Monday, February 3rd, 2020


Missouri Loves Company

Between the Iowa Caucuses, the State of the Union, and the Impeachment Trial, we could all use a break right about now. So let's start with halftime. That's not to suggest that the Super Bowl halftime show wasn't political. Everything is. "The Puerto Rican flag flashed as the iconic Springsteen song played, as if to remind viewers that Puerto Ricans are American citizens. While Muñiz was singing, other children were dancing in cage-like structures—a subtler reference, but a possible nod to the thousands of children, most from Latin American countries, who have been detained at the border." (Only in the era of Trump could kids in cages be referred to as a subtle reference.) Vanity Fair: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show Was Surprisingly Political. In addition to the Latina and border references, Shakira (and her memeworthy tongue) gave a shout-out to her Middle Eastern heritage.

+ I'm guessing that Senate Republicans don't like Shakira's hips because they don't lie. And JLo proved that holy shit! is the new 50. Here's a look at Shakira & JLo's Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show (during which every middle aged man in America had a wardrobe malfunction.)

+ And of course, there were some commercials.

+ Yes, I led with halftime and commercials in part because I am coming at you from San Francisco and I was rooting for the 49ers. (Someone should tell Lamar Alexander who won. I heard he turned off the TV after the third quarter saying he felt like he had enough information.) In the end, the game went the way of lot of Chiefs' games have gone this year. One team think its got the game in the bag. And the other team has Patrick Mahomes. ESPN: Andy Reid's masterpiece, and how the Chiefs came back and the 49ers blew it.

+ How Patrick Mahomes' last-minute kneel-downs cost many bettors.

+ "It relayed the play he had been pleading with Coach Andy Reid to call for most of the second half, a play the Chiefs had set up early in the game and saved for the moment they most needed it — a moment like this." WaPo: That play in our back pocket.

+ "It's surreal to come back here and be on the top of the world, not have to be serving anyone." He grew up 4 blocks from Hard Rock and worked concessions. Now he won a title there, too.

+ Kyle Juszczyk became the first former Harvard Crimson athlete to score a Super Bowl touchdown on Sunday. (After the Dershowitz performance, Harvard needed some good news.)

+ And speaking of the academic elite, there was a tweet. There's always a tweet. What did he do this time? Trump congratulated the Chiefs for representing "the Great State of Kansas." Of course, anyone who has passed one of Mike Pompeo's snap map quizzes knows that the Kansas City Chiefs are based in Kansas City, Missouri. (It's no big deal. To get back to Kansas, you just click your bone spurs together 3 times.)



The poor citizens of Iowa have suffered through another season of nonstop Democratic politicking, this time with more candidates and more on the line than ever. After taking it all in for the last year or so, they finally get to heave it all out on Monday. It makes no sense that we do presidential elections this way, so it seems appropriate that the caucus process makes almost no sense as well. CNN: An illustrated guide to the Iowa caucus.

+ NYC: Iowa Could Have Multiple Candidates Declare Victory. Let Us Show You How. (This is highly unlikely. But so was everything else we've seen over the past few years...)


Closing Time

"Where's the Whistleblower? Where's the second Whistleblower? Where's the Informer? Why did Corrupt politician Schiff MAKE UP my conversation with the Ukrainian President??? Why didn't the House do its job? And sooo much more!" And sooo much more is exactly what we can expect from an unhinged and unchecked president. (America, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.) Here's the latest from WaPo as the Senate wraps up the impeachment trial.

+ Adam Schiff: "You can't trust this president to do the right thing, not for one minute, not for one election, not for the sake of our country. You just can't. He will not change and you know it ... Is there one among you who will say enough?" Live updates from CNN.


Hospital, Stat

"Construction teams of 7,000 workers with armies of trucks and excavators dug and scraped around the clock to complete the project. The city government is attempting a feat recalling the SARS epidemic of 2003, when Beijing built a hospital in a week." NYT: China Pledged to Build a New Hospital in 10 Days. It's Close.

+ Here's a timelapse video of the hospital being built in a week and a half. (In the US, it takes that long just to fill out a building permit.)

+ The update and latest numbers from CNN. "The coronavirus outbreak has killed at least 362 people and infected more than 17,300 globally ... The virus has been confirmed in more than 25 countries ... Nearly 60 million people remain under lockdown in Chinese cities."


Assassin’s Creed

"The concept of imminent attack has been stretched so far that it has become meaningless ... The metaphor of war has inured people to killings that, frankly, are quite extraordinary and should be happening only in the narrowest of circumstances." The New Yorker's Adam Entous and Evan Osnos on a new frontier in the use of assassination (or, its euphemism, "targeted killing.") Qassem Suleimani and How Nations Decide to Kill.


Control Halt Delete

"Facebook has started deleting posts that contain false claims about the coronavirus, especially ones spreading dangerous misinformation about treatment—such as that drinking bleach cures the virus—and incorrect advice about available health resources." (Wait, Facebook knows how to find and delete false information???)

+ YouTube is making clear there will be no 'birtherism' on its platform during this year's U.S. presidential election. (Phew, just in time...)


A Hire Calling

"A child of Indian immigrants, Ms. Janah traveled to Mumbai, India, in about 2005 as a management consultant to help take an outsourcing company public. Riding through the city by auto rickshaw, she passed an enormous slum. But after arriving at the outsourcing center, she found a staff of educated middle-class workers. Few, if any, of the nearby poor were employed there. 'Couldn't the people from the slums do some of this work?' she recalled thinking, in an interview with Wired magazine in 2015. It proved to be a galvanizing moment for Ms. Janah." The NYT on the sad, premature ending to a very inspiring life. Leila Janah, Entrepreneur Who Hired the Poor, Dies at 37.


Bangs Whiz

"Tony Adams, a graphic designer and web developer, downloaded from Major League Baseball a hefty spreadsheet of data from the Astros' 2017 home games, wrote a web application to sync up the data with video footage of Houston's plate appearances and documented every instance of trash can banging he could find." WaPo: An Astros fan listened to thousands of the team's 2017 at-bats. Sign-stealing was everywhere.

+ Here are all the details from Adams' own site. "In an attempt to understand the scope of the cheating and the players involved, I decided to listen to every pitch from the Astros' 2017 home games and log any banging noise I could detect." (This kind of obsessive baseball fandom helps sports fans deal with the fact that football is over.)


Soy Vey!

"Taken to an extreme, some men believe that the primary ingredient in the Impossible Whopper and countless other vegan products will literally turn them into women." The Altantic: A viral claim that Impossible Whoppers would make men 'grow boobs' plays into long-held beliefs about power and sex. (Just make sure to eat a sausage and two meatballs every day, you should be fine...)


Bottom of the News

The end of the NFL season does not mean the end of spectator sports. Next up, there's the Wild World of the Underwater Torpedo League.

+ If underwater torpedo isn't your thing, there's always Canada's International Hair Freezing Competition.

+ And of course, it's the perfect time of year to appreciate what looks like a perfect sport: The Soul of Pond Hockey Is in Minnesota. (I'm pretty sure that's where the Kansas City Chiefs play too...)