Newley's Notes

NN231: Dustin’s self-administered belly rubs

Sent as an email newsletter Wednesday, August 19. Not a subscriber yet? Get it here.

👋 Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

📰 Photo of the week: I had a page one story out Friday with my colleague Jeff Horwitz. It’s about Facebook and hate speech in India.

The headline: Facebook’s Hate-Speech Rules Collide With Indian Politics. And the dek: “Company executive in vital market opposed move to ban controversial politician; some employees allege favoritism to ruling party.”

I shared some details in this Twitter thread.

The story was mentioned by the likes of the BBC, AP, Bloomberg, Reuters, and many news organizations in India.

🆕 And as we reported yesterday, lawmakers in India now want to question Facebook following our piece:

Opposition members of Parliament are acting following an article Friday in The Wall Street Journal that detailed what current and former Facebook employees said was a pattern of favoritism toward the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Hindu hard-liners.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🦠 1) Covid–19-related longread of the week: “A Deadly Coronavirus Was Inevitable. Why Was No One Ready?” This is a deeply reported story by my colleagues Betsy McKay and Phred Dvorak that provides the backstory on the pandemic.

👉 2) Another revealing deep dive: “The Three Abductions of N.: How Corporate Kidnapping Works,” by David Yaffe-Bellany in the New York Times.

🇮🇳 3) On Kamala Harris and the Indian-American community: “When Democrats next week formally nominate the daughter of an Indian immigrant to be vice president, it’ll be perhaps the biggest leap yet in the Indian American community’s rapid ascent into a powerful political force,” Fadel Allassan writes at Axios.

📖 Related book, which I wrote about in this post and recommend highly: “The Other One Percent: Indians in America.”

📱 4) Bring on the TikTok ban, says author and Columbia University law professor Tim Wu. “China keeps a closed and censorial internet economy at home while its products enjoy full access to open markets abroad. The asymmetry is unfair and ought no longer be tolerated. ”

💵 5) And speaking of TikTok: “Oracle is a new entrant in the negotiations for TikTok, whose owner ByteDance Ltd. is facing a fall deadline from the Trump administration to divest itself of its U.S. operations,” my WSJ colleagues report.

🎧 6) “The Addictive Joy of Watching Someone Listen to Phil Collins.” “For almost a year, Tim and Fred Williams, twenty-one-year-old twins from Gary, Indiana, have made videos of themselves listening to famous songs, and then uploading the videos to their YouTube channel.”

👗 7) Interactive of the week, from the New York Times: “Sweatpants Forever: Even before the pandemic, the whole fashion industry had started to unravel. What happens now that no one has a reason to dress up?

📼 8) “You can now rent the world’s last Blockbuster for a ’90s-themed slumber party.” Seriously. It’s in Bend, Oregon, and listed on Airbnb here.

🍁 9) Looks like an interesting documentary: “A Vermont Farmer.” Doug Densmore, a “third-generation maple syrup farmer to work the same sugarbush as his grandfather, runs what in Vermont is called a ‘bucket operation.’ Maple syrup is his only cash crop…” [Via Benedict Evans’s newsletter.]

🐕 10) Dog-related video of the week: “This Dog Scoots And ‘Sploots’ Every Morning.”


📕 What I’m Reading

Still transfixed by Evan Osnos’s “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China.”

💡 Quote of the week:

“The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherf——- sh– out of it.” – Cheryl Strayed


👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,


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