Stewing Over Election Loss, President Silent as Virus Surges in US

Biden Can’t Stop America’s Democratic Decline ; Target Reopening Looted Store With Black Shoppers in Mind ; and More Picks

COVID-19, US surge, silent president, public health crisis
The author writes, “President Trump has publicly disengaged from the battle against the coronavirus at a moment when the disease is tearing across the US at an alarming pace. ... Public health experts worry that his refusal to take aggressive action on the pandemic or to coordinate with the [Joe] Biden team during the final two months of his presidency will only worsen the effects of the virus and hinder the nation’s ability to swiftly distribute a vaccine next year.” Photo credit: Georgia National Guard / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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Biden Can’t Stop America’s Democratic Decline (Russ)

The author writes, “A few years ago I developed a moderately cheering theory about the effects of four years of U.S. President Donald Trump. The thought came to me while I was covering the French presidential elections in 2017. Very few French voters seemed to be attracted to Emmanuel Macron’s Anglo-American brand of liberalism, but they voted for him in overwhelming numbers against Marine Le Pen because they felt called to defend so-called republican values against her populist nativism. The French had a collective memory of their own brush with fascism during the Vichy era and the 1930s. … Perhaps, I thought, Americans’ own problem was historical complacency; if so, Trump could provide a kind of homeopathic remedy which would inoculate them against the full-blown disease of authoritarianism without making them gravely ill. I was wrong. The democratic catharsis that I hoped this election would produce did not happen and is not happening.” 

Voter Fraud Used to Be Rampant. Now It’s an Anomaly. (Reader Steve)

From National Geographic: “In the aftermath of the 2020 election, President Donald Trump has unleashed a barrage of litigation to review results in battleground states while also making unsubstantiated claims that the election was tainted by ‘tremendous corruption and fraud.’ … If any voter fraud did take place in 2020, it would have been an anomaly. Though rampant in the 19th and early 20th centuries, electoral fraud has become rare with the advent of stronger voter protections. Here’s how voter fraud was perpetrated in the past — and why it has all but faded away.”

Target Is Reopening Its Looted Store With Black Shoppers in Mind (Dana)

The author writes, “Nearly six months after it was ransacked in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, the Target Corp. store in South Minneapolis is re-opening. Many parts of it will look just as they had before — the bright red and white exterior; the aisles filled with private-label Target brands; the bins of low-cost items in front. But many others will look different. The pharmacy was moved up to the front of the store so elderly customers can easily get their prescriptions; the grocery was stocked with more varieties of spices requested by the local community; the crosswalk from the nearby rail station was made safer and the lighting around it brighter; and the entrance was made more inviting with a new mural and plants. The overhaul forms part of what executives at Target, a retailer long associated with White suburban shoppers, describe as an effort to improve its image with Black customers.”

Arctic Sea Ice at Record Low October Levels (Mili)

The author writes, “Sea ice in the Arctic was at record lows for October as unusually warm waters slowed the recovery of the ice, Danish researchers said. … Diminishing sea ice comes as a reminder about how the Arctic is hit particularly hard by global warming. Since the 1990s, warming has been twice as fast in the Arctic compared to the rest of the world, as a phenomenon dubbed ‘Arctic amplification’ causes air, ice and water to interact in a reinforcing manner.”

Botched Restoration of Spanish Sculpture Draws Scrutiny (Dana)

From ARTnews: “Following a botched restoration of a painting of the Virgin Mary in the city of Valencia earlier this year, another repair effort in Spain has become the subject of scrutiny. Images of a recent restoration job on figurative sculpture decorating a 20th-century building in the city of Palencia show significant changes to stone work’s facial features. … The sculpture previously depicted the face of a woman smiling, and now some are saying on social media that it looks like Donald Trump. The sculpture’s original distinguishing features appear to have been altered by the restoration effort.”

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