Monday, February 24th, 2020


Roll Credits

"Harvey Weinstein was convicted Monday of rape and sexual assault against two women and was immediately handcuffed and led off to jail, sealing his dizzying fall from powerful Hollywood studio boss to archvillain of the MeToo movement. The 67-year-old Weinstein had a look of resignation on his face as he heard the verdict that could send him to prison for up to 29 years ... He was acquitted on the most serious charges, two counts of predatory sexual assault, each carrying a sentence of up to life in prison." AP: Harvey Weinstein found guilty in landmark MeToo moment. Defense attorney Donna Rotunno: "Harvey is very strong. Harvey is unbelievably strong. He took it like a man." (For a defense attorney, she can be pretty offensive.) One day a serial rapist is living the life of a celebrity media mogul. The next day he's led in handcuffs to a prison cell. What forced the plot change? Courageous whistleblowers and great journalists. The arc of history doesn't bend towards justice. It must be bent.

+ Weinstein still faces another case in LA. Here's the latest from CNN.


All This For a Lousy Mill

"Of thirty current and former officials I interviewed, not one could recall a White House adviser as relentless as Miller, or as successful in imposing his will across agencies. These officials resented him as an upstart and mocked his affectations—his "arrogant monotonal voice" and tin-eared bombast—but few were comfortable going on the record, even after leaving the government. Miller is famously vindictive, and, as Trump runs for a second term, he is sure to grow only more powerful." Jonathan Blitzer in The New Yorker: How Stephen Miller Manipulates Donald Trump to Further His Immigration Obsession. "He grew up in Santa Monica, California, the son of Jewish Democrats, but, by the time he entered high school, he had become a strident conservative. 'He was going to a very liberal, diverse school,' Megan Healey, one of his classmates, told me. "In a school where the nerds were considered cool, he was still the guy that nobody liked.'"

+ "The Trump White House and its allies, over the past 18 months, assembled detailed lists of disloyal government officials to oust — and trusted pro-Trump people to replace them." Axios: Trump's Deep State Hit List.

+ "In short order, he earned the respect of the entire intelligence community. They knew a good man was at the helm. A man they could count on, a man who would back them, a man whose integrity was more important than his future employment. But, of course, in this administration, good men and women don't last long." William H. McRaven, who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in WaPo: If good men like Joe Maguire can't speak the truth, we should be deeply afraid.


Die Another Day

James Hamblin in The Atlantic: You're Likely to Get the Coronavirus. That doesn't mean you're going to die. You may not even feel very sick. That's part of what makes this fledgling pandemic so dangerous. "The disease (known as COVID-19) seems to have a fatality rate of less than 2 percent—exponentially lower than most outbreaks that make global news. The virus has raised alarm not despite that low fatality rate, but because of it."

+ Julia Belluz on the changing infection numbers that finally got the market's attention. "We are at a turning point:" The coronavirus outbreak is looking more like a pandemic.

+ "'The market had been sanguine about the spread of the coronavirus,' said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. 'That sanguine stance is being tested today.'" After a remarkably long bull run, the sanguinity just got kicked out of most of our stock portfolios. CNBC: Dow plunges 1,000 points, gives up gain for the year.


Modi Operandi

"The first lady and I have just traveled 8000 miles around the globe to deliver a message to every citizen across this station: America loves India, America respects, India, and America will always be faithful and loyal friend to the Indian people." As part of his visit to India, President Trump was greeted by a large crowd that filled the world's largest cricket stadium. (It was a massive crowd, but not massive enough apparently. Trumped claimed "there were 125,000 there to greet him, although the stadium is said to hold only 110,000.") Trump heralded India's unity. "Your nation has always been admired around the Earth as the place where millions upon millions of Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Jains, Buddhists Christians and Jews worship side by side in harmony." On the topic of India's Muslim roundups and heavily criticized citizenship law: Crickets.


Clone Wars

"The tactic is intended to create an equivalency in spokespeople and message. In this case, it is a false equivalency between a message based in climate science that went viral organically and a message based in climate skepticism trying to catch up using paid promotion." WaPo: The anti-Greta: A conservative think tank takes on the global phenomenon. "How a group allied with the Trump administration is paying a German teen to question established climate science."

+ Meanwhile, back in reality: The ends of the Earth are melting – really fast. Here's what you need to know.


Mom and Pop Culture

"Economists blame the phenomenon on the 2008 recession and the following European debt crisis, which created a 'boomerang generation' that moved back home because they either couldn't find jobs or were the first to lose them." Nearly 40% of Europeans in their late 20s still live at home. (My parents beg me to move home every time their WiFi goes down. But I've got a wife and kids to keep online now.)


Charity Begins at Home

NBC Supreme Court to decide whether faith-based foster-care agencies can reject same-sex couples. "The Supreme Court said Monday it will take up a dispute between the city of Philadelphia and a Catholic charity over the suitability of same-sex parents to provide foster care. The issue is when enforcement of laws against discrimination goes too far, violating religious freedom." (If Catholic charities want to protect kids from potential danger, they might want to focus a little closer to home...)

+ "I don't think you need a lot of advice from me on bravery. You seem pretty strong." A 9-year-old Colorado boy asked for advice on coming out as gay from Pete Buttigieg


Hidden Treasure

"Wielding little more than a pencil, a slide rule and one of the finest mathematical minds in the country, Mrs. Johnson, who died at 101 on Monday at a retirement home in Newport News, Va., calculated the precise trajectories that would let Apollo 11 land on the moon in 1969 and, after Neil Armstrong's history-making moonwalk, let it return to Earth." Katherine Johnson Dies at 101; Mathematician Broke Barriers at NASA.


Take a Gingerly Approach

"Those who ingested ginger decided that some of those violations, such as someone peeing in your swimming pool, were not so wrong after all. Blocking their nausea changed our participants' moral beliefs." Aeon: Find something morally sickening? Take a ginger pill. (They should do ginger pill commercials during cable news...)


Bottom of the News

"Soon after setting the record, Hood celebrated by doing 75 pushups." USA Today: Former Marine planks for over 8 hours, setting Guinness record. "With the publicity surrounding his achievements, Hood hopes to raise mental health awareness." (Even if his workout routine might depress you... "Hood has trained nearly seven hours a day for the past 18 months, which included, but was certainly not limited to, approximately 2,100 hours of plank time, 270,000 pushups and nearly 674,000 sit-ups.")

+ So apparently Madison Bumgarner has been secretly competing in rodeo events for years.

+ That time a guy who drives the Zamboni cames into an NHL game as goalie and won.

+ How NYC's Stop Signs Are Made.