Monday, March 25th, 2019


A New Don

Waiting for the Mueller Report marked the first time in modern history when a majority of Americans were anxious to read something. But Attorney General William Barr stepped in with the ultimate spoiler alert: The report found no collusion but did not reach a conclusion on obstruction. The massive news drop left Republicans demanding apologies from Trump's accusers and Dems insisting that you can't judge a book by its cover letter. There's no doubt it was a good weekend for Trump. But it was also a good weekend for those he's hammered. For 22 months, Team Mueller withstood an onslaught of attacks and lies from the president, but they kept their heads down, maintained silence and dignity, and did the work of the American people. All the twitter attacks and the claims about a deep state out to get him were part of a destructive, paranoid delusion that harmed our institutions. And still, those institutions followed the facts and treated him fairly. Whether you like the findings or not, the process itself provided a speck of normality in a dust storm of lunacy. Yes, I admit the report surprised me and I even got a bit emotional when I first heard that Mueller found no collusion. (But then the state of my March Madness bracket put things back into perspective.) Here's the bottom line: If an American presidential campaign did not collude with the Russians, that's news worth celebrating. Hopefully, in the post-Mueller Report world, the president will be more willing to join the rest of his administration in the desire and determination to hold the Russians accountable for their meddling and to finally harden America's defenses against future attempts to do so.

+ David Remnick in The New Yorker: No Conspiracy, No Exoneration: The Conclusions from the Mueller Report.

+ From President Trump: "There are a lot of people out there who have done very, very evil things, very bad things, I would say treasonous things against our country. And hopefully people that have done such harm to our country ... those people will certainly be looked at ... I love this country. I love this country as much as I can love anything. My family, my country, my God. But what they did, it was a false narrative, it was a terrible thing. We can never let this happen to another president again. I can tell you that -- I say it very strongly. Very few people I know could have handled it." Here's the latest from CNN.

+ Franklin Foer in The New Yorker: The Mueller Probe Was an Unmitigated Success. "The scandal is how much corruption it exposed—and how much turns out to have been perfectly legal."

+ "There is no way to understand our President's relationship with the world, his motivations and vulnerabilities, without a far richer picture of his central area of concern—his business—over the past decade." Adam Davidson: The Questions About Trump's Businesses That Are Still Unanswered After the Mueller Report.

+ The Mueller Report has been completed, but that doesn't mean all your favorite Trump-era characters on both sides won't be back with more exciting capers. First up, from the NYT: Michael Avenatti Accused in Nike Extortion Attempt.



"On Saturday night, a Parkland sophomore took his own life, according to Coral Springs police. A week before, a former student whose best friend died in last year's massacre took her life." Two Parkland survivors have committed suicide in the last week. In Connecticut, the father of a Sandy Hook victim died from an apparent suicide.

+ "After all these years, it's still there, in the back of her mind, lurking. No matter how good things are going, it never quite goes away, this feeling that she should have died that day. And her brush with death is the first thing that strangers tend to notice about her, like a limp or a disfigurement. Once they find out where she went to high school, that's all they want to talk about." Columbine Survivors Talk About the Wounds That Won't Heal.


Bibi Guns

"The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a trip to the US on Monday following the rocket attack and had vowed to 'respond forcefully.' The army said later it was reinforcing troops along the Gaza frontier and calling up reserves." The Guardian: Israeli military says it has started bombing Gaza after rocket strike.

+ AP: Trump signs declaration reversing US policy on Golan Heights.



"Plaquemines has the distinction—a dubious one, at best—of being among the fastest-disappearing places on Earth. Everyone who lives in the parish—and fewer and fewer people do—can point to some stretch of water that used to have a house or a hunting camp on it. This is true even of teen-agers. A few years ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officially retired thirty-one Plaquemines place-names, including Bay Jacquin and Dry Cypress Bayou, because there was no there there anymore." The New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert on Louisiana's Disappearing Coast. "The state loses a football field's worth of land every hour and a half."

+ "By 2025, this once-grimy industrial city aims to be net carbon neutral, meaning it plans to generate more renewable energy than the dirty energy it consumes." NYT: Copenhagen Wants to Show How Cities Can Fight Climate Change. (Leadership from internernational cities is great. But we need leadership from the top.)


