Thursday, December 5th, 2019


Love, Actually?

Nancy Pelosi made it official as she ordered the House to draft articles of impeachment (this will be a hard draft to dodge.) The Speaker argued: "This has absolutely nothing to do with politics. It isn't about politics, partisanship, Democrats and Republicans. That's totally insignificant. It's about the Constitution of the United States, the oath of office we take to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. It's about the President not honoring his oath of office." Moments later, the politics started, as James Rosen, a reporter for Sinclair Broadcast Group asked: "Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?" Pelosi responded: "I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love, and always pray for the president, and I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time. So, don't mess with me when it comes to words like that." (Editor's note: I hate some people.) Here's the latest from the deepening impeach pit from CNN and WaPo.

+ "The Trump campaign hasn't run from Pelosi's impeachment push or settled into a defensive crouch. Campaign officials instead are leaning into the impeachment threat, using it to mobilize supporters and try to extract a political price–and millions of dollars in fundraising–from the Democrats' move. One of the single most powerful weapons in the Trump campaign's arsenal has been Facebook, which–unlike many TV stations and newspapers–does not monitor candidates' political ads for veracity." Time: The Trump Campaign Has Raised Millions Off Impeachment.

+ At this point, we have a decent idea of how impeachment will play out domestically. The more interesting question is what impact the process will have on Russia's efforts to spread conspiracy theories and divide Americans. Early signs are worrisome. Ron Brownstein in The Atlantic: Just how far will Republicans go in following President Donald Trump's embrace of Russia? "Both congressional Republicans and conservative commentators are defending Trump from impeachment partly by accusing Ukraine of intervening against him in the 2016 presidential election—despite repeated warnings from national-security and intelligence officials that those claims are not only baseless, but advance Vladimir Putin's goal of discrediting Ukraine."


Macrony Capitalism

"The Eiffel Tower is shut down; so are most of the light rail lines in Paris. And some of the city's busiest streets were quiet, as commuters either took part in the general strike or made plans to avoid travel disruptions." NPR: National Strike In France Shuts Down Cities Over Macron's Pension Reform Plans.

+ BBC: France paralyzed by biggest strike in years. "Workers are angry about planned pension reforms that would see them retiring later or facing reduced payouts."


Democracy is Messy

"Facing a possible 10-year prison sentence for rioting if she were to surrender to the police, she slowly lowered herself into the sewer system. Using a compass and headlamp to guide her, May crawled through the opening on her stomach, wearing a gas mask to filter the smell. There are more than 150,000 maintenance hole covers across Hong Kong; as she crawled, May realized there were multiple different tunnels she could take. Even with the aid of maps, she wasn't sure where she might pop up — or if she would get out of the sewers at all." Buzzfeed's Rosalind Adams was on the inside as Hong Kong protests expanded in scope and universities became the site of dramatic battles between students and police.


History’s Most Consistent Storyline

"If France's betrayal of Sarah Halimi is shocking to you, perhaps you haven't being paying much attention to what by now can be described as a moral calamity sweeping the West of which her story is only the clearest example. A crisis, I hasten to add, that's perhaps less known because it has been largely overlooked by the mainstream press." Bari Weiss in the NYT: The global surge in Jew-hatred barely registers in the West. Don't just take Bari's word for it. Or mine. Listen to my 95 year-old dad who grew up (and lost his whole family) in Poland during World War II: "I never thought I'd see antisemitism get back to this level in my lifetime."


Orange You Glad You Finally Know?

"Trump loved Tic Tacs. But not an arbitrary amount. He wanted, in his bedroom bureau at all times, two full containers of white Tic Tacs and one container that was half full. The same rule applied to the Bronx Colors-brand face makeup from Switzerland that Trump slathered on — two full containers, one half full — even if it meant the housekeepers had to regularly bring new shirts from the pro shop because of the rust-colored stains on the collars. A special washing machine in the laundry room was reserved for his wife Melania Trump's clothing." WaPo with a very interesting look at the undocumented employees willing the spill the truth on the world's most powerful person. How two housekeepers took on the president — and revealed that his company employed undocumented immigrants.

+ At long last, this article peeled back the secret to the weird, orange Trump tint. It's called Boosting Hydrating Concealer (which sounds a little like a euphemism for waterboarding). And the color is Orange BHC06.


The Lede-ing Man

"Pete Hamill is 84. He's got stents in his heart. He's got two broken hips. He has to go to dialysis three times a week. He's even got a pacemaker. But he ain't done yet." The NYT's Alex Williams on the last of the celebrity newspapermen. (In another era, Hamill would have been the most popular audiobook narrator of all time.)


Stamp Tamp

"In today's economy, the longest economic expansion in the history of the United States that the president has sustained, now is the time to help these people engage back to work." That's how Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue introduced new food stamp rules that will cut off about 700,000 aid recipients. CityLab: What the USDA's New Food Stamp Rule Will Do.

+ LA Times: He wanted to ban feeding homeless people. Now he's about to lead a federal homeless agency.


Livestock Footage

Would your view of factory farms change if you were required to experience them through virtual reality? "This animal liberation group actually wants to be put on trial. Their goal: force jurors to wear VR headsets and immerse them in the suffering of animals bound for slaughter." Wired: Meet the Activists Risking Prison to Film VR in Factory Farms.


Yeah, But You Should See The Other Guy

"Add facial cuts, bruises and fractures to the risks from cellphones and carelessly using them." According to AP, there's been a significant spike seen in cellphone-linked face injuries. (I'm no tech apologist, but if you're injuring your face with your phone, I'm guessing you would have been a danger to yourself in any era.)


Bottom of the News

I don't know exactly why, but this shot of Lebron traveling (and not getting called for it) is one of the most enjoyable videos of the year. And I bet half of Americans don't think he traveled.

+ Bloomberg: Why Cruise Lines Keep Cutting Their Ships in Half.