Extra, Extra

Lawyer, Client: “The day after he was forced to resign from the firm, the police said he asked one of his distant cousins to kill him on the side of the road and stage the act as if it were a murder so that his other son, Buster, could collect on his life insurance policy. The plan failed — Mr. Murdaugh was apparently wounded in the shooting but not seriously hurt — and he and the cousin, Curtis Edward Smith, were charged with several crimes in the scheme.” I’m not sure what will come first: The trial or the Netflix series. NYT (Gift Article): South Carolina Lawyer Alex Murdaugh Charged With Killing Wife and Son.

+ Putting the Secret in Service: Secret Service erased text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021 — after oversight officials asked for them, watchdog says.

+ Terror State: “Russia, a legitimate, recognized world power—a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council—is directing constant, repetitive, visible terrorist violence against civilians, many of whom are nowhere near the fighting. The attacks are not errors or accidents.” Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic: Russia’s War Against Ukraine Has Turned Into Terrorism. (It may have started as that…)

+ M…BS: “President Joe Biden touched down in Saudi Arabia on Friday, preparing to meet for the first time with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, an encounter intended to reset their two countries’ longstanding partnership despite U.S. criticism of human rights abuses in the oil-rich kingdom.” MBS is gaining a lot of legitimacy out of this visit. Let’s hope Biden gets something out of it, too.

+ Guac and Awe: “Far more fascinating than the cultural lore of the avocado are its own amorous propensities, uncovered in the centuries since by sciences that would have then seemed like magic, or heresy.” Chance, Choice, and the Avocado: The Strange Evolutionary and Creative History of Earth’s Most Nutritious Fruit.

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