Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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I’ve seen a future without cars, and it’s amazing

Farhad Manjoo writes: As coronavirus lockdowns crept across the globe this winter and spring, an unusual sound fell over the world’s metropolises: the hush of streets that were suddenly, blessedly free of cars. City dwellers reported hearing bird song, wind and the rustling of leaves. (Along with, in New York City, the intermittent screams of sirens). You could smell the absence of cars, too. From New York to Los Angeles

Another Covid-19 disparity: Black and Hispanic Americans are dying at younger ages than white Americans

STAT reports: Long after calls for more data on the disproportionate number of Covid-19 infections and deaths among Black Americans and Hispanic Americans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released limited additional information, which revealed non-white and Hispanic Americans under age 65 are dying in greater numbers than white people in that age group. The agency reported that more than a third of deaths among Hispanic Americans

The Supreme Court puts Trump in his place

Timothy L. O’Brien writes: If you’re the president of the United States, you don’t stand above the law. But if you’re a member of Congress seeking the president’s personal records in order to exercise oversight of the executive branch, you better not overreach. That, essentially, is how the Supreme Court ruled in a pair of opinions released Thursday morning. Both cases, Trump v. Vance and Trump v. Mazars, involved efforts

Trump’s ‘woe-is-me’ reaction to the pandemic

The Washington Post reports: Callers on President Trump in recent weeks have come to expect what several allies and advisers describe as a “woe-is-me” preamble. The president rants about the deadly coronavirus destroying “the greatest economy,” one he claims to have personally built. He laments the unfair “fake news” media, which he vents never gives him any credit. And he bemoans the “sick, twisted” police officers in Minneapolis, whose killing

Facebook considering political-ad blackout ahead of U.S. election

Bloomberg reports: Facebook Inc. is considering imposing a ban on political ads on its social network in the days leading up to the U.S. election in November, according to people familiar with the company’s thinking. The potential ban is still only being discussed and hasn’t yet been finalized, said the people, who asked not to be named talking about internal policies. A halt on ads could defend against misleading election-related

A letter on justice and open debate

More than 150 prominent artists and public thinkers signed the following letter: Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral

I no longer believe in a Jewish state

Peter Beinart writes: I was 22 in 1993 when Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn to officially begin the peace process that many hoped would create a Palestinian state alongside Israel. I’ve been arguing for a two-state solution — first in late-night bull sessions, then in articles and speeches — ever since. I believed in Israel as a Jewish state because I grew up

Music: Jorja Smith — ‘Rose Rouge’

 

Trump’s America is slipping away

Ronald Brownstein writes: Donald Trump is running for the presidency of an America that no longer exists. Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly reprised two of Richard Nixon’s most memorable rallying cries, promising to deliver “law and order” for the “silent majority.” But in almost every meaningful way, America today is a radically different country than it was when Nixon rode those arguments to win the presidency in 1968 amid

Solving the climate crisis is about everything and everyone

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson writes: The Black Lives Matter movement is not a distraction from saving the planet. We can’t solve the climate crisis without people of color, but we could probably solve it without racists. Whether it’s Hurricane Katrina or air pollution, storms and exposure to toxins cause much greater harm to communities of color. (Although, yes, in the longer term, climate change is coming for us all, even if

Supreme Court rules large swath of Oklahoma is Indian reservation

The New York Times reports: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that much of eastern Oklahoma falls within an Indian reservation, a decision that could reshape the criminal-justice system by preventing state authorities from prosecuting offenses there that involve Native Americans. The 5-to-4 decision, potentially one of the most consequential legal victories for Native Americans in decades, could have far-reaching implications for the people who live across what is now

America is refusing to learn how to fight the coronavirus

David Wallace-Wells writes: Just before the holiday weekend, on the day that Donald Trump stood beneath Mount Rushmore and warned against “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history” and the day before his Washington, D.C., fireworks display generated air pollution 15 times the EPA standard and roughly equivalent to the choking megacities of India and China, the state of Arizona reached a terrible pandemic milestone. For the first time

Women are most affected by pandemics — lessons from past outbreaks

Clare Wenham et al write: Women are affected more than men by the social and economic effects of infectious-disease outbreaks. They bear the brunt of care responsibilities as schools close and family members fall ill. They are at greater risk of domestic violence and are disproportionately disadvantaged by reduced access to sexual- and reproductive-health services. Because women are more likely than men to have fewer hours of employed work and

Doctors are better at treating Covid-19 patients now than they were in March

The Verge reports: In early March, most doctors in the United States had never seen a person sick with COVID-19. Four months later, nearly every emergency room and intensive care physician in the country is intimately familiar with the disease. In that time, they’ve learned a lot about how best to treat patients. But in some cases, they’re still taking the same approach they did in the spring. “There’s so

Retractions and controversies over coronavirus research show that the process of science is working as it should

A high-profile paper on the risks of hyrdoxychloroquine was recently and rightfully retracted. AP Photo/John Locher, By Mark R. O’Brian, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York Several high-profile papers on COVID-19 research have come under fire from people in the scientific community in recent weeks. Two articles addressing the safety of certain drugs when taken by COVID-19 patients were retracted, and researchers are calling for the retraction

Music: Kansas Smitty’s — ‘Sunnyland’