Thursday, September 8th, 2022


Queen Taken

"Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years. Her family gathered at her Scottish estate after concerns grew about her health earlier on Thursday. The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social change. With her death, her eldest son Charles, the former Prince of Wales, will lead the country in mourning as the new King and head of state for 14 Commonwealth realms." BBC: Queen Elizabeth II has died. You undoubtedly heard this news before receiving this missive from me as phones and computers around the world were hit with a barrage of notifications linking to pre-written articles. Everything about royalty is strange, not the least of which is the public obsession with it.

+ "Elizabeth, who died on September 8th at ninety-six, led a life made up of privilege and sacrifice, and even those who resented the former acknowledged the latter." Rebecca Mead in The New Yorker: The Reign of Queen Elizabeth II Has Ended.

+ What a run. Here's a timeline of her life and a look at her life in pictures. And from flags to coins (and I suppose Netflix shows), a lot will change. It will take some time. Cash, stamps and flags: how royal symbols will change after Queen.

+ "The 20th century saw monarchs across Europe monarchs deposed or exiled or executed. Elizabeth grew up surrounded by royal relatives fleeing their home countries amid the chaos of World War II and taking refuge in England. But under her reign, Britain's monarchy didn't only survive. It continued to be downright popular — and specifically, so was she." Vox: The subtle power of Queen Elizabeth II's reign.

+ NY Mag: Queen Elizabeth Was the First Monarch We Thought We Knew. "Crowned at the dawn of the TV age, she was defined by her distance as much as her ubiquity." The Queen is no more. But the show will go on.

+ What's happening at Balmoral is anything from improvised. The Guardian: 'London Bridge is down': the secret plan for the days after the Queen's death.


Holy Sh*t

"A federal judge in Fort Worth agreed Wednesday with a group of Christian conservatives that Affordable Care Act requirements to cover HIV prevention drugs violate their religious freedom." The decision actually threatens many other types of preventative care as well, but religion vs behaviors religious people don't agree with is the focus of the case—and it should be your focus as well. "In the complaint, Hotze said he is unwilling to pay for a health insurance plan for his employees that covers HIV prevention drugs such as Truvada and Descovy, known generally as PrEP, 'because these drugs facilitate or encourage homosexual behavior, which is contrary to Dr. Hotze's sincere religious beliefs.'" This is part of an ongoing holy war that is taking place in America. For decades, only one side has been fighting. That's why we're living with today's SCOTUS makeup. It's why so many religious Christians support Trump. That unholy relationship is purely transactional, as was Trump's entire presidency. Trump's superpower was having no hardened opinions and no steadfast positions. You offer your support for him, and you get his support for what you want. Vice President Mike Pence knew exactly what the religious right segment of the base wanted, and he delivered Trump's speeches, tweets, signatures, and judges. And through the judiciary, that deal is still delivering.


Euro Crash

In America, one political side is determined to blame the other for all the current economic woes, conveniently ignoring the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine. But the fact is that things are even worse in other places, especially in Europe, where economic Winter is coming. NYT (Gift Article): Shock Waves Hit the Global Economy, Posing Grave Risk to Europe. "The threat to Europe's industrial might and living standards is particularly acute as policymakers race to decouple the continent from Russia's power sources."


Ampere Alert

Over the past few days, California's blast furnace weather conditions shattered records. So how did the state keep the grid operating? They sent out a text message. A text asked millions of Californians to save energy. They paid heed, averting blackouts. (Someone should have texted everyone about climate change a few decades ago...)


Extra, Extra

America's Pastime: "We had nine years for this to not happen again. And yet it did. And now these kids are going to have to go through the same exact thing. That's just, like, heartbreaking." The survivors who were able to walk out of Sandy Hook Elementary School nearly a decade ago want to share a message of hope with the children of Uvalde, Texas. (America, folks.)

+ Oh Hail No "Hailstones of record size are falling left and right, and hailstorm damage is growing. But there is surprisingly little research to explain why." NYT (Gift Article): The Hunt for Big Hail.

+ Bannon Fodder: "Bannon was indicted on six counts, including two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy. The charges were brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg." Steve Bannon surrenders to N.Y. authorities on 'Build the Wall' money-laundering charges. From Bannon: "I have not yet begun to fight. They will have to kill me first." (What? I'm totally smiling about something else...)

+ Alcarazmataz: Last night, when the Carlos Alcaraz v Jannik Sinner US Open match was 2-2 in the first set, I texted my sister: "This could be an epic match." More than five hours later, when it was nearly 3am in New York, that prediction looked pretty solid. I watched it and I still can't believe what I saw, even aside from the behind the back shot. If this is the future of men's tennis, bring it on. Carlos Alcaraz prevails over Jannik Sinner in latest ever US Open finish.


Bottom of the News

"If you looked out your front window and saw a squirrel stretched out spread-eagle and motionless on your lawn, you'd likely think it met some untimely end. Really, though, it's probably just splooting." And if your weather has been anything like mine lately, you've probably tried it, too. Bay Area squirrels are splooting amid recent heat wave.

+ Finally, happy birthday to my virtual officemate and part time proofer, RD, who I've known since we were neighbors and treehouse hooligans on the mean streets of San Rafael.