November 14, 2015

Russia Flexes Its Missiles


“Blue Moon of Josephine” -The name of the most expensive diamond ever sold ($48 Million) at auction yesterday, bought by a billionaire for his (wait for it) seven-year-old daughter. 


Beirut Blast Stokes Sectarian Tensions

The Syrian Civil War threatened to engulf Lebanon yesterday when two suicide attacks in a Shiite suburb in Beirut killed at least 37 civilians. ISIS claimed to have carried out the attack in retaliation for Hezbollah’s (a Lebanese Shiite Militia) support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (also Shiite). No Hezbollah fighters were reportedly killed in the attack (they hit a mosque and a bakery). It is the most violent spillover of the Syrian War into Lebanon yet.

Why is this significant?
Lebanon is a delicate sectarian tinderbox inside a house of cards surrounded by a forest fire. Any sectarian-ish attack (like this one) threatens to awaken the beasts of the approximately 15-year Lebanese civil war. So far, the country has avoided the fate of its neighbor (Syria) despite a trash crisis (#youstink), hosting approximately 1 million Syrian refugees and not having a president for over a year.  

Russia: My Deadly Missile Is Bigger Than Yours 

Russian State TV broadcast President Putin sitting at the head of a very long table, inadvertently revealing blueprints of a “devastating†nuclear torpedo dramatically called “Status-6.†The diagrams showed the torpedo’s range as “up to 10,000 kilometers†and capable of carrying a 100-megaton (very big) warhead, which could devastate the US coastline. Some analysts have suggested that the image was leaked deliberately to show NATO that Russia is scary and big… and scary.

Why are we watching this?
Putin has rapidly increased military spending over the last decade. With violations of other nations’ airspace, submarines threatening internet cables, intervention in Syria and now “accidentally” revealing advanced nuclear weaponry, Russia wants the world (NATO) to know that it can project and assert military power.



Kurds: Really The Only People Fighting ISIS

Kurdish forces are trying to cut off a key ISIS supply line between Raqqa (Syria) and Mosul (Iraq) — the two biggest cities under ISIS control. The Peshmerga (as the Kurds are called) captured a key highway near the town of Sinjar. The town is at the foot of Mt. Sinjar, where Yazidi (a religious group) civilians were rescued by US and Kurdish forces from certain slaughter and slavery by ISIS last year. 

American Made Cars That Are Made In China

General Motors (GM) announced that it would be the first major car company to sell Chinese made cars (Buicks) in the US. The announcement comes after GM signed a contract with its union workers that would increase labor costs for US made cars. GM, long the recipient of government subsidies and, more recently, a taxpayer funded bailout, is bound to upset people with this announcement.   


#pnut4prez: Democrats… They Are Also Running For President

With all of the hullabaloo surrounding the Republicans, one often forgets that there are three candidates also vying for the Democratic nomination. But fear not, if you happen to have your Saturday night free you can spend it watching Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley (why is he still in the race) debate in Des Moines, Iowa. The debate will focus on the state of Iowa, a state which accounts for approximately 1% of the US population and GDP yet still determines the trajectory of the US election because of how early the state primary is. 

Keeping Our Eye On… 

  • Jihadi John: The masked British citizen who carried out numerous beheadings in ISIS execution videos has been targeted in US airstrikes. Officials believe, though have not yet confirmed, that he was killed.
  • Goodfella Walks Free: Vincent Asaro, an alleged mobster, walked free from a Federal Court after he was cleared of involvement in the 1978 Lufthansa heist. The robbery became the central part of the award-winning “Goodfellas” film.
  • California Death Penalty: A US Federal Court has upheld the death penalty in California and rejected a ruling that declared the capital punishment unconstitutional. Only China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia carry out more executions than the US.



Australian Social Media Campaign An Absolute Car Crash

A taxi association in Australia has fired its social media agency after a campaign aimed at improving the image of yellow taxis backfired. The campaign, #yourtaxis, was meant to elicit positive stories from passengers. Instead, Twitter users voiced complaints about just how terrible the cabs were (including stories of weird smells). The company also forgot that they were running the campaign on the Aussie equivalent of Veterans Day. They apologized and better yet misspelt their apology.

Weekend Reads


The Daily Show - 11/11/15 in :60 Seconds
Jeb tells great jokes…
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