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Lost in the Sauce: Trump, Cruz, and Gohmert team up to incite election-related violence
Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis. Housekeeping:
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I put the latest info on Trump's phone call to Raffensperger in this comment.
According to experts, Trump’s conduct has potential criminal exposure:
A federal statute makes it a crime when one “knowingly and willfully … attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process, by … the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held.” A Georgia statute similarly provides that a “person commits the offense of criminal solicitation to commit election fraud in the first degree when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony under this article, he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.” …The hard part for prosecutors would be proving Trump’s state of mind, because the statutes require proof of knowledge and intent. Prosecutors would have to show that Trump knew that Biden fairly won the election, and Trump was asking for Georgia officials to commit election fraud. And it’s not clear prosecutors could make that case.
At least 12 Republican senators plan to challenge Biden’s Electoral College win on Jan. 6, when Congress is set to officially count the votes. The effort is being led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and includes Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), as well as new Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). Separately, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) is pursuing a similar plan.
"Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed," the senators said in a joint statement. “Accordingly, we intend to vote on Jan. 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed."
Their plan is not going to succeed in preventing Biden from taking office, as majorities in both the House and the Senate would need to support a challenge against a state’s electoral votes. For an objection to be made, at least one member of both the House and Senate would need to submit it in writing. Then, the House and Senate separately convene to consider the issue. Debate is limited to two hours for each objection. After debate concludes, the House and Senate vote to uphold the objection and throw out the state’s votes. If the majority of the House AND the majority of the Senate does not uphold the objection, the state’s electoral votes are counted as cast.
Vice President Mike Pence’s role is simply to preside over the joint session, opening and presenting the certifications from each state. In his absence, the Senate pro-tempore Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) will lead the session. At the end of the process, the presiding officer announces who has won the majority of votes for president and vice president.
The most immediate danger from Trump and Cruz’s doomed election gambit is rightwing terrorism and general violence: Trump, in particular, is inciting his supporters to swarm D.C. on Jan. 6. “JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!” Trump tweeted last week. Four rightwing rallies are scheduled, including one headlined by George Papadopoulos and Roger Stone. The Proud Boys and other extremists are planning to attend the rallies and may set up an “armed encampment” on the National Mall, according to the Washington Post. On social media platform Parler, the leader of the Proud Boys said that members will be there “incognito” and may “dress in all black” to impersonate leftwing protestors.
Enrique Tarrio: "The ProudBoys will turn out in record numbers on Jan 6th but this time with a twist...We will not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow. We will be incognito and we will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams."
Rep. Louie Gohmert has more explicitly tried to incite violence, saying the failure of his legal challenge to the election means “you gotta go the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM.” (clip)
At the same time, pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood suggested that Pence could “face execution by firing squad” for “treason” if he doesn’t go along with the attempt to subvert the election.
Obstructing the transition
Biden’s transition director has accused the Office of Management and Budget of stonewalling the incoming administration’s team. OMB Director Russ Vought is not allowing key staff to meet with the transition team to help prepare the president-elect’s first annual spending plan, a move that could delay major proposals. Vought pushed back on the charges, saying that his agency needs to focus on finalizing the Trump administration’s regulations before the president leaves office.
“OMB leadership’s refusal to fully cooperate impairs our ability to identify opportunities to maximize the relief going out to Americans during the pandemic, and it leaves us in the dark as it relates to Covid-related expenditures and critical gaps,” [Biden transition Exec. Dir. Yohannes] Abraham said.
Earlier last week, Biden himself said Trump officials are not cooperating with his team, singling out the Defense Department for obstructing information on crucial national security issues. “Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility,” Biden said. The Defense Dept. finally scheduled meetings with the incoming team this week, after not briefing the transition for weeks.
The timing of the resumption in meetings is notable because it comes after the one year anniversary of the U.S. assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3. NATO officials are reportedly worried about the lack of coordination from the Trump administration: "We need the incoming Biden administration to be fully briefed and ready to deal with these very dangerous issues facing NATO's security."
Sabotaging the Biden Administration
U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack is taking steps to keep control of Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia during the Biden administration. As chairman of the boards of Radio Free Europe and Asia, Pack and his fellow members have added binding contractual agreements that will make it impossible to remove him or other pro-Trump allies from the board in the next two years.
In other words, although President-elect Joe Biden has already signaled he intends to replace Pack as CEO of the parent agency soon after taking office in January, Pack would maintain a significant degree of control over the networks.
The State Department is likely to designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism “as an 11th hour effort to create hurdles for the incoming Biden administration.” The label, which requires the approval of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, would undo a major accomplishment of the Obama administration. To take Cuba back off the list, the Biden team would need to conduct a formal review, a process that might take several months.
Such a designation would impose restrictions on US foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales, certain controls over exports and various financial restrictions. It would also result in penalization against any persons and countries engaging in certain trade activities with Cuba.
The Trump administration has been rushing to finalize a myriad of rules before Biden’s inauguration. Since Election Day, the Trump administration has issued about three to four times as many new regulations as it did during other periods of Trump’s presidency. Rules that haven’t been finalized or taken effect can be suspended by an incoming president, which Biden has said he intends to do. By contrast, rules that are finalized can take months, or even years, to undo.
“As a general rule, it takes at least as much process to undo or modify a rule as it does to put the rule in place,” said Jonathan H. Adler, a professor and an administrative law expert at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. “The Trump administration is magnifying that challenge for the Biden administration.”
Trump loyalists are urging the president to stymie Biden’s efforts to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. Sens. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham are working to get the agreements submitted to the Senate for ratification, requiring a two-thirds vote, with the goal of failure. While such an outcome wouldn’t prevent Biden from rejoining the accords, Cruz and Graham hope it would make their resurrection more problematic.
A vote against them would signal GOP opposition to the world and, they hope, undermine any unilateral action by Biden to rejoin the agreements. One senior congressional aide told RCP that sending them to die in the Senate “would be the final nail in the coffin.”
Further reading: “Biden To Be Saddled With Trump’s Payroll Tax Deferral Mess,” Forbes. Further reading: Biden will inherit a backlog of tens of thousands of visa requests from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and a bureaucratic tangle that refugee advocates say President Trump ignored or made worse.
Trump money and properties
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is employing forensic accounting specialists to examine Trump’s finances and business operations. Vance is looking “for anomalies among a variety of property deals” and trying to determine “whether the president’s company manipulated the value of certain assets to obtain favorable interest rates and tax breaks”.
The analysts hired by Vance probably have already reviewed various bank and mortgage records obtained from Trump’s company as part of the ongoing grand jury investigation, and they could be called on to testify about their findings should the district attorney eventually bring criminal charges
In yet another shady business deal connected to Trump, the United States sold the ambassador’s residence in Israel for more than $67 million. The person who bought the residence is none other than Trump mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. The property only became available due to Trump's controversial decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem. Furthermore, State Dept. representatives reportedly lied to Congress about the sale, perhaps to hide that Adelson purposefully overbid.
For now, there is no alternative residence for the ambassador, David Friedman, Trump’s former lawyer, who currently uses a suite at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel or rooms at the former Jerusalem Consulate General when he spends nights in Jerusalem… As a result, the United States appears likely to end up leasing the residence it has owned since 1964 from the GOP-affiliated casino mogul. “It is very strange that we are now paying Sheldon Adelson,” a congressional aide told The Daily Beast. “It is not above board. We have a number of questions. Did they get two independent appraisals? Was it a sweetheart deal? Was Adelson the highest donor? Was there a reason to sell it now?”
Trump’s businesses have taken in $10.5 million of donor money over the course of his presidency. $8.5 million came from the Trump campaign and related entities that Trump controls directly; $2 million came from other Republican candidates and committees. The biggest beneficiary was Trump’s NYC hotel, taking in $3,039,979 over the four years of his presidency, with $891,003 of that in just the final four months of the campaign. Trump’s DC hotel is ramping up room prices and requiring a two-night minimum stay for two key events this month, as the president tries to squeeze more profit out of his office. On Jan. 6, when Congress is set to formally count the votes cast by the Electoral College, room rates are listed at over eight times the price of surrounding dates. Trump is encouraging his supporters to attend a protest of Biden’s win on the 6th. A room during the inauguration costs five times the normal rate, at $2,225 per night. Trump’s Turnberry Resort in Scotland posted a £2.3 million ($3.1 million) loss in 2019, marking the sixth year in a row it has failed to turn a profit under his ownership. Since Trump took over the historic property in 2014, its losses now total nearly £45 million ($61.5 million).
The fact Turnberry remains in the red comes in spite of significant tranches of payments it has received from the US government during Mr Trump’s single term in office… the US Secret Service spent nearly £25,000 to accommodate its agents at the resort during business trips by Mr Trump’s son, Eric, an executive vice-president of the family firm. Since Mr Trump’s election, the property has received close to £300,000 from the Secret Service, US State Department, and US Defence Department
A Florida state lawmaker is calling for Mar-a-Lago to be penalized - and possibly shut down - for flouting coronavirus restrictions during a New Years Eve party. While Trump and the first lady did not attend, son Don Jr., attorney Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Fox News personality Jeanine Piro were captured on video among the maskless crowd. Guests paid as much as $1,000 for access to the ballroom to be entertained by Vanilla Ice.
State Rep. Omari Hardy: “My constituents are not snowbirds like @DonaldJTrumpJr & @kimguilfoyle. My constituents live here. This is their home, and they're going to have to deal w/ the consequences of a potential super-spreader party at Mar-a-Lago long after Junior & wife leave here on their private jet.”
Are you ready for a Donald J. Trump Airport? According to the Daily Beast, Trump has been asking aides about the process of naming airports after former U.S. presidents. Further reading: “Jared Kushner’s family real estate business wants to raise at least $100 million in capital through Israel’s bond market… Kushner has helped spearhead a series of moves that have been applauded by the conservative pro-Israel community, including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and recognizing Israeli sovereignty in disputed areas such as the Golan Heights. Kushner also has close ties to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.”
The Census Bureau missed it’s end-of-year deadline to produce numbers that determine representation in Congress and the Electoral College for the next decade. The agency is working toward Jan. 9 as an internal target date for completing the current stage of processing records. "If we miss Jan. 9, it's hard to envision that we would get apportionment done before inauguration," a Census employee told NPR.
The final timing of the 2020 census results' release could undermine President Trump's efforts to make an unprecedented change to who is counted in key census numbers before leaving office… If the first census results are not ready until after Trump's term ends on Jan. 20, it would be President-elect Joe Biden, not Trump, who would get control of the numbers, which are ultimately handed off to Congress for certification.
