Wednesday, August 16th, 2017


Trump’s Towering Inferno

There are not two sides to blame. Even on the morning after my mom's childhood — and the twentieth century — was shattered by Kristallnacht, no one was ignorant enough to blame her windows for the violence. What we already knew about Donald Trump's character has again been confirmed. Whether you're a senator, a White House staffer, a CEO, or just someone sitting at home watching all of this unfold, the character now being tested is yours. Here's something I wrote about my parents, America, and you. The Looking Glass.


The Reaction

After several prominent CEO's resigned from White House business councils, Trump abruptly reversed his position on the subject (of the councils, not Nazis) and disbanded them via Twitter. "Rather than putting pressure on the business people of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!" The move came after eight business leaders quit the councils. If you weren't one of the eight, you missed your chance.

+ Presidents Bush issued a joint statement condemning racial bigotry. "America must always reject racial bigotry, antisemitism and hatred in all its forms." The timing of the statement makes it clear who is its target. Sadly, they did not say his name.

+ The world is watching the unraveling. Theresa May's statement: "I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them." (We live in a modern moment in which the leader of our strongest ally felt the need to make that point.)

+ In Baltimore, confederate monuments were taken down overnight as the city's mayor watched.

+ Heather Heyer's mom at her memorial service: "They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her."

+ NYT: Trump Gives White Supremacists an Unequivocal Boost. The money quote: "Members of the president's staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private."

+ The latest person to attempt to keep those private expressions from being volubly articulated in public will be Hope Hicks, who has just been named interim White House communications director. (In this case, the use of word interim is redundant.)

+ WaPo: The nation can only weep. "Tuesday was a great day for David Duke and racists everywhere. The president of the United States all but declared that he has their backs."


The Emperor Has No Clothes

"I saw them beat a man bloody at the base of the University of Virginia's Thomas Jefferson statue, a wave of matching white polos and splintering tiki torches crashing down on their enemy. I watched them cheer through it all. But nothing troubled me more than when I watched a Nazi disappear." From GQ: A Charlottesville white supremacist stripped down to escape protesters and we got it on video.

+ "At AP, we have taken the position that the term 'alt-right' should be avoided because it is meant as a euphemism to disguise racist aims. And from NYT: A Glossary of Extremist Language: "Researchers who study extremist groups in the United States say there is no such thing as the alt-left."

+ From Fox to Twitter: Where the president gets his talking points (including the ones from Tuesdays debacle).


The Home Front

WaPo's Mark Berman on the persistent crime that connects mass shooters and terror suspects (included the driver of the car that killed Heather Heyer in Charlottsville): Domestic violence.


Take This Job and Shove It

"Government data shows workers in the sector are giving up their jobs at the fastest pace in a decade. That's a powerful sign, economists say, that workers think they can find work elsewhere." An unexpected trend is emerging among some manufacturing workers in industries that the US is working to save. They're quitting.

+ "A rigorous study of the impact of robots in manufacturing, agriculture, and utilities across 17 countries, for instance, found that robots did reduce the hours of lower-skilled workers—but they didn't decrease the total hours worked by humans, and they actually boosted wages. In other words, automation may affect the kind of work humans do, but at the moment, it's hard to see that it's leading to a world without work." James Surowiecki says that we should all chill because robots won't take all our jobs. (I'll believe that when I hear it from a robot.)


Missing, In Action

"It will bring together academics in everything from neuroscience, biology and psychiatry to philosophy and divinity studies, and encourage them to work together. Chen thinks it's time to focus on improving humans' emotional well-being after centuries of effort to increase living standards." Bloomberg on the Mysterious Case of the Missing Internet Billionaire. (Like many successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, his depression pushed him towards a different path.)


Gov Hurts

"It's infuriating to think that when workers are hurt in the United States, they're essentially discarded. If employers know that workers are too afraid to apply for workers' compensation, what's the incentive to work safely?" A joint investigation by ProPublica and NPR uncovers how insurance companies use a Florida law to get undocumented immigrants arrested and deported when they get injured on the job.


Who Needs Tickets?

When you can buy secondary market tickets to just about any game you want, does it still make sense to be a season-ticket holder? Nathan Hubbard in The Ringer: "Just like that, I became a two-team season-ticket holder and amateur ticket broker -- a horrible decision that lost me a lot of money, wasted dozens of hours of my time, and increased my respect for ticket brokers fivefold. But at least it taught me one thing: The season ticket is dead." (As an SF Giants fan, I can tell you, at least this season it is...)

+ GQ: What kind of father lets his son play football?


Watch Apple

Everyone in tech really wishes they were in show business. So it doesn't come as much of a surprise that Apple is following Netflix, Amazon, and others into the original content business. And they're bringing a billion dollar budget with them. (In other words, by tech standards, they're starting small.) There are so many places that want original content these days. If you can't sell your script at this point, it might be a good idea to learn how to code.


Bottom of the News

"As much as the family reveals on the show, on red carpets and on Instagram, one mystery remains. How the hell did this happen?" The Hollywood Reporter on The Kardashian Decade: How a Sex Tape Led to a Billion-Dollar Brand. (Let that be a lesson to you...)

+ Forty years ago today, Elvis died. And people have been seeing him pretty regularly ever since. Graceland is still the second most visited home in the US.

+ According to a new survey, pubic grooming has a high injury rate.