Monday, August 24th, 2020


The Shady Bunch

Here's the story of Kellyane Conway/Who invented the phrase alternative facts/All of them based in lies just like their author/Never one would she retract. Here's the story of George T Conway/Who was busy with key Tweets of his own/All of them support the Lincoln Project/To stop what she had sown. Til one day when this lady met this fellow/And he knew she was more than out to lunch/That this group must somehow form a family/That's the way they all became The Shady Bunch. Or, as WaPo puts it: Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to President Trump and one of his longest-serving aides, is leaving the White House at the end of the month ... Her husband, George T. Conway III, a conservative lawyer and outspoken critic of the president, is also stepping back from his role on the Lincoln Project, an outside group of Republicans devoted to defeating Trump in November. He will also take a hiatus from Twitter." They're both doing it for their family. That's good for their kids. It's probably good for my kids too. In many ways, the Conways are this era's true American First Family; One parent going off the rails in a quest for fame and power at the expense of decency and democracy, the other parent trying to pull her back to the realm of reality via that intimate family communication tool known as Twitter, and their kids left to wonder how this broken generation could have left the family/country in tatters. In a way, Claudia Conway's heartbreaking Tweets serve as a painful metaphor for the state of mind of many Americans. She can't believe what her mother has helped to enable. I hope Claudia heals. I hope America does too. And I hope many of us follow the plan she outlined in her last Tweet: "this is becoming way too much so i am taking a mental health break from social media. see y'all soon."


Since You Masked…

"Of the states that are driving the decrease, all have at least some local mask mandates, and most have paused or reversed statewide reopening policies, again closing bars, gyms and theaters." Worth keeping in mind during this week's Republican National Convention... NYT: Why Are Coronavirus Cases Decreasing? Experts Say Restrictions Are Working.

+ Interesting thread from South Korea where Starbucks air conditioners appeared to spread the virus for up to two hours.



"Kenosha became the nation's latest flashpoint city in a summer of racial unrest after police shot and wounded a Black man, apparently in the back, as he leaned into his SUV while his three children sat in the vehicle." The phrase "apparently in the back" is a slight understatement. Jacob Blake was diving into a car (where his family was) and the officer fired SEVEN shots towards his back. Here's the video of what could become the next massive American shooting story.

+ "But the last thing I know is Kenny called me and said, Somebody kicked that door in. And I'm thinking, Who would want to do that? What is happening? My head is all over the place. And the police aren't talking to me or telling me anything. My daughter's dead and they're not telling me anything. And I keep wondering, Why would somebody do this? Until I actually learn on the news that the police did this." Ta-Nehisi Coates in Vanity Fair: The Life Breonna Taylor Lived, in the Words of Her Mother.


Dejoy of Having Checks

"He is also refuting allegations that he is doing President Trump's bidding, telling lawmakers in his written testimony that he is 'fully committed to preserving and protecting the Postal Service's proud tradition of serving the American public in a nonpartisan fashion.'" As Louis DeJoy was back testifying that all his postal moves have been non-political, President Trump was criticizing mail-in voting as he accepted the GOP nomination. Confused? That's exactly the goal. Here's the latest from CNN.

+ "I know we have to remain neutral. But I've been a letter carrier for almost 20 years, and I've never seen anything like this. We all know it's politically motivated. We can't work here and just pretend we don't see what's happening." I'm a Mail Carrier, and Trump Is Definitely Trying to Affect the Election.


Don’t Rein on My Parade

"Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned President Donald Trump at a White House dinner last October that Chinese tech firms posed a direct threat to the U.S. business, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter. Zuckerberg is said to have argued that clamping down on these firms should be more of a priority than reining in Facebook." Donald: I need my lies propagating freely on Facebook. Zuck: I need us not to be broken up, and it would be good if Tik Tok weren't a competitor anymore. (I'm no fan of Chinese-owned social media companies, but Mark Zuckerberg—who just launched his competing service called Reels—is the wrong messenger for this warning...)

+ TikTok sues Trump administration over US ban.


Dust in the Wind

As wildfires continue to rage throughout California, residual plumes of smoke have drifted all the way to the Midwest, reaching as far as the northwestern region of Kansas.



"In 2011, she went against the current to say the case for Twitter as a driver of broad social movements had been oversimplified. In 2012, she warned news media outlets that their coverage of school shootings could inspire more. In 2013, she argued that Facebook could fuel ethnic cleansing. In 2017, she warned that YouTube's recommendation algorithm could be used as a tool of radicalization. And when it came to the pandemic, she sounded the alarm early while also fighting to keep parks and beaches open." NYT: How Zeynep Tufekci Keeps Getting the Big Things Right. (It turns out that critical thought is underrated.)


Unholy Trinity

From Reuters: Business partner of Falwells says affair with evangelical power couple spanned seven years. "Giancarlo Granda says he was 20 when he met Jerry and Becki Falwell while working as a pool attendant at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel in March 2012. Starting that month and continuing into 2018, Granda told Reuters that the relationship involved him having sex with Becki Falwell while Jerry Falwell looked on." (Oddly, this story makes me like Falwell more than I did before...)

+ And here's Fallwell performing an Excercism...


Bannon Fodder

"I always figured that at some point they would catch him doing something. I think the irony is that it is like busting Al Capone for tax evasion, isn't it? That what would finally get him is this little immigration grift? But it's not a huge surprise to me that this would be the outcome." The New Yorker: The 'Narcissism and Ego' That Led to Steve Bannon's Arrest.


Bottom of the News

"There's some other stupid thing in the article about "bandwidth" and how New York is over because everybody will "remote everything." Guess what: Everyone hates to do this. Everyone. Hates. You know why? There's no energy. Energy, attitude and personality cannot be 'remoted' through even the best fiber optic lines. That's the whole reason many of us moved to New York in the first place." Jerry Seinfeld in the NYT: Jerry Seinfeld: So You Think New York Is Dead.

+ Asteroid heading our way day before presidential election. Well, that makes getting hit by an asteroid my second most acceptable election week outcome.