Wednesday, August 12th, 2020


Kamala Mode

Joe Biden's selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate creates the perfect matchup: The Prosecutor vs the Criminals. But it's more than that. Kamala is a strong woman. Kamala is Black. Kamala is Asian. Kamala believes in laws and institutions. Kamala is everything Trump hates. If we're gonna have a vote about America, let's have it. And since Trump's false attacks on Biden haven't worked very well, you should be prepared for relentless barrage of attacks on Harris. Kamala D. Harris named as Joe Biden's running mate.

+ "Biden's selection of Harris has lent his campaign a thematic clarity that it didn't have before. In a year of calamities whose effects have been especially painful in Black communities—the coronavirus pandemic, massive unemployment stemming from enforced shutdowns, and the police killing of George Floyd, in Minneapolis—each of the signal moments of Biden's campaign has concerned the legacy of the civil-rights movement." The New Yorker: Kamala Harris Gives New Meaning to the Biden Campaign.

+ FiveThirtyEight: Here's What It Means For The Election And Beyond.

+ WaPo: Inside Biden's unusual VP pick process: Tough questions, 11 finalists and many lawyers.

+ An excellent piece on Kamala Harris from Phil Bronstein in 2018: Big Ambition.


Task Rabbit Hole

Kamala Harris will be matched up against Mike Pence, the head of America's Coronavirus Task Force. Enough said. America's uniquely bad Covid-19 epidemic, explained in 18 maps and charts.

+ "Coronavirus deaths in the midwest remain a fraction of the nearly 160,000 recorded during the pandemic across the US. But Missouri is second only to Oklahoma in the number of new positive tests for the virus over the past two weeks." America's midwest braces itself for a Covid-19 surge.


Free Range Governing

"In his quest for recognition and revenge, Putin keeps defying the norms of international behavior. That's why the issue of Russian bounties to the Taliban matters — and Trump's refusal to confront Putin about it should worry us. This Russian leader doesn't stop until someone challenges him." David Ignatius in WaPo: Putin is reckless because we allow him to be.


Saudi With a Chance of Meatheads

"The State Department did not fully consider the risk of civilian casualties when it approved more than $8 billion in arms sales to Middle Eastern countries last year, according to a redacted inspector general report released Tuesday. An unredacted version of the report, obtained by POLITICO, also raised questions about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's assertions that an emergency situation existed, allowing him to greenlight the sales over congressional objections." Politico: State Department did not consider civilian casualties when sending arms to the Middle East.


Beach Body Blow

"A crack inside the ship's hull has been growing, and government officials warn the entire ship could split in half, releasing all the oil remaining inside the vessel." The Oil Spill At Mauritius Is A Disaster. And It Could Soon Get Worse. (It sounds like they've been able to pump a lot of the oil out.)

+ Photos: A Growing Oil Spill Off the Coast of Mauritius. Like everything these days, this is also a pandemic story. The island's tourism business has been hard hit, and an oil spill isn't going to help.


Q Tipping Point?

"A Georgia Republican who has said that Muslims do not belong in government and expressed her belief in the baseless conspiracy theory called QAnon has won her primary runoff and is all but certain to win a seat in the House of Representatives in November." QAnon Supporter Who Made Bigoted Videos Wins Ga. Primary, Likely Heading To Congress. The win has many Republicans justifiably concerned. But not their leader. Trump called Taylor a "future Republican star."

+ This is not a result that should be viewed in isolation. QAnon groups have millions of members on Facebook, documents show.


ACC, SEC, See Things Differently

"The ACC and SEC have not altered their plans to play a fall season despite decisions to postpone by the Big Ten and Pac-12 on Tuesday." SI: The Most Intriguing Battle in NCAA History': As College Football Fragments, What Next? (College Football suffers the exact same problem as America. No central leadership. Just a bunch of leagues doing their own thing. Can't work.)


Herds So Good

"The US has been recording more than 1,000 covid-19 deaths and 45,000 confirmed cases a day. The flip side of the rapid spread, however, is there are progressively fewer vulnerable people to catch and spread the virus again. Researchers say they hope to determine how great a role the rise of this population immunity can play in managing the pandemic." MIT Tech Review: Population immunity is slowing down the pandemic in parts of the US. (Keep your eye on viral spreads in prisons and other closed communities. At what point does the spreading stop? And once a certain amount of time passes, does it start again?)

+ "This is no longer a debate."Florida sheriff bans deputies, visitors from wearing masks.


¿Cómo me llamaste?

The word "Latinx has emerged as an inclusive term to refer to people of Latin American descent, encompassing those who don't identify as male or female or who don't want to be identified by their gender. It's been used by journalists, politicians, corporations, colleges and universities. In 2018, it even made it to the dictionary. But among the people 'Latinx' is intended to describe, few have heard of the term -- let alone use it. In a new survey, researchers found that only about one in four adults in the US who identify as Hispanic or Latino have heard the term 'Latinx,' while just 3% say they use it to describe themselves." (This doesn't seem that unusual in the internet age. I get called all kinds of names I've never heard before...)


Bottom of the News

"You can -- and should -- eat popcorn in bed at this one-of-a-kind Airbnb. Located in Bend, Oregon, this rental has everything: a sofabed, free snacks, a VCR and a big TV. Yes, you can sleepover at the world's last Blockbuster video store." (It's a nice chance to unwind, and rewind.)

+ The NYT: When Bugs Crawl Up the Food Chain: "When the frog makes its move, the beetle turns the tables. It jumps onto the amphibian's head and bites down. Then it drinks its would-be predator's fluids out like a froggy Capri Sun. We tend to think of food chains moving in one direction: Bigger eats smaller. But nature is often not so neat. All around the world, and maybe even in your backyard, arthropods are bodying vertebrates and gobbling them up." (I'm guessing that during a viral pandemic, few will be surprised that small things can often knock out big ones.)

+ "On Sunday, Pinard said he visited a local bar but left after people there were participating in a 'sneeze contest.'" Sturgis motorcycle rally attendees lounge in bikinis, pack into bars, and mock mask wearers.