Skimm'd with headphones on

theSkimm50 West 23rd Street, Suite 5B; New York, NY, 10010, United States Update Profile

AUGUST 16, 2019



Skimm'd with headphones on


"We caught a whiff of that familiar pumpkin spice scent" – Pumpkin Spice Spam is a real thing. Can we all just calm down and enjoy the last days of summer?


The Story

Yesterday, Israel barred Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) from entering the country. Now it's sort of backing down on that.

Why bar them in the first place?

Omar and Tlaib are the first two Muslim women in Congress. Both are outspoken critics of President Trump, who has previously criticized them and was called out for using racist and xenophobic language to do so. Omar and Tlaib have also been vocal in their support of the Palestinians and the movement to boycott Israel.

Quick Skimm on the movement, please and thank you.

It's formally known as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. Its goal is to end international support for Israel because of its policies toward the Palestinians and also because of Israel's West Bank settlements – something considered a violation of international law. Just last month, the House overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning this movement.

Ok, caught up. Keep going...

The two freshmen Democrats were supposed to arrive this weekend for a days-long tour. They were planning to visit Jerusalem and several West Bank cities. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who visited this month, asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to let Omar and Tlaib into the country. And while Israeli officials were still figuring out how to handle the trip, Trump took matters into his own hands.

Sensing there was a tweet.

How'd you guess? Yesterday, he took to Twitter to say that "it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit," and doubled down by saying that the two hate Israel.

And then Israel…

Blocked their planned visit. Netanyahu said the purpose of Omar and Tlaib's trip was "to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel's legitimacy." But earlier today, Israel said Tlaib can enter the West Bank on humanitarian grounds to see her grandmother.

How did people react?

Omar called the initial decision to ban them "an insult to democratic values," and added that as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, it's her job "to conduct oversight on foreign aid." Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called it "a sign of weakness." Some Republicans also criticized yesterday's move. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called it a "mistake" but said it also plays into the congresswomen's hands "to bolster their attacks against the Jewish state."


There are two things at play here that are unusual: An ally of the US had blocked two elected members of Congress from entering its country. And the US president used his relationship with Israel to punish his political opponents. This could create further tensions between the White House and the Democratic Party, and could potentially impact the US-Israel relationship down the road.


What's feeling the heat…

General Electric. Yesterday, a whistleblower – who pointed out Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme that imploded in 2008 – accused GE of accounting fraud. He said the company is hiding $38 billion in losses, aka 40% of its market value. And called it "a bigger fraud than Enron." (For reference: Enron declared bankruptcy in 2001 after it came out that the company had inflated its earnings.) After the whistleblower's report about GE dropped, its shares took a nosedive. GE denies the allegations.

  • Not a good 2019: Earlier this year, after more than a century in the Dow Jones, GE lost its spot in the 30-stock index. That's because the company has been on the struggle bus recently (think: dealing with losing cash money, cutting thousands of jobs). You can probably imagine this report isn't helping.

Who's calling up their lawyer ASAP...

Actor Danny Masterson. Earlier this week, four women – who have previously accused Masterson of sexual assault – filed a lawsuit against him, the Church of Scientology (of which he's a member), and its leader. You know Masterson as Hyde in "That '70s Show." In 2017, he was dropped from the Netflix series "The Ranch" after the allegations came to light. Now, his four accusers say the church was involved in an effort to silence them by causing them emotional distress. And that it carried out a conspiracy to cover up the actor's alleged actions. Masterson has repeatedly denied the allegations and called the lawsuit "beyond ridiculous."

Who's singing 'so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye'...

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. Polling quite low in an already crowded Dem field, he said yesterday 'I'll take the hint' and ended his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Hold back your tears, he's playing around with a possible Senate run.

Skimm More: Read up on the million (or so) people vying to be our next president.

What piece of real estate everyone is talking about...

Greenland. Seriously. President Trump has been floating the idea of buying it from the Danish government. Name a more random thing you've read today. We'll wait.

Who's not backing down on fighting for equal pay…

Megan Rapinoe.

When the wind is to blame for your bad hair day…

This reporter understands.


"The Turn of the Key" by Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware – one of our favorite thriller writers – is bringing down the house. This one's about a smart house that turns scary very quickly when a new nanny comes to work there...and a child gets murdered. Maybe don't read it alone in a house but do read it for a fast-paced ride.

PS: Want more reads recommendations? We've got you covered. Here's the official Skimm Reads archive plus picks for whatever mood you're in. Think: thrillers to keep you on your toes, and memoirs for when you want to keep it real. Check them out here.


Fun story: college is expensive. But you knew that. How it got that way is more complicated. In honor of freshly-sharpened-pencil season on the horizon, we Skimm'd the backstory of US colleges and their enormous price tags. Check out a preview of our newest Guide on College costs: What drives the problem.


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For when someone doesn't believe you can do it…

Prove them wrong. Get pointers from Ann Curry, award-winning journalist and our recent "Skimm'd From The Couch" guest. In this episode, sponsored by AC Hotels by Marriott, she tells us where she got her grit, what drives her, and how she's dealt with setbacks. Tune in.*

*PS This is a sponsored post, which means if you purchase, theSkimm may get something in return. Thanks.


Popping champagne for…Janey B (MI). She's the first undergraduate from her alma mater to win a Fulbright grant. She's currently living in Andahuaylas, Peru, teaching university and elementary English classes. And Rachel M, MD (TX). She's the first female general thoracic surgeon to join Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons since the group's founding in 1958. She's also the first female general thoracic surgeon in Austin, Texas.

(Some) Birthdays…theSkimm's Kitana Aviles (NY), Scott Kelrick (CA), Nancy Fiori (IL), Crystal Spaeth (IL), Nicki Harris (FL), Alex Miller (NY), Caitlin O'Shaughnessy (NY), Boone Foley (CA), Angela Micheli (IL), Jerran Orwig (OH), Julia MacLean (MO), Brielle Melillo (NJ), Kristen Webb (TN), Hannah Wimmer (GA), Amanda Hawkins (OK)

*Paging all members of theSkimm. Reach out here for a chance to be featured.