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(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To The Last Post Of The Week From The Blog’s Favorite Living Canadian—and happy 76th birthday to him!)
So Mark Meadows is the latest guy to play chicken with congressional subpoenas. And, across town, a federal grand jury has returned an indictment against Steve Bannon, the last heir of House Harkonnen, for contempt of Congress, thereby politely giving Meadows a look into his immediate future. From NBC News:
Meadows did not appear for the deposition on Capitol Hill, according to two sources familiar with his absence. It was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET and about ten minutes later, about a dozen committee staff and investigators walked out of the room along with the stenographer. His failure to show up comes a day after his attorney, George Terwilliger, suggested that Meadows had planned not to cooperate with the committee.
“Contrary to decades of consistent bipartisan opinions from the Justice Department that senior aides cannot be compelled by Congress to give testimony, this is the first President to make no effort whatsoever to protect presidential communications from being the subject of compelled testimony,” he said in a statement. “Mr. Meadows remains under the instructions of former President Trump to respect longstanding principles of executive privilege. It now appears the courts will have to resolve this conflict.”
Watch: Trump adviser Steve Bannon surrenders to FBI on contempt charges over Jan. 6
Terwilliger is a longtime Washington lawyer, and a former deputy attorney general, so he clearly must know that his statement is arrant nonsense. (Although, Terwilliger recently has slid a little bit toward the extreme. In the National Review, he advocated calling in troops to control the demonstrations that followed the murder of George Floyd.) The president—the real president, not the president* presiding over imaginations down in Florida—already has said the committee is free to examine those documents. There’s no privilege involved here, and Terwilliger, I expect, knows there isn’t. And for all the beefing about how slowly Attorney General Merrick Garland was moving on this, his statement on the Bannon indictment was spot-on, and it ought to ring ominously deep in Meadows’s soul, too.
“Since my first day in office, I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Today’s charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principles.”
“As detailed in the indictment, on Sept. 23, 2021, the Select Committee issued a subpoena to Mr. Bannon,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia. “The subpoena required him to appear and produce documents to the Select Committee, and to appear for a deposition before the Select Committee. According to the indictment, Mr. Bannon refused to appear to give testimony as required by subpoena and refused to produce documents in compliance with a subpoena.”
When Texas voted to secede from the union, Sam Houston cautioned them in one of the great fck-around-and-find-out warnings in all of American history:
The North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche.
Power in Washington shifts slowly, but when it shifts, it shifts with great force. You can feel it moving now, and when the former president looks out the window at Mar-a-Lago, he’ll notice that, out on a lake, the ducks are suddenly all in a row.
Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: “Crawfish and Beer” (Tiffany Pollack): Yeah, I pretty much still love New Orleans.
Weekly Visit To The Pathe Archives: Here from 1973, we see John Mitchell and Maurice Stans on the day of their indictment for laundering an illegal campaign contribution to the 1972 Nixon campaign from a fugitive financier named Robert Vesco. Can’t understand why this jumped to mind today. History is so very, very cool.
What, you may have been wondering, is going on with the murder hornets, which were a big story a while back? They’re still around, and they’re making war on honeybee colonies, which have developed a new defensive technique. From the New York Times:
Bees do not scream with their mouths, but with their bodies. When giant hornets draw near and threaten their colony, Asian honeybees cock their abdomens into the air and run while vibrating their wings. The noise can sound eerily like a human scream.
In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science, researchers describe the Asian honeybee’s unique acoustic signal, which is called an antipredator pipe. The researchers colloquially refer to it as a “bee scream.”
“It’s like a shriek,” said Hongmei Li-Byarlay, an entomologist at Central State University in Ohio, who was not involved with the new research. Dr. Li-Byarlay added that her colleagues who have observed the sounds before compared the noise to “crying.”
Watch: Steve Bannon is the right-wing media's new martyr
Speaking of invasive species, things are getting sticky in northern Georgia. From the AP:
In metro Atlanta, Jennifer Turpin — a self-described arachnophobe — stopped blowing leaves in her yard after inadvertently walking into a web created by the Joro spider. Stephen Carter has avoided a walking trail along the Chattahoochee River where he encountered Joro webs every dozen steps.
Farther east in Winterville, Georgia, Will Hudson’s front porch became unusable amid an abundance of Joro webs 10 feet (3 meters) deep. Hudson estimates he’s killed more than 300 of the spiders on his property.
“The webs are a real mess,” said Hudson, an entomologist at the University of Georgia. “Nobody wants to come out of the door in the morning, walk down the steps and get a face full of spider web.”
On this, let us all say amen.
Hey, Deseret News, is it a good day for dinosaur news? It’s always a good day for dinosaur news!
“We’re trying to figure out exactly where it comes in terms of time and how it relates to other fossil localities in that area. So it could probably be as many as you know, 310 million or as young as 290. So we’re kind of just hedging and saying 300 because it’s a nice round number,” he said. The age, Marsh added, is what makes this fossil unique as well.
“And this is cool, because it’s, you know, 50 million years older than the oldest dinosaur fossil. So it’s kind of cool that it’s, like I said, from a period in Earth’s history where we just don’t have a lot of fossils from in North America especially. So it’s literally groundbreaking in and of itself because almost anything we can find out about this animal is going to be new and exciting.”
They don’t even know what it is, except that it’s “kind of cool,” in scientific parlance. Surely, then, it lived then to make paleontologists—and the rest of us—happy now.
I’ll be back on Monday for exclusive Bannon Arraignment coverage. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Stay above the snake-line, wear the damn masks, and take the damn shots, even the boosters, roosters.
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