Wednesday, April 14th, 2021


Follow the Crypto

You're in an underground garage. An informant who goes by the name Deep Throat says, "The truth is, these are not very bright guys and things got out of hand." Then, using a tone just above a whisper, he advises you to, "Follow the crypto." Intrigued and a little confused, you ask, "What's the crypto?" Deep Throat says, "I don't exactly know and it's hard to explain anyway. But trust me, follow it." Some of us are old enough to remember when it was all about the benjamins. Today, it's all about that base, Coinbase that is. In a watershed moment for digital dough, the leading trading platform for trading crypto went public, IPOing at a cool $100 billion valuation. It's a little ironic that Coinbase is making a lot of old fashioned dollars for people today.

+ For the sake of comparison, "Nasdaq's market cap is $26 billion, while ICE, the parent company of the N.Y.S.E., is valued at $67 billion. And by the way, Goldman Sachs's market value is $111 billion."


Copping Mechanisms

"As Wright struggles with police, Potter is heard shouting 'I'll Tase you! I'll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!' before firing a single shot from her handgun." Minnesota cop will be charged in shooting of Black motorist.

+ We already knew that Officer Rusten Sheskey wouldn't be charged. Now we know he won't be disciplined either. "The Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back last year, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, acted in accordance with police policy and won't face any further discipline." (There's a policy that suggests after shooting a suspect in the back six times that one should shoot him a seventh time?)

+ "Dr. David Fowler, a former chief medical examiner for the state of Maryland and now a member of a consulting firm, said the fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd's system, and possible carbon monoxide poisoning from auto exhaust, were contributing factors." Expert blames George Floyd's death on heart rhythm problem. (Counterpoint: The problem was that his heart stopped having a rhythm at all because someone's knee was on his neck for almost ten minutes.)


Here We Go Againistan

"That's the awful danger of this decision. Sometimes cutting the knot and removing U.S. troops opens the way for peace; more often, in recent years, it has been a prelude to greater bloodshed." WaPo's David Ignatius: History will cast a shadow over Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. It's already cast a shadow over former presidents who decided not to withdraw. Twenty year wars tend to be lose-lose situations.

+ NYT: Three Afghans from disparate walks of life, now each asking the same question: What will become of me when the Americans leave?

+ The Atlantic's George Packer on the vital importance of getting our allies out along with our troops. "Seventeen thousand Afghans who have worked for America in Afghanistan, along with tens of thousands of their family members, are waiting for the excruciatingly slow bureaucratic wheels of the U.S. government to process their visa applications. At the normal pace, they will still be waiting years after the last American troops leave their country. While they wait, trying to hide, many of them will be hunted down by the Taliban. We will be gone, and Afghans who believed our promises will be killed. Our war will be over—Americans might not even hear the news of their deaths."


Corporate Punishment

"Over the next 13 years, DeSantis' signature would evolve from the neat cursive as a prosecutor to the hurried one he uses frequently today as Florida's governor." Tampa Bay Times: DeSantis wants voters' signatures to match. Would his pass the test?

+ "Amazon, BlackRock, Google, Starbucks, billionaire investor Warren Buffett and hundreds of other companies published a letter on Wednesday condemning 'discriminatory legislation' designed to hinder voting rights in the US." (It's great that corporations have turned against the GOP's attacks on voting rights. It's not great that our democracy depends on the kindness of corporations.)


Filling in the Point Blanks

On Monday, I suggested that the intense 24-hour coverage of mass shootings in America can actually distract us from the true scope of the problem. Here are a couple local headlines to hammer home the point. Chicago Sun Times: 28 shot, 4 fatally, in Chicago over weekend. ABC News: Gun violence continues in Philadelphia after 11 shot in 24 hours: The city is on pace to surpass 600 shooting deaths in 2021. (600 in one city in one year. That's what I'd call a mass shooting.)

+ And on the way different crimes involving different victims are handled by the police and media. After decades of speculation, Paul Flores charged with the murder of Kristin Smart.


Device Squad

"A majority of the public's attention has been focused on the hundreds of people who have been charged for their role on Jan. 6. But the night before, someone committed a different crime: The person placed two explosive devices near the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and that person is still at large."

+ NYT: Capitol Police Told to Hold Back on Riot Response on Jan. 6, Report Finds.


Ponzi Jumps the Shark

"Although the crimes Bernie was convicted of have come to define who he was - he was also a father and a husband. He was soft spoken and an intellectual. Bernie was by no means perfect. But no man is." So said Bernie Madoff's lawyer as the disgraced Ponzi schemer, died at 82. (It's always a bad sign when the nicest things said about you come from your lawyer.)


Life Among the Rudin

"From his pushing people out of moving cars to engaging in a bitter feud with Harvey Weinstein, here are 21 tales about Rudin that helped build his unpleasant reputation." 21 Notorious Scott Rudin Stories. When the pandemic hit, Rudin offered half price tickets to his broadway shows. "Rudin framed his decision as an opportunity for people to see shows they might not normally be able to afford to see." (Such a bargain!)


All We Are Is Justin the Wind

"And while maybe you don't care if Justin Bieber ever does make his way back to a kind of normalcy, perhaps you can admit there is at least something admirable, in the abstract, about someone finding a way to survive, and even to become kind, when all they've been taught since a young age, by millions of adoring people, is that there is no need for them to be kind at all." GQ: The Redemption of Justin Bieber.


Bottom of the News

"Hope Trautwein of the University of North Texas made history on Sunday by pitching a game more than perfect. Through all seven innings, she struck out every single one of the 21 batters she faced from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff."

+ Steve Urkel actor Jaleel White launches Purple Urkle cannabis brand. (I like a story that ends on a high note.)

+ Man evicted home renters for growing cannabis and then set up his own grow operation there.

+ "A man fleeing the California Highway Patrol totaled his girlfriend's Maserati SUV after he careened up an embankment and slammed into the underside of an overpass." The guy lived. At least until his girlfriend sees this photo.