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Skimm'd while giving the gift of cozy

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"Bacon & Kegs" – Waffle House's bacon-infused beer. The holiday brunch we've all been waiting for.

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The Story

President Trump is withdrawing thousands of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Didn't that already happen?

Yes, we mean more. Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced the decision yesterday, nearly a week after taking Mark Esper's job. President Trump had long promised to end the US's 19-year presence in Afghanistan. Last year, he ordered a troop withdrawal from northern Syria. Now, his admin's saying it will reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq down to 2,500 (each). This is all expected to happen by Jan. 15 – just five days before Trump's term ends.

What does all this mean?

The remaining military troops will stay in the area to protect American diplomats and government facilities (like embassies). They'll also keep boots on the ground to deter foes. A senior defense official said that the decision was "collaborative." And is part of the peace deal the US signed with the Taliban earlier this year. Reminder: Under the agreement, the US said it would withdraw forces from the region if the Taliban fulfilled its end of the bargain – which included halting violence and cutting ties with terror groups like al-Qaeda. But that hasn't happened. So people have thoughts on the US's decision.

Let's hear them.

For months, the US has been trying to broker a peace deal between the Taliban and the Afghan gov. But since the Taliban has stepped up attacks, those peace talks could be left up in the air. And the US troops' withdrawal may not help. Afghanistan's acting defense minister has reportedly said the country's ready to defend itself "independently." But some US security officials aren't too happy. Before getting fired, Esper sent a classified memo saying that the conditions for withdrawal had not been met. And that it was the unanimous recommendation of the chain of command to hold off. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also worried the decision was premature and could "hurt our allies and delight the people who wish us harm."


President Trump has promised to bring troops home to their families as part of ending "endless wars" in the region. While some believe it was a long time coming, others fear the move would leave behind a power vacuum that could hinder the US's counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East.

And Also...This

Who's saying his goodbyes...

The DHS cybersecurity chief. Yesterday, President Trump fired Christopher Krebs, who led the federal gov's effort to protect the US election. The move came after Krebs's agency said the Nov. 3 election "was the most secure in American history." And after he released a statement saying there had been no evidence of voter fraud. But Trump called it "highly inaccurate" and (virtually) handed him the pink slip. Krebs is the latest official to get fired, and apparently expected his end was near. In a tweet, he said he was "honored to serve."

What the Trump admin is focused on...

Election results. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled against a Trump campaign lawsuit. The president's team claimed poll watchers were kept too far away from ballot counting in Philadelphia. But the court said 'nah, there's no distance requirement for that.' This was the latest in a series of election lawsuits from the Trump campaign that have been dismissed so far. And came the same day his team was arguing a separate case in PA. This one wanted to stop the state from certifying vote results but the ruling is still TBD. Trump's legal team – which includes his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani (who suited up for fed court for the first time since 1992) – is still claiming election fraud. Next up, they're looking to stir things up in Michigan.

What's got people urging action…

COVID-19. As the number of US cases increases, some states are making moves to combat the surge. In California, officials issued a new mandate requiring people to wear a face mask anytime they leave their homes, with some exceptions (ex: when driving). Meanwhile, in North Dakota, an analysis found that the state has the highest COVID-19 death rate of any state or country in the world. And while there's still no sign of another stimulus bill to get Americans some relief during the pandemic, there may be some good news. New data suggests that COVID-19 immunity (which comes after a person has contracted and recovered from the virus) could last for years.

  • More good news: Yesterday, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the first-ever COVID-19 test that you can take at home. And, in even better news, it provides rapid results.

What's shaking things up again...

Amazon. Yesterday, its new online pharmacy hung up the 'open' sign, allowing customers to order medications or prescription refills. And it's delivering those items to people's doors with its famous two-day delivery service. Prime time to start this venture.

When you hear Operation Santa's underway...

If only we could all give gifts like Dolly Parton.

Who came out of the ring with a win...

Michael B Jordan.

Holiday Bells and Whistles

It's the extra little somethings that make the holiday season special. That's why we're partnering with CVS to trace the history of some fan fave traditions.

Picture this: it's England, December 1843. You're a super popular socialite named Henry Cole. There's a mountain of correspondence on your desk. And the thought of writing personal responses to all your friends is just too much. So you hit up an artist to design what experts consider the world's first holiday card, order 1,000 copies, and sign your name a bunch of times.

The idea (obviously) stuck. Sending holiday cards is still an easy, effective way to spread cheer to loved ones. CVS has hundreds of customizable templates and designs if you prefer the personalized photo kind. Psst...they're 50% off right now. Smile big.


Feeling #blessed for all the people in your life? We rounded up products to help you express your gratitude this Thanksgiving, whether you're celebrating in person or over Zoom. Say 'thanks' with a candy bento box, a year's supply of cards (for only $30), and a candle you can personalize. What's that you said? Oh, you're welcome.


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

1. The best documentaries of all time. We don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that these 30 films will change your life. Or at least teach you a thing or two. Get your tissues ready.

2. How to make Thanksgiving dinner for two. Just because your RSVP list is small, doesn't mean you shouldn't get all your favorite staples. Mashed potato heaven here you come.

3. An eco-friendly way to floss. This brand makes reusable, refillable picks that are easy to guide between teeth. So you can get to all the snacks you were 'saving for later.' And feel better about your carbon footprint. Bonus: Skimm'rs get $5 off with code skimm5. Freshen up.*

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

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


For when you're shopping for that friend who's always cold…

Meet the perfect gift: Athleta's Double Cozy Karma Funnel Neck. It's made with super soft, cuddle-worthy fabric that's perfect for everyday wear. Because she deserves to be comfy all the time. Cozy gifting=solved.*

For when you're hitting the road for the holidays…

But first, a security system. SimpliSafe will send one right to your door, and you can set it up yourself in under an hour. Once you're done, your home will be backed by experts that are monitoring 24/7. Oh, and Skimm'rs get 50% off plus a free camera. Cue peace of mind.*

For when you've got questions about Plan B emergency contraception…

We get it. Sex Ed was a long time ago. That's why we've partnered with Plan B to debunk 5 common myths about it. So you can know what it is and the facts behind how it works. Watch now.*

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


Just like us, McDonald's knows that community matters more than ever in times like these. That's why they're dedicated to giving back (see: donating meals to first-responders during the pandemic and after natural disasters). Together, we're highlighting Skimm'rs who are making an impact in their communities. More fries for them.

Good reads with...Alli H (ME). She and her wife had a hard time finding books for their kids that showed a family like theirs. So, they founded OurShelves, which curates book boxes that represent children and families in a variety of diverse ways. Bookmark it.

Gift into it...Matt W (MI). He created The Big Give, a nonprofit working to bring school supplies and Christmas gifts to West Michigan kids. This year, the need is even greater due to the health and economic impact of COVID-19. And the org's trying to raise another $150,000 and support 700 kids this holiday season. Donate.

(Some) Birthdays...Veronika Laketau (CA), Emma Payne (GA), Rachel Palkoner (TX), Jan Lockhart (CA), Kelly Clifton (NC), Mary-Jo Lendering (FL), Jennifer Miller (MA), Lianna Di Maso (IL), Natalie Mizrahi (CA), Nadya Grace (NY), Kendra Nickel-Nguy (WA), Hannah Rosenwinkel (MN), Ginny Fahs (CA) Rose Minasian (MI), Katey Smith (TX)

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