Saturday, August 29th, 2020


Load Bearing

Get your mind out of the gutter ... and into the sewer. As re-opened colleges continue report bad news about Covid-19, the University of Arizona reported some good news this week. They managed to stop a coronavirus spread before it started. "The university said it pulled this off by combining more common forms of coronavirus mitigation, swab testing and contact tracing, with a more exotic one: analyzing sewage." How the University of Arizona used No. 2 to solve its No. 1 problem. Lower learning is the new higher learning.


Jail Bait

"America's failure to stop the virus from spreading in prisons is a key piece of its failure to contain the virus at large. Tens of thousands of people in prison have tested positive for the virus. From March through the beginning of June, the number of COVID-19 cases in US prisons grew at a rate of around 8 percent per day, compared to 3 percent in the general population. Of the top 20 largest disease clusters in the country, 19 are in prisons or jails." The Verge: Prisoners at San Quentin are trapped with COVID. We talked to them.

+ "All active status employees should report to work for their regular shift tonight or tomorrow as scheduled. The plant and all other facilities on the Livingston complex are safely operating. Please continue to wear your face covering and follow other safe practices at work and outside of work." So advised a letter from a Foster Farms poultry plant in California's central valley. Eight of the plant's employees have died. Imagine if eight people in your office had died.


Net Results

From canceling the season in March, to the BLM protest responses, to the creation of their bubble, to this week's strike, the NBA has played a central role in America's biggest stories during 2020. During two weeks of nonstop politicking by both parties, the biggest political story may be the deal negotiated by the NBA. With voting access (by mail and by person) on the line in November, NBA players made the use of their arenas as polling places a central element in their deal to resume the playoffs.

+ The deal was struck with the help of an outside advisor. Barack Obama. Meanwhile, President Trump argued that the NBA's political protests will "destroy basketball." (Either that, or ensure it continues to be played in a democracy.)


Err, No Shit…

WaPo: "Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged in a video post Friday that the company erred by not taking down an event listing for a militia groups that encouraged armed civilians to defend the streets of Kenosha, Wis., from civil unrest before the fatal shooting of two people this week." Zuck described the failure as, "largely an operational mistake." It may have been an operational mistake, but outrage on the platform is quite obviously a strategic goal.

+ Buzzfeed: A Kenosha Militia Facebook event asking attendees to bring weapons was reported 455 times. Moderators said it didn't violate any rules. (This is just way too much power to be held in the hands of the boy king of a virtual empire.)

+ NYT: ‘But I Saw It on Facebook': Hoaxes Are Making Doctors' Jobs Harder.


A Life to Marvel

"Although Boseman never spoke publicly about his diagnosis, according to the statement, he worked through his treatment for much of his career." Chadwick Boseman, star of Black Panther, died on Friday after a four year battle with colon cancer.

+ From last year in the NYT: How Chadwick Boseman Embodies Black Male Dignity.


Service with a Vile

"One law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions said agents on the president's detail warned colleagues on the Bedminster trip not to share information about the illness because media coverage would anger the president." Carol Leonnig in WaPo: Secret Service copes with coronavirus cases in aftermath of Trump appearances.


Layoff and Running

Coke, American Airline, MGM... As the stimulus runs out, so does time for thousands of employees. The layoffs are coming, and coming fast.

+ Meanwhile, the world's richest people smashed wealth records this week.


Rescue Mission

"'These are not children that are in some faraway land," said Donald Washington, director of the U.S. Marshals Service. 'They are America's children and they are kids that we need to go and find.' During a recent two-week operation in metro Atlanta and Macon, investigators did just that. A collaborative effort involving federal, state and local law enforcement officials resulted in the recovery of 39 missing children, including 15 who authorities said were trafficked for sex." 15 sex trafficking victims among 39 missing children recovered in Georgia.


We Didn’t Start the Fire

"It's just … well … it's horrible. Horrible to see this happening when the science is so clear and has been clear for years. I suffer from Cassandra syndrome. Every year I warn people: Disaster's coming. We got to change. And no one listens. And then it happens." ProPublica: They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won't Anybody Listen?


Bottom of the News

"The whole reason I even started to make this is because my neighbor bird watches with her daughter and told me all of the squirrels keep getting in her way. I didn't even tell her what I was going to do, I just built it and put it back there and when she saw it, she just started cracking up." An Ohio man built a backyard squirrel bar with seven varieties of nuts on tap.

+ You look like you could use a video of wolf hugging her pup.

+ NYT: What Is Waacking, and Why Is It All Over TikTok? (I always imagined my son would be the one to ask me to explain waacking...)