Skimm'd while deciding how to get involved

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NOVEMBER 28, 2017


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Skimm'd while deciding how to get involved


"Say hello and grab a doughnut" – White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, aka one of two people currently claiming to be the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Office drama never tasted so sweet.


The Story

The Supreme Court has a lot going on.

Like what?

Multiple cases with BFD consequences. Like whether a gov system meant to stop 'patent trolls' (companies that hold patents just to profit off of lawsuits) is actually violating inventors' rights. And whether the feds can track a suspected criminal's cellphone records without a warrant. And next week, the court will hear arguments over whether public businesses can refuse service to people based on religion. This is the one where the bakery owner refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

What are they scrapping?

They're not hearing a challenge to a state law banning military-style rifles, which the National Rifle Association has been pushing to overturn. They're also not interested in a challenge to put the Confederate symbol on the Mississippi state flag.


The Supremes will ring out 2017 hearing cases that have major repercussions for things like religious freedom, LGBT rights, privacy rights, and business competition. And will tip everyone off to what they're thinking, before releasing decisions next year.


What to say when you remember Prince Harry is officially taken…

Need a new game plan. So does Tumblr. Yesterday, the company's founder and CEO said he's leaving after more than ten years on the job. He says he made the decision after reflecting on his "personal ambitions"– which might be code for 'we don't have as many users as we did a few years ago.' This also comes a few months after Verizon acquired Yahoo – Tumblr's parent company. Meanwhile, Facebook is rolling out a new AI product. It's a software that can identify warning signs of users who might commit suicide. It scans Facebook posts and comments for phrases like "Are you ok?" Specially-trained Facebook employees can then reach out with resources, or even alert first responders. Thumbs up.

What to say when the sentence doesn't fit the crime…

Unjust. Yesterday, Vietnam sentenced a blogger to seven years in prison for posting about a toxic chemical spill. Last year, a Taiwan-owned steel factory in Vietnam released chemicals along the coastline, killing hundreds of tons of fish and reportedly making people sick. It was one of the country's worst environmental disasters ever. Fishermen protested for weeks over what they say was a really bad response from the local gov and the factory. Bloggers covered the protests and gov crackdown on Facebook and other online platforms. But Vietnam's communist government – which has been called out in the past for cracking down on free speech – didn't like the coverage. It arrested some of the bloggers. And earlier this year, sentenced one to a decade in prison for spreading anti-state propaganda. Now it's locking away another one.

What to say when your friend crosses a line…

Check yourself. YouTube is taking a closer look at algorithms that seem to endorse child sex abuse. This is just the latest in days of bad news for YouTube. Last week, reports revealed that users are often leaving sexualized comments on videos of children. Not only was YouTube not taking down the predatory comments, its algorithms were recommending these videos. Now, big names like Adidas and Mars have pulled their ads from the site, so they don't appear alongside them. But that's not all. Yesterday we found out that the company's search tool – which autofills searches as users type – has been recommending searches like 'how to have s*x with your kids.' YouTube is putting the brakes on these searches until it figures out WTF is going on. Good idea.

What to say when your building does a fire safety test…

Time to evacuate. A volcano in Bali might be on the verge of a major eruption. Yesterday, Indonesian officials told 100,000 people in the danger zone to get out now. They also closed the local airport because the ash is so bad. The volcano – Mount Agung – has been acting up for a week. The last time it erupted in the '60s, more than 1,000 people died. It's unclear whether it'll blow this time, or when. But people aren't waiting around to find out.

PS: Our latest Skimm Notes is on the "Ring of Fire" that Mount Agung sits on. Every week, our app goes deep on topics like this. Try it for a month on us.



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For when you want to kick off the holidays right…

Skimm HQ too. That's why we're thinking about how to give back.

For when your feed is still full of turkey pictures...

Need something new? Follow @theSkimm over here.

For when you and your parents didn't agree on your life plan…

Go see "Lady Bird." It's a new Greta Gerwig movie that has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for good reason. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll miss early '00s fashion.


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