Monday, June 1st, 2020


Bunker and Chill

"Most of you are weak. You have to arrest people ... You have to dominate, if you don't dominate, you're wasting your time — they're going to run over you, you're going to look like a bunch of jerks ... It is a war in a certain sense. And we are going to end it fast." In a call with governors, President Trumptosterone used tough language to push for more aggressive crackdowns on protests that devolve into looting.

+ Meanwhile, on Sunday night "inside the White House, the mood was bristling with tension. Hundreds of protesters were gathering outside the gates, shouting curses at President Trump and in some cases throwing bricks and bottles. Nervous for his safety, Secret Service agents abruptly rushed the president to the underground bunker used in the past during terrorist attacks."

+ "His desire to be the omnipresent macho man of our public life obscures his very real impotence in the face of indisputable events, like the killing of an innocent black man—or the outbreak of a deadly once-in-a-century pandemic." Susan Glasser in The New Yorker: Trump Plays Macho Man as America Burns.

+ "The exterior lights turned off just before 11pm as protests continued in vicinity." Slate: White House Goes Completely Dark as Protests Rage Outside. (Metaphor much?)

+ It turns out that calling for crackdowns on protesters or describing the media as the enemy doesn't always fall on deaf ears. "Although in some incidents it is possible the journalists were hit or affected accidentally, in the majority of the cases we have recorded the journalists are clearly identifiable as press, and it is clear that they are being deliberately targeted." A look at 50 separate incidents where journalists have been attacked by law enforcement. (This is what happens when a president has his knee on the Constitution...)

+ Want a contrast in November? You've got one. Biden Visits Protest Site While Trump Endorses Violent Pushback. And, on Monday, Biden meets with black leaders at local church amid unrest. "Hate just hides. It doesn't go away, and when you have somebody in power who breathes oxygen into the hate under the rocks, it comes out from under the rocks."

+ If you missed it yesterday, I shared a few reflections on the state of the country. What many saw coming is here.


Antifa Yourself

Trump has blamed the violence on the radical left and said he's naming Antifa a terrorist organization. Three big problems with that. That's not what's causing the outrage and violence. Only foreign groups can be labeled terrorist orgs. And antifa is not really an organization at all. (Next, Trump plans to use an executive order to label the Oompa Loompas a terrorist group.)

+ The looting is inexcusable, but the rage in the streets is inevitable. It's not just about George Floyd. Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Courtesy of Erica Buddington, let's begin your history lesson.


The Inside Agitator

"More than a few commentators have drawn sometimes shaky comparisons between the current moment and 1968, the year when, in April, Dr. King was gunned down on a motel balcony in Memphis. In June, Robert Kennedy was murdered at the Ambassador Hotel, in Los Angeles, after winning the California primary. In Vietnam, it was the year of the Tet offensive and the My Lai massacre. At the Democratic Convention that summer, in Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley cracked down brutally on antiwar protesters in Grant Park. Richard Nixon won the Presidency. And, as few remember, there was also a flu pandemic; the H3N2 virus killed at least a million people, including a hundred thousand Americans. Perhaps the deepest frustration of thinking about 1968 and 2020 is the time elapsed, the opportunities squandered, the lip service paid." The New Yorker's David Remnick: An American Uprising: Who, really, is the agitator here?


All You Kneed is Love

"Images of tense encounters between protesters and police officers piled up over the weekend, as authorities intensified their efforts to quell nationwide uprisings, using rubber bullets, pepper pellets and tear gas in violent standoffs that seared cities nationwide. But some officers took different actions, creating contrasting images that told another story about the turbulent national moment following the death." WaPo: Some officers march and kneel with protesters, creating dissonant images. (Dissonant images for a dissonant time.)

+ In Camden, police marched alongside the demonstrators.

+ Buzzfeed: Sunday night's protests against police brutality were a mix of chaotic violence and peaceful demonstrations.

+ Ironically, little about this moment can be viewed in simple black and white terms. For some help making sense of it all, here's my friend (and the former US Data Chief who worked for years in this area), DJ Patil. Rage, fear, and confusion.


Distinguishing Mark

While the protests are taking place on the streets, the battle to frame the protests is raging online. The Atlantic's Zeynep Tufekci on Twitter, Facebook, and the latest executive order: "In reality, Trump's salvo on social-media companies has primarily an audience of one: Mark Zuckerberg. And it is already working." (It's a combination of Zuck's longstanding views, and the threat that a different administration could look to break up big tech.)

+ Zuckerberg has picked a side in the truth wars. His employees seem less certain. Facebook employees revolt over Zuckerberg's stance on Trump. "Jason Stirman, who works on R&D at Facebook, said he 'completely disagrees with Mark's decision to do nothing about Trump's recent posts,' adding: 'I'm not alone inside of FB.'"

+ The Verge: Leaked posts show Facebook employees asking the company to remove Trump's threat of violence.


Worst Case Scenario

"The coronavirus appears to have slammed into Yemen, a country already staggering from five years of war, competing power centers, a health care system in ruins, widespread hunger and outbreaks of cholera and other infectious diseases." Yeah, America is facing stress from many angles. But it could be worse. Here's where it is. NYT: Coronavirus Slams Broken, Embattled Yemen.

+ "Over five years of conflict have killed thousands of civilians including children, displaced millions, destroyed livelihoods, decimated the economy, brought the health system to its knees and pushed millions to the brink of famine. Eighty per cent of Yemen's population need humanitarian assistance and protection. But now the coronavirus is introducing a new set of horrors and profound risks." Millions of Lives Must Be Saved in Yemen.

+ Ten crises to remember as the world battles COVID-19.


Himalayan Salt in the Wound

"High in the Himalayas, an enormous fistfight erupted in early May between the soldiers of China and India. Brawls at 14,000 feet along their inhospitable and disputed frontier are not terribly unusual, but what happened next was." NYT: China and India Brawl at 14,000 Feet Along the Border. "President Trump, unsolicited, stepped in on Wednesday, offering on Twitter to mediate." (Phew.)


Now Hear This

"Alaska has the highest rate of sexual assault in the nation. These women and men did not choose to be violated, but they now choose to speak about what happened." ProPublica: Unheard.


And That’s a Wrap

"Christo, as he was known, along with his wife and artistic partner, Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, liked to wrap things up. In 1985, they wrapped the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris with fabric, and a decade later, they wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin with an aluminum-looking fabric. Together, they completed more than 20 projects, including a 2005 piece in which they mounted 7,503 orange fabric panels in New York City's Central Park for one of their most famous installations, The Gates." Christo, Famous For His Monumental Works Of Art, Dies At 84.

+ Christo: a life in pictures.


Feel Good Monday

"Join me in resisting the urge to frame this as a story about loss, because once you get to know Leo and ride with him and see all that cycling has given Leo and all that he's given back, you'll start to discover some of the beautiful things you can only find after losing something. Maybe, like me, you need a reminder of all the places the bike can take us." He Lost His Leg, Then Rediscovered the Bicycle. Now He's Unstoppable.

+ Boy, 9, with cerebral palsy completes marathon on his walker, half a mile at a time.

+ Spain reports no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since March

+ Georgia student, son of 2 first responders, creates lifesaving COVID-19 equipment.

+ A Minneapolis middle school requested 85 meal kits for families in need after stores were looted and destroyed. It was overwhelmed by the community's response.

+ Here's a tour of some of the best designed bathrooms in video games.