Museum of America in the Pandemic Year, 2020

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Aug 25: Two people are killed and another is injured on Tuesday night as shots were fired during another night of protests in Wisconsin over the shooting of Jacob Blake. Louisville police arrest 64 people during what organizers described as a “massive demonstration” over the death of Breonna Taylor. Tropical storms take aim at the American south.

From the Cutting Room Floor ...

The continents of our vast planet were “drawn together by the sailmaker’s needle,” wrote historian Alfred Crosby[1] European exploration made the world smaller, and ultimately, he argued, more impoverished. So much was lost and destroyed by man’s search for raw materials and markets. When Crosby wrote this in The Columbian Exchange (1973), only Exxon and the other petroleum companies knew that their emissions of fossil fuels would warm temperatures across the globe.[2] Little did he realize that the impact of the eternal search for conquest and profit would destroy the very atmosphere that we inhabit. Today, this new reality is brought into stark relief as double tropical storms and out of control wildfires signify the intensity of the other climate change “pandemic” that promises ultimately to swallow up all the rest.



[1] Alfred W. Crosby and Otto von Mering, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, Conn: Greenwood, 1973).

[2] Shannon Hall, “Exxon Knew about Climate Change Almost 40 Years Ago,” Scientific American, October 26, 2015,

The Sun. Rare Fire Tornado or “firenado” Spotted near California Blaze, 2020.

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Lin II, Rong-Gong, Alex Wigglesworth, and Susanne Rust. “Over 1 Million California Acres Have Burned since July as Monster Fires Rage in Bay Area.” Los Angeles Times, August 22, 2020.
Patel, Kasha. “Smoke Shrouds the U.S. West After More Than 10,000 Lightning Strikes Ignite Hundreds of Wildfires Across California.” SciTechDaily (blog), August 21, 2020.
Steed, Les. “Incredibly Rare ‘FIRENADO’ Touches down during Wild California Blaze.” The Sun, August 16, 2020.
Tullis, Paul. “The Burning Problem of America’s Sugar Cane Growers.” Claims Journal, March 30, 2020.
Wilder, Emily. “Arizona Wildfires so Far in 2020 Burn More than 2018 and 2019 Combined.” The Arizona Republic, August 17, 2020.
Jones, Meg, and Joe Taschler. “Less than 3 Minutes Passed between When Kenosha Police Arrived and When Jacob Blake Was Shot, According to Dispatch Audio.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 25, 2020.
Meinke, Kyle. “Detroit Lions Cancel Practice in Protest of Jacob Blake Shooting.” mlive, August 25, 2020.
Weissmann, Jordan. “We Now Know How Much Trump’s Postmaster General Slowed Down the Mail.” Slate Magazine, August 25, 2020.
Green, Emma. “The McCloskeys’ Unsubtle Message to White America.” The Atlantic, August 25, 2020.
Langum, Frances. “Why Is The New Hampshire GOP Sending Absentee Ballot Applications To Pittsburgh?” Crooks and Liars, August 25, 2020.
Morris, Seren. “Tropical Storms Marco and Laura Are Both Forecast to Hit Louisiana This Week.” Newsweek, August 24, 2020.
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* Timeline summaries at the top of the page come from a variety of sources:, including The American Journal of Managed Care COVID-19 Timeline (, the Just Security Group at the NYU School of Law (, the “10 Things,” daily entries from The Week (, as well as a variety of newspapers and television programs.