Friday, October 16th, 2020


Let’s Dish

The petri dish that contains the American experiment was missing a key ingredient: You. If there's anything good that came out of this era, it's that millions of us on the sidelines have realized that democracy takes work. Too many of us didn't jump into the fight until we saw our bedrock values, institutions, and norms get snapped like twigs. Now we're in it. And we're the vaccine for the virus. But like the other virus we're facing, the fight will be longer and harder because we waited so long to get started. Removing Trump is just the beginning. So stick around. James Carville in The Bulwark: A Crusade for Something Noble. "What this moment has done for all of us—for all those who have sat on the sidelines of history or never were presented with something that held as much gravitas—is that it has given us, for one fleeting moment—the moment we're living right now—a sense of common purpose. Common purpose of which we will be able to recall forever: that when our country and our Republic were on the brink of collapse, when our fellow Americans needed us, we took a blow torch to our past differences, our former conflicts and our old rivalries, and we fought together."


Clown Hall

Three decades ago, when Saddam was being driven from Kuwait, he ordered his troops to set fire to hundreds of Kuwaiti oil wells on the way out. Given Trump's performances during the first debate and last night's dueling town halls, it seems like he's considering a similar strategy: Ruin as much stuff on the way out as possible. Rachel Maddow on the president's dangerous lies.

+ WaPo: Rather than condemn the QAnon conspiracy theory, Trump elevates its dangerous central assertion about pedophilia. Yes, that is a president lighting an oil well, folks. And capping it will take a long, long time. And there will be opponents. Politico: The GOP starts forging a new alliance with QAnon.

+ It's hard not to imagine that the past four years would have been a lot different if more journalists had pushed back on the Trump craziness the way Savannah Guthrie did. Example: Just this week you retweeted to your 87 million followers a conspiracy theory that Joe Biden orchestrated to have SEAL Team 6 killed to cover up the fake death of bin Laden. Now, why would you send a lie like that to your followers? Trump: That was a retweet. That was an opinion of somebody. And that was a retweet. I'll put it out there. Guthrie: I don't get that. You're the president. You're not someone's crazy uncle who can retweet whatever. (Best response: Mary Trump's, "Actually...")

+ The New Yorker's Susan Glasser: The Presidential Town Halls Were Mister Rogers Versus Nasty Uncle Trump. (Or maybe Mister Rogers vs King Friday.)


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: Yes, you've heard correctly that My Octopus Teacher on Netflix is a really good documentary that helps put things in our own lives into perspective. It also works, if you want it to, as a really bizarre episode of the Bachelorette.

+ What to Read: My parents and my friend Bob have been telling me for years that I should be reading Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series. They were right (again). It's like Fauda meets James Bond. The first book in the series is called The Kill Artist.

+ What to Hear: Let's cue up a couple of young women singer songwriters for the weekend. First, check out Phoebe Bridgers album Punisher (start with the song Kyoto). And then try Fake it Flowers from beabadoobee (even her name is a decent song). Start with Care.


Doing Lines

"More than 17 million Americans have already cast ballots in the 2020 election, a record-shattering avalanche of early votes driven both by Democratic enthusiasm and a pandemic that has transformed the way the nation votes ... Americans' rush to vote is leading election experts to predict that a record 150 million votes may be cast and turnout rates could be higher than in any presidential election since 1908." (I wonder what has people so riled up to vote?)


Daddy’s Little Hurl

"If being the daughter of a polarizing mayor who became the president's personal bulldog has taught me anything, it is that corruption starts with 'yes-men' and women, the cronies who create an echo chamber of lies and subservience to maintain their proximity to power. We've seen this ad nauseam with Trump and his cadre of high-level sycophants (the ones who weren't convicted, anyway)." Vanity Fair: Rudy Giuliani Is My Father. Please, Everyone, Vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. (Holy shit. I get bummed out when my daughter hits me with an eye-roll.)

+ WaPo: White House was warned Giuliani was target of Russian intelligence operation to feed misinformation to Trump. (From America's Mayor to Moscow's Mayor.)


Between a Rock and an Eight Ball

"A former Mexican defense minister was arrested on Thursday night after arriving at Los Angeles International Airport with his family, according to the Mexican government, becoming the first high-ranking military official to be taken into custody in the United States in connection with drug-related corruption in his country." NYT: Mexico's Former Defense Minister Is Arrested in Los Angeles. Uh ... wow.


Profiles in Courage

"The way he kisses dictators' butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uyghurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He hasn't lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong Konger ... The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership. The way he treats women and spends like a drunken sailor. The ways I criticized President (Barack) Obama for that kind of spending I've criticized President Trump for as well. He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He's flirted with White supremacists." This is how Senator Ben Sasse describes Trump when on a call with constituents. It would make a heck of a speech on the floor of the Senate.

+ "I was wrong. I was wrong not to wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the president and the rest of the team ... I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow C.D.C. guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others." Thanks Chris Christie! But we already knew how serious Covid-19 was because 220,000 of our fellow Americans died while you were enabling the monster who did everything to increase that number. So save your advice.



"People who attended the indoor performances in late September in the Schwyz canton were advised to socially distance, but not required to wear masks that would have impeded their yodeling." Switzerland's Yodelers Created One of Europe's Worst COVID Hot Spots.


Tab Delimited

"'Tab had an amazing run, said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition and a longtime Tab enthusiast. Bixby said messages of condolences have been pouring in. 'As a business decision I can understand it, but it's a very sad day ... I do feel it's like losing a friend.'" Coca-Cola is discontinuing Tab after nearly 60 years. (It's the end of an era ... that most of thought ended like thirty years ago.)


Feel Good Friday

"Kamal Singh did not even know what ballet was when he turned up nervously at the Imperial Fernando Ballet School, in Delhi, during the summer of 2016. But the 17-year-old, known as Noddy, whose father was a rickshaw driver in the west of the city, had been transfixed by ballet dancers in a Bollywood film, and wanted to try it for himself." Rickshaw driver's son beats odds to join famed UK ballet school.

+ Man shelters 300 dogs from Hurricane Delta in Mexico home. (I have two beagles, so I know the feeling.)

+ New research could help millions who suffer from ringing in the ears.

+ Maki, the missing lemur, captured in a Daly City playground, returned to S.F. Zoo. (Like everyone these days, Maki was probably just moving out of California.)

+ With family separated by a border, Nova Scotia couple finds unique way to marry.

+ Engineering Student Builds Giant Slip 'N Side in an Effort to Break a World Record.