Thursday, September 14th, 2017


Dream Interpretation

President Trump has a deal with Democrats to protect Dreamers and provide a path to citizenship, in exchange for a package that features increased border security, but doesn't include mandatory funding for the wall. Either that or Trump doesn't have a deal with Democrats, a path to citizenship is not part of that non-deal, and the wall is definitely happening. Vox prides itself on providing "explainers" that provide simple overviews of current events. They've got their work cut out for them this time. Did Trump strike a deal with Democrats on DACA? This is what we know. (At this point, I'm so confused I need professional help. And the Mexicans are gonna pay for it.)

+ Earlier today, Trump tweeted: "Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?" (Wait. Remind me again who decided to end DACA…)

+ How much tension is there when it comes to immigration and the border debate? Officials just had to put up a fence around the area where they're reviewing design models for the wall.


Redemption Song

"Michelle Jones was released last month after serving more than two decades in an Indiana prison for the murder of her 4-year-old son. The very next day, she arrived at New York University, a promising Ph.D. student in American studies. In a breathtaking feat of rehabilitation, Jones, now 45, became a published scholar of American history while behind bars, and presented her work by videoconference to historians' conclaves and the Indiana General Assembly. With no internet access and a prison library that skewed toward romance novels, she led a team of inmates that pored through reams of photocopied documents from the state archives to produce the Indiana Historical Society's best research project last year. As prisoner No. 970554, Jones also wrote several dance compositions and historical plays, one of which is slated to open at an Indianapolis theater in December." This is an amazing story, with enough interesting elements to provide the framework for a class on philosophy (that Michelle Jones would probably also ace). From Prison to Ph.D.: The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones.


Veggie Pops

Want to get your kids to eat more broccoli and leafy greens? Well, just wait. Chances are, they'll like that stuff more and more as its sugar content increases. "Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as CO2 levels keep rising. We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history -- [an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply." Is the changing atmosphere changing all the food we eat for the worse? From The Verge: The great nutrient collapse.


The Cold War

"Rising incomes are making air conditioners more attainable, while rising temperatures are making them a necessity. 'There are hundreds of millions of people for whom air conditioning doesn't seem like a luxury good," said Michael Greenstone, director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. 'It can mean the difference between life and death.'" The Verge with an update on the race against heat. How do you cool 7.5 billion people on a warming planet ... without warming the planet even more?


Eat, Drink and Be Wary

In some parts of the world, you can get killed because you're trying to provide food to the hungry. From NPR: In Their Own Words: Why Armed Fighters Attack Aid Workers. "The food they bring is expired food and they bring sack of maize from America to undercut the Somali production, to cheat and humiliate our people. The purpose is to make the Somalis people who can do nothing for themselves."


Too Smart For Our Own Good

"Internet-enabled devices are so common, and so vulnerable, that hackers recently broke into a casino through its fish tank. The tank had internet-connected sensors measuring its temperature and cleanliness. The hackers got into the fish tank's sensors and then to the computer used to control them, and from there to other parts of the casino's network. The intruders were able to copy 10 gigabytes of data to somewhere in Finland. By gazing into this fish tank, we can see the problem with 'internet of things' devices: We don't really control them. And it's not always clear who does." Joshua A.T. Fairfield with an interesting take on how the internet of things is sending us back to the middle ages.


United States of Amazon

"In the mid-2000s, Amazon had a problem. Every year, the company scrambled to find temporary workers during the peak months of hectic commerce leading up to Christmas. In some areas of the country, reliable on-demand labor was so hard to come by that it resorted to busing in workers from three to five hours away. Then, in 2008, a staffing agency came up with something new: inviting a team of migrant RVers to work at the facility in Coffeyville, Kansas." Jessica Bruder in Wired: Meet the Camperforce, Amazon's Nomadic Retiree Army. (America is becoming a company town.)


Con Academy

A lot of times it's almost impossible to follow political debates because the two sides are working with an entirely different set of facts. And quite often, their constituents are working with virtually no facts at all. "Only a quarter of Americans (26 percent) can name all three branches of government." Here's today's remarkably understated headline: Americans Are Poorly Informed About Basic Constitutional Provisions.


Hair Lock (Up)

Pharma Bro is now Pharma Cellmate. "A US judge on Wednesday ordered Martin Shkreli to be jailed while he awaits sentencing for securities fraud, citing a Facebook post in which the former drug company executive offered a $5,000 reward for a strand of Hillary Clinton's hair." (Wait, I'm confused. Does repeatedly attacking Hillary Clinton on social media get you to the big house or the White House?)

+ Bloomberg: Martin Shkreli's $2 million Wu-Tang album might not be a Wu-Tang album.


Bottom of the News

Americans latest stop on the never-ending quest to drink anything other than plain water is the cool embrace of La Croix; cans of sparking water with some kind of essence we can't quite understand. And we don't care.

+ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requested a military jet to fly him and his wife, Louise Linton, to their European honeymoon this summer. (He rescinded the request after being made aware that military jets don't have a business class section.) In related news, an Arkansas woman admitted to using county cash to buy a dog tuxedo. (To make matters worse, the event they were planning to attend was only black tie optional...)