April 14th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Behind the Leak, Weekend Whats, Feel Good Friday

The most compelling question regarding Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old National Guard airman who just got arrested for leaking classified documents to his gamer bros on a Discord server is how the hell a guy like this had access to the material and was able to share it so easily. The second most compelling question is, well, wait, so knowingly taking classified documents to your home or resort and sharing them with anyone you want is a crime? Interesting. This case is a disaster for US intelligence and will strain relations with allies and inform enemies. But it doesn’t sound like that was Teixeira’s goal. Consider this from the NYT (Gift Article): The Airman Who Gave Gamers a Real Taste of War. “In interviews, members of Thug Shaker Central said their group had started out as a place where young men and teenage boys could gather amid the isolation of the pandemic to bond over their love of guns, share memes — sometimes racist ones — and play war-themed video games. But Airman Teixeira, who one member of the group called O.G. and was also its unofficial leader, wanted to teach the young acolytes who gravitated to him about actual war, members said. And so, beginning in at least October, Airman Teixeira, who was attached to the Guard’s intelligence unit, began sharing descriptions of classified information, group members and law enforcement officials said, eventually uploading hundreds of pages of documents, including detailed battlefield maps from Ukraine and confidential assessments of Russia’s war machine. His goal, group members said, was both to inform and impress.”

+ WaPo (Free Article): He’s from a patriotic family – and allegedly leaked U.S. secrets. “Teixeira, who used online handles that include ‘jackthedripper’ and ‘excalibureffect,’ posted the images to Discord, a chat platform popular with gamers, people familiar with the case said. Some Discord members showed The Washington Post video of Teixeira shouting racist and antisemitic slurs before firing a rifle.” (Racism and antisemitism are the polar opposites of patriotism. We need to remind a lot of people of that.) Here’s the latest from CNN.


Uterus v Them

“State lawmakers in Texas are considering a bill introduced last month that would make it illegal to provide information on how to access abortion. The bill would also require internet service providers to block websites offering content like that in Marty’s book, allow prosecution of abortion pill ‘distribution networks,’ and permit anyone to sue a person who shared anything about how to access a medical abortion. The proposal borrows from a Texas law passed in 2021 that offers a cash bounty to citizens who sue a person who helped facilitate access to abortion care.” Wired: Texas Could Push Tech Platforms to Censor Posts About Abortion. “If passed, the proposed law would also require internet service providers to block websites that discuss access to abortion.” (It sounds extreme because it’s intended to be. This is a holy war that’s been building over decades.)

+ “The ban, if it takes effect, would not only decimate what’s left of abortion access for residents in Florida, but would also significantly curtail care for women across the South, who have been traveling to Florida from more restrictive states since Roe was overturned last summer.” The astonishing radicalism of Florida’s new ban on abortion. Radical? Yes. Astonishing? Oly if you’re not paying attention.


Cellar Dweller Seller. Stellar!

If you’re wondering why sports fans were dancing in the street in DC, it’s because of this. “Dan Snyder has a deal in place to sell the NFL’s Washington Commanders for the biggest price paid for a North American professional sports team. A group led by Josh Harris and Mitchell Rales that includes Magic Johnson has an agreement in principle to buy the team for a record $6.05 billion.” (As a punishment for being the worst owner in sports—terrible teams, allegations of sexual harassment, and financial improprieties—Dan Snyder will sell the Commanders for more than any other sports team has ever been sold. Let that be a lesson to you.)


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: “‘I feel like I’m the comedic voice of my generation,’ says Dave Burd before so much as our water glasses are filled … For the next several minutes, Burd, who performs under the stage name Lil Dicky, will attempt to delineate the difference between confidence and arrogance, an exercise that’s highly amusing in and of itself. ‘I’m not like, ‘Oh, I’m the f–king best rapper alive,’ or ‘I’m the funniest guy in the world. … ‘No, I’m more like, ‘I’m a passenger of this talent,’ and it’s funny to me that I happen to be born with these skill sets, and all I can do is be relentlessly responsible with them.” The Self-Proclaimed Genius of Lil Dicky. OK, this looks like a What to Read, but if you like it, then you’ll love season 3 of Dave on Hulu.

