November 6th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

From Las Vegas to a one-stoplight town, America's longest running horror story continues.

You’d think the bustling, neon-lit, ‘sin city’ streets of Las Vegas would have nothing in common with a community church in a tiny, no-stoplight town like Sutherland Springs. But in America, we all have one terrible thing in common. And so it is that these two very different places find themselves playing an unwanted, starring role in America’s longest-running horror story. “At least 26 people are dead after a gunman opened fire during a Sunday service at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Those killed in the church ranged in age from 18-months to 77-years old.” Here’s the latest from Buzzfeed.

+ The Texas church gunman recently sent threatening texts to his mother-in-law, received a bad-conduct discharge from the Air Force, and had been sentenced to twelve-months confinement for spousal and child abuse. (You want to vet someone? Try domestic abusers who purchase assault weapons.)

+ Because of his past, the gunman could not qualify for a license to carry a concealed handgun. But he “would not have needed one to possess the Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic assault rifle reportedly used in the shooting.”

+ “Holcombe, an associate pastor for the church, was killed in the gunfire … Karla Holcombe, Bryan Holcombe’s wife of about four decades, was killed, too … Bryan and Karla Holcombe’s son Marc Daniel Holcombe, 36, also was killed … Marc Daniel had an infant daughter, Noah Holcombe, who, was a year old … She is dead, too … Another son of Bryan and Karla, John Holcombe, survived, but his wife, Crystal Holcombe, who was pregnant, did not. Crystal had five children. Three of them, Emily, Megan and Greg, died.” Death sweeps across 3 generations of a single family gathered at church.

+ “The resident … ran out of his house barefoot and exchanged gunfire with the shooter before the gunman sped away in a pearl-colored Fort Explorer. The armed resident then hailed a man across the street and got in his truck, telling him to chase down the gunman.” From CNN: Man exchanged fire with gunman, then joined another man to chase shooter.

+ Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on why we need more guns in church. President Trump said the shooting in Sutherland Springs “isn’t a guns situation.”


Thoughts and Prayers

“America’s mass shooting ritual is, by now, so familiar that it is beyond parody, beyond cynicism, indeed, beyond any reasonable explanation at all other than that we are too weak and too divided to make obvious changes to our laws and society to prevent more such tragedies. Sutherland Springs is Las Vegas is Sandy Hook is Orlando is Columbine. The names of the dead change but the political impotence remains very much the same.” The Week: The depressing ritual of mass murder in America.

+ As I type this, it’s been 1 day, 1 hour, 49 minutes and 55 seconds since America’s last mass shooting. The NYT: It’s Not Too Soon to Debate Gun Control.


Search Seizure

“For Google, the problem is the information marketplace around the previously unknown actors in major news events. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, there just isn’t a lot of content to serve up for the search ‘Devin Patrick Kelley,’ so Google reaches to less authoritative users so that it can show something, anything.” Alexis Madrigal on Google’s mass-shooting misinformation problem.


Saud Off

“Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says he’s cracking down on corruption. But the sweeping arrests of cabinet ministers and senior princes Saturday night looked to many astonished Arab observers like a bold but risky consolidation of power.” WaPo’s David Ignatius explains what’s at stake after the Saudi crown prince made a very risky power play.

+ “Among Prince Alwaleed’s crown jewels: sizable stakes in Twitter, Lyft and Citigroup. He has gone into business with some of the corporate world’s biggest titans, including Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Michael R. Bloomberg. His investments span the globe, including the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, the Savoy in London and the Plaza in New York.” The NYT on the arrest of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s foremost investors.


Going Viral

“In Congo Republic, many suspected monkeypox cases trace back to the village of Manfouete, a six-hour boat trip from the nearest airport. The village has 1,600 people, no electricity and no running water. The scientists are traveling upriver in a big motorized boat that looks like an open-air school bus. They must bring everything they need for their work. So a second boat — a long, wooden dugout canoe — will follow later carrying most of their supplies: boxes of traps and test tubes, a portable centrifuge, jerrycans of gasoline, a 25-kilogram sack of rice and lots of bottled water.” WaPo reporters were allowed to tag along as US and Congolese scientists tracked a virus, and came back with an amazing report on a science-driven war fought on a front most of us never consider: Chasing A Killer.


Paradise Cost

“The files set out the myriad ways in which companies and individuals can avoid tax using artificial structures. These schemes are legal if run correctly. But many appear not to be. And politicians around the world are beginning to ask whether they should be banned. Are they fair? Are they moral?” The Guardian on the story that had a lot of deep-pocketed people and corporations paying attention this weekend: What are the Paradise Papers and what do they tell us?

+ From Wilbur Ross, to Yuri Milner, to Jared Kushner (surprise!), Digg has a good roundup of what you should know about the Paradise Papers.


Notes from the Underground

“I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it.” From Refinery 29: Next time you shop at Zara, check the pockets for one of these.


Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab

“According to an investigation by The Verge, several popular publications covering addiction and treatment double as marketing operations for treatment centers. Rehab Reviews and The Fix are controlled by Cliffside Malibu founder Richard Taite, while Addiction Unscripted — a group promoted by Mark Zuckerberg this summer for its use of Facebook — is owned and staffed by the CEO and marketers of Windward Way, a treatment center in Costa Mesa, California.” Review Sites Have Deep Ties To The Rehabs They Promote. (It turns out you can’t trust stuff you read on the internet…)


Om, Om, Omg

“I heard a rumor that a woman we’d grown up with had seen Jeff shopping at the mall, fully decked out in an orange monastic robe. A while later, my mom called me with the news that Jeff had moved to Taiwan temporarily and was living at a monastery, devoting himself to meditation and Buddhist study. I was completely dumbfounded. What in the world led to this?” Eric Steuer goes in search of the guy who used to bully him in school: The Bully and the Buddhist.


Bottom of the News

“‘In my book, there’s no reason why children in elementary schools can’t be launching their own businesses,’ Rebekah Neumann said in an interview. She thinks kids should develop their passions and act on them early, instead of waiting to grow up to be ‘disruptive,’ as the entrepreneurial set puts it.” WeWork, “having expanded into health, spirituality and ‘co-living,’ is launching a grade school for ‘conscious entrepreneurship.'” (What we need is a grade school for parody. It’s almost impossible to achieve these days…)

+ If you missed in on Friday, here’s my take on the glorious eleven minutes when Twitter (and the everyone else) was free. Rogue Won.

+ Daughter, age IX photographs dog with iPhone X.

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