1

Plucked out of Obscurity

Bought a beat up six string, in a secondhand store / Didn't know how to play it, but he knew for sure / That one guitar, felt good in his hands / Didn't take long, to understand / Just one guitar, slung way down low Was a one way ticket, only one way to go / So he started rockin', ain't never gonna stop / Gotta keep on rockin', someday gonna make it to the top / And be a juke box hero. They say hindsight is 2020. For many people, 2020 is all about hindsight as nostalgia takes center stage. Before the pandemic, as my guitar gently weeped, it found itself set aside for computer created riffs. But in March, Quarantine Age Wasteland set the stage for a six string comeback. Somewhere along the way, people stopped bumming and started strumming. Guitars have struck a chord. "It's not just graying baby boomer men looking to live out one last Peter Frampton fantasy. Young adults and teenagers, many of them female, are helping to power this guitar revival, manufacturers and retailers said, putting their own generational stamp on the instrument that rocked their parents' generation while also discovering the powers of six-string therapy." Alex Williams in the NYT: Guitars Are Back, Baby! I got my first real six-string / Bought it at the five-and-dime / Played it 'til my fingers bled / Was the summer of '69. (Beats the hell out of the summer of Covid 19.)

+ Vinyl Sales Surpass CD Sales for the First Time in 34 Years. That's one for the record books. At least I think it is. I need to check my floppy disks.

2

It’ll Cool Off

"Some 162 million people — nearly one in two — will most likely experience a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water. For 93 million of them, the changes could be particularly severe, and by 2070, our analysis suggests, if carbon emissions rise at extreme levels, at least four million Americans could find themselves living at the fringe, in places decidedly outside the ideal niche for human life." ProPublica with the NYT: Climate Change Will Force a New American Migration.

+ Meanwhile, when confronted with the climate change that is killing people, burning hundreds of millions of acres, and sending smoke almost all the way across the country, President Trump smiled and smugly said, "It will start getting cooler, just you watch." He added that he doesn't think science knows what's causing the fire or what the climate will do. In other news, the virus is just gonna disappear.

3

Breonna Mission

"The city of Louisville will pay millions to the mother of Breonna Taylor and reform police practices as part of a lawsuit settlement months after Taylor's slaying by police thrust the Black woman's name to the forefront of a national reckoning on race. A person who has seen the settlement told The Associated Press it is the largest sum paid by the city for a police misconduct case."

4

You Had Me at Shalom

"In addition to the individual bilateral agreements signed by Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, all three will sign a trilateral document, officials said. The agreements are dubbed the 'Abraham Accords' after the patriarch of the world's three major monotheistic religions. Trump is expected to sign as a witness." Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain sign historic agreement at the White House.

+ BBC: Five reasons why Israel's peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain matter.

+ "U.S. and UAE officials have not disclosed details of the proposed sale, including the number of jets and how advanced a model. But under a 12-year-old law, the United States is committed to ensuring that Israel maintains a 'qualitative military edge.'" Proposed sale of F-35 jets to UAE prompts fears in Israel.

5

Zucking the System

"I've found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry, and caused international news on multiple occasions. I have personally made decisions that affected national presidents without oversight, and taken action to enforce against so many prominent politicians globally that I've lost count ... I Have Blood on My Hands." A Whistleblower Says Facebook Ignored Global Political Manipulation. (Too much power in one company. Way too much.)

6

Caputo the Line

"'I don't like being alone in Washington,' he said, describing 'shadows on the ceiling in my apartment, there alone, shadows are so long.' He then ran through a series of conspiracy theories, culminating in a prediction that Mr. Trump will win re-election but his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., will refuse to concede. 'And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,' he said. 'The drills that you've seen are nothing.' He added: 'If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it's going to be hard to get.'" Meet Michael Caputo. America's top communications official at the powerful cabinet department in charge of combating the coronavirus.

7

U.S.UCK

"Since Donald Trump took office as president, the image of the United States has suffered across many regions of the globe. As a new 13-nation Pew Research Center survey illustrates, America's reputation has declined further over the past year among many key allies and partners. In several countries, the share of the public with a favorable view of the U.S. is as low as it has been at any point since the Center began polling on this topic nearly two decades ago." U.S. Image Plummets Internationally as Most Say Country Has Handled Coronavirus Badly.

8

Alexei for Effort

"Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Tuesday posted a picture of himself from his hospital bed in Germany where he's recuperating from being poisoned with a nerve agent, wryly joking about being able to breathe on his own." Navalny posts hospital photo of himself, plans Russia return.

9

Dumper Mifflin

"Demand for toilet paper has been so high during the pandemic that in order to keep their shelves stocked, retailers are buying up foreign toilet paper brands, mostly from Mexico. Major chains, across the country, including CVS, Piggly Wiggly, Safeway, 7-Eleven and others, are carrying the international brands." Virus brings Mexican toilet paper to US.

10

Bottom of the News

"Coronavirus hasn't stopped Italian heartthrob and two-wheeled avenger Vittorio Brumotti from righting society's wrongs. The cyclist has delighted audiences with his TV news segment "100% Brumotti," shaming people for parking in handicapped spaces and taking on no less than the Mafia. We ride along with Italy's favorite bike hero." Vittorio Brumotti Serves Vigilante Justice on a Bike. (I wonder if he makes house calls...)

+ Jimmy Carter: Yes, Willie Nelson Smoked Weed on the White House Roof.

+ Trump ad asks people to support the troops. But it uses a picture of Russian jets.