Daily Briefing: August 7, 2017

Posted by    |    August 7th, 2017 at 5:45 am

T O P   N E W S

Trump: ‘Fake news’ ignoring successes (Politico)

“President Donald Trump broke from his “working vacation” Sunday night to vent about how the media has failed to cover the successes of his first six months in office.
“The Fake News refuses to report the success of the first 6 months: S.C., surging economy & jobs,border & military security,ISIS & MS-13 etc,” Trump wrote on Twitter, just a day after he tweeted a link to a Washington Post story highlighting his administration’s fight against ISIS.”

Nick Note: Gorsuch is in, illegal immigration is down, markets are up, unemployment is down, ISIS is struggling, and the professional cuddling business is booming. With Congress on recess and the President on a working vacation for two weeks at his New Jersey golf club while the White House is being renovated, expect the political portion of the Daily Briefing to be like my patience in traffic – short. Over the weekend, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that would slash about $1 billion off North Korea’s annual foreign revenue. The resolution bans North Korea from trading coal, iron, lead, iron and lead ore, and seafood. It also increases trade restrictions with Pyongyang by aiming to cut off a third of its $3 billion annual export revenue while also prohibiting countries from hiring North Korean laborers. Essentially, it bans countries from entering or investing into new joint ventures with Pyongyang. Early this morning, North Korea vowed they would launch a “thousand-fold” revenge against the US. This was big news but attention shifted on Sunday over to a NY Times article that reported VP Pence is positioning for a 2020 run. “Today’s article in The New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family and our entire team. The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration.” President Trump tweeted early this morning, calling the “failing” NY Times “totally inept.” Internal divisions often pose the greater threat than external enemies. Winston Churchill said, “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” In the Scriptures, we read about the detrimental power of divisiveness (1 Corinthians 1:10, Romans 12:18, Galatians 5:15, Proverbs 17:14). When divisions are up, effectiveness will be down.

Diversity programs at Google discriminatory, engineer claims in anti-diversity manifesto (USA Today)

“A document written by an unnamed senior software engineer at Google suggesting the company encourage “ideological” rather than gender diversity, is generating anger within the company and in Silicon Valley.
“Titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” the male author wrote that women don’t make up 50% of the company’s tech and leadership positions not because of sexism but because of differences in their preferences and abilities.
“He also writes that the company’s focus on diversity tends to alienate conservatives, which he believes is bad for business as conservatives tend to be more conscientious, a trait that is required for “much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.”

Nick Note: Here is the full ten-page document. You may agree or disagree with the claims in the document, but do you think it exhibits a type of Isaiah 1:18 spirit? As he notes at the forefront: “People generally have good intentions, but we all have biases which are invisible to us. Thankfully, open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, which is why I wrote this document.” 

‘We’re coming for you’: NRA attacks New York Times in provocative video

“National Rifle Association (NRA) spokesperson Dana Loesch, a prominent conservative media personality, attacked the newspaper in the video and called it an “untrustworthy, dishonest rag”.
“In response to claims that the ad was a call to arms and a threat against the safety of Times reporters, Loesch said anyone who interpreted the video that way was projecting “their violent fantasies on to others”.

Nick Note: Watch the video here. And here is her earlier video that also drew attention. As you can tell, these videos send strong messages that are powerfully conveyed. In our free speech society, Mrs. Loesch can exercise that right but I do wonder about the point. Is it to strengthen/embolden the base? Persuade others to the cause? Create viral content? Some argued that she is inciting violence, but I don’t think this is the case. However, Cardinal de Retz noted that the talent for insinuating is more useful than that of persuading. The former achieves success and the latter rarely ends well. (Proverbs 15:4, 17:28, 18:21)

Fox News host Eric Bolling suspended over ‘lewd messages’ (BBC)

“US television network Fox News has suspended one of its presenters after he was accused of sending lewd photographs to three female co-workers. Eric Bolling, a long-time host at the network, allegedly sent the messages on separate occasions several years ago.
“His lawyer described the claims as “untrue and terribly unfair”. Citing 14 unnamed sources, the Huffington Post, a politically liberal news site, reports that Mr Bolling sent unsolicited photos…by text message to at least two colleagues at Fox Business and one at Fox News.”

