No Strings Attached
Back in the Paddle Again, Reimplementing Poverty
During the summers of my middle school years, my dad would drop me off at a tennis clinic at 7am. He'd then return to the courts to play a few sets after work and we'd both head home at around 7pm. During the intervening hours, I was theoretically becoming a great tennis player. Mostly though, our crew spent those hours playing ping pong, exchanging cassette tapes, gambling on backgammon games, ordering snacks using our club membership numbers, and on occasion, getting driven by one of the older kids up to a kid named Jimmy's house where we'd spend hours playing another racket sport that no one but us seemed to have ever even heard of. While we were behind on our tennis progression, we were ahead of our time when it came to pickleball, a sport now sweeping the country by storm and becoming so big that the already shrinking tennis community is justifiably worried it may drop a deuce on the love anyone still has for the game. In Pickleball, the Kitchen is a slang term for the Non-Volley Zone. And these days, if you can't stand the heat, you better stay out of it. Pickleball, in just about every way, is hot as hell. "There exist two international—feuding—governing bodies ... And two domestic professional tours ... Meanwhile, a pair of competing Texas-based billionaires seem poised to go to the mattresses over the sport. All of this against a backdrop of well-founded angst among the tennis set that pickleball is usurping both its real estate and its participants." John Walters in Sports Illustrated: Inside the Fight Over the Fastest-Growing Sport in America.
2. Broke Back Accountin'
"The economic impact of the expanded child tax credit was profound. According to one analysis by researchers at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy, the payments immediately lifted 3 million children out of poverty ... Advocates for the policy hoped that the program would be extended, possibly as part of President Joe Biden’s bigger social and environmental spending proposal, Build Back Better. But Republican senators were uniformly opposed to Build Back Better, as was Sen. Joe Manchin, who said he specifically couldn’t support extending the expanded child tax credit due to its lack of a work requirement and its price tag ... The effects of the expanded tax credit’s expiration were just as stark as its introduction: Child poverty increased 41 percent the first month after the credit expired." Vox: The profound impact of giving American families a little more cash. The insanely wide economic divide is the core issue that underpins all of our other issues. The idea that, in the face of this chasm, it's the poor who are getting an unfair advantage is so ridiculously risible that laughing oneself to death may soon pass starving in America's morbidity ranking.
3. The Rot Thickens
"To see candidates running on a platform of lies and conspiracy theories about our elections as a campaign position, to see a former President getting involved in endorsing in down-ballot races at the primary level, and certainly to see this kind of systemic attacks on our elections, this spreading of disinformation about our elections – we’ve never seen anything like this before as a country." Ron Brownstein breaks it down. Election deniers want to control the 2024 election. And they’re getting closer.
+ Slate: Clarence and Ginni Thomas Are Telling Us Exactly How the 2024 Coup Will Go Down. "What Thomas was emailing was a prefabbed piece of legal advocacy ... It’s actually a theory underlying the subversion of an entire presidential election. It’s also a theory her husband has endorsed as a matter of constitutional law. It didn’t work in 2020 because the legal and political structures to support it weren’t in place at the time. Those pieces are being put into place as we type this."
+ 61% of Trump voters agree with idea behind 'great replacement' conspiracy theory.
4. Face the Face
"Documents describe her son as having 'strong religious leanings' because he doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke. As a result, he was jailed for 10 years on terrorism charges. But she appears on a list of 'relatives of the detained' - among the thousands placed under suspicion because of the 'crimes' of their families." BBC acquired "thousands of photographs from the heart of China’s highly secretive system of mass incarceration in Xinjiang, as well as a shoot-to-kill policy for those who try to escape, are among a huge cache of data hacked from police computer servers in the region. The cache reveals, in unprecedented detail, China’s use of 're-education' camps and formal prisons as two separate but related systems of mass detention for Uyghurs - and seriously calls into question its well-honed public narrative about both." The faces from China’s Uyghur detention camps. (We said never again to a lot of things that are happening right now.)
5. Extra, Extra
Pastor is Present: "A church pastor in Indiana publicly confessed to his congregation this week that he’d committed “adultery” two decades ago—but he was quickly called out by a woman who took the stage to say she had only been 16 when he preyed on her." This is really something. In so many ways. Pastor’s ‘Adultery’ Confession in Church Goes Off the Rails.
+ Conduct Tape: "Biden will call for the creation of national standards for the accreditation of police departments and a national database of officers with substantiated complaints and disciplinary records, including those fired for misconduct, the people briefed on the matter said." WaPo: White House to issue policing order on anniversary of Floyd’s death. Also, "the Justice Department is updating its use of force policy for the first time in 18 years, saying explicitly that federal officers and agents must step in if they see other officers using excessive force."
+ Paraders of the Lost Arc: San Francisco’s mayor to opt out of Pride parade over ban on police participating in uniform. (Hold bad cops accountable. Lock arms with good cops. It's the only way forward. Divided we fall.)
+ Innocenceless: "Justice Clarence Thomas’s majority opinion claimed that a law restricting the power of federal courts to toss out convictions in state courts prevents Jones from seeking relief. But Thomas’s reading of this law is novel — his opinion had to gut two fairly recent Supreme Court decisions to deny relief to Jones." The Supreme Court just condemned a man to die despite strong evidence he’s innocent.
+ Perdue Chicken Comes Home to Roost: David Perdue, backed into a corner by hopeless poll numbers, went full racist in Georgia. Perdue makes racist remark about Abrams: She's 'demeaning her own race'. (Perdue is a disgrace to inside traders everywhere.)
+ SEC No Evil: "U.S. securities regulators have pulled their punches in dealings with Elon Musk largely because an April 2019 court hearing on a statement he made about Tesla on Twitter didn't go their way, according to four sources with knowledge of the matter." Reuters: In a faceoff with Elon Musk, the SEC blinked. Musk just confirms what Trump already proved. Being an a--hole is kryptonite for America's institutions.
+ More Puns, Fewer Pundits: MSNBC on Tuesday announced that former White House press secretary Jen Psaki will join the network to host a new streaming program. (It seems like it's about time to banish cable news...)
+ Bunny Hop: "In the six years since he quit his job bagging groceries, Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio has become one of the most streamed artists alive, a professional wrestling champion, a whole new kind of cliché-shattering sex symbol--and next, a Marvel leading man." GQ: The World’s Newest Superhero: Bad Bunny. (I think I once used the line "cliché-shattering sex symbol" on my JDate profile...)
6. Bottom of the News
"New York City pay phones are officially a thing of history. The last public pay phone was removed from the streets of midtown Manhattan on Monday, and is heading straight to an exhibit in a local museum." (I just instinctively Purelled my ear.)
+ Oreo Cookies, Ritz Crackers team up for limited-time product mashup. (Just because you can doesn't mean you should.)