June 30th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Et Tu, EU? Plus, the gadget that taught the world to socially distance.

I know what EU did this summer. I realize that it may not affect the president’s travel plans, since he’s just not that into EU. And while I wasn’t planning to get on a plane any time soon, EU shook me all night long with its latest move. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “EU cannot be serious!” But I’ve got nothing against EU. I love EU to death, but I don’t want to do that literally. EU only live once, and whatever doesn’t kill EU makes EU stronger. This story is a lot more ominous than your canceled summer vacation plans. That’s why I got to get EU back in my life, because until I do, it means America is in deep trouble. European Union bars travelers from U.S. citing coronavirus concerns.

+ This is not about politics. It’s about science. One graphic explains why Americans are facing an EU travel ban.

+ It’s not just Europe. States are quarantining each other. New York to require travelers from 16 states to quarantine.

+ America has turned a once in a generation crisis into something much worse. Anthony Fauci: “We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so I am very concerned.”

+ We’re hearing about surging caseloads in Arizona, Texas, and Florida. But even states like California that took the threat seriously are seeing a rise. “‘To some extent I think our luck may have run out,’ said Dr. Bob Wachter, a professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. ‘This is faster and worse than I expected. You have to have a ton of respect for this thing. It is nasty and it just lurks and waits to stomp on you if you let your guard down for a second.'”

+ In other news, a flu virus with ‘pandemic potential’ has been found in China.


You’re Fired

“Most infected people don’t pass on the coronavirus to someone else. But a small number pass it on to many others in so-called superspreading events.” NYT: Most People With Coronavirus Won’t Spread It. Why Do a Few Infect Many? “You can think about throwing a match at kindling. You throw one match, it may not light the kindling. You throw another match, it may not light the kindling. But then one match hits in the right spot, and all of a sudden the fire goes up.” (Meanwhile, Donald Trump runs our fire department…)

+ 88 people got sick with the coronavirus from one bar reopening in Michigan.


Postmodern China

“Today is the darkest day for Hong Kong.” So said artist and activist Ai Weiwei after China passed a controversial security law giving it new powers over Hong Kong.

+ The impact was immediate: “In the space of a few hours on Tuesday morning, some of the most prominent activists resigned and the groups they led, which had spurred more than a year of sometimes-violent protests, disbanded. Social media posts were erased, pro-democracy protest art was removed from buildings, and one pro-China lawmaker offered huge rewards to anyone willing to snitch on protesters who had fled the city.”

+ China cuts Uighur births with IUDs, abortion, sterilization.


Leaky Guts Syndrome

“The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues at the time that he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.” AP: White House aware of Russian bounties in 2019. (I’m not sure putting it in his written daily briefing would do much. It seems like Trump only reads two things: Love letters from Kim Jong Un and orders from Putin.)

+ There are two big stories here. The first is that troops may have been put in danger because of laziness, ignorance, or something worse. The second is that leaks from insiders are coming so fast even Laird Hamilton wants no part of this wave. Carl Bernstein in CNN: “In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America’s principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials — including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff — that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States.”


Louisville Slugfest

“McGrath edged out her Democratic opponent, state Rep. Charles Booker, who enjoyed a late groundswell of support as he emerged as a national voice during protests over police brutality and racial injustice and attracted support from progressives across the country.” The Kentucky Senate race will feature Amy McGrath vs Mitch McConnell in the most closely watched, heavily financed, and perhaps most consequential campaign outside of the race for the White House.


Long John

“Roberts is a capable tactician who understands history, public opinion, and how much pressure any one institution can withstand without breaking. He may also be one of the only sitting justices who understands how the modern news cycle works, and he has managed to surf that cycle flawlessly, this term as in prior years. If he has a superpower, it is that he knows how to do consequential things in small ways, at a moment in which everyone else is swinging for the fences.” Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick on the Supreme Court’s latest abortion ruling and the Chief Justice’s long game. John Roberts Isn’t a Liberal. He’s a Perfectionist Who Wants to Win.

+ The New Yorker: “Roberts, I think, unlike Brett Kavanaugh, wants to look as if he cares about precedent. And he couldn’t in good conscience do that while voting to uphold this law. So it means that respect for precedent will carry some kind of weight with this majority. But it also means that, if there is some way to convince Roberts that he can save face and still undo abortion rights, he will probably take it.”


Monster Jam

“DeAngelo, 74, admitted to a 12-year binge of murder, rapes, burglaries and other crimes from the Sacramento area to Orange County that captivated the world and garnered him a multitude of nicknames: Golden State Killer, Visalia Ransacker, Original Night Stalker and, as he was known in Sacramento, the East Area Rapist.” Sacramento Bee: Joseph DeAngelo admits guilt in Golden State Killer murders, rapes.


The Showman of Showmen

“Reiner first came to prominence as a regular cast member of Sid Caesar’s ‘Your Show of Shows,’ for which he won two Emmys in 1956 and 1957 in the supporting category. He met Brooks during his time with Caesar. The two went on to have a long-running friendship and comedy partnership through the recurring ‘2000 Year Old Man’ sketches.” Carl Reiner, Comedy Legend and ‘Dick Van Dyke Show’ Creator, Dies at 98. (You could just tell what a nice, great guy he was.)

+ “Given that Brooks made Blazing Saddles, The Producers, and Young Frankenstein, and Reiner directed The Jerk, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, and The Man With Two Brains, while little Robbie Reiner on the staircase grew up to make This Is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally, it’s pretty easy to argue that much of the best mid to late 20th-century American comedy emerged from the people currently and formerly in this house.” A nice story about the friendship between Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, published a few months ago.


Soundabout Right

The New Yorker’s Matt Alt on the gadget that taught the world to socially distance.”Of course, there was most certainly a before and after, a point around which the cultural gravity of our plugged-in-yet-tuned-out modern lives shifted. Its name is Walkman, and it was invented, in Japan, in 1979. After the Walkman arrived on American shores, in June of 1980, under the temporary name of Soundabout, our days would never be the same.” (I bought mine when they were still called Soundabouts. It was the last time I was ahead of the curve.)


Bottom of the News

There’s something so great about watching this family rescue a bear cub swimming with a jar stuck on its head. (I wonder if they’d be willing to join the Coronavirus Task Force…)

+ It’s not just George Conway. Kellyanne Conway’s Kid Is an Anti-Trump Leftist TikTokker.

+ Scat feels better: digestive health of Japan deer improves as tourist snacks dwindle. (And you say I never look on the bright side…)

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