Friday, September 28th, 2018


Flake, Out?

During a strange and unprecedented twist in the Kavanaugh nomination process, a pained-looking Jeff Flake said he supported a one-week break so the FBI can investigate the charges -- but Flake also voted yes on moving the vote to the Senate floor. Even senators on the committee seemed confused as to what they were voting on and/or agreeing to. But ultimately, Jeff Flake is suggesting that he will not vote to confirm Kavanaugh without an FBI investigation, albeit one that is limited in time and scope. Lisa Murkowski later said she agreed with that plan, and the GOP senate leadership appears to be on board. The fevered debate that we've seen over the past 24 hours is going to continue for up to another week. Maybe. Here's the latest on the process.

+ After indicating he would support the nomination, Jeff Flake may have been swayed when he was confronted in an elevator by sexual assault survivors.

+ Trump responded to the last-minute changes in a weirdly measured way.

+ Bar Hopping: While it appears that Thursday's hearings only changed one mind (and that one only part of the way) on the Judiciary Committee, minds outside of the room were changed fully and dramatically. Both Kavanaugh and Lindsay Graham spoke/screamed of the judge's support from the American Bar Association. The American Bar Association is calling for a delay in the proceedings and a full investigation. Kavanaugh repeatedly touted his Yale bonafides. The Dean of the Yale Law School has called for a delay. The simple truth is that the investigations being considered today should have taken place before the hearings. Perhaps then, the hearings, that left an already torn American political landscape in tatters, could have been avoided. I've never gotten so drunk that I blacked out and lost my short term memory. But after watching our government at work this week, I'm gonna try like hell to pull it off.

+ WaPo: "The subject was supposed to be the selection of a new justice on the Supreme Court. Instead Thursday's showdown on Capitol Hill was a raw, scorched-earth confrontation across the nation's most emotionally wrenching divides. This was men against women, right against left, a cascade of recriminations, explosions of anger, hours of tears and sobs."

+ If you need a break from the seriousness of this situation, someone mashed up Brett Kavanaugh's testimony with the hamburger scene from Pulp Fiction.


Too Hot To Handle

From WaPo: "Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous 7 degrees by the end of this century." Wait, so does this mark an acceptance of climate change and a new policy direction? Not exactly. The data is being used to suggest that there's no point in limiting carbon emissions because the planet's fate is already sealed.


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: "Filmmaker Bing Liu searches for correlations between his skateboarder friends' turbulent upbringings and the complexities of modern-day masculinity." That's how Hulu describes the excellent documentary, Minding the Gap. And it is those things. But more than that, it's a small, human story of a kid who filmed his friends as they grew up together. Definitely worth a watch.

+ What to Doc: The other night, my son and I watched Grandson perform at the Fillmore in SF, and he killed it. Grandson is the hip hop moniker of Jordan Benjamin, a self-described skinny kid with a Jew-fro. His biggest hit is called Blood//Water. Check that out and more on Spotify. (Grandson is currently on tour opening for NextDraft-approved Nothing But Thieves, one of my faves.)

+ What to Book: Don Winslow just announced that the third book in his realistic Cartel series will be out in a few months. That makes this a good time to order the first two books and get yourself ready.


Creeping with the Enemy

"'The AfD is the only party in Germany that focuses on Muslims' hatred for Jews, without playing it down,' Dimitri Schulz, who is Jewish and joined the organization in 2014, said in a policy statement defining the new group's purpose. Many of the country's traditional Jewish organizations are critical of any alliance with the party. They point to its embrace of nationalist and populist positions and a push by several prominent members to abandon Germany's culture of remembrance and atonement for its Nazi past." Stoking hatred to turn oppressed groups against one another is a classic strategy of Europe's far right. And it appears to be working on some. NYT: Seeing Ally Against Muslims, Some German Jews Embrace Far Right, to Dismay of Others.


420, 421, Whatever it Takes

"While leading Tesla's investors to believe he had a firm offer in hand, we allege that Musk had arrived at the price of $420 by assuming 20 percent premium over Tesla's then existing share price then rounding up to $420 because of the significance of that number in marijuana culture and his belief that his girlfriend would be amused by it." That description from the SEC sounds almost funny. But the SEC's suit against Elon Musk is deadly serious, for him and for Tesla. And the company's stock price is reacting accordingly. At this point, Musk could tweet that he might take Tesla private for about $260.


More Than Tired From the Winning

"Johnson, who never imagined he would be known as 'dying man' in dozens of news headlines, is still processing the historic win. 'Going against a company like this, becoming a public figure, it's intense ... I felt an enormous amount of responsibility." The Guardian: The man who beat Monsanto: "They have to pay for not being honest."


Peso What?

From The Guardian: President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted for the first time to authorising extrajudicial killings as part of his war on drugs in the Philippines: "I told the military, what is my fault? Did I steal even one peso? My only sin is the extrajudicial killings." (I'm no expert on international law, but I'm pretty sure stealing one peso is less of an infraction than killing a lot of people.)


GPS Tracks of My Tears

So you know how you got that Spotify Family plan but you're really sharing it with your friends who are scattered around the country? Well, the good times may not roll for much longer. Spotify is asking family-plan users for GPS data to prove they live at the same address. (This is a problem for those people who can't live under the same roof with family members who have remarkably poor taste in music.)


Ramen on a Mission

BBC on The Eternal Life of the Instant Noodle. "Basic instant noodles are the cheapest thing on sale in most prison stores, where three packs cost about a dollar. They've replaced cigarettes as the most traded item inside American prisons. They're so important, inmates use them as money ... In the birthplace of instant noodles, Japan, they've been voted - repeatedly - Japan's most successful invention, ahead of high-speed trains, laptops and karaoke. But perhaps the story behind instant ramen is more important to Japan than actually buying and eating the product." (I think that really depends on how close it is to lunch...)


Feel Good Friday

You can't really trust any food science or advice. So, if you're gonna be wrong in the end, you might as well pick and choose the advice that seems most in line with your personal wants. And with that, I give you this article: You Should Be Eating Pie for Breakfast.

+ "I thought we landed hard until I looked over and saw a hole in the side of the plane and water was coming in, and I thought, well, this is not like the way it's supposed to happen." Local boats rescue everyone aboard 737 after it crashes into Micronesian lagoon. (Damon Lindelof should sue these guys for stealing what looks like a scene out of Lost.)

+ NPR: 7-Year-Old Girl Belts Out National Anthem.

+ NYT: A Breakthrough for U.S. Troops: Combat-Ready Pizza.

+ Injured turtle at The Maryland Zoo fitted with LEGO wheelchair.

+ Bristol University students send janitor on his first vacation in nearly a decade.

+ "In accordance with Proposition 64, the Los Angeles Airport Police Department will allow passengers to travel through LAX with up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and eight grams of concentrated marijuana." That should be enough, assuming it's a short flight.