1

It’s a Date!

It's a Friday. And the one-year anniversary of the day that, following a presidential coronavirus task force press conference, Lysol had to warn us not to drink its products; so let's lead with a collection of odd stories, that could make you feel a little disturbed (but not as disturbed as you felt a year ago). First, there's the arrest of a mastermind capitol rioter: "The Justice Department has charged a Capitol rioter who was turned in by someone he matched with on the dating app Bumble, after he bragged about his exploits on January 6." (It was a dead giveaway when his profile touted his ability to maintain an insurrection...)

+ California now has the lowest Covid infection rate in America. Recall that, suckas. (I was born in the state and I'll never, ever move away!) In other California news, Caitlyn Jenner Said She'll Run For California Governor. (Can anyone recommend a good moving company?) Even though the Trump administration attacked the transgender community, Jenner is running as a Republican with help and advice from Brad Parscale. Speaking of anniversaries, it's been one year since Jenner told Outsports that "Politics is something I don't talk about any longer." That's quite a transition.

+ Gender reveal party using 80 pounds of explosives sets off earthquake. (This is what's referred to as tectonic stupidity.)

+ George W Bush, says he wrote in Condoleezza Rice for president in 2020. (He would've been better off keeping that a secret.)

+ And to wrap up this special section, a look at the latest Harper's Index which includes these doozies: Portion of Republicans who regard Donald Trump as the best president in American history: 1/3, and the percentage of them who believe that the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was largely inspired by Antifa: 58. (You know, maybe just a couple shots of Lysol wouldn't hurt?)

2

The Age of Excess

While were looking back at 2020, here's a disturbing stat from the NYT: Excess Deaths in 2020 Surpassed Those of 1918 Flu Pandemic. "Aside from fatalities directly attributed to Covid-19, some excess deaths last year were most likely undercounts of the virus or misdiagnoses, or indirectly related to the pandemic otherwise."

3

Weekend Whats

What to Book: Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, by Patrick Radden Keefe is riveting, timely, smart, and insanely good. I would go on, but I'm starting to make my myself jealous of Patrick Radden Keefe. Amazing book.

+ What to Hear: Kaleo is a NextDraft certified band and their just-released album Surface Sounds lives up to that title. Kaleo's sound is like a cup of foamed Iceland with a double-shot of Nashville.

+ What to Watch: Snabba Cash on Netflix is about a woman with a startup in Sweden. Who also has ties to the drug and crime world. And it's crazy binge-able and features great acting, including, Evin Ahmad, who will be a big star.

4

Country Roads

We're continuing to see a massive divide in Covid experience between countries, and the ones on the wrong part of the curve threaten entire regions. Brazil's ‘rapid and violent' Covid variant devastates Latin America. From the NYT: Ravaged by Covid, Brazil Faces a Hunger Epidemic. And in India, things are terrible. "Families are left pleading for their relatives who are desperately ill, with some patients left untreated for hours.
Crematoriums are organising mass funeral pyres. On Friday India reported 332,730 new cases of coronavirus, setting a world record for a second day running."

+ Meanwhile, the quest for a normal-ish Olympics has suffered setbacks. Japan Declares 3rd State Of Emergency, 3 Months Ahead Of Olympics.

+ Vietnam defied the experts and sealed its border to keep Covid-19 out. It worked. (It seems like travel restrictions should be the norm, not the exception.)

5

Long Haul Monitor

"Six months later, those who'd had COVID-19 were found to be at higher risk of new onset heart disease, diabetes, mental health disorders including anxiety and depression, substance use disorders, kidney disease and other problems." People With Severe COVID-19 Have Higher Risk Of Long-Term Effects.

6

Deep Sixed

"Three months later, no price has been paid by the Republicans who took that vote. In the immediate aftermath of January 6th, this outcome was not entirely clear. Some Republican politicians initially disavowed Trump and seemed to believe that his hold on the Party would dissipate—Nikki Haley, I'm thinking of you—but have since proved eager to run away from their own words. Many companies even announced that they would suspend political donations to those who had voted against certifying the election results, suggesting there might actually be consequences. Instead, the inevitable walk-back has already started." The New Yorker's Susan B. Glasser: The Trump Administration Is Over, but the Trump Crisis Is Not.

+ NYT Mag: Liz Cheney vs. MAGA. "Conway's group hosted a virtual fund-raiser for Cheney just two hours before the Feb. 3 conference meeting. Its nearly 40 co-hosts included former Republican members of Congress — Comstock, Phil English and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen — as well as alumni from the George W. Bush administration and prominent Washington lobbyists. Some of them cried as they talked about what the party had become under Trump. 'It was like the biggest therapy session I'd ever been a part of,' said one of the hosts I spoke with later."

7

I’m Your Homey

"On the one hand, people will be freshly aware that they shouldn't take the ability to attend social gatherings for granted. On the other, they also will have experienced, albeit involuntarily, the occasional pleasures of having fewer social commitments." The Atlantic: 2 Competing Impulses Will Drive Post-pandemic Social Life. (My two competing impulses are not wanting to go and wanting to stay home. I don't have FOMO. I have FOBIA - Fear of Being Invited Again.)

8

Alexeats

"Doctors, whom I fully trust, published a statement yesterday stating that you and I had achieved enough for me to end the hunger strike. And I will say frankly -- their words that the tests show that 'in a minimum time there will be no one to treat...' seem to me worthy of attention." Jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny ends hunger strike.

9

Honey Badgering

"It's important to note the levels are not high enough to be harmful, say the scientists, from the College of William & Mary." American Honey Still Contains Nuclear Fallout From the 1950s.

10

Feel Good Friday

Steph and Ayesha Curry's Eat, Learn, Play, has helped to serve many meals to Oakland's children and families at risk of food insecurity. How many? Sixteen million. (That's a lot, even if you count by threes.)

+ FastCo: Scientists develop a truly recyclable plastic. Is the world ready for it? (Wait, give me a sec. Ok, ready.)

+ WaPo: A hiker was lost and desperate. A stranger with an unusual hobby saved him. (Luckily, his unusual hobby wasn't cannibalism.)

+ She was the cook at their LSU fraternity house. Now, years later, they're paying her mortgage.

+ South Dakota high school rodeo club cancels annual ‘slave auction' fundraiser. (Uh, thanks?)

+ How this NASA engineer went from Gaza to Mars.

+ WaPo: Bored in the pandemic, she made art by bruising bananas. Now she has an international following.

+ For good luck, someone brought a cruelty-free rabbit's foot to the Giants game.

+ Man bowls perfect game with his dad's ashes in the ball. (That's the good news. The bad news is that after hearing about this, my kids took up bowling.)