Smells like...CK One and ambivalence
Oh Kristie Stout, we are with you: “Cocteau Twins. Keanu. MTV News with Tabitha Soren. CrazySexyCool. That ubiquitous black choker. Crushing on Lisa Bonet. (This ode to Generation X is speaking to me and I want to mumble lines from Before Sunrise into an old flannel shirt.)” She’s talking about Gen X Is a Mess, the sprawling New York Times feature on the “gloomy, goofy club of forgotten middle children.” (It’s OK. We take that as a compliment.) Michael Cooper tweets, “As a Gen Xer, I feel deeply ambivalent about all this -- which I guess is kind of the point.” And as Nick Confessore points out, “This package is also @Choire shaking his fist at the Millennial staffers on his lawn, and I approve.” “This is suuuuuuuuch a nostalgia dive. I feel taken advantage of but then ... scroll, scroll, scroll ... Keanu 4EVA,” tweets Lauren Hansen. Adds Monica Drake, “I never wanted this to end.”
That makes three
Adam Goldman, Charlie Savage and Michael Schmidt of The New York Times are reporting that AG Barr has assigned the top federal prosecutor in Connecticut to examine the origins of the Russia investigation. John H. Durham has a history of serving as a special prosecutor investigating potential wrongdoing among national security officials, they note. For the record, “There are now *three* separate inquiries into the origins of the Russia investigation,” tweets Kyle Griffin. Colin McEnroe thinks, “Barr may have a tiger by the tail. Durham’s rep is that he only cares about the truth, no matter where the chips fall.”
Erick Fernandez’s take: “Barr continues to demonstrate that being a GOP political operative is his sole purpose as AG.” And at AP News, Michael Balsamo writes that the appointment shows “Barr is addressing a rallying cry of President Donald Trump and his supporters, who have accused the Justice Department and FBI of unlawfully spying on his campaign.”
Smells like...John Bolton
Also at The New York Times, Eric Schmitt and Julian Barnes hear echoes of the Iraq War as the White House reviews military plans against Iran, including an updated plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East. On Twitter, Colin H. Kahl explains, “I oversaw Iran policy and planning at the Pentagon from 2009-2011, at the height of concerns over Iran’s nuclear progress, and no plausible contingency except invasion and regime change would require sending 120,000 US forces to the Middle East.” Schmitt and Barnes note, “The development reflects the influence of Mr. [John] Bolton, one of the administration’s most virulent Iran hawks, whose push for confrontation with Tehran was ignored more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush.”
Meanwhile, “This oped offers a rare ray of hope. Two veteran diplomats, an Iranian and a Saudi, come together in a call for dialogue despite mutual mistrust.” Sune Engel Rasmussen links to the op-ed in The New York Times by Hossein Mousavian, former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, and Abdulaziz Sager, who leads the Gulf Research Center, based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. They write that It’s Time for Saudi Arabia’s and Iran’s Leaders to Talk. Elizabeth Dickinson says, “these are the voices we should hear amid today’s tensions.”
Your prez: Too dumb to know how tariffs work
In other wars, according to new reporting by Jonathan Swan at Axios on Trump’s long trade war, White House officials say a deal with China isn’t close. Swan says he asked several current and former administration officials whether Trump actually believes that China—not U.S. consumers and importers—pays the tariffs. “The consensus is ‘yes’: That’s what he actually believes.” Michael Cohen calls it “Your daily reminder that America is engaged in a protracted trade war because the president of the United States is too dumb to know how tariffs work.” And Orin Kerr thinks, “Maybe electing a reality TV star wasn’t the best idea, guys.”
What’ll get you fired
About this next story, Catherine Rampell asks, “What would you say if you saw this in another country.” In an exclusive for The Washington Post, Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey reveal that, before Trump’s purge at DHS, top officials challenged the plan for mass family arrests. Tweets Miroff, “EXCLUSIVE — The White House and Stephen Miller backed a shock-and-awe ICE plan to target families for mass arrests in 10 cities, but Nielsen and Vitiello balked. Then they were ousted from DHS. Scoop with @jdawsey1.”
WTF are you doing?
Charlie Warzel is “starting to run out of exasperated ways to tweet these kinds of stories.” At BuzzFeed News, Joseph Bernstein introduces us to YouTube’s newest far-right, foul-mouthed, red-pilling star: a 14-year-old girl named “Soph.” Jonathan M. Katz notices, “Fascists are on the march and in the White House, and @youtube is just counting the profits.” So “If you work at @YouTube / @Google and you’re not fight everyday to get your company to address the radicalization of kids, wtf are you doing?” asks Clara Jeffery.
