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Lights, Camera, Back in Action
Actors Strike Ends, Tracy Chapman's Country Music Award
Last night's Trumpless, hopeless GOP presidential debate featured Vivek Ramaswamy calling Volodymyr Zelenskyy a Nazi (the campaign later corrected the record by explaining that their candidate was talking quickly), argued that America should build not one, but two walls (the second one between the US and Canada), described two of his opponents as "Dick Cheney in three-inch heels," and started talking about Nikki Haley's daughter's TikTok habits before Haley referred to him as scum. In The Atlantic (Gift Article), Russell Berman explained that Trump’s Rivals Passed Up Their Chance (chance at what, closing a 50 point gap to 49?), while Vox seemed to have the most accurate headline: 0 winners and 5 losers from the third Republican presidential debate. I could go on about the Real Candidates of the GOP series that Andy Cohen would probably find too lowbrow for Bravo, but today's lead is not about a debate that meant virtually nothing (unless, as Lawrence O'Donnell suggested, Donald Trump chokes on a cheeseburger). No, what I'm really trying to say is, thank god the actors strike ended, because these reality shows really suck. "The union said the pact is valued at over $1 billion and includes pay increases higher than what other unions received this year, a “streaming participation bonus” and regulations on AI." Actors Make a Deal With Studios After 118 Days.
+ "With the industry hustling to make up for months of lost work, juggling production schedules and the availability of actors and crew members will be complicated." NYT (Gift Article): Getting Hollywood Back Up and Running Won’t Be Easy. (Seriously, someone just yell, "Action." At this point, we'll take anything that's not news.)
The Candy Man Can't
"These particular Kit Kats would become the key players in an ultimately frustrating saga of shell email accounts, phantom truckers, supply-chain fraud and one seriously bewildered cargo freight broker. Interviews and emails shared with The New York Times tell the story of just one instance of 'strategic theft,' a growing corner of the criminal world that the F.B.I. has said accounts for some $30 billion in losses a year — with food being among the top targets." NYT (Gift Article): How to Hijack a Quarter of a Million Dollars in Rare Japanese Kit Kats. (I'm always up for a good How-to article.)
Been There, Never Done That
"First, Israel is facing threats from a set of enemies who combine medieval theocratic worldviews with 21st-century weaponry — and are no longer organized as small bands of militiamen but as modern armies with brigades, battalions, cybercapabilities, long-range rockets, drones and technical support. I am speaking about Iranian-backed Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic militias in Iraq and the Houthis in Yemen — and now even the openly Hamas-embracing Vladimir Putin ... The second danger I see is that the only conceivable way that Israel can generate the legitimacy, resources, time and allies to fight such a difficult war with so many enemies is if it has unwavering partners abroad ... But Biden can sustainably generate the support Israel needs only if Israel is ready to engage in some kind of a wartime diplomatic initiative directed at the Palestinians in the West Bank — and hopefully in a post-Hamas Gaza — that indicates Israel will discuss some kind of two-state solutions if Palestinian officials can get their political house unified and in order. This leads directly to my third, deep concern. Israel has the worst leader in its history — maybe in all of Jewish history — who has no will or ability to produce such an initiative." Tom Friedman in the NYT (Gift Article): I Have Never Been to This Israel Before.
+ Watching the Spread: "The U.S. carried out an airstrike on a weapons warehouse in eastern Syria used by Iranian-backed militias, in retaliation for what has been a growing number of attacks on bases housing U.S. troops in the region for the past several weeks."
+ After much diplomacy and White House pressure, Israel has agreed to four hour humanitarian pauses, CIA head in Qatar to discuss hostage strategy, IDF says its forces raid Hamas military base in central Gaza City. Here's the latest from BBC, CNN, and NBC.
"At the race on Sunday, Kaufman figured he would be out on the course for seven hours using a 'walk-walk' method: two minutes of a fast walk alternating with one minute of a slow walk. But around the 11th mile, he started to get blisters on his foot." WaPo (Gift Article): This runner finished last at the NYC Marathon. He feels ‘blessed.' (Don't judge someone until you've walked 26.2 miles in their shoes...)
Confessional Box: "An Arizona judge has dismissed a high-profile child sexual abuse lawsuit against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ruling that church officials who knew that a church member was sexually abusing his daughter had no duty to report the abuse to police or social service agencies because the information was received during a spiritual confession." Court cites clergy-penitent privilege in dismissing child sex abuse lawsuit against Mormon church. "Decision to withhold his abusive behavior from civil authorities allowed him to continue abusing his daughter for seven years, during which he began abusing a second daughter, starting when she was just 6 weeks old."
+ Die Trying: "From his viral video cornering Senator Jeff Flake on an airplane and asking him to 'be a hero' by protecting the Affordable Care Act, to civil disobedience arrests in his wheelchair, to his cross-country bus tour bird-dogging candidates, to commandeering the microphone of Pod Save America, to persuading the Democratic presidential candidates to do interviews with him, to his testimony at the first-ever Medicare for All hearing in Congress, to launching the Be A Hero campaign, Ady turned dying into organizing." Remembering Ady Barkan, Who Turned Dying Into an Act of Love.
+ Return to Vendor: "Those talks were part of a larger Russian push to seek help from its longtime arms customers, who for decades bought Russian aircraft, missiles and air-defense systems, making Moscow the world’s second-largest arms exporter." Russia asks other countries to return weapons sold to them.
+ Fast Car, Slow Road: "Tracy Chapman is the first black songwriter to win song of the year in the ceremony's 57-year history." And she did it with a 35 year-old song that was recently covered by Luke Combs. Tracy Chapman makes country music history.
+ Take This Gov and Shove It: "When Hibbard wrapped up, he grabbed his water bottle and briefcase and walked out [becoming] part of a wave of local elected and appointed government officials and public-sector employees who are abruptly quitting their jobs in the middle of public meetings throughout smaller towns across America." WSJ (Gift Article): Town officials are dramatically quitting and walking out of public meetings. Those sticking around in these jobs are facing increasing challenges. 4 elections offices in Washington are evacuated due to suspicious envelopes, 2 containing fentanyl. And, threatening letter containing fentanyl sent to Fulton County election officials. As these jobs get less desirable, those who hold them will too. Who would want any of these gigs, from being a local elections volunteer to serving in Congress?
Bottom of the News
"A new system for noise-canceling headphones lets users opt back in to certain sounds they’d like to hear, such as babies crying, birds tweeting, or alarms ringing." Of course, opting in is not the good part. Noise-canceling headphones could let you pick and choose the sounds you want to hear.
+ Courtesy of the great Dan Cederholm of Simplebits, the band Wilco now has their very own font.