Thursday, July 30th, 2020


The Phony Express

The attempt to use a foreign country to dig up dirt on Biden didn't work. The lies about Covid-19 didn't work. The imaginary statements about an economy that was coming back quickly didn't work. The relentless racism in reaction to the BLM movement didn't work. The tear-gassing of peaceful protesters didn't work. The camouflaged federal agent invasion into American cities didn't work. The polls are still heading in the wrong direction for the president, so he has returned to one of his old standards: Attacking the validity of the election. First, there are the constant attacks on voting by mail as being somehow rigged. And now, Trump (as we all predicted he would) has floated the idea of delaying the election. Every day of the Trump era feels like a week. According to that math, we've already delayed the election more than 20 years.

+ Steve Coll in The New Yorker: Is the Postal Service Being Manipulated to Help Trump Get Reelected?

+ No, Trump can't delay the election. (First, because the law won't allow it. Second, because restraint and delayed gratification has never been his strong suit.)

+ David Graham in The Atlantic: Trump Can't Postpone the Election—But He's Trying to Destroy Its Legitimacy.


GDP Tape

"The economic shock in April, May and June was more than three times as sharp as the previous record — 10% in 1958 — and nearly four times the worst quarter during the Great Recession." NPR: 3 Months Of Hell: U.S. Economy Drops 32.9% In Worst GDP Report Ever. (The failure to address the health crisis is the failure to address the economic crisis. It's all one story.)

+ WaPo: Did a third of the economy really vanish in just three months? "Remove the annualization, and we see the economy contracted a still-abysmal 9.5 percent."


A Little More Trouble

"Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it." John Lewis left behind one last message. NYT: Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation.

+ Clinton, Obama, and Bush are attending John Lewis funeral today. Here's the latest from CNN.


Vaccine Setting

"The colossal impact of the coronavirus is motivating the speed, opening a spigot of funding and inspiring research teams around the world to join the hunt. But the astonishing pace of the progress is also a consequence of the virus itself: It is, scientifically speaking, an easier target for potential vaccines than other pathogens, and a prime candidate for cutting-edge vaccine platforms new to scientists' toolkits." I'm not quite ready to talk trash in the battle against Covid, but here's a look at how the world made so much progress on a Covid-19 vaccine so fast.

+ Bloomberg: J&J Vaccine Protects Monkeys From Covid With Single Shot.

+ We're still months away from a potential vaccine and our numbers are terrible. Andy Slavitt: We Can Eliminate Covid-19 if We Want To. "We are always four to six weeks from being able to do what countries around the world have done."

+ My friends working on the problem have been saying face shields could be the new masks. Fauci confirmed that if you can cover your eyes as well as your mouth and now, you should. (I've been covering my eyes for three and half years...)


Raising the Mars Bar

"Perseverance tackles the question head on, looking for life in an area that is thought to have once been one of the most habitable parts of ancient Mars." NASA's new Mars rover is bristling with tech made to find signs of alien life.

+ "Ingenuity is a 4lb helicopter that will ride to Mars attached to the belly of Nasa's Perseverance Rover in a quest to be the first aircraft to fly on another planet." (Damn, and I thought my drone was cool...)


Sign of the Times

"What about White lives? We matter, too!" ... "'You're a White man!' the driver exclaimed, adding an anti-Semitic slur as they sped away. Over the three days Rob Bliss held the sign in the sweltering July heat in Harrison, a town known as a haven for white supremacists and home to the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, similar interactions happened again and again." WaPo: He held a BLM sign in what he called ‘America's most racist town.' The result? A viral video of abuse. (You need to watch this.)

+ Vallejo police held parties, bent badges after fatal shootings, shocking report says.


Virtual Monopoly

"The internet has allowed the creation of a new style of monopoly. Nobody escapes the pull of these dominant firms, which have the power to pick winners and losers, in both the economy and the realm of information. The long, familiar list of complaints about the tech giants was distilled to its most essential element—the danger that concentrated market power poses to competitive capitalism and democracy." Franklin Foer in The Atlantic: The Tech Giants Are Dangerous, and Congress Knows It.

+ WaPo: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google grilled on Capitol Hill over their market power. From Rep. David N. Cicilline: "Our founders would not bow before a king. Nor should we bow before the emperors of the online economy." (I love the sound of that. But if they turned off your email, cut off your friends, stopped entertaining you, and delayed your package, I'm guessing you'd bow...)


Oprah Win-free

"For the first time in its 20-year history, Oprah Winfrey will not be the cover star of her namesake magazine. Instead, the September issue's cover will pay tribute to Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman who was killed by police in March."


Styles with Substance

"A dashing, long-haired, highly fashionable and occasionally gender-bending young Briton who dates pop stars and supermodels, makes free-love music videos, worships at the altars of Mick Jagger and Stevie Nicks and sells out arenas worldwide with his guitar-based, lightly psychedelic pop-rock? At times, Styles' superstardom almost feels fictional, like some character a middle-aged writer would draw up for Russell Brand to play in a slapstick comedy." Harry Styles Is the World's Biggest Young Rock Star. Why Won't Rock Radio Play Him? (Look, I'm just gonna say it and I don't care who hears it. Watermelon Sugar High is clearly the song of the Summer.)


Bottom of the News

"DJs will however be on hand to help drum up atmosphere and fans will be able to get a 'courtside' experience by using video conferencing and 17-foot tall LED screens that will go round the court ... A barber shop and games room have also been erected and there is a lake where players can do a spot of fishing. However Disney Park and all its rides are off limits." The NBA returns by way of the Disney World bubble.

+ Archaeologists discover the likely source of Stonehenge's giant sarsen stones. (The Amazon boxes found nearby were a dead giveaway...)