1. Story of the Week: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies
She was a beacon of hope for liberal Americans, fighting against discrimination as the U.S. Supreme Court’s most progressive justice. But yesterday Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of complications from pancreatic cancer at age 87, leaving one side of America distraught over the prospect of an insurmountable 6-3 conservative tilt after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to seat whomever President Donald Trump appoints — despite blocking Barack Obama’s 2016 nominee over an impending election. Outside the high court, mourners gathered with candles, while presidential challenger Joe Biden lamented losing a jurist who upheld “the highest American ideals,” and “stood for all of us.”
Those who dismiss climate change, consider: The National Hurricane Center has run out of names for hurricanes and other serious storms. Wilfred, the last of 21 designated monikers, was given Friday to a tropical storm over the Atlantic, before two more storms grew enough to earn what’s left: Alpha and Beta, to be followed by other Greek letters. Tropical Storm Beta poses the biggest worry for the U.S., now churning unpredictably in the Gulf of Mexico. This has only happened once before, in 2005, when the hurricane center went through enough Greek letters to name two fraternities.
It’s the party of the people, doling out crowd-pleasing benefits while demonizing the European Union, LGBTQ citizens and immigrants. But the Law and Justice party’s philosophical kingpin, cat fancier Jarosław Kaczyński, is cultivating its softer side, backing an animal rights bill that bans fur farms and animal circus acts. That’s not exactly red meat for the right-tilted governing coalition, so while some members squabble about alienating rural backers, along with another contentious bill offering immunity to officials who broke the law to enforce pandemic restrictions, critter protection might precipitate early elections — and an end to people power.
The clock’s running out. On Friday the U.S. Commerce Department announced that by Sunday, U.S. users would be prohibited from downloading world-conquering video app TikTok. The rule also applies to WeChat, owned by China-based TikTok parent ByteDance. The apps can be used until Nov. 12, when all stateside firms, including broadband providers, must cease interacting with them. It’s all part of what an analyst called “high-stakes poker” to goad ByteDance to comply with President Trump’s order to sell its U.S. operations to an American firm. So far, it’s only spoken of a partnership with Oracle, which hasn’t satisfied Trump's concerns about Beijing's data access.
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They’re being unfriended. But the tangle of India’s unaccountable political advertising that an OZY investigation revealed Wednesday will be difficult to unravel. Responding to OZY’s query, Facebook pledged Friday to better police advertisers touting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP party under the cover of grassroots support. Three of the top 10 political ad buyers boosting Modi’s Hindu nationalist messaging were shown to be untraceable entities with invalid addresses or the same address as BJP offices. Facebook says it has removed ads from five major pro-BJP advertisers, but others remain, along with unanswered questions of major ad expenditures that dwarf legitimate campaign funding.
As so many parents struggle with limited space to give their children a distraction-free environment in which to attend school online, the Zoom phenomenon is bringing them uncomfortably closer in unexpected ways. Journalist Dan Sinker observes the audible drama in the background behind his child’s young classmates: A mom calling to collect overdue medical bills, crying babies and family squabbles. But as much as the friction weighs upon his family’s well-being, Sinker is aware that many have it much worse, like the kindergartner without breakfast or a parent to find the mute button.
Your fourth grader is supersmart, but reads at a second-grade level. There’s a disorder for that: dyslexia. But educational psychologist Joe Elliott has attracted a following of fellow experts by reviewing numerous studies on the condition and concluding that “it was all bollocks.” That’s largely because the definitions of dyslexia vary and there’s no reliable test for it. Going against long-standing orthodoxy has earned Elliott plenty of hate mail and even comparisons to climate change deniers. His opponents are the ones in denial, Elliott argues, while poor inner-city kids also suffer from literacy deficits, but with no “treatment” for their condition.
He was the “little dog with a big imagination.” Wishbone, a live-action kids’ show starring Soccer, a Jack Russell terrier who taught literature for a mere two seasons, from 1995 to 1997, earned accolades that included four Emmys and a Peabody Award, to name just a few. Although the PBS show failed for lack of underwriting, it spanned generations in reruns and more than 50 Wishbone books. Texas Monthly tracked down the creators of the show, who recall how the magic happened. Twenty-three years after the show ended, Universal Studios plans to revive the curious pup for the big screen.
They’re the lucky ones. The Tampa Bay Lightning will be in Alberta, one of Canada’s safest provinces from the pandemic, rather than back home in virus-wracked Florida. Ensconced in Edmonton’s National Hockey League bubble, the team will also begin playing for its second Stanley Cup title tonight. They’ll face the Dallas Stars, thus pitting the league’s two southernmost teams against each other. Just getting to this point has been a journey: The season was stopped on March 12, with some dozen games remaining, so at least players could heal their battered bodies before resuming in Edmonton and Toronto in the not-so-frosty month of July.