Happy Saturday. Bulletin: "The Trump administration acknowledged ... for the first time that it is in direct communication with the government of North Korea over its missile and nuclear tests," the N.Y. Times' David E. Sanger reports.
SecState's Rex Tillerson's comments to reporters in Beijing "marked the first sign that the Trump administration has been trying its own version of what the Obama administration did with Iran: using a series of backchannel, largely secret communications that, after years of negotiation, resulted in a nuclear accord."
Three days before flying to Puerto Rico, President Trump this morning attacked the mayor of San Juan, the capital. Yesterday, the mayor took to TV to lash out at the administration for a disaster response that she said could come "close to a genocide" if logistics aren't figured out.
The mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, led "NBC Nightly News" with her emotional plea at a news conference, then did several one-on-one interviews with prime-time cable anchors:
Be smart: Long after people have finished talking about Tom Price's flights or tax reform or NFL protests, they'll remember how Trump handled Puerto Rico. So the stakes are massive for the hours ahead.
"Amid Puerto Rico's disaster, a disconnect ... How Trump's time at his golf club hurt the response to Maria," atop WashPost front page:
When Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price became a certified swamp creature, he was dead to Trump:
A veteran Republican tells me the White House shares the blame for the spate of Price-y plane flights that were uncovered by Politico's Dan Diamond and Rachana Pradhan: Such spending would have been less likely to occur in a West Wing with more normal controls and organization.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney later told heads of Executive Branch departments and agencies that White House chief of staff John Kelly must sign off on use of government-owned, rented, leased or chartered aircraft.
A pug sits on a sofa that has been placed on a car-free street during Yom Kippur in Ramat Gan, Israel, today. Jews atone for sins of the past year on this Day of Atonement, the holiest of Jewish holidays, which ends at sundown today.
Israel comes to almost a complete standstill, AP reports. Businesses and airports close; radio and TV stations go silent. Roads are eerily quiet and devoid of traffic. Some secular, mostly young, Israelis take advantage of near-empty roads and highways with bicycle and skateboard rides.
Devastating hurricanes, Nazi parades, melting ice sheets, ISIS, threats of nuclear war. From news coverage, sometimes it's hard to believe Barack Obama's claim that "now is the greatest time to be alive."
So Axios' Stef Kight mustered 10 reasons we as humans are getting at least a few things right:
See Stef's full post, with all the links.
"Google has become the latest Silicon Valley giant to become entangled in a widening investigation into how online social networks and technology products may have played a role in Russian interference in the 2016 election," per the N.Y. Times' Daisuke Wakabayashi:
And the Wall Street Journal reported that Google "is conducting a broad internal investigation to determine whether Russian-linked entities used its ads or services to try to manipulate voters":
"NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway ... has racked up millions of [YouTube] views talking about brands, big tech, and who's disrupting whom. ... Barron's [Jack Hough] recently sat down with Galloway to discuss the rising power of America's tech giants, which he writes about in a new book, The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google":
Free link for Axios readers.
Travis Kalanick said he's appointing to Uber's board Ursula Burns, former CEO of Xerox, and John Thain, former CEO of CIT Group, Merrill Lynch, and the NYSE, Axios' Dan Primack and Shannon Vavra report:
"Myanmar refugee exodus tops 500,000 as more Rohingya flee," by AP's Todd Pitman in Teknaf, Bangladesh:
There was a terrific Twitter debate this week about reporting in the Trump era, provoked by a lively and at times tense interview of Axios CEO Jim VandeHei by Pod Save America's Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor.