Thursday, July 21st, 2016


No Cruz Control

Conventions are notorious for being free of any actual news. Like all other rules of politics, Donald Trump has broken this one with a week of nonstop headlines. And Ted Cruz broke a pretty big rule of political conventions: You're supposed to express support for the person at the top of the ticket. Cruz was booed by the arena crowd as he refused to endorse Trump, and instead told people to vote their conscience. Prior to the big snub, Trump had labeled Cruz Lyin' Ted, ridiculed his wife's appearance, and suggested that his father was involved in the JFK assassination. And yet, everyone still expected an endorsement. The art of the deal...

+ Cruz held firm to his stance today, and insisted he would not act like a "servile puppy dog." (I don't see why we need to bring servile puppy dogs into this...)

+ The convention has not gone smoothly. And it probably doesn't matter. Example: Clinton and Trump are essentially tied in Ohio.


You Say Nato, I Say Tomato

While conventions are mostly showbiz, Donald Trump did make very big news across the globe after an NYT interview in which he suggested that American defense of its NATO allies was conditional. And on countries such as Turkey purging its political adversaries, Trump said: "I don't think we have a right to lecture."


Backseat Drivers

Five suspects are in custody in France as French Prosecutor Francois Molins said the perpetrator of the Nice truck massacre had accomplices and had been planning the attack for months.

+ And from The Guardian: "Fifteen days before the Olympics opening ceremony, Brazilian police have arrested 10 alleged Islamic State sympathisers who are suspected of planning an act of terrorism during the games. Two others are still at large."


Disappearing Act

GQ's Sean Flynn: "Maybe you heard about the Tamir Rice case and wondered: How does a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun on a playground get shot to death on-camera by the police without anyone getting charged? Put another way: How does a small group of government officials make this case disappear without a trial? Here's how."

The moments before another police shooting were caught on video, and the bizarre nature of this exchange is indicated by the story's headline: Cop shoots caretaker of autistic man playing in the street with toy truck.


You Be Ailing

The number of women accusing Roger Ailes of harassment has increased to twenty, and there's no doubt that his days as the nation's most influential media player are numbered. Now comes the really interesting part. Rupert Murdoch's sons have long clashed with Ailes, and now that they'll have him out of the way, Fox News could be in for a major overhaul. "James has long had an interest in global warming and measures needed to stop it. He sought to make BSkyB, one part of Murdoch's European operations, carbon-neutral. And his wife, Kathryn, sits on the board of the Environmental Defense Fund."

+ Matt Drudge has tweeted that the deal is done. Ailes out at Fox News. Will remain a consultant to 21st Century Fox.


Everyone Has a Price

Social media affords public figures the opportunity to skip the intermediaries and communicate directly with followers and fans. It also affords them the opportunity to advertise directly to their fans. And in that game, no one is doing better than Selena Gomez. She has a massive following and can earn up to $550,000 a post. (My family once offered me that much to stop tweeting.)


It Drives You Crazy

"The process of haggling for a car sticks around like a vestigial tail. What makes the car sale unique? And why, in the age of consumer protection regulations and online retail, won't this economic anachronism go away? The answer begins with the predecessor to the car -- the horse." Pricenomics with an interesting look at why we still haggle for cars?


Hand Jive

"Indeed, it is this very compulsion to keep our fingers busy –- a throwback to the separation phase of infancy –- that enables us both to connect with others and to be ourselves." Wendy Moore looks at two new books that examine what we use our hands for today (and why it matters).


Hornet’s Nest

"A formal announcement on the NBA's withdrawal out of Charlotte is expected as soon as this week, league sources said Thursday." The NBA threatened to pull its All Star game out of North Carolina because of the state's controversial public bathroom laws. And it looks like that is going to happen.


Bottom of the News

"The two cannabis entrepreneurs want to sell Americans on marijuana as part of a healthy lifestyle -- and to create a signature brand in the process. And like Nike with fancy running shoes and Gatorade with sugar water, they're turning to sports and athletes to do it." Can Jim McAlpine and his team of entrepreneurs, athletes and celebrities succeed in opening the first chain of gyms for marijuana enthusiasts? Well, let's roll a joint, grab a few bags of chips, and watch them try...

+ Better take good care of your VCR. The last company that still makes the devices is set to stop later this year. (This is the perfect moment for Betamax to re-emerge and make its move.)