Monday, February 1st, 2021


We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

"Sixty-four years ago, residents of this tiny town in southwestern Kansas set a public health example by making it the first in the nation to be fully inoculated against polio ... Protection's Polio Protection Day took place on April 2, 1957. Families, many dressed in their Sunday best, lined up in the high school gym to get shots from nurses dressed in starched white uniforms. That event, sponsored by what was then known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now the March of Dimes), received widespread media coverage." The success and leadership back then makes Protection an interesting place to revisit during the rollout of another vital vaccine. Times have changed. NPR: In Tiny Kansas Town, Pandemic Skeptics Abound Amid False Information And Politics. "'A lot of people still believe it [COVID-19] is made up and that it's not as bad as the media is saying,' says Steve Herd, a 72-year-old farmer who was in the third grade on the day that virtually every resident of Protection under age 40 got a polio shot.Today, some in the town of about 400 people insist that the federal government 'invented' the coronavirus so that it could force people to take a vaccine containing a microchip that could track their movements ... In 1957, Herd says, 'We didn't have people who believed such crazy stuff.'"


Haul Monitor

"According to U-Haul's annual review, California lost more people to out-migration than any other state in 2020, and the five largest states in the Northeast—New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland—joined California in the top 10 losers." Derek Thompson in The Atlantic: Superstar Cities Are in Trouble. (Unless the idea of remaining in a superstar city, but with less traffic, appeals to you.)


77 Deadly Sins

"Interviews with central players, and documents including previously unreported emails, videos and social media posts scattered across the web, tell a more encompassing story of a more coordinated campaign. Across those 77 days, the forces of disorder were summoned and directed by the departing president, who wielded the power derived from his near-infallible status among the party faithful in one final norm-defying act of a reality-denying presidency. Throughout, he was enabled by influential Republicans motivated by ambition, fear or a misplaced belief that he would not go too far." The NYT with a detailed look at the actions behind the big lie. 77 Days: Trump's Campaign to Subvert the Election.

+ A week before the Senate impeachment trial, Trump's legal team stepped aside because he insisted that they argue the election was stolen. Now he has a new team. WaPo: One of Trump's new lawyers declined to charge Bill Cosby. The other maintains Jeffrey Epstein was murdered. (Trump can't find one decent lawyer to defend his actions. Yet, he managed to find 45 senators who will.)

+ Dozens of former Bush officials leave Republican Party, calling it 'Trump cult'. And, Spurred By The Capitol Riot, Thousands Of Republicans Drop Out Of GOP.

+ Is it the party of Lincoln or the party of Marjorie Greene? (The laser shields are a bad sign...)



"It was a dramatic backslide for Myanmar, which was emerging from decades of strict military rule and international isolation that began in 1962. It was also a shocking fall from power for Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate who had lived under house arrest for years as she tried to push her country toward democracy and then became its de facto leader after her National League for Democracy won elections in 2015." AP: Myanmar's military takes power in coup, detains Suu Kyi. (It feels a little different reading about coups these days, doesn't it...)

+ Explainer: Why did the military stage a coup in Myanmar?


Dope Show and Tell

"My experience with domestic violence was this: Toxic mental, physical and sexual abuse which started slow but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing, waking up to the man that claimed to love me raping what he believed to be my unconscious body." He "Horrifically Abused Me for Years": Evan Rachel Wood and Other Women Make Allegations of Abuse Against Marilyn Manson.

+ "He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission."


Crossing Miller

"Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser to the President, convened a weekly meeting to devise creative methods of restricting immigration. "Stephen knew how to control immigration policy by getting his people into key positions and using whatever levers of executive authority he could," one of his White House colleagues told me. Some of the changes that came out of Miller's meetings were pushed through as formal rules, which must be published in the Federal Register, and opened to public comment. But others were crafted through less visible administrative actions." Sarah Stillman in The New Yorker: Trump transformed immigration through hundreds of quiet measures. Before they can be reversed, they have to be uncovered.


Pushing the Pedal to the Metal

"Retail sites warned customers over the weekend they could not meet skyrocketing demand for silver bars and coins." Gamestop is out and silver is in. Silver surges as Reddit army targets precious metals. (Actually, as the article suggests, the silver move may not be Reddit related at all. I'm sticking with keeping my money under my mattress.)


A Trade Man

"'The trade war with China hurt the US economy and failed to achieve major policy goals," a recent study commissioned by the U.S.-China Business Council argues, finding that the trade war reduced economic growth and cost the U.S. 245,000 jobs." Axios: Trump's trade war on China was a failure in every possible way. (This was true of most of Trump's policies. But it was never about policy, it was about power.)


Nor’easter Island

"The strong onshore winds from the powerful nor'easter currently pounding the East Coast may bring the highest water levels into New York City since Superstorm Sandy in 2012, which could overtop the seawall. Storm surge from the system has been pushing water levels 2 to 3 feet above normal this morning, and that should increase as the winds pick up more in the afternoon and evening." A massive winter storm is hitting the east coast. Here's the latest from CNN. (If nothing else, after four years of talking about the news, it's nice to be talking about the weather. Stay safe out there.)


Bottom of the News

"Nathan Apodaca, also known as Doggface, signed a bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice for the museum during an event on Tuesday, the Post-Register reported. In exchange, Apodaca and his family received membership cards to the museum." Viral TikTok user gives signed juice bottle to Idaho museum. (Never let it be said that this era wasn't weird.)

+ "Boba and I spent our adolescence as scrappy, enterprising immigrants at America's periphery. For a new generation, it's a ubiquitous, Instagram-friendly mark of Asian identity." The New Yorker: Chronicles of a Bubble-Tea Addict.

+ Slate: The Soul-Killing, Wallet-Emptying Struggle to Buy a Video Card During a Pandemic. (I'm only including this because my son is among those trying to score a video card and my soul is is among those being destroyed. Anyone out there have a hookup for something like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti?)

+ Serenaded by the dude with the world's lowest voice.