Government shutdown, Tide pods, and eight other stories you might have missed

The federal government is barreling toward a shutdown, the first since 2013.
The federal government is barreling toward a shutdown, the first since 2013.
Image: AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin
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1. The year of living normally

As the Trump presidency reaches the eve of its first year, the US government teeters on the verge of a shutdown. After 12 months of a nonstop, often maddening news cycle, one can forgive the federal government for needing a break. I know my news-tab gathering laptop has been wanting to shutdown for months. The crazy first year is ending with an ironic twist only possible in the Trump era: With the president invoking religion as he addressed the March for Life participants, shadowed by headlines that feature details of his relationship with an adult movie star, including his request that she spank him with a rolled up issue of Forbes that featured him on the cover (hey, at this point, old media will take any use case it can get). In other words, it was just another day in the first year of a presidency the likes of which we’ve never seen. Here are a few links to provide a non-exhaustive (we’re all too exhausted for that) look back at the year that was.

+ From me: The Year of Living Normally. “The original Narcissus stared at his own reflection in a pond. Trump renamed the pond Trump Pond.”

+ Digg has a roundup of some of Trump’s strangest moments so far.

+ The Guardian tries to narrow a list down to the 12 weirdest days from Trump’s first year. (The piece could have just as easily been titled, Twelve Random Days.)

+ A few areas where Trumpism had its biggest impact: From The Marshall Project: Nine ways the law-and-order president has smashed Obama’s legacy. NatGeo with a running list of how Trump is changing the environment. The excellent Dahlia Lithwick on the highly efficient way Trump is remaking the judiciary. And the NYT on how international perceptions of America have changed in just one year.

+ Adam Gopnik: A Year of Donald Trump in the White House.

+ FIveThirtyEight: How Trump ranks in popularity vs. past presidents.

+ This administration has had unprecedented turnover.

+ And maybe, Christopher Hebert was the only one who had the right news strategy over the past year. “For the next year, I won’t turn the radio back on again. I won’t turn on the TV news. I won’t read a paper. I will embark on a journey into purposeful, determined ignorance.” My year of living ignorantly.

2. An open and shut case

“We made some progress, but we still have a good number of disagreements.” So said Chuck Schumer following his meeting with the president. Here’s the latest on the impending shutdown.

+ WaPo: Everything you need to know about a government shutdown.

3. Weekend whats

What to read: I was off yesterday while returning home from NYC where I was lucky enough to see Bruce Springsteen on Broadway (expected it to be awesome, surpassed my expectations). It turns out Chris Christie was at the same show, which reminded me of Jeff Goldberg’s great essay on the former governor’s unrequited love for the Boss. Jersey Boys. (The next morning, Christie was booted from the VIP security entrance at Newark airport, while I breezed through TSA pre-check.) While we’re on the topic, be sure to pick up a copy of the Bruce Springsteen autobiography. Even Philip Roth loved it.

+ What to wallpaper: I’ve mentioned before that Unsplash is one of my favorite photo sites. Lately, I’ve been using their handy Mac app to regularly update my desktop pattern.

+ What to watch: The excellent High Maintenance returns to HBO this weekend. The show tells the tales of a pot delivery guy in Brooklyn at a moment when pot is becoming increasingly legal and increasingly necessary.

+ Where to go: My wife just back from New Orleans. And if her city guide is any indication, we’ll be taking a family trip there soon.

4. The price of gold

“I have represented the United States of America in two Olympics and have done so successfully. And both USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee have been very quick to capitalize on and celebrate my success. But did they reach out when I came forward? No.” Aly Raisman’s amazing statement addressing Larry Nassar and those who enabled him.

+ Frontline and the Center for Investigative Reporting: A joint investigation into the sexual abuse of immigrant women who clean the malls where you shop, the banks where you do business and the offices where you work: Rape on the Night Shift.

5. Darkness on the edge of towncar

“You could go into Uber on any given day and half the T-shirts were Uber T-shirts. They disappeared overnight.” Eric Newcomer and Brad Stone in Businessweek: The Fall of Travis Kalanick Was a Lot Weirder and Darker Than You Thought. (At list he managed to land on giant mountain of cash.)

6. A loan in the dark

“Hesson’s $5,125 loan was scheduled to be repaid over more than seven years, with $495 due monthly, for a total of $42,099.85 — that’s nearly $37,000 in interest.” You probably already know about the predatory nature of payday loans. Well, in California, it looks like they’ve come up with something even worse. LA Times: How super high-interest loans have boomed in California.

7. CTRL Balt delete

Baltimore just fired (another) police chief as the city tries to find a way out of its literal death spiral. Nowhere is the onslaught of violence more visible than in the empty desks at Excel Academy where seven students have been murdered in 15 months; “so much violence that an empty desk might mean a skipped class — or another permanent absence.”

8. Breaking out

“Open skies. Vast plains. A pair of trousers are falling down and hit the ground, and they’re run over by an RV. Inside it, the driver is wearing nothing but underwear and a respirator, another man is passed out in the passenger seat, two bodies in the back are sliding around in a sea of chemicals and glass—that’s page one!” Esquire: The Oral History Of Breaking Bad.

9. You can run, but you can’t tide

“You’d like to believe nobody over the age of 5 wants to pop a laundry detergent pod in their mouth but, apparently, 2018 is full of surprises. So many people are eating the pods that Tide and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission have had to issue warnings. How is this even a thing?” We may never have a completely satisfying answer to that question, but just in case you’re tempted: This Is What Will Happen To Your Body If You Eat A Tide Pod.

10. Bottom of the news

“Their vision is an annual test designed to catch cancer early and save lives. UK experts said it was ‘enormously exciting.'” Scientists have taken a step towards one of the biggest goals in medicine—a universal blood test for cancer.

+ “The Little Ripper UAV certainly proved itself today, it is an amazingly efficient piece of lifesaving equipment and a delight to fly.” A drone saves two Australian swimmers in world first.

+ Buzzfeed: This Teen Got David Harbour From “Stranger Things” to Pose In Her Senior Yearbook Photo.

+ “A man in Spain who was declared dead by three doctors was actually still alive, which doctors discovered only when he began snoring on the autopsy table.”

+ How do you get kids to jump for joy and scream in delight while they’re at school? Turn back on the power after 112 days.

+ Wind power generated 43.4% of electricity consumed in Denmark last year.

+ Man attacks self-driving car in SF Mission. (This doesn’t seem like good news until you consider the possibility that the car would have attacked the man…)

Quartz now syndicates NextDraft, a daily roundup for the day’s most fascinating news curated by Dave Pell. Read the archive here. Sign up to get the newsletter or download the app here.