What's Good: Jan. 21, 2022
Campaigns, courts, and the British state.
Hello, good morning, happy Friday. This week I found out there is a new, free, cross-platform Yu-Gi-Oh game. I have not followed the meta since, like, maybe 2015, maybe. I spent six hours playing it yesterday. It is very good. Right now you can play it on consoles or your PC, and soon there will be mobile apps. May the heart of the cards be ever in your favor.
Now this is how you do a campaign ad:
Chambers’ ad, titled “37 Seconds,” refers to an estimate by the Marijuana Policy Project in 2009 that said a pot-related arrest was made every 37 seconds. (The MPP’s site now states that the figure is closer to every 58 seconds, which doesn’t change Chambers’ sentiment.) Chambers drives this home by smoking an absolutely massive blunt during the video, filmed in New Orleans.
Chambers’ spokesperson Randy Jones confirmed to Rolling Stone the blunt in the video was, in fact, real, and that’s clearly Chambers doing his own stunts. Possession of small amounts of marijuana is currently punishable only by a fine under Louisiana state law, and some municipalities like New Orleans have taken further steps to effectively legalize recreational use.
I read the headline for this piece and began laughing manically:
Prosecutors granted immunity to an ex-girlfriend of Representative Matt Gaetz before she testified last week in front of a federal grand jury hearing evidence in the investigation of the congressman, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Gaetz has been under investigation to determine if he violated sex trafficking laws and obstructed justice in that probe. Gaetz has previously denied all wrongdoing, and has said he has never paid for sex nor had sex with an underage girl.
The woman, who CBS News is not naming to protect her privacy, testified in front of a federal grand jury in Orlando last Wednesday. She is viewed as a potential key witness, according to two sources familiar with the investigation. One of the sources said she has information related to the investigation of both the sex trafficking and obstruction allegations.
You’re fucking donezo, buddy.
Grifting all the way
NFTs are a bad grift, we have discussed this, but here’s a new twist:
Voiceverse NFT, the company that prolific video game voice actor Troy Baker announced he would partner with last week, has now admitted to using voice lines created by a non-commercial rival.
The NFT-powered brand hit the headlines last week after Baker boldly announced he would back the company - and that his fans could "hate", or "create". The announcement received a universally negative response.
Yeah I mean of course the content for the grift was stolen, that checks out. Incredible.
Probably you have already read the Joss Whedon interview, but in case you haven’t, holy shit:
In the fall of 2002, 160 scholars convened at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. They were an eclectic group — theologians, philosophers, linguists, film professors — and they had descended on the medieval city for a conference dedicated to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a cult television show about a teenage girl who fights monsters while attending high school in Southern California. It was not a typical academic gathering. There were life-size cutouts of the eponymous heroine as well as Buffy-themed chocolates, action figures, and, in the welcome bags, exfoliating moisturizers (“Buffy the Backside Slayer”). Professors stalked around in long black leather coats like the vampire Spike, Buffy’s enemy and, later, her lover.
(The vampire is Whedon. That’s the joke.)
In case the above is not enough of a rollercoaster, well, here is another:
Roughly 24 hours before Larry Driskill confessed to a murder he claimed he couldn’t remember, a stranger in sharply creased cowboy clothes approached him at the barn where he was working. The metal star above the man’s left shirt pocket indicated he was a Texas Ranger.
Meanwhile, in the Eleventh Circuit:
“Why is a prominent federal judge hiring a law clerk who said she hates Black people?” asked the headline on a column I wrote in October. Now, the story has resurfaced, with a surprising, belated — and, in my view, ultimately unconvincing — new defense: The bigoted texts were faked.
The clerk in question is Crystal Clanton, a student at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, selected for a coveted clerkship with William H. Pryor Jr., the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Clanton’s selection was unsettling because she had been featured in a 2017 New Yorker story about the conservative student group Turning Point USA.
You can make your own determinations based on the evidence.
