Thursday, February 25th, 2021


Let’s Take This Outside

Bill Donahue is a rural liberal who, over time, started to realize that most of his town's cross-party discourse was held online and filled with vitriol. "I've worried that Gilmanton has become a casualty of Trump-inspired Internet sniping, so in the days after the election, I embarked on an experiment. I began approaching the myriad locals who, in writing, have attacked me and my political allies. I wanted to know whether liberals and conservatives can still even talk to each other in rural America, and I wondered: What if we took the dialogue offline?" What he found, at least at first, was that, let's take the dialogue offline is the new let's take this outside. But he kept trying. And if we're gonna fix this country, actual face-to-face dialogue is the only way forward. WaPo: This Rural Liberal Set Out to Talk to His Pro-Trump Neighbors. "It didn't go well — until it did."


Everything is Bigger at Costco

"I want to note this isn't altruism. At Costco we know that paying employees good wages ... makes sense for our business and constitutes a significant competitive advantage for us. It helps us in the long run by minimizing turnover and maximizing employee productivity." Costco To Raise Minimum Wage To $16 An Hour.


Take What You Can Get

"If approved, the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine would join the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which are already being distributed nationwide. Food and Drug Administration reviews have found all three vaccines to be highly effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths from covid-19." So which one should you take? As WaPo's Allyson Chiu explains: The best vaccine for you is the one you can get.

+ A UT Professor may have found a way stop vaccines from spoiling, by turning it in a medicine you can chew like fruit leather. (Great, in addition to eating all my ice cream and stealing all of my drinks from the fridge, my kids are gonna eat my vaccine too.)


Checks, Guise, and Videotape

Wired's Amanda Chicago Lewis: Sex Tapes, Hush Money, and Hollywood's Economy of Secrets. Meet Kevin Blatt, the celebrity fixer who's a master at shepherding compromising material off the internet—or into the hands of the highest bidder. "American history is filled with carnival barkers and snake-oil marketers who put showmanship before truth. Blatt was the right marketer in the right circus. Soon clicks would come to determine what gets put in front of our eyeballs. When media follows consumer desire, audiences get outrage and vulgarity—and Blatt was more than happy to deliver." (It sure beats having carnival barkers and snake-oil marketers in charge of your coronavirus response.)


Left for Ed

"The reluctance of many Republicans to wear masks and practice social distancing is one reason so many Americans are dead. But the educational losses are disproportionately the fault of Democratic governors and mayors who too often let schools stay closed even as bars opened." NYT's Nicholas Kristof: School Closures Have Failed America's Children. (I never saw the school debate as being Open vs Close. It was between those who yelled open with no data and those who said, of course we want to open, but let's get some facts first. Once we had the facts, many private schools opened. But, in many places, the public school situation has been an epic disaster, one that will have ramifications for years.)


A Real Wage Turner

"The Manhattan District Attorney's Office has taken possession of former President Donald Trump's tax returns ... The documents were turned over Monday by the former president's accountants at Mazars USA. The Trump tax documents run into the millions of pages." (Don't worry about the length. The paralegals and accountants will go over the documents, the lawyers will narrow them to the important parts, the media will condense everything into one article, and I'll share it all in one short blurb with a catchy pun headline.)


The Circ of Life

"As well as causing more extreme weather across Europe and the east coast of the US, the weakening of the AMOC could have severe consequences for Atlantic marine ecosystems, disrupting fish populations and other marine life." Atlantic Ocean circulation at weakest in a millennium.


Green Dregs and Rand

"Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is facing sharp criticism after she posted an anti-transgender sign outside of her office, directly across the hall from another lawmaker who has a transgender child." (It's just not that these monsters are bad. It's that they're the worst.)

+ Close ally of Marjorie Taylor Greene among those in Capitol mob.

+ Rand Paul launches into transphobic rant against trans nominee. (Rand Paul needs more neighbors.)


Rooftop Dining

"Here's some news hot off the press. Researchers have found a secret ingredient for making solar panels that absorb the sun's energy more efficiently. Depending on what you like to eat, there's a good chance you can find it at home. Capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their spicy sting, also improves perovskite solar cells – the devices that make up solar panels."


Bottom of the News

"Boxing was pretty much a dying sport. UFC was kicking our butts, and now we got these YouTubers boxing with 25 million views. Boxing's coming back, thanks to these YouTube boxers." Jon Wertheim in SI: Meet the next wave of boxing royalty. What these social media stars lack in experience and skill they make up for in rabid fan bases eager to dish out money to see their heroes fight. (I'm pretty sure they're tuning in to see these idiots get their asses kicked.)

+ Lady Gaga offers $500,000 reward after thief stole 2 bulldogs and shot her dog walker.

+ Mr. Potato Head goes gender neutral.

+ And if you missed it yesterday, I song-lyric'd the hell out a story about the Boss. Born to Run From the Law?