WASHINGTON (AP) — Bruce Springsteen has a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a coveted Kennedy Center Honor. He has won multiple Grammys and Golden Globes, plus an Academy Award and a special Tony Award.
Springsteen will add to his collection of accolades on Tuesday when President Joe Biden honors “the Boss” with the 2021 National Medal of Arts. It’s the nation’s highest award for advancing the arts in America.
Springsteen, who has sold around 140 million albums, is among a dozen individuals and groups that Biden has chosen to honor with arts medals during a White House ceremony on Tuesday. First lady Jill Biden will also participate.
At the same event, Biden will award 2021 National Humanities Medals to a group including authors Amy Tan, Colson Whitehead and Ann Patchett. The medal honors individuals or groups for work that deepens understanding of the humanities.
The medals are Biden’s first batch of awards for the arts and humanities and were delayed by the pandemic. The president surprised Sir Elton John with a National Humanities Medal during a White House musical event last September.
Recipients of the 2021 National Medal of Arts:
— Judith Francisca Baca, artist.
— Fred Eychaner, businessman and philanthropist.
— Jose Feliciano, singer.
— Mindy Kaling, actress.
— Gladys Knight, singer.
— Julia Louis-Dreyfus, actor.
— Antonio Martorell-Cardona, painter.
—Joan Shigekawa, film producer.
— Bruce Springsteen:.
— Vera Wang:, fashion designer.
— The Billie Holiday Theatre.
— The International Association of Blacks in Dance.
Plan A changed after “Your Honor” set Showtime viewership records upon its December 2020 premiere, triggering a no-brainer second season, though it was hard to fathom where the series could go after the finality of Eugene Jones (Benjamin Flores Jr.) — seeking vengeance against Carlo Baxter (Jimi Stanton) for killing his older brother, Kofi, in prison — missing his target and shooting Adam Desiato (Hunter Doohan), who died in his father Michael’s arms.
That wrapped the Shakespearean storyline in poetic fashion, with Adam’s death karmic payback for accidentally killing Rocco Baxter, the son of New Orleans mobster Jimmy Baxter (Stuhlbarg) — setting into motion the resulting disastrous coverup orchestrated by Judge Michael Desiato (Cranston) … and its tragic conclusion.
Season 2 returned in January, and my trepidation was quickly quelled as the narrative arc branched in many directions a year after the events of Season 1.
Disgraced/disbarred Michael Desiato is sprung from prison by US Attorney Olivia Delmont (Rosie Perez) to infiltrate/take down the Baxters’ criminal enterprise, discovering he’s now a grandfather via Adam’s relationship with Fia Baxter (Lilli Kay) — Jimmy’s daughter.
Eugene escapes to Houston with the help of Little Mo (Keith Machekanyanga) and eventually returns to face the music; Jimmy and his vengeful wife, Gina (Davis), the daughter of old-school mobster Carlo Conti (Mark Margolis), hit the skids; Fia abandons her family and moves in, baby in tow, with Michael; drug lord Big Mo (Ward-Hammond) buys a club directly across the street from The Baxter House and experiences strife both personal and professional; and Michael’s best friend, Mayor Charlie Figaro (Whitlock Jr.), is pulled deeper into the original cover-up vis-à-vis surprising revelations.
“Your Honor” might have — and perhaps should have — ended its run with Sunday night’s finale, which included, among other didn’t-see-it-coming twists: Eugene vindicated and placed into the Witness Protection Program; Michael returning to prison; Big Mo selling her club to Gina Baxter and striking an uneasy alliance; and Fia, after all the soul-crushing lies she’s been fed, giving Rocco up for adoption (via her church) and fleeing New Orleans for parts unknown.
That tied up many loose ends … and here’s the “but” … the episode’s penultimate scene, more than any other plot twist, signaled there could be more “Your Honor” in our future.
