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Weekly Update 5-11 Oct 20


Clips on media/communication, national security, politics, sports, and pop culture worth knowing about in the days ahead.

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Top Clips

A National Security Reckoning...How Washington Should Think About Power

By Hillary Clinton, Foreign Affairs In a year marked by plague and protest, Americans are reckoning with long-overdue questions about racial justice, economic inequality, and disparities in health care. The current crisis should also prompt a reckoning about the United States’ national security priorities. The country is dangerously unprepared for a range of threats, not just future pandemics but also an escalating climate crisis and multidimensional challenges from China and Russia. Its industrial and technological strength has atrophied, its vital supply chains are vulnerable, its alliances are frayed, and its government is hollowed out. In the past, it sometimes has taken a dramatic shock—Pearl Harbor, Sputnik, 9/11—to wake up the United States to a new threat and prompt a major pivot. The COVID-19 crisis should be a big enough jolt to rouse the country from its sleep, so that it can summon its strength and meet the challenges ahead. 



U.S. foreign policy might be too broken for Biden to fix


By Josh Rogin, Washington Post At Wednesday’s vice-presidential debate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) responded to a question about the decline of American global leadership by quoting former vice president Joe Biden: “Foreign policy, it might sound complicated, but really it’s relationships.” If only that were so. Given the damage wreaked by President Trump’s mismanagement, Biden and Harris will be hard-pressed to restore the role of the United States in the world — assuming that is even possible.



Without the U.S., there will be no peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan

By Jason Rezaian, Washington Post

Renewed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan risks erupting into a full-blown regional war. With both sides staking historical claims to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, there are only two potential outcomes: senseless carnage or a settlement brokered with the help of major powers.



Chinese social media is abuzz with a debate on whether Trump’s diagnosis should elicit sympathy or satisfaction.


By Hemant Adlakha

President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, tested positive for the coronavirus last week. The announcement was met with strong apprehension in the United States, with commentators fearing the presidential race was heading into “a state of grave uncertainty, if not chaos.”

In China, on the contrary, judging by tens of thousands of posts from netizens, a large number of Chinese are not only rejoicing over the “good” news, but they are even cursing Trump “to die early.”


Reading Too Much Political News Is Bad for Your Well-Being

Obsessing over politics could hurt your happiness and your relationships.


By Arthur Cannon, The Atlantic

Of the many ideas from Eastern religion and philosophy that have permeated Western thinking, the second “noble truth” of Buddhism arguably shines the greatest light on our happiness—or lack thereof. Samudaya, as this truth is also known, teaches that attachment is the root of human suffering. To find peace in life, we must be willing to detach ourselves and thus become free of sticky cravings.

Even the fly on Pence’s head knows that the TV debate is a broken format. So let’s fix it.

By Hank Stuever, Washington Post

If I don’t lead with the fly, then what’s the point of all this? Anything else that happened during the debate Wednesday night between Vice President Pence and his opponent from the Democratic ticket, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), is rendered almost irrelevant because of that fly, which somehow found its way (like a virus, say) into the University of Utah’s Kingsbury Hall and nestled itself on the snowy top of Pence’s regulation haircut and remained there unnoticed by the vice president, as if captivated by some irresistible stench.


France to distribute free medical cannabis, launch experiment in 2021

By Alfredo Pascual, MBD

The French government published a long-awaited decree this week detailing how a limited medical cannabis experiment will be carried out. It was also confirmed that up to 3,000 patients will be able to participate in the experiment. Participating companies will have to supply the medical cannabis products to patients free of charge, and the products will have to comply with pharmaceutical standards, including Good Manufacturing Practice. The first prescriptions are now expected to occur in March 2021.


Are the kids all right? Supporting your teen's mental health through COVID-19


By Jen Rose Smith, CTV News

Less than a month into the academic year at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, Alex, a 17-year-old high school senior, is feeling the strain of life in an uncertain time.

Growing up, he saw tests, grades and applications as part of a predictable, step-by-step process leading toward college. Not so much in a pandemic.



The Mad Genius of Eddie Van Halen

He boiled strings, cut vibrato bars in half, put the head of one guitar on the body of another—and created a sound that changed rock forever.


By James Parker, The Atlantic

On the day of his death, an irregular cortege rolled in pieces across America, a scattered celebratory motorcade: maybe a pickup truck at a traffic light in Louisville, Kentucky, with the puffy, moon-landing chords of “Jump” coming out of the window; maybe an electrician’s van changing lanes in Long Beach, California, while quaking to the shocks of “Unchained”; maybe a Lexus in Boston, spewing the preposterous fluency of “Eruption” in its wake. It happens like this with the greats: The current of life fails, and the artistic essence is globally dispersed, as if by an explosion. We’d lost Eddie Van Halen, and suddenly his sound—phased and flanged and volleyed into the ether with oodles of whammy bar—was everywhere.


Longer Navy Deployments, Fewer Port Calls To Manage COVID

The COVID pandemic “has added complexity” to the Navy’s plans, Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer said. “But the [deployment schedule] has not changed."


By Paul McCleary, Breaking Defense

The COVID pandemic “has added complexity” to the Navy’s plans, Vice Adm. John Nowell told reporters today. “But the [deployment schedule] has not changed." The Navy will continue its new COVID-era practice of longer deployments with fewer port calls, as leaders feel they have found a difficult but winning strategy to keep the virus in check among its crews.


Navy Sees 4-1 Odds for Budget Bloat on $12 Billion-Plus Carriers


By Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg

U.S. Navy analysts are placing 4-to-1 odds against meeting cost targets of $12.2 billion and $12.9 billion for the last two aircraft carriers in the next-generation Gerald R. Ford class, the latest budgetary warning sign for one of the Pentagon’s costliest weapons program. An internal Defense Department “information paper” prepared by the Navy and obtained by Bloomberg News sees just a 20% chance that the USS Enterprise and USS Doris Miller will meet those goals.


