Wednesday, June 10th, 2020


Dissing Enfranchisement

So, you want to build the world's most powerful democracy. Step one, make sure everyone who wants to vote can vote. What's step two? We'll get to that after we complete step one — which most observers hoped America would have largely ironed out after nearly 250 years. But, as Georgia showed, we're still not there (and failing for that long suggests that, for some in power, the glitches are a feature, not a bug). Forget the faux controversy over voting by mail. On Tuesday, many Georgians would have been satisfied voting by fossilization. "Poll workers couldn't get voting machines to work. Precincts opened late. Social-distancing requirements created long lines. Some voters gave up and went home." Atlanta Journal Constitution: Voting machines and coronavirus force long lines on Georgia voters.

+ Georgia election 'catastrophe' in largely minority areas sparks investigation. "Cody Cutting was in a long line at Lang Carson Community Center in the Reynoldstown neighborhood of Atlanta, where the line snaked around the block and some people had been waiting to cast their votes for 4½ hours." (If you added up all the time I've waited in line to vote in my entire life, I doubt it would break twenty minutes.)

+ Seriously, look at these lines. (How difficult it is to vote could be a crucial factor in the 2020 election. If you live in a state like Georgia, you might want to start lining up for November 3rd right ... about ... now.)


Blow Hard Times

Speaking of lines... "The great coca crash of 2020 — prices for the leaf in some regions of South America have fallen as much as 73 percent — illustrates the extent to which the pandemic is disrupting every aspect of global trade, including the traffic in illegal drugs." WaPo: The coronavirus has gutted the price of coca. It could reshape the cocaine trade. (In related news, NextDraft will be published 14 times a day starting now.)


Bourbon Vivant

WaPo: "As the number of new coronavirus cases continues to increase worldwide, and more than a dozen states and Puerto Rico are recording their highest averages of new cases since the pandemic began, hospitalizations in at least nine states have been on the rise since Memorial Day." If Memorial Day led to a spike, what will the massive protests lead to?

+ Slate: I'm an ER Doctor. Here's What I Feel OK Doing as My State Reopens. "I know that people want to be safe and healthy but that they also want art, and laughter, and music, and bourbon—to create them and to consume them."


Park Slope

This is a pretty amazing video timeline of the crackdown on protesters in Lafayette Park before Trump's photo op; one of the darker days in recent political memory. And here are some reflections from members of the National Guard who were called into to quell the protest. "The crowd was loud but peaceful, and at no point did I feel in danger, and I was standing right there in the front of the line. A lot of us are still struggling to process this, but in a lot of ways, I believe I saw civil rights being violated in order for a photo op. I'm here to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and what I just saw goes against my oath and to see everyone try to cover up what really happened. What I saw was just absolutely wrong."

+ Quelling the protests is not quelling the support. "In the last two weeks, American voters' support for the Black Lives Matter movement increased almost as much as it had in the preceding two years."

+ Example: NASCAR legends voice support for George Floyd protests.

+ Meanwhile, Cops cancelled. Not the police force, the show.


Molecule Runnings

The NYT on a new study that showed that a Single Session of Exercise Alters 9,815 Molecules in Our Blood. "It was like a symphony,' says Michael Snyder, the chair of the genetics department at Stanford University and senior author of the study. 'First you have the brass section coming in, then the strings, then all the sections joining in.'" (My body just plays one long tuba solo.)


Bet Offensive

"Online brokerages have seen a record number of new accounts opened this year, and the big four — E-Trade, TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers — executed as many trades in March and April as in the whole first half of last year, per public disclosures." The big money is on the sidelines. But the market is soaring. Sports bettors may be a driving force behind the stock market surge. (Don't ask me. When the pandemic hit, I bet the under.)


Club Dread

NPR: "Across the country, music venues remain closed due to the pandemic — and according to a new survey, 90 percent of independent venue owners, promoters and bookers say that they will have to close permanently within the next few months, if they can't get an infusion of targeted government funding."


American Sycophant

"So here we have Kushner, a powerful special adviser with no meaningful expertise in public health or epidemiology, using a breathtakingly specious chart produced by an economist who'd flubbed the biggest prediction he'd ever made—all as a justification for the federal government to do less to confront a rampaging pandemic. While the Trump years have offered many such crystalline and bottomless moments of executive abandonment, this one felt uniquely Jared." David Roth in TNR: American Psycho.


Dom Perignon

"Before the pandemic, she made most of her earnings through ‘cash meets'. 'I'd usually take money out of a sub's wallet, maybe say something humiliating, and walk away,' she says of a typical day's work ... now the risk of Covid-19 has made this impossible ... so, at the start of lockdown, Kiara started using the video game Animal Crossing to keep a close relationship with her clients from a safe distance, using the in-game mechanics to subdue and order them around. On Animal Crossing, subs may pay a fee to go to Kiara's or another domme's virtual island, and carry out various chores for them, such as weeding their gardens, tidying their homes, or planting flowers." WiredUK: Lockdown sex workers are flocking to Animal Crossing and Second Life. (I might try this. I haven't had sex in several Fortnites...)


Feel Good Wednesday

"I do not want to watch Joe the Screenwriter tell me to organize a screenplay on index cards, but my eyes perk up when Spike Lee pulls out a jewelry box packed with notecards that he transformed into 'Bamboozled.' The next time I actually shoot a basketball might literally be years from now, but I'll happily have Steph show me how, because I'll never watch him drain a three again without thinking about how he's aiming for the hooks between the rim and net." Master of None: what I learned from trying all 81 MasterClasses.

+ The Sony World Photography Awards.

+ The NextDraft T-Shirt Store has been blowing up. Get yours and post a photo of yourself wearing it (even if it's just you quarantining on the couch, which is actually pretty on brand.) And there's a mask store too.