Danger Things

The Upside Down, Weekend Whats, Feel Good Friday

“Imagine a world exactly like our own, but distorted by time and space. You can still access familiar places, but they’re askew, empty; they lack the principle of formality, and appear as mere simulations … another dimension that is presented to us as a membrane-dripping, shadowy version of the world we know and inhabit.” That’s how Thrillist describes the Upside Down in Stanger Things. If you consume enough news, it’s hard not to feel like America has been sucked into the Upside Down; something is off, the normal rules don’t apply, institutions can’t be trusted. If Mar-a-Lago is the Upside Down’s vacation spot, then Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s abode in Alexandria is America’s home sweet home. Jodi Kantor in the NYT (Gift Article): At Justice Alito’s House, a ‘Stop the Steal’ Symbol on Display. “After the 2020 presidential election, as some Trump supporters falsely claimed that President Biden had stolen the office, many of them displayed a startling symbol outside their homes, on their cars and in online posts: an upside-down American flag. One of the homes flying an inverted flag during that time was the residence of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in Alexandria, Va., according to photographs and interviews with neighbors. The upside-down flag was aloft on Jan. 17, 2021, the images showed. President Donald J. Trump’s supporters, including some brandishing the same symbol, had rioted at the Capitol a little over a week before. Mr. Biden’s inauguration was three days away.” Consider that the same Justice who flew this inverted flag (he blamed it on his wife) is currently sitting in judgement on a presidential immunity case that is delaying the trial of the guy who actually tried to steal an election. It would be better if this shocked us. Sadly, it confirms our worst concerns and we’re all quite certain Alito (like Thomas, whose wife was a big stop the steal player) won’t recuse himself from any related cases. Back in the rightside up world, a Justice might even resign over something like this. But we know that won’t happen. We’ve come to expect that no one ever gets held to account. Maybe we’re getting too used to living in the Upside Down.

+ Sen. Dick Durbin, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urged Alito to step off Trump election case over U.S. flag controversy. “Justice Alito should recuse himself immediately from cases related to the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection, including the question of the former President’s immunity in U.S. v. Donald Trump, which the Supreme Court is currently considering … The Court is in an ethical crisis of its own making, and Justice Alito and the rest of the Court should be doing everything in their power to regain public trust.” Public trust is a value we left in the other dimension.


The Melting Not

On Wednesday, I took a look at how the desegregation that followed Brown v Board of Ed seventy years ago has slowed, and in some places, even reversed: Integrate Expectations. Today, WaPo (Gift Article) explains that the decision remains remarkably popular. It’s the actual implementation of related policies and outcomes that people are less enthused about. 70 years later, 1 in 3 Black people say integration didn’t help Black students. “About half of Black adults favor letting children attend neighborhood schools, even if it means most students would be of the same race — which, given housing patterns, is often the case. White Americans also sometimes hold conflicting views. Nine in 10 Whites say they support the Brown decision, and nearly 2 in 3 say more needs to be done to integrate schools throughout the nation. Nonetheless, large segments of the White population oppose strategies that would help make that a reality. Nearly 8 in 10 White adults say it is better for children to go to neighborhood schools over diverse ones.”



If you think golf is too boring, have I got a story for you. Scottie Scheffler, “was arrested Friday morning on his way to the PGA Championship, with stunning images showing him handcuffed as he was taken to jail for not following police orders during a pedestrian fatality investigation. In a span of four hours, the top-ranked golfer in the world was arrested wearing gym shorts and a T-shirt, dressed in an orange jail shirt for his mug shot, returned to Valhalla Golf Club in golf clothes and made his 10:08 a.m. second-round tee time.” The dude was arrested, booked, took a mugshot, and still made his tee time. And completed his round at five under par. This gives new meaning to, “Mind if I play through?”


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: Riley Keough and Lily Gladstone are both excellent, as is Chloe Guidry (as a troubled teen) in Under the Bridge on Hulu—a show about a group of girls who become suspects in the murder of one of their friends.

+ What to Hear: NextDraft-approved indie rockers Cage the Elephant are out with their latest album. Neon Pill sounds great so far.

