Thursday, October 4th, 2018


Watching a Threesome

NextDraft will be off on Friday....

In our new national dictionary, Boofing is flatulence and Devil's Triangle is a drinking game. So I suppose today we should focus on the word Threesome; now defined as a confirmation process that ultimately comes down to three key Senators (in this case, Flake, Murkowski, and Collins). While everyone on both sides of the aisle, and across the nation, has strong opinions on Brett Kavanaugh and this week's follow-up FBI investigation, his career trajectory was in the hands of these three senators before this crazy week began. And the same is true today. From WaPo: Key Republicans signal satisfaction with FBI report, increasing confirmation odds for Kavanaugh.

+ So far, the White House and GOP Senate leadership are saying the report contains no corroboration of the charges made against Kavanaugh, while the Democrats are arguing that the investigation ignored key witnesses, including Ford and Kavanaugh.

+ One of the interesting twists in the process is that, for some of his former supporters, Kavanaugh's performance during last week's hearings shifted the question to what happened in the eighties to current questions about honesty and partisanship. This week, 100,000 U.S. Christian Churches demanded the withdrawal of Kavanaugh's nomination, and 1,700 law professors have signed a letter indicating that the nominee should not be confirmed. But as noted above, this is all comes down to the threesome. Here's the latest from CNN.

+ GOP Sen John Kennedy said he wishes everyone could read the FBI report: "Anybody who thinks politics isn't involved in this ought to put down the bong." (Counterpoint: Wanton and ubiquitous politics are why, now more than ever, you should hang on to that bong with both hands...)


The Dope Row

"A federal grand jury in Pennsylvania has indicted seven Russian military intelligence officers, accusing them of hacking into U.S. and international anti-doping agencies and sports federations and of accessing data related to 250 athletes from about 30 countries." NPR: U.S. Charges 7 Russian Intelligence Officers With Hacking 40 Sports And Doping Groups. (If nothing else, Putin is consistent.)


Chip Shots Fired

"Nested on the servers' motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn't part of the boards' original design. Amazon reported the discovery to U.S. authorities, sending a shudder through the intelligence community. Elemental's servers could be found in Department of Defense data centers, the CIA's drone operations, and the onboard networks of Navy warships. And Elemental was just one of hundreds of Supermicro customers." Bloomberg: The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies.


Word Smithereens

"A much-awaited report from the U.N.'s top climate science panel will show an enormous gap between where we are and where we need to be to prevent dangerous levels of warming." WaPo: Climate scientists are struggling to find the right words for very bad news. (They should ask me for help. That's basically my life's work...)

+ "What happens when climate changes quickly in a previously frozen place, when the earth heats up and the mountains melt? In the high Swiss Alps, here's what happens: The ice gives up the bodies—and the secrets—of the past." GQ: The Ghosts of the Glacier. (Gives new meaning to getting the cold shoulder...)


Casa Segura

"Each woman offered what she could — a guest bedroom, if she had one, couches, or blankets on the floor. They didn't speak publicly about it; if abusers in their towns knew, they might be at risk ... By 2018, Valentina would be able to count more than 30 Latina women throughout California who opened their homes for survivors. As Mily began organizing the first national alliance of female farmworkers, Valentina would learn of another 150 around the country." Lizzie Presser in California Sunday Magazine: A group of Latina women across the country have been working in secret, turning their homes into shelters for abused immigrant women: Safe House.

+ "They've worked the mountain pass in Southern California since 2012 and boast a large haul: more than a ton of methamphetamine, 2 tons of marijuana, 600 pounds of cocaine, millions of dollars in suspected drug money and more than 1,000 arrests. But behind those impressive numbers are some troubling ones." LA Times: Deputies stopped thousands of innocent Latinos on the 5 Freeway in hopes of their next drug bust.


Scientific Calculator…

"Leon Lederman, an experimental physicist who won a Nobel Prize in physics for his work on subatomic particles and coined the phrase 'God particle,' died Wednesday at 96 ... [before he died] his Nobel Prize sold for $765,000 in an auction in 2015 to help pay for medical bills and care."


Wing Nuts

"The discovery has implications not just for honeybee populations, but also the food systems, economies, and ecosystems that rely on their healthy activity." Wired: A Mushroom Extract Might Save Bees From A Killer Virus. (If not, at least they'll die a little happier...)

+ WaPo: Drunk birds are causing havoc in a Minnesota town. Police say they'll sober up soon.

+ Teenage Dolphins Get High on Puffer Fish Toxin.


Elevator Pitchfork

"My record up is 22 flights. My record down is 50. That's at my parents' place in Tribeca. They moved to the city a few years back and gleefully flocked to a 50th-floor apartment with truly stunning panoramic views. They tell me they love me, but sometimes I'm not sure." The Elevator-Phobes of a Vertical City. (I feel confident that my laziness would enable me to overcome this particular phobia...)


A Bird in the Hand

"I was Led Zeppelin's tour photographer. The dove landed on Robert's hand. Nobody else could have pulled it off without looking pretentious." (A poster of this photograph was on my wall as a kid.) Neal Preston's best photograph: Robert Plant catches a dove.


Bottom of the News

GQ on How Gym Selfies Are Quietly Changing the Way We Work Out: "The gym selfie, experts say, is more than just a visual brag or photo-driven pep talk. Social media is fundamentally changing the way we work out—and the way we see ourselves in the mirror. In a recent study, professors Tricia Burke and Stephen Rains found that individuals who saw more workout posts in their feeds were more likely to feel concerned about their own bodies, especially if the posts came from a person they felt looked similar to them."

+ A deer and the song, In the Air Tonight.

+ Need a breather from all the rancor? Here's a bunch of photos of how people weigh different animals...