November 13th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Baby Got Back

Strike that. Reverse it. A day after Judge Scott Johansen made the absurd decision to remove a foster child from the home of a lesbian couple (citing imaginary research that suggests children do better when raised by heterosexual families), the Utah judge has reversed the order. It’s reasonable to assume that this ruling would have been reversed at some point, but the swift nature of the about-face is a testament to growing power of social media outrage.


Is John Gone?

The U.S. military is now saying they are “reasonably certain” that a drone strike in Syria killed Mohammed Emwazi. You probably know him better as Jihadi John. While one could be forgiven for expressing ambivalence about the rise of the drones, whoever was operating this joystick should never have to buy a drink in this town again.

+ The Guardian: “From a ‘painfully shy’ football-loving child to the knife-wielding Islamic State militant, the man who became one of the most haunting figures of the jihadi movement remains a mystery.”

+ After a key offensive, Kurdish forces raised their flags over Sinjar.


Weekend Reads

“Not so long ago, Manju Das was a millionaire. And not the slumdog kind that’s the stuff of fiction.” From The Nation’s Nilita Vachani: The strange, true story of how a chairman at McKinsey made millions of dollars off his maid.

+ “The Beatles in 1960, they made it big, influencing people all around the world. Ashima also in that manner.” ESPN on one of the most talented climbers in the world: 14 year-old Ashima Shiraishi.

+ The worst relationship between a U.S. president and an Israeli prime minister ever — as autopsied by the people closest to them: Scenes From a Marriage.


Mold, Removal

“Another swastika. Another campus. Another outrage.” WaPo on the campus protests that are spreading across the country.

+ A dean at Claremont McKenna College (recently ranked third of the list of colleges with the happiest students) responded to complaints of institutional racism with an email in which she promised to work harder to serve those who “don’t fit our CMC mold.” That choice of words was followed by two hunger strikes and the dean’s resignation. Here’s the full email, and here’s more on how the racial tensions at the school boiled over.

+ Among the demands being made by Amherst protesters (including three who are on hunger strike) is that the school denounce its mascot which is named after the same guy the school is named after.


Good Times Roll Over Bad Times

Welcome to California. The economy is booming. Unemployment is down. Jobs are still being added at a good clip. So why is the state also among the chart toppers when it comes to poverty? (This is why people don’t like the new math.)


Vincent Can Go

This is Henry Hill in Goodfellas: “Whenever we needed money, we’d rob the airport. To us, it was better than Citibank.” And here’s Vincent Asaro: “Don’t believe everything you see in the movies.” He said that on Thursday after being acquitted of crimes connected to the notorious 1978 Lufthansa robbery.


Ire of My Loins

It’s not easy to watch even a few seconds of the undercover video that shows the treatment of pigs at Quality Pork Processors in which “some conscious hogs are shown shackled to the conveyor chain, while others, still alive, have their throats slit and are sent to the scalding tank.”


Ringo’s Ringer

Earlier this week, Andy White died at his New Jersey home at the age of 85. He was a succesful drummer who played on many hits. But he’s probably most well known for being a Beatle. For about five minutes.


You’ve Got the Brains, I’ve Got the Don

Why does Donald Trump attract us when so many of his ideas are utterly repulsive? To answer that question, you need to consider the sport of politics and take a look at what could be the greatest political moment in recent memory.

+ WaPo: The 8 best explanations of the Donald Trump-Ben Carson phenomenon.


Bottom of the News

Let’s take a second and give a shout-out to all those who suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia. A fear of Friday the 13th.

+ “This extravagant home has a weaponry room, a dovecote, a wizard’s tower, and an appraised value of more than $2,000 per square inch.” No, it’s not a condo in SF or NYC. It’s a dollhouse. And it’s $8.5 million.

+ Some Willy Wonka cast members reunited for the film’s 44th anniversary. (Charlie Bucket became a veterinarian.)

+ And finally, the fourth grader who could face sexual harassment charges.

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