Living the dream
“2019: The year we found homo superior.” Audrea Huff links to the story by Heather Murphy at The New York Times about Jo Cameron, who, at age 71, has never felt pain or anxiety. We’ll have what she’s having. As Johanna Barr says, “never feeling pain or anxiety = living the dream.” Although Julianne Pepitone shares, “I'm feeling anxious just reading this.” On Twitter, Murphy notes, “I am grateful to Jo for sharing her story with me. I'm also happy that she does not experience anxiety because I imagine all this attention could make a person anxious.”
Long story short
This seems as good a point as any to slog back into the Mueller story. Nicholas Fandos and Adam Goldman of The New York Times are reporting that the Mueller Report Exceeds 300 Pages, Raising Questions About Four-Page Summary (104,000+ shares). As Fandos says, “This is a one-fact story. It is an interesting one fact.” So, 300-plus pages? In that case, “Maybe we all should wait to see the full story before jumping to conclusions? Oh, too late for that!” David Corn reminds us. Bill Ritter wonders, “Is the end of the Mueller investigation really the end? maybe size does matter, when it comes to reports.” That’s a big report, but for what it’s worth, Matt Negrin tweets, “so is my user-submitted FAQ on the ramza-only challenge but no one cares.”
But does anyone care what’s in the Mueller Report? In a word, yes. The latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds, After Barr Letter, Overwhelming Majority Wants Full Mueller Report Released. NPR’s Domenico Montanaro reports that 75% or respondents said the full Mueller report should be made public, and that includes a majority (54%) of Republicans, 74% of Independents and 90% of Democrats.
At The Atlantic, Natasha Bertrand takes a look at What Has to Happen For Mueller's Report to Become Public. “Will the public ever see the Mueller report? Even Congress might not,” says Yara Bayoumy. On Twitter, Bertrand shares, “House Dems’ position now is that ‘there is nothing stopping Barr from giving us the grand-jury material’ that informed Mueller’s findings. ‘If he doesn’t, then that amounts to a cover-up,’ one staffer said yesterday.”
What’s in the report is only part of the puzzle. At The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Carol Leonnig, Josh Dawsey and Matt Zapotosky look at another Mueller mystery: How Trump dodged a special counsel interview - and a subpoena fight. Tweets Matea Gold, “Worth keeping in mind that Mueller, unlike independent counsels such as Ken Starr, operated under the supervision of a Justice Department political appointee -- a figure under intense pressure throughout the probe.” But Jim Kuhnhenn notes, “At #Lawafare event, former DOJ official Mary McCord and @benjaminwittes say Mueller likely foresaw drawn out and potentially fruitless litigation in effort to win interview with @realDonaldTrump and thus chose not to pursue.”
Not much of a secret: Trump’s Strategy to Use Mueller on the Campaign Trail. Elaina Plott and Peter Nicholas of The Atlantic give us the details on how Trump and company plan to “capitalize on the president escaping criminal charges and make Mueller’s findings a core piece of 2020 campaign messaging.” Also, tweets Plott, “Source says RNC and America First are prepared to attack reporters. ‘Any reporter who tries [to attack Trump] will be hit with 30-second spots of all their ridiculous claims about collusion. Their tweets have all been screencapped. It’s all ready to go.’”
Reporting continues, though, and at The Washington Post, David Fahrenthold and Jonathan O’Connell take a deep dive into Trump’s odd financial statements: Omitted debts, overvalued assets and broken accounting rules (83,000+ shares). Greg Sargent says it’s “Amazing new reporting from @Fahrenthold and @OConnellPostbiz on Trump’s serial fabrications of his net worth. You can’t say Trump isn’t creative.” Just how did he inflate his net worth to lenders? Fahrenthold tweets some highlights: “Added 10 stories to Trump Tower. Added 800 acres to his winery. Added 24 ready-to-sell lots to his property in CA. We’ve got (some of the) inflated docs investigators now want to see.” Matt Pearce shares this, from the piece: “Welch said he’d never seen a document stretch so far past the normal conventions of accounting. ‘It’s humorous,’ Welch said. ‘It’s a humorous financial statement.’”
Meanwhile, in a POLITICO exclusive, Adam Cancryn and Dan Diamond reveal that Seema Verma, the Trump appointee who oversees Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare, spends millions on GOP-connected consultants who write her speeches, polish her brand and travel with her across the country.
Overriding “my people”
At Cleveland.com, Sabrina Eaton writes, “Less than a month after proposing a federal budget that would have cut Great Lakes cleanup money from $300 million to $30 million, President Donald Trump pledged to provide the full $300 million during a campaign rally in Michigan.” On Twitter, Daniel Dale fills in the details: “1. Every Trump budget proposes steep cuts to Great Lakes restoration 2. Congress ignores him every year, fully funds it 3. Trump goes to Michigan and brags he's fully funding Great Lakes restoration, ‘which you have been trying to get for over 30 years.’”
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but the latest from AP News is that the Trump administration is reversing itself on a budget request to eliminate funding for the Special Olympics. Trump said, “I heard about it this morning. I have overridden my people.” Who are these “people” who were so hellbent on sticking it to the Special Olympics? Hard to say, since Betsy DeVos is now telling us that she’s “pleased and grateful the President and I see eye to eye on this issue and that he has decided to fund our Special Olympics grant.”
