September 25th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Trump takes on the NFL, the NBA, North Korea, and everyone else.

Over the weekend, Donald Trump un-invited Steph Curry to the White House (Curry had already indicated he didn’t plan to attend a victory celebration there), advised NFL owners to respond to any player who follows Colin Kaepernick and kneels during the national anthem by firing the son of a bitch, and lamented the fact that pro football was doing so much (they aren’t) to protect players from head injuries – becoming the first world leader to come out in favor of brain damage. Unsurprisingly, America’s top athletes fired back at Trump – but at least in this case, he picked on people who don’t have nukes.

+ Warrior coach Steve Kerr (whose father was killed in a terror attack in the 80s): “In his tweet to Steph, Trump talked about honoring the White House but, really, isn’t it you who must honor the White House, Mr. President?”

+ On Sunday, NFL players, coaches, and owners engaged in various forms of protest to express unity in opposition to the president’s comments. On Monday, Trump informed the country (via Twitter) that the controversy that started when players kneeled to protest racism has nothing to do with race. He hammered home that point by following up his critique of NFL and NBA players with some praise for Nascar: “So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag – they said it loud and clear!” Divide and Con is the new Divide and Conquer.

+ Jelani Cobb in The New Yorker: “It’s impossible not to be struck by Trump’s selective patriotism. It drives him to curse at black football players but leaves him struggling to create false equivalence between Nazis and anti-Fascists in Charlottesville.”

+ Here are a few quick thoughts from me on Trump vs your favorite athletes (and every American value you hold dear): The Curry of Your Convictions.


Islands in the News Stream

As always, it’s not only a matter of what we’re talking (and tweeting) about, it’s a matter of what’s being ignored in the process. In this case, there’s been barely a mention of Puerto Rico from the White House. Several days after Maria, PR is hot, isolated, running out of supplies, and near desperation.

+ The Guardian: “The island is largely without electricity and running water, but demand for plane tickets is high as Puerto Ricans attempt to return to their relatives and homes.”


Word War Two

Pro athletes weren’t the only targets of Trump messaging over the weekend. North Korea also received some more presidential Twitter trash talk: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho responded by saying that Trump had “declared war.”

+ “Never before have two leaders in command of nuclear arsenals more closely evoked a professional wrestling match.” The New Yorker: The Madman Theory of North Korea.

+ “A North Korean offensive strike is unlikely. That is, unless the Kim regime is provoked, perhaps by a particularly warmongering early-morning tweet, into believing that its existence really is at risk.” Blained Harden in the NYT: Rocket Man Knows Better.


Hanging Chad Out to Dry

“The new presidential proclamation, which Trump said is needed to screen out terrorist or public safety threats, indefinitely restricts travel from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea. Certain government officials from Venezuela will also be barred.” Reuters: Trump’s new travel ban could be harder to fight in court.

+ WaPo: Why did the U.S. travel ban add counterterrorism partner Chad? No one seems quite sure.


Mall Cop Out

“It’s easy to forget how transformative the company was exactly 100 years ago, when it, too, was capitalizing on a mail-to-consumer business to establish a physical retail presence.” From The Atlantic’s always interesting Derek Thompson: To understand Amazon — its evolution, its strategy, and perhaps its future — look to Sears.

+ “A number of successful online retailers are becoming increasingly focused on the physical world, for a number of reasons.” HBR: Toys R Us Might Be Dying, but Physical Retail Isn’t.


Read This and Call Me in the Morning

As the Senate GOP approaches a deadline on their efforts to overturn Obamacare, Atul Gawande reflects on a question that will be at the forefront of American political discourse: Is Health Care a Right? “The deal we each get on health care has a profound impact on our lives—on our savings, on our well-being, on our life expectancy. In the American health-care system, however, different people get astonishingly different deals. That disparity is having a corrosive effect on how we view our country, our government, and one another.”


Oh No You Flint…

“These children were poisoned and slain not because they were despised but because they entered so little into the calculations of the powerful that they were unworthy even of contempt. They had to die because they were inconvenient.” Matthew Walther: Don’t Forget About Flint. “If you want to understand what some of us mean when we say that Washington, D.C., doesn’t care about the post-industrial America of poverty, drug abuse, and spiritual despair, what even President Trump means when he talks about American carnage, get off exit 7 on I-475 in Michigan and head down Court Street until you get to the Flint Children’s Museum on the campus of Kettering University.”


The Flight of the Zuckerberg

“But that highly public moment came after months of maneuvering behind the scenes that has thrust Facebook, one of the world’s most valuable companies — and one that’s used by one-third of the world’s population each month — into a multi-sided Washington power struggle in which the company has much to lose.” From WaPo: Obama tried to give Zuckerberg a wake-up call over fake news on Facebook. (Just two world leaders having a chat…)

+ Buzzfeed: How Steve Bannon Sought To Infiltrate Facebook Hiring. (I still remember when people tried to infiltrate Facebook’s workforce for the equity…)


The Year (& 9 Months) of Living (Carlos) Dangerously

“I was a very sick man for a very long time.” So said Anthony Weiner before being sentenced to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15 year-old. As the sentence was read, Weiner “bowed his head and sobbed, holding a hand over his eyes.”


Bottom of the News

“Yes, the world is clearly coming to an end. But is there anything you can do to prepare? That is not a philosophical question, or a theological one. And if it is a question that seems to beg any explication, you may stop reading now.” The NYT’s Alex Williams with a particularly well-timed piece: How to Survive the Apocalypse.

+ Politico: Kushner used private email to conduct White House business.

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