🇺🇸 London Calling
December 21, 2021

Good morning, and happy Tuesday everyone. Today, we’re testing out a slightly updated format that’s a little more “bullet-pointy.” Short, quick, and to the point, it should still be comprehensive enough to help you walk away with a better understanding of sentiment on both sides. Love it? Hate it? Let us know by responding to this email. Before we dive in, however, check out this piece of good news. A Connecticut family dog is being credited with saving the life of his owner's baby girl after she had stopped breathing.

Plus, a professor hid a cash prize on campus. All students had to do was read the syllabus.

Go Deeper: Here's where we source our Flag Polls data and here's where you can learn more about each pollster including their accuracy and bias.

Flag Polls

ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 12/20: Biden Job Approval, NPR/PBS/Marist Approve 42,
Disapprove 55
ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 12/20: Biden Job Approval, Rasmussen Reports Approve 41,
Disapprove 57
ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 12/20: Biden Job Approval, InsiderAdvantage Approve 41,
Disapprove 58
R 12/20: Gen. Congress Vote, InsiderAdvantage Republicans 48,
Democrats 43

Trending On The Left

Vox: COVID-19 exposed flaws in US health care. Congress might not do anything to fix them.

The IndependentTrump booed by his own supporters as he admits to having Covid booster shot

Washington Post: Schumer vows vote on Build Back Better legislation despite Manchin’s opposition

Huff Post: Stacey Abrams Seeks National Voting Rights Action Before 2022 Race

Trending On The Right

Washington Examiner: Manchin demolishes Dems' delusions with 'no' on Build Back Better

Fox News: McEnany rips Biden admin's 'warning' to unvaccinated: Not the message of a 'great uniter'

DW: Professor Of Color Says He Was Denied Funding For ‘Insufficient’ Dedication To Diversity

The Blaze: Top Dem pollsters paint bleak picture for Democrats — and they have the data to prove it


London Calling

Reporting on the Right: Last Friday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed "declared a state of emergency in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood — an area that sits near City Hall and that officials have long said is rampant with drugs and crime." (Fox News)

Reporting on the Left: Prior to the declaration, Breed said, “It’s time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city comes to an end. And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement: more aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerant of all the bulls--t that has destroyed our city.” (Daily Beast)

From The Flag: Here's what both sides are saying.


Shifting Rhetoric. Maybe There is a Middle Ground.

Left-leaning commentators and outlets think Breed’s comments are the most pronounced example of shifting crime rhetoric not only in San Francisco but from other major US cities as well. We’ve included a podcast below, in which the host and guest discuss how crime is absolutely an issue but also "what a progressive vision of public safety could look like."

"Why the San Francisco Mayor Just Pivoted on Policing" Sarah Holder, City Lab / Bloomberg: "Almost a year and a half ago, Breed was promising to redirect $120 million from the police department’s budget over two years and put it toward initiatives to help San Francisco’s Black community. The cuts ended up being significantly smaller than planned, and the next two-year budget has police spending going back up. ... The Bay Area is one of many US regions that are doubling down on their crime response. Chicago is pouring more than $400 million into violence intervention and other public safety efforts after gun violence levels reached what the Illinois governor deemed crisis levels. New York City elected Eric Adams, a former police officer, as its new mayor, after he campaigned to strengthen the NYPD and reduce crime. And Minneapolis rejected a ballot measure that would have dismantled its police department and replaced it with an agency focused on public health. ... Breed’s pledge to be 'more aggressive with law enforcement' is the latest — and perhaps the most stark — example of shifting crime rhetoric."

Why is Murder Spiking? And Can Cities Address it Without Police? The Ezra Klein Show, The New York Times: "Liberals and progressives need an answer to the question of how to handle rising violence. But that answer doesn’t need to involve a return to the punitive, tough-on-crime approach that has devastated Black and brown communities for decades and led millions of people to take to the streets in protest last summer. ... Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at Princeton University, [believes] police are effective at reducing violence, but they aren’t the only actors capable of doing so. Sharkey’s research has shown that the rise of local nonprofits was an important contributor to the crime decline of the 1990s and 2000s. ... In recent years, his findings have been reinforced by study after study showing that interventions ranging from summer jobs programs to cognitive behavioral therapy to installing street lights in dimly lit areas can produce sizable reductions in violence. As a result, Sharkey has developed a compelling, evidence-backed vision of how cities and communities can tackle violent crime without relying heavily on police." Bonus: Listen to the full podcast.

"San Francisco mayor declares neighborhood state of emergency amid overdose deaths" Gabrielle Canon, The Guardian: “The mayor’s proposal to massively expand police presence in San Francisco is regressive and harmful to those who are already underserved and overpoliced,” public defender Manu Raju said in a statement issued Tuesday, noting that Breed made promises to divest in policing after the murder of George Floyd. Keep reading.


We Told You So

Attitudes on the right boil down to sentiments of “I told you so.” These commentators aren’t surprised that major cities like San Francisco are “re-funding” the police given rising crime including highly publicized “smash and grab” burglaries. Overall, they call for a return to law and order.

"Refunding the San Francisco Police" The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal: "As crime has risen, the defund-the-police movement has become a political liability even for Democrats in progressive cities. Exhibit A is San Francisco, where Mayor London Breed appears to have had a law-and-order conversion for the ages. ... By Dec. 12, San Francisco had 53 homicides this year, up from 48 in all of 2020 and 41 in 2019. Smash-and-grab robbery gangs and shoplifting in the city have become global viral videos, and police data show an 18% increase in larcenies since last year. ... Residents are fed up with the lawlessness, and tourists are afraid to visit. San Francisco’s radical district attorney, Chesa Boudin, faces a recall election in June. There’s a lot of ruin in a city, but apparently even the progressives in San Francisco may have had enough."

"Defund-the-police doesn’t work — as mayors are finding out the hard way" Joseph Giacalone, New York Post op-ed: "The social experiment with people’s lives is over. The defund-the-police mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, just did a 180 on Lombard Street. ... San Francisco embarked down its disastrous defund-the-police, fund-other-agencies road last year, and it didn’t turn out well. Its police department shrank, and violence, thefts, open-air drug dealing, and overdose deaths soared. ... The re-fund the police movement isn’t new. Cities like Oakland, Portland, and (ready for it?) Minneapolis are now scrambling to retain cops and replace those that left. Lesson learned: Cops matter; experiments with people’s lives are dangerous. ... New York City has descended down a similar path, having defunded the NYPD last year and handcuffed its cops. Yet it’s not too late to turn things around."

"Maybe this is an awakening for liberal leaders" Greg Gutfeld, Fox News: "So, crime is getting so bad in California, people are leaving their trunks open -- car trunks I mean. ... Thankfully the mayor of San Francisco says she's had enough...of the behavior that she and others have enabled." Keep reading.


Voters Are Concerned

Polling from the Right: Eight in 10 registered voters are “extremely” or “very” concerned about the crime surge. (Fox Business)

Polling from the Left: As national murder rates see historic jumps, only a little more than 1 in 3 Americans (36%) approve of Biden's handling of crime, down from 43% in an ABC News/Ipsos poll from late October. (ABC)

Polling from the Center: There is a sharp increase in US gun owners who currently claim to own a gun for protection against crime, as compared with polling from the 2000s. Specifically, eighty-eight percent of gun owners cite crime protection as a reason they own a gun, compared with two-thirds saying the same in 2000 and 2005 surveys. (Gallup)

Polling from You: Are you concerned about crime where you live? Click here to share your thoughts.


Take a Load Off

It's been a long year, which means you deserve to kick your feet up. What better way to do that than in a hammock from Wise Owl? Whether you're relaxing by the fire or sleeping under the stars, this camping hammock has everything you need to stay comfy and covered throughout the night during your next camping trip—or even while just lounging in your backyard. Lightweight and convenient, Wise Owl's travel hammock weighs only 24 ounces and folds up to the size of an eggplant. If you're looking for a thoughtful holiday gift for the outdoorsy person in your life, look no further! Click here to purchase.


New Emissions Standards, Boosters Effective, Trump Sues AG

Axios: The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it will tighten pollution standards for cars and light trucks in an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. 

Reuters: Moderna said on Monday that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine appeared to be protective against the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus in laboratory testing and that the current version of the shot would continue to be its "first line of defense against Omicron."

CNN: Former President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization have sued New York Attorney General Letitia James, asking for a federal court to halt or limit her office's ongoing investigations.

CNN: Hong Kong's first "patriots only" legislative election witnessed a record low turnout on Sunday, reflecting a steep decline in civic and political engagement following Beijing's overhaul of the city's electoral processes.

CNBC: The annual January get-together of world leaders, billionaires, and executives in Davos, Switzerland, will be postponed due to health and safety concerns over COVID-19.

AP: The nation’s second-largest city called off its New Year’s Eve celebration Monday, and its smallest state re-imposed an indoor mask mandate as fears of a potentially devastating winter COVID-19 surge triggered more cancellations and restrictions ahead of the holidays.

NPR: Four million people and counting have signed a petition calling for a reduced prison sentence for Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, the semitruck driver behind a deadly 28-car pileup in Colorado in April 2019.


Pan Am Flight 103, Internet Religion, Car Sick

On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York explodes in midair over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members aboard, as well as 11 Lockerbie residents on the ground.

Vox: Is a new kind of religion forming on the internet?

Slate: It’s Time to Stop Giving Gifts to Adults

Quartz: The Japanese Art Principle That Teaches How to Work With Failure

Today I Learned the prototype of the Rolls Royce Ghost was so quiet inside that it made test drivers sick. The engineers had to remove some of the noise-isolating material, and create seats that vibrated at specific frequencies to introduce some noise into the interior.

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