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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I suspect it was more risky to visit the shopping center than to visit the gym.” — Norwegian Goril Bjerkan. Norway reopened gyms this week after conducting a controlled, randomized study that found no increase of Covid risk for gym-goers.
- US hits highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases for the second day in a row: New cases topped 39,000 as the pandemic surges in the South and West, especially in Arizona. Younger patients comprise a “disturbing” percentage of the new cases. States are delaying or rolling back reopening plans. Texas closed its bars. The head of the CDC also said that the US probably has had 10 times as many infections — more than 20 million — than the official numbers say.
- The House passed a sweeping police reform bill. Democrats and three Republicans voted for the bill, which would ban chokeholds and create a misconduct database. The bill was named for George Floyd. Democrats blocked a weaker Republican bill in the Senate, and a compromise law is unlikely. Today the House will also vote and approve a bill to make Washington, DC a state. It has zero chance in the Republican Senate.
- It was definitely a noose. NASCAR released a photo of what it found in Bubba Wallace’s garage, and it’s a noose. The FBI says photographic evidence suggests it had been there for months, and thus wasn’t a hate crime targeting Wallace. But it’s sure a noose.
VIEWS OF THE DAY
Trump’s latest effort to destroy Obamacare is particularly stupid
Has there ever been a more perverse use of time, energy, and taxpayer funds than the decade-long campaign to gut Obamacare? The Affordable Care Act was a mediocre law based on a conservative think tank’s proposal that provides a few bare protections for Americans — protections that every developed country in the world gives routinely.
And it was a magnificent gift to Republicans. It got them off the hook for having to do real healthcare reform — the kind that really would socialize medicine. It made Democrats responsible for all the delays and horrors that still plague American healthcare. And it took the best Democratic campaign message off the table.
But Republicans simply refused to accept the gift. In act after act of nihilistic self-sabotage, Republicans have spent a decade trying to destroy Obamacare (70 attempts to repeal it in the House! 70!) And last night, the Trump administration did it again.
In the midst of a pandemic, as tens of millions of Americans lose jobs and health insurance, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to annihilate the ACA. The Trump administration is joining a bunch of red states in arguing that the entire law must fall because the individual mandate no longer has any tax penalty attached to it.
Wiping out the law would endanger the insurance of more than 20 million Americans. More importantly, it would abolish protections for people with pre-existing conditions, hurling all of us back down into the living hell where a health problem — a chronic illness, a bout with cancer — makes us uninsurable, and where were one illness from catastrophe and bankruptcy.
Needless to say, Trump offers no replacement for Obamacare. He doesn’t have a better idea, because Obamacare was the conservative solution for the nation’s insurance crisis.
Trump and the Republicans have now guaranteed a round of ads attacking them for trying to take away healthcare from millions of Americans during a pandemic. These ads will be extremely, 100% true. — DP
Trump reveals he has no vision for a second term
Say what you want about Donald Trump circa 2016: He had a vision. It was a dystopian and delusional vision of a walled-off America that would “take the oil” from countries we’d previously invaded and left in ruins, but it was a vision.
In a Fox News town hall hosted by Sean Hannity on Thursday, Trump was given the chance to lay out his second term ambitions in the friendliest media environment possible.
To fend off accusations that the media unfairly takes Trump’s words out of context, here’s his answer in total:
“Well, one of the things that will be really great, you know the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that. But the word experience is a very important word. It’s an, a very important meaning.
I never did this before. I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington, I think, 17 times. All of a sudden, I’m president of the United States. You know the story. I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our First Lady and I say, ‘This is great. But I didn’t know very many people in Washington. It wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York. Now I know everybody, and I have great people in the administration.”
You make some mistakes. Like, you know, an idiot like Bolton. All he wanted to do was drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to kill people.”
He doesn’t express a single policy ambition. He doesn’t talk about completing the unfinished business of his first term. His only goal appears to be avoiding becoming a one-term “loser” — his greatest fear. — Anthony Fisher
Facebook’s real customers are starting to get mad
On Thursday, Verizon announced that it is pulling advertising from Facebook and Instagram until Facebook “can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable.” The problem, according to Verizon, is that it is finding its ads next to conspiracy theories and hate speech on Facebook’s platforms.
Verizon isn’t the only company pulling its business. Last week civil rights groups released a statement calling on companies to pause spending on social media in the month of July. Brands like Eddie Bauer and Ben & Jerry’s have already pulled their advertising. One of the world’s biggest advertisers, Unilever, announced this afternoon that it’s pulling its ads from Facebook and Twitter for the rest of the year
Will this change anything? Facebook says no. Carolyn Everson, vice president of Global Business Group at Facebook said in a statement that Facebook doesn’t make policy decisions based on revenue pressure (funny, I know), but on principle.
Tell that to Google, which has continued to incrementally improve YouTube since advertisers boycotted that platform in 2017 and again last year.
Facebook probably won’t completely change its DNA and hire millions of people to monitor political speech because of an advertising boycott. But angry advertisers will have more of an impact that a million people embracing the movement to #DeleteFacebook. We all know who Facebook’s real clients are. — Linette Lopez
IDEA OF THE DAY
The nation of immigrants has made immigration almost impossible. When policies change piecemeal, you can lose track of how things used to be. Nowhere is that more true than with immigration policy, where the Trump administration has effectively choked the US off immigrants.
Slate’s Elora Mukherjee catalogs the “dizzying” list of new policies — no asylum for gender-based persecution, no au pairs, no green cards issued outside the US, no, no no… It’s now practically impossible to get into the US legally. If you do get in, it’s almost impossible to work legally, to earn a green card, to bring over your family.
And, the final insult, even if you do every single thing right, qualify for citizenship, and yearn to take the oath — too bad: The Trump administration has effectively cancelled naturalization ceremonies. — DP
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Microsoft will permanently close all its retail stores, shifting its focus to online sales. This will come as no surprise to those of us who had no idea Microsoft has retail stores. The stores had been closed temporarily by the pandemic.
Support for Brexit has collapsed. A huge majority of Brits — 57% to 35% — now want to remain in the EU. Too late: PM Boris Johnson has vowed that the UK is leaving, and will end its transition period this year. The survey was taken before the pandemic.
Every COVID-19 symptom, ranked from most common to least. You know the common ones, but what about “COVID toes”?
Liverpool wins its first Premier League soccer title. The famed English team, which had never won the Premier League, which was founded in 1992, clinched yesterday. Liverpool took the crown with seven games to go after its rival Manchester City lost. Soccer purists think Liverpool is one of the best and most entertaining teams ever, and it’s on track to have the best record in Premier League history.
They drove from California to Maine during pandemic with a 2-year-old. They were moving. It took them four days. They drove through 18 states. And they only had contact with 10 people.
THE BIG 3*
A Tanzanian miner became a millionaire by finding two huge tanzanite gemstones. He sold them for $3.35 million and now wants to build a school and a mall.
Starbucks barista gets more than $20,000 from GoFundMe. She had refused to serve a woman who wasn’t wearing a mask.
A Black attorney explains the racial wealth gap. Lynette S. Hoag on the systemic racism that leaves her with just $50,000 in retirement savings while her white lawyer friends have $1 million, even though they went to the same schools.
*The most popular stories on Insider today.
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