News·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Kamala Harris, New Zealand, and a "Fresh Prince" Reboot

California Senator Kamala Harris speaks during a rally
Getty Images
Aug 12, 2020

For the History Books

The Story

Yesterday, Joe Biden made a historic VP pick.


Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). As Biden's running mate, Harris is now the first Black woman and the first person of South Asian descent to ever be on a major party's presidential ticket. The US Senator from California – and Biden's former 2020 rival – has a long history in public service, and is now taking on another prominent role as a candidate for vice president.

Tell me about her.

As a senator, Kamala (pronounced "comma-la" for those who didn't watch the Democratic debates) Harris gained traction for her tough questioning of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Before that, she was the first Black woman to hold roles as California attorney general and San Francisco district attorney. She grew up in Oakland, CA, and became an advocate for civil rights after being introduced to protests by her parents – both immigrants. But like any politician, Harris has seen her fair share of criticism.


Like her record as a prosecutor, especially with regard to criminal justice reform – something she was highly criticized for on the debate stage. As CA's AG, she defended the death penalty and some lawyers claimed she fought to uphold wrongful convictions. And didn't take a position on a bill that would've required her office to investigate fatal police shootings. Or on an act that reduced some felonies to misdemeanors. But Harris has recently taken a more progressive stance on criminal justice issues.

Go on.

Amid nationwide protests against police brutality and racism, she's pushed for police reform. She fought to make lynching a federal crime. And has vowed to end mass incarceration, cash bail, and the death penalty. And on other issues: She signed onto the 2017 Medicare for All bill, but wants to keep private insurance as an option. She's advocated for women's reproductive rights. And has defended California's landmark climate change law.

So what are people saying?

Many are ecstatic to see a Biden-Harris ticket. Others pointed out that the two weren't exactly the best of friends during the debates. But Biden's said he doesn't hold a grudge and is proud to have a "fearless fighter" as a running mate. Meanwhile, Republicans said she's too far to the left. President Trump noted that voters "rejected Harris" during the Dem primary. And had a campaign ad against her ready to go.


After months of deliberation, Biden followed through on his promise to have a woman join the ticket. Now, he and Harris have made history, and prep for their first joint appearance today and the DNC next week. But what's on everyone's radar: Harris v Vice President Mike Pence in October.  

And Also...This

Where people are on alert...

New Zealand. Yesterday, the country reported an end to its 102-day streak without new COVID-19 infections. PM Jacinda Ardern reported four new cases, all of which were found within one household in South Auckland. Their source is still unknown. New Zealand was applauded for keeping the virus under control when it implemented travel restrictions, a lockdown, and widespread testing. Now, Auckland residents are being asked to stay home and schools are closed for at least three days. And the rest of the country's been urged to practice social distancing.

...Oh and speaking of the coronavirus, some face masks work better than others.

What's also dealing with the effects of the coronavirus...

The UK. The country has entered a recession after gov figures showed its GDP fell 20.4% in the second quarter. It's a result of lockdown measures amid the coronavirus pandemic. The data released today shows it's the biggest quarterly decline for the UK on record, with its economy shrinking more than any other major nation including the US. Officials say the economy has started to bounce back after easing lockdown measures, but fear the possibility of growing unemployment in the coming months.

Whose case has updates…

Elijah McClain's. Yesterday, McClain's parents filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Aurora, CO, police, and medical officers. Last year, the 23-year-old Black man died after police put him in a chokehold and paramedics injected him with ketamine. While no criminal charges have been filed, there are reportedly three separate ongoing investigations into his death. But McClain's parents said the lawsuit would send a message that "racism and brutality have no place in American law enforcement." The city declined to comment on the lawsuit. Meanwhile, the Colorado AG announced a separate probe into the department's actions yesterday.  

Who won't be in the end zone this year…

The Big Ten and Pac-12. Yesterday, the college athletics conferences postponed all fall sports (including football) amid coronavirus concerns. They're hoping to get their heads back in the game come spring. Three other Power Five leagues – the ACC, SEC, and Big 12 – are still putting their jerseys on...for now.

What's got us flipped-turned upside down…

This reboot.

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