Balancing Act

The U.S. government needs more space to house migrant children, SiriusXM has big plans for Pandora and Clusterfest announces an epic lineup.

Balancing Act

The U.S. government needs more space to house migrant children, SiriusXM has big plans for Pandora and Clusterfest announces an epic lineup.

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✨  Good morning! Today is Friday, March 8, 2019 and we refuse to be invisible💪


• The Background

It’s starting to look like Kim Jong Un isn’t the only world leader not living up to his word. On Wednesday, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sat in front of Congress to defend President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency over what she called the “real, serious and sustained crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border and justify the government’s (supposedly former) policy of separating migrant families. But any amount of face Nielsen may have saved during the questioning (read: not much) was promptly undermined yesterday, when the Pentagon confirmed that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had put in a request that the Department of Defence (DOD) find “space to house up to 5,000 unaccompanied alien children on DOD installations, if needed, through September 30, 2019.” The Hill

• What Else You Need to Know

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis says the Pentagon “will work with the military services to identify potential locations for such support, and will work with HHS to assess any DOD facilities or suitable DOD land for potential use to provide temporary shelter for unaccompanied alien children.” An HHS spokesperson said the housing request —which comes with $400 million in planned funding — is being made in response to “the overwhelming number” of new unaccompanied kids crossing the border and the “nearly full” capacity of existing HHS shelters.

• What’s Next?

Clearly, there’s more sh*t waiting to hit the fan in terms of the Trump administration’s family separation policy. A new court filing submitted in a class-action lawsuit in San Diego identifies 471 parents who were deported without their children. Meanwhile, NBC San Diego just dropped a bombshell investigative report detailing secret government efforts to track — and potentially interfere with the work of — at least 50 journalists and immigration advocates working at the border, and published leaked documents to back their findings up.


• U.S.: Out for Blood

Michael Cohen is rubbing salt in Trump’s wounds by suing the Trump Organization for failing to fulfill its supposed contractual obligations to indemnify him or cover his attorneys’ fees, including but not limited to the fees accrued since he started cooperating with the FBI. The lawsuit also covers fees accrued for his work for the organization, such as the $130,000 hush payment to Stormy Daniels. Cohen currently faces $1.9 million in bills from his criminal investigation. (That’s Trumpchump change, right?) CNN

• U.S.: Where There’s Smoke…

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been sentenced to just under four years in prison for tax and bank fraud — sixteen short of the twenty-year sentence he could have gotten. Manafort was convicted in 2018 of eight felonies including tax fraud for his work in the Ukraine on behalf of politicians closely aligned with Russia. He pleaded guilty to separate charges regarding illegal lobbying that each carried a max term of five years on two counts (making his current 47-month sentence seem a little on the lenient side). CTV News


I stressed the importance of protecting Canadian jobs, and reiterated that this issue was one of significant national importance.

– In a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (almost nearly) admits to trying to sway Jody Wilson-Raybould’s actions when meeting with her to discuss her approach in the SNC-Lavalin case. CBC News


• Good Bedfellows

In its relatively short time in business, Airbnb has certainly seen its share of controversy (primarily for its housing market-sapping and tax-dodging ways). So, it’s going legit. (Well, kind of.) The company is acquiring last-minute booking site HotelTonight for an undisclosed amount thought be somewhere near US $463 million. Airbnb says the number of same-day bookings made on its platform has doubled year over year, making HotelTonight’s model a complementary fit to its existing business. The two platforms will remain as separate entities, but there are plans for some future crossover that will pull HotelTonight listings into Airbnb’s search results. NBC News


• Listen Up

A month after satellite radio pioneer SiriusXM bought streaming platform Pandora for a cool US $3.5 billion, it’s finally revealed its plans to for beefing up the investment. SiriusXM just gave Pandora its first-ever original content team, tasked with developing all-new channels, shows, podcasts and playlists. The plan is to combine SiriusXM’s programming expertise with Pandora’s audience-focused tools. (Your move, Spotify.) It also opens the door for SiriusXM radio hosts to make the jump into podcasting for Pandora, creating joint opportunities that give “content providers and artists…a much larger, multi-faceted platform,” says SiriusXM chief content officer Scott Greenstein. (But alas, there’s still no mention of when it’ll bring Pandora to Canada.) Engadget


• Clusterf***

San Fran’s major comedy, music and podcast festival Clusterfest (which is a collab between Comedy Central, festival producer Superfly, and indie promoter Another Planet Entertainment and shouldn’t be confused with a very different type of cluster) just announced its 2019 lineup, and it’s looking hella entertaining. Issa Rae, John Mulaney, Ilana Glazier, Courtney Barnett and The Roots are headlining, with sets from Patton Oswalt, Tig Notaro, Sinbad and more. Popular podcasts such as My Favorite MurderLovett or Leave It, and Disgraceland will also appear live. The festival will feature a live reading of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion by drag queens Trixie Mattel, Katya, and Peaches Christ. Clusterfest will run June 21 to 23 in San Francisco at Civic Center Plaza and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. A portion of the funds from all festival tickets will be donated to its non-profit partners, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco and America Scores. Billboard


• Women Supporting Women

It’s just been announced that the Bank of America is partnering with the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program to pledge $100 million to female entrepreneurs. Forty per cent of privately held firms in the U.S. in 2018 were female-owned, but only 2% of venture capital dollars went to female founders. (What else is new?) “This has to change,” Burch said. “Women entrepreneurs face many obstacles, access to capital being the biggest and most common.” The program has previously loaned more than $46 million to more than 2,500 women, over 90% of whom are still in business and up to date on their loan repayments. According to Global Head of Environmental, Social and Governance at BOA Andrew Plepler, the bank plans to add another $50 million to this, thereby “empowering more women to start and scale a business.” (Yas, queens.) CNBC


• Swan Song

A bevy of swans in Bowness-on-Windermere have been trekking nearly half a mile for their fast food fix and Lake District residents are becoming concerned. The large birds are known to loiter outside a local Tesco supermarket in search of scraps — some favourite meals include fish and chips and burgers. Signs now exist throughout the town discouraging residents and tourists from feeding the birds, meaning the swans are now ravenous for their favourite tasty treats. “The problem was that everybody was feeding them and someone — nobody knows who — put the sign up and now the swans are not getting what they want,” said Ian Wilkinson, who works at the Windermere Lake Cruises. (Just give the swans what they want!) The Telegraph


• All About Equality

March 8 is International Women’s Day and 2019’s campaign pushes for the pursuit of a gender-balanced world with the theme #BalanceForBetter.


• In a near unanimous vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an anti-hate measure that began as a condemnation of anti-Semitism but was expanded to denounce “hateful expressions of intolerance” against a wide range of minority groups.

• Critics aren’t so sure that Mark Zuckerberg will be able to make good on his new privacy promises for Facebook — but the platform is gaining ground in its battle against fake news: Yesterday, it took down a U.K.-based propaganda network and announced a ban on anti-vax ads

• The student has become the master. LeBron James has overtaken his idol Micheal Jordan on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. James now sits in 4th place overall. (Kobe, you’re next.) 

• It’s not exactly a modern fairytale, but the story of tennis star Eugenie Bouchard’s lost Super Bowl bet that ended with her taking a Twitter follower on a date is being turned into a Hollywood movie.


• Ear Candy

We always knew Frida Kahlo’s portrait was missing something

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