Tuesday, March 29th, 2016


A Follow-Up Question

During a speech at the presentation of the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting (insert oxymoron joke here), President Obama complained about the media's role in creating the Trump phenomenon: "A job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone. It's to probe and to question and to dig deeper and to demand more. The electorate would be better served if that happened. It would be better served if billions of dollars in free media came with serious accountability, especially when politicians issue unworkable plans or make promises they cannot keep." I hear a lot of people blaming the media for its endless coverage of Trump and there could be some merit to that argument. But consider this. For the past few months, every media outlet from Fox to MSNBC has been hammering on Donald Trump. And none of it has made a dent. One imagines the same will be true of today's headlines about the charges just brought against Trump's campaign manager. Maybe the bigger story here is that mainstream media no longer has the power to anoint or destroy a candidate.

+ If you want to see the extent to which Trump is demolishing others in the "earned media" game, check out this screenshot I recently grabbed from the Washington Post.

+ From McSweeney's: Don't let the mainstream media fool you into thinking I just punched you in the face.


Unions Jacked

The Supreme Court deadlocked in a case to determine whether teachers can be required to pay union dues. The four-four result means that the fees will continue to have to be paid. "It was the most important case yet in which the eight-member court was unable to reach a decision."


The Advance Team

"Officials now say the signs of this focused terrorist machine were readable in Europe as far back as early 2014. Yet local authorities repeatedly discounted each successive plot, describing them as isolated or random acts, the connection to the Islamic State either overlooked or played down." The NYT's Rukmini Callimachi with a pretty remarkable look at how ISIS built the machinery of terror under Europe's gaze.
LA Times: In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA.

+ "Even the most imaginative of dramatists would balk at a plot line of a star-crossed lover so desperate to get a message to his lost love that he would hijack an aircraft and toss a hopeful letter of reconciliation to his inamorata onto the tarmac." The Daily Beast on one of the weirdest plane hijackings ever.


Open and Shut Case

It was going to be the ultimate case to determine the value of security vs the need for privacy. But then the FBI called it off and found someone that could unlock Syed Farook's iPhone without Apple's help. (Given his history of success getting into mine, I have reason to believe that my 9 year-old son helped the Feds get into that iPhone.)


Life’s a Hitch

People used to just stand on the side of the road and stick their thumbs up in the air when they wanted a ride. Lyft is trying to replicate that old form of carpooling, but with digital tools and a financial transaction. In the Bay Area there are so many ways to commute that I've become overwhelmed by the paradox of choice and I just stay home. (Luckily, there are also a lot of ways to order food.)


Do You Wanna Go Faster?

James Patterson sells a lot of books. The 156 books he's published have sold 325 million copies. But there's an entire market that he's missing out on. People who have abandoned the page for the screen. So now he's going after them too. How? "Make them shorter, cheaper, more plot-driven and more widely available." From the NYT: James Patterson Has a Big Plan for Small Books. It was a dark and stormy night. In the morning, it cleared up.


Follow the Money

"In 2004 the emerging world accounted for 20% of the 587 billionaires in Forbes magazine's annual survey. By 2014 it accounted for 43% of the 1,645 billionaires on the list." In other words, the American dream is alive and well. It's just more achievable in developing countries and Asia.



"One, spread the credit liberally for every success. Two, remind people that they are essential to the mission. Three, ask for more. Repeat steps one through three." That's part of the playbook that has made Bono one of the most influential leaders in the world when it comes to poverty, AIDS, Africa and other issues. From Fortune: Bono: I Will Follow


Hey Bud, Let’s Party

From WaPo: "Ate something bitter? It can make you judgmental. Feeling love is all around? It can make even water taste sweeter. Not only do our emotions influence our perceptions of taste, but what we taste can also change how we feel, scientists have found ... 'The tongue could be a window to the psyche.'" (My favorite flavor is misanthrope.)


Bottom of the News

"Furrowed brows, raised chin and compressed lips." Together they form the universal language. It turns out that almost everyone around the world understands the Not Face.

+ "A study suggests people find expansive, space-consuming postures more romantically attractive." Yes, manspreading works.

+ A Texas couple welcomed into the world a beautiful burrito.

+ Nearly 20% of us have changed a social media profile image to express solidarity or support for an issue. And they said our generation wouldn't make its mark...