March 16th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Permanent Daylight Saving, Zelensky's Congress Speech

Does anyone really know what time it is? You’d think between all the smartphones and Apple Watches, it would be hard to find anyone who doesn’t know what time it is. Ja Rule insisted, “I’m always on time.” But he also insisted the Fyre Festival was gonna be a blast, so maybe we should turn to Albert Einstein, who famously said, “People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. Time, in other words, is an illusion.” For people who follow politics, the entire Senate agreeing on something seems like even more of an illusion. Gridlock is a sign of the times. But apparently, the time’s they are a changing. Or, more accurately, they’re not a changing. Aeschylus advised that “time brings all things to pass.” And the Senate just unanimously passed a bill to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, finally addressing Jim Croce’s complaint that, “there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them.” (Especially, I think he implied, playing outside in the evening.) It’s almost unthinkable that the United States Congress could succeed where Cher failed, and actually turn back time. Maybe timing is everything, though I always heard the timing method didn’t work. Only time will tell if the bill will become law or if the Senate is trying to catch lightening in a bottle, and the bill is just living on borrowed time. It might not surprise long time readers that I prefer it dark earlier (modern news curators are hardly known for keeping things light). So I love me two times and have the time of my life when Daylight Saving is not in effect. But time waits for no one, so I’m willing to accept it’s time to move on if we can get unanimity on any issue. Maybe, at long last, it’s the time of the season for gov. For fans of Daylight Saving, it appears your time is gonna come. And who knows, maybe this is the start of a new (longer) day and it will be closing time on our relentless divide. Times like these can’t come soon enough. Time keeps on slipping into the future and there’s no time like the present. But let’s not kid ourselves. Time doesn’t stand still and Congress never lets the good times roll for long. We’ve been two-timed, time after time. You don’t need to be Albert Einstein, Aeschylus, or Ja Rule to know what time it is.


Volodymyr Image

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy summoned the memory of Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in appealing Wednesday to the U.S. Congress to do more to help Ukraine’s fight against Russia. President Joe Biden said the U.S. is sending more anti-aircraft, anti-armor weapons and drones.” (Of course, the historical lesson of Pearl Harbor is that America didn’t move aggressively to stop Hitler’s expansion or the Holocaust until we were directly attacked.) Here’s Zelensky’s virtual address to the U.S. Congress. You gotta love all the members who stood behind Trump when he blackmailed Zelensky on the very topic of Ukraine defense weapons and who are standing for Zelensky and democracy today. At least their self-centered, power-clinging, political narcissism landed them on the right side of an issue this time.

+ Time wasn’t the only thing the Senate agreed on this week. U.S. Senate unanimously condemns Putin as war criminal. (Putin unified the Senate. He’s murdering people and murdering his goals at the same time.)

+ ‘I will go back to help’: Ukrainian women head home to aid war effort.

+ Russian forces have killed 10 people standing in line for bread, they attacked a theatre in Mariupol where more than a thousand civilians had been sheltering, and attacks on hospitals have become a consistent strategy. If these aren’t war crimes, what’s the point of having something called war crimes? Joe Biden must have the same question. He just called Putin a war criminal. Here’s the latest from BBC.


The Other War

Putin’s massacre gets all the headlines. But there are other wars and other victims around the world. “Since 2015, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, backed by the United States, have waged a relentless war against their impoverished neighbor Yemen in a bid to reinstate the pro-Saudi government toppled by a popular uprising. The unrest gave way to an armed rebellion led by the Houthis, which Riyadh accuses of being an Iranian proxy group. The United Nations has described Yemen as the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe. The World Food Program estimates that half of all the country’s children under 5, about 2.3 million kids, are at risk of acute malnutrition, with 400,000 at risk of dying if they don’t receive treatment, according to a spokesperson for the organization who asked not to be named because even the U.N. fears the consequences of criticizing Saudi Arabia.” As U.S. Focuses On Ukraine, Yemen Starves.

+ The risks associated with getting at the truth in Ukraine are getting the headlines, but journalists in other parts of the world are not only collateral damage, they’re actively targeted. Eighth Journalist Murdered In Mexico in 2022.


Textbook Approach

“In the nineteen-twenties, the curriculum in question was biology; in the twenty-twenties, it’s history. Both conflicts followed a global pandemic and fights over public education that pitted the rights of parents against the power of the state. It’s not clear who’ll win this time. It’s not even clear who won last time. But the distinction between these two moments is less than it seems: what was once contested as a matter of biology—can people change?—has come to be contested as a matter of history. Still, this fight isn’t really about history. It’s about political power. Conservatives believe they can win midterm elections, and maybe even the Presidency, by whipping up a frenzy about ‘parents’ rights,’ and many are also in it for another long game, a hundred years’ war: the campaign against public education.” Jill Lepore in The New Yorker: Why the School Wars Still Rage.

+ “That, of course, is the pernicious intent of bills such as these: to stigmatize and shame gay and transgender people under the guise of protecting children from inappropriate conversations about sex. There is a long and ugly history of tarring gay people as sexual predators. DeSantis and the law’s supporters are playing into this slur by conflating ‘sexual instruction’ and any mention of LGBTQ people, and claiming they’re doing so to protect children. The irony, of course, is that the people most likely to be hurt by this law are kids in Florida whose families look different from those of their classmates.” Sarah Longwell in WaPo (Gift Article): I object to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill as a lesbian mom — and as a conservative. (And, one assumes, just as a decent person.)


Extra, Extra

Gas-o-lien: “President Joe Biden is using his bully pulpit to call out the tendency for gasoline prices to go up like a rocket when oil spikes, but only drop like a feather when crude crashes.” Biden demands faster drop in gas prices as oil tumbles. (I’ll bet a tank of gas that oil companies will soon report their most profitable quarter in years.)

+ Daily Double: “Whether you approve of gambling or not, it seems obvious that making it easily available to anyone with a phone and debit card, with few to no restrictions and a ton of advertising encouraging you to place your bets, is going to lead to problems for some people. This isn’t one of those stories about the unintended consequences we get from tech: It’s right there, on the surface.” Peter Kafka: Phones can be addictive. Sports betting, too. Now we’re combining them. (This is going to be a massive issue. And it will be a big problem for teen boys in particular.) So don’t bet, but do set up your women’s NCAA bracket just for fun.

+ Denial of Nervous: “When it comes to Covid, the United States specializes in denialism. Deny the human-to-human transmission of the virus when China’s first cases were publicized in late 2019. Deny that the virus is airborne. Deny the need for boosters across all adult age groups. There are many more examples, but now one stands out – learning from other countries.” Once again, America is in denial about signs of a fresh Covid wave.

+ Car Crash: “Nine people died in a fiery, head-on collision in West Texas, including six students and a coach from a New Mexico university who were returning home from a golf tournament.”

+ Upward Slope: Mikaela Shiffrin had a brutal Olympics. But she’s gotten back on track. Mikaela Shiffrin on brink of World Cup overall title after first downhill win in two years.

+ DisPence: Most ridiculous headline of the day: Trump suggests Mike Pence would not be his running mate in 2024. (He basically tried to have him murdered…)_


Bottom of the News

“The scheme was revealed after he sold the practice in 2019, and the new owners realized after reviewing files the crown numbers were way out of the ordinary.” A jury convicts a former Jackson dentist who intentionally damaged patients’ teeth to support insurance claims on crowns.

+ “A ‘final’ TD ball thrown by Tom Brady sold at an auction — just before the quarterback announced his return.” Or, how Tom Brady’s unretirement cost one memorabilia collector $518,628. (He’s still beating my stock portfolio this month!)

+ The world’s largest potato, named Doug, thought he set the record. But, “sadly the specimen is not a potato and is in fact the tuber of a type of gourd.”

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