Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020


Racing in the Street

For all the shut-down strangers and hot rod angels / Rumbling through this promised land / Tonight my baby and me we're gonna ride to the sea / And wash these sins off our hands.

This is a strange, unique, frustrating, painful, and divisive era. But at divisive moments, people are often forced to unequivocally pick a side. NASCAR is a brand often accused of driving around in circles when it comes to racial progress. But on Monday, a day after the discovery of a noose in Bubba Wallace's garage stall, an entire field of drivers took a side; the right side. "Bubba Wallace steered the No. 43 to the front of pit road, NASCAR champion Kyle Busch pushing the famous car on one side and close friend Ryan Blaney pushing on the other. The entire 40-driver field and their crew members followed. After the car came to a stop, Wallace climbed out, sat on the window ledge and sobbed. Richard Petty, his Hall of Fame team owner, gently placed a hand on Wallace's shoulder."

+ To paraphrase Ferris Bueller: News moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look at the good stuff once in a while, you could miss it. You don't want to miss this video. There is plenty of ugliness in America. But there is also beauty.


Downbound Train

I got laid off down at the lumber yard / Our love went bad, times got hard / Now I work down at the carwash / Where all it ever does is rain / Don't you feel like you're a rider on a downbound train.

"The good: This money kept families afloat—at least for the first, intense months of shelter-in-place. New estimates suggest that the congressional rescue plan prevented poverty rates from rising, with many jobless workers seeing their incomes increase during lockdown due to the expanded unemployment-insurance payouts. The bad: It left out roughly 15 million people in immigrant families, many of whom were working essential jobs stocking grocery shelves, delivering takeout, and drawing blood in hospitals. And the ugly: The big helicopter drop was a onetime thing, and the unemployment-insurance expansion was time-limited." The Atlantic's Annie Lowrey on why economists are so worried about a Second Great Depression.

+ NPR: Why Reopening Isn't Enough To Save The Economy.


Glory Days

Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture / A little of the glory of / Well time slips away / And leaves you with nothing mister but / Boring stories of glory days.

"Major League Baseball plans to hold a 60-game season that will begin around July 24 but first needs players to sign off on a health-and-safety protocol and to pledge to arrive at home stadiums by July 1 to prepare for the season, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN." (I need this as much as anyone. But I have a feeling we'll have no baseball this year. Or football. Or even the scheduled NBA season. Even the most realistic of us are still underestimating the disaster we face: We're fighting a once in a generation battle with the absolute worst imaginable leadership. Uh, play ball?)

+ "In April, he was criticized for saying he would not want to take a vaccine for the virus in order to be able to compete, even if it were mandatory for travel." He's also broken several rules and downplayed the virus. Now, after holding a non-socially distanced tournament, Novak Djokovic has tested positive for coronavirus. Being hard-headed helps in tennis. Germs don't give a shit. Advantage, Covid.


There Goes My Miracle

The book of love holds its rules / Disobeyed by fools / Disobeyed by fools / There goes my miracle / Walking away, walking away.

Following the disastrous Tulsa rally, the president is heading for Covid-spiking Arizona for a celebration of his wall and an indoor speech at a 3,000 seat church. "Trump will be joined by Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy DHS secretary; and Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection." Now all we need is someone acting like a president.

+ Wired: "The Trump administration's immigration restrictions—all accomplished through executive order—have led to a sharp reduction in the number of visa applications approved each year, even as the number of people applying for new visas has fallen. The US' loss seems to be Canada's gain, with the greatest North American growth in tech workers happening not in San Francisco or New York, but Toronto."

+ Attendees of the Arizona rally shouldn't worry though, the church has tech that can "kill 99.9% of COVID-19 within 10 minutes." Look at these ridiculous imbeciles. I'm Jewish, but Jesus.

+ We trolled Trump's Tulsa rally with fake reservations. Here's why.


Born to Run

We're gonna get to that place where we really wanna go / And we'll walk in the sun / But 'til then tramps like us / Baby, we were born to run.

"Officials have contended with an avalanche of mail ballots as voters seek to avoid exposure to the novel coronavirus. It was a fresh illustration of how the pandemic is transforming the way elections are conducted in the United States.
It is also a stark preview of what's coming on Nov. 3 — or, more accurately, what may not be coming: an election night result in the race for the White House." WaPo: Barring a landslide, what's probably not coming on Nov. 3? A result in the race for the White House. (This would be less troubling if every day didn't currently feel like a week.)


High Hopes

Give me help, give me strength / Give a soul a night of fearless sleep / Give me love, give me peace / Don't you know these days you pay for everything / Got high hopes.

When the pandemic hit, my excellent friend Dr. Mike Levin knew that one of the biggest challenges of the era would be providing mental health to frontline workers. So he got hundreds of therapists to donate their hours and make them available to hospital workers and others who work tirelessly to save lives. He got some help from our talented pal Jeff O'Keefe at TBWAChiatDay, and today Frontline Workers Counseling Project is going public with a site, an amazing video you'll want to watch a few times, and most important, a GoFundMe page where you can help support the effort. Great work by all involved. Please spread the word to those who need help, and those who want to provide it.


Murder Incoporated

Now you check over your shoulder everywhere that you go / Walking down the street, there's eyes in every shadow / You better take a look around you (come on now) / That equipment you got is so outdated / You can't compete with murder incorporated / Everywhere you look now, murder incorporated.

"President Trump has spread some unfounded rumors about antifa to a national audience ... But on the local level, the source of the false information has usually been more subtle, and shows the complexity of stunting misinformation online. The bad information often first appears in a Twitter or Facebook post, or a YouTube video there. It is then shared on online spaces like local Facebook groups, the neighborhood social networking app Nextdoor and community texting networks. These posts can fall under the radar of the tech companies and online fact checkers." 41 Cities, Many Sources: How False Antifa Rumors Spread Locally. (Seriously, how do we run a country when huge swaths of the population are living in a world of make believe?)


Tenth Avenue Freeze Out

Seems like the whole world walking pretty / And you can't find the room to move ... / Turn around the corner things got real quiet real fast / I walked into a Tenth Avenue freeze-out.

"European Union countries rushing to revive their economies and reopen their borders after months of coronavirus restrictions are prepared to block Americans from entering because the United States has failed to control the scourge." NYT: E.U. May Bar American Travelers as It Reopens Borders, Citing Failures on Virus. (With Trump, it's always abroad.)


Thunder Road

It's a town full of losers, and I'm pulling out of here to win.

And now, the inspiration for today's all Bruce Springsteen song title edition (aside from the fact that the only reason I write NextDraft is because I hope he'll subscribe). Bruce Springsteen's Playlist for the Trump Era. "I think we've got hope for a vaccine. I think any time there is a 50-foot Black Lives Matter sign leading to the White House, that's a good sign. And the demonstrations have been white people and black people and brown people gathering together in the enraged name of love. That's a good sign. What's more, our president's numbers appear to be crashing through the basement. That's a good sign. I believe we may have finally reached a presidential tipping point with that Lafayette Square walk, which was so outrageously anti-American, so totally buffoonish and so stupid, and so anti–freedom of speech. And we have a video of it that will live on forever."


Bottom of the News

Experts call for regulation after latest botched art restoration in Spain. (Immaculate Conception painting by Murillo reportedly cleaned by furniture restorer.)

+ Barcelona Opera Reopens With An Audience Of Plants. (I've only been to the opera a few times, but I barely noticed the difference.)

+ This portable urinal company is flush with demand.