Hurricane Michael approaches
Hurricane Michael strengthened overnight, and The Weather Channel is now reporting that Hurricane Michael is headed for a catastrophic, unprecedented Category 4 strike on the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend, with a massive storm surge and over 100 mph winds possible not just near the coast, but also inland, potentially leaving some areas without power for over a week. Jason Hanna, Susannah Cullinane and Faith Karimi are following the storm at CNN, where they report that Hurricane Michael could be Florida Panhandle’s “worst storm ... in a century.” As Sean Kilcarr tweets, “The panhandle of Florida is about to get walloped by #HurricaneMichael, which has blown up into a major Category 4 storm. We're hoping those in the path of this monster storm stay safe. @aashtospeaks @MyFDOT@fema @USDOT @FLSERT.”
Donor maintenance, Trump-style
In Trump’s Patron-in-Chief, a feature co-published by ProPublica and WNYC, Justin Elliott reveals that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has never been more powerful. Adam Davidson calls it “More typically amazing reporting from @ProPublica. Let’s get to know the financial shenanigans of Sheldon Adelson and the help his new friend Trump is providing.” Shenanigans and help like “Looser Japanese gambling laws, a weird EPA contract for a friend, an embassy in Jerusalem — some of the things this administration has helped deliver to one of its patrons, Sheldon Adelson. An excellent new piece by @JustinElliott,” tweets Ian MacDougall. Elliott also found out that Trump raised Adelson’s casino bid to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a meeting at Mar-A-Lago, according to two people briefed on the meeting. Kenneth Vogel calls it “DONOR MAINTENANCE, TRUMP-STYLE.” If you’re thinking this behavior seems kind of outrageous, well, Glenn Kessler points out, “In normal times, it would be a shocking scandal for a president to raise a major donor’s business deal in talks with a foreign leader.”
What comes after ‘no collusion’
In fending off accusations that it conspired with Russia and WikiLeaks, the Trump Campaign Says Exploiting Hacked Emails Is Free Speech. That’s the latest from Natasha Bertrand at The Atlantic, and Christopher Orr calls it “What comes after ‘no collusion.’ A genuinely disturbing piece by @NatashaBertrand. Read it all.” But Crispin Burke says, “Here’s the thing: The Daniel Ellsberg defense only works if you didn’t break any laws while obtaining stolen documents or encourage someone to do so.”
The rarely seen churning
“Big day ahead for American fact-checkers…” predicts Paul Owen. In an op-ed for USA Today, Donald Trump says, Democrats’ ‘Medicare for All’ plan will demolish promises to seniors, and right on cue, Washington Post Fact Checker columnist Glenn Kessler asks, “How can @usatoday allow Trump to publish an article with documented falsehoods?” Steven Greenhouse adds, “Call me naive, but I remain shocked that a U.S. President would write something so absurdly dishonest & preposterous (Also shocked USAToday publishes such BS).” Erick Fernandez agrees with that sentiment, tweeting, “Any serious outlet running an op-ed from a serial liar like Trump, as is, without any fact check, should be ashamed of themselves. @USATODAY, this is embarrassing and a dereliction of duty. Holy crap.”
Meanwhile, John Tozzi thinks, “That the administration would publish an attack on Medicare-for-All under Trump's byline in October tells you: 1) Republicans think this is a good issue to run on. 2) The health care agenda has shifted radically from repeal-and-replace.” But as Sean Hackbarth points out, “There's the Trumpification of the GOP. Then there's the Steven Miller-ization of Trump as demonstrated by the President's over-the-top USA Today op-ed.”
In other news in the run-up to the midterms, over on Taylor Swift’s medium of choice, Instagram, Mike Bloomberg explains Why I'm re-registering as a Democrat.
Pema Levy of Mother Jones writes that the Supreme Court just made it harder for the Democrats to win the Senate — by upholding a voter ID law in North Dakota that could disenfranchise thousands of Native voters.
And Emily Baumgaertner would like you to take a look at “THIS STORY RIGHT HERE, PEOPLE”: Elizabeth Dias of The New York Times reports that Beto O’Rourke May Benefit From an Unlikely Support Group: White Evangelical Women (35,000+ shares). As Jia Lynn Yang says, “This piece on evangelical women in Texas by @elizabethjdias is so good, not because it tells us who will win in November (b/c who knows), but b/c it shows the rarely seen churning within a group often viewed as a monolith.”
It just gets sketchier
More details are coming out about the circumstances surrounding journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance. At The Guardian, Martin Chulov reports that security camera footage was removed from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and Turkish staff were abruptly told to take a holiday on the day Khashoggi disappeared while inside the building. As Zach Rosenberg tweets, “Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance just gets sketchier.”
