Wednesday, December 9th, 2020


OK, Fumer

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain, and the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet, when the wind comes right behind the rain. Well, I've got news for you, that sweet smell is not the wavin' wheat. To give you a hint of what you're smelling, the state's new nickname is Toke-lahoma. Paul Demko in Politico Magazine: How One of the Reddest States Became the Nation's Hottest Weed Market. Here are some fun facts about Oklahoma: The world's first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City in 1935. In 1937, Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Humpty Dumpty Supermarket chain, designed the first shopping cart. The state flower is mistletoe. And people there really like getting baked. Oklahoma, you're OK.


Year Book

"Certain years are so eventful they are regarded as pivotal in history, years when wars and slavery ended and deep generational fissures burst into the open — 1865, 1945 and 1968 among them. The year 2020 will certainly join this list. It will long be remembered and studied as a time when more than 1.5 million people globally died during a pandemic, racial unrest gripped the world, and democracy itself faced extraordinary tests." NYT: The Year in Pictures. The NextDraft year in pictures is just photo of me sitting behind my laptop waiting for Amazon packages.


The Blind Leading the Blind Rage

"The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied." That was it. With one sentence, the Supreme Court denied a Republican challenge to Joe Biden's Pennsylvania win. The Trump legal team now has a worse record than the Washington Generals. But the team, along with the Tweeter in Chief who is now openly calling for the election to be overturned, is having an impact on public opinion, in ways both troubling (just a quarter of Republicans accept election outcome) and scary (In Idaho, a Covid health order vote was postponed amid protests at the meeting, and at board members' homes).

+ George Packer always does a great job wrapping things up. "America under Trump became less free, less equal, more divided, more alone, deeper in debt, swampier, dirtier, meaner, sicker, and deader. It also became more delusional. No number from Trump's years in power will be more lastingly destructive than his 25,000 false or misleading statements. Super-spread by social media and cable news, they contaminated the minds of tens of millions of people. Trump's lies will linger for years, poisoning the atmosphere like radioactive dust." These last few thousand misstatements will be among the most damaging. The Atlantic: A Political Obituary for Donald Trump. (This political obituary features thousands of physical obituaries as well.)


ICU But I Can’t Help U

"Hospitals serving more than 100 million Americans reported having fewer than 15 percent of intensive care beds still available as of last week." NYT: 'There's No Place for Them to Go': I.C.U. Beds Near Capacity Across U.S.

+ AP: US virus deaths hit record levels with the holidays ahead.

+ Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski on whether the current college basketball schedule makes sense: "People are saying the next six weeks are going to be the worst. To me, it's already pretty bad. On the other side of it, there are these vaccines that are coming out. By the end of the month, 20 million vaccine shots will be given. By the end of January or in February, another 100 million. Should we not reassess that? See just what would be best?" How can every organization, political and otherwise, not be asking the same question. The end is in sight. Why die waiting for it?

+ Peple with a history of bad allergies are having a negative reaction to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.


A Test of Austin Powers

"In order for Austin to be confirmed, the House and the Senate will have to vote to waive the law that prohibits former military officers from becoming defense secretary within seven years of leaving active duty. This would put Austin, who retired in 2016, in the same position in which President Trump's first nominee for defense secretary, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, found himself." So far, Lloyd Austin for Sec of Defense could be Biden's most controversial cabinet pick. Not because he's unqualified, but because of his military background. Biden will face uphill battle confirming retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as Pentagon chief.


Chest Pounding

"A decade ago, Fenn hid his treasure chest, containing gold and other valuables estimated to be worth at least a million dollars, somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Not long after, he published a memoir called The Thrill of the Chase, which included a mysterious 24-line poem that, if solved, would lead searchers to the treasure. Fenn had suggested that the loot was secreted away at the place where he had envisioned lying down to die, back when he'd believed a 1988 cancer diagnosis was terminal. Since the hunt began in 2010, many thousands of searchers had gone out in pursuit—at least five of them losing their lives in the process—and the chase became an international story." Daniel Barbarisi in Outside: The Man Who Found Forrest Fenn's Treasure.


Fat Chance

NYT: "Can exercise help us shed pounds? An interesting new study involving overweight men and women found that working out can help us lose weight, in part by remodeling appetite hormones. But to benefit, the study suggests, we most likely have to exercise a lot — burning at least 3,000 calories a week. In the study, that meant working out six days a week for up to an hour, or around 300 minutes a week." (I'm sticking with my news stress program. The calories just burn off.)


Choppers Shoppers

"The rising class of celebrity cosmetic dentists creates yet another way in which the rich and famous are able to tweak themselves to an imperceptible level of perfection. But the skill required for a subtly perfect smile is—according to the two Beverly Hills dentists consulted for this piece—far more than just medical excellence. It is, instead, an art." GQ: Veneers, Whitening, and Subtle Imperfection: Here's What Goes Into a Six-Figure Smile.


Bottom of the News

This is most likely the weirdest ad ever made. And yet, I now have a craving for the product.

+ Mount Everest grew by about 2 feet. (And the last two feet are the hardest to climb...)

+ And finally, a little holiday normalcy: Connecticut mall Santa busted for exposing himself to underage co-worker in break room.