Monday, May 9th, 2022


Of Thee I Sing Sing

Being a Marin native, I regularly drive by San Quentin State Prison, and every time I do, I think about the innocent people stuck there for years, decades, or even a life. It's a simple fact of our justice system that people, especially poor people of color, are doing the time though they didn't do the crime. In the NYT (Gift Article), Corey Kilgannon shares the incredible story of How 5 Convicted Murderers Banded Together to Get Out of Sing Sing Prison. In addition to being wrongly convicted, the group is connected by a reporter named Dan Slepian, who became a one-man innocence project, and "the same troubling traits common in wrongful convictions, including sloppy detective work, questionable legal representation, shaky witness identifications and withheld evidence." These patterns are common. Overturning convictions based on them isn't.

+ Here's a look at one of Dan Slepian's NBC News reports that led to Richard Rosario's exoneration. Rosario provided "authorities with 13 alibi witnesses to confirm he had been in Florida when the murder was committed in the Bronx. Neither the authorities nor his own lawyers ever went to Florida to interview them."


BongBong Water Under the Bridge

Under his parents' rule, "around 70,000 'enemies of the state' were detained, some 34,000 of them tortured, and more than 3,000 killed. Independent media outlets were also shut down. The repression lasted for nine years ... The Marcos family was also accused of stealing up to $10 billion from state coffers, a claim they have repeatedly denied even though authorities already have recovered around $3.3 billion in unexplained wealth." And their son is about to win the race to become the next president of the Philippines. Time: Why Bongbong Marcos, a Philippine Dictator's Son, Leads the Race for the Presidency. And you thought American voting behavior made you need bong hits...


Sticks and Drones

"The TB2 has now carried out more than eight hundred strikes, in conflicts from North Africa to the Caucasus. The bombs it carries can adjust their trajectories in midair, and are so accurate that they can be delivered into an infantry trench. Military analysts had previously assumed that slow, low-flying drones would be of little use in conventional combat, but the TB2 can take out the anti-aircraft systems that are designed to destroy it. 'This enabled a fairly significant operational revolution in how wars are being fought right now,' Rich Outzen, a former State Department specialist on Turkey, told me. 'This probably happens once every thirty or forty years.'" Stephen Witt in The New Yorker: The Turkish Drone That Changed the Nature of Warfare. "The Bayraktar TB2 has brought precision air-strike capabilities to Ukraine and other countries. It's also a diplomatic tool, enabling Turkey's rise."

+ On Mother's Day, "First lady Jill Biden made a surprise visit into Ukraine on Sunday and met with Olena Zelenska, the wife of President Volodymyr Zelensky. Zelenska has been in hiding since Russia's invasion began in late February." And there was one other unannounced visit over the weekend. Bono and The Edge held a concert at Kyiv bomb shelter.

+ "Patron, whose name means 'ammo' in Ukrainian, is credited with detecting more than 200 undetonated explosive devices since the beginning of the war in late February." Patron the bomb-sniffing dog cements his hero status with a presidential medal.


Connective Issue

"The Affordable Connectivity Program will provide plans of at least 100 Megabits per second of speed for no more than $30. An estimated 48 million Americans will qualify." The Biden administration is capping the cost of internet for low-income Americans. This is a huge step. As we saw during the pandemic, lack of broadband access took a huge toll on kids forced to learn via Zoom. Broadband access is an issue of fairness. But it's also an issue that can unify Americans from urban and rural America. Broadband can connect us.


Extra, Extra

Long Term Relationship: In Fatal Attraction, Glenn Close famously warned, "I'm not going to be ignored." Over the past couple months, I've often imagined Covid delivering the same line. We've moved on. It hasn't. The numbers in my neck of the woods are on the rise. And this is probably a lull compared to the Fall. Coronavirus wave this fall and winter could potentially infect 100 million, White House warns. And from WaPo: The lucky few to never get coronavirus could teach us more about it.

+ M&M: "Over the past four years, Aid Access says it has delivered abortion medication — mifepristone and misoprostol — to more than 30,000 Americans across all 50 states, including the 19 conservative states that currently ban telemedicine abortion. The organization plays a unique role in the US reproductive rights ecosystem by successfully exploiting legal loopholes that make it easier for an overseas doctor to care for American patients in restrictive states — a role that could become even more key if Roe v. Wade is struck down." The abortion provider that Republicans are struggling to stop. Meanwhile, Mississippi governor doesn't rule out banning contraception if Roe falls.

+ QAnon and On and On: "Soon, the girls and boys, who were from Guatemala, were sitting under a blue tent devouring hamburgers and sausages. Their host for the day in this remote part of the Arizona desert, Jason Frank, an enthusiastic follower of the QAnon movement, distributed 'Let's Go Brandon' T-shirts featuring an image of President Biden. Giggling and confused, the children changed into the shirts and posed for a group photo. Later, they formed a prayer circle with Mr. Frank and the rest of his team before the Border Patrol showed up. Mr. Frank and his group, guns holstered on their hips, have been camping out near Sasabe, Ariz., as a self-appointed border force." NYT: QAnon Joins Vigilantes at the Southern Border. (Liars, imbeciles, religious fanatics, and lunatics are developing into quite a political force in America. And they're well armed.)

+ Cover Up: "Afghanistan's Taliban rulers on Saturday ordered all Afghan women to wear head-to-toe clothing in public — a sharp, hard-line pivot that confirmed the worst fears of rights activists." (Hopefully SCOTUS doesn't get any ideas...)

+ Damn the Neighsayers: "This doesn't happen. Horses at odds of nearly 81-1 don't win the Kentucky Derby. Jockeys who have never won any big stakes race of any kind don't win the Kentucky Derby. Owners with fewer than 10 career wins don't win the Kentucky Derby. Rich Strike and his connections disagree with those sentiments." How 81-1 shot Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby.


Bottom of the News

"Today, some users may see an outdated answer for Wordle that seems closely connected to a major recent news event. This is entirely unintentional and a coincidence – today's original answer was loaded into Wordle last year." The NYT probably didn't figure it would have to issue a statement related to Wordle. That was until the five-letter word was fetus.

+ 5 Places Around the World Where People Live the Longest.

+ Arcade Fire killed on SNL. Here's Unconditional and The Lightning I, II.