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"A rousing digest of the day's biggest news, set to a soundtrack worth waking up for."


7/14/17 - "Angel In The Outfield"

A statistic that makes me question both my religious and baseball agnosticism: Tim Tebow — recently called up to the High-A St. Lucie Mets despite the fact he is "a bad minor league baseball player" — already has an 11-game hit streak, a homerun-robbing web gem, and, as of last night, a solo walk-off under his belt.

Maybe it's time to start getting another plaque ready...

Good morning and good luck,
Bryce T. Rudow
(@brycetrudow)

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* And check out the July Morning Commute Playlist on Spotify


 

THE DAILY DONALD: Compromising material, legislative concerns, and "a huge selling point"

FILED IN: PRESIDENT TRUMP, CURVEBALLS, "I'M COMING BACK"

President Trump is currently on his way back from France, where he participated in the country’s Bastille Day celebrations — which included "a military parade celebrating the centennial of America’s entry into World War I" ("the event that was apparently a huge selling point to the president") — and mended ties with a longtime ally whose respective new president's first interaction with our own was infamously marked by the awkward handshake felt around the world.

So far, it seems to have worked: "You know what, it’s going to be just fine because you have a great President. You have somebody that’s going to run this country right. And I would be willing to bet — because I think this is one of the great cities, one of the most beautiful cities in the world — and you have a great leader now, you have a great President, you have a tough President. He’s not going to be easy on people that are breaking the laws and people that show this tremendous violence. So I really have a feeling that you’re going to have a very, very peaceful and beautiful Paris, and I'm coming back."

Meanwhile, in other news...

The Russia Investigation:
With a White House already reportedly divided over how to respond to the latest revelations involving Trump campaign officials' dealings with Russia ("Kushner wants the White House to more aggressively push out surrogates and talking points to change the narrative") and a presidential legal team visibly on edge ("[Trump's] and Kushner’s attorneys are struggling to enforce traditional legal boundaries to protect their clients"), NBC News savored in tossing yet another curveball at the administration this morning, reporting just hours ago that "the Russian lawyer who met with the Trump team after a promise of compromising material on Hillary Clinton was accompanied by a Russian-American lobbyist — a former Soviet counter intelligence officer who is suspected by some U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence."

But that's not all: As reporters were confirming the story/chasing down the identity of said Russian-American lobbyist — who turned out to be one Rinat Akhmetshin ("who for nearly 20 years has worked the shadowy corners of the Washington lobbying scene on behalf of businessmen and politicians from around the former Soviet Union") — Donald Trump Jr.'s lawyer told NBC News that there were in fact two other people in the meeting who hadn't previously been named ("a translator and someone he described as a 'friend of Emin [Agalarov]’s and maybe as a friend of Natalia [Veselnitskaya]’s'").

 * A thought I'm thinking: By being so blatant about both the prospect of damaging material and the Russian government's involvement in the original email to Donald Jr., wouldn't even a curt positive reply from the First Son be considered effective kompromat against the Trump campaign/now-administration (in a world where where things still matter)?

** One more for the weekend: Why would a Russian lawyer fluent in English and a Russian-American lobbyist with dual citizenship need a translator with them in the room?



The Future of Health Care:
Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the latest draft of his tortured health care bill, which now "retains two taxes on the wealthy that helped pay for the Obamacare law that the previous version would have repealed" and allows for the option of 'skinny plans' that "would not have to cover the broad benefits mandated under Obamacare." However, even those tokens of acquiescence don't appear to have done the job, as "several senators said they had concerns about the legislation, particularly its Medicaid cuts, including Shelley Moore Capito, Rob Portman and John McCain."

To complicate matters even further, moments before Sen. McConnell was set to brief members on the details of his bill, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy debuted their own, alternative Republican health care proposal, which, they say is "more in concert with conservative principles."


Oh, and:

  • "The Trump administration on Thursday announced its first offshore oil and gas lease sale, offering 76 million acres (30 million hectares) in the Gulf of Mexico and reduced royalty rates for shallow-water leases to encourage drilling at a time of low oil prices."
  • "President Donald Trump said the wall he wants to build on the 2,000-mile (3,200-km) U.S.-Mexico frontier may not need to cover the entire border because of existing natural barriers, according to remarks released by the White House on Thursday. On a flight to Paris from Washington, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One: 'You have mountains. You have some rivers that are violent and vicious. You have some areas that are so far away that you don't really have people crossing.'"
  • "Shortly after President Trump arrived in France on Friday for an official visit, he took a moment to tell the country’s first lady, Brigitte Macron, what he thought of her physical appearance. 'You’re in such good shape,' Mr. Trump told Mrs. Macron, who was standing in a grand marble hall with her back to a camera that recorded the incident. He then turned to the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, and said, 'She’s in such good physical shape.'"
 


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"Beyoncé's twins are here - and their names are Sir Carter and Rumi"

FILED IN: THE BEYHIVE, FAMOUS TWINS, "MUCH REJOICING"

Shortly after 10pm Pacific time, Beyoncé took to Instagram to reveal both the birthday and names of the world's most famous twins: Sir Carter and Rumi, born June 13, 2017. The photo of the happy mother and her babies echoed the one she posted back in February to announce her pregnancy, and was adorned with a simple caption: "Sir Carter and Rumi 1 month today. 🙏🏽❤️👨🏽👩🏽👧🏽👶🏾👶🏾"

As of this writing, the post has 6,408,247 likes (and counting).
 

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  • "Everything In Twos" - The Sidekicks

"Why do we keep writing essays, and what does it reveal about us?"

FILED IN: THE WRITTEN WORD, META ESSAYS, PHENOMENOLOGY

On a (relatively) slow news day before a weekend, allow yourself to do some high-minded navel-gazing with this absorbing piece by Andy Martin on The Independent.

"There is a phenomenology of the essay, which is to say I don’t think a machine could come up with one, not a proper essay, just by stringing together odd remnants from a database. It has to have a heart and a pulse, possibly with extra oxygen on the side, and therefore some measure of passion, pride and prejudice. An essay has as much soul as Aretha Franklin or Nina Simone."

 

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