By now you know that MPs rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal yesterday, and it went down in a historic defeat (348,000+ shares), as BBC News reports. The 230 votes to reject represented the largest defeat for a sitting government in history. To sum up, “What an utter shit show,” as Emily Mills says.
Stephen Castle and Ellen Barry provide some background about what happened and where things stand in their New York Times report, Theresa May’s Brexit Deal Is Crushed by Parliament, Sending Britain Into Uncharted Waters. Laura Trevelyan wonders, “What now - a no deal Brexit or Brexit delayed? Is a second referendum even on the cards? Political chaos back home.” Meanwhile, Victoria McGrane says, “I mean I'm not going to say seeing another major democracy in chaos makes me feel better but…”
In his column for The Guardian, After this staggering defeat for May, our island is left lost and adrift, Jonathan Freedland writes, “This has been Britain’s European story, repeatedly seeing what was a project of peace, designed to end centuries of bloodshed, as a scam designed to swindle the Brits of their money.” Dani Garavelli highlights, “‘The spectacle of a country lost and adrift.’ This sums up the whole sorry shambles.”
Also at The Guardian, Marina Hyde offers “My bit about the Westminster Brexit shitshow,” about which Phil Cunnington says, “This is gold from the very first line.” For that, read her piece, Welcome to the Westminster apocalypse. Have you thought about theocracy instead? In it, Hyde refers to May as “the Florence Foster Jenkins of politics, insulated from the realities of her situation by weird or venal enablers.” But there’s much, much more. As Sophie Gilbert says, “This lede is so perfect I want to have its children.”
Stay up-to-date on the latest developments with BBC News live coverage here.
And now, “As only he can, @peterbakernyt steps back and looks deeply at each time Trump has met Putin as president and why those meetings are so troubling.” Michael Tackett links to Trump and Putin Have Met Five Times. What Was Said Is a Mystery, by Peter Baker at The New York Times, and “Whoa: this @peterbakernyt story reveals that Trump called a Times reporter shortly after meeting Putin in July 2017 ‘and argued that the Russians were falsely accused of election interference,’” Brian Stelter tweets. Alex Howard’s take: “Unprecedented secrecy isn’t benign. Symptoms suggest there is a cancer within our body politics that won’t be easily remedied.”
No idea what he is talking about
New from Daniel Dale of The Toronto Star, Trump’s tales about gagged women are misleading Americans about human trafficking, experts say. Tweets Dale, “As he tries to sell his wall, Trump keeps telling stories of women being bound, gagged with tape, and brought over the border in traffickers’ vans. Experts on trafficking are aghast. They say the president has no idea what he is talking about.”
An economic suicide note
Meanwhile, the Shutdown’s Economic Damage Starts to Pile Up, Threatening an End to Growth (29,000+ shares), reports Jim Tankersley of The New York Times. Tweets Noah Rothman, “Let me get this straight: We are pushing the economy into recession over $5 billion for steel slats along a portion of the border, where apprehensions are the lowest they’ve been this century?” Tweets Danielle Kurtzleben, “This graf (from @jimtankersley's excellent story on shutdown-related drags on growth) shook me. HALF A POINT OFF GDP. Based on *this administration's estimates.*” Justin Miller says it’s “Like reading an economic suicide note.”
Because of the shutdown, Pelosi is asking Trump to reschedule the State of the Union address, report Heather Caygle and Rachel Bade of POLITICO. They note that Pelosi is citing security concerns, “but Democrats also don’t want to give Trump a platform to blame them for the shutdown.”
A new kind of swamp lobbying
Well, here’s a coincidence. T-Mobile announced a merger needing Trump administration approval. The next day, 9 executives had reservations at Trump’s hotel. Jonathan O’Connell and David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post have been doing some digging into what Philip Rucker calls “a case study for a new kind of swamp lobbying: Stays at the Trump Hotel.” In fact, O’Connell spotted T-Mobile CEO John Legere in the hotel lobby and caught up with him for an impromptu interview. Legere told him, “It’s become a place I feel very comfortable.” But as the piece also reveals, “By the next evening, Legere was tweeting about the great bar at ‘my current DC hotel’ — the Four Seasons in Georgetown.” Regardless, “Kicking off a spending binge at Trump’s Emoluments Hotel the day after you announce your plan to buy Sprint is such an epic #uncarrier move, T-Mobile,” tweets Rob Pegoraro.
That’s so WeWorky
In other business news, Eliot Brown of The Wall Street Journal found out that WeWork’s CEO Makes Millions as Landlord to WeWork. Adam Neumann has bought properties and leased them to his co-working startup, sparking conflict of interest concerns. As Matthew Yglesias points out, “WeWork itself is a kind of obvious scam (borrow long, lend short in an unregulated way and pray there’s never a downturn) but naturally there turn out to be scams inside the scam.” Or as Shira Ovide puts it, “This is the most WeWork thing to ever WeWork.” But to be fair, as Christopher Mims says, “Who among us hasn't used the largesse of a Saudi-backed venture megafund to self-deal to a business from which we have already personally extracted over $100 million in cash?” Relatable!