There are 6 ways to get rejected from PLOS: (1) theft, (2) sexual harassment, (3) running an experiment without a control group, (4) keeping a gambling addict away from the casino, (5) chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, and (6) having no male co-authors
Stokes's Bristol Nightclub incident in detail (From: The Comeback Summer by Geoff Lemon)
IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a place where misadventure could begin, you can’t go past Mbargo. The nightclub’s streetfront is painted a purple so bright you’ll see it in your dreams. Strings of giant sequins shimmer in the breeze. Its phonically inventive name is spelt in silver letters that climb its three-storey terrace facade. Inside are strips of burning neon, a few booths, floorboards so marinated in drink that they have an ingredients list. Bristol is a student city on England’s south coast crowded with music and nightlife and street art. This is Banksy’s home town, and the tourism board suggests in rather strong terms that ‘you would be a fool not to see his amazing work firsthand’. The same organisation describes Mbargo as ‘intimate’, which is fair for a place where you can catch an STI standing up. Students cram into its modest dimensions while people with names like DJ Klaud battle for billing with £1.50 drink deals over seven sloppy nights a week. To get a sense of the story about to come, consider that it’s the kind of place open until two o’clock on a Monday morning, and that at two o’clock on a Monday morning, Ben Stokes still thought it had closed too early. The Ashes of 2017–18 had disciplinary bookends. It was after that series that Australia’s two leaders went off the rails in South Africa. It was a few weeks before that Ashes tour that England’s biggest star windmilled his way into his own disaster. In the early hours of 25 September 2017, Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were barred from re-entering Mbargo after a night out on the piss. A Sunday thrashing of an abject West Indies in an ignored series at the fag-end of the season apparently required ample celebration. After arguing with the bouncer and hanging about at the door for a while, they wandered off to find a casino in the hope of more drinking. They’d barely made it around the corner before getting in the middle of a conflict between four locals. As is said on the internet, it escalated quickly. The 26 September reporting was bloodless. Withholding names, police stated that a man ‘was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm’ while another went to hospital with facial injuries. England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss separately confirmed that Stokes was the arrestee, adding that he had been released without charge and that Hales had gamely offered to ‘help police with their enquiries’. Administrators had a good chance of hiding behind that investigation, and the next day Stokes was named in the upcoming Ashes squad as expected. But that night the video emerged. Bristol student Max Wilson had shot it on his phone, then offered it to The Sun. What he thought was playing hardball was actually lowball: his opening price of £3000 was snapped up by a tabloid that would have paid ten times that. The Sun went on to make a mint by syndicating the rights worldwide. From a window above the fray, the vision showed six men on the street below performing the muddled choreography of a melee. One was right at the centre of it. One was waving a bottle, one dipped in and out, one tried to calm it. Two others floated around the edges. The central figure was unmistakable: red hair burning even in the streetlight as he launched into a series of blows against two of the men, falling to grapple with them on the ground, then following both across the street, swinging punches the whole way. Hales trailed behind, repeatedly and impotently shouting ‘Stokes! Stop! Stokes! Enough!’ The ECB could fudge issues that existed only in thickets of legalese, but not those captured in moving colour. Stokes was stood down from the next West Indies match, then suspended indefinitely. It emerged that he had broken his hand during the fight, something he’d done twice before while punching objects in dressing rooms. The response in Australia was fierce: Stokes was a thug, a lowlife, a selection that would disgrace England. It was not entirely coincidental that a ban for England’s best player would be handy for the Aussie team, but there was also a cultural split. In England, plenty of people still minimise pub fights as lads letting off steam. In Australia, heavy media coverage as a succession of young men were killed had inverted that tolerance. The discourse now saw any punch as potentially deadly and accordingly reckless. This was more poignant in a cricket context given that David Hookes, the dashing Test batsman and state coach, was killed in 2004 by a pub bouncer’s fist. The PR situation was bad for Stokes as details emerged of the injuries to the men he’d hit, and that one was a young war veteran and father. Stokes wasn’t officially removed from the Ashes squad through October but stayed behind when his teammates left, hoping for police to dismiss the matter in time for a late dash to Australia. His annual contract was renewed on the due date in case that came to pass. Then 29 October brought a twist in the tale. ‘Ben Stokes praised by gay couple after defending them from homophobic thugs,’ ran the headline. Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell had emerged. Not entirely out of nowhere: while Stokes had made no public comment, this story in his defence had initially been leaked to TV host Piers Morgan after the fight, as soon as the video appeared. Police body-camera footage played in court would later show that Stokes had given the same story to the arresting officer on the night. But no-one knew the identities of the fifth and sixth men in the video, and police appeals had turned up nothing. It was The Sun again with the breakthrough. Kai and Billy were perfect for a readership not keen on nuance. ‘We couldn’t believe it when we found out they were famous cricketers. I just thought Ben and Alex were quite hot, fit guys,’ said Kai, who was memorably described as a ‘former House of Fraser sales assistant’. The paper had the pair do a full photo shoot: layering the fake tan, showing off chest waxes, mixing Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton into a range of outfits. Their best shot had them standing back to back, heads turned to the camera, in a mirror-image Zoolander moment. Suddenly The Sun was the England team’s best friend. ‘Their claims could lead to the all-rounder being cleared over the punch-up and freed to play in the First Test in Australia next month,’ it gushed, then gave a tasting platter of quotes: ‘We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.’ ‘If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.’ ‘We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.’ Would it be known forever as Kai and Billy’s Ashes? No. While the Bristol boys provided spin for Stokes’ reputation they didn’t influence the police. With charges still pending there was little choice – not given Strauss had previously sacked Kevin Pietersen for being annoying. Stokes remained suspended through the Ashes and a one-day series in Australia, and lost the vice-captaincy. It was January 2018 before the Crown Prosecution Service laid a charge. That charge surprisingly came in as affray, a crime that can carry prison time but is classified as ‘a breach of the peace as a result of disorderly conduct’. The men he had punched, Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, faced the same count, charged as equal participants in a fight rather than Stokes being charged with assaulting them. Alex Hales was not charged, despite being seen in the video to aim several kicks when Ryan Ali was lying on the ground. Given the underwhelming standing of the offence, Stokes was cleared by the ECB to tour New Zealand, and kept playing until his trial in August 2018, which he missed a Test to attend. None of the three defendants would be convicted. The reasoning behind the charges was never released and was attributed vaguely to ‘CPS lawyers’. The service gave the case to Alison Morgan, a prosecutor of a class known as Treasury Counsel who usually handle serious criminal matters. Morgan had a scheduling clash and never ended up court for the case, but in 2018 and 2019 she would go on to win damages and admissions of libel from The Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Telegraph variously for incorrectly reporting that she had been responsible for the inadequate and inconsistent charging decisions. Morgan’s successor on the case was Nicholas Corsellis QC, who on the first day of trial was permitted by the CPS to request two assault charges be added against Stokes. ‘Upon further review,’ claimed a CPS statement, ‘we considered that additional assault charges would also be appropriate.’ This was patent nonsense from the service that eight months earlier had chosen the lesser charge. Any lawyer knows that no judge will allow new charges once a trial has begun, because the defence hasn’t had time to prepare. But such a request could deflect criticism of the prosecution service by technically making the judge the one who disallows the charge. Working through the story from the trial and the tape is complicated. You had a Ryan and a Ryan, a Hale and a Hales, a Billy and a Barry and a Ben. You had several versions of events as to who knew whom, who was drinking with whom, who had insulted whom and who had merely engaged in ‘banter’, a word that in modern Britain has to do an unconscionable amount of lifting. The reporting had constantly mixed up the Ryans as to who had which injury, who was in hospital, who had played which part in the fight, and whose mum had which stern words to say about it. Let’s agree that from now Ryan Ali is Ryan One, the firefighter who ended up with a fractured eye socket and a cracked tooth. Ryan Two can be Ryan Hale, the soldier who scored concussion and facial lacerations. Mr Barry and Mr O’Connell are best known per The Sun as Kai and Billy. In scorecard parlance we’ll leave the cricketers as Stokes and Hales. Amid the confusion, Stokes and his lawyers built his case in a straightforward way. The UK legal definition of affray is ‘if a person threatens or uses unlawful violence or force towards another person, which causes another person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety’. That means it doesn’t account for violence that harms a target, but violence that might frighten a theoretical bystander. The wiggle room for Stokes was with ‘unlawful’, because the charge excuses violence in defending oneself or others. This interpretation hinged on the beginning of the video, where Ryan One waves a beer bottle about and takes a swing at Kai. The version from Stokes was that he was minding his own business walking down the street when he heard homophobic abuse. He intervened verbally and was threatened verbally by Ryan One – something that Ryan One denied but that couldn’t be proved or disproved. In fear for his safety Stokes had to nullify that threat by bashing Ryan One before it went the other way. He registered Ryan Two in his peripheral vision as another possible threat, and again had only one recourse. Stokes also had to convince the jury to disregard testimony from Mbargo’s bouncer that he had been looking for a fight. A solid lump of a man, Andrew Cunningham had not enjoyed his patron’s attempts to get back into the club after the bouncer declined an offer of a bribe. ‘He got a bit verbally abusive towards myself. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like a cunt and I replied, “Thank you very much.” He just looked at me and told me my tattoos were shit and to look at my job.’ Cunningham described these words as coming in ‘a spiteful tone, quite an angry tone’, and said that Stokes still seemed angry as he walked away. These were details the doorman had nothing to gain by inventing, but each of them Stokes denied. By his own accounting he had drunk a beer at the game and three pints at his hotel, then ‘potentially had some Jägerbombs’ along with half a dozen vodkas at the club. He insisted that after all of this he was not drunk. If I may take a moment here to call upon the wisdom of experience – a person who cannot definitively say whether they have had any Jägerbombs has definitely had some Jägerbombs. A Jägerbomb is an experience that does not pass one by. Further to that, a person who says they have ‘potentially’ done something has definitely done that thing and doesn’t want to admit it. A person who has had between 15 and 24 standard drinks in one evening is shitfaced. A person who tries to bribe a bouncer £300 – three hundred quid! – to get into Mbargo – Mbargo! – is beyond shitfaced. If Stokes admitted that he was drunk then the prosecution could say he was out of control. He claimed clear recall of assessing a threat, feeling fear and deciding to protect himself with force. He confidently denied details from the bouncer’s testimony, like using the word ‘cunt’ or mentioning gold teeth. Yet on other details he claimed a ‘significant memory blackout’. He didn’t remember the punch that saw Ryan One taken away by ambulance. He didn’t remember what the Ryans had said to Kai and Billy, only that those words were homophobic. With no head injury, as one of the few people who hadn’t been hit, he had supposedly suffered this memory loss despite being sober. The version from Kai and Billy was compatible but vague: they had been walking along, they ‘heard … shouts’ of abuse from an unspecified source, then Stokes ‘stepped in’ and thus they avoided possible harm. They claimed to have been bought a drink by Stokes at Mbargo, although CCTV showed them meeting outside. The overall implication from both accounts was that the cricketers had been pals with Kai and Billy, while the Ryans as per The Sun’s headline were a roving band of thugs. The reality though is that the Ryans were the ones hanging out with Kai and Billy at Mbargo. Police discussed CCTV from inside the club in questioning and at trial. On that footage the four Bristolians bought drinks for one another, danced together, and Kai was noted to have variously touched Ryan Two’s crotch and Ryan One’s buttock. Ryan One told police that all of this was taken lightheartedly and wasn’t a problem. Indeed, when the Ryans called it a night the other two left with them. This much is clear from footage out the front of Mbargo, which shows Kai and Billy exit the club and start talking with a subdued Hales and a demonstrative Stokes, who are stuck outside. The vision was played in court to determine whether Stokes was antagonistic towards Kai and Billy, as he appears to impersonate them and to throw a lit cigarette their way. More interesting is that after a few minutes the Ryans emerge, and all six actors in the fight video briefly form a prequel in the one frame. Ryan Two pats Billy on the chest in friendly fashion with his right hand before clapping him on the back with his left. He moves past and does the same to Kai before leaving the shot. Ryan One stops to speak to Kai. They lean in for a moment, talking, then Kai turns and they walk out of frame together. Billy hangs around for a few seconds at the door and then looks after them and races to catch up. Stokes and Hales remain outside the club to remonstrate further with the bouncers. Whatever discord develops around the corner is between four men who left amicably together minutes earlier. There’s no way to know what caused that friction. If Ryan One did use homophobic slurs, he might have been drunkenly obnoxious for no reason. He might have had an insecure macho response to some extra flirtation. He might have thought unkindness was funny – ‘banter’ once again. Or he might have said something that was misunderstood, as both Ryans insisted in court that they had not used nor had the impulse to use any abusive language. What clearly didn’t happen was an attack by bigots on random passers-by. This kind of crime is regular enough that an audience understands the horror of it, and this is what was evoked by the public accounts of Stokes, Billy and Kai. All we know is that there was some verbal dispute among the Bristol locals, and that Stokes came along behind them and put himself in the middle of it. Ryan One responded to the interference aggressively and away they went. There are plenty of reasons to look sideways at the idea that Stokes was a saviour. Foremost, neither Kai nor Billy was called upon as witnesses in court. You’d think it would be ideal to have Stokes’ story backed up by those who benefited from his selflessness. But his defence team had developed the impression that the pair had shown a changeable recall of events amid a hard-partying lifestyle, and would be dismantled by the prosecution on the stand. That raises the question of whether The Sun coached their quotes for the 2017 interview. Despite missing court, Kai and Billy clearly enjoyed the attention. In 2018 after the trial they did a follow-up spread in the same paper about how poor Ben had been mistreated. They got a television spot on Good Morning Britain and glowed about his heroism. In 2019 The Sun wheeled them out once more to say that Stokes should get a knighthood. In 2017 they had ‘never watched cricket’ but by 2019 were supposedly volunteering sentences like, ‘He saved us, now he’s saved the Ashes.’ Whether they were paid for these appearances is not known, but the chance to be famous for a day can be lure enough. If you find this cynical, consider that on the night in question, the Bristol boys were so deeply moved and thankful for Ben’s intervention that they left him to be arrested and never attempted to find out who he was. Seconds after the video ended, an off-duty policeman reached the scene. You might think that someone grateful to a saviour would speak on his behalf. Instead, said Kai, ‘it all got a bit scary so we walked off. It was too much for me and we went to Quigley’s takeaway for chicken burgers and cheesy chips.’ They didn’t give their hero a thought for over a month while police issued multiple appeals for witnesses. As for Stokes, he told his arresting officer that ‘his friends’ had been attacked. After three minutes of chat outside a nightclub, these friends were so dear to him that he has never contacted them again: not after the newspaper piece, not after the verdict. He didn’t want to see how they were or thank them for their support. He didn’t mention them by name in his solicitor’s statement after the trial. The Stokes defence rested on Ryan One’s bottle, which he had carried out of Mbargo to finish a beer, not to use in a Sharks versus Jets amateur production. But once he turned it over to hold it by the neck it became a weapon. Intent and interpretation can change the material nature of things. Part of Stokes’ justification in court was that the bottle implied that the two Ryans might have ‘other weapons’ hidden away. You can understand how a jury could decide that created doubt. Not being convicted, though, doesn’t give the contents of the video a big green tick. It does not, as his lawyer claimed, vindicate Stokes. Looking in detail, Ryan One is belligerent but his movements telegraph a bluff. Hales is the person he’s gesturing at, but they’re several metres apart when Ryan One cocks his arm ostentatiously, showing off the bottle rather than bracing to swing. He skips forward but Hales skips back and Ryan One doesn’t follow. Kai stretches out an arm to impede Ryan One, who has a drunken stumble, nearly eats pavement, then staggers towards Kai and hits him in the back. That hand is still holding the bottle, but his strike is a side-arm cuff on a soft part of the body. It’s all pretty tame. This is where Stokes gets involved. Having moved across to protect Hales, he now takes three large steps to run around Kai and booms his first punch at Ryan One. They fall to the ground and the bottle clinks away. Stokes gets to his feet to punch down at the fallen man, while Hales arrives to kick him ineffectively then runs off across the street for some unknown reason. Ice-cream van? Stokes is soon back in the grapple having his shirt pulled up to show off his Durham tan. Ryan Two steps in for the first time to pull Stokes away, prompting a couple more random punches at this new target, then Stokes trips backwards over Ryan One and sprawls in the street. Hales chooses this moment to return and aim some solid kicks at the head of the man on the ground. Nothing so far is a triumph of moral philosophy or the pugilistic arts. But if it all stopped here, perhaps you could say it was somewhere approaching fair. Ryan One has behaved like a turnip and it’s not an entirely unjust world that would give him a whack across the chops. The antagonists have disentangled, Stokes has some distance, it’s time to dust off and go home. Ryan Two steps forward for this purpose with his palm raised in conciliatory style and says, ‘Settle down, stop.’ So Stokes punches him. It’s roughly his fifth punch overall, and he really winds up into this one. He misses so hard that he stumbles away into the shadows of the shop awnings along the road. Hales starts shouting for him to stop. Ryan Two backs into the street, still holding his palm up. Stokes closes on him from about five metres away, six large steps, to where Ryan Two is standing on his own. Stokes pushes him a couple of times, as Ryan Two keeps trying to placate him and saying ‘Stop.’ Stokes throws his sixth punch, largely missing as his target ducks. Ryan Two keeps pulling away and reversing, into the middle of the street now. Stokes follows him, grabbing his sleeve to drag him back. By this point Ryan One has found his feet and walked around behind his friend. Both of them are in the same line of sight for Stokes, and both are backing away. Stokes aims his seventh and his eighth punches, which Ryan Two tries to deflect, as Hales walks up behind Stokes to grab him. Stokes yanks away from his friend and switches to Ryan One instead, taking seven paces to grab him before throwing his ninth punch of the night. He grabs again; Ryan One blocks that arm and pushes himself back away from Stokes. Ryan Two again intercedes, putting himself between the two with his palms up and his arm extended. Stokes throws his tenth punch, a right-hander at the face of Ryan Two, then shoves him backwards. Ryan Two backs away once more, four paces. Stokes follows, steadies, lines up, then launches his strongest punch yet, his eleventh, a proper right hook from a solid base, one that cracks across the man’s head and gives him concussion. Ryan Two ends up flat on his back in the middle of the street, his hands still outstretched for a moment in useless protest until they twitch and drop to the blacktop. Stokes isn’t done. He once more shoves away the restraining Hales and follows Ryan One, who keeps backing away saying, ‘Alright, alright, alright.’ Five more paces from Stokes before another blow at the man’s head. Kai and Billy are now standing over the poleaxed Ryan Two. The video ends, but seconds later Stokes will punch Ryan One hard enough to knock him out too, before off-duty cop Andrew Spure arrives on the scene to bring down the curtain. When the body-camera footage kicks in some minutes later, Stokes is in handcuffs but Ryan One is still laid out in the street. Ryan Two has regained consciousness, folded his shirt under his friend’s head and is asking police for an ambulance. ‘At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others.’ This was how Stokes described that sequence to the court. An elite athlete with years of gym work and training to snap a bat through the line of a ball with astounding power and precision, swinging fists as hard as he can at men with none of those advantages. Punching so hard that he breaks his hand, and repeatedly shoving away a friend so he can punch some more. Frightened and threatened by two targets shouting ‘Get back!’ and ‘Stop!’ The off-duty officer testified that Stokes ‘seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to’ Ryan One, who was ‘trying to back away or get away from the situation’. The student who filmed the video can be heard on the tape at one stage exclaiming ‘Fuck!’ and testified that it was because ‘I felt a little bit sorry about the lad that had been punched and it looked like he had his hands up’. That tallied with the prosecutor’s depiction of ‘a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place’. The defendant stuck to his strategy. ‘No, my sole focus was to protect myself.’ All up, in the 33 seconds of footage after he falls over, Stokes takes 35 steps forward to keep hitting two men who keep trying to get away. Not once is he hit back. After the verdict, Stokes’ solicitor positioned him as the victim. It had been ‘an eleven-month ordeal for Ben … The jury’s decision fairly reflects the truth of what happened that night … He was minding his own business … It was only when others came under threat that Ben became physically engaged. The steps that he took were solely aimed at ensuring the safety of himself and the others present …’ The statement was impossibly self-righteous and self-absorbed. If there was anyone to feel sorry for it was Ryan Hale, the second of our two Ryans. He’s the one who emerged from the club with a friendly arm around the shoulder for Kai and Billy. He’s the one who interposed himself to end the fight, then kept putting himself back in the firing line, trying to calm an intimidating stranger while dodging blows. For his show of restraint he got laid out regardless, concussed in the street, then was issued a criminal charge equal to that of the man who hit him, and described in national media as a violent bigot in an untested story to support that man’s defence. Lawyers for Ryan Two made a more convincing post-trial statement, noting that Kai and Billy, ‘neither of whom were relied upon by the prosecution or the defence team for Mr Stokes, have taken the opportunity to speak with various media outlets about the alleged homophobic abuse that they received in the early hours of September 25. Mr Hale has passionately denied this allegation throughout the course of this case,’ it continued. ‘It is upsetting to Mr Hale that although he was acquitted, the accusation that he was the author of such abuse remains. Both Mr Hale and Mr Ali were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes, and although Mr Stokes has been acquitted of an affray, Mr Hale struggles with the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service did not treat him as a victim of an unlawful