Why his death hurts so much
“Ermias Davidson Asghedom — better known as rapper, businessman and philanthropist Nipsey Hussle — was killed Sunday, gunned down in front of his own Marathon Clothing Store in his hometown of Los Angeles.” So begins the tribute to Nipsey Hussle by The Undefeated’s David Dennis, who shares, “I spent 10 minutes staring at a blank Word document. Then wrote the above paragraph. Then stared at that paragraph for another 10 minutes, still in shock at what I’d just typed.” Marcus Thompson offers “Thanks @DavidDTSS for carrying the weight of our voice.” Hussle, 33, was fatally shot on Sunday.
Andrew Blankstein and Alex Johnson of NBC News have the details on what we know so far, writing that two other men were also shot in the incident, and a suspect remains at large (1 million+ shares). From that piece, Micah Grimes highlights, “Nipsey Hussle had developed an interest in technology and community development, and he was part of a team of artists and entrepreneurs who developed Destination Crenshaw, an open-air museum devoted to honoring African-American artistic achievement.” And Johnson tweets an “Update: Nipsey Hussle had been scheduled to meet tomorrow with the L.A. police chief and police commissioner and representatives of Jay-Z's Roc Nation to find ways to tackle gang violence.”
At the Los Angeles Times, Gerrick Kennedy explains how Nipsey Hussle’s dreams were bigger than hip-hop, tweeting, “With choppers buzzing about in my neighborhood as we mourn @NipseyHussle, I wrote a bit about the dreams he had for South L.A. and why his death hurts so much.” “This is the story I’ve been waiting to post. The talented @GerrickKennedy gets it right here,” says Errin Haines Whack. And Evette Dionne tweets, “Be grateful for writers and reporters like @GerrickKennedy who can put that grief on paper and help us see our way through.”
The economics of local journalism
Victor Pickard says Margaret Sullivan’s latest column for The Washington Post offers a “Great, if troubling analysis.” She writes, Most people think local journalism is financially healthy. Here’s the troubling reality. For one thing, she points out, “Local journalism — especially deep investigative journalism — is costly to produce.” Harry Siegel highlights, “‘There was a time — not so long ago — when regional newspapers were awash in cash.’ Essential @Sulliview on what people who think about the economics of local journalism all the time don’t realize about what everyone else assumes about it.”
Pithy and accurate
For “Our Brexit story this morning,” Nick Eardley links to the latest from the BBC, Julian Smith, the Chief whip, attacks the cabinet’s post-election strategy. Smith made the comments during interviews for the BBC documentary The Brexit Storm: Laura Kuenssberg's Inside Story. Tweets Matt Wells, “Chief whip makes unusually candid comments about lack of government discipline to @BBCLauraK in documentary he thought would be a retrospective, but isn't, because of lack of government discipline.” As Sima Kotecha tweets, “Blimey, you never hear from Chief whip,+now you do+he’s criticising govt: ‘Most ill disciplined cabinet in British history.’” Adds Owen Gibson, “Pressure on Julian: The chief whip is ‘knackered...frustrated’ over Brexit he tells @bbclaurak. Join the club.”
Meanwhile, German minister Michael Roth describes Brexit as a ‘big shitshow’ run by out-of-touch politicians. Philip Oltermann has that story at The Guardian, and Paul Johnson calls Roth’s take “Pithy and accurate.” Although Jamie Jackson wonders, “Unfair to ‘shit’???”
So maybe it’s time to take this seriously: Today (note the day), The Guardian offers a proposal for ‘healing tsar’ to reunite Britain after Brexit. Kai Kupferschmidt thinks, “The worst thing about reading this April Fool’s article this morning was the realization that the rest in the newspaper must actually be real…” Saba Salman says there’s “Little need to concoct special #AprilFools amid the worldwide joke that is #Brexit - tho I do like the idea of a ‘healing anthem.’”
