season, but the Cowboys took him on. After the files were released this weekend, many expected the 'Boys to drop Hardy, but owner Jerry Jones decided to stand by him 100 percent. Gross. — Deadspin

5. Nightmares are real

A parking lot at a Mississippi IHOP caved in on Saturday, swallowing more than a dozen cars. Witnesses reported hearing a series of booms before power went out and a 50-foot-wide hole opened up in the ground. No one was injured, unless you count the collective phobia of collapsing parking lots we're all going to have now. Engineers are still trying to figure out what happened, but say they're absolutely sure it wasn't a sinkhole that caused the collapse. That'd be reassuring if we weren't talking about a 600-foot deep, car-eating mystery cave. — USA Today

More: IHOP's new calorie bomb waffles are too good to hate

6. Deck the halls with boughs of controversy

Starbucks' holiday cup this year is plain red instead of red with little ice skates and snowflakes on it, and people are freaking the hell out. Thanks to, the cup has become the first shot in this year's pretend War On Christmas and people are going to Starbucks and ordering drinks under the name 'Merry Christmas' so employees will be forced to call it out. No, really. This is a thing people are worried about. Starbucks said the cup is plain because they strive to be inclusive, but the rest of us who aren't obligated to be nice to these people say the cup is irrelevant. Get over the cup. — Washington Post

7. It's a bird, it's a plane

On Saturday, a military exercise off the coast of Southern California had everyone thinking aliens were invading. A bright light streaked across the sky from an unarmed Trident II (D5) missile, and people immediately began uploading videos of the flash of light and freaking out about UFOs. They're not totally insane, as the light formation did look super strange. Plus, as scary as the movies make aliens seem, we all know we'd get totally excited if we actually got a visit from ET. Alas, it was just a boring old military test. Maybe next time, you guys. — Mashable

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