assault.’Good question. Avon and Somerset police were the investigating force, and they were frustrated by the decision. Ryan Two was filmed clearly not hurting anyone, but police were instructed by the CPS to proceed with a charge. Hales (the cricketer) was filmed fighting but ‘a decision was made at a senior level of the CPS’ not to proceed. Police expected Stokes to be charged with assault but the CPS declined. It doesn’t take a wild cynic to think that placing the same lukewarm charge on three men for vastly divergent behaviour might ensure that none would be convicted, even as the trial would maintain the pretence that a defendant of influential standing had not been given a free pass. A couple of years down the line, the original interview with Kai and Billy has disappeared. All traces have been scrubbed from The Sun website, its social media history, and even from the Wayback Machine internet archive. Given its headline of ‘homophobic thugs’ and text that names Ryan Two but not Ryan One, the libel liability isn’t hard to spot. Later interviews with Kai and Billy take the passive voice – they ‘suffered homophobic slurs outside a Bristol nightclub’. The article that was once claimed to exonerate brave Ben Stokes now links only to a missing content page, with a picture of a dropped ice-cream cone and the phrase ‘legal removal’ inserted into the web URL. In terms of consequences, Stokes missed one tour. When he resumed his career in January 2018, the Australians hadn’t yet ruined theirs. Their year-long bans looked much more stringent. But the Stokes case dragged on in other ways. With no criminal liability, the Australians confessed promptly enough for the sporting world to give them the full length of the lash. Their situation was ugly but there was closure. Stokes got stuck in legal stasis, unable to be fully backed or condemned. Instead his issue was always present, a browser full of open tabs that the ECB swore they would read any day now. Through 2018 Stokes was back but he wasn’t back, in the sunglasses and finger-guns sense. In his return one-day series he nearly cost England a match with 39 from 73 balls in Wellington. His first Test hit was a duck as England got rolled in Auckland for 58. At Trent Bridge while Stokes was injured, England posted a world record 481 against Australia. With Stokes three weeks later at the same ground they made 268. He crawled to 50 from 103, the second-slowest any Englishman had reached that milestone in 20 years. That span covered Alastair Cook’s whole career. It was apologetic batting, acting out responsibility via the scorecard. Stokes was creeping back into the team like he’d been kicked out in a blazing row and was hoping to tip-toe to the sofa. It was December 2018 before the ECB disciplinary committee ruled on him and Hales. In a ‘remarkable coincidence’, wrote Simon Heffer in The Telegraph, ‘the punishment both players faced in terms of bans from playing at international level was covered by the amount of games they had already missed when dropped by England’s selectors, in the furore that followed the incident’. The verdict compounded the omissions around the case by not addressing the violence at its heart. Nor did Stokes, apologising only ‘to my team-mates, coaches and support staff’, and then ‘to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute’. The implicit next step was to rebuild that reputation. It might have been easier had his court defence not meant that he wasn’t game to admit any fault at all. It might have been easier if he or his advisers had been willing to change tack once the trial was done. Imagine a world where Stokes had stood outside court and apologised for overreacting, for the injuries he’d caused, and for the time and energy he had sucked out of other people’s lives. That would have been a show of responsibility beyond a scorecard. When the time came around to assess forgiveness, it might have meant forgiveness was deserved.
Here on a Sunday night to give you autists some time to cross-check my info, start your RH instant deposit, and let your wife's bf know you're coming back with a vengeance. Here's an in-depth analysis on DraftKings and how to maximize profits over the foreseeable future to squeeze this for every tendie we can. Now that many states face revenue shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic and wider budget deficits, there needs to be a push to fill that gap and nothing is better positioned than sports betting. As you all know, $DKNG came to market through a SPAC merging with Diamond Eagle back in April, at the worst of the pandemic when live sports were dead and there was more uncertainty than ever for what was to come. Jason Robins, Draft Kings CEO, has balls of steel and knew that they needed to get to market quickly for a sports betting run-up the likes of which we've never seen. Sports are now on their way back, with a huge amount of positive catalysts coming up in the next few months to skyrocket this stock to the moon and beyond.
I want to clarify that a large amount of my conviction from this play comes from the incredible management team leading the company. CEO Jason Robins is a stand-up guy and has led the company through a huge amount of scrutiny since its founding in 2012. He comes from a data analytics background which could not be a better fit for the sports betting business. He prioritizes the high speed data that fuels the DraftKings platform as its most valuable asset and speaks often on the commitment his team has to ethical values and encouraging a trustworthy environment for its users to gamble their paychecks on the DraftKings platform. I've linked a great interview to get to know the CEO and give further insight into DraftKing's plans moving forward below and highly recommend anyone going in on this play give it a quick watch. Jason is optimistic about the future of state's legalizing mobile sports betting moving forward and says they will continue to invest boatloads of money into customer acquisition costs through TV ads and billboards on a state-by-state basis. Link: https://youtu.be/2OVFB9piEC0 Any of you who have come across DraftKings commercials, YouTube ads, billboards, know that their marketing is on point. This is a great play because DraftKing's expansion has occurred thus far on a state-by-state basis. This means that there's a large part of the nation (actually the majority) that is still ignorant to the sports betting wave that is coming in 2021. DraftKings is positioned extremely well to lead the way into the ~25 states still waiting to pass the bill.
The fact that the top 4 states in the country still have not legalized online sports betting presents a HUGE opportunity to ride this wave with little downside risk. Sports have already gone through the worst-case scenario during COVID shutdowns and survived—now we’ve got a great amount of positive catalysts coming up (NBA season, March madness, Super Bowl, etc.) that the general population is begging for some action on, paired with more money in their pocket from significantly less entertainment costs since the pandemic started. The Wuhan Virus gave DraftKings a shot in the arm to streamline its way into most (if not all) of the remaining state's ballots during Q1 and Q2 due to the huge cut in tax revenues that the lockdowns caused across the country. Governor Cuomo of New York released a statement last week stating he is now considering the passing of mobile sports betting in order to raise the state's tax revenue during a time where Congress completely skipped them over in terms of providing aid through the stimmy. New York is a huge catalyst moving forward. In my opinion, this is a make or break for how things look for DraftKings moving forward, and will largely influence how other states react. Mobile sports betting scares states as it is new and so accessible, but if you do research into the Powerball and other loterry companies, it just took a push in the right direction for states to realize how much money they are leaving on the table by not participating in these emerging markets. Sports betting has already benefited the 9 states which passed the bill (NJ leading the way) and has NY as well as every other governor, feeling major FOMO. Current states where online (mobile) sports betting laws have passed:
Legislation aside, the other huge catalyst is DraftKing's unique approach to owning its own data and proprietary tech stack. I believe that this will be where DKNG separates itself from the competition that is rushing to this space and will give it the upper hand in acquiring, and retaining, a large percentage of new users across opening states. From investor presentation:"Upon close of the business combination, DraftKings will become the only vertically-integrated pure-play sports betting and online gaming company based in the United States. Through the business combination, DraftKings expects to realize synergies by transitioning its risk and trading sports betting platform to SBTech’s, instead of relying on a third-party platform. In addition to reducing costs, DraftKings will control its backend system and product roadmap, differentiating the company from other U.S. operators and giving it the ability to tailor its sports betting product to U.S. sports and users." "SBTech is a global leader in omni-channel sports betting and gaming, with more than 1,200 employees in 10 offices worldwide. Since 2007, the group has developed the industry’s most powerful online sports betting and casino platform, serving licensees in more than 15 regulated territories. SBTech’s clients include many of the world’s premier betting and gaming operators, state lotteries, land-based casinos, horse racing companies, and iGaming start-ups. The group supplies highly flexible betting and gaming solutions to clients looking for exceptional configurability and the quickest route to market, complemented by proven business intelligence and reporting capabilities. The SBTech offering includes its seamless sportsbook, Chameleon360 iGaming platform, managed services, on-property sportsbook and omni-channel solutions that provide players with constant access to sports and casino products across all online, mobile and retail channels. Supported by unrivaled expertise in trading and risk management, acquisition and CRM, and the highest standards of regulatory compliance, SBTech’s partners consistently achieve rapid growth, enhanced brand loyalty and record revenues." DraftKings prioritized OWNING their own backend technology via this merger with SBTech, making them the first, and only company in this space to own their risk and trading platform. This gives DraftKings a huge edge to the rest of the market. It forked up the cash to keep everything in house not only to provide a better customer experience, but also to widen the moat against competitors as new states come onboard. The key here is to clarify that DraftKings and SBTech combined to be the only player in the market with 100% vertical integration and control of their own backend. Jason Robins and the rest of the management team are placing their efforts on having the best technology and the best product and really going all in on owning the U.S. landscape opening up, with as little need for cross-platform interaction as possible. This acquisition of SBTech was a complete game changer because it allowed them to be independent from paying revenue share to a third-party for betting lines and risk management services. Clarification: no other sports betting/fantasy sports/casino company currently has 100% vertical integration on the level that DraftKings has established.
This is where the market is missing the mark. Take the time to read over analyst reports, news articles, and interviews and you'll quickly notice 99% of the general market is completely glazing over DraftKing's iGaming sector. This industry has been a CA$H COW in Europe for awhile now, and is only getting started in the United States. Out of the companies that occupy this space, DraftKings is the only one to create one synergistic platform for Fantasy sports/Sportsbook/iGaming. This will be a huge value proposition that will ultimately rocket DraftKings to the top of the gaming market and solidify it as THE gaming powerhouse moving forward. The infrastructure driving DraftKing's products and Tech (all in one platform) Anyone that's watched the run of Skillz and the hype pushing PaySafe, knows how much anticipation there is for iGaming to become the new norm in the world of gambling. DraftKings has emerged as the market leader in each state they've launched in, and continue to gain more and more market share. Once new users get introduced to their platform, the cross-selling opportunity is limitless and creates an extremely sticky customer acquisition cycle. Competitors like Penn and MGM are dinosaurs in this space and have been playing catch-up to DraftKings since 2012. The new age of gamblers don't want to drive to a physical casino location or buy a home desktop to gamble. Everything will be mobile and run in real-time. DraftKings has been building an incredible live-sports ecosystem (first to market) and innovates the possibilities of what you can bet on a daily basis. Just download the app for yourself and do some exploring. I believe this is going to boom in the TikTok/millennial crowd as more states start to hop onboard.
