1

My Country Music Tis of Thee

American is having a civil war. It's a different kind of civil war that features public signals of belonging to a team and even more powerful signals of contempt for those in the perceived opposition. So far, it's mostly nonviolent, but it touches everything and impacts all aspects of our lives. The main thing we have in common in the two Americas is that we hate each other. Here's an example: three weeks ago, country music's Morgan Wallen was caught on camera using the N-word. On one side of the civil war, this meant suspended record deals, being dropped from radio station playlists, streaming services taking down his music, and a disqualification from this year's Academy of Country Music awards. On the other side of the civil war, this meant it was time to buy Morgan Wallen's music, at least in part, as a protest against his being 'canceled.' Wallen's latest album Dangerous is the longest-running No. 1 album for a male artist since 2016. The Atlantic: After saying a racial slur and being exiled from radio, Morgan Wallen has become only more popular. What's going on?

+ NYT: Battling the Mob, a Black Officer Came Face to Face With Racism. Did you have a shield or any other protective gear? "My fists are pretty protective."

2

Strike One

"The Pentagon said the strikes were retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member and other coalition troops." AP: US strike, first under Biden, kills Iran-backed militiaman.

3

Weekend Whats

What to Read: "It is likely the largest internment of ethnic and religious minorities since the second world war." It's brutal and no one in the world seems to be doing much to try to stop it. With the Beijing Olympics coming in 2022, this could start getting the coverage it needs. Ben Mauk in The New Yorker with an incredible look Inside Xinjiang's Prison State. The piece features some amazing art from Matt Huynh.

+ What to Book: No one does children's books better than my friends Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr. Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom is ready and waiting for you and your kids. It's getting killer reviews and has an awesome fortune cookie hook. Here's the audio version. And here are the first few chapters online. This is going to be the next huge kid series.

+ What to Pan: The Always Pan from Our Place is one of those social media buzzy products I usually try to avoid. I'm glad I decided to get one of these, though. It's an amazing pan with a new-fangled nonstick surface that makes cleaning it a breeze.

+ What to Hear: Radio Garden is a cool tool that let's you check out radio stations from all over the world.

4

Don’t Mask, Don’t Tell

"We know now the vaccines can protect, but what we haven't had enough time to really understand is – does it protect from spreading?" A very interesting look at how the virus works and how our next few months might evolve. Will I have to wear a mask after getting the Covid vaccine?

5

Enough BS From MBS

The Guardian: Saudi crown prince approved killing of Jamal Khashoggi, US report says. "The report confirmed the long-suspected view that the 35-year-old future king had a personal hand in the violent and premeditated murder of one of his most prominent critics, a columnist and former Saudi insider who was living in exile in the US and used his platform to decry the prince's crackdown on dissent." This is hardly a surprise, but the declassifying of the report marks a new post-Trump era in America's relationship with the Saudis.

6

Cuomo Fomo Nomo

In political terms, Andrew Cuomo was riding high during the pandemic when his daily coronavirus reports became a hit TV show. Since then, things have gotten rough. He's facing allegations of holding back data about Covid nursing home deaths, and he's been called out for alleged bullying and sexual harassment. Why is NY Governor Andrew Cuomo under pressure?

+ WaPo: Andrew Cuomo, once touted as the ‘gold standard,' finds his brand tarnished by multiple crises. (This is why I tarnish my own brand, daily. Think of it as a preemptive strike.)

7

Spermicide

"If you look at the curve on sperm count and project it forward — which is always risky — it reaches zero in 2045. That's a little concerning, to say the least." Falling sperm counts could threaten the human race.

8

And Orange Baby Makes Three

"With the most powerful man in the world hurling insults at the father of her children, this might have been a logical moment for Kellyanne to reassess; she had put in two and a half years. Instead, she threw in her lot. According to a source close to Kellyanne, she viewed the president's words about George not as attacks on her husband, but as gallant defenses of her—a hardworking mother of four who was being treated unfairly by the man who was supposed to love and support her. Around this time she stopped wearing her wedding ring, according to a senior official. When asked by colleagues about the state of her marriage, she responded, 'It is what it is.'" Vanity Fair with a look at America's true first family. State of the Union: Kellyanne Conway and George Conway

9

Get a Zoom Already

"Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing. Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense." Those are just two of the reasons why you have Zoom fatigue. Stanford News: Stanford researchers identify four causes for ‘Zoom fatigue' and their simple fixes.

10

Feel Good Friday

"New Yorker Seth Phillips is one of the most hardworking protestors and humorous social commenters out there. He's the face of the fabulously popular ‘Dude With Sign' Instagram account with over 7.4 million followers where he uploads photos of himself with (yup, you guessed it!) signs." I don't know how I missed this, but I'm glad I'm in on it now.

+ "After making calls for several hours, Timmons said it dawned on her that help wasn't coming. Nobody could come out because the roads were terrible and accidents were piling up all over." WaPo: A delivery driver got stuck in a client's driveway during the Texas storm. The couple took her in for five days.

+ After Janette Fennell was kidnapped and locked in a car trunk, she fought her way to Washington to make vehicles safer. The Hustle: How one woman changed the safety standards of the entire car industry.

+ With One Move, Congress Could Lift Millions Of Children Out Of Poverty. (This is not quite yet a feel good story, but it has potential.)

+ NYT: F.C.C. Approves a $50 Monthly High-Speed Internet Subsidy. (Jessica Rosenworcel, FTW)

+ "I don't think I've ever had an experience in my career that has felt so promising and so fulfilling." WaPo: The joy of vax: The people giving the shots are seeing hope, and it's contagious.