March 16th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Fighting back against Internet smear campaigns, the long road ahead for Merrick Garland, and the fine art of marketing marijuana.

First came the Internet. Then, about five minutes later, came the defamation. I’m guessing about that timing. Going by the level of hate speech on the Internet today, it probably didn’t take nearly that long. Most victims suffer in silence, even as the online rhetoric oozes into their offline lives. Bloomberg’s Dune Lawrence at least has a publication where she can tell her story. And in The Art of the Smear, she does just that. “I wrote this story because I have a platform to fight back. How can I, with the resources and reach of a global magazine, let him intimidate me? It’s my job to write about Wey. Still, I’m not looking forward to what’s coming next.”



For weeks, Senate Republicans have insisted that they will not consider any Supreme Court nominee until after the presidential election. Today, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the court’s open seat. Now the question is less about how the nomination process will go, and more about whether it will even get started.

+ Garland “once gave up a lucrative career at a law firm to become a federal prosecutor — and later led the massive prosecution of the men who carried out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.” From WaPo: Meet Merrick Garland.

+ Slate: Merrick Garland is Obama’s rope-a-dope nominee.

+ President Obama announced some other critical picks on Wednesday. Here’s his March Madness bracket.


Upshot Creek

My dad constantly argues that the media has essentially created candidate Trump by giving him endless media exposure. The NYT Upshot (a great source, and one that’s often only a few steps behind my dad) has some numbers to back that up — and to make the case that Donald Trump is the Michael Jordan of earned media. No Super Pac, no significant ground game, no problem.

+ Tuesday’s election results meant big wins for frontrunners Trump and Clinton. And the end of the line for Marco Rubio.

+ Do we need a none of the above checkbox? NYT: “There is no analogous election in the modern era where the two top candidates for the nomination are as divisive and weak.”

+ Here’s a remarkable takeaway from Tuesday’s exit polls. “In Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio, about two in three Republicans leaving the polls … voiced support for a temporary ban on entry of Muslims to the United States.”

+ After winning his home state, John Kasich challenged his campaign team to solve the problem of not having enough confetti. The problem was solved.


Ad Nausea

In Scarface, Tony Montana is warned, “Don’t get high on your own supply.” He didn’t take that advice. But it seems like many techies in the Bay Area did. Just look at this data collected by Pricenomics: Which Cities Click on Ads the Most/Least? (We don’t have time to click. We’re too busy vesting.)


Up the Chain

His superiors knew that Brother Stephen Baker had sexually abused a minor. But, as is often the case, they kept quiet about it — even as Baker was assigned to work with more kids as an athletic trainer, a stint during which he became known for naked massages and other offenses. And now, three of those superiors have been indicted in Pennsylvania. From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette: “The charges represent one of the broadest-ever drives to hold Roman Catholic higher-ups to account in any American criminal court for the sexual abuse of minors by those under their supervision. And they’re the first religious-order superiors to face such charges.” That last sentence … wow.


Ominous Sign

Otto Warmbier, a student at the University of Virginia, was arrested when he tried to leave North Korea with a propaganda sign he took from his hotel. He was just convicted by the North Korean Supreme Court. His sentence: 15 years of hard labor.


Going in Style

“British crime aficionados saw the operation as a refreshing throwback to the meticulously planned, supremely executed jewelry heists of yesteryear … Many were calling it the perfect crime. But when arrests were made a month later, Great Britain collectively gasped.” In Vanity Fair, Mark Seal tells the unlikely story of how a ragtag gang of retirees pulled off the biggest jewel heist in British history.


Loaded to the Gills

The drug test turned up traces of “cocaine, Advil, Prozac, Lipitor, Benadryl and dozens of other drugs.” In other words, as Mic’s Jessica Eggert suggests, it may be time to sit down with your salmon and have a talk about drug abuse.

+ Related: Shamrock Shakes, and their cult following, explained.


Market Makers and Bakers

The medical community is getting on-board. The VCs are pouring money into the industry. Celebrities are backing their own designer brands. Now the startups and their consultants will begin to learn the art of marketing marijuana. (I still remember when showing up somewhere with a joint was all the marketing you needed.)


Bottom of the News

“Therefore, be it resolved, that the House of Representatives recognizes magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure.” US Representative Pete Sessions is really into magic. I wonder if he could make the 2016 election cycle disappear?

+ Remember those frustrating hours spent trying to teach your kids to properly tie their shoes? Well, at least it was worth it. Until it wasn’t.

+ Air Ball. Air Ball. Air Ball. Who invented the greatest taunt in sports? (Like other Warriors fans, I rarely see air balls, or even shots that hit the rim.)

+ On China and the joys of a nice cup of hot water.

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