Pulled from the investor presentation, $DKNG has smashed every one of their 2020 assumptions listed below. For any stats guys out there, I would love to see some models at how much of this market is still up for grabs. DraftKings has positioned themselves to be at the head of this movement, and I believe that 2021 will be the year we really see them take off into triple digits share prices. The catalysts are there, and the market is ripe for the taking. Their projections are extremely conservative and management lets the numbers do the talking. In my opinion, this is a bet on the management putting the dots together to EXECUTE as state legislation starts to go their way, once NY happens this shift will occur rapidly. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgadata/1772757/000110465920032214/tm2012476d1_425.htm The management is incredible and truly displays a vision for wanting to prop up shareholder value in the long-term through valuable data, a fully integrated platform, and aggressive customer acquisition to take control of this market as states realize the economic deficits which they are facing going into a new year. This along with the unprecedented hype that is going to be involved with sports events this year, will skyrocket DraftKings to new heights. This is not a bet on sports betting alone, it is a play on a data-heavy and analytically driven behemoth, with strategic partnerships (league, team, and celebrity partnerships) and one of the most aggressive marketing strategies I have ever laid eyes on. The stock soared earlier this years upon news of the Michael Jordan partnership (https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/02/investing/draftkings-michael-jordan-deal/index.html) and there is many, many more big moves in the pipeline.
Long-term I am extremely bullish on people wanting risk to make up a daily part of their lives. The psychology of sports betting resembles that of the lottery and is becoming a must-have for people to have the choice to place bets from the convenience of their mobile phones. We are moving into a future where if risk and leverage are not involved, people will have little interest in dedicating their time to things. This shift can be seen with the boom in retail options trading (shoutout wsb gang) and will have a similar effect in sports, iGaming, and random prop bets/surveys that Draft Kings is innovating heavily in. This is not to mention the infrastructure that DKNG is continuing to build out to rival that of Europe in terms of live sports betting (which makes up three quarters of revenue for online sports books in the UK) and expanding their horizons to lesser betted on sports such as tennis, golf, soccer, etc. If you've gotten this far, congrats you're just a few steps away from striking gold. Any feedback, comments, rebuttals, bear scenarios, etc. please comment. Good luck.
DraftKings has state legislation action coming, incredible management, is data-driven, is vertically integrated/owns its tech stack, has exposure to the full range of new world gaming (Fantasy/Sportsbook/iGaming), and is ahead of its competition forming league, team, and celebrity partnerships. $70c 1/21/22 $90c 1/20/23
The Bollywood film ‘Dhoom’ (2004), misinterpreted as an action thriller, is in fact a rigorous allegorical analysis of economic policies, particularly in the Indian context in the early ‘00s.
Spoilers ahead. Connoisseurs of film are undoubtedly well-aware of La Nouvelle Vague, aka, the ‘New Wave’—an experimental movement in filmmaking with its origins in the French cinema of the 1950s, with an emphasis on exploration of personal themes such as existentialism, iconoclasm and absurdism. Although the ‘New Wave’ is considered to have met its chronological end in the late 1960s, to be followed by successive movements like ‘New Hollywood’, ‘Cinema Novo’ and ‘Dogme 95’, the influence of la nouvelle vague continues to be keenly felt in the artistic masterpieces of Bollywood production house YRF. Under the skillful hand of renowned auteur Aditya Chopra, the studio has produced a lineup of commercially successful arthouse flicks that continue the French filmmaking renaissance of the ‘50s, successfully infusing avant-garde storytelling techniques with high production values and modern Indian themes. Nowhere is this revolutionary vision more evident than in films like DDLJ (a masterpiece in abstract, absurdist storytelling), Mohabbatein (a sensitive examination of the taboo topic of attitudes towards adolescent self-gratification), Kal Ho Naa Ho (an ambitious adaptation of historian David McCullough’s book 1776), Jab Tak Hai Jaan (a religio-philosophical drama that engages in debate upon the tenets of Christianity, Shaivism, and the cultural taboo of Kala Pani) and, of course, the Dhoom franchise. As YRF’s most popular franchise, the Dhoom series has, with each installment, made great independent strides in cinematic theory and practice. Although—as read above—YRF films explore a wide, varying range of topics as a whole, the Dhoom franchise focuses exclusively on the examination and discussion of economic and socio-economic matters of policy and practice in the Indian context. Over the course of 3 films, the discourse acquires a rich depth, with the analysis of issues including the economic costs and benefits of national highway construction, the clash between entrepreneurial aspirations and the security of bureaucratic employment, the 2008 economic recession in the BRICS context, and the causes and consequences of non-performing bank loans and a profiling of defaulters of on said loans. Indeed, a first course on Indian economics at any prestigious institution may well be framed around careful viewing and discussion of the Dhoom films. In the careful hands of Aditya Chopra and Vijay Krishna Acharya (Dhoom 1/2/3, Tashan, Thugs of Hindostan), each Dhoom film achieves a delicate balance between the overt cops-and-robbers heist story and the covert exploration of complex economic schools of thought. As the 1st film in the franchise, Dhoom (2004) establishes the storytelling framework for the films to come, and by itself explores the challenges and opportunities presented by Indian economic policymaking in the early ‘00s. The film features an all-round star-studded cast, with support from Honorary Roadie & Stardust Awards nominee Esha Deol, Star’s Sabsey Award winner Rimi Sen, and Indian Telly Award nominee Arav Chowdharry. At the film’s helm are Lions Club Award winner John Abraham, Sansui Award winner Abhishek Bachchan, and Emmy nominee Uday Chopra. Series regulars Bachchan and Chopra play Jai and Ali respectively, Jai being a policeman and Ali a small-time mechanic with a penchant for fast bikes and disinterested women. Abraham essays the villainous role of Kabir, part-time restaurant waiter and part-time leader of a gang of biker thieves. The film begins with a series of daring heists pulled off by Kabir’s gang, relying on their high-speed bikes to orchestrate sudden thefts and promptly escape the scene soon after. Their exploits catch the eye of Jai, a lifetime appointee to the post of Assistant Commissioner of Police. Jai, however, finds himself out of his depth and through a series of accidents, makes the acquaintance of Ali, a mildly-seedy mechanic and bike racer. Initially reluctant to be associated with law enforcement, Ali is eventually induced to join Jai’s cause and attempt to chase down Kabir and his merry band of men. Dhoom is slow and deliberate in its setup, and the film’s early minutes are heavy on subtext and detail, therefore, it is essential to take in the plot in small increments, so as to be thorough with one’s analysis. In an allegorical sense, Jai, as a police officer, represents bureaucratic authority and the security, comforts and powers of government employment. Abraham’s Kabir, as a thief, is a laissez-faire capitalist, relying on his material advantage in the form of fast bikes and his manpower advantage in the form of skilled bikers to partake in a series of one-sided transactions with economic entities such as banks and government funds. In this sense, the act of robbery in Dhoom is merely a transaction between two private parties wherein one side gains an unfair amount at the other’s expense, absent external interventionism. In addition to being a free-market advocate, Kabir is also an employee at a pizza parlour, which seems to be the film’s attempt at exploring both the growing role of the service economy as a share of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the amorphous nature of employment within the modern ‘gig’ economy. Caught between the competing ideas of state-control and free capitalism, Chopra’s Ali is a stand-in for the directionless youth, lured by the safety and dignity of a government job, whilst simultaneously seduced by the potential for greater wealth presented by free-market capitalism. The film’s plot is overt in this depiction, with Ali simultaneously fearful of Jai’s authority, yet desirous of wielding said authority as an employed policeman. Furthermore, in an action sequence set in Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar—a flea market specializing in illegally-hawked goods—Jai and Ali get into a fight with goons in the market, and are forced to make a hasty escape after being outnumbered. Ali bringing Jai to the market illustrates his ties to the informal, underground economy—a large, undocumented component of the Indian economy—and Jai’s subsequent fleeing the scene highlights the failed outcome of government attempts to regulate this grey economy by force and bluster. Initially at a loss for clues, Jai is eventually able to deduce that Kabir’s bikers arrange their heists in close proximity to highways, providing as the highways do quick getaways after. This is no doubt an allusion to the economic importance of the National Highways Authority of India’s flagship ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ national highway construction project. Kabir, the raw capitalist, is empowered in his capitalistic pursuits by the government’s infrastructure investments, and John Abraham’s moody expression throughout the film is in no small part perhaps due to the discontentment within Kabir’s mind about his enterprise’s dependence on resources provided by the state. Having deduced Kabir’s MO, Jai and Ali attempt to catch him in the act. However, Kabir and his gang appear to have substantially faster bikes than Jai and Ali, which is undoubtedly an allusion to the government’s perceived ineptitude and inability to generally compete with private enterprise. Left chafing and chasing the dust, Jai catches a lucky break when an overconfident Kabir offers him a clue about his upcoming crime, with the catch being that if Jai fails to avert it, he must recuse himself from the case and leave Kabir to his entrepreneurial pursuits. Kabir, the staunch capitalist, is here hinting at the idea of termination clauses in Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), agreements between enterprises and governments for mutual benefit. Whilst the government naturally retains the right to sever the partnership at any point, Kabir clearly believes that he, as the private party, is also entitled to terminate the contract should the government, aka Jai, default on the agreed-upon terms. Formally known as the ‘Authority Default’ concept, Dhoom represents this idea in the form of a simple, easy to understand challenge between Jai and Kabir. Even as this layered conflict plays out between Jai and Kabir, Ali is enamoured by the mysterious ‘Dilbara’ (Esha Deol). Little is known about Dilbara, however, like other characters in the film, it may be reasonably assumed than she is also an allegorical depiction of an economic concept. Ali’s infatuation with her suggests that she is perhaps intended to be portrayed as a vague, undefined avenue of aspirational employment. Furthermore, the fact that she (as is later revealed) is in fact a part of Kabir’s gang, yet also harbours feelings for Ali, leads one to conclude that Dilbara represents a form of compromise between dirigisme, aka restrictive state-controlled economy, and laissez-faire anarcho-capitalism. The filmmakers leave the specifics of this compromise vague, however, Dilbara’s skimpy outfits perhaps represent the scantiness of opportunities presented by this nebulous alternative. Returning to the main plot, Jai, despite being forewarned, fails to foil Kabir’s next robbery, despite being able to take down one of his gang in the process. Left short of a gang member, Kabir attempts to recruit Ali, left sidelined by Jai following their failure to catch Kabir. The jilted Ali readily embraces Kabir’s neoliberal worldview and the duo jet off to Goa, where Kabir has his eyes set on one final score from a casino. Subtextually, the casino and gambling in general represent what is in Kabir’s eyes an essential component of his brand of capitalism—rampant speculation and volatility that may be manipulated to one’s benefit. There may also be an addition reference to British academic Susan Strange’s seminal 1986 work Casino Capitalism, a critique of unregulated banking and financial systems. However, Kabir is more likely than not to be derisive of such thoughts, and therefore, if this reference was intended, it may merely be made to indicate the filmmakers’ complete mastery over both Keynesian and Austrian schools of economic thought. The importance of dance numbers in YRF films cannot be overstated. Even as