August 15th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

WeWork's S-1 is a good binge read, Bibi Does Trump's Bidding, and the world of competitive Whiffle Ball.

“Let’s be clear, though: This company is profoundly shocking, and odd. It is at once perhaps the most controversial member of the last decade’s ‘unicorn’ era of richly valued startups, and the one that perfectly encapsulates this moment in financial history. WeWork is so unicorn, it hurts.” Bloomberg: WeWork Takes the Startup-Mania Era to Its Logical Extreme. Maybe everyone is wrong and there really is a secret formula that makes re-renting office space (at a loss, at least so far) an ingenius tech play. But for now, if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to re-rent you. (Obviously, barista-poured coffee is included.)

+ The Verge: WeWork Isn’t A Tech Company; It’s A Soap Opera. “The We Company (the company formerly known as WeWork) filed its mandatory S-1 paperwork to go public, and it’s worth reading in full. I mean, forget the serious stuff for a moment. The thing begins with an epigram: ‘We dedicate this to the energy of we — greater than any one of us, but inside all of us.'” (What’s inside of me just projectiled out and across the room…)


Maine Lining Immigrants

WaPo: “The disconnect between Maine’s aging population and its need for young workers to care for that population is expected to be mirrored in states throughout the country over the coming decade, demographic experts say. And that’s especially true in states with populations with fewer immigrants, who are disproportionately represented in many occupations serving the elderly.”


Israelite Saber

Today in not normal, an American president convinced an Israeli prime minister to block the visits of two US members of Congress. NYT: Israel Denies Entry to Omar and Tlaib After Trump’s Call to Block Them. From Trump: “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!” (I thought those who hate all Jewish people were the “very fine people” who chanted “Jews will not replace us!” in Charlottesville.)

+ Here’s a really good overview of the situation from former US Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro: Israel’s Massive Self-Own.


Neck and Neck

At least the autopsy on Jeffrey Epstein will finally put to rest any conspiracy theories related to what happened in his jail cell on the day of his death. OK, not really. “Among the bones broken in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple. Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensics experts and studies on the subject. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation.” WaPo: Autopsy finds broken bones in Jeffrey Epstein’s neck, deepening questions around his death.


Resting Mitch Face

“Pointing to Moscow’s use of economic leverage to sway European politics, they warn the deal is a stalking horse for a new kind of Russian meddling in America, one that exploits the U.S. free-market system instead of its elections. ‘That’s just what the Russians do,’ says veteran diplomat Daniel Fried, who shaped U.S. policy on Eastern Europe at the State Department from the late 1980s until 2017. ‘They insert themselves into a foreign economy and then start to influence its politics from the inside.'” Time: A Kremlin-Linked Firm Invested Millions in Kentucky. Were They After More Than Money?

+ WaPo: How a McConnell-backed effort to lift Russian sanctions boosted a Kentucky project.


Insurance Claim

“A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that Erie, State Farm, Farmers, and other giant home and auto insurers around the country have co-opted law enforcement to intimidate and prosecute their own customers — tactics that can help companies boost their profits and avoid paying claims. Insurance companies provide financial incentives to scores of police departments, prosecutors, and other public agencies to encourage them to focus on insurance fraud.” This Person Wanted An Insurance Payment. They Got Arrested Instead. They’re Not Alone.


Who’s on First?

“One pattern that emerged from Henderson and Hutton’s data was that firstborn and only children seemed to have better odds of becoming CEOs than latter-borns did: Nearly half of the CEOs they studied were the oldest sibling or an only child.” The Atlantic: The Professional Triumph of the Firstborns. (Conversely, the baby in the family tends to have the most newsletter subscribers and a certain panache for headline writing.)


King Dumb Come

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” DeMoines Register: U.S. Rep. Steve King: If not for rape and incest, “would there be any population left?” (Game of Thrones was meant to be taken seriously, not literally…)


Arctic Tock

Think it was unseasonably warm in your area during the month of July? Consider this: A Weather Station Above the Arctic Circle Hit 94.6 Degrees Fahrenheit.


Bottom of The News

“The 300 or so players who make up the tournament field range in age from 7 to 60. They range in musical taste: The boombox that one team carries around plays Chuck Berry and Queen; another’s plays 2Pac and Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise.’ They range in team support, with some bringing large tents full of fans and others with sidelines as barren as the upper deck at Marlins Park. They range in baseball experience and preparatory intensity before games begin. Some teams hit towering home runs in batting practice; one team sits in the shade near the concession stand and shares a pre-tourney vape.” Welcome to the World of Competitive Wiffle Ball.

+ The Friends We Made Along The Way: After 9 Years, BronyCon Calls It Quits.

+ A Hacker Talks Security, Consent, and Why He Hacked a Buttplug. (This one we can’t blame on Putin…)

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