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The Daily Beast Latest Articles
The Daily Beast Latest Articles
Ted Cruz Storms Out on British Interviewer When Asked Why School Shootings Only Happen in America
CHANDAN KHANNASen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) abruptly walked off from a British journalist’s questions about gun violence in America two days after an elementary school massacre in his state left 19 children and two adults dead.Cruz, who is due to appear at a National Rifle Association convention this weekend, became incensed when pressed on gun laws and why mass shootings “only happen in America.”Cruz was attending a vigil for the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting when he was grilled by Sky News reporter Mark Stone about overhauling gun laws in the U.S. The senator began by dismissing calls for reform by saying “It’s easy to go to politics.” He added: “The proposals the Democrats have? None of them would have stopped this.” (Cruz had earlier called to “harden schools” by fitting in new bulletproof glass and only having “one door into and out of the school” during a Fox News interview.)Read more at The Daily Beast.
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AK-47 and Student ‘Hit List’ Found Destined for Another Texas School, District Says
Donna Independent School District websiteAnother Texas town was on the brink of disaster after authorities say a search of private home on Wednesday found an AK-47 automatic rifle and a “hit list” of students that would be targeted. The Donna Independent School District in Donna, Texas, posted a notice on its social media late Wednesday saying it had received “a credible threat of violence that is currently under investigation.” Local media outlets in the deep South Texas region reported that the powerful weapon and target list were found in a student’s home and that “two to three people” were involved in the plot, quoting police officials. Donna is roughly 280 miles south of Uvalde, where “the worst school shooting” since the 2012 “worst school shooting” in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, occurred on May 24, leaving 19 young children and two educators dead.The Donna school district said classes would resume after the Memorial Day weekend. “In light of the recent events and in an abundance of caution, we will be canceling school district-wide classes and staff will work from home,” the message said. “The safety and security of our students & staff is our first priority.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Former Louvre Director Jean-Luc Martinez Indicted on Art-Trafficking Charges
Gonzalo Fuentes/ReutersThe former director of the Louvre Museum in Paris and two French Egyptologists were taken into custody in France, accused of helping traffic millions of dollars worth of stolen art, some of which is alleged to have ended up in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.Jean-Luc Martinez was indicted late Wednesday for “complicity in fraud in an organized gang and laundering by false facilitation of the origin of property” after enduring a lengthy interrogation by art detectives in Paris. The Egyptologists were briefly held and then released pending further investigation, which French media speculate could mean cooperating against Martinez. Read more at The Daily Beast.
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‘He Came in and Shot Her’: Fourth-Grade Uvalde Survivor Reveals Chilling Encounter With Gunman
Anadolu Agency via GettyA fourth-grade boy who survived Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, says he witnessed the gunman’s cold-blooded attack on children as he hid underneath a table waiting for help to arrive.The boy, who has not been named, told local news outlet KENS 5 that the shooter, identified by authorities as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, said “It’s time to die” after barricading himself inside the classroom. While police have not yet determined the motive for the rampage that killed 19 children and two teachers, the boy’s account provides some of the first details on how things unfolded in the barricaded classroom as the gunman picked off elementary-school students with an assault rifle.“When I heard the shooting through the door, I told my friend to hide under something so he won’t find us. I was hiding hard. And I was telling my friend to not talk because he is going to hear us,” the boy said.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Netflix’s Laid-Off Workers Rail Against ‘Tailspinning’ Company, Say Diversity Not a Real Priority
Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily BeastRicky Gervais’ transphobic Netflix special might be stirring up controversy, but its release should surprise absolutely no one.After several controversies surrounding anti-trans programming, especially Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, The Closer, Netflix appears to have decided that bigotry masquerading as “free speech” can be a virtue, as long as audiences keep tuning in. And what better troll can one imagine than dropping an anti-trans special just ahead of Pride Month?“There’s this intentional doubling down—like, We do controversial things; you deal or you don’t deal,” a former employee told The Daily Beast. “I think Chappelle was the tipping point of them finally taking a stand instead of trying to kind of waver in the middle.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Let Harry Styles Write His Silly Little Food Songs
