October 12th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The topic dominating your therapy session, Weekend Whats, and Feel Good Friday.

Is the President of the United State nuts? Although not always phrased quite that way, it’s a question that has become an obsession in some circles. It’s also a question that tends to obscure a related, but even broader topic. Is the President of the United States driving the rest of us nuts? That question doesn’t appear in nearly as many headlines, but, in one way or another, it makes an appearance on therapist couches across the country. From Politico Magazine: Trump May Not Be Crazy, But the Rest of Us Are Getting There Fast. “During normal times, therapists say, their sessions deal with familiar themes: relationships, self-esteem, everyday coping. Current events don’t usually invade. But numerous counselors said Trump and his convulsive effect on America’s national conversation are giving politics a prominence on the psychologist’s couch.” (I’m guessing that even the most experienced psychotherapists didn’t enter this week with the expectation of spending full fifty-minute sessions discussing Kanye West.) Ironically, your shrink’s troubled obsession with Trump news is probably as bad as — if not worse than — yours. I could say much more on this topic, but unfortunately, our time is up.


Kingdom Come

“You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic. You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.” WaPo: Turks tell U.S. officials they have audio and video recordings that support conclusion Khashoggi was killed.

+ Many media sponsors and corporate participants have backed out of an upcoming high-profile investment summit in Riyadh. For now, the big arms deal between the US and Saudi Arabia is still on; a matter that’s complicated by a familiar theme. “For President Trump, Saudi Arabia is not just a political ally. It has also been a customer.” Interestingly, while we debate the merits of doing a big arms deal with Saudi Arabia, it’s not clear whether or not that arms deal is real in the first place.

+ AP: “In a kingdom once ruled by an ever-aging rotation of elderly monarchs, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stands out as the youthful face of a youthful nation. But behind the carefully calibrated public-relations campaign pushing images of the smiling prince meeting with the world’s top leaders and business executives lurks a darker side.” (Editor’s note: Beware of reformers wearing crowns.)


Weekend Whats

What to Hear: Longtime readers will note that Twenty One Pilots first appeared in this section a couple years ago when the band emerged as the one thing everyone in my family could agree on. They’ve become huge since then, and recently delivered a stellar performance during the American Music Awards. The duo’s new album Trench is dominating the indy charts. Check it out. Listen to their older stuff to. And take the kids to one of the stops on their concert tour.

+ What to Read: “In 1967, a 56-year-old lawyer met a young inmate with a brilliant mind and horrifying stories about life inside. Their complicated alliance—and even more complicated romance—would shed light on a nationwide scandal, disrupt a system of abuse and virtual slavery across the state, and change incarceration in Texas forever.” Ethan Watters in Texas Monthly: The Love Story that Upended the Texas Prison System.

+ How to Read: In addition to being owned by my fearless sponsor Mozilla, Pocket is the best app for reading longform digital content. And it just got an updated set of features including a human-ish voice that will read stories to you. It’s a perfect pairing with NextDraft. Get Pocket.


Nothing Like Mike

“This is a war zone. How are you going to get out of here? This city is destroyed. The whole area … they’re going to tear down these houses and rebuild it. You’re not going to recognize Mexico Beach.” As the death toll rises to 12, officials are still coming to terms with Hurricane Michael’s trail of devastation.

+ “Rescue teams have reached 80 percent of the disaster zone, deploying across a vast area from the Florida coast to the Georgia border to look for survivors, and that search continued Friday. But state emergency officials said they were happily canceling plans to roll out refrigerator vehicles to serve as temporary morgues.”


The Artist Formerly Known as Prince

“He would tell his story exclusively to me, he promised, if I left out certain parts. Like so many of his offers, it was one that promised a wealth of opportunity, in return for very little. In the end, though, I decided to decline. Because Khalid wasn’t writing me from his yacht, or his penthouse on Fisher Island, or his father’s palace in Dubai, but from a cell at the Federal Detention Center in Miami, where he awaits trial on charges of fraud, traveling on a fake passport, impersonating a foreign official, and identity theft.” The Amazing 30-Year Odyssey of a Counterfeit Saudi Prince.


Helen of Toy

“On Helen’s form, which was filled out with assistance from officials, there is a checked box next to a line that says, ‘I withdraw my previous request for a Flores bond hearing.’ Beneath that line, the five-year-old signed her name in wobbly letters.” The New Yorker: The Five-Year-Old Who Was Detained at the Border and Persuaded to Sign Away Her Rights.


Non Prophet

“The charity would raise over $8 million, including almost $600,000 from the U.S. government. Meyler would enter a rarefied world of globe-trotting problem-solvers. She would rub shoulders with Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey, and even get invited to the Obama White House. MTM’s footprint in Liberia would multiply to 19 schools teaching 4,000 students. Yet some of the girls present that September day had a secret. Far from being saved from sexual exploitation, they were being raped by the man standing beside Meyler on the stage.” ProPublica: Unprotected.


Ballot Boxing

With the midterms just a few weeks away, this is the period you’d expect us to be fighting over who to vote for. But this year, the big battle seems to be over who gets to vote. WBUR: The Fight Over Voting Rights Ahead Of Midterms.

+ Reuters: “U.S. voting rights advocacy groups on Thursday sued Georgia’s top election official, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, accusing him of putting more than 50,000 voter registration applications on hold to boost his gubernatorial campaign.”

+ MoJo: Supreme Court Makes It Harder for Tribal North Dakotans to Vote. (Because we haven’t effed with them enough over the past few hundred years…)


Girl With a Balloon Payment

“When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history.” You just know that the shredded Banksy will end up being worth way more than the intact Banksy, because we’re all part of this piece of performance art. LA Times: Banksy renames his shredded ‘Girl With Balloon’; winning bidder will go through with her $1.4 million purchase.

+ You also knew that people would consider shredding their own Banksy prints in a bizarre effort to increase value. In a word, don’t.


Feel Good Friday

“It’s always the same. She comes in with a big smile and she always says, ‘I love everybody here, and I want to help people.'” CBC: Woman has been making daily bottle deposits for 21 years, raising $15K for B.C. Cancer Foundation.

+ NPR: Once Enslaved By ISIS, Nadia Murad Is Co-Recipient Of Nobel Peace Prize.

+ “All of us are one unforeseen disaster away from rock bottom. It’s nice to think about a place where when that happens to someone, they can use it to get back on their feet.” Brad Paisley, Kimberly Williams-Paisley to open free Nashville grocery store for those in need.

+ I will see your Corgis and raise you a bunch of Beagles.

+ NYT: The World’s Oldest Barber Is 107 and Still Cutting Hair Full Time. (This is a feel good story, but it might make sense to bring some band-aids, just in case.)

+ And finally, I’m not sure this qualifies as a feel good story, but I laughed when I saw the headline, so what the hell. A Teacher who recounted Trump aide Stephen Miller eating glue as a child is placed on paid leave.

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