Mortal Kombat

It's probably my age, but I often buy a product and wonder whether it will outlast me. Part of that depends on the product. Part of it depends on my fitness and nutrition (which is why I've already put the Vitamix in my will). And part of it depends on changes to the length of the human lifespan. The pessimists "think that we are rapidly approaching, or have already reached, a ceiling on life span ... the optimists see life span as a supremely, maybe even infinitely elastic band. They anticipate considerable gains in life expectancy around the world, increasing numbers of extraordinarily long-lived people ... pushing the record to 125, 150, 200 and beyond." In the NYT Magazine, Ferris Jabr takes an interesting look at the latest thinking about the only scoreboard that really matters. How Long Can We Live? (I've bookmarked this article to read over the weekend or when I'm 110.)


Shot Plot Sought

The promise of life not doing it for you? How about a donut? "Free beer, pot and doughnuts. Savings bonds. A chance to win an all-terrain vehicle. Places around the U.S. are offering incentives to try to energize the nation's slowing vaccination drive and get Americans to roll up their sleeves. These relatively small corporate promotion efforts have been accompanied by more serious and far-reaching attempts by officials in cities such as Detroit, where they're offering $50 to people who give others a ride to vaccination sites. Chicago is sending specially equipped buses into neighborhoods to deliver vaccines. Public health officials say the efforts are crucial to reach people who haven't been immunized yet." (Maybe they should show them news from India.)

+ Vox: "Vaccination has worked wonders to drive down deaths from infectious disease. A few hundred years ago, less than 60 percent of children saw their fifth birthday. Now, 95 percent do. Vaccines — against smallpox, measles, polio, diphtheria, and more — have driven that progress. But one of childhood's biggest killers — malaria — has eluded effective vaccination. That, at long last, looks to be changing."

+ Scientific American: Flu Has Disappeared Worldwide during the COVID Pandemic. (Some of our mask and distancing strategies should be adapted for the post pandemic world.)


Modi Fire

"Modi the magician takes a bow for saving humanity by containing the coronavirus effectively. Now that it turns out that he has not contained it, can we complain about being viewed as though we are radioactive? That other countries' borders are being closed to us and flights are being cancelled? That we're being sealed in with our virus and our prime minister, along with all the sickness, the anti-science, the hatred and the idiocy that he, his party and its brand of politics represent?" Arundhati Roy: We are witnessing a crime against humanity.

+ "The more the virus spreads, the more chances it has to mutate and create variants that could eventually resist current vaccines, threatening to undermine other countries' progress in containing the pandemic." Aditi Sangal: India's Covid-19 crisis is a problem for the world.


F*** Speech

"I was really upset and frustrated at everything," Levy explained in an NPR interview. So, that weekend, she posted a photo of herself and a friend flipping the bird to the camera, with the caption "F*** school F*** softball, F*** cheer, F*** everything." And with that, Brandi Levy set off a major free speech case that was just heard by the Supreme Court. "At issue was whether schools may punish students for speech that occurs online and off-campus but that may affect school order." (This is basically the way my kids say good morning.)


Dems the Rules

"To anyone who remembered last year's Democratic primaries, the President's first address to a joint session of Congress sounded as if Elizabeth Warren, and not Biden, had won." Susan B. Glasser in The New Yorker: Biden's Speech Offers an Alternative Vision for Democrats to Love, After Four Years of Trumpian Fantasy. "In many ways, there was a notable convergence in how Democrats and Republicans saw Biden's speech: as a breathtakingly ambitious set of proposals to use government as an instrument of social and economic transformation—an unabashed progressive platform unseen from a President in my lifetime."

+ "Counting the coronavirus stimulus plan approved earlier this year, Biden has now proposed more than $5 trillion in new spending initiatives over the next decade—far more than Clinton or Obama ever offered—to be partially paid for by tax increases on corporations and affluent families. On cultural and social issues, Democrats are likewise pursuing a much more ambitious lineup than Clinton or Obama did." Ronald Brownstein: Biden's plan: Go big or go home.



"Floyd was my man. But George Floyd is a movement." An interesting, behind the scenes look at the private experience of a very public event. Robert Samuels in WaPo: The private grief of Courteney Ross, George Floyd's girlfriend.


Electric Avenue

"Federal agencies are investigating at least two possible incidents on US soil, including one near the White House in November of last year, that appear similar to mysterious, invisible attacks that have led to debilitating symptoms for dozens of US personnel abroad." CNN: US investigating possible mysterious directed energy attack near White House.


Putin it Out There

"Looking gaunt after a weeks-long prison hunger strike, a defiant Alexei Navalny appeared by video link in court on Thursday, where he denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin as a 'naked, thieving king.'" The guy's got guts. Will the world stand behind him?


Time for the Next Draft

Jay Busbee thinks it's all about hope. I'm not sure it's that, at least not for me. But there's something about the NFL draft. It's much more fun than any other week of NFL action, and there are no games. Why does everyone love the NFL draft so much?

+ Adding to tonight's fun. Aaron Rodgers told the Packers he doesn't want to play in Green Bay anymore. (It's time for the 49ers to undo the biggest draft mistake in team history and bring this Golden Bear back to the Bay Area.)


Bottom of the News

It's a little surprising that Cameo's celebrity messaging platform has taken off as well as it has. It's a lot surprising that people are paying to send messages recorded by people who pretend to be celebrities. Inside the Bizarre World of Celebrity Impersonators on Cameo.

+ Spanish comedian Juan Joya Borja has died at the age of 65. You might not know the name. You probably know the laugh.