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/GettyIt’s no secret that Harry Styles is a hungry, hungry boy. Whether he’s evoking “Watermelon Sugar” to sing about cunnilingus, ruminating on a past lover he’s seemingly nicknamed “Kiwi,” or wishing that his ex would call “From the Dining Table,” gestation of dietary and sexual sorts is top of mind for the British musician, who surprisingly (and maybe for his own good) has yet to sponsor his own fast food meal. (If his affinity for writing songs about fruit and his DeuxMoi-reported trips to Juice Press are any indication, that kind of business opp would certainly be at odds with his nutritional palette.)Likewise, Styles’ recently released third album, Harry’s House, finds the 28-year-old ex-boybander ready to devour everything in front of him. On the majority of the glossy, indie pop-influenced songs, he declares his adoration and devotion ostensibly for his new beau Olivia Wilde, and, by extension, all of the listeners who have developed a parasocial love affair with him since his One Direction days (me included). To do so, Styles continues his tradition of utilizing food to bolster the album’s theme of cozy domesticity and to relay whatever flirty and raunchy thoughts occupy his horny male brain.On Harry’s House, this motif feels borderline parodic. The LP boasts the sort of lyrical content one has come to expect from Styles, given the cultural ubiquity and Grammy-winning status of “Watermelon Sugar” from his 2019 sophomore album, Fine Line. That song wasn’t the extent of the album’s food-titled tracks or food references, of course, as Fine Line also featured a wistful, acoustic ballad called “Cherry.” You could maybe even count the Beatles-esque “Sunflower, Vol. 6,” if you wanted, although it was clearly a reference to the visual beauty of the plant as opposed to its edible properties; nonetheless, the song repeatedly invokes a kitchen setting in a romantic way.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Putin’s Puppets Can’t Stop Bitching About the Grueling Cost of His War
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/GettyRussia state media has descended into a seemingly endless moan-fest about the unprecedented Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine, all while dishing out distractions and schadenfreude to convince everyday Russians that Americans are even worse off.During Tuesday’s broadcast of state TV show 60 Minutes, referring to the shortage of baby food in the U.S. with a spiteful scowl, host Evgeny Popov said: “American children have nothing to eat.” Journalist Andrei Sidorchik replied with an even uglier diatribe: “Meanwhile, Ukrainian children are getting missiles and bombs delivered to them, which are supposed to somehow secure their future... They’ll have no fathers, no homes, their country will be burned out, they’ll have nothing that American children have.” Popov retorted: “But they’ll have McDonald’s!”When Russia’s own problems are being discussed, the mood in Kremlin-controlled TV studios is far from jolly—in part because state media mouthpieces were so wrong in their earlier predictions about how the war would impact Russia. While Putin was mounting his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, his top propagandists were tilling the soil of public opinion, assuring everyday citizens that the war would be quick and relatively painless. In January, TASS published commentary by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who asserted that Russia isn’t afraid of sanctions because “We are quite big and quite self-sufficient to be harmed by these sanctions." He claimed that sanctions were even beneficial for the Russian economy: “To some extent we are trying to take advantage of them in terms of developing our domestic economy, our domestic production.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Trump’s Biggest Candidate Bet Was a Bust
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/GettyDonald Trump rarely gives money to candidates. So it was notable this year when he put more than $3.1 million into two PACs backing former GOP Sen. David Perdue’s gubernatorial bid in Georgia.That was a bet that didn’t pay off.Perdue flamed out, losing to Gov. Brian Kemp in Tuesday’s Republican primary by a spectacular 50 points. And now he’s more than $3 million lighter.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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This 70-Year-Old Naval Technology Could Pave a Path for a Nuclear Energy Revolution
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/NuScale/GettyToiling in a Pittsburgh suburb, a Nigerian-born engineer just might hold the key to decarbonization by using an energy source that’s long been maligned and misunderstood: nuclear power.Dr. Sola Talabi is an assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Pittsburgh and a senior consultant at Pittsburgh Technical, an advisory firm that provides risk management services to the nuclear energy industry. He’s an expert in advanced small modular reactors (SMR), mini-nuclear plants ranging in size from tens to hundreds of megawatts (MWe).Like a large reactor, SMRs generate electricity through nuclear fission. In their core, neutrons collide with fuel atoms—usually uranium—splitting them apart. As the atoms split, they release more neutrons, which split more atoms in a sustained chain reaction, and energy. The energy is transferred to a circulating coolant, usually water, causing its temperature to rise. The heated coolant then passes through a heat exchanger, producing steam that drives an electrical turbine and creating usable energy.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Kristen Chenoweth Makes the Murder of Three Girl Scouts All About Her in ‘Keeper of the Ashes’