Bollywood music gravitates towards being little more than catchy jingles designed to elicit maximum publicity, the music and dance numbers in YRF films complement the plot perfectly, serving to both entertain and narrate. Dhoom is no exception to this tradition of excellence. On the eve of Kabir’s final heist, an inebriated Jai shows up at the casino, claiming to have left police employment and moved on. Kabir, however, is rightly suspicious, given as Jai is still a cop, and is merely attempting to lure Kabir into a false sense of comfort as a prelude to catching him in the act. This Jai accomplishes by putting on a song-and-dance in front of Kabir to convince him of his abandonment of state-sponsored socialism and his embrace of Kabir’s unrestrained capitalism. The song is entitled ‘Salamee’, a clever homophone of ‘salami’, a sausage that consists primary of beef. The consumption of beef was, in a landmark 2005 Supreme Court judgement, forbidden on grounds on anti cow-slaughter laws. Kabir, as an opponent of government intervention, would likely have been opposed to the idea of such a restriction being imposed upon him. Therefore, to show his solidarity to the cause, Jai takes to the stage in front of Kabir and sways to the refrain of “Naye kal ko aao kare, hum karein, karein/Salami, salami, salami/Kar le salami…”. The subterfuge is apparently successful, and a placated Kabir is lulled into a false sense of security by Jai’s reinforcement of his worldview. However, as mentioned, Jai’s conversion is little more than a ruse, and a hoodwinked Kabir is successfully caught in the act by Jai and Ali, who is revealed to have been Jai’s mole all along. The ever-slippery Kabir, however, weasels his way out of Jai’s clutches, and flees with his loot. Although Dhoom 3 would better address the phenomenon of loan defaulters taking flight from the verge of captivity, Dhoom too takes a cursory look at the occurrence, although Kabir does not quite embody a loan defaulter. He is merely the free-market capitalist, the robber baron caught flouting regulations and fleeing from the consequences of government intervention. A long chase sequence ensues, with Kabir fleeing but ultimately cornered by Jai and Ali at the precipice of a sea-facing cliff. Facing a choice between certain captivity and death, Kabir chooses to fly off the cliff with the last of his loot. In a literal sense, Kabir merely dies by falling off the cliff into the sea. In a figurative sense, faced with the prospect of his enterprise being forced to comply with ungainly regulations, Kabir chooses instead to offshore his business, and make for better waters, thus bringing his character arc to a natural and satisfying conclusion. A frustrated Jai bemoans his end, representing the government’s exasperation at ultimately failing to bring a rogue enterprise to heel. Ali, having seen his capitalistic expectations dive off a cliff with Kabir, chooses in the film’s final shot, to finally pursue the path to safe, steady, state-sponsored employment after all, asking Jai if he finally is a bona-fide police officer, as the film fades to black. The topical nature of Dhoom is a cause for admiration, even a decade and a half after its release. The film successfully ties together strands of economic and socio-economic thought from its time—the ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ project received a major fillip in the first years of the new millennium, the service sector encountered a boom around the same time, as did the contribution of outsourcing to employment and economic growth. The rise of men like Kabir is perfectly timed in the post-License Raj years, as the country embraced capitalism over state socialism. Yet, the lure of stable, ‘safe’ government employment holds true, and powers men like Jai and seduces men like Ali. Dilbara’s unknown fate at the end of the film—left waiting for Ali by the side of a road—is representative of the uncertain outcomes of economic models with time. On a meta note, the Dhoom franchise’s casting of Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra in every film is a nod to the ‘Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’ of 2005, a flagship government initiative that guarantees employment for a certain number of days out of the year, in the form of unskilled labour. In summation, Dhoom rightly deserves its place as a seminal film in the annals of both YRF and Indian cinema. In its own right, it is a bold, experimental film that marries erudition to entertainment. It is also the progenitor of its celebrated franchise, providing the springboard from which future films would explore similar issues in an equally deft and precise fashion. To YRF, the Dhoom franchise, and Indian cinema, the film Dhoom is nothing short of a bottle of nitrous oxide, that when attached to a bike, propels it into the stratosphere.
Lost in the Sauce: Barr's DOJ shut down investigations of Trump and admin officials
Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis. Housekeeping:
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On Saturday, Trump announced on Twitter that he has put his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in charge of his campaign's long-shot post-election legal challenges. Other people on the team include Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis.
Giuliani worked with a Russian agent to smear Biden. diGenova and Toensing tried to get the Justice Department to drop charges against corrupt Ukraine oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Powell represents Michael Flynn and champions "deep state" conspiracies. Ellis said gay marriage leads to pedophilia.
NYT: Mr. Trump turned to Mr. Giuliani earlier on Friday in reaction to the latest setback he faced in court, this one relating to votes in Maricopa County, Arizona… A half-dozen other Trump advisers have described Mr. Giuliani’s efforts as counterproductive and said that he was giving the president unwarranted optimism about what could happen… In an Oval Office meeting with aides on Thursday, Mr. Trump put Mr. Giuliani on speakerphone so the others could hear him. He angrily accused the aides of not telling the president the truth
Giuliani’s conspiracy-riddled rant at Four Seasons Total Landscaping was so disastrous that it “scared off many of the lawyers” recruited to argue election-related lawsuits.Politico: “Campaign officials described the episode as disastrous...there are widespread concerns within Trumpworld and GOP circles that Giuliani’s antics are thwarting the president’s legal machinery from within.” Two major law firms have withdrawn from Trump campaign cases as his legal challenges crumble. Arizona’s largest law firm Snell & Wilmer dumped the RNC and Trump campaign effort to challenge votes in Maricopa County. Porter Wright Morris & Arthur is abandoning Trump’s attempt to block Pennsylvania's popular vote for Joe Biden.
In one day (Friday), nine cases meant to attack President-elect Joe Biden's win in key states were denied or dropped - seven in Pennsylvania, one in Arizona, and one in Michigan.
The new federal chief information security officer, Camilo Sandoval, has already taken leave from his day job to participate in a pro-Trump effort to hunt for evidence of voter fraud in the battleground states. The group, Voter Integrity Fund, is a newly formed Virginia-based group that is analyzing ballot data and cold-calling voters. Sandoval was officially appointed on Nov. 4, 2020, but lists his starting date at October on his personal LinkedIn page.
WaPo: Sandoval is part of a hastily convened team led by Matthew Braynard, a data specialist who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign. Another participant is Thomas Baptiste, an adviser to the deputy secretary of the Interior Department who also took a leave to work on the project. Braynard said in an interview that several other government officials on leave are also assisting the effort, but he declined to identify them.
Facebook Cut Traffic To Leading Liberal Pages Just Before The Election: Liberal page administrators who spoke with BuzzFeed News said that their reach declined by as much as 70%, and still hasn’t recovered.
Facebook Live Spread Election Conspiracies And Russian State-Controlled Content Despite Employee Fears: The social network’s live video tool has recommended videos featuring misinformation and the hyperpartisan views of Trump allies leading up to and following election day in the US.
In the week after the election, Trump’s postings dominated Facebook, accounting for the 10 most engaged status updates in the United States, and 22 of the top 25. “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” was his top post.
YouTube Is Doing Very Little to Stop Election Misinformation From Spreading
Social media app Parler receives financial backing from conservative hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, The Wall Street Journal reported. Parler turned into a kind of de facto home for conservatives’ protests against the election— including the persistent “Stop the Steal” campaign— after the race was called for former Vice President Joe Biden. Several high-profile conservative social media personalities encouraged people to abandon Twitter and Facebook because of their moderation policies, and instead follow them on Parler.
Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, still hasn’t signed the official letter that would allow the incoming Biden team to formally begin the transition. House Democrats are assessing options to force the GSA’s hand, which could include summoning Murphy to the Hill to testify or suing her. “Obviously, Congress could file suit against the GSA administrator for failing to do her duty. We could seek to get a court to, in fact, issue an order
Her ascertainment is the legally necessary precursor to the government’s assistance to the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Team. It releases $6.3 million dollars to the team, which is funded by public and private money; a loan of expanded federal office space and equipment; access to government agencies that will begin sharing information and records about ongoing activities, plans and vulnerabilities; national security briefings for the president; and other support.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently confirmed that it is not providing national security briefings to the president-elect. The Defense Department has also reportedly indicated that it will not meet with the Biden-Harris transition team until Murphy formally affirms the apparent winner.
One of the officials fired in Trump’s latest purge was helping prepare for the transition to the new administration. USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick was removed abruptly to make way for a Trump loyalist after she had been supportive of transition planning, including the preparation of a 440-page manual for the next administration. The GSA’s refusal to enact the transition has locked Biden’s team out of crucial Covid-19 pandemic data and government agency contacts. The president-elect’s Covid-19 task force has been trying to work around the federal government by connecting with governors and the health community.
The head of Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui, called on the White House to allow contact with the Biden team, saying “It is a matter of life and death for thousands of people.”
White House’s Office of Management and Budget is considering 145 new regulations and other policy changes they could enact before Biden’s inauguration - rules that will be challenging to undo once they are finalized. Critics and supporters of the administration say they expect a final burst of regulations to be finalized in the weeks before Jan. 20.
The rules under development include policies that the incoming Biden administration would probably oppose, such as new caps on the length of foreign student visas; restrictions on the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of scientific research; limits on the EPA’s consideration of the benefits of regulating air pollutants; and a change that would make it easier for companies to treat workers as independent contractors, rather than employees with more robust wage protections.
Last week, both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said they’re preparing for a second Trump term. “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Pompeo said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon (clip). Pompeo then doubled down on Fox News (clip). “We are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption there will be a second Trump term,” Navarro said on Fox Business Friday (clip).
Attorney General William Barr stopped career prosecutors in DOJ’s Public Integrity Section from investigating whether President Trump broke any laws related to his conduct with Ukraine last year. The section was initially given the green light to pursue “a potentially explosive inquiry” into Trump, but after the Senate acquitted the president during impeachment proceedings, Barr sent the case to the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn. Prosecutors in DOJ’s Public Integrity Section were also prevented from bringing charges against former interior secretary Ryan Zinke by political appointees atop the Justice Department. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told prosecutors that they needed to gather more evidence and refine the case against Zinke for lying to Interior investigators.