The latest from Loveday Morris, Souad Mekhennet and Kareem Fahim at The Washington Post, Saudis lay in wait for Jamal Khashoggi and left Turkey quickly, sources say. Tweets Fahim, “U.S. intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Jamal Khashoggi before he vanished. Unclear whether ‘Saudis intended to arrest and interrogate Khashoggi or to kill him, or if the U.S. warned Khashoggi that he was a target.’” “Every detail that is released about Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance is more and more horrifying,” observes Grace Segers.
And now, tweets Mekhennet, “A video obtained by @washingtonpost on Wednesday purports to lay out movements of the 15-man #Saudi team that #Turkish authorities suspect of carrying out the abduction or killing of Saudi journalist Jamal #Khashoggi.” The video shows the team accused in Khashoggi disappearance in Istanbul hotels, airport, she and Morris report.
The Post has also published a message from Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancée, Please, President Trump, shed light on my fiance’s disappearance.
Brave, calm and heart wrenching
In India, meanwhile, a “Horrifying account of M.J.Akbar molesting a former journalist at Asian age. How do you allow this man to continue as a minister in the government,” asks Rana Ayyub. At The Wire, Ghazala Wahab reveals, M.J. Akbar, Minister and Former Editor, Sexually Harassed and Molested Me, and Sadanand Dhume says, “.@ghazalawahab’s brave, calm and heart wrenching indictment of Indian junior foreign minister MJ Akbar from his days as an editor is the best piece of journalism to come out of India’s #metoo movement.” Also, “Makes you want to throw something against the wall. Like maybe the entitled fucking patriarchy,” tweets Mitali Saran.
Big hack cont.
Reto Gregori links to part 2 of Bloomberg’s Chinese Supermicro hardware hack investigation, New Evidence of Hacked Supermicro Hardware Found in U.S. Telecom, by Jordan Robertson and Michael A. Riley. Michael R Shannon notes, “After Silicon Valley initiates a recall to remove all the #China spy chips, I would imagine outsourcing production to a totalitarian enemy won't seem to be such a great idea in retrospect.” But Christopher Mims says, “OK this is nuts. A named source provided documents to Bloomberg saying the Supermicro hack is real. In a totally separate incident from previously reported. Is China supply chain hacking or not?”
Jeffrey Dastin of Reuters found out that Amazon has scrapped a secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women. Ryan Broderick gives you the short version: “Amazon built an AI to rate job applications. It analyzed 10 years of (male dominated) hires. Then it started penalizing resumes that included the word ‘women’s,’ downgrading graduates from all women's colleges, and highly rating aggressive language.” The even shorter version, courtesy of Andre Spicer, “A warning about automation of HR processes. Amazon's recruiting algorithm didn't find the best candidate. It found men.”
In other Amazon news, Karen Weise of The New York Times explains Why Some Amazon Workers Aren’t Happy About Their Raise. Tweets Jesse Felder, “It was as though the company was saying ‘thanks, we appreciate you going into the holidays. Here’s less money.’”
At The Wall Street Journal, Suzanne Kapner, Lillian Rizzo and Soma Biswas are reporting that Sears has hired advisers to prepare a bankruptcy filing and could file for court protection ahead of Monday’s debt payment. While it may be “The least surprising business story of the day,” as Vindu Goel tweets, Miriam Gottfried points out that “A Sears bankruptcy would be unlike any other. Eddie Lampert is Sears's chairman, chief executive, largest shareholder and biggest creditor.”
The Singles life (and death)
And finally, today, as Claire Boston says, “Come for another things millennials have killed, stay for the surprisingly interesting history of Kraft Singles.” Not to mention the fact that “Someone had a lot of fun with this cheesy lede: ‘American cheese will never die. It has too many preservatives,’” tweets Anne Riley Moffat. That piece is Millennials Kill Again. The Latest Victim? American Cheese, by Lydia Mulvany and Leslie Patton of Bloomberg, or as Henry Goldman headlines it, “The Life and Death of American Cheese.” Jonathan Roeder points out, “Just FYI, Kraft has a 30-person team working on ways to get American cheese into your home,” and that’s not alarming at all. Justin Green says, “American cheese is the best cheese and all of you (except the vegans) are pretending otherwise. Feel free to @ me,” so have at it (Havarti at it?). Either way, no need to worry too much, because Tina Davis is coming to the rescue: “I will single handedly keep the market for American cheese alive, if I have to 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸.”