Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021


Doms Must Sub

It's a small world after all. Covid-19 made it smaller. Several wealthy countries are getting vaccinated at a decent clip. Poor countries aren't. There's a health issue; we're all connected and it's going to be more effective to target the virus everywhere since humans tend to move. There's a moral issue, but morality doesn't always move the needle when it comes to policy. So let's focus on the economic issue. It's going to cost wealthy governments a hell of lot more in the long run if they ignore the vaccine inequality issue now. Dominant countries need to subsidize poorer ones. The New Yorker's Isaac Chotiner talks to a couple economists who crunched the numbers: Why Rich Countries Should Subsidize Vaccination Around the World.

+ Oh, and hurry. James Hamblin: The Brazil Variant Is Exposing the World's Vulnerability. "Somehow the coronavirus is rampaging through a city that was supposedly immune."


One Singular Sedition

"It is impossible to imagine the events of January 6 occurring without President Trump creating a powder keg, striking a match, and then seeking personal advantage from the ensuing havoc ... President Trump's responsibility for the events of January 6 is unmistakable ... President Trump's effort to extend his grip on power by fomenting violence against Congress was a profound violation of the oath he swore." Here is an overview of the charges against the president, and the defense his lawyers will offer. Impeachment managers call Trump "singularly responsible" for Capitol riots.

+ You can read the whole brief here.

+ "January was Sen. Josh Hawley's best fundraising month—by far—since his 2018 election, with a flood of small-dollar donations more than eclipsing the corporate cash he lost after leading an effort to block certification of President Biden's Electoral College win." (I'll pause here to give you time to mop up the coffee you just spit-took across the room ... OK, let's move on.)


Mom Popped

"Before the pandemic, Rachel Powell, a forty-year-old mother of eight from western Pennsylvania, sold cheese and yogurt at local farmers' markets and used Facebook mostly to discuss yoga, organic food, and her children's baseball games. But, last year, Powell began to post more frequently, embracing more extreme political views. Her interests grew to include conspiracy theories about covid-19 and the results of the Presidential election, filtered through such figures as Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and the Infowars founder Alex Jones." Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker: A Pennsylvania Mother's Path to Insurrection. (With eight kids, maybe she just wanted any activity that would get her out of the house.)


Haul Monitor

"Rather than depicting a simple fork, with one route leading to death and the other to recovery, Covid-19's prognostic map resembles a chaotic intersection. While some roads do lead back to health, others feed into post-viral roundabouts that, as in a bad dream, have no visible exits. Every day, the number of Covid-19 survivors trapped on these roundabouts grows; thousands have been on them since March of last year, and thousands more will certainly join them as caseloads spike across the country." The Forever Disease: How Covid-19 Became a Chronic Condition. (HBO's Real Sports had a segment on top athletes who can barely walk around their houses after getting Covid. An extended version is available on their new podcast.)


Amazon Basin

"Some workers in Amazon's Bessemer, Ala., warehouse complain that the company's aggressive performance expectations leave them little time to take bathroom breaks.
When they do get there, they face messaging from Amazon pressing its case against unionization, imploring them to vote against it." WaPo: Amazon's anti-union blitz stalks Alabama warehouse workers everywhere, even the bathroom. "If Amazon workers unionize, it would mark a major milestone for worker representation, which has long been in decline."


Too Soon?

"Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell denounced newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Monday, calling the far-right Georgia Republican's embrace of conspiracy theories and 'loony lies' a 'cancer for the Republican Party.'" (Yeah, I mean you wouldn't want to defend someone who lied loonily, embraced conspiracy theories, and was a cancer on the party. I mean, at least not again.)


Photo Finish

"Palladino did not carry a gun, which he often said would make his job too easy. His weapon of choice was a camera with a long lens, strapped around his neck." Famed S.F. detective Jack Palladino, 'whose clients ranged from presidents and corporate whistleblowers to scandal-plagued celebrities, Hollywood moguls and sometimes suspected drug traffickers,' died after falling to the pavement as thieves tried to steal his camera. In the end, that camera held Palladino's last shots that led to the arrest of two people who could face murder charges.


So Much Moore

"The Army veteran won the nation's hearts by walking 100 laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire last year during the first lockdown, raising money for NHS Charities Together. He was credited with lifting the nation's spirits and his saying 'Tomorrow will be a good day' trended on social media." Captain Sir Tom Moore: 'National inspiration' dies with Covid-19. What a great, great gift Moore gave the world in his final year. (And at 100, he exercised more than I did during the pandemic.)


Monkey Business

"Elon Musk claims one of his companies has implanted a device into a monkey's brain, and hopes to make it play 'mind pong' with another cyborg monkey. [He] discussed the augmented monkey in a speech hosted on private social app Clubhouse. During the talk, he revealed that his brain-machine interface company, Neuralink, has 'a monkey with a wireless implant in their skull with tiny wires.'" (Not sure if this is related, but I just saw a gorilla throw a Tesla over someone's house.)


Bottom of the News

There has never been a moment that encapsulated an entire era more perfectly than a fitness instructor unwittingly filming herself as a coup unfolded behind her.

+ And no op-ed as ever encapsulated an era quite as well as one in the SF Chronicle that suggested that Bernie's inauguration outfit epitomized white privilege. (Trust me, this is in my wheelhouse and in my near future. He was manifesting Old Jew.)

+ Via livestream, Punxsutawney Phil says there will be 6 more weeks of winter.