Friday, August 23rd, 2019


I Hereby Order You To Read This

Because there's nothing his base loves more than dialoguing on the subtle nuances associated with foreign policy and a taking deep dive into the intricacies that drive the decision-making processes at the Federal Reserve, Trump went full Trump on both topics Friday morning, sending the stock market down the same path America's other institutions have been rappelling for a couple years. What the market needs at moments like these is stability and confidence. So after warming up with tropes about the Dems and the media conspiring to ruin the economy, Trump managed to equally offend Americans and China with this tweet: "My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?" Then after a relatively extended cooling off period (two minutes) he figured out a solution so simple that it had just been sitting there in front of our eyes: "Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China." (I've been hereby ordering the stock market to go back up all morning, so stay tuned.) WaPo: U.S.-China trade war intensifies as Trump calls on American companies to cut ties with China.


Around and Around We Go

"At first the rule was overt, as Southern cities like Baltimore and Louisville enacted laws that mandated residential racial segregation. Such laws were eventually invalidated by the Supreme Court, but later measures achieved the same effect by more subtle means." (If you consider your ridiculously long commute subtle.) NYT: What does a traffic jam in Atlanta have to do with segregation? Quite a lot. (And it's not just Atlanta.)


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: From about 15 minutes into each episode of HBO's Succession, I start repeating out loud, "Please don't end, please don't end." That likely irritates others on the couch, but I'm confident they agree with the sentiment. An excellent ensemble cast led by Jeremy Strong makes this a much watch. Season 2 is underway.

+ What to Book: The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child. You are now part of the chain. It's a white knuckle thriller that's getting raves from the literary crowd. You'll know if you like it in about one minute. And if you do, you won't be able to put it down for a couple hours. Adrian McKinty's The Chain.

+ What to Attend: There are very few sure things in life. Having a great time at a Pop-Up Magazine show is one of them. Those who have attended past shows know this, so get tickets to the show in your city now.


Dead Cat Got Your Tongue?

"We need to look at ourselves, too. We need to understand why this wasn't scrutinized in this way before." Yes, attitudes have changed and yes, there's been some great journalism of late, but you'd be justified in wondering how Jeffrey Epstein survived, and thrived, for so long. NPR: A Dead Cat, A Lawyer's Call And A 5-Figure Donation: How Media Fell Short On Epstein.


Fire in the Whole

"Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet's oxygen – is on fire." NPR: Macron Urges G-7 Members To Put Amazon Fires At Top Of Agenda. (Anyone wanna guess which G-7 leader will either avoid the topic or make a joke about it?)

+ Vice: Just How Bad Are the Amazon Fires? In a word: Bad. In two words: Really bad.

+ CityLab: Why the Amazon Is on Fire.

+ And for those scoring at home... We're Living Through A Climate Emergency Right Now — We Just Aren't Paying Attention.


Chain Reaction

"Supporters of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement created human chains on both sides of the city's harbor Friday, inspired by a historic protest 30 years ago in the Baltic states against Soviet control." PBS Newshour: Hong Kong protesters form human chains to call for democracy.

+ Photos: Hong Kong protesters unify in a human chain across the city.

+ Bloomberg: How Hong Kong's Leaderless Protest Army Gets Things Done. "Authorities can't simply lock up the masterminds and send everyone home. At the same time, no single leader has enough clout to call off the protests, cut a deal with Chief Executive Carrie Lam or even tell fellow demonstrators what to do next."


Koch Brother Dies

"David H. Koch, who joined his brother, Charles G. Koch, in business and political ventures that grew into the nation's second-largest private company and a powerful right-wing libertarian movement that helped reshape American politics, has died." David H. Koch, industrialist who fueled right-wing movement, dies at 79.

+ "It is difficult to organize any political movement. It takes years. It takes money. It takes coordination. Because of Koch's funding, the climate denial movement had an organizational backbone out of the box, off the shelf, if you will." TNR: How David Koch Changed the World.

+ The New Yorker: "The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers' corporate interests." Some background from the archives: Covert Operations. The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.


Viral Infection

"The interesting question is what it is that is so addictive. In principle, anyone can win big; in practice, not everyone is playing with the same odds. Our social media accounts are set up like enterprises competing for attention. If we are all authors now, we write not for money, but for the satisfaction of being read. Going viral, or trending, is the equivalent of a windfall. But sometimes, winning is the worst thing that can happen. The temperate climate of likes and approval is apt to break, lightning-quick, into sudden storms of fury and disapproval." So why do I ... er people ... do it? The Guardian: The machine always wins: what drives our addiction to social media.


Tom Tom Club

"Brady has said he doesn't even like the nickname and was just trying to trademark it to keep others from using it without his permission. But Seaver fans accused Brady of trying to appropriate their hero's identity." AP: Patent office sacks Brady's bid for ‘Tom Terrific' trademark. (Poor Tom Brady. Will anything ever go right for this guy?)


Feel Good Friday

"Over the past 30 years, Cindy Stirling has fostered runaways, orphans, teen sex workers, abuse victims and cancer patients. Portrait of a supermom." The Woman With 200 Kids.

+ Jackson Proskow: Dallas airport passengers silently salute the return of a fallen hero.

+ "Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed legislation raising teachers' minimum salary to $40,000." (My kids are in their last few days of summer. I'd pay $40,000 just to get someone to watch them until school starts...)

+ Man records his every treadmill run as he loses 42 pounds over the course of eight months. (Timelapse weight loss. I like the sound of that...)

+ Nepal is banning single-use plastic in the Everest region.

+ Foo Fighters' youngest fan steals the show. This reminded me of my video of Dave Grohl's daughter killing it at gala I attended about 1.5 million views ago. Dave Grohl and his Daughter Violet: When We Were Young, by Adele.

+ 'It's an act of hope': the fairytale rise of the Real Kashmir football team.