Tuesday, September 26, 2017

And here's another example....



Over the weekend, Donald Trump un-invited Steph Curry to the White House (Curry had already indicated he didn't plan to attend a victory celebration there), advised NFL owners to respond to any player who follows Colin Kaepernick and kneels during the national anthem by firing the son of a bitch, and lamented the fact that pro football was doing so much (they aren't) to protect players from head injuries -- becoming the first world leader to come out in favor of brain damage. Unsurprisingly, America's top athletes fired back at Trump -- but at least in this case, he picked on people who don't have nukes.

+ Warrior coach Steve Kerr (whose father was killed in a terror attack in the 80s): "In his tweet to Steph, Trump talked about honoring the White House but, really, isn't it you who must honor the White House, Mr. President?"

+ On Sunday, NFL players, coaches, and owners engaged in various forms of protest to express unity in opposition to the president's comments. On Monday, Trump informed the country (via Twitter) that the controversy that started when players kneeled to protest racism has nothing to do with race. He hammered home that point by following up his critique of NFL and NBA players with some praise for Nascar: "So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!" Divide and Con is the new Divide and Conquer.

+ Jelani Cobb in The New Yorker: "It's impossible not to be struck by Trump's selective patriotism. It drives him to curse at black football players but leaves him struggling to create false equivalence between Nazis and anti-Fascists in Charlottesville."

+ Here are a few quick thoughts from me on Trump vs your favorite athletes (and every American value you hold dear): The Curry of Your Convictions.


As always, it's not only a matter of what we're talking (and tweeting) about, it's a matter of what's being ignored in the process. In this case, there's been barely a mention of Puerto Rico from the White House. Several days after Maria, PR is hot, isolated, running out of supplies, and near desperation.

The Guardian: "The island is largely without electricity and running water, but demand for plane tickets is highas Puerto Ricans attempt to return to their relatives and homes."


Pro athletes weren't the only targets of Trump messaging over the weekend. North Korea also received some more presidential Twitter trash talk: "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!" Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho responded by saying that Trump had "declared war."

+ "Never before have two leaders in command of nuclear arsenals more closely evoked a professional wrestling match." The New YorkerThe Madman Theory of North Korea.

+ "A North Korean offensive strike is unlikely. That is, unless the Kim regime is provoked, perhaps by a particularly warmongering early-morning tweet, into believing that its existence really is at risk." Blained Harden in the NYTRocket Man Knows Better.


"The new presidential proclamation, which Trump said is needed to screen out terrorist or public safety threats, indefinitely restricts travel from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea. Certain government officials from Venezuela will also be barred." Reuters: Trump's new travel ban could be harder to fight in court.

WaPo: Why did the U.S. travel ban add counterterrorism partner Chad? No one seems quite sure.


"It's easy to forget how transformative the company was exactly 100 years ago, when it, too, was capitalizing on a mail-to-consumer business to establish a physical retail presence." From The Atlantic's always interesting Derek Thompson: To understand Amazon -- its evolution, its strategy, and perhaps its future -- look to Sears.

+ "A number of successful online retailers are becoming increasingly focused on the physical world, for a number of reasons." HBRToys R Us Might Be Dying, but Physical Retail Isn't.


As the Senate GOP approaches a deadline on their effortsto overturn Obamacare, Atul Gawande reflects on a question that will be at the forefront of American political discourse: Is Health Care a Right? "The deal we each get on health care has a profound impact on our lives—on our savings, on our well-being, on our life expectancy. In the American health-care system, however, different people get astonishingly different deals. That disparity is having a corrosive effect on how we view our country, our government, and one another."


"These children were poisoned and slain not because they were despised but because they entered so little into the calculations of the powerful that they were unworthy even of contempt. They had to die because they were inconvenient." Matthew Walther: Don't Forget About Flint. "If you want to understand what some of us mean when we say that Washington, D.C., doesn't care about the post-industrial America of poverty, drug abuse, and spiritual despair, what even President Trump means when he talks about American carnage, get off exit 7 on I-475 in Michigan and head down Court Street until you get to the Flint Children's Museum on the campus of Kettering University."


"But that highly public moment came after months of maneuvering behind the scenes that has thrust Facebook, one of the world's most valuable companies -- and one that's used by one-third of the world's population each month -- into a multi-sided Washington power struggle in which the company has much to lose." From WaPoObama tried to give Zuckerberg a wake-up call over fake news on Facebook. (Just two world leaders having a chat...)

Buzzfeed: How Steve Bannon Sought To Infiltrate Facebook Hiring. (I still remember when people tried to infiltrate Facebook's workforce for the equity...)


"I was a very sick man for a very long time." So said Anthony Weiner before being sentenced to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15 year-old. As the sentence was read, Weiner "bowed his head and sobbed, holding a hand over his eyes."


"Yes, the world is clearly coming to an end. But is there anything you can do to prepare? That is not a philosophical question, or a theological one. And if it is a question that seems to beg any explication, you may stop reading now." The NYT's Alex Williams with a particularly well-timed piece: How to Survive the Apocalypse.

+ Politico: Kushner used private email to conduct White House business.

Dave Pell
Managing Editor, Internet

The Next Draft

An interesting and fairly dismal take (and extract) on the new news. Utterly true unfortunately


"Meanwhile, the people of Flint have been forced to use this bottled water for several years and are required to pay some of the highest water bills in the country for undrinkable water. The people of Detroit have experienced massive shutoffs since 2014, with up to 90,000 people shut off at times. If Detroiters could pay Nestlé rates, few would owe more than a dollar, and the majority would owe less than a dime." Businessweeksheds a lot of light on the bottled water industry with this piece: Nestlé Makes Billions Bottling Water It Pays Nearly Nothing For.


