Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019


Daddy Issues

"Across the English-speaking world, the family's outlets have helped elevate marginal demagogues, mainstream ethnonationalism and politicize the very notion of truth. The results have been striking. It may not have been the family's mission to destabilize democracies around the world, but that has been its most consequential legacy ... To see Fox News as an arm of the Trump White House risks missing the larger picture. It may be more accurate to say that the White House — just like the prime ministers' offices in Britain and Australia — is just one tool among many that this family uses to exert influence over world events." In the NYT Mag, Jonathan Mahler and Jim Rutenberg go deep on what is in many ways the story (and storyteller) of our time. How Rupert Murdoch's Empire Of Influence Remade The World. "Murdoch and his children have toppled governments on two continents and destabilized the most important democracy on earth. What do they want?" (That quote is not all that different from some of the notes sent home from my kids' school...)


Paper Chase

"Nadler says he is not issuing the subpoena immediately, but Wednesday's action escalates the fight over Mueller's investigation between House Democrats and Trump, who has recently walked back his previous calls for the report to be released." CNN: House panel authorizes subpoena for Mueller report. (At this point, I might just wait for the movie version...)


Forecast Away

"In most of the western highlands, the question is no longer whether someone will emigrate but when. 'Extreme poverty may be the primary reason people leave ... but climate change is intensifying all the existing factors.'" The New Yorker's Jonathan Blitzer with an interesting look at at an issue that promises to be widespread in coming years. How Climate Change Is Fuelling the U.S. Border Crisis.


College Class System

"It seems quaint to recall that higher learning is supposed to be an engine of social mobility. Today, the country's best colleges are an overpriced gated community whose benefits accrue mostly to the wealthy. At 38 colleges, including Yale, Princeton, Brown and Penn, there are more students from the top 1 percent than the bottom 60 percent. Tuition prices aren't the only reason for this, but they're a major one. Public university tuition has doubled in the last two decades, tripled in the last three." (And that doesn't even include the bribes.) In HuffPo Highline, Kevin Carey on The Creeping Takeover of Higher Education. "Universities had the chance to make quality education affordable for everyone." This is what they did instead...


Thumb Drive Shaft

The Daily Beast: Chinese Woman Lied Her Way Into Mar-a-Lago With Malware, Feds Say. "When authorities searched Zhang, they found a thumb drive containing 'malicious malware,' in addition to four cell phones, a laptop, and an external hard drive." (It's unclear how she stood out from other guests at Mar-a-Lago...)


Space Jam

"Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I've heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future." ABC News: Biden responds 'I get it' after women accuse him of inappropriate touching.


Hog Heaven

WaPo: "The Trump administration plans to shift much of the power and responsibility for food safety inspections in hog plants to the pork industry as early as May, cutting the number of federal inspectors by about 40 percent and replacing them with plant employees." WaPo: Pork industry soon will have more power over meat inspections.

"They had been studying the issue for nearly a year. They compiled in-depth injury reports. They collected epidemiological data. They ran engineering tests, even taking the stroller out in the Washington area to understand why the wheel failed, according to two people familiar with the agency's findings. The agency's health sciences division determined children could suffer 'potentially life-threatening injuries' from front-wheel detachments." WaPo: After hundreds of crashes, this Britax jogging stroller faced recall. Then Trump appointees stepped in.


Building a Better Mousetrap

"In March of this year, Gucci began selling a $4,500 purse in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head. Between the creature's round black ears is a small handle embossed with the word 'Gucci.' On the brand's website, a male model stares intensely into the camera without the slightest trace of irony that he is, in fact, toting around the disembodied head of a children's cartoon character." FastCo: How Disney grew its $3 billion Mickey Mouse business–by selling to adults. "All of this prompts the question: Why would adults wear items splashed with the face of a smiling rodent in the first place?"


Drawing from Observation

"Marilyn Church has attended, and illustrated, some of New York City's most high-profile trials of the past 40 years. She's sat before murderers, mobsters, and celebrities at their worst. She's witnessed grieving families and communities rallying for justice." And she was armed only with a pad of pastel paper, water-soluble crayons, and colored pencils. Murder, She Drew.


Bottom of the News

"The buffet is a good idea. The buffet is a symbol of the American dream. The buffet is delicious. The buffet is affordable, and a lot of us love a deal."s Vox: When did America's heart turn cold on buffet chains? (When I was in college, my friends and I would fast for 24 hours and then go to the Sizzler. My heart will never turn cold.)

+ Patagonia is refusing to sell its iconic power vests to some financial firms. (One of the ironies of Silicon Valley is that everyone loves wear a vest while vesting.)