ABC/HuluKristin Chenoweth has absolutely nothing to do with the June 13, 1977, murders of three Oklahoma Girl Scouts—8-year-old Lori Lee Farmer, 9-year-old Michele Heather Guse and 10-year-old Denise Milner—except for the fact that she might have been with them that summer at Camp Scout if not for an illness. Nonetheless, the Wicked actress does her damnedest to make herself the center of Keeper of the Ashes, a four-part Hulu docuseries (out now) that routinely interjects its headliner into a story that doesn’t involve her in any meaningful way. Chenoweth’s presence is awkward to the point of tasteless, and it does much to undercut this true-crime affair, which is further undone by a dogged desire to distend its material to the breaking point.Produced by ABC News Studios, Keeper of the Ashes is another non-fiction TV venture that could have been halved without suffering any appreciable loss, beginning with Chenoweth and extending to a bevy of melodramatic slow-motion sequences and various interviews that rehash the same token talking points in slightly different fashion. This is a shame, given that there’s a real mystery at the heart of director Remy Weber’s series: that of the 1977 slaying of Lori, Denise, and Michele, three girls who shared a bunk at Camp Scout. On the evening in question, a torrential storm sent all of the campers straight from the dining hall to their quarters. In the middle of the night, counselor Carla Wilhite heard strange noises nearby and checked them out, but she couldn’t determine their source. The next morning, however, she made a grisly discovery: at the foot of a tree lay Denise, who’d been raped and strangled. In sleeping bags beside her were Lori and Michele, both victims of a fatal bludgeoning.Cops quickly descended on the scene, encountering a horror show the likes of which few had ever seen. The three girls had been brutalized both at the site where they were found and inside their cabin, which was covered in blood. Worse, there was little concrete evidence pointing detectives in any productive direction. The camp’s female counselors were ruled out as suspects, as were nearby neighbors, and a flashlight left behind by the perpetrator—its bulb covered by a taped-on garbage bag, save for a pinprick-sized hole—was difficult to trace. Shortly thereafter, though, Sheriff Pete Weaver and his men got a break when they investigated a collection of nearby mountainside caves, one of which was actually an abandoned cellar, and retrieved items that could be tied to a familiar face: Gene Leroy Hart.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Jimmy Kimmel Breaks Down in Emotional Reaction to Texas Shooting: ‘This Is Now Our Fault’
ABCWhen comedian John Mulaney co-guest-hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live! just last week, he joked that unlike the titular host he wasn’t going to “​​ruin the show by suddenly crying in the monologue.”It’s true that Jimmy Kimmel has developed a reputation for getting emotional during what is ostensibly supposed to be a comedy show. But it’s always been for good reason, whether it was after his infant son almost died or following horrific mass shootings in his hometown of Las Vegas and a high school in Parkland, Florida.And as he said to an empty theater before his show began on Wednesday night, “​​Here we are again on another day of mourning in this country.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Seth Meyers Attacks ‘Depraved’ Ted Cruz and Sean Hannity Over Uvalde Mass Shooting Response
NBCOn Wednesday, Late Night host Seth Meyers addressed the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where an 18-year-old—wielding a handgun and an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle with high-capacity magazines—entered Robb Elementary School and opened fire, killing 19 schoolchildren and two adults. Meyers was critical of congressional Republicans (and honorary Republican Joe Manchin) for spouting the same usual excuses in the wake of the tragedy, the 27th school shooting this year, instead of addressing the glaring lack of gun control in America.“This is the same Senate that moved with the speed of a Saturn V rocket to give Supreme Court justices more security when some people were picketing outside their homes, so that should give you a sense of their priorities,” he said. “When they do want to protect someone, they’re capable of doing it quickly.”’He continued: “And while the Manchins and Mitch McConnells of the world are offering their empty words and refusing to take action, the most depraved people in our politics are suggesting that instead of doing the obvious thing that many other countries have done successfully, which is to simply pass laws regulating the number of guns in the country and the ability to easily get them, we should instead arm teachers and essentially turn schools into fortified military bases.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
Ted Cruz Condemns ‘Political Posturing’ While Blaming Doors for Gun Massacre
Fox NewsSen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Wednesday criticized “political posturing” in the wake of the killing of 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school. The Texas senator, to whom gun rights groups have given more than $442,000, then proceeded to talk not about legislation that would crack down on firearms but rather about a bill to “harden schools.”Asked about the massacre by Fox News host Jesse Watters, Cruz, speaking from near the site of the shooting, acknowledged that “we need to do something.” But he then immediately poured cold water on common-sense gun reform measures. In a comment similar to many others that have been voiced on Fox airwaves in the last day, Cruz added: “But the something is not the empty political posturing of people like Beto O’Rourke who shows up and tries to turn it into a political event instead of a briefing with the police about a horrific mass murder that just happened.”On Wednesday, O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor, interrupted a press conference on the shooting held by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.Read more at The Daily Beast.
