Friday, October 2nd, 2020



News of irony's death have been greatly exaggerated. You may have heard that Donald and Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19. There were signs that this news could be coming. First, we learned that White House aide Hope Hicks tested positive. Second, we have seen firsthand how the Trumps flout social distancing rules and scorn mask wearing. Third, it was a bad sign when Karma started working out to the Rocky theme song. And fourth, this is 2020. Imagine if you woke up from a twenty minute coma. The world would be unrecognizable. Let's get the basics out of the way. Of course, I wish the President and First Lady a speedy recovery, not just because of the dangers surrounding a chaotic, leaderless White House with an election approaching, but because empathy is an endangered species in America and I'm doing whatever I can to save mine. But let's not candy coat reality. Trump's behavior has resulted in Covid-19's unabated attack on America. His lies put people in danger. His actions put people in danger. That was true before he knew he was exposed to the virus and after. As recently as Tuesday night, the president ridiculed his opponent's mask-wearing habits during a debate watched across the globe. On that same night, the president's family, including the First Lady, broke the rules for mask wearing in the debate hall, and waved off Cleveland Clinic staff when they offered to provide them. (Reminder: the reason you wear masks is to protect others in case you might have the virus.) Just last night, Trump used a recorded address to tell an audience "the end of the pandemic is in sight." This wanton lying and refusal to set a social distancing example has cost countless American lives and now it could cost the president his own. After they learned of Hope Hicks' test result, the administration tried to keep the news under wraps, and the president maintained his traveling and maskless interaction schedule. "Instead of isolating, he met with people at campaign events; instead of protecting those around him, he knowingly risked spreading the virus further." This is a story about Trump's test, but it's also a story about a reckless disregard for others.

+ Joe Biden Has Tested Negative For The Coronavirus. This is good news, but it's preliminary, since the virus incubation period can take more time. Mike Pence has also tested negative. (Presidential lesson: Never put your Vice President in charge of controlling a deadly virus.)

+ So far, the president's symptoms are mild. Or so we're being told. We don't know for sure, and that reality complicates an already chaotic situation. WaPo: Years of the White House obscuring health information add instability at a tricky moment.

+ "Trump has all his life posed a moral puzzle: What is due in the way of kindness and sympathy to people who have no kindness and sympathy for anyone else? Should we repay horrifying cruelty in equal measure? Then we reduce ourselves to their level. But if we return indecency with the decency due any other person in need, don't we encourage appalling behavior?" David Frum in The Altantic: What Did You Expect? (At least with Trump working from home, the Zoom host will be able to mute him.)


The Stupor Spreader

The president's positive test is a reminder, for anyone who still needed one, that Covid-19 is dangerous. The Fox News coverage of the positive test is a reminder of the virus that threatens America the most in this era: disinformation. Throughout the night, Fox delivered the news over images (a loop of the handful available) of Trump wearing a mask. Despicable.


Weekend Whats

What to Hear: Good Music to Avert the Collapse of American Democracy, Volume 2, is an amazing digital album with unreleased songs from Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, and many more great bands, brought together by Dave Eggers and others. All of the proceeds from this project go towards voting rights (at a time we need them most). I just ordered my copy. You should do the same. And hurry, because the collection is only on sale for 24 hours.

+ What to Watch: Fargo has long been one of the best series on television. And the latest installment featuring Chris Rock is no exception. If you've missed past seasons, you're in for a good weekend.

+ What to Read: "We pay plenty to have our hidden truths excavated by shrinks while someone else pays a PI for the very same thing. The real force of secrets resides in keeping them, not letting them go. Which is why there are professionals to pry them loose." The great Phil Bronstein with a colorful (if you consider fog a color) look back at San Franciso's private eyes. Last Call for Gumshoes.

+ What to Wear: The latest NextDraft T-shirt designed by Bryan Bell is the fastest selling one yet, and probably the coolest. It's definitely the most timely. Score yours here. And check out the rest of the ND Shirt Store. (Note: I make no profit on these shirts. It's just about my ego ... and my desire that you look good.)


