June 9th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Peace in the Middle East, Health Care and the American Ream, and what Camden can teach us.

Welcome to the Hotel Corona/Such a lovely place/They’re livin’ it up at the Hotel Corona/What a nice surprise. We’ve all learned lessons from our time sheltering in place. In a pleasant irony, isolation in Israel taught people from different cultures that it’s better when they’re together. Similar lessons are being learned on the streets of America. NPR: Everybody’s Getting Along Here: How ‘Hotel Corona’ United Israelis And Palestinians. “The guests, as he called them, came from many walks of life — Israeli Jews, Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, religious, secular — but all had one thing in common: They were among thousands of COVID-19 patients the Israeli military quarantined in hotels throughout the country.” Welcome to the Hotel Corona. You can check out any time you want, but you may not want to leave.


The American Ream

The NYT: The American health system in one lede. “HCA Healthcare is one of the world’s wealthiest hospital chains. It earned more than $7 billion in profits over the past two years. It is worth $36 billion. It paid its chief executive $26 million in 2019. But as the coronavirus swept the country, employees at HCA repeatedly complained that the company was not providing adequate protective gear to nurses, medical technicians and cleaning staff. Last month, HCA executives warned that they would lay off thousands of nurses if they didn’t agree to wage freezes and other concessions. A few weeks earlier, HCA had received about $1 billion in bailout funds from the federal government, part of an effort to stabilize hospitals during the pandemic.”


Super Market Check Out

“You can already sense in the public debate over the economy that people are starting to lose the thread — viewing the slight rebound from epic collapse as a sign that a crisis has been averted. That certainly is the kind of optimism evident in the stock market, which is now down a mere 1.1 percent for the year.” NYT Upshot: Don’t Lose the Thread. The Economy Is Experiencing an Epic Collapse of Demand. (Even with the fed stimulus and the growing economic divide, the stock market run is shocking.)

+ 25,000 stores are predicted to close in 2020.


The President Gets Oaned

Pressure is building inside the White House. The virus (although rarely mentioned in the Oval Office anymore) has killed more than 110,000 Americans and 14 states are seeing record high new cases. The protesters have taken over the streets—and the storyline. And poll numbers are so ugly that there are even rumors that Jared Kushner and Brad Parscale could be removed from campaign duties. So what’s a president to do? Watch TV. And lots of it. But not just any TV. Watch the worst TV from a whacked out network called OAN (who got their news from a blogger known for fake stories), and then repeat what they report to the world. How crazy? This crazy: “I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?” President Trump tweets Buffalo incident antifa conspiracy theory that originated on anonymous blog. (I have a feeling Trump is building up OAN because he plans to run it as TrumpTV if he loses the election. And after what he’s done to the presidency, that sounds like a promotion.)


Cam Bridge

“What’s happening in this city, which for many years has been deemed among the dangerous in America? Thomson, who took the helm of the Camden police force in 2008, says the biggest factor may have been the change in structure of the department itself.” CityLab on a smallish city with a big lesson. What Happened to Crime in Camden?

+ CNN: “The city, home to a population about 17% of Minneapolis’ size, dissolved its police department in 2012 and replaced it with an entirely new one after corruption rendered the existing agency unfixable. Before its police reforms, Camden was routinely named one of the most violent cities in the US. Now, seven years after the old department was booted (though around 100 officers were rehired), the city’s crime has dropped by close to half. Officers host outdoor parties for residents and knock on doors to introduce themselves. It’s a radically different Camden than it was even a decade ago.” Here’s how they did it.

+ From the chief who turned it around: “I don’t see a democratic society wherein you could completely eliminate a police force. I do think that there are some serious conversations that can happen with regards to defunding police. There are greater public safety returns on investment with programs other than putting money towards enforcement.”

+ An excellent overview from The Marshall Project: Support For Defunding The Police Department Is Growing. Here’s Why It’s Not A Silver Bullet. “Past attempts to cut police spending or alter police policies offer cautionary tales of how some efforts backfire, and entrenched aggressive tactics and racially discriminatory attitudes remain.”


Facial Expression of Solidarity

“IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency.” CNBC: IBM gets out of facial recognition business, calls on Congress to advance policies tackling racial injustice. (It’s not a huge source of revenue, but this is still a pretty big deal.)


Civil Warts

“While on active duty, in fact, I never thought much about these men—about the nature of their service during the Civil War, their postwar activities (which in John Brown Gordon’s case likely included a leadership role in the first Ku Klux Klan), the reasons they were honored, or the timing of the various forts’ dedications. Nor did I think about the messages those names sent to the many African Americans serving on these installations—messages that should have been noted by all of us.” David Petraeus: Take the Confederate Names Off Our Army Bases.

+ NPR: Protests are Bringing Down Confederate Monuments Around The South.


Bear Market

“Hunters will soon be allowed to venture into national preserves in Alaska and engage in practices that conservation groups say are reprehensible: baiting hibernating bears from their dens with doughnuts to kill them and using artificial light such as headlamps to scurry into wolf dens to slaughter mothers and their pups.” WaPo: Trump administration makes it easier for hunters to kill bear cubs and wolf pups in Alaska.


Feel Good Tuesday

“A few weeks ago, a nature photographer who lives near Yellowstone national park sent a four-word text message to Dr Jane Goodall, the British primatologist. ‘Miraculously, she still lives!'” Famed Yellowstone bear emerges from winter – with cubs. (Someone tell her about the crazy law in number 8 and then drop her off in DC.)

+ A 9-year-old and her friends raised $40,000 for black-owned businesses by selling homemade bracelets.

+ One guy. One basement. Can You Dig It?

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