Friday, February 22nd, 2019


Don’t Be a Prick

I believe that climate change is happening. I think science is important and facts matter. My moral compass tells me that separating kids from parents seeking asylum is the wrong way for Americans to behave. When push comes to shove, I side with the US intel establishment over Vladimir Putin. In cases where Nazis are involved, I wouldn't argue that there are good people on all sides. To me, habitual lying seems like a negative character trait. I'm constantly reminded that these beliefs suggest that I live in a bubble. If that's the case, please don't be the prick that pops it. And while we're in here, maybe we should discuss the real American bubble; the one in which people "seldom or never meet people from another race, and they prize sameness, not difference." Emma Green in The Atlantic: These Are the Americans Who Live in a Bubble.


Fin De Semana (Y Maduro?)

"Tensions between Maduro and the movement to unseat him are expected to come to head this weekend, as members of Venezuela's U.S.-backed opposition push to carry tons of humanitarian aid and medicine into the country that Maduro's security forces have blocked." And when regime changes come to head in Latin America, the US is often involved. NPR: Trump's Venezuela Moves Follow Long History of Intervention In Latin America.

+ From clashes with security forces to rival border concerts, here's the latest on the building crisis from AP.


Weekend Whats

What to Book: I just raced through the first action-packed book in Gregg Hurwitz's Orphan X series. I'm only putting off starting the second book long enough to tell you to order your copy.

+ What to Read: "We point fingers at corruption in Mexico, smirking, for instance ... about hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes that the Sinaloa Cartel paid to the highest levels of the Mexican government.
Okay, but where do we think those millions came from? That money — truckloads of it — crossed the border from north to south in payment for the drugs that we bought. Who bribes Mexican politicians, police and military to let those drugs go through? We do. We're the criminals." Don Winslow with a three-part series on a topic he knows well, the border. Trump's border wall would be a monument to narcissism and willful ignorance.

+ What to Check Out: Did you know that you can stream 30,000 films free with nothing more than a library card? CBC News calls Kanopy, "a treasure trove... arguably, the greatest assortment of international art cinema under one roof." (And from CityLab, a cool visual history of the American public library.)

+ What to Pod: In this brand new podcast, the excellent Caterina Fake invites the creators of radical new technologies to set aside their business plan, and think through the human side of technology. Subscribe to Should This Exist?


The Dot Com Before the Storm

"Almost a quarter of children begin their digital lives when parents upload their prenatal sonogram scans to the internet [and] 92 percent of toddlers under the age of 2 already have their own unique digital identity." The Atlantic's Taylor Lorenz on what happens When Kids Realize Their Whole Life Is Already Online. (I'm a lot more worried about the day my kids realize my whole life is online...)


Patriot Act

Earlier this week, I got five notifications about an actor I've never heard of reporting a crime that never happened. What would I do without the internet? Today, I got similar deluge of reports that Robert Kraft offered to pay for sex at a day spa. Robert Kraft soliciting a prostitute might be news. But there's no way it's Top, Breaking, Notification-sending news. Yet, that's how it's being treated. Now more than ever, we need editors to edit. (Don’t worry about Robert Kraft. Belichick will run his defense.)

+ After decades of sexual assault allegations, R. Kelly has finally been indicted.

+ "Instead of prosecuting Epstein under federal sex trafficking laws, Acosta allowed Epstein to quietly plead guilty in state court to two prostitution charges and he served just 13 months in the Palm Beach County jail. His accomplices, some of whom have never been identified, were not charged." Miami Herald reporters have been all over this story. Federal prosecutors broke law in Jeffrey Epstein case, judge rules.


Desk Organizer

"To outward appearances, the 49-year-old lieutenant was a suburban father with a desk job supplying Coast Guard ships, who was glimpsed by neighbors coming and going in uniform or walking his dogs with his wife. But in court filings, prosecutors said he was also 'domestic terrorist' and self-described white nationalist who studied the methods of the Unabomber, the Virginia Tech gunman and other extremist killers; stockpiled guns and drugs; drew up a target list of prominent cable news journalists and Democratic politicians to be killed; and wrote, prosecutors said, of wanting 'to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.'" NYT: Christopher Hasson, Coast Guard Officer, Plotted Attacks at His Desk.


Playing Ketchup

"Families, particularly in the U.S., have pivoted away from familiar packaged foods amid a proliferation of products marketed as being more wholesome, or that promise new tastes. The trend hasn't been good for some of Kraft Heinz' standbys like Jell-O and Kool-Aid and Oscar Mayer hot dogs." AP: At Kraft Heinz, a fed investigation, and a $15.4B write-down. (Who says traditional companies can't achieve internet company-like results…)


Grumble in the Jungle

"Failing infrastructure, overzealous developers, drugs, too many DJs..." Don't worry. It's not another Fyre Festival. But it is part of a broader trend. NY Mag: Who Killed Tulum? Greed, gringos, diesel, drugs, shamans, seaweed, and a disco ball in the jungle.

+ Kate Harris in The Walrus: Where Not to Travel in 2019, or Ever. "Done well, tourism focus­ed on local peoples can give them more control over their destiny and widen the hearts and minds of travellers to the wonders and complexities of the world. Done poorly, tribal tourism denies people the dignity of being left alone—denies them, even, recognition as people."


Park Slope

"City parks are more crowded, with visitors traipsing through even some out-of-the-way spaces; and police officers are also increasingly looking to solve neighborhood problems without resorting to handcuffs or tickets." According to the NYT, Sex in New York City Parks Is Less of a Thing Than It Used to Be. (It's not worth the risk of being out of WiFi range...)


Feel Good Friday

While my daughter and I were on a musical-watching, shopping spree, ice cream-eating roadtrip, our better halves were on a mother-son trip to build a school in Senegal. It's a great program run by an organization called buildOn. They spent a week off from school making bricks and building walls (the good kind). Make it a really feel good Friday and show them some support!

+ "How could someone born without arms or legs, who's never held a football, teach high school players how to throw, tackle or block? Rob Mendez is doing it as head coach of a California JV team." ESPN: Who Says I Can't.

+ "A species of giant tortoise believed to have been extinct for more than 100 years has been discovered on the Galapagos island of Fernandina." (It took them more than a hundred years to catch up to a tortoise?)

+ How New Orleans Reduced Its Homeless Population By 90 Percent.

+ Four-day week trial finds lower stress and increased productivity. (Let's try the three day week next...)

+ Don Nelson on life after the NBA (this a master class on retirement planning).