Friday, October 4th, 2019


Cred Bull

"The pages lay out the raw contours of a potential quid-pro-quo exchange — Trump gets his political investigation of a top Democratic rival in return for granting a favor to Ukraine." AP on the text messages that confirm what we've already learned (and what the president has already re-enacted on the South Lawn of the White House). Diplomats pushed Ukraine to investigate, dangled Trump visit. Trump is still insisting there was no quid-pro-quo (he's just really passionate about quashing corruption and ending political nepotism), and he's pushing the House to take a vote on the impeachment inquiry. Here's the latest from CNN.

+ The illegal pressure and its response not only happened, it continues to play out in real time as Ukraine's new chief prosecutor plans to 'audit' Biden case. "The audit does not mark a reopening of the investigation, but it could buy Ukraine some time in dealing with the White House." (Joe Biden could shoot somebody in the middle of Ukraine's version of Fifth Avenue and that still wouldn't make it OK for Trump to ask Ukraine for election help...)

+ The first cracks in Trump's GOP forcefield are beginning to surface. The latest is this understated statement from Mitt Romney: "When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China's investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated." (Cred's dead baby, Cred's dead.)


Docket Fuel

While the headlines are all about the battle between the House and the President, the biggest and longest lasting stories over the next few months could come from another branch of government. Massive cases involving abortion, LGBTQ rights, and immigration are all on the docket. Vox: It's going to be a blockbuster term for the Court.

+ "As Congress remains deadlocked and the White House melts down, SCOTUS has become the only fully functioning branch of the federal government. It has taken on the role of policymaker, obligated to resolve many of the battles that engulf the political branches." Slate: This Supreme Court Term Will Launch a Conservative Revolution.


Weekend Whats

What to Book: "Ziya Tong takes readers on an important and entertaining scientific journey, as she breaks open all the hidden ways we interact with the natural world every day. Read this book to start seeing—with new eyes—how we can transform our relationship with the extraordinary planet we live on." That's Jane Goodall on Ziya Tong's look at the blind spots and illusions that shape our world. The Reality Bubble. (This book is filled with an endless string of interesting tidbits.)

+ What to Escape: "Think about it for a minute. Maybe it's the news — and that appalled, exhausted feeling a lot of us have when we look at our phones in the morning. Or your surroundings. Maybe it's a prison cell or a climate crisis. Maybe it's a job. Or a relationship. What do you wish you could escape?" California Sunday Magazine's excellent new issue is all about stories of escape. (They went to press before Melania left for Wyoming...)

+ What to Hear: The hottest artist of her generation talks to the greatest interviewer of his. Billie Eilish on Howard Stern.


Mask Oriented

"Mask-wearing activists had also earlier called on others to wear masks in defiance of the government, which critics fear is becoming increasingly authoritarian." BBC: In Hong Kong, a face mask ban prompts thousands to protest. (As persistent public facial-recognition becomes the norm, so too will the battle over hiding one's face.)

+ Quartz: A brief history of government efforts to stop people from wearing masks.


Electric Utility

"The individuals have generally fared well, maintaining their initial improvements. The study, appearing in the American Journal of Psychiatry, was small, with just 28 subjects. Even still, experts said the findings were likely to extend interest in a field that has struggled ... Years ago, more than two dozen patients received an electrical implant to counter their depression. They're still feeling better." NYT: Brain Stimulation Shows Promise in Treating Severe Depression.


Yangster’s Paradise

Andrew Yang has been pushing for his version of Universal Basic Income. But there's actually a test of such a program in progress. "In Stockton, like much of America, there's this Puritan ethos of, ‘I work hard. If you don't work, you shouldn't eat.' And [we're] really illustrating to people, no, just like you there are people who are working hard who are struggling—not because they're lazy, but because wages haven't kept up with inflation, wages haven't kept up with costs." Sarah Holder in CityLab: In Stockton, Early Clues Emerge About Impact of Guaranteed Income.


Zodiac Killer App

"Since downloading Co—Star earlier this year, I have received notifications like 'Check your ego' and 'Do you play well with others?' and 'Look in the mirror and ask yourself 'who's the boss?' It is the perfect app for the current moment: spare and stylish, more than occasionally nihilistic in tone, and made to be shared on social media. That it is about astrology is almost incidental, but has obviously contributed to its popularity. Because astrology, as you have probably heard, is trending." The Verge on the latest zodiac app. Rising Signs. (Like astrologers, I have no idea if you'll like this article...)


Over Under Review

"In most sports where it is applied, video review has actually created more confusion and less clarity. Why is this the case? Follow me into an examination of thousands of years of philosophical discourse, and we will find the answer together, my friends. The root problem with video review is that it is so often used to make decisions based on rules that contain an inherent level of vagueness." Deadspin: A Philosopher's Definitive (And Slightly Maddening) Case Against Replay Review. (If it worked for Greg Brady, it works for me...)


Kid Rock Bottom

"Kendall Roy is a broken man. That much is clear. But heading into Sunday night's episode of Succession, perhaps you figured ... that we'd completely mined the tragic depths of Kendall's psychological ruin. Well, you'd be wrong, because Succession still had its biggest, cringiest card up its sleeve. And now I can't stop thinking about it." The Definitive Analysis of Kendall Roy's Rap From Succession. (This show is impossibly good.)


Feel Good Friday

"In 10 years they should give us a call and we can talk about offering them jobs as police detectives." Kid detectives help police find missing 97-year-old woman.

+ A paralyzed man walked using mind-controlled exoskeleton. (The French patient's breakthrough could lead to brain-controlled wheelchairs...)

+ ProPublica: We Reported on a Nonprofit Hospital System That Sues Poor Patients. It Just Freed Thousands From Debt. (Real news, real results.)

+ These LA doctors do house calls at homeless encampments.

+ In Brazil, a gang of dogs turned up at a hospital to wait for homeless owner who was being treated inside.

+ Viral homeless subway singer offered major recording contract.

+ NPR: How Penn State Is Cutting Greenhouse Emissions In Half — And Saving Money.

+ Elizabeth Warren's campaign sent dinner to Bernie Sanders staffers after his heart procedure.

+ A Texas cheerleader jumped off a homecoming float to save a choking boy.

+ 3rd graders surprise classmate with toys after he lost all his in house fire