Friday, September 4th, 2020


Vainglorious Bastard

After nearly four years of Trump news, you're probably thinking to yourself, Apocalypse Now what? Well, The Atlantic reports that our Pattonly insane Commander in Chief, who, after a lifetime playing the part of Lawrence of a Labia and Genghis Con, went Full Mental Jacket and described fallen troops as "suckers" and "losers." Of course, the Black Hawk Clown is denying he said this (or just writing it off as Hurt Locker Room Talk), but it's obviously true: First, because the AP confirmed the story. Second because Duncekirk has a well-known history of attacking Gold Star families and blasting John McCain for being captured—"I like people who weren't captured" ... "He lost. He let us down. But, you know, he lost. So I have never liked him as much after that, because I don't like losers." (Come on, does that language sound at all familiar to what's being reported now?). Third, because The Atlantic, around since 1857, put the story under the byline of its editor in chief. And fourth, it sounds exactly like the American Viper we've heard shaming America, supporting enemies, and abandoning allies for years; and for whom D Day is always Me Day. Of course his Looney Platoon of enablers will go to work Saving Private Lyin', but everyone, especially the insiders, knows this story is true. If you want to say you love him anyway, fine. But can we please stop pretending we don't know exactly who this guy is?

+ "Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly's grave, turned directly to his father [John Kelly] and said, 'I don't get it. What was in it for them?' Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America's all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices." Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic: Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers' and ‘Suckers'. Every word damning, every word entirely believable.

+ Slate's Fred Kaplan: It's Time for Trump's Generals to Go on the Record. Yes. This would not be normal. But this is not a normal presidency and it's not a normal moment.


Oregon Crazy

"The man being sought for the fatal shooting of a right-wing activist during clashes in Portland last weekend was killed on Thursday night as federal officers attempted to take him into custody, authorities said. Michael Forest Reinoehl, a 48-year-old self-described professional snowboarder who had said on social media that he was '100% ANTIFA all the way,' was shot dead in Lacey, north of Portland, where he was said to be hiding out." The Suspect In The Deadly Shooting In Portland Was Killed As Officials Tried To Arrest Him.

+ "For the purposes of this article, when we refer to the militia movement, we are referring to an umbrella term that encompasses paramilitary activists and groups with strong anti-government leanings. But beyond that, modern militias are hard to explain and categorize — what even counts as a militia is up for debate. One thing is for sure: There is no one militia — not in Kenosha that night and not anywhere in the country." FiveThirtyEight: How Trump And COVID-19 Have Reshaped The Modern Militia Movement. (Maybe we should call them what they are: Armed gangs.)


Weekend Whats

What to Book: I'm semi-obsessed with books about the drug war, and I'm digging El Jefe: The Stalking of Chapo Guzmán, in which Alan Feuer tracks the network hack that led to the takedown of the drug lord.

+ What to Doc: Class Action Park is fun, weird, and somewhat shocking story of an amusement park without rules or safety measures. It's also a cool look back at the 80s, when crazy-ass, dishonest, cheating businessmen opened amusement parks, as opposed to being elected president.

+ What to Watch: The Boys, the antihero's superhero series, is back and as violent, weird, and disorienting as ever on Amazon Prime.


Present Post

"The United States has no centralized election system. Instead, the job of executing the fundamental transaction in our democracy falls to officials in our 3,100 counties." California Sunday Magazine: The Democracy Factory. "For decades, the vote-by-mail business was a sleepy industry that stayed out of the spotlight. Then came 2020."


Rise and Fall

"The U.S. unemployment rate fell sharply in August to 8.4% from 10.2% even as hiring slowed, with employers adding the fewest jobs since the pandemic began. Employers added 1.4 million jobs, the Labor Department said, down from 1.7 million in July. The U.S. economy has recovered about half the 22 million jobs lost to the pandemic." U.S. unemployment rate falls to 8.4 percent even as hiring slows.

+ Whether the hiring trend continues depends on how we do stopping the spread of Covid-19. And experts are worried. WaPo: "The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic could triple by year's end, with an additional 1.9 million deaths, while a fall wave of infections could drive fatalities in the United States to 410,000, according to a new forecast from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington."


Future, Tense

"First the Sheriff's Office generates lists of people it considers likely to break the law, based on arrest histories, unspecified intelligence and arbitrary decisions by police analysts. Then it sends deputies to find and interrogate anyone whose name appears, often without probable cause, a search warrant or evidence of a specific crime." The Tampa Bay Times with a glimpse into what could be our policing future. Targeted.


The Beat Goes On

"Rescue workers in Beirut are delicately exploring the rubble of a collapsed building where a specialist team says it detected signs of life — one month after Lebanon's capital was devastated by a massive explosion at its port. The effort began after a sniffer dog named Flash signaled to his Chilean search and rescue team that someone might be alive under the concrete and debris in the neighborhood of Mar Mikhael. Searchers said their sensors have confirmed the presence of a body — initially detecting a possible breathing cycle on Thursday and then what they believe could be a weak human pulse." A small chance at a miracle in a city that could really use one.



"As if the novel coronavirus has not already wrought devastation aplenty on the world, physicians and researchers are seeing signs it is doing deep damage to people's sleep. 'Coronasomnia,' as some experts now call it, could prove to have profound public-health ramifications — creating a massive new population of chronic insomniacs grappling with declines in productivity, shorter fuses and increased risks of hypertension, depression and other health problems." The pandemic is ruining our sleep. (And I thought I just couldn't sleep because I was trying to think of war movie puns...)


Pitch Black

A professor comes clean about pretending to be Black for most of her adult life: "To an escalating degree over my adult life, I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness." (For a while, I also tried to eschew my lived experience as a white Jewish child from the suburbs, but just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!)


Feel Good Friday

"An experimental medication may slow the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, researchers reported Wednesday. The research was supported in part by donations from the Ice Bucket Challenge, the social media sensation that raised more than $200 million worldwide."

+ I dug this interview about the current state of America with Wynton Marsalis.

+ "All in all, Rockledge police said the bag contained $6,000 in cash, a $15,000 check, three vehicle titles, a box of medical masks, a box of latex gloves and Lysol wipes." Teacher rewarded for turning over backpack full of cash. (I knew I dropped something on the way to the dispensary...)

+ Rescue dog who lost her puppies adopts trio of orphaned kittens.

+ Finnish town offers locals cake (and other rewards) for cutting CO2 emissions.

+ Ecuadorian spouses break record as the world's oldest married couple. "There are longer marriages, but at the moment no other between people so old, according to Guinness World Records — just short of a combined 215 years." (That's the equivalent of being married for about two months during the quarantine.)