Monday, June 8th, 2020


What Defund Are You Talking About?

"The Justice in Policing Act would limit legal protections for police, create a national database of excessive-force incidents and ban police choke holds, among other changes, according to an early draft. It is the most ambitious change to law enforcement sought by Congress in years." Senate Dems knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds before unveiling a law enforcement bill co-authored by Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.

+ One word not in the bill: Defund. But that's a word we're hearing more of during the protests. Georgetown law professor Christy E. Lopez in WaPo: Defund the police? Here's what that really means. "For most proponents, 'defunding the police' does not mean zeroing out budgets for public safety, and police abolition does not mean that police will disappear overnight — or perhaps ever. Defunding the police means shrinking the scope of police responsibilities and shifting most of what government does to keep us safe to entities that are better equipped to meet that need."

+ "Supporters say it isn't about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all of their money. They say it is time for the country to address systemic problems in policing in America and spend more on what communities across the U.S. need, like housing and education."

+ The Minneapolis City Council seems to have a broader definition. "In their boldest statement since George Floyd's killing, nine Minneapolis City Council members told a crowd Sunday that they will 'begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department.'" (It's difficult to carefully hone the messaging of a grassroots movement that has no leader. But it might be time to de-escalate the use of defund until everyone agrees on a definition.)

+ Change for a Twenty: Yesterday, I called on the NextDraft community help amplify a demand to fast-track the promised Harriet Tubman $20 bill. So far so good. We're pushing 8K Retweets. Please spread the world.


Utah Jazz

"The clip was short, but surreal: Mitt Romney—his face wrapped in a white mask, his sleeves rolled at the wrists—marches toward the White House alongside protesters chanting about police brutality. A reporter asks him what he's doing there, and the Republican senator from Utah responds: 'We need to stand up and say that black lives matter.'" McCay Coppins on a father, a son, and a long march. Why Romney Marched.


It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

"Demonstrators have closely gathered all over the country, and in blocks-long crowds in large cities, singing and chanting and demanding justice. Police officers have dealt with them roughly, crowding protesters together, blasting them with lung and eye irritants, and cramming them into paddy wagons and jails. There's no point in denying the obvious: Standing in a crowd for long periods raises the risk of increased transmission." The Atlantic: America Is Giving Up on the Pandemic. (Sadly, we don't get to decide when this fight is over...)

+ NYT Upshot: When 511 Epidemiologists Expect to Fly, Hug and Do 18 Other Everyday Activities Again.

+ WaPo: Shutdowns prevented 60 million coronavirus infections in the U.S., study finds.


Cover Charge

The turmoil in the streets has been met (and at times exceeded) by turmoil in newsrooms. Ben Smith in the NYT: "Historical moments don't have neat beginnings and endings, but the new way of covering civil rights protests, like the Black Lives Matter movement itself, coalesced on the streets of Ferguson."

+ Margaret Sullivan in WaPo: What's a journalist supposed to be now — an activist? A stenographer? "I am enough of a traditionalist that I don't like to see mainstream reporters acting like partisans — for example, by working on political campaigns. But it's more than acceptable that they should stand up for civil rights — for press rights, for racial justice, for gender equity and against economic inequality. Yes, it gets tricky in the moment." (It's tricky. But it's not that tricky. Cover reality. Don't amplify lies and anti-democratic messages. Don't allow outside forces to determine the day's headlines. The Commander in Chief is not the Editor in Chief. You're editors, so edit. And most of all, don't repeatedly create false equivalencies in an effort to answer the false claims about a biased press. Be biased ... in favor of the truth.)


Trill Seekers

The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated some of America's most pressing flaws. Example: Since the pandemic began, American billionaires made an extra half a trillion dollars.


Need to Get Away?

"Democracy in America has been a series of narrow escapes. We may be running out of luck, and no one is coming to save us. For that, we have only ourselves." Bill Moyers: We Hold This Truth to Be Self-Evident: It's Happening Before Our Very Eyes.

+ Marilynne Robinson: What kind of country do we want?


Gardening Angels

Good news for folks who have taken to the dirt during the pandemic. Princeton Study Finds That Home Gardening Makes You Happier. "This emotional well-being (EWB) that the study tracked was higher for vegetable gardeners than for ornamental gardeners. This might be because of the relationship you build with your vegetable plants as you watch them grow and mature over the course of the planting season." (I'm not yet building relationships with my vegetables. But a few more weeks of sheltering in place could change that.)


I Have a Scheme

"After a weekend of massive peaceful protests around the country, White House officials are currently deliberating a plan for President Donald Trump to address the nation this week on issues related to race and national unity." In the words of Warriors coach Steve Kerr: HAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


Cycle of Abuse

"Weinberg hadn't seen the viral story about the trail where he regularly biked. He didn't know that, for several days, the video had circulated online as law enforcement crowdsourced help in locating the suspect. Now that he had seen it, he didn't think he looked anything like this guy. And he didn't understand why anyone thought he was him." Understanding doesn't have much of a role when it comes to social media mobs. What It's Like to Get Doxed for Taking a Bike Ride.


Feel Good Monday

"Many quit their jobs to dedicate themselves to the search and others depleted their life savings. At least four people are believed to have died searching for it." $1m treasure in Rocky Mountains has been found, says Forrest Fenn.

+ "He started at 2 a.m. on Monday and did not stop cleaning for the next 10 hours. When an organized group of neighbors arrived later that morning to start clearing the damage, they found that Gwynn had already done most of the work." A teen who spent 10 hours cleaning up after a protest is rewarded with a car and a college scholarship. (I wish I could get off that cheap when it comes to getting my kids to clean up once in a while...)

+ The New White House Fence Is Getting Covered In Protest Art.

+ To get the sound we're looking for, you'll need a sax, and a really long natural gas pipeline.