Morning Belz, June 28
Drove four hours from Asheville to Chattanooga with my three kids yesterday, through the extreme southwest tip of North Carolina and the southeast corner of Tennessee. The route, through the Nantahala and Ocoee river basins, is well-known to anyone who regularly makes the trip between the two cities. The other route is through Knoxville and almost certain congestion on Interstate 40, and not as pretty. So we “took the gorge.” I turned on Hank Williams Sr. and within a few minutes the weaving roads had lulled all three kids to sleep. The mountains heaved with life — that thick layer of forest with massive ferns in the shade, the grass lush along the road, kudzu kudzu kudzu. We passed through several bands of rain and sunshine. We’d be in a downpour and then the sun would come out and then more navy blue mountains screened by a curtain of rain loomed ahead. Despite the rain, the rivers were full of rafters, bouncing down the rapids in their blue or white helmets.
Also had some time to think about Scuffed News. We have a busy week ahead. Probably going to Atlanta twice, and plan to make a video about optimism. The International Optimist Club is having its 103rd annual meeting later this week. I was denied a press pass (a spokeswoman said we don’t “fit the narrative”), but I plan to bird-dog the event with Jay on Thursday anyway. If we get kicked off the property of the Hyatt Regency we’ll do it in style, and then take our curiosity about optimism to the streets of downtown Atlanta. Should be fun. Still have to sort out a video about Marjorie Taylor Greene, and also want to ask as many Black people as possible to explain how they think about racism in America, probably in Atlanta and Birmingham. Most of the people who support Scuffed News on Patreon also receive this letter and I want to thank you, and ask you to stick with it a little longer and see what the next two months bring. This is also my message to my wife. Have a great week.
Biden has trouble brewing to his Left — Bloomberg
Before Marjorie, there was Cynthia — Cynthia McKinney
Trump’s shouting match with Milley — Axios
Charles Blow’s call for a reverse great migration — NCR
TikTok’s strain of sexual conservatism — Default Friend
A good list of crowdsourced parenting advice — Emily Oster
“Please, oh, please drop the subject! Don’t talk to me about what I’m discussing with myself all the time in my mind.” — Paul Valéry, 1942
About: I send this email most weekdays in an effort to stay informed and in touch. I was a newspaper reporter for 14 years, most recently at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I explained why my family left Minneapolis here. Now we live just outside Chattanooga and I work on Scuffed News. Please share this newsletter with anyone you think might enjoy it. And please consider supporting this work with your money on Patreon.