Mic Check: Are We Finally Going to Shut Down Gitmo?

1. Senate Holds First Gitmo Hearing in 3 Years
 
The Senate held its first hearing on Guantánamo prison since 2009 on Wednesday, and the hearing boiled down to a battle between Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Durbin argued the prison doesn’t need to stay open: He says Gitmo inmates could be transferred to prisons abroad and in the U.S. Ted Cruz countered that we can’t rely on foreign prisons to hold terrorists. With the recent prison break in Iraq, he may have a point. However, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has released a report finding U.S. prisons could safely hold Gitmo inmates.
 
More from around the web:
• Kafka at Gitmo: Why 86 prisoners are cleared for release but might never get it (Washington Post).
 
Gitmo is killing me (NY Times).
 
More From PolicyMic:
Dear Congress: This Is Your Chance to Close Gitmo and Support American Interests (Retired Lt. Gen. Robert Gard)

2. Senate Passes Bill to Lower Student Loan Rates
 
The Senate passed legislation to lower interest rates on Stafford student loans on Wednesday, likely marking the end of the student loan debate. The bill sets interest rates on government subsidized Stafford loans at 3.86% for the coming school year and doesn’t allow rates to change over the life of the loan. However, the interest rate for new loans will vary every year based on the strength of 10-year Treasury notes. The bill caps undergraduate loan rates at 8.25%. You can expect the bill to become law: Both the House and President Obama have voiced support.
 
More from around the web:
Everything you need to know about the new student loan bill (Washington Post).
 
The Senate’s bill lets students down (The Hill).
 
More From PolicyMic:
Tackling Student Loans Should Be Congress’ First Priority (Sean McElwee)
 
3. At Least 78 Killed in Spain Train Wreck
 
A train crash outside of the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela killed 78 and injured at least 130 on Wednesday night in one of Europe’s worst train disasters. Authorities believe the crash was an accident; the train’s conductor admitted he was going more than double the track’s allowed speed. One of the train operators left a haunting voicemail after the crash: “I derailed, what am I going to do, what am I going to do…?” he said over and over.
 
More from around the web:
• The Canadian town of Lac-Mégantic also suffered from a train wreck recently. Check in on how they are recovering (NY Times).
 
More From PolicyMic:
• The Future Of America Depends On Developing U.S. Infrastructure (Heather Beaven)
 
4. U.S. Delays Military Aid to Egypt
 
The Obama administration delayed the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt on Wednesday, the first sign the government may cut off $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt. The White House delayed the delivery in order to “consult with Congress on military assistance generally,” according to Pentagon Press Secretary George Little. The administration has been hesitant to cut off aid to Egypt following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi because Egypt is seen as a key ally in the Middle East and North Africa.
 
Meanwhile, the Egypt’s commander-in-chief, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, called for rallies on Friday to show support for the country’s interim government. The rallies could spark more violence in Egypt; Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood plans to hold demonstrations on Friday, too.

More from around the web:
Why Egypt is a foreign-policy puzzle (New Yorker).
 
Will Morsi’s ouster bring stability to Egypt? (NY Times)
 
More From PolicyMic:
Egypt Had a Revolution, Not a Coup – Despite What the American Media Says (Uchechi Kalu)

5. PolicyMic Takes On “Blurred Lines”
 
Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” has been everywhere recently, and it’s quickly made a case for becoming the song of the summer. However, the song’s lyrics and music video have also stirred a lot of controversy. PolicyMic’s Liz Plank tells you exactly what’s wrong with the track in her excellent takedown of Robin Thicke. Thicke defends his song as a tongue-in-cheek take on misogyny and says it can be fun to be sexist. Plank isn’t having any of it: “Sexism can’t be ironic because we're not over it. It’s still massively prevalent. Men still benefit from it, women are still hindered by it.”
 
More from around the web:
Vampire Weekend and Bill Clinton give their takes on “Blurred Lines” (YouTube).
 
• In case you missed it, there’s also a gender swap version of the song (YouTube).
 
More From PolicyMic:
Is Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” Really the Song of the Summer? (Jesse Chevan)

DESSERT
Is immortality plausible, or is it quack science? (Newsweek)
 
How yoga could save the U.S. millions and create a better society (Forbes)
 
• EXCLUSIVE: 7 more creepy Anthony Weiner aliases revealed (PolicyMic).
 
11 tech sounds you’ll never hear again (Wired)
 
16 words that are much older than they seem (Mental Floss)
 
Thanks for reading!
Nick
 
Do you disagree with any of the opinions in today’s Mic Check? Do you think “Blurred Lines” is perfectly harmless? Let me know what you think on twitter: @nicholascbaker.
 
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