September 11th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Buying our way out of anxiety, remembering 9-11, and the Beatles circle of love.

Fidget spinners and weighted blankets have “helped give rise to the growing anxiety economy, composed of adult coloring books, aromatherapy vapes, essential oils, and other products designed to calm us down. And though these items often have little, if any, scientific data supporting whether they really ‘work,’ their explosive popularity sends a clear message: Americans are anxious as hell, and we’re trying to buy our way out of the problem.” In Vox, Rebecca Jennings takes a look at the rise of anxiety consumerism. The first question is whether these products really work. The second question is whether they continue working after you get your credit card bill.


Flo Charting

“This storm is a monster. It’s an extremely dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane … the forecast shows Florence stalling over North Carolina, bringing days and days of rain.” So said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper as the southeast prepares for Hurricane Florence. Here’s the latest on the storm from CNN.


Nine-Eleven at Seventeen

“We grieve together for every mother and father, sister and brother, son and daughter, who was stolen from us at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and here in this Pennsylvania field. We honor their sacrifice by pledging to never flinch in the face of evil and to do whatever it takes to keep America safe.” On the anniversary of 9/11, President Trump pays tribute to 9/11 ‘true heroes’ in Pennsylvania memorial visit. (In addition to shock, anger, and sorrow, the most powerful feeling I remember emerging during the hours and days following the attack was one of unity.)

+ The internet is getting overly upset about the president’s double fist-bump upon his arrival in Shanksville. But, (of course) there is the sad truth of Trump’s long history of lying about 9/11 and exploiting it for personal gain.

+ “I went to war to avenge my brother’s death. But the only person I truly wanted to kill died 17 years ago.” Joe Quinn in the NYT on the real lesson of Sept. 11.

+ Digg has a great list of essential reads on the anniversary Of 9/11. Seventeen years later, and the scene that seemed unimaginable to me on that terrible morning still seems somehow unimaginable.


Working For A Living Hell

“Unemployment is down, the Dow Jones industrial average is north of 25,000 and millions of jobs are going unfilled. But for people like Vanessa, the question is not, Can I land a job? (The answer is almost certainly, Yes, you can.) Instead the question is, What kinds of jobs are available to people without much education? By and large, the answer is: jobs that do not pay enough to live on.” Matthew Desmond in the NYT Mag: Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not.

+ “The sector creating jobs the fastest under Trump has been at the forefront of employment growth for the past several decades: the service industry.” Quartz: Jobs at bars and coffee shops are thriving in the Trump economy.

+ While America’s increasing economic divide is often positioned as an urban v rural issue, the truth is that there is a dramatic difference between cities. Frontline and ProPublica: Left Behind America. (Debuting tonight on PBS and via stream…)

+ The Atlantic: Why Does the School Day End Two Hours Before the Workday? (Why does it end before bedtime?)


High Fidel-ity

“The suspicion that Russia is likely behind the alleged attacks is backed up by evidence from communications intercepts, known in the spy world as signals intelligence, amassed during a lengthy and ongoing investigation involving the FBI, the CIA and other U.S. agencies. The officials declined to elaborate on the nature of the intelligence. The evidence is not yet conclusive enough, however, for the U.S. to formally assign blame to Moscow.” American intel agencies are somewhat certain the Russia had something do with the weird microwave/sonic attacks that harmed US officials in Cuba. That’s about all they’re certain about as they continue to race to reverse engineer what happened.


Serve and Folly

People are still talking about the women’s final at the US Open. And people are still writing think-pieces. Let’s look at the issue through the lenses of two legends of the sport. First, Billie Jean King in WaPo: “The ceiling that women of color face on their path to leadership never felt more impenetrable than it did at the women’s U.S. Open final on Saturday. And Martina Navratilova: What Serena Got Wrong. “Ms. Williams was absolutely marvelous toward Ms. Osaka after the match. A true champion at her best. But during the match — well, enough said.” (Martina always did have a nice backhand…)

+ Let’s not lose sight of the story that took place on the other side of the net. Over the course of two matches, Naomi Osaka saved 22 consecutive break points. In a sport that depends so much on one’s psychological strength, Osaka was a total rock. As Serena battled the umpire and chaos and boos filled the Arthur Ashe stadium, Osaka just kept ripping. Beneath the cultural story that blew the internet wide open, there was a sports story that should blow your mind.


Held Together With Zuck Tape

“To avoid further crises, he will have to embrace the fact that he’s now a protector of the peace, not a disrupter of it. Facebook’s colossal power of persuasion has delivered fortune but also peril. Like it or not, Zuckerberg is a gatekeeper. The era when Facebook could learn by doing, and fix the mistakes later, is over. The costs are too high, and idealism is not a defense against negligence.” The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos: Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?


Les, Miserables

“He said that he had a terrible problem and that he had done the same thing with many other women. That he basically couldn’t control himself when alone with a woman.” As Les Moonves steps down from CBS, some of the details we’re learning about his behavior are remarkable.


Fist Fight

“‘For a few seconds, you honestly could have heard a frog piss on cotton. There’s something awful about hearing fifty thousand people go silent, like being in the eye of a hurricane.’ The shunning that followed the silence was even more difficult to bear.” As we debate the Colin Kaepernick movement, Tik Root takes a look back at The Man Who Raised a Fist, 50 Years Later.


Bottom of the News

Are there still Beatles stories left to tell? Uh, I guess so. GQ: The Untold Stories of Paul McCartney. “‘What it was,’ he explains after I have prompted him, ‘was over at John’s house, and it was just a group of us. And instead of just getting roaring drunk and partying—I don’t even know if we were staying over or anything—we were all just in these chairs, and the lights were out, and somebody started masturbating, so we all did.'” (The Fab Four or the Grab Four, amiright?) I’m guessing this was the soundtrack: Hard Days Night, We Can Work It Out, Twist and Shout, Love Me Do, With a Little Help From My Friends, Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey, Norwegian Wood, and of course, Come Together.

+ Magazines are fighting for survival. Their covers are more popular than ever.

+ OK, enough pretending that all this stuff is the news we care about. Let’s get back to Nicki v Cardi.

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