A pure distillation of the moment we’re in
President George H.W. Bush was laid to rest yesterday, and as Susan Glasser writes at the New Yorker, George H. W. Bush’s Funeral Was the Corny, Feel-Good Moment That Washington Craves — and “What does it tell you that the feel-good events in Washington these days are funerals?”
At The Washington Post, Philip Rucker gives us the view from the presidential pew as Trump sits with fellow presidents, but still stands alone (21,000+ shares). Tweets Dan Zak, “This is a very good front-page story. Wonderful to read in print. Feels both weighty and graceful. A pure distillation of the moment we’re in.” Many agree with Peter Baker, who applauds the “Brilliant job by @PhilipRucker capturing Trump's awkward encounter with his presidential peers.”
Meanwhile, Mike Madden thinks that it “Probably should not come as a surprise to learn that a longtime real estate developer whose companies have declared bankruptcy multiple times is not that worried about long term debt.” Still: Trump On Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up (64,000+ shares). That’s what sources close to the president are telling Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay of The Daily Beast, and Paul Brandus puts it into a little perspective: “On a day when George H.W. Bush was lauded for devotion to country, Trump says he doesn't care about the debt because when it becomes truly untenable, he'll be out of office.”
Very cool and very legal
Now here’s “Just a totally normal form of lobbying that is in no way an emolument of any kind so very cool and very legal.” Daniel Drezner links to the reporting by David Fahrenthold and Jonathan O’Connell at The Washington Post, Saudi-funded lobbyist paid for 500 rooms at Trump’s hotel after 2016 election (53,000+ shares) at a cost of more than $272,000, and as Stephen Greenhouse points out, “Here’s one big reason Trump likes the Saudis so much and a big reason why Trump is violating the Constitution's emoluments clause.” According to the story, “the general manager of Trump’s hotel at Central Park said a single stay by some Saudi customers — who were traveling with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — was so lucrative it helped the hotel turn a profit for the quarter.” Kara Swisher encourages us to just “Say it: KLEPTOCRACY.”
Bye bye trade truce
Pan Kwan Yuk links to the big news that Canada has arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s global chief financial officer, in Vancouver, as reported by Robert Fife and Steven Chase of The Globe and Mail. Jeff Roberts points out, “The arrest of the Hauwei exec—‘a member of China’s corporate royalty’— is a bfd. Forced to side with the U.S. or China, Canada chose our long-term friend and ally.”
Daisuke Wakabayashi and Alan Rappeport have the story at The New York Times, A Top Huawei Executive Is Arrested in Canada for Extradition to the U.S., and as Wakabayashi says, “I wouldn’t want to be a prominent American business executive traveling in China today.”
This sounds familiar. Nobody Believed Neil DeGrasse Tyson's First Accuser. Now There Are Three More, reports Azeen Ghorayshi of BuzzFeed News. As Ryan Mac tweets, “BuzzFeed News chased this story for 3 years, and after talking to dozens of people and dogged reporting from @azeen, here's a pretty damning account about the behavior of Neil deGrasse Tyson.” “What a heartbreaking & enraging story,” tweets Rebecca Ruiz. Heidi Blake calls it “A powerful story by the brilliant @azeen who has blazed a fierce trail reporting on allegations of sexual harassment in science.” Also, “SIGH. UGH,” as Amy Julia Harris puts it.
On that note, Kamala Harris aide leaves after harassment settlement surfaces, reports Alexei Koseff of the Sacramento Bee, who tweets, “Longtime top Harris staff member Larry Wallace resigned Wednesday after The Bee asked about a $400,000 harassment and retaliation settlement related to his work for Harris at the California Department of Justice.”
More bad news for earth
In case you missed this major climate news yesterday, Chris Mooney directs you to his report with Brady Dennis of The Washington Post, highlighting this choice quote: ‘We are in trouble.’ Global carbon emissions reached a new record high in 2018 (37,000+ shares). For some context, Dan Zak offers, “The guy in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency is a former coal lobbyist who used to work for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), author of the climate-denying book ‘The Greatest Hoax.’ Meanwhile, on today's front page.”
