Friday, April 1st, 2022


All the World’s a Rage

Have you noticed that people these days seem just a bit crazed, a tad furious, a little on edge, closer to conniption, and more likely to publicly exhibit signs of a tantrum, a fit, outrage, anger, fury, hatred, hostility, and other behaviors that often accompany a mood that can best be described as being more pissed off than Rand Paul's neighbor? Well, you're not imagining it. People like you and me are of course cool, calm, and collected. But others around us are blowing their lids and turning America into an indig-nation. How did a rage against the machine turn into a rage against flight attendants, health workers, and anyone else within reach? What exactly set the jerks off? "During the pandemic, disorderly, rude, and unhinged conduct seems to have caught on as much as bread baking and Bridgerton. Bad behavior of all kinds —everything from rudeness and carelessness to physical violence—has increased." What went wrong? Answer correctly or I will slap you across the face! (I'm kidding. I only do that to non-subscribers.) Olga Khazan in The Atlantic: Why People Are Acting So Weird. Wait just a second, Olga. Who you callin' weird?!

+ The truth is that a lot of us are angry. A lot of us are sad and hopeless. And our kids might be taking the worst of it. WaPo: ‘A cry for help': CDC warns of a steep decline in teen mental health.


Biggie Smalls

"The win comes despite Amazon's long history of union-busting in the 28 years since Jeff Bezos founded the company in 1994 as an online seller of books. Since then, Amazon leaders have spent considerable time and money to beat back this union drive and others. Perhaps as stunning, the union victory comes during the first-ever organizing drive by this particular union, which was created just last year by former warehouse worker Chris Smalls, who Amazon fired after he led a protest outside the warehouse in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. " America finally gets an Amazon union. Public reaction: Finally! Power to the people! Private reaction: I mean, my air fryer delivery isn't gonna be delayed, right?

+ "In leaked notes for which he voiced regret later, David Zapolsky, Amazon's general counsel, called Smalls 'not smart, or articulate' and suggested the company 'make him the face of the entire union/organizing movement.' And that's what happened." Amazon union leader Smalls went from rapper to unlikely voice of protest.


Family Guise

"'My father has always respected my political views, I am not even sure what happened. It was a sudden change,' Zekriya told The Daily Beast on Thursday. 'My father is trying to convince me and my brother that geopolitics are more complicated than we know, that ‘Putin had no choice but to invade Ukraine,' that 'Nazis run Ukraine.'" Russian Families Are Disowning Each Other Over Putin's War. (This kind of story about how disinformation can tear families apart is one we've read about in other countries for a long time. It's sad that now we have such a similar dynamic in America.)

+ "The lack of a unifying military leader in Ukraine has meant that Russian air, ground and sea units are not in sync. Their disjointed battlefield campaigns have been plagued by poor logistics, flagging morale and between 7,000 and 15,000 military deaths." NYT: Russia's War Lacks a Battlefield Commander, U.S. Officials Say. Are U.S. officials saying that because it's true or because they want to get into Putin's head, or both? CNN: Western spy agencies weaponize intelligence in attempt to undermine Putin.

+ "A series of Instagram photos showing a young Russian woman making a duck face into the camera from the back of a luxurious yacht and posing in a bikini next to an emerald-green pool went viral on Twitter. Within days, Polina Kovaleva, said to be the unofficial stepdaughter of Russia's foreign minister, was banned from entering the UK and all her property there was frozen." Russian Oligarchs Keep Getting Screwed Over by Yacht Selfies. No one can escape the lure of social media self destruction. (Come to think of it, that would make a pretty good tweet.)

+ Rescue and relief attempts in Mariupol have been stifled, Ukraine forces may have hit an oil depot in Russia, and Russia is actually complaining that doing so doesn't create "comfortable conditions" for peace. (Neither does the wanton killing of thousands of civilians.) Here's the latest from BBC.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: Let's segue away from the slap that I covered earlier this week to The Slap, a really good Australian TV series that traces the shattering repercussions of a single event upon a group of family and friends.

+ What to Hear: Since everyone in my house other than me is a Samoan Jew, I know the landscape quite well. And David Le'aupepe is one of my favorites. David (or Tavita in my house) Le'aupepe is the frontman for Gang of Youths, a good band coming into its own. He actually grew up in the church, but when you're searching for Samoan Jewish rockstars, you can't split hairs. Start with the angel of 8th ave. Malo Lava and Shabbat Shalom, Tavita!

+ What to Book: Peter Thiel might not be your kind of guy in terms of his politics, but he is a singularly important force in Silicon Valley and beyond. You don't need to like him. You need to understand him. Max Chafkin tells his story in The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley's Pursuit of Power.


Extra, Extra

Finally! "An international team described the first-ever sequencing of a complete human genome – the set of instructions to build and sustain a human being – in research published Thursday in the journal Science. The previous effort, celebrated across the world, was incomplete because DNA sequencing technologies of the day weren't able to read certain parts of it." Scientists finally finish decoding entire human genome. Finally? No, I finally got around to changing a lightbulb in my kitchen. If you're sequencing the entire human genome, you're always early.

+ Pot Sticker: "Public opinion, states, and even the GOP have come around to the idea of legal weed. So how hard is it to finally get done?" Federal marijuana legalization is stopped in its tracks. Let's be honest. If you're white and wealthy, pot has always been legal. Why not make it legal for everyone else, too? On a more Sativa note: House passes bill to federally decriminalize marijuana. "The bill ... will prevent federal agencies from denying federal workers security clearances for cannabis use, and will allow the Veterans' Administration to recommend medical marijuana to veterans living with posttraumatic stress disorder." (Can you believe they can't do that now? It's just cruel.)

+ Ben and the Benjamins: "The actor, best known for his starring role in 'The O.C.,' has become an outspoken critic of a volatile market driven by speculation. Who's listening?" NYT: Ben McKenzie Would Like a Word With the Crypto Bros. I love the OC. And I sort of agree with Ben on this.

+ Fetal Issue: Who is Lauren Handy, the woman living in a Capitol Hill home where 5 fetuses were found.


Feel Good Friday

I'm not sharing any April Fools material this year because I'm not into it, and because everyone should have stopped after George Plimpton wrote the best one of all. The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch.

+ New vehicles must average 40 mpg by 2026, up from 28 mpg. (Which is good since right now people can only afford about half a tank.)

+ Unemployment is down. Wages are up.

+ A local one for me: Guide Dogs for the Blind celebrates 80 years.

+ Nightly midnight jog by Indian teen inspires millions on Twitter. This kid is the best.