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Audio Killed the Reality Star

Will we ever will run out of song titles we can use for items on Donald Trump's legal woes? To quote Maverick: "Maybe so, but not today."

The big news yesterday was that Special Counsel Jack Smith is hitting the ground running. If there are to be delays in this trial, they aren't going to be on the prosecution's end. And so, Trump's legal team received the first bunch of evidence that the government will use to make its case. No classified stuff yet, of course, but a bunch of grand jury testimony, and a list of witnesses, and—you guessed it—recordings of Trump that were previously not publicly known.

Production 1, the inventory given to the Court, only describes the recordings in a general sense. It makes reference to the already-known audio of Trump talking about Iran-related intelligence, and says that there are additional recordings and that they were made with Trump's consent.

From this, it is not possible to know how many additional recordings there are, or what they contain. However, it is not terribly likely that the recordings would be included if they were just the former president talking about his shaving routine. And the fact that he consented to the recordings means that it's not going to be plausible to exclude them from the trial. His lawyers might have argued that Florida is a two-party consent state, and that recordings of The Donald are not admissible, even if federal law requires only one party to consent. But if the former president agreed to the recording, then that's out the window.

There was one other bit of news yesterday that's not related to the Trump case at all, and yet is quite relevant nonetheless: Kendra Kingsbury was sentenced to 4 years in federal prison. Who is Kendra Kingsbury, you might ask? Is she the one who used to be Trump's right-hand woman, until fleeing for the hills? No, that's the also alliteratively named Hope Hicks. Kingsbury, by all indications, has never met Trump, or even been in the same ZIP Code as the former president.

Actually, Kingsbury is a former FBI agent who developed a bad habit of taking her work home with her. Over the course of a bit more than a decade, she took 300 classified documents from her office and hid them at her residence, including—wait for it—in the bathroom. Though her toilet was not gold-plated, and did not have its own chandelier.

So, for those interested in whether or not Trump is being treated unfairly, well, someone whose crimes are awfully similar is now headed to the hoosegow. And note that while Kingsbury's pilfering of documents was spread out over a longer time, she did not take home any SCI or other documents at the highest levels of security (everything she took was labeled SECRET), and she also accepted a plea bargain. Presumably, a person who took documents who were more sensitive than SECRET, and who did not cop a plea, would be looking at rather more than 4 years as a guest of Uncle Sam. (Z)

Judge Strikes Down Wyoming Ban on Abortion Medications

On Wednesday, we noted that Arkansas was the first state to ban gender-affirming treatments for minors, which meant that Arkansas got to be the first state sued over trying to ban gender-affirming treatments for minors, and that it was the first state to see its ban on gender-affirming treatments for minors overturned by a judge. Yesterday, Wyoming got a variant of the Arkansas treatment, as the Cowboy State was the first to ban the prescription, sale and use of abortion pills; the first to be sued over such a ban; and is now the first to have a judge overturn the ban (at least for now).

The pill ban would have taken effect in a little over a week, on July 1, but Teton County District Court judge Melissa Owens said that it appears to be an overreach in terms of government authority. "Essentially the government under this law is making the decision for a woman rather than the woman making her own health care choice, which is what the overwhelming majority in Wyoming decided that we should get to do," she observed. So, an injunction it will be until the Court can hold full hearings on the matter. Owens has also imposed an injunction on the state's total abortion ban, which will also remain in place until a full hearing is held.

Since Roe was struck down—one year ago tomorrow, by the way—a pretty clear dynamic has presented itself. Red-state legislatures, where either the governor is on board or their veto can be overriden, have imposed exceedingly strict limits on abortion access. And they've not only endeavored to severely limit or eliminate the procedure within their own borders (currently legal), they've tried to shut down "loopholes" like traveling out of state, or using abortifacient medication (seeming overreaches of dubious legality).

Pushing in the other direction, meanwhile, are three different entities. The first is voters; every time the matter has been put before the people in the last year, regardless of how red the state, the people have favored abortion rights. The second is blue-state legislatures (like, say, New York, which we wrote about yesterday); those legislatures are doing everything they can to help subvert the red-state legislatures. And the third is judges, who have consistently ruled against the new abortion laws. And we're not just talking the pinko commie judges; Owens, for example, was appointed to the bench by Gov. Mark Gordon (R), whose signature is on the very abortion bills that have now been enjoined.

This leads us to two conclusions. First, if it's judges, voters and blue-state legislatures vs. red-state legislatures, the former clearly has the greater power here. Second, it should have been obvious back on June 24 of last year, and it's certainly obvious a year later, that Dobbs did not "solve" the abortion question, even if the Sam Alitos and Clarence Thomases of the world (maybe?) thought it would. All that the Supreme Court did was eliminate one, somewhat shaky, legal basis for federal protection of abortion. There are clearly a lot of other issues in play here, which means that one day, sooner or later, and probably sooner, this is going to end up on SCOTUS' docket again. Sam and Clarence better be sure to take multiple billionaire-funded vacations between now and then, so they are well-rested. (Z)

Hunter Biden Was Treated Fairly

When we wrote about the plea deal extended to First Son Hunter Biden earlier this week, we expressed the view that it wasn't a sweetheart deal and that the punishment fit the crime. This was our non-expert, non-lawyer sense of things, though we also linked to a piece in which a couple of experienced prosecutors expressed the same view.

Since then, countless outlets have run "Was it a fair deal?" pieces, and there is an overwhelming consensus that it was (see here, here, here, here, and here for examples). There are several recurring themes, most of which we pointed out in our original item:

  • Biden's a first-time offender
  • The prisons are already bulging at the seams
  • He made restitution for his tax-related crimes
  • He's gotten gun counseling, and has agreed to get more
  • The gun crime he committed (lying about drug use on his gun application form) is rarely charged, and in those cases where it is charged, it's almost always because the gun was used in the commission of a crime. Biden only had the gun for a couple of weeks, and did not use it to commit a crime.

The one mitigating factor that we did not include in our original piece is that the meat of the case against Biden, which was the felony gun charge, was not a slam dunk. That law is actually being challenged in federal court right now, and if it's struck down, then we're down to just misdemeanor tax evasion charges where restitution has been made. Hardly the stuff of a stint at ADX Florence.

All of this said, if you talk to enough lawyers, you're eventually going to get some contrary opinions. One is reminded of Thomas Jefferson's observation about the House of Representatives: "That one hundred and fifty lawyers should do business together ought not to be expected." Among the various items we looked at on this subject, the only one where the legal experts said Biden might indeed have gotten special treatment was the one from Politico. That outlet talked to four lawyers; two of those said the handling of the Biden case was unremarkable while the other two said that he might have gotten favorable treatment.

The crux of the argument made by the latter duo is that when the government goes to the trouble of conducting an investigation, it's not typically satisfied to secure only misdemeanor convictions, it wants felonies. Of course, the counterargument to that is that the government generally launches an investigation only when things smell extra rotten in the state of Denmark, whereas in this case the government's reasons for commencing an investigation are... more complex, to say the least.

In short, if you squint very carefully, Biden might possibly have gotten the friends and family discount. But the weight of the evidence, and the weight of expert opinion, is that he was treated the same as any other defendant. (Z)

Well, That Was Anticlimactic

As he waits for the wheels of justice to turn, Rep. "George Santos" (R-NY) is out on bail, with a bond signed by two previously unknown people. U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert said that the Representative could not keep the names secret, and the Representative said that it was important enough to him that he was willing to go to jail rather than allow the individuals' identities to be revealed. It turns out that was a lie. Apparently, you can't believe everything that comes out of "Santos'" mouth. Who knew?

As it turns out, "Santos'" guarantors are his aunt, Elma Santos Preven, and his father, Gercino Dos Santos. Given what a soap opera this has been, and the secrecy the Representative was not quite willing to go to the mat for, this turns out to be quite pedestrian. You would think that the founder of the New York Stock Exchange and former chair of the World Bank would have more impressive financial backers than his paternal relatives, but apparently not. (Z)

I, The Jury, Part IV: The Attorneys

That was a pretty long run of items about the legal system, which is a nice lead-up to another entry in the series based on readers' jury experiences. Recall that we just asked for people to share their stories, and then imposed a post hoc organization upon them. So, the lines are not as clean as they would have been if we assigned specific questions to specific respondents.

