Thursday, February 16th, 2017


Trumpster Fire

This weekend, Saturday Night Live should just replay the entire press conference delivered by President Trump on Thursday. It was beyond parody and made one thing clear: There's not gonna be a Trump pivot. In an unhinged performance rivaled only by Marlon Brando's Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, the president attacked the media, repeated bizarrely false statements about his electoral win, asked a black reporter if she could set up a meeting with the black congressional caucus ("Are they friends of yours?"), continually claimed Mike Flynn did nothing wrong ("I don't think he did anything wrong. If anything, he did something right"), described himself as "the least antisemitic person you've ever seen in your life" and "probably the least racist," gave a quick course on uranium, insisted his administration is "running like a fine-tuned machine," referred over and over to the election and Hillary Clinton, decried the nonstop fake news ("The leaks are real, the news is fake") without hinting at what was fake about it, and actually said, "I can handle a bad story better than anybody." This press conference should be required viewing for every American. Even Fox News couldn't restrain their initial reaction. A few times during the press conference, people in the room laughed. This is no laughing matter. At the risk of plagiarizing the president, this situation is a total disaster. And I know, I know, forty percent of Americans will think the presser was a bigly success. But the rest of just got a serious case of PTSD: President Trump Stress Disorder.

+ Trump's obsession with the tone of the media could soon get worse. From Bloomberg: Kremlin Tells Media to Cut Back on Fawning Trump Coverage.

+ Oh yeah, the purpose of the presser was for the president to name Alexander Acosta as his pick for Secretary of Labor.


The Other Garbage Fire

"For those who voluntarily set out food scraps for municipal collection -- true believers, that is -- the process provokes yet another layer of uncertainty. We assume our dregs are headed for a giant compost pile somewhere, but what happens to it next?" NYT Mag with an interesting look at how one guy is looking to turn food scraps into profit: The Compost King of New York.

+ "A few of the bags, cooked in the sun, had been wriggling with maggots. Tyvek suits, steel-toed boots, safety goggles, gloves, and respirators insulated the team against close contact. But they've spent months wrist-deep in kitchen scraps." Researchers are doing the dirty job of trying to figure out why we throw so much food away.


Peace (Nud)niks

"The political barriers that Netanyahu faced two years ago are gone. He and Trump are now free to renounce the Iran nuclear deal, and thus, by Netanyahu's logic, prevent a second Shoah. Or, failing that, Netanyahu could take matters into his own hands and bomb Iran's nuclear sites himself, secure in the knowledge that Trump is less likely than Obama to object. Yet none of that is happening." Peter Beinart argues that Bibi Played Us On The Iran Deal -- And We Let Him.

+ "One curiosity of the Trump–Netanyahu press conference -- their first meeting since Trump became president -- was that it took place just after the Israeli leader's car pulled up to the White House driveway, before any meeting between the two men. Usually, these sorts of press conferences take place after a meeting, so the two heads of state can say what they talked about. But really the two had nothing to discuss at this point." Fred Kaplan on why few of the parties in the Middle East want to talk about a peace process right now.


Don’t Make Mine a Double

"She told the police everything that had happened, including that she fought back. She liked the officer who took her statement, she said, because it felt like he believed her. The officer took photos: a bleeding ear; a swollen jaw; broken glasses. Then the officer told Dilawar she was under arrest, along with her husband." ProPublica on dual arrests and why, in Connecticut, calling for help carries risks for victims of domestic violence.

+ WaPo: Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained a woman seeking domestic abuse protection at a Texas courthouse. "This is really unprecedented."


Wham, Bam, Thank You Mammoth

The Guardian: "The woolly mammoth vanished from the Earth 4,000 years ago, but now scientists say they are on the brink of resurrecting the ancient beast in a revised form, through an ambitious feat of genetic engineering." (Why not, we seem to be going backwards in every other way...)

+ Genetics and genome sequencing are entering an era of truly remarkable and rapid advances. But some of the startups in the space might be putting the sales team ahead of the cart. From Gizmodo: The Next Pseudoscience Health Craze Is All About Genetics. (I'm predisposed to believe that...)


Juice Could Be Loose

"Incarcerated since 2008, he is due to go before the Nevada parole board as early as this summer. Depending on the board's recommendation, 2017 might well be the year that perhaps the most famous inmate in America -- the subject of an award-winning documentary and an award-winning scripted show two decades after his Trial of the Century -- returns to society." From Sports Illustrated: This summer, O.J. Simpson is up for parole. (You didn't think 2017 was just gonna sit back and let 2016 get all notoriety...)


The Perennial Movement is Happening

Seasoned NextDraft readers will recall that my wife wrote a viral article calling for an end of labeling people by age. She coined the word Perennials. And it's taking off. From the SF Chronicle: Gina Pell welcomes the Perennials: all-ages movement of relevancy.


Jacked Pot

"The timed spins are not always successful, but they result in far more payouts than a machine normally awards: Individual scammers typically win more than $10,000 per day." Finally, from Wired, a feel good story about Russian hackers: Russians Engineer a Brilliant Slot Machine Cheat -- And Casinos Have No Fix.


That’s Amore

"They don't go around saying it, but I want to, at this point, let them know, how much the Ilitches not only meant to the city, but they meant so much for Rosa Parks." From CNN: Little Caesars founder quietly paid Rosa Parks' rent for years.


Bottom of the News

Dear Google Boss, when I am bigger I would like a job with Google." A seven year-old girl from the UK lays the foundation for a top role at Google. (I know that seems young, but out here in the Bay Area, most 7 year-olds are already on their second or third startup.)

+ Earlier this week, a co-ed CYO team had been forced to forfeit the rest of its games because the boys wouldn't let the girls be kicked off their team. The decision has been reversed and the team is back in action.

+ Nothing lasts forever. And the Monopoly thimble is on the way out. (It should be replaced by a hand gripping a cellphone.)

+ Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard lost a Super Bowl bet with some guy on Twitter. So she had to go on a date with him. And there might be a second date. (This could make for the greatest wedding toast anecdote of all time...)

+ And food for thought to end this edition: Senator Kid Rock.