🇺🇸 Hostage Crisis

Plus, a new way to burn your mouth.

The Flag

Good morning, and happy Thursday. Through an incredible feat of robotics and biology, a Swedish woman named Karin has become the first person to ever receive a below-the-elbow prosthetic that fuses bone with metal and electrodes.

Plus, Pepper X takes the Carolina Reaper's crown as the world's hottest chili pepper, registering an average of 2.693 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU). A Jalapeño by comparison measures at between 2,000 to 8,000 SHUs.

Also, this exec delivered the Nasdaq’s biggest winner in three decades. Can he do it again?


Right: Cancel Culture Comes for Students Defending Hamas Karol Markowicz, FOX News

Right: Why the Moms of America Are Furious Nikki Haley, The Spectator

Left: Palestinian Lives Are Not Less Valuable Than Israelis Andrea May Sahouri, USA Today

Left: The Rise of a New Wave of Bigotry Against Muslims Hafiz Rashid, The New Republic


Speaker: Round 2, Holloway Murder, UN Rejected

US: GOP’s Jim Jordan fails again to win vote to become House speaker and colleagues seek other options (AP)

US: Scholastic makes certain books about race and LGBTQ issues optional for its elementary school book fairs (CNN)

US: Suspect admits he killed Natalee Holloway on Aruba in 2005, pleads guilty to extorting her mother (AP)

World: US vetoes UN Security Council action on Israel, Gaza (Reuters)

World: Putin touts solidarity with China in Xi’s pitch for new world order as crisis grips Middle East (CNN)


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Hostage Crisis

Nearly 200 Israelis are believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas, and their families have called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to prioritize their return over retaliatory strikes against Gaza. It is also believed that as many as 20 American citizens are among those being held captive.

Reporting from the Right: Hamas claims it will 'protect' hostages, release them 'when circumstances on the ground allow' (FOX News)

Reporting from the Left: Waiting for news, families of Israeli hostages share their loved ones’ lives and dreams (AP)

From The Flag: As of this writing, Israeli officials have said there are no plans to negotiate hostage releases with Hamas. However, the spokesperson for Hamas’s military wing announced they would be prepared to release non-Israeli prisoners once their safety could be guaranteed amid ongoing Israeli airstrikes. Hamas is also using its hostages as a bargaining chip to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners. Here’s what both sides are saying about the hostage crisis.


Israel Being Careful. Hostage Rescues Will Be Complicated

  • An IDF veteran explained the delay in the ground invasion of Gaza is due to Israeli efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of hostages.

  • Israel appears to be exercising an abundance of caution to prevent any further harm to hostages, but desperate families are taking measures into their own hands.

  • “A secretive Hamas group known as the "Shadow Unit" is likely overseeing the holding of hostages, putting those held by the group in danger and complicating any attempts at a rescue.”

Former Israeli soldier suggests hostage rescue operations behind delay in ground invasion of Gaza David Rutz, FOX News: “Israeli Defense Forces veteran Aaron Cohen believes the delay of Israel's planned ground invasion of Gaza was likely related to its sophisticated hostage rescue operations and intelligence gathering, saying "you're about to see what Israel does best." Israel has warned citizens of northern Gaza – the Palestinian territory governed by the terrorist group Hamas – to evacuate as the military continues its response to the Hamas attack that slaughtered Israeli civilians and took an estimated 150-200 hostages last week. The delay of its operation was ostensibly weather-related, but Cohen said he believed it was tied directly to Israel's efforts to rescue as many hostages and preserve as many lives as possible. … No stranger to high-risk hostage rescues, Israel's special forces are likely using the time to make any operation as precise as they can, he said. … He warned structures could be booby-trapped and any operations would be messy. The first priority in operations, he said, was to preserve life, unlike Hamas.”

