Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020


Cause Play

Most years, we Californians just play presidential primary election. We dress up, we go to our polling place, we share selfies of our ballots and our "I voted" stickers. But this year, things feel wide open and Super Tuesday states could provide the tipping point in the Democratic race to pick a candidate to take on Trump. We've gone from cosplay to cause play. "A total of 14 states and one territory — including California and Texas, the two most populous states in the country — will hold their primaries or caucuses." Here's Super Tuesday, explained.

+ Buzzfeed: What To Watch For On Super Tuesday.

+ "Finish the evening with 14.9 percent of the vote and you end up with the same number of delegates as someone who didn't run at all: Zero." That's one of the several elements of the race that will be tracked by the experts as they expect the counting to go well into the night (which night is anyone's guess.) Follow the updates at WaPo.

+ If Super Tuesday is so pivotal and this election is so important, you'd think everyone would want a big turnout. So why did Texas close hundreds of polling sites, making it harder for minorities to vote? (The answer is in the question...)


Black and White and Red All Over

The always-excellent Alex Kotlowitz in The New Yorker with a look at the sad state of local journalism: How a Pair of Investigative Reporters Are Trying to Save the Chicago Tribune. "This may be journalism's greatest challenge: How do we get people, especially those outside of our profession, to care about its future? Have we become so locked into Trump's daily hammer blows to our democratic house that we are neglecting the cracks in the foundation? Last week, I spoke on the phone with Ash, of the Chicago Community Trust. He told me that he couldn't drum up any interest. 'People don't seem that moved by the situation,' he told me, clearly disheartened. They seem to believe that 'if it goes out of business, it goes out of business.' He mused that if the Art Institute, the city's grandest museum, were going under, the public would step up to save it. He said, 'People would think it's too important to fail.'" (I agree that we don't care enough about local newspapers. But the ones still around have had decades to come up with a model that works. That might be an impossible task, but in many cases there's been remarkably little innovation. That's a business failure, but also a failure of creativity.)


Slash and Yearn

"The U.S. central bank has not made an emergency move like this since late 2008. Fed leaders said it was done to protect the U.S. economy and financial markets as the coronavirus spreads." WaPo Fed makes largest emergency cut to interest rates since the financial crisis. (So far, the Dow is not that psyched...)

+ "Other diseases have come along since the age of the internet, but none have been politicked in an era when the president gives social-media-born conspiracy theories and the CDC equal weight." Nick Bilton in Vanity Fair: Coronavirus Is Creating a Fake-News Nightmarescape. (I'd like to wash my hands of fake news.)

+ 1 in 10 Iranian MPs Have Tested Positive For Coronavirus.

+ "It's all about speed." Vox: China's cases of Covid-19 are finally declining. A WHO expert explains why.

+ "The key is to watch big macro numbers rather than obsessively watching things tied to virus and supply chains. If people aren't getting haircuts anymore, that's a bad sign." NYT: Will the Coronavirus Cause a Recession? Keep Your Eye on the Barbershops.

+ "Per doctor's orders, I had already redoubled my efforts on the hand-washing front, lathering up in the men's room every couple hours like I was scrubbing in for surgery. Surely I could give up wiping my mouth, rubbing my eyes, and scratching my nose, too. How hard could it be? I'm not a 4-year-old licking the buttons in the elevator; I'm a grown man in control of my various scratching and rubbing functions." Boston Globe: I tried to go 24 hours without touching my face. I made it 18 minutes. (Nice photo cameo by the excellent Rep Jim Himes who looks how I feel...) Pro tip: I'm biting my nails to keep from touching my face...

+ Here's the latest from The Guardian. (My friend Mordy just told me that his son's school in Kirkland is closing for the next six weeks. I think I responded as any friend would: "Holy shit.")


Tennessee Tornados

"A powerful and deadly storm moving through Middle Tennessee spawned a tornado that touched down in Nashville in the early morning hours Tuesday morning, cutting a swath of destruction that stretched through the city for miles." Tennessean: Death toll rises to 21 across four counties after tornadoes hit Nashville. Here's the latest from CNN.


Credit Chard

Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson on Planet Plastic: How Big Oil and Big Soda kept a global environmental calamity a secret for decades. "Sen. Tom Udall, a plain-spoken New Mexico Democrat with a fondness for white cowboy hats and turquoise bolo ties, has been trumpeting the risk: 'We are consuming a credit card's worth of plastic each week,' Udall says. At events with constituents, he will brandish a Visa from his wallet and declare, 'You're eating this, folks!'"

+ NYT: Take One Last Look at the (Many) Plastic Bags of New York. (But please don't eat them.)


Blunder Armor

Tampa Bay Times: As it built an armored truck empire, GardaWorld took dangerous shortcuts. Its workers and unsuspecting motorists suffered the consequences. "The company has spent so little on maintenance that its trucks have often lacked reliable brakes, seat belts or even seats. It gave drivers barely any training, pressured them to work at a frantic pace and let some keep driving as they crashed again and again. The result has been armored trucks hurtling out of control in communities across America — swerving into traffic, plunging into ditches and smashing into cars."


All the World’s a Paige

"The best player in high school hoops gorges on Chick-fil-A before games, tells rivals how she's going to beat them before she does it and hasn't lost a game in two years. Get ready for the revolution." Bleacher Report: Paige Bueckers Is the Future of Basketball.


Hardball’s Out

"Compliments on a woman's appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK, were never OK. Not then, and certainly not today, and for making such comments in the past, I'm sorry." Chris Matthews Unexpectedly Retires From MSNBC On-Air. He had faced a series of recent controversies, but no one thought an immediate retirement was in the cards, not even the anchors who had to kill the rest of the hour...


Publishers Weakly

In a weird twist, Ronan Farrow and Woody Allen now share a publisher. (Ever get the feeling that's it's all just a big show, and people are either putting on the show, or just watching the show and tweeting to eleven people about it?)


Bottom of the News

"First, and most importantly to the people I've spoken with about this, is this bit of information: a gas pump that keeps annoyingly cutting off does not mean there is something wrong with your car. Now, that doesn't mean that components of the car and how they're designed aren't playing a part in all this, just that it does not necessarily mean your car has some sort of mechanical problem." Jalopnik: This Is Why The Gas Pump Keeps Shutting Off On You All The Damn Time.

+ "As I checked under the hood of my own life, I had to concede that my suspension was also more than a little suspect. I, too, have rust spots. I realized that the longer I held on to the car, the longer I was pretending that I was still that person who bought it, that person with healthy knees and a great marriage and a future beckoning as wide open as California's Central Valley. But the wrecking yard comes for everyone." Elegy for a Minivan: Mourning the Demise of the Lovably Uncool Family Car.

+ These boxes aren't rotating. It's an optical illusion. Really.