April 2023

29 April:

Tonight is the White House Correspondents Association dinner, or “Nerd Prom”. I wonder what they’ll find to talk about…


You can watch live on C-Span here.


28 April:

Amid a new round of deadly missile attacks on Ukrainian cities, including in the capital Kyiv, pressure continues to grow for further military supplies ahead of an expected Ukrainian counter-offensive.

A jury is now deliberating in the seditious conspiracy trial of members of the Proud Boys, whose lawyers appear to be falling back on blaming Donald Trump for their participation in the Jan 6th insurrection.


27 April:

Just as the ceasefire in Sudan appeared to be unravelling, with renewed fighting in the city of Khartoum, the sides unexpectedly agreed an extension for a further 72 hours. Meanwhile, the WHO had warned about potential dangers if a biolab facility should be targeted.

As former President Donald Trump campaigned in New Hampshire – avoiding his New York rape trial – his former VP appeared before the Special Counsel’s grand jury in the January 6th investigation.

Meanwhile in West Virginia…


26 April:

Disney announced it was suing Florida Gov Ron DeSantis, accusing the potential GOP presidential candidate of “a targeted campaign of government retaliation.”


As public trust in the Supreme Court continues to decline faster than most other institutions, the Chief Justice circles the wagons amid recent revelations around his colleagues’ ethics.

And we got a preview of one of the likely GOP attack lines for the Presidential campaign.


25 April:

Four years to the day from when he entered the 2020 presidential race, President Biden confirmed that he will seek re-election.

Singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte died at the age of 96.


24 April:

Tucker Carlson is out at Fox News, apparently by mutual consent. It remains to be seen what impact the move might have on the network’s audience.

In – sort of – otherish news, CNN host Don Lemon finds himself similarly unemployed.

The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner – Washington’s annual “Nerd Prom – should make for fun viewing on Saturday night.

Host Roy Wood Jr has been re-writing his material…


22 April:

The US and other countries have begun evacuating their diplomats and embassy staff from the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

It has emerged that the extent of leaks of classified information by Air National Guardsman Jack Teixiera is more extensive than originally realised.


21 April:

As its self-imposed deadline approached, the Supreme Court decided to leave national access to a widely-used abortion pill unchanged for now, pending an appeal. The medication, Mifepristone, remains legal in states where it is currently legal. Justices Thomas and Alito dissented.

After BuzzFeed shut down its news division with the loss of sixty jobs, speculation turns to other vulnerable players in the digital content sector. Peter Kafka writes at Vox:

“The advertising market is very soft right now, but even when it comes back, trendlines will still be in favor of Google and Meta and against anyone who doesn’t have that mega-scale. Meanwhile, subscription businesses — touted by many people over the last few years as the antidote to the limits of the ad model — have their own inherent limits: Most obviously, everyone now wants consumers to pay for subscriptions, and they are only going to pay for a limited number of them.”

The Oakland As appear to have taken a major step towards relocation to Las Vegas.

My friend Michael Avila grew up going to games at the Oakland Coliseum – before and after Mt Davis. He recounts those early memories in his Q&A:


20 April:

SpaceX’s Starship space vehicle – the most powerful rocket ever built – exploded a few minutes into its initial flight after the stages failed to separate. In a statement, SpaceX famously described the incident as a “rapid, unscheduled disassembly.”

On the 24th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, a heavily-armed country is coming to terms with the latest spate of individual shootings driven by fear, anger and “mistakes”…

As the situation in Sudan worsens, US forces appear to be preparing for a possible emergency mission to evacuate staff from the US embassy in Khartoum.


April 18:

Update: Before the trial was set to begin, Fox and Dominion announced they had reached a settlement, with Fox agreeing to pay roughly half of the sum Dominion had sought, but apparently not being required to publicly apologise in any way.

It somehow seems hard right now to argue that such a settlement is good for anyone except the two parties.

Earlier: There appears to be no settlement, last-minute or otherwise – which might actually have been a tempting option for Dominion’s private equity owners.

So, here we go, I guess…

And yet…

Yes, the GOP’s field trip/pantomime in New York yesterday was another expensive political stunt. But since it was top of the news this morning they’ll likely see it as mission accomplished.

Another stunt on the NYC jamboree was House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s largely pointless appearance at the Stock Exchange. (I say “largely” because the message it did send was one of his party’s priorities, so again – sort of – mission accomplished.)

Meanwhile in Moscow…


17 April:

The hugely significant Fox News-Dominion Voting Systems defamation trial, which was due to open today in a court in Delaware, has been delayed until tomorrow amid talk of a possible last-minute settlement.

It’s not good news generally for the Murdochs…

With Congress set to reconvene today, Republican members of the House are on a road trip to New York City, with Jim Jordan’s Judiciary committee holding a hearing aimed at undermining Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg and his case against former President Trump.


16 April:

Dadeville, Alabama became the latest community devastated by a mass shooting, when at least four people were killed and several injured at a birthday party on Saturday night.

The shooting came on a weekend that saw the NRA gather for its annual convention, this time in Indianapolis, featuring addresses by former President Donald Trump and other leading GOP figures.