Caliphate Accompli

"The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led group backed by the United States, announced this week that it had captured Baghouz, what's believed to have been the last territory held by Islamic State militants." Here's a photo collection of the last days of the caliphate from NPR: With The Collapse Of The ISIS 'Caliphate,' A Camera Lens Lingers On Those Left Behind.


Nuthin But A Brie Thang

"While 33 have been charged, the sources say prosecutors have sent subpoenas to high schools in Southern California with names of students whose parents have not been charged — which suggests authorities are preparing to expand the number of prosecutions." LA Times: More wealthy parents under scrutiny by prosecutors in college admissions scandal.

+ Dr Dre said his daughter got into USC 'all on her own' – then fans point out that $70m donation. (Kids should be allowed to apply to colleges -- and brag about acceptances on social media -- on their own.)


You May Even Get Tired of All the Winfrey

Apple announced a slew of new services, some expected and some not so much. First, there's a new subscription news service (finally, a giant tech company is here to save the news business). Second, there's a credit card that promises to improve on a pretty terrible experience. Third, there's a game subscription program called Apple Arcade. Fourth, there's a much-anticipated TV product that will be available on Apple devices and other platforms. And fifth (I buried the lede here), there's Oprah. ("Hey, Siri, what's the weather like in San Francisco?" ... "Siri's gone. It's me, Oprah.")


Room and Chess Board

"Tanitoluwa Adewumi, age 8, skidded around the empty apartment, laughing excitedly, then leapt onto his dad's back. "I have a home!" he said in wonderment. 'I have a home!' A week ago, the boy was homeless, studying chess moves while lying on the floor of a shelter in Manhattan. Now Tani, as he is known, has a home, a six-figure bank account, scholarship offers from three elite private schools and an invitation to meet President Bill Clinton." Nicholas Kristoff in the NYT: The 8-year-old refugee who last week was thrilled to have a trophy suddenly has so much more. Our Chess Champion Has a Home.

+ "This heart-warming tale is also a quintessentially American one. Despite his family's conditions, Tani learned to play at a good chess program in an excellent Manhattan public school. His mother took the initiative of getting him into the school chess club, reminding any true chess fan of a similar letter written by the mother of future U.S. world champion Bobby Fischer. (All praise to assertive chess mothers like my own!)" Garry Kasparov in WaPo: The heart-warming tale of the 8-year-old chess champion is quintessentially American.


But My City Was Gone

"Unbeknownst even to city officials, the city did have a hand in the Fruit Belt's digital erasure — as did Google, two defunct mapping startups, and an ubiquitous, secretive data broker that claims to keep tabs on 100,000 neighborhoods." Caitlin Dewey: OneZero: How Google's Bad Data Wiped a Neighborhood off the Map.


Bottom of the News

"If you're single, you can set up an account stating your preferences and curiosities, as you might with any other service. The app lists 20 possibilities for sexuality alone, including heteroflexible (straight-ish) and homoflexible (gay, for the most part). But couples and partners can sign up, too, in service of finding a third — or a fourth." A Dating App for Three, Plus.

+ Gizmodo: I Rode an E-Scooter as Far From Civilization as Its Batteries Could Take Me. (Can we get everyone on an e-scooter to do that?)

+ Yesterday in many New England homes: "Honey, the Mueller Report found no collusion and Trump is like super happy." ... Really? Damn. ... "Also, it looks like your March Madness bracket is pretty much shot."... Wait, are you kidding me? ... "Oh, Hon, I almost forgot. Gronk retired… Honey? Honey? ..."

+ March Madness doubles as vasectomy season. (My bracket is so bad, I never should never have been allowed to reproduce in the first place.)

+ "Hornets' Jeremy Lamb Stuns Toronto With Absolutely Ridiculous, Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater.

+ That was a lot of news. Relax with some National Puppy Day Photos.

+ In retrospect, it was probably a bad idea to name my beagles Collusion and Obstruction.

+ That was a pretty damn good edition. Please consider forwarding it to a friend and telling them to sign up or get the app at NextDraft.