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November 22, 2021
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“Anything for you” – Spotify to Adele after she requested the shuffle button be removed from albums. We can't promise to go easy on the repeat button though. 

And Justice For All?

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The Story

America’s justice system is under a microscope.

Explain. 

On Friday, a jury in Kenosha, WI, acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all five charges – including homicide. Last year, the then-17-year-old killed two men and injured a third at a BLM protest – sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse, who had traveled across state lines, was armed with an AR-15-style rifle at the protest. And said his goal was to protect businesses and provide medical aid. For two weeks, the defense argued Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. And the prosecution refuted this, saying Rittenhouse provoked violence and was an “active shooter.” After roughly 26 hours of deliberation, a jury unanimously decided to let Rittenhouse walk free. Now, many are saying there are two different justice systems: one for white Americans and the other for Black Americans. 

Go on.

Footage shows police handing Rittenhouse water and thanking him for being in Kenosha. Meanwhile, a video showed Blake walking away from the police when an officer shot him seven times in the back, leaving him paralyzed. The officer who shot Blake isn't facing charges. Now, activists are pointing to previous cases that have left Black Americans without justice for much less than homicide. There are those like Grace, who was detained for not doing her homework. And Fair Wayne Bryant, who was sentenced to life in prison for stealing hedge clippers. But it's not just certain cases, studies have shown that Black men receive sentences that are – on average – about 20% longer than white men...for the same crime. And are also disproportionately stopped, arrested, and killed by police. But while the Rittenhouse trial has many calling out systemic racism, legal experts say the jury had a very specific task.

Which was?

To determine whether Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. The burden fell on prosecutors to disprove beyond a “reasonable doubt” that he was. That’s not an easy task. Especially since the judge – who was accused of bias – has a history of banning the word "victim" in his courtroom. Meaning, the prosecution couldn't refer to those killed by Rittenhouse as "victims." And since Rittenhouse testified that he had no choice but to fire his weapon after being “attacked” by a mob. Most states apparently don’t allow a self-defense claim if the defendant was the “initial aggressor.” Ultimately, the jury decided that Rittenhouse didn't provoke the shooting.

What are people saying?

Republicans like Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said that “justice has been served.” President Biden said the jury system works," even if it leaves “many Americans feeling angry and concerned,” including himself. Others, like Jacob Blake’s father, said the verdict could empower individuals to openly carry weapons and shoot others. It’s a message California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) echoed, saying the verdict sends a message that people can “carry around weapons built for a military, shoot and kill people, and get away with it.” The family of Anthony Huber – one of the men killed – said the jury’s decision left them “heartbroken and angry.” And activists promise they'll continue to fight for change in the policing and justice systems. Meanwhile, Rittenhouse could face civil lawsuits.

theSkimm

Criminal trials like those of Rittenhouse have gained national attention – putting America’s divisions on race and gun rights on display. But all too often, the verdicts leave many doubting that the justice system is created equal and brings justice for all.  

PS: Conversations about race and politics can be difficult to handle with family. We’ve got tips on how to navigate them this holiday season here

And Also...This

Why else Wisconsin is in the news…

Another violent tragedy. Yesterday, an SUV sped through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, WI, and injured more than 40 people – including 12 minors. At least five people have died, and officials say the death toll could rise. And that they have a “person of interest” in custody. But the motive – including whether it was a terrorist attack – is TBD. Police and the FBI are now investigating.

Where things are finally progressing…

Congress. On Friday, the House passed President Biden’s roughly $2 trillion social and climate spending package. It came after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) delayed the vote by speaking for eight hours and 32 minutes (a new House record). It eventually passed 220 to 213 largely along party lines. Now, the bill heads to the Senate where some rewrites (and some pushback on the sticker price) are expected. The price tag would allow for $550 billion to fight climate change. Free pre-K for 3- and 4-year-old kids. And for...drumroll please... 

  • Paid family leave: The bill currently includes four weeks of paid family and medical leave (which is down from the proposed 12 weeks). But it’s set to be a key battleground issue as the Senate takes it up...again

Where people are taking to the streets…

Europe. Over the weekend, a number of protests across the continent popped up over vaccine mandates, vax passports, and lockdowns. Think: Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Croatia, Northern Ireland, and Italy. Europe is back at the epicenter of COVID-19 as many countries have been reporting record numbers of infections. Vaccine hesitancy’s partly to blame. So, gov leaders are implementing new-ish measures like lockdowns and vaccine passports. And folks are not happy. In the Netherlands, riots broke out and dozens have been arrested. And in Austria, an estimated ​​40,000 people (including far-right groups) took to the streets in Vienna. It comes after the gov there announced plans for a nationwide vax mandate – it would be the first European country to do so. 

...Oh and speaking of the pandemic, the CDC has approved COVID-19 boosters for all adults in the US.

Who people are talking about… 

Peng Shuai. Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee spoke with the tennis star who had been MIA for weeks after she publicly accused a former Chinese official of sexual assault. The Chinese athlete's disappearance had people posting #WhereIsPengShuai – including Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams. Now, the IOC says Peng is “safe and well” and wants privacy. But it has others – including the UN – demanding an investigation into the sexual assault allegation.

When does El Salvador plan to build a new city…

Bit by bit.

Who had a smooth weekend...

