Monday, April 8th, 2019


Garbage In, Garbage Out

The great 21st century economic divide can find people worlds apart living in close physical proximity, often separated by little more than a few dumpsters. "Trash picking is a profession more often associated with shantytowns and favelas than a city at the doorstep of Silicon Valley. The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, counts more than 400 trash picking organizations across the globe, almost all of them in Latin America, Africa and southern Asia. But trash scavengers exist in many United States cities and, like the rampant homelessness in San Francisco, are a signpost of the extremes of American capitalism. A snapshot from 2019: One of the world's richest men and a trash picker, living a few minutes' walk from each other." The NYT: In San Francisco, Making a Living From Your Billionaire Neighbor's Trash.

+ "Their savings accounts are stretched. Their health and retirement benefits inadequate. They need more than they have. They're not outliers, either. Household income is lower today than before the recession in almost half the counties in Greater Cincinnati. Poverty is worse in one-third of those counties. Wages for the poorest workers have barely budged since the recovery began. The recession ended years ago, and the economy is undeniably better. But for those still trying to find their way back, the road is long and hard." Reporters at the Cincinnati Enquirer set out to discover if we've actually recovered from the Great Recession. This is what they found.


The Art of the Deal with the Devil

"The president called Ms. Nielsen at home early in the mornings to demand that she take action to stop migrants from entering the country, including doing things that were clearly illegal, such as blocking all migrants from seeking asylum. She repeatedly noted the limitations imposed on her department by federal laws, court settlements and international obligations. Those responses only infuriated Mr. Trump further." NYT: Kirstjen Nielsen Resigns as Trump's Homeland Security Secretary. (Homeland Security doesn't equal job security.)

+ "Trump told aides last fall that he wanted to fire Nielsen … She appeared to regain her footing after U.S. Border Patrol agents used tear gas to repel a large crowd attempting to break through a border fence — the kind of 'tough' action Trump said he wanted." Trump keeps pushing legal boundaries — and 10 other takeaways from Kirstjen Nielsen's ouster. (The border Americans should be worried about is between right and wrong.)

+ NBC News: "President Donald Trump has for months urged his administration to reinstate large-scale separation of migrant families crossing the border, according to three U.S. officials with knowledge of meetings at the White House. Trump's outgoing Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, resisted — setting her at odds with the president." Meanwhile, Nielson now has put together quite the résumé.

+ CNN: "The President in recent weeks empowered Stephen Miller to lead the administration's border policies 'and he's executing his plan.'" Trump is removing US Secret Service director. (And in the time it took me to type that blurb, the move is official.)


Revolutionary Guard Rails

"Top Pentagon and C.I.A. officials oppose the designation, which they argue would allow hard-line Iranian officials to justify deadly operations against Americans overseas, especially Special Operations units and paramilitary units working under the C.I.A." NYT: Trump Designates Iran's Revolutionary Guard a Foreign Terrorist Group.

+ This might be a good time to go back and review Adam Davidson's investigation into that time the president helped build a hotel in Azerbaijan that appears to be a corrupt operation engineered by oligarchs tied to Iran's Revolutionary Guard. The New Yorker: Donald Trump's Worst Deal.


Application of Justice

"I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions. I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly." So said actress Felicity Huffman as she and a dozen other parents plead guilty in the college admissions scandal. "Prosecutors will be asking for jail time for all defendants, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation."


Running, Free

"It's clear exercise has health benefits both physical and mental. But what if we could show it was more important to your mental health than your economic status?" According to a new study from Oxford and Yale researchers, exercise might make you happier than money. (Editor's note: You start running. I'll hold your wallet.)

+ WaPo: Dog owners are much happier than cat owners.


Backboard Jungle

"It's like — I may be Thabo's friend, or Ekpe's teammate, or Russ's colleague; I may work with those guys. And I absolutely 100% stand with them. But I look like the other guy. And whether I like it or not? I'm beginning to understand how that means something." The NBA's Kyle Korver in The Player's Tribune: Privileged.


Opioid Void

Vice: "Ninety percent of the world's morphine distribution goes to the richest 10 percent of its population. This is the world's other opioid crisis – the hidden epidemic of poor people forced to suffer and die in needless agony."


For the Record

"On the 20th anniversary of the first TiVo shipment, OneZero presses pause with many of TiVo's original creators to see how the first DVR came to be, how the technology made its way into pretty much every television in the United States, and why, despite all that, TiVo is no longer a household name." They Thought It Was Black Magic: An Oral History of TiVo. (It really was wonderful to suddenly be able to watch what you wanted when you wanted.)


Cardboard Stiff

"In truth, my groceries come packaged in enough cardboard to trigger weekly guilt spirals about deforestation. (A box the size of an ottoman once contained a single onion.) Who knew that the defining feature of my generation would be our ability to break down cardboard boxes? We are masters of reverse cardboard origami, a side effect of entering adulthood at the dawn of a radical new age of convenience." Maureen O'Connor on life in the delivery age: Outsourcing Adulthood - Can you ever really grow up if you don't do anything for yourself? (Why would you need to?)


Bottom of the News

"In recent decades, it has become increasingly common for people to leave their pets a chunk — or, in some cases, the entirety — of their estate. Some particularly lucky dogs, cats, and hens have even inherited fortunes in the millions. Why is this happening? How exactly does it work? And what does it say about our changing relationship with pets?" From The Hustle: The wild world of trust funds for pets. (When people ask why I have a trust fund for my pets, I always ask if they've ever met my kids.)

+ A rhino poacher was killed by an elephant and then eaten by lions in South Africa.

+ LA Times: El Chapo's wife is launching a clothing brand — called El Chapo Guzman. "I am very excited and hope I can create things that everyone likes."