Wednesday, June 14th, 2017


America’s Pastime

A baseball practice being held by the GOP Congressional team was interrupted by wanton violence as a gunman opened fire. Majority Whip Steve Scalise was one of the victims hit before Capitol Police shot and killed the shooter, James Hodgkinson. From the NYT: Steve Scalise Among 5 Shot at Baseball Field; Suspect Is Dead. "Standing at second base, Mr. Scalise was struck in the hip, according to witnesses, and collapsed as the shots rang out, one after another, from behind a chain-link fence near the third-base dugout. Witnesses said Mr. Scalise, of Louisiana, 'army crawled' his way toward taller grass as the shooting continued."

+ The presence of Scalise was a factor that may have saved many lives. The Capitol Police had a security detail on the scene because of Scalise's high-ranking role in the House. From Rand Paul: "Had they not been there, it would have been a massacre."

+ WaPo: "Two members of Scalise's security detail, David Bailey and Crystal Griner, were shot, but witnesses said they still kept firing. Griner was eventually evacuated by helicopter with a serious wound."

+ Rep Ron DeSantis: "I did have an interaction with someone in the parking lot who asked me if the team practicing was a Democratic or Republican team. I told him they were Republicans. He said, 'Ok, thanks.' [He] turned around. I got into the car and left to find out my Republican colleagues were targeted by the active shooter."

+ Paul Ryan: "An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. For all the noise and all the fury, we are one family." (That's true for members of Congress. That's also true for people who live in neighborhoods where this kind of violence is a daily occurence. Our family has a problem.)


Ad Nauseam

In the past few weeks alone, we've seen several cases where people called for advertisers to pull their support from a show or event at least in part because of concerns about politics. Everything is political today, and that includes big brands and corporations. Are we rightfully ensuring that the companies we buy from share our basic values? Or are we going down a dangerous path where corporate sponsors become de facto editors? The NYT's Sapna Maheshwari: Advertisers, Afraid to Offend, Weigh In on Shakespeare and Megyn Kelly.



"This is going to be a long and complex recovery operation and I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12." The death toll is expected to rise after a massive fire completely engulfed Grenfell Tower in the north Kensington section of London. Here's the latest from The Guardian.

+ "The windows were slightly ajar, a woman was gesturing that she was about to throw her baby and if somebody could catch her baby. Somebody did, a gentleman ran forward and managed to grab the baby." The Grenfell Tower block fire, in pictures.


Murder, She Wrought

"The situation is a study in the malleability of memory: an implausible notion, doubted at first, grows into a firmly held belief that reshapes one's autobiography and sense of identity." They were convicted of murder, but later exonerated by DNA evidence. So why do some of them still remember committing the crime? From The New Yorker's Rachel Aviv: Remembering The Murder You Didn't Commit.


Water Manslaughter

"Mr. Lyon failed in his responsibilities to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Flint." So said Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette as he brought involuntary manslaughter charges against the state's health chief and several others for their failure to warn Flint residents of the dangers associated with their tainted water.

+ Detroit Free Press: "Experts on state governments nationwide say that the criminal charges against cabinet-level officials related to the death of state residents may have few forebears if any." I don't know about the legal case for manslaughter, but the Flint water disaster is certainly an example of an epic failure by lawmakers at every level. It's unthinkable that the problem got this bad and even more upsetting that it's gone on this long.


I Bet You Think This Blurb Is About You

"Nothing about these gatherings was more fascinating than the peculiar ritual with which they concluded, in which speaker after speaker would get up and praise the host." It would be a wild understatement to say that the first few months of the Trump era have been odd. But perhaps no single moment was more unusual than the scene earlier this week when Trump's cabinet members went around the table and took turns praising their boss. Like so many of Donald Trump's seemingly unprecedented rituals, this one can be traced back to Roy Cohn. From The New Yorker: Where Trump learned to love ritualized flattery. (For years I tried to get my kids to do this for me. In the end, we agreed that, in exchange for extra iPad time, they would occasionally nod approvingly.)


App Sheet

"All these companies have you run a background check. Well, I've changed. I've reformed from my old life and I can be a productive member of society. I can be an asset to any company." In some places, it's possible to get nonviolent convictions removed from your record so you can move on with your life and become a productive member of society. But the process can be complex and take a long time. Luckily, thanks to Code for America, there's an app for that. From the California Report: Mobile App Gives Felons a Fresh Start.


Breath of the Wild

"After about 30 seconds, blood vessels in the arms and legs constrict, redirecting red blood cells to vital organs, including the heart and brain ... After a minute or so, trapped carbon dioxide causes the diaphragm to spasm ... Keep going, and eventually the spleen will release stores of red blood cells to keep you alive for a while longer. Below 50 meters, capillaries around the alveoli in the lungs expand to create a cushion to protect the rib cage from collapse as pressure increases on the body. Most people will shortly lose consciousness." To many, the description above sounds like drowning. To others, as Bloomberg reports, it's freediving, the lung-crushing, mind-altering path to inner peace. (I think I'll stick with Xanax.)


Hurt So Good

On one hand, the media has never been under this kind of nonstop attack from the executive branch. On the other hand, the story is riveting and business is good. And competition is fierce. From Variety: Cable News Wars: Inside the Unprecedented Battle for Viewers in Trump Era.


Bottom of the News

"Samuel wasn't sure the business was sustainable. It wasn't until the summer of 2013, a year after the iPhone sit, that he started actively using the Line Dudes Twitter account, which he had set up a few months earlier. 'I wasn't even taking myself seriously,' he said. 'I was throwing paint on the wall and calling it something when it dried'. ... Then the Cronut was invented." Meet the man who stands in line for a living.

+ The Atlantic: "It wasn't until afterwards that it really hit me: Oh my, I believe I just delivered a gorilla.." (We've all been there, am I right?)

+ In preparation for your summer roadtrip, here's everything you want to know about how businesses get their brand names on those big highway exit signs.