News·4 min read

Daily Skimm Weekend: Tyre Nichols, Classified Docs, Soup Season

a vigil for tyre nichols
January 28, 2023

Eyes On

Last night, Memphis officials released about an hour of footage showing police officers tasing, kicking, punching, pepper-spraying, and hitting Tyre Nichols with a baton during a traffic stop. It took more than 20 minutes for the 29-year-old to receive medical attention, though two fire department officers apparently arrived with medical equipment within 10 minutes. Nichols died three days later. At one point, Nichols shouted, “Mom, Mom, Mom.” His mother’s home was only about 80 yards away. The five officers — who have already been fired and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, and other crimes — initially claimed they stopped Nichols for reckless driving. But the city's police chief now says they've not been able to “substantiate the cause of the stop.” Meanwhile, there are multiple ongoing investigations — including from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, which placed two of its deputies on leave last night after the video’s release.

President Biden spoke with Nichols’ mother and stepfather Friday afternoon, reportedly committing to supporting legislation to help prevent police abuse. After watching the video, he said he was “outraged and deeply pained.” While Martin Luther King III called it a “perversely familiar attack” and VP Kamala Harris stated that the footage would “forever be seared in our memories.” Those statements followed comments from the Nichols family attorney, who said the family wanted the video released because it was “important that America, that the world see” and urged the public to protest peacefully. That seemed to be the case across most of the country last night — with protestors gathering in cities like New York City, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Memphis.

What’s Up, Docs?

Three’s a Trend: Last week, the Justice Dept recovered another batch of classified documents. This time, at former VP Mike Pence’s home. For those counting, it’s the third case in recent months (see: former President Trump and President Biden). Which has people asking, ‘Who doesn’t have classified docs?’

The Story

Every year, the gov classifies a wide range of documents, including paper printouts, emails, maps, databases, photos, and videos. These can have different classifications, depending on potential damage to national security — from “confidential” (the lowest level) to “top secret” (the highest level). Now, in the wake of docs seemingly showing up all over the place, lawmakers and officials are scrutinizing the country’s classification system — with some reportedly calling it “a defective process” and an “embarrassment.”

Go on.

Turns out, mishandling classified materials (aka “classified spillage”) can be quite common. In fact, the FBI director recently called it a “regular part” of counterintelligence work. Part of the problem may be the sheer volume of documents marked as classified — estimated to be 50 million per year. And according to some, many of those don't actually warrant the designation. Think: Because staffers are unlikely to get in trouble for over-classifying something, but they could for under-classifying. The result? It's hard to keep track of everything, and accidental mishandlings get more and more likely to occur. Especially for presidents and other senior officials, who constantly receive both classified and unclassified docs at their desks, creating the possibility of inadvertently mixing them up. Or during presidential transitions, when there’s a last-minute frenzy to separate and pack materials. Also not helping: While White House staffers receive some training on handling classified docs, they typically don’t have the same experience as career intelligence officers.


Given the gov’s slow approach to just about everything, any change to the classification system would likely take time. So for now, the National Archives is asking former presidents and VPs to do a little self-audit. Since the state of national security could depend on it.


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Downtime doesn’t have to mean doing nothing. Here’s one idea for making the most of your weekend.

Soup season is here. Not only are they easy to pull together, they’re simple to serve (pro tip: make sure you have a crusty loaf of bread handy). And many are full of nourishing ingredients. Plus, there’s a soup, stew, or slow-cooked delight for just about everyone. Let’s dig in:

For something creamy, try carrot-ginger, cauliflower, or roasted red pepper with tahini and feta. Or, if you prefer something a bit chunky, you could whip up some turkey chili, gumbo, or beef barley soup with lemon. For even more comfort, consider a recipe that calls for lots of grains (see: harira, chicken and spelt, Vietnamese chicken soup with rice) or noodles (see: chicken khao soi, turkey ramen, pork pho). And, of course, you can’t go wrong with a classic, like tomato, butternut squash, or chicken noodle. 

Best of all? Most of these soups are just as good — perhaps better — on night two or three, and even after a deep freeze.

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