Anatomy Of A News Segment
From Putin to Flynn, the highlights of the former FBI director’s conversations with President Trump
Thursday evening, after a long legal battle, the Department of Justice turned over to Congress a set of memos written by FBI Director James Comey about his interactions with Donald Trump. And within about an hour, predictably, the memos had leaked to the press.
The documents are a fascinating read: a window into Comey’s mind at the moment of his encounters with the president-elect and then president, unmediated by either time or Comey’s consciousness of being an author writing for a public audience, unlike his new book A Higher Loyalty. In general terms, the content of the memos hews closely to what was publicly known about them, first via a Columbia Law professor with whom Comey shared them; then from Comey himself, in blockbuster congressional testimony in summer 2017; and more recently from his book.
Those who don't have sex during their teen years are in the minority, but the reasons for—and effects of—waiting differ for everyone.
Keith McDorman walks into the back room of an Austin, Texas coffee shop. With his dirty-blond hair, light eyes, week-old beard, and striped button-down shirt, he looks like a younger, shorter, bohemian version of Bradley Cooper. He tosses his scooter helmet onto the wooden table, sits across from me at a booth that barely fits us both, and talks before I ask a question.
“My mind doesn’t comprehend how much sex I have,” says McDorman, a 29-year-old carpenter from southern California.
That statement brings glances from studying college students. We opt for more privacy by heading outside, where we talk over a live rock band at a high table near a vegan food truck. McDorman continues by telling me about a conversation he had recently with his girlfriend, in which he expressed fear that his libido had dropped. She laughed, since, well, they had had sex six times that week.
A look at the available evidence
It only took five minutes for Gavin Schmidt to out-speculate me.
Schmidt is the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (a.k.a. GISS) a world-class climate-science facility. One day last year, I came to GISS with a far-out proposal. In my work as an astrophysicist, I’d begun researching global warming from an “astrobiological perspective.” That meant asking whether any industrial civilization that rises on any planet will, through their own activity, trigger their own version of a climate shift. I was visiting GISS that day hoping to gain some climate science insights and, perhaps, collaborators. That’s how I ended up in Gavin’s office.
Just as I was revving up my pitch, Gavin stopped me in my tracks.
The president’s allies were looking for vindication—but were led astray by their reliance on a closed information system.
Samuel Johnson once stood talking with James Boswell about a theory expressed by a certain Bishop Berkeley that the external world was made up entirely of representations. There was no reality, only beliefs. Disgusted, Johnson said: “I refute it thus!”—and aimed a kick at a nearby boulder.
The point being: You can believe what you want, but if you ignore the rocks, you’ll badly hurt your toe. The Republican world would do well to take this story to heart.
It’s another familiar story that conservatives have built themselves a closed information system. The system generates and repeats agreed fictions, and people are rewarded according to their ability to internalize, repeat, and embellish these fictions.
Floyd Landis, a former teammate of the cyclist’s, just won more than $1 million in a legal case against Armstrong. Here are his thoughts on the suit, cycling, and his onetime rival.
At 5:19 p.m. on Friday, April 30, 2010, Floyd Landis hit send on what would prove the most consequential email of his life. Addressed to the then-CEO of USA Cycling, Steve Johnson, the email bore the subject line “nobody is copied on this one so it’s up to you to demonstrate your true colors….” It went on to detail, year by year, how Landis and other members of the United States Postal Service team had used illegal performance-enhancing drugs and methods to dominate the sport of cycling and claim victories at the sport’s premier event, the Tour de France. The email, later included in Landis’s 2012 affidavit for a United States Anti-Doping Agency (usada) investigation, clearly implicated many of his former teammates—most famously, the seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong (who declined to comment for this article).
How Philip Glass went from driving taxis to becoming one of the most celebrated composers of our time
At age 12, Philip Glass started working in a Baltimore record store owned by a man he called Ben. Ben was, in fact, Glass’s father, but he and his brother, Marty, both referred to him by his first name because they didn’t want anyone to know they were his children. Of course everyone still knew who they were.
