Wednesday, March 30th, 2022


The Slap Trap Crap

A request from the managing editor to the internet I cover: Stop. Seriously, stop with the bothsidesing think-pieces about Will Smith's slap. I'm sure Alopecia can be a traumatic condition, but this isn't a story about Alopecia. We're not even sure Chris Rock knew about Jada's condition, and even if he had, it's still not an Alopecia story. It's also not a race story. It's not a toxic male story. There are not two sides to this story. Here's the whole story: Will Smith snapped and slapped and the audience clapped. The guy starting whaling on someone in the middle of the Academy Awards. Jim Carrey summed it up: "I would have announced this morning that I was suing Will for $200 million because that video is going to be there forever. It's going to be ubiquitous. That insult is going to last a very long time. I was sickened by the standing ovation. I felt like Hollywood is just spineless en masse. It really felt like: 'Oh, this is really a clear indication that we're not the cool club anymore.'" That's it. Like the swelling on Chris Rock's face, there's only one side to this story. Jim Carrey got it right, and even though he's famous for doing so, it's the rest of the internet that's talking out of its ass.

Now why would I bring this story up again, other than to whine about headlines that irritate news curators like me? Because this is an example of the same kind of asinine false equivalence that we've seen soil the media for the past several years. There were not two sides to Trump's habitual lying. There are not two sides to the vaccine debate. There are not two sides to the potential upside of using disinfectant on the inside of your body. There are not two sides to the climate change debate. There are not two sides to the Jan 6 insurrection story. There are not two sides to the 2020 election results. Yesterday, Donald Trump requested that Vladimir Putin dig up and share dirt on Joe Biden's family. At a time of war, that's straight up treachery, the kind of anti-American garbage this criminal has been spewing for years. End of story.

Being unbiased does not mean giving lies the same weight as the truth. What you see and hear happening is what's really happening, and it's about time the media started reporting things that way, instead of making bad decisions like ABC's hiring of Chris Christie or terrible ones like CBS News' hiring of Mick Mulvaney as a paid contributor. Mick Mulvaney is what we call in the business, a stone cold liar. He once argued that Covid coverage was an attempt to bring down the president. And that's just for starters. Why would this clown be hired by CBS News? So we can pretend that his bullshit side of the story is just as valid as the truth? Because maybe the Trumpian scumbags who did everything possible to destroy our country at home and abroad may have a perfectly valid reason for doing so? Because maybe Chris Rock's face jumped in front of Will Smith's hand?


A Fish Tale

I know believing in evolution, natural selection, and organisms adapting to their environment is not particularly in vogue these days, especially after GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker deftly debunked Darwin's daft drivel, but allow me to reel you back towards phylogenesis just long enough to share the following story of a transformation of biblical proportions, one that begins with you hopefully tossing a ping pong ball at a county fair and ends with Carassius Auratus Humungous™; or goldfish that go from living in a small bowl to being the size of a bowling ball. It's certainly (sea)food for thought. Scientific American: Supersized Goldfish Could Become Superinvaders. "Biologists suspect that most stormwater pond goldfish were originally introduced by humans; it is unlikely that lake goldfish made their way upstream into these isolated pools. Most fish species cannot live in the harsh and unstable conditions of stormwater ponds, where water levels fluctuate frequently with rainfall. These ponds can also be low in oxygen and have relatively warm temperatures because of their shallow depth. But goldfish have evolved a special metabolic system that can sometimes enable them to survive up to five months without oxygen." That would be a handy trait to possess during Covid (if Covid were real).


Kid Gloves Off

At least 98 Ukrainian children have been killed by Putin's army, and another two million have been forced from their homes. Meanwhile, the suggestion by Russian negotiators that they'd scale back the violence was followed by more violence. Here's the latest from BBC.

+ "The administration is hopeful that divulging the finding could help prod Putin to reconsider his options in Ukraine. The war has ground to a bloody stalemate in much of the country, with heavy casualties and Russian troop morale sinking as Ukrainian forces and volunteers put up an unexpectedly stout defense." Putin is being misled by advisers on Ukraine, US intelligence determines.

+ "Russian soldiers who seized the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster drove their armoured vehicles without radiation protection through a highly toxic zone called the Red Forest, kicking up clouds of radioactive dust, workers at the site said." As if Russia's lies about Chernobyl haven't already been deadly enough.


Hey, Teacher, Leave Them Gigs Alone

"If starting salaries for new teachers had kept pace with inflation over the last 3 decades, a first-year teacher would be making $46,762 per year right now. Instead, the average annual income for a new teacher is around $41,780 according to our estimates. That's a difference of nearly $4,982 a year, representing an earnings decline of just under 11%." New Teachers are Earning 11% Less Than They Were 30 Years Ago.

+ "Nearly 1 in 5 American public school teachers work a second job outside of the classroom." Our Nation's Teachers Are Hustling to Survive.


Extra, Extra

Fix Nixed: "Imagine the federal government could lift millions of American children out of poverty with a single program. That program would help parents put nutritious meals on the table, pay for school expenses and even save for kids' college — all with no negative impact on the economy. You don't have to imagine. We had it just last year … and now we don't." FiveThirtyEight: Congress Found An Easy Way To Fix Child Poverty. Then It Walked Away.

+ Race War More Civil: It only took a couple hundred tries, but we finally have an anti-lynching law.

+ From Bad to Nurse: "The moment nurse RaDonda Vaught realized she had given a patient the wrong medication, she rushed to the doctors working to revive 75-year-old Charlene Murphey and told them what she had done. Within hours, she made a full report of her mistake to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Murphey died the next day, on Dec. 27, 2017. On Friday, a jury found Vaught guilty of criminally negligent homicide and gross neglect." Nurses: Guilty verdict for dosing mistake could cost lives.

+ Violence in Israel: "A gunman on a motorcycle opened fire in a crowded city in central Israel late Tuesday, methodically gunning down victims as he killed at least five people in the second mass shooting rampage this week."

+ Hunter Gatherer: "Over the course of 14 months, the Chinese energy conglomerate and its executives paid $4.8 million to entities controlled by Hunter Biden and his uncle, according to government records, court documents and newly disclosed bank statements, as well as emails contained on a copy of a laptop hard drive that purportedly once belonged to Hunter Biden." WaPo: Inside Hunter Biden's multimillion-dollar deals with a Chinese energy company.


Bottom of the News

"They meow and they bark and they interact with their teachers in this fashion. And now schools are wanting to put litter boxes in the schools for these children to use. How is this sanitary?" A Nebraska state lawmaker apologized on Monday after he publicly cited a persistent but debunked rumor alleging that schools are placing litter boxes in school bathrooms to accommodate children who self-identify as cats. This is crazy. But the truth is even crazier. Lawmakers are targeting a small number of kids with idiotic laws to serve up red meat to the mouth breathers. (Sorry, as you can tell, I'm feeling extra honest today.)

+ Demand for Safe Rooms Skyrockets in Los Angeles. And this trend emerged before the Oscars...