The camera cuts to Jimmy, previously gunned down by Carlo Conti in the hallway of The Baxter House (a hit deviously arranged by Gina), lying on a hospital bed with a breathing tube down his throat.
Then his eyes suddenly open. He lives, somewhat unbelievably, considering the pools of blood surrounding him after he was shot.
That may be true, but the world of television is rife with spinoffs, including “Better Call Saul” from Cranston’s “Breaking Bad.” So who knows? Perhaps we’ll see a season devoted to the Baxter clan as Jimmy, out for revenge, squares off against Gina as their son, Carlo, chooses sides and Fia returns to New Orleans. Or not.
Suffice it to say that “Your Honor,” finished on a high note and checked all the boxes — and it’s always best to bow out on top.
In 2021, Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News. The company accused Fox personalities of repeatedly airing debunked election-fraud theories involving Dominion’s voting machines, which saw heavy use in the 2020 election. It’s notoriously difficult to win defamation cases in American courts; Dominion must prove that Fox News hosts knowingly disseminated falsehoods to their viewers. To that end, the company subpoenaed extensive internal text messages and emails from and between prominent names in the Fox News infrastructure, including Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Rupert Murdoch himself.
In the messages, all from the weeks after the election, the hosts discuss Donald Trump, Fox News’ dramatic Arizona call for Biden, and their own thoughts on 2020 election fraud — thoughts that often conflict with Fox’s public-facing coverage. In advance of a planned trial beginning next month, Delaware Superior Court judge Eric M. Davis hasbeen unsealing more of the missives every day. Here, some of the most striking ones so far:
On Fox News’ Arizona call: “We devote our lives to building an audience and they let Chris Wallace and Leland fucking Vittert wreck it,” Carlson texted in a group conversation with Ingraham and Sean Hannity roughly two weeks after the election. Vittert was a Fox News reporter who was frequently criticized by Trump, and he left the network in April 2021 for NewsNation.
On hating Trump: “I hate him passionately … What he’s good at is destroying things. He’s the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong,” Carlson texted a colleague on January 4, days prior to the riot at the U.S. Capitol. He added, “We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest. But come on. There really isn’t an upside to Trump.”
On the antics of Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood: “Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It’s insane,” Carlson texted Ingraham on November 18.
In a message from November 4, Carlson texted a colleague that there was “no doubt there was fraud” in the election. “But at this point, Trump and Lin and Powell have so discredited their own case, and the rest of us to some extent, that it’s infuriating. Absolutely enrages me.”
In a text on November 9, Tucker referenced Powell’s Dominion claims, commenting, “The software shit is absurd.” (Carlson then said on television that night, “We don’t know anything about the software that many say was rigged. We don’t know. We ought to find out.”)
On certain colleagues undermining the network: “We devote our lives to building an audience and they let Chris Wallace and Leland fucking Vittert wreck it,” Carlson texted to Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Both Wallace and Vittert, who sometimes appeared on Fox and Friends and other shows, have since left Fox News.
On Trump skipping Biden’s inauguration: “Hard to believe. So destructive,” he texted a staffer on November 10. “It’s disgusting. I’m trying to look away.”
On the prospect of ditching Trump coverage on Fox: Two days before the Capitol riot, Carlson wrote to a colleague that “we are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait.” The day after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, he texted his producer that “Trump has two weeks left. Once he’s out, he becomes incalculably less powerful, even in the minds of his supporters. He’s a demonic force, a destroyer. But he’s not going to destroy us. I’ve been thinking about this every day for four years.”
On Hannity and Ingraham’s on-air claims of election fraud: “Maybe Sean and Laura went too far,” Murdoch wrote the day after Biden’s inauguration in an email to Fox CEO Suzanne Scott. “All very well for Sean to tell you he was in despair about Trump … but what did he tell his viewers?”
