Sunday, June 14th, 2020



The three least popular words of the social media era are: "I don't know." But, in this age of false certainty, alternative facts, and fake news, the unsettling truth is that even infectious disease experts don't have all the answers. They don't even share basic agreement when it comes to some of your most vital questions. One example: When should I send my kid to school? NYT Upshot asked 133 epidemiologists how they're making that decision for their own families. The answers range from "Children are relatively safe" to "I think it would be really stupid to reopen the schools in September, given the present course of things. Really. Stupid."

+ Meanwhile, some of the things we assumed would be no nos aren't proving to be that bad. In Japan and France, Riding Transit Looks Surprisingly Safe. So that means Americans can hit the subways and buses, right? Not so fast: "Riders in both Tokyo and Paris have been wearing masks — a habit long ingrained in Japan anyway — and have been maintaining as much social distance as possible. Observers of Japan's low transmission rate for public transit have also noted that transit riders there tend to travel in silence — significant since speaking is a very effective disperser of virus-infected aerosol." Americans following guidelines, wearing masks, and keeping silent for the good of their fellow citizens? ROFL.


Hoop Seams

"Back in the proposal phase, the discussions were centered on how many teams would be invited or whether there would be a play-in game. Now, the details that are playing out in public are health protocols that carry far more weight." Maybe the NBA's Return Won't Be As Easy As It Seemed. Do professional sports owe us the mental respite afforded by a return in any form? Or do they owe us the cold, hard truth that the pandemic is as dangerous as ever and acting normal can kill you? IDK.


Drive Thru the Looking Glass

"A white Atlanta police officer fatally shot an African American father of several young children late Friday night following a struggle outside a Wendy's restaurant on the city's southside, sparking calls for reform and demonstrations that led to vandalism and arrests." Protests ensued, the Wendy's was burned to the ground, the officer has been fired, another is on administrative leave, and Atlanta's police chief has stepped down. Atlanta police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks roils city.

+ "Video posted on social media showed Brooks on the ground wrestling with two white Atlanta police officers in the parking lot. Officers attempted to use a Taser on Brooks, who was able to wrestle the stun gun away and run away, with officers in pursuit. Shots are heard but not seen in the video."

+ The police killing of Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy's drive-though, explained.


Food Chainsaw

"The worst may be yet to come, thanks to the ongoing recession. Regional food banks—which are intended to be safety nets, not main sources of food—fear that they won't be able to meet the swelling need." The Atlantic: The Pandemic Hunger Crisis Is Only Just Getting Started. (For months, we've had farmers stuck with excess food and citizens going hungry. This is one of the disconnects that could have been managed by now if anyone in the administration was still working on this, or any other, pandemic-related issue...)


Head Fake

Buzzfeed on one of the terrible side effects of the pandemic, and the seemingly endless examples of terrible leadership in this era. "For thousands of women in Mexico, the pandemic has meant a double threat: the risk of getting infected by the coronavirus, and the danger of being quarantined at home with an abusive partner. Many have been forced to flee. And yet, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador — whose government last year was forced to backtrack on a planned budget cut for domestic violence shelters after criticism from human rights groups — has dismissed reports of rising rates of violence, saying last month that 90% of 911 calls by women are 'fake.'"


Picks, Or It Didn’t Happen

"With his triumphal stride through the square to historical St. John's Episcopal Church, Trump had hoped to appear strong and dominant, and to dispel the narrative of him hiding in the secured White House bunker during evening protests outside. Demanding a show of force, he sought to make the nation's capital a shining example of how to control the streets amid racial unrest. Instead, the photo op proved calamitous." Lafayette Square clash, still reverberating, becomes an iconic episode in Donald Trump's presidency. Stuart Stevens, a longtime Republican strategist and ad maker who works with the Lincoln Project: "History picks these moments. It picked the march on Selma. It picked Bull Connor sending dogs against children. It picked the burning child from Vietnam." (Let's hope history picks a new course soon.)


Cashes to Cashes, Dust to Dust

Follow the money. It's an old adage in politics, and it should be especially true when the money is yours. That said, the Trump administration won't say who got $511 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus loans.


Perplex, Lies, and Videotape

First, the part they did on purpose: "Fox News published digitally altered and misleading images on its website's homepage Friday that made a demonstration in Seattle, in which a group of largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters have occupied six city blocks, appear violent and dangerous." And now the part they did by accident. Fox News Mocked After Mistaking Monty Python Joke for Seattle Protest Infighting. Together, these stories would be funny if these monsters weren't ruining our country.


The Tortoise and the Hair

Two infected Missouri hairstylists were wearing masks. None of their 140 customers, also masked, got COVID-19. (There's definitely a moral to this story, I just can't put my gloved finger on it.)


Feel Good Sunday

"Pictures showed a white man clutching his head as a black man carried him over his shoulders, flanked by police in riot gear." In London skirmishes, suspected far-right protester is rescued by a BLM protester.

+ College students create new way for farmers to donate to food banks.

+ Newspaper deliveryman has made 500 grocery runs for seniors during the coronavirus pandemic. (I better bring my parents some snacks today so I can maintain my lead...)