Skimm'd while paying the bill (and earning cash back on it)

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FEBRUARY 13, 2019


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Skimm'd while paying the bill (and earning cash back on it)


"To air is human" – Elon Musk on Tesla's fart app. He went for the pun and he didn't blow it.


Catalan separatists

The Story

Spain is having its trial of the century.

Alright. I'm listening.

On trial: a dozen politicians and activists who organized the 2017 Catalan independence referendum.

I'm blanking. Can you remind me about that?

For years, Catalans have been split about whether the semi-autonomous region should break off from the rest of Spain. The push to leave ramped up because of the 2008 financial crisis – and many in the wealthy region felt it was bringing in a major part of the country's cash flow. Catalans voted to leave, but Spain said the vote violated the constitution. It dissolved the local gov and many Catalan leaders fled. Now, Spain's holding a trial against the main people in charge of the vote who stayed behind, accusing them of things like rebellion and sedition. Catalonia's former VP faces up to 25 years in prison.

So are Catalans' independence dreams dead?

That's what this trial could help determine. What it's showing though, is how much the country is divided over it. Yesterday, protests broke out on both sides. Those supporting Spain say the 2017 referendum was pretty much an attempted coup. Those supporting Catalonia say those on trial are "political prisoners" fighting for basic rights like freedom of expression and the right to vote.


This case is expected to last for a few months. Depending on how the judges rule, it could lead to another independence referendum. And an independent Catalonia could mean a cash-deprived Spain. It could also set a precedent for other places that could attempt their own separatist movements in the EU.

El Chapo

The Story

Yesterday, Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán was found guilty of a major drug smuggling operation.

Who's that again?

He ran the world's largest drug cartel – the Sinaloa cartel – for decades. El Chapo (translation: shorty) helped the cartel make billions by smuggling drugs like cocaine, heroin, and weed into the US. He's been called the world's most wanted drug lord. A couple years ago, El Chapo was captured and extradited to the US. He's been on trial in New York since late last year. And yesterday, the jury said 'we have a verdict.'

I would ask what it is, but you already said guilty.

Fair. But here's some more info: he was found guilty on all 10 counts for charges like drug trafficking and conspiring to commit murder. A guilty verdict was expected. But it took the jury six days to come up with it, which had a few people nervous. He's expected to be sentenced in June, and is facing a lifetime behind bars. And expect for security to watch him like a hawk once he is behind bars – he's already escaped prison twice before.


This is considered a major win for US law enforcement. And justice for anyone who's been affected by El Chapo's trail of drugs and violence. But just because the drug lord is expected to be put away for a long time, doesn't mean things end there. The Sinaloa cartel still remains the most powerful in the world.

Skimm More: Listen to our app's audio ep on how El Chapo became one of the world's top drug lords.


What to say when your patience has reached its limit...

I've hit a wall. But apparently not President Trump's border wall. Yesterday, Trump said he's "not happy" about the bipartisan agreement to set aside $1.375 billion on border security – rather than the $5.7 billion he asked for to build a wall. Trump's still hinting he may declare a national emergency to get the wall built. But he says a gov shutdown (which would have taken effect on Friday at midnight) isn't likely right now. The details of the deal still need to be worked out. But the House is expected to release the text of the bill and vote on it as soon as today. Speaking of DC talkers, the Green New Deal. Yesterday, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he'll bring the progressive bill on climate change to a vote. Chances of it passing: slim to none, heavy on the none. But it looks like McConnell wants to get Dems on record about whether they agree with the plan as a tactic for 2020.

What people are watching…

Tennessee. Last week, lawmakers there reintroduced a bill to ignore the Supreme Court's 2015 decision legalizing gay marriage. If passed, the bill would consider that ruling "unauthoritative, void, and of no effect." And prohibit gov officials from facilitating same-sex marriages. Lawmakers have voted on this before, and it failed. But some LGBTQ advocates are worried it could pass this time around, reportedly arguing that there's still some prejudice in the state.

What people are discouraged by…

This report on police shootings. In recent years, The Washington Post has been tracking the number of people killed by police in the US. Yesterday, it said that the number has stayed steady at almost 1,000 people killed each year. Meaning things like police reforms and public attention on the issue aren't having much of an effect. One potential reason: police shootings are statistically rare compared to the millions of interactions police have with civilians – and apparently that makes them hard to prevent. But some experts say that if there were fewer civilians with guns, we might see a decline.

What to say when you're feeling relieved...

So is 21 Savage. Today, the UK-born rapper is expected to be released on bond after more than a week in ICE custody for allegedly overstaying his visa. His application for a new visa is apparently pending. And he could still face deportation. But Jay-Z's got his back – and hired a lawyer to help him out.

What to say when you see that Esquire is facing backlash over its cover

Yale University is also in the hot seat. Three women there are suing the school to get them to regulate fraternities and put a stop to the sexual harassment they say happens there. They're also calling on Yale to end what they see as gender discrimination in the frats by making them accept women. Yale isn't commenting on the suit. A lawyer for the frats called the claims "baseless and unfounded."

What to say when you're feeling extra chipper on your way to work...

Good morning, my neighbors.

How to Skimm Your Life

Syrah vs. Petite Sirah: Same pronunciation (sear-ah), different grape. Both are full-bodied red wines. Both pair well with Valentine's Day. But a Petite Sirah wine is bolder, darker, and more intense than a Syrah. Heavy pour ahead.

PS: Want more tips like this? Our new book, How to Skimm Your Life, lets you in on secrets that make your life smarter. That includes everything from investing, to writing a standout résumé, to traveling on a budget...and knowing more about wine. Pre-order here. Because wine not?


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Raise a glass to…Erik P (CA), who read 100 books in less than a year. And to Misty K (MA). The book she co-authored was featured in Food & Wine Magazine.

Round of applause for…Kasey R (TX). She was selected to be the only woman on an all-male executive team for an equity firm. And to Olivia R (NV). She and her husband quit their 9-5 jobs and are planning to travel around the US and Canada.

(Some) Birthdays…Tara Flocco (IL), Anna-Elyse Lewis (SC), Candace Easton (NY), Hollie Amato (OH), Chris Denison (ON), Elaine Wernsdorfer (PA), Elizabeth Cincotta (MA), Vito J Altieri (CA), Sydney Ragon (AR), Taylor Clark (NY), Jody Gallo (NY)

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