Thursday, August 27th, 2020


Hoop d’ Etat

The Bucks stopped here. A playoff strike led by the Milwaukee Bucks swept through the NBA causing the postponement of games in basketball and other professional sports. "Players made the extraordinary decisions to protest the shooting by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday of Jacob Blake, a Black man, apparently in the back while three of his children looked on."

+ "A white, 17-year-old police admirer was arrested Wednesday after two people were shot to death during a third straight night of protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake. Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, about 15 miles from Kenosha, was taken into custody in Illinois on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide in the attack Tuesday that was largely captured on cellphone video. The shooting left a third person wounded. 'I just killed somebody,' the gunman, carrying a semi-automatic rifle, could be heard saying at one point."

+ "Not long before Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois who was with a self-described 'local militia;' throughout Tuesday night's deadly protests, allegedly killed two people and injured a third with gunfire, video shows law enforcement giving Rittenhouse water and telling his group 'We appreciate you guys, we really do.'"

+ Wisconsin AG says Jacob Blake was near knife. (He was shot in the back seven times.)

+ Kenosha police chief says deadly shooting wouldn't have happened if people weren't out after curfew. (That's quite a price to pay for breaking curfew.)

+ "Are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?" Tucker Carlson defends actions of teen charged in killings of Kenosha protesters. (If you're on the Fox board, you're profiting off of this. If you work at Fox News, you're implicated in this. If you advertise on any Fox News show, this is on you.)


Detention Center of Attention

Buzzfeed: "China has secretly built scores of massive new prison and internment camps in the past three years, dramatically escalating its campaign against Muslim minorities even as it publicly claimed the detainees had all been set free. The construction of these purpose-built, high-security camps — some capable of housing tens of thousands of people — signals a radical shift away from the country's previous makeshift use of public buildings, like schools and retirement homes, to a vast and permanent infrastructure for mass detention."


There Goes the Neighborhood

One of the biggest lies of this era is that there's some widespread debate over the reality of climate change. There are a handful of deniers with followers who believe them. But the vast majority of people—even in this adminstration—know what they're seeing from the Redwood Forests to the Gulf Stream Waters. "This month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency detailed a new program, worth an initial $500 million, with billions more to come, designed to pay for large-scale relocation nationwide. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has started a similar $16 billion program. That followed a decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to start telling local officials that they must agree to force people out of their homes or forfeit federal money for flood-protection projects." NYT: U.S. Flood Strategy Shifts to ‘Unavoidable' Relocation of Entire Neighborhoods.

+ Power outages, a chemical fire, and thousands of people in crowded shelters as a downgraded Laura as she moves inland. Here's the latest.


Lapdog Day Afternoon

"A good deal of Pence's speech was devoted to over-the-top attacks on Joe Biden, whom he described as 'a Trojan horse for the radical left,' a supporter of 'open borders,' and 'a cheerleader for Communist China.' But he also defended Trump's response to the coronavirus, claiming he has overseen 'the greatest national mobilization since World War Two.' In Pence's telling, 'President Trump marshalled the full resources of our federal government from the outset. He directed us to forge a seamless partnership with governors across America in both political parties.' Under his leadership, the Administration reinvented testing, coördinated the delivery of billions of pieces of personal protective equipment, and "enacted an economic rescue package that saved fifty million American jobs.'" Mike Pence lied a lot during his RNC keynote address. But as the The New Yorker's John Cassidy reports, his biggest lies were about the virus. (Mike Pence ran the Coronavirus Task Force, the most deadly failure in American history. His speech should have been two words: "I'm Sorry.")

+ And that failure continues apace with the new guidelines that suggest a need for less testing.


D’Amelio and Behold

"D'Amelio was 14 years old, living in Connecticut and pursuing competitive dance. She posted her first video — a sweet, silly lip-synch — in March of the following year. Then she (and her entire family) became absurdly famous. From her first TikTok to the interview for this story, D'Amelio's following swelled to nearly 100 million across her social media platforms." Charli D'Amelio Is the Most Famous Person in the World. (That might be an overstatement, but she's definitely the most famous person in my twelve year-old daughter's world.)

+ Will either Charli or my daughter be as psyched about Tik Tok if it's owned by Walmart and Microsoft? (At least they'll have heard of those brands. It could still be Oracle, and that company is, like, so databasic.)


Bored Room

"Humans have been getting bored for centuries, if not millennia. Now there's a whole field to study the sensation, at a time when it may be more rampant than ever." Margaret Talbot in The New Yorker: What Does Boredom Do to Us—and for Us? (Man, 2020 makes me feel a lot of things. Boredom isn't one of them.)


Fire Grows Beyond the Dumpster

"A photographer may have encapsulated 2020 in a single photo taken during the California wildfires Tuesday. Associated Press photographer Noah Berger took the now-viral shot while covering the fires in Northern California after a series of lightning strikes started blazes across the state. The image shows a senior center's sign that reads 'wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance, stay safe, come join us,'surrounded by flames and smoke."

+ NYT: ‘2020 Can Go to Hell': The Story Behind the Viral Fire Photo That Said It All.


Con Way

"Leaking and lying. Lying and leaking. It's been the Kellyanne way, and the news media has largely gone along for the ride: Giving her airtime on news shows, failing to forcefully call her out for her continued violations of the Hatch Act, and offering kid-glove treatment in exchange for her inside information." WaPo's Margaret Sullivan on Kellyanne Conway and the reporters who enabled her.


Twins Peak

"The Bryans, exuberant and exceptionally fan-friendly Californians whose trademark was the chest bump, were raised by their tennis-teaching parents, Wayne and Kathy, to be champions and ambassadors for the game. 'There was a master plan,' said Wayne Bryan in a telephone interview on Wednesday." And the plan worked. And worked and worked and worked. The Bryan twins won "16 Grand Slam titles in 30 finals and 119 tour titles playing together ... They were ranked No. 1 as a team for a total of 438 weeks and finished 10 seasons as the world's top-ranked doubles team." NYT: The Bryan Brothers Retire as They Played: Together.


Bottom of the News

"So, how do we make optimal peanut butter and banana sandwiches? It's really quite simple. You take a picture of your banana and bread, pass the image through a deep learning model to locate said items, do some nonlinear curve fitting to the banana, transform to polar coordinates and 'slice' the banana along the fitted curve, turn those slices into elliptical polygons, and feed the polygons and bread "box" into a 2D nesting algorithm." Optimal Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches. (Alternate method: Get a flour tortilla, spread peanut butter on it, throw in a banana uncut, add a few pickles, roll it up, achieve legend status.)

+ "A group of men already on pretrial release for previous offenses are behind a string of burglaries carried out while wearing ankle monitors that track their locations." I'm not even going to mention which state this happened in.