On the infamous Rudy Giuliani press conference with the hair dye: “Stupid and damaging,” Murdoch wrote to a friend on November 19, the day of Giuliani’s meltdown. “The only one encouraging Trump and misleading him. Both increasingly mad.” Murdoch said he had heard that Trump was “apparently not sleeping and bouncing off walls” and that he worried about “what he might do as president.”
On calling the election for Biden: “I hate our Decision Desk people!” Murdoch emailed former New York Post editor Col Allan on the day the election was called. “And pollsters! Some of the same people I think. Just for the hell of it still praying for Az to prove them wrong!” Later that day, he emailed his son Lachlan, writing that Fox News “should and could” have called the election for Biden before any other network. “But at least being second saves us a Trump explosion!”
On pressure from Fox News executives: “We are officially working for an organization that hates us,” Ingraham texted Carlson and Hannity on November 16.
“Why would anyone defend that call?” Hannity asked in response, referring to the early decision to call Arizona for Joe Biden.
“I’m disgusted at this point,” replied Carlson.
“I think the three of us have enormous power,” Ingraham wrote. “We have more power than we know or exercise.”
On the Arizona call on Election Night: “Listen, it’s one of the sad realities: If we hadn’t called Arizona those three or four days following Election Day, our ratings would have been bigger,” Scott said in a Zoom meeting on November 16. “The mystery would have been still hanging out there.”
“Viewers going through the 5 stages of grief,” Scott texted Fox co-chair Lachlan Murdoch two days after the election. “It’s a question of trust — the AZ [call] was damaging but we will highlight our stars and plant flags letting the viewers know we hear them and respect them.”
On the mess inside Fox News: Sammon oversaw the Fox News Decision Desk on Election Night. He retired in January 2021 amid heated Republican criticism over the call that Biden would win Arizona.
“More than 20 minutes into our flagship evening news broadcast and we’re still focused solely on supposed election fraud — a month after the election,” Sammon texted editor Chris Stirewalt. “It’s remarkable how weak ratings makes good journalists do bad things.” Sammon added, “In my 22 years affiliated with Fox, this is the closest thing I’ve seen to an existential crisis — at least journalistically.”
On the fallout from election coverage: “What I see us doing is losing the silent majority of viewers as we chase the nuts off a cliff,” Stirewalt responded to Sammon’s texts. Stirewalt, who made the decision that Fox News would call Arizona for Biden on Election Night, was removed from his job in January 2021 for the controversial (but correct) choice.
On the difficulty of defending the Arizona call: “I know You guys are feeling the pressure,” Baier wrote to Fox News executives two days after the election. “But this situation is getting uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable … I keep on having to defend this on air. And ask questions about it. And it seems we are holding on for pride (I know the confidence you say you had and the numbers — but it’s at least within the realm of possible that he closes the gap now). And It’s hurting us. The sooner we pull it — even if it gives us major egg. And we put it back in his column. The better we are. In my opinion.”
On Rudy Giuliani During Giuliani’s infamous press conference during which hair dye ran down his face, Shah texted to an unnamed respondent or respondents: “This sounds SO FUCKING CRAZY btw.” When a deputy wrote back that Giuliani “looks awful,” Shah remarked, “he objectively looks like he was a dead person voting 2 weeks ago.”
After the press conference, a Fox News reporter appeared on the network and cast doubt on some of Giuliani’s claims. Shah then texted the deputy, “This is the kinda shitthat will kill us. We cover it wall to wall and then we burn that down with all the skepticism.”
On Fox News’ favorability rating dropping dramatically after the election In an internal message, Shah shared a survey with colleagues showing that the network’s brand was “under heavy fire from our customer base.” In a different email, he wrote, “We are not concerned with losing market share to CNN or MSNBC right now. Our concern is Newsmax and One America News Network … I’d like to get honest/deeper feedback from Fox viewers on the brand, the handling of the election, if they feel like they have been somehow betrayed by the network.”
