No One Had Instincts Like Fred Willard

Then he showed a clip from “A Mighty Wind.” In it, Willard’s manager character, a blond, moussed guy in a trombone-print shirt, interrupts a group of plucky folk singers rehearsing a sea shanty for a show. “I’ve got an idea, a very literate reference,” he tells them. “I don’t know if you’re familiar with a book about a pirate captain—his name is Moby-Dick. He was chasing some big whale, and he had a catchphrase he’d always yell out: ‘Thar she blows!’ So I thought if you could do that . . .” He goes on to suggest that they try a bit where they get drenched in water, several times, mid-performance—“Even the ladies!”—and, at the end of the song, they’ll turn their guitars over, “and water splashes out. Kerplunk!Just a thought.” He looks overjoyed by his helpful beneficence. Before they shot the scene, Guest said, his only instruction to Willard had been, “They’re rehearsing . . . and you interrupt them.”

No One Had Instincts Like Fred Willard


Norman Ornstein, a political scientist specializing in congressional matters at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute, told me that he has known every Senate Majority Leader in the past fifty years, and that McConnell “will go down in history as one of the most significant people in destroying the fundamentals of our constitutional democracy.” He continued, “There isn’t anyone remotely close. There’s nobody as corrupt, in terms of violating the norms of government.”

How Mitch McConnell Became Trump’s Enabler-in-Chief

Dunleavy vowed to do this without any painful spending cuts. Once in office, he launched a dramatic assault on the state’s public sector. A year ago, his administration announced a budget proposal that included the restored dividend—about three thousand dollars—but not the retroactive amount, which was paid for by more than a billion dollars in cuts. It reduced funding by more than forty per cent for the University of Alaska system and by three hundred million dollars for the state’s Department of Education. Safety-net cuts included a ninety-per-cent reduction for homeless services, a decrease for Medicaid of more than a third, and the elimination of programs such as adult Medicaid dental benefits, cash assistance to the elderly poor, and public assistance to Alaskans who are blind or have disabilities. A number of essential services were also gutted, including the Alaska Marine Highway System, a network of ferries that provides a transportation lifeline to dozens of coastal communities unconnected to the state’s road system.

Why Alaskans Are Trying to Recall Their Governor

By the last week of February, it was clear to the administration’s public health team that schools and businesses in hot spots would have to close. But in the turbulence of the Trump White House, it took three more weeks to persuade the president that failure to act quickly to control the spread of the virus would have dire consequences.

He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus

Death Stranding had made me contemplate every exhausting step. At many points, I reflected that if I didn’t have to finish the game in order to write this article, I would have quit. But I’m glad I didn’t — because I would have missed out on one of the most beautiful and unsettling experiences I’ve ever had in a game.

Hideo Kojima’s Strange, Unforgettable Video-Game Worlds

A $60 Billion Housing Grab by Wall Street

Abood told me that “the easiest thing for people to understand is the most sensationalized: ‘Invitation Homes is a horrible landlord, and people are mad,.” she said. “Yeah, that’s a story. But the harder story to make people care about is the way that all of our lives are starting to be intertwined into these financial markets that most of us have no investment in. The financiers are making so much money that depends on our everyday debt and expenses. Our mortgages, our rents, our car loans, our student loans. And all of that is dependent on low- and moderate-income people.”

A $60 Billion Housing Grab by Wall Street

Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’

The scene was biblical. Or perhaps not. The Bible could not have known numbers such as these. The lockdown to enforce physical distancing had resulted in the opposite — physical compression on an unthinkable scale. This is true even within India’s towns and cities. The main roads might be empty, but the poor are sealed into cramped quarters in slums and shanties.

Arundhati Roy

Every Inch of Earth

Sebastian Meyer and Kamaran Najm co-founded a photo agency in Iraq and teamed up to document a new era in Kurdistan, a region with a long history of suffering. Until Kamaran was captured by ISIS.

Every Inch of Earth


It’s a cautionary tale for the disinformation wars of the internet age, or at least it should be. “Where does my news come from?” is a question not enough Americans are asking these days. Even as venerable newspapers collapse into bankruptcy and the FBI warns that Russia is poisoning our public discourse, popular sites like Zero Hedge continue to grow in power and influence.

Is Zero Hedge a Russian Trojan Horse?

Dialogue, Twitter-style: you get called out on social media. People pile on to you. Other people pile on to the pile-oners. Soon everyone’s anxious or angry or both, no one’s really talking (or listening), and a few tech CEOs are buying new houses in Jackson Hole.

A Crying Public Shame

Every human on Earth is ingesting nearly 2,000 particles of plastic a week. These tiny pieces enter our unwitting bodies from tap water, food, and even the air, according to an alarming academic study sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, dosing us with five grams of plastics, many cut with chemicals linked to cancers, hormone disruption, and developmental delays. Since the paper’s publication last year, Sen. Tom Udall, a plain-spoken New Mexico Democrat with a fondness for white cowboy hats and turquoise bolo ties, has been trumpeting the risk: “We are consuming a credit card’s worth of plastic each week,” Udall says. At events with constituents, he will brandish a Visa from his wallet and declare, “You’re eating this, folks!”

How Big Oil and Big Soda kept a global environmental calamity a secret for decades