Sitting on a Powder Keg

Back to School in the Age of Fentanyl

Every parent of teens and college students I know has had the talk with their kids. We know you might try alcohol or weed, but no powders or pills. This warning is now as much a part of the back to school ritual as shopping for clothes, binders, and notebooks. It’s one thing to break some rules or push one’s limits. It’s another thing to risk your life. This is back to school in age of fentanyl. NPR: As more teens overdose on fentanyl, schools face a drug crisis unlike any other. “Fentanyl was involved in the vast majority of all teen overdose deaths – 84% – in 2021, and the problem has been growing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl-related adolescent overdose deaths nearly tripled from 2019 to 2021. And nearly a quarter of those deaths involved counterfeit pills that weren’t prescribed by a doctor.”

+ “Fentanyl’s toll now includes a growing number of children. Desperate to keep the deadly synthetic opioid out of the hands of kids, Texas lawmakers enacted Tucker’s Law this summer to launch an education campaign about its dangers in middle and high schools. A world away politically, California lawmakers are considering Melanie’s Law, which would require schools to tackle opioid overdoses in their safety plans. Both measures are named for teenagers who are part of a rapidly swelling group: children dying of fentanyl overdoses.” Politico: Fentanyl is killing kids. State lawmakers are searching for answers.

+ And something to add to your back to school shopping list: “The first over-the-counter naloxone, a drug used to reverse opioid overdose, will be available in retail stores and online as soon as next week.”


Dog Days of Our New Summer

This is a really well-researched story about tick-borne diseases. It’s also a story about climate change. It’s also a story about who bears the brunt of these changes. WaPo (Gift Article): A deadly tick-borne epidemic is raging. Dogs are key to ending it.


We Built This City

“A mysterious company has spent $800 million in an effort to buy thousands of acres of San Francisco Bay Area land. The people behind the deals are said to be a who’s who of the tech industry.” NYT (Gift Article): The Silicon Valley Elite Who Want to Build a City From Scratch. All they have to do is get the land rezoned and the neighboring communities to agree in a state where getting a bathroom remodel approved can take a miracle.


Photo Op

“The man in question was John Verzi, who for six decades collected around 25,000 autographs and took more than 12,000 pictures of everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Brigitte Bardot to Jimi Hendrix and Alice Cooper. Then he disappeared. He ended up in a trailer park in Vegas, watching soap operas in the afternoon, playing casino slots at night.” The weird and wonderful life of L.A.’s most bizarre celebrity photographer. “When he died in 2018, Verzi was 83, alone and, according to friends, nearly broke. His nephew took his ashes to Malibu and scattered them along the ocean in a cove beyond Cher’s house.”


Extra, Extra

Idalia Update: “Idalia made landfall earlier Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast as a powerful Category 3 storm. It’s the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Big Bend region in more than 125 years, and it briefly intensified into a Category 4 hurricane before landfall.” Here’s the latest from CNN and AP. The ocean temps are so high in the area that they act as rocket fuel for the storm.

+ Tase Me, Bro: “Axon Enterprise is best known for its electroshock Taser device that immobilizes criminal suspects. Less familiar: what one-time staffers describe as an all-in culture, in which some felt pressed to be tased before onlookers, get permanently inked with company tattoos, or join a stock plan that left some in the lurch. Axon says it never pressures employees to do any of these things.” At Taser maker Axon, ex-staffers say loyalty meant being tased or tattooed. (And you thought your company was being mean for asking you to drop by the office once in a while.)

+ Rudy in Deep Doody: “Donning a cloak of victimization may play well on a public stage to certain audiences, but in a court of law this performance has served only to subvert the normal process of discovery in a straight-forward defamation case … The fact that Giuliani is a sophisticated litigant with a self-professed 50 years of experience in litigation — including serving as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York — only underscores his lackluster preservation efforts.” Rudy Giuliani is liable for defaming Georgia election workers, judge rules. (Of all the crimes these jerks committed, the defaming of two innocent Georgia election workers was the most heartless. May the damages meet the damage done.)

+ Pot Sticker: Bloomberg: US Health Officials Urge Moving Pot to Lower-Risk Category. Most people agree. I don’t think Biden is one of them.

+ News Flash: “Warner Bros. Discovery on Wednesday named Mark Thompson, the former New York Times Co. and BBC leader who has demonstrated a knack for guiding media into digital realms, as the latest executive to oversee CNN.” (Maybe they’ll go back to covering news! Seriously, look at this absolute nonsense CNN was covering last night.)

+ Comprehensive Coverage: “A Chicago television news crew reporting on a string of robberies ended up robbed themselves after they were accosted at gunpoint by three armed men wearing ski masks.”


Bottom of the News

“A U.S. judge has rejected Burger King’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit claiming that it cheated hungry customers by making its Whopper sandwich appear larger than it actually is.” Burger King must face lawsuit claiming its Whoppers are too small. Size isn’t the only thing that matters. But their technique is also poor.

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