Thursday, September 15th, 2016


The Parent Rap

"Parents in every culture at a given moment think they're doing the optimal thing for their kids. But their concept of what is optimal is extremely different from another culture and even from another generation in their own culture." A husband and wife research team combined fifty years of fieldwork and a broad lit review in an effort to answer one simple question: Do Parents Matter? I think that question can best be answered by something my eight year-old daughter said to me when I was tucking her in for bed: "You're so dumb for someone who reads everything online."


When the Split Hits the Fan

This line from the NYT could be the understatement of the day: "The economic dislocations of recent decades may be contributing to the polarization of the electorate." That economic split -- particularly felt in the regions that have been left out of the recovery -- represents one of the key factors in this election, and one of the key stories of today's America.


The Rod and Gun Club

"When I become president, I'll order the police and the military to find these people and kill them. The funeral parlors will be packed ... I'll supply the dead bodies." That was a campaign promise from Rodrigo Duterte (and one that seemed to work since he was elected president of the Philippines). Those who worked for him in the past had little doubt he'd keep that promise. From WaPo: Philippine witness: We killed for Duterte, fed body to crocodile.

+ "He offered a simple, horrifying solution that tens of millions of Filipinos elected him to implement through unrestricted police operations, death squads, and hired assassins.
Not only does Duterte follow through on his policies, but he's killed alleged criminals himself." Oh, and his trust rating among voters is above 90%. From GQ: Why the Philippines Loves Rodrigo Duterte.


Uppers and Downers

"America uses its stories to export a myth of itself, just like the UK. The reality of Britain is vibrant multiculturalism, but the myth we export is an all-white world of lords and ladies. Conversely, American society is pretty segregated, but the myth it exports is of a racial melting-pot, everyone solving crimes and fighting aliens side by side." The Night Of's Riz Ahmed on getting typecast as a terrorist: "As my acting career developed, I was no longer cast as a radical Muslim -- except at the airport."


Give and Take a Knee

"To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine, is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds." The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin on Colin Kaepernick and a Landmark Supreme Court Case. It's so interesting that Kaepernick knelt during the anthem to strike up a conversation about race in America, and we ended up having a conversation about kneeling during the anthem.


The Downside of Whatnot

"It is a phenomenon that is anathema to me. It runs counter to everything that any of us who ever entered special operations know [is] the right way to do business. It baffles me that people don't hold true to that standard." Think you're worried about all the oversharing young people do these days? Imagine how Raymond Thomas feels. He's runs U.S. Special Operations. "We're hurting ourselves with this gratuitous release of movies, books and whatnot."

+ Slate's Fred Kaplan on the shot that changed modern warfare: The First Drone Strike.


The Bullish Pulpit

It may seem like secularism is on the rise. But organized religion is still big, and big business. According to The Guardian: "The faith economy has a higher value than the combined revenues of the top 10 technology companies in the US, including Apple, Amazon and Google." (And their people have also been vesting a lot longer.)


You Had One Job

"He stressed that the most important thing people need to do is just hold on and not die until roughly 2029." The Ringer's Kate Knibbs takes you along for a weekend conference called the Revolution Against Aging and Death Festival. One of the big draws was an appearance by Suzanne Somers who was there to discuss her new book, Tox-Sick: From Toxic to Not Sick. (See, I told you all these puns aren't as easy as they look.)


Bedtime Story

At back to school night for my second-grader, a lot of parents were complaining that their kids give them a hard time when their social media posts perform poorly. If you're the victim of similar attacks, here's bedtime story that can effective turn the tables and put your child on back on the defensive: The Secret Life Of A Seven-Year-Old Instagram Star.


Bottom of the News

"We are excited, we're happy, it is a great honour to celebrate his bar mitzvah. He has children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and cousins and everyone is coming." A couple of world wars (and some other inconveniences) delayed Yisrael Kristal's bar mitzvah. But he's finally holding it, at the age of 113. (Let's hope some of the guests held onto the savings bonds they had ready for the event's original date.)

+ NY Mag: All 314 Bruce Springsteen songs, ranked from worst to best. I'm not sure about the order, but it had to be a pretty fun reporting assignment.

+ This kid is my new favorite athlete of all time. I just hope he's available for baby-sitting.