Wednesday, January 24th, 2018


Hey, You Kids Stay on My Lawn

"Today's adults are not spending a lot of time shopping like my parents' generation did ... Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, they're all time-starved and want to order groceries while they're riding a bus to work." Whether it's a time thing or an experiential thing, the big box bulk retailers know that the shoppers of the future are finding alternative ways to get 24 rolls of paper towel from the shelves to their kitchen. From WaPo: Will millennials kill Costco?

+ Execs at Costco and Sam's Club might spend their days worried about Millennials. But -- like just about anyone who sells anything, anywhere -- they're up at night worried about Amazon. Ben Thompson on Amazon Go And The Future.


Cops and Robbers

"The video opens with a group of Baltimore police officers prying open a safe, revealing thick stacks of cash held together by two rubber bands each. They call to their sergeant, Wayne Jenkins, who instructs the group not to touch anything and to keep the camera rolling — he wanted this one done by the book. Except, Detective Maurice Ward testified Tuesday, the officers already had pocketed half the $200,000 they found inside the safe before the recording started." If you're looking for your next riveting, and often astonishing, police procedural about a unit of rogue cops (or you just need a reminder of what the kneeling story is actually about), you don't need to look on HBO or Netflix. Just follow Justin Fenton's coverage of the Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force trial, where officers were both cops and robbers at the same time. On Twitter, Fenton listed some of the tactics used by the unit. "They kept BB guns on hand in case they hit someone or got into a shootout and needed to plant it on someone."



"It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again. You have done nothing to control those urges and anywhere you walk, destruction will occur to those most vulnerable ... I just signed your death warrant." Larry Nassar sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison.

+ Here are 100 courtroom quotes from an "army of survivors."

+ Next, the NCAA will look at how Michigan State handled the Nassar case.

+ The Detroit News has already been looking into that. "Reports of sexual misconduct by Dr. Larry Nassar reached at least 14 Michigan State University representatives in the two decades before his arrest, with no fewer than eight women reporting his actions." (As the prosecutor in the case reminded us: "We, as a society, need investigative journalists more than ever.")


Retaining Wall

In the last week of on again, off again negotiations, Chuck Schumer has offered President Trump a deal on the wall, and then taken that deal off the table. But how did an idea once viewed as preposterous by most politicians on both sides of the aisle become a very real bargaining chip, and a very realistic eventuality? In part, it's because the wall is not really a wall. And in part, it's because of other immigration priorities. The Atlantic's Russell Berman explains: How Democrats Stopped Worrying and Learned to Accept Trump's Wall.

+ Meanwhile, Mexico reported its highest murder rate on record (and that number has everything to do with consumption -- and drug war policies -- on our side of the wall).

+ "Over the next two years, Arredondo said, he would be hounded, kidnapped, pistol-whipped and stabbed so severely that surgeons removed his gall bladder. In December 2016, he fled to Canada, where he now seeks asylum from gangs that steal fuel from Salamanca and five other refineries operated by Pemex, the state-owned oil company." Reuters: Mexico's drug cartels, now hooked on fuel, cripple the country's refineries.


Taking Uppers

"The guy is changing the optics of private aviation. He's the mascot of private jets." The NYT Mag's Gideon Lewis-Kraus finds out what it takes to sell airborne opulence to the upper upper upper class. "For a private-jet broker, success is all about knowing who's who in the world's 0.0001 percent." (For the other 99.9999 percent, it's all about knowing who the hell is kicking my seat.)


City Haul

"These networks have sprung up across the nation as a direct reflection of the country's growing frustration with sub-par broadband speeds, high prices, and poor customer service. They've also emerged despite the fact that ISP lobbyists have convinced more than 20 states to pass protectionist laws hampering local efforts to build such regional networks." Motherboard: More Than 750 American Communities Have Built Their Own Internet Networks.

+ Montana becomes the first state to implement net neutrality. And other states are moving in the same direction. This is a bipartisan issue, supported by a huge majority of people who are not Russian bots.

+ When your neighborhood can't get broadband, the guy who provides it can become a local hero. (And you don't have to press zero a hundred times to talk to a real person on customer support...)


Charity Case

"All of the women were told to wear skimpy black outfits with matching underwear and high heels. At an after-party many hostesses — some of them students earning extra cash — were groped, sexually harassed and propositioned." FT reporters went undercover to take readers (across the world, at this point) inside the charity fundraiser where hostesses are put on show.

+ Rolling Stone: Inside Country Radio's Dark, Secret History of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct. (Anyone else sensing a trend?)


Burger King

"Workers at the family-owned chain begin at $13 per hour, which is $2.50 above California's current minimum wage. Employees can work their way up to get the coveted manager's salary, and a college degree is not necessary." In-N-Out Burger reveals managers make $160k on average. (You may have known all the items on the In-N-Out secret menu, but I bet you didn't know that.)


Life in Well

"There are few cars on the premises; most residents prefer to walk to the local yoga class or hike the neighborhood's 15 miles of trails. Young couples amuse themselves at a field-size labyrinth composed of rocks, just beyond the wildflower meadow. The loudest sound is of the breeze brushing up against the oak trees that hover over the lawns. This landscape feels to me like a physical manifestation of the Sabbath." FastCo: Utopic Wellness Communities Are A Multibillion-Dollar Real Estate Trend.


Bottom of the News

"A man's body was recovered Tuesday from a reservoir pipeline supplying drinking water to several Northern California communities." (Looks like my wife just won the argument about buying a new water filter…)

+ GQ: A Review of the Delirious New Diet Coke Flavors.

+ "Camels disqualfied from Saudi 'beauty contest' for Botox." (The missing hump was a dead giveaway...)