Hostage Video and Humanitarian Aid

Gazan boy
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Humanitarian aid deal: President Joe Biden will visit Israel tomorrow and keep pressing for a humanitarian aid deal. The U.S. has been attempting to broker a deal with Israel that establishes "safe zones" in southern Gaza as well as the passage of humanitarian aid through the territory's borders. Last week, the region's main power plant ran out of fuel; hospitals, which have been relying on generators, report that they will be running out of fuel within the next 24 hours unless reserves are replenished. Gazan authorities say that after roughly 1 million people were told by the Israeli military to flee south due to a coming ground invasion in the north, the south has been hit by numerous airstrikes.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered 2,000 troops to deploy to Israel, where they will reportedly be used not in combat but "to provide advice and medical support to Israeli forces," per an unnamed Pentagon official speaking to The New York Times.

Meanwhile, Hamas has just released its first hostage video. It shows a 21-year-old French-Israeli woman named Mia Schem, who attended the rave where 260 people were massacred, receiving medical care and pleading to be safely returned home. The Israeli military responded, saying that Hamas is "trying to portray itself as a humane organization, while it is a murderous terrorist organization responsible for the murder and abduction of babies, women, children and elderly."

There are 199 hostages being held by Hamas right now, including up to 20 American citizens, though the exact number has not been confirmed. Read Reason's Matt Welch on past hostage crises.

Trump gets gagged: "First Amendment protections yield to the administration of justice and to the protection of witnesses," said Judge Tanya Chutkan yesterday as she issued a gag order that will prevent former President Donald Trump from speaking about his D.C. criminal case related to election interference. "His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify … public servants who are simply doing their job."

Trump is no longer allowed to make "public statements attacking the witnesses and specific prosecutors or court staff members" but remains free to disparage President Joe Biden, the Department of Justice, and Chutkan herself. The trial will begin on March 4, and Chutkan has said she will not be altering it to accommodate his campaigning schedule. 

This is not the first or only gag order Trump must contend with. "Earlier this month, in an ongoing civil trial in New York over alleged business fraud by Trump and his companies, a Manhattan judge issued a limited gag order after Trump posted an attack on the judge's top clerk," reports Politico. Still, Chutkan appears to have wrestled with weighing Trump's speech rights against the possibility that his words will intimidate witnesses, and attempted to keep her gag order more limited in scope.

"Today really isn't about gagging me. I t's an attempt to gag the American people," Trump wrote in a fundraising email yesterday. 

FEC filings indicate DeSantis may be screwed: The Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing deadline for the third quarter of 2023 was yesterday morning.

In the third quarter, Donald Trump raised $24.5 million—CNN is calling it a "mug shot money boost" in part because some of his biggest fundraising days were following his August 24 booking at a jail in Georgia—while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis raised $11.2 million and third-place contender and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley raised $8.2 million. 

DeSantis reportedly has $1 million in unpaid invoices, per Politico, and has spent about as much as he's raised, including a hefty $1.5 million in private jets.

Scenes from New York

Bringing you a special dispatch from our vaunted gem upstate, Cornell. In a viral video, Professor Russell Rickford of the history department calls Hamas' October 7 slaughter and the ensuing war between Israel and Hamas—in which 1,400 Israelis and 2,800 Palestinians have been killed—an "exhilarating" and "exciting" thing to watch.

"Hamas has challenged the monopoly of violence," says Rickford. Many Palestinians "were able to breathe, they were able to breathe for the first time in years. It was exhilarating. It was energizing. And if they weren't exhilarated by this challenge to the monopoly of violence, by this shifting of the balance of power, then they would not be human," he says.

"I was exhilarated," he adds. Judge it—and his defense of his comments to Cornell's student newspaper—for yourself. ("I'm really quite done being called a dangerous fascist by these academic assholes," commented Mary Katharine Ham on Twitter/X.)

This comes after the school's diversity and inclusion director—I swear, I am not making this up—came under fire for similarly bad comments.


  • Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen published an excellent techno-optimist manifesto. "We believe the market economy is a discovery machine, a form of intelligence—an exploratory, evolutionary, adaptive system," writes Andreessen. (Check out Katherine Mangu-Ward's interview with him here.)

  • Charter schools, streamlining the approval of pharmaceuticals, and liberalizing urban development? Is New Zealand finally having a libertarian moment (after enduring a massive authoritarian moment during COVID)?

  • Reason's Nick Gillespie interviewed Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame.

  • Tyson Foods will in fact live in the pod and eat the bugs.

  • The Maori fashion content you didn't know you needed.

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