Tuesday, December 14th, 2021


It is Written

Well, well. Look what slid into America's DMs. "Hey Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home...this is hurting all of us...he is destroying his legacy." That was a text from anchor Laura Ingraham to Mark Meadows on Jan 6. It was shared by committee co-chair Liz Cheney and was one of several texts from the Fox News crowd and other Trump insiders—including Don Jr who, tellingly, aired his concerns to Meadows, not his own father. (Oedipus Text?) NPR: Rep. Liz Cheney read text messages she said Mark Meadows got during the Jan. 6 siege. The texts show us a few things. First, regardless of their public downplaying of events, the insiders knew how serious the insurrection was. It would be interesting to see the real Fox News texts about Russia, Covid, and the Christmas tree now. Second, forget for a second the specific content of the texts and consider that the Fox personalities were contacting the president's chief of staff at all. It's confirmation of what we already knew: Fox News acted as state TV for Trump. And third, it's worth noting the specific concerns of Ingraham's text. Her first instinct was that the insurrection was "hurting all of us" (Fox News, Trump, and the rest of the political team) and that "he is destroying his legacy." When you saw the insurrection unfolding on TV, were you thinking about legacies or political damage? I'm guessing your first concern was for the people inside the building followed by the danger to our democracy. Sometimes a text can remove all pretext.


Ice, Ice, Maybe

We've recently seen how wild winds can alter the visible landscape that surrounds us. But there are also wild winds that are altering currents around the Antarctic. You can't see the damage, but we could be feeling it sooner than we think. NYT: Rising From the Antarctic, a Climate Alarm. "Wilder winds are altering currents. The sea is releasing carbon dioxide. Ice is melting from below." (This is another great interactive piece. And it's a gift article.)

+ "While other parts of the infamous Thwaites Glacier crumbled, this wedge of floating ice acted as a brace, slowing the melt. It was supposed to be boring, durable, safe." WaPo (Gift Article): Climate change has destabilized the Earth's poles, putting the rest of the planet in peril.



"He planned to challenge Mr Lukashenko in the 2020 presidential election, but was detained before the vote. His wife, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, took on Mr Lukashenko, who claimed victory in the widely discredited poll." Belarus: Opposition leader Sergei Tikhanovsky jailed for 18 years over protests. (This is why we need to get the truth and punish those who tried to overturn our election. We have to stop the slide before we get into this territory. Whatever goes unpunished gets worse. Just ask Sergei Tikhanovsky.)

+ Dexter Filkins in The New Yorker: How Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya came to challenge her country's dictatorship.


Olympic (Blow)Torch

"We prevailed for one simple reason, the courage and tenacity of the survivors. These brave women relived their abuse publicly, in countless media interviews, so that not one more child will be forced to suffer physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in pursuit of their dreams." Nassar abuse survivors reach $380 million deal with USA Gymnastics, Olympic committee. (It's still incredible that Simone Biles' twisties got more coverage than this criminal level failure to protect kids.)

+ Speaking of which... "One of the Boy Scouts of America's primary insurers, Chubb Ltd unit Century Indemnity Company, said on Monday it will contribute $800 million to a deal proposed by the youth organization to settle sexual abuse claims. The money would be used to settle around 82,500 claims from people who say they were sexually abused as children by troop leaders." 82,500.


Candle in the Wind

"As a catastrophic tornado approached this city Friday, employees of a candle factory — which would later be destroyed — heard the warning sirens and wanted to leave the building. But at least five workers said supervisors warned employees that they would be fired if they left their shifts early." Eight people died in the factory.

+ Scientific American: "The deaths were concentrated in a state—Kentucky—that has been relatively unscathed by tornadoes and tornado fatalities. The outbreak hit during a month when tornadoes are least likely to occur. And it struck at night." Rare December Tornado Outbreak Was a ‘Worst-Case Scenario'


Fuel to the Fire

"More than 50 people have been killed after a fuel tanker exploded in northern Haiti, officials say. Reports say the vehicle was involved in an accident in the city of Cap-Haïtien, and the victims had been trying to gather leaking fuel when it ignited." Tragedy always seems to find desperation.


Good Times Bad Times

We're learning more about Omicron. First, it's definitely coming. Second, it spreads at an unbelievable pace. Third, the vaccines are only decent at protecting against infection, but they're pretty damn good at protecting against serious illness. And that's the name of the game. Boost now, we can talk later. Vaccine protection vs. omicron infection may drop to 30% but does cut severe disease. If you want to get a little more technical: Omicron is getting more defined in both good and bad ways.

+ Pfizer data shows that its COVID-19 pill is effective against severe disease.


Kicked Upstairs

"One comparison I've heard repeatedly over the last year is that buying NFTs to 'flex' on people in the metaverse is just like collecting sneakers, and now Nike is apparently trying to make sure it's ready for the literal version of that possibility. The apparel giant just announced the acquisition of RTFKT Studios, which it calls 'a leading brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.'" Nike just bought a virtual shoe company that makes NFTs and sneakers.

+ NFTs explained: Why people are spending millions of dollars on JPEGs.

+ 'Bored Ape' NFT worth $284,495 accidentally sells for just $2,844.


Throwing the Book Away From Em

"Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo was ordered by New York's ethics commission Tuesday to give up millions of dollars a publisher paid him to write a book about his response to the coronavirus pandemic ... The order came a month after the commission voted to rescind the ethics approval it had given Cuomo before he entered into the $5.1 million book deal." $5.1 million for that book?! I was robbed! Let's make up the difference. Get and/or gift your copy of Please Scream Inside Your Heart right now. I guarantee it's better than Andrew Cuomo's book.


Bottom of the News

"All of it started with Wise's desire to dine with some of his clients at one of his favorite local restaurants while helping someone with a grand gesture." An Arkansas waitress served a party that tipped $4,400. It led to her getting fired.

+ Accidental shooting leads police to home with over 70 cats. (This is why firearm safety training is the first thing we do with a new cat. When it comes to the beagles, enter at your own risk.)

+ A Calgary, Alberta, animal health technology company, Sylvester, has developed an app called Tably that uses the phone's camera to tell whether a feline is feeling pain. They should have called the app, Woe, Woe, Woe Felines.