1

Where’d Everybody Go?

"Elvis has left the building." Public address announcers used to repeat that phrase at concerts to get attendees to disperse. When Donald left the building, no such announcement was needed. The greatest news draw in modern history moved out of the White House and he took his hunka hunka burning ratings with him. Much to the chagrin of media outlets, news consumers threw the bathwater out with the baby. After four years of having the news always on our mind, media stars are feeling all shook up as their ratings are singing the steamroller blues. We can't truly understand the Trump era without understanding how good it was for the bottom lines of big news orgs, and how many media stars emerged over the past few years. Among those that will be feeling lonely tonight are partisan and opinion news outlets that have suffered the biggest hits (yes, even suspicious minds need a break from the obsession). But mainstream news readership is also way down. "Publishers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Reuters dropped 18%." Axios: Boring news cycle deals blow to partisan media. Now all I'm left with is memories, pressed between the pages of my mind. (And I'm hoping that, at some point, they come up with an mRNA drug to remove those.) Whatever you do, please don't yell Encore!

2

To Live and Not Die in L.A.

Wearing a mask indoors is nothing. But there was a rush to remove mask requirements. Why? Now LA is bringing indoor mask recommendations back. No one should be allowed to participate in large, indoor group functions without being vaccinated. Currently, you can't yell fire in a crowded theater, but you can kill people with Covid in that theater. (And, if you enter a place where employees are required to wear masks and you don't wear a mask yourself, it's shows a lack of common decency.)

3

Tiger Bomb

"China's power is now so omnipresent that Chan Tat Ching, once a hero of Hong Kong's democracy movement, has spent the past year urging friends not to challenge Beijing. Three decades ago, after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, Mr. Chan, a Hong Kong businessman, helped lead an operation that smuggled students and academics out of the mainland. But Beijing is more sophisticated now than in 1989, Mr. Chan said. It had cowed Hong Kong even without sending in troops; that demanded respect ... 'Some young people don't get it. They think the Communist Party is a paper tiger,' he said. 'The Communist Party is a real tiger.'" Welcome to the new Hong Kong. Neighbors are urged to report on one another. Children are taught to look for traitors. Officials are pressed to pledge their loyalty. ‘A Form of Brainwashing': China Remakes Hong Kong. (Note: This is one of the many NYT articles for which I'm using their new gift feature so non-subscribers can read it for free. Subscribers like me get 10 gift articles a month. If someone at the NYT wants to chat about giving NextDraft a few more, please hit me up.)

4

A View to a Kyle

"After years of deepening political polarization, Americans were primed to see whatever they wanted to see in the Kenosha clips. It was beyond question that Rittenhouse had inserted himself into a volatile situation with a gun that he was too young to legally own. The footage also made clear that he'd killed and wounded people. But many liberals went further, characterizing Rittenhouse as someone who'd gone to the protest intending to harm others." Paige Williams in The New Yorker: Kyle Rittenhouse, American Vigilante. "After he killed two people in Kenosha, opportunists turned his case into a polarizing spectacle." Another key point from this interesting piece: "Citizens who openly carry firearms 'think that they are making the situation safer, but they are making it much more dangerous.'"

5

Don’t Muck with Zuck

"The dismissal is a major win for Facebook, which — along with Amazon, Apple, and Google — has been facing increasing scrutiny about whether it's engaging in monopolistic behavior to stifle its competition. It's also a major setback for the growing bipartisan political movement in the US to rein in Big Tech's power." The FTC's antitrust complaint against Facebook has been dismissed — for now.

+ On the news, Facebook closed above $1 trillion market cap for the first time.

6

Sizzle Real

"Climate is naturally variable, so periods of high heat are to be expected. But in this episode scientists see the fingerprints of climate change, brought on by human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases." NYT: How Weird Is the Heat in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver? Off the Charts.

+ It's mild in Portland compared to Jacobabad, Pakistan. How hot? Hotter than the human body can handle.

7

Tragedy’s Soundtrack

"Sometimes the pile groans under the attack. 'We detect sounds all the time, but that doesn't mean they are humans,' said FEMA official Margarita Castro. Specialists use sonar and microphones to listen for faint sounds of life. 'The pile makes sounds from debris or metal; it could be anything, but we inspect everything.'" Hell by the Sea What it's like on the pile that was Champlain Towers South.

+ The collapse of Champlain Towers South hasn't caused many to leave Champlain Towers North.

8

Gwen, Cren, and Here We Go Again

"'The bare minimum requirement' of competing in the Olympics should be 'that you believe in the country you're representing,' Crenshaw told Fox. The unctuous Ted Cruz chimed in on Twitter, 'Why does the Left hate America?' As if Berry, a 32-year-old native of Ferguson, Mo., the daughter of an Iraq War veteran, and a college graduate with a minor in criminal justice, must be some kind of liberty-loathing infiltrator." Sally Jenkins in WaPo: Dan Crenshaw wants Gwen Berry kicked off the Olympic team. How un-American. (With these guys, it's hard to tell where the usual pandering stops and a true lack of understanding of America starts. But it sure is something when a seditionist chump like Ted Cruz utters a negative word about a veteran.)

+ WaPo: The land was worth millions. A Big Ag corporation sold it to Sonny Perdue's company for $250,000. (Criminal corruption was a prerequisite for Trumpists.)

9

The Prosecution Never Rests

"Because I want peace instead of war. If they tell me they want war instead of peace, I don't say they're naive, I say they're stupid. Stupid to an incredible degree to send young people out to kill other young people they don't even know, who never did anybody any harm, never harmed them. That is the current system. I am naive? That's insane." Awesome 60 Minutes segment on Ben Ferencz: What the last Nuremberg prosecutor alive wants the world to know. (Trust me, you want to watch this.)

10

Bottom of the News

"Andrew Giuliani, son of former New York mayor-cum-Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, received no votes in a poll of state Republican leaders about the party's next choice for governor of New York state."

+ Cannibalism and orgies: meet the 5 animals with the weirdest sex lives.

+ Muhammad Didit's accurately titled video '2 Hours Doing Nothing' has surpassed 5 million views on YouTube.