With that caveat, today we'd like to share several accounts that all speak, in various ways, about the impact that the attorneys, and their approach, can have on a jury:

M.M. in San Diego, CA, writes: I debated whether or not to submit my jury experience for several reasons: It was traumatic—so much so, that I had to be replaced and didn't finish the trial, and I am not certain of its relevance regarding Trump's jury/juries.

It was a criminal trial, a gang-related drive by shooting with fatalities. An assault weapon with ARMOR-PIERCING ROUNDS was used. (To this day, I believe we as a society are enablers for allowing anyone to possess military grade ammunition for any reason whatsoever.)

As the prosecution began to build its case against the defendant, I swear I had Erle Stanley Gardner whispering in my ear, countering every piece of trivial, circumstantial "evidence" presented, all of which struck me as intentionally prejudicial. I became incensed at what was allowed as admissible evidence, particularly police reports that detailed stops of young men who were thought to be gang members, noting who they were and where they were going even though all they were doing was walking along the sidewalk in broad daylight. Seems if you're young, Black and live in a poor neighborhood, your right to freedom of association is automatically suspended at the discretion of the local PD.

By the end of the first week, I was feeling intense hostility towards the prosecution and the criminal justice system in general. Not only that, I happened to overhear a phone conversation of a relative of the defendant, which was heart-wrenching. Over the weekend I bottomed out emotionally and asked to be excused.

So, per my incomplete experience, my advice to prosecutors is to lead with rock-solid direct evidence if you have any and dispense with the prejudicial rubbish—otherwise, it really pisses off critical thinking/analytical jurors.

D.C. in South Elgin, IL, writes: I sat on the jury, in October 2002, for the trial in federal court in Chicago/Cook County of William Jarding. At that time, our family residence was in unincorporated Cook County, hence my being tapped randomly for service.

He was a Cook County sheriff's officer, and a firearms instructor at a Cook Co. shooting range. He was also a protégé of Joseph Miedzianowski, Chicago's "most corrupt cop."

Jarding was charged with theft/conspiracy to possess stolen ammunition; it was boosted from the county firing range, during lunch breaks, and made its way to Miedzianowski, who was under FBI investigation at that time, and had been wiretapped.

My recollection is trial was 3 days—2 for opening arguments, presentation of evidence, and closings. Day 3 was jury instruction, deliberation, and verdict. The lawyer-speak has long since faded from memory, but a taped phone call between Jarding and his mentor are still audible inside my noggin. To the tune of High-Ho, from Snow White and 7 Little People, they sang in turns: "It's time for lunch, high-ho" and "High-ho, high-ho, and there the ammo go."

A guilty verdict took approximately 3 hours. And we were home for supper at our own tables.

I submit this info as relevant to DJT from two angles: First, the case as indicted appears extremely tight/narrow/focused; a jury's mind is unlikely to wander. Second, the witness impossible to impeach is the guy on tape(s). In my 2002 jury service, it was a singing sheriff's officer. In Counsel Smith's case, it's DJT himself.

D.A. in Brooklyn, NY, writes: I served on a federal jury in the New York Eastern District in one of the trials related to the case of Abner Louima. In my case, the defendants were charged with conspiracy to cover-up the crime (obstruct justice). One of the defense attorneys in that case was Joseph Tacopina, who is one of the Worm Thing's attorneys—though not, I think, in the documents case.

Some observations that might be relevant here. First, you thought that a 44-page double-spaced document was unlikely to take a month to present in court. Lucky you! You've clearly never sat on a federal jury. The process is excruciatingly slow, with sidebars, jurors being marched out of the courtroom, and then back in, and then back out. Objections, and then the attorneys, on both sides, try to belabor every point ("did you see the defendant walk past the desk?"/"yes;" "did you see the defendant continue walking past the photocopier?"/"yes;" "did you see the defendant pass the water cooler?"/"he stopped at the water cooler;" "ok, but after he stopped, did you see him continue...?"/"yes" and on and on). There may well be more evidence beyond the 44-page document, but trust me, lawyers can turn a 10 minute exposition into a day of testimony—even those working for the government who are not, presumably, into billable hours.

