May 24th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Elon Strange Power Trip

Ron DeSantis is set to officially launch his much anticipated presidential bid on … Twitter. It’s an odd direction for DeSantis. It’s a continuation of Twitter’s direction since Musk took over. From Slate: Ron DeSantis Is Launching His Campaign on Twitter With Elon Musk. Does That Make Him a Genius or an Idiot? I’d argue that this story is less about DeSantis (it really doesn’t matter where one makes an announcement about something that’s already been happening for years) and more about Elon Musk. Between hiring Tucker Carlson, hosting DeSantis, and the willy nilly spreading of conspiracy theories, Musk is turning Twitter into the new Fox News. Axios covers all the ways that Elon Musk has displaced Rupert Murdoch and Fox News as the king of conservative media in recent weeks. And as Charlie Warzel explains in The Atlantic (Free Article): Twitter Is a Far-Right Social Network. “The site itself has unquestionably transformed under his leadership into an alternative social-media platform—one that offers a haven to far-right influencers and advances the interests, prejudices, and conspiracy theories of the right wing of American politics.”

Yes, Twitter is becoming the modernized (and more extreme) version of Fox News. And yes, Elon is looking to become the modernized Rupert Murdoch. But it’s more than that. He wants to be the new Tucker Carlson, too. Murdoch was satisfied to pull the levers of power from the shadows. Like so many of his dopamine-jonesing Twitter customers, Elon craves the spotlight. It’s not just that Twitter is hosting the DeSantis announcement, Elon Musk himself will be part of the broadcast. DeSantis is the co-star in his own campaign launch.

Musk is the poster child for people who can’t stop posting. He’s a power broker for our era—one who operates not in the shadows but while taking a never-ending selfie. He’s the newsmaker and the news topic. He’s won the economy and the attention economy. But when it comes to this kind of dopamine-driven attention addiction, enough is never enough.


Star Spangled Book Banner

You know that massive parent-driven campaign that’s been sweeping the nation to protect our children from dangerous books? Well, it’s not the grass-roots movement you may have imagined. In fact, it’s largely driven by eleven people. WaPo (Gift Article): Objection to sexual, LGBTQ content propels spike in book challenges. “An analysis of book challenges from across the nation shows the majority were filed by just 11 people.” It’s worth noting that this small group of people is finding receptive audiences among the slack jawed mouth-breathing imbeciles who sit in judgement of authors like Toni Morrison. It’s so ludicrous that someone should write a book about it so they can ban that, too.

+ Small groups, big impact: Target pulls some LGBTQ

+ merchandise from stores ahead of June Pride month after threats to workers.

+ Based on a single complaint, “a K-8 school in Miami-Dade County restricted access to Amanda Gorman’s acclaimed poem ‘The Hill We Climb,’ which she read at President Biden’s inauguration, for elementary-aged students after a parent issued a formal complaint on the grounds that the poem was ‘not educational’ and included indirect ‘hate messages.'”


Walk This Way

We rightly complain about the negative aspects of technology. But we need to remember that it also offers much to celebrate. “A 40-year-old man whose legs are paralyzed is able to climb stairs, move over ramps and switch from standing to walking, thanks to implants in his brain and spinal cord that pair with external devices to translate his thoughts into movement.”


It’s a NoMad Mad Mad Mad World

“An influx of digital nomads into a neighborhood can distort the local economy. Seeking foreign cash, many cities invite this kind of visitor, but their arrival can skew the cost of living for residents.” Technology and the pandemic combined to create a generation of digital nomads who work from wherever they want. There are enough of them to have an impact on the places they settle down (before moving to the next place). Rest of World: When digital nomads come to town.


Extra, Extra

McCarthySchism: “The realization that the party might need to supply a sizable percentage of the House votes to avert an economically disastrous default — not to mention passage in the Democratic-controlled Senate — has increasingly shaped the White House’s negotiating strategy.” White House believes massive Dem bailout may be needed to pass debt ceiling compromise.

+ Facts in Black and White:From birth to death, Black Americans fare worse in measures of health compared to their white counterparts. They have higher rates of infant and maternal mortality, higher incidence of asthma during childhood, more difficulty treating mental health as teens, and greater rates of high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses. The Associated Press spent the past year exploring how the legacy of racism in America has laid the foundation for the health inequities that Black people face.”

+ You’ve Been Warned: “These types of public health advisories are infrequent, but sometimes become turning points in American life.” The NYT has an interesting look back at A Half-Century of Surgeon General Warnings. Most of the things they warned about were more than worthy of warnings.

+ Flight Cancel Culture: “France has banned domestic short-haul flights where train alternatives exist, in a bid to cut carbon emissions. The law came into force two years after lawmakers had voted to end routes where the same journey could be made by train in under two-and-a-half hours.”

+ Guyana School Disaster: WaPo: “A fire in a school dormitory in Guyana that killed 19 children was lit by a student after school authorities confiscated her cell phone.”

+ Tased and Confused? “Police said she was ‘armed’ with a steak knife. On Friday, they confirmed that she required a walking frame to move and the officer discharged his Taser after she began approaching ‘at a slow pace.'” 95-year-old woman Tasered by police in Australia dies.

+ Ice Cream of the Crop: Jimmy Carter, 3 months into hospice, is aware of tributes, enjoying ice cream. (Is there a better way to spend one’s twilight?)


Bottom of the News

“Whether you’ve flipped sizzling beef over a Korean barbecue, crunched down on a tangy piece of kimchi, or basked in the warm steam wafting off a bibimbap bowl, the experience is captivating. What you might not know, though, is that your meal likely came with a heaping side of government funds.” The $40m bet that made South Korea a food and cultural power.

+ A UK farm tests curbing greenhouse gases — by making sheep burp less.

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