Sunday, June 28th, 2020


Virus Hunter Gatherings

We often justifiably focus on the terrible decisions being made by the worst and the dimmest. But there's another story playing out in labs across the world. The best and the brighest are racing to save our lives. "You have to stare at this image a bit to see its power. But look hard enough and you'll see that, from the virus's point of view, it's a terrifying new weapon to slow the pandemic. By revealing the genetic relationship between the viruses, the diagram exposes the social relationships between people it infects. 'It's basically a spotlight that tells you where to dig,' said DeRisi. 'In all of history, we've never had a really clear picture of the spread of the virus. That just changed.'" Michael Lewis in Bloomberg: The New Weapon in the Covid-19 War. "'Our state government should be doing this,' said DeRisi. 'It should be asking: What are our social relationships and which ones lead to the transmission of disease? That's what you would do in a rational society.'" (I always wondered what people did in those...)


Q and Weigh

One of things that makes the pandemic especially tough on kids is that it's a case where their parents (at least the honest ones) don't have the answers. That's because even the experts often feel the same. There's a lot of great information in this interview between The New Yorker's Isaac Chotiner and Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard's T. H. Chan School of Public Health. But one thing that stands out is that even Lipsitch isn't always sure how to answer your most pressing questions. What Activities Are Safe as the Coronavirus Continues to Spread? The only thing every expert is sure of is that we've screwed up the response to the threat. "I think not just poor policy choices but deliberate minimization of the threat by our national government, and a deliberate sidelining of public-health authorities in the response. And if you take the President's words seriously, there are deliberate efforts to continue misunderstanding the epidemic by keeping testing limited. It all amounts to a really clear explanation for why we have the size of problem we have."


Fore Skinhead

"Trump retweeted the video, which was shared by an unknown Twitter user, and said, Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!'" The video that the president of the United States shared featured a person in a golf cart yelling "White Power!" Trump later deleted the Tweet. I'm as sick of covering these monstrosities as you are of reading about them. But this is a disaster from which we can't turn away. In related news, Global coronavirus cases have exceeded 10 million.

+ Trump Campaign Removed Thousands of Social Distancing Stickers Before Tulsa Rally.


Woken Hearts

"As companies and organizations of all sorts have scrambled to institute a zero-tolerance policy on racism over the past few weeks, some of them have turned out to be more interested in signaling their good intentions than punishing actual culprits. This emphasis on appearing rather than being virtuous has already resulted in the mistreatment of innocent people—not all of them public figures or well-connected individuals with wealth to cushion their fall." Yascha Mounk in The Atlantic: Stop Firing the Innocent. (In other words, if you have a president who's retweeting white power messages, it might be the wrong time to start canceling people who are really, really woke, but just not quite woke enough.)


Frap Battle

Corporations like to move in the safety of numbers. The numbers are now there when it comes to using financial pressure to force social networks to clean up their acts. Starbucks follows Coke and Unilever in pausing ads 'across all social media platforms' in effort to combat hate speech. (The same effort should be targeting Fox News.)


Madison’s Avenue

"Madison Cawthorn is a hardcore Republican. The 24-year-old opposes so-called sanctuary cities, universal healthcare, and abortion — and is a climate change skeptic. He's a committed Christian who wants to cut government spending. He counts Charlie Kirk and Ben Shapiro as his conservative role models. He is also very likely to be the first Gen Z member of Congress." Buzzfeed: Most Of Gen Z Leans Left, But Their First Member Of Congress Will Probably Be Way To The Right. (24 year-old Madison Cawthorn's opposition had the backing of Trump, Mark Meadows, and many other insiders. He won his primary by a big margin.)


Tangled Up in Blue

"Only one of the so-called Unger prisoners was cleared of his crime, according to Becky Feldman, a deputy chief with the Maryland public defender's office. The other inmates agreed not to challenge their convictions in return for a sentence of time served. Myers and Richardson, Blue's co-defendants, took the deal and walked free in May 2013. Blue had no interest in such an offer. 'He was adamant that he was not guilty.'" Justin Fenton in The Baltimore Sun with a story that starts out brutal and then gets much worse. But you should still read it. Anthony Blue spent more than 40 years in Maryland prisons for a crime he said he did not commit. Then came coronavirus.


Mattress Dance

"In registering for the initial public offering, Casper failed to disclose that its profit margins were narrowing and that it was selling 'a glut of old and outdated mattress inventory' at clearance prices, according to the lawsuit, which was filed last week in federal court in New York and demands unspecified damages. Then, in April, Casper said it was working to "improve its cash position and business model," the suit continues, 'notwithstanding the fact that the company had raised more than $100 million in gross offering proceeds from the IPO' less than three months earlier." Bloomberg: Mattress Unicorn Casper Accused of Misleading Investors With IPO. Wow. If you can't trust a mattress store, who can you trust...


A Christopher Cross to Bear

"The 47-year-old sailor could have stayed put on the tiny Portuguese island of Porto Santo, to ride out the era of lockdowns and social distancing in a scenic place largely spared by the virus. But the idea of spending what he thought could be "the end of the world" away from his family, especially his father who was soon to turn 90, was unbearable. So he said he loaded his 29-foot sailboat with canned tuna, fruit and rice and set sail in mid-March." NYT: With Flights Banned, Son Sails Solo Across Atlantic to Reach Father, 90. (My parents treated me like a conquering hero when I dropped off some of their favorite cole slaw.)


Bottom of the News

"The English Football League's Leeds United had to issue a formal apology after a fan submitted an image of Osama bin Laden that appeared in the front row of a crowd at one of the team's games." The SF Giants will display cardboard cutouts of fans at games, a move that has gone poorly elsewhere. (I may take a few days off from NextDraft so I can really give some thought to what my photo is gonna be...)

+ Michigan candidate's daughter urges people not to vote for him in viral tweet. This could be the first family pandemic story I can relate to...