August 20th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Marijuana's momentum, the doctor behind the Vitamin D rage, and a Crazy Rich Box Office Weekend.

It took a perfect American mix of deep cynicism, wanton hypocrisy, greedy lobbying, chronic stupidity, and outright cruelty to systematically block the research into the medicinal use of Marijuana-derived cannabidiols, while happily shoveling vials of much more addictive and dangerous drugs out the drive-through windows of pharmacies that seem to spring up like, well, weeds. Want to try a harmless, highless drug that might ease your pain or seizures? No can do, it’s part of an imaginary stigma we place on a demonized plant. Want to try a drug that we fully know can addict and ultimately kill you? Here’s your prescription. Sell a joint, go to jail. Sell the fentanyl, make billions. Maybe it’s the evidence of the potential good and dearth of ill that has been caused to those who have experimented with the drug. Maybe it’s a sudden awareness of the waste of resources involved in jailing people for a behavior two-thirds of Americans think should be legal. Maybe it’s the fact that the market is already moving towards these products and the big players don’t want to be left without two nickel bags to rub together. Maybe the news is just so crazy these days that everyone needs to take a hit and chill (I’m living proof that browser tabs are the gateway drug). Whatever it is, a flip has been switched. Momentum has turned. CBD-Day is approaching. Dope is suddenly, for lack of a better word, dope. From Newsweek, this is how many of those opposed learned to love Marijuana.

+ While medical marijuana has been a long time coming, is recreational too much too soon? The Atlantic on the Americans reporting near-constant cannabis use: America’s Invisible Pot Addicts. (They may be invisible, but in the Bay Area, you can sure smell them…)

+ “Mexican marijuana became an almost worthless product. They’ve basically stopped growing the shit: Once-vast fields in Durango now lie fallow. More good news, right?” When you slowly roll out something as damaging as the war on drugs, reeling it back in is not going to be a smooth process. Once America tilted towards legalizing marijuana, El Chapo knew that the market was dead on the vine. But the use of opiates in America was growing wildly. We’re in the middle of a perfect storm of bad policies, bad planning, bad luck, and yes, bad hombres. I’ve linked to this one before. The excellent Don Winslow: The heroin epidemic was caused by the legalization of marijuana.

+ “Well-to-do women have moved from popping prescription painkillers to shooting up street drugs. And they’re dying because of it in staggering, skyrocketing numbers.” Marie Claire: How Heroin Came for Middle-Class Moms.


D Money

Dr. Michael Holick’s “fixation is so intense that it extends to the dinosaurs. What if the real problem with that asteroid 65 million years ago wasn’t a lack of food, but the weak bones that follow a lack of sunlight? ‘I sometimes wonder,’ Dr. Holick has written, ‘did the dinosaurs die of rickets and osteomalacia?'” Liz Szabo in the NYT: The doctor most responsible for creating a billion-dollar juggernaut has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the vitamin D industry: Vitamin D, the Sunshine Supplement, Has Shadowy Money Behind It.


Bomb Voyage

“The weapon that left dozens of children dead on August 9 was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US defense contractors.
The bomb is very similar to the one that wreaked devastation in an attack on a funeral hall in Yemen in October 2016 in which 155 people were killed and hundreds more wounded … In March of that year, a strike on a Yemeni market — this time reportedly by a US-supplied precision-guided MK 84 bomb — killed 97 people.” CNN: Bomb that killed 40 children in Yemen was supplied by the US.


Revoke and Provoke

The fall-out from President Trump’s decision to revoke John Brennan’s security clearance continues to pile up as a “letter, signed by 177 former national security officials appointed by both Republicans and Democrats, accused Trump of acting against Brennan because Brennan had criticized him … Monday’s letter followed a similar missive that was released last week by senior figures including six former directors and five former deputy directors of central intelligence and a former director of national intelligence.” Tweets ensued. From The Guardian: Trump dares ‘worst CIA director’ Brennan to sue as security row deepens. (Brennan didn’t threaten to “sue” anyone.)

+ AP: Prosecutors preparing charges against Michael Cohen.

+ And the NYT article behind the latest weekend tweet/shit-storm: White House Counsel, Don McGahn, Has Cooperated Extensively in Mueller Inquiry.



“Just 48 Iraqis have been admitted to the United States this fiscal year through a special refugee program meant for people who worked for the U.S. government or American contractors, news media or non-governmental groups … More than 3,000 came last year and about 5,100 in 2016.” These numbers have people very worried. But probably not the people you’d imagine. Reuters: Pentagon raises alarm about sharp drop in Iraqi refugees coming to US.


Crazy Rich Box Office

Since the internet was blanketed with think-pieces and positive reviews, I’m not sure it was that much of a surprise that Crazy Rich Asians dominated the weekend box office. I saw and enjoyed it. My take: Crazy Rich Asians success doesn’t show us that audiences are suddenly open to movies about other cultures. It shows us that Hollywood producers have been wrong about audiences all along.


Et Too?

“In the months that followed her revelations about Mr. Weinstein last October, Ms. Argento quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to her own accuser: Jimmy Bennett, a young actor and rock musician who said she had sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room years earlier.” NYT: Asia Argento, a MeToo Leader, Made a Deal With Her Own Accuser.


Market Bubble

“It’s the latest foray into more-healthful offerings for the food and beverage giant, which has shifted from soft drinks toward products such as juices, hummus and oatmeal.” NPR: PepsiCo Breaks Out The Bubbly With $3.2 Billion Deal For SodaStream. (It could be a bad sign that Millennials just toasted the deal by cracking open a can of LaCroix.)

+ An unlikely fable, in which Birkenstocks become cool and double sales overnight.


Lens Times

Here’s the latest thing we’re doing to ruin the environment: “Every year, Americans flush 2.6 to 2.9 billion contact lenses down the drain.”

+ This woman lost her contact lens. Doctors found it in her eyelid 28 years later. (At least someone cares about the environment…)


Bottom of the News

What’s the one thing more unctuous than the experience of purchasing a mattress at a store? Dealing with the no holds barred battle to sell you one online. FastCo: The $29 billion battle to own how America sleeps is heating up.

+ 1968 Created The Anti-Sport Sport: Ultimate.

+ Melania appeared at a cyberbullying prevention summit where she explained that social media “can be used in many positive ways, but can also be destructive and harmful when used incorrectly.” I’d have a lot to say about this, but I’m determined Be Best.

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