Sunday, September 6th, 2020


There’s No ESC

Let's not do this on Labor Day. See you Tuesday...

"The backlash was swift and fierce among community members, many of whom believed the outbreak could be contained at the school. On social media, critics warned of 'government overreach' and something even more ominous in rugged mountain culture, which the mask-wearing Kilgore ran into in the hardware store: the perceived 'sissy' factor. 'Once you lose your rights you are not getting them back,' one resident wrote on Facebook. 'The people I see being the biggest advocates of this are women and effeminate men.'" Laura Vozzella in WaPo: This rural Virginia community thought it could escape the pandemic. Now, it has among the highest number of new cases in the state. (These are the towns that are currently being hit by coronavirus, and where political leadership, from the top down, could have made a huge difference.)


Ray Gun

At least 43 million Americans (including me) are baking under record temperatures. So grab a Slurpee and read Jessica Kutz in High Country News: Extreme heat is here, and it's deadly. (More so for some than others...) "According to a study published this year in the journal Climate, the neighborhoods formed through segregation and redlining are often the poorest and hottest, with the least amount of shade and green spaces. Edison-Eastlake in central Phoenix, for example, is 79% Latino and has a median household income of around $10,000 — a fourth of the citywide average. Many residents cannot afford the high electricity bills that come with air conditioning, and heat-associated deaths are 20 times higher in Edison-Eastlake than in other parts of Maricopa County."

+ Most of the hottest areas will get some relief by Tuesday, but none quite like Denver, where the weather will go from nearly 100 degrees on Monday to a snowstorm on Tuesday. (Given that it's 2020, I'm not sure I'd wanna stick around and see what's coming Wednesday.)


From Bad to Nurse

"As late as March 30, inspectors from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services found that more than a third of nursing homes were not following proper hand-washing protocols. This means that in the midst of a global pandemic, more than a third of nursing homes had staff who did not wash their hands properly while inspectors were watching them." California Sunday Magazine takes you inside the Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington, the first COVID hot spot in the U.S. What went wrong in terms of our preparation for the pandemic and our treatment of the elderly that could lead to this kind of devastation? What Happened in Room 10?

+ NYT Editorial Board: "Nursing home residents and staff members account for around 40 percent of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. There's no justifiable reason for that." How Many of These 68,000 Deaths Could Have Been Avoided?


Crunch Time

"Earlier this summer, the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee set about crunching data on more than 40,000 genes from 17,000 genetic samples in an effort to better understand Covid-19. Summit is the second-fastest computer in the world, but the process — which involved analyzing 2.5 billion genetic combinations — still took more than a week." A Supercomputer Analyzed Covid-19 — and an Interesting New Theory Has Emerged.


Grit Iron Coach

"'People on the low have told me I could lose my job for this. A lot of people told me not to do it. People told me to stop stirring trouble. I became an agitator in my hometown, for talking about a guy who was murdered in his community. But one of the great things about coaching: I got more support from the community than I got threats.'" WaPo: Ahmaud Arbery's killing was met with silence. His high school football coach vowed to find justice.


Faux MG

"On the campaign trail with President Donald Trump, the pandemic is largely over, the economy is roaring back, and murderous mobs are infiltrating America's suburbs. With Democrat Joe Biden, the pandemic is raging, the economy isn't lifting the working class, and systemic racism threatens Black lives across America." AP: Dueling versions of reality define 1st week of fall campaign. I'm mostly linking to this article because I hate the headline. It represents so much that's been wrong with the way the media has dealt with the Trump era. There aren't two dueling versions of reality. There is reality. And there are lies from a guy who never stops lying.


Orange Cohen

"I will never get the Hispanic vote. Like the blacks, they're too stupid to vote for Trump" ... On Russia, Cohen claims that Trump 'loved' President Putin because he could 'take over an entire nation and run it like it was his personal company — like the Trump Organization'" ... On Nelson Mandela: "He was no leader ... Tell me one country run by a black person that isn't a s--thole. They are all complete f--king toilets." Here are some of the claims in the latest book about Trump, this one from his fixer Michael Cohen. The oddest claim: "Trump allegedly hired a 'Faux-Bama' to impersonate former President Obama in a video and 'ritualistically belittled the first black president and then fired him.'" (This makes me feel less weird about my Trump VooDoo Doll...)


Winter is Coming

"Eventually, the weather will warm again, and Americans will learn to go to work and school together again. Still, the U.S. has no excuse for being ravaged by a virus that more focus and discipline could have defeated. Unlike Asian and European countries now resuming a normal life with modest precautions, Americans squandered our first opportunity to beat the virus in early 2020. The calendar shows the consequence: We'll pay for our mistake well into the new year." Juliette Kayyem in The Atlantic: The Emotionally Challenging Next Phase of the Pandemic.


Ice Cubism

"Josef Koeberl managed to stay 2 hours, 30 minutes and 57 seconds inside a custom-made glass box filled up to his shoulders with ice cubes. More than 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of ice cubes were needed to fill up the box, after Koeberl stepped inside wearing nothing but swim trunks." Austrian man spends 2.5 hours in box filled with ice cubes. (Related: I ate 12 sugar-free popsicles yesterday.)


Bottom of the News

"I was facing a crisis of masculinity. I could go back to the makeup room, have the CNN makeup artist remove the gunk from my face, and be even later for my meeting than I already was. But caring about taking off makeup seemed as vain as wearing it. So I left. The first thing the guy I was meeting said was that I looked young. I don't remember the second thing he said, but it wasn't, "Are you wearing makeup?" I never again took TV makeup off after a show." Joel Stein: More Men Are Wearing Makeup. And Now I See Why. (This revelation will be least surprising to those who have seen Joel in person.)

+ At Least Four Boats Sink During Pro-Trump Parade in Texas. (Luckily first responders were called and no injuries were reported. Apparently drowning is not considered a hoax.)