Skimm'd while picking up last-minute V-Day gifts

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FEBRUARY 14, 2019


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Skimm'd while picking up last-minute V-Day gifts


"Did you meet any of the real stars" – Michelle Obama's mom on her Grammys appearance. Way harsh, Mom.


The Story

A lot went down yesterday between the US and Iran.

Like what?

SpyingThe Justice Dept has charged a former US intelligence officer with spying for Iran. The officer allegedly helped hackers create fake Facebook accounts, and used them to catfish her old co-workers in the US intel community. The goal: to install malware so Iran could track their computer activity and cameras. She also allegedly tipped Iran off to details of a classified US Defense program.

Proxy wars...Yesterday, the House voted to end US military support for Yemen's civil war. It's seen as a proxy war between regional rivals Saudi Arabia (which the US supports) and Iran. The war has led to the world's worst humanitarian crisis including a deadly cholera outbreak and mass starvation. Lawmakers have been pressing President Trump to end US support. But Trump has been doubling down on the US's relationship with Saudi Arabia as a way to keep Iran at bay. If this passes in the Senate, it goes to Trump – who could veto it.

Bombing accusations...Yesterday, a suicide bomber killed at least 27 people in Iran's military force – reportedly one of the deadliest attacks there in years. An al-Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility. But Iran is trying to pit this on the US, pointing to the fact that the bombing happened the same day the US is leading a conference in Europe about the Middle East.

I must have misread. Did you say Iran is linking a suicide bombing to…a conference?

Correct. Officials from dozens of countries are in Poland to talk about Iran. And other topics relevant to the Middle East, like fighting ISIS, the wars in Yemen and Syria, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But mostly Iran. Iran says the fact that the US is co-hosting this conference at the same time as this bombing seems suspicious.

Still not getting the bombing connection.

Iran's beef with the US goes back decades to when the US helped overthrow Iran's gov. The US accuses Iran of sponsoring terrorism, buddying up with bad actors like Syria's Bashar al-Assad, and threatening US allies in the region like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Last year, President Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal – saying the deal doesn't do enough to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And just yesterday, a report came out that the US is secretly working to stop Iran from building up its missile program. There's exactly zero trust between the two. But no – there's no evidence to Iran's claim that the US was involved in yesterday's deadly bombing.


There's fault lines going down in the Middle East and you need to know about them. Because the beef between various players – especially with Iran – are playing out in wars, sanctions, and threats that affect millions of people. And they could keep escalating.


What to say when you hear the national debt is bigger than ever before

So is Google's footprint. Yesterday, the tech giant said it's investing $13 billion in new offices and data centers around the US. The company says it'll be able to add tens of thousands of jobs with the new digs. This all comes a couple months after the company announced it's opening a $1 billion campus in NYC. Speaking of things branching out...the Vatican. It's reportedly teaming up with Microsoft to award close to $7,000 for a great dissertation on AI ethics (AI, so hot right now). Heads up to whoever wins that prize: don't give it away to your new online fling. The Federal Trade Commission says that Americans lost more than $140 million in relationship scams last year. Happy Valentine's Day.

PS: GV (formerly Google Ventures) is a minority investor in theSkimm.

Who's getting a second look…

The Covington Catholic High School students. The viral video of them (many in MAGA hats) and their interaction with a Native American activist was all over your news feed last month. Many accused the students (and one teen in particular) of taunting the activist. But the situation turned out to be more complicated than the initial video showed. This week, investigators hired by the local diocese released a report that said that after reviewing hours of video and interviewing some of the people involved, it found no evidence that students used "racist or offensive statements."

What people are thinking about today...

The one-year anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL that killed 17 people. March for Our Lives – the movement the survivors started to push for stronger gun control legislation – will go dark on social media today to honor the victims. And Florida's governor ordered state flags to be flown at half-staff.

What to say when you finally finish that crossword puzzle…

I'm done. So is FEMA Administrator Brock Long – yesterday, he said he's resigning. Brock led the agency during some of the worst natural disasters in US history, like the Camp Fire in California and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. He was criticized for FEMA's slow response to Maria, where thousands of people died. And for using gov vehicles for personal use. Brock said it was "a great honor to serve our country."

Who people are talking about...

Singer-songwriter and seven-time Grammy nominee Ryan Adams. Yesterday, a report came out with seven women – including his ex-wife Mandy Moore – accusing him of manipulative behavior and sexual misconduct. Things ranging from emotional and verbal abuse to sexting with an underage girl. Adams apologized for some of the behavior. But denied that he knowingly had a sexual relationship with an underage girl.

What to say when you hear Joe Flacco is saying goodbye to the Baltimore Ravens

NASA is saying goodbye to its Mars rover Opportunity. Yesterday, the agency declared it dead. Opportunity had been on the red planet since 2004, and collected important evidence – like that there was once water there. It had been silent since a dust storm there last summer. NASA says it's "hard and very poignant" to say goodbye.

What to say after watching the "Frozen 2" trailer...

The cold never bothered me anyway. The Oscars, however...

Black History Month

Lisa Borders

She's the first president and CEO of Time's Up. The women's defense fund has raised more than $22 million since it started last year, and works to help provide legal support for thousands of women and men who've come forward as survivors of harassment.

Make sure you know about Borders and other black leaders championing today's biggest issues.


For when you're getting gifts for V-Day...

Get one for your wallet, too. Meet Bank of America's new Cash Rewards card. It lets you pick what you want to earn cash back on. That includes categories like online shopping and drug stores (where you're probably getting that last-minute gift). A perfect match.*

For when you're not in love with what you do...

You're not alone. This free livestream can help you figure out what makes you happy in your career, and strategize the next steps to get you there. Go for it.

For when your Valentine's Day isn't as romantic as you'd hoped...

Amber Venz Box knows how it is. She started her company RewardStyle with her then-boyfriend, now-husband. And this week on "Skimm'd from the Couch," she gets real about what it's like to build a business with your SO. Listen here.

*PS This is a sponsored post.


Spotlight on…Chandra F (GA). Earlier this week, she testified in front of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. The hearing was about climate change and energy transition. You should have seen the energy in that room.

Chilling champagne for…Sarah Elizabeth B (GA), who finished her first marathon. And for Lauren K (NY), who published her first book of recipes. Congrats, ladies.

(Some) Birthdays…Danielle King (PA), Catherine Metzgar (IL), Cerille Avetria (NJ), Chantel Crawford (VT), Saachi Hingorani (GA), Sarah Crow (OH), Doug Brill (CT), Emily Council (MN), Gary Gingerich (Fl), Rosina Comunale (MO), Brooke Sterling (FL), Martha Savory (WI), Peter Lesnik (CA)

*Welcome to a new section we're testing with members of theSkimm. Want to take it to the next level? Reach out here for a chance to be featured.