Mr. Taylor Swift and Margaret Qualley Have Lots of Sex in ‘The Stars at Noon.’ If Only They Had Any Chemistry.
A24Even the best film directors need good actors. Claire Denis has worked with an informal troupe of actors who recur in her films throughout her career, like Gregoire Colin and Alex Descas, and has also had more starry lead actors this century, from Vincent Lindon in Bastards and Isabelle Huppert in White Material to Juliette Binoche in Let the Sunshine In. These are performers who have the mettle and experience to anchor a film, and the acting smarts to work with Denis’s tricksy dialogue and elliptical filmmaking. Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn lead The Stars at Noon as two lovers caught up in political intrigue in Nicaragua, and it is unfortunately a glaring flaw here that they are unable to carry the film. Both are miscast, both lack chemistry, and neither of them has a very fun time with the dialogue. It seems from early reactions in Cannes that Joe Alwyn’s reading of the line, “suck me” is destined to become legendary, but I would suggest that Qualley’s take on the line, “I’m fond of eggs” should be the real cult quip here.Qualley plays Trish Johnson, a young journalist who has become stuck in a politically feverish Nicaragua for one reason or another and finds herself unable to make money to fly back; her passport has also been confiscated. Here, she resorts to sex work to get by, and has become terribly jaded already by the time we meet her. It befalls her one day that she bumps into Daniel (Alwyn), a shady young Englishman on some sort of mission to the country who appears to be an operative of some sort, and who is constantly tailed by secret agents. The pair embark on a heady sexual affair. Trish and Daniel soon run into trouble—well, not quite soon enough, considering the film is 2.5 hours long—and are forced to resort to desperate measures to outrun their pursuers. The Stars at Noon is two films rolled into one, of which one is particularly unsuccessful and the other not quite as unsuccessful, but still not successful. There is a prominent romance storyline, featuring a fair few sex scenes in sweaty Nicaraguan hotels, and the couple slow-dancing in abandoned cocktail bars; and there is political intrigue, with various mysterious agents cropping up and being vaguely threatening. The latter aspect is not handled well: there is a lack of clarity in Denis’s storytelling, and the film suffers from not having the sort of ambiguous, far-reaching politics of a project such as Bastards, where Denis brilliantly dissected the ills that connect us all.Read more at The Daily Beast.
Daniel Defense—the Maker of the Uvalde Shooter’s ‘Perfect Rifle’—Abruptly Exits the NRA Convention
LUCAS JACKSONOn a Memorial Day weekend when we honor those who died in service to our country, the company that manufactured a weapon of war used to kill 19 children and two adults in a Texas elementary school had planned to hawk its wares at the gun industry’s annual collective disgrace.But in the aftermath of Tuesday’s slaughter in Uvalde, Daniel Defense, is no longer slated to join all the other profiteers of violent death at this weekend’s NRA convention in Houston.Up until Wednesday afternoon,the company was to have occupied Booth 4839, conveniently close to the cafe at the George R. Brown Convention Center, amid what the NRA terms “14 acres of guns and gear.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
Elon Musk Ditches Tesla-Backed Loans As Part of His Twitter Takeover
Dimitrios KambourisElon Musk will no longer use loans backed by Tesla stock as part of his Twitter takeover, instead adding $6.25 billion of personal funding toward the $44 billion deal, according to a new filing with the SEC submitted on Tuesday.Musk’s original proposal included a $12.5 billion margin loan—with his Tesla shares acting as collateral—a decision that looked increasingly precarious as the electric carmaker’s stock started to tank. He later reduced the loan amount by half before eliminating the remaining balance this week.Tesla shares have plummeted close to 40 percent over the past six months amid a broader tech downturn, including a 25 percent fall-off over the last month alone.Read more at The Daily Beast.