Homegrown drug dealers
Joe Mandese notes, “Yes, drugs come into the U.S. from Latin America -- and the rest of the world -- but here’s one of the worst sources of opioid addiction: 100% domestic.” He links to the new report by Barry Meier of The New York Times, Sacklers Directed Efforts to Mislead Public About OxyContin, New Documents Indicate. Meier reports that a filing in a Massachusetts lawsuit contains dozens of internal Purdue Pharma documents suggesting the Sackler family was far more involved than the company has long contended. “That these people will evade prison is a travesty,” says Kim Masters.
The data motherlode?
At WIRED, Kate O'Neill dares to ask, Facebook’s ‘10 Year Challenge’ Is Just a Harmless Meme – Right? (173,000+ shares). But… “Let’s say you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on aging. What would do? Maybe start a meme like #10yearchallenge,” tweets Nicholas Thompson and now it all seems so obvious. Tony Romm thinks, “This Wired story is so smart. I kinda had this super cynical view that maybe the 10-year challenge was the data motherlode for Facebook AI, But this puts it into words better than I could.” Although Max Read says, “i get the attraction but i found this post wildly unconvincing. FB already has an enormous, rich facial-recognition dataset going back 15 years. the idea that it's ‘too noisy’ to be of use is obviously untrue given that facebook *already uses it*”
Rhymes with schmacist
HuffPost’s Yashar Ali got hold of an email from NBC News telling staffers not to directly call Steve King’s racist remarks racist. He tweets, “NEW: In an email I reviewed, NBC News standards sent guidance to staffers this morning that they shouldn’t directly refer to Steve King's comments as racist. Instead they said reporters should say, ‘what many are calling racist’ or something like that.’”
In other Steve King news, the Des Moines Register Editorial Board is urging Steve King to resign for the good of Iowa.
Michael M. Grynbaum of The New York Times brings us the scoop: Goodbye, New York. Adam Moss Is Leaving the Magazine He Has Edited for 15 Years. Of the New York magazine editor’s impact, Sam Sifton says, “it’s Impossible really to measure Adam Moss's influence on magazines and media. Big news.” Adds Jodi Kantor, “I worked for Adam Moss, when I was much younger, and it was a sublime education. But he has no idea how much he's taught me, because before that and ever since, I've been learning just from absorbing the greatness of his pages.” And Sam Dolnick says Moss is “A legend and a true virtuoso whose fingerprints are all over basically everything that’s fun in journalism.” Clara Jeffery sums up the general sentiment: “The best in the biz is stepping away.”
Cara Lombardo, Benjamin Mullin and Lukas Alpert of The Wall Street Journal report that the Takeover Bid from Digital First Interrupts Gannett’s Quest For Gizmodo. Gannett was one of a few serious bidders for Gizmodo.
Meanwhile, “The pivot to video sticks its awful claw into LGBTQ media,” tweets Katerina Ang. She links to the news that Grindr Axes Staff of LGBTQ Publication “Into” in Mass Layoff, as Daniel Reynolds reports for the Advocate, calling it “A heartbreaking loss for LGBTQ media.”
The latest literary detonation
Ed Pilkington and Martin Pengelly of The Guardian give us a sneak peek at Chris Christie’s soon-to-be-published book, “Let Me Finish,” and in it, Chris Christie accuses Jared Kushner of a political ‘hit job.’ Also, as Lisa Tozzi tweets, “Trump told Chris Christie to wear a longer tie as it would make him look thinner according to Christie’s new book.” Nicholas Kristof calls it, “The latest literary detonation.” The big takeaway, says Reid Wilson, “Chris Christie hates pretty much everyone in the Trump admin, except Trump himself.”
- Breaking this morning, Saphora Smith, Caroline Radnofsky and Richard Engel of NBC News report, U.S. service members wounded by explosion in Manbij, Syria. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Alan Feuer has “The full story on today’s wild developments at the Chapo trial. First, a witness testified that former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto took a $100 million bribe from the kingpin. Then Chapo's lawyers officially said he might testify at the trial too.” Get all the details in his New York Times coverage of the El Chapo Trial: Former Mexican President Peña Nieto Took $100 Million Bribe, Witness Says (42,000+ shares).
- Rebecca Klein of HuffPost reveals that Karen Pence Is Working At A School That Bans Gay Employees (109,000+ shares). Also banned: “heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex).” And while we’re at it: Potential employees are asked to explain their view of the “creation/evolution debate.”
- You’ve been waiting for it, and here it is. Philip Bump of The Washington Post breaks down President Trump’s extravagant, $3,000, 300-sandwich celebration of Clemson University. As Bump tweets, “It was far fewer than 1,000 hamberders,” but still, “The best math,” as Terri Rupar says.
- Jenna Johnson of The Washington Post spent two hours touring the border with Beto O’Rourke, and here’s what she learned about Beto O’Rourke’s immigration plan: No wall but no specifics.
- AP’s Marcy Gordon reports that the IRS is recalling 46,000 workers to handle taxes. Meanwhile, the latest survey by The Hill-HarrisX finds a majority of Americans support raising the top tax rate to 70 percent, as Matthew Sheffield of The Hill reports.
- Ashby Jones links to some “Bad news for all those looking for the tell-all from Michael Cohen: His House testimony is expected to be restricted to avoid interfering with the special counsel’s Russia probe.” That’s according to the report by Rebecca Ballhaus and Nicole Hong of The Wall Street Journal, Mueller Probe Likely to Restrict Michael Cohen’s Testimony.