Friday, September 29th, 2017


Ocean’s 911

It's been a busy week filled with controversial news and there's undoubtedly some disaster coverage fatigue among the viewing public. Those factors likely play a role in the fact "that the devastation in Puerto Rico is getting comparatively little attention" measured against Irma and Harvey coverage. That's an especially big problem during a period when a certain someone in the administration has an unusually voracious appetite for news (fake and real). So, in the hopes more coverage will make a difference, I'll do my part leading with the story here. The Mayor of San Juan put it bluntly: "Puerto Rico is not a good news story, it's a people are dying story." Here's the latest from Buzzfeed.

+ It's not just the operations that seem to lack leadership, it's the messaging. I can't imagine waiting for help and having to hear this string of words (for the second time) from my president: "This is an island. Surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water." (Avoiding this nonsense is the only plus side to Puerto Ricans not having much connectivity.)

+ "We literally jumped into the deep end together to provide disaster relief and it just hasn't stopped. We've been working for 30 days in a row right now pretty much round the clock just trying to provide support first in Houston and now in the islands." From The Daily Beast: Volunteer Pilots Swoop Into Puerto Rico With Supplies and Leave With Survivors.


From Hear Out

"At least 21 staff reported health problems ranging from mild brain trauma and deafness to dizziness and nausea." For months, we've been reading reports about a weird sonic attack that had a major impact on many Americans working in Cuba. Officials still don't know exactly what took place or who was behind the attack. But while the investigation continues, the State Dept has ordered all non-essential personnel to leave the embassy.


Weekend Whats

What to Kvetch: Curb Your Enthusiasm returns to HBO this weekend, and that comes as pretty, pretty, pretty good news. It's also Yom Kippur on Saturday, and as a Jewish male, I'm not sure I can handle two religious experiences in the same weekend. To get warmed up, check out this oral history of the early years of CYE, and this Netflix doc about a Dodgers fan who was acquitted of murder thanks in part to the show. (And you know I'm totally unbiased if I'm linking to a good-news story about a Dodgers fan.)

+ What to Cheer: If you've been let down by reactions to racism, then take a few minutes and watch this reaction to it from Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria: "Just in case you're unclear on where I stand on this topic, I'm going to leave you my most important thought today: If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then you need to get out." Need more inspiration on the topic? Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen hit it out of the park.

+ What to Love: In addition to being generally awesome, my wife is a women's lifestyle guru. Each week, she and her crew share a list of things women will love. Here's their excellent collection of 10 things we keep loving (including a few that dudes will love too).

+ What to Read: "I just started crying. In front of everyone. I couldn't believe it. I was in shock, and I stayed in shock for a long time. Everything wiped out. The brand, me, what I do." Alec Baldwin's SNL gig as Trump was a major bummer for Darrell Hammond. From WaPo: Losing the part


The Price is Flight

Tom Price's next private plane excursion will be a one-way trip out of DC. Within a few hours of President Trump saying he'd make a decision today on the fate of the head of Health and Human Services, Tom Price offered his resignation. There might be some speculation that the firing was also related to the failure of Price to get the Obamacare repeal accomplished (mostly because, during a rally, Trump joked that, "He better get [the vote]. Oh, he better. Otherwise I'll say, 'Tom, you're fired.'")


Pattern Recognition

"It does not require speculating about anyone's motives to see a pattern emerging." Efforts to repeal Obamacare didn't succeed. But efforts to to make it fail are ongoing. From The Atlantic: The Ongoing, Quiet Repeal.

+ "Some Michigan organizations have cut their entire staffs and dialed back substantially on community outreach efforts." The Daily Beast: Donald Trump Is Destroying Obamacare From Within.

+ Buzzfeed: The Trump administration is pulling out of Obamacare enrollment events.

+ Bloomberg: Trump's Cynical Betrayal of Obamacare.



"But the man who transformed Equifax was plagued each and every day by the fear that hackers would penetrate the company's firewall and make off with the personal data of millions of people." A team of writers at Bloomberg did a great job of piecing together what we know about the Equifax hack (and how your personal data is being exchanged all the time, even without the hacks): The Equifax Hack Has the Hallmarks of State-Sponsored Pros.


A Tax of the Killer Tomatoes

"The study found that 80 percent of the tax benefits would accrue to those in the top 1 percent." From WaPo: GOP tax plan would provide major gains for richest 1%, uneven benefits for the middle class.

+ The New Yorker: How Trump's Tax Plan Would Benefit Trump.

+ (Point) Trump: "I don't benefit. I don't benefit. In fact, very, very strongly, as you see, I think there's very little benefit for people of wealth." (Counterpoint) NYT: Trump Could Save More Than $1 Billion Under His New Tax Plan.


Ice Packs a Punch

"Sanctuary jurisdictions that do not honor detainers or allow us access to jails and prisons are shielding criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and creating a magnet for illegal immigration. As a result, ICE is forced to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests in these communities." In a move that will increase tension among the key players, immigration officials arrested nearly 500 undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities.

+ Reveal: ICE issues plan to detain 1,000 more migrants in privately-owned prisons in Texas.


Rocks Off

"The slide came a day after a giant slab of granite plunged from the same formation, killing a British man on a hiking and climbing visit and injuring his wife." A couple of massive and dangerous rocks have fallen off the side of El Capitan in Yosemite this week.

+ Here are some amazing images from the scene.


Bottom of the News

Elon Musk has previewed a rocket SpaceX is calling BFR (for Big F#cking Rocket) "suitable for transporting humans safely to the surface of the moon in 2022, to a Martian colony by 2024--and from New York to Shanghai in less than 40 minutes." FWIW, IDK whether BFR will be a BFD FTW or just a POS, but Elon Musk is moving closer and closer to a conclusion we've all come to: It's time to GTFOH.

+ Chicago Tribune: For Nebraska long snapper Jordan Ober, a Yom Kippur dilemma.

+ Coming soon: A New Clothing Line From Taco Bell and Forever21. (No quiero.)