Skimm'd after making sure Tax Day is on our calendar

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FEBRUARY 20, 2019


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Skimm'd after making sure Tax Day is on our calendar


"One: no feelings. As soon as I sense you're developing feelings, I'm going to cut it off" – Baseball pitcher Trevor Bauer's first rule of dating. Don't hate the player, just avoid them because it's 2019 and who needs this drama.


Justice Clarence Thomas

The Story

Yesterday, Justice Clarence Thomas said he wants the Supreme Court to reconsider a landmark First Amendment case.

Sounds complicated, tell me more.

This is about a 1964 ruling that made it harder for public figures to win libel suits. At the time, people were using libel lawsuits as a way to prevent news outlets from covering the civil rights movement. The ruling by the Supreme Court ended up changing libel cases to say that a public figure now has to prove the info shared about them was false, that whoever shared it did so with "actual malice," and that it harmed their reputation. This all came up because yesterday, the court rejected an appeal from an actress who sued Bill Cosby for libel – she accused him of rape in the '70s and alleged his lawyers leaked a letter to attack her. Lower courts dismissed her case, saying 'that's the cost of being a public figure.' And yesterday, the Supreme Court turned down her appeal. Thomas chimed in to say that while we're on the subject, it's maybe time to drop the 1964 ruling – calling it flawed and "policy-driven."


Thomas isn't the first Supreme Court justice to call out the 1964 ruling. But the timing has many people asking questions. That's because President Trump has been calling for an update to libel laws so outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post can be sued for what he calls "hit pieces." Leaving some to wonder if Trump had any influence on Thomas speaking up. But until other justices chime in, right now this is just a personal opinion.

The Trump administration

The Story

The Trump admin is reportedly launching a campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality around the world.

Sounds ambitious, tell me more.

More than 70 countries around the world have laws criminalizing homosexuality. Yesterday, US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell – the highest-profile openly gay appointee in Trump's admin – kicked off a campaign to end that. The US can't change laws in other countries, but will likely partner up with orgs like the UN and EU to give countries a not-so-gentle nudge to join the 21st century. However, the Trump admin isn't necessarily one to talk when it comes to LGBTQ rights (see: a policy denying visas to some same-sex couples, the transgender military ban).


The missing context here is...Iran. There was recently a reported hanging of a gay man there. And ICYMI, Iran is really high up on the Trump admin's foreign enemy list right now. Made quite evident by the US's support for Iran's rival Saudi Arabia (see below) and by Trump pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. European countries weren't too happy with the US for that move, and the admin hasn't been able to get them on board. This might be its new tactic for rallying them back on the US's side.

House Democrats

The Story

Yesterday, House Democrats dropped a report accusing the Trump admin of shady relations with Saudi Arabia.

Sounds dramatic, tell me more.

The report says that senior White House officials – like former national security adviser Michael Flynn and more recently Energy Sec Rick Perry – have pushed a project to sell nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia. And continued to do so even though there were red flags from senior officials on everything from this project potentially breaking ethics rules to threatening US national security. The committee behind this report says this effort is apparently ongoing, and the committee is now opening an official investigation.


There have been questions about the US-Saudi relationship for a while now (especially when the Trump admin didn't hold the country accountable for the Jamal Khashoggi murder). But this report accuses the admin of potentially ignoring advice from White House lawyers and even breaking the law to take the relationship to the next level. The worry being that by giving Saudi Arabia nuclear weapons technology, it adds to the potential for chaos in an already chaotic region.


What to say when your friend signs up for a marathon…

Move it like Bernie. Yesterday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said he's running for president again. Because second time's the charm. This time, it's the Dem side that's crowded – and Sanders isn't the only progressive in town. But don't count Sanders out: he apparently has more low-dollar donors than the other Dem candidates, combined. And he's a trendsetter: many Dem candidates have been following his cues on things like Medicare for all and tuition-free college. President Trump's re-election campaign is already in attack mode, calling out Sanders for identifying as a socialist – a label the Trump campaign is latching onto and comparing to the recent crisis in Venezuela. And Trump says that he thinks Sanders might have "missed his time." Speaking of things on Trump's mind, he announced yesterday that he plans to nominate longtime deputy transportation secretary Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general.

What to say when you curl up in sweatpants…

Forgive me, Karl Lagerfeld. Yesterday, the prolific designer died at age 85. Lagerfeld was born in Germany and took over as creative director of Fendi in the '60s and Chanel in the '80s. He's credited with revamping the two brands to keep them as iconic as they are today. He's also been credited with helping turn Paris into the fashion capital of the world. Non big deal. In the early '00s, he was the first designer to do a collection with H&M, bridging the gap between luxury and mass market. And he kept turning out collections at a pace no one could match. He had harsh words for sweatpants. And made controversial comments fat-shaming women, critiquing the #MeToo movement, and about migrants. It's unclear who gets custody of beloved cat Choupette – but she is reportedly "choosing to put her best paw forward."

What to say when this defamation lawsuit is making your head spin...

USA Gymnastics hopes it can flip things around. Meet Li Li Leung, its next CEO and president. For years, USA Gymnastics leadership has been in freefall ever since the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal came out (think: three CEOs in two years). Last year, it filed for bankruptcy to try to reach settlements in dozens of lawsuits. Now, Leung – a former college gymnast who's served as a veep of the NBA – is hoping to steer the org in a better direction (like avoid getting decertified from the US Olympic Committee). Her start date is next month. Speaking of people your athletic friends are talking about: Manny Machado. Yesterday it came out that the All-Star infielder landed a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres – the second-largest deal in MLB history.

What to say when you hear about how the FDA and others mishandled opioids

In better health news, a four-day work week is apparently good for you. And doesn't make you less productive. Yes, your manager probably needs to see this.

What to say when you hear it may really be over between Khloé and Tristan

You and me could write a bad romance.


Tax season: very much not over yet. One of these days (read: before April 15) you're going to need to get on that. We made a handy flowchart to help you decide whether to DIY or hire an expert to prep your tax return. Bookmark it. Read it. Be a good friend and send it to the group thread. Then decide what to do.


Spotlight on... all the ladies who inspire us. HBO is collecting real women's stories with help from theSkimm. These personal and unedited stories from all over the US will be celebrated as part of a project called The Inspiration Room.

Think: how it felt when you landed your dream job, felt the loss of a loved one, or how you decided on your maid of honor. These honest narratives will culminate into an inspiring exhibit spanning generations of women. Have a story to share or want to know more? Check it out here.