It’s not me, it’s you
Well, it’s just another Valentine’s Day breakup story. “Don't let the door hit you on the way out,” says Erin Biba, of the news that Amazon has pulled out of its planned New York City campus (371,000+ shares), which J. David Goodman reports on for The New York Times. Tweets Ron Lieber, “Hand over the tax goodies or else, you ingrates.” But Andrew Ross Sorkin thinks, “If you care about jobs and NYC, this is terrible news…” Edmund Lee notices, “Amazon isn’t just pulling out of NYC for HQ2, it looks like they're abandoning a second HQ altogether.” Read Amazon’s full statement about why it’s dumping New York City here.
At Bloomberg Businessweek, Brad Stone takes a look at How Amazon Lost New York. “‘In retrospect, the helipad was probably a bad idea.’ From the world's foremost Bezosologist, @BradStone,” tweets Jim Aley. Adds Shira Ovide, “No more takes on Amazon. @BradStone has the best one.” Also, you have to click through to that article, if for no other reason than to check out the accompanying photo illustration. As Michael Marois says, “Come for the ‘Escape from New York’ pun and art. Stay for the excellent writing.”
While we’re on the Amazon beat, did you know that Amazon Will Pay a Whopping $0 in Federal Taxes on $11.2 Billion Profits (317,000+ shares)? Laura Stampler of Fortune has those details, according to a report published by the Institute on Taxation and Economic (ITEP) policy. “To top it off, Amazon actually reported a $129 million 2018 federal income tax rebate—making its tax rate -1%,” she writes, adding, “ITEP notes that its non-existent federal tax payment is a result of the Trump Administration’s corporation-friendly tax cuts.”
Double end-runs around democratic will
As Peter Baker reports at The New York Times, Trump Declares National Emergency to Build Border Wall (161,000+ shares). Baker notes, “The president’s decision, previewed on Thursday, triggered instant condemnation from Democrats and some Republicans, who called it an unconstitutional abuse of his authority.” “So lemme get this right: the president believes that the flow of illegal drugs through the southern border is a national emergency, so he's going to divert $2.5 billion from drug interdiction to build a wall where almost none of the drugs come through,” tweets Jonathan Weisman.
Stephanie Strom says, “This scares the heck out of me — one step closer to dictatorship.” And Bryan Walsh points out, “Of course the President also soundly lost the popular vote, which I guess makes this move one of those truly unique double end-runs around democratic will.”
On that note, also at The New York Times, Charlie Savage’s analysis is that Trump’s Face-Saving Way Out of Political Crisis Raises Fears Over Rule of Law. He tweets, “Trump’s wall ‘emergency’ lets him save face but will keep lawyers busier than builders. History will record it as one of his most extraordinary violations of constitutional norms, setting a precedent for future presidents who want try to bypass Congress.”
Lots and lots of interventions
At The Washington Post, Robert Costa, Rachael Bade, Josh Dawsey and Seung Min Kim take us Inside Trump’s attempt to claim victory in his border wall defeat. That piece quotes one senior Republican aide as saying, “We thought he was good to go all morning, and then suddenly it’s like everything is off the rails.” On Twitter, Dawsey says the piece gives us the details on “How Trump almost blew up the government spending bill today — leading to lots and lots of interventions — and the inside story of the whole episode. Latest w/the great @costareports, @rachaelmbade & @seungminkim.” Sean Sullivan says there are “Lots and lots of important behind the scenes details in this rigorously reported story.” Also, “Every paragraph in here is fodder for @dandrezner's toddler-in-chief thread,” says Clara Jeffery. But Kim Masters can’t figure this one out: “How did the lord not smite @SenShelby when he said this? ‘Obviously he’s had great success in the private sectors as a real estate developer, hotel operator — that’s dealmaking, you know, on a high level.’”
Daniel Drezner might want to extend the toddler comparison further down the family tree, because “Poor babies,” tweets Ed Bott. The latest from Steve Eder, Ben Protess and Eric Lipton at The New York Times, Blaming Political Climate, Trumps Give Up on New Hotels.
Could there be more Twitter tantrums on the horizon? Well, yes, but specifically: “First read of the day: Someone is going to get angry tweet scolded all day by Commander-in-Cheeto,” tweets Carmen Gentile, of the news that Joseph Votel, the top American general in the Middle East, disagrees with Trump over Syria troop pullout (19,000+ shares), reports CNN’s Barbara Starr.
