Thursday, June 30th, 2022


Let the Mother Effer Burn

This Supreme Court wants a more religious America and after the past week of decisions, a lot more of us are praying. The latest 6-3 decision that may send even ardent atheists into the arms of the lord is one that limits "how the nation's main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants." Most of the headlines I'm seeing frame this in typically narrow political terms like WaPo's, Justices limit EPA power to combat climate change, a blow to Biden's agenda. Hah. If only the damage were limited to one president's agenda. Rolling Stone with the more accurate headline: Supreme Court Rules 6-3 That the Planet Should Burn. Justice Elana Kagan with the dissent. "And let's say the obvious: The stakes here are high. Yet the Court today prevents congressionally authorized agency action to curb power plants' carbon dioxide emissions. The Court appoints it- self—instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decision- maker on climate policy. I cannot think of many things more frightening. Respectfully, I dissent."

+ "Credit where due: the Supreme Court's 6–3 ruling in West Virginia v. E.P.A. is the culmination of a five-decade effort to make sure that the federal government won't threaten the business status quo. Lewis Powell's famous memo, written in 1971, before he joined the Supreme Court—between the enactment of a strong Clean Air Act and a strong Clean Water Act, each with huge popular support—called on 'businessmen' to stand up to the tide of voices "from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians" calling for progressive change." Bill McKibben in The New Yorker: The Supreme Court Tries to Overrule the Climate. "In essence, the ruling begins to strip away the power of agencies such as the E.P.A. to enforce policy: instead of allowing federal agencies to enforce, say, the Clean Air Act to clean the air, in this new dispensation, Congress would have to pass regulations that are much more explicit, as each new pollutant came to the fore ... But, of course, the Court has also insured that 'getting a clear statement from Congress' to address our deepest problems is essentially impossible."

+ NYT: The case is a crucial moment in the G.O.P. drive to tilt courts against climate action. (Um... congrats?)

+ Historian Heather Cox Richardson: "The Supreme Court has gone rogue. We are in a full-blown Constitutional crisis. Congress must act. And we must pressure Congress to act, while it still can." In the meantime, Earth is down 6-3 in the ninth inning.

+ In another ruling issued today, Clarence Thomas suggested Covid vaccines are derived from the cells of ‘aborted children.' (They're not. But oh well...)

+ NPR: Ketanji Brown Jackson sworn in as first Black woman on the Supreme Court.


Desert Fox

"Already, some 2,500 dailies and weeklies have shuttered since 2005; there are fewer than 6,500 left. Every week, two more disappear. And although many digital-only news sites have cropped up around the nation, most communities that lost a local newspaper will not get a print or digital replacement ... The neediest areas — those that are more remote, poorer and less wired — are the ones that get hurt the worst. Most of the new investment and innovation pouring into the media sector, as valuable and needed as it is, doesn't reach these regions." Margaret Sullivan in WaPo (Gift Article): Every week, two more newspapers close — and ‘news deserts' grow larger.

+ And that vacuum can be filled with false information, often delivered by way of Fox News or social media. Related from WaPo: Instagram and Facebook remove posts offering abortion pills.


Killer Consultant

"Much has been disclosed over the years about McKinsey's relationship with Purdue Pharma, including the consulting firm's recommendation that the drug maker "turbocharge" its sales of OxyContin. But The Times found that the firm played a far deeper and broader role in advising clients involved in the opioid crisis than was publicly disclosed." NYT with an investigative report (Gift Article): Behind the Scenes, McKinsey Guided Companies at the Center of the Opioid Crisis.

+ We need corporate leadership more than ever. But it's a dangerous thing to hang one's hat on. Amazon bows to UAE pressure to restrict LGBTQ search results.


Chief’s Justice

"In Trump's White House, Hutchinson had extraordinary access and in the eyes of many White House staffers, she had inordinate power. Some derisively called her 'Chief Cassidy,' and even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's staff asked White House aides why she was in on legislative meetings. The first in her family to go to college, she loved her job. 'It was her dream,' one former White House official said. 'She saw the magnitude of what she was doing.'" WaPo (Gift Article) with an interesting look at Cassidy Hutchinson's path from trusted insider to explosive witness.

+ "The January 6 hearings, culminating yesterday with Hutchinson's testimony, have thrilled many Trump opponents. They must be easily amused. Was there any doubt about Trump's amorality? The most striking aspect of the timeline now established is not the revelation of guilt but the long-known fact that the country was saved by pure indolence." The Atlantic: The Dumbest Coup Attempt. It was dumb. It was sloppy. And it almost worked.

+ The Jan. 6 insurrection issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.


Extra, Extra

Planes, Pains, and Automobiles: I'm writing today's edition from the waiting area of a car repair shop in Truckee. It could be worse. My vacation could involve flying. "Ahead of the July Fourth weekend, airlines are facing a wave of concern over flight cancellations — and new pressure from Washington to make sure they're not leaving travelers in the lurch." (So when your flight gets canceled, you just have to wait for the government to act. Have a great trip!) And, an American Airlines passenger drove to Denver airport to rebook his seats after the airline's customer-service center left him on hold for nearly 4 hours.

+ Border Control: WaPo: "Several national antiabortion groups and their allies in Republican-led state legislatures are advancing plans to stop people in states where abortion is banned from seeking the procedure elsewhere, according to people involved in the discussions."

+ Tic Stalk: "At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data." U.S. FCC commissioner wants Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores.

+ R, You Listening? "You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel. Do you remember that?" R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in sex trafficking case.

+ Rica Act: "After 43 days on the run, the woman accused of killing an elite cyclist was captured in Costa Rica."

+ Pitch Perfect: "Even if I was just trying to come back, it's never been a straight line for me. Even in that whole process, I was lost. I felt like there were times when I was hopeless, that this dream would never happen. So yeah, I was choking back tears." Former No. 1 pick Mark Appel makes 'surreal' MLB debut at age 30, pitches scoreless 9th for Philadelphia Phillies.


Bottom of the News

From The Conversation: Tour de France: How many calories will the winner burn? "The reason they're able to do what the rest of us can only dream of is that these athletes can produce enormous amounts of power. Power is the rate at which cyclists burn energy and the energy they burn comes from the food they eat. And over the course of the Tour de France, the winning cyclist will burn the equivalent of roughly 210 Big Macs."

+ Reminder that I'm on the road this week (assuming my car gets fixed). See you after the holiday weekend. Have an excellent 4th.