Nick Note: “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. (Luke 8:17)”

C U L T U R A L   N E W S

There’s a biological reason you feel down after having the time of your life (QZ)

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve called these “happiness hangovers”(although I’m fairly certain I didn’t come up with the term on my own; I think I picked it up from a friend). These hangovers are not depression, but a temporary feeling that reality is a little greyer than usual.
“Psychologist Richard Solomon came up with an idea he called the “opponent process theory”. Broadly, this states that whenever you feel one emotion, you’re slated to feel the opposite next. This would explain why after feeling happiness, we feel slightly gloomy.”

Nick Note: I find it hard to believe that Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze felt down after dancing to Time of My Life. Feelings are powerful, both intensifying good times in life and darkening hard seasons of life. Gustave Flaubert is right: “One can be the master of what one does, but never of what one feels.” The fleeting nature of feelings is on full display in the Exodus 32.

Why you say yes, even when you don’t want to (CNN)

“Myriad studies have shown that receiving a free sample at the supermarket or food court makes us significantly more likely to purchase something from the store handing it out, though not necessarily the exact product we’ve tasted. This principle also comes into play with the tote bags, T-shirts and sheets of return address labels you get in the mail. One caveat is that usefulness does matter, according to Cialdini.
“Think of it like peer pressure or pack mentality. Cialdini conducted a study with hotel guests who were asked to reuse their towels to help the environment. When they were informed that most other guests chose to reuse their towels, people were 29% more likely to do it themselves. When they were told that the majority of guests who stayed in their particular room reused their towels, people were 39% more likely to do it, too.”

Nick Note: Jim Carey could only say yes, Chad Brock was grateful She Said Yes, and Lil Jon made a career saying Yeah! This study seems to indicate that gifts and other individuals have the capacity to turn our no into a yes. In the biblical narrative, we read of how kindness leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). We read how God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:45)”

Scientists made people turn off their notifications for a day, and saw an effect years later (QZ)

“Phone notifications follow the model of “random reinforcement” (essentially, reward at irregular intervals), which is known in psychology to be far more difficult to break free of than regular, expected rewards. One study found that people receive, on average, 63.5 notifications per day. It’s so incessant, it blurs into innocuous background noise.
“But, despite their reluctance, many of the test subjects found they enjoyed the experience. In the study, participants were less distracted and more productive on their day without notifications. Though they also reported anxiety about potentially missing messages from friends and colleagues, the experiment motivated around two thirds of the participants to change their phone notifications longterm.”

Nick Note: Do you suffer from phantom vibration syndrome? This is when you think your phone is ringing or vibrating, but in reality it’s not. In one study, 90 percent of college students said they sometimes felt the phantom phone sensations, and 40 percent said it happened at least once a week. Another study of hospital workers found about 70 percent of them experienced the same thing. Research indicates that the presence of a cell phone on a table can hinder connectivity. Some may feel inclined to get rid of their smartphone, but for others this is not feasible. Regardless of your decision, technology is changing us and the need for self-control will only increase as we make our way into the future. “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1 Corinthians 9:25)”

Cleaning a Dirty Sponge Only Helps Its Worst Bacteria, Study Says (NY Times)

“Some people may think that microwaving a sponge kills its tiny residents, but they are only partly right. It may nuke the weak ones, but the strongest, smelliest and potentially pathogenic bacteria will survive.
“By looking at the DNA and RNA in samples from 14 used sponges that may be as dirty as the one sitting in your sink right now, Markus Egert  identified 362 different species of bacteria living within them. And the scientists were surprised to find how densely microbes occupied such close quarters: About 82 billion bacteria were living in just a cubic inch of space.”

Nick Note: I will never look at a sponge the same way again.  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean (Matthew 23:25-26).”

N E W S   Y O U   C A N   U S E

Dad Films Mom Singing “I Love You” To Tiny Baby, But They Both Melt At Her Response!

Nick Note: Watch it here. Just as this mother sings over her child, our Father in heaven sings over us. “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)”

Guitarist’s Unique Skill Stops Pedestrians In Their Tracks, Then He Starts To Sing.

Nick Note: Watch it here. I love what Augustine wrote: “Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.”

Vermont boy reels in record-breaking carp

“Chase Stokes’ fish did indeed set a state record in Vermont. It weighed in at 33.25 pounds.”

Nick Note: No word on whether he was Fishing in the Dark with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. “And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19)”

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