The investigation into Zinke stemmed from his decision to block two Native American tribes—the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan—from opening a casino in Connecticut. Zinke’s office had been lobbied heavily by MGM Resorts International, which had been planning to open its own casino very close to where the tribes intended to break ground.
Sixteen assistant U.S. attorneys specially assigned to monitor malfeasance in the 2020 election urged Barr on Friday to rescind his memo allowing election-fraud investigations before results are certified. "It was developed and announced without consulting non-partisan career professionals in the field and at the Department. Finally, the timing of the Memorandum's release thrusts career prosecutors into partisan politics," the prosecutors wrote. An internal Justice Department investigation found that federal prosecutors who oversaw a controversial non-prosecution deal with Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 exercised “poor judgment” but did not break the law. “They just say he used poor judgment, and that's their way of basically letting everyone off the hook while offering some sort of an olive branch to the victims that we acknowledge weren't treated perfectly,” said Brad Edwards, who sued the DOJ in 2008 on behalf of Epstein accusers.
Eastern District of New York Judge Nicholas Garaufis (Clinton-appointee) ruled that Chad Wolf was not legally serving as acting Homeland Security secretary when he signed rules limiting DACA program applications and renewals. Therefore, in a win for Dreamers and immigration activists, Garaufis said the changes were invalid.
The judge described an illegitimate shuffling of leadership chairs at the Department of Homeland Security, the agency responsible for immigration enforcement, for the predicament of Wolf's leadership and that of his predecessor, Kevin McAleenan. "Based on the plain text of the operative order of succession," Garaufis wrote in the Saturday ruling, "neither Mr. McAleenan nor, in turn, Mr. Wolf, possessed statutory authority to serve as Acting Secretary. Therefore the Wolf Memorandum was not an exercise of legal authority."
There's a renewed push to get Chad Wolf confirmed as Homeland Security secretary -- a position in which he's been serving in an acting capacity for a yearr -- before Inauguration Day. In the past week, Homeland Security officials spoke to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office about bringing the nomination to a floor vote in the coming weeks.
Within the last six months, as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the US, the Trump administration filed 75 lawsuits to seize private land along the US-Mexico border for the border wall." People right now are having to choose between their health and their homes," said Ricky Garza, a staff attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project, a legal advocacy group. After a series of price increases, Trump’s border project will cost taxpayers $20 million per mile of border fence. A review of federal spending data shows more than 200 contract modifications, at times awarded within just weeks or months after the original contracts, have increased the cost of the border wall project by billions of dollars since late 2017. DHS has expelled unaccompanied immigrant children from the US border more than 13,000 times since March,using the coronavirus as an excuse to deny children their right to asylum. Previously, unaccompanied children were sent to government-run shelters as they attempted to pursue their asylum cases. Migrant children from Central America are being expelled to Mexico, where they have no family connections. The expulsions not only put children in danger - the policy violates a diplomatic agreement with Mexico that only Mexican children and others who had adult supervision could be pushed back into Mexico after attempting to cross the border. The House Judiciary Committee released a report on the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border, revealing that the federal agency that cares for migrant children was not told about the policy. The chaos contributed to the inability to later reunite parents and children. The Trump administration is trying to deport several women who allege they were mistreated by a Georgia gynecologist at an immigration detention center. Hours after one detained woman spoke to federal investigators about forced hysterectomies at a Georgia detention center, she said ICE told her that it had lifted a hold on her deportation and she faced “imminent” removal. Six former patients who complained about Dr. Mahendra Amin had already been deported. Northern District of Illinois Judge Gary Feinerman (Obama-appointee) blocked a key Trump administration policy that allowed officials to deny green cards to immigrants who might need public assistance Advocates who had feared that the policy would harm tens of thousands of poor people, particularly those affected by widespread job loss because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Microsoft said it has detected attempts by state-backed Russian and North Korean hackers to steal valuable data from leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers. “Among the targets, the majority are vaccine makers that have COVID-19 vaccines in various stages of clinical trials.” Two census takers told The AP that their supervisors pressured them to enter false information into a computer system about homes they had not visited so they could close cases during the waning days of the once-a-decade national headcount. The Supreme Court on Tuesday signaled it’s unlikely to tear down Obamacare over a Republican-backed lawsuit challenging the landmark health care law. Chief Justice John Roberts and Trump appointee Justice Brett Kavanaugh strongly questioned whether the elimination of the mandate penalty made the rest of the law invalid. Kavanaugh appeared to signal on several occasions that he favored leaving the rest of the law intact if the mandate is struck. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) was sued last week by four whistleblowers claiming that he abused his office to benefit himself, a woman with whom he was said to have had an affair, and the wealthy donor who employs her before retaliating against the members of his staff who reported him to the FBI. The Trump administration is rushing plans to auction drilling rights in the U.S. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the inauguration of Biden, who has vowed to block oil exploration in the rugged Alaska wilderness. Biden’s efforts could be complicated if the Trump administration sells drilling rights first. Formally issued oil and gas leases on federal land are government contracts that can’t be easily yanked.
[US Promotion] I would like to celebrate Thanksgiving by gifting you all books!
UPDATE: More books added by siffis and West1234567890 further down If are late coming across this post then do not worry you can still message me your email for a book. To celebrate my day off today and Thanksgiving tomorrow I would like to gift my audiobooks. In order to recieve a free audiobook gift just message me any title (below) along with your email address. If you have not recieved a gift before then you will get the audiobook for free. More details here and here. I am in the US market (but I hear from Canada and UK that it still works). Books crossed out are not available. TITLE - AUTHOR (Ordered by author)
21 Days of Meditation - Aaptiv
5K Training - Aaptiv
What Happens Next? Conversations from MARS - Adam Savage
You Ought to Know Adam Wade - Adam Wade
The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC - Adrian Goldsworthy
Children of Time - Adrian Tchaikovsky
Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection - Alexander C. Kane
The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E. Harrow
The Story of Dr. Seuss: Theodore, Ted, Geisel Who? The Story of How Dr. Seuss Grew. - Amba Brown
You Have Arrived at Your Destination: Forward - Amor Towles
A Massacre in Mexico: The True Story Behind the Missing 43 Students - Anabel Hernandez , John Washington - translator
How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps - Andrew Rowe
Randomize: Forward - Andy Weir
Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook - Anthony Bourdain
Chaos Monkeys - Revised Edition: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley - Antonio Garcia Martinez
Goodnight Smartphone - Arianna Huffington
Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle , Stephen Fry - introductions
Viva Durant and the Secret of the Silver Buttons - Ashli St. Armant
The Home Front: Life in America During World War II - Dan Gediman , Martha C. Little
Cut and Run: A Light-Hearted Dark Comedy - Ben Acker , Ben Blacker
A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs: An Audible Original - Ben Garrod
The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff
Finding Tess: A Mother’s Search for Answers in a Dopesick America - Beth Macy
Bill Bryson's Appliance of Science - Bill Bryson
The Lost Continent: Travels In Small Town America - Bill Bryson
Billy Kelly: This Is a Family Show! - Billy Kelly
The History of Ancient Egypt - Bob Brier]
Rage - Bob Woodward
Starsight - Brandon Sanderson
Skyward - Brandon Sanderson
Beezer - Brandon T. Snider
The Book on Rental Property Investing: How to Create Wealth and Passive Income Through Smart Buy & Hold Real Estate Investing - Brandon Turner
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are - Brené Brown
Algorithms to Live The Computer Science of Human Decisions - Brian Christian , Tom Griffiths
That Hideous Strength: Ransom Trilogy, Book 3 - C.S. Lewis
Perelandra: Ransom Trilogy, Book 2 - C.S. Lewis
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage - Carl Sagan
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark - Carl Sagan
Life Ever After - Carla Grauls
Everything is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity - Carlo Rovelli , Simon Carnell - translator , Erica Segre - translator
How to Build Meaningful Relationships Through Conversation - Carol Ann Lloyd]
El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America - Carrie Gibson
The Flying Flamingo Sisters - Carrie Seim
Press Pause: A Young Person's Guide to Managing Life's Challenges - Catherine Singer
Cesar Millan's Guide to Bringing Home a Shelter Dog - Cesar Millan
Cesar Millan's Guide to Audiobooks for Dogs - Cesar Millan
The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder - Charles Graeber
Second Skin: Audible Original Novella - Christian White
Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2 - Christopher Paolini
The Space Race: An Audible Original - Colin Brake , Patrick Chapman , Richard Hollingham , Richard Kurti , Sue Nelson , Helen Quigley , Andrew Mark Sewell
Bluebird Memories: A Journey Through Lyrics & Life - Common , Awoye Timpo , NSangou Njikam
Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther - Craig Pittman
The Dead Drink First - Dale Maharidge
House of Teeth - Dan Jolley
Dan Rather: Stories of a Lifetime - Dan Rather
How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States - Daniel Immerwahr
The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition - Daniel N. Robinson]
My Lost Family: An Audible Original - Danny Ben-Moshe , Dasha Lisitsina
Body of Proof: An Audible Original - Darrell Brown , Sophie Ellis
Sum: Tales from the Afterlives - David Eagleman
Exploring Metaphysics - David K. Johnson]
Alone with the Stars - David R. Gillham
The Pragmatic Programmer: 20th Anniversary Edition, 2nd Edition: Your Journey to Mastery - David Thomas , Andrew Hunt
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II - Denise Kiernan
Heaven's River: Bobiverse, Book 4 - Dennis E. Taylor
All These Worlds: Bobiverse, Book 3 - Dennis E. Taylor
For We Are Many: Bobiverse, Book 2 - Dennis E. Taylor
We Are Legion (We Are Bob): Bobiverse, Book 1 - Dennis E. Taylor
Metro 2033 - Dmitry Glukhovsky
The Theory of Everything: The Quest to Explain All Reality - Don Lincoln]
Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Book 2 - Douglas Adams
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
Life, the Universe, and Everything: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Book 3 - Douglas Adams
The Case of the Damaged Detective: 5-Minute Sherlock, Book 1 - Drew Hayes
Forging Hephaestus: Villains' Code Series, Book 1 - Drew Hayes
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong
Mythology - Edith Hamilton
Musashi - Eiji Yoshikawa , Charles S. Terry - translator
Hunting LeRoux: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius and His Empire - Elaine Shannon
The Science of Sci-Fi: From Warp Speed to Interstellar Travel - Erin Macdonald]
Junkyard Cats: Shining Smith, Book 1 - Faith Hunter
The Golden Orchard - Flora Ahn
The 3-Day Effect - Florence Williams
Catch Me If You Can - Frank W. Abagnale , Stan Redding
The Panama Papers: How the World's Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money - Frederik Obermaier , Bastian Obermayer
The American Civil War - Gary W. Gallagher]
Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond - Gene Kranz
The Creative Thinker's Toolkit - Gerard Puccio]
Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ - Giulia Enders
Burr: A Novel (Narratives of Empire, Book 1) - Gore Vidal
The Getaway - Greer Hendricks , Sarah Pekkanen
The Minuteman - Greg Donahue
Failure Is an Option: An Attempted Memoir - H. Jon Benjamin
The Beautiful Brain: An Audible Original - Hana Walker-Brown
A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor: A Novel - Hank Green
Bella Bella - Harvey Fierstein
The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country - Helen Russell
The Iliad: A New Translation by Caroline Alexander - Homer , Caroline Alexander - translator
H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Omnibus Collection, Volume I: 1917-1926 - Howard Phillips Lovecraft , Finn J.D. John
Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga - Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson
Casino Royale: James Bond, Book 1 - Ian Fleming
I, Robot - Isaac Asimov
Malcolm and Me - Ishmael Reed
Peter Pan: An Audible Original Drama - J. M. Barrie
Tell Me Lies - J. P. Pomare
The Return of the King: Book Three in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Children of Hurin - J. R. R. Tolkien
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Book 2 - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Book 1 - J.K. Rowling
The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling
The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over - Jack Schafer PhD , Ph.D. Marvin Karlins Ph.D.
