Friday, October 25th, 2019


The Empire Strikes Back

No one I know is more insightful about history and politics than my dad (who had firsthand experience with some of the twentieth century's most brutal turns), and he's been saying for months that as Trump gets cornered, he will lash out in increasingly dangerous ways. Well, he's cornered. And the danger is here. From the NYT: Justice Dept. Is Said to Open Criminal Inquiry Into Its Own Russia Investigation. "The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies." (If you think this is no big deal, you're in a deep state of denial.)

+ By design, there are too many words and tweets to keep up with. But sometimes, it's worth pausing to take note of a phrase. The New Yorker: On 'Human Scum' and Trump in the Danger Zone. "The President's 'human scum' tweet bears noting. First of all, it is quite simply the language of tyrants and those who aspire to be tyrants. Hitler called his enemies human scum, and so did Stalin."

+ "Days after Donald Trump mused about cancelling White House subscriptions for the two newspapers in a Fox News interview, his administration is now reportedly advising federal agencies to do the same." (Cancelling newspaper subscriptions for federal agencies may seem minor in the grand scheme of the many schemes, until you realize it follows the exact bootsteps of authoritarian governments.)

+ "A gesture meant to be a show of solidarity by senators has instead become a sign of the weakness of the president's position." The Atlantic: Donald Trump Has a Big Problem in the Senate. Here's the latest impeachment news from CNN.



"All this is happening after three straight years of record-breaking fires that researchers say are likely to continue in a warming world ... 'I think the perception is that we're supposed to control them. But in a lot of cases we cannot. And that may allow us to think a little bit differently about how we live with fire. We call it wildfire for reason — it's not domesticated fire." The NYT: From California, A Forecast for a Warming World: Learn to Live With Fire.

+ "In the past, the state would have had at least some rain to hydrate vegetation after the summer. Thanks to climate change, that's largely not the case anymore." Wired: The Age of Flames Is Consuming California. "Welcome to the Pyrocene—think of it like the Ice Age, but with fire."

+ "Some experts caution that the highly disruptive maneuver may do more harm than good." Time: California's Power Shutoffs Might Prevent Wildfires. But Are They Worth the Risks?


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: A man wakes up from a motorcycle accident and has lost all memory of his childhood and recognizes no one other than his twin brother. In this documentary, Alex trusts his twin, Marcus, to tell him about his past. But Marcus is hiding a dark family secret. Tell Me Who I Am is one of the more riveting, painful, and at times almost poetic documentaries I've seen.

+ What to Read: "The man with the broken watch knows, the people who can't quit know, and so does Lana Del Rey: The internet is no longer a place you go. Who we are on the phone and in the walking world have merged. This is why algorithmic time is so disorienting and why it bends your mind." Katherine Miller in Buzzfeed: The 2010s Have Broken Our Sense Of Time.

+ What to Hear: A few months ago I advised you to listen to Jade Bird's hook-filled self-titled album. A couple friends and I saw her absolutely kill at San Francisco's Fillmore last night. And there were plenty of tickets available, which means not enough of you heeded my advice. Don't make the same mistake again, and try to see Jade Bird in a small-ish venue while you still can.


WeWorked The System

"Neumann proposed that office space could play the kibbutz's role of fostering community, empathy, and serendipitous creation ... Rather than treat WeWork like a community farm, however, Neumann used the company like a personal ATM." Derek Thompson in The Atlantic: WeWork's Adam Neumann Is the Most Talented Grifter of Our Time. (Apparently, Derek doesn't follow politics much...)


Sewer Lines

"Cocaine use is on the rise across Europe, methamphetamine is most prevalent in North America and Australasia, and the Netherlands had the highest rate of MDMA use." Vice: What Drugs Are Most Popular Globally? Scientists Screened Sewage for Years to Find Out. (I've been to some weird places trying to score drugs, but...)


Our Ethics Put on Ice

PBS Newshour: "U.S. immigration authorities separated more than 1,500 children from their parents at the Mexico border early in the Trump administration, the American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday, bringing the total number of children separated since July 2017 to more than 5,400."

+ Marine combat veteran who served in Iraq deported to El Salvador.


Elijah Rules

"I'd also want them to know that being a strong man also means being kind, that there's nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There's nothing weak about looking out for others. There's nothing weak about being honorable. You're not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect." Barack Obama and others honored Elijah Cummings at his funeral.


Veg Out

"These recent displays of enmity towards vegans represent a puzzling escalation in hostilities, just as a consensus is starting to form that eating less meat would almost certainly be better for everyone – and the Earth." The Guardian: Why do people hate vegans? (I'm a lactose intolerant vegetarian and even I don't like 'em much...)


Garden of Eatin’

"One of the oldest matchups in family dinner history, this classic confrontation never disappoints. A tight defensive performance from Aunt Susan (one or fewer Watermelon Margaritas) should leave the vault of family secrets largely untouched. However, if Aunt Susan allows two or more Watermelon Margaritas to slip past her defensive front, we can expect the vault door to swing wide open." Ross Bullen in McSweeney's: Six Key Matchups to Watch During This Week's Family Dinner at Olive Garden.


Feel Good Friday

"When Tyler Moon opted to have 'Jesus Saves' printed on his Twin Cities Marathon racing bib instead of his name, he had no idea how prophetic those words would be." Spoiler alert: Behind him was a Lakeville man named Jesus Bueno...

+ "Thomas was attempting the journey less than two years after a breast cancer diagnosis." ESPN: The inspiring true story of a record-breaking, death-defying 54-hour swim across the English Channel.

+ A 9-Year-Old Climbed El Capitan.

+ WaPo: A doctoral student wore a skirt made of rejection letters to defend her dissertation.

+ AI allows paralyzed person to ‘handwrite' with his mind.

+ After a lifetime apart, sisters reunite.

+ A Pasco man's journey from cleaning schools to teaching in them.

+ Nearly 6,000 Chicagoans to get letters this holiday season saying their unpaid medical debt is forgiven.

+ Shaquille O'Neal buys a home for a 12-year-old boy paralyzed in a shooting.

+ Chef José Andrés is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at World Series Game 5.

+ The Antarctic ozone hole is the smallest since it was discovered. (So if you're looking to escape this world, you're window is closing...)

+ Tired of the same old psyllium? Try fiber supplements with sparkles. (Just don't blame me if you shit a unicorn...)

+ Butt her emails...