Great Grandmother

Welcome to America's first Juneteenth federal holiday. To understand how we got here, you have to walk a mile in Opal Lee's shoes. Or more accurately, two and half miles. "She decided to start with a walking campaign in cities along a route from her home in Fort Worth, Texas, to Washington, D.C. It wasn't a straight line. Over several weeks, Lee arrived in cities where she'd been invited to speak and walked 2½ miles to symbolize the 2½ years that it took for enslaved people in Texas to learn they were free." Of course, it's been a much longer walk for Opal Lee, who is known as the grandmother of Juneteenth. As she explains, it's taken 155 years, 11 months and 28 days to get here. One Woman's Decades-Long Fight To Make Juneteenth A U.S. Holiday. About 40% of Americans aren't familiar with Juneteenth. But 100% of Americans are familiar with three-day weekends. So they'll learn.

+ For Opal Lee, the long walk started when she was twelve and a mob of 500 white rioters burned down her family's Fort Worth house, for their crime of wanting to move into the neighborhood. From there to a signing ceremony with the president of the United States is one hell of march through history.

+ Along with her team, Rachel Maddow always does an amazing job of telling the story behind the story. This segment on Opal Lee and Juneteenth is well worth your time.

+ "On June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, who had fought for the Union, led a force of soldiers to Galveston, Texas, to deliver a very important message: the war was finally over, the Union had won, and it now had the manpower to enforce the end of slavery." Here's What You Should Know About This Important Day. It's worth reiterating that Granger delivered his Texas proclamation that all slaves were free two and a half years after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Today's news moves too fast. Back then it moved way too slow. And of course, as we know, this story has been America's longest, slowest walk—and there's still a long way to go. But today is a good step forward.


Virus Replication

"Here's a quiz: Which world leader made the following statements? 'We are witnessing the greatest election fraud in the history of the country, in my opinion in the history of any democracy.' ... 'This may be the most important speech I've ever made. I want to provide an update on our ongoing efforts to expose … tremendous voter fraud and irregularities.' ... 'The election will be flipped, dear friends.' If you guessed Donald Trump, you are only one-third right." Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic: Politicians around the world are borrowing Trump's "Stop the Steal" tactics. These false fraud allegations are profoundly dangerous. Democracy Is Surprisingly Easy to Undermine.

+ "Imagine if after [the Watergate] scandal, the Republican Party, instead of condemning Nixon, had embraced him slavishly, insisted that he did absolutely nothing wrong, settled into denial and obstructionism and proposed new laws to endorse Nixon's most egregious conduct? Imagine if the only people purged by the party had been those who criticized Nixon?" Fareed Zakaria in WaPo: The decay of American democracy is real.


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: Meet the Donut King, the Cambodian refugee who built a multi-million-dollar empire baking America's favorite pastry. Come for the weird LA obsession with donuts. Stay for the immigrant story (and more donuts).

+ What to Watch: I don't understand any of the details from the universe of Marvel stories, but I'm digging Loki on Disney Plus. I love Owen Wilson the most. In fact, I'm watching this as a sequel to The Royal Tenenbaums.

+ What to Do: If you're in LA, SF, or Brooklyn, take a stroll and experience Pop-Up Magazine's Sidewalk issue. Discover stories all around you.


Nickel and Dimebagged

"He could go on the same way and die young in someone's home or a parking lot, another casualty in a drug epidemic that has claimed nearly 850,000 people like him.
Or he could let a surgeon cut two nickel-size holes in his skull and plunge metal-tipped electrodes into his brain." WaPo: Addiction treatment had failed. Could brain surgery save him?


Cath Lab

"U.S. Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a 'teaching document' that many of them hope will rebuke Catholic politicians, including President Joe Biden, for receiving Communion despite their support for abortion rights." US Catholic bishops OK steps toward possible rebuke of Biden. (Hmm, can you think of any other behavior they might feel a little more urgency to rebuke?)


High Five

"The eight-hour working day is a relatively new concept, widely accepted to have been cemented by Ford Motor Company a century ago as a means of keeping production going 24 hours a day without putting undue demands on individual members of staff." But it turns out that's too many hours to expect people to be productive. WiredUK: The perfect number of hours to work every day? Five. (In my case, they got the number right, but they spelled minutes wrong.)


Inequality Time

"Our political divisions have complex manifestations, but the core problem actually is simple: The rewards of our economy are distributed in a grossly unfair way, and the pandemic has made it worse. Anger about this unfairness is shared by Whites and Blacks, conservatives and progressives, Trump voters and Biden voters. Indeed, it may be one of the few things we all agree on ... House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has decided to do something interesting to address the root causes of the inequities that vex America. This week she is launching a new Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth. That may sound like a mouthful of Capitol Hill gobbledygook, but it could be a way to showcase the fundamental issue confounding America — one that rarely gets directly addressed by the nation's lawmakers." David Ignatius in WaPo: How Nancy Pelosi plans to address growing inequality. There isn't a more important issue in the country, and there isn't a better guy to lead the committee than my friend Jim Himes.


Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Tokyo Olympics athletes warned not to use 160,000 free condoms: "Safe sex – or anything approaching intimacy for that matter – will be forbidden for athletes competing in Tokyo. The International Olympic Committee this week repeated demands that residents of the Olympic village must observe social distancing guidelines to prevent an outbreak of Covid-19, threatening rule-breakers with a range of penalties, including fines, disqualification or even deportation." (Is there a better line than, "I'd risk disqualification and deportation for you...")


Every Rose Has a Thorn

"Contrary to previous press reports, Variety has learned that Harrison's exit package was not a significant eight-figure payout. Instead, he received roughly $10 million — a combination of a $9 million exit settlement, plus remaining contractual fees — upon leaving the job he held since 2002. So, what really happened?" Inside Chris Harrison's Shocking Downfall as ‘The Bachelor' Host — and a $9 Million Payout.


Feel Good Friday

"Look, if you don't think a man being funny while eating a lot of waffles is news, it's not clear what you expect from the internet. It was the kind of lighthearted, fleeting moment, the my-life-is-now-your-life invited voyeurism, that easily gets buried under the more common parts of the internet: the constant physical and spiritual threats to individual well-being, a collective aimlessness expressed largely through anger, and, for the love of God, a pandemic that has sapped the world of most of its joy for about 18 months. It's OK to think about waffles for a bit." A man who finished last in his fantasy football league had to spend 24 hours at a Waffle House restaurant. For every waffle he ate, his sentence was reduced by an hour. (I would have been out of there in 45 minutes...)

+ Drinking straw device is instant cure for hiccups, say scientists.

+ These Brisbane sisters can sing all 195 of the world's national anthems.

+ "We didn't realize we'd get love and support and cheers from every corner of town, from people we'd never met to close friends and neighbors." A gay couple faced harassment for 5 years. Handwriting analysis led to a suspect: A neighbor.

+ LA Times: UC San Diego graduate honors farmworker parents with photo shoot that goes viral.

+ Teen buys storage units and returns items to owners.

+ MacKenzie Scott gave away another $2.7 billion.

+ Rhode Island Makes Financial Literacy A Required Class For All High School Students. (OK, let's say you've spent the last several months mining bitcoin using energy provided from an errupting volcano, and then Elon Musk tweets that Tesla is not taking bitcoin anymore. How many SPACs are you left with?)