On Thursday — after "fire and fury" was followed by a double-down, then by signs of a pullback — a top Republican who calls pretty honest balls and strikes on this White House emailed me:
"The President's policy path on North Korea is clear and unambiguous: disarm or die. His rhetoric may not appeal to the haute foreign policy arbiters. But it resonates with the South, the Japanese and, most importantly, the Chinese."
By last night, after "locked and loaded," the same person said: "Tone seems to be moving from tough to shrill. ... He muddled his own message."
An AP analysis for Sunday papers, by Jonathan Lemire, captures the zeitgeist: "Faced with ... his gravest international crisis yet, ... Trump responded precisely as his some of supporters hoped and his critics long feared — with plain-spoken bluster, spontaneity and norm-breaking risk."
Here's the mood and the moves as we begin the weekend:
Be smart: Nothing has worked with North Korea, giving Trump cover to try a new approach. But faith is fading among top Republicans, on the Hill and elsewhere, that there's wisdom behind the words.
When I saw the "How to Resolve the North Korea Crisis" headline on an op-ed by Henry Kissinger, age 94, in The Wall Street Journal, my first thought was: "Do tell!" But the piece by the Nixon-and-Ford era SecState and national security adviser helpfully lays out why this is (at least) four-dimensional chess:
Axios' Shane Savitsky goes inside the Dems' tough Senate map for '18, at a time when many stars may be aligning for the party in the wilderness:
"Silicon Valley under attack both from within and without," by CNBC tech reporter John Shinal:
The Google bro has an opinion piece on page 2 of The Wall Street Journal's "Review" section ... "Why I Was Fired by Google," by James Damore, a software engineer at Google's Mountain View campus from 2013 until this week:
"Ezekiel Elliott Ruling Signals New Era for NFL in Confronting Domestic Violence," by Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman:
The hardwood floor of an empty Oval Office is resurfaced during West Wing renovations while President Trump is on "vacation" in New Jersey. The Roosevelt Room has been stripped, cranes frame the Truman Balcony, and storage PODS line the driveway as excavators tear up the ground for the A.C. replacement.
Covers of the weekend Barron's, from Dow Jones, have a history of moving Monday morning's market, and this is a prime contender ... "The Trouble With Netflix: As Disney goes its own way and Amazon looms, shares could drop more than 50%," by Barron's senior editor Jack Hough:
Free link for Axios readers; otherwise behind a hard pay wall.
One of our themes at Axios is profound change in real time, and this is a classic ...
Electric cars on the cover of The Economist ... "The death of the internal combustion engine — It had a good run. But the end is in sight for the machine that changed the world":
Cover of tomorrow's N.Y. Times Magazine, "What a Fraternity Hazing Death Revealed About the Painful Search for an Asian-American Identity: When Michael Deng, a college freshman, joined an Asian-American fraternity, he was looking for a sense of belonging and identity. Two months later he was dead," by Jay Caspian Kang:
While Michael's father flew to and from China for work, young Michael and his mother trudged through the mundane adjustments and small humiliations of life in America — new grocery stores, new bus systems, a Balkanized gathering of fellow immigrants who may look like you but who are not like you in the ways that matter. ...
[When] Michael entered Middle School 74, in Bayside [Queens, his] mother left her job and studied up on the subjects Michael was taking in school. ... In eighth grade, he took the city's Specialized High School Admissions Test and placed into Bronx Science, which is in New York's top tier of selective public schools, with Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech.
Like Middle School 74, Bronx Science's student body is majority Asian. There are all-Asian cliques from Flushing, all-Asian cliques from Manhattan, all-Asian cliques from Sunset Park in Brooklyn. These groups might be created by immigration patterns, school districts and real estate developments, but they are reinforced through long hours in standardized-test tutoring, weekends spent at Chinese- or Korean-language classes and long subway trips up to the Bronx.
Boston Globe columnist Nestor Ramos spends a day gorging on convenience-store food, on the (apparently unrealized) theory that it doesn't have to be gross: "Some of the best tacos I've had were ordered from a window in a Dallas-area gas station. Ramshackle shops all over the South fry up amazing chicken or smoke meat out back." What he found instead:
With a month left in road-trip season, I commandeered a colleague and a Zipcar and set out to find the best desperation food around. ... I've lost about 40 pounds since the beginning of the year (my diet secret: "never eat"), and how much damage could I really do in one day? ...
We ... had eight meals, scarfing down bad sandwiches on stacks of milk crates and taquitos near smoldering ash trays. Despite spending all day in an air-conditioned car, I was sweating profusely. I missed my diet of raw almonds and undressed kale.
But pizza? Always. I folded up the slice of pepperoni that appeared to be a quarter of a large pizza and stuffed it into my face hole. Even piled atop the day's chaos in my stomach, it was a delicious slice. And so convenient!"
See the front-page column, with lots of pics.
P.S. The columnist's Twitter bio claims he invented the term "foodie call": when a work email announces free food somewhere in the building.