Friday, March 17th, 2023


The Fugitive

Just as there are two Americas, there are two international communities. One America wants to see Trump finally indicted and punished for the crimes he committed nonstop in the clear light of day. The other America might respond those indictments by supporting Trump even more. And so it is with the much more serious and deadly war crimes of Vladimir Putin. Much of the world will see today's headline as surprisingly good, if woefully overdue, news, while another part of the world will shrug it off and continue to support the Moscow Murderer. The International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for Putin. "The move by the criminal court at the Hague marked a significant, rare step, requesting the arrest of a sitting world leader." (Let's be honest. This arrest warrant will divide American opinion as well.)

+ "Without offering evidence, Assad said the West had taken in "old Nazis," and was now giving them support." Syria's Assad offers Putin support in Ukraine war. Just two old war criminals finding common ground.

+ "According to Ukraine, tens of thousands of possible war crimes have been carried out by Russian forces since they invaded Ukraine in February last year." But the big one Putin is accused of today has to do with children. "Ukraine government figures put the number of children forcibly taken to Russia at 16,221."

+ China's leader Xi Jinping will meet with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week. (Don't expect Xi to make a citizen's arrest.)

+ Putin's arrest is not imminent. But his travel options have become extremely limited. Here's the latest from The Guardian.


Depo Man

"The $30 billion rescue of First Republic Bank began with a series of phone calls Tuesday between JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen." The consortium of banks dropped the $30 billion of uninsured deposits into First Republic to give the market confidence in the bank. The market responded by selling off First Republic and other banks again. (Time to put your money somewhere safer, like your March Madness bracket...)

+ FastCo: Silicon Valley Bank built its brand on community. Then the community dumped it like a ton of bricks.


Raccoon Eyed

The world's most obsessed-over mystery has a new twist. It wasn't a bat. It wasn't a lab leak. It has to do with something called a raccoon dog (which I'd try to avoid, Covid or not). Science: Unearthed genetic sequences from China market may point to animal origin of COVID-19.

+ "A new analysis of genetic sequences collected from the market shows that raccoon dogs being illegally sold at the venue could have been carrying and possibly shedding the virus at the end of 2019. It's some of the strongest support yet, experts told me, that the pandemic began when SARS-CoV-2 hopped from animals into humans." The Strongest Evidence Yet That an Animal Started the Pandemic.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: In Shrinking on AppleTV, a grieving therapist starts to break the rules by telling his clients exactly what he thinks. Harrison Ford is solid and Jessica Williams is excellent in this lighthearted, delightfully unrealistic show than just got greenlit for a second season.

+ What to Listen/Watch: Manchester Orchestra just released a short, mellow album that you can listen to along with a 26-minute immersive video. Need to chill? Try Manchester Orchestra's, The Valley Of Vision.

+ What to Watch/Listen: NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series is living large as they welcome Bono and the Edge for some slow, acoustic U2 songs. Meanwhile, you can celebrate St Patrick's Day with Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman, on Disney Plus.


Extra, Extra

Cleaning Up in Every Aisle: "The eyebrow-raising spikes at the grocery store can only partly be blamed on manufacturers' higher costs. The inflation narrative offers the perfect jumping-off point for companies to raise prices, and major food manufacturers are taking advantage of the moment to boost their profits." Inflation is the best thing that ever happened to food companies.

+ Robo Cop: FCC orders phone companies to block scam text messages. "The first robotext rule requires blocking of texts from invalid and unused numbers." (Next, please make political texters stop. "As a thank you for supporting my campaign, I sold your number to every other politician in America!")

+ Ryan's Seas Crest "Ryan Reynolds: movie star, philanthropist, former People's Sexiest Man Alive, and… exceptional at business?" All of his businesses moves are killing it. Maybe he can advise my bank!

+ Fences: People complain about how terrible other people are online. But, people suck offline, too. Today's example is this crazy dispute over a fence in the Bay Area. Point Richmond fence stokes neighborhood furor.

+ To Dye For: "When Richard J. Daley took office as the mayor of Chicago in 1955 he was determined to develop the riverfront and tasked city workers with finding where the sewage was coming from. They used the green dye to help identify the source of the waste." Dyeing the Chicago River green is a St. Patrick's Day tradition. How did it start?

+ I Don't Envy This: "A urologist wants to make his penis-enlargement implant as common as breast implants. Some men who've gotten it say it's left them deformed and in excruciating pain." The big short.


Feel Good Friday

"The inmates serving death sentences at San Quentin State Prison will be moved elsewhere in the California penitentiary system, Gov. Gavin Newsom's office announced, and it will be renamed the San Quentin Rehabilitation Center." California will remake San Quentin prison, emphasizing rehab.

+ The Busload of Books tour continues apace, and Matthew and Robbi and their kids are starting to get some excellent coverage (with bigger things to come). Here they are appearing on a newstalk show in St Louis. And more coverage that includes a tour of the bus. (Four kids, two parents, and a dog in that little bus for a year, and they're still positive!)

+ Experimental pill achieves complete cancer remission in 18 people with aggressive leukemia.

+ Israel's top government officials are behaving badly in many ways. So what's the feel-good angle? The people taking to the streets.

+ Man Hires $600-Per-Hour National Security Lawyer to Fight a $60 Traffic Ticket.

+ Entrepreneur with autism inspiring others with his booming pretzel business.

+ Why these central Queensland seniors love hitting up the gym. Taking iron, and pumping it too.

+ The most reasonable printer review ever. Just buy this Brother laser printer everyone has, it's fine.