Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017


How About Now?

Now is not the time to politicize this. I never trust that phrase, especially when it comes from a politician. Politicians who tell you not to politicize things need a career change. Now is precisely the time to politicize Vegas and talk about guns. As Vegas native Jimmy Kimmel (who realizes now is the time to politicize everything) explained in Monday's monologue: "We have 59 innocent people dead. It wasn't their time either. So I think now is the time for political debate."

+ "There are few -- if any -- demographic variables that cleave the country as cleanly between parties as gun ownership. This may be because gun ownership is such an effective proxy for the urban vs. rural divide that has come to define our politics." Some good analysis and a couple very interesting maps from NY Mag.

+ NYT with the latest numbers: 477 Days. 521 Mass Shootings. Zero Action From Congress.

+ From me: How about now?

+ James Hamblin: "For all its use, 'thoughts and prayers' doesn't appear to have produced a quantifiable reduction in the rates of gun violence." The Impotence of Blaming Evil.

+ Vice on the arsenal: "The gunman in Sunday's Las Vegas mass shooting had amassed an arsenal of at least 42 guns, a batch of potentially explosive chemicals, and thousands of rounds of ammunition, police said Monday. He was also equipped with a device that effectively converts semi-automatic weapon into an automatic, allowing rapid-fire of bullets with one pull on the trigger." And here's a look at Nevada's lax gun laws.

+ Russell Berman on the gun legislation with the best chance of passing Congress. (Spolier alert: It loosens existing regulations.)

+ The New Yorker's: John Cassidy: "Of all the ways in which American democracy is showing symptoms of turning into a dysfunctional state, the inability to face down the gun lobby is surely one of the most egregious."

+ How strong is the gun lobby? "The CDC stopped funding gun injury research. The National Institutes of Health followed suit." (Forget gun control. We're not even allowed to talk about the holes the bullets make...)

+ "For the past few decades, the National Rifle Association has increasingly nurtured an alliance with country music artists and their fans ... That wholesome public relations veneer masks something deeply sinister and profoundly destructive." Roseanne Cash in the NYT: Country Musicians, Stand Up to the NRA.

+ McSweeney's: Things More Heavily Regulated Than Buying A Gun in the United States.


Discounted Seniors

"Polls show that most older people are more worried about running out of money than dying." WaPo on the new reality of old age in America."I'm going to work until I die."

+ The New Yorker: "Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent -- and reap a profit from it." How the Elderly Lose Their Rights.


Whack Job

Nearly two weeks after Maria obliterated Puerto Rico, President Trump left Washington for PR and explained: "It's now acknowledged what a great job we've done. In Texas and in Florida, we get an A-plus. And I'll tell you what -- I think we've done just as good in Puerto Rico." Upon arriving, Trump's traveling improv show continued: "Now, I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico — and that's fine; we've saved a lot of lives. Every death is a horror, but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overbearing. No one has ever seen anything like that. What is your death count?"


Don’t Trust The Algorithm Method

"It's no longer good enough to note that something was algorithmically surfaced and then replaced. It's no longer good enough to shrug off ... the problems in the system simply because it has computers in the decision loop." Alexis Madrigal on the fake news that bubbled up in the wake of Vegas: Google and Facebook Failed Us. (If the algorithms can't save us, it might be time to call in the humans.)


Moz Def

I'm beyond pleased to welcome NextDraft's new sponsor: Mozilla. It's a perfect fit. In addition to making the newly speedy Firefox browser, Mozilla fights for the rights of Internet users and works to defend free speech, privacy, net neutrality, and more. Also, they've ensured that NextDraft will keep flowing to your inbox and iPhones free of charge. Looking forward to the partnership.


Abortion Bill

What's an issue that could add even more tension to these politically tense times? Abortion. And it's about to move back to the forefront. "The House of Representatives will vote Tuesday on legislation that would criminalize abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy .. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which is similar to legislation that failed in 2013 and 2015, has support from the White House this time around."


Adios Muchachos

"Only days ago, the U.S. and Cuba maintained dozens of diplomats in newly re-opened embassies in Havana and Washington, powerful symbols of a warming relationship between longtime foes. Now both countries are poised to cut their embassies by more than half, as invisible, unexplained attacks threaten delicate ties between the Cold War rivals." After pulling nonessential diplomats out of Cuba, the US has ordered 15 Cuban diplomats to leave.


One Last Heartbreaker

"He had an astute ear for the strangeness of just kicking around Earth—the way that agitation and anxiety can, on occasion, subsume a person for no good reason, the way that we get bored and start looking for new ways to make trouble." Amanda Petrusich: Free Falling with Tom Petty.

+ LA Times: Why losing Tom Petty feels like losing a piece of ourselves.

+ "When we toured two years later, I noticed people in the audience wearing Confederate flag bandanas and things like that. One night, someone threw one onstage. I stopped everything and gave a speech about it. I said, 'Look, this was to illustrate a character. This is not who we are. Having gone through this, I would prefer it if no one would ever bring a Confederate flag to our shows again because this isn't who we are.'" Rolling Stone on Tom Petty's use of the Confederate flag and why he tried to ban it from his shows. "It Was Downright Stupid."

+ "He had history, he had gravitas, he had insight, he was the antithesis of a prepubescent rocker, all poses and no substance. He'd lived, played bars, gone to shows, and when he finally put out a record…It was the one he wanted to make. Those are the ones that last. Not the ones made for a market, chasing a hit, but personal statements, of truth." Bob Lefsetz on Tom Petty.

+ Tom Petty's 50 greatest songs. And Pitchfork with an essential 9 songs.


Gnarly Waves

"The winners, who all work for LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory), were given the prize for 'decisive contributions' to a detector that helps detect gravitational waves." Quartz with the work that won this year's Nobel Prize in physics -- in terms everyone can understand. (I'll take that challenge!)


Bottom of the News

"Two hundred spectators surrounded the green, including locals, close friends and family as he holed a seven-foot putt perfectly. The longest hole in golf had finished after 82 days and 20,093 shots across Mongolia." (I once played a hole that took almost that long and it was a par 3...)

+ NYT: Louvre Pulls Sculpture, Saying It Was Sexually Explicit.

+ A question for our times: Why Do Bobbleheads Usually Look so Terrible?