Tuesday, October 31st, 2017


Dumpster Thriving

My dogs and I have an agreement. I follow them around with a plastic bag and pick up after them. In exchange, they don't tell my wife and kids how much I eat when I come back downstairs after everyone else goes to bed. At this point, my family must know what I'm up to since I've apparently turned our household into something of an American aberration: By morning, we never have leftovers. I used to feel bad about my after-hours eating habits. But that was before I realized that the rest of you people are throwing out 27 million tons of food a year. Researchers recently found that "the average person wasted 3.5 pounds of food per week. Of that, only a third consisted of inedible parts, such as chicken bones or banana peels. And of the remaining, edible trashed food, bin digs found that 23 percent consisted of prepared leftovers, from any source — followed by fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and liquids and oils." (Until just now, I didn't even know there were inedible parts). Caitlin Dewey in WaPo: Why Americans have stopped eating leftovers.


Seeing Red

The Russians are really good at internet marketing. That will be one takeaway from today's Congressional testimony during which big tech firms will describe the reach of Russia's disinformation efforts. "At Facebook, roughly 126 million users in the United States may have seen posts, stories or other content created by Russian government-backed trolls around Election Day." Maybe we should be worried that any single media source can be used to easily round up 252 eyeballs to see any kind of message.

+ Here's the latest on the testimony.


Covfefe Boy

"As frequently happens to the great, excellent, very, very top guys Trump surrounds himself with, Papadopoulos is now turning out to be a total loser who nobody has ever heard of. One Trump mouthpiece calls him a coffee boy. 'Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar.'" NY Mag: Trump Demotes 'Excellent' Consultant George Papadopoulos to ‘Low-Level Volunteer. (When Trump Tweetstorms, Mueller doesn't even look up from his desk.)

+ Manafort "spent decades shuttling to the palaces of exploitative dictators (Ferdinand Marcos, Sani Abacha, Mobuto Sese Seko) and then presenting them to the press and lawmakers as friends of western democracy, perfectly acceptable citizens of the global order." Franklin Foer: Mueller's Investigation Is a Rebuke to Kleptocracy.

+ NYT: How a Federal Inquiry Says Paul Manafort Laundered $18 Million, and How He Spent It. (Long story short: He laundered money, but everything else needed to be dry-cleaned.)

+ "For weeks, he continued to try to set himself up as a go-between with Moscow. A virtual unknown in foreign policy circles, he seemed determined to make himself a significant player." How George Papadopoulos got into hot water.

+ Following an investigative report from ProPublica, the NYT and The Baltimore Sun, Maryland opened an investigation in the Kushner's real estate practices. (No wonder these guys hate real news...)


Pattern Recognition

"The most pronounced similarities have little to do with the traditional demographic categories, like race, class and marital status. Rather, other kinds of patterns have emerged: these men begin early, studies find. They may associate with others who also commit sexual violence. They usually deny that they have raped women even as they admit to non-consensual sex." From the NYT: What Experts Know About Men Who Rape.

+ "It's a very taboo subject ... I don't know of any boys in any pocket of the entertainment industry that do not encounter some form of predatory behavior … It's really not a safe environment." From The Guardian: Hollywood actors speak of 'rampant' problem of male abusers targeting men.


Bike Wrath

"There are fatalities after a truck drove the wrong way down the West Side Highway bike path for several blocks Tuesday afternoon, striking several people, according to sources at the New York Police Department." There are reports of several fatalities after a truck driver struck people in lower Manhattan. Shots may have been fired as well. A suspect is in custody.


Ken Burns, Fake News!

"‘Strange,' ‘sad,' ‘wrong'" Those might look like a greatest of hits list of Trump's Twitter exclamations, but they're actually the reactions of historians to John Kelly's take on Robert E Lee, and the claim that the Civil War happened because of "the lack of an ability to compromise." (What happened? Did the administration run out of things to mislead people about in the present?)

+ "People out here asking me for 'hope.' Meanwhile, the adult in the room thinks the Easter Bunny caused the Civil War..." Ladies and Gentlemen, Ta-Nehisi Coates.


Spanish Fly

"I am not here to demand political asylum. I'm here in Brussels as the capital of Europe." Catalonia voted to leave Spain. The leader of that movement just left Spain. And Catalonia. From Vice: Catalonia's leader didn't hang around to face charges.


Puerto Rico Case

"There's no lawyer inside FEMA that would've ever agreed to the language that was in that contract to begin with." FEMA says that no funds have been spent on the controversial Whitefish contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. And none will be.


Peace and Love

"Niall Horan became the third former One Direction member to top charts with his solo debut 'Flicker.' According to Nielsen and BuzzAngle, the album moved over 148,000 album equivalent units to land at No. 1, matching his former bandmates Harry Styles and Zayn Malik." One Direction just tied the Beatles for solo chart success. The Beatles would still hold the record, but Ringo's most popular album peaked at number 2.


Bottom of the News

"Though tempting, the practice is wrong-headed. Giving out full-size candy bars misses the point of Halloween." Ian Bogost argues that big candy bars have no place on Halloween. (I'm just linking to this to troll my kids...)

+ "The problem can be traced to the end of milk-production quotas in April 2015 that led to a glut early last year in Europe, and a drastic drop in prices. This prompted production cuts by spring this year." Bloomberg: France Is Running Out of Butter for Its Croissants.