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"Zoom towns" – Vacation towns that are booming as more people Work From Anywhere. Because we'd all like for emails to 'find us well' on a beach instead of our couch.

Inmate Firefighters

The Story

As wildfires in California rage on, some inmates have come to help.


Yup. Since the 1940s, California has used prison labor to fight wildfires, with inmates risking their lives on the front lines of the blazes. This year, the state's wildfires have already burned a record 2 million acres, killed eight people, and destroyed over 3,300 buildings – and wildfire season could still last for months. Now, hundreds of inmates have been called in again to help the state as it deals with more than two dozen fires. But the practice doesn't come without controversy.

Go on.

One issue is COVID-19. Many inmate firefighters were released early under a program to help curb outbreaks in prisons. Others reportedly became infected or were forced to quarantine. Overall, the number of inmate firefighters able to help this year was cut in half. Another issue? Inmates get minimal to no payment. We're talking three to five dollars a day for those helping with things like clearing brush – and an extra dollar an hour for those in front of the flames. And despite risking their lives to save others and learning the art of the trade, these inmates typically can't become firefighters after they serve their sentences. The reason: their criminal records.

Is that ever going to change?

State lawmakers are on it. Last week, the state legislature passed a bill to give nonviolent offenders who've helped fight fires as inmates the opportunity to have their records expunged so they can become firefighters. The California assemblywoman who introduced the bill said, "those that have served on the fire lines deserve a second chance." Now, the bill heads to the governor's desk for his signature.


For years, CA inmates have found themselves on the front lines of some of the worst fires in history. And have helped protect people and homes in California. Now – as hundreds step up once again to fight these deadly fires – they could be granted a second chance at a career and life.

And Also...This

Who people are thinking about...

The Rohingya. Yesterday, the New York Times reported the first documented confession of crimes against Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar soldiers. Reminder: The Rohingya are a minority group that have lived in Buddhist-majority Myanmar for generations. In 2017, a military crackdown killed an estimated 6,700 Rohingya and forced over 700,000 others to flee to Bangladesh, where they remain out of fear for their safety. Myanmar's government has repeatedly denied its involvement in a genocidal campaign. But two soldiers who've deserted the military reportedly gave a video testimony of their crimes, detailing massacres and rapes and saying they were ordered to "shoot all you see and all you hear." Now, the report could be used as evidence of crimes against humanity.

  • Loaded evidence: Earlier this year, the UN's highest court ordered Myanmar to take measures to prevent genocide of Rohingya Muslims. Meanwhile, the country is facing a separate investigation of genocide by the International Criminal Court.

Who's got (safe) vaccines on the mind...

AstraZeneca. Yesterday, the pharma giant paused global trials of its COVID-19 vaccine that was developed with Oxford University. The reason: one of the volunteers in a late-stage clinical trial in the UK suffered an "unexplained illness." The person is reportedly expected to recover. Now, the company will pause all trials while it investigates the safety of its vaccine.

  • Perfect timing: Yesterday, AstraZeneca and eight other drug companies took a safety pledge, promising their experimental COVID-19 vaccines will follow...wait for The pledge came amid concerns that a vaccine would be handed out before it was ready.

Who's looking to take matters into its own hands…

The DOJ. Yesterday, it filed court papers to take over as President Trump's defense team in a defamation lawsuit filed by a woman who accused Trump of sexual assault. Last year, journalist E Jean Carroll claimed Trump raped her at a department store in the '90s. Trump denied that – saying he never met her and that she was using the publicity to sell a book. Carroll then sued, saying Trump's comments hurt her reputation and career. Now, the DOJ wants to move the case to federal court and replace the president's lawyers with those who work for the government. Critics say the department is acting in favor of Trump's personal interests. But the DOJ is saying 'read the fine print.' If a federal judge rules in the DOJ's favor, it could delay or end the suit. And it could mean US taxpayers would have to pay any damages awarded in the case.

Where there's been a shakeup...

Rochester, New York. Yesterday, the city's police chief resigned amid criticism surrounding the death of Daniel Prude. Last week, the 41-year-old Black man's family released a video of his March arrest, showing officers putting a hood over his head and restraining him. Prude later died at a hospital and his death was ruled a homicide. The video ignited protests and led to the suspension of seven officers. The NY attorney general also said a grand jury will investigate. Now, the city's police chief said he's stepping down because of "the mischaracterization and the politicization" of the department's actions. The deputy chief and entire command staff also resigned. The officers will reportedly keep their pensions and health benefits.

