June 6th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Publicly Funded Religious School, LIV/PGA Merger

“St. Isidore would be free for students in kindergarten-12th grade and funded like any other public charter school in Oklahoma. It aims to open for the 2024-2025 school year and serve around 400–500 students. Proponents say it would give rural Catholic families who live far from brick-and-mortar schools the ability to access Catholic education.” Why would we focus on an application from a virtual school submitted to an Oklahoma virtual charter school board when the school hasn’t even opened and when it does, it will only serve a few hundred students? Because St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Catholic Charter School just became the nations’s first publicly-funded religious school, and that will lead to legal challenges which will almost certainly end up in a Supreme Court which has been intelligently designed for decades and is currently controlled by six conservative justices, all of whom are Catholic and who were systematically brought together to address cases exactly like this. If you’re a proponent of the separation of the church and state, now would be a good time to start praying.


A Dam Sight Worse

“Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, declared the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam as an act of terrorism and the ‘largest man-made environmental disaster in Europe in decades.’ He blamed Russian occupying forces, which have had control of the dam and the adjacent town since last year’s full-scale invasion. ‘It is physically impossible to blow it up somehow from the outside, by shelling. It was mined by the Russian occupiers. And they blew it up.'” The war has been going poorly for Putin, but genocidal maniacs don’t stop when things aren’t working out. They escalate. Thousands flee homes as collapse of dam is blamed on Russian forces.

+ “It’s huge – locals call it the Kakhovka Sea as you cannot see the other bank in certain places. The dam holds water equal to the Great Salt Lake.” BBC: What we know about Nova Kakhovka dam incident. The related flooding is already terrible. Here’s the latest from BBC.


Live and Let LIV

One PGA tour pro complained, “It’s insanity. The LIV tour was dead in the water. It wasn’t working. Now, you’re throwing them a life jacket? Is the moral of the story to just always take the money?'” A colleague was more concise: “No f—ing way.” Well, yes, apparently, f—ing way. The PGA tour just merged with Saudi-backed LIV Golf. It’s unclear how exactly things will shake out, but the former PGA players who took huge sums of money to join the much weaker LIV tour sure look like pretty big winners today.


Dirty Martini

“A man was high on LSD and having sex with a sex worker on one side of the San Francisco apartment. Only a few feet away, a squat man with a face like ‘an extremely menacing bowling ball’ observed the couple with a scientific curiosity as he sat on a toilet seat and drank a martini. It was no scene out of a movie: For eight years, between 1955 and 1963, federal agents ran a hidden brothel in one of San Francisco’s poshest neighborhoods and tested LSD on unsuspecting Bay Area residents.” SF Gate with today’s example of the truth being weirder than fiction. Operation Midnight Climax’: The CIA mixed LSD and sex at this SF brothel. Of course, every San Francisco story has essentially the same (not necessarily happy) ending. “The apartment building is still there, although it has been converted from a CIA brothel into a four-story mansion worth over $10 million.”


Extra, Extra

Trans Am: What would you say is the most pressing legislative need in America? Defense? The economic divide? The potential of a recession? Education? Infrastructure? Well, according to one political party, it’s none of those things. State Legislatures Have Passed 550 Anti-Trans Bills So Far This Year.

+ Spies and Lies: Back when siding with Russian intelligence over America was frowned upon, Robert Hanssen was arrested for being one of the most damaging traitors in American history. “The former US agent, who has died in prison, leaked top secrets to Moscow for nearly 20 years – betrayals that the agency says cost lives. It took 300 agents to finally bring him down. Two of them who played a central part tell us how they did it.”

+ FTX Marks the Spot? “The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued the crypto company Coinbase, one day after filing a lawsuit against Binance.” The SEC is finally making good on its threats to rein in crypto.

+ I’ve Got the Brains, You’ve Got the Ron: “California authorities said they have evidence that Vertol Systems, which Florida officials paid to fly 49 undocumented migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts last September, was hired to transport the Latin American migrants to Sacramento.” After the lastest stunt that involved the sending of migrants to another state (in this case from Florida to California), Gavin Newsom threatened Ron DeSantis with kidnapping charges. He also called DeSantis a “small, pathetic man.”

+ There’s No Longer a Need for Crying in Baseball: “Baseball had a great run, a nice century. Times change, tastes veer, attention spans shrink. Cultural gems become cultural relics. It’s no one’s fault; we move on to new things.” That’s how plenty of people felt about the MLB. But then the league made some changes to speed the game up. Mark Leibovich in The Atlantic: Inside Baseball’s Desperate Effort to Save Itself From Irrelevance. And why, to my surprise, it’s working.

+ The Girl From Ipanema Goes Walking: “Born in Salvador, Bahia and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Gilberto became an overnight, unexpected superstar in 1964, thanks to knowing just enough English to be recruited by the makers of ‘Getz/Gilberto,’ the classic bossa nova album featuring saxophonist Stan Getz and her then-husband, singer-songwriter-guitarist João Gilberto.” Astrud Gilberto, singer of ‘The Girl from Ipanema,’ dies at 83.

+ Omaha Reach: “Larson landed on Omaha Beach, where he ran under machine-gun fire and made it to the cliffs without being wounded.” Papa Jake survived D-Day on Omaha Beach, now he’s a TikTok star.


Bottom of the News

“The US route starts in Texas, loops up and over the East Coast, into Oregon, and ends in California.” An Alaskan climate scientist has created the perfect weather road trip. One year, always right around 70 degrees. (Here in the Bay Area, it’s cold and pouring rain in June, so proceed with caution.)

+ Tourists visiting Yellowstone National Park thought it was a good idea to put a newborn elk in their car.

+ Speaking of stories that would make decent episodes of Yellowstone, a cow was lassoed while running through traffic in middle of I-75 in Oakland County.

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