Monday, November 21st, 2022


Wanna Bet?

Increasingly, college students around the country are hitting the books. That sounds like good news, but I'm talking about sportsbooks. Online sports gambling is more accesible than ever, and universities seem determined that students will put their stat classes to good use. What's your wager? is the new What's your major? From the NYT (Gift Article): How Colleges and Sports-Betting Companies ‘Caesarized' Campus Life. "So far, at least eight universities have become partners with online sports-betting companies, or sportsbooks, many in the last year, with more expected ... The first day sports betting was legal in the state, everyone was doing it,' said Jack Krecidlo, a senior at Louisiana State. He imagined how he would respond if he used a sports-betting app and his mother found out. 'I would say, 'Well, L.S.U. sent me a promo code.'" This is part of a broader trend. Sports betting is everywhere, including all the places it never used to be. How many problems will this normalization of betting—even at places of higher learning—cause among young people? I'd bet the over.

+ "Four years ago, it was illegal to gamble on sports in most of the United States. Today, anyone who turns on the television or visits a sports website or shows up at a stadium is likely to be inundated with ads to bet, bet, bet." Key Findings From The NY Times' Investigation of Sports Betting.


Pitch Dark

"Qatar hosting the soccer World Cup is like Donald Trump becoming president of the United States. It should not have happened, but the very fact that it has only exposes how bad things have become. Once this famous old tournament kicks off in Doha tomorrow, the fact that it did can never be unwound: Qatar will forever have been the host of the 22nd FIFA World Cup, the greatest absurdity in the history of the sport." The Atlantic: The Qatar World Cup Exposes Soccer's Shame.

+ "If the Qatari ruling class can resist the urge to create an international incident for a few weeks — a tall order, given that it's already threatening journalists and banning beer — then its decadelong bet will pay off. A country the size of Connecticut with a depraved human rights record will have bribed and enslaved its way into its long-sought and totally unearned air of legitimacy." Qatar's World Cup is an unparalleled disgrace.

+ England, Wales and other European nations will not wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup in Qatar because of the threat of players being booked.

+ And yet, the games go on, both soccer and others. NYT: Trump Family's Newest Partners: Middle Eastern Governments.


Phone Tag

"After her baby died in the night, a young mother called 911. Police thought they could read her mind just by listening. Now she's haunted by the words she chose." ProPublica: How Jessica Logan's Call for Help Became Evidence Against Her. "Five months earlier, he had taken a two-day law enforcement training course called '911 homicide: Is the caller the killer?' that was held at a nearby community college. The instructor, who is the chief architect of the discipline, promises those who attend his classes they'll leave with the power to solve murders by listening to a 911 call. For more than a decade, the training program and its methods have spread across the country and burrowed deep into the justice system, largely without notice. Pitched exclusively to law enforcement, others in the justice system, including defense lawyers and judges, often learn police have used the technique for the first time in the courtroom."


Iger King

"It is fair to say that Bob Chapek never won that broad admiration. Though a longtime Disney exec, he was not known to the broader entertainment community. Early missteps — including a messy public conflict with Scarlett Johansson over compensation and a public refusal to denounce Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' law that was quickly reversed after a staff outcry — did not inspire trust. While Iger didn't comment publicly on Chapek, he made some of his views known — such as when he tweeted his own opposition to the Florida law while Chapek was still trying to avoid taking a position." (Here comes the news boss, same as the old boss...literally.) Bob Iger Returns as Hero in Waiting to Save a Battered Disney. Circling back to today's lead story, it will be interesting too see if Bob Iger is as enthusiastic as Bob Chapek when it comes to the embrace of sports betting at Disney-owned ESPN.


Extra, Extra

Price Check: "She'd spent the last decade working as a psychiatric nurse in the most destitute parts of the city because she thought every crisis could be overcome. She'd dealt with mental illness in her own family. She'd bounced through foster care systems and abusive relationships, and she'd been homeless in Seattle herself in the late 1990s before going back to school. Her life had convinced her that anyone was capable of getting better, but lately that belief was being challenged, because each time she went to see a patient she found herself preparing for the worst." Eli Saslow in WaPo (Gift Article): Fixing the broken lovelies. As American cities deteriorate, a psychiatric nurse reckons with the high price of compassion. (Want something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Consider people like this nurse who are willing to pay that price.)

+ Club Q Shooting: "At least two patrons attacked and fought with the shooter. One patron took a handgun from the shooter and pistol whipped him." In Colorado Springs, two of America's terrible political trends manifested in the worst way: Wanton gun violence and relentless antigay rhetoric. 5 killed, 25 hurt in shooting at LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs.

+ Three Little Pigs: In The Atlantic, Quinta Jurecic does a good job of summing up the least surprising news of all time: Elon unbanned Trump. Trump's Terrifically Stupid Return to Twitter. "This entire incident is terrifically stupid. The story revolves around the whims of two wealthy and self-involved men who enjoy nothing more than public attention. It is an enormous waste of everyone's time, and I resent having to think about it." Yes, America's two biggest a--holes are together again on one platform. Wait, make that three. Elon also welcomed back his antisemitic pal, Kanye West, who returned with a smiley-faced, "Shalom." (Since we're speaking Hebrew, לך תזדיין.)

+ Holmes Schooling: "Elizabeth Holmes has at least one more opportunity to stay out of prison after a judge on Friday sentenced the once-aspiring biotech entrepreneur to 11 years and three months behind bars." It's a long shot appeal.

+ Blah Buster: "At some point during all the 'blah, blah, blah'-ing—it's hard to say when, exactly—climate change ceased to be a prospective problem and became a clear and present one. Since Rio, the Arctic ice cap has shrunk by two-fifths. Greenland has shed some four trillion metric tons of ice, and mountain glaciers have lost six trillion tons. Heat waves are now hotter, droughts deeper, and storms more intense. In some parts of the world, the wildfire season never ends." The New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert with an update on climate change, from the earliest warnings to the current state of things. Climate Change From A to Z.


Bottom of the News

"Essentially, these researchers explored screen use before bed as a form of relaxation rather than a form of self-harm, which is exactly how I and probably 5 billion other people use it — as a way of distracting our minds from the onslaught of material reality just before we drift off to temporary oblivion." Is Falling Asleep to TV Really So Bad? (Is there another way to watch TV?)

+ So, it snowed in Buffalo.