March 30th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Trouble in Candy Land, Weekend Whats, and Feel Good Friday.

If we’ve learned anything over the past few years, it’s that everything is political. Every TV show. Every family discussion. Science, truth, facts…everything. So I suppose it shouldn’t surprise you that just beneath the festive cellophane that lines your Easter basket lurks one of two billion annually-produced yellow, spongy, marshmallow, baby chickens that are loaded with sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and yes, sadly, political and economic intrigue. At the center of the story is a lawsuit and a battle over pensions that could have a wider impact on the entire American retirement system. “The fight has featured a strike, Twinkies related bankruptcy, irreparably broken friendships, obscene T-shirts and a locked-up Peepsmobile.” From WaPo: Trouble in Candy Land.



“The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce in the coming days that it will scrap mileage targets the Obama administration drafted in tandem with California that aim to boost average fuel economy for passenger cars and SUVs to 55 miles per gallon by 2025.” And like many federal moves, this one will set up a big fight between Washington and California. LA Times: EPA poised to scrap fuel economy targets that are key to curbing global warming.

+ One of the arguments posited by the EPA’s Scott Pruitt is that undoing the car pollution regulations will actually help the environment. (No, really.)

+ “In his first year at the EPA he has proposed repealing or delaying more than thirty significant environmental rules.” Scott Pruitt fought the EPA when he was the attorney general of Oklahoma. And he’s continued that fight as the org’s leader. The New Yorker’s Margaret Talbot on How the Environmental Protection Agency became the fossil-fuel industry’s best friend.

+ Pruitt has been dogged by news reports about his first class flights. And now there’s this thing about Pruitt getting a great rate on a DC apartment owned by a dude who lobbies the EPA.


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: Whether you were a big fan or not, you definitely want to watch Judd Apatow’s documentary on his friend and mentor Garry Shandling. It’s a moving and deep look into the psychology of a complex guy. The fact that he happens to be funny and one of television’s most important innovators is an added benefit. It’s a two-parter on HBO: The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling. Apatow really did his mentor proud.

+ What to Hear: “It’s like the Jewish 8 Mile.” During tonight’s Passover seder, millions of Jews will recount the story of the Israelites who, after crossing the Red Sea and trekking for 40 years in the desert, finally made it to the promised land. If one continues that story through 1980, it would include the remaking of The Jazz Singer starring Neil Diamond. The fine folks behind the How Did This Get Made? podcast present a fun conversation about an odd (and oddly enjoyable) movie … which you should also watch.


Immigrant Wrong

“As of 2017, according to Gallup polls, almost half of Americans agreed that immigrants make crime worse. But is it true that immigration drives crime?” The Marshall Project brings the stats in their look at The Myth Of The Criminal Immigrant.


Too Rigged to Fail?

A lot has changed. A lot is the same. And from political upheaval to cryptocurrency, there are a lot of new factors to consider. The WSJ with an interactive look at the banking economy, ten years after the crisis.


Gaza Strip Violence

“The idea was to protest Israel’s more than decade-long blockade of Gaza, which restricts the movement of people and goods in and out of the coastal territory, and which Israel calls a security imperative, as well as to highlight Palestinian demands for a right of return to the lands that became Israel 70 years ago.” Shortly after the protest began, the scene descended into chaos and violence. From the NYT: Israeli Military Kills at Least 12 in Confrontations on Gaza Border.


Someone Didn’t Get the Memo

“The Bosworth memo reveals the extent to which Facebook’s leadership understood the physical and social risks the platform’s products carried — even as the company downplayed those risks in public.” On Facebook, nothing is private. And increasingly, the same is true at Facebook. Here’s Buzzfeed on a memo that couldn’t have been released at a worse time for Zuck and Co.

+ The memo has everyone talking. Including Facebook employees.

+ This memo will keep the Facebook scandal at the top of the news for even longer. So take a moment and allow Bruce Schneier to remind you that this is not just about Facebook. “For every article about Facebook’s creepy stalker behavior, thousands of other companies are breathing a collective sigh of relief that it’s Facebook and not them in the spotlight. Because while Facebook is one of the biggest players in this space, there are thousands of other companies that spy on and manipulate us for profit.”


And Don’t Call Me Shirley

“I’ll have what she’s having.” WaPo looks at 40 comedies from the past 40 years that changed the way we talk. (They had me at hello…)


Fortnite and Day

This week, all the tech talk has been about social networks. But if you have a junior-high aged kid, or you’re a teacher, or a coach, I bet your recent tech thoughts have been focused on the impact of video games. One video game in particular. Vice: Teachers and Parents Share Stories From Inside the ‘Fortnite’ Phenomenon.

+ Polygon: Why is Fortnite Battle Royale so wildly popular?


Feel Good Friday

“In 18 years of doing Donors Choose we have, honestly, honestly, never been this excited. I would say it’s the dream coming true, except we never had this dream because it would have been too crazy to even say.” We’ve had a lot of negative tech stories. But there are plenty of great ones. And Donors Choose has been a great tech story for nearly two decades. The organization had its greatest moment this week when SF’s high-flying cryptocurrency startup Ripple donated $29 million to fund every single classroom request on the site. Here’s the most-excellent Charles Best (the godfather of crowdfunding) with the announcement.

+ Scott Foster, a 36-Year-Old Accountant, Filled In as Blackhawks Goalie (and killed it).

+ WaPo: She bought her first lottery ticket on her 18th birthday — and now she’s set for life.

+ “After 75 hours of research and testing, plus 6 months of follow-up testing, we think the Magic Wand Rechargeable is the best vibrator for most people.” WireCutter takes Feel Good Friday to the next level.

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