Thursday, September 1st, 2016


This May Cause Nausea

So here's how one expects a marketplace to work. You offer a product at a certain price. If it's successful, other players enter the market, and the ensuing competition forces the price of the products to trend downward. Here's how the prescription drug marketplace works. Someone overcharges for a prescription drug. Then others enter the marketplace and the competitors race to see who can charge an even more exorbitant price for an item now more widely available. Feeling disoriented, nauseated, anxious, itchy, dizzy, and a generally confused? Allow a pharmacist to explain: "Why are these companies raising their prices? Because they can. Patients paid $40 for their prescription one month and $400 the next. Nobody can believe this is happening." Luckily, they're working on a drug that will help you believe. From the LA Times: Here's why drug prices rise even when there's plenty of competition.


International Orange

So you may have heard that Donald Trump made a quick visit to Mexico where he gave a relatively tame and subdued press conference, said there was no discussion about who would pay for the wall (which is true, unless you count the moment when Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said Mexico would not pay for the wall), called Mexicans "tremendous people," and described the Mexican president as his friend. He then flew to Arizona where he insisted Mexico would pay for the wall and proceded to give his most aggressive immigration speech yet. Politico on Trump's immigration rope-a-dope. Those in the media who like to create false equivalencies really have their work cut out for them.

+ It sort of makes sense that this meeting ended with a twitter war. For those who are not bilingual, I tried to sum up the discussion here.

+ Meanwhile, the Arizona Supreme Court cleared the way for legalized marijuana to be on the state's ballot. After last night's performance, they'll need it.

+ If the goal was to appear with a foreign leader and absolutely dominate media coverage for an entire day, Trump succeed in a big way. And although the trip seemed to be a spur of the moment thing, it was "the result of a couple of weeks of closely guarded work."


Hardly Wallbangers

There's no doubt we're facing a major migration crisis. Just not in America. Our immigration numbers are not particularly high by historical standards, and the percentage of immigrants who are illegal has gone down a bit in recent years. And among those who are undocumented, "an increasing proportion arrive by air and simply overstay their visas as tourists or students."

+ "In a business run almost entirely by Mexicans, he was this clean-cut Mormon from California who barely spoke Spanish--the American Coyote." FromGQ: The Legend of Elden Kidd, America's Most Dedicated, Most Creative People Smuggler.


The Law of the Jungle

"In theory, the U.N. believed, the very existence of such a court would give pause to dictators and warlords prone to brutality; perpetrators living anywhere in the world could be hunted until their dying breaths. Nowhere has the supposed deterrent of eventual justice proved so visibly ineffective as in Syria." The New Yorker's Ben Taub on the reasons why no one in Syria seems to fear international law.


The More Things Change

The channels and technological means through which you can consume content have increased. But our reading habits have remained pretty static. About three-quarters of us read at least one book a year. "And when people reach for a book, it is much more likely to be a traditional print book than a digital product."


Charity Work

A natural disaster strikes. You want to do something. So big tech and communication companies make it easy for you to make a donation. But that donation is almost always to the Red Cross. This model promotes "the idea that the Red Cross is America's charity and the go-to place for disasters despite its history of fumbles."


Brotherly Love

"My brother Evan was born female. He came out as transgender 16 years ago but never stopped wanting to have a baby. This spring he gave birth to his first child. Jessi Hempel with a very interesting and very personal story: My brother's pregnancy and the making of a new American family.


Florida’s Shores

Florida is having a rough news day. Mosquitoes trapped near South Beach have tested positive for Zika. And residents are bracing for the first hurricane to make landfall in the state since Wilma did so eleven years ago.

+ Researchers think hurricanes with female names are more deadly because people perceive them as carrying less risk.


Power Lunch

"In the end, the Four Seasons' 'stubborn magic' is about something more than the room, the furniture, or the food. It's about luxury, taste, privilege, money, ambition, and most of all, power. The story of the Four Seasons is almost always about power. Without it, there isn't much of one to tell." Eater with an entertaining piece on the final days and nights of the most important restaurant of the twentieth century.


Bottom of the News

"My goats are all very social and friendly so they graze and sit and lie down next to everyone." Which makes them the perfect companions for Goat Yoga. (Is this really any more ridiculous than any other exercise or nutrition trend?)

+ Today's reason why you there's nothing you can believe in: Bob Ross's Hair Was Actually Straight.

+ GQ: An Oral History of 'We Built This City,' the Worst Song of All Time. Warning: This page has autoplay enabled and I can't see a way to make it stop. (Full disclosure: I don't really mind the song.)

+ A nice story about a small gesture by a college athlete that made a big difference for an autistic boy.

+ I told my eight year-old daughter that if she woke up and got ready for school without complaining, the karmic gods would reward her. And it only took two days: American Girl Dolls Will Soon Be Available At Toys ‘R' Us Stores.