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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Corey Stoll, who portrayed Brutus in Shakespeare in the Park's Trump-themed production of Julius Caesar, writes about what it was like to face right-wing activists who repeatedly interrupted the play with protests: "[A] man in the audience started shouting. He called us 'Goebbels,' but I swear I thought he said 'gerbils.' After a brief pause [stage manager Buzz Cohen] said, 'Actors, let's pick it up from 'liberty and freedom.'' Our audience jumped to their feet and gave us a thunderous standing ovation. We took a few beats, and I resumed my place on the ground, staring at my still-bloodied hands. We would perform our play in its entirety, without apology. In our last two performances, the security increased again, and the moment before the assassination became meta-theatrical. As the conspirators covertly moved in on Caesar, I wondered how many eyes were on us, at the same time, waiting for their own cue?" read more


On 14 days during March, Arizona utilities got a gift from California: free solar power. Well, actually better than free. California produced so much solar power on those days that it paid Arizona to take excess electricity its residents weren't using to avoid overloading its own power lines. It happened on eight days in January and nine in February as well. All told, those transactions helped save Arizona electricity customers millions of dollars this year, though grid operators declined to say exactly how much. And California also has paid other states to take power. read more


Geriatric gangster John "Sonny'' Franzese -- the oldest guest of the federal prison system -- is a free man at the age of 100. The Colombo family underboss was rolled out of the Federal Medical Center in Massachusetts in a wheelchair Friday and headed to the home of his daughter in Brooklyn, Newsday reported. ... In 2008, the FBI arrested Franzese in a mob takedown. A jury found him guilty on racketeering and several other charges in 2010. His own son, John Franzese Jr., a former Colombo associate-turned- informant, testified against him. John Jr. is currently in witness protection.


CIA Director Mike Pompeo says he thinks disclosure of America's secret intelligence is on the rise, fueled partly by the "worship" of leakers like Edward Snowden. "In some ways, I do think it's accelerated," Pompeo told MSNBC in an interview that aired Saturday. "I think there is a phenomenon, the worship of Edward Snowden, and those who steal American secrets for the purpose of self-aggrandizement or money or for whatever their motivation may be, does seem to be on the increase. ... It's tough. You now have not only nation states trying to steal our stuff, but non-state, hostile intelligence services, well-funded -- folks like WikiLeaks, out there trying to steal American secrets for the sole purpose of undermining the United States and democracy," Pompeo said. read more


The economy of the 19-country eurozone has just enjoyed its best quarter for more than six years, according to a closely watched survey. Though growth eased slightly in June, financial information firm IHS Markit said Friday that the eurozone's second quarter overall looks like it will be its strongest since the first three months of 2011. ... According to IHS Markit, the signs are good for further job gains both in France and the wider eurozone. Its survey found that job creation in the eurozone remained at a near decade-high as order books and business confidence were strong. Eurozone unemployment has been steadily falling and in April was at an eight-year low of 9.3 percent.


For the first time in nearly two decades, Ramadan has come and gone without the White House recognizing it with an iftar or Eid celebration, as had taken place each year under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. In recent weeks, several former White House staff members told The Post they would usually begin planning an iftar "months in advance" and didn't anticipate the Trump White House could pull something off before the end of Ramadan.. read more


A Confederate flag flies high above a South Carolina restaurant. Some customers hate it, including the restaurant's owner, but he says he can't do anything about it. ... A year after his death, Tommy Daras and his wife bought the Orangeburg [Edisto River Creamery] location from [Maurice] Bessinger's children, but not all of it. Before Bessinger died, he sold the tiny bit of land surrounding this flagpole, a little more than three-thousandths of an acre, for just five dollars to the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 842. read more


Prince Harry has admitted that he once "wanted out" of the Royal Family and considered turning his back on the privilege he was born into to live an "ordinary life." ... "I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself," he said, making it clear he was primarily motivated by his loyalty to the Queen. It was obvious his life in the "goldfish bowl" had left its mark. He added: "We don't want to be just a bunch of celebrities but instead use our role for good." read more


Daniel Politi, Slate: At the private event, former GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush asked [Joe] Biden why he didn't run for president. Biden then went into an explanation of his decision and how much it was affected by the death of his son, Beau Biden. The former vice president reportedly got emotional during the answer, according to Fox Business Network. "I'm sorry," Biden said as the room grew quiet. "I've said enough." That's when Ackman, one of the most controversial men in Wall Street, decided it would be a good time to speak up: "Why? That's never stopped you before." Biden then reportedly turned to someone who was next to him and leveled what Ackman must surely consider to be one of the worst insults: "Who is this ---?" read more


In an interview with Fox and Friends that aired Sunday morning, President Donald Trump decried "the level of hostility" Democrats show him and suggested their new theme should be "let's get together, envelop." ... Trump also appeared to confirm, for the first time, earlier reports that he called the Senate version of the health care bill "mean." When [host Pete] Hegseth about a statement on the bill by Obama, Trump interjected to take credit for the former president's choice of words. "He actually used my term, 'mean,'" Trump said. "That was my term." read more


Robert Cassidy and Jacqueline Tame, Strategy Bridge: War and violence decoupled from strategy and policy -- or worse yet, mistaken for strategy and policy -- have contributed to perpetual war, or what has seemed like 15 years of "Groundhog War." In its wars since September 11, 2001, the United States has arguably cultivated the best-equipped, most capable, and fully seasoned combat forces in remembered history. They attack, kill, capture, and win battles with great nimbleness and strength. But absent strategy, these victories are fleeting. Divorced from political objectives, successful tactics are without meaning. In theory, we fight wars to fulfill a political purpose and to achieve objectives by aligning the means and methods of war toward that purpose. In theory, the purpose of war is a better peace. In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but as history has shown repeatedly, in practice there is. read more


People in the Iraqi city of Mosul celebrated their first Muslim Eid holiday without Islamic State in years on Sunday after the militants were ejected from much of the city, and hoped the battle to recapture the remaining area would soon be over. ... Iraqi authorities were hoping to declare victory in the northern city by Eid, a three-day festival which started on Sunday for Mosul's Sunni Muslim population and many Iraqi Shi'ites, celebrating the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Rogers Cadenhead: I'm a huge fan of Noah Hawley's Fargo TV series, which just completed its third season on FX. This post contains spoilers, so bail out now if you're avoiding them. ... Now that the no-spoiler readers are gone, I can share the reason I'm writing about the show today. Refinery 29 writer Ariana Romero has declared the finale offensive on racial grounds.


President Donald Trump says the idea of putting solar panels on the wall he wants to build along the Mexico border sprang from his imagination. Actually, others proposed it, back when he was criticizing solar power as too expensive. Trump's speech in Iowa on Wednesday night was rife with misstatements. He claimed beneficial effects to the economy from actions he has not yet taken. He declared that the "time has come" for a welfare moratorium for immigrants that has been in place for two decades. He juiced up the tax burden on Americans beyond the reality. Here's a look at some of his claims: read more


As an aid worker in Mosul, David Eubank sees death every single day. "We see families killed," says Eubank, a former Green Beret. ... But one recent rescue was different. "I see what turns out to be about 70 dead bodies -- woman, children, guys in wheelchairs -- and then a little girl, sitting next to her dead mother. Hiding under the black hijab," Eubank says. ISIS snipers filled the air with gunfire. But Eubank had to get to the little girl. Iraqi and U.S. forces helped on the ground and in the air, putting up a blanket of protective smoke so he could run. Twelve seconds, in and out, she was safe. It was caught on video. read more


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