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Vox Sentences: The US has very quietly started to accept lots of Syrian refugees

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The US meets its goal of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees; Uzbekistan in crisis; what does it mean not to salute the national anthem?

The US government keeps a promise

LightRocket / Albin Lohr-Jones via Getty
  • As of Monday, the US has resettled 10,000 Syrian refugees in the past 11 months — meeting its goal for fiscal year 2016. [Huffington Post / Elise Foley]
  • This happened very quietly and very quickly. Over the first eight months of the fiscal year, the US resettled fewer than 3,000 Syrian refugees — in the past three months, it's settled 7,000. [Daniel Solomon via Twitter]
  • Why the huge change? It could be that the US was embarrassed by the prospect of hosting a refugee summit in September, to urge other countries to commit to taking more refugees, when it hadn't met its own goals. [US Department of State]
  • Or maybe, given the length of time it takes to process refugee applications, this was simply a long time coming — the artifact of a previous realization that the refugee process was broken. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Despite the bluster last fall from Republican governors, Syrian refugees are successfully settling and integrating all over the country — including in Indiana, the state governed by Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence. [Washington Post / Katie Zezima]
  • But the US shouldn't get too self-congratulatory; 10,000 is nothing. Syria's neighbors have more than a million refugees apiece. [UNHCR]
  • A single rescue effort off the coast of Libya Monday saved the lives of 6,500 refugees. Not all of them were Syrian. But the US has only resettled 1.5 days' worth of rescues. [BBC]

Uzbekistan is losing the only leader it's ever had

Uzbekistan Foreign Ministry via Getty
  • Uzbek President Islam Karimov — who's run the country since the fall of the Soviet Union — is either dead (according to some reports) or at very least gravely ill. [NYT / Neil MacFarquhar]
  • The fact that the Uzbek government has confirmed Karimov is ill at all is a very significant sign. It's the sort of regime that makes "famously secretive" a cliché. [BBC / Abdujalil Abdurasulov]
  • Uzbekistan under Karimov was brutally authoritarian. A British report in the early 2000s found that at least two prisoners in Uzbek jails had been boiled to death. [The Guardian / Nick Paton Walsh]
  • In 2005, faced with protests (over, among other things, the arrest of businessmen on Islamic extremism charges), Karimov ordered a massacre. Uzbek soldiers killed 700 civilians. [Al Jazeera / Mansur Mirovalev]
  • This sort of thing kept the US from sending arms to Uzbekistan for a while. But under the Obama administration, the US started sending things like armored vehicles. [EurasiaNet / Joshua Kucera]
  • In part, this was to try to protect Afghanistan; in part, though, Uzbekistan's been fighting Islamist terrorism for the past few years (including, of course, ISIS). [Foreign Policy / Reid Standish]
  • There's very little known about who might succeed Karimov. His eldest daughter, once a celebrity, has fallen from favor and into house arrest. [The Guardian / Shaun Walker]
  • Either the decision about who will rule Uzbekistan next has already been made or it's going to get very shaky. Or both. [Foreign Policy / Reid Standish]

Ladies and gentlemen, remove your Kaeps

Jennifer Lee Chan via Niners Nation
  • San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick set off a national furor Friday when he refused to stand for the national anthem before a preseason game, in protest of police brutality and institutional racism. [KTVU]
  • In football terms, Kaepernick is not exactly a superstar — at least not anymore. (He's not the team's starting quarterback.) But he's certainly caused enough fuss to raise his profile — which could be good or bad for his career. [Mercury News / Tim Kawakami]
  • After all, sports (especially football) are associated with theatrical, red-state patriotism. The track record for athletes who opt out of that before games is ... not very good. [Fusion / Rob Wile]
  • (Of course, Jackie Robinson didn't salute the flag, either. Americans love sports heroes who spoke their minds — as long as they're too long gone to cause any problems.) [NBC Sports / Craig Calcaterra]
  • Knowingly or not, Kaepernick picked a pretty good target. Francis Scott Key was an unrepentant white nationalist, and the little-played third verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is ... well, let's just say there's a reason it's little played. [The Root / Jason Johnson]
  • Unsurprisingly, Kaepernick's action has made him a punching bag for the right in the culture wars — including the San Francisco police union, which decided to get involved. [SFGate / Vivian Ho]
  • But for many Americans, the sight of someone refusing to respect the flag brings up deep ambivalences: Is he disrespecting the people who fought to protect American freedom, or honoring their sacrifices? [ACLU]
  • This is okay. Colin Kaepernick, Bomani Jones argues, is not trying to make anyone feel comfortable — he's showing America the difference between justice and peace. [The Undefeated / Bomani Jones]


  • File this under "huge if legit": The team at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is investigating a signal from 95 light-years away. [Observer / Robin Seemangal]
  • Mexican legend Juan Gabriel died over the weekend. This is a beautiful appreciation of his legacy. [LAT / Gustavo Arellano]
  • Arsonists attacked Belgium's criminology institute Monday. But it's okay, they weren't terrorists — just, probably, members of an organized crime ring destroying evidence. [The Guardian / Arthur Neslen]
  • A woman wearing headphones is the most obvious possible indication that she doesn't want to be approached — so of course men are writing guides to how to approach headphone-wearing women. [The Modern Man / Dan Bacon]
  • Why Canadian bands (sometimes) can't break through in the US. [The A.V. Club / Adam Kovac]


  • "It has been 15 years since I stopped believing, and I have been able to explain to myself almost everything about the faith I grew up in, but I have not been able to explain those experiences of a God so real he entered bedrooms of his own accord, lit them up with joy, and made people generous." [Paris Review / Kristin Dombek]
  • "Between 1967 and 1977 the average number of workers on strike climbed by 30 percent and the number of work days lost to stoppages by 40 percent." [The Atlantic / Joshua Zeitz]
  • "Is that a smaller pocketwatch sitting in his gut? Has Cogsworth, noble Cogsworth, resorted to cannibalizing his smaller clockwork kin?" [The AV Club / William Hughes]
  • "'I don’t want talking cats,' a Goodreads reviewer identified as Lesa from Evansville, Ind., wrote about a book called 'The Whole Cat and Caboodle.' 'I like my cats to be cats, even if they do help to solve cases.’” [WSJ / Jennifer Maloney]
  • "Very few people knew 'Fucking' was Hillary’s real middle name. She changed it at Wellesley, and then spent years hiding it from the Arkansas papers." [NYMag / Liz Meriwether]

Watch this: What 20 years of drug commercials are doing to Americans’ health

A look at both sides of the debate over direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising. [YouTube / Joss Fong]