Friday, October 30th, 2020


Catching Waves

You can fool some of the people some of the time. But you can't fool people who have had to say goodbye to their dying loved ones via an iPad any of the time. There are two waves hitting America right now. They are inexorably linked. One is the voting surge. The latest example is in Texas, where early voting has already exceeded the total of all 2016 ballots cast. And when it comes to big turnout numbers, the Lone Star state is hardly alone, and that's a good thing. But there's another less welcome wave hitting America. The US is adding a new Covid-19 case every second, and Thursday was the country's worst day ever, with 88,521 new cases. And the two waves are smashing into each other. WaPo: Coronavirus cases are on the rise in every swing state.

+ These two waves are not only linked because this election is tied to the administration's handling of the pandemic. They are also linked because President Trump has turned his campaign into a slow-motion, multistate superspreader event. Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the spikes in news cases linked to Trump rallies. "The counties in which these rallies were being held were going up sometimes way out of proportion compared to the surrounding counties. Again, with similar demographics, similar viral dynamics."

+ (A glaze-eyed) Donald Trump Jr. said Covid-19 deaths are at 'almost nothing' and called Gupta a moron on a day the virus killed more than 1,000 Americans.


Scarred Catalog

The most amazing technical achievement of the Information Age was building an internet scalable enough to keep a running list of Trump's crimes against decency, decorum, and democracy. And for anyone you may know who's among the undecided, McSweeney's kept a list. Lest We Forget the Horrors: A Catalog of Trump's Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes. (Legal disclaimer: NextDraft bears no responsibility for any repetitive stress injuries that may occur while scrolling through this list.)

+ "In many ways, the whole Trump Presidency can be encapsulated in the past few days and weeks. It is self-dealing, denialism, dishonesty, and deflection. It is narcissism, recklessness, and disregard for the public good—and for democracy itself. There is nothing and no one he has not corrupted—or tried to. Even the remaining uncertainty about the election's outcome is a product of Trump's cynical, self-serving, and dangerous assault on the political system. Washington can read the polls, but after four years there's still no poll that can fully account for this President. Folks, it ain't over till it's over." Susan Glasser in The New Yorker: Denialism, Dishonesty, Deflection: The Final Days of the Trump Campaign Have It All.

+ Related: Walmart Pulls Guns Off Shelves as Precaution Ahead of Election.

+ For old time's sake (and because the next couple months could be the most corrupt of all, even if Trump loses), here are a couple more scandals. NYT: Turkish Bank Case Showed Erdogan's Influence With Trump. And FP: Wilbur Ross Remained on Chinese Joint Venture Board While Running U.S.-China Trade War.


Weekend Whats

What to Read: "Trump snuffed out my confidence, flickering but real, that we could go only so low and forgive only so much. With him we went lower — or at least a damningly large percentage of us did. In him we forgave florid cruelty, overt racism, rampant corruption, exultant indecency, the coddling of murderous despots, the alienation of true friends, the alienation of truth itself, the disparagement of invaluable institutions, the degradation of essential democratic traditions ... Polls from mid-October showed that about 44 percent of voters approved of Trump's job performance — and this was after he'd concealed aspects of his coronavirus infection from the public, shrugged off the larger meaning of it, established the White House as its own superspreader environment and cavalierly marched on. Forty-four percent. Who in God's name are we?" The NYT's Frank Bruni pretty accurately summarizes my own frustrations in this column. How Will I Ever Look at America the Same Way Again? In addition to taking a cold, hard look at America, each of us also needs to look in the mirror. A country doesn't get this screwed up without a little help from everyone. And from Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic: The Answer to Extremism Isn't More Extremism.

+ What to Watch: The third season of Suburra, Blood on Rome is out on Netflix. I enjoyed the first two seasons, which made me realize I prefer fictional political crimes.

+ What to Sarah: 2020 has been a drag. But an independent, awesome artist like Sarah Cooper finding the perfect way to parody Trump and rising to fame doing so is some damn good news. Her Netflix special is called, Sarah Cooper, Everything's Fine. (I mean sure, I would have preferred it if I had been the awesome, indie to rise to fame during the Trump era. But I've still got a few more days!)

