Thursday, May 26th, 2022


Minority Report

You'd like to see reforms to our immigration system. You believe climate change is happening and you think we oughta be taking steps to save ourselves from its wrath. While you're not opposed to certain limits, you believe in a woman's right to choose. You think sensible gun control is a good idea. You're not blind to our cultural differences, but it makes sense to you when you read an op-ed by a Kansas City gun owner in which he explains, "I believe in the right to bear arms. Our Second Amendment calls for 'a well regulated militia.' Well, where on earth are the regulations? It is unconscionable that an 18-year-old can walk into a store and purchase not one, but two assault rifles with virtually no checks in place." Right about now, you're probably feeling pretty alienated from a country that seems to disagree with you. But the country doesn't. A majority of Americans see things like you do. So why is America moving in the opposite direction? Ron Brownstein in The Atlantic: The Real Reason America Doesn't Have Gun Control. "The Senate's inaction on these issues again reflects the outsize influence of those states with the highest gun-ownership rates—which also tend to be those enmeshed in the fossil-fuel economy, with high shares of culturally conservative white Christians and low shares of immigrants ... The basic rules of American democracy provide a veto over national policy to a minority of the states." (It's ironic that a nation so afraid of minorities is victimized by minority rule.)

+ I said my piece about the latest episode of America's unique storyline yesterday. Class Dismissed. This is what America is. "Here's what's going to happen as a result of yet another insanely tragic and tragically insane school shooting. Nothing."

+ Australia confiscated 650,000 guns. Murders and suicides plummeted. Britain ended the horror of school shootings after one single massacre. Other countries had mass shootings. Then they changed their gun laws. If we're looking for solutions, we can look almost anywhere but here. Or as The Onion has been explaining for eight years: ‘No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.

+ Law enforcement authorities faced mounting questions and criticism over how much time elapsed before they stormed a Texas elementary school classroom. (Is the response too slow, or do the guns shoot too fast?)

+ "Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that the Uvalde school shooter had a 'mental health challenge' and the state needed to 'do a better job with mental health' — yet in April he slashed $211 million from the department that oversees mental health programs." (It's true that school shootings are all about mental health. The mental health of the sick politicians who enable them.)

+ "It's a transsexual leftist illegal alien named Salvatore Ramos." Baseless anti-trans theory about Uvalde shooting spreads online, touted by U.S. congressman.


Weakside Defender

The NFL's brand is built on the violent, tough-guy image. But the truth is that the NFL is made up of wimpish, frightened organizations, so uniformly weak that Colin Kaepernick has been effectively banned from the league for five years. The Raiders are giving him a tryout. Whether they or anyone else signs him will depend largely on public reaction.


Everything Putin Its Place

"For many years, the Russian military believed that they had a chance to win a conflict with the West, not because they have better technology—they knew that the West always would have better technology—but because the West, and specifically the United States, would never sustain heavy casualties like the Russian Army can sustain, because, to the leadership, the cost of life is different. But in this war, in Ukraine, all the casualties are not by NATO or by the American Army but by the Ukrainian Army. So even this cannot be played by the Russian Army. And that is why they think that they picked up a fight with NATO in the wrong place." That's true. But Putin's response hasn't been to pack up his remaining tanks and go home. The New Yorker: Putin's Pivot to a "Really Big War" in Ukraine.

+ "Working from a bomb shelter, Eleek began making a power bank based on lithium-ion battery cells it had left in stock. After struggling for parts, it turned to electronic cigarettes — launching a social media campaign to get people to send in their devices." WaPo (Gift Article): Ukrainian fighters take to electric bikes in the war against Russia.


High School’s New Math

The line between big time college athletics and professional sports is thin, if it even exists at all. So maybe NIL deals for college athletes make sense. But now those deals are coming to high school kids as well.


Extra, Extra

It's Good to Be the King: Private sector employees saw a 4.4% increase in wages and benefits in 2021. That would feel better if inflation hadn't reached 7% at the end of last year. But some folks were still in the green. CEO pay rose 17% in 2021 as profits soared.

+ A Good Fella: He came onto the scene via the cornfields in Field of Dreams but will be forever remembered for playing one of Hollywood's most iconic characters in GoodFellas. At a moment when his career was undergoing a resurgence, Ray Liotta Dies at 67. No one did on-screen anger better than Liotta. But that laugh... (And no one said Karen more or better.)

+ Kerrnal of Truth: "Golden State's star guard Stephen Curry retweeted his coach's entire pre-game press conference, along with the caption: 'Watch this as much as you watch the game tonight.'" Steve Kerr: the moral compass at the heart of the Golden State Warriors. We're lucky in the Bay Area. Giants manage Gabe Kapler also takes public stances (or sometimes a public knee) on big issues.

+ Net Flux and Chill: "The average fridge in the US consumes more electricity in a year than an average person in dozens of countries." The problem of global energy inequity, explained by American refrigerators.

+ Murder, She Wrote: "A jury in the US city of Portland, Oregon, has convicted a self-published romance novelist who wrote an essay titled How to Murder Your Husband of fatally shooting her husband."


Bottom of the News

When my wife and I first started dating, my apartment was filled with oversized items from a cool NYC store called Think Big. I had a giant tennis ball, a giant Born to Run album on the wall, and a giant pencil in the doorway. (In hindsight, I may have been trying to compensate for something). By the time we moved in together, all the Think Big merch was gone and replaced with adult furnishings. All this is a long way of saying I'll probably be riding solo on my roadtrip to see the weird world of gigantic roadside attractions.