Thursday, October 6th, 2022



Sometimes, things don't work out in a job or at a small business and you have to search for a new gig. When that search is taking place in an era when a superpower is showing enthusiasm for getting heavy arms into the hands of an ally in a hurry, those new gigs can be pretty interesting. People who, a year ago, may have considered opening up a flower shop, day-trading, or driving an Uber are now getting into arms dealing. As one lawyer who represents arms dealers explains, "It's the Wild West." Here's Justin Scheck in the NYT (Gift Article) with the story of a growth market that is welcoming new participants with open arms. She's a Doctor. He Was a Limo Driver. They Pitched a $30 Million Arms Deal. This lede is a direct hit. "After falling out with his partner at a limousine company in the St. Louis suburbs, Martin Zlatev recently sought a lucrative new business opportunity: selling $30 million worth of rockets, grenade launchers and ammunition to the Ukrainian military. Mr. Zlatev and his new business partner, a local osteopath, took their first crack at international arms dealing."


Enemies, a Love Story

"America, you have probably heard, is on the edge of collapse. In the ideological death match described by President Biden as a 'battle for the soul of this nation,' the forces of MAGA square off against the self-declared Resistance. One side will conquer; the other will be crushed. Given these doomsday politics, it may surprise you to learn that some of the most glorified and vilified characters of these tumultuous years have quietly forged a peace — working together to ensure the world's wealthiest and most powerful players thrive amid the turmoil." Megan K. Stack in the NYT (Gift Article) with an interesting look at how democracy's heroes and villains can end up working for the same law firm. It turns out mixing red and blue makes green. Where Are They Now? Trump Administration Edition. (Those prone to projectile vomiting should probably yell, "Fore!" before reading this piece.)

+ Speaking of politics and the law, according to WaPo, Federal agents see chargeable tax, gun-purchase case against Hunter Biden. Watch it turn out that Hunter Biden has to pay a price for this pissant crap while Trump skates. (We'll all be prone to projectile vomiting when that happens.)


A Brick Shithouse to Call Home

Real estate listings often feature words like character, charming, classic, pristine, spacious, and one-of-a-kind. These days, the best way to describe a property you want to sell is, durable. Buyers increasingly find themselves asking of prospective homes, "Will it still be there in a few years?" For some homeowners in a community north of Fort Myers, asking that question paid off, big time. One Florida community built to weather hurricanes endured Ian with barely a scratch. "Aside from a traffic light at the development's main entrance that's no longer there, a few street signs lying on the ground and some knocked-over palm trees, you'd hardly know that a hurricane came through."


The Riddle of the Sphincter

In a chess scandal for the ages, Hans Niemann has been accused by world champion Magnus Carlsen of cheating. So far, finding evidence that Niemann has cheated at over-the-board (or in person) matches has taken longer than searching for Bobby Fischer. But his track record online is worth a check. Hans Niemann 'likely cheated' in more than 100 games, investigation finds.

+ Hans Free: Cheating in person is a lot harder than cheating online. The scandal has "produced a bizarre viral conspiracy theory that Niemann had used anal beads to receive coded messages during the match. But would that even be possible?" A group called Adafruit Industries decided to find out by testing a wireless haptic communication system with a juicy slab of pork butt. (That can't be kosher...)

+ Competitive scandals are all the rage these days, but I didn't see this one coming. ‘It's like The Godfather': Irish dancing world hit by cheating allegations. (I'm picturing Michael Flatley being taken out on the lake in a row boat.)


Extra, Extra

Joint Resolution: "President Joe Biden is taking his first major steps toward decriminalizing marijuana, fulfilling a campaign pledge to erase prior federal possession convictions and beginning the process of loosening federal classification of the drug." Biden has been disappointing on this issue and, of course, states need to follow suit to really put a flame to these idiotic laws. Meanwhile, the drug war continues to add to its body count. Mexico mayor assassinated in town hall massacre.

+ Walker Hound: Herschel Walker could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and impregnate somebody, wait a few weeks, and then personally abort the baby, and he wouldn't lose voters. The Atlantic Herschel Walker Is Demonstrating the New Law of Politics. He might be demonstrating it, but he sure as hell doesn't understand it. (In addition to everything else, Walker was the only Herschel not in temple yesterday.) Speaking of new laws of politics, according to WaPo, a majority of GOP nominees — 299 in all — deny the 2020 election results.

+ Thai Tragedy: "A former police officer facing a drug charge burst into a day care center Thursday in Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. At least 36 people were slain in the deadliest rampage in the nation's history."

+ Do svidaniya! "Tens of thousands of people—possibly more—have left Russia since the draft began, crossing the border in the west, south, and east of the country, by plane, train, bus, private car, bicycle, and scooter, and also on foot. They are staying in hotels and hostels, in hastily rented rooms, on the couches of friends and acquaintances." The New Yorker: Putin's Draft Order Has Inspired a Russian Exodus. Meanwhile, "Putin's surreal message to the war-torn areas amid cascading Russian military setbacks on the battlefield created a stark split-screen between the image of control that the Kremlin is trying to project and the reality on the front lines, where Russia has been losing ground for weeks." WaPo Putin cites success in annexed regions even as his exhausted troops retreat. (It looked like my SF Giants season ended in disappointment yesterday, but luckily, I just annexed the Dodgers.)

+ Fist, Pump: "The move by OPEC on Wednesday to reduce oil production sharply undercuts President Biden's effort to avoid an increase in gas prices ahead of the midterm elections, while setting back his push to constrain the oil revenue Russia is using to pay for its war in Ukraine." NYT: OPEC Move Shows the Limits of Biden's Fist-Bump Diplomacy With the Saudis.

+ Annie's Hall: Ernaux was born in 1940 in France. Her first book, Cleaned Out, in 1974, was an autobiographical novel about obtaining an abortion when it was still illegal in France. She wrote the book in secret. "My husband had made fun of me after my first manuscript. I pretended to work on a Ph.D. thesis to have time alone.'" No one is making fun of her now. French writer Annie Ernaux wins the 2022 Nobel Prize in literature.


Bottom of the News

Regardless of politics or team affiliation, I think we can all still agree on one thing. The dude who ran onto the field during a 49ers/Rams game and then filed a police report against the player who tackled him should be sentenced to a lifetime of being tackled by NFL players.

+ The Guardian: Ocean Photographer of the Year winners 2022.