Tuesday, October 8th, 2019


Moolah Hoops

NextDraft will be off Weds for Yom Kippur.

"We are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression. Daryl Morey, as general manager of the Houston Rockets, enjoys that right as one of our employees. What I also tried to suggest is that I understand there are consequences from his freedom of speech and we will have to live with those consequences." As Chinese broadcasters moved to cancel NBA broadcasts over a (deleted) tweet from a team GM supportive of Hong Kong protestors, Commissioner Adam Silver stands by the right of free expression. "I'm sympathetic to our interests here and our partners that are upset. I don't think it's inconsistent on one hand to be sympathetic to them and at the same time stand by our principles." Whether the NBA can stand by those principles will be a very big story moving forward, as this controversy isn't limited to sports; and American leaders (political and corporate) will have to decide where to draw the line between payroll and rolling over. Americans are hardly strangers to the notion of doing business with countries even when they don't cede to our humanitarian demands. But it's a different situation when we toe the party line of our most formidable foe so three pointers can make dough in China.

+ Quartz: The NBA has to choose between its $4-billion China business and its values.

+ WaPo: From Shake Shack to Starbucks, the Hong Kong-China standoff is proving bad for business.

+ This is not just some isolated incident. Blizzard Suspends Hearthstone Player For Hong Kong Support, Pulls Prize Money.

+ "There's one rather glaring hole in this story of immediate outrage from Chinese fans over Morey's tweet: Twitter is banned in China." That's just one of many interesting tidbits in Ben Thompson's look at The China Cultural Clash.

+ Meanwhile, the US just blacklisted China's most valuable facial recognition startups over human rights abuses.


Work Ethics

"Four years ago, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the United States, and many Americans believed the fight for LGBTQ equality was finally won. But that ruling did not address all the ways LGBTQ people experience discrimination in their everyday lives. Same-sex partners can now legally marry, but in a majority of states you can still be fired for being gay." USA Today: SCOTUS ruling could completely alter lives of LGBTQ Americans.

+ CNN: Historic Supreme Court arguments in LGBTQ workplace rights dispute.


ISIS’ Shazam Moment

"Geopolitics is a contest of bad ideas, with winning defined as implementing the least-bad ones. Letting Turkey take control of Kurdish territory falls somewhere between 'very bad' and 'extremely bad' in this range ... To leave the Kurds to Turkey amounts, first of all, to the total betrayal of an American ally, a group whose members have died in the desert by the thousands, so that we Americans didn't have to revisit our bad dreams of the Iraq War by fighting in large numbers. The Kurds had their own reasons to despise the Islamic State—their ideology is Marxist and atheist, and ISIS would have slaughtered them all—but anyone who prefers Arlington National Cemetery to remain uncrowded owes thanks to the Kurds who died in our soldiers' place. Letting our allies get annihilated is a fast way to ensure that we never have allies again." Graeme Wood in The Atlantic with what sure seems to be a (rare) bipartisan take: Trump's Sickening Betrayal.

+ "It's a recipe for chaos—and ISIS, which has always taken a long-term view of its struggle with America and its allies, couldn't have written the script for its second act any better itself."


Testifight Club

It what is becoming a common theme, "the Trump administration on Tuesday blocked a planned deposition from Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and a central figure in the Democrats' impeachment inquiry." WaPo: Democrats to subpoena Gordon Sondland, say Trump's move to block deposition amounts to obstruction.

+ "Trump personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani said Tuesday that he would not cooperate with House investigators and that he 'can't imagine' that anyone from the Trump administration would appear before a Democratic-led panel investigating the president." Here's the latest from WaPo.

+ A new poll suggest that there is increasing support for impeachment, even among Republicans.

+ Melania Trump seems unfazed by her husband's possible impeachment. (I'll have what she's having.)


Got Their Number

"First came a destabilization campaign in Moldova, followed by the poisoning of an arms dealer in Bulgaria and then a thwarted coup in Montenegro. Last year, there was an attempt to assassinate a former Russian spy in Britain ... Western security officials have now concluded that these operations, and potentially many others, are part of a coordinated and ongoing campaign to destabilize Europe, executed by an elite unit inside the Russian intelligence system skilled in subversion, sabotage and assassination ... The purpose of Unit 29155, which has not been previously reported, underscores the degree to which the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, is actively fighting the West with his brand of so-called hybrid warfare — a blend of propaganda, hacking attacks and disinformation — as well as open military confrontation." NYT: Top Secret Russian Unit Seeks to Destabilize Europe, Security Officials Say.


Quito Repellant

"Images from Quito showed protesters hurling petrol bombs and stones, ransacking and vandalising public buildings as well as clashing with the police in running battles late into the night." The Guardian: Ecuador moves government out of capital as violent protests rage.


Dress Code

"Chris Moody knows a thing or two about the universe. As an astrophysicist, he built galaxy simulations, using supercomputers to model the way the universe expands and how galaxies crash into one another. One night, not long after he'd finished his PhD at UC Santa Cruz, he met up with a few other astrophysicists for beers. But that night, no one was talking about galaxies. Instead, they were talking about fashion." Wired: The Style-Quantifying Astrophysicists of Silicon Valley.


Cosmos Def

"While James Peebles' theoretical discoveries contributed to our understanding of how the universe evolved after the Big Bang, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz explored our cosmic neighborhoods on the hunt for unknown planets. Their discoveries have forever changed our conceptions of the world." NPR: 3 Scientists Win Nobel Prize In Physics For Work On Earth's Place In The Universe. (There are a lot of multiple winners this year. Maybe we need Nobel playoff...)


Hot Air Balloon

"Untold hours of productivity were lost as office work ground to a halt so people could follow this drama as it unfolded. The incident was a proving ground for Twitter as an infinite, up-to-the-millisecond reel of baseless speculation, hack-y jokes and viral rumors. When it seemed that a dark shape fell from the balloon, observers analyzed the footage frame by frame, as though it were the Zapruder film." Mel Magazine: Balloon Boy Predicted the Entire Trash-Fire World We Currently Live In.


Bottom of the News

"Somerville was supposed to be on the jury for a civil automobile accident negligence case in West Palm Beach County in August. However, he overslept and missed his ride to the courthouse that morning. Instead, he went to his job at a local park, where he's a recreation specialist." So the judge gave him ten days in jail.

+ Giants prospect posts paystub on Twitter to shine light on minor-league wages.

+ Chernobyl's Infamous Reactor 4 Control Room Is Now Open to Tourists.

+ Thousands of bagels burned in Indiana highway wreck. (Those burnt bagels strewn about the road are going to look pretty damn good about midway through Yom Kippur.)