Tuesday, June 25th, 2019


Don’t Bury the Lede

If you want something funny, head to Comedy Central. If you're looking for a crime show, browse the listings at HBO or Netflix. If you want a real tear jerker, try GoFundMe. The crowdfunding site has become a magnet for people raising money to pay for various, often dire, health care needs. And to succeed in the money-raising race, you need a good story (even if it's about a really bad situation). Nathan Heller in The New Yorker: The Hidden Cost of GoFundMe Health Care. "Advantages in crowdfunding still go to the people who arrive with the most powerful connections and the best networks. After that, there is competition, with perverse incentives: whoever has the most heartrending story wins." (This isn't how I hoped my English major would eventually pay off...)

+ "Dozens of people were sprawled out in sleeping bags on the asphalt parking lot. Others had pitched tents on an adjacent lawn. The lot was already filled with more than 300 cars from all over the rural South." While GoFundMe provides a digital collection of evidence of America's health care shortcomings, pop-up free clinics are the real world counterpart. Both draw a big crowd. WaPo: Urgent needs from head to toe: This clinic had two days to fix a lifetime of needs.


Tick Tock

"In the years following World War II, the U.S. employed top German scientists who explored the tick's potential in biological warfare for Nazi Germany. The researchers were investigating the tick's ability to spread pathogens across wide areas with the potential to incapacitate entire populations. Seventy-five years later, the tick timebomb is detonating on its own. Thanks to climate change, globalization, and other factors, ticks are not only proliferating but also becoming more malignant, more aggressive, and more likely to carry infection." Elemental: Lyme Disease Cases Are Exploding. And It's Only Going to Get Worse.


Ice Capades

Jonathan Blitzer in The New Yorker on cruel policies poorly executed: ICE Agents Are Losing Patience with Trump's Chaotic Immigration Policy."I don't even know what we're doing now ... A lot of us see the photos of the kids at the border, and we're wondering, 'What the hell is going on?' ... No one built up the infrastructure to handle this, and now people are suffering at the border for it. They keep saying they were caught flat footed. That's a bald-faced f-cking lie." (Those are going around these days...)

+ AP: "The acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection says he's stepping down amid outrage over his agency's treatment of detained migrant children." Does that mean we'll get an acting-acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection? No, but an acting director of another agency is moving over. From the NYT: "Chaos intensified on Tuesday inside the agency responsible for securing the nation's borders as a top official was replaced by an immigration hard-liner and former Fox News contributor who last week pushed for nationwide deportations."

+ Texas Tribune: People want to donate diapers and toys to children at Border Patrol facilities in Texas. They're being turned away.

+ CNN: We went to a border detention center for children. What we saw was awful.

+ NBC News: The cost of holding migrant children who have been separated from their parents in newly created 'tent cities' is $775 per person per night. (For that kind of money, they might as well stay at Mar-a-Lago...)


Boomer Angle

"I looked at issues including housing, work rules, higher education, law enforcement, and public budgeting, and found a consistent pattern: The political ascendancy of the Boomers brought with it tightening control and stricter regulation, making it harder to succeed in America. This lack of dynamism largely hasn't hurt Boomers, but the mistakes of the past are fast becoming a crisis for younger Americans." Lyman Stone in The Atlantic: The Boomers Ruined Everything. (Maybe. But the younger generations could always, you know, vote.)


Oxy Moronic

"My pain-management doctor said they cannot give me the medication because they could lose their license ... I'm between a rock and a hard place." USA Today: Pain patients left in anguish by doctors 'terrified' of opioid addiction. (The problem is bad. For some, the fix is worse. Aside from the companies and cartels making billions, everyone loses in the opioid crisis...)

+ "For years, they sealed evidence about the risks as the body count mounted. And as a Reuters analysis found, it's only one of many big product-liability cases in which judges have countenanced a lethal and often unlawful secrecy." How judges added to the grim toll of opioids.


Amateur Hour is Upon Us

"In response to an effort by California to consider allowing college athletes to earn money from their names, images, and likenesses without losing their amateur status, the NCAA has suggested that those schools could be kept from attempting to win national championships." NBC Sports: NCAA threatens to exclude California schools from national championship competitions. (California should stand its ground. We've been avoiding this debate for years. Let's have it out.)


Sound Check

"In response to mass shootings, some schools and hospitals are installing microphones equipped with algorithms ... By deploying surveillance technology in public spaces like hallways and cafeterias, device makers and school officials hope to anticipate and prevent everything from mass shootings to underage smoking. Sound Intelligence also markets add-on packages to recognize the sounds of gunshots, car alarms and broken glass, while Hauppauge, New York-based Soter Technologies develops sensors that determine if students are vaping in the school bathroom." ProPublica with a very interesting look at efforts to use surveillance as a first line of defense. Aggression Detectors:
The Unproven, Invasive Surveillance Technology Schools Are Using to Monitor Students


Victim Mentality

"A DIY effort to police TikTok has emerged, with the women at the heart of the DIY effort collecting allegations and evidence of sexual misconduct, blasting it out across YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, bagging and tagging the older men trying to prey on them. They say they have to protect each other on TikTok because they don't have faith in the company's ability to keep its users safe. The result: a Lord of the Flies free-for-all where young users weaponize dubious screenshots, defamatory callout videos, and whisper campaigns via group chats to deliver vigilante justice at dizzying speeds." Buzzfeed: TikTok Has A Predator Problem. A Network Of Young Women Is Fighting Back. (Ugh. My kids are addicted to TikTok. And now I'm addicted to keeping their accounts private...)

+ Wired: He cyberstalked teen girls for years—then they fought back.


Walking Shoo!

"Don't mind the military police, the miles of concertina wire or the bright red and yellow signs warning of some 200,000 landmines." LA Times: Come hike the demilitarized zone between the Koreas. Please watch your step.


Bottom of the News

"Finally, after months of analysis, an event at the Explorer's Club in New York City recently announced the results of a highly anticipated citizen-science investigation: Central Park is home to about 2,373 eastern gray squirrels."

+ AP: Breakdancing takes step closer to Olympic debut in Paris.

+ Boeing has so many grounded 737 Max planes waiting to be fixed, they're parking them in the employee parking lot.