January 12, 2016

Obama’s Selfie






Want to kill some time at work today? Follow the White House on Snapchat (@ WhiteHouse). Who knows, maybe Obama sends you a bathroom selfie,  or maybe it’s just a bunch of dudes trying to make a press conference sound cool…



Let’s Talk About Cologne The mass sexual harassment attack in the German city of Cologne over New Year’s Eve seems to have been exclusively carried out by men with “migrant origins.” Swedish police may have covered up similar incidents at music festivals in Sweden. Meanwhile, gangs sought “revenge” by attacking refugees in Germany.   
Editorial Aside: Now, what does all this mean? These attacks, like the Paris Attacks before them, raise serious questions about the capacity of Europe to absorb large numbers of refugees, particularly in the haphazard method currently occurring. Europe’s defunct asylum process incentivizes young men to take the journey North and bring their families later. Finger pointing and no accountability have created serious gaps that criminal elements exploit. Meanwhile, “feel good” talk, by European politicians and NGOs, that dismisses security concerns exacerbate a sense of frustration felt by millions of Europeans and feeds the far-right’s ranks.

We hope to continue threading the needle between highlighting the plight of refugees and the need for compassion while simultaneously underscoring the downsides of the current system in place including if/when refugees and others take advantage of those downsides. 



What To Expect From The State Of The Union Today President Obama address the US (and the world) in his final State of the Union (SOTU – aka a yearly check-in). Here is what to expect tonight at 9 PM EST:

  • Guns: An empty chair will symbolize those who have lost their lives to gun violence (last time this happened was after 9/11). 
  • Big Picture: Obama will embrace his inner consultant and lay out a long term picture for what is to come (think legacy, environment, trade etc).
  • Optimism: Obama hopes to counter negative messages from the campaign trail by showing off the new jobs report and saying “America is already great again.”
  • Naps: Will Justice Ginsberg take a nap again this year? Really depends on the pre-SOTU wine.

Aid Convoys Reach Starving Syrian VillagesConvoys carrying food and medicine reached three besieged villages in Syria yesterday, confirming scenes of starvation. The convoys were delayed as different parties wanted to ensure that aid reached the three villages simultaneously (the government is laying siege to one and rebels to the other two). The villages have become a focal point of an ongoing misinformation campaign by both sides. 

PNUT READ: Our Summary Of The Syrian Civil War

#pnut4prez: Iowa Ready For Its 15 Minutes Of FameA new poll (how many are there?) by Quinniepiac University put Donald Trump and Ted Cruz neck-in-neck at ~30% for the Iowa caucus on February 1. The caucus (which is essentially a bunch of people in a room yelling at each other) sets the tone for the rest of the race and gives Iowa a disproportionate influence over the country, which explains why Marco Rubio is so worried that he only has 15% of the vote.   

Keeping Our Eye On…


  • Op-eds: Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif wagged his finger at Saudi Arabia in an op-ed for the New York Times yesterday accusing them of “reckless extremism.” Expect a Saudi response soon. 
  • Oil: The price of black gold continues to fall, dropping below $31 yesterday making everyone from Venezuela to North Dakota freak out. 
  • New Republic: The magazine that may have inspired season three of “Newsroom” is for sale again after its current owner, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, gave up on trying to run it (he lost most of its staff last year). 
  • Istanbul: An explosion in the famous Sultanahmet square has left “at least 10 dead.” The area is favored by tourists. This is a developing story.   


But First, Let Me Take A Selfie… An Ohio fugitive discovered that mugshots aren’t meant to display your most flattering self. In order to rectify the situation he decided to send the police a “better” selfie that he felt more accurately portrayed how he looked like. The Ohio police were happy to oblige the man and posted his photo on Facebook, garnering instant digital fame and exponentially increasing his chances of being arrested.   

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Ricky Gervais Opens the 2016 Golden Globes
We don’t usually cover entertainment news, but when we do, it’s Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globes.

Correction: Apple’s valuation is $600 billion not $600 million as was stated yesterday.

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