Thursday, September 3rd, 2015


Teflon Tom

Breaking: Shockingly Attractive Rich White Superstar Quarterback Finally Gets a Break. Yes, a judge ruled against the NFL and has overturned the four game suspension Tom Brady faced because of his role in the New England Patriots' ball deflating scandal. While this story has been inflated well beyond its actual importance, what's actually interesting here is that the ruling had nothing to do with whether or not Brady actually did what the NFL accused him of doing. Instead, Judge Richard M. Berman ruled on whether or not the NFL had the power to issue the suspension. In ruling that it didn't, the judge provided a rare check on the growing power of America's most powerful league. The NFL can and will appeal; a reality that is enough to give anyone a concussion. (During Week 1 of the season, Brady should run out on the field with a ball that's as flat as a pancake.)

+ The New Yorker's Ian Crouch: "Now, as the regular season begins, it's Goodell who has become Deflategate's new, unwilling star."


You Got To Let Law Rule

"Oaths mean things." And with that, US district judge David Bunning told Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis that she would be held in contempt and jailed until she agrees to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in Kentucky. Davis has refused to do so in the name of religious liberty.


Photographic Memorial

By now, millons of people across the world have seen the image of a drowned Syrian boy who was fleeing war torn Syria. And they should see it. Like I said yesterday, if your kid has to take a flimsy boat across dangerous seas to escape a war zone, then my kid can definitely handle looking at the photos. Will merely viewing a photo change anything? Probably not. But it definitely got the issue back on the front page and the front burner of executive branch offices across Europe. Here are 19 more images that provide a glimpse into the growing refugee crisis.

+ "Most of the migrants had no idea how long their journey might last, though a few had been told by their smugglers that they could expect to reach Italy in six to eight hours. In reality, at the boats' current speed, such a voyage would take at least six days, long past the point when almost all those onboard would have perished from dehydration or exposure." The NYT Mag has a very powerful, interactive look at a desperate crossing.

+ Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban on the growing crisis in his country: "The moral human thing is to make clear, please don't come."


Not Enough of the Above

For the Class of 2015, SAT scores have sunk to the lowest level since the college admission test was overhauled" a decade ago. The reading and math score gains educators are seeing during earlier grades don't seem to be making it to the high school level.


Another Brick From the Wall

"I'm not coming back to this building, not coming back to this neighborhood, not coming back to Jerusalem. The lie I'd told my children about a future in which Arabs and Jews share the country equally was over." Sayed Kashua ("perhaps the most visible representative of Palestinian life in Israel") is now living in Illinois. His departure represents the diminishing hope for a peaceful Middle East. As Amos Oz said: "The fact that he left saddened me greatly. I can tell you that over the summer there wasn't a decent Israeli who didn't have similar thoughts." In The New Yorker, Ruth Margalit on An Exile in the Corn Belt.


Mutual Admiration

"When Trump is asked to name a leader he looks to for advice on managing his company, his mouth, just as acrobatic as his more famous hair, pulls tight, snaps open, and lets out its most important syllable. 'Me,' Trump says. Bloomberg's Max Abelson on how Trump Invented Trump.

+ If nothing else, Trump puts butts in the seats. During a period of the election cycle most of us go to great lengths to ignore, we can't keep our eyes off The Donald. Consider this: CNN is charging 40 times its usual rate for spots in the upcoming Republican debate.


He Said She Said We Said

"We are going to start recording and automatically transcribing most of what we say. Instead of evaporating into memory, words spoken aloud will calcify as text, into a Record that will be referenced, searched, and mined. It will happen by our standard combination of willing and allowing. It will happen because it can. It will happen sooner than we think." In Nautilus, James Somers ponders what searchable speech will do to you. (I'm holding out hope that the algorithms will be stumped by Kanye's VMA speech...)


The Mother of all Moms

"The people who try to keep the nation ready for these doomsday scenarios call them the Maximums of Maximums, or the MOMs." The Atlantic's David A. Graham on the mega-disasters that keep emergency planners up at night.


Eggs’ Salient Adventure

This is "a crisis and major threat to the future of the egg product business." Quartz gives us an inside glimpse into the egg industry's war on fake mayo.


Bottom of the News

"So then one must eliminate the other. A player can never stay, stay, stay because, according to you, he would then be a stayer and not a player." In McSweeney's, Taylor Swift has a dialogue with Socrates.

+ BBC on the mysterious origins of punctuation. I've always been more interested in its often mysterious disappearance.

+ Australia's urgent plea to shear overgrown sheep. (Related: It's photo day for my son's fourth grade class.)

+ The steepest hills in San Francisco. (No one has calves like we do.)