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OCTOBER 16, 2018


Issues to Know

Skimm'd in Shondaland where there are no excuses


"Sorry to disappoint those of you who were hoping to attend" – The State Dept, rolling back an accidental invite to a 'cat pyjama-jam' party. We're all feline a little disappointed.


The Story

Saudi Arabia might be ready to talk.


Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who went missing two weeks ago after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say the Saudi gov ordered a hit team to kill and dismember him. This isn't just freaky – it's a diplomatic crisis.

Isn't repression on-brand for Saudi Arabia?

Yes – but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is dialing it up to 100. Last year, he was feeling insecure about his hold on power. He arrested hundreds of people as part of a crackdown on alleged corruption. He also let women start driving…but arrested several female activists. There was outcry in both cases, but nothing like what's happening now.


Yup. Turkey – who isn't one to talk about press freedom – has been asking for access to the consulate so it could investigate. At first, Saudi Arabia denied everything – and promised to let officials in. It followed through yesterday, but not before a cleaning crew got first dibs. Now, the kingdom apparently realizes no one is buying its story and might be ready to talk. But it's apparently going to claim that his death was an accident. It also may or may not claim that rogue operatives were just trying to kidnap him and send him back to Saudi Arabia. And that things went wrong in the interrogation. Then how do you explain the bone saw?

What happens next?

Consequences…or not. Over the weekend, President Trump said that if Saudi Arabia is responsible, there will be "severe punishment." But he also downplayed things yesterday, saying it could be the act of "rogue killers." Wonder where he got that from. He's also made it clear he doesn't want to risk that sweet, sweet Saudi money – and sent Sec of State Mike Pompeo there to get to the bottom of things.

Anything else?

This also comes as Saudi Arabia is set to host its second "Davos in the Desert" investment conference. But now some CEOs are RSVP'ing 'hard pass.'


Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance has launched an international crisis. If the Saudi gov admits he was killed under its watch, it could seriously strain a US-Saudi relationship the Trump admin has been working hard to build. Or not.


What people are watching...

Myanmar. Always. A new report claims that members of Myanmar's military used Facebook to spread propaganda. Myanmar has been in the news recently because of the Rohingya crisis. Rohingya: a Muslim minority group in Myanmar. The crisis started last year when a Rohingya militant group attacked security forces there. The military responded by killing thousands of Rohingya, burning entire villages, and raping women. Hundreds of thousands have fled to neighboring Bangladesh. Now, we're finding out that for years, the military apparently used Facebook as a tool to spread negative sentiments about the Rohingya. Facebook says it removed a number of those accounts, and that it'll continue to "investigate and take action." Good idea. This is reportedly one of the first times an authoritarian gov has used social media against its own people.

What to say when you're wondering why you keep getting alerts about Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)…

She's not running for president. Yet. But she wants you to know that she took a DNA test and there's "strong evidence" she has some Native American ancestry. Nothing says 'slow news day' like a senator releasing her DNA test results. President Trump has called her "Pocahontas" and questioned the authenticity of her heritage. His response to the results: "who cares?" Here's something he prob cares about. A federal judge dropped Stormy Daniels' defamation lawsuit against him. And ordered her to pay Trump's legal fees. Probably not the ending she was hoping for. Also on the prez's mind: Hurricane Michael. Yesterday, Trump visited Florida and Georgia, two states where the hurricane hit last week. At least 19 people were killed, and dozens more are still missing. Hundreds of thousands of people still don't have power. Here's how you can help.

Who people are remembering…

Paul Allen. Yesterday, the Microsoft co-founder passed away at age 65. He and Bill Gates were childhood friends and founded the tech giant back in 1975. Allen was also a philanthropist and owned two sports teams. Earlier this month, he announced that he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for the second time. He died from complications from the disease. RIP.

What to say to your friend who's been taking Oktoberfest seriously…

Fill up that beer stein while you can. A new study says climate change could affect barley around the world, and lead to beer shortages. We could use a (c)hug.

What to say when you move into new digs with your SO…

You're on bathroom cleanup and cat duty.


If you're out of town on Election Day, or not sure where your polling location is, or have something better to do on a random Tuesday in November...we've heard your excuses. And our friends at Shondaland are here to debunk them. One. By. One.

And if some of your excuses involve not knowing about the issues at stake, we've got you covered. Read up here to go to the polls feeling informed. Because the people you vote for represent you, and the things that matter to you. Remember that. And remember to vote on November 6th.


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