Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022


Naked and Afraid

I do not disrobe in public. I rarely disrobe in private. I put on socks and shoes when I first wake up and I don't take them off until I get back into bed at night. I often sleep in my jeans. In middle school, while playing basketball, a kid grabbed the area just above my waistline and said, "Look, Pell's got handles." That was the last time I played shirts and skins in any sport. When I pull open my trenchcoat, the only thing that's exposed is my windbreaker. In short, this NYT (Gift Article) from Catherine Pearson is not going to move me. But perhaps it will prepare you for a more revealing summer. How to Feel Better Naked. "Whether you want to find joy in your body, or just greater self-acceptance, these four strategies from psychologists, activists — and, yes, nudists — might help." (To me a nudist is someone who wears flip flops in public.)

+ "Shivering naked with 2,000 people on a Tasmanian beach on a winter morning is legal, if not usually my idea of a great day out. But when given a waiver form asking you to sign away the risk of a heart attack and showing your arse on national television, who refuses that kind of invitation? Not I." The Guardian: A liberating high comes with group nudity at Dark Mofo – it can turn anyone into a giggling fool. (Pro tip: One can also achieve a liberating high by getting high.)


Rusty Nails

Our democracy stands today because of a small number of state and local officials who maintained their oaths and stood up for election integrity, even as their lives were ruined by a mob boss president and his gang of criminal dead-enders. Tuesday's Jan 6 hearings laid out the serious human suffering caused by those who looked to overthrow our democracy. Arizona's Republican state House Speaker Rusty Bowers told the committee that he explained to Trump and Giuliani, "You're asking me to do something against my oath and I will not break my oath." He maintained this rare determination even as he was doxxed, received thousands of threatening phone calls, and his neighbors were verbally abused by a guy with a pistol. Shaye Moss told the committee how her life (and her mom's) was torn apart by a president who lied about her the same way he lied about the election. These were just a couple of examples of the horrible price public servants paid for doing the right thing. Here are a few more takeaways from the hearings' most damning day yet. These crimes cannot be allowed to stand.

+ Even though Bowers was one of the key defenders of our democracy and his family suffered mightily for his honesty, he had this to say about Trump after the hearings. "If he is the nominee, if he was up against Biden, I'd vote for him again." Partisanship is America's most dangerous disease.

+ Lordy, There Are Tapes: The criminal gang that tried to overthrow our democracy was kind enough to leave voicemails and other recordings behind as evidence. And there's more where that came from. A British filmmaker gave Congress unreleased footage of Trump and his family. There's so much new evidence, the Jan 6 committee has announced more hearings.


Grease Trap

With soaring prices at the pump, Biden calls on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for three months. The move would give drivers immediate relief but has downsides, experts say. Meanwhile, it's not clear that Congress will do it.


The AR of Our Ways

"The legislation would toughen background checks for the youngest firearms buyers, require more sellers to conduct background checks and beef up penalties on gun traffickers. It also would disburse money to states and communities to improve school safety and mental health initiatives ... Resolving one final hurdle that delayed the accord, the bill would prohibit romantic partners convicted of domestic violence and not married to their victims from getting firearms. Convicted abusers who are married to, live with or had children with their victims are already barred from having guns." Senators reach bipartisan compromise on gun violence bill. (It's not nothing. And that's really something. But John Mellencamp probably has the right take. We're basically turning an AR-15 into an AR-14.98.)

+ Does a good guy with a gun often stop a bad guy with a gun? More often, the bad guy with a gun stops himself after killing a lot of other people. The NYT crunched the numbers. Who Stops a ‘Bad Guy With a Gun'?


Extra, Extra

From Bad to Curse: "The disaster only compounds the misery in Afghanistan, which is already deep in one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, with millions facing increasing hunger and poverty after the cutoff of international financing to the Taliban." Afghanistan quake kills 1,000 people, deadliest in decades.

+ Starved: "I can honestly say in my 23 years of responding to humanitarian crisis, this is by far the worst I've seen, particularly in terms of the level of impact on children. The starvation that my colleagues and I witnessed in Somalia has escalated even faster than we feared." Somalia: 'The worst humanitarian crisis we've ever seen.'

+ Cos and Effect: "Jurors at a civil trial found Tuesday that Bill Cosby sexually abused a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975. The Los Angeles County jury delivered the verdict in favor of Judy Huth, who is now 64, and awarded her $500,000." (It's amazing that this monster is a free man.)

+ These Little Town Flews: "Amazon says its delivery drones will bring the future to Lockeford, Calif., but not everyone in the rural ranch town is ready for takeoff." Amazon drones are coming to town. Some locals want to shoot them. (If you're not a Prime member, they just might shoot back.)

+ At Least They Gru Sales: "If you were generally an uncynical person, you might say that Minions are cute and people like them. If you were not, you might posit that they are agents of the capitalist machine, ready-made and endlessly merchandisable mascots that make the world's destruction at the hands of mega-corporations seem adorable and fun." Labor exploitation, explained by Minions.

+ Scream Team: "The doctors were confused until she said that she'd been screaming for hours the night before at the Dallas stop on One Direction's Where We Are Tour. The exertion, they hypothesised, had forced open a small hole in her respiratory tract." The truth about screaming fangirls. "Teenage pop fans have long been derided as vacuous victims of marketing. But there is so much more to it than that, explains a Harry Styles aficionado." (Who am I to judge? I once pull a neck muscle singing along to Watermelon Sugar High.)


Bottom of the News

"At night, the 0.3mm long organisms leave the pores to find a new skin follicle, meet a partner and mate. But a new study has found the mites could be facing a problem as their DNA is eroding, meaning they are close to extinction." The tiny mites that have sex on our faces have a problem. (For some reason, this makes me miss college.)

+ Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is changing its name to Kraft Mac and Cheese. Bold.

+ UCSD Offers First-Ever Surf Scholarship.