The Court Jester
Alito's comedy show, Weekend Whats, Feel Good Friday
(Schedule Note: NextDraft will be taking a Summer break from August 1-12)
"I had the honor this term of writing I think the only supreme court decision in the history of that institution that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders who felt perfectly fine commenting on American law. One of these was Boris Johnson, but he paid the price." That laugh-inducing line was delivered by Samuel Alito who used a speech in Rome to drop some political zingers on those who dared to criticize the Court's overturning of Roe. Wait? Jokes aimed at world leaders? In your face taunting from a Supreme Court justice on foreign soil? Aren't SCOTUS judges supposed to be above politics? Hah. If you still believe that, you haven't been paying attention. There's a reason that confidence in U.S. Supreme Court is at a historic low. Dahlia Lithwick in Slate: What We Lose as John Roberts Is Sidelined on the Court. "It speaks volumes about this political moment, and also about the nature and current posture of the Supreme Court, that two of the people who still regarded their participation on a multi-person court as a project in relationship-building and compromise and the long-term banking of trust and goodwill to achieve tolerable outcomes for everyone, are now wholly sidelined. Breyer has retired and Roberts is left conducting an orchestra that has chosen to play its own discordant symphonies." Compromise. Deal-making. Working together. Not humiliating the Court by gloating abroad. Sorry folks, that courtship has sailed.
2. Error Conditioning
In America, about 90% of homes have air conditioning. In the UK, about 3% do. But with Europe getting familiar with heatwaves, that number is set to spike, and in this case, cooling off is gonna heat things up. The Hustle: Europeans typically haven’t embraced at-home AC like Americans have. But now it’s really hot. (Wait until they experience pouring a drink over an actually full cup of ice!)
+ While America is enjoying the AC, we're at least poised to do something about climate change (if the new compromise bill passes). NYT (Gift Article): "The $369 billion climate and tax bill would affect every aspect of U.S. energy production, with incentives for producers and consumers to move away from fossil fuels." Seven Key Provisions in the Climate Deal.
3. Blues Singer
"First, he lured dozens of wealthy, entitled parents from Silicon Valley, Wall Street and Hollywood to pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribe money to get their average children into the country’s most elite universities. Then he ratted them out. And while those privileged parents have been serving months behind bars, Singer has been free on $500,000 bail after pleading guilty in 2019 to four felonies, including racketeering, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the federal government. He won’t be sentenced until mid-September after every last parent faces their final reckoning." Rick Singer’s bribery got rich kids into elite universities. Now the Varsity Blues mastermind is pushing pickleball at America’s 'dullest mobile home park.'
4. Weekend Whats
What to Watch: Almost Fly on HBO Max is series about adolescent friendship, teen romance, the falling of the Berlin Wall, living in a town with a military base, the 90s, the worldwide influence of early hip hop, bullying, race, and a few other things. Good stuff.
+ What to Read: "When we put out a call for memories of Oil Can’s, we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of responses from people who wanted to help us understand what made this place so singular. Thanks to the Oil Can’s community for helping us tell this story. This is for you." 52 Years of Resistance and Rejoicing at Oil Can Harry’s, LA’s Now-Shuttered Historic Gay Bar. Plus, from the excellent Barton Gellman in The Atlantic: How Six States Could Overturn the 2024 Election. "Joe Biden won five of those six swing states in 2020. Donald Trump then tried and failed, lawlessly, to muscle the GOP state legislators into discarding Biden’s victory and appointing Trump electors instead. The Moore case marks the debut in the nation’s highest court of a dubious theory that could give Republicans legal cover in 2024 to do as Trump demanded in 2020. And if democracy is subverted in just a few states, it can overturn the election nationwide."
+ What to Doc: This weekend marks the debut of Ron Howard's feature film, Thirteen Lives, based on the amazing 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue. It sounds like it's a good movie. But please, please, trust me when I tell you that before you watch any fictionalized version of this remarkable story, watch the awesome documentary called The Rescue.
+ What to Beyonce: Beyonce.
5. Extra, Extra
"Blindsided veterans erupted in anger and indignation Thursday after Senate Republicans suddenly tanked a widely supported bipartisan measure that would have expanded medical coverage for millions of combatants exposed to toxic burn pits during their service." Crazy, disgusting, un-American. Jon Stewart has been pushing the bill and shared some thoughts on Fox News. "I want to dispel some of the misinformation that has been put out about this bill. No spending that is not related to veterans has been added to this bill ... Hunter Biden didn't sneak in and add in unrelated spending in the middle of the night."
+ Disappearing Ink: WaPo (Gift Article): "Text messages for President Donald Trump’s acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli are missing for a key period leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to four people briefed on the matter and internal emails." (Puts the Hillary email story into perspective, no?)
+ Appalachian Floods: "Search and rescue teams backed by the National Guard looked Friday for people missing in record floods that wiped out entire communities in some of the poorest places in America." Appalachian floods kill at least 16 as rescue teams deploy.
+ To the Viktor Go the Spoils? "He was entrepreneurial, not ideological, selling to governments that were fighting rebels, and to rebels who were fighting governments. Separating fact from fiction has often been difficult when documenting Bout's work, but many reports said he even sold arms to both sides in the same conflict." Who is Viktor Bout, the prisoner the U.S. may trade for Brittney Griner?
+ Drill Baby, Drill: The least surprising lead of the day. "Oil companies swam in record profits over the last few months at a time when Americans struggled to pay for gasoline, food and other basic necessities."
6. Feel Good Friday
"Artificial intelligence has deciphered the structure of virtually every protein known to science, paving the way for the development of new medicines or technologies to tackle global challenges such as famine or pollution." DeepMind uncovers structure of 200m proteins in scientific leap forward.
+ Wired: These Vaccines Will Take Aim at Covid—and Its Entire SARS Lineage.
+ WaPo: How 80 dogs were saved: ‘We’ve done a lot of rescues ... but never one like this.'
+ All-Women Rowing Team Breaks World Record Crossing the Pacificfrom San Francisco to Hawaii.
+ 7-year-old credited with saving toddler from bottom of swimming pool.
+ "Though the probability of hitting the Mega Millions jackpot is notoriously lousy, the chief executives of Raising Cane's are hedging their bets after buying lottery tickets for all 50,000 of their fast-food employees - for the second time in a week." (Dipping a fry into Cane's sauce makes me feel like I've won the lottery.)
+ If you missed the party earlier this week. the great Norman Lear turned 100.
+ Reminder: Unless my addiction gets the better of me, NextDraft will be taking a Summer break from August 1-12.