Thursday, July 14th, 2022


Tangled Up in Blue

Let's kick off this edition with the 1995 story of a Black undercover police officer named Michael Cox who was chasing a shooting suspect in Boston when he was hit from behind by another cop on scene. "Several police officers punched and kicked him after Cox fell to the ground, beating him until he fell unconscious. After realizing Cox was actually one of them, the officers ran away. Cox spent six months recovering from the beating, according to the Boston Globe. His attempts to report what happened to him and figure out who was responsible resulted in years of harassment from his fellow officers, including slashed tires and late night telephone calls to family members." Why focus on a case of police brutality that took place nearly three decades ago? Because Michael Cox was just named as the new Commissioner of the Boston Police Department. Cox encountered the blue wall of silence and he climbed right over it.

+ Boston Globe: Michael Cox named new Boston police commissioner.


The Rape of American Decency

It's almost impossible to make a story about the rape of a 10 year-old girl in our new era of draconian abortion laws worse, but sick politicians and fake news outlets managed to do just that. After Biden mentioned the case of the 10 year-old who had to cross state lines to get an abortion, seditious liar and silent collegiate sex abuse witness Jim Jordan tweeted, "Another lie. Anyone surprised?" News outlets called the story into question as well, that is until an Ohio man was been charged with the rape. "In the weeks leading up to the arrest, prominent right-wing pundits and government officials attempted to discredit the story as a liberal pro-abortion fantasy." This seems about as low as people can go, but as we've learned over the past several years, there is no bottom. Seriously, you might want to take anti-nausea medication before reading this. Republican AG says he'll investigate Indiana doctor who provided care to 10-year-old rape victim. "Indiana's Republican attorney general said on Wednesday that his office planned to investigate the Indiana doctor who helped a 10-year-old rape victim who crossed state lines to have an abortion. Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Indianapolis, has told multiple outlets that she provided care to the 10-year-old after a child abuse doctor in Ohio contacted her. The child was six weeks and three days into the pregnancy, Bernard said. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, a wave of state-level abortion restrictions took effect, including in Ohio, a state that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest." Our country has been turned into an insane asylum run in large part by particularly cruel religious fanatics.


Under the Influencer

"At first glance, the posts appeared to have nothing in common. A Philadelphia-area attorney who proffers financial advice urged her 1,700 Twitter followers to sign up for a credit union. A 23-year-old climate activist in Texas rallied her 49,000 fans on TikTok and Instagram to join a mailing list promoting Democrats in statewide offices. A physical therapist for the elderly in Florida prodded her 3,900 Instagram followers to sign a petition demanding that Congress pass paid medical leave ... Even though none of the people reading these posts knew it, however, they were all made possible by the same company: Urban Legend, a small ad-tech startup operating out of a loft in Alexandria, Virginia." Wired: Meet the Lobbyist Next Door. "Here's the irony of this whole thing ... Urban Legend is relying upon precisely the same thing—trust—that it is arguably destroying." (Don't worry. They'll destroy irony too.)


KC and the Strychnine Band

If the current trend holds, LA residents could face a new mask mandate by the end of the month. The minor inconvenience of wearing a mask in crowded indoor settings could probably stave off broader mandates, but that behavior isn't happening at scale. Katherine J. Wu in The Atlantic: The BA.5 Wave Is What COVID Normal Looks Like. "Pathogens don't spread or transform without first inhabiting hosts. But with masks, distancing, travel restrictions, and other protective measures almost entirely vanished, 'we've given the virus every opportunity to keep doing this.'"

+ Politico: Low demand for young kids' Covid vaccines is alarming doctors.

+ "A whopping 10 players on the Royals' roster are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and will not be able to enter Canada for the Blue Jays series."

+ Related to a few of today's stories: Americans' trust in major institutions reaches a new low.


Extra, Extra

Enduring Legacy: This interesting piece from the NYT (Gift Article) suggests that SCOTUS getting rid of affirmative action could impact the extent to which elite colleges can favor alumni children. "The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments this fall about race-conscious admissions policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. If the court ends or rolls back the widely used practice of considering race in selecting students, as many experts expect, the ruling could prompt a reconsideration of legacy applicants. Explicitly favoring the children of alumni — some of whom would be competitive applicants regardless because of socioeconomic advantages — would become harder to defend if racial preferences are no longer allowed." (Trust me, this court will find a way to thread the needle.)

+ Nuclear Family Conflict: "I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome." ... "The only thing that will stop Iran is knowing that if they continue to develop their nuclear program the free world will use force." Biden, Lapid agree to stop Iran nuke program, differ on how.

+ The Fall in Rome: Italian PM Mario Draghi offers resignation after coalition falls apart. "European Union Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, who is himself a former Italian prime minister, said earlier the EU's executive was watching developments in Rome 'with due detachment, but with worried astonishment.'" (That's my mindset every time I open my laptop.)

+ Scam Spam: "She's fielding up to 20 spam phone calls every day on her mobile phone, adding to her already sky-high levels of stress. Since her diagnosis in August 2019, the number of scam attempts has shot up while the topics have gotten strangely specific, including Medicare or senior benefits. 'I've gotten some calls about funeral insurance. That kind of bums me out ... I've got cancer, but you don't have to rub it in.'" The nonstop scam economy is costing us more than just money.

+ Money Pit: "I have an obligation to return my resources to society in ways that have the greatest impact for reducing suffering and improving lives. And I hope others in positions of great wealth and privilege will step up in this moment too." Bill Gates vows to drop off world's rich list. (Beats vowing to buy Twitter...)

+ Selfie Sticks: Van Gogh self-portrait found hidden behind another painting. "The self-portrait was found on the back of Van Gogh's 'Head of a Peasant Woman' when experts at the Edinburgh gallery took an X-ray of the canvas ahead of an upcoming exhibition ... Van Gogh was known for turning canvases around and painting on the other side to save money." (If only he had gotten into the NFT biz...)


Bottom of the News

Anchovies are reportedly raining from the sky across San Francisco. "Local fishers and researchers are blaming seabirds that, because of an explosion in the anchovy population off the coast of the Bay Area, now have more fish than they know what to do with." In other words, they're unable to hold the anchovies.

+ Ed Yong in The Atlantic: How to Successfully Smash Your Face Against a Tree. "A new study refutes the widespread idea that woodpeckers have shock-absorbing heads."

+ "A family's beloved pet cat that's been dodging airport personnel, airline employees, and animal experts since escaping from a pet carrier at Boston's Logan International Airport about three weeks ago was finally caught Wednesday."

+ "I Tried 21 Flavors of Mountain Dew For Some Reason."