What Is Happening With the Hostages in Gaza? Chao Deng and Dov Lieber, The Wall Street Journal: “Hamas said the hostages had been placed in locations across Gaza to impede Israeli operations targeting the militants in the crowded Palestinian enclave. … The fear that Hamas might execute some hostages and use others as human shields has given Israel's leaders difficult options, including whether to launch a ground invasion that might produce even more casualties. The alternate course—to reach a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas that would potentially free hundreds or even thousands of Palestinians in return for bringing the Israelis home—risks handing Hamas a propaganda victory that few Israelis are prepared to accept. … Officials in the U.S. and Israel have yet to unveil any strategy for rescuing hostages, although the Israeli army on Sunday appointed Brig. Gen. Gal Hirsch to coordinate a potential effort. … Inside Israel, families with missing loved ones have been working their networks, piecing together what may have happened by talking to survivors and looking at footage circulating on social media.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: Brutal Hamas 'Shadow Unit' likely behind hostage raids poses rescue nightmare Michael Lee, FOX News


Difficult Choices for Israel

  • “This terrible crisis leaves no good choices — but the U.S. may have more ways to pressure Hamas than Israel does.”

  • “Israel used to do everything possible to get them back safely. This time it isn’t promising to make the hostage release a top priority.”

  • “…a negotiated release of the hostages, mediated perhaps by the Qataris, is the lowest-risk approach to freeing them.”

The Best of Bad Options for Recovering the Hostages Dennis Ross, The Atlantic: “There is, regrettably, no simple answer. Hamas seized the hostages knowing full well Israel’s history of making trades. … Indeed, the spectacle of Hamas gaining the release of prisoners in spite of its killing spree of Israelis would allow its leaders to claim that their way worked. … One avenue the Biden administration could explore through the Qataris or Turks—or, preferably, the Egyptians, who have no interest in strengthening Hamas—would be a release of women and children in return for an agreement from Israel to permit some deliveries of humanitarian assistance to Gaza. Hamas might agree to this, to improve its international standing, even as it will surely seek to exploit such a deal by infiltrating its fighters into southern Gaza. That is a risk, but Israel, too, has reasons to manage its image—to show that it is fighting Hamas but not punishing the Palestinian people.”

Hostages Languish in Gaza and Israel Rethinks Prisoner Swaps Galit Altstein and Ethan Bronner, Bloomberg: “The fate of kidnapped or captured Israelis has long held a special place in the national consciousness. Hundreds of prisoners have been released to bring back a single Israeli. … But as the scores of civilian hostages languish across the Gaza Strip, besieged and bombed by the Israeli military as it seeks to destroy Hamas, their fate is being contemplated with a new mix of emotions. …there is a gnawing and growing sense in Israel that it must reconsider its longstanding policy, harden its heart, and send a brutal message to its enemies. … Israel has given away far too much — and paid a terrible price. … Part of the unstated justification for previous lopsided deals was the sense that Israel was so much stronger than its enemies, it could handle a losing bargain to demonstrate care for its citizens, who give two to three years of their life to military service. They are owed the full force of the state to bring them home if they are taken. Now that feeling has yielded to a sense of vulnerability and the belief that enemies need to see Israel as hardened enough to walk away.”

One more opinion piece from the Left: The best way to resolve the Hamas hostage crisis CNN, Peter Bergen


Support Falling for Netanyahu’s Likud Party

Political support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies has plummeted in the wake of Hamas’s assault. While some have backed his hardline, retaliatory response, many feel the state is failing to protect their loved ones and isn’t doing enough for hostages.

Amid the crisis, more votes appear to be shifting in favor of the National Unity Party against Netanyahu’s Likud party. A survey published by Maariv gives the centrist National Unity 41 seats, which is a significant increase from the 12 seats it currently holds. Likud would lose 19 seats, well below its present 32 seats (Times of Israel).


Monster Success, Ice Bucket Challenge 2.0, Ground Floor Field Day

The Nasdaq’s biggest gainer since 1990 isn’t Apple or Amazon — it’s Monster Energy. And now the billion-dollar monster may be back. Todd Gibson, the executive who helped launch Monster into its incredible success, founded Yerbaé Brands in 2017 with the goal of winning in the plant-based, natural energy drink space. Why not make it a win-win? 

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Founding Fathers Scandal, Complaint Cleanse, Cow Magnets

On This Day in 1796: An essay appears in the Gazette of the United States in which a writer, mysteriously named “Phocion,” attacks presidential candidate Thomas Jefferson. Phocion turned out to be former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. The essay typified the nasty, personal nature of political attacks in late 18th-century America.

Today I learned farmers feed “cow magnets” to their cattle to protect them from “hardware disease” caused by swallowing nails and other metal objects

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