September 24th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Teflon Don finally went too far, so did Boris, so did WeWork.

You’ve got the remarkably troubling history of accepting (and even urging) electoral help from Russia. You’ve got the pressure on Ukraine’s president to dredge up imaginary dirt on a political rival. You’ve got the threat “to hold back almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine at least a week before a phone call in which Trump is said to have pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of former vice president.” And now you’ve got the reprise of some golden (plated) oldies like “Witch Hunt” and blaming the Ukraine aid scandal on the fact that “European countries have not paid their fair share.” Why would Trump remix the same old misdeeds, lies, and laughable obfuscations? Because the strategy has worked throughout his business and political careers. Lifelong criminals don’t suddenly decide to stop. They have to be stopped. And so far, no one has stopped Donald Trump. That may finally change as Nancy Pelosi seems ready to stick it to Teflon Don. WaPo: House Speaker Pelosi to announce formal impeachment inquiry of Trump. Meanwhile, the whistleblower could be ready to talk. Here’s the latest on a fast-moving story that promises to accelerate. (This morning, I predicted the impeachment inquiry would be launched within 72 hours. Looks like I should have said 72 minutes…)

+ The New Yorker: Trump’s Ukraine Defense Is the Same One He’s Used for Years: I Did It. So What? “Trump certainly won’t change. Right now, he’s banking on Republican cowardice and general scandal fatigue to get him through the whistle-blower story. If he manages to ride it out, he’ll go into next year’s campaign even more convinced that he can get away with anything, and even more likely to set new precedents for Presidential wrongdoing. That’s who he is.” (Trump won’t change. The question was always whether those charged with providing checks and balances would change.)

+ In other news: Trump mocks teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. (The House should let Greta Thunberg lead the impeachment questioning…)


There’s No I In We

“Investors have expressed concern that Mr. Neumann, a charismatic but unpredictable leader, exercised too much control over the company through special voting shares. They were also unnerved by deals We Company reached with Mr. Neumann and entities he controlled.” NYT: WeWork CEO, Adam Neumann, Stepping Down Under Pressure. (But the WeWork board members are the ones who let him get away with all the bullshit in the first place. Shouldn’t they go with him?)

+ Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman: Inside the Crash of Wework’s Magic Millennial Real Estate Kingdom. “It’s hard to overstate the degree to which WeWork’s business is built on the egomaniacal glamour and millennial mysticism of Neumann and his wife. Neumann sold WeWork not merely as a real estate play. It wasn’t even a tech company (though he said it should be valued as such). It was a movement, complete with its own catechisms.” (If you fire the guy who built a house of cards, you’re still left with a house of cards…)


UK Calls BJ BS

“The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.” Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful, the Supreme Court has ruled. (And get this: The decision by the 11 judges was unanimous.) Here’s the latest on Boris, Brexit, and the Queen.


Pox Americana

“Anti-vaccine sentiment has been building for decades, a byproduct of an internet humming with rumor and misinformation; the backlash against Big Pharma; an infatuation with celebrities that gives special credence to the anti-immunization statements from actors like Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey and Alicia Silverstone, the rapper Kevin Gates and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And now, the Trump administration’s anti-science rhetoric.” NYT: How Anti-Vaccine Sentiment Took Hold in the United States. “Science has become just another voice in the room.”

+ NBC: How anti-vaxxers target grieving moms and turn them into crusaders.


Process Pool

“His studies suggest that a dramatic shift in how we make the food we eat—pulling ingredients apart and then reconstituting them into things like frosted snack cakes and ready-to-eat meals from the supermarket freezer—bears the brunt of the blame. This ‘ultraprocessed’ food, he and a growing number of other scientists think, disrupts gut-brain signals that normally tell us that we have had enough, and this failed signaling leads to overeating.” Scientific American: A New Theory of Obesity.

+ Boston Globe: “Americans are still consuming too many low-quality carbohydrates and more saturated fat than recommended, according to a new study from Harvard and Tufts.”


Bars and Stripes

“The United States’ reliance on immigrant detention is not a new phenomenon, nor did it emerge with President Donald Trump (though its growth under his administration is staggering). Over the last four decades, a series of emergency stopgaps and bipartisan deals has created a new multi-billion dollar industry built on the incarceration of immigrants. The people held in prison-like facilities across the country are not serving time for a crime. They’re waiting for a hearing to determine whether they can legally remain in the country while being kept in what is considered ‘civil detention,’ intended to ensure that people show up for those hearings. Detention, once reserved only for those who threatened public safety or posed a flight risk, is now ubiquitous.” A special report from The Marshall Report and The Guardian: Detained. How the United States created the largest immigrant detention system in the world.


Victimizing the Victims

“Years into a violent experiment to restore order to one of the world’s most dangerous cities, this is one grim consequence: dead children. As police have used greater force to reclaim swaths of Rio controlled by gangs, they’re killing more of the city’s young.” WaPo: As police shootings in Rio rise, children are caught in the crossfire.


Skull and Bone Structure

“Science suggests that crooked teeth, overbites, narrow jaws, and crimped nasal airways are a modern phenomenon. Skeletal remains show that just 300 years ago, humans commonly displayed straight, perfectly aligned teeth, wide jaws, flat palates and the large nasal passages that signal habitual, healthy breathing.” One Zero: A motley crew of scientists argue that our ever-shrinking skulls are wreaking havoc on our well-being. Our Skulls Are Out-Evolving Us. (And that was before the impeachment process which could make our heads explode.)


Brace Yourself

“The closely held four-year-old startup, which has dozens of employees and has raised tens of millions in venture capital, uses a bracelet to measure neuron activity in a subject’s arm to determine movement that person is thinking about, even if they aren’t physically moving. That neuron activity is then translated into movement on a digital screen.” Bloomberg: Facebook to Buy Startup for Controlling Computers With Your Mind. (Glad we managed to rein them in…)


Bottom of the News

“They always say this generation doesn’t know how to communicate. Here, though, people can go up to complete strangers and will be like, hey, do you want to trade slime?” Outline: Inside the Slime Bash, the largest slime convention in the world.

+ Cats Really Do Bond With Their Humans, Study Finds. (Mine bond to me with their claws all the time…)

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