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We Regret to Inform You That Mike Johnson Is at It Again

The day may come when someone doesn’t uncover some weird, antisocial thing the Republican speaker once wrote or said, but today is not that day.

Anna-Rose Layden/Getty Images

At this point, the shocking thing about House Speaker Mike Johnson is not his extremist views but how brazenly he’s flaunted them.

Here’s the latest: Johnson wrote the foreword for the book The Revivalist Manifesto, which was written by far-right Louisiana politics blogger Scott McKay, CNN reported Friday. Johnson and McKay have collaborated before: The lawmaker has written numerous pieces for McKay’s blog. The book in question was published in 2021, and the following year, Johnson promoted it heavily on social media and on his podcast.

The book is a cavalcade of homophobia, classism, widely debunked conspiracy theories, and weird falsehoods, all of which Johnson has described as a “valuable and timely contribution” to public discourse.

McKay “has managed here to articulate well what millions of conscientious, freedom-loving Americans are sensing,” Johnson said in the foreword.

What are they sensing? Well for starters, the book pushes multiple conspiracy theories, including the “Pizzagate” conspiracy that promotes the idea that prominent Democrats were running a child sex trafficking ring partly through a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C. Pizzagate has fueled a spiraling array of other conspiracy theories and myths; its most direct ideological successor is QAnon.

McKay’s tome also repeats the falsehood that the Democratic National Committee’s emails were not hacked in 2016 but rather leaked by staffer Seth Rich, whose later death in an attempted robbery fueled further conspiracy theories alleging he was murdered in a hit ordered by Democratic Party officials. This became a popular right-wing conspiracy, and Rich’s parents sued Fox News for publishing a story linking Rich’s death to these myths. The Rich family settled with Fox in 2020.

Elsewhere in the book, McKay claims climate change is just “hysteria” and says it is not linked to carbon dioxide emissions. He also says that the Biden administration is letting undocumented immigrants in to create more Democratic voters.

McKay implies that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was linked to sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. He also repeatedly insults Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, calling him “openly, and obnoxiously, gay.” Elsewhere in the book, McKay defends podcaster Joe Rogan for using the n-word and says poor voters are “unsophisticated and susceptible to government dependency.”

In addition to writing the book’s foreword, Johnson promoted the book repeatedly on his social media accounts in 2022. He also had McKay on an episode of the podcast Johnson hosts with his wife. During the episode, Johnson said McKay was a “dear friend” and that the book “really could make some waves.”

At this point, it really should come as no surprise that Johnson espouses such far-right beliefs. The man flies a Christian nationalist flag outside his office and regularly speaks at right-wing events. His new chief of staff spent the last year working for an organization that supports conversion therapy.

Johnson has cited the “great replacement theory,” the far-right theory that white people are being replaced by nonwhite immigrants, and he has blamed the fall of Rome on LGBTQ people. (Johnson, it must be said, has range.)

The most shocking thing about all of this is that Republicans didn’t check to see who exactly Johnson was before they decided to make him the new, weird face of their party.

Planet Earth Keeps Shattering the Most Terrible Record of All

On the bright side, this was probably the coolest year of the rest of your lives.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks during day one of the COP28 Climate Conference at Expo City Dubai on December 1, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Well, it’s official: 2023 was the hottest year on record, but cheer up, it will likely pale in comparison to the heat waves in years to come, according to a new report by the World Meteorological Organization.

The last year was hotter than both 2020 and 2016, the previous hottest years on record, with a mean surface temperature 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than preindustrial levels. The report’s release coincides with COP28, the United Nations–hosted climate change summit in Dubai, in an effort to inform negotiations among the 198 countries that are both in attendance at the conference and stuck together on a rapidly warming planet. It’s unlikely, however, December’s temperatures will impact this year’s ranking—according to the report, which noted that 2023 is “virtually certain” to be the “warmest year in the 174-year observational record.”

“We are living through climate collapse in real time,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres told a crowd of delegates at the conference on Thursday, according to The Guardian.