The war of words between President Trump and Kim Jung Un would be funny (in a surreal way) if they weren't actually two world leaders potentially driving the world towards a nuclear exchange. Following Trump's bombshell UN speech, Kim fired back, calling Trump a "mentally deranged US dotard." Trump continued the flame war with a twitter blast: "Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!" (If this escalates, it would be SAD!)

NYT: Trump poised to drop some limits on drone strikes and commando raids. (And Obama didn't exactly skimp on the drone strikes...)

Politico: "Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has taken at least 24 flights on private charter planes at taxpayers' expense since early May." But don't get on his case. "This is Secretary Price, getting outside of D.C., making sure he is connected with the real American people." (At least I can admit that when I fly business, it's for the legroom and to create a little more space between me and the real American people.)


"Hernandez, who was convicted of first-degree murder in 2015, was found to have 'the most severe case [CTE researchers] had ever seen in someone of Aaron's age,' Hernandez's lawyer, Jose Baez, said at a press conference Thursday. Baez also announced a federal lawsuit against both the NFL and the New England Patriots on behalf of Hernandez's daughter, Avielle, for $20 million, claiming the league and the Patriots deprived her of companionship with her father." The lawsuit probably doesn't have a great chance of succeeding, but the intersection of the Aaron Hernandez story with the NFL's handling (or non-handling) of the sport's head injury crisis makes this a story that will drive the issue into the red zone.


"Kubota and his Partnership colleagues were faced with a question: How does a system of doctors change the decades-old practice of treating pain -- from an ankle sprain to a chronic back problem -- with addictive pills? And if not opioids, what do you give patients in pain?" MoJoInside a Massive, Successful Effort to Stop Prescribing So Many Opioids.

+ Ben Popper: How a startup hopes to treat the rural opioid epidemic -- at a profit.


"It's no wonder that Tom Hanks's character in the movie Big, finding himself transformed into an adult, wants to get out of the toy business and go back to being a kid." The Toys R Us bankruptcy is of course a story about the pressures created by online shopping. But it's just as much (if not more) a story about debt. From Amy Merrick in The New YorkerHow Toys R Us Succumbed to Its Nasty Debt Problem.


"Forest Green is the first completely vegan professional sports team in the world. But its ethos extends way beyond food. The team plays on an organic and vegan field, called the New Lawn, which is fed with a solution of Scottish seaweed that's hand-cut and cold-pressed." The world's greenest sports team is a century-old football clubin a tiny English town. (I live in the Bay Area. This article basically describes every team I've ever been on...)


"The world's largest retailer announced Friday that it is testing a delivery program in Silicon Valley that would allow customers to use smart-home technology to remotely open the door for delivery workers and watch a live stream of the delivery by linking their phones with home security cameras." From WaPo: Walmart wants to send people into your house to stock the fridge -- even when you're not home. (We're seriously losing our minds...)

+ "It was Mr. Shaw, a man who loved numbers even more than he loved a slice of pizza, who transformed the endless number into an endless celebration of mathematics, joy and pepperoni." Larry Shaw died at the age of 78. He leaves behind his greatest invention: Pi Day.

+ After six decades, BYU has ended its ban on caffeinated soda sales. We should let them enjoy the victory for a bit before we tell them everyone else stopped drinking sodas because of the sugar.

Dave Pell
Managing Editor, Internet
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Even more about Agatha Christie

Anxious as I am to get away from the unmitigated slaughter that marked the years leading up to during and after the Second World War  in Central and Eastern  Europe, together with the unrelenting misery - this time inflicted by the British  - as we supposedly  rid our shores of convicts by thoughtfully transporting them to the welcoming shores of Australia  (The Fatal  Shore by Robert  Hughes),  I thought it might  be a good idea to try my hand at someone a little lighter, someone like Agatha  Christie  for  example.    I   think I must have done the bulk of this sort of reading whilst I was still a teenager  but indulged in a second helping when I  was preparing to go and stay, and as it turned out, the rest of my life living in France. This time I read the Poirot books in French, and well I remember the difficulty I had with the word  "hein" which kept on cropping up in  dialogue.  

Coming back as I do to these detective books as a so-called adult, I am struck for the first time by how uneven they are. Hercule Poirot's Christmas, for example, is very below par, whereas Ordeal by Innocence is quite different and a real study in character, shot through with more than a measure of compassion. Still, these are early days with only four book read and goodness knows how many more to come.

PS Since I am in poor physical shape at the moment, I have decided to alternate the standing and seated position when writing. My goodness, the former is exhausting!

Friday, September 15, 2017

As I get older and am knocked off balance more and more easily  - both physically and mentally  - the  temptation  to turn my back on the news becomes harder and harder to resist. I can't quite put my finger on what's going on here; forgive me if I shock anyone  but when the Beatles, Joan Baez and their like sang their protest songs all those years ago, they didn't have too much to worry about compared to today, and I think I was much the same at their age. But nowadays the stream of horrors issuing from the pages of the NYT are enough to make one scream, and if by any chance they're not, a daily dose from a truly excellent publicationlike Next Draft  is probably enough to finish me off.

And here's another example....

1 PUNT, PASS, AND KNEEL Over the weekend, Donald Trump un-invited Steph Curry to the White House (Curry had already indicated he di...