Turning Over a New Leaf 🍃

Democrats unveil a new climate change proposal, Airbnb is getting into the transportation biz and Jeff Bezos brings the heat to the 'National Enquirer.

Turning Over a New Leaf 🍃

Democrats unveil a new climate change proposal, Airbnb is getting into the transportation biz and Jeff Bezos brings the heat to the 'National Enquirer.

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✨  Good morning! Today is Friday, February 8, 2019 and this weekend, we’re puff, puff, passing


• The Background

New Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (affectionately known as AOC) ran on a millennial-focused platform that included revamping America’s approach to climate change. Now, the 29-year-old U.S. Congresswoman is getting to work. Yesterday, in partnership with veteran senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, she introduced a resolution called the Green New Deal. The legislation sets a goal of meeting “100% of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources” (think wind and solar) and to “create unprecedented levels of prosperity and wealth for all while ensuring economic and environmental justice and security.” In addition to its focus on reversing climate change, the Deal also advocates for national health care coverage, job guarantees, high-quality education and affordable housing. National Post

• What Else You Need to Know

While the Deal is in its infancy, it’s already getting pushback from Republicans. GOP lawmakers said it was too radical and would cost trillions, drive the economy “off a cliff” and force a huge tax increase. Rep. David McKinley basically called AOC and Markey delusional (“If anyone thinks that decarbonizing America is going to save the planet, they’re delusional”), while Sen. John Barrasso called the Deal “a socialist manifesto that lays out a laundry list of government giveaways, including guaranteed food, housing, college and economic security even for those who refuse to work.” Despite the partisan pushback, AOC got quite a bit of support from her own side of the aisle, including six senators who are running for president or considering it. (Think Bernie, Kamala, Cory and Kirsten.) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said she welcomed any new initiatives to address climate change.

• What’s Next?

The Deal will likely head to a few committees for further review before it even gets to Congress for a vote (if it gets to Congress for a vote). Once there, it will have quite a fight as the Senate is still controlled by Republicans — many of whom believe climate change is a hoax.


• Global Executioners

The UN has released its first findings from the inquiry into Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and it found that it was “planned and premeditated” by Saudi Arabian government officials. (“Shocking!” Thought nobody, ever.) The UN’s initial findings of the probe into the murder, which took place Oct. 2, were released yesterday, with the full inquiry to be released in June. Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has said that Khashoggi’s death is part of a global pattern of journalists being executed at the hands of the regimes of which they are critical. (Lovely.) Eleven people have been arrested in Saudi Arabia, with five sentenced to the death penalty. Callamard has requested an official visit to the country over concerns regarding the fairness of the trial. CBC News


• U.S.: Ladies First

Ivanka Trump is doing all she can to salvage her father’s reputation with women. Yesterday, the first daughter and senior advisor to the president officially unveiled the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, a US $50-million fund “that aims to improve economic security for 50 million women around the world by 2025.” The initiative will develop programs to assist women in areas such as job training, financial support, and legal or regulatory reforms. In addition to using funds from USAID (a government agency that POTUS tried to slash the budget for — twice), the initiative has also sourced contributions from major corporations including UPS, Walmart and Pepsi. Washington Post

• World: Je Ne Sais Pas

It’s France vs. Italy, but this time the beef is not on the soccer field. Along with accusing Italy of hurling insults at the French government, France warned the southern European nation not to get involved with the anti-government (“yellow vest”) protestors. Of course, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio met with them anyway, a move that France views as political interference. Relations between the two countries have been tense since June 2018 when the populist Five Star Movement, of which Di Maio is the leader, and the right-wing League party formed a coalition government. France has responded by recalling its ambassador to Italy, which is often seen before one nation breaks off diplomatic relations with another. (Can’t we all just get along?) BBC News


The thing is, marriage is very hard. That is the sentence you should lead with. It’s really effing hard.

– Honorary Canadian Hailey Bieber (formerly Baldwin), opening up about marriage in her very first joint interview with her new husband. Vogue


• Getting Around

Move over, Uber — there are new wheels on the block. Airbnb wants to be our one-stop-shop for all things travel, and that includes transportation. The home-sharing giant has just hired its first ever global head of transportation, Fred Reid, who was previously the founding chief executive officer of Virgin America and president of Delta Airlines. (Sounds like they’re taking the “air” in Airbnb seriously.) “I’m not interested in building our own airline…but there is a tremendous opportunity to improve the transportation experience for everyone,” Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said. (So…flying cars?) TechCrunch


• Such a Blur

The number of employees working remotely has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks to innovative programs like Slack and Google Drive. Now, one of the OG telecommunication tools is getting an update every work-from-home employee deserves: the background blur. Microsoft introduced the new feature for Skype yesterday, which will allow users to blur out their background when on a video call, effectively removing the need to ever clean your office or kitchen. (Praise be.) The new feature uses AI to block out everything except the subject, and should be available on the desktop version of the video-calling app now (no word on when or if it’ll be available on mobile). It can be enabled through the video call menu. The Verge


