June 24, 2016

Day One Of A Post-Brexit World




Looking for more good reads to bring to the beach? Check out our list of the Best Books For Summer 2016.


Holy S**t They Actually Brexited!

The world woke up today to news that the UK voted in favor of leaving the EU by a 52-48% margin. This historic vote will end the UK’s 43 year membership in the EU and is the first time that a member state votes to leave the Union. The unexpected “Leave” vote was buoyed by former Labor supporters in Northern England. Meanwhile, voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain in the EU. At the time of writing the British Pound was down 13% against the US dollar, to its lowest level in 35 years, and the London Stock Market opened down 7%.

David Cameron, Britain’s PM, announced that he will be resigning in the next few months, saying that Britain required “fresh leadership.” He was a leader of the Remain movement. 

So, what’s next?

  • Britain will need a new PM. It is unclear if there will be a shake up within the ruling Tory party, where Boris Johnson, the UK’s Donald Trump look-a-like and leader of the Leave movement, might take power, or if a new general election will be held.
  • Scottish leaders will push for a new referendum on independence from the UK given that they want to stay within the EU, bringing about the possible dissolution of the UK.
  • Stability in Northern Ireland will be under strain as Sinn Fein and other Irish nationalists push for possible unification with Ireland and/or independence from the UK. 
  • To actually leave the Union the UK needs to trigger Article 50, starting a two-year renegotiation that will figure out things like immigration and access to the EU market. In the meantime EU law still applies to the UK. Many hope that the UK will negotiate a treaty similar to the one Norway has with the EU. Cameron said that the new PM should be responsible for triggering Article 50. 
  • Other countries with large Euroskeptic populations might be holding their own referendums. There is already talk of Nexit (Holland), Swexit (Sweden), Dexit (Denmark) meaning that adding exit at the end of a word will be Europe’s equivalent of adding “gate” at the end of a scandal in the US. 

Good Read: The Economist Opines On What Comes Next

US Supreme Court Utterly Useless Without Nine People

There’s a reason why the US Supreme Court usually has an odd number of justices on the bench. Now they are stuck in a deadlocked purgatory where their inability to make a decision is comparable to that of Congress. The Supreme Court announced it is evenly split on President Barack Obama’s immigration actions, a plan that would have given as many as five million illegal immigrants eligibility for legal status and work permits. The 4-4 deadlock renders the Supreme Court officially useless until they replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia – and since the Senate continues to block Obama’s nomination, Judge Merrick Garland – this might be a long summer vacation for them. 

Introducing: Merrick Garland, Obama’s SCOTUS Pick


South Africa Overrides Election, Because Who Needs Democracy Anyway?

Two people suspected of looting shops were shot and killed as violent scenes intensified in South Africa’s capital city of Pretoria. The incident continues a period of strife after the African National Congress (ANC) completely disregarded the regional governments’ elected mayor, and instead named their own candidate from Tshwane Municipality where the capital city is located. Voters are predictably dismayed. The ANC claim they chose the candidate as a compromise, but that doesn’t feel very democratic. Kind of like when President Zuma was almost impeached for using state funds to renovate his home. With an election coming in August, more protests are likely forthcoming.

Turkish President Gollum Convicts Man For Depicting Him As Erdogan

Rifat Cetin, the Turkish man who was arrested for depicting President Erdogan as Gollum from Lord of the Rings, was convicted and sentenced to a year in jail. It begs the question: is Turkey even trying to get in the EU anymore? Erdogan gave a speech yesterday arguing that the EU rejects Turkey’s inclusion because of its Muslim identity, and while Islamophobia does play a huge factor, the government’s refusal to lift censorship laws and its insistence on jailing all of its critics doesn’t exactly help. World renowned for his sense of humor, Erdogan has opened cases against nearly 2,000 people for insulting him, from German comedians to small children. Clearly his desire for the ring has distorted his mind. 

Lewandowski: If You Can’t Blacklist ‘Em, Join ‘Em!

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Just days after he was fired from Donald Trump’s campaign, CNN picked up Corey Lewandowski to be their new political commentator. It’s a little surprising, considering Lewandowski has had frequent and aggressive run-ins with CNN in the past. There are recordings of him cursing at CNN reporters, threatening to blacklist them and, in one incident, he reportedly got physical, shoving CNN reporter Noah Gray. The salaried position is effective immediately and will make Lewandowski’s wacky antics exclusive to CNN, but it’s going to be an awkward first day at the office. 


Germany: A masked gunman fired shots in a cinema complex near Frankfurt but his plans were thwarted. Police used teargas to enter the cinema where the shooter was presumed to have hostages. The gunman was killed but there were no other casualties.  

Freddie Gray: In a major blow to the prosecution, a Baltimore judge found the police officer involved in Freddie Gray’s death not guilty of all charges. This is the second officer to be acquitted of all charges.
China: A powerful tornado and hailstorm killed at least 78 people and injured hundreds more in the Jiangsu province. China is in the middle of its monsoon season, but rarely have tornadoes caused this much destruction.

Volkswagen: The car company agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle claims from US owners of diesel-powered vehicles affected by the emissions-cheating scandal. American diesel car owners will each receive anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000, as well as the opportunity to buy back or repair the vehicle. 


Israeli Sixth Graders Accidentally Given Porn DVD Instead Of Graduation Video

They grow up so fast, don’t they? Parents were outraged after students at a Haifa elementary school were accidentally given copies of a pornographic DVD instead of a video of the students’ graduation party. The school responded that their hired DVD-maker must have made the DVDs by recording over used discs, and some of the previous scenes must have stuck around. That’s not how DVD recording works, but we can understand why he lied, the DVD-recording market must be tough these days.The discs were distributed at school in honor of national “Hug Day” which might now need to be accompanied with a school assembly on which kinds of hugging are appropriate. 

Weekend Reads:

Yes, I want to sound marginally more intelligent: