Thursday, July 1st, 2021


I Found My Nil

Major college sports have long been a big business. But until midnight on Thursday, there was one group entirely cut off from the cash flow: the athletes themselves. As of today, that longstanding reality has been altered. "Professional athletes have been able to ink lucrative compensation deals for years, from shoe companies to automakers. College athletes have been barred from doing so under the argument that amateur athletics should remain free of the influences – bad or otherwise – of money." Of course, college amateur athletics have never been free from money. They've just cut the performers out of the action. Now, under a change known as NIL compensation, college athletes will be able to make money off of their Name, Image, and Likeness. Here's an explainer from AP. It's ironic that this program is called NIL since that's exactly what college athletes have been able to earn up until this point.

+ "Here's a small sample of some of the more noteworthy athletes, brands and campaigns announcing new ventures on the first day of a new era in college sports." Let's make a deal: NCAA athletes cashing in on name, image and likeness. (I'd go on, but getting my son to his tennis clinic on time just took on a little more urgency...)


Flying Delta

The Atlantic's Ed Yong has been one of the best reporters on all things Covid, and he puts the Delta variant into clear context. One, the vaccines are still protecting the vaccinated from the variants. Two, the variant is wreaking havoc on un-vaccinated communities. Three, "the longer Principle No. two continues, the less likely No. one will hold."


Cos and Effect

"The circumstances that freed him involve a stunning display of prosecutorial incompetence, a divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court that split three ways on what should become of Cosby, and a long, rambling judicial opinion that is often difficult to parse. The thrust of that opinion is that, even though then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor never reached a formal agreement with Cosby that granted him immunity from prosecution, a press release that Castor sent out in 2005 — combined with Cosby's later, incriminating testimony in a civil lawsuit — had the same effect as a formal immunity deal." If the name Bruce Castor sounds familiar, it's because he was Trump's most bombastic lawyer during his second impeachment trial. Vox: The court decision freeing Bill Cosby, explained as best we can.

+ And a reminder of who we're dealing with here from NY Mag: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn't Listen. (It would be a lot easier to believe in god if Bill Cosby got struck by lightning right now.)


CFO Shizzle

"Weisselberg surrendered to the Manhattan district attorney's office early Thursday morning and is expected to appear in court alongside lawyers for the Trump Organization. He intends to plead 'not guilty' and 'will fight these charges in court,' according to his attorneys." The Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg will be arraigned in a Manhattan court today.


Arizone Defense

"The U.S. Supreme Court for all practical purposes rendered the landmark Voting Rights Act a dead letter on Thursday. The 6-3 vote was along ideological lines, with Justice Samuel Alito writing the decision for the conservative majority, and the liberals in angry dissent." NPR: The Supreme Court Deals A New Blow To Voting Rights, Upholding Arizona Restrictions.


Consoler in Chief

"There's gonna be a lot of pain and anxiety and suffering and even the need for psychological help in the days and months that follow. And so, we're not going anywhere." Biden met with Gov Ron DeSantis and first responders, ahead of meeting with families of the victims. The president will arrive at a scene where recovery efforts have been halted due to fears that the rest of the building may soon collapse.


Rumsfeld Was Here

Many of the articles written upon the death of Donald Rumsfeld hold similar themes, but George Packer writes it clearer, better, and shorter in The Atlantic: "Rumsfeld was the worst secretary of defense in American history. Being newly dead shouldn't spare him this distinction ... Rumsfeld was the chief advocate of every disaster in the years after September 11. Wherever the United States government contemplated a wrong turn, Rumsfeld was there first with his hard smile—squinting, mocking the cautious, shoving his country deeper into a hole. His fatal judgment was equaled only by his absolute self-assurance. He lacked the courage to doubt himself. He lacked the wisdom to change his mind." How Rumsfeld Deserves to Be Remembered. (Rumsfeld has issued his first post-death statement expressing confidence that a relatively small force should be able to defeat the Devil within weeks.)


The Tent is Too Damn High

Homelessness is on the rise in many American cities and very few of them have been able to effectively address the problem. But it's not for a lack of funding, at least in San Francisco. SF Chronicle: S.F. spends more than $60K per tent at homeless sites. "San Francisco will pay about twice the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment for people to sleep in tents for the second year in a row." (And in SF, the price of a one bedroom apartment is enough to blow your foghorn.)


True Colors

"In a closed-door meeting with freshmen Republicans Wednesday, McCarthy warned they would be stripped from their committee assignments if they accepted a position on the select committee from Pelosi." Pelosi appoints Liz Cheney to House select committee investigating Jan. 6.


Bottom of the News

"Such staged photo shoots have become the specialty of Xiapu County, a peninsula of fishing villages, beaches and lush hills known as one of China's top viral check-in points. It is a rural Epcot on the East China Sea, a visual factory where amateur photographers churn out photogenic evidence of an experience that they never had — and that their subjects aren't having either." NYT (free for ND readers): At This Instagram Hot Spot, All the World's a Stage (and the Buffalo's a Prop).

+ Why do 1,200 balls end up at New York City's main recycling plant each year? (Hint: It's not poor aim.)

+ "Professional road racing cyclist Lachlan Morton is attempting to complete the Tour de France this year. Except: He's doing it entirely on his own, without teammates, support vehicles, and transportation from the previous day's finish to the next day's start (which might be dozens or even hundreds of miles apart) ... He's currently ahead of the peloton, even riding day four in Birkenstocks." The Alt Tour.