Kurds Abandoned. The United States will abandon the Kurdish fighters who supported American troops in the years-long fight against Islamic State (ISIS) insurgents. The U.S has about 1,000 troops stationed in Kurdish regions of northeastern Syria. The withdrawal seems to be a response to the wishes of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Though the Kurds have long been allies of the U.S, Erdogan views them as terrorists. President Trump warned in a tweet Monday that he would “obliterate the Economy of Turkey” if Erdogan went too far. He called on others in the region to “protect their own territory.” Syria Defense Force spokesman Mustafa Bali said the region will turn into a war zone if the United States leaves and warned the forces will “defend northeast Syria at all costs.” Mindy Belz of WORLD has written an excellent but troubling analysis of the situation. You can read it here.
SCOTUS Watch. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is back in session, and it will hear several important cases related to abortion and religious liberty. Last week, the Supreme Court said it would hear June Medical Services v. Gee, which concerns a Louisiana law regulating abortion providers. The case could set the stage for overturning Roe v. Wade – or not, depending on the outcome. The Louisiana law in question requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The Supreme Court struck down a similar Texas law three years ago. Several other state-level abortion cases could work their way up to the Supreme Court in the next year. Last week, a federal judge temporarily blocked Georgia’s “heartbeat law” from taking effect, joining a handful of other judges who have halted similar legislation in other states, citing Supreme Court precedent. A federal judge recently upheld a Virginia law requiring women to have an ultrasound at least 24 hours before obtaining an abortion and abortion facilities to meet hospital requirements.
Clean Comedy. Netflix has become a leader in comedy. Netflix-produced comedy specials get high viewership numbers, but are often incredibly raunchy, not safe for either families or advertisers. Three entrepreneurs thought that might leave an opening for clean comedy. Director Isaac Halasima and entrepreneurs Neal and Jeff Harmon founded Dry Bar Comedy, which has delivered what WORLD calls “safe-for-work jokes” to almost 2 billion viewers over the internet since 2017. The Harmons began in an abandoned bar that had a stage in Provo, Utah. Dry Bar now has a library of more than 150 comedy specials it distributes on Amazon, Facebook, SiriusXM, Spotify, YouTube, the Dry Bar Comedy App, and VidAngel—the video filtering service the Harmons started in 2015.
Committed to Georgia, But Not to Life. Tyler Perry, the entertainment mogul that helped make Atlanta a film industry powerhouse, said he remains committed to Georgia even though other pro-abortion entertainers refuse to work in Georgia because of the state’s heartbeat law. A federal judge has temporarily blocked the law from going into effect. If it ever does become law, it will protect babies from abortion once they have a detectable heartbeat, usually at about six weeks of gestation. Perry, though, says his decision doesn’t mean he’s pro-life. He built a major film studio in Atlanta and says he can’t abandon that investment. “I put $250 million in the ground here and in the studio,” Perry said. “So when you have a quarter of a billion dollars sat down in the ground, you can’t just up and leave.” To leave no doubt about where he stands, he added, “I don’t believe any man should be able to tell a woman what she can do with her body or reproductive organs.”
Milestones. The Washington Monument officially opens to the general public this week (Oct. 9) in 1888…. It was 101 years ago today (Oct. 8, 1918) that Alvin C. York, best known in popular lore as “Sgt. York,” became one of the best-known war heroes of the 20th century, and a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. I wrote an appreciation of Sgt. York here…. John Denver died this week (Oct. 12) in 1997. To read my appreciation of the singer/songwriter, click here.
Image: Kurdish Soldiers, Google Images