Quick hits (part II)

1) I’m quite comfortable with the “native advertising” in many of the podcasts I listen to.  These are great podcasts and they’ve got to pay the bills and I’m sure I’m not alone in paying more attention to the ads when done in a clever way.  To say that this breaks down the wall of journalism and editorial certainly seems like a stretch in the podcasts I enjoy (Panopoly/Slate and Gimlet) and the idea that listeners cannot understand they are hearing a paid ad is ridiculous.

2) The NYT got it really wrong in a recent story about a supposed “criminal” investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.  Josh Marshall takes apart their defense.

3) Really enjoyed reading this ranking of all 74 Led Zeppelin songs.  Very much put me in the mood for listening to my CD box set.  I heartily agree with Kashmir at #1.  My biggest dispute is “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do?” way down in the 40’s.  That song was extra special back before you could get any song anywhere because it wasn’t even on any of their albums.  And it’s awesome.

4) On the surface, it may seem perfectly reasonable to not have Medicare cover erectile dysfunction, but if you stop and think about how important proper sexual functioning is for human happiness, this is really not right.

5) The Tech world is coming to value liberal arts degrees.

6) The Solar System is really big and this video is really cool, but not for 45 minutes.

7) Found this story fascinating on how Perdue is trying to gain a competitive advantage by moving to large-scale antibiotic free chickens.  The key to their approach?  A massive focus on cleanliness.  That’s right, keep everything sterile and clean; chickens don’t get sick, and you don’t need all the antibiotics.  Hopefully, this approach will catch on across the whole industry.

SALISBURY, Md. — The floors are spotless in Hatchery 3 on the sprawling Perdue compound here. Doors have been rehung to open out, and temperature control and ventilation systems have been upgraded, all to minimize the potential for airborne contamination.

The 1.5 million eggs that arrive here each week to begin the process of becoming the company’s chicken supply are also clean, with none of the traces of feces or feathers that were common in the past. They will move into chambers that are disinfected daily with hydrogen peroxide during the 21-day incubation-and-hatching cycle, a more rigorous program. No human hand will touch the eggs during those three weeks.

It took Perdue roughly a decade to perfect the raising of chickens without antibiotics of any kind, and now it has reached a tipping point: More than half of the chicken it sells can be labeled “no antibiotics ever,” a first for a major poultry company.

8) Vox with a teacher with a list of 7 things he wishes others understood about being a teacher.

9) Meant to give this it’s own post for too long.  A great, enraged Dahlia Lithwick on a case in Virginia where a clearly innocent man was prosecuted, convicted, and served years in jail before the prosecutor sort-of admitted the case was crap:

Deirdre Enright, director of investigation for the University of Virginia School of Law’s Innocence Project Clinic (disclosure: and a friend of mine), notes that this is where the idea of justice got confused with the promise of winning. As she says, “Lunsford appears to have learned in the middle of her case against Mark that the ‘victim’s’ cell phone tower records contradicted the victim’s version of events, and corroborated the defendant’s. Leaving aside the fact that a competent prosecutor is not learning the underlying facts of her case mid-trial, this was the kind of exculpatory evidence that would cause a fair prosecutor, honoring her obligation to seek and serve justice, to dismiss the charge. Instead, she successfully argued against their admissibility in court. In the wrongful conviction world, the nicest description we have for this phenomenon is ‘tunnel vision.’ ” …

And perhaps that’s the problem right there: Facing a mountain of evidence that showed there was no way the alleged victim could be telling the truth, the prosecutor believed her, then believed her, and then believed her some more…

If anyone suggests that the fact that Mark Weiner was released this week means “the system works,” I fear that I will have to punch him in the neck. Because at every single turn, the system that should have worked to consider proof of Weiner’s innocence failed him. [emphasis mine]

10) The super-important Voting Rights trial in NC (this could very well have national implications and could also very well work it’s way up to the Supreme Court) is now in the hands of the judge.

11) Loved this Will Saletan piece on Republicans and the Iran deal:

If Republicans win the White House next year, they’ll almost certainly control the entire federal government. Many of them, running for president or aspiring to leadership roles in Congress, are trying to block the nuclear deal with Iran. This would be a good time for these leaders to show that they’re ready for the responsibilities of national security and foreign policy. Instead, they’re showing the opposite. Over the past several days, congressional hearings on the deal have become a spectacle of dishonesty, incomprehension, and inability to cope with the challenges of a multilateral world. [emphasis mine] …

There’s plenty more I could quote to you. But out of mercy, and in deference to the many dead and retired Republicans who took foreign policy seriously, I’ll stop. This used to be a party that saw America’s leadership of the free world as its highest responsibility. What happened? And why should any of us entrust it with the presidency again?

12) Yes, crows are pretty damn smart.


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