Friday, June 14th, 2019


Raptor’s Delight

For several years, America's attention has been fixated on our Southern border. But in the end, the threat came from the North. We the North to be specific. In an NBA finals that physically battered the threepeat-seeking defending champions so completely that it, at times, felt like a lost season of Game of Thrones, Toronto became unlikely champions, thrilling a city and a nation that found itself putting hockey on ice (at least until after the parade). And true to their national stereotype, the Toronto Raptor's seemed really, well, nice. While we Bay Area fans love our Warriors, there was no sense of the ill will fans usually harbor for championship opponents. And so I say, congrats to the Raptors, the city of Toronto, and all Canadians. (Except Drake.)

+ The Season: "A nomadic former G League coach, a daring front office, untested youngsters, vets who had never experienced this kind of pressure before and a stoic superstar." SI: We The Champs: Kawhi, Masai and the Legend of the 2019 Raptors. (Bonus: we don't have to suffer through a public brouhaha over whether or not the team will accept an invitation to the White House...)

+ The Moment: It was already an instantly iconic photo. But consider the fact that this buzzer beating bounce led to an NBA Championship. It should be the new Canadian flag.

+ Don't worry. American influence is still playing a major role up North. "Entering Thursday's game, the Raptors had made more than 12 3-pointers in 54 games, including twice during the finals, and McDonald's has given away more than two million orders of fries." NYT: Hey, Raptors Fans, You Want Fries With Those 3-Pointers?

+ Here's more from the Ringer.


Tanker Rancor

"The U.S. military released a video Friday it said showed Iran's Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the oil tankers targeted near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, suggesting Tehran wanted to hide evidence of its alleged involvement." AP: US says video shows Iran removing mine from stricken tanker.

+ President Trump says there's no doubt Iran was behind the tanker attacks: "Iran did do it, and you know they did it because you saw the boat." But the Japanese owner of one of the tankers is less sure. WaPo: Trump rejects Iran's denials that it attacked tankers, citing video released by Central Command.

+ "They are reluctant to accept the White House's claims at face value, and do not want to provide Washington with any pretext for war." NYT: Distrusting Both Iran and U.S., Europe Urges Maximum Restraint. (That's odd. I can't think of any reason why America's allies would question the administration's honesty...)


Weekend Whats

What to Book: A confession. When John Temple, one of my favorite authors, contacted me about his new book, I was a little bummed about the topic. I've never been particularly interested in the Bundy family or the battle over federal land. Well, after about three pages, I was not only interested, I was riveted. You will be too. Up in Arms: How the Bundy Family Hijacked Public Lands, Outfoxed the Federal Government, and Ignited America's Patriot Militia Movement. (And don't miss Temple's earlier work on the opioid crisis: American Pain.)

+ What to Hear: Bruce. New album. Enough said. Western Stars. (Bruce, if you're a subscriber, just give me a sign...)

+ What to Read: "The rest of the world saw a country that was experiencing a kind of terrorism that many had lived with for years and yet was thrashing around like a wounded lion, tearing down international alliances and norms." Fareed Zakaria in Foreign Affairs: The Self-Destruction of American Power.


Slur Traders

"The perceptions we have about the world at large drive the decisions we make ... To think that people could completely separate these extremist right-wing views from their actions just isn't consistent with what we know about the decision-making process." Another solid piece of investigative reporting from Reveal: To Protect and Slur. Inside hate groups on Facebook, police officers trade racist memes, conspiracy theories and Islamophobia.


Que Sarah Sarah

"When Sarah Sanders said Thursday that she hopes to be remembered for her transparency and honesty, the first impulse was to laugh. But lying to citizens while being paid by them really isn't all that funny." Margaret Sullivan in WaPo: Sarah Sanders was the disdainful Queen of Gaslighting. (In fairness to Sanders, she was transparent in her lying...)


Enemies, a Love Story

From Politico: The head of the Federal Election Commission released a statement on Thursday evening reiterating, emphatically, that foreign assistance is illegal in U.S. elections. "Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. This is not a novel concept." (We're talking about a guy for whom novels are a novel concept...)


Political Theater

"The series doesn't just boast star power. It also yields unlikely political influence in a nation where movie stars often find a second career in elected offices. And nothing in Philippine pop culture captures the blurred lines between entertainment and politics quite like Ang Probinsyano. WaPo: A popular Philippine cop show is real political theater as its actors run for office. "At least seven cast members ran in May's midterm elections ... Three won seats."


Dropping a Dime on the Twenty

"Work on the new $20 note began before Mr. Trump took office, and the basic design already on paper most likely could have satisfied the goal of unveiling a note bearing Tubman's likeness on next year's centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote." See a Design of the Harriet Tubman $20 Bill That Mnuchin Delayed. (Long story short, Harriet Tubman was railroaded...)


23 and Who?

"Neither was emotionally prepared for what the tests would find. What's become clear to me listening to their stories and talking to experts is that it's difficult to predict how a person might react if the story of their life is rewritten." HuffPo on home DNA tests and The Death Of The Family Secret.


Feel Good Friday

"Our culture tells us a story that we'll lose and lose and lose as we get older. And it's not true." The Post asked eight women who achieved personal or professional milestones after the age of 50 to share their experiences, in their own words. Changing channels.

+ This Guy Offered "Free Dad Hugs" at a Pride Parade and People Really Needed Them.

+ "Selah Schneiter, 10, is small for her age, weighing just 55 pounds and standing four foot two. She loves math and playing guitar and is 'silly and plays make believe,' says her mom, Joy. She is also the youngest documented person ever to climb the 3,000-foot Nose route on Yosemite's El Capitan."

+ New York has ended its religious exemption for vaccines.

+ NatGeo: David Miti is a double amputee who works as a carpenter hand-making devices for children with disabilities.

+ Jon Stewart can't hold it together as 9/11 first responders bestow him with a powerful gift. "I don't deserve this." (Editor's note: Yes, you do.)

+ Botswana decriminalizes homosexuality in a victory for LGBTQ rights in Africa.

+ Ali Stroker's Tony Win is a Huge Step for Performers With Disabilities.

+ Army veteran to become first living recipient of Medal of Honor for war in Iraq.

+ Teen bitten by shark encourages ocean protection, preservation.

+ WaPo: He is a stylist to Hollywood stars. But his most personal work is giving cuts to the homeless.

+ Pacific Dining Car's 88-Year-Old Bartender Never Wants to Quit.

+ We began with Canada. So let's end there. Canada passes 'Free Willy' bill banning whale and dolphin captivity.