June 20th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Backyards for Rent, Trump with a Brain

They say a man’s home is his castle. That’s one of the reasons I’m building a moat. But while I’m waiting for my permit to come through, I’ll settle for security cams, motion detectors, and concertina barbed wire. I may even build a great, big, beautiful wall. That’s my general reaction to the new trend where people try to make a few bucks by renting out parts of their abode to strangers. It’s like AirBNB without either of the Bs. “Sniffspot is among the latest start-ups designed to help homeowners capitalize on every inch of their properties. While vacation apps like Airbnb and Vrbo have long dominated the market with conventional home rentals, newer ones have crashed the party with specialized offerings — like Swimply, where homeowners rent out their pools by the hour, and Splacer and Peerspace, which turn living rooms into party venues. The uses vary, but the underlying concept is the same: A homeowner creates a profile on an app, uploads a few photographs, and presumably the bookings roll in.” NYT (Gift Article): Your Backyard Is Actually a Lucrative Private Dog Park — if You Say It Is. I say it isn’t. But this does make me feel less weird about charging my kids rent.


Google Gaggle

“Like many, I use Google to answer most of the mundane questions that pop up in my day-to-day life. And yet that first page of search results feels like it’s been surfacing fewer satisfying answers lately. I’m not alone; the frustration has become a persistent meme: that Google Search, what many consider an indispensable tool of modern life, is dead or dying.” Charlie Warzel in The Atlantic: The Open Secret of Google Search. Warzel gets at part of a big story that has been largely ignored. Over the past few years, Google has been managing the most significant and riskiest pivot in the history of the internet. The company’s core business used to be send you off to other places on the web. Today, Google is increasingly focused on keeping you at Google, where it will manage your mobile-focused world.


Putin on the Ritz

“A digital paper trail appears to suggest that an array of holiday homes and other assets reportedly used by the Russian president, which according to available records belong to or have been owned by separate individuals, companies and charities, are linked through a common email domain name.” Russian emails appear to show ‘network’ holding $4.5bn assets linked to Putin. And this is a drop in the bucket. Putin is the world’s most successful crime boss.

+ “As top US military officials in the Pentagon watch the hot war unfold in Ukraine, a new era of economic warfare is underway. It’s being waged by government lawyers, accountants, economists and finance whizzes toiling away in secure rooms lining the bowels of the Treasury Building and in the quiet confines of offices accessible by an underground tunnel just across Pennsylvania Avenue.” ‘They’re like our nerd warriors’: How the Treasury Department is waging economic war on Russia.

+ Meanwhile … Russia blockading Ukrainian grain is a ‘real war crime’ – EU. And from Vox: Why grain can’t get out of Ukraine.


The Ron Side of the Tracks

“Both men claim to channel the rage of an electorate that feels sneered at and dismissed by liberal institutions. But while Trump, with his lazy, Barnumesque persona, projects a fundamental lack of seriousness, DeSantis has an intense work ethic, a formidable intelligence, and a granular understanding of policy. Articulate and fast on his feet, he has been described as Trump with a brain.” Dexter Filkins in The New Yorker: Can Ron DeSantis Displace Donald Trump as the G.O.P.’s Combatant-in-Chief?

+ DeSantis is the face. Peter Thiel is the cash. “New reporting shows Thiel has set his sights on transforming American culture — and funding its culture wars — through what his associates refer to as ‘anti-woke’ business ventures. These include a right-wing film festival, a conservative dating app founded by a former Trump administration ally and a firm, Strive Asset Management, that will ‘pressure CEOs to steer clear of environmental, social and political’ causes, said Vivek Ramaswamy, the firm’s co-founder. One example is oil companies ‘committing to reduce production to meet environmental goals.’ More such investments are coming, the people said — though Thiel himself isn’t sure of the endgame.” WaPo: Peter Thiel helped build big tech. Now he wants to tear it all down.

+ “Within days, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision that could severely limit the federal government’s authority to reduce carbon dioxide from power plants — pollution that is dangerously heating the planet. But it is only a start.” Republican Drive to Tilt Courts Against Climate Action Reaches a Crucial Moment.


Extra, Extra

Don Raid: While watching the Jan 6 hearings, you probably feel a little alienated, wondering how Trump could have betrayed the nation and still be walking free. Well, you’re not as alone as you think. 6 in 10 Americans say Trump should be charged for Jan. 6 riot.

+ The Trees Through the Forest: “British journalist Dom Phillips’ quest to unlock the secrets of how to preserve Brazil’s Amazon was cut short this month when he was killed along with a colleague in the heart of the forest he so cherished. Some of his discoveries may yet see the light of day … Phillips was also a crisp writer with an ear for readability. A 2018 story for The Guardian had one of journalism’s most dramatic introductions: ‘Wearing just shorts and flip-flop as he squats in the mud by a fire, Bruno Pereira, an official at Brazil’s government Indigenous agency, cracks open the boiled skull of a monkey with a spoon and eats its brains for breakfast as he discusses policy.'” AP: After writer’s murder in the Amazon, can his vision survive?

+ Quake News: “Far-right leader Marine Le Pen said on Monday that her party’s extraordinary surge in the country’s parliamentary election is a ‘historic victory’ and a ‘seismic event’ in French politics.” (Being from San Francisco, I’m not a huge fan of seismic events.) Macron’s party loses control of France’s parliament as the far right gains 81 seats. Meanwhile, Ex-rebel wins runoff to be Colombia’s 1st leftist president.

+ Temp’ing Fate: While the deep-pocketed new right is trying to end the woke-ism over climate change, here’s what’s going on. Reuters: A Somali boy’s mission to find food as climate change takes its toll. AP: Sweltering streets: Hundreds of homeless die in extreme heat. Roads buckling in intense Oklahoma heat. And from NPR: Days of intense heat have killed thousands of cattle in Kansas. (Hope you like it well done, folks.)

+ The Laddie and the Caddie: “The game is meant for those who find joy in suffering and suffer through joy. Fitzpatrick spent Saturday night trying not to think about the stakes.” Matt Fitzpatrick Found Joy In the Suffering, and His Reward Is the U.S. Open Title. Fitzpatrick didn’t wait too long for his first major. His caddie did. For over three decades, Billy Foster has carried the bag at plenty of major tournaments, yet never for a winner. That is, until Sunday.


Bottom of the News

The first time Warren Buffett auctioned off a lunch date, it raised 25K for Glide Church in SF. This year, it raised $19 million. Hopefully, it’s an all you can eat Buffet(t).

+ “Rome, the eternal city, has been invaded, conquered and pillaged countless times since its founding nearly 2,800 years ago. Each attack has left scars throughout the city, from the ruins of the Roman Forum to the cavern of the Circus Maximus where chariots once raced … The current invasion of the Italian capital comes from e-scooters.”

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