From kisses, to Mounties, to divisive potential CIA directors, this week’s newsletter is all about firsts. Let’s take a look back, shall we?
President Donald Trump nominated Gina Haspel, the deputy CIA director, to take over for Mike Pompeo, who was nominated to be the next Secretary of State after Rex Tillerson was fired this week (never a dull moment!). If Haspel, 61, is confirmed by the Senate, she will become the first woman to lead the intelligence agency since it was founded in 1947. She comes with some pretty controversial baggage. Haspel is a 30-plus-year veteran of the CIA, who has spent most of her career working undercover. But, notably, she ran a CIA “black site” at a time when torture tactics were commonly deployed against terror suspects during interrogations. Guess we know how she scored the nomination then.
Katy Perry, who is a judge on the newly rebooted American Idol, kissed a 19-year-old contestant and he did NOT like it (see what we did there??). Benjamin Glaze told the judges that he had never been in a relationship and had never kissed a girl, which prompted Perry to call him over and plant a smooch on his unsuspecting lips. Glaze told the New York Times this week that he was “uncomfortable” about the interaction, and had wanted to save his first kiss for his first relationship — remarks he later clarified in a post on Instagram. Some viewers suggested that the response to the kiss would have been much harsher if a man had subjected a woman to an unwanted advance. But don’t worry, American Idol doesn’t care about that either.
Rosa Rodriguez was the first and only student at New Jersey’s Sayreville High School to participate in a nationwide protest against gun violence. Across the country, tens of thousands of students walked out of school for at least 17 minutes to demand stricter gun control, spurred by last month’s mass shooting at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida. Officials threatened to suspend Sayreville students who left school, but Rodriguez did it anyway. “A lot of people are saying, ‘Oh, this is stupid, you shouldn’t do this. Just stay inside, go on about your day,” she said. “And I’m like, well, I want to show I care about it, so I want to do something about it.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed the first permanent female commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Brenda Lucki, who has worked with the force for more than three decades, will take her position at the head of the national police in April. The appointment comes at a fraught time for the RCMP, which has been beset by a sexual harassment scandal and accusations of bias against Indigenous people. Lucki, Trudeau said, will “play a vital role in advancing reconciliation with indigenous peoples [and] promoting gender equality.” We imagine she will. And now people will have some good Canadian news to distract them from this.