April 29, 2014
1. Don Is Gone
New NBA commissioner Adam Silver called the ultimate technical foul on LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling and has announced a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine (the maximum allowable). “Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers facility. He may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions.” (There was a time when being banned from Clippers games was considered a prize.) Sliver handed down the penalty after the release of audiotapes in which Sterling made a series of racist remarks.
+ Silver also said he and the other NBA owners would compel Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers. He bought the team back 1981 for $12.5 million. So this could be the most profitable penalty ever.
+ Here’s Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (before the ruling): “In this country, people are allowed to be morons … But regardless of your background, regardless of the history they have, if we’re taking something somebody said in their home and we’re trying to turn it into something that leads to you being forced to divest property in any way, shape or form, that’s not the United States of America. I don’t want to be part of that.” (Sterling is a piece of garbage, but this ruling was handed down as a result of a conversation he had on his home telephone. What if someone recorded your worst ever personal phone call with a significant other and put it on the Internet?)
+ Here are some takes on Sterling from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:
+ And from McSweeney’s, I Don’t See Race: “In the grand scheme of things, what matters most in life is not the color of your skin, but the color of your hair and the shape of your eyes. But it actually does help if you’re white.”
2. Revenge of the Nirts
“If the U.S. central banking system is ever hit with a crippling cyber attack, a group of roughly 100 government employees working in a three-story fortress-like building next door to a Buick dealership in East Rutherford, N.J., will be among the first to know about it.” FP takes you behind the scenes at NIRT, the National Incident Response Team tasked with keeping trillions of dollars safe from hackers.
+ Nuclear missile silos depend on old technology, including floppy disks. And that’s by design.
3. The Dark Figure
“A team of legal experts and statisticians from Michigan and Pennsylvania used the latest statistical techniques to produce a peer-reviewed estimate of the dark figure that lies behind the death penalty.” How many defendants sentenced to death in the U.S. are innocent? According to a recent study, about four percent.
+ The Economist: The Slow Death of the Death Penalty.
+ MoJo: This man is about to die because an alcoholic lawyer botched his case: “Despite the drinking, the stealing, the racist outburst, the abysmal courtroom performance, the disbarment, and the ultimate imprisonment of his lead attorney, an intellectually disabled man has ended up on the verge of execution.”
4. Twist and Get Out
From the Twisters to their devastating aftermath, InFocus has a series of photos from a storm system that flattened homes in a half dozen states.
+ A tornado prompted the evacuation of a newsroom while its chief meteorologist was on the air.
5. A Bad Seed?
Almost everyone who tries it becomes an instant fan of Dave’s Killer Bread. Modern Farmer has an illustrated, odd and true tale of the Dave behind the bread.
6. Collusion Dot Com
“The coddled image of the start-up worker doesn’t quite mesh with a victim narrative. But there are real grievances here.” NY Mag’s Kevin Roose provides an overview of the way tech execs “colluded with each other to form no-poaching agreements, thereby keeping their employees from jumping ship to competing firms.”
7. Say it To My Face
Last night on Jimmy Fallon, Yankees fans were invited to boo a cardboard cutout of Robinson Cano (a great player who recently departed for Seattle). Then, when they turned around, they saw the real Robinson Cano. Needless to say, the booing stopped. This is funny. But it also made me think of the Internet where we gladly trash others as if they were little more than cardboard cutouts. (And when we see them in real life, we generally stare quietly at our phones so we can be back on the Internet.)
8. Meet the New Neighbor
“Because of his reputation for brutality, Gulalai was someone both sides of the war wanted gone. The Taliban tried at least twice to kill him. Despite Gulalai’s ties to the CIA and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, United Nations officials and U.S. coalition partners sought to rein him in or have him removed.” So what is Haji Gulalai doing in a pink two-story stucco house on the outskirts of LA?
9. Talk to the Hans
The official cast of the new Star Wars movie has been released, and it includes some familiar names such as Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. There are also a bunch of new cast members including Adam Driver (wouldn’t it be great if he just played the exact same character he plays on Girls?)
10. The Bottom of the News
Most Chilean Sea Bass doesn’t really come from anywhere near Chile. Oh, and it’s not actually bass, it’s cod. From Pricenomics: The Invention of Chilean Sea Bass.
+ Willie Nelson is now a fifth-degree black belt in in the martial art of Gong Kwon Yu Sul. So seriously, you don’t want to bogart.
+ Melissa Etheridge did a killer cover of Only the Good Die Young during the Sirius Town Hall with Billy Joel. Here she is performing the same song the night before.
+ Esquire: Are sweatpants ever Okay?