November 8th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Blow away your stress, The Portrait of a Con Artist as a Young Man, Weekend Whats, and Feel Good Friday.

“Today, the practice is so common that it’s known as ‘uitwaaien.’ It ‘literally translates to outblowing,’ explains Caitlin Meyer, a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Dutch Linguistics. ‘It’s basically the activity of spending time in the wind, usually by going for a walk or a bike ride.'” In Nautilus, Alice Fleerackers shares The Simple Dutch Cure for Stress. (Basically, you just have to go outside and be in the wind. As a bonus, in cities like Amsterdam and San Francisco, you can usually get a pretty decent contact high out there.) As Meyer explains: “Uitwaaien is something you do to clear your mind and feel refreshed—out with the bad air, in with the good.” (If you’re indoorsy like me, start with cracking a window and take it from there.)


The Portrait of a Con Artist as a Young Man

NPR: Judge Says Trump Must Pay $2 Million Over Misuse Of Foundation Funds. “The president will be subject to ongoing supervision by my office, and the Trump children had to undergo compulsory training to ensure this type of illegal activity never takes place again.” (Emphasis on this type…)

+ “The deal follows years of incredible, careful reporting by a number of reporters but most of all the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold. As Fahrenthold discovered, the Trump Foundation often operated as a slush fund for the Trump family and Trump’s businesses. It bought Trump an autographed Tim Tebow helmet, a portrait of himself, and money for various lawsuit settlements. Less entertainingly but perhaps more importantly, he also used a foundation fundraiser, which was nationally televised a few days before the Iowa caucuses, to promote his presidential bid in 2016.” While the purchase of the portrait of himself was a uniquely Trumpian twist, the other elements of the story might be pretty run of the mill(ions). Vox: The Trump Foundation was a sham. We have no idea how many other foundations are, too.


Weekend Whats

What to Book: When it comes to the big topics that really impact people, The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Aaron Glantz is one of America’s smartest and most dedicated researchers. His latest book is a testament to that dedication. Excellent and eye-opening stuff. Homewreckers: How a Gang of Wall Street Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks, and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Millions Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream. (You can hear Glantz discuss the book on Reveal’s always must-listen podcast.)

+ What to Pod: The latest season of Slate’s excellent podcast, Slow Burn, covers a very different topic (and a very different Tupac). Biggie and Tupac. And if you missed Slow Burn’s look at Watergate, don’t. It’s the perfect time to get a behind the scenes look at Watergate as we enter the age of Ukraine-gate, and everything-else-gate.

+ What to Hear: A couple years ago, I told you about new artist who I saw open at the Fillmore in SF. Her performance overshadowed the headliner and she’s been getting bigger and bigger ever since. Listen to Bishop Briggs’ latest album Champion and you’ll hear why.


Gold Fishing

“He had spent his life on the water, yet when it came to treasure, he was a rank amateur. But he knew something the experts didn’t. Joe knew, within a tiny circle of the Pacific, where a treasure might be.” The SF Chronicle’s Tara Duggan and Jason Fagone take a deep dive into a modern day treasure hunt. The Fisherman’s Secret.


Boss Hog

“Wage theft isn’t one of the crimes most prosecutors and politicians refer to when they talk about getting ‘tough on crime,’ but it represents a massive chunk of all theft committed in the U.S. A 2017 study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that in the ten most populous states, an estimated 2.4 million people lose a combined $8 billion in income every year to theft by their employers. That’s nearly half as much as all other property theft combined last year.” GQ: Is Your Employer Stealing From You?


Lame Blame Shame

“An Oklahoma woman whose sentence for failing to report her boyfriend’s abuse of her children was far harsher than his for the abuse itself wiped away tears and hugged family and friends Friday as she was released after 15 years.” (The actual abuser got sentenced to two years.) AP: Oklahoma woman imprisoned in failure-to-protect case is free.

+ “The Iowa Appeals Court has ruled against a convicted killer who says he ‘died’ during a medical emergency and thus fulfilled his life sentence.”


