June 1st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Trump turned his climate change announcement into a gameshow spectacle. Earth lost.

We now know for sure that climate change is real because America’s leadership role just went up in flames. In a much anticipated move, President Trump announced that his administration is pulling out of the Paris climate treaty, describing it as a bad deal for America. The US now joins only two other countries on the No list: Nicaragua (because they felt it didn’t go far enough to protect the planet), and Syria (they’ve been busy).

+ Trump’s decision was not made in a vacuum. Just follow the money: “The big-money supporters got a return on their investment last week, when 22 Republican senators whose campaigns have collected more than $10m in oil, gas and coal money since 2012 sent a letter to the president urging him to withdraw from the Paris deal.”

+ This move is anything but a surprise. From The New Yorker: Earth Day in The Age of Trump. “The list of steps that the Trump Administration has already taken to make America polluted again is so long that fully cataloguing them in this space would be impossible.”

+ BBC: Antarctic ice crack takes major turn. (Spoiler alert: Climate change doesn’t care if we think think the Paris treaty is a good deal or not.)

+ AP: Weather forecasts have dramatically improved over the past decade, according to science (for those who believe in such things).


Comey Don’t Play

Aside from Super Bowls, the most watched TV show of all time was the series finale of M*A*S*H, with nearly 106 million viewers. That 34 year-old record might be in danger next week. “Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate intelligence committee June 8 about the investigation into possible coordination between the campaign of President Donald Trump and Russian officials.” (Comey should testify at the same time as an Apple keynote, just to see if Twitter has its servers in good shape.)

+ Newsweek: Can Trump stop Comey from testifying with executive privilege?

+ According to The Guardian, Nigel Farage is a ‘person of interest’ in FBI investigation into Trump and Russia.

+ WaPo: The Trump administration is moving to return Russian compounds in Maryland and New York.


Hunger Strikes

“There are two things you need to understand about the famine decimating South Sudan, the world’s newest country and one that came into existence largely because of enormous assistance from the US. First, South Sudan isn’t the only country in the region facing mass starvation. A potentially historic famine is also threatening Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen. Far from Western eyes and far from the headlines, an estimated 20 million people in those four countries are at risk of dying due to a lack of food. Second, these famines weren’t caused by natural disasters like crop failures or droughts. They were man-made.” Vox reports from South Sudan on the the worst famine since World War II.


The Killa in Manila

“Over my two weeks in the Philippines in April, hitting more than a dozen big and small cities from the northern tip to the southern edge, I spoke to scores of people — vendors, farmers, professors, drivers, politicians, cops, writers, business owners, lawyers, dentists — and nearly all of them, even those who voted against him, said they believe that their president is making the country better.” Buzzfeed’s Albert Samaha goes back to visit his family farm in the Philippines “to try to understand why they — and most of the country — have rallied around a president most Westerners see as a violent, dangerous despot.”


In Conclusion

“How did we arrive at this moment in history, in which humanity is more technologically powerful than ever before, and yet we feel ourselves to be increasingly fragile?” In Aeon, Claire Colebrook reflects on end-times for humanity.

+ “The inequality of badly-run or corrupt states is boosted by the power of technology — but it’s also easier than ever to destabilise these states, thanks to technology. The question is: which future will prevail?” Cory Doctorow: Technology is making the world more unequal. Only technology can fix this. (Spoiler alert: Tech wins.)

+ Jill Lepore: A golden age for dystopian fiction.


Something on His Computer

“They showed up at about 8 o’clock and by 8:10 we were all in handcuffs,’ said Joseph’s dad. ‘Camouflage, bulletproof vests, helmets, assaults pistols. It was a military operation — there’s no other way to describe it’ … Outside, the neighbors watched as the men in body armor surrounded the house. Inside, some of the officers searched the rooms for evidence while others rounded up the family members and brought them, at gunpoint, to the living room. Joseph had no idea what was going on. It didn’t occur to him that something he had on his computer could be connected to the raid.” The Marshall Project with a disturbing investigation into the surprisingly common occurence of autistic adults getting caught up in child p*rnography investigations: Downloading a Nightmare.


LeBron’s Got the Brains

As police look into an act of hate and vandalism in which the N-word was spray-painted on his front gate, Lebron James reflected on the incident. “Just shows that racism will always be a part of the world, part of America. Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day. It is hidden most days. It is alive every single day … No matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how much people admire you, being black in America is tough.”

+ WaPo: Our ugly racism’s newest artifact: The noose left at the African American Museum.

+ “This I swear to Odin, Kali, Bastet and all other Pagan Gods and Goddesses in my Aryan Theosophical Nucleus. This is my duty as a Viking and Patriot.” From Reveal: Portland attacker pledged to slay Trump, Clinton in name of Nordic god. Reveal covered the rise of this religious ideology just last week: An ancient Nordic religion is inspiring white supremacist terror.


Wheels of Fortune

“A few kids don’t make it. They splay out across the track in a pile of elbow and kneepads and full-face helmets. And then, there’s one kid, coming from behind, who executes a perfect pass on his recently potty-trained competitors and crosses the line first, his chest forward in an elated victory celebration.” Outside takes you Inside the Cut-Throat World of Toddler Bike Racing. (I worry that kids who get humiliated in these toddler competitions will ultimately grow up and pull us out of climate treaties.)


Creme Melee

“There are least five or six detectives that have worked on this case, including some who have been threatened with metal pipes.” The NY Post with the latest on the efforts by the company behind Mister Softee to keep other ice cream trucks from playing their song.


Bottom of the News

“This leads us to an important question: Is it technically possible for a mascot or cartoon character who has three fingers and a thumb to make that gesture?” That time Mr. Met flipped off some fans. (Here are some other examples of mascots messing with people.)

+ Quartz: Can you spell the winning words from a century of Scripps National Spelling Bees?

+ Fifty of the best TV themes of all time.

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