In the News: Week of June 21st

What happened in the world from June 21st to 27th

In the news this week

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare in a briefing filed late Thursday night. If the court sides with Trump, about 20 million Americans would lose their health insurance. It could also do away with protections for those with pre-existing conditions. A White House spokesman said the Affordable Care Act “forces Americans to purchase unaffordable plans,” although as I wrote Friday, folks against Obamacare and a public option are actually just worried about government healthcare being too affordable for the average American and not profitable enough for private insurers.

New coronavirus cases are accelerating in many parts of the country, and some states are reversing their reopening plans. The U.S. reported a record number of cases on Friday, over 45,000, and several states paused or reversed reopening plans. New restrictions on bars were put into place in Florida and Texas, and the Texas governor said, “If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars.” Who knew that a bunch of strangers gathering in a small, enclosed space could lead to an increased spread of the virus. I can’t wait until we lock down again to get this outbreak under control, then reopen prematurely, and inexplicably have to lock down again.

Novak Djokovic tested positive for coronavirus because he’s a complete moron. Hopefully his irresponsibility doesn’t kill anyone. He organized a tennis tournament and thought it would be a good idea to have spectators, who weren’t spread apart, and players hugging and dancing, pretending coronavirus no longer exists. Participants weren’t even required to be tested before the tournament began. Djokovic and his wife have tested positive, along with at least two coaches and three other players. 

Headline of the Week: NYPD Confirms Officers Who Drove SUVs Into Protestors Didn’t Break Any Rules

Intentionally hitting people with your car doesn’t count as “use of force,” as long as you’re a police officer. Several weeks ago, videos of an NYPD marked vehicle plowing through a crowd of protestors went viral, and the department recently confirmed that cops were completely within their rights to run people down.

Recommended Reading: ‘Crush This Lady.’ Inside eBay’s Bizarre Campaign Against a Blog Critic.

It’s no secret that eBay has been struggling to compete with Amazon. Shipping is almost always faster on Amazon, and it’s tough to beat quick shipping. Amazon’s marketplace is much more user friendly; there aren’t thousands of different listings for the same product, but rather one listing with many different sellers. eBay is also, apparently, absolutely insane.

A couple from the Boston area, David and Ina Steiner, have been blogging about ecommerce for over 20 years. They focus mainly on eBay and Amazon, two of the biggest players in online shopping. They aren’t afraid to be critical of eBay; the CEO at the time, Devin Wenig, “could be set off by even the smallest of slights.” After a blog post from the Steiner’s website that was critical of eBay came to his attention in the summer of 2019, he texted his communications chief to “take her [Ms. Steiner] down.”

Things got crazy in August of last year. The blogging couple started receiving threatening emails and tweets. They were sent a mask of a bloody pig’s head, and a book called “Surviving Loss of a Spouse.” Ironically, both packages appear to have been ordered from Amazon. (Was eBay trying to throw investigators off the trail or did they use Amazon because they know it would get there quicker? The world may never know.) The Steiners received a funeral wreath, and neighbors were sent porn videos with the Steiners name on them. Strange cars tailed them around town.

The eBay employees were caught, obviously, and now several face charges. Perhaps more troubling is the revelation that this wasn’t an isolated incident; eBay has a history of silencing critics of the company. Maybe if they focused on making their company better instead of going after those that have ideas on how they can improve, they wouldn’t be getting destroyed by Amazon. P.S. If you’re reading this, eBay executives, please don’t harass me.

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