A Few Bad Men


A South African man broke a world record by crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a paddleboard. He did it solo, unassisted, and unsupported. Don’t try this at home!


Five States to Challenge Trump’s Travel Ban: On Thursday, Washington state and Hawaii asked federal judges to block President Trump’s new immigration order targeting the citizens of six Muslim-majority nations. While large scale demonstrations such the one held at New York City’s JFK airport in January have been largely absent, several other states–New York, Massachusetts, and Oregon–are also planning to file suit.

Even though Iraq was removed from the list of countries and permanent residents and current visa holders are exempt, criticism of the ban remains largely the same, as do the states’ legal objections to it. Bob Ferguson, Washington state’s attorney general, pointed to several statements from President Trump’s own advisers, including White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller, who said that “the principles of the executive order remain the same,” and that the new order was intended to address only “very technical issues” but achieve “the same basic policy outcome.”


US Troops Beefed Up to Assist in the Removal of Isis at the Rumble in Raqqa: Isis is being pressured by local and international forces across the Middle East. In Mosul the Iraqi Army, with assistance from US Special Forces, are attriting Isis forces and while the fight will continue to be intense and street-to-street, it seems all but inevitable that Isis will be defeated in the city. In Syria, US forces ranging from Marine artillery to Army Rangers will be assisting in the coming Raqqa Rumble. US forces are having a stabilizing effect, given the rife factionalism between Syrian government forces, Kurdish forces, and Syrian rebels. What unifies all of these groups is stalwart opposition to Isis. And hopefully this means that Isis will soon be cleared from Mosul and Raqqa. But what will happen to the loose confederacy after Raqqa falls is a very important issue–victory over Isis could spur infighting.

Instilling Good Order and Discipline on Social Media Marines: There are some bad men in the US Marines who have shared naked photos of female Marines on Facebook and photo files via Google Drive. This group of Marines did not just post explicit photos of their colleagues–some members identified the women by name and rank, while others even targeted the Marine women.

The leader of the Marine Corps posted a video condemning the acts and told the social media warriors not to hide on social media and to stop “embarrassing” the Marines, their families, and the nation. Hundreds of Marines are being investigated and some have made death threats against those who reported the existence of the group. The US military generally and the Marines specifically need to address sexual assault and harassment issues. And responsibility for this enforcement starts at the very senior levels.


Poland’s Donald Tusk Re-Elected President of European Council: Representatives of Poland’s governing Law and Justice Party (PiS) reacted with fury over the re-appointment of Donald Tusk to the presidency of the European Council. Tusk, a well-liked pro-European, is a nuisance to the Eurosceptic PiS party. Surprisingly, even Poland’s otherwise loyal central European allies (such as Hungary and Slovakia) backed Tusk. The 59-year-old was re-elected for his clear-headed approach towards refugee policy–a rare good in Brussels–as well as his ability to communicate with ‘rogue’ members of the European Union, namely his native Poland, Hungary, and at times, the United Kingdom. Tusk will be in charge of negotiating many of the issues facing Brexit in the coming months and years.

Two Peed in a Pod: The World-Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has made carefully positive comments about the progress of Russia’s reform of its sports regulatory body. After it was revealed last year that almost 1,000 Russian athletes were involved in state-sponsored doping programs, Russia was–to the dismay of President Vladimir Putin–excluded from many sporting events. In a comment that is exemplary of the relationship between the Russian government and its regulatory institutions, WADA director general Olivier Niggli said that reforms are “not happening at the speed I would have liked to see but it is happening.” Now if that isn’t unhinged enthusiasm we don’t know what is.   


Weekend Reads:

  • Do lucrative deals with advertisers have to come at the expense of social media users’ civil rights? (The Atlantic)
  • China’s internet might gives us indication of where we are headed (BBC)
  • Is being a cheapskate genetic? A hilarious read on one man’s life of thrift–“Give any of my relatives $20 and they’ll bury $19 in the backyard and then use the rest to buy mayonnaise from a dollar store….They’ll eat anything if it costs less than a dollar.” (Time)  
  • Yes, fish developed legs in order to walk on land. But they might have needed to get bigger eyes first (The Atlantic)
  • Hundreds of toxic wild boars are wandering around northern Japan, keeping residents from returning home (NYT)
  • A slave spiritual is sung before rugby games in the UK (NYT)

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