Thursday, November 19th, 2020


Homeward, Bound

For a change of pace, let's start with sanity. The CDC has issued what seems to many to be an obvious piece of advice as Covid surges at an unprecedented rate across the country: Don't Travel For Thanksgiving. Why would such an important warning be issued so close to the holiday? Come on, you know why. Or at least, you know who. In short, here are the Dos and Don'ts of holiday travel: Don't.

+ If not for yourself or your family or your crazy uncle (and I'm talking to you, Mary T), stay home for the hospital workers. ‘Tired to the bone': Hospitals overwhelmed with virus cases


Trump Finds The Leaker

Here's a sentence I never thought I'd write: Rudy was more impressive at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference. Listen, I cover news, not comic-tragedy. So I won't go into too many details about the latest election stealing-focused press conference put on by Rudy and his cast of democracy-hating liars. There was a lot about voting machines, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela, communists, and others, all in on a plot to make Trump lose in states where other Republicans managed to win. Meanwhile, some brown liquid was oozing out of Rudy's temples the entire time.

+ It would all be pretty funny if millions of Americans weren't nuts enough to believe it, and if it weren't part of a broader plot to steal the election. You might remember several weeks ago, wait, I mean yesterday, when some members of the Michigan Wayne County Board of Canvassers were going to vote against certifying the fair vote and then decided to certify it because it was fair. Well, today, two members want to try to reverse their own certification. What happened in between? A call from Donald Trump. To anyone who has ever emailed me to suggest I'm too biased or too hard on Trump, I win. (Unless the emailer was Vladimir Putin, in which case, we both win.)

+ The Trump campaign and other Republican groups have mounted 21 legal challenges since Election Day. They've won zero.

+ Trump team looks to box in Biden on foreign policy by lighting too many fires to put out. (Do not get any of those fires near Rudy Giuliani's head or this whole place is gonna go up in flames.)


The Magical Missouri Tour

To truly understand how damaging Trump's incessant lies have been, and how deeply his fantasy world of horrors has seeped into the psyche of millions of his followers, listen to Amber Elliott, a county health director in St. Francois County, Missouri: "I get the same comments all the time over Facebook or email. 'Oh, she's blowing it out of proportion.' 'She's a communist.' 'She's a bitch.' 'She's pushing her agenda.' Okay, fine. I do have an agenda. I want disease transmission to go down. I want to keep this community safe. I want fewer people to die. Why is that controversial? ... Our medical providers were at the meeting in their white coats, and three of them stood up to speak on behalf of masks. These are doctors and nurses who risk their lives to treat this virus. They are shouldering the burden of this, but the crowd wouldn't even let them talk. They booed. They yelled. Some of them had come in with guns. They were so disrespectful. I was trying to take notes for our board, and my hands started shaking. Why aren't you listening? Why do you refuse to hear from the people who actually know about this disease and how it spreads?" Amber Elliott gave notice and her last day on the job is tomorrow.

+ "Coronavirus in South Dakota is running at an intensity only surpassed in the US by its neighbor North Dakota. The state has an alarming positivity rate of almost 60% – nearly six out of 10 people who take a Covid test are infected – second only to another neighbor, Wyoming." Kristi Noem rigidly follows Trump strategy of denial.

+ NYT: States That Imposed Few Restrictions Now Have the Worst Outbreaks. What? Why weren't they warned?



"Getting ahead in Honduras will probably be much harder for years to come. The pandemic had already plunged the economy deep into recession. Preliminary estimates of the economic loss from Eta ranged from 10 to 20% of GDP ... and the Iota impact could double those numbers." ‘This was worse than Eta': Hurricane Iota brings repeat destruction to Honduras.

+ Iota's devastation comes into focus in storm-weary Nicaragua.


Guns and Powder

"Those emotions reached a peak in recent days, as Mexico City issued an unheard-of warning to its counterparts in Washington: If the United States did not rethink its pursuit of Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, Mexico would consider expelling American federal drug agents from the country, jeopardizing a decades-long partnership that has helped bring several top drug lords to justice." NYT: Mexico, Outraged at Arrest of Ex-Official, Threatened to Toss U.S. Agents.

+ WaPo: "After years of failed U.S. and Mexican efforts to curb arms trafficking, groups such as the Jalisco New Generation and Sinaloa cartels are showcasing the military-grade weapons in slick propaganda videos and using them to defeat security forces in battle. In a country with just a single legal gun shop, on a military base in the capital, roughly 2.5 million illicit American guns have poured across the border in the past decade." (For those scoring at home, here's how the endless drug war works. Americans create the demand for drugs which makes cartels rich. Americans then illicitly sell military grade weapons to the cartels that create levels of violence and death that makes families risk it all to try to get across the border. Then at the border, we call them criminals and rapists and separate kids from their parents. I know that's a pretty short overview of the situation, but all the other details are equally bad.)

+ "Three sources involved in the discussions who requested anonymity said the Office of White House Counsel made the decision to reject the settlement of a federal lawsuit after consultation with senior adviser Stephen Miller." White House killed deal to pay for mental health care for migrant families separated at border.


Electoral Small Edge

Arizona: 10,457. Georgia: 14,028. Wisconsin: 20,565. Total: 45,050. Through the wonders of the electoral college, this election was a hell of a lot closer than you might think.


Blox Spring

"Lil Nas X performed to an audience of millions across two days and four shows this weekend, playing in a setting that literally made him larger than life: the hit kids game Roblox. The shows gathered 33 million views in total across the performances, which started on Saturday afternoon and wrapped up with a surprise encore performance on Sunday." The Verge: Lil Nas X's Roblox concert was attended 33 million times. (Even people in their 20s are like, "These kids today...")


Sub Plot

"The agents allowed him to change into dry clothes that they had obtained from his wife before escorting him to the nearest F.B.I. field office." NYT: Ponzi Scheme Suspect Uses Underwater Scooter to Flee F.B.I. Sadly for his victims, their investments are still under water.


Mic Tyson

"A wrongful death lawsuit tied to COVID-19 infections in a Waterloo pork processing plant alleges that during the initial stages of the pandemic, Tyson Foods ordered employees to report for work while supervisors privately wagered money on the number of workers who would be sickened by the deadly virus."


Bottom of the News

"There are a lot of strange historical treatments for malaria, but one of my favorite cures was a magical charm recommended by a Roman physician in the 3rd Century CE. Patients were told to write Abracadabra over and over on a piece of paper with one less letter on each line, until the letters formed a triangle with just an A at the bottom. Then, they had to tie the paper with flax and wear it around their necks for nine days before tossing it into an east-running stream. If that didn't work, they were supposed to rub themselves with lion fat." 30 Strange Old-Timey Medical Treatments (None of which are more crazy than injecting Lysol).

+ Top Shots From the 2020 International Landscape Photographer of the Year.