What's facing backlash (again)…


What's got people saying 'Bible, it's the end of an era'...



COVID-19 has had a big impact on women—and their finances. So for the next few weeks, we're partnering with Northwestern Mutual to talk about it. And more importantly, talk about how to come out of this even stronger. Let's get into it...

Here's a hard truth: although women make up less than half of the overall workforce, over 60% of the jobs eliminated in the beginning of the pandemic (aka in April) were held by women. With women of color disproportionately affected.

A big reason for that? Women tend to work lower income, part-time jobs. Aka the kind that were hit hardest during the pandemic. And even as things start to look up overall (hi, 1.4 million jobs added to the US economy in August), women continue to face a higher level of unemployment than men.

The good news? There's all kinds of help. Starting with the financial advisors at Northwestern Mutual. They'll answer all your questions in a non-judgy and non-jargony way. Even better, their advisors will think of all the what-ifs, so you can focus on what's next. Sound good? Get started.


If your 9 to 5 has become your 9 to 7...or 8 or 9, shut it down. Literally. Log off at the same time every day. It'll help you set clear boundaries so that work from home doesn't also become work from bed. Get more tips for refreshing your WFH routine here.


Here are our favorite picks to help you take a break today...

1. 12 products that'll actually keep your plants alive. Congrats on the (green) baby. Now help it grow with watering globes, nutrient-packed food, and bug sticky traps. We're rooting for you.

2. Egg recipes for every meal. There are two types of people in this world. Those who only eat breakfast in the morning. And those who actually know what's up. No matter who you are, these egg-cellent ideas have you covered.

3. 50 true-crime pods to download. It's time for spooky vibes and murder mysteries. Just don't listen before bed.

PS: Want more? Sign up to get weekly recs in your inbox.


For when you've been on vacation from your skin routine…

Back at it again. First Aid Beauty's FAB AID 101 Kit has you covered. It includes some of their top products like Ultra Repair Cream and KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub. Plus, 10% of sales go toward helping relieve student loan debt. So you and your skin can feel good. Save your skin.*

For when you think sandwiches are the best thing since sliced bread…

They just got even better. Turkey cold cuts from today's sponsor Oscar Mayer Natural have no antibiotics, no artificial ingredients, and no added nitrates or nitrites. Talk about the perfect sando. Go get it.*

For when you wanted to be a ballerina as a kid…

Time to live the dream. This luxury sleepwear brand has a new collection inspired by the movement of dance. Aka it's perfect for dancing in your living room. Psst...Skimmr's get $20 off. Check it out.*

For when you're looking to cut back on soda…

Try this company's fizzy prebiotic tonics instead. They have nine grams of fiber and no more than five grams of sugar per can. And their top-selling variety pack lets you try six of their delicious flavors, all of which support digestive health. PS: Skimm'rs get 15% off at checkout. Drink up.*

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


In times like these, community matters more than ever. Let us know how you (or someone you know) is making an impact by helping others.

Dancing for a cause...Carly S (DE). She's part of UDance, a student-run org at the University of Delaware that raises funds and awareness for the fight against childhood cancer. It hosts a dance marathon every spring to help raise money. Tap into it here.

Weathering the storm with...Sarah J H (LA). She founded the Foot Above Foundation, which provides aid to those who've suffered catastrophic loss due to natural disasters. The org's currently helping those affected by Hurricane Laura. Donate here.

(Some) Birthdays...theSkimm's Ellen Burke (NY), Abbi Neuthaler (NY), Amy Freeman (OR), Megas Spencer (WA), Renée Weingard (IL), Colleen Carr (OH), Kaitlyn Peter (MO), Meredith Dornan (GA), Jasmine Hattabaugh (AR), Rachel Krantz (KS), Krista Keogh (CO), Cameron Kalunian (CA), Emily Peotto (CAN), Ashley Maier (MI), Sue Elsass (NH)

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

Skimm’d by Maria del Carmen Corpus, Mariza Smajlaj, Ellen Burke, Niven McCall-Mazza, and Clem Robineau