For another quote, although it’s not going to make you feel any better, turn to the coverage by Kendra Pierre-Louis of The New York Times, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rise Like a ‘Speeding Freight Train’ in 2018. Tweets Damien Cave, “More bad news for earth. Australia’s contributing to the problem.” As Frank Bajak says, “More people driving bigger cars farther accelerates our journey to climate Armageddon. Get a bike.”
About those cultural assassins
“News media: Millennials are cultural assassins, killing starter homes, canned tuna, and Applebees, and nothing will stop their murderous economic rampage. Federal Reserve paper: Millennials are literally like every other generation—just poorer.” That’s Derek Thompson, who explains at The Atlantic that Millennials Didn’t Kill the Economy. The Economy Killed Millennials. You’ll want to read this one, because as Christopher Mims says, “Probably @DKThomp is the only economics commentator who regularly makes me chuckle.” Also, “This is chiastastic,” tweets Juliet Lapidos.
“Lots of interesting stuff here on the extremely Facebooky origins of the Yellow Jackets in France, whose politics seem hard to describe but lean toward....bad,” tweets Tom Gara. At BuzzFeed News, Ryan Broderick writes that The “Yellow Jackets” Riots In France Are What Happens When Facebook Gets Involved With Local News. Paul Lewis says, “This piece trying to draw a firm line between Facebook algorithm changes and the protests in France probably overstates the case. But top marks for giving it a go. Not sure I buy the argument Facebook is causing this unrest, but it’s an accelerant.” But Hugo Rifkind thinks, “This is real Sourcerer’s Apprentice stuff. Social media is the real global political story. Nobody wants to admit it, because doing so always sounds like it invalidates the concerns of the often legitimately angry. But it is. It is.”
Meanwhile, Facebook Emails Show Its Real Mission: Making Money and Crushing Competition, Kevin Roose writes in his “The Shift” column at The New York Times. As he tweets, “I went through the Facebook emails released today. The big takeaway is that Facebook is a mission-driven company, and that mission is making as much money and growing as fast as possible.” And Adam Clark Estes confirms, “This is all, unfortunately, correct.”
Never felt closer to AI
As Chris Gayomali puts it, “this is a holy text.” Read Allen Iverson on The life and times of Allen Iverson at The Players’ Tribune, because it is “Amazing. Every word,” says Dimas Sanfiorenzo. Ross Scarano shares, “I've never felt closer to AI,” while Brian Josephs takes it a step further: “Getting this piece tattooed on my back.” And David Gambacorta wonders, “How is there not a weekly Iverson podcast?” Another request, from Rawiya E. Kameir, “this is the best thing ive ever read !! where is the iverson MEMOIR.”
Some scoop from Zachary Cohen of CNN, New satellite images reveal activity at unidentified North Korean missile base, underscoring the divide with the US on denuclearization.
An exclusive from Lisa Rein of The Washington Post, emails show that after the bloody violence in Charlottesville, the Veterans Affairs’ diversity chief was told not to condemn white nationalists.
In a new piece for The New York Times, Astead Herndon writes, Elizabeth Warren Stands by DNA Test. But Around Her, Worries Abound, and Nate Silver thinks, “There's something very (Hillary) Clinton-esque about the Warren DNA test story and the way the press is handling it. —Yeah she showed poor judgement. —But it's a minor story treated like a major crisis. —Probably a proxy for other concerns (and/or biases).” Adds Niall Stanage, “The Elizabeth Warren DNA test thing was a dumb move, yes. But nearly 2,000 words in the NYT almost two months afterward? I'm pretty skeptical it's worthy of that. Still, here it is.”
Vice, The Assassination of Gianni Versace and more. Check out the full list of 2019 Golden Globes Nominations over at The Hollywood Reporter.