Tuesday, June 14th, 2016


There’s a Name for People Like You

President Obama made a forceful response to Donald Trump's proposed Muslim ban and his insistence that the act in Orlando be labeled as radical Islamic terrorism: "There's no magic to the phrase radical Islam ... What exactly would using this language accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to try and kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away." In other words, loose rhetoric and inflammatory tweets are dragging us into a heated public debate about which words to use to describe the motivations we imagine prompted a homicidal sociopath; even as it's clear that, after only a couple days, we're only getting a partial picture of what those motivations were. From The NYT's Max Fisher: Gays, Guns and Jihad: Motives Blur on Closer Scrutiny.

+ Instead of putting a name to the murderer, we should remember the names that really matter: Luis, Edward, Amanda, Christopher, Akyra. Meet the victims of the Orlando massacre, many of whom were celebrating in one of the few places they felt comfortable doing so. They deserve better than to be fodder for hate speech and a handful of self-serving tweets.

+ "If you've never understood a bar as a refuge, then maybe you've never felt the fear of showing affection to someone in public." Shavonte Zellous of the WNBA's NY Liberty: I Am Orlando.

+ "I can't stop thinking about the possibility that someone like us was hurt or murdered at Pulse on Sunday morning, outed in the very worst way, in a phone call every family dreads." Matt Thompson in The Atlantic: To Be Outed in the Worst Possible Way.


Making Allowances

"There are many versions of the idea, but the most interesting is what's called a universal basic income: every year, every adult citizen in the U.S. would receive a stipend -- ten thousand dollars is a number often mentioned. (Children would receive a smaller allowance.)" Two forces -- the economic divide and the coming age of artificial intelligence -- are leading people back to an idea that's been around for a while. Here's James Surowiecki with some background on universal basic income and the case for free money.


Little Hands, Big Button

During this presidential election, candidates have often brought up the question of who you'd want to have the nuclear codes. But what powers does the president have when it comes to nukes? From Politico Magazine: What Exactly Would It Mean to Have Trump's Finger on the Nuclear Button? "With a single phone call, the commander in chief has virtually unlimited power to rain down nuclear weapons on any adversarial regime and country at any time." (I don't even have that kind of autonomous power over my remote control.)


Raising the Paddle

While public discourse often makes it feel like we don't care about one another, it turns out we do. Americans are giving more money to charity than ever before -- more than $1 billion a day.


People Love Eating Out

In part, it's because of changed times and increased female participation in the workforce. And in part, one imagines, it's because of easier ordering, faster delivery, and more options. But somewhere along the way, we stopped cooking. "For the last year, retail sales at US eating and drinking establishments have outrun those of grocery stores."


These Pipes Are Clean

"It's the idea that phone and cable companies should treat all of the traffic on their networks equally -- no blocking or slowing their competitors, and no fast lanes for companies that can pay more." A federal appeals court has upheld net neutrality. So for now, "these pipes are clean ... and how."


When You Stopped Tapping That

"If the [local] people of Vergeze could sell a natural mineral water for three times the price of wine, then the company must have remarkable potential." Pricenomics looks back at the rise of Perrier and the ad campaign that convinced people to pay for bottled water.


A World Without Pain

We know a lot of people suffer from chronic pain. And we know that the drugs prescribed for that pain has caused a major epidemic. Some researchers have found that people in pain use less medication and actually get relief from an unlikely source: Virtual Reality.



"The curriculum is heavy on theory and craft, with practical classes like Comedy Writing for Television, Great Screenwriters: Wilder, Allen, Kaufman and Comedy Writing for Late Night, balanced out by headier electives like Why Did the Chicken? -- Fundamentals of Comedic Storytelling." In the NYT, Luke O'Neil asks: Could a College Degree in Comedy Be Anything Other Than a Joke? (I know I should have snarky line right here, but I skipped that class.)


Bottom of the News

"The rancher pulled his horse, Long John, out of his trailer and chased down 22-year-old Victorino Arellano-Sanchez, roping him by the ankle and dragging him across the parking lot." Here's a headline you don't see often: Cowboy Lassos Fleeing Bike Thief in Walmart Parking Lot

+ "These three campaign gurus for Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have had some time to reflect on their loss to The Donald. And do they ever have stories to tell."

+ Although I am a fan of the produce in question, I'll admit that NPR raises a valid question. Celery: Why?

+ My favorite news curator went out to edit the Internet and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.