Sunday, July 12th, 2020


This is No Time For Games

I'm running out of time. I love baseball. The smooth stylings of Giants' announcers Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper, and Jon Miller provide the soundtrack for my summers. I know it's not in vogue to say it, but I love football, especially college football; a passion my son and I bond over. Krukow's health has been failing in recent years, and he can't keep up a fulltime baseball schedule forever. In the blink of an eye, my son will be out of the house and watching sports with his peers. I'll be lucky to get a text during a game. I spend my life absorbing and regurgitating the relentlessly depressing news of America's precipitous, soul-crushing decline. There's nothing I'd like more than to crack open a few hundred salted peanuts and change the subject to split fingered fastballs or escape into a discussion about how the Cal Bears' defense can best adjust to the challenges presented by their next opponent. So like millions of Americans, I feel the urgency to play ball. But bringing back sports, even in unrecognizable fan-less forms, adds to the mixed messaging that is literally killing people. The same is doubly true when it comes to Disney's decision to re-open amusement parks. Disney World re-opened on the same day Florida set a national record, adding more than 15,000 news cases to an already horrific week. Magical thinking is reckless even in the Magical Kingdom. Are empty stands and sparsely attended outdoor amusement parks going to meaningfully add to our disastrous Covid19 numbers? I'm not sure. But moving forward with even abnormal versions of normal life in the midst of America's exceptional crisis adds to the confusion of where we are right now. And where we are is terrible. Where we are right now is in a country where it took 3.2 million positive tests and more than 134,000 deaths for the Donald to finally don a facemask in public. Where we are right now is in a country where a young man's dying words after attending a "Covid party" were, "I think I made a mistake, I thought this was a hoax, but it's not." Where we are right now is being submerged ever deeper into a cesspool of lies and viral spread. Every sane political or corporate leader needs to lock virtual arms and deliver a unified message: We're not OK. We need to do better. This is no time for games.


Bobby Three Sticks and Stone

"The work of the special counsel's office — its report, indictments, guilty pleas and convictions — should speak for itself. But I feel compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office. The Russia investigation was of paramount importance. Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes." Robert Mueller with a rare public statement in WaPo: Roger Stone remains a convicted felon, and rightly so. (That's probably the nicest thing anyone has said about Stone in a long time.)


Carbon Bootprint

The pandemic laid bare the dramatic price of inequality. But we ain't seen nothing yet. Time on The 10 Countries Most Vulnerable to Climate Change Will Experience Population Booms in the Coming Decades. "The U.N.'s special rapporteur on human rights warned in June that the unequal distribution of climate change impacts across developing and developed regions puts the world at risk of a 'climate apartheid,' in which 'the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer.'"



"Americans saw the story they wanted to see. Some saw respected professionals fearing for their safety, reasonably exercising their Second Amendment rights to defend their home from violent trespassers. Others saw an overwrought, older affluent couple, recklessly pointing their weapons and asserting their white privilege. But public records and interviews reveal a fuller picture than emerged two weeks ago. They show the McCloskeys are almost always in conflict with others, typically over control of private property, what people can do on that property, and whose job it is to make sure they do it." Behind every headline or meme, there's a story. Jeremy Kohler in the St Louis Dispatch: Portland Place couple who confronted protesters have a long history of not backing down.


Lincoln Slogs

"That's what's so fascinating about their quest. They're not fighting to come in from the wilderness. The wilderness is a given. They're just fighting to get rid of this one sun-hogging, diseased redwood — or orangewood, as the case may be." Frank Bruni on The Lincoln Project and The Republicans Who Want to Destroy Trump. (Full disclosure: I donated to the effort and I'm glad I did.)

+ These folks are under no illusions when it comes to the state of their party. And they're probably among the least surprised when it comes to the notion that the next candidate they'll have to pit themselves against could be Tucker Carlson, whose popularity is only eclipsed by his disgusting views.

+ Fox News Condemns Remarks By Former Tucker Carlson Staffer. "We want to make abundantly clear that Fox News Media strongly condemns this horrific racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior." Bullshit. A thousand times, Bullshit.


Hindsight is 2022

"Thousands of stores and companies that were vulnerable before the virus arrived have disappeared. Dozens of colleges are shutting down, in the first wave of closures in the history of American higher education. People have also changed long-held patterns of behavior: Outdoor socializing is in, business trips are out." The NYT's David Leonhardt talked to experts about how the pandemic could mean permanent changes. It's 2022. What Does Life Look Like? (If nothing else, at least it won't look like 2020 ... one hopes.)


Trial Error

"The 13-year-old told arresting officer Erica Polcha that he retrieved one of the two loaded 9mm handguns that their father kept in the living room couch to use during the game. The boys' father, Mark Snyder, later told police that he kept the guns loaded and unsecured 'for home protection.'" A 13-year-old will be tried as an adult for shooting and killing his brother while playing cops and robbers.


Med School

"If your child is in the operating room, you want the surgeons, anesthesia providers, nurses and technicians to wear their masks — masks that cover their noses — and follow the rules. Those in the operating room want to as well. They want to because the constraints are inconsequential to them compared to the risks of contamination to the patient." Your mask feels uncomfortable? Get over it. As a surgeon, I know how vital they are. (This is where we are now. Having things explained to us like we're toddlers because that's how we're acting.)


Reality’s a Beach

"Businesses said they want to hire Americans but are in regions with tiny labor pools that are no match for the millions of tourists visiting each summer. Companies also face the challenge of convincing unemployed workers, many who are still collecting federal benefits, to take a job in the hospitality industry amid a pandemic. Rising housing prices as well as a lack of child care amid the pandemic also pose hurdles." As beach towns open, businesses are short foreign workers.


Bottom of the News

"In a work-from-home world, hitting the local cafe for a daily caffeine fix has become a ritual of the now-forgotten past. And no matter how much kitchen brewing consumers take up, that just can't seem to make up for the demand blow." Bloomberg: The World Is Drinking Less Coffee While Office Workers Stay Home. (Don't look at me. I've kept up my usual gallon a day habit.)

+ I'm not quite sure what this guy is doing, but I'm glad he did it.