Wednesday, March 24th, 2021


Plebiscite Unseen

There are a lot of big political battles taking place in America. But none is bigger than the battle over the most fundamental aspect of democracy: the right to vote. Using elements of the big lie as fuel, there is a massive effort (with the Georgia GOP leading the way) to restrict voting times and methods in order to suppress the high turnouts that resulted in what some view as undesirable results. NYT: In Statehouses, Stolen-Election Myth Fuels a G.O.P. Drive to Rewrite Rules. "The avalanche of legislation also raises fundamental questions about the ability of a minority of voters to exert majority control in American politics, with Republicans winning the popular vote in just one of the last eight presidential elections but filling six of the nine seats on the Supreme Court." The state efforts are one side of the fight. The national For the People Act being pushed in Congress is the other side. NYT: Democrats take their first steps in what they hope will be big changes to election law.

+ Extreme partisan gerrymandering, money in politics, and voting rights are three of the big reasons why the US dropped to a new low in rankings of world's democracies.


Seasonal Perspective Disorder

"What we're seeing, in other words, isn't a surge or crisis, but a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded. But that will just be the usual seasonal drop." WaPo: There's no migrant ‘surge' at the U.S. southern border. Here's the data. "Evidence reveals the usual seasonal bump — plus some of the people who waited during the pandemic."

+ "This is not unprecedented. We're seeing an increase in the number of children arriving, but we're not seeing unprecedented numbers of children. Obviously, we never experienced this during a pandemic, and so that is an added layer. But, again, it's not something that we haven't experienced previously." The New Yorker: The Humanitarian Challenge of Unaccompanied Children at the Border.


Saturday Night’s Not So Special

The pandemic had a significant impact on gun violence in America. Instead of killing people in large groups, murderers were forced to adapt and kill people one at a time. Still, those intent participating in America's most exceptional trait managed to overcome the odds. WaPo: "In 2020, gun violence killed nearly 20,000 Americans, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, more than any other year in at least two decades. An additional 24,000 people died by suicide with a gun."

+ Vox: America's unique gun violence problem, explained in 16 maps and charts. "Americans make up less than 5 percent of the world's population, yet they own roughly 45 percent of all the world's privately held firearms." Expect that lead to expand in the coming weeks. Gun industry prepares for a surge in demand after back-to-back mass shootings. (That's about as American as a headline can get, folks.)

+ Colorado suspect got assault weapon 6 days before shooting.

+ "I know where these nine and 10 families are at today. I know what those calls were like yesterday. I think about them in my moment of silence. I hope that they have the strength to get through what is going to be just an incredibly difficult time." A Colorado Legislator Shares the Story of Losing His Son to Gun Violence.

+ From a NextDraft reader who grew up shopping at King Soopers in Boulder. An Ode to King Soopers and a Vent on Gun Reform.

+ Me in McSweeney's: I'm a Proud Second Amendment-Loving, Law-Abiding American. And I'm Giving Up My F-22 Raptor Fighter Jet.


Ahoy Vey

"The ship was traveling northward through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean from the Red Sea when it ran aground in high winds and a dust storm. The ship, wedged at an angle across the waterway, now blocks the path of other container vessels in both directions." Massive Container Ship Runs Aground In Suez Canal, Halting Traffic.


Waterloo for Elephants

"As a journalist, I watched, increasingly confounded, as her casual investigation of an old murder case bloomed into a frenzied obsession. Six years on, I tried to make sense of the chaos that subsumed Sara's existence." The Marshall Project: "After the success of her novel Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen spent years trying to prove a man's innocence. Now she's 'absolutely broke' and 'seriously ill,' and her next book is 'years past deadline.'"


Duda, Where’s My Czar?

"Joe Biden is the 46th president of the United States. Andrzej Duda is a moron." That's not wrong. But apparently it's a crime. Polish writer facing prison for calling president moron. (Poland's surge towards authoritarianism is worrisome. And Duda was propped up prior to his narrow election win by a photo-op at the White House.)


The Bus Stops Here

NYT: "On a September morning in 1976, an 11-year-old Black girl climbed onto a yellow school bus, one of tens of thousands of children sent crisscrossing the city by court order and deposited in the insular neighborhoods of Boston in an effort to force them to integrate. As her bus swung uphill into the heart of the Irish-American enclave of Charlestown, she could see police officers taking protective positions around the bus. After that, the mob: white teenagers and adults, shouting and throwing rocks, telling them to go back to Africa. That girl, Kim Janey, became acting mayor of Boston on Monday." And how about this stat from the article: "In 2015, the median net worth for white families in the city was nearly $250,000 compared with just $8 for Black families."


Follow the Monarchy

"The Duke of Sussex is the newest employee of BetterUp, a Silicon Valley start-up, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. No longer a working member of the British royal family, Harry will serve as 'chief impact officer' for the company." Prince Harry takes a job at Silicon Valley start-up. (He becomes king impact officer once he's fully vested.)


Joy to the World

The Queen's Gambit made chess hugely popular. It did the same for its star. Vanity Fair: Anya Taylor-Joy: The Queen's Gambit Star on Life Before and After a Smash.


Bottom of the News

"It appeared as though there were cinnamon-covered shrimp tails mixed in with the cereal." This Man Says He Found Shrimp Tails In His Cinnamon Toast Crunch, As Well As Dental Floss, A Pea, And Potentially Rat Poop. (My kids love this cereal so much, they'd just eat right through all that.) Sure, a story made for internet memes gets covered by Buzzfeed. But this one made it the NYT. The Curious Case of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Box. "Mr. Karp, a 41-year-old comedian and writer in Los Angeles, took a picture of the contents and sent it to his wife, Danielle Fishel Karp, who played Topanga Lawrence-Matthews on 'Boy Meets World.'" (Her response: "Honey, did you wake and bake again?")

+ Here's How People From The Past Imagined The Future in 20 Pics. Amazing.