Monday, September 23rd, 2019


Blinded By The Light

The Bruce Springsteen 70th Birthday Edition...

The web is what happened while we were waiting for the internet to give us better TV. And, evidenced by last night's Emmy awards, that time has come. It's not just that really high quality shows won awards, it's that almost no one watched the telecast. That makes sense. There's so much great new TV to get through, who's got the time to celebrate great old TV? And, in the spirit of the internet, we're all watching entirely different TV shows, and much of the content is available only to those who have the means to fork over a few more bucks for yet another app or service; all of which leaves us, yet again, with even fewer ties that bind. Birthday boy Bruce Springsteen once sang, There was fifty-seven channels and nothin' on. Today, there's 57,000 channels and everything is on, all the time.

+ Games of Thrones, Fleabag, and Chernobyl led the night. Here's a list of all the winners.

+ The acceptance speeches, the snubs, and the 29 Things You Missed At The 2019 Emmy Awards. (I missed them too. I was watching Succession...)


My Hometown

"Wearing jeans and a John Deere cap, he turned the radio to an oldies station and, with hands callused thick by 50 years of farming, steered the vehicle toward the edge of town. He stopped in front of familiar farmhouses surrounded by fields of soy and corn, where blond children boarded the bus, chatting in English. 'Morning,' the 71-year-old Vietnam veteran said. This was the Worthington he knew. But then Brink headed back into town, past the meatpacking plant that was the area's main employer and into the neighborhood he called Little Mexico, even though most of its residents were Central American. This was the Worthington he did not know — the Worthington he resented." WaPo's Michael E. Miller takes you to a town far from the southern border, but at the front lines of America's immigration battle. Immigrant kids fill this town's schools. Their bus driver is leading the backlash.


Devils and Dust

"Talking to reporters Monday morning at the United Nations, Trump suggested that there would be nothing wrong with him withholding funding to a country such as Ukraine if it refused to root out 'corruption' — hypothetically speaking, of course." WaPo: Trump just inched toward spilling the beans on Ukraine. (Nixon: I am not a crook. Trump: I'm a crook. Do something about it.)

+ Bloomberg: Giuliani Says He Can't Guarantee That Trump Didn't Threaten Ukraine Aid.

+ "In a call to the new president of Ukraine, Trump reportedly attempted to pressure the leader of a sovereign state into conducting an investigation—a witch hunt, one might call it—of a U.S. citizen, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden." The Atlantic: If This Isn't Impeachable, Nothing Is.

+ "Ending up as the open antagonist of an American President is not really an option." The New Yorker: The Mounting Scandal Over What Trump Said to Ukraine's President.


She’s The One

One of the worst things about Trump era is that his lies and misdeeds drown out everything else in the news. We saw it again this weekend when the Ukraine scandal ripped the headlines from a 16 year-old kid leading the world in a battle for its very survival. Don't let Trump drown out that moment. It was beautiful. On Monday, Greta Thunberg proved again she's tougher than the rest at the UN Climate Summit. "I should be back in school, on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! ... You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words — and yet, I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering, people are dying." (We were lost in the flood, but Greta gives us reason to believe.)


Long Walk Home

"Founded in Market Harborough in 1841 by businessman Thomas Cook, the fledgling company organised railway outings for members of the local temperance movement. Some 178 years later, it had grown to a huge global travel group, with annual sales of £9bn, 19 million customers a year and 22,000 staff operating in 16 countries." And then, poof, it was gone. BBC: Thomas Cook: What went wrong at the holiday firm?

+ When a travel co goes out of business, people on trips are left with the matter of trying to get back home. NPR: Thomas Cook Airline Collapse Triggers Largest Peacetime Repatriation In U.K. History.


Shackled and Drawn

"Although TikTok's algorithm likely relies in part, as other systems do, on user history and video-engagement patterns, the app seems remarkably attuned to a person's unarticulated interests. Some social algorithms are like bossy waiters: they solicit your preferences and then recommend a menu. TikTok orders you dinner by watching you look at food ... The algorithm gives us whatever pleases us, and we, in turn, give the algorithm whatever pleases it. As the circle tightens, we become less and less able to separate algorithmic interests from our own." The New Yorker: How TikTok Holds Our Attention.


It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City

"Five months ago, a photograph of a despondent, heroin-addicted homeless man sitting on a scrap of cardboard near the Embarcadero appeared in The Chronicle. In Ohio, the man's brother saw the picture and called the reporter who wrote the story. That's Tyson Feilzer, his brother Baron said. I haven't seen him for nearly a decade. Please help me find him. I want to save him." SF Chronicle: A brother's heartbreak: Finding — and losing — a homeless addict on SF's streets.


The Price You Pay

"At $28 billion so far, the farm rescue is more than twice as expensive as the 2009 bailout of Detroit's Big Three automakers, which cost taxpayers $12 billion. And farmers expect the money to keep flowing: In an August survey by Purdue University and the CME Group, 58% said they anticipate another round of trade aid next year." Trade wars are expensive. Bloomberg: Trump's $28 Billion Bet That Rural America Will Stick With Him.


Leap of Faith

NYT: Is It Time to Quit Vaping? "To say that something is safer than a product like cigarettes that kills seven million people in the world each year because of tobacco-related disease, and half a million people in this country, is not saying a lot ... We have no evidence of whether it's safe at all. There's just no scientific basis for that." (It's almost like we're dancing in the dark on this one...)


Bottom of the News

"Eric J. Furda's photo on the University of Pennsylvania admissions website shows him smiling widely in a suit with a tie matching the school's color scheme. The man seen screaming himself hoarse in the stands at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday is wearing a cross necklace and a sleeveless Eagles shirt, but make no mistake—it is the same man."

+ Vox: A new paper argues that, actually, winning the lottery totally does make you happy.

+ Amazon's Allbirds clone shows its relentless steamrolling of brands.

+ The song "Take on Me" still averages 480,000 views per day on YouTube.