Wednesday, June 5th, 2019


Pipe Dream

"It's pretty obvious why Mulder's parents chose this place in the late 1970s to grow marijuana. Back then, camouflage ropes pulled tall branches over the clearing to hide the illegal but highly prized crop from Drug Enforcement Administration helicopters; huckleberry bushes grew among marijuana for extra concealment. Now, the array of bright white buildings would be easily spotted from above, that is if anyone was up there looking. The berry bush camouflage came out when Mulder bought this land a decade ago when California became the first state to approve medical marijuana." It's a lot easier to grow marijuana in Humboldt these days, now that farmers don't need to hide their crops. What's harder is making money. Politico Magazine: How Legal Weed Is Killing America's Most Famous Marijuana Farmers.

+ "John A. Boehner, the former speaker of the House, once stood second in line for the presidency and staunchly against legalized marijuana. Now you can find the longtime Republican standing before a wall-size photo of the Capitol, making an online infomercial pitch for the cannabis industry." NYT: From Speaker of the House to Cannabis Pitchman. "Mr. Boehner's pro-weed epiphany coincides with the prospect of a payday as high as $20 million from the industry he once so vigorously opposed." (I guess you could say he changed his mind For-20...)


Secrets and Pfiz

"The company told The Post that it decided during its three years of internal reviews that Enbrel did not show promise for Alzheimer's prevention because the drug does not directly reach brain tissue. It deemed the likelihood of a successful clinical trial to be low. A synopsis of its statistical findings prepared for outside publication, it says, did not meet its 'rigorous scientific standards.'" WaPo with an interesting look at one drug non-trial, and how it reflects on the way we develop drugs. Pfizer had clues its blockbuster drug could prevent Alzheimer's. Why didn't it tell the world?

+ From underselling a drug to overselling one... NBC News: Ohio doctor charged with 25 counts of murder, accused of prescribing excessive doses of painkillers. "The patient deaths exposed a stunning case of medical oversight and alleged medical malpractice, and called into question how repeated failures potentially involving 30 or more employees could have gone unchecked for so long."


Tariff I Can’t Have You

"Trump said he thinks Mexico wants to reach an agreement to stop a new trade war - one that analysts believe might tip its economy into a recession - while a White House trade adviser and senior Republican U.S. lawmaker predicted that Washington might not introduce the proposed tariffs." It's looking less likely that we'll see tariffs on Mexican goods. (In addition to the tariffs having almost no support on either side of the aisle or the border, this just isn't a problem you can punish your way out of...)

+ WaPo: "The Trump administration is canceling English classes, recreational programs and legal aid for unaccompanied minors staying in federal migrant shelters nationwide, saying the immigration influx at the southern border has created critical budget pressures." Meanwhile, the numbers continue to rise. "The Central American migration boom that has swamped U.S. authorities grew even larger in May, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics released Wednesday that show more than 144,000 migrants were taken into custody, a 32 percent jump from April."


Domestic Violence

"Dakota Reed's mind brimmed with thoughts of mass murder. In November, he wrote on Facebook, 'I am shooting for 30 Jews.' The next month, he uploaded a video of himself in his bedroom of his mother's Seattle-area home proudly displaying new gun sights he had mounted on his AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle. White supremacist propaganda adorned the walls. He said he was 'fixing to shoot up' a school." For FBI investigators, the threat of domestic terrorism is all too familiar these days. So are the limits on the organization's ability to address these threats. NYT: FBI, Pushing to Stop Domestic Terrorists, Grapples With Limits on Its Power.


Habit Forming

"Memory is funny like that, the way it can sharpen and refocus. Shift the present and the past bends with it. Innocuous comments become obvious evidence, odd coincidence becomes cheap conspiracy. Did they, or their friends from outside the school community, really always seem to win at the raffles? Or is that a trick of memory? Because nothing seemed sinister at the time—they were nuns, after all—the Vegas trips and Tahoe getaways were never mentally cataloged by anyone in the school community. So all that's left now is a determined sense that of course Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana gambled far beyond their means. It's one of those things everyone knows but no one knows." Sean Flynn in GQ: The Gambling Nuns of Torrance, California.


Tech Crunch

"At a broad ideological level, two things have happened. First, the idea of cyberspace, a transnational, individualistic, largely unregulated, and free place that was not exactly located in any governmental domain, has completely collapsed. Second, the mythology of tech as the carrier of progress has imploded." Nothing inspires like a common foe. And these days, a lot of groups share negative vibes about tech companies. Alexis Madrigal with a partial lineup. The Coalition Out to Kill Tech as We Know It.

+ Vox: Why does Washington suddenly seem ready to regulate Big Tech? Look at the polls.

+ "The very same agencies and legislators now screaming for blood have for decades ignored any sensible regulation of Silicon Valley, afraid of killing the golden geeks. Just a year ago most could not have cared less about the ballooning power of tech over so many aspects of American life. More to the point, they have stayed stubbornly ignorant of how all this tech stuff actually works." Kara Swisher is not enthusiastic about regulation (or more specifically, regulators). The People Screaming for Blood Have No Idea How Tech Actually Works.


Extreme of Consciousness

"The President of the United States musing on the most important issue of our time. "I believe that there's a change in weather, and I think it changes both ways. Don't forget it used to be called global warming. That wasn't working. Then it was called climate change. Now it's actually called extreme weather, because with extreme weather, you can't miss." (The same can be said for extreme stupidity.)

+ Somehow, this feels related: How One of Canada's Coldest Cities Became the Slurpee Capital of the World.

+ Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, Companies See Climate Change Hitting Their Bottom Lines in the Next 5 Years. But as the NYT reports, it's not all bad news: "Eli Lilly, a drug maker in the United States, cited research suggesting that rising temperatures could drive the spread of infectious diseases — a problem the company was well-positioned to help address."


Aye, Scot the Sheriff

"Scot Peterson, the former Broward Sheriff's deputy responsible for protecting Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, has been criminally charged for failing to confront a gunman who methodically shot and killed 17 students and staffers." (Peterson may deserve to be in jail. But this doesn't seem like a step in the direction of solving, or even addressing, the school shootings issue...) "His arrest caught many in the law enforcement community off guard. Filing of criminal charges against police officers for failing to act is virtually unheard of in Florida."


Long Live Rock

"A boulder the size of a house that crashed onto a southwestern Colorado state highway last month will stay put. State officials plan to reroute the highway around it — saving taxpayers money and possibly creating a tourist attraction."


Bottom of the News

"What I find remarkable about the struggle to sell these homes is the eccentric notes the developers have struck in choosing home amenities. There is the home with the aforementioned shark tank. There is one with a 'candy room.' A third has a hidden marijuana room (for growing and smoking marijuana, the article clarifies) that is accessed via a secret bookcase control, presumably similar to the one used by the Addams Family." NY Mag: Eccentric Spec Mansions for Billionaires Is Not As Good a Business As It Seemed Like.

+ Metal thieves steal rail bridge in Russia.

+ "They're comfortable full coverage and require no adjustment throughout the day. They exist beyond the male gaze." Vox on the rise of granny panties.