Friday, September 17th, 2021


Things Go South

Australia, UK, and the US are committed. China is threatening. And France is pissed. It's an international soap opera of epic proportions taking place in one of the most important stretches of water in the world; the South China Sea, home to vital trade routes and a whole lot of oil and gas reserves. China has been creating islands in the region that's become the key (water)front in potential cold war between Beijing and the West. A new alliance, "known as Aukus, was announced by US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on Wednesday." US and UK face backlash over Australia defense deal.

+ What's the Auckus ruckus all about? "France will lose a nearly $100 billion deal to build diesel submarines for Australia under the terms of the initiative ... But French and European Union officials went further, saying the agreement calls into question the entire cooperative effort to blunt China's growing influence." Biden angers France, EU with new Australia, UK initiative. "Some have compared Biden's recent actions to those of his predecessor, Donald Trump, under Trump's America First' doctrine." (OK, that's Aukward...)

+ I rarely give homework over the weekend, but this is probably a good time to brush up on the topic. Here's a quick video: Why is everyone fighting over the South China Sea?


Gutter Guard

"In his first public comments on the conversations, Gen. Mark Milley said such calls are 'routine' and were done 'to reassure both allies and adversaries in this case in order to ensure strategic stability.'" Milley: Calls to China were ‘perfectly' within scope of job. On one hand, you don't want the military making decisions on their own. On the other hand, you don't want geopolitical decisions in the hands of a cornered madman who stirred up an attack on our own Capitol.


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: A documentary about Doc Gooden, and a lot more notable players from one of the most infamous baseball teams of all time. As a bonus, you get a lot of memories about NYC in the eighties. Check out ESPN's Once Upon a Time in Queens: The Wild Ride of the '86 Mets. The basepaths weren't the only white lines chased by these guys.

+ What to Watch: I didn't intend to watch or like Only Murders in the Building. But I did both.

+ What to Book: If you're looking to grow a megabusiness, or just learn related management and leadership tips, there's no better guru to follow than Reid Hoffman. As Disney's Bob Iger explains, "Reid Hoffman has a talent for getting right to the heart of a business case and turning it into an unforgettable lesson. If you're scaling a company — or if you just love a well-told story — this is a book to savor." Get the book, Masters of Scale. And if you're looking to scale your own personal success, don't miss Brad Stulberg's latest book: The Practice of Groundedness: A Transformative Path to Success That Feeds--Not Crushes--Your Soul.


Booster Seats Around the Table

The CDC will have the final say, but after an all-day meeting, vaccine advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration rejected Pfizer's application to add a third booster dose of its coronavirus vaccine to the two-dose regimen.

+ Meanwhile, much of the world is waiting for a first shot. WaPo: U.S. to buy hundreds of millions more doses of Pfizer vaccine to donate to the world.

+ Then, there is the infuriating group who won't take the life and community saving vaccine because of misinformation. WaPo (gift article for ND readers): A doctor called coronavirus vaccines ‘fake.' Now he sits on an Idaho regional health board. "The Republican commissioners of the county — which encompasses the state capital, Boise — said they welcomed Ryan Cole's 'outsider' perspective and willingness to 'question' established medical guidance." (This is death cult behavior.)

+ The results of the vax sweepstakes are in. Moderna is the champ coming in at 93% effective, followed by Pfizer at 88% (and since my life depended on that one, I will definitely remember who came in second place), and J&J came in at 71%. All of them were much better than putting yourself and your community at increased risk because of something you heard on talk radio.


Fatal Mistake

"For days after the Aug. 29 strike, Pentagon officials asserted that it had been conducted correctly, despite 10 civilians being killed, including seven children. News organizations later raised doubts about that version of events, reporting that the driver of the targeted vehicle was a longtime employee at an American humanitarian organization and citing an absence of evidence to support the Pentagon's assertion that the vehicle contained explosives." Pentagon reverses itself, calls deadly Kabul strike an error. (This was a terrible mistake. Hiding that mistake would have made matters much worse.)


Repeat Performance Anxiety

"Concerns around this weekend's rally have been amplified by recent statements from former President Donald Trump, including one on Thursday in which he defended the Capitol rioters as 'people being persecuted so unfairly' and continued to perpetuate false claims about the 'Rigged Presidential Election' that security officials have repeatedly warned will almost certainly lead to more violence by domestic extremists." January 6 vs. September 18: How law enforcement hopes to prevent another riot. (This is why the Senate needed to hold Trump accountable. When people aren't punished, they continue their behavior.)


Bridge Over Troubled Squatters

"The vast majority of the estimated 12,000 migrants at the bridge on Friday were Haitian, said Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens, who is the county's top elected official and whose jurisdiction includes Del Rio. Some families have been under the bridge for as long as six days." Thousands of Haitian migrants converge on Texas border town.


Tree Huggers

"It's not easy to kill a giant sequoia. They can live more than 3,000 years and withstand repeated wildfires and droughts over the centuries." (But don't underestimate humans.) A Single Fire Killed Thousands Of Sequoias. Scientists Are Racing To Save The Rest.

+ Part of that race includes wrapping the world's largest tree in a fire-resistant blanket as California blaze creeps closer.


Taco Dependency

"This month, the brand announced the 'Taco Lover's Pass,' which lets you get exactly one taco every single day for 30 days with a subscription that costs $5 to $10, depending on the store. Right now, Taco Bell is trial-running the service in 17 locations in Tucson, Arizona, and there are lots of caveats: The only way to become a certified Taco Lover is by buying the pass through the Taco Bell app; no, sorry, the Chalupa Supreme is not part of the deal." The Atlantic: It Has Come to Subscription Tacos. (I'll stick with my burrito membership.)


Bottom of the News

"Cunhaporanga's home is a cluster of thatched-roof huts along the river's edge, surrounded by nothing but Amazon jungle. The dozens of residents who live here are fellow members of the Tatuyo people. They paint their faces in bright red, wear elaborate feathered headdresses, live alongside squawking macaws that Cunhaporanga warns should not be mistaken for pets, and survive off whatever they can grow or catch." It's also home to the latest TikTok star. WaPo (Gift Article for ND Readers): Taking Indigenous culture viral.

+ Pfizer CEO says Covid vaccine data for kids under age 5 may come in late October.

+ "World War II was more than a decade in the future, the electronic traffic signal was a recent invention and few women were harvesting lobsters." That's when Virginia Oliver started trapping lobster. And she still is.

+ Teachers Surprise School Custodian Who Walked to Work with a New Car.

+ The Helm is a cool, new publication on The Future of Women's Healthcare.

+ "They cry, I get a lot of hugs." Marshall Smith has one of the most rewarding jobs. Newsletter writer? Close. Metal detectorist.

+ California man uses chess to teach students how to make the right moves in life.

+ Kansas City Royals' Jake Brentz Threw The Worst Pitch In MLB History. (The feel good part is that the batter didn't swing.)

+ Is it possible to feel good while reading a book about our relationship to media and the year 2020? Yes! I promise. Please Scream Inside Your Heart: IndieBound | Amazon | | Green Apple (signed copies).