July 13th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

12 more witches indicted, Trump's tea party, and top notch Weekend Whats and Feel Good Friday entries.

The witch hunt has led to another dozen indictments: “Twelve Russian intelligence officers were indicted on charges they hacked into Democratic email accounts during the 2016 U.S. presidential election and released stolen information in the months before Americans headed to the polls … The indictment — which comes days before President Donald Trump holds a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin — was the clearest allegation yet of Russian efforts to meddle in American politics.”

+ Rod Rosenstein: “It is important for us to avoid thinking politically as Republicans or Democrats and instead to think patriotically as Americans. Our response must not depend on who was victimized.” Meanwhile, President Trump signals that he’ll give Vlad a(nother) pass. “I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee I did it, I did it, you got me. There won’t be a Perry Mason here — I don’t think. But you never know what happens, but I will absolutely firmly ask the question, and hopefully we’ll have a very good relationship with Russia.” Here’s the latest from CNN.

+ Here’s a weird coincidence. “July 27, 2016, Trump: ‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.’ Indictment: That evening, Russian operatives targeted Clinton campaign emails ‘for the first time.'” If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the Russians, it’s that they’re listening.


Isn’t That Special

Upon arriving in the UK, President Trump gave an interview in which he blasted Theresa May for wrecking Brexit. Following their meetings, he changed his tone dramatically and called the report of the interview “fake news.” (Editor’s note: There’s a recording.) But don’t worry, Trump wrapped things up by calling the relationship between the two allies, “the highest level of special.” (Breaking News: America made peace with the UK.)

+ Theresa May Day was followed by tea with the queen, and a whole lot of protests. Here’s the latest from the BBC.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: You’ve probably read or heard something about Hannah Gadsby’s one woman comedy show called Nanette. The rave reviews are all accurate and the content is excellent and important. But I’ll focus on a slightly different angle. Every weekday you see me here trying to mix a little comedy and a little of myself with a daily overview of what I think is important or worthwhile in the news. I suppose that’s my genre. And no one has done that genre any better than Hannah Gadsby. It’s true that this special provides an important voice about gender, sexuality, perceptions and humanity in general. But it’s also a virtuosic performance that seamlessly blends light comedy with hard hitting commentary. Hannah, if you’re reading this, hat tip. The rest of you, go watch Nanette.

+ What to Doc: This week I’ve been vacationing with my 12 year-old son and two of his buddies. All of them are fans of Imagine Dragons, so I convinced them to put down the Fortnite and watch Dan Reynold’s HBO documentary in which the lead singer takes on a new mission to explore how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members. I’m really gla(a)d I did. It’s a moving, intriguing and boldly honest documentary. Check out Believer on HBO. (Yes, the world is NATO fiascos, border cruelty, and partisan rage. But the world is also Hannah Gadsby and Dan Reynolds. So have a good weekend.)


Japan Flooding

“Japan’s National Police Agency announced at least 200 people had died, and dozens were still missing, in the worst weather-related disaster to hit Japan in more than 30 years.” While we’ve been celebrating the Thai cave rescue, Japan has been suffering a deadly flood. Here is a collection of a photos from the scene in Kurashiki.


Audio … Visual

“It was a whirlwind government handoff as improvised and clandestine as their separation. Jimena was bundled out of a shelter in Phoenix on Thursday evening, loaded onto an airplane at supper time and flown three hours to Houston, where she kept herself awake all night in a passenger lounge in Terminal A with crayons and coloring books. Meanwhile her mother, Cindy Madrid, fresh out of a detention facility in south Texas, got word about the government’s plans too late to catch a flight, and barreled with her lawyer six hours down the highway to reach the little girl.” Watch the 6-year-old Salvadoran girl heard on a secret recording out of a border patrol detention facility finally being reunited with her mom. (This story is from ProPublica, the outlet that released the audio in the first place. Real news. Real results.)

+ “The main obstacle to reuniting families has been the fact that, when the government initially separated them, there was no plan for keeping track of where the parents or children ended up.” Where the media left off, activists took over. Jonathan Blitzer on the activist effort to find the children that the government took from their parents.

+ AP: “Detaining immigrant children has morphed into a surging industry in the US that now reaps $1 billion annually — a tenfold increase over the past decade.”


Mouse Trap

The “‘sunk cost fallacy,’ as economists call it, is one of many ways that humans allow emotions to affect their choices, sometimes to their own detriment. But the tendency to factor past investments into decision-making is apparently not limited to Homo sapiens.” From the The NYT: Mice Don’t Know When to Let It Go, Either. (Congratulations, everyone. Our decision-making skills have reached the level of a rodent with a tiny head.)


Ag Factor

“That this apparatus was built in just eight years, by a man with little in the way of a visible political profile, is a testament to what a few million dollars can do in our current American ideological landscape. And while Lucas may seem like an unlikely political figure, his ‘all-American’ rise, and the obstacles that defined it, go a long way toward explaining the ardor and anger fueling his cause.” Buzzfeed with a really interesting look at the man — and propaganda machine — behind Trump’s latest pardon. “How Forrest Lucas — the little-known millionaire whose company name is plastered on the home stadium of the Indianapolis Colts — wields power, propaganda, and even Sharon Stone to protect Big Agriculture.”


Tired of all the Spinning

Vice takes you Inside the World of Competitive Sign-Spinning. “There’s a lot more to this than what you see on the corner. A lot of our guys make highlight videos, they’re all on social media and challenge each other back and forth. I’m 35, and I still challenge people, because it’s a matter of pride for us. If we’re gonna be out there, we wanna be the best advertising force in the world. When you see someone out there with a sign and you think, ‘Man, I would hate to have that job,’ we’re doing everything we can to avoid looking like those kind of people.” (I read the article. I still wouldn’t want the job. But now I know I’m also unqualified for it.)


Cohen Heads

“I did NOT say I was a War Vet. I was in the service – not military, but United Parcel and I only fought for my country once – when I shot a Mexican who came onto my property.” Sarah Palin (and others) are voicing their displeasure at being duped by Sacha Baron Cohen for his new Showtime series. And that’s pretty much what he was hoping they’d do.


Feel Good Friday

The Atlantic asks: What If the Teen City Council Is Better Than the Grownup One? (Hint: They are.)

+ “James was walking past me, so I asked him for spare change. He stopped and seemed like a genuine, nice guy. We chatted for a while and then he said he had a company and could offer me a job – I couldn’t believe it.”

+ Winnipeg police officer gets a lift from a citizen, nabs their suspect. (By the time you’ve read this, someone in the Bay Area will have launched Uber for police chases.)

+ Abandoned as baby in a cardboard box, man meets biological father after 31 years. He was living 20 minutes away. (The only way this story could be any better would if the cardboard box got recycled…)

+ Unlike most millennials, Norway’s are rich. (I also heard some of the males don’t have beards!)

+ Laundry Is Reducing America’s Carbon Footprint. (Folding, however, still sucks.)

+ Buzzfeed: 25 Everyday Heroes We Could All Learn From.

+ If all that didn’t make you feel good, there’s this: You can make ice cream in a plastic bag.

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