Nothing to See Here: Former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. I’m guessing you heard something about that.
NBC News has the full transcript.
The New York Times has video highlights and key takeaways. Politico offers “five takeaways from Comey’s dramatic testimony.” The Washington Post also has “5 key things” for you. CNN gives “10 things we learned from the James Comey hearing.”ABC News asks “6 legal questions arising from James Comey’s testimony.” The big one — did President Trump obstruct justice — has their legal experts split.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post lists “5 questions James Comey refused to answer in his Senate testimony.” The Post also cautions to “pay attention to the topics Comey avoided” to see where things are going.
CNBC quotes New York attorney Gerald Lefcourt,who said: “I think he’s probably the most credible witnesses that’s ever appeared before that committee or any other congressional committee.”
NPR attempts to answer a reasonable question: “What comes next in Senate Russia Probe?”
And The New York Times says Mr. Comey’s testimony is a “prism for viewing American Politics.”
Another takeaway of the day: Sen. McCain might need a nap.
And then there’s this reference, which is also catching attention:
On May 12, President Trump tweeted:
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
During the hearing, Mr. Comey acknowledged that tweet, says NPR:
“I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”
Lordy, me too.
Following testimony, President Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, suggested it was Mr. Comey who broke the law by violating executive privilege. The Washington Post gives that one a “nope.” The Los Angeles Times has Mr. Kasowitz’s full statement.
And then Friday morning, after a long Thursday Twitter sabbatical, CNN says President Trump tweeted:
Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2017
I’m not sure where he’s getting that, but then I’ve been saying some version of that since the fall of 2016.
And then there’s Speaker Paul Ryan, who said on Trump’s behalf:
“The president’s new at this. He’s new to government, and so he probably wasn’t steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses. He’s just new to this.”
So let’s look at this for a second. Just a few bullet points.
Then-candidate Trump asked the Russians to continue to hack his opponent’s communications, has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin throughout his campaign, had key members of his staff in frequent communication with Russian officials, had his National Security Adviser resign for failing to disclose communications to the vice president, had his Attorney General recuse himself from the Russian investigation, the CIA concluded Russia intervened with the primary aim of helping Mr. Trump become president.
And good gravy — GOP leadership: I know you want to get your agenda passed before people get to the bottom of the crazy, but really. You can’t want to see liberal tears so badly that it’s worth all of this. Unless you know the asteroid’s coming to wipe us all out and none of this is going to matter in 10 years anyway. And hey, we’re cutting spending for science, so who’s going to tell us about the asteroid, besides.
Or as Salon suggests: “Senate Republicans are trying to fast-track Trumpcare bill during Comey hearing: Republicans are trying to push forward their Obamacare repeal bill as everyone is focused on James Comey.”
Politico says “McConnell whips Senate GOP back in line on Obamacare repeal.” Says Sen. McConnell: “Failure is not an option.” Bloomberg says some Republican senators still have doubts, but they’re starting to come around. The bill is said to be a little kinder than the House version.
The Hill says to expect a vote in the “near future.” Politico says Sen. McConnell would like to get a vote in June. CNN says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has told President Trump the Senate could vote on health care legislation by July 4. President Trump is said to be “all in,” according to Politico.
That may not be as much of sleight of hand as the Salon headline would indicate, but the spirit of it — that the ball can be anywhere while we’re watching the shells whip around — that’s something to keep an eye on.
The governor suggests volunteer groups of up to 10 people adopt specific blocks to patrol over the course of a year.
“I’m going to ask you to walk that block, do it at the same time every single week. I’m going to ask you to stick with your block all year.”
Reaction has been, well, mixed. The takeaway from many was that the reason there was so much struggle was simply because they weren’t praying hard enough. Here’s a Marc Murphy editorial from earlier in the week:
And here’s St. Stephen Baptist associate pastor Rev. Clay Calloway speaking on behalf of the West Louisville Ministers Coalition:
“If you are serious about fixing violence in west Louisville, then you must have the courage to address its root causes of injustice and racism.”
“[Gov. Bevin] didn’t say anything of substance. He has a responsibility to produce public policy, regulation and provide resources. We don’t need a sermon or him quoting Scripture, we know the Bible and we’re already praying.”
To that end, The West Louisville Ministers Coalition put forth 10 steps to combat West End violence, as reported by The Courier-Journal:
- A more equitable distribution of state government contracts to African-American businesses.
- The advancement of an educational curriculum in Kentucky that positively reflects the contributions of Black people and Black culture.
- Reforming gun regulation and legislation that has made it easier to buy a gun in West Louisville than a piece of fresh fruit.
- Judicial diversion programs (i.e. educational opportunities at an HBCU)
- Restoring full citizen rights to ex-offenders
- Ending the privatization of prisons and prison gerrymandering
- Protect citizens who cooperate with police and other authorities during investigations.
- Educate Kentuckians on the consequences of past and present racism and injustice to both Black and White citizens.
