No Middle Ground in Middle East: There are a lot of international calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. But the key decision makers, Netanyahu’s increasingly fanatical right wing government and the murderous monsters of Hamas who started the war, both have reasons to keep things going. Here’s a great explainer from Tom Friedman on MSNBC. The biggest challenge for the Pentagon (and lot of other defense departments) is trying to keep things from spreading. With each strike, fears grow that Israel, the US and Iran’s allies are inching closer to all-out war.

+ Get Back to Normal, Stat! Congress isn’t normal. Scotus isn’t normal. Depending on the election, the White House is in danger of being dangerously abnormal. But at least the Pentagon is normal. Oh wait… Lawmakers demand answers after Defense Secretary Austin delayed disclosing his hospitalization. The president wasn’t the only one in the dark. The Pentagon’s 2nd in command was not informed of defense secretary’s hospitalization.

+ Absent Minded: When my daughter is absent, her school emails me. And texts me. And calls me. This seems a bit a much, until you consider that “absenteeism has nearly doubled since the pandemic.” ProPublica: Skipping School: America’s Hidden Education Crisis.

+ The Blessing of Cursive: As of this week, cursive handwriting is mandatory in California’s elementary schools. And it’s far from the only state putting education back into students’ hands. More States Require Schools to Teach Cursive Writing. Why?

+ Platform Diving: Casey Newton on Substack’s remarkably offensive decision to keep monetizing Nazis on its platform. Why Substack is at a crossroads. If the decision isn’t reversed, like Casey, I’ll be looking for a new place to host my newsletter.

+ You’ve Got Me Fitting Bricks: “Stacked like conventional cinderblocks and hammered into place, the blocks are a streamlined alternative to constructing buildings out of wood, concrete, and steel.” It only took 11 people to build this Lego-like apartment complex in Florida.

+ Foster Freeze: “For all her cheerleading of gen Z, Foster isn’t above being irritated by them. ‘They’re really annoying, especially in the workplace. They’re like, ‘Nah, I’m not feeling it today, I’m gonna come in at 10.30am.’ Or, like, in emails, I’ll tell them this is all grammatically incorrect, did you not check your spelling? And they’re like, ‘Why would I do that, isn’t that kind of limiting?'” Jodie Foster on beauty, bravery, and raising feminist sons.