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Kathryn Smith hired as NFL’s first full-time female coach & more headlines

It’s Thursday! Only one day to the weekend, so start making all your fun plans (which, if you’re on the East Coast, might include a little snow shoveling). But first wake up with these news headlines. 

1. Glass gridiron

Good news, sports fans: The Buffalo Bills have hired Kathryn Smith to be an assistant coach, which makes her the first full-time female assistant in NFL history. Smith worked for head coach Rex Ryan when he was the coach of the Jets; she started as an intern for that team, then was an admin assistant and followed Ryan when he moved to the Bills. He said in a statement that she deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and commitment. You go, girl! — Slate

2. Cold war games

A U.K. inquiry has determined that Vladimir Putin likely approved the murder of a former FSB spy who had been living in London. The judge concluded that two Russian officials, acting on Russian spy service orders, poisoned Alexander Litvinenko with highly radioactive polonium-210 in 2006. His widow said that since he’d left Russia, he’d been working for Britain’s security services. Litvinenko said there was no such thing as a “former” KGB operative. Just when you thought you were out, they… murder you? — CNN

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3. Storm warning

Your shovel has a name and it’s Jonah. Winter Storm Jonah, that is, which is set to dump up to two feet of snow on the East Coast from tomorrow to Sunday. This is the first big storm of the season, so I guess we should all feel lucky we’ve escaped driveway-clearing so far, but um, well, no. You know the drill: Stock up on cocoa, check on your neighbors and don’t try to drive anywhere. — Yahoo News

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4. Say what?

A veterans’ group has scolded Sarah Palin for her remarks blaming President Obama for her son’s domestic violence arrest. Confused? OK: On Monday, Palin’s son Track, a veteran, was arrested on domestic violence charges. On Tuesday, Palin endorsed Donald Trump for president and took the opportunity to address her son’s headline-grabbing arrest: Essentially, Track is suffering from PTSD, and that’s why he’s violent, and it’s Obama’s fault because he doesn’t respect veterans. Paul Rieckhoff, the head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said that PTSD is too big a problem to blame on any one person in particular and that he would hate to see the issue become a political football. Wait, has Rieckhoff ever met a politician? — NBC News

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5. Don’t drink the water

Officials in Flint, Michigan, initially brushed off residents’ fears about their drinking water, according to 274 pages of emails released by the governor’s office on Wednesday. One official belittled the residents’ worries, calling them an “anti-everything” group. The emails are a clear record of the residents’ increasing concerns and the growing irritation on the part of officials that the people wouldn’t believe their reassurances. One even put scare quotes around the data — “data” — that a pediatrician produced. Totally servants of the people, right? — The New York Times

6. Er, kind of hand-wavy

An investigative report from the Cleveland Scene says that the grand jury never actually voted on whether to indict the officers in the Tamir Rice case. Wait, what? Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty, in his press conference on Dec. 28, said that the grand jury had “declined to indict” the officers, implying that the members of the grand jury had voted that way. But reporters for the Scene found no record of a vote. What this means for the Rice case isn’t totally clear yet, but it’s definitely enough for a John Grisham novel. — Slate

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