Reign Forest

The Druglord Saving the Amazon, The Last Taco Tuesday War

You can’t accuse the Colombian government under President Gustavo Petro of not seeing the forest through the trees. In fact, thanks to their policies, destruction of the Colombian Amazon is way down. That’s good for Colombia and it’s good for the planet. But sometimes, when looking at a forest, it pays to zoom in and see the trees. In this case, those details tell quite the story, which brings us to the man who decides what happens to the rainforest in Colombia. “Ivan Mordisco is a Colombian warlord with a cocaine empire and a bounty on his head. He is also doing more to protect the Amazon rainforest than almost anyone else on Earth.” Matthew Bristow in Bloomberg (Gift Article): A Cocaine Warlord Is Saving the Amazon With His Campaign of Terror. He may want to “preserve the jungle canopy that provides cover for his troop movements, and curb the development of big cattle ranches that could eventually threaten his grip.” He also may decide to unleash the chainsaws again. Drug lords, politics, the future of the planet … it’s a jungle out there.


Feeling Contractions

“For years, the town had a maternity ward that delivered as many as 350 babies every year – now it has nothing. The OB-GYN ward shut down this spring and doctors have been fleeing the state in a steady stream, seeking shelter in places where their work doesn’t put them at risk of criminal charges or big lawsuits.” No OB-GYNs left in town: what came after Idaho’s assault on abortion.


Whatcha Talkin bout Willis

John Eastman was among the first handful of Trump-connected defendants to turn themselves in at Fulton County Jail. Trump, who agreed to a $200,000 bond and other release conditions (including a STFU clause) is expected on Thursday. But behind the scenes, some Georgia GOP state politicians are still working to blow up the case (and the legal system in Georgia) with a commission that will soon have the power to sanction and even remove prosecutors. Trump’s Georgia allies search for ways to punish Fani Willis.

+ “It would be highly unusual for the boss to get involved and make a call like the one to Raffensperger … There’s no way Vincent (the Chin) Gigante would make that call. He’d have someone do it for him. But it’s Trump’s arrogance, his belief that he can do it better and successfully intimidate Raffensperger.” David Remnick in The New Yorker: The Mobster Cosplay of Donald Trump. (At this point, it seems more like DSM cosplay.)


Shell Game

“In July, Taco John’s, a Wyoming-based chain that operates almost 400 restaurants, gave up its right to the trademark in 49 states, which it had owned since 1989.” But there’s still one more claim to the Taco Tuesday trademark that Taco Bell has worked to liberate and place into the public domain. It’s in Jersey, on the shore, and the restaurant owner with two first names (Gregory Gregory) doesn’t seem to care que Taco Bell quiere. WaPo (Gift Article): At a Jersey Shore bar, Taco Tuesday’s soul lives on in a trademark. “It’s a custom that comes in the form of two hard-shell ground beef tacos with taco seasoning, lettuce, tomatoes and shredded cheddar cheese that Gregory’s serves with a spork in a red basket and sells for $3.50. And it has all happened under a trademark that Gregory, who amusingly doesn’t like tacos or Mexican food and hasn’t eaten a taco in decades, has owned for more than 40 years.” (A guy who doesn’t eat tacos vs a company that shouldn’t really be able to call what they sell tacos. Let’s just call today Tuesday and move on.)


Extra, Extra

Sight Unseen: “Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that have been blamed for nearsightedness: pregnancy, pipe smoking, brown hair, long heads, bulging eyes, too much fluid in the eyes, not enough fluid in the eyes, muscle spasms, social class … Ask people today and they’re likely to blame smartphones and video games. Before that, it was sitting too close to the television and reading under the covers with a flashlight. Those activities all come under the broad umbrella of ‘near work’—using your eyes to look at something close to your face—which had been the leading scapegoat for myopia for centuries.” The latest thinking is the problem has to do with not getting outdoors enough. Whatever it is, it’s getting worse. Wired: The World is Going Blind. Taiwan Offers a Warning, and a Cure.

+ There’s a Coup Sheriff in Town: “The sheriff is supposed to be protecting the public from evil … When your government is evil or out of line, that’s what the sheriff is there for, protecting them from that.” A right-wing sheriffs group that challenges federal law is gaining acceptance around the country.

+ Hell and High Water: “The incident is causing a political uproar, the latest in a long-running debate over how Hawaii’s water is doled out among the state’s competing interests — real estate companies, large farms, tourism facilities and residents.” NYT (Gift Article): Lahaina Fire Prompts a Shift in Maui’s Long-Running Water Fights. (The more the climate stresses the planet, the more water will become central to the fight.)

+ Cable Car Rescue: Incredible scenes as, “after a 14-hour ordeal, all eight people, including six children and two adults, who were stranded on a cable car dangling hundreds of feet over a valley in northwest Pakistan have been rescued.”

+ Can You Be More Pacific? “The case was a harbinger of China’s ambitions in the wider Pacific as well as its willingness to conduct investigations and project its police powers overseas, sometimes with little regard for local authorities. But the case also became a catalyst for Fiji to stand up to Beijing and assert its sovereignty.” WaPo: China hoped Fiji would be a template for the Pacific. Its plan backfired. (This effort has been repeated across the South Pacific.)

+ Cutter’s Curveball: “Has Wirecutter changed meaningfully since its inception in 2011? The people who helped build the site and write its most popular articles certainly think so.” Charlie Warzel in The Atlantic (Gift Article): What Happened to Wirecutter. (What happened to the whole damn internet?)

+ Keep Calm and Sha’Carri On: “I’m not back. I’m better.” Sha’Carri Richardson caps comeback by winning 100-meter title at worlds. “On a sultry Monday night a half-world away from where her problems began, the 23-year-old earned a gold medal at world championships in the biggest 100-meter race this side of the Olympics.”

+ It’s By Design: FastCo’s got a good list of the best designs of the year.


Bottom of the News

“The festival’s promoter, Billy McFarland — who pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced in October 2018 to six years in federal prison as a result of the original botched Fyre Festival — announced Sunday that the new festival’s sequence would be coming soon.” Fyre Festival 2 tickets are somehow on sale right now. (Documentary filmmakers are on high alert.)

+ “While animals can sometimes cause power outages, ‘fish are not on the list of frequent offenders,’ a company spokesperson said.” New Jersey community loses electricity after bird drops fish on to power lines.

+ “I need more friends. Or, specifically, I need more photos on social media where I’m posing with my friends. That’s what Lorie Stefanelli, a sorority recruitment consultant who trains girls on how to get into the toughest houses in the country, would recommend if I were an incoming freshman.” The consultants who get teens into elite sororities.

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