Wednesday, December 4th, 2019


Does Anybody Remember Laughter?

For the prime minister of a country that produced Mike Myers, Eugene Levy, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Jim Carrey, and SCTV, Justin Trudeau's quips about Trump's NATO performance weren't all that funny. Neither was Trump's comeback to Trudeau's caught-on-video exchange with leaders from France and Britain: "He's two-faced." The whole incident cast a shadow over the summit and left Justin Trudeau red-faced (of course, when it comes to Trudeau and facial colors, it could be worse.) While it's topping the news in cities across the globe, the Trudeau mocking of Trump is the biggest non-story of all time. Every foreign leader mocks Trump; a man who gives new meaning to the phrase Comic Con (he dropped more than 20 false claims in his first day at the summit). One of the few places people aren't laughing is in America, where this story went from comedy to tragedy a long time ago. Just like it did along the Syrian border, a topic on which Trump mused today: "That border is a mess for a long time. We have soldiers where the oil is and that's the way I like it." Here's the latest from the NATO Summit.

+ Meanwhile, another viral moment featuring Princess Anne shrugging was blown out of proportion and perceived as a Trump slight. Maybe we laugh to keep from crying.

+ NPR: Under Trump, NATO Nations Get More U.S. Troops And Military Spending.


Rudy Call

Meanwhile, back home, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler kicked off the next phase of the impeachment hearings: "No other president has vowed to 'fight all of the subpoenas,' as President Trump has promised. In the 1974 impeachment proceedings, President Nixon produced dozens of recordings. In 1998, President Clinton physically gave his blood. President Trump, by contrast, has refused to produce a single document and directed every witness not to testify." Nothing could have provided a better preview for what we're in for than the fact there was a GOP objection a few seconds into the hearing. Here's the latest from the impeach pit.

+ And Rudy is on a trip abroad that includes Kiev (no, really). He's working on a documentary to debunk the obvious facts we've seen and heard. NYT: Giuliani, Facing Scrutiny, Travels to Europe to Interview Ukrainians. (I'm not sure even Documentary Now can parody this...)


Guard Dogs

"In stark, chilling detail, the lawsuit describes pervasive abuse — how women were coerced and threatened, how they were lured into private offices or remote sheds with no surveillance cameras, or stalked relentlessly by corrections officers until they had no choice but to submit." Miami Herald: Rape is rampant at this women's prison. Anyone who complains is punished, lawsuit says.


Ever Rest?

"It was one of the most arresting viral photos of the year: a horde of climbers clogged atop Mount Everest. But it only begins to capture the deadly realities of what transpired that day at 29,000 feet. These are the untold accounts of the people who were there." Joshua Hammer in GQ: Chaos at the Top of the World. (I'm a pear-shaped, screen-addicted Jew whose mother warned him to be careful scaling the stairs between the floors in our house. Overcrowding at the top of Everest is not a story to which I can relate.)


Snitch Knot

"He had appeared before the court numerous times as a jailhouse informant and was skilled at providing the sort of incendiary details that brought a defendant's guilt into sudden, terrible focus." ProPublica: He's a Liar, a Con Artist and a Snitch. His Testimony Could Soon Send a Man to His Death.


Don’t Stop Believin’ Stephen

The Guardian: Stephen Miller: why is Trump's white nationalist aide untouchable? "It's very hard for Americans to get their head around this kind of dismaying idea, that those emails are positive for the people Trump wants to please." (If it's still hard for you to get your head around this issue, you're really not paying attention.)


Lottery Yarn

"Ren came up with an idea that was as audacious as it was ludicrous. He would rob the bank — really just borrow the money, in his mind — buy enough tickets to win the jackpot, return the principal and keep the profit." Marker: Jackpot: How two lottery-crazed bank clerks cooked up China's biggest bank robbery of all time.


Justice Just Ain’t

"Today, the American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers. And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves ... if communities don't give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need." Oh no big deal. Just the Attorney General of the United States delivering a speech at the Justice Department suggesting that 'communities' that protest cops could lose 'the police protection they need.'


Time Off Putting

"Men today are as likely as women to say they need to have time off work to care for babies, aging parents or sick family members, new data show. Yet men are much less likely than women to actually take leave if it's not paid — and even if it is paid, they take much shorter leaves than women do ... Just as women have for decades, men are finding it hard to balance career and family in the ways they want." NYT Upshot: Men Say They Want Paid Leave but Then Don't Use All of It. What Stops Them? (After changing the first few diapers, I realized I didn't need as much time off as I thought...)


Bottom of the News

"'I just realized my responsibilities to promote the album are based on complete bullshit—they're based on maximizing my income and my record label's income, and maximizing my fame, and hoping that turns into more income,' Posner says he remembers thinking around the end of last year. 'I couldn't bring myself to do any of that stuff. I felt stuck. I was explaining it to one of my best friends, and he said, 'What do you want to do?' and I said, 'I want to walk across America.'" Why Mike Posner Walked Across America.

+ "A Los Angeles police officer is under investigation after his body camera caught him allegedly fondling a dead woman's breasts." (He should get put on the rack.)

+ And, we started the edition with comedy, so let's end with comedy. Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, takes bigger role in China trade talks.