December 5th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Website Unseen, and Fake Fans are the new Fake News

The Supreme Court just heard its latest case in the ongoing culture wars. At issue is whether a Christian graphic designer can refuse to create a wedding website for a gay couple. “The designer and her supporters say that ruling against her would force artists — from painters and photographers to writers and musicians — to do work that is against their faith. Her opponents, meanwhile, say that if she wins, a range of businesses will be able to discriminate, refusing to serve Black customers, Jewish or Muslim people, interracial or interfaith couples or immigrants, among others.” Both sides see high stakes in gay rights Supreme Court case. Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked lawyers to define where the line would be drawn. “How about people who don’t believe in interracial marriage? Or about people who don’t believe that disabled people should get married? Where’s the line?” Of course, with the current SCOTUS makeup, we know where the lines will be drawn. It’s a majority designed to assert the power of religion, specifically theirs, in America life.

+ ScotusBlog: Colorado web designer’s First Amendment challenge will test the scope of state anti-discrimination laws.


The Show Must Go On

“The video impressed the right people in Doha. Through word of mouth, young Lebanese fans were offered an extraordinary deal: free flights, accommodations, match tickets and food, plus a small stipend, to bring some ultra culture to Qatar’s World Cup games. The fans arrived in mid-October to rehearse their choreographed actions and to practice their newly written chants.” Nothing in Qatar’s World Cup is quite as it is seems. Or as it sounds. NYT (Gift Article): Meet Qatar’s loudest fans. They’re not from Qatar. (I could use a base of support like this to counteract my kids. I wonder if these folks make house calls.)

+ ” It was venal, closed, and transactional. I saw some terrific goals. I drank Coke and paid with my Visa card. I lined up for the Adidas store. Everything was brand new, air-conditioned, and covered in an almost invisible layer of pale desert dust. I was safe and occasionally delighted, most often by the people I met. It was a case of situational ethics, in which the spontaneity and the fellow-feeling of the world’s most popular sport were disrupted and modified by the circumstances in which it was played.” Sam Knight in The New Yorker: The first ten days were soccer as it is, rather than as you want it to be. (It’s like deciding a game on penalty kicks. It counts, but it doesn’t feel right.)


Finding Hemo

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow this opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo. —Eminem

“Researchers have long sought a one-and-done treatment for hemophilia: If they could fix this mutation by delivering a healthy version of the F9 gene, they could get the body to start making the protein again. ‘Instead of giving 100 to 150 injections per year, an individual would be able to receive one injection, and hopefully that will last indefinitely … I’m a little hesitant to say a lifetime, but that’s what we’re hoping for.'” Welcome to the age of the one-shot cure. It’s miraculous. But miracles don’t come cheap, and these shots can cost several million a pop. Wired: The Era of One-Shot, Multimillion-Dollar Genetic Cures Is Here.


Thank U, Next

“Prior to arrival, participants — myself included — were told only that they’d be engaging in workshops with therapists, coaches, movement and yoga instructors and a dominatrix. However, there were two ground rules that Chan made clear early on: We weren’t allowed to bash our exes and we weren’t allowed to give unsolicited advice.” People are paying $4,000 for this NorCal breakup boot camp. (Ironically, $4,000 is about what it costs to get a decent seat at a Taylor Swift concert which is a breakup boot camp in song.)


Extra, Extra

Port and Parcel: “In Port-au-Prince you cannot see the boundaries, but you must know where they are. Your life may depend on it. Competing gangs are carving up the Haitian capital, kidnapping, raping, and killing at will. They demarcate their territory in blood. Cross from one gang’s turf to another, and you may not make it back.” BBC: Inside the capital city taken hostage by brutal gangs.

+ Week Sauce: “What’s it like to be a 21st-century czar?” In WaPo, David Ignatius with a look at a week in the life of Vladimir Putin.

+ Me The People: “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.” Trump rebuked for call to suspend Constitution over election. It’s really pretty simple. If you don’t punish criminals for their crimes, they keep doing those crimes.

+ Shot in the Dark: “The outages are the result of intentional damage by firearms to two substations in the county, according to Moore County and Duke Energy officials.” Attack by ‘cowards’ could leave Moore County without power for days.

+ Invent-ory: “On a cloudy Christmas morning last year, a rocket carrying the most powerful space telescope ever built blasted off from a launchpad in French Guiana. After reaching its destination in space about a month later, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) began sending back sparkling presents to humanity—jaw-dropping images that are revealing our universe in stunning new ways.” PopSci: The 100 greatest innovations of 2022.

+ Rackontur: “Known for his gravelly voice, leathery skin and wraparound sunglasses — and a man who called himself the ‘Michelangelo of Tennis’ despite never playing professionally — Bollettieri helped no fewer than 10 players who went on to be No. 1 in the world rankings.” Hall of Fame tennis coach Nick Bollettieri dies at 91.

+ Gobtopper: Oxford word of the year 2022 revealed as ‘goblin mode‘ – a slang term describing “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy” behavior.


Bottom of the News

“On 12 November, Mary O’Connor and her husband were stopped by a Pinellas county sheriff’s deputy for driving a golf cart without a license plate. Body camera footage showed the officer explaining to the pair why he stopped them. In the footage, O’Connor asks if the officer’s body camera is on, to which he replies: ‘It is.’ O’Connor says: ‘I’m the police chief in Tampa.'” Florida police chief on leave after flashing badge in golf cart traffic stop. Something tells me this is the one police scandal that won’t be made into a Netflix series.

+ Harvey Weinstein’s Abnormal Testicles Are Key Focus of Final Arguments in Trial.

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