Wednesday, August 19th, 2020


What a School Believes

School is starting in many communities. It's a moment that many parents have been dreading. "Just one in five families will have any sort of in-person help, a new survey finds, and parents are feeling stressed and stranded." NYT Upshot: ‘I'm Only One Human Being': Parents Brace for a Go-It-Alone School Year. "'All the choices stink,' said Kate Averett, a sociologist at the University at Albany who has been interviewing parents nationwide since the spring. 'There is a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety. Parents tell me about not being able to sleep because they're so anxious, or tell me they've been crying a lot. There's been a lot of actual crying during interviews.'" What makes me cry is that this situation could have been prevented, and has been prevented in plenty of other places.

+ Notre Dame opened to in-person learning. Nine days later, Notre Dame suspended in-person learning. From the school's president: "The virus is a formidable foe." So we've heard.

+ "The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill made it one week into the fall semester before scrapping plans for in-person instruction."

+ CNN: Here's what happened when students went to school during the 1918 pandemic.


Ash Wednesday

I've been living in the Bay Area for most of my life. A few years ago, I saw ash from fires more than an hour's drive away on my car windshield for the first time. Now it's become an annual event. Ash falls from the sky as wildfire smoke pours into Bay Area. "You're getting smoke from pretty much every direction. There's so much smoke out there, you really can't put your finger on where it's coming from."

+ AP: San Francisco blanketed in smoke as California fires rage. My kids have missed school because of smoke days. For them, this is the smell of Fall approaching.


Evictions Still on Notice

"Waiting for this economic disaster to arrive, Love says, feels like being Marvin the Martian, the frequently blown-up Warner Bros. cartoon character. 'You stick your fingers in your ears and press down on the dynamite. There was supposed to be a kaboom. Where's the earth-shattering kaboom?'" We've been warned of an impending eviction tsunami. But so far, Across American Cities, Evictions Are Down. (I've been wondering about one aspect of this: If you evict people during a job and health pandemic, who moves in to replace them?)


Trill Seekers

I'm old enough to remember when being part of the one percent meant that you used an Apple computer. Times have changed. Two years after becoming the first publicly traded company to hit a $1trillion valuation, Apple hit $2 trillion.


Hoax Couture

"The committee fills in the gaps somewhat. It reports that Manafort and Kilimnik talked almost daily during the campaign. They communicated through encrypted technologies set to automatically erase their correspondence; they spoke using code words and shared access to an email account. It's worth pausing on these facts: The chairman of the Trump campaign was in daily contact with a Russian agent, constantly sharing confidential information with him. That alone makes for one of the worst scandals in American political history." The Atlantic: Russiagate Was Not a Hoax. Neither were the other reported betrayals that have been described as hoaxes, and yet, here we are.


Alienation State

"Stewart is now a fixture at right-wing rallies like this one, and as she spoke, she got at something undeniably true about these gatherings: This is where everyday people like her can be reborn, leaving their world behind and subscribing to a new collective truth. This is where they find fellowship with other people who are upset enough about the same things, who hold the same fears and frustrations. This is where isolation ends, where communion begins." NYT Mag: Inside the Boogaloo: America's Extremely Online Extremists. The internet enabled the alienated to find each other. We need to create more positive alternatives.

+ What Happens When Ex-Navy SEALS Go Full QAnon? (I go full panic room.)


Roll Models

I've seen convention roll calls in person. I've seen convention roll calls on TV. Last night's was by 10x the best way to do a roll call. Forget the politics. Forget that it was a convention. It was just great to see people celebrating the vast and diverse cultures across America, and to be reminded that the hate we often feel is manufactured. Don't give in to it. (And I'm talking to myself as much as anyone.) Buzzfeed: Here Are The Beautiful, Powerful, And Funny Moments From The State Roll Call.

+ WaPo: Calamari, Rhode Island's controversial state appetizer, becomes an unexpected star of Democratic convention.

+ A security guard who met Joe Biden on an elevator was the first to officially nominate him for president. That leaves Americans with a pretty clear election choice.


Haul Monitor

"Of the long-haulers Putrino has surveyed, most are women. Their average age is 44. Most were formerly fit and healthy. They look very different from the typical portrait of a COVID-19 patient—an elderly person with preexisting health problems. 'It's scary because in the states that are surging, we have all these young people going out thinking they're invincible, and this could easily knock them out for months,' Putrino told me. And for some, months of illness could turn into years of disability." Ed Yong in The Atlantic: Long-Haulers Are Redefining COVID-19. (Imagine being seriously ill since March and having to watch the endless lies and buck passing day after day...)


Cycle of Life

"But because a record was involved, Gicquel was subject to drug testing. She failed the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's urine test, which set off a year-long legal battle and raised questions about whether prescription medication that Gicquel had used for years enhanced her performance on the track." An 80-year-old cycling grandma set a world record. Then she was accused of doping. (At 80, I won't even dare to get on a bike without doping and hiring a couple of spotters.)


Bottom of the News

"US banking giant Citigroup has asked a federal court to force hedge fund Brigade Capital to return $176m. The money is part of the $900m the bank accidentally transferred to creditors of the struggling cosmetics company Revlon.The bank says it meant to send Brigade just $1.5m to cover interest on a loan the hedge fund holds."

+ The Tiger King zoo has been closed, effective immediately. (This gives me hope that 2020 will someday end...)

+ "Under the new regulations in the Hundeverordnung, or Dogs Act, owners will not get away with a quick jog round the block, but will be required to take their dogs out for at least one hour on each occasion." Germans must walk their dogs twice a day, new law will say. (My beagles would form a lobbying group against this if it were proposed in America.)

+ Turning Stock Charts into Landscape Art.