On Sidney Powell: In another message to senior colleagues, Shah called Powell’s election-fraud claims “totally insane” and “just MIND BLOWINGLY NUTS.” Shah also told his bosses in a November 23, 2020 email that, “We encouraged several sources within the administration to tell reporters that Powell offered no evidence for her claims and didn’t speak for the president.”
On not wanting to acknowledge Biden’s win: “I want to see massive fraud exposed,” Bartiromo texted Steve Bannon a week after the election, adding that she instructed her team to hold off on referring to Biden as “president-elect” — “not in scripts or in banners on air. Until this moves through the courts.”
Homecoming celebrations are in order for Julianne Hough.
The 34-year-old entertainer is returning to her dancing roots as the newest co-host of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”
The “Grease Live!” star, 34, will be replacing Tyra Banks for season 32.
Alfonso Ribeiro is back as fellow co-host, while choreographers Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Julianne’s brother, Derek Hough, will also returning as judges for the reality competition series.
“It is such an honor to be rejoining ‘Dancing with the Stars’ as co-host,” Hough said in a statement to Variety.
“The show holds such a special place in my heart from the many years and different roles I have had the privilege of being a part of,” she added.
The Utah native’s first turn on “DWTS” was in 2007 when she starred not as one of the pro dancers who are paired with celebrity contestants.
She later emerged as the victor of seasons four and five while partnered with icons like Apolo Anton Ohno and Hélio Castroneves. Hough was also a guest judge in 2014 and in 2021.
“The incredible team that brings the ballroom to life every night has been my family for the past 17 years,” the “Burlesque” alum went on.
“I am so excited to reunite with Alfonso, Carrie Ann, Bruno, Derek, the unbelievably talented pros, and the amazing cast on the dance floor. The energy is magnetic every time you step foot in to the ballroom and I can’t wait to feel it again — and of course to share it all with the absolute best and most loyal fans — for another exciting season,” she gushed.
MILAN (AP) — Jeremy Scott is stepping down as creative director of Italian luxury house Moschino after 10 years of wild and wacky fashion shows and his elegant dressing of numerous celebrities.
The company made the announcement Monday.
“Scott has penned a fundamental chapter in the legacy of the brand with his fearless and show stopping pop-camp style and incisive humor — true to the renowned codes of the House,” the company said in an email statement.
The American designer took over at Moschino in October 2013 with a groundbreaking fall/winter collection that, according to the statement, “launched a thousand debates on the role of fashion in the annals of art, consumerism, and social commentary.”
The Missouri-born Scott has put out collections that focused his pop culture and tongue-in-cheek lens on Barbie, aliens and Ronald McDonald. Katy Perry, Madonna, Rita Ora and Zendaya are among celebrities who have worn his creations.
Most recently, he dressed a handful of A-listers for the Oscars, including putting Angela Bassett in a standout custom ultraviolet hand-draped gown with a huge bow neckline.
Massimo Ferretti, chair of Moschino parent Aeffe S.p.A., thanked Scott for “ushering in a distinct and joyful vision that will forever be a part of Moschino history.”
Scott called his years at Moschino has “a wonderful celebration of creativity and imagination.”
He said he was proud of his legacy. He thanked Ferretti along with “all my fans around the world who celebrated me, my collections and my vision.”
Barnes’s story is indeed stunning. For decades, it was generally assumed that Iran’s revolutionary regime countenanced the hostage taking by allied students and activists and refused to negotiate a release with the Carter administration because of entrenched hostility toward Carter over his friendship with the deposed shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and/or because they had reason to expect a better deal from Carter’s general-election opponent, Ronald Reagan. (Iran released the hostages, after 444 days, on Reagan’s Inauguration Day.) But no one has really offered concrete evidence of a dirty Republican deal with Tehran until now. And the prime mover in the reported drama happens to be one of the shadier figures of the modern era, former Texas governor John Connally, a powerful career-long political fixer who was suspected of personal corruption.
