May 24th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

It's good to be the CEO, May's Brexit Wound, Weekend Whats, and Feel Good Friday.

It’s good to be the king. It might be even better to be the CEO. The NYT’s Peter Eavis explains: “This is not a difficult time to be a chief executive. The solid economy has bolstered companies’ sales, and President Trump’s corporate tax cuts have juiced profits. A huge increase in stock buybacks has lifted share prices.” It’s Never Been Easier to Be a CEO, and the Pay Keeps Rising. (They say a rising tide lifts all boats. Yachts is more like it.)

+ Boss Hog: “Pay disparity between CEOs and workers has grown since 2017. In most cases, it would take typical workers more than a century to make what their CEO made last year, at their current pay levels. In the most extreme cases, it would take more than 1,000 years.” AP: CEOs get $800,000 pay raise, leaving workers further behind.

+ ProPublica: Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing.


Brexit Wound

In the end, Theresa May’s tenure as UK Prime Minister was wholly defined by Brexit. And Brexit was a bad idea that has grown dramatically worse in practice. May announced that she will step down on June 7. (It’s just a spring clean for the May queen…) “Mrs May’s voice shook as she ended her speech saying: ‘I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold. The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last. I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.'” (I know people blame too much of their own dysfunction on their parents, but in this case, America does have a point…)

+ Theresa May: A Premiership in Six Charts.


Weekend Whats

What to Pod: One of them still has trouble saying the word fart. The other one is infamous for playing the role of Fart Man. They’re two opposites that have one thing in common. They’re both good at interviewing people. Howard Stern on Terry Gross. In his new book, Howard named Conan as his favorite interview. Here are the two of them in conversation on Conan’s podcast.

+ What to Hear: Middle Kids, a NextDraft approved band, is out with a new EP today. Great stuff. Start with Real Thing, and take it from there. The band is out on tour this summer. Catch them in a small venue while you can.

+ What to Read: “How long will the American people stand for this treachery perpetrated by their elected president? How long will Americans remain asleep while their cherished Constitution is torn to shreds.” Occasionally, there is a what-if novel that is both excellent, and later largely mirrored by real life events. Such is the case with Philip Roth’s, The Plot Against America. If you haven’t read it, now is the time.

+ What to Rock: Feeling a Game of Thrones void? This video of some rock gods (and one of the show’s creators) rocking the theme song will fill it, at least for few minutes.


Press Charges

Slate’s Fred Kaplan on why the charges against Julian Assange should make journalists, and all Americans, very worried. You Don’t Have to Like Julian Assange to Be Outraged by the Charges Against Him. “Assange is not a journalist by most people’s understanding of the word. But what he’s indicted for here is legally indistinguishable from what lots of journalists do. In the indictment’s words, he ‘repeatedly sought, obtained, and disseminated information that the United States classified’ as secret. The authors of many front-page news stories and best-selling books are guilty of the same.” (You’re going to feel nostalgic for the days when it was just norms that were being trampled…)


Barr Code Red

“President Trump’s order allowing Attorney General William P. Barr to declassify any intelligence that sparked the opening of the Russia investigation sets up a potential confrontation with the C.I.A., including over the possible implications for a person close to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia who provided information to the C.I.A. about his involvement in Moscow’s 2016 election interference.” NYT: Barr’s Newfound Power Could Prompt Clash Between Justice Dept. and C.I.A. (And, more importantly, a clash between fantastical nonsense and the rule of law.)


Imposter Syndrome

“In order to learn how to spot deepfakes, you first have to make them. That takes place at the University of Colorado in Denver, where researchers working on DARPA’s program are trying to create convincing deepfake videos. These will later be used by other researchers who are developing technology to detect what’s real and what’s fake.” CNN takes you inside the Pentagon’s race against deepfake videos.

+ The Pentagon may be able to spot deepfakes. But ordinary people probably won’t be able to spot even obvious ones. Especially when they’re shared on social media by powerful people. WaPo: Faked Pelosi videos, slowed to make her appear drunk, spread across social media.


Under Everestimated

Usually, the great outdoors serves as a great way to get away from the crowds. But these days, if you want to go up or down Everest, you need to get in line. Outside: Yes, This Photo from Everest Is Real.

+ Some people aren’t satisfied climbing Everest once (in a week). NPR: Nepalese Sherpa Sets Mount Everest Record (Again), Climbing Mountain Twice In A Week.


Torch Bearer

WaPo: The Statue of Liberty was created to celebrate freed slaves, not immigrants, its new museum recounts. “Lady Liberty was originally designed to celebrate the end of slavery, not the arrival of immigrants. Ellis Island, the inspection station through which millions of immigrants passed, didn’t open until six years after the statue was unveiled in 1886. The plaque with the famous Emma Lazarus poem — ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free’ — wasn’t added until 1903.”


Ice Cubicle

“Now a new paper confirms what many of us have long suspected. Women don’t just prefer warmer office temperatures. They perform better in them, too.” The Atlantic: Frigid Offices Might Be Killing Women’s Productivity. (I always keep my office at room temperature.)


Feel Good Friday

From Jennifer Brett: “Floyd Martin retires after nearly 35 years as a mailman tomorrow. I went with him on his route today.” You’ll want to go too.

+ Homeless high school student becomes valedictorian, gets 50 college scholarships.

+ Bikers bring 30,000 meals to feed migrants at facility in New Mexico.

+ Baltimore’s nightclub for disabled adults fosters love, friendship and inclusion.

+ Colorado becomes first state in nation to cap price of insulin.

+ Nike says it is changing contracts to protect star athletes’ pay during pregnancy.

+ An Entire Community in Taiwan Hand-Painted by a Single Man.

+ Someone broke into his house. But they didn’t take anything … they just cleaned it.

+ And there’s a chance this one only feels good to me. Things DJ Khaled yelled at me while I was writing this essay.

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