Second, as you have written many times, the Feds don't charge without an overwhelming amount of evidence. So the strategy of the defense in the trial I experienced, and I presume the one in the documents case (if it gets that far) is two-fold:

PLAN A: Make a sympathy play for even just one juror.

PLAN B: Pile up a lot of objections that can serve as the basis for an appeal; throw in everything; no penalties for BS, you just have to have one that will "stick" later on.

In the case I was on, PLAN A failed, but PLAN B succeeded. We found the defendants guilty (they were guilty as heck), but the appeal succeeded on the basis of a spurious and rather insulting claim that the judge didn't explain the charge of conspiracy clearly enough to the jury. (Remark: Jesus. We understood the charges perfectly well. Basically, in my view it was a case of judicial nullification of the jury, and as a result, should I ever be on a jury where I don't like the law or like the defendant, I will have no compunction about executing "jury nullification.")

The prosecution retried the case after our jury's verdict was nullified, but in the retrial PLAN A succeeded: They ended up with a lot of tears, and a hung jury based on one hold-out. The defendants went scot-free on these charges.

In terms of the Trump case, expect both PLAN A (after all, it will be a Florida jury) and PLAN B (the appeals could go to the Trump-friendly SCOTUS).

Despite the unsatisfactory outcome, the tedium, the disruption in my life (5 weeks of 14-hour days), I left with a tremendous respect for the federal attorneys, the judge, the judicial system and process, and even a grudging respect for the FBI.

And I learned one really important lesson: do NOT ever lie to the Feds. You can shut up (that's usually a very good idea), but do not lie. They really hate that, and they will make your life miserable if you do.

J.L. in Vancouver, WA, writes: Almost five years ago, I was called in on my first day of my 2-week eligibility period and was selected as one of 13 jurors (12, plus an alternate who never knew she was the alternate until the moment we were sent into the deliberation room) for an assault with a deadly weapon case. While superior court and federal court probably have different rules and procedures, I was struck by three things as the process unfolded over those three days:

  1. The prosecuting attorney was almost robotic in his presentation; there was never a moment throughout his entire case that I felt like he wasn't reading from a memorized script... one which he knew both his own lines AND those of the witnesses he called. The old lawyer adage of "never ask a question you don't already know the answer to" was very much on display and while his personal smugness very much showed through, it was obvious that everything I was seeing and hearing had been meticulously constructed to tell a story that was both easy to understand and didn't leave much room for alternate interpretations. Keep in mind that this was a county level deputy DA and he was that good at his job; now imagine the level of skill you'd be exposed to for a federal prosecutor tasked with presenting a case to potentially imprison a former head-of-state of the most powerful country on earth.

  2. The defense attorney had, in my view, an incredibly weak hand to play (more on why in a bit). His presentation consisted of a PI, the defendant himself and a character witness; none of whom really disputed any of the core assertions made by the prosecution. But what I found myself most concerned with at toward the end of the arguments wasn't "what really happened here?" but rather "Does what I've been told happened rise to the definition of 'assault with a deadly weapon'?" This is where, in my non-lawyer opinion, the role of Judge Aileen Cannon (or whomever ultimately is presiding) is really going to matter. The judge in my trial laid out for us the exact wording of the statute, the elements that were necessary to find for a conviction, and in my case, the possibility of a potential lesser charge (brandishing a firearm) that we could consider as a possible contingency. If a MAGA-sympathetic judge is going to ratf**k, this would be where to do it—I consider myself well educated, but those definitions/instructions were crucial to me in determining my vote to find the defendant guilty because I did not possess the knowledge of what an assault with a deadly weapon actually is. Spoiler alert: What I would have guessed on my own wasn't it.

