August 30th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

NYC Garbage School, Gravy Wrestling is Back

You may think you’re the type of person who gets irritated by the latest coffee flavor of the month. But trust me, no one is as grossed out by pumpkin spice lattes as the folks who load garbage trucks in NYC. If there’s a popular coffee flavor they know what it is because, as they tell it, no one in New York finishes a cup of coffee. And tossed half-full cups of coffee are just one of the liquids that makes up what NYC sanitation workers call, The Juice. Clio Chang in Curbed: I Went to Trash School. An education in ‘juice,’ how to protect your shins, and keeping 12,000 daily tons of garbage at bay. “I am standing alongside around a dozen other people, staring into the elephant’s hopper — the familiar gaping maw that workers feed trash bags — as it slowly closes shut with a satisfying clank. The hulking blade that compacts the trash moves in a single, sweeping motion. We watch with quiet concentration. Over the sound of the rusty metal, the man operating the truck, in black sunglasses and a crew cut, yells: ‘Garbage goes in, then what goes out?” In unison, we respond: ‘Juice!'”


Can You Dig It?

“Hiding a thousand feet below the earth’s surface in this patch of northern Minnesota wetlands are ancient mineral deposits that some view as critical to fueling America’s clean energy future.” NYT (Gift Article): This Remote Mine Could Foretell the Future of America’s Electric Car Industry. And it turns out that the quest for new energy has a lot in common with the quest for old energy. “Some locals are fighting the mine, for fear it could pollute their environment. The pushback hints at how difficult it may be to build an all-American supply chain that powers the country’s transition to electric vehicles.”


Lost in the Flood

You think we’ve had some bad floods in America? Take a look at what’s happening in Pakistan. The scope is hard to even imagine. “Flash floods over the weekend left one-third of Pakistan submerged from weeks of heavy rains, compounding an already difficult set of political and economic crises in the country. The catastrophic flooding has affected 33 million people, about 15 percent of the population, according to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority. More than 1,130 people have been killed since June’s monsoon season began, and at least 75 died in the past day. There has been $10 billion of damage and an estimated 1 million homes wrecked.” The flooding in Pakistan is a climate catastrophe with political roots.

+ Pakistan floods caused by ‘monsoon on steroids.’


Banana Republic(an)

“If there’s a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information,’ said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham on Fox News, there will be ‘riots in the streets.'” WaPo: Lindsey Graham’s vile ‘riots’ threat gives away Trump’s game. (From the Proud Boys to Jan 6, Trumpism is all about violence and the threat of more violence. Lindsey Graham is a participant in this trend, even if it’s not scary when he does it.)

+ I’ve been making a similar point for months, but Shay Khatiri sums up this point really well. “Prosecuting a former politician with cause for crimes he might have committed is a sign of political health, not institutional weakness. More than that: Letting powerful people go without consequences for their misdeeds purely because you fear the power of their populist movement is anti-democratic. It’s exactly the kind of weakness that both exposes banana republic status and exacerbates it.” Can I get an amen!?

+ More than 40% of Americans think civil war likely within a decade. (Better idea: Vote for pro democracy candidates.)


Extra, Extra

Strip Search: “‘In this environment of fentanyl, it’s a whole different ballgame, compared to when I started going to parties 27 years ago,’ said a 43-year-old tech company manager from Brooklyn. She said she methodically tests her stash before going out, using strips she bought from DanceSafe, a nonprofit group.” The deadly fentanyl scourge has become so risky that cocaine users are using fentanyl test strips before they sniff. NYT: Fentanyl Test Strips Are ‘Catching On’ Among Cocaine Users. And, Marijuana use is outpacing cigarette use for the first time on record. (I can’t take all the credit for that…)

+ Alito the Line: “Some baby boomers were permanently shaped by their participation in the countercultural protests and the antiwar activism of the nineteen-sixties and seventies. Others were shaped by their aversion to those movements. Justice Samuel Alito belongs to the latter category. For many years, he lacked the power to do much about that profound distaste, and in any case he had a reputation for keeping his head down.” Well, his head is up now. The New Yorker: Justice Alito’s Crusade Against a Secular America Isn’t Over.

+ And the Norse You Rode in On: Archeological melts are the new archeological digs. The latest find: Prehistoric Viking weapons in Norway.

+ Gator Aid: “When he turns his nose toward you, that means he expects a kiss.” His emotional support animal is an alligator. They sleep in the same bed. (The good news about having an alligator as an emotional support animal is no one tells you you’re not allowed to go somewhere with your emotional support animal.)


Bottom of the News

“Pub restaurant manager Carol Lowe said it was ‘amazing to be back.'” Maybe the pandemic is finally over because the World Gravy Wrestling Championships have returned after two-year break.

+ If you’re on a low carb diet, try Highway Marinara.

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