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CHARLIE SYKES: The Stupidity. It Burns.
THE SECRET PODCAST🎧: The 2024 Spoiler 🔐 (Free Preview!)
ATMA🎧: The Games of Our Youth 🔐
CATHY YOUNG: The Bizarre Life and Even More Bizarre Death of a Russian War Propagandist.
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DENNIS AFTERGUT: Clarence Thomas’s Fancy Trips.
Clarence Thomas, the senior associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, said on Friday that he has “always sought to comply” with rules regarding the public disclosure of trips paid for by others, and that he would abide by the recently revised disclosure guidelines. His unusual statement, prompted by a new report revealing his long history of taking lavish trips bought and paid for by billionaire Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, demonstrates the need for a much more rigorous and enforceable ethics code for the nation’s highest court.
BILL RYAN: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ and the Beginning of the Coens’ End.
In 1991, Joel and Ethan Coen released the film Barton Fink. This is a film that enjoyed unprecedented success at the Cannes Film Festival, winning not only the Palme d’Or, but also best actor for John Turturro and best director for Joel Coen. Raking in this many awards for one film was unusual for Cannes, which, as an unwritten rule, preferred that its juries spread the love among several films. So the board at Cannes decided to finally write down the rule. More importantly, Barton Fink, strange film though it is, helped the Coens break through—or at least significantly widened the crack in the wall they’d been pounding against since their 1984 debut, Blood Simple. That earlier movie remains the only Coen production that feels truly independent, where the budget was a serious issue they had to keep an eye on. As great as it is, after that they found themselves able to work with some pretty big-name actors, and their budgets increased, even if the finished films didn’t always capture the public’s imagination as they could—and indeed should—have. Until, again, Barton Fink, a kind of horror film set in 1940s Hollywood.
I won’t get into the ins and outs of Barton Fink’s wild plot; suffice it to say, Barton Fink (Turturro) is a pompously leftist playwright whose play is such a hit that he’s caught the attention of Hollywood, which wants him to come out to Los Angeles and write scripts for formulaic Wallace Beery wrestling pictures and the like.
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AMANDA CARPENTER: It’s All About Trump’s Election Criminality.
BAD NEWS: WE ARE ABOUT to be subjected to many months, if not years, of Donald J. Trump legal drama—as if the fact that Trump is on his third presidential campaign in three straight cycles weren’t exhausting enough.
Here’s the good news: You don’t have to closely track the minutiae of the legal developments in each of the investigations to understand what it’s all about. It’s okay if they blur together in your mind. In fact, that might be helpful in seeing the big picture, the unprecedented nature of the threat Trump poses.
See, at the broadest level, the Manhattan district attorney’s indictment of Trump regards the same subject as the ongoing investigation by the Fulton County district attorney in Georgia and one of the investigations now being led by the special counsel in the Department of Justice. In fact, the case even strikes the same theme as the Mueller investigation and both of Trump’s impeachments.
BILL LUEDERS: David Koresh, the KKK, and Donald Trump.
In 1987, the man who would soon change his name to David Koresh was locked in bitter contention with a rival leader of the Branch Davidians over who was the rightful owner of Mount Carmel, the 77-acre compound that served as the cult’s headquarters near Waco, Texas. The rival leader, George Roden, suggested a way to resolve the dispute.
There was a cult member, Anna Hughes, who had died two decades earlier and was laid to rest in a makeshift graveyard. As Stephan Talty relates in his new book, Koresh, Roden unearthed Hughes’s coffin and announced that “whichever of them could bring Anna back to life would prove that he was the son of God and the true owner of Mount Carmel.” Koresh, then still known by his birth name of Vernon Wayne Howell, waited to see what his rival would do.
It’s the home opener! Rob Manfred may be ruining baseball, but the Guardians are back in Cleveland at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. Cleveland native Travis Kelce may be a Super Bowl champion, but when it comes to throwing first pitches… Earlier this year, John Adams, who banged a drum at Cleveland Municipal Stadium and Jacobs / Progressive Field over the course of 50 seasons, passed away. Today, the Guardians honor him with a patch on their jerseys. Baseball in Cleveland won’t be the same. And for 25 years, we’ve had Sandy Alomar, both as a player and a coach, as a cheery figure at the heart of the action, ten of those with Tito Francona. While the Guardians couldn’t pull out a W today, I’m bullish on their chances this year.
And…. scene. Matt Taibbi announces Twitter departure after Musk goes after Substack. Musk then unfollowed Taibbi.
The lasting effects… Of anti-anti-Trumpism. A must-read item from John Daly.
The Trump campaign almost gets Loomered… You can’t make this up, but the President wanted to hire Laura Loomer. Only the best people! Kooky MTG has weighed in negatively because Loomer is pals with “weirdo” Nick Fuentes, whose conference MTG herself addressed?
The rise… Of the D.C. bagel.
DeSantis lashes out… After being bested by the Mouse at the 11th hour, DeSantis has announced new ways he intends to punish them. As former Rep. Justin Amash observes: “It’s increasingly clear there’s no legitimate state interest in the actions against Disney. It’s not about making them play by the rules; it’s about singling them out for punishment based on speech.”
Social media secrets… A spate of classified Pentagon planning documents are ending up on social media.
My decade of temporary homes… Rachel Heng at Esquire has your Friday #LongRead.
SeaLand… Has a soccer team?! The unrecognized micronation is smaller than a football pitch.
The mifepristone war… Heats up as a Texas federal judge has put a stay on a 23 year old FDA approval of the abortion drug, prompting some states to stock up. (Update: A Washington judge has ruled, putting the FDA under contradictory orders.)
Five totally real stories you missed… If you don’t watch Fox.
Stormy nights and Glory days… Matt K. Lewis joins Russell Moore on The Bulletin podcast to discuss sex scandals, the backlashes facing the pro-life movement.
Labor shortages… Are shutting down American ports.
The life of Chilo… The beloved dog of our friend Holly Berkley Fletcher, whom you may know from her Bulwark parody videos.
The Finnish secret to happiness? Knowing when you have enough.
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