Wiretap: Gaffes, apologies and death while sorting grapes

Wiretap: Gaffes, apologies and death while sorting grapes

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has offered an apology after comparing Assad’s use of Sarin gas on his own people last week to Hitler’s actions during the Holocaust — and not in the way you’d think. “You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said during Tuesday’s press conference, sparking immediate outrage. Writes the Atlantic, “There’s no good time to make a Hitler comparison, but deploying one in the midst of Passover to justify voluntary airstrikes is an especially unwise choice.”

Spicer’s remarks were ostensibly meant to show Russia that its alliance with Syria was putting it “on the wrong side of history.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Moscow this week to convince Putin to break with Assad, a mission the Atlantic calls “near-impossible.”

Speaking of apologies, the CEO of United Airlines has taken another stab at quelling the massive backlash against video footage of a passenger being forcibly, and violently, removed from an overbooked flight on Monday. United stock took a nosedive after the incident. Via NPR.

A Republican has won the race for a seat in Kansas’ conservative 4th Congressional district. Why is that newsworthy? As Vox explains, nobody expected a House race in such a deeply red district to be even remotely close.

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the EPA are bad news for global warming, but the effects would go far beyond climate policy. The New York Times breaks down everything else that’s at stake under the cuts, from tap water monitoring to vehicle emissions standards to protection from radiation. Buckle up.

California is used to the cycle of intense dry conditions followed by heavy rains, but never before in state history has it seen such an extreme drought-to-deluge swing. The Los Angeles Times explains why the cycle is getting worse, and what that means going forward.

Due largely to intensifying conflict in Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and South Sudan, more people worldwide are facing famine today than at any time since World War II. “The persistence of such severe hunger, even in inhospitable climates, would be almost unthinkable without war,” writes the Washington Post. Here, a look at how we got here.

The death of a 49-year-old woman while sorting grapes in Italy set off some major soul-searching over the country’s problem with what many say is modern-day slavery. The New York Times reports that despite a new law aimed at curbing the practice, it remains “disturbingly widespread.”

And finally, in case you missed it Saturday: Why Arkansas is rushing to execute seven people by the end of the month. Via the Intercept.

 

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons, Flickr 

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