Deep dive into the WhatsApp hack
Tony Tassell links to a “Deep dive into secretive Israeli company NSO and the business of spying on your iphone - fantastic work by @MehulSrivastava @BondHack #FTreadoftheday.” That’s the piece by Mehul Srivastava and Robert Smith of the Financial Times on Israel’s NSO: the business of spying on your iPhone. Adrian Weckler says it’s a “Must-read for anyone interested in the WhatsApp hack. Superb reporting.” Tweets Janine Gibson, “The market in selling exploits (government for ‘spyware’) is detailed in this excellent big read which you should definitely read and share via WhatsApp.”
May we all write a para this perfect
As Geoff Ziezulewicz reminds us, “the inside story of how an EA-18G Growler jet crew drew a penis across the clear blue skies of Washington state in 2017 has never been told.” Thanks to his FOIA-ing the internal investigation, now it can be told. At Navy Times, Ziezulewicz shares the Navy’s probe into sky penis, which reveals the radio chatter between the pilots, and, well, “Give it up everyone, this year’s Pulitzer has been claimed,” as Ryan J. Reilly tweets. CJ Ciaramella adds, “This one’s going in the FOIA hall of fame.” Plus, “This is every bit as detailed as I would have liked,” says Alice Fordham.
Evan McMorris-Santoro wants to know, “why is this article not already an eight part peak TV-style show,” while Tom Gara says, “May we all write a para as perfect as ‘But they never counted on those contrails lingering long enough for folks on the ground to see their phallic rendering, according to a copy of the military’s sky penis investigation obtained exclusively by Navy Times.’”
Nicer, funnier, kinder
At The Guardian, ian martin has written a toast to the Guardian's Simon Ricketts, a Twitter folk hero who Martin describes as “a 24-carat mensch.” Jess Brammar says, “This is so wonderful. I wish I could turn back to Twitter 5 years ago, and that Simon Ricketts was still on here making it a nicer, funnier, kinder place.” Adds James Randerson, “Beautiful tribute to my friend and colleague Simon Ricketts by @ianmartin: ‘An astonishing comet of kindness blazing across social media’s dark night skies’ Well said.” As Jane Bradley tweets, “no *you're* crying.”
More Tuesday reads
Molly Beck tweets, “My hometown newspaper, former employer and reason I ever became a journalist has been decimated and its latest editor resigned today, in part, to prevent another layoff.” She links to the story by Bruce Rushton at the Illinois Times about State Journal-Register editor Angie Muhs’ resignation. He writes, “The entire State Journal-Register newsroom walked out today in support of now former editor Angie Muhs...In an impromptu show of solidarity, the staff accompanied Muhs as she left the building for the final time.”
“What happens when a hospital closes in ‘arguably the most troubled part of the state’? @KHNnews is watching & reporting. No. 1 in our #NoMercy series partnered w/ NPR.” Sarah Jane Tribble links to the first in her series at Kaiser Health News in partnership with NPR, Dealing With Hospital Closure, Pioneer Kansas Town Asks: What Comes Next? Tweets Diane Webber, “The hospital that'd been there since 1886 closed. What comes next? @sjtribble is going to spend the rest of the year answering that question for @KHNews & @NPRhealth.”
As part of his review of inequality in the U.K., Nobel-prize winning economist Sir Angus Deaton warns that Britain risks heading to US levels of inequality, reports Richard Partington of The Guardian.
In his latest column for The Guardian, John Crace reports from the scene of a Brexit party event that offers a terrifying glimpse of a possible future. He writes, “It was one of the most genuinely disturbing political events I’ve ever attended. And Westminster ought to be shit-scared.”
Andrew Das links to the “Scoop via scoop machine @tariqpanja: UEFA financial investigators will seek to ban Manchester City from the Champions League. Huge test for authority of regulators.” That’s the scoop by Tariq Panja at The New York Times, UEFA Investigators Set to Seek Manchester City’s Ban From Champions League.
Paul Elias of AP News reports that a jury has ordered Monsanto to pay $2 billion to a couple in the Roundup Ready weed killer cancer case.
Also at AP News, Jill Colvin reveals that Trump is targeting Pell Grant money for NASA’s budget boost.
And Bloomberg’s Shahien Nasiripour has figured out that Trump Tower Is Now One of NYC’s Least-Desirable Luxury Buildings.