Thursday, August 25th, 2022


Wolf Tickets

A group of conservationists has spent years trying to save Mexican Wolves from extinction—and doing so is an extremely hands-on job that involves transporting pups in backpacks, golf carts, trucks, and even planes. And these pups aren't traveling economy either. "In a private plane soaring 26,000 feet over pine-swathed mountains, three tawny Mexican wolf pups slept. Their weight was less than three pounds each, their 10-day-old eyes still screwed shut. Their worth, as some of the newest members of a critically endangered species, was immeasurable." WaPo (Gift Article) got a rare up-close view of the mission to reintroduce Mexican wolf pups to the wild this spring — one that involved dozens of humans in four states.

+ Sort of related: "Researchers in Japan say they have found that dogs produce tears when reuniting with their owners. What's more, the blubbing appears to be linked to levels of the 'bonding hormone' oxytocin." I wish my beagles would hormonally bond with tears instead of greeting me with hysterical barking while they slam their paws against my crotch. But the heart wants what the heart wants.


Care Package

"The new management filed for a license to admit higher-needs residents, who can be billed at higher rates through Medicare. The aquarium on the second floor disappeared. So, too, did the aviary. Residents' crafts were removed from the gift shop. No longer did the kitchen serve an eclectic variety of main dishes: turkey tetrazzini, salmon with lobster sauce, or Reuben sandwiches. Now residents were commonly given an option of ground beef. Some days, the kitchen was so short-staffed that the dining hall wasn't set up, and residents took meals alone in their rooms. The attentiveness of the nursing staff plummeted. Mary Cummings, a ninety-seven-year-old resident who had lived at St. Joseph's for six years, went seven days without a bath. Betty Zane Wingo, a ninety-four-year-old resident, went several months without having her hair washed. A resident who suffered from a severe lung disease told me that, one evening, her oxygen tube slipped out, and it took an hour and a half and a call to 911 to get it plugged back in." Then Covid hit and things got really bad. The New Yorker on what happens When Private Equity Takes Over a Nursing Home. Every family reaches that point when they realize it's time to move grandma into spreadsheet...


Put Your Lips Together and Crow

"Whistleblowers used to be underdogs, willing to ruin their lives in the pursuit of the truth, so that its revelation might serve the commons. Now they're more like corporate-espionage influencers, whose actions put attention-seeking and material gain before, or in place of, justice." Ian Bogost in The Atlantic on the accusations about Twitter security and why we even whistleblowers aren't what they used to be. Whistleblowing Is Broken.


Polarized Lens

We can pretend we have polarization in America because of genuine political differences. But most of the rage is based on lies—and those lies are systematically created by nefarious politicians and relentlessly delivered by Fox News and the right wing echo chamber. WaPo's (Gift Article) Dana Milbank looks at the anatomy of just one lie, this one about the IRS adding 87,000 armed agents. "The IRS certainly isn't adding 87,000 armed agents. It isn't even adding 87,000 agents. In fact, it's not even adding 87,000 employees. When you figure in attrition ... the expected increase in personnel would be more like 40,000, over the course of a decade — which would merely restore IRS staffing to around the 117,000 it had in 1990. Only about 6,500 of the new hires would be 'agents.' The rest would be customer-service representatives, data specialists and the like. And fewer than 1 percent of the new hires would be armed ... Such officers, who go after drug rings and Russian oligarchs, have been part of the IRS for more than a century."


Extra, Extra

Why We Can't Have Nice Things: The NYT on a homeless program that's actually working, and why it won't be coming to a city near you. Something Better Than a Tent for the Homeless. "The biggest obstacle to scaling such initiatives is politics. ‌Even though violent crime has risen across the ‌United States — and the homicide rate increased more in red states than blue — Republicans are using dramatic images of homelessness in cities like Seattle and San Francisco to claim that progressive approaches have failed. (Houston, in fact, has already housed more than 25,000 of its homeless people since 2011 using harm-reduction housing like JustCare does.) Democrats, on the defensive, pour more money into policing." (We're not about solving problems. We're about winning elections. Until those two things overlap, we're screwed.)

+ This is Terrible: "The small contingent of U.S. troops, linked arm-in-arm at times, attempted to hold back the masses. But the determined civilians broke through, with some boarding parked C-17 cargo planes without permission, and others climbing onto the outside of aircraft before takeoff only to fall to their death moments later. 'That's how desperate they were to get out of there,' said Army 1st Lt. Timothy Williams. 'It was one of those defining moments, I think, for everybody where it was just like, 'Wow, this is terrible.'" Dan Lamothe in WaPo with a very in-depth report on the disastrous pullout from Afghanistan: For U.S. troops who survived Kabul airport disaster, guilt and grief endure.

+ Keeping Up with the Joneses: "What sets Jones Day apart is the degree to which it penetrated the federal government under Trump and is now taking advantage of a judicial revolution that it helped set in motion. The power of that revolution, which is spreading to courtrooms and statehouses around the country, is now on vivid display." NYT: How a Corporate Law Firm Led a Political Revolution.

+ Monster Mash: Donald Trump doesn't seem too happy with the Senate Majority Leader. "Mitch McConnell is not an Opposition Leader, he is a pawn for the Democrats to get whatever they want. He is afraid of them, and will not do what has to be done. A new Republican Leader in the Senate should be picked immediately." (1.Create Monster 2. Fuel Monster 3. Appease Monster 4. Lose Control of Monster 5. Get Eaten By Monster.)

+ Deuces Wild: "When the two sets of siblings met in 2017 at — where else? — the annual Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, they all decided this could be their perfect match. The Deanes and the Salyerses spent a year dating, and when all four were sure they had found their match, they returned to the festival and got married right there, in matching outfits. And if that weren't enough, the two couples — who now live in a house they share in Bedford County, Va. — went back to the twins festival earlier this month, this time with their sons, born about five months apart." WaPo: These identical twins married identical twins. Now they have sons.


Bottom of the News

"Many users found its polite but presumptuous suggestions invasive, obnoxious, and creepy. Almost immediately, computer geeks and neophytes panned it. Microsoft banished it. Time labeled it one of the 50 worst inventions ever. But nearly three decades after its genesis at the Redmond tech giant, Clippit—better known as Clippy—improbably lives on." The Twisted Life of Clippy.