Proceed with Caution


1. Proceed with Caution

“Sen. John McCain, recently diagnosed with brain cancer, entered the chamber to a standing ovation and cast the 50th Republican vote. GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska broke ranks to oppose the measure, forcing Vice President Mike Pence to break a 50-50 tie.” From Politico: Republicans vote to proceed with debate on Obamacare repeal.

+ Now the Senate has to decide which of a few bills and strategies they’ll pursue. President Trump says they’ll come up with something really, really wonderful. Phew.

+ Vox has a useful flowchart that helps explain what comes next in the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare. (At this point, I hope I’ll be covered for confusion.)

2. I’ll Pay You For a Headline Pun

Can money buy you happiness? It’s a much-debated question that often comes down to whether you’re spending your money on products or experiences. Well, a new study suggests that the one sure way to get a happiness bang for your buck is to pay other people to do the stuff you hate doing. “Across a range of incomes, careers and countries, timesaving purchases were correlated with less time-related stress and more positive feelings.”

3. Talk is Cheap

“You now actually hear young people say, ‘I might go and get some therapy for this.’ You’d never, ever hear people in this country say that out in public before.” England is in the middle of a very interesting and important mental health experiment. What’s the big idea? No-cost talk therapy. “The rapidly growing initiative, which has gotten little publicity outside the country, offers virtually open-ended talk therapy free of charge at clinics throughout the country: in remote farming villages, industrial suburbs, isolated immigrant communities and high-end enclaves.” From the NYT: The world’s most ambitious effort to treat mental illness. Let’s keep an eye on this program. The fact that an entire nation is openly discussing these issues is, in and of itself, a massive step forward.

+ “The game is currently in phase III clinical trials, which means this isn’t a done deal yet. But if Akili is successful, it will have created the first prescription-based video game in the US.” The Verge: Prescription video games may be the future of medicine. This is really interesting stuff. I know a bit about it and here’s a simple way to think about it: If traumatic events can alter your brain in a negative way (think of something like PTSD), then maybe other experiences can alter it in a positive way.

+ Stat: Psychiatry group tells members they can defy Goldwater rule and comment on Trump’s mental health.

4. It’s in Your Head

“There is still a lot to learn about CTE. Who gets it, who doesn’t, and why? Can anything be done to stop the degeneration once it begins? How many blows to the head, and at what levels, must occur for CTE to take hold?” We have a lot to learn, but here’s what we do know. One hundred-eleven brains of former NFL players were donated to science so a neuropathologist could assess the damage. Of those, 110 showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. A full breakdown from the NYT: 110
NFL Brains

5. Help Wanted from People Who Need Help

Here’s a perspective on the American job market you probably haven’t heard. Employers are trying to hire people, but they can’t find enough of them that can pass drug tests. “Our main competitor in Germany can get things done more quickly because they have a better labor pool. We are always looking for people and have standard ads at all times, but at least 25 percent fail the drug tests.” From the NYT: Economy Needs Workers, but Drug Tests Take a Toll.

6. I Live Without a Van Down By the River

“Wild Roots’ longest-standing member, a man named Tod, who declines to be identified with a last name, doesn’t have an anti-establishment creed or fear of developed society, just an aversion to it. “We are living off the fat of a ridiculous surplus society.” From NatGeo: Here’s What It’s Like to Live in the Woods. (I’d need some decent WiFi, but living outside of society has never sounded so tempting.)

+ Meet the man who has lived alone on this island for 28 years.

7. The Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions was once the Senate’s one and only supporter of Donald Trump’s campaign. And as we’ve seen, Sessions has quickly become a target of Trump’s social and mass media attacks. And as WaPo reports: “President Trump and his advisers are privately discussing the possibility of replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”

+ Why hasn’t Sessions resigned already? Unlike many people in politics, Sessions has a deeply-held ideological agenda, and he’s in the process of enacting it.

+ In case you somehow missed the presidential address to the Boy Scouts, here are some outtakes. (I’m guessing the Girl Scouts won’t be issuing an invitation…)

+ “Nobody takes things more personally than me. When somebody says something personal about me, I hate them for the rest of my life. It’s probably wrong, but I hate people … Do you understand that? I hate ’em … I never recover from it.” Emily Nussbaum with a very interesting look at the TV that created Donald Trump.

8. Wall Streetballs

“Camps with names like Moolah U, Camp Millionaire, and Money Munchkids offer sessions in running a business, investing and entrepreneurship. At Moolah U, which offers week-long camps in Austin, Texas, campers from 7 to 15 run a pop-up business while learning to ‘make choices that build a powerful future.’” From Quartz: A new crop of summer camps teach kids to worship the almighty dollar. (This seems a bit shortsighted. That’s why I sent my kids to a camp where they worship vesting equity.)

9. Carb Tax

“”Not all wheat is created equal. Pizza dough and bagels will be up significantly, wheat flour not as much.” From Bloomberg: Higher costs make 2018 a great time to cut carbs. (I have a different read of the situation. Carbs, already under attack, have never needed our support more.)

+ “Therefore, it is our position that the positive urine sample test was caused by the bagel he ate for breakfast and not an illegal controlled substance.” Apparently, when they said Everything Bagels, they really meant it.

10. Bottom of the News

“Along with purchasing market kiosk items, employees will be able to use the chip to get into the front door and log onto their computers.” A Wisconsin company wants be the first to implant microchips in employees. (Purchasing kiosk items at the office must be a really, really onerous process in Wisconsin…)

+ Roombas have been busy mapping our homes, and now that data could be up for sale. (Like Roombas, that sucks.)

+ A lot of the time, pressing pedestrian crosswalk buttons doesn’t do a damn thing.

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