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Me @TheWeek: Reacting to the Mueller report

My take:
The Trump White House is just a high-level version of a sleazy pawn shop where the owner traffics in stolen goods. Everybody knows the owner is profiting from crime — including the owner — but as long as as he keeps his fingerprints off the precise moment the goods are stolen, he's allowed to keep making his living off the fruits of other people's wrongdoing.  It may not be technically illegal. But it sure isn't right. Please read the whole thing!

John Bolton's purple prose

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Man, this is some speechwriting from John Bolton, announcing new sanctions on Cuba.

I have expected him to continue: "Who knows what evil lurks within? ONLY THE SHADOW KNOWS!"

Mueller preview: Maybe the president is innocent. So why does he keep acting like a thug?

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There’s a reason so many people think Donald Trump is corrupt: He keeps giving them reason.

On Thursday, a redacted version of the Mueller report will be released to the public. Perhaps the president is right: Maybe the document will exonerate him of accusations of colluding with Russia to win the 2016 election, and maybe it will further offer reason to believe that Attorney General William Barr was correct when he decided not to pursue allegations the president obstructed justice by firing then-FBI Director James Comey.

It could happen.

But if that is the case, Trump and Barr have done the worst possible job laying the ground for the president’s innocence. Instead, they’ve seemingly done everything possible to make the release of the report look like a cover-up.

For example: The principles of transparency would usually suggest that the public — or, at least, the media — have a chance to look at the report and begin to digest its findings before Barr holds his press conference.

But that’s …

Netflix Queue: The Highwaymen

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Three thoughts about Netflix's The Highwaymen coming up after the trailer...



 • This is a Bonnie and Clyde movie that, for the most part, is lacking in Bonnie and Clyde: The filmmakers figure you've already seen the classic movie and there's no reason to compete with that. So it's the case that we literally don't see fully the faces of our fugitives until the very last seconds before they're ambushed by Texas lawmen in a hail of bullets. The story concentrates, in this case, on the hunters, played by a laconic Kevin Costner and his sidekick Woody Harrelson, playing Woody Harrelson.

 • Structurally, it plays out as a cross between the fantastic Hell or High Water and Unforgiven, but without having quite as much on its mind as either of those movies. Maybe the most potent theme is about how thrall to celebrity can turn regular people into monsters. After Bonnie and Clyde are killed, local townspeople are shown in a near-riot situation, plucking souvenirs from the…

FilmStruck is avenged! Long live Criterion Channel!

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Criterion Channel finally launched today, a replacement for the late lamented FilmStruck. I've already watched my first movie. A few thoughts after the trailer...


 • Since FilmStruck's demise, I've made a concerted effort to build up my DVD collection with classic movies. I'm glad that Criterion is here, but I don't trust streaming services to have many of the movies I want when I want them. Big corporations that own the rights to those movies have already demonstrated that letting the public have access is a lesser concern, profit-wise, than promoting their more recent catalog. So I'm glad to have Criterion to expand and deepen my movie education. But I'm still buying DVDs.

 • My first movie on Criterion? Drive a Crooked Road, a tight little movie from the noir collection. It reminded me of Drive, only with Mickey Rooney (!?) in the Ryan Gosling role, and if everybody spent Drive talking about how short Ryan Gosling is. Also fun: It was written by Blake Ed…

End of an era at the Lawrence Journal-World.

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My motto is: "Journalism will never love you back." But I can't remember a time when I didn't love news and newspapers. Still do. I love my hometown paper, the Lawrence Journal-World. The journalists of the LJW will be moving out of their beautiful downtown space by the end of the month, opting for smaller digs in North Lawrence at an old outlet mall. I was on staff in 2001 when we moved into this office - which had previously been the city's post office. So I'm kind of sad about the move. I worked at LJW from 2000-2007, got to be a reporter, an editor, and the paper's first blogger. We shared the digs with 6News, a local cable TV outlet. I learned how to be a TV reporter, too. I had so much fun. I think part of it was being the right age - late 20s and early 30s - but some of it was that it was the last possible moment to be optimistic and hopeful about working for a newspaper, as opposed to grimly determined. The Great Recession set in sh…

What does it mean to ‘believe women?’

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"Believing women" doesn't mean we have to accept accusations as evidence. So what might it mean in real life? 
• When a woman makes an accusation, it would mean pursuing all available lines of evidence to weigh the truth of her claims. In the matter of Brett Kavanaugh's SCOTUS nomination, it would mean calling Mark Judge, Kavanaugh's buddy, to testify under penalty of perjury. So far that's not happening. That the Senate Judiciary Committee is not taking such a step suggests they don't have much interest in trying, as best as we poor humans are capable, of making a genuine attempt to determine the truth of the matter. 
• When a woman's accusation is proven, the person convicted of abusing or assaulting her will be given more than a slap-on-the-wrist punishment.
• And women a woman says she has been traumatized by sexual assault, we don't wave our hands and tell her to toughen up instead of being such a victim. 
None of this means accepting an acc…