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November 14, 2016


Happy Monday! We hope this week has less surprises than the last. 


Trump: A Presidency Tries To Take Shape

Donald J. Trump’s first few days proved to be no less rowdy than the campaign that preceded them as protestors took to the streets, hate crimes spiked, policy was moderated, cabinet members were mulled and the opposition struggled to find itself. 

Trump Admin: Because very little actual policy was discussed over the past 18 months, every little thing Trump says or does is being dissected for clues into how he will govern. Trump’s inner circle also covers a wide array of view points. Will he be more of an establishment Conservative with fiscally conservative values? Will he bend to the alt-right’s view of the world? What will he do with the wall, Obamacare, deportation, infrastructure, etc.? So far, the signals are mixed. He reshuffled his transition team, elevating the Conservative favorite and his VP Mike Pence and announced that Reince Priebus, an establishment figure, would be his Chief of Staff. Meanwhile, he kept on Steve Bannon of Breitbart and the alt-right as his Chief of Strategy. During an interview with 60 Minutes he said the wall could be more of a “fence” in some areas but that he would deport about 3 million undocumented migrants who’ve committed crimes. He also came out in favor of parts of Obamacare after meeting with the President last Thursday and, presumably, googling it (this is a joke). 

On the Supreme Court, he said he would be appointing “pro-life” Justices which would, presumably, mean the overturning of Roe v. Wade, an issue that brought many Conservatives into his camp. He also said that he’s “fine” with same-sex marriage. He did follow up by saying that there’s still a “long long way to go” indicating that the Court might remain without a Ninth Justice for a while longer. He said his top three priorities will be healthcare, immigration and tax reform.

Protests: Anti-Trump protestors have taken to the streets every night since Trump’s election last Tuesday with cries of “not my President.” Protestors in New York repeatedly marched on Trump Tower which remains circled by a fleet of sand-filled garbage trucks as a precaution. The protests were largely peaceful except in Portland, Oregon where one man was shot and protestors clashed with the police. Protestors’ demands varied from concern about women’s and minority rights to an outright rejection of his Presidency based on the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.

Hate Crimes: There seems to be an upswing in hateful attacks since last Tuesday’s election. Attacks against minorities have spiked on a number of campuses with headscarves being pulled off Muslim women, chants of “build that wall” in middle schools, “lynching hate texts” being sent to black freshmen at UPENN and more. Minorities are worried that Trump’s anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric on the campaign trail has emboldened individuals to carry out these attacks. There have also been attacks on Trump supporters, including a 50-year-old man who was beat up by five people at an intersection in Chicago. During his 60 Minutes interview Trump told people conducting hate crimes in his name to “stop it.”

Democratic Identity Crisis: The Democratic Party emerged bruised and lost after last Tuesday’s loss but at the same time galvanized by Trump’s victory and a growing street movement that some might want to convert into a left-wing Tea Party. Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid all backed Keith Ellison, a black Muslim, to lead the DNC in a move that embraces fresh, progressive leadership for the party. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders’ political revolution is “back in business” with the Senator’s supporters taking on party establishment in multiple states, indicating a leftward shift for the party as it gears up for the 2018 midterm elections.

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New Zealand Hit With Earthquake And Tsunami One-Two Punch

Evacuations continue along the east coast of New Zealand after the country suffered a magnitude-7.8 quake shortly after midnight on Sunday night. The earthquake triggered a tsunami that arrived just two hours later. Helicopters were sent to the quake’s center, about 59 miles from Christchurch, but officials warn that the first waves may not be the largest and it’s still possible that a larger tsunami is en route. If that’s not enough apocalyptic mayhem for a Sunday afternoon, the residual tremors from the earthquake are expected to continue.

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Bless Their Hearts, Colombia Keeps Trying

Colombian President and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Juan Manuel Santos does not give up easily. On Saturday, the government and the FARC former rebels announced their agreement on a revised peace deal, six weeks after the original was rejected in a referendum. The new deal incorporates some of the proposals from the opposition and even a few religious leaders, but takes into account why the first draft was shot down by voters: it was seen as too forgiving towards the rebels. Hoping to appease the voters but get a peace agreement underway, the new deal will still give FARC 10 congressional seats through 2026, but this time will require the former rebels to present a complete inventory of assets to be used for victim compensation.

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Australia's Trapped Asylum Seekers Now Have A Ride To The US

In a landmark agreement, the Australian government has agreed to resettle some of the refugees trapped in the country’s remote offshore detention facilities on Nauru and Manus Island. With the help of UNHCR, the UN’s primary refugee agency, the third-party resettlement arrangement will bring the 1,616 asylum seekers to the United States. While this is just a one-off agreement with the US and each person’s resettlement will be contingent on vetting by Homeland Security, we can’t help but feel optimistic for the refugees that are finally leaving Australia’s highly controversial detention centers. 

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Iraq: Another stride was made in the battle to reclaim Mosul from ISIS. Iraqi forces were able to retake the historic city of Nimrud, once considered a cultural landmark. However, it’s still unclear if any archaeological sites remain. Whatever survived the 2015 ISIS attack was most likely further damaged when Iraqi forces stormed the city. 

Bulgaria: The US isn’t the only country that caught Russian fever this election season. The earliest projections are naming Ruman Radev, a Russia-friendly newcomer in their presidential race, as winner of Sunday’s election. Radev’s presidency will mean uncertainty for the EU and whether this member country intends to remain.

France: Over the weekend, France remembered  and mourned the one-year anniversary since militants killed 130 people in gun and bomb attacks around Paris. President Francois Hollande revealed plaques for the victims and said that France is still operating in an extended “state of emergency.”




Saturday Night Live bypassed humor in its cold open. Instead, Kate McKinnon (as Hillary Clinton) performed a haunting rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.

In his hilarious monologue, Dave Chappelle said he would give Donald Trump a chance and asked Trump to give minorities a chance too.

This skit captures why some people were shocked by the election results and others were not surprised at all.



Bald Eagles Trapped In Sewer Become New National Symbol

The bald eagle has long been the symbol of America, flying from sea to shining sea with its majestic talons of justice and squawk of freedom. Though it’s been a static symbol of Americana for generations, even this regal bird of prey felt the need to weigh in on Trump’s victory. Two bald eagles were discovered trapped in a storm drain in Orlando, Florida and were unable to fly. Not exactly the patriotic imagery we’re used to seeing alongside the bald eagle, but these birds felt the need to make a statement. Images of America’s pride stuck in a sewage drain spread across social media and soon it became the election’s most succinct metaphor. 

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