+ What to Book: Tiffany Shlain's 24/6: Giving Up Screens One Day a Week to Get More Time, Creativity, and Connection is out in paperback. While I recommend the book and the tech timeouts, I'm not leaving this screen until Jan 20.


The Other Virus

"The document, a 64-page composition that was later disseminated by close associates of President Donald Trump, appears to be the work of a fake 'intelligence firm' called Typhoon Investigations, according to researchers and public documents." I haven't covered the Hunter Biden garbage here much because almost all of it is bullshit. That said, we shouldn't discount the fact that Tucker, Sean, and the other scumbags at Fox News are talking about it nonstop. Last week, Fox covered the NY Post's Hunter Biden story more than twice as much as surge in US coronavirus cases.


Let’s Clear the Air

"The risk of contagion is highest in indoor spaces but can be reduced by applying all available measures to combat infection via aerosols. Here is an overview of the likelihood of infection in three everyday scenarios, based on the safety measures used and the length of exposure." El Pais with a really good overview of how coronavirus spreads and how to avoid the worst exposures. Read and share. A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air.


Accost and Found

"Philadelphia police allegedly pulled a 2-year-old Black toddler from the back seat of his family's SUV after breaking all of the windows and injuring his mother in a violent arrest—then a police union posted a photo of the child on Facebook and claimed officers were protecting him after he got 'lost.'"



"For the past few weeks, I've been stockpiling all of the quantitative reasons why the 2020 election is really, truly different from 2016, from new polling methodologies to fewer undecided voters." Derek Thompson on why the 2020 election won't be a 2016 sequel. Don't Sweat the Polls. (I fully agree. And yet, I'm drenched.)

+ "It's not just that you're a crook, Senator..." that was the opening line in Jon Ossoff's viral takedown of incumbent Georgia Senator David Perdue that caused Perdue to drop out of the next debate. My favorite part was when Ossoff called Perdue (who also went viral for making fun of Kamala Harris's name) out for his antisemitic ads. I'm not covering too many of the state races here, but this was the best Jewish performance since my bar mitzvah haftorah portion.


The Last Table Dance

"In 1991, one of the founding brothers, Jim Mitchell, shot and killed his brother, Artie Mitchell, who had been struggling with cocaine and alcohol addiction. And as recently as 2014, one daughter, Jasmine Mitchell, had been accused of facilitating a massive identity theft ring; meanwhile, their eldest son, James Mitchell, was sentenced 35 years to life in prison for murdering the mother of his child with a baseball bat in 2009." Of course, there were happier moments as well. Where all the lost souls came together': SF's O'Farrell Theatre strip club closes after 50 years. I don't know what they'll put in its place. The lot will definitely be labeled as an EPA Superfun(d) site...


Rock Bottom

We finally have a sign that things could turn around. 2020 seems to have offered up its ultimate metaphor. New York sinkhole: Man's horror over fall into rat-infested chasm.


Feel Good Friday

Bryan Bell is a Dodgers fan. So he had a good week. He's also the designer behind NextDraft and all its associated T-shirts. He's also, as far as I can tell, a disturbingly good parent. His latest achievement. Socially distant candy distribution. This is almost enough to make me want to start paying him.

+ "A Toronto plumber is helping to make Halloween a bit safer by rigging up an alternative for handing out candy to local trick-or-treaters in his neighbourhood." Candy Chutes.

+ I am a proud supporter of the Center on Rural Innovation. Yes, I hate Trump. But I love America and want its small towns to thrive. And with CORI's help, they will. Check out this awesome video: The Rural Edge: Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

+ How Taiwan went 200 days without a locally transmitted case of Covid.

+ Homeless Shelter Staff Are Saving New York's School System.

+ San Jose Man Donates Collection of 25,000 Baseball Cards to 9-Year-Old Who Lost All Hers in Wildfire

+ Jon Stewart is coming back to TV.

+ For years, I've been telling my kids that Kia should upgrade its logo now that it has much nicer cars. My kids ignored me. Kia didn't.

+ Scarlett Johansson And Colin Jost Got Married In An Intimate Wedding Ceremony. (This is a feel good story for exactly one person: Colin Jost. We'll deal with him later.)