  3. After we returned with the verdict and the defendant was taken into custody and court adjourned, the judge addressed us off the bench to let us know that we were free to talk about our experience, thank us for our service, etc. But in what I consider to this day to be one of the—I don't even know the right word for this: weird? unsettling? inappropriate?—admissions afterward, he told us that there was an entire line of defense that he had ruled against being allowed to present. If a judge can shape what a jury is even allowed to hear as a defense (or prosecution), then how much discretion is a jury really exercising? I've thought about that a lot over the last 5 years. Would I have voted differently if allowed to hear a different line of defense? I'd never have known about it if the judge hadn't told us so after the fact. I'm confident in the decision I made based on what I heard and saw, but what didn't I see or get a chance to consider?

Thanks, all! We'll have another couple of entries in this general vein next week before moving on to accounts of the dynamics within the jury room. (Z)

Will Hurd Decides to Tilt at Windmills

The Republican primary field just keeps getting bigger. Former Texas representative Will Hurd has been teasing a run for the better part of 3 years (since the tail end of his time in Congress, which ended in 2021), and yesterday he took the plunge.

Here is the first portion of Hurd's announcement, which summarizes his pitch for the presidency:

The soul of our country is under attack. Our enemies plot, create chaos and threaten the American dream at home. Illegal immigration and fentanyl streaming through our country. Inflation still out of control. Crime and homelessness growing in our cities. And liberals do nothing. President Biden can't solve these problems. Or won't. And if we nominate a lawless, selfish, failed politician like Donald Trump who lost the House, the Senate and the White House, we all know Joe Biden will win again. Republicans deserve better. America deserves better. It's common sense. Common sense says we're better together.

Executive summary: Joe Biden sucks. Donald Trump sucks. Vote for me. It's just common sense.

There is a time and place where Hurd would have been a compelling candidate. He's young, charismatic, Black, comes from a state with a lot of voters, and is sorta moderate (but only sorta, and only by the standards of the current iteration of the Republican Party). If the candidate had a time machine, and could travel back to 1996, for example, he would have been an interesting alternative to Bob Dole. Not that he would have won the nomination, mind you, just that he would have been interesting.

But Hurd has no time machine and it's not 1996. He now enters a field where the majority of the primary voters are far-right populists, Donald Trump is dominant, and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is waiting to pounce if the former president falters. And, of course, the Trump/DeSantis/Haley/Pence lane isn't even the one that Hurd is gunning for. No, he's gunning for a lane that already has Asa Hutchinson, Chris Christie and, to a greater or lesser extent, Miami mayor Francis Suarez.

There is a scenario where the Trumpers somehow split the majority of the vote, and a candidate in the anti-Trump Republican lane unifies the anti-Trump Republican vote and makes some real noise. Remember, most Republican primaries are winner-take-all or nearly so, so if there's a result that's 30% anti-Trump candidate, 25% Trumpy candidate, 20% Trumpy candidate, 15% Trumpy candidate, 10% other candidates, then the anti-Trump candidate would claim most or all of the delegates.

However, that sort of outcome requires a lot of things to break just right, and it's not going to happen if the non-Trump vote is split multiple ways, since the non-Trump vote is definitely in the minority among Republican primary voters. And even if a non-Trump candidate somehow does get something going, we think Christie is far more likely to be that person than Hurd is. We'd probably rank Hutchinson above Hurd, too, especially since Hurd is getting such a late start.

In short, Hurd isn't going to be the Republican nominee and he isn't going to be inaugurated as president on January 20, 2025. So, what's he after? Maybe the VP slot on a DeSantis ticket, though the Florida governor seems to want a female running mate, should he get the nomination. Alternatively, like so many of those folks, Hurd could be auditioning for a cushy gig at Fox or News Nation or CNN, or he could be trying to sell books, or he could just be interested in taking Trump down.

