Monday, August 29th, 2016


The End is Nigh

"The Bradways fled California, a state they said is run by 'leftists and non-Constitutionalists and anti-freedom people,' and settled on several wooded acres of north Idaho five years ago. They live among like-minded conservative neighbors, host Monday night Bible study around their fire pit, hike in the mountains and fish from their boat. They melt lead to make their own bullets for sport shooting and hunting -- or to defend themselves against marauders in a world-ending cataclysm." WaPo's Kevin Sullivan heads to a place known as American Redoubt to visit with a group of ("not paranoid") survivalists who are among the nation's most extreme Preppers, living in a perpetual state of readiness for the day it inevitably hits the fan. One member of the group explains the location: "Imagine a societal collapse and trying to buy a loaf of bread in Los Angeles or New York and stores are closed down." (Apparently, these folks unaware of the anti-carb movement. The lines in LA and NY will be for chia seeds, Kombucha, and bone broth.)

+ Maybe the final confrontation is coming sooner than we think. A team of scientists is investigating signals picked up by SETI that "point to the possibility of a civilization far more advanced than our own." We better send back a message quick before Anthony Weiner sends them a dick pic.


The Higher Court

"Over the last two decades, ISDS has morphed from a rarely used last resort, designed for egregious cases of state theft or blatant discrimination, into a powerful tool that corporations brandish ever more frequently, often against broad public policies that they claim crimp profits." Buzzfeed's Chris Hamby with an interesting look at a parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else: The Court that Rules the World.


Blood Money

"Of paramount importance is reaching as many vulnerable civilians as possible. Our choices in Syria are limited by a highly insecure context where finding companies and partners who operate in besieged and hard to reach areas is extremely challenging." It's tough to argue with that UN statement describing how hard it is to get money to the right people and causes in Syria. But is the organization sending tens of millions of dollars to Assad and his monstrous regime?



"This is unprecedented to see as many alerts as we've seen in the last six days." In less than a week, 174 overdosed in Cincinnati. During same few days, there were spikes in New Jersey, Indiana, and Kentucky. Now there's an urgent search for the specific batch of drugs that's creating the problem.

+ A Hamilton County coroner thinks she may have found a clue in a drug called carfentanil: "The drug is a mega-potent opioid, intended for animals including elephants. The carfentanil now on the streets as heroin has been largely manufactured overseas, narcotics agents say, shipped to Mexico or Canada and moved to other locales such as Ohio."

+ Boston Globe Magazine: 10 things I wish I'd known before my daughter became addicted to heroin.


Branded a Fool?

Colin Kaepernick is the most politically active of all second string quarterbacks. He made headlines over the weekend when he remained seated during the national anthem before a preseason NFL game: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way." The bigger National Anthem story is how professional sports has used the song to co-brand themselves with American patriotism. It's one of the greatest marketing schemes in American history, and one that often puts brand before country. After all, who wants our national identity to be tied to preseason football?


Special Orders Now Upset Us

Most musicians wouldn't dare sell-out and allow their music to be used for a commercial. A couple decades ago, that statement would have been received as undeniably true. Times have changed. These days, getting a song into a commercial is often seen as a break or a badge of honor. And with this shift has come the demise of a pretty awesome art form: The commercial jingle. From The Atlantic: This is what advertising music means today: Instead of jingles, we have singles.


Little Big Man

Anthony Weiner has finally forced his wife Huma Abedin to overcome her separation anxiety. Weiner once again humiliated Abedin (a top Hillary Clinton aide) with his inability to stop sexting photos of his abs and below. One of the latest photos includes their child in the background. To get a better understanding of how long this has been going on (and what kind of people our current politcal system attracts) watch the documentary Weiner. You'll understand why Huma should have done a cover version of Lemonade a long time ago.

+ WaPo: Anthony Weiner just blew his second chance at a second chance.


You’re Gonna Feel Some Pressure

"The main goal of the law was to reduce the number of uninsured people, and twenty million more people are covered today because of it. It's hard to call that a failure." That's certainly true, but as James Surowiecki explains: We're a long way from the future that Barack Obama envisaged in 2009.

+ Vox: Is Obamacare failing?


Rihanna, Featuring MTV

Rihanna received a vanguard award, performed four times, and was lauded by Drake during last night's VMAs. The night also included an impressive performance by Beyonce, a less impressive performance by Britney Spears (whose lip synching re-established her as's most impressive user), and Kanye saying something for a pretty long time. Here's what you need to know from the VMAs.


Bottom of the News

You smile when you're happy. But can smiling make you happier? Studies have shown that it can. But studies like these are usually enough to make you frown and roll your eyes. Slate's Daniel Engber traces back a history that will give you sad face.

+ A lightning strike in Norway killed more than 300 reindeer.

+ Vice: Investigating the middle school rumor that Mountain Dew lowers your sperm count. (This is why I only drank Squirt.)