Thursday, August 13th, 2020


The Dunk Tank

March 11th with always be remembered as the day Covid 19 got real for Americans (excluding those for whom it still hasn't registered as real). And the central act of that day was the NBA postponing its season. Adam Silver made that decision, and in doing so, probably saved lives by motivating other organizations and individuals to take the virus more seriously. The NBA was also one of the first big leagues to come up with a responsible way to bring their sport back in a safe way. Players, coaches, and staff had to leave much of their outside worlds behind when they entered the Disney World bubble. But those of us on the outside aren't exactly living our best lives. An enclosed island of virus-free human interactions sounds like a hoop dream right about now. Sports Illustrated: Adam Silver Opens Up About the NBA Bubble: 'It's Better Than What We Had Envisioned.' (Those are seven words I didn't expect to hear in 2020...)


What Are We Thinking?

Significant majorities of Americans cite insufficient social distancing as the key mistake the country has made fighting the virus, and worry more about opening too soon than waiting too long. But some of the partisan divides are pretty disturbing. "A 62% majority of Republicans say that 'the increase in confirmed coronavirus cases is primarily a result of more people being tested than in previous months.'" Here are the latest numbers from Pew.

+ Distrust of the president hardened the conviction of some educators that teaching in person was unsafe.


Stock Racing

"It took just 175 days for the index to go from peak to trough to peak, a recovery that has come faster than any comparable one in the past. The previous 12 cycles that saw stocks recover from a drop of at least 20% took an average of four years." Well, we've been able to flatten one curve: The downward stock market slide. Bloomberg: To Brink and Back in 175 Days: S&P 500 Briefly Tops Record Close.


The Stamp Act

The war on the imaginary threat posed by mail-in voting is now a key point of contention in getting a new relief bill signed. NPR: Funding For Postal Service, Mail-In Voting Stall Coronavirus Relief Talks. And Trump blurts out his true motive on mail-in voting. "Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots...But if they don't get those two items that means you can't have universal mail-in voting." (Because, you know, we wouldn't want all that voting...)

+ The New Yorker's Bill McKibben: Trump's Attack on the Postal Service Is a Threat to Democracy—and to Rural America.

+ Meanwhile, the Biden/Harris ticket made its public debut. Here are some outtakes.


Crock the Vote

"Since Lukashenka first became President in 1994, he has presided over five so-called elections. None of them have been considered free and fair by international observers, and each has been accompanied by protests and mass arrests." The New Yorker: After a Rigged Election, Belarus Crushes Protests Amid an Information Blackout.


Yeezy Come, Yeezy Go

"'He's mentally ill,' says a West friend. 'When you have people around him who have the best intentions and don't need anything from him, you can steer him when he's in that space into a positive place. When you have people around him who see him as an opportunity, they create a very, very bad scenario.'" Forbes: Inside Kanye West's almost daily conversations with Jared Kushner.

+ Group working to get Kanye West on state ballot to 'help Trump.'

+ "CNN has learned Woodward did hundreds of hours of interviews with other first-hand witnesses, and according to his publisher, obtained 'notes, emails, diaries, calendars and confidential documents' including 25 personal letters between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un." The next Bob Woodward book on Trump, titled Rage, should sell a few copies. (But unless it's a picture book, it probably won't make much difference.)


Nose Job

"The tiny, engineered protein molecules, developed in two UCSF laboratories by a team of 60 scientists, including doctoral and graduate students, are modeled after super-strength antibodies found in llamas and camels." Game changer? UCSF scientists say nose spray to kill coronavirus could be available in months.

+ It can't come soon enough. NYT: The True Coronavirus Toll in the U.S. Has Already Surpassed 200,000.


You Can Take That to the (West) Bank

"Under the agreement, Israel has agreed to suspend applying sovereignty to areas of the West Bank that it has been discussing annexing, a joint statement by all three parties to the agreement said. Trump, in a tweet, called the agreement a 'HUGE breakthrough,' describing it as a 'historic peace agreement between our two GREAT friends.'" Israel Suspends West Bank Annexation in Deal to Normalize Relations With the UAE.


Cain Still Able

"Just in case you thought Biden's candidacy was going to be anything other than completely nuts, team Trump has released a new video." That was from the latest tweet from Herman Cain. But Herman Cain is dead. (I feel less alienated knowing I'm not the only one who plans to continue to update my Twitter after I'm dead.)


The Bottom of the News

"The Trump Administration wants to change the definition of a showerhead to let more water flow, addressing a pet peeve of the president who complains he isn't getting wet enough." (What's the big deal? You can just remove the water restrictor from most showerheads. Wait, who just said that?)

+ Hans Zimmer created an extended version of Netflix's ‘ta-dum' sound for theaters. It's good, but the original is one of the greatest songs ever.