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Deep Routes

At Adweek, Charlie Warzel conducts an oral history on Deadspin:

Excerpt from Leitch’s original pitch to Denton: “The Internet and sports are made for each other. But what has really been missing has been a strong, askew voice from outside the circle jerk of buffet-addled sportswriters interviewing naked athletes. Independent sports blogs are everywhere, but they don’t have any passion. They’re mostly just stat nerds. Sports needs a Wonkette, essentially.”

Leitch: Lock was sold enough that they thought they should do a sports site, but they didn’t want me—they wanted a name. I know a friend of mine was asked and turned it down because he thought ESPN was a safer bet and better money. Lockhart sent me an email that said, “Bad news. Nobody wants to do this. But the good news is, it’s your site now.” I was told I’d have six months to try and make it work, and I thought, that’s fine. I had been answering phones at a doctor’s office only a year and a half before.

Nick Denton, founder and publisher, Gawker Media: I don’t remember ever wanting Will to do another kind of site, but I think I had some hesitation over the breadth of coverage required. I wasn’t really clear that there were sports fans per se—rather, that there were fans of particular sports and particular teams. So I wasn’t sure it was a homogenous enough topic to support a broad site.

In Huffington Post, Ryan Grim and Ryan J. Reilly put together an extremely comprehensive piece on the Obama Administration’s hostile treatment of the medical marijuana industry:

The Justice Department may respond to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado in several ways. One option would be to go after low-level marijuana users as scapegoats and seek a court ruling that would declare federal law trumps state law. One of the more extreme options, which officials acknowledge is currently being weighed by the department’s Civil Division, would be to preempt the laws by suing the states in the same way the feds sued Arizona over its harsh immigration law. Federal authorities could sue Washington and Colorado on the basis that any effort to regulate marijuana would violate the federal Controlled Substances Act.

“The question is whether you want to pick that fight,” a former Justice official said.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson met with Holder on Tuesday, but the U.S. attorney general declined to say whether the Justice Department would fight Washington’s new marijuana law. Inslee said the state will move forward implementing the law.

In Smithsonian, Mike Dash writes about a Russian family that was cut off from all human contact for 40 years:

A helicopter sent to find a safe spot to land a party of geologists was skimming the treeline a hundred or so miles from the Mongolian border when it dropped into the thickly wooded valley of an unnamed tributary of the Abakan, a seething ribbon of water rushing through dangerous terrain. The valley walls were narrow, with sides that were close to vertical in places, and the skinny pine and birch trees swaying in the rotors’ downdraft were so thickly clustered that there was no chance of finding a spot to set the aircraft down. But, peering intently through his windscreen in search of a landing place, the pilot saw something that should not have been there. It was a clearing, 6,000 feet up a mountainside, wedged between the pine and larch and scored with what looked like long, dark furrows. The baffled helicopter crew made several passes before reluctantly concluding that this was evidence of human habitation—a garden that, from the size and shape of the clearing, must have been there for a long time.

It was an astounding discovery. The mountain was more than 150 miles from the nearest settlement, in a spot that had never been explored. The Soviet authorities had no records of anyone living in the district.

Quick Reads

- After Aaron Swartz’s suicide, Facebook is providing data to organizations to see if they can discover possible warning signs [Bloomberg]

- This year’s NBA franchise valuations are out. SURPRISE: the Lockout caused them to go up dramatically. [Forbes]

- 18 funny restaurant signs (these are actually really good) [Buzzfeed]

- Cute dog models the latest menswear fashion trends [Tumblr]

- Your cute cat is actually a cold-blooded murderer [BBC]

- Tremendous writer Matt Ufford is chronicling his week eating in New Orleans as he covers the Super Bowl. Aptly, it’s titled Gnawlins. [SB Nation]

Food Porn

Banh Mi Duck Burger w/ Beer Battered Fries @ Duluth Grill (Duluth, MN)

My friend Hank made outstanding seasoned chicken tacos, topped with sriracha mayo, cilantro, lime and pickled onions:


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