1

The Peach Pit

From Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, and Dekalb, to Clay, Webster, Quitman, and Taliaferro, every political junkie has gone full Kornacki on Georgia geography in preparation for the runoffs that will decide the Senate. For weeks, political donations have been pouring in from across the country (I've sent so much money there that my wife is convinced I have a second family in Atlanta). And though the candidates couldn't be more different, in today's America, you know a race this important is going to be close. (In a sign that the runoffs could get weird, Four Seasons Total Landscaping just opened an outlet in Georgia.)

2

Covid Still Thinks It’s 2020

"England headed back into lockdown. Mexico City's hospitals hold more virus patients than ever. Germany reported one of its highest daily death tolls to date Tuesday. South Africa and Brazil are struggling to find space for the dead. Even pandemic success story Thailand is fighting an unexpected wave of infections." Pandemic haunts new year as virus growth outpaces vaccines.

+ "The number of patients in hospitals in England is now 40% higher than at the first peak in April. When everybody looks at the position people understand overwhelmingly that we have no choice." Boris Johnson tightens the lockdown as One Person in 50 in England Now Has Covid.

+ One of the big issues in England, and increasingly across the world, is the new variant of the virus. The vaccine should still work. The trouble is that the new variant is spreading a lot faster than the original. Zeynep Tufekci: The Mutated Virus Is a Ticking Time Bomb.

+ LA County paramedics told not to transport some patients with low chance of survival.

3

Camp Site

"China built its vast network of detention camps to do more than simply keep people behind bars. A BuzzFeed News investigation identified factories right inside many of Xinjiang's internment compounds. These long, rectangular buildings with blue roofs are capable of putting thousands of Muslim detainees to work against their will. China has built scores of them — encompassing millions of square feet — in the last three years." The Factories in the Camps.

4

Sedition Impossible

"These objections ultimately won't go anywhere, but it's a definite escalation from what had largely been cheap talk from Republicans still backing the president's repeated attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election." The 14 Republican senators who plan to reject the Electoral College's certification. (Their photos should be on every post office wall in America.)

+ NYT: Pence's Choice: Side With the Constitution or His Boss. (Let's hope history is not an indicator.)

+ WaPo: The Trump-Raffensperger call was big news — unless you were following conservative media. "It was, in short, another reflection of two media realities — one in which Trump's actions are rationalized or ignored, another in which the same facts are treated as matters of grave concern." (No. No. No. No. No! There are NOT two media realities. There is one reality. And there is obfuscation of reality. There are journalists. And there are liars. We really need to get this shit straight at some point.)

5

Of Love and Loss

"Tommy Raskin had a perfect heart, a perfect soul, a riotously outrageous and relentless sense of humor, and a dazzling radiant mind. He began to be tortured later in his 20s by a blindingly painful and merciless ‘disease called depression,' as Tabitha put it on Facebook over the weekend, a kind of relentless torture in the brain for him, and despite very fine doctors and a loving family and friendship network of hundreds who adored him beyond words and whom he adored too, the pain became overwhelming and unyielding and unbearable at last for our dear boy, this young man of surpassing promise to our broken world." Congressman Jamie Raskin and Sarah Bloom Raskin with a moving piece about the death of their son Tommy. This is about the often ignored scourge of depression. But it's also about deep loss during a year when so many suffered them, and when we took so little time to mourn.

6

Points of Departure

"Kelly found points and miles as a child. One morning in 1996, his father, a health care consultant, came to him and said: 'Hey, I have all these frequent-flier miles. If you can figure out how to use them, we'll go somewhere.' Kelly, age 13 — 'closeted, gay, fabulous,' by his own description — called the US Airways customer-service line, asked a few questions in his best adult voice, then hung up and told his parents, 'OK, we're going to the Cayman Islands!'" NYT: The Man Who Turned Credit-Card Points Into an Empire.

+ American is the latest airline to put limits on emotional support animals. (A little time away from my animals is usually all the emotional support I need.)

7

Essential Spoils

"A manager at a Southern California Vons delivery hub confirmed that as of February, Vons would be laying off drivers. A local Pavilions employee noted that they're 'no longer using drivers,' and shifting to DoorDash instead." Breaking news: Essential workers less essential than company PR team suggested...

8

Factual and Actual

"Each day, our editors collect the most interesting, striking or delightful facts to appear in articles throughout the paper. Here are 74 from the past year that were the most revealing." A very interesting list from the NYT: 74 of Our Favorite Facts for 2020. (My list is too long. In 2020, if it was a fact, that was good enough to make it a favorite.)

9

Lessons Learned

"A year ago, if you told me that my favorite restaurants, half my friends and my crossfit gym would be taken from me, I would have freaked out. But not only do I not miss them, I think I might actually be happier without them." Mark Manson: 1,273 People Share Their Best Life Lessons from 2020.

10

Bottom of the News

"In the 1940s, Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya was working at Club Victoria in the border town of Piedras Negras, Mexico, when a group from the neighboring Texas town of Eagle Pass came in looking for something to eat. As the restaurant's maître d, Anaya's job was normally limited to attending to guests, but on this particular occasion, the cook was nowhere to be found..." A Brief History of Nachos.

+ One guy's best of the 2020 internet. It's basically what everything on the internet was like not too long ago.