Thursday, May 13th, 2021



Still need a reason to get vaccinated? Well, Ohio's got a million of them. "Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled a lottery system Wednesday to entice people to get COVID-19 shots, offering a weekly $1 million prize and full-ride college scholarships in a creative bid to overcome the vaccine hesitancy that remains a stubborn problem across the nation." (Hopefully it's not a powerball or people may delay getting vaccinated until the jackpot size increases.)

+ Not in the mood to gamble with your life? There are other incentives available. NY Mayor Bill de Blasio ate Shake Shack during his press conference to announce a free fries with vaccination promotion. (The Onion should sue America for plagiarism.)

+ Even better, if you get vaccinated, you can spend your money and eat your fries sans mask in most indoor settings. In a big move, the CDC has eased guidance on indoor mask-wearing. (Meh, what the hell? Hold out for more prizes.)


Covid Goes Nuclear

"Without massive investment and coördinated effort, billions of people could be left without vaccines, ventilators, medications, oxygen, medical care—and, relatedly, without food, shelter, stability, or hope. America has chosen to be a generous nation before. Will it choose that path again?" Dhruv Khullar in The New Yorker: India's Crisis Marks a New Phase in the Pandemic. "It's not urban. It's not rural. It's not north or south. It's everywhere. During the first wave, the poor suffered the bulk of the health and economic toll. Now everyone is affected. I personally don't know a single family that doesn't have covid in it right now. I don't mean in their extended family. I mean in their nuclear family"


Bibi’s Gun

"Israel has begun firing artillery and tank shells into Gaza, and scores of families are fleeing their homes, Palestinian witnesses in the Gaza Strip said Thursday ... Hamas sent a heavy barrage of rockets deep into Israel on Thursday as Israel pounded Gaza with more airstrikes and called up 9,000 more reservists. The relentless escalation of hostilities came even as Egyptian negotiators held in-person talks with the two sides, intensifying efforts at mediation." The situation in the Middle East is going from bad to worse.

+ Like we see with Covid, politics can be deadly. There's every reason to believe Netanyahu stoked the crisis to save his political life. And Hamas is built for war. This NYT subhead says it all: Analysts think it may be too early for de-escalation to succeed, as the sides first both need to forge a narrative of victory.

+ This might seem familiar in the Middle East, but this time there's a new aspect. WaPo: "Chaos erupted in Israeli cities with mixed Jewish-Arab populations on Wednesday night, marking an escalation in the country's worst communal violence in two decades. The Israeli media and local residents alike have warned about the threat of civil war in the country ... In some cases, Arab Israelis protesting in support of Palestinians in Gaza and Jerusalem have squared off against right-wing Jewish Israelis and police, and these confrontations have sparked riots and looting. In other cases, groups of vigilante Jews have marched through Arab areas, targeting shops and individuals with violence. And in yet other cases, Arabs have attacked Jews passing through Arab neighborhoods." (When everyone starts hating each other, politicians like BiBi thrive. Sound familiar?)

+ BBC: Here's the latest from the BBC.



"The news is also a little worrying because of how a successful ransom might encourage hackers in future. Over the years, we've heard reports of smaller companies and local government entities paying ransoms to regain access to their computers, but this is perhaps one of the most high-profile examples of ransomware yet." Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid the hackers nearly $5 million. (That's an interestingly low number considering the stakes. It costs about half that to fill 'er up with premium in California...)


Semi-Harmed Kinda Life

"Executives at Intel, the world's biggest semiconductor company, say that it will take about two years for the industry to construct more chip factories to meet the demand." Slate with the long and short of the reason you still can't find a new car or Playstation 5. (The mutual disappointment has created a nice bonding opportunity for me and my son.)


Capitolerated Behavior

"The ex-Florida tax collector with close ties to Rep. Matt Gaetz is planning to plead guilty on Monday in a federal court in Florida, according to a new filing Thursday." Gaetz ally plans to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors. (Just being called "Gaetz ally" is a pretty stiff sentence.)

+ Marjorie Taylor Greene confronted AOC yelling that she supports terrorists and antifa and said, "You don't care about the American people." (If you reward crazy, you're gonna get more crazy.)


Yenta Placenta Impedimenta

MoJo: The Real Reason Behind the Misinformation Epidemic in Online Moms' Groups. "For years, purveyors of misinformation about alternative health have exploited these forums to promote theories and practices that aren't backed by science and can be dangerous. Some of the greatest hits: Ultrasounds can harm your developing fetus; Tamiflu will kill your toddler; a mere sip of formula will destroy your infant's microbiome; and you should eat your placenta to ward off postpartum depression ... It's not a big intellectual leap to get from that mindset to vaccine skepticism." (If you're snacking on placenta, I'm not sure it's an intellectual leap at all.)


Doge Day Afternoon

"In a post on Twitter Wednesday, Musk cited concerns about 'rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions,' while signaling that Tesla might accept other cryptocurrencies if they are much less energy intensive." Musk Sends Bitcoin Tumbling With Shock U-Turn on Payments. (This is a really difficult time for the two people considering buying a Tesla with Bitcoin.)


Pokemon Overboard

"US retail giant Target will stop selling Pokémon playing cards out of an 'abundance of caution' for its staff and other shoppers. The re-sale value of the cards has increased dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, prompting chaos and threats to staff." The dramatic rise in the re-sale value of the cards prompted a fight in Wisconsin during which a man pulled a gun. (It's gonna be pretty hard to come off as tough when telling his cellmate what he got arrested for...)


Bottom of the News

"The University of South Carolina accepted the resignation Wednesday of President Bob Caslen, who admitted he plagiarized part of a speech by the former head of US Special Operations Command during a weekend commencement speech." Even odder: He congratulated the graduates of the University of California, instead of South Carolina. (Go Bears.)

+ 30 Ex-Actors Who Left Hollywood and What They Do Now.

+ Is oral sex more Covid-safe than kissing? The expert guide to a horny, healthy summer. (None of this is going to factor into my summer, but it makes for decent reading...)