Jon Stewart returns to fray with a shot at Trump

Good morning.

  1. Looking older but sounding the same
    He was in Chicago Monday with a graying beard that he conceded leaves some thinking he's "Jon Stewart's grandfather." In front of a live audience, he did a podcast (to be released Thursday) with David Axelrod, the former political strategist who runs a new political institute at the University of Chicago and is a CNN analyst. In the evening he was the headliner before more than 1,000 at the Field Museum of Natural History for the annual dinner fundraiser of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, which is run by Axelrod's wife, Susan.

    You can like Trevor Noah on "The Daily Show" but quickly realize what you're missing when again seeing the mix of humor and thinly-veiled anger that's Stewart (his free-floating animus toward the political class will apparently be very vivid on the podcast). It didn't take long to get to the topic that might have still made him must-see TV, especially for the political press. "If you'd said that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president, I would have said, 'Oh, right, and the Cubs would be in first place, yeah.'" Well, he's the guy and the Cubs are in first.

    Trump? Standing not far from a museum exhibit on "China's First Emperor and his Terracotta Warriors," Stewart was succinct. "He's an asshole." He qualified that with Stewart like magnanimity. "I think it's incredibly important that the president be really thin-skinned and impulsive." Turning to David Axelrod at a front table, he wondered, "Can your guy run again?"

    His stand-up routine was rather short and he wondered if the organizers wanted him to continue. The word was yes, so he took a few questions. The first came from a self-identified energy broker. Exhibiting the lightning speed that can make the good comics a bit scary, he said, "Energy broker? That's not a real thing. You give out Red Bulls at work?" As for the campaign ahead, "It's probably our last a species."

