• ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . .Wednesday, January 4

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

    ◆ Megyn’s Move: Variety, the show business paper, writes “NBC’s Big Bet on Megyn Kelly Comes with Big Risks” The upside is that she is a proven interviewer, willing to ask tough and interesting questions of anyone. The risks, according to Variety, are that daytime talk shows, which NBC envisions for Kelly, have failed many times with high-profile stars.

    Comment: I would add one more risk. NBC think Kelly, who has cable’s second-highest rated show (behind O’Reilly), will bring over her more-conservative Fox viewers. I’m not so sure.

    ◆ Pizzas made by Robots? Reuters TV has a story about start-up that uses robots for the most repetitive parts of the process, humans for other parts. The Reuters reporter who shows the process, interviews the woman who runs the startup, and notes that the big pizza companies don’t want to do it yet. The reporter herself is pretty skeptical about the automation, wondering if it can handle a request for extra pepperoni.

    Comment: The reporter may be right–for the moment–and the company premature. But the automation of fast-food service is coming and coming quickly. It won’t be long before a computer will be asking if you want a supersized drink with that.

    ◆ Lots of law school professors don’t want Jeff Sessions to become Attorney General. Over 1100 sent a letter to Congress explaining why. (Washington Post)

    The law professors wrote that some of them have concerns about Sessions’s prosecution of three civil rights activists for voter fraud in Alabama in 1985, his support for building a wall along the nation’s southern border and his “repeated opposition to legislative efforts to promote the rights of women and members of the LGBTQ community.” –Washington Post

     An initial response to the professors comes from David French, writing at the National Review Online. He publishes their letter and then writes:

    This isn’t an argument, it’s a regurgitation of Huffington Post headlines, and (shamefully, given that this is a law professors’ letter) they don’t even have the decency to note that Sessions’ vigorously disputes allegations of his racism, including allegations that he made racist statements. –David French at the National Review Online

    ◆ Trump’s Trade Negotiator. Nearing completion of his economic team, Pres-elect Trump nominates Robert Lighthizer to lead negotiations for better trade deals, a key part of Trump’s winning campaign. The New York Times calls Lighthizer “a Washington lawyer who has long advocated protectionist policies, the latest sign that Mr. Trump intends to fulfill his campaign promise to get tough with China, Mexico and other trading partners.”

    ◆ Rex Tillerson negotiates his departure from Exxon-Mobil. The Wall Street Journal estimates the retirement package at about $180 million.

    ◆ Better chips for Virtual Reality. CNET thinks Qualcomm’s new computer chips may finally get more consumers to try VR. The Snapdragon 835 will permit small, lighter, more powerful devices.

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