“This year has seen communities around the world pounded by fires, floods, and searing temperature—and the impact is devastating,” he added. “Record global heating should send shivers down the spines of world leaders. And it should trigger them to act.”

Some of the worst heat was felt across Southern Europe and North Africa in July, thanks to a grueling combination of climate change, an El Niño warming the Pacific Ocean, and what was referred to as a “heat dome” across the Mediterranean—a high-pressure zone that acts like a lid on a pot, trapping hot air inside.

Climate scientists say that climate change, fueled by greenhouse gas emissions, will continue to result in more frequent, severe, and dangerous heat waves, reported Al Jazeera.

“These are more than just statistics,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a statement. “Extreme weather is destroying lives and livelihoods on a daily basis—underlining the imperative need to ensure that everyone is protected by early warning services. We cannot return to the climate of the 20th century, but we must act now to limit the risks of an increasingly inhospitable climate in this and coming centuries.”

With rising global temperatures also came an alarming and record-breaking drop-off in the Antarctic ice shelf, which recorded a loss of one million square kilometers in its maximum end-of-winter extent—an area larger than France and Germany combined.

“We have the roadmap to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5C and avoid the worst of climate chaos,” said Guterres. “But we need leaders to fire the starting gun at Cop28 on a race to keep the 1.5C limit alive, by committing to triple renewables and double energy efficiency, and committing to phase out fossil fuels, with a clear timeframe aligned to the 1.5C limit.”

OK, we’ll check back in a year to see how everyone’s doing.

George Santos Is Going Out Swinging

As the clock ticks down to his possible expulsion, the New York congressman is going on a scorched-earth campaign.

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With his expulsion looking more likely by the hour, Representative George Santos has apparently decided that he won’t be going down alone.

The House introduced a resolution Thursday to expel the serial fabulist from Congress. As lawmakers debated the motion, Santos ended up trading barbs with his fellow freshman representative, Ohio Republican Max Miller.

“I myself have been a victim of George Santos, as well as other members of Congress in terms of defrauding through public donations, receiving an ethics complaint from the FEC which I had to spend tens of thousands to defend myself,” Miller said.

“You, sir, are a crook,” he said, addressing Santos directly.

Santos quickly asked that Miller’s comment be stricken from the record; he was just as quickly denied. Santos then accused his colleague of “hypocrisy.”

“My colleague wants to come up here, call me a crook,” Santos said. “The same colleague who’s accused of being a woman beater. Are we really going to ignore the facts that we all have pasts, and we all have the media coming out against us on a daily basis?”

Santos was referring to allegations made against Miller by former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. Grisham and Miller dated while they were both working as aides to former President Donald Trump.

In 2021, Grisham alleged that Miller physically abused her on the day they broke up. Miller, who was running for Congress at the time, sued her for defamation in response (a trick he may have picked up from his former boss).

Grisham’s accusation is worthy of investigation, and Miller should be held accountable if her claims are found to be true. None of this is an affirmative case for why Santos should get a pass, as Santos seems to imply he should, just because one of his accusers also has had accusations made against him.

Santos seems unusually determined to air everyone’s dirty laundry on his way out. During a three-hour-long X (formerly Twitter) space last week, he accused his Republican colleagues of alcoholism and cheating on their spouses with lobbyists.

On Thursday, Santos also introduced a motion to expel Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman for pulling a fire alarm in a House office building ahead of a key vote. The resolution is privileged, meaning lawmakers have two legislative days to act on the measure—unless Santos is expelled first, nullifying it.

The American People Want to Give Peace a Chance

Public polling is steadily moving toward consensus support for cease-fires in Gaza and Ukraine.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Almost 50 years after the end of the Vietnam conflict, Americans are still crying out for love, not war. A new Economist/YouGov poll suggests that the vast majority of Americans are in favor of cease-fires in both of the two major U.S.-backed conflicts—Ukraine and Palestine.

In regards to Ukraine, 68 percent of American respondents said they supported a cease-fire between the Eastern European state and Russia, while just 8 percent of respondents answered that they did not support a cease-fire.

