Skimm'd while snagging tickets before the crowd

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NOVEMBER 29, 2018


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Skimm'd while snagging tickets before the crowd


"You just can't have parents hanging out at the school, just watching" – Some Connecticut elementary schools are banning parents from visiting students during lunch. Ugh Dad, you're embarrassing me.


The Story

The Senate and Trump admin are at odds over Saudi Arabia.

Background, please.

This has to do with the years-long war in Yemen that's pitted the Saudi-backed gov against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. Meaning it's also a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran – two of the most powerful countries in the region. The war has killed thousands and left millions at risk of starvation. It's considered the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The two sides are scheduled to hold peace talks next month – but it's unclear how that will turn out.

How is the US involved?

The US is a longtime Saudi ally, thanks to a mix of oil (it has a ton of it), money (it invests in the US economy), and defense (it helps keep relative stability in the region). So the US has provided the country with weapons and logistical support to help fight the war in Yemen. Then...Jamal Khashoggi was murdered.

I remember.

Yup. US-Saudi relations have been on thin ice ever since he was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Lawmakers on both sides have pressured the Trump admin to punish the country for its involvement. The CIA found that the Saudi crown prince seems to have ordered Khashoggi's death. The admin issued sanctions against some Saudi suspects, but many say 'that's not enough.' Which leads us to yesterday.

What happened?

Sec of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Sec Jim Mattis briefed senators on Saudi Arabia and the war in Yemen. Pompeo and Mattis said there's no proof that the crown prince is behind Khashoggi's murder – echoing President Trump's position on all this. Senators weren't impressed, and they weren't happy that the CIA director wasn't there to brief them as well considering her dept's findings. They voted to advance a resolution that would end US involvement in the war.

So what happens next?

The Senate will debate the resolution. But even if it passes, the admin has threatened to veto it. Pompeo warned that the war there would be "a hell of a lot worse" without the US's help. And said that staying involved would help contain Iran's influence in the region.


Earlier this year, senators tried to move forward with a similar measure on the US's involvement in Yemen. It failed. Now it seems lawmakers are more willing to push back on Saudi Arabia and the Trump admin after Khashoggi's killing. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) says it's time to take a stand for "American values."


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But is she as happy as the US stock market? Yesterday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell hinted interest rate hikes might start to slow down soon, making Wall Street break open the top-shelf whiskey. Reminder: the Fed will raise or lower US interest rates as a way to keep the economy growing nice and steady. The US economy has been on the up and up recently, so the Fed did its thing: raise rates. But the stock market doesn't like higher interest rates – and President Trump wants to keep the stock market happy. Earlier this week, he said in an interview that he's "not even a little bit happy" he chose Powell to be chairman. Bold move, considering presidents don't normally comment on what the Fed does. Yesterday, Powell seemed to defend his rate hikes – and implied the economy could be ready for lower hikes soon. But don't expect that change to kick in ASAP. Powell's still expected to raise rates next month, though the hikes could slow down next year.

What's about to be on everyone's mind…

The plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein. Yesterday, the Miami Herald dropped a report on how Epstein – a billionaire accused by dozens of girls of sex trafficking and child molestation – got what looks like a reeeally light plea deal in '08. The details behind Epstein's alleged crimes – and the sentence – are shocking. But that's not the only reason people are paying attention. Epstein had friends in high places (think: President Trump and former President Bill Clinton). And the person who got him the deal was current US Labor Sec Alexander Acosta who – as part of his job – is now responsible for combatting human trafficking. As part of the deal, the feds apparently had to stop looking into this international sex ring. And any of Epstein's potential co-conspirators would automatically get immunity. Everyone wants answers on what happened.

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Brazil's also shaking things up. It's backing out of its plans to host next year's UN climate change summit. Brazil has long been a leader on the issue. It hosted a summit in the '90s that led to the UN climate convention. In the late 2000s, it set ambitious goals to stop deforestation of the Amazon and cut greenhouse gas emissions. But in recent years, it's apparently gotten soft on enforcing those regulations. Deforestation in the Amazon is on the rise. And earlier this year, the country elected a right-wing leader who's 'meh' on climate change. Now, the UN is taking applications for a new host. And Brazil's role as a climate change leader is being thrown into question.

What people are worried about…

HIV rates in Eastern Europe. A new report says they're growing at an alarming rate, especially in Russia. The main problem is a lack of prevention. Experts are recommending that governments invest more in things like needle exchange programs, and that citizens there practice safe sex.

What to say when you're looking for your next read…

Praise be.



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