Just Give Us Some Data

All we wanted was one particular piece of data: the number of Covid-19 deaths per capita in the U.S., compared to…let’s just say a couple of other places picked at random. Despite the habitual consumption of mass quantities of news and vaguely news-like material, we could not recall ever having seen the available data sliced that particular way. That struck us as odd. What better benchmark could there be for judging one country’s performance against another? By quantifying deaths rather than total cases, you may assess not just the effectiveness of a nation’s efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, but also the ability …

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A Statement on George Floyd, from the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire

“Like most of us, we at the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire are outraged because of the murder of George Floyd. We are outraged because of his murder and because of other recent displays of the type of injustices African Americans bear daily. We are outraged and we are made weary. Part of our outrage is as you might expect: We are the Black Heritage Trail and Black Lives do Matter. But our outrage is not only because our focus is the history of Black Americans. “What we learn from this history in our state helps me articulate another aspect of our outrage. In …

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Pompeo and Circumstantial Evidence

The President and his cult of followers have managed to let a pandemic kill off the equivalent of the population of Nashua. In the process they’ve also managed to stop a humongous economy in its tracks. These things may be bad, but it must be admitted—they are also colossal achievements. An ordinary gang of run-of-the-mill comic book villains would be sitting back at this point with smug smiles on their faces, smoking big cigars. Not this bunch, though. There is [Censored by the Legal Department] left to be done, and there are [Censored by the Legal Department] yet to be committed. [We regret the necessity …

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Mini-Trump Spins the Dials

In 1878, the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan was an unpreposessing, two-story wooden building topped by a tin cupola. It was replaced the next year by a colonnaded stone structure, the dome of which soars to an imposing 267 feet. It’s a good thing, too. Otherwise the dozens of gun-toting, camo-wearing protestors who mobbed the place last week would have looked pretty silly, cramming into that run-down old barn, acting like they were about to liberate Venezuela. Their stated intent was to protest Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, which they call tyrannical. In addition to semi-automatic weapons, some carried Confederate flags, nooses, and swastikas as …

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Can’t Give It Away

On Monday, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil had less value on the market than a printed copy of this newspaper—which, under normal circumstances, is free. Anyone willing to accept delivery could expect to receive $40 along with each 42-gallon barrel. Demand for oil was already falling early in March, due to the coronavirus. Because Vladimir Putin was resisting his plan to keep oil prices comfortable by lowering production, Saudi Arabia’s fun-loving Prince Mohammad Bin Salman decided to start an oil price war against Russia. He jacked up production and offered big price breaks on Saudi crude. The combined effect was a glut …

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The New, Improved Five O’Clock Follies

Noted epidemiologist, Vietnam War draft dodger, and President, Donald J. Trump now conducts televised daily briefings on the Federal Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic—and whatever other random thought-substitutes may then be fluttering around, bat-like, in his belfry. We hope that scientists in the future—if there is one, and there are any—will study this phenomenon and confirm or deny the following theory, which is ours: when he gets in front of the cameras and talks, the nation’s collective IQ plummets. Collective intelligence is not exactly a commodity which we have in surplus. He should be grateful to the President’s handlers, though, for inducing him to …

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