There’s a Right Way and Wrong Way to Do Police Reform
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty Joe Biden has been spoiling for a fight on police reform for some time.A few days after George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020, by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, Biden—who was then running for president—addressed the nation.He called for police reform— including a ban on chokeholds, the establishment of rules for use of force, and a review of the hiring, training, and de-escalation practices of every police department in the country.Read more at The Daily Beast.
The Best Memorial Day Mattress Sales to Save Your Aching Back
Scouted/The Daily Beast/iStock.Picking the right time to buy a new mattress can be tricky. Your mattress—and your body—will usually clue you in when you need an upgrade, but this is admittedly a big investment. So, you convince yourself you can hang on a little longer, waiting for prices to drop. Well, the time to buy is now. There are a ton of Memorial Day mattress sales out there just waiting to make your 2022 more comfortable.All the big-name mattress companies are offering up discounts of up to 20 percent off, which translates to hundreds of dollars in savings. With that level of savings, you can buy luxe bedding to kit out your new mattress, too.Shopping for a new mattress involves a lot of research and time, and it’s even more overwhelming to try to figure out where you can score the best savings on the type of mattress you’re looking for. But you don’t want to sit on this. Regularly sleeping on an old mattress can exacerbate or even cause back and neck pain—and that’s not something you need to deal with right now. With that in mind, these are some of the biggest and best Memorial Day mattress sales of 2022.Read more at The Daily Beast.
CNN Anchor Confronts Texas Republican: Why Do You Protect Embryos but Not Children?
CNNCNN anchor Alisyn Camerota on Wednesday confronted a Texas Republican lawmaker over inaction on gun violence, directly asking him why the state’s legislature seemingly puts more vigor toward stripping women’s access to abortion than it does in protecting schoolchildren.“What we want to know is what your solution is,” Camerota asked state Rep. James White while standing in front of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students were killed on Tuesday. “We’ve all seen how quickly and creatively Texas—your local legislature—can act when it wants to, say, protect the unborn embryo. Why not act with that alacrity to protect living, breathing 10-year-olds in this school behind me?”White, a state lawmaker for 12 years who recently lost a primary bid for Texas agriculture commissioner, responded: “We have this thing called the Constitution.” He then pivoted to pointing a finger at the mental-health issues, despite Texas Gov. Greg Abbott admitting that the shooter, Salvator Ramos, was not suffering from any known mental health issues.Read more at The Daily Beast.
Lumin’s Men’s Skincare Set is Exactly What You Need to Start Your Anti-Aging Routine
Scouted/The Daily Beast/LuminTaking care of your skin is probably the most important thing you can do to keep wrinkles and crow’s feet away, yet basically, every man I know (including me) doesn’t do. Up until very recently, my definition of taking care of my skin was washing my face with soap and water and calling it a day. After talking to just about anyone with a modicum of care for their face, I learned very quickly that washing your face with soap and water does not count as skincare. I think for a lot of men, this is probably something we are slowly coming to realize, particularly as we start getting older.So, in order to prevent the slow decline of my face and youthful beauty, I tried out the Lumin Skincare Set and I will never go back. Lumin is a skincare brand that focuses on getting men to actually take care of their skin with products tailored for them. The Complete Skincare Gift Set comes with a Charcoal Cleanser, Ultra-Hydrating Moisturizing Balm, Exfoliating Rub, Dark Circle Defense, After-Hours Recovery Oil and Anti-Wrinkle Serum.I start my new routine with the Exfoliating Rub, which will literally begin to ball up once it begins to trap dead skin and open up my pores. This happened embarrassingly quick the first few uses but began making a noticeable difference over time. My skin is smoother and legitimately softer to the touch. Following this, I used the Charcoal Cleanser which is arguably the most vital product in the Lumin product line. The Charcoal Cleanser not only works to repair damaged skin cells and clean away grime, but the product also smells and feels amazing to use. With a very light scent and smooth texture, rubbing down my face with this every day is genuinely my favorite part of getting ready to go to sleep.Read more at The Daily Beast.