To that latter point, we will point out that it's somewhat unlikely Hurd would jump in unless he knew he had the financial backing to make a run at appearing on the debate stage on Aug. 15. A billionaire can't write checks directly to Hurd or his campaign, but if that billionaire is running a pro-Hurd super PAC, then that billionaire certainly knows what's needed for the candidate to qualify for the debates, even without any coordination between the PAC and the campaign. Put more specifically, Hurd is very much the type of candidate that meets the fancy of Charles Koch, so it wouldn't be too surprising if we learned that the surviving half of the Kochtopus, who hates Trump, is backing this bid. (Z)

This Week in Schadenfreude: I See Your True Colors... Shining Through

Maya Angelou once observed: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." This week, there have been numerous stories about not very nice people showing us who they really are. And guess what? People are believing them.

Let's start with Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL). As an arch-conservative white fellow who was born in the Deep South when segregation was still the law of the land, well, if you had to bet, you'd want to place your chips on "less-than-progressive racial views." And the Senator has been paying off that bet recently. We had an item about the interview a few weeks ago in which he implied that there's nothing wrong with white supremacists, and declared that while some people might call them white nationalists, "I call them Americans." Last week, Tuberville showed off his true colors (well, his true color) again, responding to a question about inner-city teachers with the observation that "I don't know whether they can read and write." Whenever he sniffs at the educational attainments of others, do keep in mind that Tuberville is the same "scholar" who thinks the Nazis were communists.

Every time that the Senator says something racist, he then tries to explain how it wasn't actually racist. In the case of the inner-city comment, for example, he later said that he wasn't talking about all inner-city schools, just the ones in Baltimore. That's a city that is 62.3% Black, so his clarification makes things much better, right?

Given Tuberville's political base, he's not going to pay any real price for his retrograde attitudes, no matter how many time he lets them show. However, he does have one high-profile critic who came out this week and said he's had enough. Proving that one can certainly overcome the context into which one was born, the Senator's younger brother, Charles Tuberville, announced that:

Due to recent statements by him promoting racial stereotypes, white nationalism and other various controversial topics, I feel compelled to distance myself from his ignorant, hateful rants. What I'm trying to say is that, I DO NOT agree with any of the vile rhetoric coming out of his mouth. Please don't confuse my brother with me.

Again, it won't change Tommy's political fortunes, but one could imagine Charles showing up in a commercial or two, the same way that Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-AZ) siblings did.

Moving on, albeit still on the subject of Nazis, it's not too much of a secret that many/most of these activist groups that are taking over school board meetings are not so much interested in keeping their children's education "fair and balanced" as much as they are keeping it white friendly. One of the most obvious advocates for teaching things the way they were taught back in 1955 is Moms for Liberty; if a name like that doesn't set off your "right-wing propagandists" alarm, we don't know what name would.

A big part of the way that Moms for Liberty groups share their ideas and plans with each other is through newsletters, which certainly has a very 1955 vibe to it. Earlier this week, one chapter, located in Indiana, included an... instructive (?) quote in the latest edition of its newsletter: "He alone, who OWNS the youth, GAINS the future."

We suspect that many readers will know the origin of that quote, or will be able to figure it out based on the general tone and tenor of the idea being put forward. It's from Adolf Hitler, who first used the line at a Nazi rally in 1935. Now, people sometimes deploy this quote without knowing where it came from, and end up red-faced when the source is pointed out. It's not a great sign when you unknowingly stumble on one of Hitler's ideas and say: "Hey, that sounds pretty good!" but at least you can say it was a mistake. In the case of the Moms for Liberty chapter, however, they knew full well who said it because... they properly cited the Führer of the Third Reich:

The quote is at the top of 
the newsletter and is very clearly attributed to Hitler

Note also that they spelled his name correctly (as opposed to the common misspelling, "Adolph"). That (and, for that matter, knowing the correct direction that the arms on a swastika are supposed to point) certainly does nothing to argue against the notion that a person or group is just a little too familiar with Nazism. At very least, these were the giveaways when (Z) was in high school, where there was most definitely a population of white supremacists.

Moms for Liberty has since added an explainer that they weren't embracing Hitler, they were pointing out the dangers of the current system. Here is the explainer, should you care to evaluate for yourself:

Context: The quote from a horrific leader should put parents on alert. If the government has control over our children today, they control our country's future. We the People must be vigilant and protect children from an overreaching government.