  2. An unlikely Clinton champion
    The Cubs have the best record in baseball and The Wall Street Journal makes the case for Clinton. "The best hope for what’s left of a serious conservative movement in America is the election in November of a Democratic president, held in check by a Republican Congress," writes deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens. "Conservatives can survive liberal administrations, especially those whose predictable failures lead to healthy restorations — think Carter, then Reagan. What isn’t survivable is a Republican president who is part Know Nothing, part Smoot-Hawley and part John Birch. The stain of a Trump administration would cripple the conservative cause for a generation." (The Wall Street Journal)
  3. Trawling the Panama Papers
    Here's an idea for a great date night: stay home and search through the Panama Papers! Yes, some of the 11 million documents that constitute a treasure trove on tax avoidance and offshore finance are available in a searchable database "of more than 300,000 opaque offshore entities." (The Washington Post) And lest you cast too many aspersions, or have inherited money that was parked in the vicinity for decades, The Post does inform, "There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly."
  4. North Korea boots the BBC
    "BBC correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes and his team have been expelled from North Korea after being detained over their reporting." (BBC) He was questioned for eight hours after accompanying Nobel Prize winners on a research trek. The government was unhappy with his accounts of life in the capital, Pyongyang. He was deemed to have been "speaking very ill of the system." Well, they apparently didn't take kindly to his calling the granddad of the current leader a dictator and the nation comical and scary. (The Washington Post)
  5. Unlike any 25-year-old
    Evan Spiegel, creator of Snapchat, which has 130 million daily users, is "unlike any 25-year-old you’ve likely ever met. Some of that is strikingly obvious: He owns a Ferrari; he’s a licensed helicopter pilot; his girlfriend is a former Victoria’s Secret model." (Recode) A profile suggests he's obsessed with privacy, sees his handiwork as offering a needed alternative to curated Facebook and Instagram personas, and is as savvy as Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. Some liken him to Picasso. Yes, Picasso. But, "That doesn’t mean you’d like to hang out with Spiegel. He’s headstrong and controlling, and he implements a quick-to-fire style foreign to the Silicon Valley tech scene."
  6. Bashing Facebook on Facebook
    "Like a snake eating its own tail, an exposé of the political bias behind Facebook’s influential 'Trending' section is being promoted in the last place you’d expect: The 'Trending' section itself." (Quartz) The crew at "Fox and Friends" this morning was atwitter over allegations Facebook somehow rigged its "Trending" feature to shaft conservatives. (CNN) It seemed especially chagrined with the allegation that Black Lives Matter got an inside track over some of their conservative favorites. Facebook says the anonymous allegations are not true. (The Guardian) Meanwhile, far more worthy of consideration is this effort on Recode that's a dissection of dominance: "The Facebook Papers, Part 1: The great unbundling. Facebook’s mass acts as an intense gravitational force in the media industry, warping user behavior and fracturing the economic incentives that defined media companies." (Recode)
  7. Cuomo orders nail salons to fork over $2 million
    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo "has ordered nail salons to hand over $2 million to hundreds of ripped-off workers. Cuomo created the Nail Salon Industry Enforcement Task Force a year ago to crack down on widespread abuses at nail shops, where many workers are paid less than minimum wage." (New York Daily News) Many workers were paid below minimum wage or illegally denied overtime. Cuomo announced the task force last year "in the wake of The New York Times investigation into abuses against workers in the nail-salon industry." (New York)
  8. Tribune's poison pill
    "Tribune Publishing Co., the owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune facing a hostile takeover bid from Gannett Co., adopted a plan that will make it tougher for investors to acquire more than 20 percent of the company." (Bloomberg) It's a rather transparent attempt via a "poison pill" to keep the current, new hierarchy in place. This will most likely wind up in a Delaware court with a shareholder lawsuit. What happens then? Nell Minow, a corporate governance expert, notes that Delaware courts have been very supportive of poison pills. This particular situation could be a tad different if the board failed to evaluate the offer thoroughly with a committee of independent directors. And such "pills" can be very effective. If the company is taken to court, and the pill upheld, "game over," says Minow.
  9. Injured on the job
    "Four journalists were allegedly injured by San Francisco Sheriff’s Department deputies as nearly 200 protesters stormed City Hall on Friday night." One had bruised ribs, another apparently a contusion in the back of the head. (San Francisco Examiner)
  10. Trump and GOP
    The cable new networks were Donny One Notes this morning, fixated on what CNN bannered as, "Turmoil in the GOP over Donald Trump." David Gregory said his upcoming meeting with Paul Ryan "looms large." Errol Louis said Republican leaders "are craving stability" when it comes to the notion of default, as Trump says blithely, "You print money." Over at MSNBC, John Heilemann exhibited fleetingly refreshing candor by responding this way to how Trump convinces a D.C. congressional elite of his conservative principle: "I have no idea." And Mike Barnicle wondered, "What does it say about us, the media, that we're asking Hillary Clinton about things resolved 25 years ago," alluding to Trump bringing up Bill's indiscretions. Mika Brzezinski says Hillary should "speak from the heart" and use the accusations to her benefit by looking "real and vulnerable," not leaving a decision on how to respond to her campaign advisers.

    Over at "Fox and Friends," there was some Trump driven chatter of a similar sort, including co-host Steve Doocy likening a Paul Ryan-Trump meeting on Thursday to a "guy throwing a party for his ex-wife." Whatever that means.

  11. Forget the heavy news stuff, let's talk food
    As you surely know, chickpea water "has become a sensation as a frothy egg substitute in mousses, meringues and mayonnaise." (The New York Times) You didn't know? Well, vegans "lived for years without the culinary wonders that egg whites produce. No pretty pastel macarons. No meringues. No angel food cake." Then, last year, the world changed. An Indiana software engineer and vegan named Goose Wohlt sought to devise a method of making vegan meringues for the family Seder. "His wife mentioned that she had seen a video of two French cooks using the liquid from a can of chickpeas to make chocolate mousse." A little tinkering and the rest is history, albeit a rather recent history. Let's herald Goose Wohlt, not to be confused with chatterbox former relief pitcher Goose Gossage who went on an F-bomb tirade during New York Yankees spring training over players who flip their bats. (
  12. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
    Elbert Tucker is now news director for WKRN in Nashville, Tennessee. Previously, he was news director for WISH in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Rick Gevers) | Drew Grant is now arts and entertainment editor at The New York Observer. Previously, Grant was a staff writer there. (@videodrew) | Nick Maslow is now digital news editor at Entertainment Weekly. Previously, he was a staff editor at People. (Mediabistro) | Job of the day: ABC7 Los Angeles is looking for a helicopter reporter. Get your resumes in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

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    James Warren

    New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S. News & World Report. Former managing editor and Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Tribune.


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