Thursday, November 12th, 2020


All Your Case Are Belong to Us

"Miraculous. COVID cured, the very instant the networks called the race for Biden." So tweeted Ted Cruz a couple days ago. This is one time I wish one of these conspiracy theories were true. Instead of a fever dream, we've just got a fever. Records are being set. Cases are on the rise. And unlike past waves, it's everywhere. "A pandemic that was once raging in New York and later across the Sun Belt is now spread so widely across the country that any number of cities and states might now be considered the worst off, depending on the measurement used." NYT: What Places Are Hardest Hit by the Coronavirus? It Depends on the Measure.

+ USA Today: US is seeing almost 2,000 deaths a day; mask mandates gain momentum among GOP governors; California almost has 1M cases.

+ And federal leadership? Poof. "In essence, Trump, his family and his advisers are spending all their energy desperately trying to save a job -- the presidency -- that he appears to have no intention of doing in any meaningful sense."

+ Ted Cruz' evidence that the media had stopped covering Covid once the election was over was a screenshot from CNN. Well, here's mine from today. If it weren't for the coup clutz clan, this would be the only story anyone was covering.


Selfie Esteem

The altruistic mask-wearing pitch didn't seem to work for many Americans. So we'll try another tack. It turns out that wearing masks is not only a remarkably easy way to protect others, it's also a remarkably easy way to protect yourself.

+ "Many earlier coronavirus clusters were linked to nursing homes and crowded nightclubs. But public health officials nationwide say case investigations are increasingly leading them to small, private social gatherings. This behind-doors transmission trend reflects pandemic fatigue and widening social bubbles, experts say — and is particularly insidious because it is so difficult to police and likely to increase as temperatures drop and holidays approach." WaPo: At dinner parties and game nights, casual American life is fueling the coronavirus surge. (Basically, any time you're hanging out in a group, you're playing charades.)

+ Stanford scientists' computer model predicts COVID-19 spread in cities. (Stop with the indoor dining at restaurants.)


Gov Grifts Us Up Where We Belong

"Any small-dollar donations from Trump's grassroots donors won't be going to legal expenses at all, according to a Reuters review of the legal language in the solicitations. A donor would have to give more than $8,000 before any money goes to the 'recount account' established to finance election challenges, including recounts and lawsuits over alleged improprieties, the fundraising disclosures show." Donations under $8K to Trump ‘election defense' instead go to president, RNC. (With Trump, you don't need to follow the money. Just follow him because he's following it.)

+ Money to support Trump court fight could flow to president.


Brush With Straightness

A Republican Senator broke ranks and suggested Biden should be receiving intel briefings. Almost. "Senator James Lankford said ‘no loss' from Biden receiving intelligence briefings but later tweeted support for baseless voter fraud claims." Chuck Grassley says it should be happening. (Trump may as well let Biden take the intel briefings. It's not like they're gonna run into each other there.)

+ Historian Timothy Snyder: Clinging to power by claiming you are the victim of internal enemies is a very dangerous tactic. Don't underestimate where this can go.

+ NYT: Trump's Post-Election Tactics Put Him in Unsavory Company. "Denying defeat, claiming fraud and using government machinery to reverse election results are the time-honored tools of dictators." (Don't egg him on...)

+ You can't understand what's going on right now without understanding the psychology. How can Trump keep shocking you? Why can't he let this go? If you missed it yesterday, I asked the smartest psychoanalyst I know to explain it in a few words.


The Ron and Thy Staff

"President-elect Joe Biden has chosen longtime Washington operative Ronald A. Klain as White House chief of staff, sending an early signal that he intends to rely heavily on experience, competence and political agility." (This is a far cry from relying on people who appear on Fox News and get Covid.)

+ "The U.S. government has the tools, talent, and team to help fight the coronavirus abroad and minimize its impact at home. But the combination of Trump's paranoia toward experienced government officials (who lack 'loyalty' to him), inattention to detail, opinionated rejection of science and evidence, and isolationist instincts may prove toxic when it comes to managing a global-health security challenge." Klain saw the pandemic coming. And he saw the response coming. And his tenure can't come soon enough. Klain, from January 30, 2020 in The Atlantic: Coronavirus Is Coming—And Trump Isn't Ready.


They’re All Wasted, But Not All Arrested

"Yet despite these electoral successes, it remains unclear what effect the new measures will have for communities of color, who have long been disproportionately targeted in the war on drugs. Even as many states move toward legalization, drug-related violations were the most frequent cause for arrest in the U.S. in 2018. Nearly 40 percent of those arrests are for marijuana possession alone, according to federal data. Black people make up 27 percent of drug arrests, but only 13 percent of the country." The Marshall Project: Will Drug Legalization Leave Black People Behind?


Conde Nast Shoots Its Shot

"I was fired today by The New Yorker after 27 years as a Staff Writer. I will always love the magazine, will miss my colleagues, and will look forward to reading their work." The New Yorker fires writer Jeffrey Toobin after Zoom incident. I exposed this scandal already: Cocktober Surprise.


Hair Mail

"Previously, the delivery company regulated employees' facial hair (no beards for the majority of workers and mustaches limited to above the crease of the lip) and hairstyles (Afros and braids weren't allowed). Piercings were largely restricted to earrings, and tattoos had to be hidden. Now these clear-cut rules have been removed, but styles still have to be suitable for the workplace." UPS Relaxes Rules On Drivers' Facial Hair. (After what the delivery services have done for us during the pandemic, they could show up looking like ZZ Top and I wouldn't care...)


Sigh of the Times

"A recent theory proposes that sighing is not just a reset for the lungs and breathing, but for our emotions too, bringing us back to stasis from big emotions, whether they be positive or negative." Why We Sigh. (Short answer: 2020.)


Bottom of the News

They searched for fraud in Detroit polling places. All they found was comedy. WaPo: Trump campaign offers no evidence of fraud in Detroit ballot-counting. "Inside Detroit's absentee-ballot-counting center, one Republican poll watcher complained that workers were wearing Black Lives Matter gear. She thought one of them — a 'man of intimidating size' — had followed her too closely. Another Republican poll watcher complained about the public address system. Workers were using it to make announcements. It was loud. 'This was very distracting to those of us trying to concentrate,' he said. A third poll watcher noticed that when absentee ballots came in from military personnel, many showed votes for Democrats. He found that odd." ('Man of intimidating size' used to be my Tinder handle.)

+ "The plot came from a running app called Running Stories, which casts you as a secret agent in a story playing out with a heart-thumping soundtrack. It is one of the latest apps designed to make exercise more entertaining, using real-time data that integrates the plot with your surroundings."

+ Turkmenistan leader unveils giant gold dog statue. (Nope, still not as embarrassing as our politics...)