Friday, December 7th, 2018


Maid of Honor

"We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money. We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation." During the Trump era, we've spent a lot of time talking about immigration, borders, and walls. If we're going to have the conversation, let's hear from everyone involved, including those who rarely have a voice in these discussions (and for whom speaking out often comes with considerable risk). From the NYT: Making President Trump's Bed: A Housekeeper Without Papers.


Bobby Three Sticks and Stones

"We will be doing a major Counter Report to the Mueller Report. This should never again be allowed to happen to a future President of the United States!" The president is hate-tweeting Mueller again. That means more information is about to come out...

+ What's the point of the constant presidential attacks on Mueller? Sadly, among a large contigent of voters, the attacks work. Here are the latest numbers.

+ Meanwhile, Trump has nominated William Barr to be his next Attorney General, State Dept spokesperson Heather Nauert to be next ambassador to the UN, and General Mark Milley to be his next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.


Weekend Whats

What to Read: Tara Westover, who has a PhD from Cambridge, is one of the best memoir writers you'll ever come across. She was also 17 before she ever set foot in a classroom. Educated, a Memoir is on just about every 2018 best books list. And it's with good reason.

+ What to Watch: Homecoming on Amazon (starring Julia Roberts and Bobby Cannavale) is a fast-paced, intriguing mystery about the secrets of a facility helping soldiers transition to civilian life. In an unusual move for a drama, each episode is only about a half hour. It works.

+ What to Queue: The year end lists are spilling out all over the place. Here's a look at The New Yorker's Best Podcasts of 2018, Vox's list of the 11 best documentaries of 2018, and the NYT's look at the 28 Best Albums of the year. Meanwhile, David Erlich shares his video countdown of the 25 best films of the year, and Jason Kottke has collected and summarized a whole bunch of lists of the best books (none of which I'll be able to read because I'll be too busy listening to music and watching movies).


Into the Woods and Far Away

"Elite ultrarunning is one of the few sports in which women appear able to hold their own with men. Dauwalter's prowess has crystallized the debate about whether psychological fortitude can trump men's innate strength advantages in endurance sports." From the NYT: The Woman Who Outruns the Men, 200 Miles at a Time. The lede: "At 1:40 in the morning, running through the woods near Lake Tahoe, Courtney Dauwalter began hallucinating." (We used to have a name for that experience: Spring Break.)


No Way?! … Huawei …

On its own, the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is a big deal. But it's part of much broader story involving America, China, and how technology will be the key driver of international power moving forward. From MIT Tech Review: The 6 reasons why Huawei gives the US and its allies security nightmares.

+ Kara Swisher in the NYT: Can the U.S. Stop China From Controlling the Next Internet Age?

+ The Guardian: "Beijing is buying up media outlets and training scores of foreign journalists to 'tell China's story well' – as part of a worldwide propaganda campaign of astonishing scope and ambition."


Kevin Can Wait

"After he claimed he was pressured by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to apologize for past homophobic comments, the comedian announced on Thursday night his decision to step away from hosting this year's ceremony." LA Times: Kevin Hart steps down as 2019 Oscars host after backlash over past homophobic comments.

+ GLAAD: Kevin Hart "Shouldn't Have Stepped Down; He Should Have Stepped Up."

+ In general, I worry about the trend of outrage and firings related to past tweets or old comedy routines. If the last few years have taught us anything, it's that there are more than enough really bad people on which we can heap our outrage. That said, Michael Schulman makes some excellent points about why Kevin Hart's homophobia was particularly troubling: "There's a specific brand of homophobia—fear of gayness in your own children—that is so hurtful, because its implication is that love is contingent upon fear."


Cheech and Wrong

"The deal with Cronos gives Altria a foothold in Canada, which in October became the first major economy to legalize marijuana for adult use on a federal level. Cronos, meanwhile, gets 'product development and commercialization capabilities, and deep regulatory expertise.'" Bloomberg: Marlboro Maker Gets Into Canadian Pot Industry. (This is the kind of news that can really bum one's high...)


Steady Lamar

Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, and Drake lead the way in this year's Grammy nominations. If you're wondering what all the screaming on social media is about, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande were among the biggest snubs of the year.

+ Record Labels: Vox: The difference between the Grammys' Song, Album, and Record of the Year categories, explained.

+ NPR: Rapper Sues Video Game Maker Over Fortnite Dance Move.


Burn Notice

"Death was stalking each of them. Over 150 hellish minutes, they would claw for survival. Some would forge narrow escapes. Some would become heroes. Several wouldn't live through the night." A special report from the SF Chronicle: 150 Minutes of Hell:
The inside story of death and survival as the Carr Fire's tornado of flames stormed Redding — and changed firefighting in a warming California.


Feel Good Friday

"As shoppers increasingly worry about the environmental impact of their purchases, companies have had to find creative ways to minimise food waste. The cereal company is the latest to join this trend." Kelloggs to use rejected cornflakes to make beer. (In other words, you finally have an excuse to get ripped in the morning...)

+ 2018 wasn't a complete horror show. Here are four things that probably got better.

+ I'll keep this brief: A bacon vending machine.

+ World's first honey bee vaccine seeks to save dying pollinators.

+ Luxembourg to become first country to make all public transport free. (Now if only we could find a cheap way to get to Luxembourg...)

+ Homeless man turns in $17,000 cash he found outside local food bank.

+ A 99 yard TD run. The second one ever. The most amazing one by far.

+ Tyler Perry drops $434k to clear Walmart layaway balances for customers.

+ 2 New Yorkers Erased $1.5 Million in Medical Debt for Hundreds of Strangers

+ The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan adopted the Donkey and Emu pair that ‘Fell In Love' so they could stay together. (I'm not even sure what that means, but I'm confident it's good news...)