Allison McCann reveals, “I couldn't keep updating my own Brexit flowchart, so I talked to the guy that made 27 versions instead.” In a new piece for The New York Times, she talks with Jon Worth, a communications consultant for European politicians who makes Brexit flowcharts in his spare time, and it turns out, The Man Trying to Make Sense of Brexit Is Tired and Would Like to Stop Now. “Literally all of us,” tweets Niki Blasina. From that story, we also learn there is a Brexit flowchart community. So there’s that. Worth himself tweets, “So now I can retire* from making #Brexit diagrams because @atmccann has written about them for the New York Times! * - not yet. There will be a new one once this afternoon’s voting is done. And before I start DJing #FUXIT2!”
Meanwhile, somebody inject us with some of that anti-anxiety gene quick, because Ed Yong of The Atlantic is writing about a doomsday fungus known as Bd that is estimated to have caused the decline of over 500 species and the extinction of at least 90. Yong tweets, “Bd has been making headlines for 20 years. I've written about it at least 6 times, including in my book. And every single time, many people say they'd never heard of it before. Every old story is new to someone. If that’s you, hello! And steel yourself.”
Brilliant on-the-ground reporting
“If you thought @FD and @stef_palma’s investigation into Wirecard was over, you were very much mistaken.” Robert Smith links to the latest on the German fintech giant from Dan McCrum and Stefania Palma at the Financial Times, this time on Wirecard’s problem partners. Tweets McCrum, “The latest FT investigation into Wirecard features some brilliant on the ground reporting from @stef_palma, who visited its listed partners in Manila, found a bus company, empty warehouse, lot of confused people.” Adds Palma, “NEW WIRECARD BIG READ w/@FD- Half of Wirecard revenues come from partners, but reporting on the ground showed vivid mismatch between supposed scale of some & modest reality in countries such as the Philippines.”
The Launch of “News Inside”
Jodi Kantor calls this “The most inspiring journalism idea I’ve heard in a while. Godspeed to @MarshallProj and its fabulous incoming editor, @susanchira.” The Marshall Project is launching a print publication with its reporting on the criminal justice system that will be distributed to readers in jails and prisons. Lawrence Bartley shares the details, The Marshall Project Launches News Inside. Pamela Paul takes “A moment to celebrate and honor this journalistic effort.” Adds Darryl Holliday, “ #NewsInside is the kind of journalism I am more than happy to support @MarshallProj plz take my money for @lawbartley to keep this work going.”
RIP Agnès Varda
John Anderson has the New York Times obituary for Agnès Varda, the influential French New Wave filmmaker who died Friday morning in Paris. Alex Marshall highlights, “In the '70s, Agnes Varda was so annoyed with the limits being placed on her filmmaking, she had a 300-foot power cord installed in her house so she could interview everyone in her neighbourhood, She sounds amazing. A huge loss.” Tweets Nina Bernstein, “After seeing ‘Faces, Places,’ one wanted Agnes Varda to live forever. May many film retrospectives be our consolation.”
Finally today, take some time out for this photo essay by Stefan Rousseau at The Guardian. During his commute on the tube to central London, Rousseau has started taking pictures of his fellow passengers “who are often absorbed in their own sleep-deprived worlds.” Although Rousseau says he’s “found Londoners to be a very shy species,” his photos manage to capture the characters of the different Underground lines. Ben Birchall calls it “Eye candy for all you #blackandwhite #photography and #photojournalism #streetphotography fans.”
Poynter’s Tom Jones spoke with Poynter president Neil Brown about media coverage of the Mueller report. Read The triteness of ‘reckoning’: A Q&A with Poynter president Neil Brown.
Here’s an MLB championship fight you may not be aware of. “On the field, players battle to win the World Series. But behind closed doors, teams compete for a lesser-known title. Inside the fierce fight over arbitration, and why MLB hands out a championship belt for holding down salaries.” Read Marc Carig’s story at The Athletic to learn how one $20 trinket captures the strife within a $10 billion industry.
New reporting by Andy Pasztor and Andrew Tangel at The Wall Street Journal reveals that Investigators Believe the 737 MAX Stall-Prevention Feature Activated in Ethiopian Crash, further suggesting similarities to the Lion Air crash. And the latest from Jamie Freed at Reuters, Regulators knew before crashes that 737 MAX trim control was confusing in some conditions.
Jesse McKinley of The New York Times reports that New York just became the second state to ban single-use plastic bags in retail (132,000+ shares). California banned them in 2016, and “Hawaii also effectively has a ban in place, since all the state’s counties bar such single-use bags.”
Breaking news from AP’s Nicole Winfield, the Pope has issued sweeping new sex abuse legislation for Vatican personnel and diplomats that requires the immediate reporting of abuse allegations to Vatican prosecutors.
Trump’s North American trade deal is at risk of stalling in Congress. Erica Werner, David Lynch and Emily Ruahala of The Washington Post write about the “variety of angry complaints from lawmakers of both parties who won’t commit to backing the plan.”