😎 Happy Saturday!
- Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,150 words ... ~ 4 minutes.
- Do the friends you'll see this weekend get Axios AM and PM? Invite 'em to sign up!
😎 Happy Saturday!
President Trump's sudden decision to cashier his choice for director of national intelligence, Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas — five days after announcing the pick on Twitter — is a microcosm of how this White House works, Jonathan Swan writes:
A number of senior officials were skeptical about Ratcliffe. But as far as we can tell, nobody put up much of a fight to Trump before he announced Ratcliffe.
Between the lines: Per a source involved, it was only after Trump announced Ratcliffe that aides really scrambled to do a vulnerability assessment on their DNI candidate.
Two people close to Ratcliffe told Swan that Ratcliffe made the decision to withdraw:
The end ... Trump finished Ratcliffe off on Twitter, blaming the media instead of the congressman's inflation of his own biography:
What we're watching: August town halls back home in swing and freshman districts, with national progressive groups whipping up local fervor, will help decide whether impeachment pressure on House leaders continues to build.
What's next, from Axios' Zach Basu: Court battles over Mueller materials will stretch at least deep into fall.
Two headlines on America's 18-year war:
Between the lines: Administration sources tell me a big drawdown is certain in the next year.
The photo above shows a public toilet on Sixth Street in San Francisco that's part of a growing program to help the homeless.
San Francisco started its "Pit Stop" program in July 2014 with public toilets in the Tenderloin, after children complained of dodging human waste on their way to school, AP's Janie Har reports:
Mayor London Breed last year formed a special 6-person "poop patrol" team where each cleaner earns more than $70,000 a year.
Tomorrow's print New York Times includes a special section, "Dying Gasp of One Local Newspaper ... The Warroad Pioneer, a pillar of its small Minnesota town, ended its 121-year run with bloody marys, bold type and gloom about the void it would leave behind."
And a happier note on community journalism ... from Wisconsin, where the weekly Brillion News took a chance on an eager journalistic rookie, one Jimmy VandeHei:
We usually read about YouTube as a business. But the cover story of tomorrow's WashPost Arts & Style section, by pop music critic Chris Richards, considers YouTube as a listening experience:
It’s a user-generated content platform, which means it’s brimming with bootlegs, outtakes, live performances, interviews and more. The sound quality is all over the place, and so is the music. ...
The rarest gems to materialize on-screen can’t be excavated in a used record store. I’ll always remember the thrill of landing on a swatch of camcorder footage featuring the California rapper Suga Free making casual magic in an undisclosed dining room circa 1995. It remains one of the most enthralling rap performances I’ve ever heard. ...
Other music-streaming services are mindful of our time. They want users to feel safe in the paralyzing immensity of what they have on offer, so they provide a deep menu of comfort-zone playlists designed to reinforce our tastes. ...
This has to be why teenage listeners keep pointing their ears toward YouTube’s sonic sprawl. When you’re young, the world feels impossibly big. If you’re not worried about how much time you have left to hear it, searching and floating can feel like the same thing.
📱 Thanks for reading Axios AM. Invite your friends, relatives, co-workers to sign up here.