Thursday, July 25th, 2019


Casting Call

His performance lacked oomph. He was low energy. Can we take a Muell-igan? Maybe they should have hired a stunt double. Was that Rob Mueller or Rob Zombie? What we really learned during Robert Mueller testimony is what we've known all along: The way we cover politics is the rot at the core of a system that, at the moment, seems broken beyond repair. (Insert ominous soundtrack here.) In the analysis most representative of the broader media narrative, Chuck Todd proclaimed, "On optics, this was a disaster." Todd's criticism was in line with the way most of the media covered the day. David Graham in The Atlantic: "Call this what you want—theater criticism, optics-obsessed punditry—but it's far more disappointing than the Mueller hearings themselves, if equally predictable."

+ Meanwhile, the most urgent question following Mueller's appearance isn't will they impeach Trump? It's why aren't we doing anything to keep Russia from hacking another election?


Kill Switch

Attorney General William Barr "asked the prisons bureau to schedule the executions of five inmates who have been found guilty of murder. According to the DOJ, the victims in each case included children and the elderly. In some of the cases, the convicted murderers also tortured and raped their victims." NPR: Federal Government To Resume Capital Punishment After Nearly 20-Year Hiatus.


Rico Act

"On Monday, while hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans took part in one of the largest protests in the island's history to demand his resignation, Rosselló again said he would not resign." But within a couple days, the pressure finally got to Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló who resigned late Wednesday.


Autonomous Vehicle Industry

"While Trump administration officials in the White House and Environmental Protection Agency have been working on a plan to drastically weaken Obama-era rules on planet-warming vehicle pollution, four automakers — Ford, Honda, Volkswagen Group of America and BMW of North America — have been holding secretive talks in Sacramento on a plan to move forward with the standards in California, the nation's largest auto market." NYT: Automakers, Rejecting Trump Pollution Rule, Strike a Deal With California. (At this point, just about everyone in California is riding a scooter anyway...)


Citizen’s Arrest

"It was inhumane how they treated us. It got to the point where I was ready to sign a deportation paper just to not be suffering there anymore. I just needed to get out of there." What makes this detainment center story different? The detainee is an American citizen. Dallas News: No shower for 23 days: U.S. citizen says conditions were so bad that he almost self-deported.

+ "An autopsy report obtained by Texas Monthly provides new details about the death of Hernandez, the fifth Guatemalan child to die since December after being taken into Border Patrol custody. Conducted by Dr. Norma Jean Farley, a contract forensic pathologist for Hidalgo County, the autopsy concludes that Hernandez succumbed to the flu, complicated by pneumonia and sepsis, on or near the toilet of his South Texas Border Patrol cell." Texas Monthly: Autopsy Offers Jarring New Details About the Death of a 16-Year-Old Guatemalan Boy.

+ CBS News: Thousands of unaccompanied migrant children could be detained indefinitely.


Banging Chad

"When James Chad-Lewis Clay, whose DNA came back as a match, was convicted and sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison, it should have brought the victim some closure. But after the trial ended in 2017, she had a shocking realization: Clay, now 38, was the same person she knew as 'Chad' when they briefly dated in high school." WaPo: A decades-old rape test sent him to prison. Then his high school girlfriend saw an old photograph.

+ Like so many important legal stories, this one started with investigative journalism. Detroit Free Press: Detroit rape victim: Wrong man may be in prison for my assault.


Air Message

CNN: "Financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was found in his Manhattan jail cell with marks on his neck this week, a law enforcement source and a source familiar with the incident said Thursday. It is not clear to jail officials if the injuries, incurred Tuesday, were self-inflicted or the result of an assault, the law enforcement source said."


Ring Worm

"Amazon is convincing people to self-surveil through aggressive, fear-based marketing, aided by de facto police endorsements and free Ring camera giveaways. Consumers are opting into surveillance. And police are more than eager to capitalize on this wealth of surveillance data." Vice: Amazon Requires Police to Shill Surveillance Cameras in Secret Agreement. (Big tech is everywhere. And they're just getting started.)


Sole Proprietor

"This decade-spanning partnership, its seemingly-inexorable success and the unlikely metamorphosis of Stan Smith from ‘very good tennis player' into Stan Smith ‘sneaker tycoon and friend of Pharrell' can be attributed to a fair amount of talent and a lot of good timing." Esquire: Stan Smith: The Man Who Became A Shoe (and socked away a lot of cash...).


Bottom of the News

"When you smoke a joint, what goes into your bloodstream is called delta-9 THC. When you eat cannabis, meanwhile, the drug gets processed by your liver into a different compound, 11-hydroxy THC. The two forms are very similar to each other, but the small differences between them can mean they affect the brain in dramatically disparate ways." The Real Difference Between Smoking and Eating Marijuana. (The key is to smoke while you're waiting for the edibles to kick in...)

+ High avocado prices have forced some taquerias to substitute squash in their guac recipes.

+ Every kid has had to be pulled away from a luggage conveyor belt. This two year-old wasn't pulled away in time.