Monday, November 25th, 2019


Sting Operation

"She could not sit on the couch and groan in pain year in and year out while doctors told her she was fine, or that she should be fine, or that she would feel better in time. She'd tried that already. 'What am I going to do? Because this isn't fair. I deserve to have a life, to be functional,' she said. 'Well, I guess I'm going to stick myself with bees.'" Texas Monthly on the lengths people will go to when doctors don't have an answer and when the most common refrain they hear from the medical establishment (and often their loved ones) is, "It's in your mind." Can Bee Stings Treat Lyme Disease? "Treatments for chronic Lyme disease are controversial and expensive. As a last resort, some patients are pursuing this unproven and painful alternative."


Pin Prick

"Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper has asked for the resignation of Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer after losing trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candor over conversations with the White House involving the handling of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher ... The president did not pardon Gallagher, but he has been insistent that he should be able to retire from the service with his Trident pin." Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer Forced Out Amid Controversy Over SEAL Case.

+ WaPo's David Ignatius: "With Spencer's firing, Trump has recklessly crossed a line he had generally observed before, which had exempted the military from his belligerent, government-by-tweet interference. But the Gallagher case illustrates how an irascible, vengeful commander in chief is ready to override traditional limits to aid political allies in foreign policy, law enforcement and now military matters."

+ NYT: Who Is Edward Gallagher, the SEAL the Navy Wants to Expel?

+ Meanwhile, here's the latest from the impeachment pit from CNN and WaPo.


Another Trick in the Wall

"What became clear to me early on was that these guys wanted to shut down every avenue to get into the U.S. They wanted to reduce the number of people who could get in under any category: illegals, legals, refugees, asylum seekers—everything. And they wanted to reduce the number of foreigners already here through any means possible." HuffPo Highline with an eye-opening overview of how Trump got his wall, after all. "In 2013, then-Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions introduced an amendment that would have lowered the number of people who qualified for green cards and work visas. It got a single vote in committee—his own. As a former senior official at the Department of Homeland Security observed, 'If you told me these guys would be able to change the way the U.S. does immigration in two years, I would have laughed.'"

+ "Through these years, as ethnic minorities and Jews and feminists and trans people and gay people have sounded out the alarm bells, the mainstream GOP laughed. They turned a profit on 'triggering the libs'; they called opposition to the tide of rising white nationalism 'Trump Derangement Syndrome.' Only when the hound turned on them, its jaws red and insatiable, did they at last begin to cry out in alarm about the danger the rest of us have known for years." Talia Lavin in GQ: Why White Nationalists Are Turning on Trump Republicans.


The Real Forever War

"It was a Soviet bomb, dropped from an aircraft decades before in 1986, that killed them this spring in Bamiyan Province. The crudely welded silver cylinder, just bigger than a soda can, was one of many others ejected from a cluster bomb as it fell through the sky before resting in a shaded rocky ravine for 33 years." NYT: Afghanistan's Curse: A Bomb From 2 Wars Ago Crushes a Family Today.


Car Sharks

"The document doesn't name the commercial requesters, but some specific companies appeared frequently in Motherboard's earlier investigation that looked at DMVs across the country. They included data broker LexisNexis and consumer credit reporting agency Experian. Motherboard also found DMVs sold information to private investigators, including those who are hired to find out if a spouse is cheating." Motherboard: The California DMV Is Making $50M a Year Selling Drivers' Personal Information. (Everyone wants a piece of you.)


Samoan Outbreak

"Samoa declared a state of emergency nine days ago, closing all its schools, banning children from public gatherings and mandating that everybody get vaccinated. Teams of people have been traveling the country administering thousands of vaccines." And even with those moves, the crisis has deepened. When immunization levels drop beneath a certain threshold, the measles remind us that its threat is still there, and still merciless. NBC News: Samoa measles epidemic worsens with 24 children now dead.


Oil Spill

"Hard-liners in the meeting talked of attacking high-value targets, including American military bases. Yet, what ultimately emerged was a plan that stopped short of direct confrontation that could trigger a devastating U.S. response. Iran opted instead to target oil installations of America's ally, Saudi Arabia, a proposal discussed by top Iranian military officials in that May meeting and at least four that followed." A Reuters Special Report: ‘Time to take out our swords': Inside Iran's plot to attack Saudi Arabia.


Serial Killer

"Syed is serving a life sentence after a jury convicted him in 2000 of strangling his former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, whose body was found in Baltimore." U.S. Supreme Court Won't Hear Adnan Syed's Appeal, Keeping 'Serial' Subject In Prison.


Amish Mash

"To be clear, there aren't tons of Amish teens on TikTok — this isn't on the same level as, say, Mormon mommy bloggers. But there are certainly more than you'd expect in a community that encourages community and condemns vanity." NY Mag: Young, Amish, and TikTok Famous. (I guess that makes them Amish-ish.)

+ Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins missed the last play of the game taking a selfie.


Bottom of the News

Over the weekend, a single headline achieved the News Singularity (which occurs when we can no longer decipher real headlines from those in The Onion) and managed to sum up an entire era of American politics. Congrats to Haaretz for the remarkable achievement: WeWork Founder Adam Neumann Helped Kushner Craft Mideast Peace Plan.

+ "The Podcast Scourge has turned the country into such a nonstop jibber-jabbering wind tunnel that there are more than 700,000 active podcasts (or one per every 471 Americans), and more than 29 million podcast episodes. This, up from 550,000 podcasts just last year. And since Serial took off in 2014, studies I've fabricated but that should exist show there are now more true-crime podcasts than criminals. Unless we count the crime of unoriginality — in which case, most podcasters could do true-crime podcasts on themselves." The Pod Delusion.

+ WaPo: A dog drove doughnuts alone in a car for half an hour.

+ "I'm hitting him, hitting him, hitting him with the broom. I had really did a number on that man … I think he was happy when he went in the ambulance." Eighty-two-year-old woman beats up burglar who broke into her home. (I'd insert my usual hilariously pithy comment here, but I'm not going to take the risk of getting on this woman's bad side...)