BTS and Lewis Hamilton.

The Sleigh List

Design: theSkimm | Photo: Brittany Sturrett

’Tis the season to get alllll your holiday shopping done before shipping delays get in the way. Aka time to check out the Sleigh List, our curated selection of thoughtful, unique holiday gifts — and check off everyone on your list. Here’s what we’re spotlighting this week:

Psst...Shop even more recs here to take all the guesswork outta gifting this year.

Help You, Help Them

The holidays can be hectic. (Hi, understatement.) And parents tend to feel that extra hard. But research shows a child’s mental health is connected to their caregivers’ mental health.

So, even though it can feel tough, it’s important to take time for yourself so you can better take care of them. Which means accepting support where you can get it. Psst...on top of offering creatures, stories, and affirmations that can help you make the most of time with your kiddos, Slumberkins has free guided meditations for adults. Featuring experts, like Deepak Chopra and Alex Elle.

Oh, and Skimm’rs get early access to their Black Friday sale. So shop now to get 25% off sitewide before anyone else with code SKIMM25. Breathe in, breathe out.

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

Stress. Trauma. High blood pressure. There are a lot of things that can decrease your sex drive. But most experts agree: Masturbation is not one of those things. Unfortunately, somewhere in history, people started saying it was.

Not only were those people wrong, they were (wait for it) extremely wrong. Because research actually suggests that masturbation can boost your sex drive. It can also help you learn your likes and dislikes, so partner play gets even better. If that’s a ‘yes pls’ from you, try Dame’s Pom vibrator. It can give broad or targeted stimulation in five different patterns. Plus it’s soft, flexible, ergonomic, and easy-to-use. The best part? Skimm’rs get 20% off. The more you know.

Skimm Picks

Here are today’s recs to help you live a smarter life…

1. Something to add to your streaming queue. Hulu’s “The Great” is back for another season of drama (with the occasional historical fact). Watch Catherine the Great navigate love, war, political mayhem, and oh yeah, her baby. All for the future of Russia. NBD. Watch now.*

2. Feel-good ‘fits for every holiday gathering on your cal. Keep it cozy, casual, and oh-so-chic with this brand’s layer-friendly tops and ultra comfy jeans. (Four-way stretch, we lysm.) Bonus: They’re giving Skimm’rs exclusive early access to their Black Friday deals. Here’s up to 25% off.*

3. Something that’ll make tossing out that one bra you’ve had forever a lil’ easier. You know the one. Thankfully, this brand’s cyber event lets you shop alllllll of their comfy-cute styles at wallet-friendly prices. Plus Skimm’rs get a free bra when they buy two. Bra-wesome.*

4. A physics-powered device that’s switching up the skincare industry. In the best way. With NASA-backed tech that makes ingredients (think: collagen) small enough to penetrate the skin barrier. So you can smooth fine lines and wrinkles...fast. PS: Skimm’rs can access the Cyber Week sale now.*

5. A razor that could double as a spa treatment. GilletteLabs’ new heated razor gives you or your resident face-shaver the same aaahh-mazing feeling of a hot towel shave. With flexible blades and adjustable heat settings. Plus it’s completely waterproof. Talk about a must-(s)have.*

6. A podcast ep you won’t wanna miss. In our latest episode of “Skimm This,” sponsored by Travelzoo, we break down what’s going on with Vladmir Putin, Elon Musk, and...all of China. Plus chat with Secretary Pete. Buttigieg, that is. Listen in.*

*PS: This is a sponsored post.

PPS: Check out our selection of the best holiday gifts for everyone on your list.

Skimm'rs

We like to celebrate the wins, big and small. Let us know how your friends, neighbors, coworkers (and yes, even you) are making career moves, checking off goals, or making an impact in the community.

One with nature...Emily S (MT). She and her husband created an adventure journal to help people keep track of their trips in case they need a rescue. It gives space to provide a detailed account from the smallest of pebbles to the largest of trees. Check it out

Cha-ching...Erica C (KS). She worked to get herself and direct reports pay increases after several team members left for new opportunities with more money. Talk about a team player. 

(Some) Birthdays...Lindsay R Schneider (NY), theSkimm's Jessica Pepper (NJ), Janet Elias (NY), Kathy Roszak (IL), Gina Costa (NY), Kim Janca (TX), Whitney Zickafoose (AL), Makenna Diesel (FL), Seddon Macholz (CA), Christine Rampaiyakul (CA), Rina Shah (NJ), Steph Lewis Shambo (IL), Aekta Gandhi (GA), Rayca Brummund (MN), Deval Jhaveri (NJ)

*Paging all members of theSkimm. Reach out here for a chance to be featured.

Skimm More

Long travel days ahead after Thanksgiving? Same. So when you’re listening to a new ep of “Skimm This” on your trip home, we want to make sure we cover topics you care about. Take this survey to tell us which news stories you don’t quiiiite understand yet or need a little extra attention.

We've got news...

We’re getting ready to launch a brand new Loyalty Program and a revamped Skimm Community in 2022 for you to connect, engage, and continue living your smartest life.

Think: Exclusive programming and content, opportunities to earn and redeem points, access to perks, events and so much more.

Learn more here.

Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Maria del Carmen Corpus, Clem Robineau, and Mariza Smajlaj

†Not available to trial members. While supplies last.

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