Friday, November 30th, 2018


Everything is Sh*t

You probably want to sit down for this. Or squat. Or maybe not. If you find a better position, then definitely share it on social media. Everyone else is doing it. Aside from death and taxes (and Trump news), it's the topic we most share in common. And talking about it is all the rage these days. So while every other publication is leading with stories about Individual One, let's take a moment and talk about Number Two. From The Guardian: Bowel movement: the push to change the way you poo. "It's the banal Squatty Potty that's doing the most to change not just how people discuss poop, but how they actually do it. 'It's piercing that final veil around bodily use and bodily functions,' Barbara Penner, professor of architectural humanities at UCL's Bartlett School of Architecture, and one of the preeminent scholars of the modern bathroom, told me. Perhaps it's because this small, unlovely stool embodies a grand ambition: to upend two centuries of western orthodoxy about going to the loo." (Full disclosure: I'm a middle-aged Jewish male. Nothing about this discussion is piercing any veils for me. When my dad first sat me down to have the father-son talk, it was about Metamucil.)


Individual One For the Money

"In two major developments this week, President Trump has been labeled in the parlance of criminal investigations as a major subject of interest, complete with an opaque legal code name: Individual 1." That lede from WaPo is understated in a way that could only be possible after two years of absorbing news that is not normal. Trump emerges as a central subject of Mueller probe.

+ "A candidate for the Presidency, throughout his primary campaign, was actively pursuing a business deal that required a favor from the President of a rival nation." (Just stop and think about that for a second. This part is a given and admitted by all at this point.) Adam Davidson (who has followed Trump's finances and international deals for years) in The New Yorker with another understated headline: Michael Cohen's Disclosures Raise Serious Questions About Donald Trump and His Business Interests.

+ Buzzfeed's Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold (who reported what Michael Cohen just admitted six months ago): The Trump Organization planned too give Vladimir Putin the $50 million penthouse in Trump Tower Moscow.

+ Long after every other bank stopped taking Donald Trump's calls, Deutsche Bank kept giving him massive loans. Their officers were just raided in connection with a money laundering investigation. (At this point, Follow the Money is not an investigative technique, it's an extreme endurance sport.)


Weekend Whats

What to Book: "History suggests that tolerance of inequality and failing to control excessive corporate power may prompt the rise of populism, nationalism, extremist politicians, and fascist regimes." (Check, check, check, and check.) The excellent Tim Wu with a perfectly-timed book: The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age. (Need more reading? The NYT just listed its 10 best books of 2018.)

+ What to Bump: Jeff Ross. Dave Attell. And everything that entails. A new comedy series on Netflix featuring two old friends ripping each other and everyone else during an intimate and pretty informal comedy duet. Bumping Mics.

+ What to Picture: The latest edition of California Sunday Magazine is made up a series of photo essays that show the way people live. The Way Home.


Quaked Alaska

"I was just working and then within a half a second, I could tell this was bigger than anything I'd been in before, and it wasn't going to stop." There are signs of extensive damage following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit just outside of Anchorage. An early tsunami warning has been canceled. Here's the latest from CNN.


Get the Hell Out of Lodge

"The sheer amount of time the attackers had inside the system—four years in all—likely made the breach much worse than it otherwise might have been. Time gives attackers the ability to chip away at defenses, or simply learn more about a system to understand where the valuable data is." Another day, another massive data breach. This time, Marriott got hacked (and hacked and hacked). Hundreds of millions of people may have been affected. Wired: How To Protect Yourself From The Giant Marriott Hack. (Among other things, this story is a reminder of just how big some companies have become in recent years. Hundreds of millions is a lot of customers.)


Life Afta Nafta

"'It's been a battle.' But battles, he added, sometimes make 'great friendships.'" Trudeau, Trump, and Peña Nieto came to terms and signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement during the G20.


Prosper and Live Long

"But what's often lost in the conversation about the uptick in mortality in the US is that this trend isn't affecting all Americans. In fact, there's one group in the US that's actually doing better than ever: the rich. While poor and middle-class Americans are dying earlier, the wealthiest among us are enjoying unprecedented longevity." Vox: What the dip in US life expectancy is really about: inequality.

+ Why Aren't Millennials Spending? They're Poorer Than Previous Generations.


Won’t Get Schooled Again

That dream you see on television, all those videos ... it's really a nightmare." NYT: Louisiana School Made Headlines for Sending Black Kids to Elite Colleges. Here's the Reality. (I never thought I'd say this, but there's too much reality these days...)


Kids These Days

"After years of steady decline, the number of U.S. children without health insurance rose by 276,000 in 2017, according to a Georgetown University report released Thursday." NPR: Number Of U.S. Kids Who Don't Have Health Insurance Is On The Rise.


Feel Good Friday

"Earlier this week, a 9-year-old California girl named Riley Morrison wrote an open letter to Curry, posted online by her father, in which she says she was disappointed to see the shoes were listed only for boys. 'I know you support girl athletes because you have two daughters and you host an all-girls basketball camp,' she wrote. 'I hope you can work with Under Armour to change this because girls want to rock the Curry 5's too.'" Bloomberg: Steph Curry Tells Under Armour to Market His Shoes to Girls. (More accurately, he passed the message along...)

+ Leaning Tower of Pisa Corrects Itself ... a Little.

+ Patagonia Donates $10 Million Trump Tax Savings to Green Groups.

+ He opened his motel to families hit by flooding. Now he's a full-service good Samaritan.

+ New wearable tech lets deaf users listen to live music through their skin.

+ Hundreds pack funeral for Vietnam veteran they did not know after viral obituary post.

+ A Texas cotton farmer is battling cancer and couldn't harvest his crop. So his neighbors did it for him.

+ "Dramatic video posted online captured part of a police chase through a school zone in a southern Alberta village that ended with three arrests and the seizure of $20,000 worth of stolen maple syrup."