Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020


Mourning in America

Chief Justice John Roberts remembered his colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she lies in repose at the Supreme Court. "Ruth used to ask, 'What is the difference between a bookkeeper in Brooklyn and a Supreme Court Justice?' Her answer: 'One generation.'" No one is going to pretend RBG's death wasn't a political moment; her own words dictated to her granddaughter indicated she knew that it was. And no one is going to feign surprise that the Senate resolution to honor her has been hampered by partisan fighting. And I'm certainly not going to be able to stomach Trump's visit to the Supreme Court to pay his false respects after he publicly argued that RBG's granddaughter was lying, and that Ginsburg's final words were really part of some Democratic plot. But at some point, we have to stop and simply mourn the death of a great American. Just like, at some point, we have to stop and mourn the 200,000 we have lost to Covid-19. Part of rescuing America from her sad, precipitous slide has to be rescuing our humanity and common decency. Without those, what's left to save.


Grand Finale?

"A Kentucky grand jury on Wednesday indicted a single former police officer for shooting into neighboring apartments but did not move forward with charges against any officers for their role in Breonna Taylor's death. The jury announced that fired Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid of Taylor's home on the night of March 13."

+ Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron: "This is a tragedy. And sometimes, the criminal law is not adequate to respond to a tragedy. And I fully acknowledge that and I know many that are watching today and those listening recognize that as well." Here's the latest from CNN.


If Your Election Lasts More Than Four Weeks…

"If we are lucky, this fraught and dysfunctional election cycle will reach a conventional stopping point in time to meet crucial deadlines in December and January. The contest will be decided with sufficient authority that the losing candidate will be forced to yield. Collectively we will have made our choice—a messy one, no doubt, but clear enough to arm the president-elect with a mandate to govern. As a nation, we have never failed to clear that bar. But in this election year of plague and recession and catastrophized politics, the mechanisms of decision are at meaningful risk of breaking down. Close students of election law and procedure are warning that conditions are ripe for a constitutional crisis that would leave the nation without an authoritative result. We have no fail-safe against that calamity. Thus the blinking red lights." (Another way of putting it: What if 2020 ends and the next year is also 2020?) The Atlantic's Barton Gellman: The Election That Could Break America: If the vote is close, Donald Trump could easily throw the election into chaos and subvert the result. Who will stop him? (Some of us have been asking that question for four years, and the answer has remained the same.)


You’re Getting Warmer…

"Don't think of it as the warmest month of August in California in the last century. Think of it as one of the coolest months of August in California in the next century." A reality check, as if anyone from California still needed one, from the NYT: Climate Disruption Is Now Locked In. The Next Moves Will Be Crucial. TLDR: If you're looking for the truth about climate change, you're getting warmer.


Racist is as Racist Does

"In Trump's case, there is now a substantial record of his actions as president that have compounded the perceptions of racism created by his words. Over 3½ years in office, he has presided over a sweeping U.S. government retreat from the front lines of civil rights, endangering decades of progress against voter suppression, housing discrimination and police misconduct." WaPo: Allegations of racism have marked Trump's presidency and become key issue as election nears. (The fakest news of all is the idea that you can vote for Trump and not be connected to what he says or does. His racism, lies, indecency, and criminally bad pandemic response — you can't support Trump without supporting all of it.)


A Plight at the Museum

"'The fact that I had to pay my own money to see what had been taken by force, this heritage that belonged back home where I come from — that's when the decision was made to take action,' said Mr. Diyabanza in an interview in Paris this month. Describing the Quai Branly as 'a museum that contains stolen objects,' he added, 'There is no ban on an owner taking back his property the moment he comes across it.'" I'd never wish jury duty upon myself, but if one had to sit in a courtroom for a few weeks, this would be a really intertesting case to follow. NYT: To Protest Colonialism, He Takes Artifacts From Museums.


Poetry in Motion

"If you wish to see perfection as a running back, you had best get a hold of a film of Gale Sayers. He was poetry in motion. His like will never be seen again." As a kid I watched the tapes from NFL Films, I rewatched Brian's Song, and I read the autobiography. Gale Sayers, the Chicago Bears' Hall of Fame running back, dies at 77.


Click Bait

"I learn that T.M.R. aims to make 250 rods a year, and that it usually takes about six weeks, from beginning to end, to build one. (Bamboo rods take closer to three or four months.) But as Ric Plante, a full-time bamboo rod maker, playfully warns: 'Never say pole. A pole is what you use to hold up your tent.'" In reality, I spend most of my life on an office couch in front of a laptop. But in my mind, I'm a pretty active outdoorsman, and a particularly serious fly fisherman in Montana. So let me share a bit of my world as you become a fly on the wall in Montana, courtesy of Janie Osborne in the NYT: In Montana, the Art of Crafting Fly-Fishing Rods.


Punct, Pass, and Kick

"A Los Angeles Chargers team doctor accidentally punctured quarterback Tyrod Taylor's lung just before kickoff Sunday while trying to administer a pain-killing injection to the quarterback's cracked ribs, coach Anthony Lynn told ESPN's Shelley Smith on Wednesday."


Bottom of the News

"Uncle Ben's Rice will change its name to Ben's Original and remove the image of a smiling, grey-haired black man from its packaging." However, Swastika, New York, is keeping its name.

+ The Sizzler Chain Files For Bankruptcy Protection. (It's not the first time, it won't be the last. But together, we're gonna survive this pandemic and live to salad bar again.)

+ WaPo: Some people are getting hotter during the pandemic. How dare they. (What can I say? I look better in a mask...)