May 24, 2019
Daily Pnut will not be sending an email on Memorial Day.
“For many veterans, Memorial Day is no different than any other day. The memory of friends, superiors, and subordinates killed in combat is an ever present thought that continues long after Memorial Day.” – Daily Pnut’s Tim Hsia, Memorial Day Is Every Day
“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” – James Baldwin
A “Shocking” Correlation Between Unvaccinated Kids And Measles: The Philippines is experiencing what happens when a preventable disease makes a comeback because parents aren’t vaccinating their children. Since January, the Philippines has had one of the worst measles outbreaks in the world — more than 33,000 cases and 466 deaths.
The outbreak got so bad in Manila that the local hospital had to set up tents to house patients in the parking lot, the courtyard and even the landing at the top of the stairs outside the pediatric ward.
To contain the current outbreak, the government launched a massive nationwide measles vaccination campaign:
– Measles is a highly contagious airborne virus that can linger in a location if an infected person coughs or sneezes. To effectively stop the spread of the virus in a community, 95 percent of the population needs to be immune.
– The Philippines has never reached that high a coverage rate. Childhood immunization rates peaked in 2009 when 89 percent of kids were considered fully immunized. In 2018 the rate was just 66 percent. The decrease was driven in large measure by a scandal in 2017 over vaccinations for the dengue virus.
Mo’ Modi, More Power
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has claimed a landslide victory and another term in national elections.
– His ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stands to win at least 300 seats, a comfortable margin over the 272 seats required for a majority in the lower house of parliament.
– In a televised address Modi criticized those who had doubted the BJP could increase its majority. “The political pundits of India have to leave behind their ideas of the past,” he said.
– Takeaway: The hugely popular Hindu nationalist leader is the country’s most powerful politician in decades. (Guardian)
- Narendra Modi: from impoverished tea seller to master of political theatre.
- Five more years of Narendra Modi will take India to a dark place: If the Indian prime minister is returned to office, his sectarian politics will make bigotry the defining ideal of the republic
Old Hatred Dies Hard
Although Germany’s Nazi party was defeated in WWII, for some people, German society has never truly dealt with anti-Semitism in the decades since. Franz Michalski, his mother and his little brother managed to survive the Holocaust. Franz returned to live in southern Germany, but he warned his son Wenzel, who was growing up in the 1970s: “Don’t tell anyone that you’re Jewish.”
Wenzel is now the director of Human Rights Watch for Germany. Recently Wenzel’s youngest son became the third generation of the family to learn that telling people he is Jewish could cause problems. (NYT)
- Being black in Nazi Germany: Film director Amma Asante came across an old photograph taken in Nazi Germany of a black schoolgirl by chance
- More Than 1,000 Holocaust Victims Are Buried In Belarus After Mass Grave Discovered
- The Undercover Fascist: A young Englishman got mixed up in a white-supremacist movement. Then he learned of a plot to kill a politician
Red With Ivory
Botswana has ended its five-year ban on elephant hunting, despite intense lobbying by conservation groups, multiple petitions and threats of tourism boycotts. The country has the largest elephant population in Africa, about one-third of the continent’s total. The ban had been imposed in 2014 by the predecessor of current president Mokgweetsi E. K. Masisi.
Former president Ian Khama, an avid conservationist who won praise from Western conservation groups for his tough stance against poaching, was also strongly opposed to trophy hunting. The hunting ban had allowed the elephant population to grow, but rural farmers have been complaining the elephants were eating their crops and trampling their fields. (NYT)
Additional World News
- ‘We’ll fight to the end’: China’s media ramps up rhetoric in US trade war: Voices within Chinese state and private media grow more strident as tensions mount
- The case against Huawei, explained: China’s biggest phone maker is in deep, deep trouble, and we still don’t have a clear picture of why
- China’s Supply of Minerals for iPhones and Missiles Could Be a Risky Trade Weapon
- Russian documents reveal desire to sow racial discord — and violence — in the U.S.: The revelations come as U.S. intelligence agencies have warned of probable Russian meddling in the 2020 election
- Building the Brexit party: how Nigel Farage copied Italy’s digital populists: The former Ukip leader forged an alliance with the Five Star Movement just as they bulldozed Italian politics using a tightly controlled digital operation. And now he’s putting their techniques to work in Britain
- Why Are Milkshakes Being Thrown at Right-Wing Politicians Like Nigel Farage?
