Tuesday, December 10th, 2019


The Articles of the Deal

Congressional Democrats have officially unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Trump: Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. Adam Schiff: "The argument, why don't you just wait amounts to this: Why don't you just let him cheat in just one more election? Why not let him cheat just one more time?" Kevin McCarthy: "This is not a day that America will be proud about." Mike Pence: "What's happening in Washington, DC, today is a disgrace." Nancy Pelosi: "If we believe that our Constitution is being violated, that our very democracy is at stake, that as Franklin told us, a republic if you can keep it, and this very person is jeopardizing that, what are we there for? Just to continue to have a job?" President Trump: "Witch Hunt!" Lloyd Bridges as Steve McCroskey in Airplane: "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue." Here's the latest from the impeach pit from CNN and WaPo.


Wray Against the Machine

FBI Director Christopher Wray accurately explained that there is "no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election" and that the inspector general's report on the FBI investigation into potential Russian meddling via the Trump campaign "did not find political bias or improper motivations impacting the opening of the investigation or the decision to use certain investigative tools during the investigations." Trump lashed out with a hint that Wray might not be the right guy for the rig, er, gig. "I don't know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn't the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!"

+ William Barr reacted to the report the way the president likes: "Barr essentially dismissed the findings of the Justice Department's inspector general that there was no evidence of political bias in the launching of the Russia probe, saying that his hand-picked prosecutor, John Durham, will have the last word on the matter. 'I think our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press.'"

+ And in an ironic twist, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be hanging with the president today, a redux of a meeting that, at the time, seemed like it could be the weirdest thing we'd see in the Trump White House.


It’s Fun to Stay at the USMCA

The day that brought us impeachment articles also brought us a rare moment of bipartisanship as both Nancy Pelosi and President Trump touted an agreement on the NAFTA-replacing USMCA trade deal.


Punt, Pass, and Kicked to the Curb

"Most people would never believe a high school football game could demolish a person's life or reverberate the rest of their days. Surely only an untimely death, a tragic accident or a gruesome crime could inflict such colossal damage. But what happened to the players and coaches from Montclair 29 years ago proves otherwise. Many of their lives became tangled and haunted, their minds constantly returning to the same place." Matthew Stanmyre: The Day That Changed Everything. They lost the biggest N.J. high school football game ever played. Can one agonizing defeat destroy a life?


Dakota Fanning the Flames

"Residents who packed the cafeteria saw the vote as a referendum on what their community values. Speakers cited the state's history of welcoming immigrants from Scandinavia, its tradition of North Dakota Nice,' and the Christian faith shared by many in the room. Some raised concerns that their community would be perceived as hateful and bigoted if it took a hard-line stance against refugees. Others spoke about the problems caused by the recent oil boom — overpopulated schools, rising crime rates, an uptick in homelessness — and questioned whether the state was overextending itself by welcoming so many newcomers."
WaPo takes you to a middle-school cafeteria in Bismarck, North Dakota, where America's immigration debate played out over the course of four hours. WaPo: A North Dakota county was poised to be first to bar refugees under Trump's executive order. Residents said no. (They said a lot more than that, and it's definitely worth a read...)

+ "A group of doctors, who last month pressured U.S. Customs and Border Protection to allow them to give flu vaccines to detained migrant children, have now taken their fight to the driveway of a detention facility in San Ysidro and said they are not leaving until they get approval." The San Diego Union Tribune: CBP denies access to doctors seeking flu vaccinations for migrant children.


Lucy in the Sky with Dividends

"This could save lives, cure depression, help alcoholism, get people off opioids—why wouldn't I want to be invested?" That's Shark Tank host Kevin O'Leary on his investment into "a new startup called MindMed [that] could have the key to providing the upsides of psychedelic drugs for both focus and addiction treatment—while cutting out the downsides of tripping." FastCo: Silicon Valley's psychedelic wonder drug is almost here. (So we can solve many of society's problem but Kevin O'Leary will get a big payout. Tough call...)


When Life Throws a Curve Ball

"Before he was famous and heroic, Pete Frates was just another handsome baseball player from Boston College, a kid from Beverly who had the best day of his ballplaying life at Fenway Park, hitting a home run and going 4 for 4 against Harvard to win the Baseball Beanpot tournament in April 2006. Stricken with the scourge of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2012, Pete would go on to global fame as an inspirational figure, kick-starting the Ice Bucket Challenge fund-raising campaign that may yet lead to a cure for the disease." Dan Shaughnessy in The Boston Globe: As a ballplayer and a person, Pete Frates hit it out of the park.


It Was in the Kards

"The word 'influencer' didn't exist yet; Twitter was still for nerds, and Instagram wouldn't launch until October of that year. As far as most people were concerned, the Kardashians were destined to be flashes in the reality TV pan, pretty party girls who would fizzle and then fade the way Kim Kardashian West's one-time boss, Paris Hilton, already had." Buzzfeed: The Decade The Kardashians Took Over Everything. (Don't blame the messenger...)


Love on the Roxette

"Fredriksson was born in 1958 in the south of Sweden. She and Gessle met in the '80s, and after their individual careers gained traction locally the two formed Roxette in 1986. Soon, the world took notice. The duo's crossover success came from hits like 'It Must Have Been Love,' which was featured in the Richard Gere-Julia Roberts movie Pretty Woman." It was also featured in the recent Seth Rogen/Charlize Theron movie, Long Shot, which, weirdly, I just watched last night -- and pulled up the song which is now in my head in a few different ways. Marie Fredriksson, Roxette Singer, Dies at 61.


Bottom of the News

"Vanna White, who for 37 years turned clue letters — or pressed buttons that made them electronically appear — on the game show Wheel of Fortune, ran the program for the first time Monday night. (To be precise, the show was taped in November, but you don't need to know that.) She will continue to host for three weeks while Pat Sajak, her longtime onscreen partner, the Fred to her Ginger, the Sonny to her Cher, recovers from surgery." (And with that, my parents and I will finally have something to talk about besides politics -- and it will also be one of the they few times they'll find my insights to be superior to those of Fareed Zakaria...)

+ Crowdfunding disaster Coolest Cooler is shutting down and blaming tariffs for its downfall. (Well, I guess the tariffs have done some good after all...)

+ Merriam-Webster dictionary's word of the year: They.

+ The Ringer's 41 Favorite Sports Moments of 2019. (Obviously, this was written before the single best sports moment of the year. George Kittle's ridiculous play for the 49ers against the Saints. Jim Rome gave it a whole segment.)

+ Magnus Carlsen, the world's best chess player for the last decade, is on the brink of reaching the top in another game – fantasy football (the soccer kind).