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Monday Briefing | February 1

People gather inside the Dubuque County Fairground's ballroom Tuesday night during 2012 Iowa Presidential Caucus. Over a thousand filled the room of the republican site. Picture by Dave Kettering
People gather inside the Dubuque County Fairground’s ballroom Tuesday night during 2012 Iowa Presidential Caucus. Over a thousand filled the room of the republican site. Picture by Dave Kettering

Stories to Follow

The Iowa Caucuses
The Presidential primaries are officially underway, with the first round of voting in Iowa taking place today. While predicting the victor in Iowa has been notoriously difficult—largely due to the nature of caucuses, which require participants to stand for hours in support of their candidate—polls of Iowa voters find two very unconventional candidates to be favored. From the Republican side, billionaire real-estate mogul Donald Trump leads. For the Democrats, the self-styled Democratic Socialist, Bernie Sanders, trails Hillary Clinton by a small margin in some of the polls. Still confused about how the caucus works? The Washington Post breaks it down for you.

Is Trump’s latest fit a smart political move?
Presidential candidate Donald Trump refused to participate in the Fox Business Network’s Presidential Primary debate on Thursday, despite its proximity to the Iowa Caucus, because the network refused to remove co-moderator Megyn Kelly from the event. Trump felt that Ms. Kelly treated him unfairly in the first GOP presidential debate and called for her removal as co-moderator in the debate Thursday. Fox News refused, saying that it “violates all journalistic standards” for candidates to be able to dictate the terms of a debate. We will find out today how Trump’s absence will affect his performance in Iowa. Read more here, here and here.

Oregon ranchers’ standoff
Several of the protesters in Oregon who had been occupying a government building for the past several weeks were arrested last week and one, LaVoy Finicum, was killed. A handful of protesters remain, but far fewer than were present at its height. The fate of the former and remaining protesters is unclear. Ranchers initially occupied the building to “defend against unconstitutional federal land management” that they claimed “infringed on the rights of citizens.” (NYT). The federal government wanted to buy the land of ranchers whose properties bordered The National Wildlife Refuge, and when ranchers refused to sell, the federal government began a “campaign of harassment” to coerce land-owners into selling—tactics that included “barricading roads” and arbitrarily revoking grazing permits. Read more here and here.

Upcoming Events

Free Winter Carnival in Bryant Park
February 5 and 6, 12pm-10pm | Bryant Park

It’s the last week to take advantage of the NYC Broadway and Restaurant Weeks.
All week | All around the city

Intelligence Squared Debate, experts debate: “Are Lifespans Long Enough?”
February 3 | Kaufman Center, 129 West 67th Street

In Your Spare Time

Fewer and fewer Americans are spending their free hours watching The Daily Show. What changed, and who will fill the Jon Stewart-shaped hole in our political dialogue? Read more.

Looking for a way to facilitate introspection without being inundated by the clichés of the dreaded self-help-book? “How Proust Can Change Your Life” is an insightful and witty distillation of the monumental genius of Marcel Proust, and helps us understand how his tortured insights can lighten and illuminate our lives.

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