Wednesday, September 4th, 2019


Pet Project

More people are spaying or neutering their pets. And adopting a rescue animal has become a badge of honor. Those are two factors leading to a promising trend at animal shelters. NYT Upshot: Why Euthanasia Rates at Animal Shelters Have Plummeted. "In a quiet transformation, pet euthanasia rates have plummeted in big cities in recent years, falling more than 75 percent since 2009. A rescue, an adoption or a return to an owner or community is now a far likelier outcome, a shift that experts say has happened nationwide." Well, at least in this one way, we really are becoming a more humane society.


Higher Education

"The shift began in the 1980s, in terms of a changing political philosophy. President Ronald Reagan's budget director, David Stockman, said in 1981, 'If people want to go to college bad enough, then there is opportunity and responsibility on their part to finance their way through the best way they can.' When those who argued that college is a private benefit framed it like that, it became logical to say that education should be paid for by the people that it benefits. And so in the 1990s, the vast expansion of loans for higher education began." The Atlantic with a look at why college became so expensive. (Now that it's so costly, is it still worth it?)


Extra(dition), Read All About It

"The government will formally withdraw the bill in order to fully allay public concerns." So said Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam as she announced plans to "fully withdraw the controversial extradition bill that sparked three months of increasingly fierce protests." But the scope of the demonstrations have expanded beyond just that issue. So the 14 weeks of protests might just keep on keeping on.


L.E.D. Zeppelin

"The gradual shift toward more efficient light bulbs is one of the largely unsung success stories in the fight to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. 'U.S. household energy consumption is down 6 percent since 2010, and this is due in part to the increase in the use of energy-efficient lighting.'" Well, if it's good for society and good for the environment, you probably know what's coming... NYT: Trump Administration Is Rolling Back Rules Requiring More Energy-Efficient Bulbs. (No one ever accused him of being the brightest bulb...)

+ Can one headline sum up everything wrong with American politics? Probably not, but this one from WaPo sure makes a hell of an effort: Top Interior official who pushed to expand drilling in Alaska to join oil company there.

+ "Pentagon officials said they will halt 127 military construction projects to help build 175 miles of wall." NPR: Trump Administration Diverts $3.6 Billion From Military Projects To Border Wall.


Bloke and Dagger

Government officials are risking their public careers to stand up against norm busting leadership that could take the country in a dangerous direction. Not this country, though. Politico: "The immediate goal is to stop British Prime Minister Boris Johnson from taking the country out of the European Union at the end of October without a formal deal to manage that departure — something he has repeatedly threatened to do. But the effects of the thunderous vote could be heard for years to come." British lawmakers take control: What it means for Boris, Brexit and Britain.

+ The craziness of Brexit politics is getting more crazy. A lot more. Here's the latest from BBC.


Walmart Target Practice

Bloomberg on Walmart's decision to curtail ammunition sales after after two deadly shootings in its stores. "The company will discontinue sales of .223 caliber ammunition and other sizes that can be used in assault-style weapons after it sells through its inventory commitments. It will stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where it still sells them, and won't offer bullets for them anywhere after its stocks are depleted. And it's 'respectfully requesting' that shoppers refrain from openly carrying their firearms in its stores." (What would the founding fathers have thought if they realized that people were going to have to shop for groceries without being strapped? Can we still call this America?)


No Way? José!

He's a celebrity chef. He's a first responder. He's hurricane and recovery expert. And sometimes, he's even an on the scene weather reporter. But mostly, he's the guy who feeds people when they're most in need. WaPo: José Andrés and World Central Kitchen follow blueprint from Puerto Rico to feed Dorian victims.

+ As the Bahamas assesses the unthinkable damage, Dorian moves towards the Carolinas. Here's the latest from CNN.


Hand Jive

"Forget the titanium Apple Card — Amazon's latest payment method uses flesh and blood. The e-tailing giant's engineers are quietly testing scanners that can identify an individual human hand as a way to ring up a store purchase, with the goal of rolling them out at its Whole Foods supermarket chain in the coming months" NY Post: Amazon tests Whole Foods payment system that uses hands as ID. (Face palm...)


Trip Switch

"The Hopkins center's research will focus on applications of the drugs for treating opioid addiction, Alzheimer's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and depression." Johns Hopkins is opening a new psychedelic research center, studying use of magic mushrooms and more. (Future historians will never be able to understand how we decided to legalize highly addictive and dangerous drugs like fentanyl while keeping less dangerous and potentially more helpful ones out of reach...)


Bottom of the News

We end with a personal aside: My son needed a title for a paragraph he wrote for his eighth grade English class. So, since that's one of my few areas of expertise, I helped him out. His teacher's response: "That title is cliche, but clever." And I'm like, "kid, that sums up my entire brand."

+ Lizzo is clearly '100% that bitch.' But that doesn't mean she can trademark it.

+ Vegan Sues Neighbors for Barbecuing in Their Own Backyard.