Reporting From the Front

Man Bites Dog, A Six Front War, New Beatles Song?

“The phrase man bites dog is a shortened version of an aphorism in journalism that describes how an unusual, infrequent event (such as a man biting a dog) is more likely to be reported as news than an ordinary, everyday occurrence with similar consequences, such as a dog biting a man.” Sadly, man shooting a lot of innocent people with a high-powered, automatic weapon is America’s ultimate dog bites man story. It will be followed by another story almost too common and predictable to report: Lawmakers doing nothing to address the issue. A heavily-armed Army reservist and firearms instructor with a history of mental illness and shooting threats went on a mass killing spree at multiple locations in Lewiston, Maine, leaving at least 18 people dead and many injured. The shooter is still at large and a massive manhunt is underway. It is mass shooting number 566 in America this year; another American horror story in a never-ending war zone. Here’s the latest from CNN.

+ Witnesses recount scramble to survive when gunman opened fire in Lewiston, Maine, bowling alley.

+ People knew to ‘stay away’ from Robert Card, says Maine resident.


Watch Your Six

Hamas. Iran and its other proxies. Social networks and other digital narratives about who is good and who is evil. The intellectual/philosophical struggle between the international progressive movement and Israel. The settlers inside Israel and the occupied territories. Divisions among Jewish citizens inside Israel itself. Tom Friedman argues that those are the elements of Israel’s six front war, a struggle that can only be won “if Israel — and the United States — can assemble a global alliance. Unfortunately, Israel today has a prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and a ruling coalition that will not and cannot produce the keystone needed to sustain such a global alliance. That keystone is to declare an end to the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the overhaul of Israel’s relations with the Palestinian Authority so that it becomes a credible, legitimate Palestinian partner than can govern a post-Hamas Gaza and forge a broader two-state solution including the West Bank.” NYT (Gift Article): Israel: From the Six-Day War to the Six-Front War. “I believe that some elements of that progressive movement, which I realize is big and diverse, have lost their moral bearings on this issue … For an intellectual community seemingly concerned about nations occupying other nations and denying their right to self-rule, you don’t see a lot of progressive college campus demonstrations against the biggest oppressing power in the Middle East today: Iran.”

+ Pro Palestinian rights? Hell yes. Pro two-state solution? Yes. Against airstrikes killing innocent people in Gaza. That’s not a hard case to make. Think the expanding settlements in the West Bank are wrong? Me too. Can’t stand Bibi. Same here. Pro Hamas? Crazy. Unthinkable. Indefensible. Bernard-Henri Lévy on the protests in Paris (though it could be about the protests on US college campuses, too). The Protests of Fools. “Antisemitism, it was once said, is the socialism of fools. Today it is Hamasism that reproduces that same criminal imbecility—making these protests an offense to the republican spirit.”

+ “The Hamas terrorists would train at the border fence nonstop, Desiatnik told Kan. At first, it was once a week, then once a day, and then nearly constantly.” Surveillance soldiers warned of Hamas activity on Gaza border for months before Oct. 7.

+ Ian Bremmer on what Israel should (and shouldn’t) do next. “I fully understand and share Israel’s desire to destroy the terrorist organization that is Hamas. Israel has every right to defend itself and retaliate against attacks on its citizens. But just because this objective is understandable, legitimate, and desirable, it does not mean it is feasible or strategically wise. There is no military way for Israel to fully destroy Hamas without killing tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians and radicalizing even more. An invasion of Gaza would be a humanitarian, moral, and strategic catastrophe, not only inflicting unfathomable human costs but also badly undermining Israel’s long-term security. Nothing it can hope to achieve – beyond satisfying Israeli demands for revenge – can outweigh the harm it is certain to do even in the best of scenarios.”

+ Here’s the latest from CNN, NBC, and BBC.


Get By With a Little Help…

“A slim majority of adults surveyed (53%) said they have between one and four close friends. 38% said they had about five or more. About 8% said they had no close friends. That adds up with what some experts are describing as an epidemic of loneliness for some Americans.” (I’m pretty sure I have more close friends than the average, but I’m counting readers.) NPR: How many friends do Americans have? A survey crunched the numbers.


The Thai That Binds

It “is a small but powerful symbol of Google’s far-reaching impact on businesses over the past two decades and the lengths their owners will go to try to optimize their operations for the company’s platforms. The name is both notable and obvious — if you’ve spent any amount of time searching for things online, you will understand the reference immediately. The turn is that 25 years after Google Search first arrived, the name says the quiet part out loud.” The Verge on how small businesses think in the age of Google, and restaurant named Thai Food Near Me. The restaurant nearest Google.


Extra, Extra

Take a Hike: “The Commerce Department said the economy expanded last quarter at the fastest pace in nearly two years — and more than twice the 2.1% annual rate of the previous quarter.” US economic growth accelerated to strong 4.9% rate last quarter as consumers shrugged off Fed hikes.

+ Sight Unseen: “It’s one thing to have a category 5 hurricane make landfall somewhere when you’re expecting it or expecting a strong hurricane, but to have it happen when you’re not expecting anything to happen is truly a nightmare.” At least 27 dead after Hurricane Otis smashes into Mexico’s Pacific coast.

+ A Choice of Biblical Proportions: “Johnson is the most conservative Speaker in recent memory, perhaps ever. Last year, for instance, Johnson introduced a bill to prohibit discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity at any institution that receives federal funds. After the Supreme Court repealed Roe v. Wade, Johnson called it “an historic and joyful day.” He has also said that the landmark abortion case ‘gave constitutional cover to the elective killing of unborn children in America, period.’ In a move sure to cause friction with some Republicans, he’s also voted to block further funding for Ukraine.” The New Yorker: How Mike Johnson Went from Relative Obscurity to Speaker of the House. And more from Judd Legum: What everyone should know about the new House Speaker, Mike Johnson.

+ Under the Influence: WaPo (Gift Article): Millions work as content creators. In official records, they barely exist. “Once dismissed as a frivolous craze for tweens and teens, the creator class has reshaped American culture, transformed how we get information, rewritten the rules for modern fame and amassed huge levels of wealth and influence.” (I influence the old-fashioned way: For free.)

+ Counter Punch: “Bud Light is set to return as the official beer of the UFC in the U.S. next year as the brand tries to recover from a conservative backlash to a promotion with a transgender influencer.” (The stupidity of our culture is enough to drive one to drink … even Bud Light.)

+ Liverpool Queue: “‘There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear,’ McCartney said in the announcement. ‘It’s quite emotional. And we all play on it, it’s a genuine Beatles recording. In 2023 to still be working on Beatles music, and about to release a new song the public haven’t heard, I think it’s quite an exciting thing.” The last new Beatles song, ‘Now And Then,’ will be released next week. (This needs more buzz. Maybe Ringo should show up at a Kansas City Chiefs game…)


Bottom of the News

“This, it turns out, is what the campers have really come for: community. What these people have paid for, whether they knew it or not, wasn’t Adam Carolla or Jay Leno or Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn. It wasn’t even getting onstage. The real comedy fantasy isn’t doing comedy. It’s being a comedian — the part when you get offstage and sit at a table at a Canter’s with Amy Schumer and Dave Attell, trying to think of something hilarious to keep up with them. Like so much else, it’s about finding your people.” Joel Stein Goes to Comedy Camp.

+ One more reason I only participate in extreme sports by watching them on Netflix: Sydney surfer collides with whale.

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