Hostage Disaster: “Israeli troops found the hostages and erroneously identified them as a threat. He said it was not clear if they had escaped their captors or been abandoned.” Israeli military says it mistakenly killed 3 Israeli hostages in Gaza. And the massive Danish shipping company Maersk has said it is pausing all journeys through the Red Sea “after a spate of attacks on vessels launched from a part of Yemen controlled by the Houthis – an Iran-backed rebel movement.” Here’s the latest from CNN, BBC, and Times of Israel.

+ Notable Exception: “Over the first six months of this year, there were 34 legal abortions recorded in Texas, all of which were categorized as both ‘medical emergencies’ and to ‘preserve the health of the woman,’ in a state where abortions are only permitted under such circumstances. That figure, said physicians and researchers, is far below the number of patients who would typically need abortions to protect the health of the mother.” Kate Cox is not the exception to the exceptions law, she’s a victim of the new rules. Kate Cox is one of hundreds in Texas denied abortions despite serious health risks. The heinous legal attacks on women aren’t limited to Texas. WaPo (Gift Article) with another sick example: She miscarried in her bathroom. Now she’s charged with abuse of a corpse.

+ Kirkland Mine: Costco sold more than $100 million in gold bars last quarter. (I’d gladly trade one of their small gold bars for a few hundred rolls of paper towel.)

+ Grounds for Concern: America let it’s guard down and its been overtaken in the branded caffeine game. China, a nation of tea-drinkers, now has more branded coffee shops than the US.

+ Letter Rip: And if you’re into such things, here are The Most Scathing Book Reviews of 2023. (Most of them are for celebrity bios, which seems a little lazy. Maybe we need a list of the most scathing reviews of scathing book reviews?)