“I saw more eagles than UFOs,” John Podesta joked.
The former chief of staff to Bill Clinton and veteran of the Obama White House had just returned from a trip to Alaska and, speaking with me from California last Friday, shared his thoughts on the highly anticipated government report on unidentified flying objects, set to be released later this week.
Over the past few decades, Podesta has emerged as one of the most prominent public figures goading the Pentagon to disclose information on UFOs—or, in official channel parlance, “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAP). In his view the report’s expected release marks a sea change in not only public sentiment, but political posturing around the issue.
“There’s always been tremendous public interest in this, but it was kind of pushed to the fringe. People were viewed as a little bit goofy if they wanted to raise the topic,” he explained. “Now I think that’s changed.”
Trump wasn’t able to steal the 2020 election because enough state and local officials held firm against his anti-democracy efforts—but what happens if the ex-president’s allies nab key roles in future contests?
Donald Trump put United States democracy through a grueling stress test in the last election, forcing Americans to consider all sorts of chilling “what if” questions and underscoring how little a process that relies heavily on the honor system can constrain someone who has none.
It’s tempting to view the fact that the country passed—Trump eventually did leave office and Joe Biden took his place—as a testament to the strength of our institutions. To some extent, it was.
But the fate of those institutions depends on the people who comprise them, and it’s possible they could have fared worse were it not for several key officials who resisted Trump’s demands. Indeed, what would have happened to Biden’s victory in Georgia had Brad Raffensperger, a pro-Trump conservative, not stood his ground and declined to “find” 12,000 votes for the incumbent?
What if election officials in places like Pennsylvania and Arizona hadn’t won out over the will of Trump and GOP state legislators, who insisted, without basis, that the vote had been marred by fraud? Could Trump’s relentless attempt to undo his loss have worked?
If you haven’t been keeping up with the legal affairs of Donald Trump of late, what you should know is that the guy is very likely f–ked.
With the ex-president facing no fewer than 29 lawsuits and three criminal investigations, his tax returns are currently in the hands of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., whose team is also working to flip the Trump Organization employee who knows where all the bodies are buried and has both (1) cooperated with prosecutors in the past and (2) made some rather interesting comments about the company’s legal dealings.
At the same time Rudy Giuliani had his home and office raided by the feds last week, a turn of events that former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara has said is very, very bad news for the NYC mayor turned Trump lawyer/cautionary tale.
All of which reportedly has the rest of the 45th president’s inner circle extremely concerned about their own legal exposure.
The Crawleys know just what you want for Christmas this year: a Downton Abbey sequel.
On Monday, Focus Features announced that Downton Abbey 2 will waltz into theaters on December 22, 2021. The film will once more reunite the principal cast of the beloved BBC series and also add new cast members Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, and The Crown’s reported future Prince Charles, Dominic West.
The follow-up to the 2019 Downton Abbey film will feature a script from Oscar-winning Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and will be directed by Simon Curtis. Emmy-winning producers Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge have returned to produce the film, which reportedly began production last week.
It glittered like a cursed diamond sculpted and set in a gold band of pristine beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A vision of one man’s utopia. A marker to guide planes and ships from miles away. A hurricane shelter during a once-in-a generation storm. A movie star hangout. A gambling den (allegedly). A military lookout during World War II when rumors of German U-boats cruising off the coast surfaced more than the enemy did. It was the Ocean Forest Hotel, a spare-no-expenses resort built halfway between New York City and Miami Beach to bring in the rich and famous and anyone who wanted to hobnob with them. In the tradition of ideas destined to become a marvelous success, it was a heartbreaking failure—transformed finally into a fading memory by a few sticks of dynamite.
The Ocean Forest Hotel was many things to many people over the span of its short life, but before it was anything—before it got blown up—it was the dream of one John T. Woodside. Imagine it is 1926, and a linen-suited, cigar-smoking, youngish millionaire aspires Gatsby-esque to the Champagne high life that may have eluded him and his wealth in the rural South. Imagine him a textile magnate turned banker turned hotelier turned real estate mogul turned full-time dreamer of big-time dreams.
Illustrations by Shawn Martinbrough; Coloring by Christopher Sotomayor.
“Impossible,” said David Ward. The London Metropolitan Police constable looked up.
Some 50 feet above him, he saw that someone had carved a gaping hole through a skylight. Standing in the Frontier Forwarding warehouse in Feltham, West London, he could hear the howl of jets from neighboring Heathrow Airport as they roared overhead.
At Ward’s feet lay three open trunks, heavy-duty steel cases. They were empty. A few books lay strewn about. Those trunks had previously been full of books. Not just any books. The missing ones, 240 in all, included early versions of some of the most significant printed works of European history.