How Ellen DeGeneres’s facade of kindness crumbled 

The most chaotic, dramatic story in television right now is whatever’s going on offstage at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Reports of a toxic work culture, discrimination, and sexual harassment are tarnishing the 17-year-old, feel-good talk show’s reputation as a dreamland where celebrities become our closest friends, donations change lives, and a lot of clunky dancing takes place.

The cracks in this veneer started off thin and narrow: As the show became a daytime TV juggernaut over the past two decades, rumors simultaneously circulated that DeGeneres was not as nice in person as the show portrayed her to be. But the …

What’s wrong with the mail

The United States Postal Service is dealing with crippling backlogs of letters and packages. A postmaster in upstate New York recently told their union that the regular mail was two days behind and, for the first time in their career, Express Priority Mail was not going out on time. Despite a surge in package delivery during the pandemic, postal workers are no longer able to work overtime, and fewer mail trucks are on the road. If your own mail seems delayed or unpredictable, it’s not a one-off problem.

Mail service has been disrupted nationwide in recent weeks due to a …

RSVP now to talk The Vanishing Half with Brit Bennett and the Vox Book Club

The Vox Book Club is linking to Bookshop.org to support local and independent booksellers.

When Brit Bennett’s first novel The Mothers came out in 2016, Bennett was one of the hottest debut authors of the season. Now that The Vanishing Half is out and has become an instant bestseller, she’s cemented her place as a star of the literary scene. So I’m thrilled to announce that we’ll be talking with Bennett about The Vanishing Half for the Vox Book Club on August 27 at 5 pm, and you can RSVP now.

Bennett is a SoCal native who graduated …

How Ohio has avoided becoming another Covid-19 hot spot (so far)

This week, it seemed as if Ohio’s coronavirus outbreak had reached Gov. Mike DeWine.

It was reported on Thursday morning that DeWine, who was supposed to meet with President Donald Trump later that day in Cleveland, had tested positive for Covid-19. He would stay home and get tested again, rather than accompany the president.

But then came the follow-up story on Thursday evening: A second test on DeWine was negative. He may never have been sick at all.

The whole thing was a little confusing and opaque — not a bad analogy, actually, to explain the state of …

The pandemic is an extraordinary opportunity to reform US education

As of August 6, the US had more than 4.8 million reported cases of Covid-19 and at least 160,000 deaths. But we know the devastation is far greater: Our testing and contact tracing remain insufficient, and the official numbers don’t capture the indirect death toll, which could be far greater.

If there is one bright spot, nearly every sector of society has seized on the opportunity for systemic reform. We have expanded telehealth and temporarily disabled restrictive policies around medications for the treatment of substance use. We halted cash bail in many jurisdictions, and enacted eviction moratoriums.…

Trump issued an executive order effectively banning TikTok if it doesn’t sell in the next 45 days

President Trump issued an executive order on Thursday night that will effectively ban any US company or individual from making transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of the TikTok app, after 45 days.

While this conditional ban on TikTok’s US business operations will likely face serious legal challenges, and it’s unclear how immediately enforceable it is, the order creates a serious challenge for TikTok, a wildly popular video streaming app with some 100 million US users.

For months, Trump and other bipartisan politicians have periodically raised concerns about TikTok as a potential national security threat, worrying that the app’s …