It’s a deadly déjà vu. Even as Palestinians in Gaza celebrated Thursday’s cease-fire with Israel, pausing an 11-day conflict that killed some 250 people, mostly Gazans and including many children, new trouble was brewing. Just as at the start of the conflict, Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces after Friday prayers at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site. Now heavily bombed Gaza and rocket-barraged Israel are rebuilding, both sides are claiming victory and mediating powers are working to help that process and determine if there’s any way to prevent future clashes.
Elon Musk’s at it again. While the investing world reeled from China’s new cryptocurrency restrictions, the multibillionaire took to Twitter Friday to juice once-joke-currency Dogecoin’s value, insisting he won’t sell his hoard. Price manipulation is outlawed for stocks and other investments, and Musk’s been sanctioned for share-boosting tweets. After this week’s free-fall of Bitcoin, which has lost 25% of its value, U.S. lawmakers seem inclined to begin monitoring high finance’s lawless playground. Treasury officials said Thursday they’d seek reporting of crypto transactions over $10,000 — a move that’s already chilling investors who worry other governments will follow suit.
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3. Biden Offers GOP Smaller Infrastructure Bill
Can it bring them to the table? President Joe Biden offered a more thrifty national infrastructure package to congressional Republicans Friday, hoping to ease passage despite Democrats’ razor-thin majority. The proposal totals $1.7 trillion instead of the original $2.25 trillion, saving by shifting some spending to other bills while downsizing transportation upgrades like roads and bridges. But it’s still a far cry from the $600 million GOP plan, and continues to hike corporate taxes — a “red line” for Republican leaders — so the “common ground” Biden’s press secretary touted yesterday may be elusive.
America may be Israel’s staunch ally, but U.S. passions — and sometimes hatred — run deep on both sides of the conflict. Protesters representing the warring parties clashed in New York, the scene of anti-Semitic attacks also reported in Florida and Southern California. Jewish organizations appealed to President Biden to combat such hatred, while the president’s Democratic Party leaders seek to attenuate support for Israel without alienating voters. The political calculus includes trying to salvage a nuclear deal with Iran, which is being praised by Palestinian militant groups for providing munitions used against the Jewish state.
In the Week Ahead: The NBA playoffs begin today; read OZY’s guide to basketball’s top competition. Tuesday is the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police. And Thursday is the deadline for Iranian officials to publish a list of permitted candidates for June 18 presidential elections.
Making transgender students feel safe, let alone welcome in their schools is a daunting challenge. Yet OZY Genius Award winner Dan Eggers, the first openly trans undergraduate at Baldwin Wallace University's Community Arts School, aims to change the negative climate transgender students experience by training teachers. If you are an educator or have experience in transgender studies and would like to help Dan make this happen, let us know HERE.
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Namaste, y’all! Ok, so you still can’t say that in Alabama public schools, where yoga was banned in 1993 at the urging of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum. But this week, Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed a Democrat-sponsored bill to allow the Eastern fitness tradition to be taught in the upcoming school year. However, in keeping with conservative Christians’ (as well as atheists’) fears of kids embracing Hinduism, GOP lawmakers caveated the bill by banning “any aspect of Eastern philosophy and religious training,” like saying “namaste” or meditating, and permission slips are required for the one-footed tree pose.
It’s only $171. But for families in the town of Maricá, the universal basic income is enough to survive. The municipality also gives families a 20% break on utilities and free public transit. And all of this is happening in the middle of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil. With its buses and movie theater painted red, Maricá is being studied by social scientists from far corners of the world. But similar to some poor rural areas of the U.S., many Maricá residents support Bolsonaro, who opposes such policies but wouldn’t dream of replacing the town’s leftist local leaders.
Don’t give in to your hate. Scientist Seirian Sumner says that as bees are in short supply these days, it’s a good time to think about wasps. Not only do they pollinate like their beloved insect cousins, but they also kill insect pests that ravage crops and annoy people. The problem is that researchers are also affected by society’s general prejudice against wasps. So they’re the first group that needs to take some time away from bees and butterflies and take a long hard look at these pariahs of the insect world.
“Puff the Magic Dragon,” written by Peter Yarrow of the iconic folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, is about lost innocence, observes journalist Gillian Brockell. She recently tracked down the still-troubled woman Yarrow admitted molesting when she was 14 in 1969. After three months’ incarceration, he was pardoned by President Jimmy Carter in 1981 just as Iran released U.S. hostages, allowing the story to be buried as Yarrow’s career continued virtually untainted. But after #MeToo, Yarrow settled a lawsuit this year connected to a 1968 rape accusation, and Brockell unearthed another claim, leaving his documented victim hope of delayed justice.
It’s an event. Or was. When a baseball pitcher succeeds at keeping even one batter from knocking his way onto a base, there’s silence — it’s bad mojo to mention the possibility — followed by fireworks. But less than a fifth of the way into this MLB season, there have been six no-hitters, on pace for 23 this year, when the 137-year-old record is eight in one season. Sportswriter Ben Lindbergh isn’t alone in suggesting that it shows the game is broken. Pitchers need to be reined in, which is politically difficult to accomplish. The solution? More no-hitters, which will make baseball reform all the more urgent.
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