Thursday, September 28th, 2017


Who’s Putin Ideas in Your Head?

If you've been paying attention, then the opening of this Daily Beast article will be the least surprising lede of the day: "The Facebook group United Muslims of America was neither united, Muslim, nor American." Among their various tactics, Russians impersonated real American muslims to stir chaos on Facebook and Instagram. (And let's not leave out Twitter, since the Russians didn't). Similar techniques have been used nonstop for years, and have continued unabated, right through the NFL anthem-kneeling debate. Maybe they're that good. Maybe we're that gullible or prone towards divisiveness. At this point, I'm so confused I need to have my head examined. Luckily, I've read some good online reviews about a specialist in my area. His name is Dr. Zhivago.


Blazer Trail

With one and done (one year of school, followed by an NBA contract) school tenures, big money television contracts, high-priced shoe deals, and an entire ecosystem of slimeballs looking to get a piece of the action, it's not all that surprising that there are some underhanded deals and illegal payoffs happening in NCAA basketball. It's a little more surprising that people got caught. ESPN with the step-by-step process of how the words 'corruption' and 'fraud' came to college basketball. It all started with Marty Blazer, an informant who agreed to wear a wire. And if you can't trust a guy with a name like Marty Blazer, who can you trust?


Anti Matters

"Last August, a woman in her 70s checked into a hospital in Reno, Nevada with a bacterial infection in her hip. The bug belonged to a class of particularly tenacious microbes known as carpabenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CREs. Except in addition to carpabenem, this bug was also resistant to tetracycline, and colistin, and every single other antimicrobial on the market, all 26 of them. A few weeks later she developed septic shock and died. For public health officials like Patel, that case marks the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one." From Wired: The Post-Antibiotic Era Is Here. Now What?


Get Higher, Baby

"It's not that rural students aren't academically prepared. They score better on the National Assessment of Educational Progress than urban students and graduate from high school at a higher percentage than the national average ... Yet even the highest-income white students from rural areas are less likely to go to college right from high school than their well-off white city and suburban counterparts." The Atlantic: The Rural Higher-Education Crisis.

+ Does it really matter if someone goes to college? Well, on one hand, Americans who go to college are four times better off than everyone else. On the other hand, higher education alone isn't necessarily the key to a good income. (In other words, you need a PhD to figure out whether or not you need higher education.)


Rabbit (Ears) At Rest

Silk smoking robes are being worn at half mast today to mark the passing of Hugh Hefner, who, at the age of 91, died of natural causes (as if there were anything natural about wearing pajamas all day and having sex nonstop decade after decade). From the LA Times: "Hefner was the founder of Playboy magazine, launched amid the conservatism of the 1950s, when marriage and domesticity conferred social status. Hefner pitched an alternative standard -- swinging singlehood -- which portrayed the desire for sex as being as normal as craving apple pie." (They must serve some really good apple pie at the LA Times...)

+ David Dennis, Jr: How Dick Gregory Forced The FBI To Find The Bodies Of Three Civil Rights Workers Slain In Mississippi (with a little help from Hugh Hefner...)

+ "Everything in Esquire excited young Hefner -- the romantic and adventurous stories by such writers as Fitzgerald and Hemingway, the photographs of classic cars, the sophisticated cartoons, the travel articles about glamorous places, the fashion layouts, and the foldout that each month offered an exquisite color drawing of a beautiful woman." From WaPo: How Hugh Hefner became Hef: From sexually repressed upbringing to renowned Playboy. (I went from a sexually repressed upbringing to spending hours a day trying to come up with headline puns. We each have our journey.)

+ Hefner leaves behind a notably complicated legacy. Here's some reading material from Digg that I really read for the articles.

+ Upon learning the news, just about everyone seemed to chime in with a Tweet. My favorite is from Patton Oswalt: "As per his wishes, Hugh Hefner's body will be left in a fort in the woods for other kids to find & pass around."

+ And yes, there's a Donald Trump angle to the story.


The Problem is Contained

"On Thursday the White House authorized a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act, a federal law that limits shipping to US ports by foreign vessels." That will make it a bit easier to get food, water, and other products to Puerto Rican ports. But it will have little impact on what is a more pressing problem. Getting supplies from those ports to the people who need them. From CNN: Puerto Rico's aid is trapped in thousands of shipping containers.


Ain’t Life Grand

"FBI officials have previously said they had about 1,000 ongoing investigations in the United States of suspects who may be inspired by the Islamic State terrorist group to commit violence." How many ongoing investigations does the FBI have when it comes to "suspected white supremacists or other types of domestic terrorists who might be planning violence?" About 1,000.


Play Ball

Steve Scalise was finally able to make it back to work at the Capitol, more than three months after being shot (and nearly killed) during a Congressional baseball practice. He was greeted by a lengthy standing ovation and said, "You have no idea how great this feels to be back at work in the people's house."


Getting in Your Head

"When did you know what you were watching happen on the field, what the click of helmet-on-helmet meant? When did you first feel a pang of queasiness while watching the head of one young person collide into another's? When was it that NFL fandom started feeling a little tricky, a little in need of defending, a little less like just another sporting event? When did you realize what you were drinking to on Sundays?" Boston University researchers may soon be able to diagnose CTE in living patients. That will change things for NFL players. And fans. From The Ringer: The CTE Breakthrough and the Burden of Understanding.


Bottom of the News

"There's something empathetic about her characters,' says Lorne Michaels. 'Although the writing might not be kind, she is. That's her genius.'" Her other genius is being remarkably funny. From Vanity Fair: The Kate McKinnon Report.

+ Over the past day or so, President Trump has repeatedly blamed the latest GOP health care bill failure on a Senator who was in the hospital. (There isn't one.)

+ An Oral History of Rodney Dangerfield's Back to School.