A similar number supported a cease-fire in the Middle Eastern conflict between Israel and Hamas, with 65 percent of respondents supporting a cease-fire, while 16 percent said that they didn’t support the peace—the latter number is down nearly half from a Reuters/Ipsos poll that found 32 percent of Americans disagreed with a potential cease-fire earlier this month, before a truce was on the menu.

When it came down to counting dollars and cents, poll results were divided. Thirty-two percent of American respondents said that the current level of aid to Israel should continue, while 23 percent said they want less. An additional 21 percent, which primarily skewed Republican, responded that they wanted to see more aid directed to the U.S. ally, according to the Economist/YouGov poll.

Democrats, meanwhile, were more likely to back supplemental aid to Ukraine, with 35 percent of Democratic respondents in favor of increasing aid. Republican respondents voted in line with their government representatives who are actively working to curtail America’s next aid package to the Eastern European country, with 44 percent of Republican respondents saying they would be in favor of decreasing Ukrainian military aid.

Israel and Hamas originally agreed to a four-day cessation in hostilities on November 24; this cease-fire has been extended several times since as the two sides negotiate. So far, 104 Israeli hostages, including 24 foreign nationals, have been freed. In exchange, Israel has released more than 200 Palestinian prisoners, all of whom were women and teenagers, according to a report from The Washington Post, which estimated that 143 hostages still remain in Gaza.

To date, the conflict has claimed the lives of nearly 15,000 Palestinians—most of them women and children—since Hamas’s sudden attack on Israel on October 7, when 1,200 Israelis were killed.

Trump’s 48-Hour Manic Rant Had Immediate Consequences

The former president covered a lot of ground during his recent posting binge, most of it is insane.

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Fucked around; found out

The GOP’s presidential front-runner had himself a bit of an unhinged social media binge over the last couple of days, using Truth Social to air his scattered grievances, attack the wife of the judge overseeing his New York bank fraud trial, and take a wild left turn by claiming sudden allyship with the broader Black Lives Matter movement.

Kicking off the rapid-fire onslaught of posts late Tuesday, Trump called MSNBC’s coverage of the Republican Party “illegal activity,” adding that the “so-called ‘government’ should come down hard” on the news outlet and “make them pay.”

Then the former president revived an old gripe that “Obamacare sucks”—thus reopening the possibility that his campaign will renew the call to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act that has dogged the GOP since that law’s inception. Less than 20 minutes later, he redirected his attention to the sexual assault allegations made against him by columnist E. Jean Carroll, spewing comments eerily similar to the ones that have already lost him two defamation cases brought by the writer, in which he claimed that the allegations were a “made up fairytale” that was “funded by political operatives” to interfere with the 2020 presidential election results.

Over the ensuing hours, Trump also warned that the indictments against him had opened up “pandora’s box,” which he followed by snubbing his Koch-backed GOP opponent Nikki Haley as “a very weak and ineffective Birdbrain.”

In yet another post, Trump said he had done “more for Black people than any other President,” including Lincoln. He also confused the support of Mark Fisher, the founder of Black Lives Matter Incorporated, for that of the larger, national movement, despite statements front and center on BLM INC.’s web page that they’re not affiliated with “any other Black Lives Matter Movement.”

But the pièce de résistance of Trump’s 48-hour digital diatribe was a string of attacks on the wife of the judge overseeing his business fraud trial, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, whose gag order on Trump had been repealed. In five separate posts, Trump uplifted a conspiracy theory that Dawn Engoron and her husband were inherently biased in his case and that Mrs. Engoron had attacked Trump and other “white male politicians” online.

“Judge Engoron’s Trump Hating wife, together with his very disturbed and angry law clerk, have taken over control of the New York State Witch Hunt Trial aimed at me, my family, and the Republican Party,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

In a statement to Newsweek, Engoron denied ownership of the account and any of its content.

“I do not have a Twitter account. This is not me. I have not posted any anti-Trump messages,” she told the outlet.