Move Over, Dyson—LG’s Air Purifying Fan Is Powerful & Gorgeous
Scouted/The Daily Beast/LG.Now that allergy season is officially upon us, having a solid air purifier is a must. Of course, with eleven pets, I rely on my air purifiers to work their air-cleansing magical powers year-round, but most of the effective air purifiers I’ve found are kind of an eyesore. Dyson is known for their aesthetically-pleasing air purifiers and fans, but there’s a new hybrid model on in the game that not only isn’t downright ugly, but it looks like a piece of art (yes, really.) LG’s PuriCare AeroTower Air Purifying Fan with True HEPA and UVnano is my dream purifier-fan hybrid for a number of reasons—not just its good looks. Engineered with LG's exclusive UVnano™ LED technology and an advanced True HEPA filter, the AeroTower is not only able to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria on fan blades, but it also eliminates 99.97 percent of fine dust and allergens too. When I tell you that this thing has saved me during this extra evil allergy season, I’m not even exaggerating in the slightest. In fact, when I visited my sister last week, my allergies went haywire thanks to the absence of my beloved AeroTower. The ultra-quiet component fan is equipped with ten different settings (including oscillation settings) to keep you cool and comfortable and three customizable airflow settings: diffused, direct, and wide. Perhaps most importantly, the AeroTower is able to purify the air in rooms of almost any size up to 818 sq. ft. Read more at The Daily Beast.
‘How to Murder Your Husband’ Author Guilty of Hubby’s Slay
Dave Killen/APA Multnomah County jury took about 24 hours to decide the fate of Oregon romance novelist Nancy Crampton Brophy, who has for the past five weeks stood trial to face charges that she murdered her chef husband in cold blood.The verdict: guilty of second degree murder.The unanimous decision by the 12-person jury comes after 26 days in court and after four years of suspense for the family of 62-year-old Dan Brophy, a beloved chef and instructor at the Oregon Culinary Institute. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here
NASA’s InSight Lander Takes One Last Dusty Selfie Before It Shuts Down for Good
NASA/JPL-CaltechOne of NASA’s Mars robots has taken one last selfie as it powers down for good.The agency released a photo of the InSight lander covered in red Martian dust on Monday, along with an announcement that the robot’s arms will soon be placed in a “retirement pose” as it begins to shut down operations for good, according to a press release. Since its solar panels are covered in dust, it produces less power. As such, it won’t be able to perform its usual functions over the coming months.When compared to its first selfie taken on December 6, 2018, you can really see the difference a few years on Mars without a vacuum can do to a lander.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here
Stop Denying That Mass Shooters Can Be Mentally Ill
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/GettyI have no idea if Salvador Ramos, the 18-year-old gunman who murdered at least nineteen students and two teachers on Tuesday, suffered from a mental illness. But I know I reject the certainty that Ramos didn’t have such an illness, which many have already expressed. This is perhaps epitomized by Media Matters for America’s Matt Gertz calling mental health talk a “cynical dodge.” This reflexive insistence that mental illness was not at play is wrong, and potentially destructive.In the immediate aftermath of these tragedies, everyone scrambles to take their partisan places. The by-now familiar habit is to rush to discover the shooter’s race and religion, the better to fit the story into a trite political narrative. For example, if the killer is white, then liberals can shout about white supremacy; if Muslim, then conservatives can rant about radical Islam. Ramos, inconveniently for knee-jerk political tribalists, was Hispanic, and thus does not so easily fit into these prefabricated arguments.But when a major national story explodes online, you can be sure that people will quickly find some battlements to man and some culture war to wage. Mental health has quickly become such a battleground—in particular, concerning the certitude held by some over what mental illness supposedly can’t do.Read more at The Daily Beast.
