February 14th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Amazon pulls out of HQ2 deal with NYC, we have a new attorney general, and the Trump Emergency.

Amazon chose Valentine’s Day to send NYC a Dear John letter, letting the city know that the plan to build HQ2 in Long Island City, Queens was off. Amazon announced the split, but New York insisted it was just about to break up with Amazon anyway. While it looked like love at first site, those close to the pair could tell the relationship was doomed from the moment it was kindled. “The agreement to lure Amazon stirred an intense debate about the use of government incentives to entice wealthy companies, the rising cost of living in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, and the city’s very identity.” (Often, a relationship ends when one party announces that they need some space. This one started that way.) The couples were in counseling as recently as Wednesday, when “the governor had brokered a meeting between Amazon executives and the union leaders who had been resistant to the deal, according to two people briefed on the sit-down. The meeting ended without any compromise on the part of Amazon.” (After all these years, you had to know Amazon would never change…) Following this short, tumultuous relationship, Amazon has no plans to find a new location for a second headquarters, deciding its better off just being on its own for a while. Meanwhile, Queens residents plan to pour a glass of wine, run a warm bath, and settle in with a good book (from Barnes and Noble).


Barr Hopping

“The vote was 54-45, primarily on a party-line basis with most Republicans backing President Donald Trump’s nominee and most Democrats opposed.” William Barr has been confirmed as attorney general. (Yes, it was another divided vote, but at least all Americans can agree this is an upgrade from Matt Whitaker.)


The Trump Emergency

“Let’s all pray that the president will have wisdom to sign the bill, so the government doesn’t shut down.” That was GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley as the Senate (and the rest of America) waits to see if Trump will sign a budget deal that has less wall funding than those he’s rejected in the past. Here’s the latest from CNN. According to Mitch McConnell: “I would say to all my colleagues, has indicated that he’s prepared to sign the bill. He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time.” (The only emergency is in the Oval Office.)


Low Life

“People do not appreciate how far we have fallen from normal standards of presidential accountability. Today we have a president who is willing not only to comment prejudicially on criminal prosecutions but to comment on ones that potentially affect him. He does both of these things almost daily. He is not just sounding a dog whistle. He is lobbying for a result. The president has stepped over bright ethical and moral lines wherever he has encountered them. Every day brings a new low, with the president exposing himself as a deliberate liar who will say whatever he pleases to get whatever he wants. If he were ‘on the box’ at Quantico, he would break the machine.” Andrew McCabe is the latest participant in the Trump saga to write a book. Here’s an excerpt from The Atlantic: Every Day Is a New Low in Trump’s White House.

+ Vox: According to McCabe, DOJ discussed using 25th Amendment to remove Trump. (Aside from Fox & Friends, so has pretty much everyone else in America…)

+ Meanwhile, a judge ruled that Paul Manafort intentionally lied to investigators. That nullifies his plea deal and could mean he’ll spend the rest of his life behind bars. (Manafort’s reckless decision to lie and ultimately void his cooperation deal has only two possible explanations: 1. He’s been led to believe it will result in a Trump pardon. 2. He’s more afraid of Putin and the oligarchs than he is of Mueller and prison.)


Escape Artist in Residence

“Guzmán would be in rare company at the ADX, joining 400 male inmates and a roster of infamous convicted felons: Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber; Terry Nichols, co-conspirator in the Oklahoma City bombing; Robert Hanssen, the traitorous double agent; and Zacarias Moussaoui, al-Qaeda operative and 9/11 conspirator … For many ADX visitors, the most memorable part of the penitentiary is the eerie silence that encases the hallways.” WaPo: El Chapo escaped two prisons in Mexico — but no one’s ever busted out of the American ADX.


Scratch Sheeeeeet

“The perverse incentive for states to maximize gambling profits is the opposite of what people expect from their government—which is tasked, at least in part, with protecting public health and discouraging addiction. Yet states are generally making problems worse, not better.” Bryce Covert in Topic on why states won’t help people with lottery addictions: An Itch You Can’t Scratch-Off.


Saud Off

“Federal law enforcement officials have launched a multi-agency investigation into cases involving students from Saudi Arabia who vanished while facing criminal charges, possibly with the help of their government.”

+ The move comes after a series of excellent investigative reports from The Oregonian. Here’s a look at how things went down.



“Malaysia has become one of the world’s biggest plastic importers, taking in rubbish the rest of the world doesn’t want. But one small town is paying the price for this – and it is now smothered in 17,000 tons of waste.” Ever wonder where all the plastic goes? Check out this place.


Short Cuts

“Partially, it’s the economics of streaming. More streams means more money, and even then it’s not a lot, which is why an artist’s overall volume is so crucial. But that’s not all there is to the story—the trend started long before Spotify took off.” Quartz: Shrinking pop songs.


Bottom of the Valentine’s Day News

“Although most people in sexual partnerships end up facing the conundrum biologists call ‘habituation to a stimulus’ over time, a growing body of research suggests that heterosexual women, in the aggregate, are likely to face this problem earlier in the relationship than men. And that disparity tends not to even out over time.” The Atlantic: The Bored Sex.

+ What did Kanye get for Kim? Kenny G serenading her with his saxophone in her own home. (At least those who get nothing this year will know it could have been worse…)

+ Americans Lost $143 Million In Online Relationship Scams Last Year.

+ Vox: How a heart-shaped candy box came to stand for love.

+ NPR: When Your Shared Netflix Account Outlasts The Relationship.

+ Don’t have a Valentine this year? These are the cities with the most singles.

Copied to Clipboard