Type in the letters P-A-T-R-I-O... and the wizard of Google completes the thought:
Just that automatically.
If Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots, is doing his own searches he might be aghast to see where his team stands in the web. Kraft is in a position to win his fourth Super Bowl, but what might he have lost?
Kraft's name was already associated with a coach who spied on the Jets in 2007 and got caught. Bill Belichick paid a fine of $500,000 for that transgression -- riding-around money on the MTA.
Now the Patriots have won a lopsided conference championship game in which the footballs were deflated just enough to change their aerodynamics.
Did this help guide Tom Brady’s passes well enough to beat the Colts? Not enough to create the 45-7 score.
The NFL – in the age of concussion carnage and Ray Rice and the weekly police report – is not likely to void that victory. But with all the cameras at work in the stadium last Sunday, the NFL just might find evidence of a low-level employee named Elmo skulking around the ball bag with a one-dollar needle, deflating the balls while everybody else in the place was gaping at the obligatory NFL jet flyover.
Our theoretical Elmo was not acting on his own, any more than the Jets assistant was acting on his own when he, oops, edged onto the field and shivered a Dolphin ball-carrier in 2010.
This is the NFL. Nobody thinks on his own, except Coach.
The way it looks, the footballs were softened, and not by accident. Does Bob Kraft really like being associated with this stuff along with Belichick's seventh Super Bowl?
Belichick’s values are questionable and his public persona is miserable. (To be fair, I have friends who know Belichick and describe his thoughtful side.)
Bob Kraft, 73, cares what people think of him. He and his late wife Myrna were active in many charities and good causes. I wonder what she thought of Belichick, and what she would think about a sack of tampered footballs.
I don’t think the NFL is capable of a moral stand, not with its ratings and income. But if the Patriots did what it looks like they did, Bob Kraft should wait til after the Super Bowl and then give Belichick a year off, without pay. At best.
Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.