A Jeffrey Epstein update
Let’s begin this Friday with news from the Miami Herald where Julie Brown writes that a judge ruled that federal prosecutors broke the law in the Jeffrey Epstein case when they signed a plea agreement with the wealthy, politically connected sex trafficker and concealed it from more than 30 of his underage victims. Among those prosecutors was current U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.
For a refresher on exactly who Jeffrey Epstein is–and how he avoided being in prison for life–read Vox’s explanation here. (Hint: the answers, as usual, are money & power.)
So you’re saying the drug companies are...bad?
Here’s a story that will really get your blood boiling, courtesy of ProPublica’s David Armstrong: Sackler Embraced Plan to Conceal OxyContin’s Strength From Doctors, Sealed Testimony Shows. Basically, Dr. Richard Sackler, a member of the billionaire family that founded and controls the company went along with a plan to falsely market OxyContin as weaker than morphine because that myth proved to be boosting prescriptions and sales.
Just today, Stanford University announced that U.S. opioid deaths jumped fourfold in 20 years and epidemic has shifted to the Eastern states.
But sure, it's drug sales that really matter.
Snow. In Los Angeles. Imagine.
Matt Pearce “dug into the National Enquirer's finances and found a doozy.” It turns out that “during the 2016 campaign, records suggest National Enquirer's largest financial backer was — drumroll — CalPERS, California's state pension fund, which may have owned a *third* of AMI!” Read his story–National Enquirer's biggest investors include California taxpayers and state workers–in the LA Times.
If that wasn’t bad enough, L.A. County could see snow as this winter gets a little wilder. A quote in Hannah Fry’s LA Times piece refers to it as the “coldest storm system I’ve seen.” Laura J. Nelson reiterated: “OMG, the storm system moving through California is so cold that there could be a dusting of snow in the Santa Monica Mountains and the Hollywood Hills.”
In the meantime, we'd like to introduce our friends in Los Angeles to the trendy "Amazon coat."
‘Trump is a disaster’
Susan Glasser at the New Yorker explained Why Flattery Works in Trump’s Foreign Policy with a piece titled Audience of One. The piece led Greg Dworkin to surmise, “Trump is a disaster.” Tim Rostan pointed out it contains, “Two of history’s more striking utterances of ‘Yes, sir.’” David Rohde explained, “A previously undisclosed meeting between Lindsey Graham & a top American general revealed that Graham privately fears a Trump foreign policy ‘disaster.’” And Michael Kruse added, “What's different is now it's not about casinos that can't turn a profit."
In Trump’s hometown, residents of another Manhattan building have voted to remove the “Trump Place” name, per David Fahrenthold and Jonathan O'Connell at the Washington Post. This time it’s condo owners at 120 Riverside Blvd. who want the name taken down.
‘You must speak out’
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (a Democratic congressman from California) wrote An open letter to my Republican colleagues in the Washington Post. It includes this line that journos have been sharing: "The time for silent disagreement is over. You must speak out."
Of course we’re talking about the 2020 election again today (and every day until forever). This time, let’s turn our attention to an article from Astead Herndon at the New York Times: 2020 Democrats Embrace Race-Conscious Policies, Including Reparations.
Over at the Daily Beast, they asked every campaign currently running for the presidency if they’d pledge not to knowingly use hacked materials. The results? Every 2020 Candidate But Trump Promises: No Stolen Data. You can thank Sam Stein, Jackie Kucinich, and Scott Bixby for that reporting.
And on a smaller scale, Politico set out to answer the question: Who is Nomiki Konst? Dana Rubinstein and Laura Nahmias write about the 35-year-old TV pundit casting herself as the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the New York public advocate’s race.
A whole new slice of nonsense
For a look at the Brexit clusterf*ck across the Atlantic, you can read Giles Fraser in Unherd.com asking Why won't Remainers talk about family? Fraser added on Twitter: “Freedom of movement and social mobility undermine family life which is the most successful form of social security the world has ever known.” Laura Perrins thinks it’s “Nail on Head.” Russell Hargrave had another thought: “Remainers Hate Their Mums is a whole new slice of nonsense.” Edward Davies had a longer take, “I am a remainer and I talk constantly about family but this article from @giles_fraser is very much why I sympathize with some Brexiteers. There is an overlapping and largely wealthy metropolitan worldview that is obliterating family life in the UK.”
Charlotte Edwardes and Joe Murphy write in The Standard that Labour is “moving towards People's Vote” as shadow chancellor John McDonnell tells of a party shift on Brexit. Murphy added, “John McDonnell admits Labour is too slow on anti-Semites, saying it must be ‘fiercer and faster’ and ‘more ruthless.’”
While at the Express and Star, Pete Madeley got the exclusive that Ian Austin MP is the latest to quit the “broken” Labour Party. “I am appalled at the offense and distress Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have caused to Jewish people,” Austin said.
R.I.P. Nick Cafardo
Bob Hohler reported that veteran Boston Globe baseball writer Nick Cafardo had died at 62.
Also in the Boston Globe, Dan Shaughnessy wrote: In Nick Cafardo, we lost a great teammate with a great heart. "Everybody liked Nick. The man had no enemies. For a baseball writer in 2019, that’s impossible," Danny McDonald shared from the obit.
Everything else you need to know today
An Arizona cop threatened to arrest a 12-year-old journalist. She wasn’t backing down. That story from Antonia Noori Farzan in the Washington Post. André Picard put it another way: “When a small-town Arizona cop threatened to arrest a feisty 12-year-old reporter, he had no idea what he was getting himself into.” While Sarah Kaplan admitted, “Counting down the days until we’re all working for Hilde.”
BuzzFeed News’ Ryan Mac “spent the last few weeks speaking to former Facebook employees, privacy experts, and policymakers about Facebook's promises on privacy in light of the company's rough 2018.” “The overriding feeling: It's all ‘reactionary’ PR,” he revealed on Twitter. His resulting story: After A Year Of Unprecedented Backlash, Facebook Promised A New Privacy Tool. Where Is It?
Sui-Lee Wee wrote in the New York Times that China Is Using DNA to Track Its People. And guess what? It Got Help From the U.S. “China engages in genetic surveillance. It's not sci-fi dystopia, it's reality,” Edmund Lee tweeted. Antonio Regalado added, “American DNA surveillance is done in the marketplace and paid for by the user!” Just think about that next time you decide to get genetic testing done.
And finally, this piece from The Onion has been making the rounds among Muck Rack journalists today: Nike Fires 8-Year-Old Shoemaker Responsible For Zion Williamson Injury.