Tuesday, December 20th, 2022


Cover Charge

"Attacks began in online news outlets in 2013. One headline in Yellowhammer News read: 'Democrats Embrace Republican Public Service Commissioner Terry Dunn.' In a June 2014 column, Alabama Political Reporter's editor in chief, Bill Britt, cast Dunn as a pawn of his own aide, a Democrat.' For some Dunn is a populist hero; for others, he's a radical environmentalist,' Britt wrote. He saw Dunn as manipulated by those who "find companies like Alabama Power a convenient political target.' These were devastating portrayals for Dunn in a deeply red state." Why would local papers go after a guy who ran for office in the hopes of reducing electricity prices in Alabama, where some of the nation's poorest residents pay some of the highest power bills? Because, local papers are not always what they seem. The vacuum left behind by the dying local news business has been filled with pseudo-newspapers, often heavily funded by those they're supposed to be covering. (Once, I'd like to read a story about a vacuum being filled by something good.) A special report from Floodlight and NPR: In the Southeast, power company money flows to news sites that attack their critics.


Santa Crews

This is the time of year when we gather around the television for an annual visit to the North Pole where elves make toys, Santa packs his sleigh, and reindeer prepare for flight. But we all know that, as Christmas approaches, the real North Pole is spread out among hundreds of distribution centers. When Rudolph needs a bulb replacement, he orders from Amazon. Wired: Tired, Filthy, and Overworked: Inside Amazon's Holiday Rush.


Let’s Get Our Grit Together

"In the wealthiest country in the world, most people are struggling economically, in one way or another." That's Congressman Jim Himes who was tasked with running the Economic Disparity & Fairness in Growth Committee and investigating the issue that underlies so many of our other big issues: the economic divide. Yes, the work the committee did resulted in a report with recommendations. But Himes and his team took the extra, and very smart, step of also telling the story they uncovered in a short documentary narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker. This is an issue around which we should be able to unite. Watch and share: Grit & Grace: The Fight for the American Dream.


A Roomba With a View

"In the fall of 2020, gig workers in Venezuela posted a series of images to online forums where they gathered to talk shop. The photos were mundane, if sometimes intimate, household scenes captured from low angles—including some you really wouldn't want shared on the Internet. In one particularly revealing shot, a young woman in a lavender T-shirt sits on the toilet, her shorts pulled down to mid-thigh." Don't blame her roommate. Blame her Roomba. MIT Tech Review: A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

+ This Alexa-Enabled Toilet Heats Your Seat and Plays Your Favorite Music—for $11,500. (Hey Alexa, Eat Sh*t...)


Extra, Extra

Feel Good Tuesday: WaPo: Sliced bread, catfish catching, little league champs, moms who rock. NPR shares some of the weird, wild and wonderful stories you might have missed this year.

+ Cough Won't Drop: A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, which is why I expect a sugar shortage in the near future. CVS, Walgreens limit purchases of children's pain-relief medicine. There's not an urgent shortage, but the rationing is yet one more clue that everyone is sick right now. (And if my experience is any indication, this bug never ends...)

+ Not My Type: "Furchner was found guilty of aiding and abetting the murder of 10,505 people and complicity in the attempted murder of five others. As she was only 18 or 19 at the time, she was tried in a special juvenile court." (Which is a little weird, since she was 97 at the time of the trial.) Irmgard Furchner: Nazi typist guilty of complicity in 10,500 murders.

+ We Like to Watch: Argentina's win over France was the most watched men's soccer game ever in the United States. We're not talking big game NFL numbers yet, but we're getting there. Meanwhile, here's are some shots from the victory parage in Argentina. And, Here's What Will Happen to Qatar's Billion Dollar Stadiums Now That the World Cup Is Over. "The total seating capacity comes to 426,031, nearly 100,000 seats more than the entire native population of Qatar." (This could be the one place on Earth where it's possible to get Taylor Swift tickets.)


Bottom of the News

It's the holiday season, so let's spread some more feel good story cheer. In Minnesota, a Boy Scout bought $11,300 in gifts for foster children to ‘let them know they're loved.'

+ Chloe Fineman's Jennifer Coolidge impersonation on SNL was so good even Jennifer Coolidge loved it.