Friday, July 2nd, 2021


Weed Racer

The only time weed is associated with moving quickly is when people are running from the police (or toward a bag of Doritos). And yet it was a positive test for THC that will cost Sha'Carri Richardson her spot as the favorite to win the 100-meter race in the Tokyo Olympics. Richardson is taking responsibility for getting herself into this icky sticky situation—she says she used marijuana after learning that her biological mother had died, knowing full well that THC was a banned substance. But that doesn't change the fact that the rule itself is reefer madness, and part of a chronic problem that's causing unnecessary joint pain. Richardson smoked pot in a state where pot is legal to smoke. There's no relationship between blaze and speed. Zig Zagging is no way to win a 100. It all seems like one more weed bump between America and sensible drug laws. Given that we've spent decades imprisoning people for pot related offenses, I suppose it could be worse. But for now, a potentially great olympic moment has been weed whacked. Sha'Carri Richardson speaks out about failing drug test ahead of Olympics. (If I test positive for THC this weekend, it's because this story really bums me out.)


Tipping the Pay Scale

"In the strongest gain since August, employers added 850,000 jobs last month. And average wages rose a healthy 3.6% from a year earlier, a sign that businesses need workers so badly they're willing to ramp up pay." 5 key takeaways from the June jobs report.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: Steven Soderbergh directs an all-star cast in HBO's No Sudden Move, a throwback crime thriller set in Detroit. It's a fun, riveting ride from beginning to end. Ironically, I didn't move once while watching it.

+ What to Doc: "A six-month Times investigation has synchronized and mapped out thousands of videos and police radio communications from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, providing the most complete picture to date of what happened — and why." From the NYT: Day of Rage: An In-Depth Look at How a Mob Stormed the Capitol. (The effort to bury the truth about this day must not succeed.)

+ What to Gram: I'm starting to Instagram a story every day or so (and do all the other gram stuff.) I have a feeling some humor might also emerge. Please give me a follow here.


Afghanistanding By

"Americans have not been a visible presence in the city for years, so the U.S. departure has not affected surface normality: Markets bustle and streets are jammed with homeward-bound civil servants by midafternoon. At night, the corner bakeries continue to be illuminated by a single bulb as vendors sell late into the evening. But beneath the surface there is unease as the Taliban creep steadily toward Kabul. 'There's no hope for the future,' said Zubair Ahmad, 23, who runs a grocery store on one of the Khair Khana neighborhood's main boulevards. 'Afghans are leaving the country. I don't know whether I am going to be safe 10 minutes from now.'" NYT (free article for ND readers): As Afghan Forces Crumble, an Air of Unreality Grips the Capital.

+ US troops leave Afghanistan's Bagram airbase after nearly 20 years. (Two decades of fighting and war, following decades of fighting involving other countries, and now, it's likely to get worse.)

+ And... A Crippling 3rd Wave Of COVID Adds To Afghanistan's Woes.


Ark, Who Goes There?

From Arkansas to LA, we're seeing a rise in the number of Covid cases as we head into a holiday weekend. Local officials sound the alarm over another possible wave of Covid-19 infections.

+ Israel has been a leader among countries getting citizens vaccinated. That's why this news is especially troubling. "Israel scrambles to curb jump in COVID infections."


Punch Drunk Gov

"For the past four years, Donald Trump's critics have harbored a persistent fantasy that there would be one definitive moment when he would finally be subject to the accountability he so richly deserves ... And yet the fantasy will not entirely die. There is still the chance, no matter how slim, that this will all end with Trump in an orange jumpsuit being carted off to prison. The flickering dream of a final Trump purge from public life took slightly more tangible shape on Thursday, in a New York City courtroom." Susan Glasser in The New Yorker: The Persistent Fantasy of a Trump Knockout Punch. (It's not just about a Trump knock-out. It's about the rule of law getting up off the canvas.)

+ Bloomberg: Trump CFO's Luxury Perks Could Lead to Long Prison Sentence.


Billionaires in Space

"I've always been a dreamer. My mum taught me to never give up and to reach for the stars." So said Richard Branson. It's unclear whether his mum taught him to beat other billionaires into space, but that's just what he plans to do. Richard Branson announces trip to space, ahead of Jeff Bezos. (Your move, Elon.)


Snyd Remarks

"The Washington Football Team has been fined $10 million after a investigation found the team's workplace culture to be 'highly unprofessional,' especially toward female employees." (This is the result of investigative reporting and whistleblowers who came forward.)


Hate Speech Reach

"A new research article published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) doesn't bode well for efforts to fight political extremism and polarization. The paper's authors analyzed 2,730,215 Twitter and Facebook posts published by members of the news media and U.S. Congresspeople, and came to the conclusion that the quickest way to social media success is to attack members of the 'out-group.'" TLDR: Dunking on people goes viral. Dunking back makes it worse. New study highlights the virality of hate.


Feel Good Friday

"Juliet Bernstein, who turned 108 on Friday, has lived in her Cape Cod house for a half-century since she retired as a New York City teacher. Her mind is sharp, but she is physically frail and needs nearly round-the-clock care. Bernstein cannot walk without pain, no longer cooks, and depends on home health aides to bathe, dress, and use the bathroom. But like many elderly people, she is determined to spend the final years of her long life in the modest home she loves." At 108 years old, Cape Cod woman starts fund-raiser to allow her to keep living at home.

+ In 1961, 10-year-old Gwen Goldman wrote the New York Yankees, hoping to be the team's bat girl. Her request was denied. On Monday, 60 years later, the Yankees granted her wish.

+ The Wimbledon crowd gave a standing ovation for a woman who helped develop a covid vaccine.

+ Yale School of Drama to offer free tuition after David Geffen's $150M donation.

+ A Boeing 737 cargo plane makes emergency landing in the water near Honolulu. (The feel good part is that both pilots were rescued.)

+ 130 countries agree to global minimum corporate tax rate.

+ All California public school students now have access to free breakfast and lunch, no questions asked.

+ Rescue cat reaches summit of all 48 4,000-foot peaks in New Hampshire. (So the cat was rescued from freedom and dragged on 48 hikes?)

+ Have a great Fourth of July holiday weekend...