11/28/18 -
Reading time: 4.5 min
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Stephen Hillenburg made the ultimate career switch that eventually made him wildly successful. He went from being a marine biology teacher to creating one of the most popular animated characters of all time - SpongeBob! Hillenburg loved marine science as much as he loved illustrating. He eventually combined the two, which led to the creation of SpongeBob SquarePants. He passed away on Monday due to ALS at the age of 57.
RIP to the legend
#1: Russia Attacks Ukrainian Ships 

That escalated quickly

On Sunday, Russia opened fire on Ukrainian navy boats entering the strait between Russia and Crimea into the Azov Sea. Several Ukrainians were injured, and Russia has detained 24 sailors. Russia claims that the fleet provoked such action by violating maritime law.

Historic tension

According to a 2003 agreement, the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait were to be shared between Russia and Ukraine. However, Russia seized control of the strait in 2014 when it annexed Crimea. These tensions bring us to Sunday - when Ukraine sent boats through the channel.


The left focuses more on the attack and asserts that it perpetuates Russia’s status as a violator of international law. They argue that Ukraine was fully within its rights to use the strait and that Russia is simply proving that no one in the west will dare to stop them. This side fears that Trump’s ongoing criticism of European allies will undermine any counteraction.


The right focuses more on what Trump can do to enforce accountability. They commend Trump for saying that he’s “not happy” with Russia, but urge concrete action. They also list ways in which the US can play an active role in counteracting Russian aggression. These outlets argue that the US should be at the forefront of maintaining democratic order.


Why did Russia do this?

Putin's approval rating has been falling all year - going from 82% to 66%. The data shows a similar drop in January 2014 - a month before the annexation of Crimea. After the invasion, the Kremlin’s approval jumped to 83%. Thus, the recent attack on Ukraine, combined with a burgeoning anti-Ukraine campaign, may be a ploy to increase domestic favor of Putin.

Putin over here like
#2: A Deal With Saudi Arabia? 🤔

CIA says MBS was in on it

The CIA recently concluded that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. However, President Trump dismissed the CIA’s analysis, provoking further concern that the president will be unwilling to hold Saudi Arabia accountable. 

So….what about that nuclear deal?

Negotiations over a US-Saudi nuclear deal have been strained by MBS’s recent human rights offenses, including Khashoggi’s killing. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) has led efforts to block the Trump administration from pursuing the deal.


The left finds Trump’s denial of the CIA’s report ridiculous. Democrats, and even several Republicans, have condemned President Trump’s decision to turn a blind eye to MBS’s crimes. They argue that Trump is unwilling to punish Saudi Arabia because of the US-Saudi economic relationship, and that Saudi Arabia cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons.


The right defends President Trump’s efforts to maintain a relationship with Saudi Arabia. They argue that sanctioning specific individuals (aka, the Crown Prince) would be smarter than destroying a long-term economic relationship with an important economic (and oil producing) ally. These outlets also criticize the left as hypocritical for wanting to cut with Saudi Arabia, after denouncing President Trump’s isolationist philosophy.


Will the CIA report affect the nuclear deal?

Although Jamal Khashoggi was killed almost two months ago, the impact of this tragedy is ongoing. Trump’s rejection of the CIA’s findings has pushed key Republican lawmakers to reconsider America's relationship with Saudi Arabia. These Republican votes will be critical if Trump pursues a nuclear deal in a Democrat-led House of Rep.

When Zuck met MBS
Extra extra...✨📰✨

No upset by the underdog. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) wins the Mississippi Senate race runoff with 54% of the vote (CBS News)

Big spenders. Consumers set a new record for Cyber Monday by spending nearly $8 billion (USA Today)

Booming. Global carbon emissions have increased for the first time in four years due to economic growth (BBC)

Fossil-free ships. A norwegian cruise line plans to power its ships with dead fish and organic waste (

The new TV. Youtube will make its future original content free to all users with commercials (Reuters)

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