Hello, everyone! Welcome to the new edition of Insider Today. Please sign up here.
Infosnips QUOTE OF THE DAY
“If you were to walk into any big-box store or any small corner gun store, you would see the shelves are bare, and they are bare because of demand,” — Marc Oliva, spokesperson for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, on the surge of gun sales in the US, apparently driven by the pandemic, the BLM protests, and the prospect of a Biden presidency.
Infosnips WHAT’S HAPPENING
The US recorded more than 75,000 coronavirus cases yesterday, a new record. According to the New York Times, the number of daily cases has doubled in the past three weeks. Deaths are rising quickly too, and hospitals are running out of supplies.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced she is undergoing chemotherapy for a “reoccurrence of cancer.” The 87-year-old Supreme Court Justice said that she will continue to perform her duties for the Court while undergoing treatment.
Twitter says Wednesday’s hack affected 130 accounts. It appears to have been an inside job. The hack wiped $1.3 billion off Twitter’s market cap.
Unidentified federal officers in unmarked minivans are detaining protesters in Portland. Portland city officials don’t want the feds there, and the ACLU says it’s “flat-out unconstitutional” to hide the officers’ identity like that.
Israel appears to be trying to provoke a pre-election confrontation with Iran. Several sensitive Iranian military facilities have been blown up in recent weeks, seemingly by Israel. Analysts suspect Netanyahu is trying to maximally harm Iran while President Trump is in office, since a Biden administration might push de-escalation.
President Trump is demanding the next relief bill contain a payroll tax cut. Even though neither Republicans nor Democrats support it or think it makes sense.
Infosnips VIEWS OF THE DAY
What we’ve stopped noticing about the Trump presidency.
In the way you stop smelling the stench of garbage when you live next to the dump, we’ve stopped noticing a disturbing fact about the Trump presidency.
The nation is beset by the worst crisis in at least 75 years. The pandemic rages because we failed to control its initial spread. The economy is grinding to a halt. Unemployment is stuck at depression levels. Mass protests demanding policing reform have transfixed the nation. An economic war with China is deepening into a Cold War.
The president isn’t doing anything about any of it, and more disturbingly: Americans don’t even expect him to do anything about any of it.
Is he chairing daily meetings of a pandemic task force? Is he meeting with school superintendents to find out what resources they need to open safely? Is he negotiating into the wee hours with Nancy Pelosi over the shape of the next emergency relief bill? Is he calling BLM leaders to discuss law enforcement reform? Of course he’s not.
All reports indicate that he’s singularly focused on his reelection. Yet the purpose of his reelection is for him to serve the nation as president, which is the very thing he is not doing.
We still need to talk about excessive force
Hundreds of videos from the early days of the George Floyd protests — which were demonstrations against police brutality — show police officers using excessive force, according to two separate investigations by ProPublica and The New York Times this week.
In my latest column, I wrote about how brief video clips don’t always tell the whole tale, but many of these videos leave little doubt that officers were wildly out of line.
In one clip, an officer appears to go out of his way to look for the easiest targets to beat up, attacking three unarmed people in less than a minute, including a woman, a bicyclist, and a man he body slammed from behind.
And now there’s news out of Portland that camouflaged federal agents — with no insignia to identify which agency they work for — are detaining people without probable cause and violently dispersing protesters. This is happening despite being the fact that the mayor, governor, and other local officials have asked President Trump to remove federal officers from the city.
The protests have inspired some national soul-searching about racism, but excessive force by both local and federal law enforcement officers remains a problem with no easy solution. — AF
Sexual harassment and bullying pervades the Washington NFL team. What a shock!
No one who follows the Washington NFL team could be even mildly surprised to read the Washington Post story exposing the sexual harassment, bullying, and generally seedy behavior that pervades the organization. One detail that tells you most of what you need to know about what a nightmare workplace it was: Women had to warn new hires to avoid a particular staircase, so that men wouldn’t look up their skirts.
Organizations mirror the personalities of their leaders (see under: Trump White House). Washington team owner Daniel Snyder has repeatedly proved himself to a petulant bully — a thin-skinned, small-minded, narcissistic monster. He’s taken a beloved team that unified Washington and perverted into an incompetent joke of a franchise. For 20 years, Snyder has hired badly, then undermined and maltreated his employees. So it’s entirely predictable that he’d end up bringing in gross people and then looking away while they tormented their colleagues, especially young women.
It’s great that Washington has finally abandoned its racist nickname, but the team won’t be loved again until it sheds its horrid owner. — DP
Maybe, just maybe, we’re getting better at ignoring Trump stunts
Yesterday the White House press corp assembled on the White House lawn to hear what was billed as a speech about regulation. Like all Trump speeches these days, though, it was more about reelection. And there was spectacle. Two massive pickup trucks (one red, one blue) were parked on risers in front of the White House and laden with anvils. A crane bearing Trump’s name lifted anvils off the red truck… you get the picture.
Mercifully, most of America did not see this live. CNN and MSNBC did not air it. Fox News eventually cut away, and anchor Neil Cavuto fact-checked Trump, who had excoriated Obama for passing so much regulation. Most of that, Cavuto explained to his viewers, was due to the financial crisis and very necessary.
This was not a Trump stunt that felt mean, or unhinged, or authoritarian, or bigoted like many of the stunts Trump pulls that upset his detractors. This stunt was pathetic.
Later Thursday night Mary Trump, the President’s niece who just wrote a tell-all about her family, told Rachel Maddow that her uncle first introduced her to Melania (his soon-to-be-wife) saying that Mary was the family drug addict (she did not do drugs) and that he had given her a job. Her point: The lies are always and for everything. Every moment is an opportunity for a stunt.
After 5 years it’s nice to see America wasting less and less time with all of this. — LL
If you’re enjoying this article, sign up here for more daily insights from Henry Blodget and David Plotz delivered right into your inbox.
Infosnips Idea of the Day
Hold school outside! It’s worked before. Why aren’t we even bothering to try it?
Infosnips BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Airbnb is once again preparing for an IPO. The pandemic and the crash in global travel put its plans on hold, cratered revenue, and forced layoffs. Now its core business has bounced back enough that it’s again considering an IPO.
Netflix stock loses $19 billion after weaker-than-expected Q2. It added 10 million subscribers and grew revenue 25% in the quarter, but those were less than the market hoped.
An amazing photo essay in the Atlantic of people wearing masks during the 1918 influenza pandemic.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show is a toxic work environment. The show’s kindly public face hides a cruel, bullying environment, according to many former employees.
Infosnips THE BIG 3*
How common mistakes drastically change pancakes. Insider’s Rachel Askinasi investigates what happens when you add too much milk, or double the eggs, or use extra baking soda.
Las Vegas man arrested for goading a homeless man into a fatal backflip. Larry Coner was paid $6 to try the backflip, which was livestreamed by the man who paid him.
Fauci says it will take months to know if COVID causes chronic illness. Some young patients are reporting symptoms and fatigue that aren’t going away.
*The most popular stories on Insider today.
Subscribe to get the WestSide411
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe