Thursday, June 9th, 2022


Are You Not Entertained?

The epigraph that leads perhaps the greatest book on 2020 and how it led to the Jan 6 insurrection is an Edward R. Murrow quote: We are in the same tent as the clowns and the freaks—that's show business. The intersection of politics, journalism, clowns, and freaks will be on full display at the Jan. 6 committee's prime-time public hearing that kicks off on Thursday night, which ironically was, for many years, labeled by NBC as Must-See-TV. How must see will this TV be? That is the question. The future of American democracy may hinge on whether the US Congress can create great television. There are actually two big questions about these hearings. First, will people watch? I worry that even I don't really want to sit through more hearings, and I'm a sick, twitchy news addict who dreads being alone with his own thoughts. And second, if we watch, will it change any minds? It seems like the issue is less about what Trump and his cronies did, which we saw in real time, and more about whether there will ever be a price to pay (and the related question: why does half of America not care?). A lot depends on these questions, including whether or not we get a sequel to the effort to overthrow democracy. What to expect from tonight's prime-time Jan. 6 hearing.

+ As the legal walls close in on Trump, he will be further motivated to announce his 2024 candidacy. It's easier to spin these hearings as a politically-driven hoax if the committee is going after a current candidate rather than a former president. And insurrectionists running for office is all the rage these days. Michigan candidate for governor, Ryan Kelley, arrested by FBI for Jan. 6 involvement. (Who knows. It may help him in the polls...)


We Talkin ‘Bout Law Practice?

The now-recalled SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin may have been the wrong guy at the wrong time with the right basic goal. There's no doubt we need criminal justice reform. But when the wrong messenger brings that message during a pandemic and a deadly fentanyl crisis, things can go sideways. And they did. There's still a broader question about these recalls. We already have enough elections with politicians running year-round. More elections will worsen that trend. There will be no time to lead. The New Yorker's Benjamin Wallace-Wells seems to get the SF recall story just about right. Why San Francisco Fired Chesa Boudin. "When I visited Boudin's office in 2021, a video had just surfaced of a group of ten thieves sprinting out of the city's Neiman Marcus department store lugging huge handbags. Boudin's staff was being asked to come up with a response to reassure the public, but I sensed a sotto-voce disbelief among them. It was like asking Allen Iverson about practice. Incarceration rates and murders were down. We're talkin' about handbags?"

+ The crime and homelessness that San Francisco residents complain about is hardly unique. The pandemic exposed and widened America's biggest problem: the economic divide. And it's not just the broke people who are paying the price. The great Eli Saslow in WaPo (Gift Article): Anger and heartbreak on Bus No. 15. "Forty-five years old, she'd been driving the same route for nearly a decade, becoming such a fixture of Denver's No. 15 bus line that her photograph was displayed on the side of several buses — a gigantic, smiling face of a city Suna no longer recognized in the aftermath of the pandemic. The Denver she encountered each day on the bus had been transformed by a new wave of epidemics overwhelming major cities across the country. Homelessness in Denver was up by as much as 50 percent since the beginning of the pandemic. Violent crime had increased by 17 percent, murders had gone up 47 percent, some types of property crime had nearly doubled, and seizures of fentanyl and methamphetamine had quadrupled in the past year." (You can't law and order your way out of problems like these.)

+ "Rising homicide rates don't tell the whole story. When you dig deeper into data on deaths, you'll find the more urban your surroundings, the less danger you face." Is CityLab right? New York City Is a Lot Safer Than Small-Town America.


Blood Pressure

"I thought he would come back so I covered myself with blood. I put it all over me and I just stayed quiet." After that, Miah Cerrillo, a fourth-grader at Robb Elementary School, used her murdered teacher's cell phone to call 911. In recorded Congressional testimony, a 4th grade Uvalde survivor says, ‘I don't want it to happen again.' Will her country listen?

+ Did the assault weapons ban of 1994 bring down mass shootings? Here's what the data tells us.


Getting Visibility Into Blind Dates

"Data defines Ms. Ury's own life too, from her intermittent fasting routine to her life at Radish, the luxury commune, which she deems a scientifically designed utopia. In layman's terms, it is a four building compound that she and her husband share with 12 engineers, behavioral scientists, venture capitalists and others, where the bathroom is stocked with goat milk soap and residents communicate using a Slack channel called 'not_a_cult.'" NYT: Logan Ury Says You're Dating All Wrong. "From her Oakland commune, a dating coach has made a big business out of her data-driven approach to modern romance." (My early dating approach was all data driven. Each time I checked the data to see if I was dating, it said no.)


Extra, Extra

Russian to Judgment: "Two British men and a Moroccan national captured while fighting in the Ukrainian army in Mariupol have been sentenced to death by pro-Russia officials after a days-long process described as a 'disgusting Soviet-era show trial.'" Meanwhile, Russia is advancing in key battles. Here's the latest from The Guardian.

+ Battering Rouge: "The U.S. Justice Department is opening a sweeping civil rights investigation into the Louisiana State Police amid mounting evidence that the agency has a pattern of looking the other way in the face of beatings of mostly Black men, including the deadly 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene." And Michigan will charge an officer with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya.

+ Aborting Decency: NYT: "Exceptions for rape, incest and life endangerment are codified in the Hyde Amendment as the only reasons the federal government will pay for abortions through Medicaid. For decades, surveys have shown that large majorities of Americans support these carve-outs, even in heavily Republican states. But if the Supreme Court overturns Roe, as expected, many state abortion bans would take effect that do not include most of the exceptions."

+ Supreme Threat: "A man carrying a gun, a knife and zip ties was arrested Wednesday near Justice Brett Kavanaugh's house in Maryland after threatening to kill the justice." (Lunatics with easy access to guns is a bad idea.)

+ Fore Profit: "The PGA Tour announced the discipline less than 30 minutes after 17 of its members or former members who resigned from the tour in the past week hit their opening tee shots in the inaugural LIV Golf event at Centurion Club outside London." What Does Getting Banned From PGA Tour Events Actually Mean? (It doesn't include the majors...)

+ Deflate Gate: "In the U.S., a small box of Kleenex now has 60 tissues; a few months ago, it had 65. Chobani Flips yogurts have shrunk from 5.3 ounces to 4.5 ounces. In the U.K., Nestle slimmed down its Nescafe Azera Americano coffee tins from 100 grams to 90 grams." Either prices go up or things get small.


Bottom of the News

"The Missouri Court of Appeals has upheld a $5.2 million judgment against an insurance company in the case of a Jackson County woman who claimed she unwittingly caught a sexually transmitted disease from her former romantic partner in his car." (This is why I always use the hood...)

+ Ikea Norway offers help with baby names after COVID-19 boom.

+ Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie: ‘Cocaine and champagne made me perform better.' (I can't even imagine putting out an edition of NextDraft without both.)