Even before working in that small record store and spending countless evenings with Ben, learning to sort the good music from the bad, Glass knew he’d become a musician. He took flute lessons; his brother studied the piano. Now 81 years old, Glass is one of the most lauded composers of the 20th century. He has an honorary doctorate in music from his alma mater, the Juilliard School, and has won a National Medal of Arts, the Society of Composers and Lyricists’ Lifetime Achievement Award, and multiple Golden Globe and Academy Awards. I spoke with him about those early days in his father’s record store, the scariest moments from his time driving taxis in New York City to make ends meet, and how young people today should seek jobs that grant them independence.
Fifty years on, Enoch Powell’s speech remains a subject of controversy and condemnation. But some of its themes are alive in Brexit Britain.
On April 20, 1968, Enoch Powell, a leading member of the Conservative Party in the British parliament, made a speech that would imprint itself into British memory—and divide the nation with its racist, incendiary rhetoric. Speaking before a group of conservative activists, Powell said that if immigration to Britain from the country’s former colonies continued, a violent clash between white and black communities was inevitable. “As I look ahead,” Powell said, “I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood,’” an allusion to a line in Virgil’s Aeneid. He maintained that it would not be enough to close Britain’s borders—some of the immigrants already settled in the country would need to be sent “home.” If not, he declared, attributing a quote to one of his constituents, “in this country, in 15 or 20 years’ time, the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.”
The coffee chain is initiating racial-bias trainings for its employees in the U.S.—but, so far, not for those around the globe.
Starbucks is embroiled in one of its largest scandals to date after two black men were arrested for trespassing in a Philadelphia coffeeshop when they were waiting for a business associate without immediately making a purchase. Video of the incident, which shows police handcuffing 23-year-olds Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, quickly went viral, and a protest was organized. Starbucks issued an apology for what it called a “reprehensible outcome,” announcing that more than 8,000 U.S. stores would be closed next month for a day of racial-bias training.
But when I asked Starbucks if racial-bias trainings were being considered for any of their other global markets, a spokesperson told me the company is focusing on the U.S. trainings first, adding: “Once completed, training materials will be shared with teams around the world, as we work to understand how these important issues impact us on a global scale.” Company-wide trainings aren’t currently being set in motion.
The Comey memos are more revealing than they seem.
One feature of the truth is that it doesn’t change much. A lie is hard to sustain. The details may change in each retelling because the liar is not actually remembering the events, but instead remembering the telling of the events. The truth, by contrast, is sticky. Consistency is not the only hallmark of truth—some people’s memories are better than other people’s memories, to be sure—but there’s a reason that inconsistency tends to discredit a witness.
If someone had told you a year ago, when news first broke that James Comey had made memos of his conversations with President Trump, that those memos would eventually come out and make little news, you probably wouldn’t have believed it. These memos are, after all, a big deal. They will play a major role in corroborating Comey’s story in the investigative setting.
The national student-activist movement is dealing with fractures—but that could mean it’s stronger than ever.
At 10 o’clock on Friday morning, thousands of students across the country commemorated a moment that not one of them was alive to experience: the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado that killed 13 people 19 years ago today. Kids walked out of their classrooms on Friday to remember and to protest in the latest iteration of the student-led movement against gun violence that burgeoned after February’s Parkland, Florida, school shooting.
It’s fitting that the student who organized Friday’s walkouts—the first protest of its kind pegged to the massacre that happened nearly two decades ago—is a history buff. Lane Murdock, a 16-year-old from Ridgefield, Connecticut, had spent her early life reading about protests and walkouts in history books, she told me, and always wondered what she’d do in the face of injustice. She started a Change.org petition immediately after learning of the Parkland shooting, laying the groundwork for Friday’s demonstration, which included participants from at least one school in every state. Murdock lives 20 minutes from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 children and staff were killed in 2012, but she has no other personal connection to gun violence. In fact, she was motivated by what she worried was her detachment from the problem: “I was desensitized,” she said. “This country was desensitized.”
In 2012, Kansas passed one of the largest income tax cuts in the state’s history. Today, it serves as a cautionary tale.
Seventy years ago, Albert Einstein presaged atomic war.
“We will have among us a young adult population that doesn't know how to ‘hashtag adult.’”