Tuesday, June 28th, 2022


The Duty and the Beast

Note: I'm on the road this week. Delivery will be sporadic.

In the end, one line from Cassidy Hutchinson's Jan 6 testimony stands out. It was a statement that the former chief of staff for Mark Meadows made not as a political operative, not as a Republican, not as member of the Trump administration, but as a citizen. When recounting the sick Trump tweet that still blamed Mike Pence by name, even as the armed insurrectionists were approaching the vice president, Hutchinson said, "As an American, I was disgusted." Indeed, how could anyone who calls themselves an American be anything other than sad, furious, and disgusted by what happened on the 6th, and the pathetic response by a so-called president who incited the insurrection and waited hours before finally calling for the blood-hungry mob to leave the Capitol, even then saying he knows how they feel and that, "We love you." Hutchinson's testimony also recounted a president who regularly threw temper tantrums and plates, who wanted metal detectors removed so more armed people could get close to his Jan 6 speech since, "They're not here to hurt me," and who was so determined to join the Capitol insurrectionists that he grabbed the steering wheel of the presidential limo (the beast grabbing the wheel of The Beast) and attacked a top security staffer in the car.

Hutchinson's statement of disgust was the most relatable testimony from today's hearing. The most troubling was when she quoted Trump as he demanded to be taken to the Capitol to join his fellow insurrectionists. "I'm the f-cking president." Sadder words have rarely been spoken. We saw the basic facts of Jan 6 play out in real time. Hearing the details provides an unpleasant, but necessary, reminder of the regular proximity that seditious lowlifes like Rudy Giuliani, Roger Stone, and Mike Flynn had to our highest office and how much time was spent by decent people like Cassidy Hutchinson trying to corral the infantile, sociopathic leanings of an unfit narcissistic madman, who millions of Americans still adore. (That's the saddest part of all.)

+ "Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to President Donald J. Trump's final chief of staff, described Mr. Trump throwing his lunch against the wall and insisting that security allow passage to armed protesters. She added that her boss, Mark Meadows, did little to try to manage Mr. Trump on Jan. 6 and sought a pardon for himself." NYT: Witness Details Trump's Rage and Meadows's Inaction on Jan. 6.


The Pimp’s Apprentice

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan "refused to let Maxwell escape culpability, making clear that Maxwell was being punished for her own actions, not Epstein's. She called the crimes 'heinous and predatory' and said Maxwell as a sophisticated adult woman provided the veneer of safety as she 'normalized' sexual abuse through her involvement, encouragement and instruction." Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years for helping Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein himself got off too easy. The same is true for the pathetic, "powerful," men, who committed statutory rape and kept coming back for more.


Migrant Tragedy

"According to a law enforcement official, it appears people were trying to jump out of the tractor-trailer because some of the deceased were found along several blocks. The tractor-trailer had a refrigeration system, the official said, but it did not appear to be working. Many of the people found inside the vehicle appeared to have been sprinkled with steak seasoning, the official said, in perhaps an attempt to cover up the smell of people as the smugglers were transporting them." Texas Tribune: At least 50 people found dead in abandoned 18-wheeler in San Antonio.


Crispr Edges

"Ten years after Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier first introduced their discovery of CRISPR, it has remained at the center of ambitious scientific projects and complicated ethical discussions. It continues to create new avenues for exploration and reinvigorate old studies. Biochemists use it, and so do other scientists: entomologists, cardiologists, oncologists, zoologists, botanists." NYT (Gift Article): The Many Uses of CRISPR: Scientists Tell All.


Extra, Extra

Fueling Disinfo: "For at least a decade the fossil-fuel industry has tried to green its public image. The Texas proceedings show that its actions do not always reflect that image. In little-watched venues, the industry continues to downplay the crisis it has wrought, impeding efforts to provide clear science about that crisis to a young generation whose world will be defined by it." Scientific American: Oil and gas representatives influence the standards for courses and textbooks, from kindergarten to 12th grade. (There's a big risk in hoping corporations will come to our rescue.)

+ The Unilevers of Power: "The consumer giant vowed to ditch plastic sachets, single-use packaging that's swamping poor countries with waste. Privately, it fought to keep using them." Unilever's Plastic Playbook. (See above parenthetical.)

+ Morning Meeting Demand?: CVS and Rite Aid are limiting purchases of 'morning-after' pills due to increased demand. And from the NYT: When Brazil Banned Abortion Pills, Women Turned to Drug Traffickers.

+ Lithium Icon: "Musk might make more headlines, but Zeng holds almost as much power. But Zeng is not Musk. He dodges the limelight and rarely gives interviews. Insiders point out that Zeng is operating in an environment where notoriety could hinder, not help, his business." Wired: The Rise and Precarious Reign of China's Battery King.

+ Justice Delayed: "A 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard has been sentenced to five years in prison by a German court for aiding and abetting the murder of 3,518 people during the Holocaust." (Some hands of justice move even more slowly than America's handling of autogolpes.)


Bottom of the News

"As is tradition, Laz lights a cigarette to kick things off – an unorthodox start for an unorthodox race. When the embers glow, participants have just 60 hours to complete five rounds of the same unmarked 20 mile (give-or-take) loop: twice clockwise, twice counterclockwise, with the leading runner dictating the final loop direction – if any make it that far." The Barkley Marathons: the hellish 100-mile race with 15 finishers in 36 years. There's a great documentary on this crazy race.

+ The Urban Wildlife Photography Awards 2022.