1. The real alt facts
“My interest picked up when Dr. Johnson, seated on a Masonic throne, announced that we would all be going to dinner at Buca di Beppo. When I called one of my emergency contact friends about the change of location she said, ‘Buca di Beppo? Do Nazis need to carbo load?'” From David Lewis in The Stranger, a remarkably entertaining article on an increasingly troubling trend: We snuck into Seattle’s super secret white nationalist convention. “Much bleaker is Dr. Johnson’s Seattle-suitable, ‘secret agent’ racism plan. Basically, white nationalists meet in secret at conventions like Northwest Forum while paying ‘lip service to diversity’ at their day jobs. They move into positions of power where they can hire other racists and keep non-whites from getting into the company. Two years ago, this method would have seemed like a total joke, but these guys really do mostly work in tech, and they were doing a lot of networking.”
+ And a great and disturbing piece of reporting from Buzzfeed on the link from Nazi ideology to the White House. Here’s how Breitbart and Milo smuggled nazi and white nationalist ideas into the mainstream. (It turns out tiki torches aren’t the only way to shed a little light on these groups. Excellent reporting works too.)
2. The body politic
Winter is here. The culture wars have arrived (maybe they never really left). On Friday, Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department released a memo calling religious freedom a “fundamental right of paramount importance” and explaining, “except in the narrowest circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with federal law.”
+ Those who wondered what impact this new directive would have didn’t have to wait long for the first clue. The Dept of Health and Human Services announced new rules that will let employers drop birth control coverage for religious or moral reasons.
+ The birth control change is explicit. But there are many other ways that the administration is working to dismantle Obamacare, reduce its effectiveness, and make sure the death spiral fantasy becomes a reality. From WaPo: As ACA enrollment nears, administration keeps cutting federal support of the law.
+ In other political news, FEMA has removed statistics about drinking water access and electricity in Puerto Rico from its website (because so many in Trump’s remaining base are visiting the FEMA site out of concern for Puerto Ricans…), CBS News found the one person in America who thinks Trump should tweet more (Ivana), and at a meeting with military leaders, Trump told the media, “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.” When asked what he meant, he answered, “you’ll find out.” (Have a good weekend, everybody!)
3. Weekend whats
What to stick: You know where you can stick it. If not, you better decide now. I made some NextDraft stickers and I want you to have one for free (I’ll even spring for the stamp!). Just give me your address and I’ll take care of the rest. We’ve got to stick together!
+ What to read: “For anyone who wants to know how to prepare for the future—and how we might shape that future in ways that broadly benefit society, not just technological or entrepreneurial elites—WTF? is an indispensable guide.” So said Reid Hoffman about Tim O’Reilly’s new, excellent book: WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us. Tim knows this stuff as well as anyone, and there’s never been a more important moment to understand the issues raised in this book.
+ What to stream: I’m solo with my kids this weekend, and I’ll be spending most of the time convincing them that we should be watching a lot of bands tearing up ACL at the Austin City Music Festival, streaming on RedbullTV.
4. Da balm
“The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is still so green that, when the call came from the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the group initially thought it was a prank.” The New Yorker on the anti-nuclear bomb idealists who just won the Nobel Peace Prize.
5. Two timed
“Castruita used to tell her family that after her work site was shot up by two people in the San Bernardino attack nearly two years ago, she was the safest person to be around because, well, nobody encounters a second mass shooting.” From the LA Times: For the second time in two years, his fiancee texts: “Active shooter.” And so began a night of hell in Vegas. (The news comes at us fast these days. But just pause to consider how incredible this is…)
+ Vox: The NRA is a powerful political force—but not because of its money. (The money helps, but it’s more about a voting block than straight up political donations.)
+ Congress might ban them, but in the meantime, gun stores are selling out of the bump stocks that the shooter used Las Vegas. (I guess everyone has their own way of dealing with unimaginable tragedy…)
6. Sitting by Murdoch in the fray
From Buzzfeed: Rupert Murdoch is the media’s unlikely hero in the war against Facebook and Google. (A good primer for what promises to be a significant battle.)
7. Fresh produce(r)
The fallout from the NYT’s exposé on Hollywood’s least secretive secret continues. Megan Garber on what Harvey Weinstein’s apology reveals (spoiler alert: mostly that it was weird even by modern apology standards), and Rebecca Traister on why the Harvey Weinstein sexual-harassment allegations didn’t come out until now.
+ “The movie mogul exclusively explained why he gave a statement about being a ‘better person’ while simultaneously hiring famed lawyer Charles Harder, who won a $140 million settlement for Hulk Hogan against Gawker, to sue the Times for $50 million.”
8. Murphy bedfellows
“I tried to forget all of it because it was so horrible,’ said one former Murphy employee. ‘Screaming was an everyday thing. The manipulation and the mind games…Everybody in that office was depressed.” The staunchly anti-abortion congressional member Tim Murphy was forced to retire after sending texts advising his mistress to get an abortion. But Politico suggests that the scandal was only the tipping point. Beneath all the hypocrisy was a really bad boss.
9. Cheerless girl
The NYT with a lede that, in ordinary times, might actually cause you to raise an eyebrow. These days, who knows? “The firm that commissioned the popular ‘Fearless Girl’ statue in New York’s financial district has agreed to pay $5 million, mostly to settle claims that it discriminated against 305 top female employees by paying them less than men in the same positions.”
10. Bottom of the news
“AIM’s popularity started to decline when Gmail and others offered built-in chatting functions—and plummeted when smartphones took off. That the program has existed so long after its heyday is surprising in and of itself.” But the end is nigh. From Quartz: AOL Instant Messenger is dead. (You can’t complain about the death of AIM unless you were notified about it via instant message.)
+ Here’s a stat for you: Nearly four million people in the US still subscribe to Netflix DVDs by mail. (Might as well throw a few AOL CDs into the envelope).