Tuesday, July 18th, 2017


It’s Alive

The tech revolution came, it saw, and it disrupted. And malls and office parks across the world are littered with the decaying storefronts and business models that once ruled the economic landscape. So let's be honest. We all thought Best Buy would be dead by now. But it's not. In the words and intonation of the great Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein, "It's alive!" The company's CEO explains, "We don't see ourselves as a brick-and-mortar retailer, we're a multichannel retailer." Whatever they are is something that's definitely worth exploring if you own a traditional business. From the LA Times: Why the grim reaper of retail hasn't come to claim Best Buy.

+ "Kroger, Target, Wal-Mart, and Costco, have all recently felt the Amazon effect. But no one has been as hard hit as Blue Apron." From Gizmodo: At This Point, Amazon Can Crush a Company Just By Filing for a Trademark.


I Will Survive

"I'm the last person you'd expect to see packing heat, but after the crash things have gotten freaky out here in Arena Heights, our little make-believe town in northern New Mexico. Looting, home invasions, assaults, you name it. It's basically WROL -- without rule of law. As one of my buddies at the shooting range likes to say: 'The cops are five minutes away -- when you need them in five seconds.'" I know a few folks who have a Go Bag filled with the essentials they'll need if they need to get out of Dodge (or in my case, Tesla). Outside's Brendan Borrell decided to take a survival course that covers everything that happens after you and your Go Bag actually go. Have Gun, Will Run.


Doctor Who’s on First

After years of promises and weeks of heated DC turmoil, the end was swift for Mitch McConnell's Affordable Care Act replacement. A pair of GOP senators indicated their opposition to the bill and things began to fall apart. McConnell then promised to offer a straight repeal of the ACA, without a replacement in place; a move that had as much chance of success as defibrillating a corpse. The latest idea was suggested by Dr. Trump: "I think we're probably in that position where we'll just let Obamacare fail. We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We'll let Obamacare fail..." (I can't remember if it was Mandela, Churchill, or FDR who said that first...)

+ They controlled the White House, the Senate and the House. But they couldn't get it done. John Cassidy on the Republican health care meltdown.

+ While the inside workings of Washington are interesting, a bigger factor in the deliberations may have been that Obamacare is more popular than ever.


A Second (3rd, 4th, and 5th) Opinion

"At an hourlong meeting last Wednesday, all of the president's major security advisers recommended he preserve the Iran deal for now. Among those who spoke out were Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson; Defense Secretary Jim Mattis; Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser; and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to an official who described internal discussions on the condition of anonymity. The official said Mr. Trump had spent 55 minutes of the meeting telling them he did not want to." After calling it the "worst deal ever" several times during the campaign, President Trump has (reluctantly) re-certified the Iran nuclear deal for a second time.


Pop Smear

It's no secret that the music industry's main revenue stream has shifted away from music sales and toward live performances. But a look at Beyonce's 2016 income really adds more clarity (and cowbell) to the situation. She was the highest paid singer of the year. And she only pulled in $1.9 million from streaming.

+ The ultimate playlist of banned wedding songs.


Arrested Legs Syndrome

"If she was a foreigner, they would sing about the beauty of her waist and the enchantment of her eyes... But because she is Saudi they are calling for her arrest." A Snapchat video of a woman wearing a skirt rarely makes international news. But in this case, the woman was walking through Najd, "one of the most conservative regions in Saudi Arabia. It was where the founder of Wahhabism - the austere form of Sunni Islam that is practised by the Saudi royal family and religious establishment - was born in the late 18th Century." From BBC: Saudi police question miniskirt video woman.


Alpha (Male) Blocker

"Bailey readily catalogs the failings of others, but he takes a rare reflective pause before addressing what he might have done differently to avoid his own current predicament: broke, disbarred, his legacy as one of the finest trial lawyers in American history imperiled by two decades of controversy." In his prime, F. Lee Bailey could get anyone off the hook. Except himself. As OJ Simpson's parole hearing approaches (he's expected to be released), Town & Country visits with one of the men who set him free: The Rise and Fall of F. Lee Bailey.


Wipe Sample

"Judges have already dismissed dozens of lawsuits against former students, essentially wiping out their debt, because documents proving who owns the loans are missing." Imagine finding out you don't have to pay a loan back because the note-holders misplaced some paperwork. Well, that's essentially the situation when it comes to about $5 billion worth of student loans. From the NYT: As Paperwork Goes Missing, Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away.


The English Patient

"Under the yet-to-be-implemented measures, free and fee-based porn operators -- many of which are based abroad -- will be required to insert age checkers on their sites in the UK, forcing users to dish up their credit card details to prove that they are 18 or over before being granted access to smut." Starting next year, Brits may be required to verify their age with a credit card before accessing adult content on the internet. Oh well my loyal British readers, keep a stiff upper lip (but if it remain stiff for more than four hours...)


Bottom of the News

"For these ailments, I would inevitably be prescribed what was referred to in my home as 'the pink stuff.' It was the antibiotic amoxicillin, in its pediatric liquid form, and it was a bright, chemical pink. It was delicious." Julie Beck goes in search of the flavor of a beloved childhood medicine.

+ WaPo: Most people can't tell when photos have been doctored. Can you?

+ NatGeo: This rare medical condition makes you love everyone.