That may have been enough to convince a New York appeals court that Trump wasn’t capable of playing nice without his recently stayed gag order, which the four-judge panel dutifully reinstated on Thursday, in an attempt to halt the verbal onslaught against the judge, his court staff and, apparently, his family.

Democratic Rep Has an Immodest Proposal for James Comer

Let’s just say that New York lawmaker Dan Goldman has laid the weakness of the GOP’s case against Hunter Biden very, very bare.

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New York Representative Dan Goldman

A Democratic congressman has come up with a way for Hunter Biden to lay himself bare in front of Congress that might hopefully appease House Oversight Chair James Comer.

On Tuesday, the president’s son offered, via his lawyer, to testify in a public House Oversight Committee hearing—part of an aggressive new defense strategy that his legal team has decided to adopt. Comer, who has spearheaded the probe into the Bidens’ supposed criminal wrongdoing, rejected the offer almost immediately. He said Biden must first sit for a private deposition before he can testify publicly.

Representative Daniel Goldman on Thursday countered Comer’s admonitions with a more, shall we say, stripped-down argument.

“Let me get this straight,” Goldman tweeted at Comer at half-past-midnight. “You welcomed nude photos of Hunter Biden in a public hearing but you won’t welcome the testimony of Hunter Biden in a public hearing.”

“If Hunter testified in the nude, would you then let him appear for a public hearing?”

Goldman is referring to a House Oversight Committee hearing in July, which featured two IRS agents and their accusations that the Justice Department had dragged its feet on investigating Biden for tax fraud. The hearing—like the entire investigation—produced zero actual evidence of wrongdoing.

Instead, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene tried to claim that Hunter Biden had engaged in sex trafficking and had listed payments to sex workers as a tax write-off. To support her argument, she held up poster-size prints of Biden’s nude photos, which she later also posted on X (then called Twitter) and shared in her email newsletter.

Comer did not intercede with Greene during the hearing and has yet to condemn her for using that venue to stage this weird stunt. Instead, the official Oversight Republicans’ Twitter account got in on the dissemination of the nudes game, sharing Greene’s tweet, which included a video clip of her holding up the photos.

Ranking Oversight Member Jamie Raskin tore into Comer for his refusal to either stop Greene or reprimand her after the fact.

“These pictures were displayed across America for purely voyeuristic, sensationalistic, and sadistic purposes,” Raskin said in a letter to Comer a week after the hearing. “Our Committee, which was once chaired by heroes of the public interest like Henry Waxman and Elijah Cummings, is rapidly being reduced to the level of a 1970s-era dime store peep show.”

Biden also hit back at Greene: His lawyer, Abbe Lowell, filed an ethics complaint against her in July, sending a letter to the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics asking that Greene be investigated and penalized for her “outrageous, undignified conduct.” The office does not appear to have opened an investigation into the matter.

New York Appeals Court Tells Trump to STFU

The court will again take up the near-impossible challenge of preventing the former president from saying things.

Donald Trump sits in court and stares off camera
Curtis Means/Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom during his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York City.

A New York appeals court on Thursday reinstated the gag order in Donald Trump’s business fraud trial, ending a two-weeks-long flood of vitriol that hit shocking heights, even for the former president.

Trump wasted no time attacking Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over the fraud trial, as well as Engoron’s law clerk, after an individual appellate judge put the gag order on hold as Trump’s legal team appealed the decision. A four-judge panel finally halted the verbal onslaught Thursday.

Engoron commented in court that the ruling also reinstates a separate gag order he had imposed on Trump’s lawyers. “I intend to enforce the gag orders rigorously and vigorously, and I want to make sure that counsel informs their clients of the fact that the stay was vacated,” he said.

Trump’s attorney Chris Kise said he was aware of the ruling and complained, “It’s a tragic day for the rule of law.”

The task of this particular litigation is to set damages; Engoron determined back in September that Trump had committed fraud. The New York attorney general accused Trump, his sons Don Jr. and Eric, the Trump Organization, and other company executives of fraudulently inflating the value of various real estate assets to get more favorable terms on bank loans.

Engoron ordered that all Trump’s New York business certificates be canceled, making it nearly impossible to do business in the state—a move that might effectively mean the demise of the Trump Organization.

Since the trial’s early days, Trump has aimed considerable amounts of ire at Engoron and his law clerk, Allison Greenfield. Trump’s lawyers even requested a mistrial, arguing Greenfield had been given an inappropriately prominent role in the trial, despite the fact that she is a trained lawyer. Law clerks also usually do most of the research for a trial and draft court orders, which the judge then signs.

Engoron saddled Trump and his lawyers with gag orders over the former president’s repeated attacks. He also fined Trump a total of $15,000 for violating that gag order twice.

After the individual appellate judge lifted the gag order on November 16, it took Trump just a few hours to start ranting about Engoron and Greenfield on social media. He wrote on TruthSocial that Greenfield is a “politically biased and out of control, Trump hating clerk” and a “disgrace” who is “sinking” Engoron and his court “to new levels of low.”

Trump only escalated from there. Just Wednesday, he claimed that several posts on X (formerly Twitter) about his prospects of serving jail time had been made by Engoron’s wife. The posts were first discovered by Laura Loomer, a far-right activist and Trump fan.

“Judge Engoron’s Trump Hating wife, together with his very disturbed and angry law clerk, have taken over control of the New York State Witch Hunt Trial aimed at me, my family, and the Republican Party,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

It is not clear who made the posts, but Dawn Engoron has previously said she does not have an X account.

Soon-to-Be Expelled George Santos Wants In on All the Expulsion Fun

The New York lawmaker, who might be spending his last few hours as a congressman, really seems bitter about the whole experience.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
He seems chill.

With possibly just 24 hours left in Congress, Representative George Santos has decided that now he wants in on the expulsion entertainment, as well.

Congress is expected to vote Friday on whether to expel the serial fabulist. Santos, who has been taking the whole thing incredibly badly, announced Thursday that he will respond by introducing a motion to expel his fellow New Yorker, Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman, because why not?

Santos told reporters he will introduce a resolution later Thursday to expel Bowman for pulling a fire alarm in a House office building ahead of a key vote. The resolution will be privileged, meaning the chamber has to act on it within two legislative days.

“I think that’s consistency,” Santos said. “Let’s hold our own accountable, but let’s make sure we do it with the precedent of the House.”

Bowman called Santos’s expulsion attempt “meaningless.”

“No one in Congress, or anywhere in America, takes soon-to-be former Congressman George Santos seriously. This is just another meaningless stunt in his long history of cons, antics, and outright fraud,” he said in a statement.

Bowman has maintained he pulled the alarm by mistake when rushing to enter the House chamber during a key vote. He has, nevertheless, taken responsibility for his actions, pleading guilty to one misdemeanor charge and agreeing to pay a $1,000 fine, as well as writing a formal apology to the Capitol Police.

Santos, by comparison, fabricated the vast majority of his personal and professional background and has been federally indicted for financial fraud and identity theft. A House Ethics Committee report released two weeks ago revealed Santos used his campaign to solicit donations, only to use that money for personal expenses. Those expenses include designer goods, makeup, cosmetic procedures, and “smaller purchases at OnlyFans.”

Santos dismissed the report Thursday as “slanderous,” “unprecedented,” and “littered in hyperbole.”

The embattled freshman congressman has lately been freaking over his possible expulsion. On Friday, Santos hosted a three-hour-long X (formerly Twitter) space, during which he ranted about his colleagues and said Congress was filled with “felons galore.”

In a curious move for someone who’s taken such a hard line against hyperbole, he also referred to himself as the “Mary Magdalene” of Congress, explaining that his fellow lawmakers have decided they’re “all going to stone this m-----f----- because it’s just politically expedient.”

In the interest of keeping the theological record straight, here are a couple points: Mary Magdalene was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and not the most likely person that a Jew (as Santos says he is) might cite as a means of comparison. It should also be noted that Mary Magdalene was not stoned to death.

