Next week is one to watch, with the Trump/Kim summit in prime time on Monday night in the east of the United States, just as President Trump would have it, then Thursday’s kickoff of the World Cup in Moscow.
This morning the president said that “he wants to meet with NFL players and athletes who kneel during the National Anthem so they can recommend people they think should be pardoned because they were treated unfairly by the justice system.”
President Trump is not taking the country seriously, but rather playing it as a television show in which he is the star, with teases and cliffhangers, time-worn entertainment industry tactics to keep us tuning in. Trouble is, neither are much of the broadcast media playing their traditional role on either side of the partisan divide. Rather they are capitalizing, literally, on our fraught national moment in a frenzy of profit-making.
This year the United States has become a cartoon country, with either the complicity or inattention of much of its population. So perhaps it’s time for a month of World Cup diversion.
Eh. Besides all that, here are a few absorbing reads for your weekend:
500-year-old Leaning Tower of Pisa mystery unveiled by engineers at Phys.org. Why the Leaning Tower doesn’t fall down.
Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent’s Stealth Takeover of America by Lynn Parramore of the Institute for New Economic Thinking. This is just frightening.
Own Goal: The Inside Story of How the USMNT Missed the 2018 World Cup by Andrew Helms and Matt Pentz at theringer.com
All life on Earth, in one staggering chart by Brian Resnick and Javier Zarracina at Vox.com.
And it’s that time of year again. From Mumbai’s weekend forecast: the worst rains since 2005 by Maria Thomas at qz.com:
He explained that this year’s heavy rains are the result of a low pressure system expected to develop over the Bay of Bengal, which will combine with cyclonic circulations over the Konkan coast, Goa, and Andhra Pradesh.
Every year, the monsoon rains bring Mumbai to a standstill…. Because of this, thousands are usually left stranded when it rains heavily, turning railway stations and even arterial roads into filthy swimming pools. The death toll often mounts by the day as residents risk being washed away or losing their lives in landslides.
Monday we’ll continue with this summer’s series of African vignettes with a tiny story from Madagascar (Its capital, Antananarivo, is pictured above). See you then.