1. The Saturday night masochist
“President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive.” So reported the NYT in yet another twist in the saga of Trump, Mueller, and the investigation into possible Russian collusion.
+ The Atlantic: The Saturday Night Massacre That Wasn’t.
+ “Obstruction of justice is a crime that depends on a person’s state of mind.” That’s something that’s usually hard to prove. Unless the person openly and repeatedly shares that state of mind. President Trump seems almost determined to make decisions and share details that could come back to haunt him. Adam Serwer explains How Trump Built an Obstruction of Justice Case Against Himself.
2. Bench press
The judge in the Nassar case made a lot of headlines, and stirred up a fair amount of controversy. On one hand, she was a champion for the victims. On the other hand, she may have gone over the line on a few occasions. “She also mused in court that U.S. Constitution did not allow for cruel and unusual punishment. ‘If it did, I have to say, I might allow what he did to all of these beautiful souls ― these young women in their childhood ― I would allow some or many people to do to him what he did to others.'” Gymnastics victims’ champion or avenger?
+ Meanwhile, the fallout from the case continues. The entire USA Gymnastics’ Board is being forced to quit. MSU’s athletic director just resigned. And ESPN looks at the Michigan State secrets that extend beyond the Larry Nassar case.
3. Weekend whats
What to stream: Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, stopped by NPR to deliver a an extremely raw Tiny Desk Concert performance (she didn’t even use a mic). St. Vincent’s latest release is one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year. And with good reason. Listen to it on Spotify or your music service of choice.
+ What to watch: Question: How many US banks faced criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis? Answer: One. A small one, with pretty much no connection to the crisis. From Steve James (of Hoop Dreams fame), the Oscar-nominated documentary on the prosecution of a community bank in NYC’s Chinatown. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.
+ What to sscar: The NYT has a handy guide of where you can stream many of the Oscar-nominated movies.
4. Oil change
Bloomberg’s Javier Blas on The Dark Side of America’s Rise to Oil Superpower. This is a good overview of just how much the energy landscape has changed in the past few years. As Columbia’s Jason Bordoff explains: “For the last 40 years, since the Arab oil embargo, we’ve had a mindset of energy scarcity. As a result of the shale revolution, the US has emerged as an energy superpower.”
5. Tired of all the Wynning
“The allegations jolted a company whose reputation is synonymous with that of its founder.” After a WSJ story in which dozens of people recounted a pattern of sexual misconduct by mogul Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts took a major tumble on Wall Street.
6. I think we’re being tailed
The Verge on the new tool ICE has at its disposal: “The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has officially gained agency-wide access to a nationwide license plate recognition database, according to a contract finalized earlier this month. The system gives the agency access to billions of license plate records and new powers of real-time location tracking, raising significant concerns from civil libertarians.” While ICE and immigration are hot topics right now, this story brings up an even broader set of issues. In a world of cameras, we’re constantly under some form of surveillance.
7. Don’t you forget about me
When asked about the details of a book I’ve read, I usually sound like someone testifying in front of a Congressional panel. I just keep repeating: “I don’t recall.” Julie Beck on one of life’s frustrations: Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read. “Surely some people can read a book or watch a movie once and retain the plot perfectly. But for many, the experience of consuming culture is like filling up a bathtub, soaking in it, and then watching the water run down the drain.” (I don’t remember taking a bath…)
8. Kiss and tell it to the judge
When is a kiss more than a kiss? When it includes an open capsule of Moxylong. The Court of Arbitration for Sport agreed with Olympic gold medalist Gil Roberts’ claim that he tested positive for a banned substance because of a pretty serious make-out session.
9. Ass backwards
“But if everyone agrees that the old garments are horrible, and if fashion designers — working with doctors and nurses, no less — have created better gowns, why are we still having this conversation?” Bob Tedeschi wonders, why do hospitals bare butts when there are better gowns around? This really does seem like one aspect of health care that we can all agree needs to be fixed…
10. Feel good Friday
“Her brain injury was so critical, doctors in Las Vegas did not expect her to live and advised taking her off life support. Frank said the doctors had started talking about donating her organs.” Arizona woman shot in head during Las Vegas massacre to leave hospital after “profound” recovery.
+ When internet trolls told this record-breaking teen explorer to “make me a sandwich”, she did just that. “Now ski 37 days and 600km to the South Pole and you can eat it.”
+ Companies with diverse executive teams are more profitable.
+ “Lonnie and Susan Chester couldn’t figure out why their two Labradoodles, Adam and Eva, were suddenly so eager to go outside at 4:30 a.m. last Saturday morning.” It turns out they were trying to save a woman’s life.
+ Miami Herald: A dying dad wore a “Need kidney” T-shirt at Disney. A viral photo saved his life.