January 9th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

When the middle of nowhere became the center of everything, Rod is leaving the staff, and Trump walks out of shutdown talks.

It’s garbage day in my neighborhood. That means the sidewalks are lined with garbage bins. And cardboard. Lots and lots of cardboard. Delivered packages have changed the landscape of their destinations in subtle ways. The changes to the places that serve as hubs for our growing online ordering demands are not so subtle. This is the story of what happens when the middle of nowhere becomes the center of everything. Alexander Sammon in The New Republic: Elwood, Illinois (Pop. 2,200), Has Become a Vital Hub of America’s Consumer Economy. And It’s Hell.


Rod Leaving the Staff

“Rosenstein has communicated to President Donald Trump and White House officials his plan to depart the administration around the time William Barr, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, would take office following a Senate confirmation.” ABC News: Rod Rosenstein expected to depart DOJ in coming weeks if new attorney general confirmed.

+ “The biggest news was that a poorly redacted court filing from Paul Manafort revealed new details about what special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating — including that Manafort had shared polling data related to Trump’s presidential campaign with an associate tied to Russian intelligence.” The past 24 hours in Trump-Russia news, explained.


Being There

Ahead of Trump’s border wall address, Chuck Grassley urged the president to deliver his remarks as if he were talking to “Iowans not New Yorkers.” What stands out about that advice is that neither one of those places is anywhere near the border. “As of 2017 … people who lived less than 350 miles from the border were the least likely to support Trump’s wall. In other words, the people supposedly on the front lines of what Trump calls a crisis are those least inclined to support the proposed solution to it.” Vox: What’s actually happening at the US-Mexico border.

+ NYT: On the Border, Little Enthusiasm for a Wall: “We Have Other Problems That Need Fixing.”

+ The Conversation: Is there a crisis at the US-Mexico border? 6 essential reads.

+ Facts rarely pierce the walls of the Oval Office, but this one might cause a stir: the Democrats’ rebuttal got higher ratings than his speech.


Taking Candy From a Baby

Meanwhile, the government remains in shutdown mode (maybe “tilt” is a better description). The latest meeting did not last long. Kevin McCarthy said the president “even brought a little candy for everyone.” Chuck Schumer said the president threw a temper tantrum. And the president tweeted that the meeting was “a total waste of time.” (Going onto twitter is the new going to the mattresses.) Here’s the latest from CNN.


In Pod We Trust

“Gerald Griggs — a lawyer representing Jonjelyn and Tim Savage, who told police their adult daughter Joycelyn is being held captive by Kelly — confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the district attorney’s office had reached out to him.” Buzzfeed: R. Kelly Is Being Investigated In Georgia And Illinois After The Lifetime Documentary About Him.

+ The Guardian: Fresh abuse investigations launched after R Kelly documentary. “We have an advantage in that we’re not the prosecutor and we are not the defense … That is really important – you need to be calm with factors going either way.” And from the BBC: How true-crime podcasts find clues the police miss. (This seems like a great trend, as long as the podcasters are accurate and the subject of the podcast is guilty. Otherwise, it seems like a less great trend.)

+ “While he was an inmate at San Quentin State Prison, Earlonne Woods helped create a podcast that dealt with everyday life behind bars.” And that podcast helped Woods win his freedom. (That thing where a guy who has been in prison since before podcasts were invented has more podcast subscribers than you do…)


Helen Ready

“It seems that older women, long invisible or shunted aside, are experiencing an unfamiliar sensation: power.” NYT: I Am (an Older) Woman. Hear Me Roar.


The Land of Milk and Money

“The American lunchroom war has taken another turn. Flaring first with the ketchup-as-a-vegetable controversy of the Reagan era, it’s raged anew since 2010, when the Obama administration backed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.” Bloomberg: Big Dairy Is About to Flood America’s School Lunches With Milk.

+ “The glut, which at 900,000 cubic yards is the largest in U.S. history, means that there is enough cheese sitting in cold storage to wrap around the U.S. Capitol.” (That actually sounds like a decent idea.) NPR: American Cheese Surplus Reaches Record High. (Don’t blame yourself. “Americans consumed nearly 37 pounds per capita in 2017.”)


Atlas Shrugged

“The visitors started coming in 2013. The first one who came and refused to leave until he was let inside was a private investigator named Roderick. He was looking for an abducted girl, and he was convinced she was in the house … This was not an unusual occurrence. John, 39, and Ann, 73, were accustomed to strangers turning up at their door accusing them of crimes; the visitors would usually pull up maps on their smartphones that pointed at John and Ann’s backyard as a hotbed of criminal activity.” Kashmir Hill in Gizmodo: How Cartographers for the U.S. Military Inadvertently Created a House of Horrors in South Africa.


Trial and Air

“The state of Florida passed a law in 2015 banning the use of drones to monitor citizens from the air. But police in Miami Beach, Florida have come up with a clever workaround.” They’re using a blimp instead. (Half the people reading this will be worried about the surveillance state and the other half will try to order a blimp on Amazon.)


Bottom of the News

“Pietro Ferrero invents a loaf-shaped hazelnut paste he dubs Giandujot. It uses just a dab of cocoa, which was scarce after World War II. Ferrero dies of a heart attack three years later, before his creation becomes a worldwide phenomenon.” Everything you ever wanted to know about Nutella.

+ The mysterious, stubborn appeal of mass-produced fried chicken.

+ “The simplest answer is one that will leave you slightly unsatisfied, but at least with your confidence in comprehending basic physical properties intact. Glitter is made from glitter. Big glitter begets smaller glitter; smaller glitter gets everywhere, all glitter is impossible to remove; now never ask this question again.” But if you must know more, the NYT is here for you: What is Glitter? (Aside from what you’ll find in this article, we’ll also accept the answer: An American romantic musical drama film starring Mariah Carey and Da Brat…)

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