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Gunpowder, Treason, Glitz

In this edition: (1). The costs of Trump’s treatment; (2). A kidnapping plot to grab the governor of Michigan is foiled; (3). World Food Program wins Nobel; (4). the Washington Post gabs about Silicon Valley’s political identity crisis; (5). Eddie Van Halen dies; (6). China’s rebound has not been without struggles; (7). inequality grew during the pandemic.

Share The Stringer by Daniel Mollenkamp


The New York Times reported that American President Donald Trump’s treatment for coronavirus, if given to an average American, who didn’t have the healthcare that political power gifts— one is tempted to insert the words “selectively socialized” somewhere in this sentence— it would cost something like $100,000. Beyond crippling debt to most of us. Others have incurred bills as high as $400,000, according to NYT.

Kidnapping Plot: Thirteen people were arrested in connection with a plot to kidnap the Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, egged on by President Donald Trump’s recent comments. The civil war they wanted to start will have to wait for now, and something tells me they won’t quite claim the dubious honor achieved by other zealots like Guy Fawkes. However, this is a genuinely alarming thing. The Michigan AG Dana Nessel told NPR that they worked "in concert based on a shared extreme ideology."

Scientific American endorsed Joe Biden: Self-explanatory perhaps. It is the first time the publication has done a political endorsement like this, the editors said. In the long list of potential examples of science denialism (it really shouldn’t be that surprising Trump isn’t the science candidate), they lead with coronavirus (again, unsurprising). Also mentioned were the Affordable Care Act, a general attack on funding American science and research institutions, and climate change.

Glitz for alms: The UN World Food Program won the Nobel Peace Prize. Also, American Poet Louise Glück got the Nobel in Lit, reported AP. Peter Maass wrote in the Intercept to make the case for why Glück should refuse the prize, highlighting some of the moral failures of the Literature and Peace portions of the Swedish prize in recent years. The desire of artists to get and give awards often causes more problems than benefits, and it rarely helps the work.

Tech gets political: Silicon Valley is having a political identity crisis, writes the Washington Post. In fact, though not directly to the pieces’ narrative, Peter Thiel, billionaire investor who was bullish early on Trump’s campaign in 2016, and, therefore, became one of the first openly gay speakers at the Republican National Convention, has come under scrutiny in the press for his influence-trading connections to white nationalists. Thiel, who invested millions of dollars and a lot of social capital into Trump’s 2016 campaign, has apparently cooled off in recent years and, in this current election, will not be repeating his investment due to the president’s coronavirus response, or more accurately, the abysmal lack of a coherent and rational one, according to some recent reporting.

RIP Eddie Van Halen: Legendary is often a word used after a famous person’s death. It is one among the chorus of adjectives attached to guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s name after his final fade out last week. Every rock guitarist, and every kid who imagines themselves as a rock hero, knew the delight of Van Halen, who fronted the band that bears his name, one of the all-time great rock bands, and who featured on songs such as Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” An inventor, guitar innovator, great songwriter, showman, and a smoker, he died of cancer at 65.

The shape of China’s rebound: Ian Bremmer, founder of Eurasia Group, wrote in Time about the reasons China hasn’t reset as quickly as we might think, even if it has rebounded seemingly well, from the coronavirus shocks.

It was the worst of times: Bloomberg Wealth offers more nauseating stats from the frontlines of inequality in the U.S. Data from the Federal Reserve shows, the publication states, “The 50 richest Americans now hold almost as much wealth as half of the U.S., as Covid-19 transforms the economy in ways that have disproportionately rewarded a small class of billionaires.”


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