G.I. Joe

NextDraft will be off Tuesday. See you Wednesday.

This is the era of Joe. Joe Biden, yes. But also a much less well known Joe who currently has a kung fu grip on the levers of government. For the character G.I. Joe, the G.I. stands for Government Issue. For the Dem's G.I. Joe Manchin, it stands for GastroIntestinal, with the West Virginia's senator's each machination or murmur causing anxious stomach aches. "As perhaps the Senate's most conservative Democrat, he often breaks from the Party, which gives him a de-facto veto over a large swath of the Administration's agenda. In the first months of Joe Biden's Presidency, Manchin tanked the nomination of Neera Tanden as budget director (he disapproved of her tweets), opposed raising the corporate tax rate to twenty-eight per cent (he preferred twenty-five per cent), and single-handedly narrowed unemployment benefits in a covid-relief bill." Have a cup of joe and dig into this piece by The New Yorker's excellent Evan Osnos: The Man Who Controls the Senate.

+ By far the biggest piece of legislation Manchin in large part controls is For the People voting rights act. While the Dems are trying to get a bill passed, Republicans states are dramatically expanding their power over elections. Say it ain't so, Joe.


Delta Foxtrot

"Connecticut, for example where I am, shows no upsurge of infection, but Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, show very substantial upsurges of infection. That's based entirely on how much population wide immunity you have based on vaccination." Unvaccinated Americans are at risk of an aggressive and more dangerous Covid-19 variant. These are the most vulnerable states.

+ Buzzfeed: The Delta Variant Could Create 'Two Americas' of COVID.


Harsh Weather

Most of the weather news of late has been around the way too early and way too extreme heat dome in the West. But Tropical storm Claudette is sweeping the South and was particularly deadly in Alabama where eight children died in a highway crash. "The children who died Saturday were in a van for a home for abused or neglected children when it erupted in flames in the wreck along a wet Interstate 65 about 35 miles south of Montgomery. Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock said multiple vehicles probably hydroplaned."


College Course Correction

"The decision doesn't mean that NCAA athletes will start drawing salaries for playing, nor will it affect the ongoing battle over whether players can profit off of their own names or likenesses. But it will mean that schools can do a lot more to attract and compensate students who play NCAA Division One basketball and football. Though the decision is narrow, it's a significant step for advocates who have pushed to compensate NCAA student-athletes." It says a lot about the NCAA's draconian policies that this inching forward is a significant step. The NCAA Lost A Major Supreme Court Case Over How Student-Athletes Are Compensated.


Missing Persons

In recent months, millions of Colombians have "taken to the streets in daily demonstrations against rising poverty, inequality and police brutality." In a sadly familiar theme, some of them have not come home. WaPo: Colombians have thronged to anti-government protests. Hundreds have gone missing. Luz Marina Monzón is director of the Unit for the Search of Disappeared Persons, established to account for the people who went missing during the half-century-long conflict: "In a democratic country, this should not be normal." (That sentence could be affixed to the end of all too many stories these days.)


Five Ring Circus

Up to 10,000 Japanese fans will be permitted at Olympic venues. But there will be strict limitations. Masks must be worn. And no one will be able to shout or speak loudly. (I can't even maintain that rule in my living room.)

+ BBC: "New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard has become the first ever transgender athlete picked to compete at an Olympics, in a controversial decision. Officials have selected her for the women's weightlifting team for Tokyo 2020, after qualifying requirements were recently modified."

+ "One day, Felix will tell her daughter about her birth in November 2018, by way of emergency C-section. She will tell Camryn about Nike's attempt to cut her pay by 70% when she returned to the track, and the company declining to protect her pay if her post-pregnancy performances were not up to par." Allyson Felix officially punches ticket to fifth Olympic Games – and her first as a mom.

+ In future Olympic news, one of Usain Bolt's new twin sons is named Thunder.


Finding Father

"Soon after my 7th birthday, the phone rang again, and we went to the port. We could tell something was off from the start. My father took us out to eat and began to explain. He had shot someone. The man was dead. He was going to be put on trial. It sounded bad, he said, but was not a 'big deal.' He didn't want to talk much more about it but said he was sure he could get a plea deal ... He disappeared into the mist, and then it broke for a moment, and I could see his silhouette again walking toward the ship. I thought I could hear him humming something to himself." Nicholas Casey in NYT Mag: My Father Vanished When I Was 7. The Mystery Made Me Who I Am.


Undercover Operation

The other night, I attended my first post-quarantine Giants game. I was maskless in our seats. I wore a mask to the stadium restroom. I may never go to a game without a mask again. If we learn from the pandemic, we may keep masks around in a lot of situations. Salon workers are holding on to their masks, and not just because of Covid-19.


Entangled Up in Blue

"Then just 27, Mitchell had written her most personal work yet. The subject was love, captured in all its giddy glory and beautiful agony, laced with the fresh sound of a dulcimer guitar. The intimate tone and the raw nature of the songs would later give permission to other songwriters to go deeper with their work. From John Lennon to Prince to Phoebe Bridgers and just about any songwriter who picks up a pen, the ripple effect continues to this day." LA Times: Joni Mitchell opens up to Cameron Crowe about singing again, lost loves and 50 years of ‘Blue.'"


Bottom of the News

"Highlining is high-altitude slacklining, in which a narrow strip of strong, nylon webbing — usually an inch wide and a few millimeters thick — is strung between two anchor points and serves as a kind of dynamic balance beam. Completing a line means carefully heel-toeing from one end to the other while wearing a waist-harness that links to a 3-inch steel ring around the webbing. In a fall, walkers remain attached, but they have to haul themselves back up to balance or shimmy back to an anchor point while dangling upside down." So why not do it for a half-mile stroll over Yosemite? SF Chronicle: Yosemite highliners claim record 2,800-foot air walk from Taft Point.

+ My daughter came through with an entirely on-brand Father's Day card.