Friday, May 29th, 2020


Back in Black

Everything else aside (and there's a lot), politically, the Minneapolis protests are Trump's dream come true. As the protests spun out of control, Trump tweeted, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." Those words were borrowed from Miami's police chief, Walter Headley, who ordered a crackdown on "slum hoodlums" in 1967 (back when, according to Trumpian lore, America was great). Trump's tweet, labeled by Twitter as "glorifying violence" was sick, reckless, and carried the racial undertones that have provided the soundtrack for America's longest running storyline. And that's the point. This, not the economy, and certainly not Covid, is the fight Trump wants: An electoral race about race. Even OJ can see that the knee to the neck was murder. But that's not what this is about. It's about opening a new front—and with demographics shifting, what some see as a last front—in America's forever war. Remember, this is a guy who ran on Birtherism and walls, and has led with Muslim bans, kids in cages, very fine people on both sides, shithole countries, and political enemies described as human scum. When the looting starts, the shooting starts is the brand he ran on and won on in 2016. And as a bonus for Trump, there's this: Police Arrest Black CNN Correspondent While Live on Air Covering Minneapolis Protests. One of the many ironies in all this is that Trump's been looting America and burning down its institutions every day for three and a half years. NYT: Trump's Looting Remarks Escalate Growing Crisis in Minneapolis. (For me, when it comes to the president's Twitter feed, when the looting starts and the shooting starts, the muting starts.)

+ The Mayor: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey: "Trump knows nothing of Minneapolis." (That factor never stopped him, or anyone else, from tweeting about a subject.)

+ The Photos: Fire and Protests in the Twin Cities.

+ The Backstory: From The Marshall Project: Before George Floyd's Death, Minneapolis Police Failed to Adopt Reforms, Remove Bad Officers.

+ The Spread: George Floyd's death set off uprisings across the country. And, 7 Shot At Louisville Protest Calling For Justice For Breonna Taylor.

+ The Reaction: Police leaders are outraged by the killing of George Floyd. Vice: Police Chiefs Around the Country Are Breaking the Blue Wall of Silence for George Floyd. From Florida Congresswoman Val Demmings: "As a former woman in blue, let me begin with my brothers and sisters in blue: What in the hell are you doing?"

+ The Arrest: Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer seen kneeling on the neck of George Floyd before his death, has been arrested. Here's the latest from NBC.


Thanksgiving Layovers

When and how to reopen is a question people are struggling with across the board. It's especially complicated at schools and universities. WaPo with the latest idea gaining steam. "Under the gone-by-Thanksgiving model, students return to campus in August and stay there with few or no breaks. Then they go home for the holiday, finish final exams there, if necessary, and wait until it's safe to come back for the spring term."


Weekend Whats

What to Book: Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, by George Packer is about Holbrooke, to be sure, but it's really about the slow demise of the American influence, Vietnam, power, ambition, sex, and everything else. Packer is such a good writer that I am simultaneously in awe and jealously enraged. You don't think this is the book you want to read right now. But trust me. Just give it 2-3 pages and you'll be locked in.

+ What to Pod: Speaking of people to be jealous of, Patrick Radden Keefe wrote one of the best nonfiction books in recent years (Say Nothing), and his next project is a riveting, fun, and crazy podcast that's getting raves. And it's about a Scorpions' song and the CIA. Spies. Secrets. Soviets. And tight leather pants. Winds of Change.

+ What to Stream: I never miss it when John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett tour together. This years, that tour is canceled, so the boys are doing a streamed version instead on Friday, at 6pst.



"The decision is a sign that Amazon's sales have increased sufficiently to justify an expanded workforce for order fulfillment, even as government lockdowns ease and rivals open their retail stores for pickup." During the pandemic, the big will get bigger. That's especially true for retail and tech. And Amazon is at the intersection of both. Amazon to offer permanent roles to 70% of 175,000 new U.S. hires.

+ Another thing at that intersection ... an Amazon truck. Amazon is gaining on shipping giants.


Wrong Kong

"President Donald Trump is poised to sign a measure that would punish Chinese officials for imprisoning more than one million Muslims in internment camps, as he looks to rebuke Beijing over its crackdown in Hong Kong and its response to the coronavirus." Bloomberg: Trump to Rebuke China on Muslims After Hong Kong Friction. (So the internment of the Uighurs will be rebuked unless China eases up on Hong Kong. This is global politics at work.)


Swede Wacker

"Sweden did not impose a lockdown, unlike its Nordic neighbours, and its Covid-19 death toll - above 4,000 - is by far the highest in Scandinavia." Norway and Denmark say they will open up tourism between their two countries in June, but Sweden's not invited.

+ Cyprus Ill: To Lure Back Tourists, Cyprus Says It Will Cover Costs If They Contract Coronavirus. Uh, gee, tempting?


The Early Bird Gets the Germ

"In early May, a survey by two academics found that 23% of Americans would not be willing to get vaccinated against Covid-19. In a separate poll by Morning Consult, 14% said they wouldn't get vaccinated, and another 22% were unsure. And according to a new Associated Press-NORC poll, only about half of Americans say they would get a Covid-19 vaccine if available." US anti-vaxxers aim to spread fear over future coronavirus vaccine. (They're crazy and dangerous, but they don't procrastinate.)


French Toasts

"With bars still closed despite the loosening of France's coronavirus lockdown, the pre-dinner drinking tradition of the apéro has given way to the apérue: clusters of revelers on the streets, or rues, of Paris, outside establishments that are allowed to offer takeout." That's all French to me, but the NYT lede makes sense: Annoyed at their government, the French have taken to the streets brandishing drinks. (These folks know how to protest...)


What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Pandemic Like This

"Gali Beeri is 37 and works as an executive assistant. Joshua Boliver is 42 and creates visual effects for movies. They both live in New York City and met at a dance class in March, as the city was preparing to lock down. At the time, they made the unlikely decision to quarantine together — after their first date." NPR: Love At First Quarantine: After A Single Date, Couple Hunkers Down Together. (That would've sounded crazy three months ago. But at this point, I'd move in with a stranger in a heartbeat...)


Feel Good Friday

"High schoolers across the country are missing out on many milestones due to the coronavirus pandemic. But one senior in Raleigh, North Carolina, got to have her own personal prom — thanks to a thoughtful 7-year-old." (Game knows no age...)

+ Reopening schools in Denmark did not worsen outbreak.

+ Texas principal travels 1,500 miles to honor each of his graduating seniors.

+ This Dad Created a Youtube Channel to Help Young Adults Without Fathers Fix Household Problems.