Sunday, May 7, 2023

On Our "Virtual Route 66" This Week: On the Week That Was


As a new week dawns, we present a snapshot of the week that was with thoughts courtesy of the Financial Times, the Economist, Crooked Media, The Coop Scoop , Goldman Sachs  and other leading thinkers around the world this week:


Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) clearly ready and able to mount his challenge against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

The Supreme Court officially has corruption coming out of its ears. 

  • The latest ProPublica investigation found that Supreme Court Justice (do we even have to say it) Clarence Thomas has even more to answer for. For many years, Thomas and his wife Ginni raised his grandnephew Mark Martin, whom they’d assumed legal custody for when Martin was six years old. In 2008, Justice Thomas decided to send Martin, who was then a teenager, to Hidden Lake Academy, a private boarding school in northern Georgia, where tuition was $6,000 a month. I’m sure you see where this is going.

  • Did Thomas foot the bill himself? Reader, would it shock you to learn that no, he did not? A bank statement from the school shows that Mark Martin’s tuition was paid for by the company owned by, once again, billionaire GOP mega-donor Harlan Crow. Martin went to Hidden Lake for one year in between stints at another boarding school, Randolph-Macon Academy in Virginia, where according to a school administrator, Crow was paying Martin’s tuition as well. The precise total Crow paid for Martin’s education is yet to be determined, but if he paid for all four years at the two boarding schools, that would be over $150,000. Okay then!

  • ProPublica sent Crow a number of questions related to this story, and his office responded with a statement that does not deny or contradict any of the damning facts presented. “Harlan Crow has long been passionate about the importance of quality education and giving back to those less fortunate, especially at-risk youth,” the statement reads. (Do you know any at-risk children who aren’t being raised by a Supreme Court justice who got free private-school tuition from Harlan Crow? No? Huh, weird…) This, on top of millions of dollars in other gifts Crow gave to Thomas, is, as they say, not a good look.

If any other government official had acted identically to Justice Clarence Thomas, they would face immediate termination, possibly criminal investigation. So, will he? No, of course not. Because Republicans love corruption when their guys do it, and Democrats are too scared of confrontation to stand up to them.


Wow! Pretty infuriating stuff! Especially in light of the thousands of hours of hard work organizers had to do so Democrats could keep the Senate in 2022. Members of Congress have to remember that they work for us, they were elected to represent the people, not to warm seats and honor antidemocratic, arcane traditions. For no particular reason, I feel inclined to remind you that Durbin’s Capitol office phone number is 202-224-2152, so do with that what you will.

Over the past few federal election cycles, the Democratic Party has lost considerable ground Latino voters, many of whom have begun voting Republican. Disgraced former president Donald Trump saw his support from Latino voters increase by a stunning eight percentage points between the 2016 and 2020 elections, particularly in Florida and Texas. Those glaring numbers, compounded by the creation of a new right-wing Spanish-language media network called Americano, has many Democratic strategists rightly concerned. The Biden 2024 campaign is thus hoping to learn from the mistakes it made in 2020. The DNC developed a better ground game during the 2022 midterm election season to reach Latino voters, and Biden’s insistence that the 2024 election will be about “freedom” seems particularly well-suited to more conservative Mexican-American and Cuban-American communities in Florida and Texas. White House Senior Advisor Julie Chavez Rodriguez will chair Biden’s 2024 campaign, and have a major say in determining how the team allocates resources. The Democratic Party has a chance to regain lost trust with many marginalized groups in 2024, and it looks like they’re finally putting their money where their mouth is.

Four members of the far-right Proud Boys, including their former leader Enrique Tarrio, were convicted of seditious conspiracy today.


The White House had hoped that the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and other major business associations would line up behind them as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Republicans take our country to the brink of default. They haven't. (Note to Biden: Rallying the country against right-wing sabotage is your job, not the Chamber of Commerce’s…)


North Carolina is one of the few southern states where abortion remains legal and accessible. State House Republicans there just passed a 12-week abortion ban. 


Federal prosecutors investigating disgraced former president Trump’s “mishandling” of classified documents have obtained the confidential cooperation of a former Mar-A-Lago employee. This is gonna be good. 


New York City Mayor Eric Adams criticized Comptroller Brad Lander for calling the murder of Jordan Neely an act of “vigilantism,” saying his remarks were “irresponsible” so Lander provided a link to the dictionary definition


The Department of Labor announced that two 10-year-old children were found working at a Louisville, KY, McDonald’s, sometimes until 2 a.m. Thanks, Republicans!


A jury ruled that singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran did not copy Marvin Gaye’s classic “Let’s Get It On,” in the song “Thinking Out Loud.” The heirs to the fortune of songwriter Ed Townsend, who co-wrote the song with Gaye in 1973, had only “proof” that Sheeran performed…a mashup of the two songs once on tour. The case is a huge loss for greedy grandchildren of deceased talented songwriters everywhere. 

Attorneys general in New York and California announced on Thursday that they’re launching an investigation into allegations of workplace discrimination at the National Football League, citing lawsuits filed by current and former employees that describe gender, race, and age-based bias, sexual harassment, and an overall hostile work environment.

In God we bust

America faces a debt nightmare

It is not just about gridlock in Washington


No Victory Day

Russia could take Bakhmut within weeks

But even if it succeeds, it would be the very essence of a Pyrrhic victory


What the First Republic deal means for America’s banks

Regulators had to make it sweet enough for JPMorgan Chase to bite

Strategic struggle

Sudan’s war is home-grown, but risks drawing in outsiders

The Horn of Africa sits astride key trade routes

1843 magazine

How France led the evacuation of foreigners from Khartoum

A presidential phone call and a secret C-130 landing helped build a corridor out of chaos

The Economist explains

Why are migrants to Europe fleeing from and through Tunisia?

An ailing economy and the toughening of border measures elsewhere along the coast are to blame

Bourse correction

Britain is liberalising its stockmarket-listing rules, again

And again, it won’t help much

Exploring the blue planet

Much of the Earth remains unexplored

A new ocean census aims to change that

By Invitation

Charles III is a good bloke, says Malcolm Turnbull

But Australia’s former prime minister still thinks his country should become a republic

1843 magazine

Handstands, badgers and sewage works: 12 snapshots of Charles III

The UK’s new king had an unhappy childhood, a disappointing marriage and a frustrating wait to succeed to the throne. What can his past tell us about his last act?

Reinventing the energy system—how to green electrical grids

Our podcast on science and technology. This week, we explore why new technology is needed to expand and decarbonise electric grids


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