Wednesday, August 18th, 2021


Just Live, Baby

Just win, baby was the famous motto repeated by former Raider's owner and general manager Al Davis. Today, it's being applied to the fight against Covid. The Raiders have announced that proof of vaccination will be required to attend their home games in Las Vegas (in other words, you can gamble with anything but our lives). It's a start, but we need more. It's time to keep matriculating the ball down the field, boys. Howie Long do we have to wait? As NY Mag's Will Leitch explains, The NFL Should Require Fans to Get Vaccinated. So should every sport. So should every entertainment venue. So should every government employer and private corporation. Want a Frappuccino? Show me the vaccine. Want to Netflix and Chill? First I need to see your clean bill. Want to take a couple shots? Then get a couple shots. In the early days of the pandemic, The Atlantic's Yascha Mounk famously advised us to Cancel Everything. It's time to vaccinate everything. We need more sane corporate and government leaders to step up. How many more headlines like this one from WaPo do we need before our efforts become more urgent? A mom of 4 who died of covid days after her husband makes one final wish: ‘Make sure my kids get vaccinated.'

+ Greg Abbott's state loves the adage, "Don't mess with Texas!" But Covid doesn't give a shit where you are, who you are, or how transparently craven your politics are. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tests positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, "a North Texas school district has made masks a part of its dress code for the academic year, hoping to exploit a possible loophole in Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide ban on mandates regarding face coverings." Before his postive test, Abbott attended a series of public, indoor, crowded, maskless events. He was spreading the virus while banning caution.

+ For Americans interested in defeating the virus, the vaccine boosters will engage Sept 20.


Early Settlers

"We need a release that's sufficient to get our goals accomplished. If the release fails to do that, we will not support it." The Sackler family won't settle unless they're off the hook from opioid suits. (Cool, don't settle. Let's do criminal charges instead.)


This Time, It’s Personal

The Afghanistan story is complicated and overwhelming. So let's narrow it down to some personal accounts. First, David Rhode (a journalist who was kidnapped by the Taliban) in The New Yorker: Trying—and Failing—to Save the Family of the Afghan Who Saved Me. And from George Packer in The Atlantic: We Have One Last Chance to Save Our Allies. "A former U.S. ambassador is getting anxious messages from workers in the embassy cafeteria. Army veterans are hearing from Afghan troops, including women, who face special retaliation. Taliban fighters are going from house to house, searching for 'infidels' and 'traitors' to be punished. Their official promise to show mercy and forgo reprisals is daily betrayed by brutal murders now happening all around the country."

+ Can we please stop with all the headlines questioning whether the Taliban will really be kinder and gentler? They are beyond ridiculous and it's the same imbecility in the name of being supposedly unbiased we saw during 4 years of Trumpism. Graeme Wood: This Is Not the Taliban 2.0.

+ "It's just constant." Clarissa Ward describes gunshots fired in Taliban- controlled streets. And here's Ward courageously reporting on what she's seeing on the ground in Afghanistan now.

+ There are a lot of organizations trying to help Afghans. Let's focus our NextDraft community efforts in one area to have an impact. Support Women Journalists
in Afghanistan
. I've donated. Please do so too if you can.


Camp? Fire.

Ahead of their return to masked school, a few Bay Area kids I know just got sent home after one night at sleep away camp because of the latest NorCal fire. It looks bad. Caldor fire levels northern California town as dry weather fuels blazes.


Pete Bog

"For some time, Chasten and I have wanted to grow our family. We're overjoyed to share that we've become parents!" Pete Buttigieg and husband Chasten have become parents. Good thing he has experience as transportation secretary. He's gonna be driving someone around for the next 16 years.


Cavity Search For Answers

"Increasingly, scientists are thinking of cavities as a microbiome problem. The advice you got as a kid — brush your teeth, floss, eat less candy — is still important. But it's becoming more clear that the types of bacteria inhabiting your mouth matter, too." Why People Who Brush Still Get Cavities. (I find that the unwanted bacteria can be killed by chewing a handful of SweeTARTS.)


Scarlett Bettor

The streaming thing has been big for a long time. But Disney's successful entry into the space has accelerated everything, including the changing ways actors, writers, and other employees will get paid, since their salaries have traditionally been connected to box office numbers. What Scarlett Johansson's ‘Black Widow' Legal Battle Means for the Future of Hollywood.


Precious Metal

"But from the inside, metal feels nerdy and warmhearted. Metal gigs have always, to me, had the sort of vibe of a classic car meet or a real-ale festival: a place for slightly socially awkward people to find a social group outside the mainstream. The aggressive image it projects is at odds with the rather gentle souls you actually meet doing it." The beautiful world of heavy metal.

+ I found this to be the case when I attended a metal festival a few years ago. The excursion resulted in this McSweeney's piece: An Open Letter to the Guy Who Puked Next to Me at the Heavy Metal Festival. A guy next to me explained the joy of metal: "Think about it, Man. Every time that dude with the guitar hits his strings the sound goes through my ears right into my f--king head."


Berlin Wallets

"When a rash of sensational museum robberies stunned Europe, police zeroed in on a fearsome crime family—and a flashy new generation of young outlaws. Joshua Hammer unravels the case of a billion-dollar jewel heist and the race to catch a brutally audacious band of thieves." GQ: The Dresden Job. The Sopranos of Berlin.


Bottom of the News

"No matter where you live, so long as there is a basketball game happening somewhere in the vicinity, there's a nonzero chance that Adam Sandler will show up. And unlike other celebrities who might call ahead to reserve the courts for themselves or make a PR event out of the appearance, Sandler, by all accounts, respects the hallowed, universal rules of pickup basketball. He just shows up, hoops and dips." An Oral History of Adam Sandler, Pickup Basketball Legend.

+ For a year, I was living one month of 2020 while reliving and writing about an earlier month of 2020. For that reason alone, you should immediately order your copy of Please Scream Inside Your Heart. (It's also pretty good :-)