April 21st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Dinner at the White House, and Weekend Whats

Just about every night on Twitter, I share real Trump-era headline that I’ve placed into The Onion’s template, without changing a single word. And every night, it just works. Although I must admit, that some nights are easier than others. Such was the case with this NYT headline: 4 Hours at the White House With Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin and Kid Rock: “Mr. Nugent — a guitar demigod, knife-between-the-teeth hunter and conservative provocateur — offered an inside glimpse of a gracious, relaxed and house-proud president with ample time to offer his thoughts on a wide array of topics, from entertainment to existential geopolitical perils.” These days, is there a difference?


French Quandry

“We must fight barbarism – none of the French governments for the past 10 years has done enough.” So said Marine Le Pen as the shooting of a police officer on Champs Elysees Avenue takes center stage in this weekend’s highly anticipated French election.

+ Trump has weighed in on the election: “Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!”

+ BBC: The French election explained in five charts.

+ MoJo: France Is About to Vote in the Craziest Election the World Has Seen Since, Well, November.


Weekend Whats

What to Book:: I’m about halfway through Ethan Canin’s A Doubter’s Almanac, and I can’t wait to finish typing this and get back to it. It’s a story about a mathematician that even an English major can love.

+ What to Read: “I’m sitting across from Rachel Dolezal, and she looks… white. Not a little white, not racially ambiguous. Dolezal looks really, really white. She looks like a white woman with a mild suntan, in box braids — like perhaps she’d just gotten back from a Caribbean vacation and decided to keep the hairstyle for a few days ‘for fun.'” Did we really need one more story about Rachel Dolezal? It turns out the answer is yes: The Heart of Whiteness.

+ What to Watch: The Seven Five is a very interesting documentary about (and featuring) one of NYC’s dirtiest cops, ‎Michael Dowd.


Coal Valley

Ahead of this weekend’s marches for science taking place in DC and across the country, let’s focus on the — still somehow controversial — topic of climate change. And in a twist, we’ll start with a positive (but don’t get used to it): Today will be the first day the UK was powered without coal since the industrial revolution.

+ “Eight countries control land in the Arctic Circle. Five have coastlines to defend. The temperature is rising. The ice is melting. The race for newly accessible resources is beginning. And Russia is gaining ground.” Bloomberg: How a Melting Arctic Changes Everything.

+ “On the most fundamental level, Kahn argues, we are already adapting to climate change through a kind of tacit acquiescence, the way people in a city like Beijing accept that simply breathing the air outside can make them sick. ‘People are aware — they’re coughing and wheezing … but they’re not staging political revolutions.” From the NYT Mag: Our Climate Future Is Actually Our Climate Present.

+ Don’t believe the scientists? Well, perhaps you’ll believe the insurance companies. Also from the NYT: When Rising Seas Transform Risk Into Certainty.

+ “The problem is about to get worse, experts say, as cheap, tiny satellites are shot through the stratosphere in unprecedented numbers. Worst-case scenario: a massive, unstoppable, chain-reaction traffic wreck above our heads. So much for escaping Earth to distant galaxies.” From WaPo: Thousands of tiny satellites are about to go into space and possibly ruin it forever.


Venezuela on the Brink

“Two days of massive protests on the streets of Caracas against the government of President Nicolas Maduro spilled into a violent night in several parts of the city.” From AP: At least 12 people killed overnight in Venezuela.

+ The violence followed what is being called the Mother of all Marches. And it was massive. InFocus has a collection of photos from the protest.


Harass Backwards

Bill O’Reilly’s ouster from Fox News had a lot to do with the money the network was losing due an advertiser boycott. So let’s follow the money a little more with the help of the NYT’s Emily Steel And Michael S. Schmidt: “Mr. O’Reilly’s package brought the total amount of payouts related to sexual harassment allegations at Fox News to more than $85 million — paid by the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox. The vast majority of that — as much as $65 million in exit packages — is being paid to the men who were ousted because of the allegations.” And consider that it cost Fox $13 million to defend O’Reilly. And $25 million to fire him. (For conservatives, they sure suck at business.)


Speech Impediments

Not too long ago, Donald Trump exclaimed, “I love WikiLeaks.” Now, his attorney general says that arresting Julian Assange is a priority. Wired’s Andy Greenberg explains why the US charging Julian Assange could put press freedom on trial.

+ “It also again thrusts this liberal haven in the center of ideological struggles between campus free expression and protest movements after repeated violent outbursts at protests and speeches on this campus and elsewhere.” Once again, Berkeley is at the center of a free speech debate. And once again, they’ve managed to give a speaker a lot more publicity than they could have imagined. From WaPo: How Berkeley has become the far left and far right’s battleground.

+ The Onion: Berkeley Campus On Lockdown After Loose Pages From ‘Wall Street Journal’ Found On Park Bench.


Lethal Interjection

“At the time, the judge was having an undisclosed affair with the assistant prosecutor. (They later married.) Lee’s counsel on appeal appeared in court so drunk that he slurred his words.” Arkansas carried out its first execution in more than a decade, just after Neil Gorsuch cast his first vote as a Supreme Court justice.


Hedge Hogs

“Let’s get out of the ivory tower and try actually being activists. We’ll pick a company and target its managers. How hard can it be?” From The Atlantic: Frank and Steven’s Excellent Corporate-Raiding Adventure.


Bottom of the News

“Wolf gave me a preview of the meal: marijuana-free chicken Marbella and couscous, paired with infused sides and appetizers. The dishes had been set out on a sideboard. Next to each one was a card with the potency level noted in calligraphy: ‘Stuffed Mushrooms, 5 mg THC each.'” The New Yorker’s Lizzy Widdicombe has dinner with The Martha Stewart Of Marijuana Edibles.

+ “[Bill] Gates and his wife Melinda banned their three children from owning cell phones until they were age 14 – even though they argued all their friends had them.” (And at that point, they got Windows Phones and were like, “Actually, we can hold off a little longer.”)

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