July 2nd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The world can't believe what its seeing, judges that commit crimes, and Tik Toking from the joint.

Americans should be talking about how we flattened the virus, what a relief it is to be able to interact in a seminormal way with our friends and family, and how great it will be to get the kids back in school in the Fall. That’s what’s happening in countries around the world. Thomas Chatterton Williams in The Atlantic has seen life largely return to normal in France, and wonders, Do Americans Understand How Badly They’re Doing? “Texas, Florida, and Arizona are the newest hubs of contagion, having apparently learned nothing from the other countries and states that previously experienced surges in cases. I stared at my phone in disbelief when the musician Rosanne Cash wrote on Twitter that her daughter had been called a “liberal pussy!” in Nashville for wearing a mask to buy groceries.” (You want Freedom Fries with that?)

+ To get an idea of how differently politicians are being held accountable in other countries, consider this headline: New Zealand Health Official Resigns Over Two Covid-19 Cases Imported From Britain.

+ In fairness, after more than 128,000 deaths, President Trump has finally warmed to the idea of wearing a mask, saying his made him look like the Lone Ranger. (Too bad Tonto already moved to Canada.) It’s worth noting that the Lone Ranger wore a mask over his eyes.


Child and Labor

“For months, I’ve been muttering about this — in group texts, in secret Facebook groups for moms, in masked encounters when I bump into a parent friend on the street. We all ask one another why we aren’t making more noise. The consensus is that everyone agrees this is a catastrophe, but we are too bone-tired to raise our voices above a groan, let alone scream through a megaphone. Every single person confesses burnout, despair, feeling like they are losing their minds, knowing in their guts that this is untenable.” Deb Perelman in the NYT: In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both. (After several months of being locked in my house, I’ll take the job…)

+ More people will face this dilemma as jobs are added back to the market; 4.8 million were in June. But don’t call it a comeback. As WaPo’s
Philip Bump explains, these numbers don’t take into account that the virus surged as well.

+ The economic news has been great at the top. Jeff Bezos’s Wealth Soars to $171.6 Billion to Top Pre-Divorce Record. “His gains — $56.7 billion this year alone — underscore a widening wealth gap in the U.S. during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.”



“Judge Les Hayes once sentenced a single mother to 496 days behind bars for failing to pay traffic tickets. The sentence was so stiff it exceeded the jail time Alabama allows for negligent homicide.” He got a suspension, but still got back on the bench and retired a judge. Turns out this is the rule, not the exception. Reuters: Thousands of U.S. judges who broke laws or oaths remained on the bench. “All told, 9 of every 10 judges were allowed to return to the bench after they were sanctioned for misconduct, Reuters determined. They included a California judge who had sex in his courthouse chambers, once with his former law intern and separately with an attorney; a New York judge who berated domestic violence victims; and a Maryland judge who, after his arrest for driving drunk, was allowed to return to the bench provided he took a Breathalyzer test before each appearance.” (At this point, I’m glad that’s not a requirement for news curators…)


Maxwell (Big) House

“The document alleges a pattern of behavior, saying Maxwell took the girls shopping and to the movies, asked them about their families and their lives at school and then attempted “to normalize sexual abuse.” She sometimes did that, the indictment alleges, by undressing in front of the victims or involving them in sexualized massages.’ ‘Maxwell’s presence during minor victims’ interactions with Epstein, including interactions where the minor victim was undressed or that involved sex acts with Epstein, helped put the victims at ease because an adult woman was present.” NPR: Ghislaine Maxwell Arrested, Charged In Connection To Jeffrey Epstein Abuse Case. (There are a lot of nervous, wealthy dudes right about now.)


Moderna, Man, Nah

The way I see it, whoever discovers the most effective Covid19 vaccine should be lauded, celebrated, and rich beyond their wildest dreams. But should people be achieving that kind of wealth based on the promise of a potential cure? WaPo: A coronavirus vaccine rooted in a government partnership is fueling financial rewards for company executives. “The trades were part of more than $200 million in sales by insiders since Moderna announced Jan. 21 that it was pursuing a vaccine in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.” (I guess close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and the public markets…)


Sing Sing … and Dance!

“Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s a Prison TikTok, too. There, inmates use contraband cell phones to share dancing videos and funny skits, as well as broadcast information about conditions at their facilities. The lives of incarcerated people are often intentionally hidden from the public, but on TikTok, amid an historic push for criminal justice reform, they’re going viral.” Wired: Behind Bars, but Still Posting on TikTok. (That would be a perfect title for my kids’ experience during quarantine…)


Wrought Irons

“Irons’s lawyers said the fingerprint would have supported their contention that someone else had committed the crime. Green agreed that the print would have given Irons’s defense team “unassailable forensic evidence” to support his plea of innocence.” After serving 32 years of a 50-year sentence for a crime there was little evidence he committed, Jonathan Irons finally walked out of a prison. NYT: Jonathan Irons, Helped by W.N.B.A. Star Maya Moore, Freed From Prison.

+ It’s a huge day for Irons, and for Maya Moore, a WNBA legend who dropped out of the league in the prime of her career to help Irons get justice. Inside WNBA legend Maya Moore’s extraordinary quest for justice.


Chat Roulette

“Unbeknownst to Mark, or the tens of thousands of other alleged Encrochat users, their messages weren’t really secure. French authorities had penetrated the Encrochat network, leveraged that access to install a technical tool in what appears to be a mass hacking operation, and had been quietly reading the users’ communications for months. Investigators then shared those messages with agencies around Europe … Only now is the astonishing scale of the operation coming into focus: It represents one of the largest law enforcement infiltrations of a communications network predominantly used by criminals ever.” Vice: How Police Secretly Took Over a Global Phone Network for Organized Crime.


Grand Canyon

“Grand jury material from former special counsel Robert Mueller won’t be released to the Democratic-led House of Representatives at least for now, after the Supreme Court on Thursday granted the Trump administration’s request to take up the case next term. The move means the documents won’t likely be released before the November election.” The Mueller Report feels more and more like the series finale of The Sopranos. We know what happened, so just tell us.


Bottom of the News

Vanilla Ice Set to Perform in Texas Even as COVID-19 Cases Surge. (I don’t see the controversy here. Gatherings of fewer than 10 people are supposed to be OK…)

+ NASA’s ‘smell of space‘ is available as a perfume. (All this mask wearing has left most of us with the smell of our own breath.)

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