+ What to Doc: He’s one of the most highly regarded keyboardists in rock. He’s also one of the most highly regarded people in forestry. He’s also so decent and kind that, as Billy Bob Thornton says, “He’s the kind of guy who makes you feel bad about yourself.” Chuck Leavell: The Tree Man.

+ What to Stream: Every year, I remind you that the best way to experience a music festival is from your couch. Kick of the season with Coachella 2023 streaming live all weekend on YouTube.


Extra, Extra

Rigged System: “The rig has brought only a wave of problems, unemployment and more poverty. And it’s forced some women to turn to prostitution to support their families.” AP: Senegal gas deal drives locals to desperation, prostitution.

+ Port Lauderdale: Here’s why the downpour in Fort Lauderdale just wouldn’t stop and some photos of the devastating flooding that followed.

+ My Three Sons: “Federal prosecutors unsealed criminal charges against 28 members and associates of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel — including the three sons of former drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán — accusing them of orchestrating a transnational fentanyl trafficking operation into the United States.” (Sadly, they found a more efficient way to cause death than their dad.)

+ Streets of San Francisco: San Francisco Says It Needs $600 Million More To Cut Street Homelessness in Half by 2028.

+ Court Knox: “In 2014, one of Texas billionaire Harlan Crow’s companies purchased a string of properties on a quiet residential street in Savannah, Georgia. It wasn’t a marquee acquisition for the real estate magnate, just an old single-story home and two vacant lots down the road. What made it noteworthy were the people on the other side of the deal: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his relatives.”

+ Dropping the Dime: “Police say thieves made off with at least 1 million dimes, worth $100,000, from a cargo truck parked overnight in a Walmart parking lot.”

+ Nab Rats: “Eradicating rats has been a consistent talking point for Mayor Adams. Just this week he appointed his new right hand in the battle against rodents, Kathleen Corradi. Corradi has worked in the city’s public school system for years. But experts say that Corradi’s new job to ‘fight the real enemy — New York City’s relentless rat population’ will be a tall order. That’s partly because research on urban rats is slim, and partly because that slim research points to a penchant for being elusive.” New York City appointed a rat czar. Her job will be a tall ask. The rat race is on.

+ Cookie Monster: “Despite not being a real Chinese tradition, an entire industry is dedicated to the fortune cookie, with approximately three billion manufactured each year. From predicting lottery numbers to telling jokes and repurposing ancient proverbs, manufacturers have written millions of fortunes, hoping that customers will never get the same one twice.” Fortune Cookie Writers May Be Losing Their Jobs to A.I. (The fortune you seek is in another cookie.)


Bottom of the News

For nearly a year, I’ve been sharing the details of the amazing Busload of Books Tour, where a great family of six is spending the 2022-2023 school year traveling the country in a school bus/tiny home—visiting Title I schools in all 50 states (plus DC), doing presentations on creativity and collaboration, and giving away 25,000 hardcover books to students and teachers from underserved communities. It’s one of the great American stories and it’s starting to get the national attention it deserves. Today, Mathew, Robbi, and their kids (especially Alden!) were featured on the Drew Barrymore Show. Here’s a link to their slice of the show on Dropbox. If that doesn’t work for some reason, here it is on Drew’s site.

+ Lots of reaction (and lists of favorite flavors) in response to yesterday’s lead about health and ice cream. The Straight Scoop.

+ Beatriz Flamini: Athlete emerges after 500 days living in cave. (Think of all the crazy news she avoided!)

+ Rangers’ Jacob Trouba Presents Sandy Hook Survivor with Law School Scholarship.

+ This futuristic recycling plant is mining your old phone for gold.

+ A Parkinson’s ‘game changer,’ backed by Michael J. Fox, could lead to new diagnostics and, someday, treatments. “I’ve always been a tough son of a bitch. You can beat me up, but I’ll get one punch in and it will hurt … And I think I got one punch in on Parkinson’s.”

+ A lost dog treks 150 miles across Alaskan sea ice before he’s reunited with his family. (They must have the best treats!)

+ Rays Tie MLB Record With 13–0 Start to Season.

+ The man who walked around the world: Tom Turcich on his seven-year search for the meaning of life. (I’m guessing it has something to do with wearing sensible shoes.)

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