Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021


Sisyphus and Boulder

Mass shootings. Sadly, that's what marks America's return to normalcy. Just days after the Atlanta shootings, the latest episode in the country's sickest series took place at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado. Ten people were killed. The shooter is in custody. Now we'll spend endless cycles on motive. The motive is not the issue. The issue is that we have a country of hundreds of millions of people with easy access to killing machines. Some of those people, for whatever reason, will take advantage of that reality as long as it exists. President Biden urged the Senate to immediately pass two House-passed gun reforms, covering universal background checks and an assault weapons ban. Biden also praised Officer Eric Talley who was one of the victims. "When the moment to act came Officer Talley did not hesitate in his duty making the ultimate sacrifice in his effort to save lives. That's the definition of an American hero." (We don't need another hero.) Here's the latest from CNN.

+ A court stopped Boulder from banning assault weapons just days before a deadly mass shooting. The NRA called the ruling "something to celebrate."

+ Vox: America's gun problem, explained. The public and research support gun control. Here's how it could help — and why it doesn't pass.


Psycovid 19

"It was a drastic change for the 49-year-old Mr. Agerton, a usually unflappable former marine and risk-taking documentary photographer whose most recent adventure involved exploring the Red Sea for two months in a submarine. He was accustomed to stress and said that neither he nor his family had previously experienced mental health issues." NYT: First Covid, Then Psychosis: ‘The Most Terrifying Thing I've Ever Experienced'.


Shoulder Abduction

"If vaccine acceptance tops out where it is right now, at less than two-thirds of American adults, then the pathway out of this pandemic could stretch and twist into the future. The virus will remain among us, if defanged for many, and harmful outbreaks could emerge as antibody levels fade. If patterns of refusal continue to develop along partisan lines, our outlook will be even worse." Daniel Engber in The Atlantic: America Is Now in the Hands of the Vaccine-Hesitant.

+ If Europe is an indicator, we better address this hesitancy, stat. Angela Merkel on Germany's latest lockdown. "We are now basically in a new pandemic. The British mutation has become dominant ... Fundamentally, we face a new virus of the same kind but with very different characteristics. More deadly, more infectious, and infectious for longer."

+ Maybe this will help: Krispy Kreme will give you a free doughnut every day this year — if you've been vaccinated.


Market Makers

"On March 23, 2020, the S&P 500 fell 2.9%. In all, the index dropped nearly 34% in about a month, wiping out three years' worth of gains for the market. That turned out to be the bottom, even though the coronavirus pandemic worsened in the ensuing months and the economy sank deeper into recession. Massive amounts of support for the economy from the Federal Reserve and Congress limited how far stocks would fall. The market recovered all its losses by August." Overstimulated? Stocks soar 75% in historic 12-month run. (I thought I was just really good at at managing my portfolio...)

+ While the federal government propped up the market, its next move will be decidedly real world. "Fresh off passage of the COVID-19 relief bill, President Joe Biden is assembling the next big White House priority, a sweeping $3 trillion package of investments on infrastructure and domestic needs."

+ The NYT's Andrew Ross Sorkin with an interesting look at an interesting question: Were the Airline Bailouts Really Needed? "The question isn't whether airline employees should have been helped, it's whether airline shareholders should have been."


The Land Down Under No Illusions

"The flooding is the latest in a string of extreme weather disasters that have struck Australia in the past year. The country has careened from drought and devastating wildfires to unusually heavy rains and flooding not seen in decades." Nearly a year's worth of rain fell in 6 days in parts of Australia.


Banging Your Head Against the Western Wall

Think you're shell shocked from what seems like the never-ending American political cycle? Imagine what Israelis feel like right now. The country is holding its fourth election in two years.


Sidney Stones

How is Sidney Powell moving to dismiss the Dominion defamation lawsuit? "Powell argues in her motion that 'no reasonable person' would conclude that her accusations of Dominion's election-rigging scheme 'were truly statements of fact.'" (The problem is that we have a lot of unreasonable people in America. They believed it. They still believe it. And I don't believe this dismissal effort will work.)


Fire and Iceland

"I really thought I would never see my drone again, but man, this was so thrilling to capture!!!" Here are some incredible drone videos of an erupting volcano in Iceland.

+ BBC: Onlookers flock to see Mount Fagradalsfjall. "Scientists at the foot of the volcano were filmed cooking sausages on its lava as they studied the eruption." (Hey, when life gives you lava...)


ZZ Crop

"Depending on a beard's length and thickness, experts have said it may reduce the effectiveness of mask-wearing by creating more space between your face and the mask." To shave or not to shave? How beards may affect Covid-19 risk.


Bottom of the News

"Ahead of the start of the 2021 baseball season, a group of Dodgers fans is thanking the Red Sox for trading Betts -- in a big way. Across the street from Fenway Park." Los Angeles Dodgers fans buy sign near Fenway Park thanking Boston Red Sox for Mookie Betts trade. (As an SF Giants fan, this hurts me as much as anyone from Boston. But it will all feel fine if we can actually go to game again this year.)

+ 20 of the Weirdest Inventions From the Past 20 Years.

+ Brutal Early Reviews of 20 Classic 20th-Century Novels. (I re-read this every time someone sends me negative feedback.)