Thursday, April 1st, 2021


Checked Swing

Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowd ... April Fools. Yes, it's Baseball's opening day. And yes, stadiums are admitting limited numbers of fans to return to the stands in the first sign of sports normalcy we've had in a long time. But things aren't quite the same at the old ball game. Thursday night's Opening Day matchup between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals has been postponed because of a postive Covid-19 test. Suddenly, the line, "I don't care if I never get back" sounds as ominous as it did last season.

+ "Lucas Giolito, Max Fried and Jack Flaherty were teammates nine years ago at Harvard-Westlake, a prestigious prep school in Los Angeles. On Thursday, all three will be opening-day starting pitchers in the major leagues." 3 high school teammates become MLB opening day starters. "And they didn't even win a California state title the year they all played together."

+ And since we're at the crossroads of baseball and April Fools, let's take our annual look back at George Plimpton's The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch, the story that should have capped April Fools jokes forever (but didn't).


The Corp Dev is in the Details

"The right to vote is fundamental in a democracy. American history is the story of expanding the right to vote to all citizens, and Black people, in particular, have had to march, struggle and even give their lives for more than a century to defend that right. Apple believes that, thanks in part to the power of technology, it ought to be easier than ever for every eligible citizen to exercise their right to vote." That's Tim Cook on Georgia's voting restrictions. He's one of many CEOs to speak out once Delta broke the ice. Is it too little too late?

+ "Public outrage from African Americans around the country, and perhaps the threat of boycotts, seemed to have had their desired effect. Moreover, 72 African American executives signed on to a public letter demanding that corporate America stand behind democracy." WaPo: Explaining Delta's and Coca-Cola's belated support for democracy.


A Watched Pothole Never Boils

"The president's blueprint is a multitrillion-dollar partisan shopping list of progressive priorities, all broadly categorized as ‘infrastructure' and paid for with massive, job-killing tax increases." That's Representative Sam Graves of Missouri with the GOP response to Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan. And the progressives? They think the plan is too small. Biden's Infrastructure Plan Meets Skepticism, Signaling Fight to Come.

+ The physical infrastructure plan is much less controversial than the plan to follow. "The human-infrastructure part of the program is the more novel and telling one, and not just because it would expand the role of the state in everyday life. It is an expression of the same twenty-first-century liberalism that animated Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign—the belief that the way to fix what ails America is to unleash its talent, by making opportunity more available and equitable. Human infrastructure, in other words, is the kind of thing a country could spend four years arguing about." Benjamin Wallace-Wells in The New Yorker: Biden's New Deal and the Future of Human Capital.


Basic Training

"While incredibly advanced, the HoloLens 2 is currently more popular with enterprise than consumers because, well, most people don't have a use for a $3,500 headset with no killer apps. The military, however, is a different story." Microsoft Lands $22 Billion to Put Custom HoloLens Headsets on U.S. Soldiers. (For the average Mac owner, just using Windows feels like being in a war zone.)


Six Figures

Sure, the vaccines were created in record time and have proven wildly effective. But will they stand the test of time? So far, yes. "Pfizer says its vaccine is preventing 91% of coronavirus cases in the six months after people are immunized. And a separate study shows even people in their 80s and 90s are producing impressive levels of antibodies after receiving both doses of the vaccine."


Wrong Hits

"The case against the vaccines wobbles because it is built upon a steaming pile of bullshit." And no one has blown more steam into that pile than Alex Berenson. The Atlantic's Derek Thompson on The Pandemic's Wrongest Man.


If the Suit Fits

"In some ways, it's a relief to see someone hold Fox to account, especially since nothing else seems able to restrain right-wing media outlets from spreading disinformation ... But for those who care about the reality-based news media, there's a downside. And nobody is thinking about that more intently than the people at a small investigative California newsroom called Reveal, which is run by the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting.
'These defamation suits can decimate the legitimate press,' said D. Victoria Baranetsky, general counsel at Reveal." WaPo's Margaret Sullivan on The problem with cheering for the Dominion lawsuit against Fox News. (I'm a huge fan of and an advisor to Reveal. And they were threatened by a false lawsuit. Of course, classifying their investigative reporting alongside the strategic lying of Fox News is a stretch. Maybe we need to take a step back and question our definition of news. Phonies like Hannity and Carlson yelling lies into living rooms doesn't fit my definition.)


Russian’s Dressing

"He said that the colony's seven-person disciplinary committee is currently reviewing some twenty reports of his alleged violations, including 'getting up from bed ten minutes before the order to get up' and refusing 'to go outside for morning exercises, saying to prison officer, ‘Let's go grab a cup of coffee instead.' He said he also reportedly 'refused to watch a video lecture and called it idiotic' and 'wore a T-shirt to a meeting with his lawyer.' He added, 'I'm anticipating a citation that says, ‘was smiling broadly when the schedule prescribed suffering.'" Masha Gessen in The New Yorker: What Alexey Navalny Is Experiencing in Prison.


Leveling Up to Prison

"The gang designed and sold cheats to popular video games, including Overwatch and Call of Duty Mobile. Roughly $76m in revenue was made by the organisation which charged a subscription fee to clients. Police seized assets worth $46m, including several luxury cars." Police bust 'world's biggest' video-game-cheat operation.


Bottom of the News

"He had just finished grocery shopping, but a New Mexico man got much more than he bargained for when he returned to his car in the store's parking lot: A swarm of 15,000 honey bees had taken over the back seat." NYT: A Man Found 15,000 Bees in His Car After Grocery Shopping.

+ WaPo: A plane dropped a pink cloud in gender-reveal stunt. Then it fell to the sea, killing two. (Gender reveal events could be the most dangerous activities in the world.)

+ "Japan's biggest carrier, All Nippon Airways, started selling tickets for dinner on the runway - at $540 a meal - on Wednesday and has already added more slots for April after the first batch sold out." 10 stories that look like pranks but aren't.