March 19th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Hospital workers beg for supplies, why people still gather, the "other" existential threat, and Lindelof's new chapter.

After years of feeling like we were living in an unreality television show, it’s come to this. The doctors, nurses, and other first responders on the front lines are expressing desperate gratitude for the medical supplies being donated by people who pretend they’re doctors and nurses. TV Medical Dramas Donate Their Masks, Medical Supplies to Hospitals in Need During Pandemic. This is what happens when the people in charge are scrubs.

+ The US has invoked war-scale manufacturing. In the meantime, hospital workers battling coronavirus turn to bandanas, sports goggles and homemade face shields amid shortages.

+ “Someone left two boxes of masks on my doorstep. I will make them last; I’ll spray each one with alcohol and keep using it until it breaks down. We’re really improvising here.” Doctors and Nurses Plead for Masks on Social Media.

+ “We’re trying to reach out to our community, saying if you are one of the people with a box of masks next to the box of toilet paper, please consider donating it back to the hospital. We are desperate.”

+ And if medical workers don’t have protective gear, think about cops, grocers, deliverers, and on down the line. The Marshall Project: DC Cops Balance Bravado and Caution During COVID-19 Pandemic.

+ And then there is the American consumer’s supply chain: Amazon Confirms First Known Coronavirus Case in an American Warehouse.

+ Bookmart Andy Slavitt’s Medium page for regular health care updates.


Anti Matters

“If the research effort succeeds, it will be a significant scientific achievement: an antiviral identified in just months to treat a virus that no one knew existed until January.” NYT: Hundreds of Scientists Scramble to Find a Coronavirus Treatment.

+ NYT: Can Smart Thermometers Track the Spread of the Coronavirus? (Short answer, yes. Longer answer, only useful if the gov can do its part.)


Get Off Of My Crowd

Yascha Mounk with Four Theories for Why People Are Still Out Partying. (I’ll add a fifth. Poor leadership: A Georgia lawmaker joined a legislative session in between taking a test and getting results. He came back positive.)

+ Obama created a Social and Behavioral Sciences Team to focus on motivating people to make good decisions during a crisis. Trump got rid of that group too.

+ Community welfare not doing it for you? Here’s a selfish reason to go home. Younger adults are large percentage of coronavirus hospitalizations.


Existential Schism

These people don’t endorse. They don’t do politics. And they don’t always agree; they “have often been in opposition, sometimes bitterly, with each other.” But more than 80 national security professionals broke with tradition to publicly endorse Joe Biden. If it were just another endorsement, I wouldn’t even cover it here. They’re doing it because they believe President Trump “has created an existential danger to the United States.”


I Can See Clearly Now

When I’m looking for a bright spot, I look out the window. I’ve never seen as far or as clearly as I am seeing right now. And it’s only been two days with reduced traffic. But don’t just take it from me. As my friend Jeff explained, “It may just be that you’re actually looking out the window now…” Coronavirus shutdowns have unintended climate benefits: cleaner air, clearer water.


Rejection of Deflection and Projection Until Election Ejection

Trump blames China for coronavirus pandemic: “The world is paying a very big price for what they did.” This is the messaging chosen by the President and his minions. Don’t buy it. Don’t debate it. It’s a misdirection play. Focus on the real story: The administration’s failure to put the health of Americans over the desires of their mad king.

+ The President vs. the Experts: How Trump Downplayed the Coronavirus. And Before Virus Outbreak, a Cascade of Warnings Went Unheeded.

+ NPR The Intelligence Chairman Raised Virus Alarms Weeks Ago. (Just not to you.)

+ ProPublica: The Trump Administration Drove Him Back to China, Where He Invented a Fast Coronavirus Test. (It’s a million little stories. But it’s all one big story.)

+ Not to worry. We have Jared. Kushner coronavirus team sparks confusion, plaudits inside White House response efforts. (For a second I thought that said Kushner sparks plaudits for confusion…)


Sports (Only) Illustrated

“I don’t know the answer to that. That’s above my pay grade. What I know is that everything is on hold. There’s a level of uncertainty to business being conducted that I have never seen before.” What Will ESPN Do Without Sports? (Just focus on sports talk. We’re all more passionate about that than the actual games anyway.)


