Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022


Whoopi Doo

ABC News has suspended Whoopi Goldberg from The View for two weeks because of remarks she made about the Holocaust that included saying, it was "not about race ... it's about man's inhumanity to other man." The remarks offended some people, so Whoopi Goldberg talked to those people and, a few hours later, apologized (twice) for her remarks. "My words upset so many people, which was never my intention. I understand why now and for that I am deeply, deeply grateful because the information I got was really helpful and helped me understand some different things." So a person named Goldberg said something possibly marginally offensive about the Holocaust and then apologized about it right away and that's cause for suspension?

Whoopi's suspension is ridiculous. First, it came by way of the head of ABC News, which either raises The View to the level of serious news or (more likely, given the state of TV news) lowers the level of serious news to that of The View. But there's something much more important at play. I'm a Jew. I'm the son of Holocaust survivors. Our country is under grave threat by right wing extremists following a fascist-curious sociopath who is inciting violence to get back to the White House. Full blown Holocaust denial is back in vogue and related books are being banned from schools. Antisemitism is on the rise in America and homegrown terror groups are increasingly determined to act on their hate. Trust me. Whoopi is not the problem you should be worried about. At this point in American history, anyone on the side of democracy needs to lock arms and work together. We don't have time or energy to waste on frivolous infighting. Consider the alternative: ABC leaves Whoopi on the air, she would have spent the week apologizing, we might have even had some minimally sane discussions about racism, antisemitism, etc, and the pro-democracy and pro-idea side would have come out looking slightly more reasonable. Instead, we got this.

I made this point on Twitter last night and I got a response from the Auschwitz Memorial twitter account: "Dave Pell, Please consider following AuschwitzMuseum where every day we commemorate the victims & educate about the tragic human history of Auschwitz." As I replied, "I commemorate them every day already." My effort to offer what used to be called perspective was sucked into social media enhanced hysterical tsunami where irrational fears trump (pun intended) rational concerns about actual threats. Now the son of Holocaust survivors is being advised to commemorate the Holocaust. Something tells me that shouldn't be the focus of Jews at this moment in history.


Thunder’s Road

"At 14, Susan had already been abused by two men: after the Navy officer, her mother married an architect who crept into her room at night. Rumors swirled around her junior high, making her a pariah. The other kids teased and bullied her — even booing her during school assemblies. She was kicked off the drill team, made understudy in the school play. She begged her mother to advocate for her to the principal. They think I'm such a piece of shit, she cried, that they can do whatever they want. Her mom slapped her — hard — for saying 'shit.' But that kind of thing wouldn't happen to Susan Thunder. Susan Thunder could say and do whatever she wanted because Susan Thunder was a hero's name, and she was done being a victim." Claire L. Evans with a great story from The Verge and Epic Magazine: Searching for Susy Thunder. "She claims to be one of only three women to have slept with all four Beatles, securing the trickiest, Paul McCartney, through an elaborate pretext that involved having his wife Linda whisked away in a limo for a staged photoshoot."


Zucker Punches Out

"According to a memo, Zucker resigned after being asked about a personal relationship with a close colleague as part of the network's investigation into Chris Cuomo. The colleague was Allison Gollust, who leads marketing and communications for CNN, according to CNN's Brian Stelter. 'I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn't. I was wrong,' Zucker wrote. 'As a result, I am resigning today.'" CNN Chief Jeff Zucker Resigns After Relationship With Colleague Disclosed. I'm not totally sure what a consensual relationship has to do with covering the day's news. But then again, I haven't been sure what CNN's nonstop panels have to do with covering the day's news either. At least we know what they'll be talking about today.


The Ruiny Rule

"Included in Flores' complaint are apparent screenshots of text messages in which New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick informed Flores that the Giants had already chosen Brian Daboll to be their new on-field leader while Flores was preparing to meet with Giants general manager Joe Schoen. If true, the Giants conducted a sham interview, which is prohibited under the Rooney Rule." Brian Flores, who also claims Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross explicitly offered him $100,000 for each loss the team suffered in 2019, in an attempt to strengthen the value of the Dolphins' NFL draft pick, has brought a lawsuit that shines a brutal light on the NFL's hiring practices. The NFL describes the claim as without merit. The NFL also currently has only one Black head coach. You do the math.

+ In much less important NFL news, the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins and temporarily known as The Washington Football Team (a name I loved), will now be known as The Washington Commanders. There's no point making a joke about the team name, because the best one was made more than a decade ago: Washington Redskins Change Their Name to DC Redskins.


Extra, Extra

Nato Obbligato: "The newly announced U.S. troop movements are in line with expectations based on Biden administration efforts to reassure allies and demonstrate U.S. resolve without undermining efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. In Moscow, however, a senior official said they will complicate the crisis." Biden sending more troops to Europe amid Ukraine tension.

+ NFT Shades of Gray: "The company has become the central broker and the de facto enforcer of community rules. When an ape gets stolen, the rightful owner calls on OpenSea for help — and the platform has become the single most important chokepoint for blocking a sale. It's also the largest single market any time a token is listed. Even tokens that aren't minted on OpenSea eventually find their way there by simple gravity. And as the outage showed, even Web3 projects with no explicit connection to OpenSea are often deeply dependent on the company's infrastructure." How One Company Took Over the Nft Trade. Decentralization has a center?

+ HBCU Again: "More than a dozen historically Black colleges and universities closed down their campuses on the first day of Black History Month Tuesday after HBCUs across the country faced a rash of bomb threats for a second consecutive day."

+ Vindman v Machine: "Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Trump allies Julia Hahn and Daniel Scavino, alleging 'intimidation and retaliation' for the attacks he faced in 2019 when he testified in the first impeachment hearing of former President Trump." Here, truth matters. Let's hope truth pays, too.


Bottom of the News

"In Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil ascended from a tree stump and placed his bet on six more weeks of winter. In New York, Charles G. Hogg — aka Staten Island Chuck — emerged from his burrow to see his shadow and an early spring." Perhaps this was inevitable in a divided America: These 2 groundhogs have conflicting weather predictions. For those hoping New Jersey's famous groundhog would break the tie, I'm sad to report that Milltown Mel died just days before the the big event. From seeing or not seeing your shadow to scurrying through the valley of the shadow of death... It's the one forecast that never fails.

+ There are benefits afforded to members of the military. If people believe you're the member of the military. 'Space Force? Is that Real?' Guardians Still Struggling with an Unconvinced Public.