What A Day: Tents and nervous (can't relax) | Crooked Media
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What A Day: Tents and nervous (can't relax)

Tents are placed on an encampment on the UCLA campusvafter clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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Tents are placed on an encampment on the UCLA campusvafter clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

College campuses are on edge after a clash in LA and hundreds of arrests around the country.

  • Things got violent on the UCLA campus last night, in the latest sign that pro-Palestinian protests on dozens of campuses nationwide are escalating. The confrontation at UCLA was apparently sparked by pro-Israel counter-protesters who approached the barriers around a pro-Palestinian encampment, ripping down placards, tearing down barriers and shouting abuse. Fifteen people were hurt in the ensuing brawl, according to the president of the University of California, although the exact number seems to be in question. UCLA canceled classes on Wednesday. On the other side of the country, at Columbia University, NYPD cops moved into the Hamilton Hall administration building, which pro-Palestinian demonstrators had occupied the night before. Overall, more than 1,000 demonstrators have been arrested on campuses, many of whom aren’t students. That last part is a dilemma for school administrators, as they look to find ways to keep the protests from interfering with imminent commencement ceremonies and final exams. University of Chicago president Paul Alivisatos, for example, hailed the “core animating value” of free expression…while issuing a plea (warning?) to protesters to consider alternatives to an encampment. As of this writing, the U of C encampment is still growing. It shouldn’t be lost you, dear What a Day reader, that Chicago will host the Democratic National Convention later this summer.

  • Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the home of the actual war, U.S. and Saudi officials are doing their best to talk up a massive defense pact that would normalize relations with Israel and incentivize Israel’s right-wing government to end the war in Gaza and endorse a future Palestinian state. The deal would require landing lots of political back-flips, like OK’ing advanced U.S. weapons for the Saudis, who recently have had a tendency to use them in Yemen; giving the Saudis security guarantees even against an aggressive Iran; and, maybe hardest of all, getting PM Benjamin Netanyahu (or a successor?) to endorse Palestinian statehood. Add onto all of that the likely need to get Senate treaty ratification from skeptical and divided lawmakers.

  • In Gaza, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other negotiators are still hoping a proposed ceasefire deal can stave off Israel’s planned invasion of Rafah. As of this writing, Hamas still hasn’t responded to the offer, which would exchange the release of 33 Israeli hostages for a 40-day ceasefire and clearance for displaced Palestinians to move back north in the strip. Desperately-needed humanitarian aid is reportedly flowing more freely over the last week. Still, Jordan said two of its Gaza-bound humanitarian aid convoys were attacked by Israeli settlers as they made their way through the West Bank.

Disgraced former President Donald Trump called for college presidents to clear out demonstrators and “vanquish the radicals,” because the guy is just always looking for ways to escalate conflicts and harm protesters. Yes, things can get much MUCH worse.
What A Day


The House easily passed a bill expanding the federal definition of antisemitism at the Dept. of Education. The bill is the latest flourish in Republicans’ cynical efforts to drive division and de-legitimize protests by pretending to care about antisemitism. We’ll have more to say about this grossness in tomorrow’s newsletter—and also on the What A Day podcast!

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) says she’ll charge ahead with her plan to try to oust Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) from his post next week. Greene doesn’t have the votes, since Dems have pledged to protect Johnson, which in turn would sort of prove her point to other Republicans that Johnson owes his gavel to the enemy party. As we say every day at this time:  DOOOOO IT MARGE!!

A federal appeals court rejected Louisiana’s latest congressional district map that contains expanded power for Black voters to choose the candidates of their choice. It’s part of a long-running battle over Louisiana’s violations of the Voting Rights Act. Now the whole thing is likely headed to the Supreme Court, with a critical House seat in the balance.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is reupping his push to fully legalize marijuana and completely remove it from the DEA’s list of controlled substances. Schumer’s hoping to capitalize on momentum from news yesterday that the Biden Administration plans to loosen federal restrictions on marijuana.

The Biden Administration announced another $6.1 billion in student debt relief, this time for more than 315,000 attendees of Art Institutes schools that scammed students with false promises of post-study employment. The relief goes automatically to students who attended any of Art Institutes’ dozens of schools between 2004 and 2017. Hey young and young-ish voters!

The Federal Reserve declined to cut interest rates, citing concerns that “sticky” inflation was taking longer to come down than hoped. Still, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said he still expects inflation to wane, and he all but ruled out a pre-election rate hike.


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