Newmann: Going, going, gone
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro,” -Hunter S. Thompson.
In looking at several events over the past few days, the weird have certainly turned pro — and then some.
Among the stranger happenings:
- The kickoff of the “America First” rally tour. The tour opened to a spellbound audience in The Villages, a large retirement community in central Florida. The tour organizers, representatives Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) and Majorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), wowed the crowd by stating their conservative views, decrying the “stolen” election and proclaiming their fealty to the former president. Meanwhile, Gaetz is currently under federal investigation for alleged sex crimes and Greene has been stripped of her house committee assignments (by a bipartisan vote) for supporting conspiracy theories. Quite a dynamic duo to have out on the hustings. There were no reports of the usual Villages golf-cart parades after the rally.
- Then there’s the Liz Cheney saga. The life-long ultra conservative, from an ultra-conservative GOP family, voted for impeachment, refuted claims of a stolen election … and, as a reward for her efforts, lost her party leadership position. Ironically, she happened to be a star in the party before her “heresy.” Meanwhile, her successor, Elise Stefanik, the new star on the horizon, used to be a moderate. Until, for reasons of expediency, she decided to tout the lines that Cheney wouldn’t. Guess it pays to know which way the winds are blowing. And blow with them.
- And, speaking of winds, the Chinese rocket went up … and then came down. The problem seemed to be that no one really knew where it would come down. So the ultimate trajectory of the Long March 5B (a rather appropriate name for the rocket) received lots of speculation — until it finally plummeted into the Indian Ocean. The Chinese state media, not amused by all the speculation in the West about where the rocket might end up, wrote, “Their hype and smears were all in vain.” Most of us were probably just relieved that nothing ended up in our backyards. Besides, that’s United’s job.
- In a nod to the dark side, a 5,500-mile fuel pipeline from Texas to New Jersey suffered a ransomware attack (and subsequent shutdown) from a group calling itself “Darkside.” Ironically, Darkside resides in Russia but has not been linked (so far) to the Russian government. Instead, it’s a ransomware for hire site. As one security expert noted, “You pay a fee to join their service. And then the main threat actor gets a cut of every successful ransomware payment that you make.” Interesting way to do business. Imagine the chaos if they managed to hack into (and shutdown) McDonald’s.
- Speaking of pros, it’s reassuring to know that Tim Tebow is still alive and well. The former All-American Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner has gone through a series of sports metamorphoses: Bronco’s quarterback, stints with the Jet’s, the Patriots and the Eagles; Mets minor league outfielder; ESPN and SEC broadcaster. And, now, at age 33, he’s on the verge of signing on as a potential tight end for the Jacksonville Jaguars. With no experience at that position — and having been out of the NFL since the 2015 preseason. Have to hope it works out. But, if not, there’s always the NBA or the NHL. Or the WWE.
The list of weird goes on … and on.
Or, maybe, it’s just the norm.