Outside Reading — Delta Force edition

Unvaxxed, Unmasked and Putting Our Kids at Risk by Jessica Valenti

And here we are, stalled out in the emergence from a devastating pandemic — and indeed regressing — almost entirely because insidious opportunists and complete crackpots, most residing on the right side of the political spectrum, are so zealously committed to the disinformation grift they’ve been running for years. Exhausted medical professionals are forced again to explain the stakes, and businesses and institutions on the verge of stabilization are scrambling to reinstitute protocols to protect the general welfare, all because of subset of seething individualists are inordinately proud of their ignorance. “It’s enraging to listen to people complain that wearing a mask or getting a simple shot is akin to an assault on their freedom while children who have no choice bear the brunt of their nonsense,” writes Jessica Valenti in this New York Times opinion piece. She couldn’t be more correct.

Good pandemic advice from a doc: ‘Avoid stupid people’ by Bill Berry

Quoting his physician, Bill Berry offers blunt advice for remaining safe from the virus as certain parts of the nation approach pre-vaccine levels of infection. My appreciation of this quick, simple piece is significantly enhanced by the fact that the practitioner in question hangs his stethoscope in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, the Midwestern college town where I earned my undergraduate degree. Realistically, it’s good advice in times without a rampaging illness, too. This article is published by The Cap Times.

Empire of Pain (2021) by Patrick Radden Keefe

Subtitled The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, this remarkable work of investigative journalism and historical excavation illuminates the rot in the souls of the family that raked in obscene wealth as their most lucrative product directly contributed to the death of hundreds of thousands. Patrick Radden Keefe convincingly demonstrates that a rampant disregard for the greater public good led the Sacklers, and their company Purdue Pharma, to continue pushing OxyContin well after the product’s dangers were clear. More than that, he goes into the long history of the family and their various business endeavors to show the amoral manipulations that have undergirded their work from the beginning, including blatant deception in medical journals, marketing materials, legal testimonies, and responses to regulatory agencies. Keefe’s research is exhaustive, and he conveys the story with clarity and an appropriate tinge of outrage.

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