Friday, June 24th, 2022


And the Horse You Roe’d In On

It's been a strategy decades in the making. For years, we've witnessed a dramatic judicial shift to the right powered by Mitch McConnell's shady Supreme Court pick maneuvering. And thanks to the leak, we've known this decision was coming for weeks. And yet, it's arrival still lands like an epochal punch to gut. That's how it feels when a slow motion plot carried about by the minority takes the country in a direction the majority doesn't want to go. Sadly, this is not the end of a movement. Clarence Thomas already wrote that the Court "should reconsider" its past rulings on contraception access and same-sex marriage. The majority of Americans who see this as a giant step backwards need to pick themselves up of the canvas and start canvasing. This just went from a court issue to an election issue. And it's going to take a lot of votes to undo because, in addition to the courts, gerrymandering and voter restriction are the pillars of minority rule. Meanwhile, Roe is dead and states across the country are banning abortion as you read this. Here's the latest from NPR, WaPo, and the NYT.

+ Wired: "The national right to abortion pushed back the age of childbearing, increased college and workforce participation, and created economically stable families." Roe Stood for 49 Years. It Revolutionized Life for Women.

+ Jia Tolentino in The New Yorker: We're Not Going Back to the Time Before Roe. We're Going Somewhere Worse. "Support for abortion has never been higher, with more than two-thirds of Americans in favor of retaining Roe, and fifty-seven per cent affirming a woman's right to abortion for any reason. Even so, there are Republican officials who have made it clear that they will attempt to pass a federal ban on abortion if and when they control both chambers of Congress and the Presidency. Anyone who can get pregnant must now face the reality that half of the country is in the hands of legislators who believe that your personhood and autonomy are conditional—who believe that, if you are impregnated by another person, under any circumstance, you have a legal and moral duty to undergo pregnancy, delivery, and, in all likelihood, two decades or more of caregiving, no matter the permanent and potentially devastating consequences for your body, your heart, your mind, your family, your ability to put food on the table, your plans, your aspirations, your life." (The tragic election of 2016 was the earthquake that shook America to its core and the aftershocks just keep coming.)


The Justice League

"Meadows the next day even urged they look into a daft YouTube conspiracy theory that Italian satellites had changed votes. This was 'total insanity,' Donoghue said." (Everyone knows the Jewish Space Lasers shot down those Italian vote-changing satellites.) Donald Trump did everything he could to overthrow this election and he just about succeeded. Earlier in the week, we saw how a handful of poll workers and local leaders stood up for America. Yesterday, we heard how Trump-appointed officials at the Justice Dept did the same under an onslaught of pressure. (It's critical to understand that all of the damning testimony against Trump and his enablers is coming from GOP members and his own appointees.) WaPo (Gift Article): 5 takeaways from the Jan. 6 hearing on Trump's Justice Dept. plot, including who asked for pardons, and this simple fact: Everyone hates Jeff Clark.


Anatomy Lessons

"The success of product placement as a marketing strategy relies on the interplay between the suspended reality onscreen and the free market economy of the offscreen world. It became obvious just how powerful this exchange can be when a character on 'And Just Like That' had a heart attack while riding a Peloton — causing the real-life brand's stock to plunge. On the flip side, the breakfast brand Eggo was reinvigorated when it was featured on the show 'Stranger Things' as a key plot point in the series. (After some years of lagging sales, there was reportedly a 14 percent spike after the show's first season aired.)" NYT (Gift Article): Anatomy of a Product Placement. (This article really built up my thirst for knowledge and for a bottle of Gatorade Zero.)


Weekend Whats

What to Hear: I've been a fan of Soccer Mommy for a while and got the chance to hear her latest album a bit early. It's even better than expected. Start with the song, newdemo. Here's the album Sometimes, Forever on Spotify or your music streamer of choice. (I wonder if she goes by Football Mommy in Europe?)

+ What to Watch: Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow are great in The Old Man on FX and Hulu. Better to go into the first episode knowing nothing other than the fact that the dude abides.

+ What to Read: "It's not an everyday thing, the feeling; it hits him less and less as the bad old days—'the days when I was a lying degenerate,' John says, 'the days when I was a thieving, disgusting animal'—recede in his rearview. His new life of sobriety and repentance generally keeps him too busy to dwell on the past. But occasionally, when visited by certain sights or sounds, he feels a primal shudder unique to anyone who's spent years in the Federal Witness Protection Program, living a ghostly life of assumed identities and midnight relocations." Vanity Fair: John Franzese Jr. Flipped on One of History's Most Notorious Mobsters—His Father—And Lived to Tell the Tale. (Don Jr, it's doable!)


Extra, Extra

Good News, Bad News: "The European Union's decision to make Ukraine a candidate for EU membership offered war-weary Ukrainians a morale boost and hope of a more secure future Friday as the country's military ordered its fighters to retreat from a key city in the eastern Donbas region."

+ Sleeve Peeve: "Four years later, the puff sleeve still has its boot firmly on the neck of the American apparel market. If you have tried to buy any women's clothes this year, you already knew that—the sleeves are everywhere, at every size and price level, most of them stripped of the weirdness that made the originals compelling and ready to make you look like a milkmaid in the most boring way imaginable." The Atlantic's Amanda Mull on how tech and fast fashion have led us to this. Fashion Has Abandoned Human Taste. (I like to think I was ahead of the curve on this trend.)

+ Grilled Chicken Owners: "Last year, not even 24 months into its poultry experiment, Costco was the target of an undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals, which showed a Nebraska barn crowded with birds, some with open sores, sitting in their own feces because they were too top-heavy to walk." Costco violates animal welfare laws to sell $4.99 chicken, suit says. (The first clue was that it's a $4.99 chicken.)

+ Reinventing the Wheel: Toyota recalls its first electric cars amid fears the wheels could fall off. (So we're just gonna worry about every little thing...)

+ Swamp Thing: "Most bacteria are microscopic, but this one is so big it can be seen with the naked eye." World's biggest bacterium found in Caribbean mangrove swamp. (Text to wife: Honey, let's cancel the Caribbean mangrove swamp vacation.)


Feel Good Friday

It could have been even better, but let's pause and consider the fact that nearly 20 million lives were saved by COVID-19 vaccines during their first year.

+ Congress just passed the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades.

+ "The upcoming iOS 16 will help battle the growing problem of spam text messages. The latest beta includes the ability to report SMS messages as 'junk' to the user's wireless carrier." More than half of my messages are spam. The other half are donation requests from politicians.

+ The World's Fastest Electric Ferries are Coming to Stockholm.

+ Spray-on plant coating could replace wasteful plastic food wrap. And this: Ontario grower is fixing the 'most complained about' produce item: plastic-wrapped cucumbers.

+ The world's lowest parachute jump attempt.

+ Lol, jaja, xaxa, and all the other ways people laugh around the world. (With you, not at you.)

+ An Indian man has gone viral for his creation of a solar-powered car, a solo project 11 years in the making. (Maybe this guy can buy Twitter...)