Chris Christie's got a new memoir, "Let Me Finish," and Matt Taibbi (previously), Rolling Stone's most incandescent and relentless writer, has done us all the mercy of reading Christie so we don't have to. Read the rest
Matt Taibbi (previously) is in characteristically fine form here: the average Congressjerk is mythologized as a "brilliant 4-D chess player" but "would lose at checkers to a zoo gorilla": they are only in office because "someone with money sent them there, often to vote yes on a key appropriation bill or two. On the other 364 days of the year, their job is to shut their yaps and approximate gravitas anytime they’re in range of C-SPAN cameras."
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Matt Taibbi (previously) is in characteristically fine form here: the average Congressjerk is mythologized as a "brilliant 4-D chess player" but "would lose at checkers to a zoo gorilla": they are only in office because "someone with money sent them there, often to vote yes on a key appropriation bill or two. On the other 364 days of the year, their job is to shut their yaps and approximate gravitas anytime they’re in range of C-SPAN cameras." Read the rest
From a distance, it's hard to understand the nuance of the mass "gilets jaunes" protests that rocked France; with one in five French people identifying as a yellow vest and more vests marching in Basra, Baghdad and Alberta (and with Egypt's autocrats pre-emptive cracking down on the sale of yellow vests ahead of elections), it's clearly a complicated and fast-spreading phenomenon. Read the rest
In 2008, the Bush and Obama administrations both argued that they had a duty to transfer more than $700,000,000,000 of American taxpayers' money to the largest banks in the country, because these banks were "too big to fail" and allowing them to collapse would do much more harm than a mere $0.7 trillion subsidy. Read the rest
Nobody covered the Wall Street collapse, bailout, and corrupt resurgence better than Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, from giving Goldman Sachs its unforgettable epithet to covering the hearings on the bailouts to documenting the foreclosure mills, to deep dives into the sweetheart deals the banks got; to the revolving door between finance regulators and the finance sector to the rise of Occupy; to the consolidation of financial primacy after the collapse; to the double-standard for criminal justice revealed by the collapse; to the frauds that surfaced after the crash; to the tiny bright spots where bankers were brought to justice; all capped by an incandescent, outstanding book about the crisis and the systematic racial and economic justice it revealed. Read the rest
This burglar doesn't realize he's got about a minute to get his work done before the Scottish police turn up. It's interesting seeing British commenters complain that he was treated too roughly by them, while the American ones marvel that he wasn't executed on the spot.
My guess is the copper didn't see the crowbar until right on top of him in the cramped backyard, creating an opportunity for the burglar to strike and thereby necessitating a pre-emptive beating that sadly lacks the usual jaunty interaction between British police and suspect, the extended ironic ruminations on the nature of crime and the inevitability of justice, the perverse yet socially reinforcing affectations of honor and fair play, the tea and biscuits down the station, etc., that are the usual hallmarks of modern British policing and its interactions with the criminal element. Read the rest
When the £5m Autosafe Skypark opened in Edinburgh, it was heralded as the UK's most technologically advanced car park, but in 2003, the owners went bankrupt and turned off the computers that controlled the lifts that raised and lowered cars into their bays. Read the rest
Hang around libertarians long enough and eventually one of them will start talking about "public choice theory" (I last heard it raised by a prominent libertarian scholar to justify corporations imposing adhesion contracts on their customers to force them to buy expensive consumables and service). It's a kind of catch-all theory that can handwave away any negative outcome from unregulated capitalism, the "freedom" of which is key to a kind of libertarian thought, above freedoms like "the freedom not to starve to death". Read the rest
Her name was Lilias Adie, and she died in prison while waiting to be burned at the stake as a witch. Forensic artist Dr Christopher Rynn used the latest reconstructive methods to show us her face.
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Lilias Adie was tortured in prison and it is believed she may have taken her own life.
Louise Yeoman said: "I think she was a very clever and inventive person.
"The point of the interrogation and its cruelties was to get names.
"But Lilias said that she couldn't give the names of other women at the witches' gatherings as they were masked like gentlewomen.
"She only gave names which were already known and kept up coming up with good reasons for not identifying other women for this horrendous treatment."
In 2013, the Scottish city of Inverness had the unfortunate fate of being picked as the trial site for a pilot of "universal credit," one of the UK Conservative government's big ideas, in which the various benefits paid to low-income people were replaced with a single payment, centrally administered. Read the rest
People visiting Scotland's Orkney Islands wanting to travel between Westray and Papa Westray -- islands a mere 1.7 miles apart from each other -- will most likely take a flight on an eight-seater plane. Clocking in at 80 seconds, the hop from island to island is the shortest scheduled passenger flight in the world.
The Scottish regional airline Loganair has been flying this route since 1967 and charges approximately £21 one-way ($28) for the service.
In this Great Big Story video, its head pilot Colin Mcallister says, "The flight is used almost as a bus service."
Oklahoma Senator James Lankford (@SenatorLankford; (405) 231-4941) sounded the alarm about Russian trolls spreading discord about NFL athletes kneeling for the national anthem, citing as evidence a Twitter account called "Boston Antifa" whose "location" field had been filled in "Vladivostok, Russia." Read the rest