1. Syria’s Dictator Has Done Some Very, Very Bad Things
Well, this might give Obama some bargaining power. UN inspectors have reportedly collected evidence showing Bashar al-Assad was behind the chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,400 Syrians at the end of August. Couple that with evidence that Assad has carried out eight mass killings against his people, and Obama has a lot of firepower to work out a deal to disarm Assad on his own terms. So far Russia has refused to buy into a deal that would bind Assad to his word. But even if we do move ahead with disarming Assad, it would be hell trying to track down his chemical weapons in the middle of Syria’s civil war. And the conflict might get even bloodier now that U.S. weapons have started reaching Syrian rebels.
• Vladimir Putin wants you to know you’re not special (check out the last paragraph) (NY Times).
• Find out how Assad moves his chemical weapons around Syria (Daily Beast).
• From 9/11 to Syria, has the U.S. learned anything? (PolicyMic)
2. This Punishment is So Bad You Wouldn’t Wish it On Your Worst Enemy
Solitary confinement is becoming a huge problem for prisoners across the world. Israel just paid $1.1 million after neglecting the notorious “Prisoner X,” and that pales in comparison to the $4.4 million the DEA gave American college student Daniel Chong when they forgot about him for four days. Then there’s Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley), who endured long periods of isolation and forced nudity at the Quantico marine base in Virginia. Solitary confinement has become increasingly common in California, causing prisoners to launch the largest hunger strike in state history. Psychologists agree prisoners are being punished with solitary confinement more frequently, and for longer periods of time. Unsurprisingly, these inmates are more likely to develop disorders such as panic, paranoia, and depression.
• Most Americans commit three felonies a day – here’s what happens if they get caught (PolicyMic).
• 3 real-life prison issues as seen on Orange is the New Black (Bitch Media).
3. Check Out the Pope’s Killer New Ride
Don’t be surprised if you see photos of the pope zipping around the Vatican in an old four-door. Apparently Pope Francis has accepted a 1984 Renault 4 from a priest from northern Italy, and he plans on driving it. This is just the latest of many examples that illustrate the modesty of the new pope. Francis has earned himself a reputation as the “Cold Call Pope” for comforting ordinary people over the phone, and he washed the feet of juvenile delinquents on Holy Thursday. Heck, he even paid his own hotel bill the day after becoming pope. The pope’s unusual brand of leadership has some wondering if he’ll bring change to the Church.
• 9 quotes that show this is not your typical pope (Quartz).
• Can a pope who leads a reluctant Church accomplish anything? (PolicyMic)
4. Apple Just Dropped the Ball. Big Time.
Apple may have just botched the release of the iPhone 5C. Badly. Apple’s plastic iPhone was supposed to appeal to emerging markets like China, but it looks like the phone isn’t going to be a hit. Chinese techies took to social media after Apple’s product launch to ridicule the 5C’s features and design, and the phone won’t even be affordable for most Chinese consumers. Apple’s stock continued to slide in response to the negative feedback; the company has lost $35 billion in value since Tuesday. Fortunately for Apple, the Chinese government has signed off on a deal that would give Apple access to 700 million new customers. We’ll have to wait until the 5C hits stores on September 20 to see if they’re interested.
• The gold iPhone 5S proves Apple has run out of ideas (PolicyMic).
• 11 questionable features of the new iPhone 5C (Onion).
• Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? (Slate).
• The most and least lucrative college majors, in one graph (NPR).
• This World Trade Center video is the most inspiring thing you’ll see all month (PolicyMic).
• Take a tour through the 6,000 year history of the afro pick (BBC).
• Jimmy Fallon and JT bring you the evolution of end zone dancing (GQ).
Thanks for reading!
What do you think about the topics in today’s Mic Check? Does the U.S. need to reform its prison system? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @nicholascbaker.
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