Wednesday, August 10th, 2016


Dangerous Drug Interactions

"Okay, I'm going to say it: The heroin epidemic was caused by the legalization of marijuana." That's Don Winslow, who wrote The Cartel and has been covering the drug wars for years. Winslow is not talking about pot as some kind of gateway drug. Instead, he's talking about the business of drugs. "We wanted legal weed, and for the most part, we got it. Four states have legalized it outright, others have decriminalized it, and in many jurisdictions police refuse to enforce the laws that are on the books, creating a de facto street legalization. Good news, right? Not for the Sinaloa Cartel." From Esquire: El Chapo and the Secret History of the Heroin Crisis.


Control Balt Delete

No police officers were found guilty in cases related to the Freddie Gray death, but the incident led to a scathing Justice Department report that was released today. "Police practices in Baltimore 'perpetuate and fuel a multitude of issues rooted in poverty and race, focusing law enforcement actions on low-income, minority communities' and encourage officers to have 'unnecessary, adversarial interactions with community members.'"

+ "If I had to guess and put a name on it, I'd say that at some point, the drug war was as much a function of class and social control as it was of racism." David Simon on Baltimore's Anguish.


Tragedy in Iraq

In the latest installment of what we left behind in Iraq, a hospital fire killed at least 11 babies at a maternity ward in Baghdad. "The short circuit occurred in one of the air conditioning units in the pre-term birth facility, and was fueled by the oxygen from the incubators."


With Allies Like These

"As you know, I'm fighting with (US Secretary of State John Kerry's) ambassador. His gay ambassador, the son of a whore. He pissed me off." Those were the latest outlandish televised comments made by Philippines' president Rodrigo Duterte. And the outlandishness extends beyond words into sticks and stones. From The Guardian: How the Philippines' leader is letting people get away with murder.


Five Ring Circus

You know how you can never get one certain song out of your head? Well, for Michael Phelps, that song is the National Anthem. Phelps secured his 21st gold medal on Tuesday. If he were a country, he would be 39th on the all-time Olympics gold medal leaderboard. He also tied a 2,168-year-old Olympic record.

+ NYT: How the U.S. Crushed the Competition in the Women's Gymnastics Team Final.

+ "The Olympics allows the best athletes in the world to thrill us with their mind-blowing dedication and excellence. And it affords the rest of us the opportunity to do what we do best: Sit on the couch and use social media to judge people who are actually doing something." That's just one of my 16 Thoughts on the 2016 Couch Olympics.

+ How BMW's self-driving technology helps US swimmers.

+ Should we be worried about the North Korean gymnast who took a selfie with a South Korean gymnast?

+ OK, so the Olympic Diving Pool turned green. Compared to the dire predictions for the Rio games, this doesn't seem like much of a big deal.

+ That time a 9 year-old Katie Ledecky got an autograph from Michael Phelps.


Taking the Fifth on the Second

If Trump gets anymore controversial, he could be the first candidate to receive classified briefings that include the threat of himself. His remarks about the Second Amendment and Hillary Clinton ("If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although, the Second Amendment people -- maybe there is, I don't know.") have once again raised the ire of everyone from journalists to top players in his own party. It's also a comment that should be rejected by gun owners.

+ Long before anyone in the media had a chance to react, the comment was all over Twitter.

+ Rudy served up the least helpful defense of all time: "With a crowd like that, if that's what they thought he'd meant, they'd have gone wild."

+ Was it a joke? Maybe. Was it a gaffe? Possibly. Was it really a call for an assassination. Nah. But those factors might not make a difference. From Tom Friedman: "And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin got assassinated."

+ And in rare news from the other side of the campaign, for Hillary Clinton, more emails means more problems.


It’s Not So Bad

Feeling like all you get is bad news and that the world is an increasingly terrible place? Well, cheer up. From Motherboard, here are a bunch of charts that prove the world isn't the hell hole it feels like.


More Ailes Fails

The crack in the Roger Ailes forcefield has become a gaping hole. And stories from inside the weird world of Fox News keep pouring out. From Vox, a comprehensive guide to the ongoing sexual harassment scandal


Puck Everlasting

"Air hockey, like life, requires the relinquishing of certain dignities and, especially, the abandonment of lingering myths about control. If you call up a couple of professional matches on YouTube -- plenty of championship games have been archived online, most shot furtively, on cell phones-- you will witness a few moments of true virtuosity and a whole lot of what looks like panicked bumbling." In The New Yorker, Amanda Petrusich gives us the air hockey think-piece we needed. "I can say with some certainty that the most beautiful sound I know is the wobbly clink of a dinged-up air-hockey puck dropping into goal." (Aside from the sound of my cats eating dry food and my dogs drinking water out of a bowl, I agree.)


Bottom of the News

"Over the past year, he has put in hundreds of hours of training, earning a spot on the renowned United States team. Last week, he traveled far from home, met his competition, and settled in for the week of his life. And on Monday, August 8th, the 17-year-old North Carolinian woke up ready to take on the best in the world." The Olympics? Nah. The Microsoft Office World Championships. (Funny, I've often compared trying to use Word to weightlifting.)

+ Australian kids who played videogames everyday did better on their test scores. (It's Australia, so I guess leveling up would be called leveling down?)

+ Squirrel, GoPro, enough said.