Saturday, September 12th, 2020


Food For Thought

Schedule note: Weekend delivery will be on an as needed basis for a while.

The spread of Covid 19 has been a hard nut to crack. And even though many conclusions should still be taken with a pinch of salt and you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket, cream of the crop scientists (whose bread and butter is knowing such things) are starting to spill the beans about hot potato behaviors and how the cookie crumbles. In a nutshell, if you can bring home the bacon, you probably should; if that's not your cup of tea and you must eat at a restaurant, it's better to freeze your buns off outside. The proof is in the pudding and we have more evidence that coronavirus is especially souped up inside restaurants, and marinating in one with bad ventilation and your mouth uncovered isn't gonna cut the mustard; that risk of ending up in a pickle should be enough to spoil anyone's appetite. It's easy as pie and a piece of cake to be a couch potato and have dinner served on a silver platter, which is why delivered meals are selling like hotcakes. Don't let friends egg you on to go bananas and believe you can have your cake and eat it too. There's no use crying over spilled milk, so don't spill it in the first place, drop the restaurant plans like a sack of potatoes, and use your noodle. NPR: Adults With COVID-19 Twice As Likely To Have Eaten At Restaurants, CDC Study Finds.



"Federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy, a top aide to U.S. Attorney John H. Durham in his Russia investigation, has quietly resigned — at least partly out of concern that the investigative team is being pressed for political reasons to produce a report before its work is done." How do you know when William Barr has gone too far? Career professionals resign. It's happened before. And it just happened again.

+ Speaking of resignation-driving moves by Barr, here's a court-appointed adviser blasting the 'corrupt' DOJ move to drop Flynn case. "The government makes virtually no effort to deny or rebut the powerful evidence that its...motion improperly seeks to place this Court's imprimatur on a corrupt, politically motivated favor for the president's friend and ally." (Flynn betrayed America and then lied about it. One wonders what Individual One is trying to cover up...)

+ In other corruption news, "the health department's politically appointed communications aides have demanded the right to review and seek changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly scientific reports charting the progress of the coronavirus pandemic, in what officials characterized as an attempt to intimidate the reports' authors and water down their communications to health professionals."


Oregon Wrong

Rebecca Schuman: There Are Two Oregons, and They're Both on Fire. "Oregon is burning. Or, more accurately, both Oregons are, and how you feel about the president's nonreaction to the wildfires currently engulfing the three West Coast states he won't win reveals which one you're in. There's the Oregon that outsiders have seen on Portlandia, and the far more conservative one they've probably never heard of, whose members are scattered widely across the state's 98,000 square miles. The only thing progressive urban Oregonians have in common with the tiny farming, fishing, and logging towns that dot the rest of the state is that they reside equally far out on their ideological branches—and they're now all scrambling to breathe as those branches burn to the ground."

+ "With the blazes still spreading and many homes destroyed, Oregon's director of emergency management said the state feared a 'mass fatality incident.'" NYT: 17 Dead and Dozens Missing in Vast Western Wildfires.

+ Horrific stories of children dying in the Northwest wildfires emerge as crews make grim discoveries.

+ Some Photos from Oregon as it Grapples With Historic Fires. The photo of the younger people on their devices against the blood orange sky captures an era.


Overgrowth Market

"California inmate firefighter program is decades-old and has long needed reform. Inmates who have stood on the front lines, battling historic fires should not be denied the right to later become a professional firefighter." California governor signs bill giving prisoners battling wildfires a shot at becoming pro firefighters.


A Jan Do Attitude

"Biden has laid out a far more muscular federal approach than has President Trump, whose 'failures of judgment' and 'repeated rejection of science' the Democrat first pilloried in a Jan. 27 op-ed about the crisis. Biden has said that he would urge state and local leaders to implement mask mandates if they are still needed, create a panel on the model of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's War Production Board to boost testing, and lay out detailed plans to distribute vaccines to 330 million people after they are greenlighted as safe and effective." WaPo: Here's how Joe Biden would combat the pandemic if he wins the election. (Yes, by the way, you read the date of Biden's editorial correctly.)


Peter Rabbit Punch

"Four years ago, billionaire venture capitalist and Facebook board member Peter Thiel made one of his biggest bets: He went all in on Donald Trump. The normally tight-lipped and enigmatic Thiel gave a very public imprimatur as a prominent speaker at the Republican convention, tying his reputation as one of the most successful figures in modern tech to a presidential candidate despised throughout Silicon Valley." That wasn't all he was doing at the time. Buzzfeed: Peter Thiel Met With The Racist Fringe As He Went All In On Trump. (This isn't particularly surprising to those who know much about Thiel. It matters now because Thiel is on Facebook's board and Facebook is letting white supremacists run wild on its platform.)


Board at Work

"But Gabeira's historic win was light on fanfare, with the news hampered by an uncharacteristically long delay (about four weeks after the men's announcement), and also because her achievement was subject to a brand-new and completely different set of measuring criteria than was required for the men's waves. The situation highlights a rare and missed opportunity to challenge widespread ideas about women's athletic inferiority." The Atlantic: This Woman Surfed the Biggest Wave of the Year.


Summer of Sam

"'Look at that piece of ass,' Cohen recalls Trump saying, as he whistled and pointed. 'I would love some of that.' It so happened that Trump was referring to Cohen's then 15-year-old daughter, Samantha. Cohen informed Trump of his mistake. 'That's your daughter?' Trump responded. 'When did she get so hot?' When Samantha reached her dad, Trump asked her for a kiss on the cheek, before inquiring, 'When did you get such a beautiful figure?'" Vanity Fair: Michael Cohen's Daughter Reflects on His Time With the President, and Becoming Trumpworld Collateral Damage.


Head Bangers

"The news travels fast. Nearby woodpecker groups rush to the site and fight long, gory battles until one collective wins, according to a study published Monday in Current Biology. These wars also draw woodpecker audiences, the researchers reported, who leave their own territories unattended, demonstrating the immense investment and risks the birds are willing to take in pursuit of better breeding opportunities and intelligence gathering." NYT: In This Woodpecker Kingdom, War Is a Spectator Sport.


Bottom of the News

"The court found that she and her boyfriend had intentionally left the severed hand behind rather than bringing it with them to ensure the disability was permanent. However, authorities recovered it in time to sew it back on. Prosecutors said the woman's boyfriend had also made internet searches about artificial hands in the days beforehand." BBC: Woman who sawed off own hand found guilty of fraud. (She was able to save the hand, but the legal fees cost an arm and a leg...)