Friday, September 22nd, 2023


Bigger and Boulder

Deion Sanders is the biggest thing to hit Boulder since Mork landed from Ork. It started with his "I'm coming" welcome speech to the players from last year's Colorado Buffaloes football team. The speech, like everything he does, was recorded. It went viral. So has nearly every moment since. Only ten scholarship players from that 1-11 Buffaloes team are still on this year's team, but like the rest of us, those former players are probably watching what has happened since they left. Everyone watches Deion Sanders because Deion Sanders is everywhere, from social media to 60 Minutes, and he's turned the school's Boulder-based team into the greatest show in America. They're also undefeated. In some ways, what Deion Sanders has achieved in a matter of months is representative of all that's wrong in college football—the money, the TV deals, the near complete separation between the athletic departments and the schools they supposedly represent. But Deion didn't create that system. He's just become, almost overnight, the best at exploiting it. How will it all turn out? All I know for sure is that everyone will be watching. It's always Prime time. "Since 2020, when he skipped the assistant ranks altogether to become head coach at Jackson State University, an historically Black college in Mississippi, Sanders has become the most ubiquitous and polarizing figure in college football. He is the avatar for a tumultuous and money-soaked era in the sport, where players hop between schools in pursuit of marketing deals and colleges switch conferences in search of more lucrative TV contracts. With the same game-changing speed he showed as a player, Sanders has rewritten the playbook for success, using his celebrity, social media savvy and old-school charisma to attract attention and talent to whatever sideline he roams." BusinessWeek (Gift Article) on the man who rocked Boulder. Deion Sanders Is Writing College Football's New Playbook.

+ As a player, Sanders famously explained, "If you look good, you feel good, If you feel good, you play good, If you play good, they pay good." It's hard to predict if this week's Colorado opponent will look good, because they change their uniforms almost every week. On Saturday, Oregon's cleats will change colors with heat during Colorado game. Even this move reminds one of another Deion quote: "I never wear the same shoe twice."


Where the Turnpikes Are Paved With Gold

Guys, the Justice Department is, like, totally weaponized... against criminals. "Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the powerful Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was charged on Friday with taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes — including gold bars — to wield influence abroad and at home, aiding the government of Egypt and businessmen in New Jersey." NYT (Gift Article): Menendez Accused of Brazen Bribery Plot, Taking Cash and Gold. "In exchange for all those actions, the indictment said, the senator and his wife, Nadine Menendez, accepted cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, a luxury vehicle and other valuable things."

+ If things don't work out in the Senate, Menendez is clearly qualified for the Supreme Court. Here's yet another report from ProPublica: Clarence Thomas Secretly Participated in Koch Network Donor Events. "On Jan. 25, 2018, dozens of private jets descended on Palm Springs International Airport. Some of the richest people in the country were arriving for the annual winter donor summit of the Koch network, the political organization founded by libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch. A long weekend of strategizing, relaxation in the California sun and high-dollar fundraising lay ahead. Just after 6 p.m., a Gulfstream G200 jet touched down on the tarmac. One of the Koch network's most powerful allies was on board: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas."


Class War

Door window covers. Whiteboard safe rooms. Bullet-resistant windows that double as emergency exits. Auto-locking doors. Want to understand just how crazy America's gun problem is? Visit a school. Instead of changing gun laws, we're changing them. The American classroom is changing.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: You Are So Not Invited to My Bar Mitzvah on Netflix is like a throwback to the afterschool specials my proofer RD and I used to enjoy over a bowl of Apple Jacks. And I mean that in a good way. So pour everyone in the family a bowl of sugary cereal and check out this family flick that basically includes everyone in Adam Sandler's family.

+ What to Doc: BS High on Max is about a con man who created a high school football team without a high school. The whole thing—from the endless lies, the narcissistic need for attention (good or bad), and the absence of any laws to hold the perpetrators of this crap accountable—is a pretty decent metaphor for modern American life.


Extra, Extra

Purge Pricing: A recent study "used economic models to show that if grocery retailers used dynamic pricing to adjust prices for perishable foods based on how long they've been on the shelves, retailers would likely dramatically curb food waste." Surge pricing isn't the only part of dynamic pricing. Supermarket Food Waste Is a Big Problem. Is Dynamic Pricing the Solution? (When I was a kid, my friends and I used to frequent a place called the Day Old Bakery. It had Hostess Fruit Pies, Cupcakes, and Twinkies. It could have been called the Decade Old Bakery, and the products would still have tasted fresh.)

+ Intel Inside: "The allegation of India's involvement in the killing of a Sikh Canadian is based on surveillance of Indian diplomats in Canada, including intelligence provided by a major ally." Some more background: Why is Canada's assassination allegation against India more destabilizing than it seems?

+ 9/11 Trials Still Not Started: A 9/11 defendant is ruled unfit for trial after a medical panel finds torture left him psychotic.

+ Prime Numbers: "Amazon Prime Video will include advertising during shows and movies starting early next year, joining other streaming services that have added different tiers of subscriptions. Members of Amazon Prime can pay $2.99 per month in the U.S. to keep their service ad-free." Slowly but surely, the new TV bundle will become more expensive and less convenient than the old TV bundle.

+ Ford Escape: "The United Auto Workers union expanded its strike against major carmakers Friday, walking out of 38 parts-distribution centers operated by General Motors and Jeep and Ram owner Stellantis in 20 states. Ford was spared additional strikes because the company has met some of the union's demands during negotiations over the past week."

+ Trap Door: This crazy and tragic story just keeps getting crazier. "The owners of a New York City day care center where a toddler died and three others were sickened by opioid exposure last week were hiding bags of fentanyl beneath a trap door in the children's play area, police said."

+ Olivia Rodrigged: "Normal people have one Ticketmaster account tied to one email address and can therefore enter this lottery one time for one specific show. Serious ticket scalpers have many accounts (hundreds or thousands) tied to many different email addresses, with credit cards all over the country and can enter the lottery as many times as they want." Why Scalpers Can Get Olivia Rodrigo Tickets and You Can't.

+ Train Wreck: "Popular authors including John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen, George R.R. Martin, Jodi Picoult, and George Saunders joined the Authors Guild in suing OpenAI, alleging that training the company's large language models (LLMs) used to power AI tools like ChatGPT on pirated versions of their books violates copyright laws and is 'systematic theft on a mass scale.'" (ChatGPT plans to respond with a brief written in the style of each of the authors.)


Feel Good Friday

"A two-year-old girl who walked away from her home in Michigan's Upper Peninsula alongside two family dogs was found in the woods hours later sleeping on the smaller dog like a furry pillow." (This one hits close to home as I use my two Beagles as armrests while typing NextDraft.)

+ "Vice President Kamala Harris said Thursday that the Biden administration is taking the first steps toward removing medical bills from people's credit scores, which could improve ratings for millions of people."

+ "Nature has become a luxury and in providing this space, we want these students to know they are protected here and that they have a right to beauty and a right to be treated with dignity." From streets to stage: Colombia's magical dance school in a forest.

+ California is engaged in the world's largest dam removal project in hopes of letting nature rebound.

+ Rising from the ashes: Lahaina's beloved banyan tree sprouts new life.