Thursday, April 5th, 2018


A Vested Interest

It shouldn't surprise you that a company like Patagonia is interested in environmental issues. But these days, that interest is taking the form of political statements, public spats with the president, and lawsuits against the federal government. The maker of the world's most ubiquitous vest is wearing politics on its sleeve. Leading with politics might be the new corporate norm, as we're seeing more companies making their political leanings public and pulling ads from content providers that lean in the opposite direction. And it turns out that getting political can actually be good for the bottom line. GQ's Rosecrans Baldwin at the intersection of politics and consumerism: Patagonia vs. Donald Trump.


In Vita Veritas

More than two-thirds of Americans over the age of 65 take vitamin supplements. Here's the NYT on the downside for a hooked generation: "Often, preliminary studies fuel irrational exuberance about a promising dietary supplement, leading millions of people to buy in to the trend. Many never stop. They continue even though more rigorous studies — which can take many years to complete — almost never find that vitamins prevent disease, and in some cases cause harm."


Not in My Back Guard

"It was, by now, a familiar feedback loop: the President, reacting to a Fox News broadcast, launches a tweet storm that then drives a news cycle." The New Yorker's Jonathan Blitzer tracks how we got from a news story about a relatively small caravan of immigrants to actual plans to deploy National Guard troops along the US-Mexico border. (People in Puerto Rico should form a caravan. Maybe Trump will send the National Guard there.)

+ Do we really need to call in the guard now, when numbers show border arrests are down? "US Border Patrol data shows that overall apprehensions began to fall steadily after 2006, falling more steeply with the onset of the so-called Great Recession in December 2007. Apprehensions fell from nearly 1.8 million in 2005 to under 304,000 in 2017, the lowest number in 37 years."


Strike That, Reverse It

"'You don't have to be a policeman or a firefighter or a paramedic to save a life' said Adams, who pointed out that more than half of opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. occur at home." In another sign of how widespread opiate overdoses have become, the surgeon general is calling on more Americans to keep some of the overdose antidote naloxone on-hand, just in case.


A Word About Book Sentences

"I had no idea about how in depth the darkest parts of human history go ... Everybody should be treated with equality, no matter the race, religion, sex or orientation. I will do my best to see to it that I never am this ignorant again." Last year in Virginia, some "teenagers defaced a historic black schoolhouse with swastikas." The judge in the case decided to sentence them to read some books. Lesson learned. From the NYT: Teenage Vandals Were Sentenced to Read Books. Here's What One Learned.


Your Private Lancer

Spoiler Alert: You know that story about your data being stolen? It will be followed by another story explaining that things are even worse than originally thought. And so it is with the Facebook scandal. The company now says that Cambridge Analytica accessed up to 87 million people's data. Facebook also explained that "'malicious actors' took advantage of search tools on its platform, making it possible for them to discover the identities and collect information on most of its 2 billion users worldwide."

+ But if you didn't care about the data of 50 million people being compromised, with the 87 million number really make a difference? I'm guessing the answer is no. And the market is guessing the same thing. Facebook's stock bounced back after Zuck say he hadn't observed "any meaningful impact" on the company's business.

+ I hate to say I told you so, but it's like I explained when this scandal first broke. When it comes to privacy invasions, you don't give a shit.


Death and Taxes

A yearlong investigation by the NYT unearthed thousands of Islamic State documents that help explain how the terror group ruled. "ISIS built a state of administrative efficiency that collected taxes and picked up the garbage. It ran a marriage office that oversaw medical examinations to ensure that couples could have children. It issued birth certificates — printed on Islamic State stationery — to babies born under the caliphate's black flag. It even ran its own DMV." (There have been times when I wondered whether they ran the one I go to.)


Soft Power(point)

"Now that Tillerson has been fired, the vaunted 'Redesign' initiative he launched faces an uncertain future, but at least one clear legacy: around $12 million spent just for private consultants who in some cases charged the State Department more than $300 an hour." Politico: Rex Tillerson's $12 million army of consultants.


Fake Chews!

"If American pets were to establish a sovereign nation, it would rank fifth in global meat consumption. This nation of pooches and kitties consumes about 19 percent as many calories as humans, but because their diets are higher in protein, their total animal-derived calorie intake amounts to about 33 percent that of humans." If we can't get humans to change their diets to save the planet, maybe we can get their pets to do it. From Bloomberg: Fake Meat Might Feed Your Dog and Save the Planet. (My dogs will pretty much eat any vegan food as long as its artisanal and is can be washed down with an appropriately paired Kombucha.)


Bottom of the News

"Residents in Youngstown, Ohio, contacted police after witnessing raccoons standing on their hind feet and flashing their teeth." Let's visit (virtually) the Ohio town being disturbed by zombie raccoons.

+ Ahead of her new album, NPR looks at the rapid rise of America's hottest rapper. The Business Of Being Cardi B.

+ "I remember reading once that we replace every cell in our body every seven years. If that's true, even a 90-year-old man is probably just six or seven in cell years." 'Age can be a babe magnet': Spinal Tap's Derek Smalls on why old is gold.