Thursday, November 8th, 2018


Jim Membership Revoked

"Critics said that video — which sped up the movement of Acosta's arms in a way that dramatically changed the journalist's response — was deceptively edited to score political points. That edited video was first shared by Paul Joseph Watson, known for his conspiracy-theory videos on the far-right website Infowars." Then it was shared by the White House to justify the suspension of Jim Acosta's White House press credentials. The gaslighting of the American public is in full-effect and it's being driven from the very top. A lot of analysts and armchair pundits argue that these kinds of attacks on the press are designed to be distractions and should therefore be ignored. In fact, the constant attacks on the truth intended to leave people unsure what to believe represent one of the key storylines of the Trump era. This strategy is the lynchpin of Trumpism. It's bad for democracy and it's terrible for journalists here and abroad.

+ Press Corps Backs CNN's Jim Acosta, Calling Out Sarah Huckabee Sanders For 'Complete Lie. (Fellow White House reporters should boycott the press room until Acosta's credentials are returned.)


Cohn of Trust

Interim Attorney General "Whitaker has publicly attacked the FBI for failing to indict Hillary Clinton for using a personal email. He defended Donald Trump Jr.'s decision to meet with a Russian operative promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. He opposed the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian election interference ('Hollow calls for independent prosecutors are just craven attempts to score cheap political points and serve the public in no measurable way.') Whitaker has called on Rod Rosenstein to curb Mueller's investigation, and specifically declared Trump's finances (which include dealings with Russia) off-limits. He has urged Trump's lawyers not to cooperate with Mueller's 'lynch mob.'" NY Mag: Trump Has Found His Roy Cohn in Matt Whitaker. (Trump even screwed over Cohn in the end...)

+ WaPo: The eight people to watch following the ouster of Jeff Sessions.

+ Even Session's harshest critics are worried about his firing. The only people who seem unabashedly joyful are Trump and cannabis investors.


Thousand Oaks Massacre

"A former U.S. Marine gunner who may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder burst into a Thousand Oaks bar packed with college students late Wednesday night, tossed a smoke bomb into the crowd and opened fire." LA Times: Thousand Oaks shooting leaves 13 people dead, including gunman.

+ Some inside Borderline bar survived Las Vegas mass shooting. (It's a small world. With too many guns.)


Blind Placebo Seen Anew

"Tell someone a normal milkshake is a diet beverage, and his gut will respond as if the drink were low fat. Take athletes to the top of the Alps, put them on exercise machines and hook them to an oxygen tank, and they will perform better than when they are breathing room air — even if room air is all that's in the tank. Wake a patient from surgery and tell him you've done an arthroscopic repair, and his knee gets better even if all you did was knock him out and put a couple of incisions in his skin. Give a drug a fancy name, and it works better than if you don't." Placebos are known to work even in some cases when the patient knows they're getting a placebo. NYT Mag: What if the Placebo Effect Isn't a Trick? ("New research is zeroing in on a biochemical basis for the placebo effect — possibly opening a Pandora's box for Western medicine.")


Floridian Slip

All American elections seem to go through Broward County. And Broward County always seems to have a really hard time counting votes. Sun Sentinel: As Broward, Palm Beach vote counting continues, statewide recounts likely in governor, Senate, Ag commissioner races.

+ Consider this odd stat: "In Broward County, 695,799 people turned in ballots. But only 665,688 voted in the Senate race."

+ This dude is about to make a comeback.


Apple Crumble

"Unlike the vast majority of modern commercial produce, the Honeycrisp apple wasn't bred to grow, store or ship well. It was bred for taste: crisp, with balanced sweetness and acidity. Though it succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams, along the way it became a nightmare for some producers, forcing small Northeastern growers to compete with their massive, climatically advantaged counterparts on the West Coast." Bloomberg: The Curse of the Honeycrisp Apple. (As a Humanities major, sharing this story is as close as I'll come to STEM education...)


Healthy Cynicism

The young people showed up at the polls on Tuesday. The question is: why? In part, it's undoubtedly because the country has rarely been this obsessed by politics. It also may have had something to do with cynicism. "In this year's survey, we found that young people who felt cynical were far more likely to say they would vote." (I knew cynicism would finally get the credit it deserves...) The Conversation: The other 2018 midterm wave: A historic 10-point jump in turnout among young people.


Filling Pot Holes

"Buoyed by Instagram, his generation's obsession with houseplants is growing faster and more tenaciously than English ivy. Plant influencers, the horticultural stars of that medium, now have book deals, sponsors and hundreds of thousands of followers." NYT: Meet the Plantfluencers. (The NYT is great at a lot of things, but stick with me for the headline puns...)


Stress Release

"A stressed-out and traumatized father can leave scars in his children. New research suggests this happens because sperm 'learn' paternal experiences via a mysterious mode of intercellular communication in which small blebs break off one cell and fuse with another." How Dad's Stresses Get Passed Along to Offspring. "Mouse studies show tiny intercellular pods convey to sperm a legacy of a father's hard knocks in life." (I'm not sure what this means for my kids. I'm stressed as hell, but my sperm are carefree and generally enthused.)


Bottom of the News

A Dutch man is seeking to legally change his age to improve his chances on job boards and dating sites. "If I'm 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car ... When I'm on Tinder and it says I'm 69, I don't get an answer." (Weird, I'd always heard 69 was pretty popular on Tinder...)

+ 5 Politicians Who Got Elected Despite Being Dead.

+ How to make your dog Instagram-famous. (I don't know about Instagram, but my beagles have escaped our yard so many times they're definitely NextDoor famous...)