Midnight Son - James Dommek Jr. , Josephine Holtzman , Isaac Kestenbaum
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey - James Lecesne
Break Shot: My First 21 Years: James Taylor - James Taylor
Forget Nothing - Jason Anspach , Michelle C. Meyers
The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine who Outwitted America's Enemies - Jason Fagone
Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple - Jeff Guinn
1066: The Year That Changed Everything - Jennifer Paxton]
Flux - Jeremy Robinson
Space Force - Jeremy Robinson
Infinite - Jeremy Robinson
When You Finish Saving the World - Jesse Eisenberg
The Mystwick School of Musicraft - Jessica Khoury
Call Me God: The Untold Story of the DC Sniper Investigation - Jim Clemente , Tim Clemente , Peter McDonnell
The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons from the Sawtooth Pack - Jim Dutcher , Jamie Dutcher , James Manfull - contributor , Marc Bekoff - foreword PhD
Escape from Virtual Island: An Audio Comedy - John Lutz
The Men Who Stare at Goats - Jon Ronson
So You've Been Publicly Shamed - Jon Ronson
Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie - Jon Ronson
438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea - Jonathan Franklin
Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things - Josh Clark , Chuck Bryant
Vroom Vroom - Josh Koenigsberg
King of Sting: The Story of Australian Conman Peter Foster: An Audible Original - Justin Armsden , Bronwen Reid , Hamish Macdonald
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer - Kai Bird , Martin J. Sherwin
You Can Thank Me Later: A Novella - Kelly Harms
The Vikings - Kenneth W. Harl]
Building a Better Vocabulary - Kevin Flanigan]
More Bedtime Stories for Cynics - Kirsten Kearse , Gretchen Enders , Aparna Nancherla , Cirocco Dunlap , Dave Hill
The Math of Life and Death - Kit Yates
Oz. The Complete Collection - L. Frank Baum
A Murder of Manatees: The Further Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent - Larry Correia
The Half-Life of Marie Curie - Lauren Gunderson
Interview with the Robot - Lee Bacon
The Messengers - Lindsay Joelle
African-American Athletes Who Made History - Louis Moore]
The Real Sherlock: An Audible Original - Lucinda Hawksley
The Devil's Highway: A True Story - Luis Alberto Urrea
It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli, An Audible Original - Marc Fennell
Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius - Marc J. Seifer
The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition - Margaret Atwood , Valerie Martin - essay
Buried Deep - Margot Hunt
Black Hawk Down - Mark Bowden
How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It - Mark Cuban
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Tinaca Jones - Matt Boren
Phreaks - Matthew Derby
Pont Neuf - Max Byrd
Find Another Dream - Maysoon Zayid
One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War - Michael Dobbs
The Entrepreneur's Toolkit - Michael Goldsby]
The Fifth Risk - Michael Lewis
Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il - Michael Malice
Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World - Michael Pollan
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer - Michelle McNamara
Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 - Michio Kaku
The New One: Painfully True Stories from a Reluctant Dad - Mike Birbiglia , J. Hope Stein
Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues - Molly Harper
Motivational Runs: 3 audio-guided run stories and 6 audio-guided Olympic Interval runs - MoveWith
Half Marathon Training Part 2: To the Finish Line: 6 week training plan with 22 audio-guided runs - MoveWith
Half Marathon Training Part 1: Build Up Your Pace + Endurance: 6 week training plan with 22 audio-guided runs - MoveWith
Emergency Skin: Forward - N. K. Jemisin
Silverswift - Natalie Lloyd
The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - but Some Don't - Nate Silver
Good Omens - Neil Gaiman , Terry Pratchett
Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society - Nicholas A. Christakis
American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road - Nick Bilton
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies - Nick Bostrom
Based on a True Story: A Memoir - Norm Macdonald
Leven Thumps and the Eyes of the Want: Leven Thumps, #3 - Obert Skye
Leven Thumps and the Wrath of Ezra: Leven Thumps, #4 - Obert Skye
Leven Thumps and the Ruins of Alder: Leven Thumps, #5 - Obert Skye
Adulthood Rites: Xenogenesis, Book 2 - Octavia E. Butler
Dawn: Xenogenesis, Book 1 - Octavia E. Butler
Wild Seed - Octavia E. Butler
Kindred - Octavia E. Butler
The Life and Times of Prince Albert - Patrick Allitt]
The Name of the Wind: Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1 - Patrick Rothfuss
Thinking about Cybersecurity: From Cyber Crime to Cyber Warfare - Paul Rosenzweig]
Into the Water: A Novel - Paula Hawkins
The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions - Peter Brannen
Terminus - Peter Clines
The Fold - Peter Clines
14 - Peter Clines
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness - Peter Godfrey-Smith
Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History - Peter Houlahan
Harry Potter: A History of Magic: An Audio Documentary - Pottermore Publishing , Ben Davies
How the Stock Market Works - Ramon P. DeGennaro]
How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems - Randall Munroe
The October Country - Ray Bradbury
The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins
The Making of the Atomic Bomb: 25th Anniversary Edition - Richard Rhodes
The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World - Robert Garland]
Treasure Island: An Audible Original Drama - Robert Louis Stevenson , Marty Ross - adaptation
Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon
The Mueller Report: The Findings of the Special Counsel Investigation - Robert S. Mueller III , Special Counsel's Office U.S. Department of Justice
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators - Ronan Farrow
Once More upon a Time: A Novella - Roshani Chokshi
Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door - Roy Wenzl , Tim Potter , L. Kelly , Hurst Laviana
Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch: An Audible Original - Ruth Cowen
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean
Bad Luck Charlie: The Dragon Mage, Book 1 - Scott Baron
Rivals! Frenemies Who Changed the World - Scott McCormick
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are - Seth Stephens-Davidowitz , Steven Pinker - foreword
Sea Wall / A Life - Simon Stephens , Nick Payne
Carnival Row: Tangle in the Dark - Stephanie K. Smith
D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of WW II - Stephen E. Ambrose
The Stand - Stephen King
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World - Steve Brusatte
Foreverywhere - Steve Burns , Steven Drozd , Gabe Soria
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake - Steven Novella , Bob Novella - contributor , Cara Santa Maria - contributor , Jay Novella - contributor , Evan Bernstein - contributor
Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills - Steven Novella]
The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain - Steven R. Gundry MD
My Dad the Spy - Stewart Copeland
The Age of Living Machines: How the Convergence of Biology and Engineering Will Build the Next Technology Revolution - Susan Hockfield
Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett
History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach - The Great Courses , Gregory S. Aldrete
Great Mythologies of the World - The Great Courses , Grant L. Voth , Julius H. Bailey , Kathryn McClymond , Robert André LaFleur
This American Life - This American Life
Writing Creative Nonfiction - Tilar J J. Mazzeo]
The Man Who Knew the Way to the Moon - Todd Zwillich
The Hunt for Red October: A Jack Ryan Novel - Tom Clancy
The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts - Tom Farley , Tanner Colby
A Crazy Inheritance: Ghostsitter 1 - Tommy Krappweis
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah
Thicker than Water - Tyler Shultz
The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World - and Globalization Began - Valerie Hansen
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders - Vincent Bugliosi , Curt Gentry
SmartLess - Will Arnett Jason Bateman Sean Hayes
Climbing with Mollie - William Finnegan
Alien III: An Audible Original Drama - William Gibson
Gump & Co. - Winston Groom
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
siffis has generously offered to include his collection. If you like any of the books below then message directly.
World War Z: The Complete Edition - Max Brooks
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
Ready Player Two - Ernest Cline
Halo: Shadows of Reach - Troy Denning
The Sandman - Neil Gaiman
The Ickabog - J.K. Rowling
The Last Tribe - Brad Manuel
Halo Grassland - Karen Traviss
Halo: Mortal Dictata - Karen Traviss
Halo: The Thursday War - Karen Traviss
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman
Firefly: Big Damn Hero - Jame Lovegrove
After it Happened - Devron C Ford
Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds - Gwenda Bond
Blade Runner - Phillip K Dick
Hell Divers 1
Hell Divers 2: Ghosts
God of War - J.M. Barlog
The Time of Contempt - Andrzej Sapkowski
Blood of Elves - Andrzej Sapkowski
Solar Storms - Nicholas Sansbury
Planetside - Michael Mammay
Season of Storms - Andrzej Sapkowski
Dark Operator - Doc Spears
How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps - Andrew Rowe
48 points: jesseaknight's comment in In the show St. Elsewhere, a character in the finale is shown to have thought of the whole series, which means he also made up all the shows that had crossovers with St. Elsewhere. This expands into the shows that were mentioned in the shows. There is at this point 419 shows in this universe
44 points: Derosa6037's comment in the longest single set at the laugh factory lasted 7h and 34m (by Dane Cook in 2008).
43 points: astronoob's comment in Margaret Hamilton, NASA's lead software engineer for the Apollo Program, stands next to the code she wrote by hand that took Humanity to the moon in 1969.
42 points: rus_reddit's comment in Rand Paul was the national debt for halloween in 2015. He said it was a very scary costume.
40 points: thejesiah's comment in Close Encounters of the Third Kind Geocache in Northern Italy
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