September 24th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The most powerful words in politics, lightning Rod strikes again, and the story of the world's best peeler.

The phrase has been used as a punchline. But in this era, That’s What She Said could be the most powerful four words in politics. Evidence of that reality hit during a Kavalanche of news over the weekend when The New Yorker reported on a new allegation of sexual misconduct, this one from Brett Kavanaugh’s college years.

+ Diane Feinstein to Chuck Grassley: “I am writing to request an immediate postponement of any further proceedings related to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.”

+ WaPo: Can Kavanaugh survive? 10 questions after a second woman accuses him of sexual misconduct.

+ President Trump is standing by Kavanaugh and called the accusations “totally political.” Kavanaugh penned a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in which he adamantly denied the allegations and re-asserted his plans to continue on the path towards the court: “The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed.” Here’s the latest from CNN.


Lightning Rod

“On Monday morning, White House officials said Rosenstein had offered to resign to quell the controversy, while Justice Department officials said he had no intention of resigning but was heading to the White House with the expectation he would be fired.” Confused by that line from WaPo? Well, don’t worry. For now, it’s just another manic Monday in the news cycle that never stops. Will Rod Rosenstein keep his job? And if he doesn’t, then that leads us to the bigger question: What about Bob? The answers to these questions are on hold until Thursday when Trump and Rosenstein will meet at the White House. (Thursday is also the day that Christine Blasey Ford is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Coincidence?)

+ Here’s the latest on the quickly changing story. (I don’t know if Rosenstein will quit. But you can be sure there will some news curators who will…)


Gender Blender

“Americans are deeply divided in how they view accusations of sexual assault, sexual harassment and other kinds of sexual misconduct. They’re divided on broader issues about gender and the role of women in American society. But, with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week and new allegations coming out against Kavanaugh on Sunday, it’s worth noting that the biggest divide is not between men and women on these issues, but between Democrats and Republicans.” FiveThirtyEight: The Biggest Divides On The Kavanaugh Allegations Are By Party — Not Gender.



“James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, told me, ‘We try not to spy on Americans. It’s not in our charter.’ He emphasized that, although he and other intelligence officials produced—and shared with Trump—a postelection report confirming an extensive cyberattack by Russia, the assessment did not attempt to gauge how this foreign meddling had affected American voters. Speaking for himself, however, he told me that ‘it stretches credulity to think the Russians didn’t turn the election.'” The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer with an interesting look at an issue Americans will be arguing about for years: How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump.


Get a Grip

We’re only at the halfway point of this edition, and we’ve already covered huge, divisive stories that could alter the American landscape for decades. So let’s take a break and focus on the indisputable truth of the greatest peeler that ever was, the Oxo Good Grips Swivel. FastCo: The untold story of the vegetable peeler that changed the world.

+ While we’re on the topic of peels, there’s this: $18 Million Worth of Cocaine Found in Bananas Donated to Texas Prison.


Mosquito, Toast

“This is the first time we’ve shown that we can, in principle, manipulate the fate of an entire species.” Wired on the breakthrough study that could lead us towards ending malaria with Crispr-edited mosquitoes. “This concept of a ‘gene drive’ was decades-old, but no one had successfully concocted one in a lab, let alone applied it to a global public health scourge. Fifteen years and $100 million dollars later, the scientists from Imperial College have finally succeeded.”


Electric Walk

“In February, a trainer who had been scooting along the floor at Thomas’s feet, helping her move her legs and place her feet as she used a walker, stopped and stood up. ‘What are you doing?’ Thomas asked, alarmed. ‘You’re doing it,’ the trainer, Rebekah Morton, told her. ‘You don’t need me.’ Thomas hesitated, and then took a step on her own. Then another.” Amazing story from WaPo: Paralyzed people are beginning to walk with a new kind of therapy. “Thomas, now 23, is one of several people with spinal cord injuries who are standing, taking steps and — in her case — walking without assistance, thanks to an experimental combination therapy. In a research study at the University of Louisville, Thomas and three others had a device surgically implanted on their spinal cords to stimulate electrical activity, accompanied by months of daily physical therapy.”


Earth Tones

Need to escape the news (or your job, or your life) for a few minutes? Then put on a pair of headphones and Listen to the World, courtesy of NYT Magazine. “The sound of the earth cracking in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The deafening roar of Iceland’s Dettifoss waterfall. The relaxing quake of wind through aspens in Utah. What if we chose where to travel based on sound?” (I did that recently when I went to NYC to see Springsteen on Broadway!)

+ Speaking of sounds, SiriusXM is acquiring Pandora (which is still around and still quite popular) for $3.5 billion.

+ Pitchfork: How Auto-Tune Revolutionized the Sound of Popular Music.



“As Weight Watchers becomes WW, I believe we will continue to inspire people not only to eat well, but to move more, connect with others and continue to experience the joys of a healthy life.” Weight Watchers just changed its name to WW. (Wouldn’t it have set a better example if they stopped after having one W?)


Bottom of the News

“It has been a spectacular rise for a vegetable that was previously best known in the US for being ignored on plates of crudités. If you weren’t paying attention, cauliflower seemed to rise out of nowhere — you weren’t eating it, and then you were. But to the people who track these things, both chefs and trend forecasters, the rise of cauliflower is a perfect illustration of how food trends evolve.” How cauliflower took over your pizza, your kitchen, and the world. (My theory is that cauliflower got more popular as Americans became increasingly desperate to encounter anything resembling a brain.)

+ The Atlantic: When Televisions Were Radioactive. (For the record, I was aware of the risk and took it anyway…)

+ A headline for our age: Prosecutors seek to prevent El Chapo’s attorneys from using Trump’s remark that ‘flippers’ should be illegal.

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