Best known for being wounded in the same car that John F. Kennedy was assassinated in, Connally, a protégé of Lyndon B. Johnson, played a large role in the defection of southern Democrats to the Republican Party during Richard Nixon’s administration, during which he served as Treasury secretary. His influence was best reflected by his success in convincing Nixon to impose the heretical step of wage and price controls to (temporarily) rein in inflation. Connally was reportedly Nixon’s preferred pick to replace disgraced vice-president Spiro T. Agnew, but the hostility of Democrats toward the turncoat and his less-than-ideal reputation led the Republican president to instead choose Gerald Ford, whom Carter defeated in 1976.
Four years later, Connally launched his own presidential campaign, but despite lavish funding and enthusiastic backing from corporate leaders, he floundered in Iowa and New Hampshire, losing to Reagan. According to Barnes, a longtime political associate and business partner of his fellow Texan, Connally was determined to land a high-level Cabinet appointment in a Reagan administration, so, with Barnes in tow, he put on his globe-trotting shoes to prove his worth. Per the Times account:
What happened next Mr. Barnes has largely kept secret for nearly 43 years. Mr. Connally, he said, took him to one Middle Eastern capital after another that summer, meeting with a host of regional leaders to deliver a blunt message to be passed to Iran: Don’t release the hostages before the election. Mr. Reagan will win and give you a better deal.
The Iranians appear to have gotten the message, as a happy Connally later reported to Reagan’s campaign chairman and future CIA director William Casey.
So should we conclude that if Connally’s mission hadn’t take place, Carter might well have won a second presidential term, relegating Reagan (and quite possibly his running mate, George H.W. Bush. and his running mate’s son George W. Bush) to the political dustbin? Tempting as the hypothesis is, it is not terribly plausible.
First of all, the Islamic regime in Tehran didn’t trust any American politician enough to depend on indirect promises of a “better deal,” and its hatred of and desire to humiliate Carter ran deep, independent of any comparison with Reagan.
Second, if Connally played such a dramatic role in postponing a potential hostage release, Team Reagan was notably underappreciative. Hoping for a job in the State Department or the Pentagon once Reagan took office, he was instead offered Energy (which the new administration intended to abolish); Connally contemptuously rejected the gig.
More important, the Iran-hostage crisis was just one of the problems weighing down Carter’s reelection campaign heading into 1980. Far more damaging than the hostage situation or any international issue was the economy, which had produced the election-year disaster of “stagflation.” In 1980, the average unemployment rate was 7.1 percent, the average inflation rate was 12.67 percent, and average home-mortgage rates were 13.74 percent. This was a political-economic catastrophe for Carter.
And that wasn’t all. Carter had to deal with a deeply divided Democratic Party and one of the strongest primary challenges any modern incumbent president has faced from liberal legend Ted Kennedy. (Ironically, a rally-round-the-flag effect stemming from the hostage crisis undoubtedly helped Carter hold off Kennedy’s challenge.) And Carter’s reelection campaign had a big strategic problem to overcome. He had narrowly won the 1976 general election thanks to the excitement of southern and southern-inflected voters (many of them former Nixon and future Reagan voters) who were thrilled to have credible presidential candidate emerge from their region of the country. But it was extremely difficult for Carter to maintain that unique coalition, particularly against an ideological candidate like Reagan. He also lost a lot of liberal voters to third-party candidate John Anderson, who ran to Carter’s left. Under these circumstances, it was actually impressive that Carter lost to Reagan by only 9.8 percent of the popular vote (though he lost the Electoral College by a 489-to-49 margin). Well before Connally and Barnes’s Middle East tour, Carter’s job-approval rating (per Gallup) had already slipped well below 40 percent, never to recover.
As much as it might give Carter and his friends some grim sense of vindication in knowing that skullduggery was deployed to keep the hostages locked up as his presidency slipped away, it ultimately mattered only at the margins. But the tale does provide a bit more posthumous damage to the already spotty image of Connally.