September 21st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Cleveland doesn't lose, Cohen spills, Rosenstein wanted to record Trump, Weekend Whats, and Feel Good Friday.

At the fourteen minute mark of the first episode of this year’s edition of HBO’s Hard Knocks, Cleveland Browns’ Coach Hue Jackson spoke to an auditorium of his players” “Think championship guys, not mediocrity. Think championship. Why not? Why not the Cleveland Browns?” Even a casual NFL observer could answer that question by mentioning this date: December 24, 2016. That was the last time the Browns won a game. Going 634 days without a win is hardly laying the groundwork for a championship season. But on the 635th day, the Browns new quarterback Baker Mayfield came into the game with the team down 14-0, and led the Browns to a come from behind victory that was perfectly captured by this Deadspin headline: Browns … Win? (Full disclosure: They were playing the Jets.) Is a championship in the making? I don’t think anyone is ready to go Full Hue Jackson on that prediction. But for, now who cares? The Browns finally won a game. Every now and then we all have to just chill out and be happy about something. Why not the Cleveland Browns?


Self-Control Alt Delete

“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.” And with that, President Trump threw off his restraints and attacked Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser by name amid negotiations for hearing. (In fairness, few people have had more direct interaction with sexual assault victims than Donald Trump)

+ “What’s surfacing in these comments is something that has, up until now, mostly been dodged, or left unspoken: that it has traditionally been accepted for men to sexually assault women, particularly at parties, particularly when they’re young. But the fact that this behavior has been tacitly understood as permissible does not mean that people—even while young, even while drunk at parties—have understood it to be O.K.” The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino on the notion that sexual assault isn’t a big deal.

+ Meanwhile, the negotiations over when hearings will happen are ongoing. As is political maneuvering. Here’s the latest from CNN.


Weekend Whats

What to Pop: Last night, my wife and I attended our first Pop-Up Magazine, a night of storytelling, music, video, and memorable moments. I had heard these shows were great. And my expectations were exceeded. If you’re in SF, DC, Portland, LA, Toronto, or Chicago, don’t miss out on the Fall issue of Pop-Up Magazine.

+ What to Concert: Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear consists of Madisen Ward and Ruth Ward. They are a modern soulful/folk music duo from Independence, Mo. Oh, and Ruth is Madisen’s mom. So awesome. I recently saw the mom and son (and their band) open up for The Record Company at the Fillmore in SF. It was one of the best all around shows I’ve seen in a long time. The Record Company’s Chris Voss has ridiculous command over anything with strings. If you have a chance to see this tour, do it.

+ What to Book: Time travel, love, humor, and a difficult father-son relationship. Elan Mastai’s debut novel All Our Wrong Todays has all the makings for a page turner. And it is one.


Cohen Spurs

According to ABC News, Michael Cohen spoke to the Mueller team for hours. “The special counsel’s questioning of Cohen … has focused primarily on all aspects of Trump’s dealings with Russia — including financial and business dealings and the investigation into alleged collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign and its surrogates to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election … Investigators were also interested in knowing, the sources say, whether Trump or any of his associates discussed the possibility of a pardon with Cohen.” (Sounds like they’re covering a lot of ground.)

+ Emily Jane Fox in Vanity Fair: “Cohen, as people close to him have told me, knows he is going to prison, and has been taking necessary steps to prepare for that eventuality. But in the meantime, he’s coming clean.”

+ Breaking news from the NYT: Rosenstein Suggested He Secretly Record Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment. (I’m guessing the leaking of this story is highly related to the story above it. These are the calm days of the battle over Trump’s future. Sidenote: Everyone in DC has discussed the 25th Amendment.)

+ The Guardian: Russia’s secret plan to help Julian Assange escape from UK.


The Giving Me

Harvard Business Review on the effort by companies to get more and more of your private data — and your willingness to share it, (see yesterday’s Alexa announcement for examples). Uninformed Consent: “Let’s be frank: People are bad at making decisions about their private data. They misunderstand both costs and benefits. Moreover, natural human biases interfere with their judgment. And whether by design or accident, major platform companies and data aggregators have structured their products and services to exploit those biases, often in subtle ways.” (Editor’s note: It wasn’t “by accident.”)


Annual Checkup

“In late August, a team of New York Times journalists visited Punta Santiago,
a small town in southeast Puerto Rico near where Hurricane Maria made landfall … A year later, in house after house, it looks like the hurricane just hit.” NYT on Puerto Rico’s Ruins.

+ The Atlantic: The Situation in Puerto Rico Is Untenable.


Teen Wolf

“Many of the teens I talked to said that the allegations against Kavanaugh, if true, should disqualify him, especially given that he has not apologized for his alleged actions but rather denied them. ‘It’s the people who haven’t changed that you have to worry about.'” The Atlantic with an interesting look at what teens think of the Kavanaugh accusations.


Ice Dream

“If towing icebergs to hot, water-stressed regions sounds totally crazy to you, then consider this: the volume of water that breaks off Antarctica as icebergs each year is greater than the total global consumption of freshwater. And that stat doesn’t even include Arctic ice. This is pure freshwater, effectively wasted as it melts into the sea and contributes to rising sea levels. Does it sound less crazy now?” BBC: The Outrageous Plan to Haul Icebergs to Africa.


Dynastic Duo

“I think where the NBA’s gone right is the leadership works closely with the players, whereas the NFL has conjured up ways to create this false patriotism and pandered to their fan base.” Steve Kerr talks basketball with his old coach, Phil Jackson. California Sunday Magazine: The Road to Dynasty.


Feel Good Friday

“The rise of postcards at the turn of the century enabled Pennsylvanian Harry Whittier Frees to build a career out of photographing cute animals donning hats and britches.” The Cat Meme Photographer from a Century Ago.

+ “On this undulating strip of land, man and wife — neither from farming backgrounds — made a life as orchardists. It was here they unearthed what became, for him at least, an obsession: reinventing the apple, in miniature. The little apples, as he calls them, the term of endearment embedded … To observe him here is to be struck by the sense of a tiny god in his own beappled Garden of Eden, tending to creation. It’s exactly the kind of grandiose impression he doesn’t want conveyed. He rejects anything that starts to sound like a romanticised account of his life’s work. But it’s undeniable.” In a world gripped by ‘go big or get out’, he had a bold idea. Go small.

+ Adjusting to America: What happened to the migrant girl whose cries shook the country.

+ Georgetown students help free prisoner wrongfully convicted of murder.

+ Iowa man has handed out Hershey chocolate bars every week for 10 years.

+ The New York Public Library is loaning out ties and handbags for job interviews.

+ Meet Feng E, an 11-Year-Old Taiwanese Ukelele Prodigy.

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