GOP Senators Ask Top Potential Gun Regulator to Reduce Gun Regulations
Drew AngererLess than 24 hours after the deadliest mass shooting at an elementary school in nearly a decade, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the government agency responsible for regulating firearms appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, representing perhaps the administration’s best remaining chance to further its goals on gun control.But the confirmation hearing of Steve Dettelbach to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives revealed that even in the shadow of a massacre that claimed the lives of 19 young children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, the unified Republican opposition to firearm restrictions that sank the previous nominee has not abated.“You've called for every type of gun control,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) told Dettelbach at the top of his hearing on Wednesday morning, before requesting that he disavow the actions of gun control groups who “play on the emotions of those whose lives have been ripped apart by a tragic shooting.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
‘The Silent Twins’ Is a Stunning Fantasy About Twin Black Girls Trapped in Their Own World
Cannes Film FestivalAgnieszka Smoczyńska, granted the chance of a far bigger budget for her English debut after two well-received features in her native Poland, throws absolutely everything in her toolkit at The Silent Twins. In this feature relating the true story of the Gibbons twins, June and Jennifer, with Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance in the main roles, Smoczyńska chucks in stop-motion animation, a dream sequence featuring synchronized swimmers and Princess Diana lookalikes, a dance sequence, an opening credits sequence read out by two of her actors, songs sung by the cast that tell the story (!), and, on top of this, a relentlessly bustling aesthetic, all upside down cameras, woozy-glassy effects, throbbing colors, stylized decors, and costumes so hyper-designed as to make Wes Anderson blush. It’s to the director’s immense credit that so much of this sheer directorial effort hits home.June and Jennifer Gibbons, whose story is told over the course of about 20 years between the ‘70s and the early ‘90s, were twins who in their early years appeared bound by an extraordinary unspoken connection—very much unspoken, in fact, since the two girls were in the habit of speaking only to each other, in the little bedroom they shared. There, they built up an extraordinary world—a universe of outsider art, in effect—where they wrote stories and poems, collected images, and generally seemed to inhabit an inner sanctum cut away from society. In its early stretches, the girls are played by newcomers Eva-Arianna Baxter and Leah Mondesir-Simmonds with remarkable intensity, introducing us to the disquieting, mysterious bond between the sisters, and subtly delineating the differences between the quieter June and the more outgoing Jennifer.This world is richly depicted (perhaps in part because Marjorie Wallace, on whose book the film is based, acts as a producer here), figuring a supportive family unit with immigrant roots, a series of schools and advisers trying to get through to these strange girls, and, especially, the fantasy land they create together, using beautiful, bristling animation and voice-over from the girls. Smoczyńska’s set director works overtime to create detailed interiors of schools, police stations, the family living room, and the secretive bedroom: the director films these with a real eye for color and composition, making gorgeous use of the pairing of the twins to create evocative tableaux. Seeing the two girls filmed from above, shuffling in lockstep as they walk diagonally through a snowy playground toward the forbidding front door of a new school, is to understand the utter dislocation of these two Black girls in Wales, the sense of awe and otherworldliness that their relationship must have inspired, and the solace that each other’s companionship must have brought.Read more at The Daily Beast.
Putin Pulls Shameless Hospital PR Stunt as His Troops Drop Like Flies
Twitter/Kremlin PoolRussian President Vladimir Putin visited a Russian hospital Wednesday to meet with soldiers that have been injured in the war in Ukraine, in what is believed to be the first time he has met with wounded service members since launching the war in Ukraine over three months ago.Putin, accompanied by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, met with several soldiers and shook their hands Wednesday, according to footage released from the Kremlin pool.In his visit Wednesday, Putin didn’t make it anywhere close to the carnage or the war—the hospital he visited for his photoshoot is in Moscow, according to a release from the Kremlin.Read more at The Daily Beast.
Beto O’Rourke Confronts Gov. Abbott, Gets Ejected From Texas Shooting Presser
CNNTexas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke disrupted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s press conference on the Uvalde school shooting on Wednesday, prompting Republicans alongside Abbott to shout down O’Rourke and call him a “sick son of a bitch.”As members of the audience shouted “go home,” attendees of the presser could be heard yelling “you are out of line” to O’Rourke as he walked up to the stage to confront the governor.This is a developing story...Read more at The Daily Beast.
Uvalde 4th Grader Didn’t Want to Go to School on Tuesday. She Died Next to Her Cousin.
Courtesy of Linda GonzalesThe morning of the shooting at Texas’ Robb Elementary School, fourth-grader Jailah Silguero had asked her mother if she could stay home.But with just two days left in the school year, her mom insisted she go to class. “Jailah didn’t want to go to school yesterday,” her grandmother Linda Gonzales told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “That’s what her momma was really upset about last night: ‘If only I had let her stay home.’”“The girl was disappointed,” Gonzales added, “She wanted to stay home with momma.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
ESPN Host Absolutely Torches GOP Over Texas School Shooting: ‘Wake Up!’
ESPNESPN personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on Wednesday morning absolutely tore into Republicans after the horrific Uvalde school massacre, calling on them to “shape up, wake up and do something” and blasting them for standing in the way of gun-control legislation.Following Tuesday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary that left at least 19 schoolchildren dead, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr furiously pleaded with GOP leaders to enact a universal background check. “They won’t vote on it because they want to hold onto their own power. It’s pathetic! I’ve had enough,” Kerr shouted before storming out of a pre-game press conference.And during Wednesday morning’s broadcast of ESPN talk show First Take, an outraged Russo followed up that anger with his own impassioned, take-no-prisoners rant.Read more at The Daily Beast.