Monday, January 22nd, 2018


America Online

Was it the Trump Shutdown or the Schumer Shutdown? That was the key argument over the weekend after Congress brought the US government to a screeching halt. In the end, it proved to be The Short-Lived Shutdown as the Senate overwhelmingly voted to reopen the government, at least until February 8. The short term deal was agreed to by Republicans, Democrats, (and Russian bots). Next time, instead of shutting down the government, we should restart it and zap the p-ram.

+ The big deal between now and February 8 will be the same big deal that led to the shutdown (and the same big deal that has been at the center of discourse during the first year of the Trump era): Immigration and the fate of the Dreamers. Vox has an explainer on the immigration negotiations Congress just gave itself three weeks to complete.

+ Since we're on the topic, let's start with a few facts. From Pew: Key findings about US immigrants.

+ And, a reminder that the world is watching. From Bloomberg: America Has a Foreign Tourism Problem.


Help Unwanted

Amazon Go has opened its doors, and ArsTechnica went shopping in the store where you check in, but you don't check out. "The idea is to grab whatever items you want, toss them in a bag of your choice (Amazon has tons of free, bright-orange canvas bags available), and leave without once manually scanning items or interacting with a clerk. Your smartphone app will immediately confirm that your shopping trip has ended, and it'll share a notice that your receipt will arrive soon—mine took about 15 minutes. That's it. Amazon will bill a credit card of your choosing." (The process will be even smoother when the entire globe is one giant Amazon store.)

+ Recode: Here's what the new Amazon Go cashierless convenience store looks like.

+ My friend Jeff O'Keefe did an ad for IBM that basically predicted this store in 1998.

+ Amazon is the master of efficiency. So why are 'entire aisles empty' at Whole Foods?


You Wreck Me

"There's a deeper reason why a celebrity death hasn't arrested the opioid crisis: The problems are systemic and too entrenched to be shaken by a few high-profile victims. About 91 people now die from opioid overdoses every day, the CDC says—a conservative estimate—thanks to a potent mix of stigmas, addictions, lack of awareness and inadequate access to care and prevention." Over the weekend, we learned that Tom Petty's death was caused by prescription drugs, including (of course) opioids.

+ "A week or so after Ledger's death, a couple of young felons opened a cash-only, walk-in pain clinic near Fort Lauderdale. They hired doctors who prescribed massive quantities of opioids to drug addicts, many of whom traveled from Appalachian states to Florida to load up on oxycodone and Xanax. Local police watched helplessly as American Pain became the biggest pain clinic in the country." Few people understand the opioid crisis better than John Temple. He reflects on where we are, 10 years after Heath Ledger's death.

+ The NYT,1 Son, 4 Overdoses, 6 Hours: "The torrent of people who have died in the opioid crisis has transfixed and horrified the nation, with overdose now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. But most drug users do not die. Far more, like Patrick, are snared for years in a consuming, grinding, unending cycle of addiction." (This crisis is a full-on American tragedy; a perfect storm of bad elements. There are policies to blame. There are companies to blame. Urgent action is needed. Kellyanne Conway is the administration's person in charge.)


Whatcha Gonna Do

"Social scientists have consistently found that fans of "Cops" and shows like it have a clutch of distorted beliefs about crime, including this: They think that black people commit more of it than they actually do." The Marshall Project: How Cops became the most polarizing reality TV show in America. The show has been running since 1989.


Beast’s Burden

"These populations, they found, were stable during peacetime, but almost always fell during periods of war. And in explaining declines in wildlife, nothing mattered more than war—not human population density, the presence of towns or cities, protected reserves, or droughts." The Atlantic: When Humans War, Animals Die.


The Strides of March

The one year anniversary of the Women's March was marked with another series of massive marches across the country (and a few around the world). The Atlantic has a collection of photos of the marchers. And Slate has shots of some of the best signs.


Follow the Muncie

The Guardian's Gary Younge spent a month in Muncie, Indiana; a town that swung for Trump. A year later, he returns to see how people feel about the President: Trump hasn't just done a good job, he's done a great job. "I wish people would stand up, take a look at their lives and see what is so different. What have you been screaming about for a year? I struggle to find anything bad that has happened to everyday Americans and their lives."

+ (Here's a pretty fun parody of articles like these from McSweeney's: I've Been Asking Trump Voters Every Couple Seconds If They Still Support The President.)

+ NPR: How America Has Changed During Trump's First Year In Office, By The Numbers.

+ "Most important, according to many in the anti-abortion movement, the president nominated and the Senate confirmed a dozen and a half federal district court and appeals court judges who are considered likely to rule in their favor." In Trump's First Year, Anti-Abortion Forces Make Strides.


Getting Prodigy With It

"And here we arrive at the real ghost that haunts these books, the one that sends us to Paris or Berlin for help: the sense that American parents have gone radically wrong, making themselves and their kids miserable in the process, by hovering over them like helicopters instead of observing them from a watchtower, at a safe distance." In The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik wonders if there's really a way to explain how to raise a prodigy. (This article is interesting, but what I really want is an article on how to get your kids not to scream at each other every morning during the 4 minute drive to the bus stop. Once I get that solved, I'll move on to prodigy development strategies.)


Coach Em Up

The Patriots are simply ridiculous. It's hard to remember another NFL team that's been as consistently good for as long; especially when it comes to the biggest moments in the biggest games. But there is an analog in college football: Alabama. Here's Sports Illustrated's Jenny Vrentas on Belichick and Saban: The Stories Behind Football's Most Powerful Friendship.


Bottom of the News

"The CHP says even on auto-pilot, the Tesla requires some kind of response from a human being at certain intervals. If that doesn't happen, the car slowly comes to a stop and that's apparently what happened." It turns out you can't drunk-drive legally just because your Tesla is on autopilot. But the idea that someone thought you could is a good reason to hope fully autonomous cars come sooner rather than later.

+ Stormy Daniels, star of the latest Trump sideshow, took her act to a strip club. It was a scene. (The battle for the best lede of 2018 could already be over...)

+ SNL: What even matters anymore?