May 3rd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Trump paid Stormy's hush money, Cohen got tapped, and Happy Prayer Day!

By now, you know that Rudy Giuliani contrasted a series of prior statements and confirmed that President Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen for the $130K payment to Stormy Daniels. While the statement surprised nearly everyone (including people in the White House), Rudy insists his employer is fully on-board: “You won’t see daylight between me and the President. The strategy is to get everything wrapped up and done with this so that it doesn’t take on a life of its own.”

+ Trump tweeted that campaign money played no “roll” in the hush money repayment.

+ “He fired Comey because Comey would not, among other things, say that he wasn’t a target of the investigation.” WaPo: Giuliani’s other big admission may be even worse for Trump.

+ The bet here seems to be that spilling the beans on the method of repayment closes the door on the question of campaign finance violations. Is that a good bet?

+ Trump is not the only one in DC who’d tap that. On Thursday, we learned that the Feds have been tapping Michael Cohen’s phones. “It is not clear how long the wiretap has been authorized, but NBC News has learned it was in place in the weeks leading up to the raids on Cohen’s offices, hotel room, and home in early April, according to one person with direct knowledge.”

+ After Tweeting about the Stormy hush money payoffs, President Trump hit to the Rose Garden where he celebrated the National Day of Prayer by announcing a White House initiative that he said would underpin policies recognizing the ‘”‘vital role’ of religion in the country. ‘America is a nation of believers.’ he said.” (Either god is dead, or we’re fresh out of lightning bolts…)


Bio Tech

“The biotech execs staking their claims in Crispr’s backend systems have read their Silicon Valley history. They’re betting biology will be the next great computing platform, DNA will be the code that runs it, and Crispr will be the programming language.” Wired: Biology Will Be The Next Great Computing Platform.


Infinity Wars

NYT: “With virtually no public discussion or debate, the Army commandos are helping locate and destroy caches of ballistic missiles and launch sites that Houthi rebels in Yemen are using to attack Riyadh and other Saudi cities.” (We’re in wars we don’t know we’re in.) Army Special Forces Secretly Help Saudis Combat Threat From Yemen Rebels.

+ Vice: Massive military base buildup suggests the US shadow war in Somalia is only getting bigger.

+ An air force cargo plane on the way to be decommissioned crashed in Savannah, killing all nine on board.


Fed Zeppelin

“As much as the bureau’s roughly 14,000 special agents might like to tune out the news, internal and external reports have found lapses throughout the agency, and longtime observers, looking past the partisan haze, see a troubling picture: something really is wrong at the FBI.” Time’s Eric Lichtblau: The FBI Is in Crisis. It’s Worse Than You Think. (Editor’s note: So is pretty much everything else…)


Game and Glory

“Across North America this year, companies are turning malls, movie theaters, storefronts and parking garages into neighborhood esports arenas. At the same time, content farms are spinning up in Los Angeles, where managers now see gamers as some peculiar new form of famous person to cultivate — half athlete, half influencer. And much of it is powered by the obsession with one game: Fortnite. ” Nellie Bowles in the NYT: Gamers are the new stars. Esports arenas are the new movie theaters. All We Want to Do Is Watch Each Other Play Video Games.

+ Lisa Damour: Parenting the Fortnite Addict. (Miraculously, my 11 year-old son decided to kick his Fortnite habit on his own because he didn’t like how extended time in the game made him feel. But Fortnite is part of a broader pattern. Like internet companies, game developers are getting a lot better at making products that get people hooked. In my experience, this is what real people are talking about while the media is fixated on Facebook and privacy as the big issue.)


Candy Bane

From Buzzfeed: These Vape Juices Look Just Like Candy And The FDA Is Not Happy About It. “This week federal authorities issued warnings to manufacturers and retailers selling e-liquid products in packages that deliberately mimic juice boxes, candy, cookies, and even Reddi-wip.” (If companies can behave this egregiously and only get warnings, what’s the incentive to behave decently?)


Rocket Plan

Eighteen House Republicans just nominated Trump for the Nobel peace prize. “In a letter spearheaded by the Indiana Republican Luke Messer and sent to the Norwegian Nobel committee, the lawmakers claim that Trump should ‘receive the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his work to end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula and bring peace to the region.'”


Whoa, Nelly!

“‘If you bet on horses, you will lose,’ says Warwick Bartlett, who runs Global Betting & Gaming Consultants and has spent years studying the industry. What if that wasn’t true? What if there was one person who masterminded a system that guaranteed a profit? One person who’d made almost a billion dollars, and who’d never told his story—until now?” Bloomberg: The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code.


Camille Needs to Chill

“Since when are all accusers truthful? History disproves that. For example, Emmett Till’s accuser immediately comes to mind.” Bill Cosby’s wife compares him to Emmett Till, calls sex assault conviction a tragedy. (Next you’re gonna tell me Kanye said slavery was a choice.)


Bottom of the News

“Turks have reacted with undisguised glee to what many have described as an official – and certainly long overdue – confession from Stockholm.” ‘My whole life has been a lie’: Sweden admits meatballs are Turkish.

+ But don’t lose all faith. Monterey Jack really is from Monterey. 20 Foods You Might Not Know Were Named After Places.

+ Mental Floss: Here’s Why the UK is About to Ban Q-Tips. (It’s because of the environment, not because one is strictly forbidden from using them they way everyone initially assumes they are to be used.)

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