September 6th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Everyone wants to know who wrote the op-ed, things heat up (even more) in the Kavanaugh hearings, and saying so long to Burt Reynolds.

There are questions swirling around DC as reporters and politicians search for the author of an anonymous op-ed published in the NYT. For writers like me, the key question today is: What kind of a sick monster wouldn’t want to get credit for a viral article? For now, a lot of administration officials have said it wasn’t them (that they would feel the need to do this is, in itself, historic), but we still don’t know who sounded the alarm (and implied they spoke for many others): I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration. “Many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office. The root of the problem is the president’s amorality.” I don’t know who wrote the op-ed. But I do know how fast the Trump news cycle moves. I bet we’ll find out the author’s identity before the weekend.

+ Who Dropped a Lodestar?: Mike Pence has already denied being the author of the op-ed. But the internet was abuzz with the fact that he’s the only suspect known to have used the obscure word, Lodestar.

+ “The suggestion that at least some members of the Cabinet have talked about invoking these powers is new and shocking. But what does it mean to say that the whisperers didn’t want to precipitate a crisis? After all, the rest of the article makes clear that the crisis already exists and is deadly serious.” The New Yorker’s John Cassidy: Why the Anonymous Trump Official’s Op-Ed in the New York Times Matters.

+ “The actions described in the book and in the op-ed are extremely worrying, and amount to a soft coup against the president. Given that one of Trump’s great flaws is that he has little regard for rule of law, it’s hard to cheer on Cabinet members and others openly thwarting Trump’s directives, giving unelected officials effective veto power over the elected president.” David Graham in The Atlantic: We’re Watching an Antidemocratic Coup Unfold. (Regardless of who wrote the op-ed, the writing is on the wall for this administration. And the story it tells is looking more and more like an American horror story.)


But His Emails

“This is about the closest I’ll probably ever have in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment … I understand the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate … I openly invite and accept the consequences of my team releasing that email right now.” That was Senator Cory Booker as he released previously “committee confidential” emails from Brett Kavanaugh. And the way the latest day of testimony is going, we could have even bigger fireworks by dinner. Here’s the latest from CNN.

+ NYT: Leaked Kavanaugh Documents Discuss Abortion and Affirmative Action.


Listen To Those Who Know

“Those people and millions of others, including my immediate family, were killed by lies. My country and much of the continent was destroyed by lies. And now lies threaten not only the memory of those times, but also the achievements that have been made since. Today’s generation doesn’t have the luxury of being able to argue that it was never warned or did not understand the consequences of where lies will take you.” Stanislaw Aronson: I survived the Warsaw ghetto. Here are the lessons I’d like to pass on. “I know what it means to be at the sharp end of European history – and I fear that the battle to draw the right lessons from that time is in danger of being lost.” (My parents are both Holocaust survivors. Both hear echoes of pre-World War 2 rhetoric today, in Europe and America. They are low key and not at all prone towards hyperbolism. And this is the first time I’ve ever heard them talk like this. Pay attention to those who know what fascism looks like…)


Park Bench Warrant

“The US justice department charged an alleged North Korean spy for cyber-attacks against Sony Corporation and the UK’s National Health Service, according to a criminal complaint released on Thursday. The hacker, Park Jin Hyok, also was involved in an attack against the Bank of Bangladesh in 2016, the complaint alleged. It was not immediately clear if North Korea would make Park available to US law enforcement authorities.” US charges North Korean hacker over 2014 cyber-attacks. (Emails helped decide the election. Emails are reshaping the Kavanaugh hearings. Hacked emails nearly destroyed Sony. Maybe email really is the killer app…)


We Need New Blood

“Beneath all the hype is some striking science. Blood, particularly the yellow liquid part of it known as plasma, is chock full of proteins and other compounds that act like a readout of how all the cells in the body are functioning. Research has shown that the ratios of those components change as animals, including humans, age. Older blood carries more signs of tissue damage than young blood.” Wired: Startups flock to turn young blood into an elixir of youth. (Silicon Valley startups focused on blood…what could possibly go wrong?)


Indian Summer of Love

“India’s Supreme Court struck down a 157-year-old colonial-era law, Section 377, that criminalized all sexual activity apart from heterosexual sex as ‘against the order of nature.'” Buzzfeed: India Just Decriminalized Gay Sex.


The Last Yard

From dramas like Deliverance to comedies like Smokey and the Bandit and The Longest Yard, Burt Reynolds was a defining movie star for folks of a certain age. Reynolds died at the age of 82. In today’s world of distributed content and attention, it’s hard to explain what a star (and stud) Burt Reynolds was in his prime. As a kid, I probably watched each of his movies at least five times. The decent ones even more than that.

+ One of his last interviews in the NYT: Burt Reynolds Has Made Mistakes. But He Regrets Nothing.


Under the Influence

“Is our pain less? I don’t understand. Why here? I don’t understand why if I lived in Colorado I could medicate my son and my husband could keep his job and I could go to the temple.” Two big questions are on the ballot in Utah. How strong is today’s Mormon Church politically? And how strong is the momentum to legalize marijuana across America? From Buzzfeed: The Mormon Church Is Trying To Stop A Medical Marijuana Bill In Utah, Testing Its Influence In Its Home State.


Florence and the Machine

In many cities, it’s hard to walk a block without hitting a Starbucks. “But will the country that gave us espresso embrace the company that gave us grande Frappucinos?” Italy “welcomes” it’s first Starbucks. (Once they taste a Frappucino, they’ll realize that Starbucks is less competition for Italian coffee and more competition for gelato.)

+ Italy’s Florence bans eating in the street.


Bottom of the News

GQ offers A Field Guide to Fitness-Related Plastic Surgery: “Most procedures require one or two weeks of at-home recovery … and patients are barred from strenuous exercise for three weeks.” Not only do you get a shortcut to being ripped, you get a few weeks off from feeling guilty about not exercising.

+ Citing defamation, Roy Moore is suing Sacha Baron Cohen for $95 Million. (I’m not even sure it’s possible to further defame Roy Moore.)

+ BMW Seized From Couple Who Raised $400K for Homeless Man. (This couple can go fund themselves…)

+ Store busted for putting googly eyes on old fish to make them look fresher. (I have no idea if this is real. But I want it to be.)

Copied to Clipboard