Feel Good Thursday

The prime minister in the Netherlands reassures citizens about toilet paper. “There’s enough in the whole country for the coming 10 years. We can all poop for 10 years.” (Sure, if you go dutch…)

+ ‘We’re not better than anybody’: Why the Warriors won’t test healthy players.

+ Spirits distilleries around the US now producing hand sanitizer. (Ironically, now is when we could all use a stiff drink.)

+ French residents organized to applaud health workers.

+ How SF neighborhoods are helping each other during the coronavirus shelter-in-place order.


Something, Something, Something Murder (3)

The most excellent Damon Lindelof has kindly offered to share a serialized story with NextDraft readers to help us, and him, through the quarantine. To be continued, daily…

I’m Starting To Get Really Scared And The Daily Is Only Making It Worse

Brad was a beardsman, which meant he had the best beard.

Brad was tall… quite tall, actually. People he met would ask him if he played basketball (he had, but he had gotten hurt) but that was just a preamble for what they really wanted to ask, which was how was it possible that his beard was so fucking awesome?

The secret was not in the products, though he had extensively tested them all over the years. Amateurs use the same shampoo on their heads as they do their beards, but Brad was no amateur and he knew that beard hair is four times more coarse than head hair and thus requires a product chemically composed accordingly, that’s why he only used Spartan’s Den. The helmet on the label reminded him of that movie where that one guy shouted, “THIS IS SPARTA!” and kicked another guy in the chest and into a goddamn hole. That guy was ripped and he wore a cape and oh sweet Christ, did he have a fucking beard.

The secret was not in the apparatus. Brad’s beard brush was boar bristles, a hundred percent boar bristles, in fact. When he first bought it, he boasted to Candace, “My beard brush is boar bristles.” And she said, “That’s alliterative.” And he said, “Bitchin’.” And they fucked.

No, neither product (we will not get into the balms and oils here, suffice to say they were essential) nor apparatus was the secret to the cultivation of Brad’s perfect beard…

The secret was time.

A television screen is made up of individual pixels. Every pixel, on its own, an infinitesimal part of the greater picture. A beard is made of individual hairs. Each hair, on its own, an infinitesimal part of the greater beard. Brad had thirty thousand individual hairs in his beard and just a single one, either too long or too short or too dark or too light could ruin the whole goddamn party on his face — These hairs had to be hunted and exterminated at all costs for the sake of the greater beard and yes, that took time.

Too much time, Candace would sometimes suggest. But Brad was ready, willing and able to wake up every morning at quarter to four to search and destroy the illegals on his face, so really, get the fuck over it Candace. He was still in the shower by five thirty and ready to kick ass for the boss by six.

And this was why everyone asked him about the exquisitely shaped monument of manhood. Because they somehow sensed it was more than just a beard. It was something they all wanted, but had never achieved…

It was pure.

Which is why Brad was not at all surprised to hear a voice say “Great Beard!” as he walked to his Escalade.

Brad was, however surprised to see the voice belonged to a kid. A boy, maybe ten, stood in the parking lot, smiling and overconfident in a way that defied every teaching surrounding the laws of children and strangers. “Thanks.” said Brad, and opened the door to the Escalade.

The kid kept staring at him as he slid behind the wheel and at this point, Brad got the uh-oh feeling. There could only be one explanation for a boy all by himself waiting in his parking lot and staring at him with that goofy smile and those dark, dark eyes. Oh yes, Brad had seen enough episodes of MAURY to know where this was heading all right. The boss would understand, of course… Brad’s stock would only go up for siring a bastard. But Candace was going to absolutely shit.

Brad was not a man who delayed the inevitable. If bad news was coming, better to just stand there on the tracks and let the train come. He rolled down the window and said to the kid, “Can I help you?”

“As a matter of fact, sir, you can…” said the kid as he approached the Escalade, extending his hand cockily, his smile even more delightfully sinister up close…

“My name is Alden Rosenberg and I’m from the future.”

To be continued…



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

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