Thursday, March 1st, 2018


You Kids Get Off My Con

"They are old enough to advocate for themselves, yet young enough to still embody a certain innocence, to retain a certain idealism about how the world should be. They come across as both fearless and fragile. And like all teenagers, they have no tolerance for BS." The Atlantic's Michelle Cottle on one of the more amazing stories we've seen in a long time. How Parkland Students Changed the Gun Debate. (It's not necessarily a new thing that young people are leading a movement for change. But one of the things that makes this moment feel different is that the teens and the corporations are on the same side.)

+ Excellent piece by Dahlia Lithwick on how the student activists of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High demonstrate the power of a comprehensive education: They Were Trained for This Moment.

+ Teens leading such efforts isn't new. And neither are the resulting conspiracy theories. NYT: ‘Crisis Actor' Isn't a New Smear. The Idea Goes Back to the Civil War Era. And from TNR: The tradition of conspiracy theories and hate groups.


There’s a New Tariff in Town

"We'll be imposing tariffs on steel imports and tariffs on aluminum imports. Some time next week we'll be signing it in. And you're going to have protection for the first time in a long time." And with that, President Trump proved his mettle to the steel industry, and got some jaw drops from his own party (and a huge market drop on Wall Street). Bloomberg: Trump Says U.S. to Impose Harsh Steel and Aluminum Tariffs.

+ According to the NYT: "In the past few days, supporters of the tariffs have also begun airing televised ads during programs that Mr. Trump has been known to watch." (This is not unlike my strategy of advertising NextDraft in High Times.)


Putin on the Blitz

"Standing in front of a giant video screen, President Putin showcased Russia's very latest strategic weapons. Like a magician pulling one rabbit after another out of his hat, he wowed his audience with images of cruise missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles, underwater drones and supersonic jets." BBC: During his annual state of nation speech, Putin focused on what he called 'invincible' nuclear weapons. (Today's international relations have more testosterone than a World's Strongest Man competition. With 17 days left before the next Russian election, I wouldn't be surprised to see a video of Putin pulling an 18-wheeler with his teeth.)


It’s All Part of the Process

"The real scandal ... is that it didn't have to be anything like so damaging to our health ... There were always other ways to manufacture these products that would make them significantly less carcinogenic. The fact that this is so little known is tribute to the power of the meat industry, which has for the past 40 years been engaged in a campaign of cover-ups and misdirection to rival the dirty tricks of Big Tobacco." From The Guardian: Yes, bacon really is killing us. (Don't blame the messenger...)


Ja-Red Flags

"Early last year, a private equity billionaire started paying regular visits to the White House." That's an ominous lede, and it's an ominous story from the NYT. There have been a lot of big stories during a rough week for Jared Kushner. But this could be the story to watch. Kushner's Family Business Received Loans After White House Meetings.


Jerry’s Springer

"That's when it hit him. Right there, in the numbers on the page, he noticed a flaw—a strange and surprising pattern written into the fundamental machinery of the game that revealed, much as his cereal boxes had done long ago, something that no one else knew. A loophole that would eventually make Jerry and Marge millionaires, spark an investigation by a Boston Globe Spotlight reporter, unleash a statewide political scandal and expose more than a few hypocrisies at the heart of America's favorite form of legalized gambling." The next time your kid tells you they hate math and they'll never use it in real life anyway, read them this story. Jerry and Marge Go Large.


Hope Solo

"Hope Hicks has now announced that she is resigning as Trump's communications director. This comes just one day after she told the House Intelligence Committee, in a nine-hour closed-door session, that she was occasionally given to telling 'white lies.' In the moral universe of the Trump White House, her sin could not have been the lying; it could only be the admission." David Remnick on the resignation of Hope Hicks. (In media circles, there's been a lot of conjecture about what triggered the Hope Hicks departure. My take: Her parents heard she was dating Rob Porter and said, "That's it. You're coming home.")


Fox Hound

"They wear custom-made badges and fursuits that project a chosen animal identity: foxes and deers and every manner of mythical hybrid. It makes for a parade of colour that spills in all sorts of directions. There are panels to attend and workshops to take part in; some come for the art, others just want to party. To outsiders, this can all seem a bit sordid. Mainstream media has consistently portrayed the fur community as fetishistic – a weird, kinky world where people watch cartoon p-rn and have sex in large, elaborate animal costumes." (OK, you got me. I'm intrigued.) Huck Magazine: Furry Nation: Inside America's most misunderstood subculture.



"[Her] credentials included runway shows in Europe, a Camel cigarette billboard ad in Times Square and — in her biggest job at the time — a spot in the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, which featured her on the beach in a string bikini, hugging a six-foot inflatable whale. In March 2001, she was granted a green card in the elite EB-1 program, which was designed for renowned academic researchers, multinational business executives or those in other fields, such as Olympic athletes and Oscar-winning actors, who demonstrated 'sustained national and international acclaim.'" WaPo: Questions linger about how Melania Trump, a Slovenian model, scored ‘the Einstein visa'.

+ The wife of a 7th Special Forces Group vet faces deportation under tighter immigration rules.


Bottom of the News

From me in McSweeney's: "As a law-abiding, red-blooded American, I'm not willing to give up all my rights because of a few bad apples, but seeing the recent carnage has made me realize that maybe we need to draw some kind of a line. Maybe it's time for me to make a sacrifice. If nothing else, at least the world will have one less weapon that, in the wrong hands, could potentially be used to inflict harm on innocent people. That's why I'm giving up my F-22 Raptor Fighter Jet." (If you like, please share ;)

+ Determining The Average Apple Device Lifespan. (It's longer than you might think...)

+ America is really, really into yoga pants.