+ What to Read: “The police had been in her home for several hours before officer Matthew Reiss told her what she was being charged with. ‘He said, ‘You know what you did. You created deepfakes.’ I had never heard that term in my life,’ Spone tells me. She faced several counts of harassment, including three counts of cyberharassment of a child, but she wasn’t charged until March 2021, when she came into the police station, had the mugshot taken, and became the face of a moral panic.” Jenny Kleeman in The Guardian on a woman who was accused of faking an incriminating video of teenage cheerleaders. She was arrested, outcast and condemned. The problem? Nothing was fake after all. And one other longread. “Their usual stroll for coffee and dessert would have to wait for next time. They hugged Elliot goodbye in the mild evening air, then got on the road back to LA. Chin left heartened by her son’s relaxed demeanor and newfound appetite. It would be years before she would begin to learn what those really were: the last in an accumulating trail of warning signs.” Mark Follman in MoJo: Lessons From a Mass Shooter’s Mother. “A decade after her son committed a massacre, Chin Rodger is on a quest to help prevent the next tragedy.”


Extra, Extra

Ticket Window: “This bill requires ticket sellers (including sellers on the secondary market) for concerts, performances, sporting events, and similar activities to clearly and prominently disclose at the beginning of the transaction, and prior to the selection of a ticket, the total ticket price for the event.” We found a rare bipartisan issue. Everyone hates not knowing what a ticket actually costs until you get to the shopping cart. (You’ll still get ripped off. You’ll just know about it earlier.)

+ Howdy Pardoner: “Daniel Perry, who was convicted of murder for fatally shooting a demonstrator during a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020, has been pardoned. The former Army sergeant had been sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing Garrett Foster in downtown Austin in July 2020. After his conviction, Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to pardon him.”

+ Slammer Time: “The man convicted of breaking into former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home and attacking her husband Paul Pelosi with a hammer has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.”

+ Bodies Recovered: “The hostages were identified as Shani Louk, Amit Bouskila, and Itshak Gelernter … All three were killed while escaping the Nova music festival and their bodies taken into Gaza.” IDF recovers bodies of three hostages taken from Nova music festival in Gaza tunnel.

+ Breaking News “Rising out of the Bronx in the 1970s, breaking is characterised by acrobatic movements, speedy footwork and a hip-hop soundtrack, and the new addition is set to bring a party atmosphere to the French capital this summer.” Breaking has been around for so long. Can the Olympics make it a cool, new thing again? BBC: Breaking The new Olympic sport for 2024 explained.

+ Mile Eye Club: “People start to tune out. And so we wanted something that felt like you could watch over and over and over again, and still want to pay attention to.” With flyers more distracted than ever, United rolls out a rebooted safety video.

+ More: “Leading the pack is LVMH founder and Chief Executive Officer Bernard Arnault, 75, with a net worth of $222 billion.” The world’s super-rich club now has 15 members with fortunes over $100 billion.

+ Taco Truckstop: “In a bizarre incident early this morning, a 51-year-old Oakland woman was arrested after allegedly stealing a taco truck and subsequently being found by San Pablo Police Department Officers indulging in the truck’s food offerings.” This easily could’ve been me, but my glucose monitor would give me away


Feel Good Friday

“At 16 years old, a North Texas teenager became the youngest graduate of Texas Woman’s University. The previous youngest grad was her older sister.” That’s pretty good. But there’s also this: A teenager from Chicago walked in her graduation ceremony this month after earning her doctoral degree at 17.

+ A set of quintuplets from New Jersey are now all graduates of the same school in their home state — albeit with different majors.

+ “Patent-pending design by Johns Hopkins undergrads could be available in stores within two years.” Students Invent Quieter Leaf Blower.

+ The first Mexican taco stand to get a Michelin star is a tiny business where the heat makes the meat.

+ NYT: How Kite Surfing in Remote Colombia Changed a Boy. And a Village.

+ The untold story of the Chinese Americans who helped create Yosemite.

+ Tiny US fire department using 1980s gear surprised by $500,000 donation.

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