Doesn't pass the smell test for us, but your mileage may vary. In any event, the majority of Google searches for Moms for Liberty now produce results that include the word "Nazis." Which is a fair outcome, we'd say.

And finally a story that doesn't directly involve Nazi stuff, although... well, everyone knows about Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and her conspiratorial views on Jewish people (and their space lasers). Something we've written a number of times is that the endgame for extremism is, more often than not, that the extremists turn on each other, either for not being sufficiently extreme, or for not being extreme in the correct way.

An example of this is playing out in real time in the House of Representatives. Greene and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) were once thick as thieves, and liked to partner together in such valuable legislative activities as shouting during the State of the Union address and introducing resolutions to impeach anyone and everyone they can think of. However, while they are both still Looney Tunes, Greene is now something of an insider, having become buddy-buddy with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Boebert is still an outsider, as one of the leading members of the group of Freedom Caucusers that is constantly trying to drag the Speaker to the right.

During Wednesday's censuring of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the tensions between the two Representatives spilled over in open view, on the House floor. It would seem that Greene feels that Boebert is stealing her playbook—who knew you could copyright crazy? So, Greene shouted (and we're not going to censor, since it was on live TV): "I've donated to you, I've defended you, but you've been nothing but a little bitch to me." The Georgian also said that while Boebert tried to re-engage, their relationship is done for, and there will be no rapprochement.

Greene can be as whackadoodle and/or as obnoxious as she wants, and it won't matter because her district is deep red. On the other hand, Boebert held on by the skin of her teeth in 2022, presidential years tend to be better for Democrats than midterm years, and her opponent is back for another (better-funded) showdown. So, bad PR like this could play a role in costing the Coloradan her job.

In any event, there is now a lot of attention on how some not very nice people are, indeed, not very nice people. And we certainly think it's a good thing that the unpleasant side of these people and groups is getting some significant oxygen. (Z)

This Week in Freudenfreude: The Fun Bureau of Investigation

The FBI gets crapped on a lot, particularly in the last couple of weeks, courtesy of Donald Trump and his fans. And certainly there are some black marks on the Bureau's record, like James Comey's interference in the 2016 election and pretty much everything J. Edgar Hoover did for about three decades. But in general, the folks who work for the FBI are good people who are just trying to make the world a little safer and a little better. Given the beating that particular agency has taken recently, we thought we would share a story that speaks to the good that the Bureau does.

At the center of this particular story is a 10-year-old fellow named Drew Patchin of St. Louis. He is suffering from brain cancer, advanced enough that doctors in his home state were not willing to consider an operation or to otherwise continue treatment.

The family found a pediatric neurosurgeon in Houston who is willing to take on the extremely risky operation, but the chance of a negative outcome—the patient doesn't survive, or the procedure is not successful, or the procedure does irreversible damage—is, unfortunately, much greater than the chance of a positive outcome. And so, Patchin's parents are working double-time to create some happy memories for Drew and his five-year-old brother Tyler before it's time for the surgery.

The St. Louis office of the FBI learned about Drew's prognosis, as well as his interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement, should he get that opportunity. They were also tipped off to the fact that he's a hockey fan, and enjoyed watching the local side win the Stanley Cup a couple of years ago. So, the Bureau contacted Drew and Tyler with a little problem they were having. It would seem that someone stole Lord Stanley's cup, the agents were having trouble fingering the perp, and they could sure use some help cracking the crime.

Consequently, the Patchin brothers were duly sworn in as Special Junior Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and, backed by a S.W.A.T. team, got to work recovering the Cup. You'd have to guess that the dastardly plot was the work of the 'Nades, right? Certainly, that would have been our assumption. For multiple reasons. But, as it turns out, the thief was the Hamburglar (though there are rumors he was born in Toronto, so...). The Cup was saved, and as reward for their work, Drew and Tyler each got a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Not bad for a day's work.

A tip of the hat to the agents in St. Louis who made this happen, and here's hoping that Drew's surgeon is able to perform some magic of his own. Have a good weekend, all. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
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