Monday, May 1st, 2017


Trump 101 (and 102)

For the past week, you've been inundated by stories about Trump's first hundred days as president. It turns out that, in a pretty notable twist, the top story of days 101 and 102 was more about Trump's absence. Congress has passed a budget deal that will keep the government's doors open through September. The National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, getting a boost. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, no cuts. NASA, more money. EPA, about the same. Planned Parenthood, same. And for the wall, nada.

+ Trump still managed to dominate the post-100 headlines. First, there was his "very friendly conversation" with Rodrigo Duterte, which included an invitation to the White House (update: Duterte hinted he might be too busy.) Next, there was an uncomfortable exchange about his wiretapping claims on Face the Nation, during which he explained, "I don't stand by anything," before ending the discussion and sitting down at his desk. And finally, during a radio interview, Trump mused on Andrew Jackson and the Civil War: "People don't realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don't ask that question, but why was there a Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?" (The essay-length answer is provided by the Ken Burns documentary. The multiple choice answer: Slavery.)

+ "Day 3: Kelly Anne Conway introduces the world to the phrase alternate facts. My shrink and I decide that we should go from meeting four days a week, to meeting 5 days a week."
As you know, I've been buried in Trump news for months. Here's my own unique look at the first million billion days of the Trump era…This is 100. (This post should have been sponsored by Xanax.)


Spare Parts and Broken Hearts

"His foot slipped; the machine automatically kicked on. Its paddles grabbed his left leg, pulling and twisting until it snapped at the knee and rotating it 180 degrees, so that his toes rested on his pelvis. The machine 'literally ripped off his left leg,' medical reports said ... Within days, Osiel and several others -- all underage and undocumented -- were fired." ProPublica on the undocumented immigration story we're not hearing much about these days. Sold For Parts.


Melee Day

May Day marches were held around the world, and (ahead of Sunday's French presidential elections) things got violent in Paris where a march attended by thousands "was disrupted as scores of hooded youths threw gasoline bombs at riot police in full gear, who responded with tear gas and truncheons."

+ The May Day melee was a reminder that in France (and elsewhere), jobs are considered a president's job one. Here's the NYT on a French town that was once the lace capital; until globalization. "It has been a painful retreat for an industry whose delicate creations symbolized 'Made in France' know-how, an economic pattern repeated across the country and one of the most divisive issues in the presidential election." (Sound familiar?)

+ The Atlantic: Escaping poverty requires almost 20 years with nearly nothing going wrong. (On some days, 20 minutes seems like a stretch.)


Beyond Bullying

"Though Chaz repeatedly told teachers and administrators about insults and physical attacks, he didn't report being sexually assaulted until a year later, launching a long legal fight over whether his school had done enough to protect him." The AP conducted a year-long investigation into student-on-student sexual assault in schools.


Writers Walk?

"A decade after the previous walkout that lasted 100 days, film and TV executives are once again bracing for a strike that could roil the business and Los Angeles' bedrock entertainment industry." Hollywood insiders (and let's face it, the rest of us) are bracing a potential strike by TV and movie writers. From the LA Times: Here's what you need to know. If a strike happens, you could be left with nothing but your growing backlog of about 15,000 hours of programming to binge.

+ Twitter is already a place where people talk about the news. Now, they want to be place where they watch it as well. "The social-media company is joining forces with the global financial news outlet to create a service that will stream news produced solely for Twitter 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

+ Another shoe drops at Fox News. This one lands on co-president Bill Shine.


Choose Your Poison

"Of those tested, 43% of motorists who died had drugs in their system, the report said. This number surpassed the 37% of motorists who died who tested positive for alcohol in the same year." According to a recent report, drugged driving has killed more drivers than drunken driving. I wonder where texting drivers fall along the the continuum.

+ "They blow red lights and fly through stop signs and speed the wrong way on skinny bridges, toward oncoming traffic. They push 100 miles per hour, ram police cruisers and nearly mow down children stepping off a school bus." From the Tampa Bay Times: Kids are driving Pinellas County's car-theft epidemic. It's dangerous, sometimes deadly, and often tied to one's social media following.


Naut in My Back Yard

"One of the great ironies of those historic housing patterns in Miami is that for decades under Jim Crow, laws and zoning restricted black people to parts of the urban core, an older part of the community." Now those properties are in hot demand. Why? Because they are on higher ground. From Scientific American: Climate change may now be a part of the gentrification story in Miami real estate.


Can I Get a Lift?

"They wore no coats. They just shivered there, in the crisp night air. And to the cabdriver who slowed to study the three men who'd called for a ride, this seemed strange. It was January, after all, and the temperature in Santa Ana, California, had dipped into the 50s." GQ's Paul Kix with the story of The Accidental Get Away Driver.


The Shape of You (Suck?)

"I have a data sheet emailed to me every week. What's the problem with doing it? It's so fun. You're not going to have success by working just for the love of it. Looking at a sales sheet, you can see where you need to do that work. My benchmark for the second album was Coldplay. This album it's Springsteen." Ed Sheeran is huge. Just ask my kids. And like other top-selling stars, he has his share of detractors. Vox on the surprisingly polarizing singer: How Ed Sheeran perfected the art of being a mainstream misfit.


Bottom of the News

"The real story is that the wolf is a three-year-old captive named Zeus, and the photographers only drove out to meet him this morning, from their comfortable lodge five minutes away." From Quartz: Love wildlife photos? There's a good chance they weren't shot in the wild.

+ "Never in the history of modern-day shoe endorsements have the big companies all stepped away from a potential top pick nearly two months before the NBA draft." It could be related to the fact that a Nike consultant recently called the player's dad, "the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years."

+ McDonald's Invents a Frork: A utensil made of french fries.

+ "I put on sunscreen against the sun, but I haven't found anything against radiation." Anyone want to surf Fukushima?

+ This guy is pretty damn good at the detachable thumb trick.

+ Reminder: If you're in the Bay Area, come out to my talk at UC Berkeley's BAMPFA on Monday night.