- A public apology to Black people from the Commonwealth of Kentucky for past and present injustices inflicted against the Black community.
- Provide tangible opportunities for preferential treatment to blacks as a corrective to centuries of special mistreatment and to provide African Americans with an opportunity for equity in critical areas such as employment and housing.
For his part, Gov. Bevin says prayer patrols are not his only solution, just a cost-free alternative he wanted to advance.
— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) June 1, 2017
I don’t think people are opposed to adding a metaphysical approach, per se. Things might have gone over a little better if he had put forth some of those economic and law enforcement solutions alongside the prayer strategy. Might have felt a little more comprehensive.
Parks and Rec: The New Yorker profiles legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in its piece, “The Hero of Central Park.” They’re talking about the one in New York, mind you, but he’s responsible for our Central Park too.
The New Yorker looks at Mr. Olmsted’s formative years as a journalist for the newly created New York Times, particularly his work covering the American South in the 1850s. Mr. Olmsted wrote on the horrors of slavery as well as the differences in social structures in the “horizontal” open north and the “vertical” feudal south.
Which led him to this observation. From the New Yorker:
In 1853, he wrote that to create “a democratic condition of society as well as of government” it would be necessary to have more “parks, gardens, music, dancing schools, reunions,” the purpose of which was “unconscious, or indirect recreation.”
That philosophy would lead to the creation of New York’s Central Park, the commission for the grounds at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., and so many parks and park systems across the United States, including one of his most successful right here in Louisville.
If you watch that video around the 32 second mark, there’s Megan and I on the C. Douglas Ramey stage in Louisville’s Central Park in Kentucky Shakespeare’s 2014 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I am the apish one. Which could be a fair description most days.
Speaking of, you probably already know that Kentucky Shakespeare’s 11-week season of free Shakespeare is underway. Come on out and see us, why don’t you? “Much Ado About Nothing is on stage, the weather has been amazing, and by golly, people seem to like it just a whole lot.
Universally Loved: Universal Pictures recently announced the creation of its Dark Universe, a shared cinematic universe featuring its stable of golden age cinematic monsters such as Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Cinema Blend, Screen Rant and ComingSoon say Universal is eyeing Jennifer Lawrence for future installments.
Alex Kurtzman, producer and director for the Tom Cruise reboot of “The Mummy,” the first Dark Universe film, tells Fandom:
“We know we’re going to do Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Invisible Man.”
“I’d love to bring Michael Fassbender in, I’d love to bring Jennifer Lawrence in, I’d love to see Charlize Theron in there, Angelina Jolie…”
So that’s not really an indication of what’s to come so much as a wishlist for who you want in there. Like I’d like to throw a dinner party with Megan and also Hugh Jackman, Viola Davis, Sandra Day O’Connor and the pope. And maybe Oprah. I think she’d be a fascinating conversationalist and besides, she could help me get the others.
That said, the Dark Universe already has an impressive amount of talent behind it. There’s the aforementioned “The Mummy” with Tom Cruise, “The Bride of Frankenstein” is next up with Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s monster, and Johnny Depp is set to star as the Invisible Man.
Unfortunately, neither reviews nor the box office have been particularly kind to “The Mummy.” The New York Times says the film “deserves a quick burial” and The Atlantic labels it a “monstrous flop.” Says The Atlantic:
“As an entry in that movie star’s personal canon, it’s a fascinating misfire. As the beginning of an ongoing series, it’s an utter bore, one with only the faintest grasp of what made Universal’s monster pictures so iconic all those decades ago.”
So not the most auspicious beginning, unfortunately.
Here’s something for you for the weekend, to send you off with a little bit of a smile: WeRateDogs.
This is Harry. His ears are activated one at a time. Incredibly rare to witness in person. Very special moment here. 13/10 blessed as h*ck pic.twitter.com/ejHvGDfWoa
— WeRateDogs™ ?️? (@dog_rates) June 7, 2017
We. Only. Rate. Dogs. Do not send in other things like this fluffy floor shark clearly ready to attack. Get it together guys… 12/10 pic.twitter.com/BZHiKx3FpQ
— WeRateDogs™ ?️? (@dog_rates) June 7, 2017
This is Kody. He's a baller. Wishes he was a little bit taller. Double dribbles often. Still 12/10 would happily get dunked on pic.twitter.com/PKSpmiefwN
— WeRateDogs™ ?️? (@dog_rates) June 6, 2017
This is Belle. She's never been more pupset. Encountered the worst imaginable type of zone. 12/10 would do anything to cheer pup pic.twitter.com/fGQUzR8w3H
— WeRateDogs™ ?️? (@dog_rates) May 13, 2017
This is Charlie. He wins every game of chess he plays. Won't let opponent pet him until they forfeit. 13/10 you win again Charlie pic.twitter.com/UkyQibIBzZ
— WeRateDogs™ ?️? (@dog_rates) February 2, 2017