Wednesday, July 6th, 2022


Battle of the Midway

The divide is America's everything story. The most prominent is the political divide, which is driven in part by the economic divide. But the divide that doesn't get enough coverage is the geographic divide. We live increasingly separate lives and the absence of real life interaction leaves a vacuum that can be filled with political bile and false characterizations by those with an interest in maintaining the division. Let's head to Nashville for an example of a divide that cuts across a few lines. "Like many other Americans, Nashville residents are increasingly being buffeted by economic tides that push them into neighborhoods that are either much richer or much poorer than the regional norm ... In Nashville, the share of families living in middle-class neighborhoods dropped by 15 percentage points between 1990 and 2020. But the portion of families in wealthy ones jumped by 11 points, and the segment living in poor neighborhoods grew by four points." NYT (Gift Article): The Shrinking of the Middle-Class Neighborhood. (What we're experiencing is a shrinking of the middle of everything except the middle finger we hold up towards one another.)


What a Fuel Believes

"In Nigeria, stylists use the light of their cellphones to cut hair because they can't find affordable fuel for the gasoline-powered generator. In Britain, it costs $125 to fill the tank of an average family-size car. Hungary is prohibiting motorists from buying more than 50 liters of gas a day at most service stations. Last Tuesday, police in Ghana fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators protesting against the economic hardship caused by gas price increases, inflation and a new tax on electronic payments." The gas prices and inflation that have some American politicians pointing fingers at each other is not just a domestic issue (not that we ever let reality interrupt our political discourse). NYT (Gift Article): Skyrocketing Global Fuel Prices Threaten Livelihoods and Social Stability.

+ Barry Ritholtz: Who Is to Blame for Inflation.


Accurate Forecast?

Wired: "The Limits to Growth" argued that rampant pollution and resource extraction were pushing Earth to the brink. How does it hold up 50 years later? Here's one of the authors on today's, uh, climate. "Politically, at the level of corporations, at the official level, things are going pretty much in the wrong direction. Culturally, below the line, my bet is that a lot of things are happening in the good direction. The human revolution is already happening—it's just that we don't see it. And maybe it's good that we don't see it yet, until the very moment where it makes a lot of things shift."


Crony Testimony

Things come in bunches. Pat Cipollone, Donald Trump's former White House counsel who warned against all the crimes Trump was pushing, will finally testify (behind closed doors but videotaped) to 1/6 panel. Trump's former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews "resigned in the wake of the deadly Capitol riot, saying she was 'deeply disturbed' by the events and urging a 'peaceful transfer of power' in a statement at the time." Matthews is set to testify at the next public hearing. In Georgia, the "prosecutor investigating the conduct of former President Donald Trump and his allies after the 2020 election is subpoenaing U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and other members of Trump's campaign legal team to testify before a special grand jury." In the NY case, Jennifer Weisselberg is set to testify in a trial against the Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg. And as I've suggested a few times before, you can be damn sure Trump is going to announce a run for President very soon. It's lot easier to push the witch hunt nonsense and scare people from testifying if he's a candidate.


Extra, Extra

Boorish Johnson: Many of his own cabinet ministers are resigning and or telling Boris Johnson it's time to step down. Of course, he's not doing it because power and narcissism go hand in hand these days. Here's the latest on boorish Boris.

+ Kill Everyone? Sure, Here are Your Weapons: This lede from WaPo is one more clear example of just how crazy our gun laws are: "The Illinois State Police confirmed on Tuesday that the father of the Highland Park parade shooting suspect sponsored his son's application for a gun permit months after relatives reported that [the killer] had threatened to 'kill everyone,' and that authorities had 'insufficient basis' to deny the application." America has a lifetime to try to explain its gun addiction and pathetic leadership to Aiden McCarthy. He's two years old and both his parents were blown to bits in Highland Park.

+ Club Mystery: "The deaths of 21 teenagers in a nightclub tragedy is a crime and South African officials must increase steps to prevent alcohol from being illegally sold to youths, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Wednesday." (Officials are calling out alcohol sales, but so far, no one has any idea what killed these kids.)

+ Your Eggs Are Done: "The California Department of Fish and Wildlife's lengthy investigation involved tracking one San Francisco suspect's phone calls and installing a GPS device on his truck." Authorities went to great lengths to stop a Bay Area caviar black market crime ring.

+ Sole Man: "Bruce was the first person, in an era of leather-soled shoes, to have the foresight to understand the concept of building footwear for walking and comfort ... From that inspiration, the whole rubber-soled shoe business really developed." NYT: Bruce Katz, Pioneer of the Walking Shoe, Is Dead at 75. (Great guy from Marin. Sorry to hear this news.)

+ Adding Injury to Insult: "The law will be reexamined in three years to determine if it's impacting freedom of expression — a concern raised by critics of the bill. Proponents said it was necessary to slow cyberbullying in the country." Japan to start jailing people for online insults. (So if you have a Twitter account, better stay out of Japan.)


Bottom of the News

"A huge fight that took place among a crowd of passengers aboard the Carnival Magic was allegedly ignited by allegations of cheating." Alleged Threesome Led To 60-Person Brawl On Carnival Cruise. Well, you always wondered what would make people want to go on a cruise, especially during the pandemic. Now you know.

+ What Is Gentleminions? Or Why Teens Are Wearing Suits to Minions: The Rise of Gru. (If you can get teens to wear suits, you're an artistic genius.)

+ I love watching YouTube videos from audiophiles describing equipment and trends. John Darko is by far the best. And this is a really interesting look at audio trends for anyone who is into music. Is this the future of hi-fi? (I think it might be).