October 24th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Selling humans, Debasing Politics, and Deny, Deny, Deny.

“The current state of affairs is a free-for-all. We are seeing similar problems to what we saw with grave-robbers centuries ago. I don’t know if I can state this strongly enough. What they are doing is profiting from the sale of humans.” You’ve undoubtedly heard of options like organ-donation or donating your body to science. But it’s unlikely that you’ve considered the way some largely unregulated body brokers sell (and even rent) human bodies and body parts — and even after death, the poor are more likely to be abused. A special report from Reuters: In the U.S. market for human bodies, almost anyone can dissect and sell the dead.

+ “Her brain never was used for Alzheimer’s research. Instead, Stauffer’s body became part of an Army experiment to measure damage caused by roadside bombs.” How the body of an Arizona great-grandmother ended up as part of a U.S. Army blast test. (After my death, I’ve requested that my body be left in place right behind this laptop. I want to find out who will notice first: My kids or my subscribers.)


It’s All About Debase

The weird and disturbing clash between President Trump and GOP Senator Bob Corker emerged once again on Tuesday. The president reacted to some Corker interviews with a series of hate-Tweets. Corker responded: “Unfortunately I think world leaders are aware that much of what he says is untrue … I don’t know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard and debases himself and our country in the way that he does … He’s obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president … and it affects young people. We have young people who are for the first time watching a president stating absolute non-truths nonstop, personalizing things in the way that he does, and it’s very sad for our nation.”

+ Arizona Jeff Flake says he will retire, citing the direction of GOP under Trump: “We must stop pretending that the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal. Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused as telling it like it is when it is actually reckless, outrageous and undignified … It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are. And what are we doing to do about that? When the next generation asks us, why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? What are we going to say? I rise to say, enough!” Here’s the speech.


Recon Gone Wrong

“The officials said the unit was not under orders to conduct a kill or capture mission on the leader, since such missions are typically reserved for other elite special operations forces teams.” In bits and pieces, we’re gradually starting to learn more about what happened to the US soldiers killed in Niger. From CNN: US team in Niger was collecting intel on terror leader.


Grid Pro Quo?

Rebuilding Puerto Rico’s grid is probably the most pressing electrical job in the world. So how did a two year-old Montana company, with two full-time employees, land the $300 million contract? From WaPo: Small Montana firm lands Puerto Rico’s biggest contract to get the power back on.

+ Tesla makes quick work of Puerto Rico hospital solar power relief project


Factory Whistle Blows

“She’d never heard of Zulily, the online retailer doing the hiring, but she knew the address: It was on the old mill site, steps from where her father worked. ‘When I came for the interviews I looked up and said, Oh, my God, I feel like I am at home.'” In some regions of the country, shuttered manufacturing plants are being reopened for use as warehouses to fulfill the orders Americans are placing online. From the NYT: “Sellers like Zulily, Amazon and Walmart are competing to get goods to the buyer’s doorstep as quickly as possible, giving rise to a constellation of vast warehouses that have fueled a boom for workers without college degrees and breathed new life into pockets of the country that had fallen economically behind.”



“I later sat in my hotel room alone and wept. I wept because I had gone up the elevator when I knew better. I wept because I had let him touch my shoulders. I wept because at other times in my life, under other circumstances, I had not been able to leave.” In The Atlantic, Brit Marling reflects on Harvey Weinstein and the Economics of Consent.

+ WaPo: Bill O’Reilly comes to Bill O’Reilly’s defense. (Here’s something to watch: Weinstein gave a half apology when cornered. O’Reilly is lashing out, like Trump, who became president. Trump was schooled by Roy Cohn: Never apologize. Never admit anything. Attack, attack, attack. And, sadly, it worked. The golden rule for guys like Trump is that if you give even an inch, you’re done for. We have to make the deniers and attackers pay a price, or we’re going to see the O’Reilly/Trump tactic used over and over.)

+ “Harvey Weinstein. Bill O’Reilly. Roger Ailes. Bill Cosby. The Catholic Church … Those cases — and especially the unfolding Weinstein scandal — have sparked criticism that the agreements allow powerful companies and individuals to stave off scrutiny and continue abusive practices. Now, there is a move afoot to place clear restrictions on their use.” From the LA Times: Weinstein scandal puts nondisclosure agreements in the spotlight. (NDAs shouldn’t apply when there’s been a crime committed. NDAs shouldn’t apply when public safety is at risk. NDAs just shouldn’t…)

+ LA Times: After 38 women accuse filmmaker James Toback of sexual harassment, 200 more reach out to share their stories.

+ Famed (and infamous) fashion photographer Terry Richardson has been banned from working with Vogue and other leading mags.

+ “Kitti Jones left her home and career for a relationship with the R&B idol. That’s when she says the abuse began. Now she’s speaking out.” From Rolling Stone: Surviving R. Kelly.


Gov is a Battlefield

“We had heard people blame each other for their own difficulties, take refuge in tribalism, and appeal to extremes. But the report mentioned little of that. Instead it described the prevailing attitude as ‘an intense work ethic that binds the community together and helps it adapt to change.'” Molly Ball: On Safari in Trump’s America.

+ For more on this topic, check out The Politics of Resentment by Katherine J Cramer.


Special K-9

“I believe this was given to my dogs maliciously. That’s one of the options. I think that is the most likely option. There are numerous ways that could have been done.” Iditarod Names Four-Time Champ In Dog Doping Scandal.


Here Comes the New Boss

“We live in a new world now, and it favors the big, not the small. The pendulum has already begun to swing back. Big businesses and executives, rather than startups and entrepreneurs, will own the next decade; today’s graduates are much more likely to work for Mark Zuckerberg than follow in his footsteps.” Tech Crunch: After the end of the startup era.


Bottom of the News

“The animals have less body fat because they have a gene that allows them to regulate their body temperatures better by burning fat.” NPR: CRISPR Bacon: Chinese Scientists Create Genetically Modified Low-Fat Pigs.

+ Men photographed in crocodile trap dubbed idiots of the century. As stupid as this is, I’m not sure it earns them much more than the title idiots of the hour.

+ And one for my mother-in-law: Meet the firefighters from American Samoa who sing to stay motivated on the job.

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