Wednesday, July 27th, 2016


Farmer’s Marketing

Kimchi has been called one of the top food trends of the year. A product many people hadn't even heard of a few years ago is now ubiquitous at grocery stores. Why? Here's a hint. It's for the same reason that every food trend rises. It's the same reason that millions of us suddenly realized we needed to be gluten free. Or fat free before that. Like everything else, it's all about marketing. "In short, the latest food trend that you're obsessed with may be the result of a government effort to capture the hearts and minds of foreigners through their stomachs." From Pricenomics: The Campaign to Make You Eat Kimchi. I'm holding out for the campaign to make me eat Funyuns.


Crimea and Misdemeanors

Reagan: "Tear down that wall." Trump: "Tear down that firewall." He may have been joking. He may have been trying to steal headlines from the DNC (if so, it worked). But it was more than a little odd to see Donald Trump inviting the Russians to find Hillary Clinton's missing emails: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press." Maybe Trump should ask the Russians to hack his tax returns.

+ Mike Pence: "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences."

+ In other news, "Donald Trump said Wednesday he would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and lifting the sanctions against the country if he's elected president."


Hack a Mole

"WikiLeaks has endangered individuals before, but their release of the so-called Erdogan Emails was particularly egregious ... it included the home addresses, phone numbers, party affiliations, and political activity levels of millions of female Turkish voters. That's irresponsible any time, and disastrous in the week of a coup." In Wired, Emma Grey Ellis argues that WikiLeaks has officially lost the moral high ground. (I agree that they lost it, though I'm not sure they ever had it.)

+ Charlie Savage in the NYT: Assange, Avowed Foe of Clinton, Timed Email Release for Democratic Convention. If you celebrate when organizations hack other people's emails in the name of transparency, then you have to celebrate when they hack yours too.

+ Jeffrey Toobin: "We'll all be better off if we evaluate e-mails in the spirit in which they're written -- or, better yet, write them off accordingly."


Homeward Boundless

"The court finds by the preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Hinckley will not be a danger to himself or to others if released on full-time convalescent leave to Williamsburg under the conditions proposed." And with that, the man who attempted to assassinate Reagan is going home. (He's been home for weeks at a time already.)

+ "He drives a Toyota. He eats fro-yo. He shops at PetSmart. You just might run into him." From The Washingtonian in May: How John Hinckley Lives Now.


Girl Meets World

"It was the most policy-packed speech so far of either convention, ranging from early childhood education to the role of climate change in American foreign policy and everything in between." In Vox, Matthew Yglesias argues that Bill Clinton's speech sold Hillary's legacy with a speech only he could deliver. While I thought the details of the speech were effective, I'm surprised more people aren't talking about the beginning of the speech when Clinton focused on his courtship of Hillary ("I met a girl"). Everyone in America was thinking the exact same thing, but no one was saying it out loud. It also occurred to me that while Bill Clinton is one of the great orators of our time, his cadence and the length of his speeches are from a pre-digital-distraction era.

+ And in other news, Hillary Clinton is now the first female presidential candidate of a major American party. (It's pretty remarkable it took this long.)


Baba Booey

Amy Schumer on Howard Stern: "He's truth serum. It's like you're under contract to be totally honest in there, and even though it's being broadcast, it feels super intimate and protected, even though you definitely aren't." The NYT has discovered what all Howard Stern listeners have known for years. He is the best interviewer in the business. Confessor. Feminist. Adult. What the Hell Happened to Howard Stern? (He also rescues cats.)


Viral Cure?

From The Guardian: "Several French news organisations have said they will no longer publish photographs of people responsible for terrorist killings, to avoid bestowing posthumous glorification." I'm not sure it the editorial decisions of a few mainstream news organizations will make a difference. But we definitely need to consider to what extent going viral is a motivating factor in mass killings.


Default In Our Stars

"Someone, somewhere, decided what those defaults should be –- and it probably wasn't you." ProPublica's Lena Groeger explains how default settings rule the world (and she's not just talking about your ringtone).


No Rest For the Weary

I'm so tired. I'm exhausted. I can barely keep my eyes open. Pretty impressive, right? These days, exhaustion -- like being really busy -- is worn as a badge of honor. TNR's looks at how exhaustion became a status symbol.


Bottom of the News

"Over 15 percent of San Francisco residents age 12 and over use marijuana monthly or more, the highest rate in the country. By contrast, the lowest use rates are in the far south of Texas, where fewer than 4 percent use monthly." (For the record, I'm reporting from Truckee this week, so these numbers might be out of date). From WaPo: This map shows how many people are getting high near you. (In San Francisco, it's almost impossible to tell the difference between people playing Pokémon Go and people trying to find a bag of Doritos.)

+ "Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government." Bill O'Reilly's latest history lesson.

+ The Guardian: Teacher who can't speak Spanish sues after failing to get Spanish teaching post.

+ How a belch in gym class led to handcuffs.

+ Phoenix leaders detail an ambitious plan to cover 25% of the metropolis with tree shade. At least in Arizona, they're used the heat. In Minnesota, it got so warm that one family found a bear in its kiddy pool.