Thursday, May 18th, 2017


Well, Isn’t That Special

The Trump news deluge continues as the Justice Department named Former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel "to probe alleged Russian efforts to sway November's presidential election in favor of Donald Trump and to investigate whether there was any collusion between Trump's campaign team and Moscow." Mueller is widely respected on both sides of the aisle. From Reuters: Bobby 'Three Sticks' Mueller to probe Russia-Trump imbroglio.

+ President Trump reacted to the move on Twitter, calling Mueller's appointment part of "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" (Anything you tweet can and will be used against you...)

+ If you missed it yesterday, here's my take on the so-called witch hunt: The Relentless Bias Against Donald Trump.

+ Vox: The new special counsel investigating Trump: who he is, what he can do, what comes next.

+ Meanwhile, the leaks and news blockbusters continue. From the NYT: Trump team knew Flynn was under investigation before he came to the White House. From McClatchy: Flynn stopped military plan Turkey opposed – after being paid as its agent. From Reuters: Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians.

+ According to Politico: Sean Spicer "is no longer expected to do a daily, on-camera briefing after Trump's foreign trip." (We're still awaiting an official response from Melissa McCarthy.)


Rog One

"At Fox News, Mr. Ailes presided over a cable outlet that combined television news from a conservative perspective with the rabble-rousing rhetoric of right-wing talk radio to produce a singularly influential media machine." Roger Ailes, one of the most powerful and controversial personalities in journalism, has died at the age of 77.

+ NY Mag: Few people did more to shape the current tenor of our nation's politics. He was both a powerful shaper of media, and serial sexual harasser. Here's how Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media.

+ Here are some media reactions to his death. (For his sake, I hope god doesn't get cable.)


Roam Alone

"Ruthless smugglers and traffickers are exploiting their vulnerability for personal gain, helping children to cross borders, only to sell them into slavery and forced prostitution. It is unconscionable that we are not adequately defending children from these predators." According to Unicef, the number of children migrating solo around the world has increased five-fold.


Times Scare

"An out-of-control car speeding the wrong way on Seventh Avenue plowed into several pedestrians in Times Square Thursday -- killing one and injuring 22 others." A terrible scene in NYC unfolded as an apparently impaired driver plowed into pedestrians. There's no indication the incident was connected to terrorism. Here's more from the scene from Buzzfeed.


Cat Scratch

"Talking Tom is not alone. There's been a recent flurry of oddball pairings between Chinese industrial interests and Western entertainment companies." Bloomberg on a very interesting (and sort of weird) trend: Why Did a Chinese Peroxide Company Pay $1 Billion for a Talking Cat? (At least my eight year-old daughter knows I was outbid by a big number...)


We Don’t Need Another Heroin

"Cartels have begun lacing heroin with synthetic opioids including fentanyl, making a dose more addictive and cheaper to produce. Overdose reversal shots are helping addicts survive, often to use again, giving dealers a steady supply of repeat customers. With persistent demand and increasingly wide profit margins, 2017 is shaping up as the most profitable year ever for the U.S. heroin trade." It really is a perfect storm. Americans get hooked on painkillers. States legalize marijuana. Mexican cartels see the writing on the wall and shift away from selling pot and towards selling opiates. Doctors clamp down on painkiller prescriptions. Heroin sales surge. From Bloomberg: The Heroin Business Is Booming in America.

+ The excellent Don Winslow: El Chapo And The Secret History Of The Heroin Crisis.


Black Hole Son

After performing a concert earlier in the evening, the highly-regarded grunge and rock singer Chris Cornell reportedly hanged himself in a Detroit hotel.

+ "He would've been a rock star no matter where he'd been born, or when. He'd have been a rock star during the Industrial Revolution; he'd have been a rock star on Neptune." The Ringer: Chris Cornell was a rock star for the ages.

+ Rolling Stone: 15 Essential Songs, and 8 great acoustic covers (so good).


The Tide of Frankenstein

"The acceleration is making some scientists fear that Antarctica's ice sheet may have entered the early stages of an unstoppable disintegration. Because the collapse of vulnerable parts of the ice sheet could raise the sea level dramatically, the continued existence of the world's great coastal cities -- Miami, New York, Shanghai and many more -- is tied to Antarctica's fate." And interactive piece from the NYT: Miles of ice collapsing into the sea.


The Lie Has Been Cast

These "liars earned notoriety because of how egregious, brazen, or damaging their falsehoods were. But their deceit doesn't make them as much of an aberration as we might think. The lies that impostors, swindlers, and boasting politicians tell merely sit at the apex of a pyramid of untruths that have characterized human behavior for eons." NatGeo on the science that explains why we lie. (Too bad many of today's most infamous liars don't believe in science...)


Bottom of the News

"Although travellers may have recognised the monarch's voice as he updated them on weather conditions and their time of arrival, the royal's presence was never revealed." From Sky News: Dutch king reveals double life as an airline pilot for KLM.

+ We've been so focused on the stream of bad news about Donald Trump, we missed some of the good news to emerge in the last few days. From me: The Good News For Donald Trump.

+ Quartz: Two candy giants have spent years in court fighting over the shape of Kit Kat bars.