Wednesday, April 21st, 2021


Jail Chauvinist

America's longest running storyline isn't going to end with one fair verdict, but a decent chapter is a hell of a nice plot twist. The story that began with a dying man crying, "I can't breathe" ended with a sigh of relief as Derek Chauvin was convicted on all counts. It's worth noting what was different about this case from the others that preceded it. First, there was the video evidence that was essentially a 10 minute snuff film. Second, there was a willingness by other law enforcement officials to testify against Chauvin. The latter made a big difference and serves as a reminder that the guilty verdicts marked a good day for victims of police violence and a good day for good cops. That's how justice works. In the end, a jury found unanimity around believing what they could see with their own eyes. That's a welcome change in today's America. VP Harris on the need to take steps to address the broader problem by passing the police reform laws named after George Floyd. "It is not just a Black America problem or a people of color problem. It is a problem for every American. It is holding our nation back from reaching our full potential. A measure of justice isn't the same as equal justice." Biden to America after Floyd verdict: 'We can't stop here.'

+ Twelve jurors did their jobs. Now it's time for the Senate to do theirs. The law delivered justice to George Floyd. America's political leaders are up next.

+ DOJ to Investigate Minneapolis Police for Possible Patterns of Excessive Force.

+ Margaret Sullivan in WaPo: "After so many previous instances in which police officers were acquitted of what looked to many people like murder, this time was different. And it was different, in some significant portion, because of a teenager's sense of right and wrong." By bearing witness — and hitting ‘record' — 17-year-old Darnella Frazier may have changed the world.

+ How important was the video? Just recall the initial police press release. "Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later."

+ Dahlia Lithwick: This Verdict Was About the Power of Bystanders. "Not just the bystanders who stood by and filmed the police as the travesty was unfolding and not just the bystanders who implored the police to stop, or the bystanders who improbably and amazingly called the cops on the cops. This verdict was also the result of the police officers who stepped in to testify against their own."


When It Reins, It Pours

"Governments are moving simultaneously to limit the power of tech companies with an urgency and breadth that no single industry had experienced before. Their motivation varies. In the United States and Europe, it is concern that tech companies are stifling competition, spreading misinformation and eroding privacy; in Russia and elsewhere, it is to silence protest movements and tighten political control; in China, it is some of both." NYT: A Global Tipping Point for Reining In Tech Has Arrived.


How the Other Half Lives

"The 50% target would nearly double America's previous commitment and help the Biden administration prod other countries for ambitious emissions cuts as well. The proposal would require dramatic changes in the power and transportation sectors, including significant increases in renewable energy such as wind and solar power and steep cuts in emissions from fossil fuels." Ahead of his climate summit, Biden to pledge halving greenhouse gases by 2030.

+ Forty world leaders have been invited to the virtual summit, and the guest list includes Chinese President Xi Jinping.

+ "Much will hinge upon cooperation between China, the world's worst producer of planet-heating emissions, and the US, historically the worst polluter." And then there's the not small matter of America getting its credibility back after four years of Trump off gassing.


Recycle Bin Laden With Challenges

"This is a story about responsibility, and what happens when everyone keeps trying to pass it off to the next person. And what happens, when finally, there is no next person." An interesting video from NPR: Is Recycling Worth It Anymore? People On The Front Lines Say Maybe Not. (Hopefully recycling content still works, because I'm almost out of headline puns and snappy asides.)


Q and Eh

"Many key questions about SARS-2 and the disease it causes, Covid-19, continue to bedevil scientists." Stat News' Helen Branswell asked the experts what their key questions are. Here are the top ones.

+ "The police-enforced wearing of protective masks outdoors, ordered a year ago for non-exercise activities, was scrapped. But the Health Ministry said the requirement still applied for indoor public spaces and urged citizens to keep masks to hand." 'A very good weird': Israel drops outdoor COVID mask order. After more than a year, I walked into an indoor space with others sans mask. I just forgot. I see this as a key indicator we're gonna be done with this soon. Or maybe it was just that it was 4/20...

+ The geographic differences from county to county and country to country are astounding. Japan to declare state of emergency in Tokyo amid pre-Olympics Covid surge. And in photos: India being overrun by its massive virus surge.


Yolo and Behold

"To be clear: The pandemic is not over, and millions of Americans are still grieving the loss of jobs and loved ones. Not everyone can afford to throw caution to the wind. But for a growing number of people with financial cushions and in-demand skills, the dread and anxiety of the past year are giving way to a new kind of professional fearlessness." Kevin Roose in the NYT: Welcome to the YOLO Economy. I've gotten so used to staying home in front of this laptop that I may never leave. For me, it's welcome to the SOLO economy.


Goal Reaper

"Plans for a new Super League in European soccer collapsed after half of the groups' founding members said they were splitting from the project just two days after it was first announced." Plans For New Elite Soccer League Implode. They couldn't Lasso everyone together...

+ BBC: European Super League timeline: Game changer - football's volatile 72 hours.


Seth Star

Jonah Weiner in the NYT Mag: Seth Rogen and the Secret to Happiness. "Rogen set out knowing exactly what he wanted to do with his life — make people laugh, smoke weed and hang out with his friends — and somehow managed to turn those three goals into the organizing principles of his whole career." (Kids, let this be a lesson to you...)


Chute to Kill

"The skydiving school in San Joaquin County is now the site of 22 recorded deaths since opening in 1981. Nine of those deaths have occurred since 2016, according to the FAA." Yet another death at notorious Calif. skydiving center, bringing total to 22 since 1981. (Maybe it's just me, but once 21 people die at your establishment, I'm out.)


Bottom of the News

"I've said this analogy a few time before, but someone told me, 'There ain't nothing in the middle but dead armadillos and yellow lines.' I said, 'Well, I'm walking right down the yellow lines, right in the middle of the highway right now. And the armadillos are free having a great time, because right now, both sides are so far to the right or the left, there aren't even tires on the pavement.' So I think, going in, to think Democrat or Republican or one of the other, is small thinking now and even becoming unconstitutional because you're supposed to serve the American people or the people of your state." Matthew McConaughey tells the Longview News-Journal where he stands on political office. (Oh shit, I totally thought he was trying to sell me a Lincoln?)

+ If you find yourself confronted by a bear while jogging, just yell, "I'm not your food." (I've had to yell the same thing a few times at the Sizzler Salad Bar.)