Tuesday, July 28th, 2015


Paid Assassin Wanted

Nearly a decade ago, police in Richmond, CA agreed to a plan that included paying assassins. But here's the twist. They were only potential assassins and they were paid not to kill. "Four times a year, the program's street team sifts through police records and its own intelligence to determine, with actuarial detachment, the 50 people in Richmond most likely to shoot someone and to be shot themselves. ONS tracks them and approaches the most lethal (and vulnerable) on the list, offering them a spot in a program that includes a stipend to turn their lives around." As MoJo's Tim Murphy explains, it was a crazy idea, but it's working.


Scouts, Honor

"Eagle Scout. Young Republican. CIA recruit. Air Force officer. CIA director. Secretary of Defense." That's a quick overview of the impressive career of Robert Gates. And now, it's fair to add civil rights campaigner to his list of gigs. From The Atlantic's David A. Graham: "Robert Gates has now integrated two of the great bastions of macho American traditional morality -- first the U.S. armed forces, and now the Boy Scouts of America." (Since he's integrated two macho institutions, I think it's fair to call him a Macho Macho Man.)


Sentence Repentance

It's not often that I get to use these pixels to report on bipartisanship in DC. But let's enjoy this opportunity because we're seeing some consensus when it comes to finally scaling back America's ridiculous sentencing laws.

+ If you missed it a couple weeks ago, here's a look back at President Obama's visit to a federal prison and a story of just how draconian our current sentencing can be: Cool Hand Barry.


When The Shirt Hits the Fan

There's been plenty of coverage of the controversy and lawsuits between former American Apparel CEO Dov Charney and the company he founded. But there's a bigger story here. American Apparel is struggling to remain one of the few companies that still manufactures their casual clothing in the United States. "Currently, ninety-seven per cent of the apparel sold in the U.S. is made in overseas factories, where workers are frequently paid extremely low wages and often toil in dangerous conditions." The New Yorker's Anna Heyward with a look at the economics of what you're wearing right now.


Keeping the Finnish Thinnish

"It's been kind of a social right to provide citizens with sporting possibilities." NPR pays a visit to Finland where people are quite active, and where they have 30,000 sports facilities. That's part of how Finns make sports part of their everyday lives. (And yes, you have to use the facilities.)

+ Syndicated from Kottke: How many times have you seen a car parked in the bike lane and wanted to somehow move it out of the way? Well, this very large cyclist felt that way and lifted this small car right out of his way.


Rich Man Poor Man

"By the time we're 60, three in five Americans will have spent at least a year at the bottom. If that sounds like a surprisingly high number, it's worth noting that an awful lot of us will spend at least some time at the top, too." WaPo parses the numbers and finds remarkably high odds that you'll be poor at some point in your life.


First and Jen

For now, the role is only "coaching intern" and the gig only lasts through the preseason, but it's very cool that Jen Welter is breaking through the frozen tundra ceiling by becoming the first female NFL coach. The league also recently hired its first female on-field official.


Hulk Grosser

Hulk Hogan was known for moves such as the leg drop, the clothesline, the big boot to the face, and the pile driver. Apparently he's added a new move to his repertoire: The Ill-Advised Retweet. Welcome to the future where retweets are considered news: "The legendary pro wrestler, whose accomplishments were scrubbed from the World Wrestling Entertainment Web site and whose contract was terminated after the report of a video of him using the word surfaced Friday, retweeted a comment that brought further attention to him."

+ Journalist Felix Salmon on why you can't trust journalism.


Hey Now

"Jon Stewart slipped unnoticed into the White House in the midst of the October 2011 budget fight, summoned to an Oval Office coffee with President Barack Obama that he jokingly told his escort felt like being called into the principal's office." Jon Stewart visited the White House. And Obama visited The Daily Show. That gives you some idea of the influence -- on both sides of the aisle -- Jon Stewart has built up over his tenure.

+ GQ's Amy Wallace visits with the awesome Jeffrey Tambor who "is finally getting his leading-man moment. All he had to do was become a woman."


Bottom of the News

Today, the Internet has been enraged by the story of an American dentist who hunted and killed Cecil, Zimbabwe's most famous lion. Seems like a story that needs just the right headline. How's this: Pussy Kills Cat.

+ After years of investing in tech companies, I'm finally ready to share my 20 Simple Rules for Startup Success.

+ And Don't Call Me Shirley: 35 Years of ‘Airplane!'

+ Introducing the latest addition to the line-up of spectator sports. Who wants to watch me code?

+ Outside: Welcome to the quietest square inch in the U.S.