• Basketball: NBA Trade-Off

Basketball fans are shaking in their kicks after all the excitement of yesterday’s NBA trade deadline. Here’s a breakdown: the Milwaukee Bucks traded for Nikola Mirotic, which should hype their offensive game; the Philadelphia 76ers scored their biggest deadline deal yet, landing Tobias Harris from the LA Clippers, James Ennis from the Rockets, and Jonathan Simmons from Orlando Magic; the Sacramento Kings are looking like major playoff contenders with Harrison Barnes backing up the other young Kings; the Dallas Mavericks are looking tough to beat with newly-acquired Kristaps Porziņģis; and our very own Toronto Raptors can just call it a win after acquiring three-time all-star Marc Gasol, though we’re losing Jonas Valanciunas (among others) in the process. The easterners are looking like strong competitors, though the Knicks are feeling a little worse for wear after losing Porziņģis on a low sale; the Lakers are suffering too after losing out on a deal to acquire Anthony Davis. All in all, it was a nail-biting couple of days. (We’ll see you on the court. 🏀) Sportsnet


• Barking Up the Wrong Tree

It turns out there’s some real shady business going on at the National Enquirer. (Shocking, we know.) Yesterday, Amazon founder and mega-billionaire Jeff Bezos said that the publisher of the rag mag tried to extort him after discovering “compromising photos.” Bezos shared all the dirty details in a blog post, including emails he received from the team at AMI (the publisher of the National Enquirer) which he described as “extortion and blackmail.” According to Bezos’ report, the CEO of AMI, David Pecker, wanted to block an investigation Bezos was conducting into AMI’s political affiliations and/or motivations, and threatened to release more messages and photos if he didn’t pull the plug. Luckily, Jeff Bezos is a better man than most and said he would risk personal embarrassment to “stand up to this kind of extortion,” cause if someone in his position can’t (a.k.a. a world-famous billionaire), who can? (And the Enquirer isn’t the only one taking aim at Amazon — Woody Allen is suing the tech giant for terminating four movie contracts.) CNN


• Safe Space

Twenty years after Aerosmith released “Janie’s Got a Gun,” the group’s frontman is turning the hit song into one helluva good deed. On Monday, Steven Tyler opened the second Janie’s House just outside Memphis, TN. The new house, which has been fully renovated thanks to Tyler’s US $500,000 donation, will serve as a home for girls who’ve been neglected or abused. It has enough space to accommodate 14 girls at any given time (26 to 30 each year) and will have staff on site to provide support and therapy to those who need it. And Tyler’s not done yet: the rock star said he hopes to bring Janie’s Fund (and more homes) with him wherever he goes. CBS News


• No Dogs Allowed

All dogs may go to heaven, but there’s one place they won’t be going anytime soon: New York’s Museum of the Dog. Despite being entirely dedicated to man’s best friend, our four-legged companions are not allowed to step one foot paw inside. According to Alan Fausel, the director of the museum, the purpose of the attraction is to “collect, preserve and display the art, artifacts, literature of the dog” — which obviously can’t include dogs actually visiting an exhibit dedicated to their history. (Seems like poor planning, no?) For the humans who wish to visit (without their furry friends, of course), the 1700-piece collection includes portraits of royal and presidential pets, artifacts that trace canine history somewhere around 30 million years back, devices that “match” visitors’ faces with dog breeds (how flattering) along with an installation that lets people try their hand at basic dog training with a virtual puppy. NBC New York 


• The Right Way

On Feb. 8, 1992, being “too sexy for your shirt” became a mainstream saying when “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred peaked at the No.1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100. 


• Looks like fake news has made its way across the border: the NDP has asked Canada’s elections watchdog to investigate “slanderous” ads targeting Jagmeet Singh. 

• The Democrat-run House of Representatives is wasting no time amping up its Trump inquiries. It took first steps yesterday in order to obtain POTUS’s tax returns. 

• Amazon just threw its hat in the self-driving ring. The company has invested“significantly” in Aurora, a startup focused on autonomous vehicles. 

• After sparking an entire industry (and tons of competitors), food-delivery app Postmates is going public.

• iOS users are getting a very welcome update from Netflix: To improve the offline viewing experience, the streaming service will now auto-delete (once users have watched) and auto-download next episodes when a device is connected to WiFi. (For pure, uninterrupted binging.)

• ICYMI, Schitt’s Creek is anything but sh*t. The comedy was just nominated for 15 Canadian Screen Awards, along with a slew of other homegrown hits.  


• Posthumous Humour

Talk about having the last laugh

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