Tuesday, April 12th, 2022


Blackboard Jungle

We know that millions of kids fell behind academically during the pandemic. But, for younger kids, the lapse in in-person instruction took a toll on basic social and life skills as well. From WaPo (Gift Article): Tying shoes, opening bottles: Pandemic kids lack basic life skills. Teachers across the country noticed, and still notice, the change. "Children easily grew frustrated with one another in group settings. They struggled with the concept of taking turns, pushing each other out of the way to see a caterpillar she was holding in her palm. And, when Spears walked the children into the woods for her traditional 'quiet minute challenge,' they were unable to stay still and silent for even 30 seconds." (Maybe they're modeling the behavior they see in Congress?)

+ "In the first of the 20 episodes made available to Netflix subscribers, a two-year-old travels to the town convenience store to buy groceries for Mom. In the fourth, three-year-old Yuka crosses a five-lane road in Akashi, a city the size of Cincinnati, to get to the fish market. 'Can you go all the way to Uonotana without getting hit by any cars?' Mom asks. Needless to say, if the show were set in the United States, the parents would be under investigation by Child Protective Services." How Japan Built Cities Where You Could Send Your Toddler On An Errand.


Not Content with Content

"Why just listen to a murder podcast when you can help police comb through genealogical databases for the second cousins of suspected killers and their unidentified victims?" That's a question that a lot of people who love true crime content have been asking themselves. For some, the habit has evolved from listening to stories about crimes to putting dollars behind getting those crimes solved. NYT (Gift Article): The True Crime-Obsessed Philanthropists Paying to Catch Killers. "When the police can't afford to solve cold cases using DNA databases, deep-pocketed donors can."


Mexico Dependency

In Ukraine, we've seen a mass migration take place in a matter of weeks. In Mexico, the displacement rolls on and on, bit by bit. But it never stops. And this is one fight America can't stay out of. Between our drug use and laws and our exported firepower, we're already right in the middle of it. WaPo: The war next door: Conflict in Mexico is displacing thousands. "'You can use violence for whatever interests you have in Mexico,' said Le Cour Grandmaison, who runs the security program at the think tank MĂ©xico EvalĂșa. 'It's a low-cost, very efficient political, economic or personal resource. It can be used with almost no judicial consequences.'" (This is a lesson we're seeing play out from Ukraine to Mexico to Mar-a-Lago. When there are no consequences, heinous behavior doesn't stop. It escalates.)

+ Mexico's fight to sue US gun manufacturers for $10bn.

+ "At Eduardo Berrios' vinyl vintage records store in a deteriorating area of Santiago, sales are getting a boost thanks to a newcomer in the downtown neighborhood: Chile's 36-year-old president, Gabriel Boric." CityLab: Why Chile's President Moved Into a High-Crime Santiago Neighborhood. (This guy must be able to multitask. Getting into vinyl is a fulltime job in and of itself.)


Noble Rot

"On the one hand, we are helping and saving people, and on the other, we are simply taking measures to ensure the security of Russia itself ... It's clear that we didn't have a choice. It was the right decision ... the goals are perfectly clear, they are noble." Putin says Russian invasion will achieve 'noble' aims. An evergreen lesson: Sociopaths don't stop. They need to be stopped.

+ Among the 'noble' goals has been wantonly killing thousands of civilians. Some parents in Ukraine are writing names, phone numbers, and addresses on their kids' skin in case family members are killed or displaced. A Haunting Photo of a Child's Back Is Now a Symbol of Ukrainian Parents' Terror.

+ "The mayor of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol said Monday that more than 10,000 civilians have died in the Russian siege of his city, and that the death toll could surpass 20,000, as weeks of attacks and privation leave the bodies of Mariupol's people 'carpeted through the streets.'"


Extra, Extra

Phil Specter: For some reason, I always remember this line from the old show ThirtySomething: "Philadephia, where it all began. Philadephia, where it can all begin again." Well, the latest thing beginning again in Philly is an indoor mask mandate. Related from the NYT: The Unbelievable Stupidity of Ending Global Covid Aid.

+ Subway Attack: "At least 16 people were injured in a Brooklyn subway shooting this morning, according to officials, with 10 suffering gunshot wounds and five people in critical but stable condition." The suspect is still on the loose. Here's the latest from CNN.

+ Things Are Blowing Up: "From February to March, inflation rose 1.2%, the biggest month-to-month jump since 2005." US inflation jumped 8.5% in past year, highest since 1981.

+ Ghost Buster: "In 2021, about 20,000 suspected ghost guns were recovered by law enforcement in criminal investigations and reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The figure marked a tenfold increase from 2016, according to the White House." The Biden administration is regulating 'ghost guns.' Here's what the rule does. (My guess is that stopping the sale of these gun kits and 3d printable models helps big gun manufacturers who sell the original models and that's why this is able to get done.)

+ This is not OK: "Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law on Tuesday that makes it a felony to perform an abortion, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as part of an aggressive push in Republican-led states across the country to scale back abortion rights."

+ Keep Your Johnson In Next Time: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to be fined over lockdown parties. "Mr Johnson's fine makes him the UK's first serving prime minister to be sanctioned for breaking the law." (In England, you get fined for partying. In America, you can try to overthrow democracy and nothing happens.)


Bottom of the News

"Police in San Francisco stopped a vehicle operated by Cruise, an autonomous car company backed by General Motors, in a video posted on 1 April. Officers approached the car, which had been driving without headlights, only to find it was empty." San Francisco police stop self-driving car.

+ Severance Intro with The Office Theme Song.

+ "We order that by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited, and We condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during Our will and pleasure; and as a salutary penance We enjoin on thee that for the space of three years." On this day in 1633, Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the sun. Not much has changed, folks. Not much has changed.