May 17th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

A special day for the Special Counsel, how Boomers broke America, and Haspel has been confirmed.

If your eyes feel dry, it’s because you haven’t blinked for a year… There’s The Donald. Bobby Three Sticks. Flynn. Manafort. Coffee Boy Papadopoulos. Comey. McCabe. Rick Gates. Nunes. Schiff. Stormy. Rudy. Trump’s lawyers. Trump’s lawyers’ lawyers. Junior. Javanka. Sessions. Rosenstein. Vlad. Cohen. Avenatti. The participants are all household names. Even those who cover them are famous. You know all the characters. You’ve followed all the twists and turns. You’ve been locked into this soap opera like no other story in history. And we’ve just reached the one year mark (although it feels like at least a decade in news years). Robert Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017. After endless intrigue, several raids, five guilty pleas, seventeen indictments, and a hell of a lot of Tweets featuring the all-capped phrase WITCH HUNT!, here’s a look back at a few of the pivotal moments in Mueller’s Trump investigation. (Although, given the nonstop and overwhelming coverage of the investigation, it often felt like they were all pivotal.)

+ “Bigger Than Watergate!” The president marked the one year anniversary in the most appropriate way possible. With a series of Tweets based on information he gleaned from Fox and Friends.

+ “Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago … became the special counsel investigation. But at the time, a small group of FBI officials knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane.” The NYT with a look back at the roots of the investigation: Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation.

+ Meanwhile, neither the investigation, nor the related reporting, are showing any signs of slowing down. From Buzzfeed: The Definitive Story Of How Trump’s Team Worked The Trump Moscow Deal During The Campaign. “On the day of the third Republican presidential debate, Trump personally signed the letter of intent.”

+ Ronan Farrow on the leak of Michael Cohen’s financial records: “The official, worried that the information was being withheld from law enforcement, released the remaining documents.”

+ And what can we expect from Season 2 of this hurricane? Let’s kick it off with this headline from the NYT: Show Starring Avenatti and Scaramucci Is Being Pitched to Television Executives. (I probably should have said this a year ago, but please, don’t blame the messenger…)



“There is a theme that threads through and ties together all the strands: many of the most talented, driven Americans used what makes America great–the First Amendment, due process, financial and legal ingenuity, free markets and free trade, meritocracy, even democracy itself–to chase the American Dream. And they won it, for themselves. Then, in a way unprecedented in history, they were able to consolidate their winnings, outsmart and co-opt the forces that might have reined them in, and pull up the ladder so more could not share in their success or challenge their primacy.” Steven Brill: How Baby Boomers Broke America. (And then my generation said, “My old man is a television repairman, he’s got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it…”)


Second Thought Provoking

“The more he has embraced the North Korean summit as a measure of his Presidency, the more Pyongyang stands to gain by threatening to scuttle it.” The New Yorker’s Evsan Osnos: North Korea’s Second Thoughts on the Summit with Donald Trump.


Thirteen Reasons Why

“About 1,360 Palestinians were shot over the course of about eight hours Monday, the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said. All the dead were shot on the Palestinian side of the fence, and the border fence, though damaged, was never breached.” WaPo: Israel’s use of fatal fire in Gaza: Excessive force or justified mob control?

+ “The cacophony that accompanies every upsurge in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can make it seem impossible for outsiders to sort out the facts. Recent events in Gaza are no exception. The shrillest voices on each side are already offering their own mutually exclusive narratives that acknowledge some realities while scrupulously avoiding others.” An interesting look at 13 inconvenient truths about what has been happening in Gaza.


Ready Haspel

At one point, the negative buzz related to her involvement in the CIA’s tortured past led her to offer to withdraw from the process. But in the end, “the Senate voted 54-45 Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel to lead the Central Intelligence Agency — once sworn in, she would become the first woman to hold the post.”


Point of No Returns

“He walked through the store, picking up the same items he had purchased previously – dishwasher detergent, Oral-B refills, and a pair of girl’s jeggings – and put them in a shopping bag. He brought them to the register, returned the items using his receipt, and received $39.57 in cash. Lawson had committed what is known as ‘return fraud’ – pretending to return items that you didn’t buy.” And now, Curtis Lawson faces 12 years in prison. The Guardian on how corporations are successfully pushing state prosecutors to increase shoplifting charges to felonies.


Lionel’s Train of Thought

Many of the world’s top athletes have “crafted personalities and, in most cases, messages they were interested in conveying. They spoke to us. Lionel Messi, whose global presence rivals any athlete’s, does not. His soundtrack, such as it is, comes from a mixture of screams and shouts, gasps and gulps, all of which emanate not from him but rather from the millions upon millions who are mesmerized by the sweet magic pouring from his feet like cake batter. This is how Messi has chosen to confront his fame. He is the quietest superstar.” (I wonder if he’d consider running for office…) Sam Borden in ESPN the Mag: Stay Messi, My Friend.


Island Dropping

“Henderson Island is a tiny, uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,000 miles from major population centers. Though it is half the size of Manhattan, more than 19 tons of trash litter its white, sandy beaches.” An interactive piece from NatGeo: What happens to the plastic we throw out?

+ There was a lot of interest and reactions from yesterday’s lead story on plastics. It’s here if you missed it: Plastic Rap.”


Mom Genes

“In 2017, births were down 2 percent from 2016 and were at their lowest in 30 years. In fact, the only American women who are consistently having more babies than before are those over 40.” The Atlantic: The Rise of Older Mothers.


Bottom of the News

“The core concerns that troubled us about our participation in online communities and services in 1996 are basically identical in 2018.” The Verge looks back at an old article to find that the internet’s problems haven’t changed in 22 years.

+ 14 Secrets of Costco Employees.

+ Dallas high school basketball star was actually a 25-year-old man.

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