The Half Truth

Brexit. Trump. Populism. Nationalism. Is there one story that can provide a single unified explanation for the trends taking hold across the globe? Maybe not. But if you had to choose one, it would be the economic divide. And it's not just about the 1% and everyone else. It's about a split that's as evenly divided as most American elections. Here's the NYT on America's haves and half nots. "This group -- the approximately 117 million adults stuck on the lower half of the income ladder -- 'has been completely shut off from economic growth since the 1970s, ... Even after taxes and transfers, there has been close to zero growth for working-age adults in the bottom 50 percent." (It's worth noting that, contrary to popular opinion, this story has been anything but ignored by the media.)

+ "Their jobs were routine and the easiest to replace with automation. The first thing to do is accept the 21st–century reality that no matter what you do, these jobs aren't coming back." A Quartz Q&A: Brace yourself: the most disruptive phase of globalization is just beginning

+ Larry Summers: "If foreign companies are allowed to run production chains that include Mexico and American companies are not, won't American employment ultimately suffer?"

+ Brookings: Technology, not international trade, is the primary force behind lost manufacturing jobs. (The misunderstanding of this fact has created a lot of misplaced rage against workers in other countries -- and "others" in general. But I guess it's pretty hard to get pissed at a robot.)


We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Wall

There's no doubt that a lot of illegal drugs cross the US/Mexican border. "But increasingly the most powerful opioids destroying lives and devastating communities from Maine to Texas are arriving through a different route: from China. Via the US Postal Service." Stat on the Amazon of drug trafficking. It all starts in a double-wide on a dead-end street on the high plains of Texas.


The Rodrigo and Gun Club

"I witnessed bloody scenes just about everywhere imaginable." NYT photojournalist Daniel Berehulak provides a disturbing look inside President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal antidrug campaign in the Philippines.


The Bicycle Thief

"It's as if you are paying someone to borrow a bike that's actually yours to begin with ... The whole thing is full of uneasy compromises in order to dance around the reality that most of the money isn't actually offshore -- it's really here." Bloomberg with an interesting look at how big corporations manage to essentially stash their foreign earnings right here at home (with a little help from you).


A Lump of Coal for Christmas?

"Pruitt became the top prosecutor for Oklahoma, which has extensive oil reserves, in 2011, and has challenged the EPA multiple times since, including in a pending lawsuit to throw out the EPA's Clean Power Plan." Scott Pruitt has been picked to run the EPA.

+ "Kelly, who retired in February as chief of U.S. Southern Command, would inherit a massive and often troubled department responsible for overseeing perhaps the most controversial part of Trump's agenda: his proposed crackdown on illegal immigration." Donald Trump has selected Retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly to run the Department of Homeland Security.

+ In the least shocking move of 2016, Trump has been named Time's Person of the Year. And as Vox points out, it has been a tale of three covers.


Judge Dread

If you're planning to commit a capital crime, you'll probably want to consider doing it somewhere other than Alabama. "Thirty-one states have the death penalty, and 30 of them require unanimity from a jury in crucial phases of sentencing. Not in Alabama, where a jury can impose a death sentence with a vote of at least 10 to 2. The jury may also recommend life imprisonment, as it did in Smith's case, but the judge can overrule jurors' findings no matter what they decide."


The Right to Bear False Witness

"What was real was Welch -- a father, former firefighter and sometime movie actor who was drawn to dark mysteries he found on the Internet -- terrifying customers and workers with his ­assault-style rifle as he searched Comet Ping Pong." What was false was pretty much everything else. WaPo on Pizzagate, from rumor, to hashtag, to gunfire in D.C.

+ Buzzfeed: 75% of American adults who were familiar with a fake news headline viewed the story as accurate.

+ Sunil Paul helped stop spam. Now he has some ideas for stopping lies on the Internet: We Can Fix It: Saving the Truth from the Internet.

+ Last week, I recorded a podcast with Rainmaker's Brian Clark: Content Curation in an Age of Fake News. (Warning: This is as smart and entertaining as NextDraft, but delivered with a sexy voice.)


Slap Stick Figures

"This new world, in which humor spreads instantly and globally, threatens webcomic artists at the same time as it liberates them." From The Economist: How the internet unleashed a burst of cartooning creativity. (That's what the Internet does. It unleashes.)


Follow the Comedian

"This is a real lesson, to be an artist who doesn't roll with what your leader is doing just because he's your leader." You know what you're in the mood for right now? A conversation between David Letterman and Tina Fey.


Bottom of the News

"Pistols and shotguns hung frozen in the air, their blunt ends aimed at various people, who remained as still as, well, mannequins." Everyone loves a good mannaquin challenge. In this case, that was especially true for the police.

+ It was pretty silly when all those people said they were gonna move to Canada depending on the outcome of the election. On the other hand, moving to Canada for McDonald's Waffle Fries seems pretty reasonable.

+ Starbucks is planning to add another 12,000 cafes in the next few years. At this point, where are they going to open them, inside other Starbucks?