June 29th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

A negotiation between world powers, a virtual Tour De France, and the interesting life of the real Graduate.

“The concessions to Trump have led to a transformation of the world’s information battlefield. They paved the way for a growing list of digitally savvy politicians to repeatedly push out misinformation and incendiary political language to billions of people. It has complicated the public understanding of major events such as the pandemic and the protest movement, as well as contributed to polarization. And as Trump grew in power, the fear of his wrath pushed Facebook into more deferential behavior toward its growing number of right-leaning users, tilting the balance of news people see on the network, according to the current and former employees.” An investigation into how direct negotiations between two world super powers (America and Facebook, not necessarily in that order) have shaped the way people view some of the biggest issues in their lives. Zuckerberg once wanted to sanction Trump. Then Facebook wrote rules that accommodated him.

+ Meanwhile, Twitch temporarily bans President Trump.

+ In unrelated social media posts, Trump retweeted a video of a white St. Louis couple pointing guns at protesters, a day after retweeting a guy yelling, “White Power.” (Maybe, just maybe, he should do something other than watch TV and tweet all day?)


Fools Russian

Wise man say, only fools Russian. But I can’t help falling in love with you… Maybe the particularly rabid tweeting is intended to distract from the particularly disturbing story about Russian bounties. Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops, according to intelligence assessments.

+ “Barr was able to dismantle the Mueller report only because the special counsel and his staff had made it easy for him to do so. Robert Mueller forfeited the opportunity to speak clearly and directly about Trump’s crimes, and Barr filled the silence with his high-volume exoneration. Mueller’s investigation was no witch hunt; his report was, ultimately, a surrender.” The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin: Why the Mueller Investigation Failed.


LA Law

“Justice Stephen Breyer, in an opinion joined by rest of the court’s liberal wing, wrote that the Louisiana law would make it ‘impossible for many women to obtain a safe, legal abortion in the State and [impose] substantial obstacles on those who could.’ Roberts, in a separate concurring opinion, disagreed with the liberal justices’ reasoning but said he was bound by the precedent the court set just four years ago when it rejected a similar law in Texas.” (This was basically the exact same case brought again, in the hopes that the new court makeup would result in a different outcome.) Politico: Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion law.

+ Supreme Court won’t stop scheduled federal executions.


From Bad to Worst

“For months, experts have warned of a potential nightmare scenario: After overwhelming health systems in some of the world’s wealthiest regions, the coronavirus gains a foothold in poor or war-torn countries ill-equipped to contain it and sweeps through the population. Now some of those fears are being realized.” AP: Worst virus fears are realized in poor or war-torn countries.


Covid Test Results in Math Quiz

Prior to heading out on the same camping trip, two people took the same Covid19 test at the same emergency center in Austin. Both tests came back negative. Then their bills came. And that’s where the similarities stopped. NYT Upshot: Two Friends in Texas Were Tested for Coronavirus. One Bill Was $199. The Other? $6,408.


The All Blighty Dollar

“The number of incidents can be explained in part by the stores’ ubiquity: There are now more than 16,000 Dollar Generals and nearly 8,000 Family Dollars in the United States, a 50% increase in the past decade. (By comparison, Walmart has about 4,700 stores in the U.S.) The stores are often in high-crime neighborhoods, where there simply aren’t many other businesses for criminals to target. Routine gun violence has fallen sharply in prosperous cities around the country, but it has remained stubbornly high in many of the cities and towns where these stores predominate. The glowing signs of the discount chains have become indicators of neglect, markers of a geography of the places that the country has written off. But these factors are not sufficient to explain the trend.” ProPublica: How Dollar Stores Became Magnets for Crime and Killing.


Hello Darkness My Old Friend

“Lots of people momentarily embrace the idea of leaving the rat race, like the characters in The Graduate.’ Mr. Webb and Ms. Rudd did it, with all the consequences it entailed. If they regretted the choice, they did not say so.” A particularly interesting NYT obituary for Charles Webb, the elusive author of ‘The Graduate,’ who died at 81. “Charles Richard Webb was born on June 9, 1939, in San Francisco, and grew up in Pasadena, Calif. His father, Dr. Richard Webb, was a heart specialist, part of a wealthy social circle like the one Charles would skewer in ‘The Graduate.’ (Charles described his relationship with his father as ‘reasonably bad.’)”


Flag this Message

“We are better today than we were yesterday … We are not betraying our heritage. We are fulfilling it.” So said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn as Mississippi furls state flag with Confederate emblem after 126 years.


Breaking Away From Reality

“Meanwhile, a heart rate monitor on my arm connects to a fan called the Headwind, which blows air based upon my simulated speed. How can I see my laptop from my bike? There’s a solution for that, too, with a rubber-topped telescoping desk that floats right over my handlebars. All in all, it’s about $5,000 in racing equipment that’s guaranteed to never move me an inch, the finest hamster wheel that money can buy.” FastCo: The Tour de France goes virtual, as e-cycling takes off during quarantine.

+ Outside: The Tour de France Goes Virtual. (I wonder if they’ll incorporate virtual blood doping…)


Bottom of the News

“A man caught on video swimming in the indoor aquarium at Bass Pro Shop in Bossier City earlier this week has been identified and arrested by police.” (If you teach a man to fish … these kinds of things wouldn’t happen…)

+ Woman sues for paternity test on goats. (Relax, it’s not what you think…)

+ Trump Mistakes Cowboy Sculpture In His Office As Teddy Roosevelt In Interview About Knowing The History Of Statues.

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