New DoD Strategy Charts Path to ‘Data-Centric’ Future

By Yasmin Tadjdeh

The Defense Department’s new data strategy — a key piece of the Pentagon’s digital modernization program — lays out numerous guiding principles, goals and objectives as the military works to become what it calls a “data-centric organization.”


In a foreword to the strategy — which was released Oct. 8 — Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist said improved data management will enhance the Pentagon’s ability to fight and win wars in an era of great power competition.




SECNAV Braithwaite Names First FFG(X) USS Constellation


By Megan Eckstein, USNI

The Navy will name the first of its new class of frigates USS Constellation (FFG-62), in a nod to one of the original six frigates the Navy bought just after the Revolutionary War. Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite announced today that the first FFG(X) guided-missile frigate would be named Constellation, making the announcement from the second ship to bear that name: USS Constellation, a sloop-of-war launched in 1854 and decommissioned in 1933 that is preserved as a National Historic Landmark in Baltimore, Md.


Fake video threatens to rewrite history. Here’s how to protect it

By Benj Edwards, Fast Company Since deepfakes burst onto the scene a few years ago, many have worried that they represent a grave threat to our social fabric. Creators of deepfakes use artificial intelligence-based neural network algorithms to craft increasingly convincing forgeries of video, audio, and photography almost as if by magic. But this new technology doesn’t just threaten our present discourse. Soon, AI-generated synthetic media may reach into the past and sow doubt into the authenticity of historical events, potentially destroying the credibility of records left behind in our present digital era.


Tesla dissolved their PR team -- Perspective from a PR Professional who owns a Model 3


By Andrea Holland, LinkedIn Post

Today Tesla announced that they dissolved their PR team - the first in the auto industry to make such a move and choose not to speak to the press. Exact reasons were not stated but many can speculate. It’s fairly common knowledge that Elon doesn’t respond well to criticism, and also that the Tesla PR team is one of the most cycled through teams in tech history. We’ve seen this “resistance to PR” before in different capacities, for example, Apple PR not speaking on certain items and other companies choosing to execute reactive Communications only. But, nothing at all?



When a Leader Falls Ill: How to Communicate

By Nicole Schuman

A leader of a company or organization can serve as the quarterback when it comes to delivering a positive reputation to the public. While a leader does not always handle the nuts and bolts and day-to-day details of running a brand, he/she serves as a face for employees, customers, shareholders and more. 


Accused leader of plot to kidnap Michigan governor was struggling financially, living in basement storage space


By Kim Bellware, Alex Horton, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

The purported leader of an extremist plot to kidnap Michigan's governor was struggling financially and living in a storage space underneath a friend's vacuum shop after his girlfriend kicked him out of her home, according to people who know him.



How the NBA conquered COVID-19

In the midst of a pandemic, a sports institution led with science and taught the world how to thrive in a time of great uncertainty

By Brandon Ogbunu, The Undefeated

The fact that COVID-19 is a small part of the current NBA conversation is a testament to the success of the NBA bubble. Nearing the end of the season, there have been no outbreaks of COVID-19 among NBA players, no interruptions since the bubble began. COVID-19 has been handled so thoroughly by the NBA that its largest COVID-related stories have involved individual behaviors that didn’t lead to any actual outbreaks, but potentially put others at risk. For instance, Houston Rockets forward Danuel House’s removal from the bubble for breaking bubble rules.


Monumental Sports is furloughing 232 full-time employees


By Scott Allen, Washington Post

Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the ownership group of the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and Capital One Arena, is indefinitely furloughing 232 full-time employees because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Shaquille O'Neal says he just voted for the first time in his life, in the 2020 election


By Gabriel Fernandez, CBS Sports

Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal has done a lot in his life, mostly in the realm of professional basketball, but also in the world of pop culture. Yet even with everything he's accomplished and achieved, there was one thing he had not done in his 48 years of life: vote.



NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson on diversity in racing, friendship with Bubba Wallace


(CBS Sunday Morning Interview)

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson discusses how racing can be more inclusive. Johnson talked with "CBS This Morning" about his friendship with Bubba Wallace and his new future driving IndyCars.


Dusty Baker: The Beloved Manager Leading a Hated Team

Even those who despise the Houston Astros for their cheating scandal have trouble disparaging Baker, who has earned unrivaled good will over five decades in the majors.


By David Waldstein, New York Times

Soon after the Houston Astros completed a two-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins in their first-round playoff series last week, Dusty Baker’s phone went into overdrive: Scores of congratulatory texts, emails and calls came pouring in from friends, family and many others around baseball.



Navy, playing in front of a home crowd, holds off Temple in thriller


By Kareem Copeland, Washington Post

Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo admitted his team was embarrassed last week in a 33-point loss to rival Air Force. Entering Saturday’s game against Temple, the Midshipmen had played just one half of strong football in three games and were outscored by 85 points in their two losses.


20 years after the attack on the USS Cole, memories of heroism and loss remain


By Dave Ress, The Virginian-Pilot

It was typical steamy morning in Yemen, 20 years ago when the USS Cole eased past At-Tawahi point and the container port. As the warship entered the harbor, machinery repairman Rick Harrison spotted a ship lying over on its side and he didn’t like how it made him feel.



The SBA Makes It Easier to Apply for PPP Loan Forgiveness

A first look at the new forgiveness application now available to businesses with the smallest Paycheck Protection Program loans.


By Diana Ransom, INC

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering to make it even easier to apply for PPP loan forgiveness--but only for the smallest borrowers.

And Finally...





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