Thursday, October 31st, 2019


Haunted House of Representatives

On this Halloween, with Mounds of witness testimony Whoppers already corroborating a political crime Spree, the House voted to formalize the impeachment process. As America hits another Sour Patch, the vote, split by party line, "underscored how — for now — lawmakers on each side are comfortable with their approaches to next year's presidential and congressional elections." Dems are convinced that Pelosi and Schiff are the Smarties who can connect the Dots between the Good 'n Plenty of facts, while the GOP is positioning their opponents as Dum Dum Airheads, convinced that, even with the growing Gushers of evidence, they can still be their Sugar Daddy's Life Savers. Confused by this everlasting Gobstopper of a story that has seen the last Bit O Honey drained from Congress, replaced by Warheads hurling nonstop Atomic Fireballs? Take 5 with a Fun Dip into this overview of the House of Representatives' big impeachment vote. Next stop will be open hearings, a House vote, and a Senate trial (which explains the preemptive PayDay for some members of that body). Here's the Now & Latest from CNN and WaPo on the Rocky Road ahead in the battle to impeach a president who once bragged he could shoot someone in the middle of a 5th Avenue Candy Bar (or something like that). While some will receive this blurb's Sweet, Tart stylings like a Hershey's Kiss, I do hear a few Snickers from the Nerds out there who find Candy Corny. At least I had the Malted Milk Balls to give it a shot. What can I say? Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.


Unity In Washington

There's finally some universal joy in DC as the Washington Nationals completed an unlikely (maybe even unthinkable) journey to the World Series championship. SI's Tom Verducci: Nationals' Dream Season Nothing Short of a Miracle. "The 2019 Washington Nationals are world champions that never shall be forgotten, as much for how they did it as who they are. They came from 12 games down (19-31) to win the World Series, a resuscitation bettered only by the Miracle Braves."

+ ESPN: Inside the Nationals' astonishing World Series run.

+ "We're better at prediction than ever, and—thank goodness—we still know next to nothing." The New Yorker: The Washington Nationals Won the Most Memorable World Series in Years.

+ WaPo: The 12 crazy stats that define the Nationals' World Series title.


Breath Addicts

"Air quality has improved for decades across the U.S., but Louisiana is backsliding. Our analysis found that a crush of new industrial plants will increase concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals in predominantly black and poor communities." ProPublica: Welcome to 'Cancer Alley,' Where Toxic Air Is About to Get Worse.

+ The toxic air won't be limited to Cancer Alley. NYT: E.P.A. Set to Roll Back Rules on Toxic Metals from Coal Plants.


Jack Boots Advertisers

"In a thoughtful thread, Dorsey laid out his case for banning both issue ads and campaign ads. Notably, he honed in on two things that make social ads unique: their speed, and the way they can target small niche communities at scale." As the controversy builds around political ads (especially the lies) in Facebook, Twitter makes a move and bans all of them.

+ "Facebook isn't defending free speech, it's assaulting truth." NYT: Aaron Sorkin: An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg.

+ And ... a reality check. Zuckerberg defends Facebook's political ad policy as company posts blowout earnings.

+ Well, at least Facebook has a new policy on ‘sexual' emoji (yes, that means the peach).


Mississippi Churning

"Danny recently started his junior year at Morton High. On the first day of school, in early August, a janitor came to his classroom to tell the students that ice agents were raiding the chicken plants. Danny looked outside, minutes later, and saw two helicopters circling the P H Food plant. More than six hundred ice agents had come to seven Mississippi cities to carry out what a U.S. attorney later described as 'the largest single-state immigration-enforcement operation in our nation's history.'" In The New Yorker, Charles Bethea takes you to Morton, where latino workers were once recruited, and later rounded up. After ICE Came to Morton, Mississippi.


Drone Breeder

"Three decades ago, drones were available to only the most technologically developed state military organizations. Today they're everywhere, being used by weaker states and small military forces, as well as many non-state actors, including Islamic State and al-Qaeda. 'We're seeing a cycle of technological innovation regarding the use of drones and associated systems, and that cycle of techno-tactical adaptation and counter-adaptation will only hasten going forward.'" Bloomberg: The Drone Wars Are Already Here.

+ US Interior Department is grounding its drone fleet due to risks of Chinese spying. (Almost every consumer drone on the market is sold by a Chinese company, usually DJI.)


A Kavanaughing Pain

"As a Supreme Court reporter, I am also expected to afford the new justice that same generosity and solicitude. As a journalist, I am finding it hard to do." The excellent Dahlia Lithwick: Why I Haven't Gone Back to SCOTUS Since Kavanaugh. (This article will not make you feel better. Nor is it intended to.)


Letterman and Woman

"You know, the other night I read the piece that you wrote 10 years ago. And I thought, Holy shit, this is so disturbing and, sadly, a perspective that I did not have because the only perspective I had was in here. I'm sorry I was that way and I was happy to have read the piece because it wasn't angering. I felt horrible because who wants to be the guy that makes people unhappy to work where they're working? I don't want to be that guy. I'm not that guy now. I was that guy then." Nell Scovell in Vanity Fair: Ten Years Ago, I Called Out David Letterman. This Month, We Sat Down to Talk.


Obiwanna Rewrite

Do or do not. There is no try. Given that option by Yoda, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss chose the latter. "They're part of a revolving door of A-list directors who have found it impossible to realize their visions in a corporate culture that is said to invite little creative independence and argument." Variety: Star Wars: Inside the Game of Thrones Creators' Exit and the Pressures Facing Lucasfilm. So what's next for the franchise? Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.


Bottom of the News

"Before someone can enter the 'survival horror challenge' of McKamey Manor, there's a physical exam. Then there's a background check, a phone screen, a 40-page waiver and a drug test. If all that goes according to plan, participants have to watch a nearly two-hour documentary featuring every person who has attempted the haunted attraction in the past two years." An 'extreme' haunted house requires a 40-page waiver. Critics say it's a torture chamber.

+ Despite what semi-viral municipal laws might imply, you're never too old for trick-or-treating. (Counterpoint: If you're old enough to consider that you might too old to trick-or-treat, you are.)

+ The Real Origins of 20 Scary Stories.