In the last 48 hours I’ve struggled to make sense of the totality of what is unfolding across the country. Social media is at its best and its worst, fanatically zooming in on the worst incidents or the occasionally the most inspiring, making it all but impossible to make sense of the larger picture. Yet conventional journalism manages to do little better. I think this is because everything actually does seem to be happening at once: civil rights protestors protesting and sometimes escalating into riot; white supremacists acting as agents provocateurs to goad on their fantasies of race war; white left radicals doing the same to advance their own vision of liberatory social violence. And then you have the police. I have no doubt many, most police are doing their best to do their job in this moment. But the novel technology of smart phones is capturing and magnifying numerous incidents around the country in which police officers are caught acting less like a civilian constabulary working to protect the peace, lives and property than something more like another gang, with its own political agenda, sometimes turning not only on protestors with excessive force but on the civilian population itself.
At its best and its worst, the refrain of protest – that the discrimination and abuse is systemic – is vindicated inasmuch as good or at least middling people are drawn along with bad or destructive actions.
I had had a few TPM Readers send me emails questioning that big hydroxychloroquine study published by The Lancet, the one which purported to show dramatically higher mortality rates among patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine. But the links were to sites and sources I wasn’t familiar with. And the debates about hydroxychloroquine are so vexed and often conspiracy-theory-laden that I was cautious because the study was published in one of the world’s most respected medical journals.
But now it seems clear the questions about the study are real and being taken up by a range of researchers and clinicians around the world. Here’s one write up in The Guardian from Wednesday. And here’s another in the Times from yesterday.
The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis was racial injustice at its worst. But the violent protests that it has sparked may have no good effect for those who have suffered from racial discrimination and, more broadly, for Americans who fear another four years of Donald Trump. A political scientist, Omar Wasow, cautiously makes the case in a New Yorker interview that these violent protests help law and order Republicans. I was actually around in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and have studied the political history of the times, and can attest to that fact.
Today’s press conference with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was one of the most buoyant and optimistic since the grim story of the epidemic started almost three months ago in early March. Cuomo was joined, virtually, by New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, equally buoyant and with genuinely good news: In a week New York City should be ready for what the state defines as “phase one” of reopening. In practice, this remains quite limited: non-essential construction and manufacturing can restart. Most retail businesses can reopen for curbside or in-store pick up. Various outdoor businesses can restart: landscaping, gardening, a limited number of recreational activities.
We awake to a bewildering, sobering tableau. A second night of protests engulfed Minneapolis in the wake of the police killing George Floyd and a news conference in which the county district attorney, Mike Freeman, appeared to resist bringing charges against the police officer, Derek Chauvin, who was videotaped kneeling on Floyd’s neck before he died.
Protesters-turned-rioters took control the city’s 3rd precinct after police evacuated the building and then set it on fire. In the early morning, Minneapolis Police arrested a compliant CNN news crew and reporter Omar Jimenez live on air. Overnight, President Trump, still egging on his faux battle with Twitter and threats to regulate it out of existence, went on the platform to threaten mass carnage against the city’s “thugs.”
Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!
For reasons which escape me, President declares, “I just beat COVID.”
wtf? …. Trump: "I just got back from India, right? I just beat COVID." pic.twitter.com/SIUNoxHzJc
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) May 28, 2020
Late Update: Several of you noted that the President must have meant he “just beat COVID” in the sense that he arrived back in the US just before COVID arrived in the country. He arrived back in the US on February 25th. So, narrowly speaking, even this isn’t true. But it was before the major confirmed outbreak started in March. So I think this must be what he meant: a) because it is the only non-absurd explanation (a hard standard for Trump), b) but more importantly because it’s the only explanation which makes the one statement have any logical connection to the one that preceded it. (Making nonsensical statements to own the libs …)
It seems notable that President Trump seems to be failing in defining masks as a cardinal element of political identity. It’s a work in progress of course. We continue to hear reports of non-masking Trumpers shaming or calling out people wearing masks. But there seems to be the makings on some public consensus behind masking, at least at the level of political leaders, even normally reliable Trumpite types.
String together coverage of COVID-19 “stay-at-home” orders in The Federalist, the conservative website, and it begins to resemble an ode to death itself.
Is it May already? Does time mean anything anymore?
Yes, it’s disappointing that we’re all still stuck inside our homes with summer right around the corner. We know this is made especially difficult if you’re a parent with children who are trying to finish off the school year online. With that in mind, TPM is sharing some recommendations of children’s books that might help your little ones — or you — pass the time. No, this will not just be a page listing the Harry Potter books in order of best to very best. (I actually have not read the Harry Potter series, but that’s a discussion for another time. Bring on the roasting in the comments.)