Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022


Murder, Incorporated

"Russia's most prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny has been given nine years in a 'strict regime penal colony' in a fraud case rejected by supporters as fabricated. Navalny was detained when he returned to Russia last year, after surviving a poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin. He is already serving three and a half years in jail for breaking bail conditions while in hospital." That lede by the BBC is a little too soft on the Kremlin. Everyone outside of Putin's media bubble knows that Navalny's only crime was to survive Putin's attempt to have him murdered. And Navalny, who Bill Browder calls Nelson Mandela of Russia, didn't just blame the poisoning on the Kremlin, he proved the case by going full investigative journalist and getting one of the plotters to describe the effort. Navalny's successful effort to uncover the plot is on full display in the remarkable documentary called Navalny. CNN and HBO are scheduled to broadcast the doc sometime this Spring. That time should be moved up to right now. The doc shows Putin as the lowlife criminal he really is and explains how his crime network operates. It's also about the connection of reporting and truth to all of this. I strongly urge WarnerMedia to do whatever it takes to start streaming this documentary immediately.

+ AP: US, Ukraine quietly try to pierce Putin's propaganda bubble.

+ "He survived the Nazi Buchenwald concentration camp during World War II. He survived the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp in the same war. And the Bergen-Belsen camp. Last week, Boris Romanchenko, a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor, was killed when shelling hit his ordinary flat in the war-ravaged Ukrainian city of Kharkiv." Putin is taking the De out of Denazification.

+ "The US embassy in Kyiv cited Ukraine's foreign ministry as saying 2,389 Ukrainian children have been 'illegally removed' from the Russian-controlled territories of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts and taken to Russia." Here's the latest from BBC.

+ Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic on what's at stake: "The words Zelensky uses also reverberate because they are true. A victory for Ukraine really will be a victory for all who believe in democracy and the rule of law. Citizens of existing democracies and members of the democratic opposition in Russia, Cuba, Belarus, and Hong Kong will all be emboldened." Ukraine Must Win.

+ I'll run the NextDraft fundraiser for one more day. The response has been overwhelming. Here's how it works. You buy a customized NextDraft Ukrainian Superhero shirt at cost. I personally donate $20 to be split between Media Lifeline Ukraine (to defend journalists in Ukraine) and Menduza (Russians trying to get the real story told in their country). I might add one more org if we break a thousand shirts. Let's go. Spread the word.


Scotus Operandi

Sometimes I wish the SCOTUS hearings weren't on live TV. The desire of politicians to go viral outweighs our need to watch the debacle, and nothing that happens in the hearings will impact how Senators vote. Marsha Blackburn and Josh Hawley Greet Ketanji Brown Jackson With Bad-Faith Attacks. Josh Hawley betrayed America. He shouldn't even be allowed in the same room as Ketanji Brown Jackson. If you can stomach it, here's the latest from the hearing.

+ "Allowing the most powerful legal minds in America to waste their mornings futzing with Tupperware containers is not a good use of their time. If we simply had a Supreme Court chef, the justices could get so much more done. Gay marriage would have been legal by 1985." Joel Stein in the LAT: What Ketanji Brown Jackson can expect to eat for lunch if she's confirmed.


Border Glossing

The "arrest was one of thousands used to bolster claims of success for Operation Lone Star. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launched the initiative last March, citing an urgent need to stop the flow of drugs and undocumented immigrants into the state through Mexico. But the alleged assault had nothing to do with the border." ProPublica, The Texas Tribune, and The Marshall Project joined forces on this investigative piece. Texas Says Its Multi-Billion Dollar Border Operation Is Working. The Evidence Tells a Different Story.


I Know Why the Cage Nerd Sings

"His voice is a low, contemplative drawl that imbues every word with a sense of philosophical magnitude. To hear Nicolas Cage state an opinion about his preferred loungewear is to hear anyone else reflect on the cosmos." GQ: Nicolas Cage Can Explain It All.


Extra, Extra

The Late Show and Tell: "As it's gone mainstream, crypto has inspired an unusually polarized discourse. Its biggest fans think it's saving the world, while its biggest skeptics are convinced it's all a scam — an environment-killing speculative bubble orchestrated by grifters and sold to greedy dupes, which will probably crash the economy when it bursts." Kevin Roose in the NYT: The Latecomer's Guide to Crypto. (Gift Article)

+ Minister of Transportation: "Until last summer, Khalid Payenda was Afghanistan's finance minister, overseeing a $6 billion budget — the lifeblood of a government fighting for its survival in a war that had long been at the center of U.S. foreign policy." Times have changed. WaPo: Afghanistan's last finance minister, now a D.C. Uber driver, ponders what went wrong. (Gift Article)

+ Bored Vape Fraught Club: Teens are trying — but failing — to quit vaping nicotine, new research shows.

+ Twist and Shout: When driving a large pickup truck, one thing you're rarely called upon to do is nail the landing. There are exceptions to every rule. Watch a pickup truck do a two-step with a Texas twister.

+ The Vax Tracks: "Unvaccinated Canadians are about 12 times more likely than those who received three doses to believe Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine was justified."


Bottom of the News

"What happens inside a dishwasher when it's running? How does it get your dishes clean?" Let's find out.

+ Now that you can work from anywhere, it's probably a good time to consider the Scarface' Mansion in Montecito, Now on the Market for $39.9M. (Little Friend not included.)