Vote of No Confidence

"Abbott's proclamation, which he framed as an effort to enhance election security, will shutter all but one drop-off location for completed mail-in ballots in each of Texas's 254 counties, severely limiting voters' access to the polls in many large and populous counties." Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Is Closing All But One Dropoff Location For Mail-In Ballots In Each County.


Full Scheme Ahead

"Senate Republicans insisted Friday they have no plans to delay Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation — but a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee tested positive for the coronavirus and Washington was roiled by a possible outbreak at the White House." McConnell vows 'full steam ahead' on Barrett as fears rise of virus outbreak. (At least his bedside manner is consistent.)

+ The fight over Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation will be a fight over the future of choice. Barrett's religious affiliations are likely to come up. Religious group scrubs all references to Amy Coney Barrett from its website.


Lafayette Two, Brutal…

"While red states jumped to answer the president's call, governors and Guard commanders in blue states were incredulous. The result was a deployment to the nation's capital that military historians say appears to have been without precedent: Over 98 percent of the 3,800 troops that arrived in the District came from states with Republican governors." WaPo: How Trump amassed a red-state army in the nation's capital — and could do so again. (This, it turns out, is a pretty big deal when you have a candidate who has refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power.)

+ "Yesterday I made a statement that was according to most, a perfect statement. I've said it so many times, even beyond that." And with that preamble, Trump finally condemned the Proud Boys, lying that he really doesn't know who they are...

+ Jane Meyer in The New Yorker: The Secret History of Kimberly Guilfoyle's Departure from Fox. (This administration attracts quite the crowd...)


A Bad Wrap?

"Researchers out of the University of Georgia replicated some of what Duke did, but with more stringent parameters intended to more accurately evaluate the effectiveness of different face coverings." Bottom line: Neck gaiters aren't bad and can sometimes be better than certain masks. (Seriously, cover your face with anything. Just cover it.)


Ghost Buster Douglas

"Footage shows the 67-year-old actor assaulted by an unknown assailant on Thursday morning while walking near his apartment building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The NYPD have referred to the attack as 'random' and 'unprovoked.'" Actor Rick Moranis punched in the street in random attack. (I'm not usually in favor of the death penalty, but...)


Buy Another Day

"After nearly two decades of living in his beachfront Malibu mansion, Pierce Brosnan is finally saying goodbye. The former James Bond and his wife built the sprawling 12,500-square-foot home after the actor finished his fourth film for the franchise." Five bedrooms, 1 acre of land, and more can be yours for a cool hundred million.


Bottom of the News

"The progress Patagonia has made with respect to materials sourcing is admirable, but so is its willingness to share its playbook, which includes suppliers, mills and manufacturers. A skeptic could view this openness as simply good PR — or scoff at a company divulging its secrets to the competition. But the way Stanley sees it, if other brands adopt and evolve these practices, the big winner will be the most critical player in this game: Earth itself."

+ Brazilian pianist who hasn't been able to play piano for 20 years has emotional reaction after he's finally able to play again. There's more on his story here.

+ Far fewer kids are 'heavy drinkers' of sugar-sweetened beverages than in the early aughts. (I'm not sure they factored in my daughter's Starbucks orders...)

+ Expletive-Spewing Parrots Have Been Removed From an England Zoo. (Other zoo animals take note. This is how you bust out.)

+ WaPo: Food banks are removing the signed letter Trump wanted to include in every food-aid box.

+ Brothers Donate 10,000 Masks to Miami Rescue Mission to protect the most vulnerable.

+ "The two women are taking part in a global, static cycling competition that has inspired thousands of older people to cycle the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of kilometres without leaving their care homes." Out of retirement: the care home seniors chasing global cycling glory. (This sounds great, but I have a feeling I'm going to get stuck describing how to restart the modem...)