• ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Monday, January 9

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple


    ◆ Google is producing all the high-tech in its latest, self-driving cars 

    Google has modified Chrysler’s Pacific Minivans to become self-driving and, later this month, will put them on the roads. The roll-out (literally) starts in Phoenix and near its California headquarters.

    Google’s first self-driving cars were Lexus sedans and included sensors produced by other companies. What’s different this time is that Google is producing the sensors and other high-tech features itself. The story is here at The Verge.

    ◆ Dead at 82: Iran’s former president Rafsanjani  Reuters calls him “one of the titans” of Islamic State of Iran. He was sometimes called a “pragmatist,” but his so-called moderation was only moderate compared to the most severe clerics and the Revolutionary Guard. His most significant moment was in convincing the Ayatollah Khomeini to end the bloody Iran-Iraq War. Born wealthy, he amassed a vast fortunate in post-revolutionary Iran.

    ◆ North Korea tells Trump it can test missiles whenever it wants Trump has warned Pyongyang against test-firing intercontinental missiles, which could threaten the US with nuclear weapons, once they have been miniaturized. The danger is profound and could be one of the new President’s first tests. The NYT story is here.

    ◆ Britain’s foreign secretary, a key figure in Brexit, meets Trump team  Boris Johnson is in New York to discuss future US-British relations, especially trade as his country withdraws from the EU. Currently, all British trade agreements are made through the EU so they will have to be renegotiated as part of the withdrawal.  As CNN notes:

    Trump billed himself on Twitter as “Mr. Brexit” and likened his unlikely victory to the shocking success of the “yes” vote in the UK referendum.–CNN

    Boris Johnson, as Mayor of London, became a major voice for Brexit and was appointed foreign secretary after the referendum unexpectedly won.

    ◆ Actress I have never heard of really doesn’t like Paul Ryan  According to New York Magazine, an actress named Lola Kirke wore a “F*ck Paul Ryan” to the Golden Globes. Seems like other people have heard of her because she stars in a TV series streaming on Amazon.

    In related news, Lena Dunham, who promised to leave the country if Donald Trump was elected, has not moved, despite numerous requests from around the country.

    CommentLena Dunham drew a clear red line and then declined to act when it was crossed. She has learned at foot of a strategic master.

    ◆ Pennsylvania Farm Show features a 1/2 ton butter sculpture Story here.

    CommentA spokesman for “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” declined comment.

    ◆ Uber begins selling its traffic data. The question, TechCrunch says, is whether the revenues will compensate for the competitive advantage it loses from disclosing this key information. Story here.

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  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Sunday, Nov. 12

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    hillary-clinton-labeled-red-300px-no-margins◆ Hillary Clinton says Comey letter caused her loss (Fox News) (NYT has a similar story here.)

    ⇒ Comment: Sec. Clinton’s loss has many causes, but she’s probably right in saying the Comey letter played a part. You can blame Comey for inserting himself in the race; you can blame HRC for putting herself in that position in the first place; or you can say Comey was only following through on his explicit promise to Congress. Whatever the reason for Comey’s letter, it harmed Hillary in two ways, despite the subsequent “no change letter.”

    First, it shifted her away from her closing argument.

    Second, it reminded the public of the Clintons’ familiar negatives, including their near-constant brushes with the law and subsequent investigations.

    zd-big-data-purple-labeled-200-margins-on-left◆ Trump’s Data Team Saw a Different America–and They Were Right, says Bloomberg/BusinessWeek

    [Trump campaign data] analysts, like Trump himself, were forecasting a fundamentally different electorate than other pollsters and almost all of the media: older, whiter, more rural, more populist. And much angrier at what they perceive to be an overclass of entitled elites. In the next three weeks, Trump channeled this anger on the stump. –Bloomberg/Business Week

    ◆ Anti-Trump protests continue across the country, mostly peaceful but filled with angry people carrying “not my president” signs and willing to engage in civil disobedience, such as blocking roadways. (CNN story here.)

    reince-priebus-labeled-300px-no-margins◆ The LA Times says “The fight to define Trump’s presidency will be waged between two competing factions,” one a more conventional, Republican group (such as Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee), the other a group of “disruptive rabble-rousers” (such as Steve Bannon, formerly of Breitbart). Politico sees the fight shaping up differently–but a fight nonetheless.

    ⇒ Comment: Because Trump has no governing experience and no deep bench of policy wonks to tap, the shape of his cabinet and initial policies is up for grabs. And Washington is filled with grabbers.

    ◆  Trump won the Rust Belt with promises. Now, the Detroit Free Press says, he needs to keep them.

    So what has Trump promised? He has said he will either force a better trade deal with Mexico to stop Detroit’s auto companies from moving production — any production — there, or tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement and impose a 35% tariff on cars and parts imported back into the U.S. as a way to stop it from happening. That’s a big deal considering Ford is moving the rest of its small car production to Mexico to hold down costs, and General Motors is doubling its production capacity there. -Detroit Free Press (analysis by Todd Spangler)

    ◆ A positive review for Google’s new “Pixel” phone–and a forecast that a tablet version could be coming. (Venturebeat)

    cleese-cartoon-drawing◆ And now for something completely different: Monty Python star, John Cleese, says he “wishes his ex-wives ‘dead in the nicest possible way’.” It would be lovely if trees fell on them, he tells Conan. (Sunday Express) 

    I have been married for 34 years – wait, wait – to four different wives. One of my ex-wives died – died. You know that? It was very sad because it was the wrong one. –John Cleese

    The Obama Administration has now admitted the Iranians are “not in compliance” with the nuclear deal, but they won’t yet call it a violation. I have no idea what distinction the Obama people are trying to draw. It is unclear what the Trump Administration will do with this deal, which the Obama Administration front-loaded with goodies for the Mullahs. (The Hill’s article is here.)

    Tip of the day: You are going to hear this phrase a lot in November and December: “On this issue, no one knows what policies the incoming Trump Administration will pursue.”

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    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Ed Vidal
     for the story on Trump’s data analysis
    ◆ Sam Stubbs for the story on Hillary Clinton blaming James Comey
    ◆ Ed Lasky for the story on the Iran deal and the Trump Administration