Weekend Open Thread
[guest post by Dana]
First news item
This seems foolish, but also seems just like Trump:
Trumpworld sources tell New York Times correspondent and CNN analyst Maggie Haberman that former President Donald Trump says he’ll testify before the January 6 Committee if he can do it live — and at least one of his lawyers is on board.
On Thursday night’s edition of CNN Tonight with Jake Tapper, Haberman related that scoop to host Jake Tapper.
“In terms of the subpoena, for him, that is actually one of the things that has animated him. He’s been talking to advisers about how, you know, he would consider testifying if they would air it live, which is also not surprising,” Haberman said, adding, “it seems hard to imagine the committee would go for that.”
Q: If his lawyers advise him to take the Fifth (which I assume they will), does he really have the constitution to be able to stick to that brief response and *not* ramble on about “witch hunts” and “rigged elections”? I think he has neither the temperament nor self-control required to just say nothing.
Second news item
Jury recommends life in prison and no parole for Parkland school shooter:
The 12 jurors, who attorneys selected out of nearly 2,000 Broward County residents, watched both the prosecution and the defense call on expert witnesses to try to explain what drove Cruz to plan and execute the deadliest U.S. mass shooting to reach a jury. They agreed on all of the aggravating circumstances, but there was a disagreement on the death penalty…he jurors deliberated for about seven hours. After they were dismissed, the jury’s foreman, Benjamin Thomas, said only three of the 17 jurors disagreed with the death penalty…They stood by the defense’s mitigating factors, which were related to Cruz’s mental health, outweighed the aggravating circumstances that the prosecution outlined during the case. Hixon and other relatives of the victims said they don’t understand how that was possible.
Third news item
Elon Musk says SpaceX can’t fund Starlink for Ukraine indefinitely:
Musk said in a tweet Friday that SpaceX “is not asking to recoup past expenses” for the Starlink program.
But the company can’t “fund the existing system indefinitely” while also providing more terminals, he said, adding that the Starlink terminals have a data usage “100x greater than typical households.”
“This is unreasonable,” Musk tweeted.
The DOD responded to an earlier letter sent by SpaceX about funding, saying that “the department continues to work with industry to explore solutions for Ukraine’s armed forces as they repel Russia’s brutal and unprovoked aggression. We do not have anything else to add at this time.”
Fourth news item
Update on Los Angeles City Council:
Acting LA City Council President Mitch O’Farrell abruptly canceled Friday’s meeting because two members have refused widespread calls to step down after they were caught in a leaked recording taking part in a conversation that included racist remarks and disparaging comments about colleagues.
O’Farrell made the announcement Thursday on Twitter as civic leaders were transfixed by the evolving scandal involving council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and former President Nury Martinez, who resigned a day earlier.
“The people’s business cannot be conducted until we have these next two resignations,” the acting president said.
In the leaked recording, the three can be heard using racist remarks while they discuss redistricting and ways to dilute the power of Black Angelenos.
Martinez at one point used a racist slur to describe the Black son of a fellow council member.
I see that Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon didn’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of the moment to reassure black Angelenos that he was in their camp.
Fifth news item
Russian military experts say that the faster they finish their invasion of Ukraine, the better their negotiating position with the U.S. will be. Their solution: carpet bombing Ukraine until it is “paralyzed.” So much for their initial pretense of “liberating a brotherly nation.”
Sixth news item
From a 44-year-old woman protester in Tehran:
At first, protests were mostly during the day in central Tehran. Now they take place at night — except for student protests that happen during the day. I usually leave my house to meet friends to protest around 5 p.m. and am out until 8 or 9 p.m. every night. We march, we chant, we get beaten by the police, and we do it all again. I haven’t lost any friends, but many of my close friends are currently in prison. Every day that we leave the house, we have a hope that did not exist before the last few weeks…It’s definitely not just about hijab — it is a general unhappiness with the status quo. I do want the option to choose. If given the right to choose, I haven’t decided yet if I’d want to wear it and how I’d wear it. What is a priority for me is true freedom, collective freedom — where we have a route to express our grievances. It’s striking for me to see the younger generation on the streets — people in their early 20s. They are extremely brave — more so than I. I think the government itself was not expecting this generation to be this fiery. Any stereotypes about women as fragile and weak are completely gone.
Protesters know that if the security forces are grabbing a protesting woman’s bottom in public, certainly worse must be happening behind closed doors:
No, the government is not capable of reform:
A shaken Iranian political elite is struggling with whether to frame the protests shaking the country as primarily the product of a covert foreign intelligence conspiracy, or instead a dangerous warning that the values of the Islamic Revolution have lost sway over a new generation infected by a western controlled internet, analysts say.
The debate, in which there are many shades of grey, matters since it determines whether the response should be a security crackdown coupled with retribution against the outside forces of disruption or some kind of dialogue with the largely leaderless youth.
If the first course is adopted, as is likely if the protests amplify, the already narrowing space for the west to revive the Iran nuclear deal after the US midterm elections correspondingly declines. It will also be a test of whether this Iranian government is capable of reform.
Seventh news item
Dolly Parton laughs at the idea that she is some sort of secret philanthropist.
Sure, social media sleuths did piece together this week that the country superstar had been quietly paying for the band uniforms of many Tennessee high schools for years. And yes, it did take decades for her to reveal that she used the songwriting royalties she earned from Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” to purchase a strip mall in Nashville to support the surrounding Black neighborhood in her honor. Oh, and it did eventually come out that Parton had donated $1 million for research that helped create the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19.
“I don’t do it for attention,” she told The Associated Press in an interview, shortly before she received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy at Gotham Hall in New York City Thursday night. “But look! I’m getting a lot of attention by doing it.”
“I get paid more attention than maybe some others that are doing more than me,” Parton said, adding that she hopes that attention inspires more people to help others.
“I just give from my heart,” she said. “I never know what I’m going to do or why I’m gonna do it. I just see a need and if I can fill it, then I will.”
Eighth news item
President Biden was blasted after his comments attacking Republicans following the September inflation report on Thursday.
Biden appeared in Los Angeles to deliver remarks on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and its impact on voters. His speech came after a new Consumer Price Index report revealed that inflation rose 8.2% in September compared with the same time last year, higher than initial predictions indicated.
“Today’s reports, though, show some progress. Overall, inflation was 2% over the last three months. That’s down from 11% over the prior three months. That’s progress, but a lot of it has resulted from getting the cost of living at the gas pump down, now even in California, by more than $1 nationally,” Biden said.
Ninth news item
Climate protesters throw tantrum:
Climate protesters threw tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” painting Friday to protest the extraction and use of fossil fuels.
Members of Just Stop Oil, wearing T-shirts bearing the name of the group, poured two cans of tomato soup over the famous painting located at the National Gallery in London, as seen in a video posted to Twitter by the group.
The protesters then glued their hands to the wall. The painting was protected by glass, so no damage there.
If you’re that upset, then start wearing “Nuclear Power Now!” T-shirts.
Have a great weekend!