Monday, May 14th, 2018


Aiding A Betting

Today, the Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated decision on the future of sportsbooks, capping a six year case that pitted the state of New Jersey against the NCAA and every major professional sports league. If you took Jersey and the over, you won. By a 6-3 margin, the court opened the doors for states to legalize sports gambling: "Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own." This is good news for states that sought another vice-related revenue stream and bad news for anyone who's never bet on sports but thinks it sounds like it could be a good idea now that's it's legal. It's also a potential job killer for underworld loansharks, bagmen, and fixers. (At least they still have politics.)


Pot Sticker

In many states, marijuana is already legal. But that hasn't stopped police from arresting plenty of people in other states for minor marijuana-related offenses. Can you guess which people are finding themselves on the short end of the sticky icky? If you can't, than you haven't been paying much attention over the past couple hundred years. From the NYT: Surest Way to Face Marijuana Charges in New York: Be Black or Hispanic.


Capital Offense

"The embassy's controversial opening comes as Israel marks its creation 70 years ago – an event that Palestinians refer to as Nakba – Catastrophe – because that development also turned more than 700,000 Palestinians into refugees." NPR: 52 Palestinian Protesters Killed, Gaza Officials Say, As U.S. Opens Jerusalem Embassy. Here's the latest, including world reactions, from CNN and BBC.

+ In a rare public address, Jared Kushner (whose portfolio of responsibilities still includes Middle East Peace), called for the peace process to continue as violence raged along the border. "As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution."

+ Trump's embassy move has triggered deadly protests. These maps explain why.


Nuclear Power Play

"The United States has now violated its obligation; Iran, according to ten International Atomic Energy Agency reports, has not. Tehran is not likely to go back to the negotiating table under these circumstances. The credibility of the White House, the country's commitment to diplomacy as an alternative to war, the strength of America's alliances, and the mechanisms to limit nuclear proliferation have all been deeply damaged." Robin Wright in The New Yorker: Big on headlines, brash in demands, but short on long-term strategy -- The End of the Iran Deal, and Trump's New, Confrontational Foreign Policy.

+ "We have broken the agreement with Iran, but we are unable to impose a new sanctions regime in its place. Instead of making a diplomatic investment, we are shouting and barking orders." Anne Applebaum: Trump has put America in the worst of all possible worlds.


Fatty Acid Test

Artificial trans fats are "easily replaceable. You don't need to change the taste or cost or availability for great food. Only your heart will know the difference -- and that's why the call of the initiative to become trans-fat-free ... so very important." We've done a pretty good job at cutting down on them in the US. Next target: The World. From CNN: WHO calls for elimination of trans fat in foods by 2023.


Fob Mentality

"It seems like a common convenience in a digital age: a car that can be powered on and off with the push of a button, rather than the mechanical turning of a key." But like many of our technology-driven conveniences, this one has an unintended consequence. And carmakers don't seem motivated to do anything about it. From the NYT: Deadly Convenience: Keyless Cars and Their Carbon Monoxide Toll.


Diamond in the Rough

"Those nine minutes were a near miss of modern American history, between the dark aftermath of a deadly, mass political assassination and our own reality, in which most people don't think very often about June 14, 2017, the difference between everything changing, and almost nothing changing at all." Buzzfeed: How The Congressional Baseball Shooting Didn't Become The Deadliest Political Assassination In American History. ("You don't know the whole story of how close we came...")


Arm’s Length

"Because about 17 percent of pregnant women in Australia require the Anti-D injections, the blood service estimates Harrison has helped 2.4 million babies in the country." WaPo: For six decades, ‘the man with the golden arm' donated blood — and saved 2.4 million babies.


You’ve Got the Brains, I’ve Got the Sean

"Their chats begin casually, with How are yous and What's going ons. On some days, they speak multiple times, with one calling the other to inform him of the latest developments. White House staff are aware that the calls happen, thanks to the president entering a room and announcing, 'I just hung up with Hannity,' or referring to what Hannity said during their conversations, or even ringing Hannity up from his desk in their presence." NY Mag: Donald Trump and Sean Hannity Like to Talk Before Bedtime. (I can't wait to go back to a time when this shit is just funny, and not funny and horrifying...)


Bottom of the News

Over the weekend, I was really lucky to see (and record) an amazing performance of Adele's When We Were Young by Dave Grohl and his daughter Violet at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Benefit at the Fox Theater. Wow! Bonus: Grohl's mother was in the audience too. (Grohl also played an acoustic version of The Sky is a Neighborhood with Violet and her younger sister Harper.)

+ "Liam, Noah, Emma, Olivia—the Social Security Administration has released its annual list of the United States' most popular baby names and one thing is clear: American parents love vowels." (We just have a lot of vowels leftover from the first internet boom...)

+ The human feet that routinely wash ashore in the Pacific Northwest. (Somehow, it's no big deal...)