A Useful Yet Tragic Disease
A 43-year-old Japanese man is dying from aging too fast. For the past 10 years he’s been in and out of hospitals since being diagnosed with Werner syndrome.
– Nobuaki Nagashima was in his mid-20s when he began to feel like his body was breaking down — he’d developed cataracts, pain in his hips, and skin problems on his leg.
– Werner syndrome also shows up as wrinkles, weight loss, greying hair and balding, and it can cause hardening of the arteries, heart failure, diabetes and cancer. Nagashima’s parents and grandparents are all aging normally. Werner syndrome happens when a person inherits a mutated copy of a gene called WRN from both parents.
– WRN was discovered just 23 years ago. Between 1996 and 2008 there were only 1,487 documented cases worldwide, and 1,128 of them were in Japan.
– The co-director of the International Registry of Werner Syndrome believes the number of actual cases globally is about seven times higher than the numbers recorded today, because most cases will not have come to the attention of any physicians or registries. Scientists are now understanding that WRN is key to how all cells work — in reading, copying, unfolding and repairing.
Washington D.C. Mayhem
Verbal sparks between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are really flying. On Wednesday Trump abruptly left an infrastructure meeting with Democrats, declaring he wouldn’t work with them until they’d wrapped up their “phony investigations.”
– Afterwards Pelosi said the president had had a “temper tantrum,” then called on his family and friends to hold an “intervention.
– On Thursday Pelosi told Democratic colleagues the president’s actions were “villainous,” and that Trump “wants to be impeached” so he can be vindicated by the Senate. “What really got to him was these court cases and the House Democratic Caucus has not passed impeachment and that’s where he wants us to be,” she said. The ‘court cases’ reference is about the two federal judges who have refused to block Democratic subpoenas for Trump’s bank records.
– At the White House later, Trump announced $16 billion in new subsidies for farmers and ranchers; he also took time to call Pelosi “crazy,” a “mess,” and unable to comprehend the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement he wants Congress to pass. (CNN, CBSNews)
Big (City + Tech + Brains) = More (Money + Problems)
- America’s Cities Are Unlivable. Blame Wealthy Liberals.:The demise of a California housing measure shows how progressives abandon progressive values in their own backyards
- How the Rural-Urban Divide Became America’s Political Fault Line: Such a conflict isn’t unique to the U.S., but the consequences are far-reaching here
- Why Workers Without College Degrees Are Fleeing Big Cities
- A Shrinking Middle Class Is Ruining the Character of Our Neighborhoods: A deepening divide between the haves and have-nots is making it harder for them to see one another as neighbors
- How San Francisco broke America’s heart
- Scott McKenzie – San Francisco
- The Mamas & the Papas – California Dreamin’
- Phantom Planet – California
- Wax – California
We Share Because We CCARE
James Doty is a 63-year-old man who amassed a fortune as a neurosurgeon and biotech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. Then he lost it all in the dotcom crash — $75 million gone in six weeks. His final asset was $30 million in stock in a medical-device company he’d once run called Accuray. But Doty had committed the stock to a trust that would benefit the universities he’d attended and programs for AIDS, family, and global health.
– In 2007, Accuray went public at a valuation of $1.3 billion, generating hundreds of millions for Doty’s donees and zero for him. And yet, this no-longer-multi-millionaire said he had no regrets.
– Is something wrong with Doty? Is it normal for a human being to commit a generous act that helps others and not himself? Can altruistic acts promote individual well-being in biologically measurable ways?
– To find answers to these and other questions about altruism, Doty founded in 2008 the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, or CCARE, part of Stanford’s School of Medicine, with a seed donation of $150,000 from the Dalai Lama, whom Doty had met in a chance encounter.
- IQ rates are dropping in many developed countries and that doesn’t bode well for humanity: An intelligence crisis could undermine our problem-solving capacities and dim the prospects of the global economy. Additional trailer: Idiocracy Trailer and Idiocracy opening scene.
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Ultimate Preview
- Our favorite essay this week: Power? No, Thanks, I’m Good: The freedom to say what I think and command my own time is enough for me. (NYT, $)
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU