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Month: June 2022

A League of Their Own Trailer Released

Amazon Prime has released its first teaser trailer for A League of Their Own, a series set to premiere in August.

The series will focus on new characters and not those we met in the classic movie.

I loved the movie and having the opportunity to learn about those who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

Talking About the Threat of Nuclear War

Dan Froomkin argues that we should be talking about the threat of nuclear war.

After all, Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has included threats about using nuclear weapons. And it is not clear that the United States has a plan to deal with the threat. Froomkin explains:

I don’t understand why the media is virtually ignoring the threat of nuclear escalation, should Putin get desperate or angry enough to use a nuclear weapon in the Ukraine. It seems to me that we ought to be talking about it — and making absolutely sure that U.S. policy won’t make things worse.

We have to support Ukraine. But sending certain kinds of weapons creates risk, and sometimes unintended consequences.

The media so far has largely ignored these questions. We need them to help us ensure the Biden Administration has answers.

On the Media Previews the January 6 Hearings

This latest episode of On the Media previews the January 6 hearings with Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz from the Will Be Wild podcast.

As Bernstein explains:

People know what happened from what they saw on their TV screens that day, and that was a lot. But what they don’t know is everything that we have learned in the 17 months since January 6. The planning of it, the intentions of the former president and the people around him. This is an opportunity for people to understand the full story of what happened. 

This podcast provided an excellent overview of what’s at stake: the protection of our democracy.

Ron DeSantis’ Authoritarian Message

Ruth Ben-Ghiat analyzes how Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ used the Special Olympics to send an authoritarian message to voters.

DeSantis threatened the Special Olympics (pause and let those words sink in) with a $27.5 million fine if the organization did not revoke its vaccine mandate. It doesn’t matter to DeSantis that mandate is in place to protect the vulnerable people who compete.

Ben-Ghiat explains how this fits within a pattern of DeSantis deploying the traits of an authoritarian leader:

Such individuals also love to engage in the autocrat game of “making an example” of people or entities that other politicians might not touch due to their size, influence or popularity. The point of this game is to show that no one is above being punished by them.

This is why, along with the usual GOP targets (the LBGTQ community, Blacks, and immigrants) we find DeSantis going after the Special Olympics. That’s not the move you make if you care about being seen as decent, but it’s the move you make if you want to be feared. (emphasis in original)

DeSantis is a favorite for the 2024 Republican Presidential nomination, especially if Donald Trump does not run again. He is showing us who he is. He is showing us what the Republican Party has become. The danger to our democracy isn’t just about one former president and his group of close followers. An entire section of our country is supporting it.

Bad Legal Rulings and Online Misogyny Are a Toxic Mix

Michael Hobbs does an outstanding job explaining how the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp trial spun out of control and led to such a horrible outcome in this guest post at Parker Malloy’s The Present Age.

If you’re surprised to learn Heard’s narrative or the scale of the evidence supporting it, that’s because it has played almost no role in the internet free-for-all that has surrounded this case for the last six weeks. 

Hobbs puts the trial and the internet focus into context and explains why it led to a bad result in this case—and how it could lead to more problems in the future.

He also highlights something that stunned me when I first learned of it:

In hindsight, the verdict came down the minute the judge allowed the case to be televised. Jurors weren’t sequestered or sheltered from the internet in any way, meaning they were likely exposed to the same bad-faith memes and out-of-context clips as everyone else. Plus, this case has been swirling around the internet for years, making an impartial jury an impossibility in the first place. One man was allowed to stay in the jury pool after revealing a text from his wife that read, “Amber is psychotic.” (emphasis added)

How? How can that happen?

I hope you’ll read Hobb’s analysis of the case. It’s the best I’ve seen out there. I also hope you’ll subscribe to The Present Age, Parker Malloy does an excellent job with it.

Also, I know from personal experience how much of a negative impact false accusations can have on a person. But evidence is evidence. This trial is another example of what happens when sound judicial judgments lose out to a trial in the media and social media.

Process matters. We just have to do better.

What Do Cops Do?

Alex Pareene offers a theory about why the police act as they do:

Having spent many years observing cop behavior, reading news about cops, and occasionally even asking them for help, I have come to a pretty simple but comprehensive answer: They do what is easy, and avoid what is difficult.

Pareene offers several examples later in his newsletter to explain why do police have multiple people arrest someone on a minor misdemeanor while ignoring challenging investigations or not trying to stop a school massacre.

Don’t Lose The Plot

David Pell urges us to keep the central issue in mind even as we try to hold law enforcement accountable for its lies and failures in Uvalde.

This is not a story about doors. It’s not a story about cellphones in schools. It’s not a story about the evasive Uvalde police chief. This is a story about America placing a greater value on being able to buy machines designed to kill really fast than we do on the lives of our children. Don’t lose the plot.