“Greatest Show” Is Over, The Coming Storm
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 15
Show’s Over: After 146 years, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, “The Greatest Show on Earth,” announced that with rising costs and diminished public interest, they are putting on their last show in May. It’s the end of the circus.
The show was hurt in particular by the retirement of its elephant act under pressure by animal rights activists. The elephants had been the main attraction.
Ringling Bros. had just announced the appointment of its first female ringmaster. The company’s two travelling circuses will put on 30 shows in major cities between now and May.
Sad!: President-elect Donald Trump struck back over Twitter at Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a hero of the Civil Rights Movement, for saying he didn’t think Trump will be a “legitimate” president. Trump tweeted, “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to…… mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!”
In the 1960s, Lewis was one of the original Freedom Riders who, in an act of protest, risked their lives to ride legally segregated buses in the South. He’s one of 18 Democrats in Congress boycotting the Trump inauguration.
Nation: The private space exploration company SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket for the first time since September when a catastrophic explosion destroyed a $200 million satellite that Facebook planned to use for worldwide internet service. Yesterday’s launch sent 10 communications satellites into orbit and the first stage booster landed safely for re-use. This puts Elon Musk’s company back in play as a leader in space.
Hard Time: Ten people are dead after a riot in a Brazilian prison, the latest in a spate of riots that has left 100 dead just since the turn of the year. In the worst incident, 56 people died in a 17-hour New Year’s Day riot at a prison in the in the state of Amazonas. Many of the dead were decapitated and dismembered. Conditions in Brazilian prisons are notoriously bad, feeding the violence between warring gangs penned up inside.
The Sports Page: Leading the game in the second quarter 10-7, the Seattle Seahawks fell apart yesterday losing to Atlanta 36-20, and allowing the Falcons to advance to next week’s NFC championship. The New England Patriots beat the Houston Texans 34-16 to reach their 6th consecutive AFC championship game. — The University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team set an NCAA record with its 91st straight win, beating SMU 88-48. It was their own record that they broke.
The Obit Page: Antony Armstrong-Jones, a handsome photographer who became Lord Snowden after marrying Queen Elizabeth’s sister Margaret, has died at age 86. The couple separated and divorced after 16 years. Margaret had wanted to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend, a hero of the Battle of Britain air war, but he was divorced and the Queen forbid it.
The Coming Storm: Boston Globe columnist Michael Cohen writes that with Donald Trump’s refusal to divest his business interests or reveal his taxes, and with the allegations about the Russians having embarrassing dirt on the president-elect; “Taken all together, this confluence of events represents perhaps the most profound political crisis that this country has faced since Watergate. We have a president-elect fully prepared to violate the Constitution. We have allegations that his advisers might have worked directly with a foreign government to win the presidential election and who could also, potentially, be blackmailed by that same government. We have a Congress indifferent to these potential crises and focused instead on repealing legislation that will literally cause the premature deaths of thousands of Americans. It’s almost hard to take all of this in. It’s a disorienting and surreal moment in our history and the worst part is that last week might have represented the calm before the true storm.”