Wednesday, May 5th, 2021


Overseen But Not Heard

Facebook's quasi oversight board has ruled that the ban of former president quasimotor mouth can remain in place for now, but kicked the final decision back to the company. One issue is the indefinite nature of the ban. The company needs to set a time limit or make it permanent. (Permanent seems a bit much. I say they ban him for a centillion years, and then reassess.) AP: Facebook board upholds Trump ban, just not an indefinite one. "The company's quasi-independent oversight board upheld the bans. But it told Facebook to specify how long they would last, saying that its 'indefinite' ban on the former president was unreasonable. The ruling, which gives Facebook six months to comply, effectively postpones any possible Trump reinstatement and puts the onus for that decision squarely back on the company."

+ The NYT's Kara Swisher has been all over this story. Good Riddance, Donald Trump? "This lazy abrogation of responsibility by the Facebook leadership is par for the course for the most hopelessly compromised company in tech, which has bungled controversies for years."

+ "Heads of state should be held to greater standards, not lesser ones." Facebook ruling on Donald Trump ban: five key takeaways.


Party Poopers

The bigger issue behind the Facebook ban is the dangerous and damaging big lie about the election. But we now know that Donald Trump doesn't have to spread that lie. He's got almost a whole party doing it for him. Dan Balz in WaPo: "Cheney is a conservative Republican. She shares virtually no policy positions with President Biden and the Democrats. She has been outspoken, repeatedly, when she has disagreed with the new president or with Democrats in Congress. Her credentials and familial ties as the daughter of former vice president Richard B. Cheney put her in the front ranks of the conservative movement. That is no longer good enough for Republicans. She must, seemingly, agree with Trump's false characterizations of the election or remain silent in the face of those lies, however damaging they might be. Those are the choices."

+ NYT's Tom Friedman: Trump's Big Lie Devoured the G.O.P. and Now Eyes Our Democracy. "There is simply nothing more dangerous for a two-party democracy than to have one party declare that no election where it loses is legitimate, and, therefore, if it loses it will just lie about the results and change the rules."


Oxygen Debt

"Some experts estimate that millions of Indians are infected each day; thousands are dying, with more deaths going uncounted or unreported. More than one in every five coronavirus tests returns positive—a marker of insufficient testing and rampant viral spread. Hospitals are running out of oxygen, staff, and beds; makeshift funeral pyres burn through the night as crematoriums are flooded with dead bodies." The New Yorker's Dhruv Khullar: Inside India's COVID-19 Surge.

+ "That split screen — clubs and restaurants reopening in the United States and Europe while people gasp for oxygen in India — was never supposed to be so stark." NYT: As Covid Ravages Poorer Countries, Rich Nations Spring Back to Life. (After the Iraq war, the self-imposed financial crisis of 2008, and four years of betraying the world with a laughingstock in the White House, this is a unique opportunity for America to lead the world and do the right thing.)


Starting from Zero

"For 18-year-old Bryan Chavez, Tuesday felt like a dream. It was the first time he'd seen his mother in nearly four years after they were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump administration's 'zero tolerance' policy in 2017." U.S. begins reuniting families separated under Trump's zero tolerance policy.


Fresh Brood

"Some people may be repulsed. Psychiatrists are calling entomologists worrying about their patients, Shrewsbury said. But scientists say the arrival of Brood X is a sign that despite pollution, climate change and dramatic biodiversity loss, something is still right with nature. And it's quite a show." Nature at its craziest: Trillions of cicadas about to emerge. "It's one of nature's weirdest events, featuring sex, a race against death, evolution and what can sound like a bad science fiction movie soundtrack." (That was how I was hoping college would be...)


Evict Shun

"The question for the Court is a narrow one: Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium? It does not." Federal judge overturns CDC's eviction moratorium.


Tread Bull

"I want to be clear, Peloton made a mistake in our initial response to the CPSC's request. We should have engaged more productively with them from the outset. For that, I apologize." So said Peloton CEO John Foley as Peloton recalls all treadmills after a child's death and 70 injuries.


Barr Stool

"Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court in Washington said in a ruling late Monday that the Justice Department's obfuscation appeared to be part of a pattern in which top officials like Mr. Barr were untruthful to Congress and the public about the investigation." In other words, what you thought Bill Barr did with the Mueller report was what Bill Barr did with the Mueller report. Judge Says Barr Misled on How His Justice Dept. Viewed Trump's Actions.


Errors and Psyche

"A mental health startup built its business on easy-to-use technology. Patients joined in droves. Then came a catastrophic data breach." Wired: They Told Their Therapists Everything. Hackers Leaked It All. (This validates my strategy of preemptively leaking it all out right here.)


Bottom of the News

"10Pines calls its approach 'sociocracy.' It was inspired by the Brazilian businessman Ricardo Semler and his experience transforming his family's manufacturing firm Semco. He turned it into a so-called "agile, collaborative company" with workers taking oversight of issues traditionally left to managers, finding it led to a low turnover of staff and revitalised the firm's fortunes." The company where colleagues decide your salary. (Great, now I have to ask my proofer RD for a raise...)

+ He attempted to take a small dose of the hallucinogenic — known in some circles as microdosing — before a key investors' meeting in 2019. It didn't work out. A San Francisco tech CEO says he was ousted because he used LSD before a big investors' meeting. (These meetings are so boring that the board should have given this guy a raise for the entertainment value alone.)