Speaking of Ginni Thomas:
In December, Chief Justice John Roberts released his year-end report on the federal judiciary. According to a recent Gallup poll, the Supreme Court has its lowest public-approval rating in history—in part because it is viewed as being overly politicized. President Joe Biden recently established a bipartisan commission to consider reforms to the Court, and members of Congress have introduced legislation that would require Justices to adhere to the same types of ethics standards as other judges. Roberts’s report, however, defiantly warned everyone to back off. “The Judiciary’s power to manage its internal affairs insulates courts from inappropriate political influence,” he wrote. His statement followed a series of defensive speeches from members of the Court’s conservative wing, which now holds a super-majority of 6–3. Last fall, Justice Clarence Thomas, in an address at Notre Dame, accused the media of spreading the false notion that the Justices are merely politicians in robes. Such criticism, he said, “makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference,” adding, “They think you become like a politician!”
Last week we had some stories about cops getting a small bit of comeuppance, and this week I am happy to continue that trend:
Donna Scott Davenport, the juvenile court judge at the center of a controversy over the arrest and detention of children in Rutherford County, Tennessee, has announced that she will step down this year rather than run for reelection.
Earlier on Tuesday, ProPublica and Nashville Public Radio published a story about a move by some Tennessee lawmakers to remove Davenport from her post. About an hour after that story was published on ProPublica’s website, Davenport, in an email sent by the county’s spokesperson, announced that she will not be running for reelection this year. Instead, she plans to retire when her current eight-year term expires this summer.
I hope her retirement isn’t the end of this story, though - you shouldn’t be able to illegally send kids to jail and just get away with it.
What’s a right without a remedy
Do we have the right to vote in the United States? Ostensibly. But, actually, maybe not:
The Supreme Court, Justice Elena Kagan lamented in a dissenting opinion earlier this month, “has treated no statute worse” than the Voting Rights Act.
The Voting Rights Act is arguably the most successful civil rights law in American history. Originally signed in 1965, it was the United States’ first serious attempt since Reconstruction to build a multiracial democracy — and it worked. Just two years after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, Black voter registration rates in the Jim Crow stronghold of Mississippi skyrocketed from 6.7 percent to nearly 60 percent.
And yet, in a trio of cases — Shelby County v. Holder (2013), Abbott v. Perez (2018), and Brnovich v. DNC (2021) — the Court drained nearly all of the life out of this landmark statute. After Brnovich, the decision that inspired Kagan’s statement that the Court has treated the Voting Rights Act worse than any other federal law, it’s unclear whether the Supreme Court would rule in favor of voting rights plaintiffs even if a state legislature tried to outright rig an election.
File this one under “who could have possibly predicted”:
In a new intelligence assessment, the CIA has ruled out that the mysterious symptoms known as Havana Syndrome are the result of a sustained global campaign by a hostile power aimed at hundreds of U.S. diplomats and spies, six people briefed on the matter told NBC News.
In about two dozen cases, the agency cannot rule out foreign involvement, including many of the cases that originated at the U.S. Embassy in Havana beginning in 2016. Another group of cases is considered unresolved. But in hundreds of other cases of possible symptoms, the agency has found plausible alternative explanations, the sources said.
“Havana Syndrome” is of course known by literally everyone with a brain as the excuse that agents give when they got too high.
When Kate Wilson was 23, she got deceived into having sex with an older guy who wasn’t what he appeared to be. To her, he was Mark Stone, a radical environmental activist who shared her taste in country music and her belief that capitalism is destroying the planet. He wrote poetry for her, went to her grandmother’s 90th birthday party, and helped her organize a massive protest against the G-8 summit in Scotland. They lived together nearly two years as lovers and stayed close friends for years after.
But seven years after they first met, in 2010, their intimate relationship imploded when Wilson learned the shocking truth about Stone’s true identity. Not only was his real last name “Kennedy.” Not only did he have a wife and two kids. But the person with whom Wilson had “shared many of my interests and dreams,” who told her “lots of his most intimate stories and secrets,” was actually working for the British state.
You deserve some good animal content
Have a good weekend.
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