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theSkimm50 West 23rd Street, Suite 5B; New York, NY, 10010, United States Update Profile

AUGUST 21, 2018


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"Two very baaaaad boys" – NYC Transit after two goats wandered onto the subway tracks. Because goats have tough commutes too.


The Story

Today, prison inmates around the country are going on strike.


For better conditions and pay. US inmates can be paid next to nothing because of some fine print in the 13th Amendment – which got rid of slavery but allows involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime. Some prisoners are paid less than a dollar an hour. This all recently came up when prisoners helped fight California's wildfires and made a couple bucks a day doing it.

So what's the plan?

To strike. Demonstrations start today and go until September 9th. Prisoners in at least 17 states could refuse to work or eat. It could end up being the biggest US prison strike. Ever.

Why now?

To coincide with the anniversary of the 1971 uprising at the Attica, NY Correctional Facility that ended in the deaths of 43 people. It also comes months after a riot at a South Carolina prison that ended with seven inmates dead and 17 injured.

What are people saying?

A spox for the protests reportedly says that other industries wouldn't run without their work. And that prisoners need to be recognized. Others reportedly argue that this is helping prisoners get working experience. And that not every state has the funding to pay up.


Inmates have 10 nationwide demands – including improving prison conditions, access to rehab programs, and getting their wages up to the local minimum wage. TBD if they get what they're asking for.


What people are doing something about...

"Silent Sam." Last night, hundreds of protesters took down the controversial statue at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. It was put up more than 100 years ago to honor soldiers that died fighting for the Confederacy. Some said 'this is an ode to history.' Others said 'it's mostly just racist.' And asked the school to take it down. Yesterday, protesters took matters into their own hands and knocked it over. The Democratic governor reportedly supported removing it, but said this wasn't the way to go about it. The university is "investigating the vandalism."

Who's making a statement…

The pope. Yesterday, Pope Francis released a letter to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics condemning the church's history of child sex abuse. This year alone, all of Chile's bishops offered to resign over their failure to stop sex abuse. An Australian archbishop was convicted of a cover-up. A DC cardinal resigned over allegations against him. And just last week, a Pennsylvania grand jury released a report saying more than 300 priests abused children for decades. Now, the pope is acknowledging the issue in a letter to all Catholics – and saying "no effort must be spared" to stop this abuse from happening. Some people are asking, 'but what are you actually doing to fix it?'

PS: This isn't the first or last time Pope Francis will make news. Our Skimm Notes (in-app audio series) goes deep on his life story. Get it here.

What to say when you move to a new apartment...

One door closes. Yesterday, Greece finished its massive, int'l bailout program. Reminder: the 2008 global financial crisis hit Greece especially hard, thanks to the country's heavy government debt. When it struggled, the rest of the eurozone said 'don't take us down with youuu.' So Europe and the IMF gave Greece an assist in the form of hundreds of billions of dollars of bailout money. The third (and final) phase ended yesterday. But the country isn't in the clear. Over a third of people there are reportedly near the poverty line and more than a fifth haven't been able to afford basics like rent or electricity. The economy is growing – but the country is expected to take decades to pay back all of its EU debt.

What people are watching…

Flint. Yesterday, a judge ruled that Michigan's health director has to stand trial on manslaughter charges. Yes, this has to do with the Flint water crisis – when the city used a contaminated river as its main water source back in 2014. Since then, 90 people got sick – and at least a dozen died – from a bacterial disease called Legionnaires. More than a dozen gov officials have been charged with crimes linked to the crisis. Now, this health director is the highest-ranking official to face charges yet. He's accused of involuntary manslaughter in two deaths for not issuing an alert to the public earlier. He says he did nothing wrong.

What to say when your SO goes all out for your bday...

You like me, you really like me. Almost as much as PepsiCo likes SodaStream. Yesterday, the co said it's buying up the seltzer maker for $3.2 billion. Put down your LaCroix and try to guess why. In the past five years, seltzer sales have jumped more than 40%. And cos are buying them up to stay competitive. Now PepsiCo is going all-in on SodaStream – the DIY bubbly water company. This is one of CEO Indra Nooyi's many moves to get the co on more of a health kick – and one of her last before she signs off as CEO later this year.

What to say when your high school crush reaches out...

The rest is being written. "The Hills" is coming back. Clear your cal.