April 10th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

American Convoy, Why to Avoid Public Chargers

A few years ago, I was obsessed with the Jeep Gladiator truck (and more generally, with being a dude who drives a truck). The wrinkle was that I am a decidedly unhandy member of the the coastal elite and had no reason to own a truck, so I began researching hobbies that would require the regular need to haul something. I was determined to somehow go from being a character in a Noah Baumbach movie to being someone who’d fit in during the East Bound and Down musical interlude in Smokey and the Bandit. When I mentioned this quest to a friend who grew up in Texas, she laughed. “Every kid in my high school drove a pickup truck, and I don’t think any of them had any need for one. Just buy yourself the truck.” I didn’t take the advice, but it turns out millions of other Americans have joined the convoy. America is a truck nation. That’s in part because we abandoned our beloved station wagons and we now classify SUVs as trucks, but there are additional explanations. It turns out you don’t need a reason to own a truck, but car manufacturers have a few good reasons do whatever it takes to sell them. WaPo (Gift Article): The real reason trucks have taken over U.S. roadways.


Flood Damage

“On Saturday, as U.S. officials and their foreign allies scrambled to understand how dozens of classified intelligence documents had ended up on the internet, they were stunned – and occasionally infuriated – at the extraordinary range of detail the files exposed about how the United States spies on friends and foes alike.” This is both interesting a deeply disturbing. Intelligence leak exposes U.S. spying on adversaries and allies.

+ CNN on some of what was leaked: “Some of the documents, which US officials say are authentic, expose the extent of US eavesdropping on key allies, including South Korea, Israel and Ukraine. Others reveal the degree to which the US has penetrated the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Russian mercenary organization Wagner Group, largely through intercepted communications and human sources, which could now be cut off or put in danger. Still others divulge key weaknesses in Ukrainian weaponry, air defense, and battalion sizes and readiness at a critical point in the war.”

+ NYT (Free article): How the Latest Leaked Documents Are Different From Past Breaches.


Reporting For Duty

“Breach was dead, and within minutes the news of her killing had spread through the journalism community in Mexico, and beyond. Javier Valdez Cárdenas, a prize-winning investigative journalist and a former colleague of Breach’s, who reported on drug trafficking in Sinaloa, wrote on Twitter, ‘Let them kill us all, if it is the death sentence for reporting this hell.’ Within weeks, he, too, would be shot and killed in the street.” The New Yorker: The Covert Mission to Solve a Mexican Journalist’s Murder. “After the death of a reporter who investigated narcopolitics, her colleagues formed a secret collective to bring the killers to justice—and challenge a culture of impunity.”


The Spin Doctor

“I spent six months investigating the clandestine world of professional roulette players to find out who Tosa is and how he beat the system. The search took me deep into a secret war between those who make a living betting on the wheel and those who try to stop them—and ultimately to an encounter with Tosa himself. The British press got plenty wrong in their reports about what happened on the night of March 15, 2004. There was no laser. But the newspapers were right about one thing: It is possible to beat roulette.” Bloomberg (Gift Article): The Gambler Who Beat Roulette.


Extra, Extra

Honesty Is Such a Lonely Word: “A lot of election officials I’ve talked to are asking themselves: Why am I doing this? Why am I getting paid like a civil servant to be constantly harassed? … Whether it’s the intent or not, the effect is to drive a lot of these public servants — upon who we’ve relied for decades in some cases — out of the field, which will leave elections more vulnerable than they’ve been before.” Hounded by baseless voter fraud allegations, an entire county’s election staff quits in Virginia. The worst part of this kind of lie-based, abusive hounding is that it works. Honest people are being chased out of the political process.

+ Pill Case: “If the federal courts could be trusted to apply the law in a fair and nonpartisan manner, even when hot-button issues like abortion are at stake, then we could expect a higher court to step in almost immediately to quash a decision seeking to ban mifepristone. As attorney Adam Unikowsky, a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, writes in a scathing prebuttal of Kacsmaryk’s expected decision, ‘if the subject matter of this case were anything other than abortion, the plaintiffs would have no chance of succeeding in the Supreme Court.'” But abortion is the topic. And this court was designed to outlaw it. Vox: What happens now after that Trump judge banned abortion pills? One difference in this case is that big pharma is gonna get in on the fight. Pfizer CEO signs open letter calling for reversal of Texas abortion pill ruling.

+ Again: “A shooter at a bank in downtown Louisville killed at least four people — including two friends of the governor — and wounded at least nine others Monday, authorities said. The suspect also was dead. The shooting, the 15th mass killing in the country this year.” Here’s the latest from CNN, including this shocker: “The shooter used an AR-15-style rifle.”

+ Power Points: “Riot Platforms’ mine in Rockdale, Texas, uses about the same amount of electricity as the nearest 300,000 homes, making it the most power-intensive Bitcoin mining operation in America.” NYT: The Real-World Costs of the Digital Race for Bitcoin. “Bitcoin mines cash in on electricity — by devouring it, selling it, even turning it off — and they cause immense pollution.” (Full disclosure: When I open my browser tabs at night, my whole neighborhood dims.)

+ Tennessee Change: “Nashville’s Metro Council could return Justin Jones to the Legislature immediately when it votes to fill the vacant position on an interim basis.” Tennessee lawmaker ousted over gun control protest may be reinstated today.

+ Rahm Calm: “Rahm was not the defending champion coming in hot (Scottie Scheffler), the limping legend (Tiger Woods), the idol turned rogue (Phil Mickelson), the face of the PGA Tour (Rory McIlroy), or the revived and macho major specialist (Brooks Koepka). But he dismantled the field here Sunday and showed again what has been clear for a while: He might just be the finest player of his generation.” Jon Rahm won the Masters.

+ Negative Charge: “Over the past years, we’ve seen the problem of “juice jacking” grow at public charging stations for phones and other devices. Now the FBI considers the risk of juice jacking so high that it’s telling Americans to completely avoid using public chargers in airports, hotels, and malls.”

+ Quid Pro Crow: There’s nothing like a little quality bro time with pal who has a copy of Mein Kampf signed by the author. Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler Artifacts. “Harlan Crow also reportedly has a garden full of dictator statues.” (Seems pretty normal.)


Bottom of the News

“The Rocket City Trash Pandas, the delightfully named Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, found a novel way to make history in a doubleheader game on Saturday.” Angels minor league team throws no-hitter … and loses 7-5. (Someone tell Ohtani and Trout that help is not on the way…)

+ Amazing SNL cold open featuring Donald (emphasis on the) J Trump and the last supper.

+ The Dalai Lama apologizes for asking a young boy to suck his tongue. According to a statement, “His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way.”

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