Anon Sequitur

“Anonymous has seen disturbing things. Anonymous has heard disturbing things. You, the reader, will already recognize most of what Anonymous has seen and heard as revealed in this book if you have been paying any attention to the news. Did you know that the president isn’t much of a reader? That he’s inordinately fond of autocrats? That ‘he stumbles, slurs, gets confused, is easily irritated, and has trouble synthesizing information’? The NYT reviews A Warning, by Anonymous. (There was a time when a book by an anonymous insider may have been highly valuable. But right now, I wonder if it’s a potential distraction from the people who are heroically coming forward and putting their names to the truth.)

+ Speaking of the truth-tellers, we got more of their transcripts today, and it’s not pretty for the potus. Here’s the latest from the impeach pit from WaPo and CNN.

+ Jim Jordan is set to be GOP point man wrestling attention away from the simple facts in the impeachment case. He’s also the point man in a new lawsuit. Referee says he told Rep. Jim Jordan that Ohio State doctor performed sex act in shower. “The referee said the response of Jordan and another former coach was, ‘Yeah, yeah, we know.'” (That’s also about the only response left for Trump’s corruption-enablers.)

+ “I’ve Reported In Ukraine For 10 Years. Please Read This Before You Say Anything Else About Impeachment.” It’s Not The Ukraine, So Help Me God.


Tired of all the Thinning

“At 17, Mary Cain was already a record-breaking phenom: the fastest girl in a generation, and the youngest American track and field athlete to make a World Championships team. In 2013, she was signed by the best track team in the world, Nike’s Oregon Project, run by its star coach Alberto Salazar. Then everything collapsed.” In the day since this video piece was published by the NYT, there’s been a reaction from Nike, and from a lot of other athletes. I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike.


Big Wheel Keeps On Turning

AP: Matchbox Cars, the coloring book, and Magic The Gathering make Toy Hall of Fame. “They will be permanently showcased alongside 68 previous winners that include alphabet blocks, the Big Wheel, G.I. Joe and others recognized for their innovation, longevity and ability to foster creativity or discovery through play.” (The Big Wheel deserves its own museum…)


Feel Good Friday

“Homeless for 10 years in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles, Pleasants had done little to extricate himself from a cycle of depression and methamphetamine use that began before he landed on the street. He depended on churches and other charities for free meals.” A Yale grad and ex-banker ended up homeless in Los Angeles. Then a fellow alum made an unexpected offer.

+ “Whether it’s arming the immune system’s T-cells to precisely target tumors, developing eco-friendly alternatives to livestock-industry meat, or monitoring the internet’s hell sites to sniff out trouble, the 25 people and groups here offer real hope that we can fix the mistakes of the past and still have a chance for a future we can survive.” Wired: Stories of People Who Are Racing to Save Us.

+ “In the 12 months prior to moving in, Steve went to the ER 81 times, spent 17 days hospitalized, and had medical costs, on average, of $12,945 per month. In the nine months since he got a roof over his head and health coaching from Brenner’s team, Steve’s average monthly medical expenses have dropped more than 80%, to $2,073.” Bloomberg: America’s Largest Health Insurer Is Giving Apartments to Homeless People.

+ Variety: LGBTQ Series Regulars on Broadcast TV Hit All-Time High.

+ WaPo: Racist trolls targeted a Somali refugee’s campaign. She still managed to pull off a historic victory.

+ Oklahoma Student Wins Year Of Free College Tuition By Hitting Half-Court Shot.

+ The Guardian: Fantastic day for elephants: court rejects ivory ban challenge.

+ Renewables meet 50% of electricity demand on Australia’s power grid for first time.

+ Paste: Dolly Parton Is an Actual Angel. “Every other person on stage showed up in the photos, but she was just a body-shaped ball of light.”

+ Winners of Japan’s 2019 Laundromat of the Year Award.

+ Watchmen’s Doctor Manhattan dildo is as important as it is large. (Yes, as long as its used correctly, I’d say this qualifies as a feel good story.)

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