Friday, May 4th, 2018


Level With Me

"The suspects had backpacked the drones to the area in anticipation of the FBI's arrival. Not only did they buzz the hostage rescue team, they also kept a continuous eye on the agents, feeding video to the group's other members via YouTube." Defense One reports on a criminal gang that used a drone swarm to obstruct an FBI hostage raid. The use of drones by criminals is not unique to this case, and neither is the use of various technologies by those up to no good. One of the big challenges facing law enforcement (locally) and America (globally) is that technological advances -- from cyber-attacks to other new weapons of war -- are quickly leveling the playing field.


A Rudy Awakening

"He'll get his facts straight. There has been a lot of misinformation. I say, You know what? Learn before you speak. It's a lot easier ... When Rudy made the statements -- Rudy is great -- but Rudy had just started, and he wasn't totally familiar with everything." There has been a remarkable amount of turnover on the Trump team generally, and on his legal team specifically. After today's presidential correction, Rudy Giuliani is on the clock.

+ Slate: Eleven—yes, 11!—different ways Giuliani implicated Trump and Cohen this week.

+ "How can it be that the Stormy Daniels payment has been the subject of public debate for months, and yet Trump's defense team still hasn't settled on how it is arranging the known facts? The reason is this: everyone around Trump sees his role as performing publicly on Trump's behalf, to earn the big man's fickle favor. A shared narrative, repeated with discipline, would guarantee that Trump would find the performance boring and look to someone more forceful and creative." The New Yorker's excellent Adam Davidson on how Rudy could have ended up on TV implicating the man he sought to please. To get there, we need to go back to Rudy's days with Vincent (the Chin) Gigante in NYC and ask: What would the Chin make of this week's madness? (Spoiler alert: Not much.)


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: "Eve is a bored, whip-smart, pay-grade MI5 security officer whose desk-bound job doesn't fulfill her fantasies of being a spy. Villanelle is a mercurial, talented killer who clings to the luxuries her violent job affords her." A very solid new show written by the awesome Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Check out Killing Eve on BBC America.

+ What to Hear: Here's a good list of The Best Podcasts of 2018 so far. (Don't miss Slow Burn.)

+ What to Stream: Middle Kids just released their first full album. You'll like it.


Moon’s Shot

President Trump says the time and place for his summit with Kim Jung Un has been set. So this is a good time to do a little reading to catch up on what's happened and what's at stake. First, the key leader behind the talks has been at this a long time. So you can understand why his key message to his North Korean counterpart has been that they need to move fast. NYT: Can Moon Jae-in Make Peace With North Korea?

+ From Bloomberg: Kim Jong Un Is Masterfully Playing Trump's Game: "The summit alone is a public-relations coup for Kim. A one-on-one meeting with the U.S. president has been a long-held North Korean goal. The TV images beamed into North Korea will show the leader of a small totalitarian rogue nuclear state on an apparently equal footing with the leader of the free world."

+ "Kim's charm offensive is working. Before the summit, only ten per cent of South Koreans said that they trusted the North Korean leader—the third in a dynasty that has ruled Pyongyang ruthlessly for seven decades. After the summit, public faith in his good intentions catapulted to almost eighty per cent." From Robin Wright in The New Yorker: King Jong Un was funny, charming, and confident but brought his own toilet. (I find that most guys can only be truly charming and confident when they have easy access to their own toilet.)


The Golden Fears

"About one week after calling Stancik at the family business in Ganado, Texas, to borrow $6,000, Jones committed suicide. That was May 4, 2010. When family members went to her home, they found a caller-ID filled with numbers they didn't recognize and three bags of wire transfer receipts in her closet. Jones had $69 left in her bank account." Bloomberg's Nick Leiber on How Criminals Steal $37 Billion a Year from America's Elderly (and why it's gonna get worse...)


Kicking the Nugget

Unemployment numbers continue to be very low. One area that represents a ton of the job growth is in restaurants. And now, a lot of those (especially the fast-food type) are having a heck of time filling open positions. From the NYT Upshot: A Fast-Food Problem: Where Have All the Teenagers Gone?


What the Helmet?

"The White Helmets, formally known as the Syrian Civil Defense, are a group of 3,000 volunteer rescuers that have saved thousands of lives since the Syrian civil war began in 2011. A makeshift 911, they have run into the collapsing buildings to pull children, men and women out of danger's way. They say they have saved more than 70,000 lives." They've also been the subject of news segments and documentaries, and they visited the State Department just a couple months ago. So why has the US frozen the organization's funding?


Flour Play

"Sukur, 46, is one of Turkey's most famous athletes, its most celebrated soccer player, a World Cup hero and a veteran of several of Europe's top leagues. He parlayed his fame into a political career and was elected to Turkey's Parliament. Even with his sideburns tinged gray, his face and name are instantly recognized back home." But he's not back home, and probably won't be anytime soon. The NYT on The Famous Soccer Player Hiding in Plain Sight in a California Bakery.


Marathon Mancuso

"Switzer crossed the line an hour or so after Mancuso, and she remembers complimenting the 'little girl' on how well she had run. 'Like a typical 13-year-old, she didn't care about the race,' Switzer laughs. 'She wanted to show me her Monkees poster instead.'" Outside's Amanda Loudin with a cool look back at The Marathon World Record Holder the World Forgot. (The world barely noticed in the first place.)


Feel Good Friday

"Hunger is not a scarcity issue. There's more than enough food. It's actually a logistics issue." FastCo: This App Delivers Leftover Food To The Hungry, Instead Of To The Trash.

+ WaPo: These teens saw how poor mental health hurt their peers. So they got a law passed.

+ "Increased drought, deforestation and intensive farming methods are turning an area half the size of Britain into desert each year." So this tech comes as welcome news. BBC: The innovation turning desert sand into farmland.

+ HuffPo: 8 Feel-Good Stories Of Strangers Helping Someone They Didn't Know.

+ Ex-stripper inherits $223,000 from former customer with whom she'd had an everlasting friendship. (The feel good part of this is that Michael Cohen was in no way involved in the transaction...)

+ And since it's May the Fourth Be With You Day, here are 60 facts about the Star Wars universe.