Tuesday, February 15th, 2022


Les Mazárables

Although the popular and wise adage Follow the money is associated with Watergate, none of the scandal's real life participants ever uttered those words. The phrase was invented by All the President's Men screenwriter William Goldman, who also wrote The Princess Bride line, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." In other words, Goldman is worth listening to. So let's follow his advice and follow the money in a few stories. NYT (Gift Article): Accounting Firm Mazars Cuts Ties With Trump and Retracts Financial Statements. "Donald J. Trump's longtime accounting firm cut ties with him and his family business last week, saying it could no longer stand behind a decade of annual financial statements it prepared for the Trump Organization ... Mazars is the latest in a long line of companies to break with him over the last year, following in the path of several banks, insurers and lawyers." Are we supposed to believe that Mazars just suddenly realized that Trump has been lying, cheating, and stealing for his entire life? No, this is all about the New York attorney general's case against the Trump Org. It's worth noting that in the past two weeks, Pence and McConnell have both loudly split with Trump, and now Mazars has jumped ship. That makes me think of another William Goldman line, this one from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: "See, you may be the biggest thing that ever hit this area, but you're still two-bit outlaws."

+ A Princely Sum: "Prince Andrew has settled a civil sexual assault case brought against him in the US by Virginia Giuffre."

+ NPR: "Families of victims killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit against the company that made the murder weapon, for $73 million."

+ "The most consequential court battle between Erica and Francis deSouza concerned a bitter dispute over millions of dollars in missing Bitcoin." NYT (Gift Article): Divorcing Couples Fight Over the Kids, the House and Now the Crypto. (Following the money is harder than it used to be.)


Gerry Curl

"The district now belonging to Representative Jerry Nadler—quickly dubbed the 'Jerrymander'—slices down the west side of Manhattan, takes a ferry ride across the East River, cuts a horseshoe-shaped path through a half-dozen neighborhoods on its way to Prospect Park, then wraps around a cemetery containing the earthly remains of Boss Tweed and Horace Greeley before swallowing a huge section of central and south Brooklyn." The Atlantic's Russell Berman: Republicans Discover the Horror of Gerrymandering. This kind of corruption benefits one party or the other. It just doesn't benefit voters.


Mo Money, Mo Problems

The pandemic held up a mirror to America's widespread and widening inequality. But there was one hopeful sign. Lower income workers, suddenly seen as essential (and in short supply), got a wage increase. Inflation has wiped that out. WaPo (Gift Article): Inflation falls hardest on low-income Americans. [Fill in the Blank] falls hardest on low-income Americans...


Getting Your Blox Off

"A naked man, wearing just a dog collar and a lead, is led across the floor by a woman in a bondage outfit. Two strippers dance next to a bar. A group has gathered around a couple openly having sex, watching and occasionally commenting. One man is wearing a Nazi uniform. This isn't happening in the real world, it's taking place on a children's gaming platform." (It's probably happening in the real world, too.) BBC: Roblox: The children's game with a sex problem.


Extra, Extra

Rope-a-Dopamine: "While the overtures soothed global markets that have been on edge amid the worst East-West tensions in decades, Washington and its European allies remained cautious, saying they want to see evidence of a Russian pullback." Putin: Some troops near Ukraine leaving; dialogue to go on. (Remember, we live in the attention age and the whole world's attention is on Putin. Guys like Vlad need dopamine hits the size of Olympic swimming pools.)

+ Que Sarah Sarah: A judge said he will throw out Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit against The New York Times. (That means she read the NYT for nothing!)

+ Novax: "He said missing competitions, such as the French Open, over his jab status was 'the price that I'm willing to pay.'" Novak Djokovic willing to miss tournaments over vaccine. (Health experts, "Boo." Nadal and Federer.)

+ Board at Work: "It is too bad that your mother is an ugly communist whore ... If she doesn't quit or resign before the end of the year, we will kill her, but first, we will kill you!" Reuters: School boards get death threats amid rage over race, gender, mask policies.

+ Flour to the People: "'[People] want the vegetables fresh. They want the salad fresh … They even bring fresh roses back home,' Mock said. So why do we settle for purified enriched white flour that's been languishing on the shelf?" Flour Trip: One woman's journey into the heart of grain and how our flour is made.


Bottom of the News

"When you and your inner ear fluid are moving in the same direction at the same rate, the hair cells stop sending signals to the brain. But as soon as you stop, the fluid's momentum will keep it going, the hair cells will send more messages, and your brain will think you're moving when you're not. Other parts of your body—especially your eyes—operate based on signals from your brain that you're spinning, which can make you feel dizzy." Why Don't Figure Skaters Get Dizzy? (To quote Allen Iverson, we're talking about practice.)

+ Michael Che makes counter-offer after Kanye West bribes him to stop working with Pete Davidson.