Thursday, April 4th, 2019


Barr Hopping

For twenty-two months, the sealed lips of the Mueller team built up more suspense than A Quiet Place. So when a few whispered leaks finally came, they landed with more volume than the sum total of all the idle talk we've exchanged amongst ourselves throughout the investigation. From the NYT: "Some of Robert S. Mueller III's investigators have told associates that Attorney General William P. Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated."

+ Summary Judgment: "Members of Mueller's team have complained to close associates that the evidence they gathered on obstruction was alarming and significant ... Some members of the office were particularly disappointed that Barr did not release summary information the special counsel team had prepared." WaPo: Limited information Barr has shared about Russia investigation frustrated some on Mueller's team.


Shape Shifter

"While all of the athletes' left ventricles filled with blood earlier than average and untwisted more quickly during each heartbeat, those desirable changes were amplified in the runners. Their ventricles filled even earlier and untwisted more emphatically than the swimmers' hearts did." All aerobic exercise can reshape the heart. But different exercises result in different outcomes. NYT: The Heart of a Swimmer vs. the Heart of a Runner. (The heart of an internet news curator looks roughly like the heart of someone who eats bacon three meals a day.)


Partnership Wreck

"The collaboration—which deepened over three phases—is an epic with twists, tragedies, and, ultimately, betrayal at an enormous cost to America's allies in Syria. Eleven thousand Kurdish fighters have died since 2014. The Americans have lost eight." In The New Yorker, Robin Wright takes an interesting look at what most experts view as one of the more successful modern American military partnerships. It routed ISIS and sealed the Caliphate. So why is American abandoning its partner? How America Betrayed the General Who Defeated ISIS.

+ "By a 247-175 vote, Congress for the first time invoked the decades-old War Powers Resolution to try and stop a foreign conflict." Like the Senate before them, the House votes to end support for Yemen war.


Dade in the Shade

Sarah Miller with Hell or High Water: On Selling Miami's last fifty years. "Amazingly, in the face of these incontrovertible facts about the climate the business of luxury real estate is chugging along just fine, and I wanted to see the cognitive dissonance up close." (When I want to do that, I just go on Twitter...)


Prison Re-form

Ever wonder what it would be like to live in a true surveillance state? Well, you can get a preview right now in Kashgar. "Children are interrogated. Neighbors become informants. Mosques are monitored. Cameras are everywhere." An interactive piece from the NYT: How China Turned A City Into A Prison.


The Kid Stays in the Picture

"Timmothy Pitzen was 6 years old when he disappeared in 2011, and family members continued to believe he was alive and ask for any information that could lead to his whereabouts." Buzzfeed: A Boy Found In Kentucky Says He Escaped From Kidnappers After Disappearing Eight Years Ago. (You can read each article as this story unfolds or just wait and binge watch the Netflix series ... which I'm guessing will start development in about five minutes...)

+ Cincinnati Enquirer: The bizarre backstory of his disappearance.


Clean Up in Aisle One

"Grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage with Jeff with support from each other and everyone who reach out to us in kindness. Happy to be giving him all of my interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin, and 75% of our Amazon stock plus voting control of my shares to support his continued contributions with the teams of these incredible companies." That was MacKenzie Bezos confirming that Jeff will retain all the control he needs to call the shots at Amazon. Their post-divorce comments on social media were so positive, maybe the romance will one day re ... wait for it ... Kindle.


University Slickers

"I did not know—even after four years at the institution—that the school's impressive matriculation list was not the simple by-product of excellent teaching, but was in fact the end result of parental campaigns undertaken with the same level of whimsy with which the Japanese Navy bombed Pearl Harbor." Caitlin Flanagan with some reflections on the college admissions scandal.

+ Helping your kids get into the best school by artificially boosting their achievements is so passé at this point. The hip way to help is by hamstringing the kids they're competing against. WaPo: When parents are so desperate to get their kids into college that they sabotage other students.


Basil Leaves Something to Be Desired

"The research showed, counterintuitively, that exposing plants to light 24 hours a day generated the best taste. The research group plans to study how the technology might improve the disease-fighting capabilities of plants as well as how different flora may respond to the effects of climate change." Artificial Intelligence may one day destroy humanity. But in the meantime, it's making pesto taste better.


Bottom of the News

"Welcome to the quasi-underground Trader Joe's reselling economy. Though the chain has 484 stores around the continental United States in 41 states and Washington D.C., it has no international locations or e-commerce business." Inside The Trader Joe's Black Market — Where Everything Bagel Seasoning Costs $22.

+ MDMA Made Older Mice Start Socializing Like Teenagers (which made the other mice want to get out of the hot tub as quickly as they could).

+ Even in this era, it's sad that a White House "Director of Strategic Communications" is unwilling to dispute her boss's latest claim: That the sound of windmills causes cancer.