Fight the (Brain)Power

Hundreds of black and latino men stormed city hall—many armed with long guns and other weapons, wearing military style clothing, and hiding behind face masks—where they screamed at law enforcement officers, and waved guns in the air, and demanded to speak with public officials. The media took the event in stride and the president lauded the demonstrators as good people, and suggested that government officials try to make a deal with them. That scenario is, of course, unthinkable. But if you take out the racial and ethnic profiles, that's exactly what happened in Michigan. Meanwhile, at the Reopen Illinois gathering, a new twist was added to the protests (many of which have described government officials as Nazis for trying to protect people from the virus), when a woman held up a sign that read: Arbeit macht frei. That's the slogan displayed above the entrance of Auschwitz, and translates as Work will set you free. (Editor's note: It didn't.) I never thought this would be a Feel Good Saturday headline: Auschwitz is no longer trending on Twitter.

+ While the protests are getting coverage, and the reactions to them point to dramatic differences in racial and ethnic privileges in America, do they really represent a broad movement? According to a recent survey, the answer is a resounding no: 93 percent of Americans do not think the economy should reopen immediately. And that opinion is bipartisan. "Democrats and Republicans agree that, rather than doing so immediately, as many governors are currently attempting, the nation should wait at least a month before reopening." And in some cases, when governors tell businesses they can reopen, business owners are saying, no thanks.

+ This is not to say people aren't getting restless. We all want out. We just don't attack our government for protecting us. NPR: Mobile Phone Data Show More Americans Are Leaving Their Homes. (Don't look at me. I left my phone at home to make absolutely sure none of my family members could reach me.)

+ When arguing over which services should reopen first, things could get sticky. Inside the Risky Race to Reopen Nevada's Brothels. (I wonder if decision makers will take the tissue shortage into account...)

+ While the protests to open get most of the coverage, there are also protests to keep things closed: Florida man stalks beach as Grim Reaper to protest reopening amid pandemic. (As I mentioned earlier this week, that's basically how I dress at the beach, and I'm not really protesting anything other than having to be at the beach.)


Nerd Immunity

If your stock portfolio is heavy on tech stocks, you've probably had a bouncy few weeks. But the total value of that portfolio is probably almost the same (or even higher) now than it was when everything stopped. In other words, the companies that were already dominating our lives are about to dominate even more. They have the power and, when it comes to the pandemic, the antibodies too. Kara Swisher in the NYT: The Immunity of the Tech Giants.


Truth Be Scold

"President Trump moved on Friday night to replace a top official at the Department of Health and Human Services who angered him with a report last month highlighting supply shortages and testing delays at hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic." (Shhh. We wouldn't want it to get out that we have a shortage of supplies and tests...)

+ Vanity Fair: How Trump Gutted Obama's Pandemic-Preparedness Systems.


Think Different

"This sense of enacting history matters ... Now we feel it. The shift has to do with the concentration and intensity of what's happening. September 11th was a single day, and everyone felt the shock of it, but our daily habits didn't shift, except at airports; the President even urged us to keep shopping. This crisis is different. It's a biological threat, and it's global. Everyone has to change together to deal with it. That's really history." Kim Stanley Robinson in The New Yorker: The Coronavirus Is Rewriting Our Imaginations. "What felt impossible has become thinkable."

+ New York Review of Books: "Panic and anxiety are the virus's dark corollaries, a second pandemic leaching into everyone's lives. As the weeks wear on, I speak with increasing numbers who can't sleep, who are facing bankruptcy, who are turning to drink, whose mental health, already fragile before the pandemic, is now in freefall."


The Fast and The Curious

"With at least 115 vaccine projects in laboratories at companies and research labs, the science is hurtling forward so fast and bending so many rules about how the process usually works that even veteran vaccine developers do not know what to expect." WaPo: Inside the extraordinary race to invent a coronavirus vaccine.


Future Tense

"One of the strangest things about this pandemic is that while it's afflicting the entire world, it's doing so asynchronously, transforming countries into cautionary tales and object lessons, ghosts of outbreaks past, present, and yet to come." Uri Friedman in The Atlantic: I Have Seen the Future—And It's Not the Life We Knew. (The rest of us have seen the present, and it's getting old.)


Murder, Bee Wrote

"With queens that can grow to two inches long, Asian giant hornets can use mandibles shaped like spiked shark fins to wipe out a honeybee hive in a matter of hours, decapitating the bees and flying away with the thoraxes to feed their young. For larger targets, the hornet's potent venom and stinger — long enough to puncture a beekeeping suit — make for an excruciating combination that victims have likened to hot metal driving into their skin." Tracking the Asian Giant 'Murder' Hornet as It Reaches North America. (Maybe staying in the house doesn't sound so bad after all.)


Drawn and Quarterbacked

"At one point when we're in the hospital, shortly after he came so close to losing his life, Alex tells me out of nowhere that everything is going to be OK. 'Do you know how many people would love to trade positions with me? Millions of people would love to be where I am right now. Do you know the life that we live and the blessings we have? And we can't take it for granted, not even for a minute. Perspective." Alex Smith's comeback: Inside the fight to save the QB's leg and life.


Feel Good Saturday

"A few weeks ago, he raised almost £30 million (more than $37 million) in support of the National Health Service by walking around his garden at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. This would be admirable for anyone, but Moore was a 99-year-old World War II veteran. So, for his 100th birthday on April 30, the people of the UK really turned out."

+ Balcony Seats: Watching Movies From Apartment Buildings.

+ Bolero Juilliard: Inside the Making of a Lockdown Musical Miracle.

+ This man came home from the hospital to die. His son found a way to keep him alive. (Hint: Spreadsheets.)

+ 'The biggest gift I've ever gotten': Restaurant owner gets a hand after helping so many others.


Something Something Something Murder

The most excellent Damon Lindelof (Creator of Lost, Watchmen, and The Leftovers) has kindly offered to share a serialized story with NextDraft readers to help us, and him, through the quarantine. The first 15 chapters are here.

+ While you're waiting for the next installment, there's this: "We were stunned to uncover 263 roads named after the horse -- far more than for any other athlete, human or otherwise." Wait, Secretariat has 263 U.S. roads named after him?! (Of course, of course, this is no ordinary horse...)