Thursday, June 8th, 2017


Ex, Lies, and Audiotape

Like a trailer that gives away too much of the movie, ex-FBI Director James Comey's pre-released opening statement may have taken some of the air out of his live testimony; the most hotly-anticipated television event since the Dallas episode in which viewers learned who shot JR. Comey said he leaked his notes to the media through a friend, in part because, he "thought it might prompt the appointment of a special counsel." Comey also indicated that he took notes after talking to Trump because "I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting." And on the initial reasons the administration's gave for his firing: "Those were lies, plain and simple." As to whether Trump really taped the the now infamous and somewhat stunning dinner exchange, Comey said: "Lordy, I hope there are tapes." (Yeah, bigly.) And like every hearing in the recent past (and one imagines, for the foreseeable future), there was talk of Hillary's email server. From WaPo: 7 takeaways from Comey's extraordinary testimony.

+ Lawfare on the written testimony issued before the hearings: "Despite this sparseness, or maybe I should say because of it, it is the most shocking single document compiled about the official conduct of the public duties of any President since the release of the Watergate tapes."

+ Perhaps the biggest surprise of the big day in DC was that Donald Trump didn't live-Tweet the hearings. Well, actually, one Donald Trump did.


Kasowitz and Giggles

"Contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today's hearing, Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told the President privately: The President was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference." Here's the (annotated) reaction to the Comey testimony from Team Trump, delivered by Trump's longtime personal attorney Marc Kasowitz.

+ Paul Ryan on Trump's interactions with Comey: "He's new to this."


May’s June Test

"Across the UK, British voters are going to the polls -- in one of the most bizarre, unpredictable, and momentous elections in the country's long history." (And, even aside from the election, it hasn't exactly been a slow news week there). From Vox: Today's historic UK election, explained.

+ You can follow election updates via the BBC.


Love Qatars Like a Knife

This was President Trump on his meeting with the Emir of Qatar: "We've been friends now for a long time, haven't we? Our relationship is extremely good. [We'll discuss] the purchase of lots of beautiful military equipment, because nobody makes it like the United States. First, that means jobs. It also means, frankly, great security back here.'" The meeting was part of an effort to build a cohesive coalition in the Middle East. Then the Saudis isolated Qatar, and the president tweeted: "During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look." Confused? So is The New Yorker's Robin Wright: Trump Sabotages His New Middle East Alliance.

+ Further complicating matters in the region (if that's possible), Iran was hit by a terror attack on Wednesday, and ISIS claimed credit.


She Work

"The Wing bills itself as 'an offline destination for women to build essential relationships, hatch plans and you know…run the world, together.' Practically speaking, that means a place where its members can spend the day working at the loft's communal tables, having a drink and socializing, taking a shower or getting a blowout, and attending a wreath-making workshop or book club." Shared workspaces are nothing new. But some of the quite popular ones have a key rule: No dudes. From Village Voice: Inside The Gig Economy's New Wave Of Women's Clubs.

+ Uber has fired more than 20 people in connection with an internal review of sexual harassment charges. That somehow led to this headline: CEO Travis Kalanick has started meditating in Uber's lactation room. The way the negative stories are multiplying, he may need to implement surge meditating.

+ At London's Badoo (a Tinder-esque app), they are bucking the trend: Job Perks Include Pole Dancers and Sushi Served on Models.


I Think Therefore I Ambien

His lab is known for "using DNA for data storage to resurrecting the wooly mammoth, from creating mini-brains on plates to doing a gut renovation of pig genomes so their organs might be transplantable into people." In other words, he's a smart guy. As STAT reports that George Church ascribes his visionary ideas to narcolepsy. "He hates appearing on panels, where he frequently dozes for a couple of minutes or more. Even asleep, though, he can hear his name spoken and so wakes up, usually able to answer whatever question has just come his way without asking that it be repeated." (Interesting story, though I'm not sure how his appearances on panels vary from every other panel appearance I've seen or participated in.)


Ice Cream Scheme

Yesterday, my kids and I encountered an ice cream truck that also sold fidget spinners. It's a sign of the remarkable (and remarkably disturbing) mass appeal of the latest fad. Buzzfeed's Leticia Miranda on how your fidget spinner is reshaping the retail industry. (While I was impressed with the entrepreneurial prowess of the ice cream truck guy, the day my kids choose a fidget spinner over an ice cream sandwich is the day I give up on the future generation.)


You’ve Got Some Gal

Wonder Woman is a movie about a female superhero that was directed by a woman and is killing it at the box office. So we can celebrate, right? No, of course not. Here's WaPo on How the Jewish identity of the ‘Wonder Woman's' star is causing a stir. (As a middle-aged, Jewish man, I can assure you that this isn't the first time Gal Gadot has caused a stir ...)


When the Shot Hit the Fan

"All I was looking at was the bottom of the net. I've been working on that shot my whole life. To see that go in, that was liberating, man." Amazing quote by a guy who is putting on a beyond-amazing show in the NBA finals. From ESPN: Durant's dagger 3 lifts Warriors over Cavs in Game 3.

+ LeBron weakly throwing up his arms as KD landed the final 3 serves as a metaphor for the whole series. The Warriors beat the best the Cavs had. From The Ringer: This Was As Good As It Gets for the Cavaliers, and They Still Lost.


Bottom of the News

"Among the 1,885 people who said they were in monogamous relationships, 82% reported that they were broadly satisfied with their sex life. That compared to 80% of people in a marriage, civil union or other legal partnership, while 71% of people in open or polyamorous relationships said they were fulfilled." From Quartz: Turns out open relationships aren't the most sexually satisfying. (See, political stories aren't place you'll find fake news!)

+ McSweeney's: Are these excerpts from James Comey's opening statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee or from Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day?

+ ESPN: The horrors of getting hit by a pitch. (This is why I only coach my little league players to lean into a pitch when it's absolutely necessary...)