Monday, May 7th, 2018


Ignorance Was Bliss

"While these changes aren't expected to cause Americans to suddenly clean up their diets, they could have profound indirect effects on how we think about food and nutrition, what we choose from the menu, and ultimately what restaurants serve." Starting today, calorie counts on menus are going to be mandatory. (Luckily, this didn't happen until my eyesight got so bad I couldn't read most menus anyway...)

+ From Grubstreet: The Last Conversation You'll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right. And like most last conversations on a topic, this one has some follow-ups.


Won’t Get Juuled Again

"Young people have taken a technology that was supposed to help grownups stop smoking and invented a new kind of bad habit, one that they have molded in their own image. The potential public-health benefit of the e-cigarette is being eclipsed by the unsettling prospect of a generation of children who may really love to vape." Are e-cigarettes an effective way to get hardcore smokers to ease up on their habit, or are they one of the more troubling teen trends in a generation? In a word: Yes. From The New Yorker's Jia Tolentino: The Promise of Vaping and the Rise of Juul.


The Migrate Depression

From the LA Times: "The crackdown, which took effect last week and will be formally announced later Monday, will mean that parents bringing children over the border illegally will likely be separated if caught."

+ "The decline in illegal immigration has been a two-decade trend. Over that time, the number of Border Patrol apprehensions along the southern border has dropped by about 80 percent, from 1.6 million in 2000 to 300,000 in 2017 ... From 2009 to 2014, 1 million Mexicans and their families (including children born in the United States) went back to their home country, while 870,000 arrived here." Fareed Zakaria: Trump is manufacturing an immigration crisis. (Well, he did promise to bring manufacturing back...)

+ NPR: Mexico deploys a formidable deportation force near its own Southern border.


From Sad! to Worse…

"According to incendiary documents seen by the Observer, investigators contracted by the private intelligence agency were told to dig into the personal lives and political careers of Rhodes, a former deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, and Kahl, a national security adviser to the former vice-president Joe Biden." Revealed: Trump team hired spy firm for ‘dirty ops' on Iran arms deal.

+ As Ronan Farrow reports, the organization that was allegedly hired to get dirt for the Trump administration was previously hired by Harvey Weinstein to get dirt on his accusers. (As bad as you think all this stuff is, it's worse.)

+ "In the nine years before he ran for president, Donald Trump's company spent more than $400 million in cash on new properties — including 14 transactions paid for in full, without borrowing from banks — during a buying binge that defied real estate industry practices." WaPo: As the ‘King of Debt,' Trump borrowed to build his empire. Then he began spending hundreds of millions in cash. (In other words, just around the time every American bank shut him out, Trump mysteriously became loaded with cash. Fill in the blank.)


Under My Thumb Drive

"A source who has spoken recently with top South Korean government advisers — and who spoke anonymously to preserve their confidences — told me Moon 'freaked out' last year when Trump was threatening 'fire and fury' against Kim." We're not sure whether Kim Jong Un was moved by Trump's militaristic threats. But they definitely moved South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Axios: How a USB drive sparked the push for Korean peace.

+ CityLab: In Korean peace talks, all eyes are on denuclearization. But a plan to re-link the nations' railways could be far more transformative.

+ "While there is no question Iran hid much of its weapons-designing past, North Korea has concealed programs on a far larger scale and built an arsenal of 20 to 60 nuclear warheads — compared with none in Iran." From the NYT: Verifying the End of a Nuclear North Korea Could Make Iran Look Easy.


Shaka Awe

Several earthquakes have been triggered, and at least 26 homes have been destroyed, by volcanic eruptions in Hawaii. Here's the latest from Buzzfeed.

+ InFocus: Photos of Kilauea's Newest Lava Fissures on Hawaii's Big Island.

+ Someone definitely picked the wrong spot to park. Amazing video of a wall of lava engulfing a car.


Secretary of Commerce

"She was a secretary in an era when they ran their boss's lives, including their personal investments ... So when the boss would buy a stock, she would make the purchase for him, and then buy the same stock for herself, but in a smaller amount because she was on a secretary's salary." What a great story from the NYT: 96-Year-Old Secretary Quietly Amasses Fortune, Then Donates $8.2 Million.


Utah Jazz Hands

"When Alexander Meitiv dropped his two children - 10 and 6 - off at a local park near their Maryland home to play for the afternoon in late 2014, he was not expecting the firestorm that would follow. A bystander called 911 after noticing the children walking home by themselves. Police stopped them and brought them back to the Meitivs' home." That much-publicized moment led to a broader national discussion about helicopter parenting and ultimately led to what's become known as the free-range parenting movement. While the Meitiv case was in Maryland, it's the wild, freewheeling, risk-loving state of Utah that is set to become the first state in the US to have free-range parenting law. It's amazing how far our culture has swung towards coddling children. I grew up the child of a stereotypically overprotective Jewish mother, and compared to my own kids, my childhood was basically a cross between Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Stranger Things.


Best Wishes

"Social media can be both positively and negatively effect on our children, but too often it is used in negative ways. When children learn positive online behaviors early on, social media can be used in productive ways and can effect positive change ... It is our responsibility as adults to educate and remind them that when they are using their voices, whether verbally or online, they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion." That is from Melania Trump's just unveiled platform. Today, the president signed a proclamation declaring today "Be Best" day. (This is the first time Trump and a woman ever co-signed a document that wasn't an NDA.)

+ "Melania grants few interviews and declined to speak for this article, but during the campaign she told The Washington Post that she and her husband are 'very independent,' adding, 'We give ourselves and each other space.'" Inside Melania Trump's complicated White House life: Separate schedules, different priorities.


Bottom of the News

Everyone loves a good piece of experiential journalism. But Maria Konnikova's experience has been going a little too well. So well, in fact, that her book is being delayed. Konnikova decided to learn to play poker in order to write a book on the topic. Then she started winning. Deadspin: Writer Picks Up Poker For Book Stunt, Wins So Much Money That The Book Is On Hold. Maria's stories have been linked to from NextDraft many times over the years. Whenever she writes something, I'm all in.

+ Dr. Dre's legal battle with gynecologist Dr. Drai comes to an end. (If this and Korean peace can be attained in the same era, anything is possible.)

+ "According to the Hindustan Times, this is the third "wild animal-related selfie death" in the Indian state of Odisha in the past year. The other two incidents involved wild elephants."