Jacob Kornbluh links to the story by Ronen Bergman of The New York Times, Twitter Network Uses Fake Accounts to Promote Netanyahu, Watchdog Finds. Feeling a little deja vu-ish? Well, wait til you hear the details. Gregg Carlstrom tweets, “Sound familiar? A network of fake Twitter accounts is promoting Netanyahu ahead of next week’s election, blasting out thousands of messages that are amplified by Likud officials and the prime minister’s son.” David Halbfinger solves the riddle: “What's a botnet when its fake accounts are not actually operated by bots? A lot of work for some shadowy people. @ronenbergman exclusive on the Twitter network aiding Netanyahu's re-election.”
Jason Bourne, gone to seed
Here’s one to add to your must-reads. At The New York Times, Michael Schwirtz gives us “The latest installment in my occasional series on professional scoundrels and international skullduggery”: Russia Ordered a Killing That Made No Sense. Then the Assassin Started Talking. Tweets Michael Slackman, “If you haven’t read this piece yet, treat yourself. It’s a great read, with a surprising reveal and an important takeaway.” Jim Dwyer describes it as “Jason Bourne, gone to seed. Riveting tale of the long tail of Putin’s vengeance, from @mschwirtz.” And if you’re still not convinced, here’s one more recommendation, by John Eligon: “If you like spy novels/movies you gotta read this story by @mschwirtz. Real life really is better than fiction.”
The Sackler gang
On that note, this one’s “Like a Grisham novel plot — only it’s true,” tweets Katherine Reinhard. In their new piece for The New York Times, Lawsuits Lay Bare Sackler Family’s Role in Opioid Crisis, Danny Hakim, Roni Rabin and William K. Rashbaum take a look at the eight Sacklers named in court filings this year and what they’re alleged to have done. New lawsuits allege that three generations of Sacklers were deeply involved in running Purdue Pharma and knew of opioid abuse risks. David A. Graham says, “Almost every paragraph of this story about the Sackler family's involvement in Purdue's opioid strategy is brutal,” and Gerson Borrero thinks, “The Sackler gang should be cell mates with El Chapo.” And another thing (and another literary comparison): “Man. Even for this dystopian time, ‘end-to-end pain provider’ is quite a phrase for a drug company. It’s like something out of a George Saunders short story,” tweets Eli Pariser.
Secrets of the world’s most profitable firm
The first official glimpse of Saudi Aramco’s financial performance confirms the state-run oil giant can generate profit like no other company on Earth, write Bloomberg’s Javier Blas, Matthew Martin and Archana Narayanan. Devon Pendleton says it’s “No surprise, this company just spins cash. Very curious at what level the royal stipends are skimmed.” The government sure does take a bite. As Mike Lee tweets, “The Saudi paradox: The world's biggest #oil producer is also the most profitable, but it generates less per barrel because of the Kingdom's high taxes.” The company’s net income was $111.1 billion in 2018, but EBITDA in 2018 was a staggering $224 billion.
- Well, it’s April Fools Day, but no joke, the “falsehoods” are getting close to 10,000. Tireless Washington Post Fact Checkers Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly have the latest tally: President Trump has made 9,451 false or misleading claims over 801 days.
- Also not technically a joke, but as Herman Wong of The Washington Post reports, Fox News host Ed Henry apologizes for ‘3 Mexican Countries’ chyron: ‘It never should have happened.’
- Not funny at all: Jesus Rodriguez tweets, “I looked at the Spanish websites of the 2020 Dems and found typos, incomprehensible phrases, and whole paragraphs that match Google Translate. As my mother would say, it’s a 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦.” Read it and weep at POLITICO, Latino outreach or Google Translate? 2020 Dems bungle Spanish websites.
- Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju of CNN have the latest as the Democrats plan to authorize a subpoena for the full, unredacted Mueller report. They report that the House Judiciary Committee will also vote to authorize subpoenas for five former White House staffers — Don McGahn, Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, Reince Priebus and Ann Donaldson.
- Read Stephanie Carter’s essay at Medium to understand The #MeToo Story That Wasn’t Me. As Colby Itkowitz explains, “Stephanie Carter, famously photographed with Joe Biden whispering in her ear during her husband’s swearing in, speaks out about that moment and why that photo has been misconstrued.” “In case you missed Stephanie Carter's defense of Joe Biden, a tale of how pictures are not always what they seem, it's worth reading,” tweets Sheryl Gay Stolberg.