15 April:

15 April 1947 was obviously a pivotal moment for both baseball and wider American society.

40 years ago this week saw another significant landmark, with the election of Harold Washington as Chicago’s first Black mayor. My friend John Wesley Fountain remembered those times, and his own love of baseball, in a recent Q&A for States of Play.

It’s worth a read.


14 April:

As you’d expect after the arrest of a young Air National Guardsman in connection with the alleged leak of intelligence documents, there’s more speculation than hard facts for now; but, as always, plenty of questions to be answered.

For now, though, maybe the Washington Post needs to think about its definition of “patriotism”…

In Florida, potential 2024 GOP candidate Gov Ron DeSantis signed a measure further restricting abortion in his state. While the move might help him in a Republican primary, making the third-rail issue even more of a flashpoint for the upcoming electoral cycle may backfire in a national context. Abortion is now fully or mostly prohibited in 14 states.

While Florida’s politics may be currently trending increasingly extreme, the Tampa Bay Rays are offering Floridians a distracting beam of light. By beating the Red Sox last night to start the season 13-0, the Rays tied the 1987 Brewers and the 1982 Braves for the best opening in the modern era.


13 April:

Not sure how many times we can write some variant of “the legal walls are closing in on the former President…” but you can’t help but get the feeling this time is for real. We’ll see.

Oh, and, Fox too…

Meanwhile, the second of two Black lawmakers expelled by the Tennessee House of Representatives last week over a protest against gun violence was re-instated to the chamber today.


12 April:

With the New York DA’s hush money case against the former President set to drag out away from the media circus over coming months, another investigation appears to be intensifying.

And the only thing this probably indicates is exactly how scared the former President is of his former lawyer’s testimony.

Meanwhile, the actual President is in his ancestral home tonight.

On April 12, 1861, the Civil War began when Confederate “President” Jefferson Davis ordered his batteries to attack Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The US Army garrison stationed there surrendered the next day.

The first casualty of the Civil War was a US Army soldier – and famine refugee originally from Tipperary – called Daniel Hough, who was killed when a gun salute by the surrendered Union forces went off prematurely. He was the first of more than 600,000 soldiers to die on both sides before the war ended with the secessionists’ defeat and surrender four years later.

In seven Southern states, April is still marked as “Confederate Heritage Month”. Not really much of a heritage, is it?

Down with the traitors! Up with the Stars!


11 April:

A leak of apparently classified US intelligence documents has the Pentagon scambling to figure out the full story and what it might mean for both the war in Ukraine – one revelation is that Egypt was planning to supply rockets to Russia – and for US relations with allies aorund the world.


10 April:

On the 100th day of 2023, a fatal shooting at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky killed five people and left several in hospital, taking the total number of mass shooting events in the US this year to more than 140.

Overseas, tensions are rising – again – between the US and China over Taiwan, with some US politicians floating the idea of sending troops to the disputed island. Meanwhile, French President Macron rattled some cages on his way back from a visit to Beijing.

Meanwhile, this can’t be good…



9 April:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he would move to pardon a man found guilty of murdering an armed protester at a Black Lives Matter march in Austin three years ago.


6 April:

The Tennessee state legislature voted to expel two black Democratic members for taking part in a gun control protest on the House floor last week, joining protesters in the public gallery who were marking the recent school shooting in Nashville.

A third Democrat – a white woman – who had also joined the protest was spared after Republicans were unable to win a two-thirds majority for her expulsion.

Calls are growing for a response to reporting by ProPublica that Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife had profited from a relationship with a GOP donor.


5 April:

In a hugely significant run-off election to decide the balance of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the victory for Janet Protasiewicz gives Democrats control of the state’s highest court for the first time in 15 years. Her Republican opponent, Dan Kelly, meanwhile, imploded during his non-concession speech.

In Chicago, former schoolteacher and union organizer Brandon Johnson was elected Mayor.

Finally, the post-indictment grift is in full swing…. He wasn’t subjected to a mugshot, so his supporters did it for him. The next formal hearing isn’t scheduled until December. It’s going to be a long year.


4 April:

The circus comes to town. And the scene outside the court building was exactly the shitshow you might expect.

Inside, the former president entered a ‘not guilty’ plea to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

And of course, nothing changes…

In a geo-political seismic shift, meanwhile…


3 April:

In the story no-one is talking about today, Nashville area school students staged a walkout from classes one week after the Covenant School shooting that left three kids and three school staff dead. The protest came as Tennessee Gov Bill Lee (not the ‘Spaceman’, although…) proposed putting armed security guards at the remaining one-third of the state’s schools that don’t already have them.

Meanwhile, with New York City preparing for the arrival of the former president ahead of his expected arraignment tomorrow – he’s already planning to hold a press conference at Mar-a-Lago in the aftermath – the GOP leadership is coming to terms with how incrementally difficult it’s going to be for them to distance themselves from him after the *next* indictment comes down, even as public opinion appears to be heading in the other direction.

Meanwhile, as well a Mayoral run-off in Chicago, voters will go to the polls in Wisconsin, in what has been called one of the most significant judicial elections for many years…


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