Monday, April 5th, 2021


The Void is Full of It

My kids are on Spring Break this week. Delivery will be sporadic.

As local newspapers went under, there was always a fear that communities would have to function without trusted news sources. But it's worse than that. The news void was not left empty. It's being filled. By Facebook. "Like other police departments throughout the country, Chippewa Township Police embraced Facebook for its ability to reach the community and aid in investigations, especially retail thefts. But Hermick never anticipated the headaches that might arise. The fake murderer-on-the-loose story was just the latest issue in what Hermick said was a larger 'social media problem.'" In a Pennsylvania town, a Facebook group fills the local news void.


Easter Island

"The deeply held spiritual convictions or counterfactual arguments may vary. But across white evangelical America, reasons not to get vaccinated have spread as quickly as the virus that public health officials are hoping to overcome through herd immunity." NYT: How White Evangelicals' Vaccine Refusal Could Prolong the Pandemic. (We're a nation held hostage by wackadoodlism...)

+ Don't believe what you're seeing and hearing was a major tenant of Trumpism. And people listened. Half of Republicans believe false accounts of deadly U.S. Capitol riot.


Rounding Up

"Even as the number of detentions surged, the authorities pushed for more. One police chief recalled a Party member explaining, 'You can't uproot all the weeds hidden among the crops one by one—you need to spray chemicals to kill them all.' In June, Zhu drafted a communiqué. 'Stick to rounding up everyone who should be rounded up,' it reminded. 'If they're there, round them up.'" Raffi Khatchadourian in The New Yorker: Surviving the Crackdown in Xinjiang. "As mass detentions and surveillance dominate the lives of China's Uyghurs and Kazakhs, a woman struggles to free herself."



"Competitiveness is about more than how U.S.-headquartered companies fare against other companies in global merger and acquisition bids. It is about making sure that governments have stable tax systems that raise sufficient revenue to invest in essential public goods." That was Janet Yellen calling for a minimum global corporate income tax. The Biden administration wants to raise corporate taxes. But it wants other countries to do the same to keep corporations from moving to cheaper pastures. Will the world play along?

+ Wapo: 55 corporations had zero federal tax liability in 2020, including household names like Nike, FedEx and Dish Network. (Zero seems low.)


Children of Myanmar

"His daughter — 10 years old, with dreams of being a makeup artist or a nurse or maybe even a princess with long golden hair like the one in 'Maleficent,' which she had watched a zillion times, no joke — ran down a path with her sweet prize. Just as she reached the trees that marked the perimeter of their property, the girl seemed to stumble, landing flat on her stomach, her father recalled. The piece of coconut slipped from her grasp, falling onto the reddish earth of Mawlamyine, a port town perched on a slender archipelago in southeastern Myanmar." NYT: She Just Fell Down. And She Died. "Myanmar's security forces have killed more than 40 children since February. Here is the story of one, Aye Myat Thu. She was 10."


Trained to Kill?

"The goal is to resolve the situation as safely as possible. So you want to always have de-escalation layered into those actions of using force ... to resolve the situation as safely as possible." Derek Chauvin's lawyers argue that their client just did was he was trained to do. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has a different take. Here's the latest from the trial.


Sister Act

"In December, Stanford's Tara VanDerveer became the all-time winningest coach in women's college basketball, passing the late Tennessee legend Pat Summitt. Yet at the moment she recorded her milestone 1,099th win, VanDerveer hadn't won a national championship in 29 years." That streak ended on Sunday. Stanford's ‘Sisterhood' — And Its Sisters — Won The Cardinal A Title.


Message in a Bottle

"Amazon admitted it was wrong. And in the process the company admitted that some of its workers do indeed find themselves in situation where they have to urinate in bottles." Slate: Amazon Admits Drivers Sometimes Have to Pee in Bottles While on the Job. (I guess it's a good thing we got used to wiping down our packages.)

+ As I mentioned in Friday's Weekend Whats, you want to read Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America by Alec Macgillis. (It's about Amazon. But it's more broadly about the recent history of working in America.)


Sometimes, Life is Fare

"'Would you be interested in adopting this baby?' Danny looked around, all eyes were on him. 'I think most of the mouths dropped in the courtroom, including mine. I said, 'Yes, but I don't think it's that easy,' and the judge smiled and she said, 'Well, it can be.'" BBC: 'We found a baby on the subway - now he's our son.'


Bottom of the News

"The teenage runaways showed remarkable resourcefulness—building a hut out of palm fronds, establishing a garden with bananas and beans, and setting up a roster to keep a lookout for passing ships. They even built a badminton court and a makeshift gym. They lived in harmony—they told us—most of the time." 60 Minutes with the story of a real life Lord of the Flies, which was nothing like the fictional version.

+ A question for the ages: How Did Frasier Afford His Apartment?

+ "What the wheelie lacks in utility it makes up for with pure, unfiltered radness. There's something thrilling about a skill that isn't a means to an end but the end itself, whose value in doing it is just doing it, simply because you can." (Like pun headlines...)