Now it’s really getting interesting
Meanwhile, “It's official: Trump has a GOP primary challenge,” tweets David Weigel, who links to his reporting with Annie Linskey of The Washington Post, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld has announced his plans to challenge President Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. Point to Weld for “Arguably, better hair,” says Anne Geggis. The Boston Herald’s Joe Battenfeld reports that Weld has launched a GOP presidential exploratory committee, saying the country is “in grave peril” and he “cannot sit quietly on the sidelines any longer.” “Now it's really getting interesting,” tweets Frida Ghitis.
Joe Coscarelli and William K. Rashbaum of The New York Times have the details as the F.B.I. looks into whether Ryan Adams committed a crime by engaging in sexually explicit communications with an underage fan. Meanwhile, at The Guardian, Laura Snapes writes that the Ryan Adams allegations are the tip of an indie-music iceberg. As she tweets, “Anyway here’s what I think about male ‘genius’ and the pathetic lengths the music industry will go to in order to cover for awful men.” Caitlin Moran says it’s a “Brilliant piece by @laurasnapes on the Ryan Adams revelations. It's a totally identifiable type: the indulged man-child who breaks women as a hobby.”
And a breaking story at The New Yorker, Prosecutors Are Moving to Indict R. Kelly After the Discovery of Another Videotape, reports Jim DeRogatis, who tweets, “Reckoning?” “Busy 24 hours for holding sexual abusers accountable for their actions,” as Bradford Pearson points out.
Sara Sidner reports that CNN has seen the tape in question, which lawyer Michael Avenatti, who is representing a man he calls a whistleblower against Kelly, says he turned over to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago last weekend.
Some weekend reads
At Vice’s Munchies site, Cynthia R. Greenlee gives us a look at A Real Hot Mess: How Grits Got Weaponized Against Cheating Men. As Tina Vasquez tweets, “My hero and colleague @CynthiaGreenlee wrote a fascinating piece about how Black southern women weaponized grits. Happy Valentine’s Day!”
Nithin Coca says, “This is probably the best travel piece I've read in a while.” That’s Kate Harris’s piece for The Walrus on Where Not to Travel in 2019, or Ever. As Krista Langlois puts it, “Brilliant bit of writing from @kateonmars, bursting with ‘are you fucking kidding me’ moments.” “Always read whatever @kateonmars writes, especially when it's beautifully barbed essays about travel,” adds Harley Rustad.
And at Grub Street, read Madhuri Sastry’s tribute and Thank You to Fatima Ali, the chef who “became my icon by honoring her roots.”
RIP Andrea Levy
The Guardian’s Richard Lea has the sad news that Andrea Levy, chronicler of the Windrush generation, has died aged 62. The award-winning author of “Small Island” and “The Long Song” had cancer. Tweets Katharine Viner, “Farewell to Andrea Levy, brilliant writer and wonderful woman.”
In his obituary for Levy at The Guardian, Gary Younge writes that Andrea Levy had to fight for a recognition she truly deserved. Tweets Catherine Mayer, “What a wonderful obituary for a wonderful writer.”
CNBC’s Salvador Rodriguez reports that Facebook security uses a ‘lookout’ list to keeps tabs on users and ex-employees who may be threats. About the “be on the lookout” (BOLO) list, Rodriguez tweets, “FB is not alone in using a BOLO list. Many companies have this security measure. However, FB is unique in that it mines its own data to detect and monitor users it believes are credible threats.” As Steve Evans says, “Worked for Facebook, never get forgotten by Facebook.”
“Today is what we like to call a Busy News Day,” says Molly Wood. The scoop from Tony Romm at The Washington Post, the U.S. government and Facebook are negotiating a record, multi-billion dollar fine for the company’s privacy lapses. Kara Swisher says, “Facebook should take whatever deal it gets and pay a huge fine. A court battle would be disastrous. Zuckerberg should ask his mentor Bill Gates about that.”
“We all knew McCabe would take aim at Trump in his book, but his contempt for Sessions is staggering. Depicts him as addled, fixated on immigrants, racist.” Greg Miller links to his Washington Post review of Andrew McCabe’s new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.
Cindy Von Quednow, Melissa Pamer and Kimberly Cheng of KTLA-TV have the details on how a fired Netflix worker’s threat of being armed and ‘ready to take action’ prompted a Hollywood lot lockdown yesterday. The man was taken into custody but ultimately released without charges. Turns out, he was never actually on the lot, and no gun was found.
James Ball says, “This is fun – got me within about 20 miles of where I grew up, despite me answering *as I talk now*. UK dialects are wildly specific.” And yet, Janice Turner has “Never been so insulted in my life.” They’re referring to a new Upshot quiz over at The New York Times, The British-Irish Dialect Quiz, by Josh Katz. Lisa O'Carroll agrees with Ball: “This is fun. And a time waster on Friday morning.”