Friday, September 16th, 2022


Last Call

"'New York City 911,' the emergency dispatcher answered. 'Do you need police, fire or medical?' 'I need police — 312 Riverside Drive,' the caller said in a hushed voice. 'The lady in Room 340 on the third floor is cutting herself. She's mentally ill. She's buck naked and she's mentally ill and she's cutting herself with a razor.' The dispatcher asked follow-up questions and assured the man: 'Help is on the way' ... Again and again, police officers had raced to the tree-lined block of the Upper West Side, between West 103rd and 104th Streets. Firefighters and paramedics met them there. But the responses all ended the same way: The emergency vehicles turned and left, their sirens off. The police, over time, stopped responding to the calls at all. Because there is no 312 Riverside Drive." Michael Wilson in the NYT with a touching and frustrating story of mental illness in the big city where the system just isn't built to cope with it. It's a story that's both uniquely New York and strikingly familiar to anyone who's ever experienced or encountered mental illness. The Mystery Behind the Crime Wave at 312 Riverside Drive. (Gift Article)


You’ve Got the Brains, I’ve Got the Ron

Let's take a moment and consider the deep depravity of Ron DeSantis' plot to fly a group of migrants to Martha's Vineyard in an effort to own the libs. First, these are real families who are not here illegally, but who are going through legal channels to apply for asylum. Second, the migrants who were flown to Martha's Vineyard this week were not transported from the state DeSantis governs, but from Texas. No, you're not reading that wrong. DeSantis used Florida taxpayer money to pick up families in San Antonio and fly them to Martha's Vineyard. Third, "in the hours after roughly 50 migrants touched down on Martha's Vineyard in two planes sent by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the island's community – still jarred by the unexpected arrival – rushed to help the newcomers."

+ Maybe the saddest part of all this is that DeSantis assumes (probably correctly) that this callous stunt will be perceived as a winning move among his core base. He gets credit for being a piece of garbage, but he gets no points for originality. We've seen this racist crap before. The Martha's Vineyard migrant flight has echoes of a dark past: Reverse Freedom Rides.


Grave Sight

"One grave at a time, teams of criminal investigators dressed in plastic blue overalls dug up the loose brown soil and then lifted the body inside out with their gloved hands, searching the pockets for any documents. Most were unidentifiable: after pulling a corpse out of grave 124, investigators wrote only 'woman' on the white body bag that she was then zipped inside." A mass burial site with 445 bodies outside Izyum shows evidence of war crimes. This is one of many crimes against humanity committed by Putin. Will he ever be held to account?


Weekend Whats

What to Book: I've been waiting a long time to share this one with you. In addition to being a great person, Dahlia Lithwick has established herself as one of the most reflective, lucid, and insightful journalists covering the Supreme Court and other law-related stories. Her book, Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America is hot off the presses and it's exactly as fast-paced, informative, and inspiring has Lithwick's legion of fans expect it to be. I've probably linked to as many of Dahlia's stories as any other journalist over the years, so this is a must-read for NextDraft readers. It's the right story being covered by the right person at the right time. Also, I may have suggested that NextDraft could move more books than Fresh Air and the Maddow show, so let's get to ordering. Get it from Amazon, Bookshop, or Audible. It's a gem by a gem!

+ What to Hear: In Here to Forever, a single from Death Cab for Cutie's brand new album, Ben Gibbard sings, "In every movie I watch from the '50s / There's only one thought that swirls Around my head now / And that's that everyone there on the screen ... Well, they're all dead now." It's a classic line that instantly defines a common feeling we experience as we get older. The band's new album hits many of these notes by taking aim at our communal experiences such as living through the pandemic. Add that to one of the best voices out there, and it's a winner. Check out Asphalt Meadows.


Extra, Extra

Now Hear This: "Not only will a booster with the new vaccines decrease the likelihood of infection and severe illness and help reduce transmission of the virus; it could also decrease the likelihood of developing long Covid." Zeynep Tufekci in the NYT (Gift Article): There's Terrific News About the New Covid Boosters, but Few Are Hearing It.

+ West's Side Story: "Despite its celebrity founder, curiosity about the school, flashy visits from celebrities, and West's plans to open up campuses across the country alongside a Donda University, the school has shared little information about its academics beyond what's on its sparse website ... The academy's website merely notes that students' daily schedule includes 'full school worship; core classes of language arts, math, and science; lunch and recess; enrichment courses including World Language, Visual Art, Film, Choir, and Parkour.'" Rolling Stone: What the Hell Is Going on at Kanye West's Mysterious New Private School?

+ Stumps and Rumps: Scorecard grades toilet paper brands in terms of climate change impact. "The average American consumer will go through the equivalent of 384 trees just for toilet paper in the course of a lifetime."

+ Floppy Drive: A Chat With the Last Person Standing in the Floppy Disk Business.


Feel Good Friday

"Five people with severe autoimmune disease have become the first in the world to receive a groundbreaking therapy that uses genetically altered cells to drive the illness into remission." Scientists hail autoimmune disease therapy breakthrough.

+ Ian Mackay was paralyzed 14 years ago in a bike accident, but he's come to see there's happiness in finding new ways to experience old loves. In his case, that meant getting back on the road, in a record-setting way.

+ A fundraiser for an Iowa teen who was a victim of human trafficking and convicted of killing her rapist, has easily surpassed the $150,000 restitution fee she was ordered to pay his family. (It's still a sick story.)

+ SF Chronicle: Bay Area swimmer crushes 27-mile ocean route from S.F. to Half Moon Bay. (On the next day, I pedaled my kayak under the Golden Gate Bridge which is the middle-aged Jewish male equivalent of swimming to Half Moon Bay.)

+ NYT: 5 Russian Bullets Dashed an Opera Singer's Dreams. Then He Reclaimed His Voice.

+ ‘The craziest thing ever on ice': teenager Malinin lands first quad axel in history.

+ Chick-fil-A employee praised for saving woman and baby during carjacking.

+ ‘I've Played More Games Than Barry Bonds': Meet Home Run Hunter ‘McCovey Cove Dave'.