In addition to misusing campaign funds and lying about his employment history, Santos has falsely claimed that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors, that his mother died in the 9/11 attacks, and that four of his employees were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Santos lied about founding an animal rescue charity and playing a role in producing the disastrous Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. (He has also lately been photographed holding far too many babies for this author’s tastes—if the Ethics Committee says he “cannot be trusted” to govern, it seems highly unlikely that he can be trusted to care for your baby.)

Santos has been federally charged with 23 counts of various types of financial fraud. He pleaded not guilty to the initial 13 in May, and he has denied the additional 10 that were filed in October in a superseding indictment. Earlier this year, he also agreed to a deal with Brazilian authorities investigating him for financial fraud so he could avoid prosecution. These are just some more of the facts that we all might finally be excused from having to know in a few days’ time.

Elon Musk Reveals His Super-Stupid Plan for Twitter’s Endgame

During his latest public meltdown, the forever-embattled billionaire mapped out how his failures are everyone else’s fault.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin interviews Elon Musk during the Times’ annual DealBook summit on November 29.

Elon Musk appears to be running out of people to blame for what has been a cataclysmic collapse of X (formerly known as Twitter) during his tenure as that platform’s overseer. But in a public appearance on Wednesday, he sketched out his dubious strategy for avoiding responsibility for the site’s demise: As you might expect, it involved turning the finger of blame toward everyone but himself and naming corporations as the culprit for destroying the site through an ongoing advertising boycott of the platform.

Musk blurted this all out during an expletive-laden tantrum, during which he told a bevy of the company’s biggest advertisers that he didn’t want their money to support the platform anymore—which, in his own words, has lost 90 percent of its value since he bought it out just over a year ago.

“If somebody is going to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail with money? Go fuck yourself,” he told Andrew Ross Sorkin during the New York Times DealBook conference.

“I hope that’s clear,” he added, before calling out Disney CEO Bob Iger by name.

When pressed by Sorkin about the economics of a decision to peel back X’s reliance on advertisers, Musk spelled out, “G-F-Y.”

Advertisers have long been in revolt against Musk’s designs for the site, which have consistently made the platform less appealing for brands to appear upon. But in recent days, advertisers have found new reason to flee the site, after an explosive Media Matters report published earlier this month revealed that X was routinely placing antisemitic and pro-Nazi content alongside advertisements from reputable companies. The aftermath included the mass hemorrhage of some of X’s biggest and most risk-averse advertisers, including Apple, IBM, Disney, Lionsgate, and Paramount.

But in the billionaire’s world, his own actions—which included undermining X’s content moderation abilities, using his personal account to spread Nazi conspiracies, and allowing 105 percent more antisemitic hate speech to spread on the platform—are never to blame. Between the lines of his obscenity-laced freakout, Musk all but admitted that the site was in a death spiral and that he was pivoting to a new plan to absolve himself of any blame for its downfall—one in which, according to his telling, was spurred by a conspiracy among the site’s major advertisers to starve X of revenue.

“What the advertising boycott is going to do is it’s going to kill the company,” Musk said, adding that “Earth”—by which he seemed to mean the population of the planet—will ultimately render a verdict on who killed one of the largest tech companies of all time. “And the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company, and we’ll document it in great detail.”

It’s far from clear that “Earth” will respond to X’s demise with anything other than indifference. As TNR has noted elsewhere, Musk consistently overestimates the user base of his platform: “A study by Pew Research found that fewer than one-quarter of U.S. adults use Twitter at all. Of this sliver of the population, an even tinier cohort is responsible for the vast majority of tweets: “The top 25% of users by tweet volume produce 97% of all tweets, while the bottom 75% of users produce just 3%.” As it stands, the only people likely to take up Musk’s cause will be the small rump of Musk die-hards that he’s trapped on his dying platform.

Musk’s comments were made just steps away from a stone-faced X CEO Linda Yaccarino, who was brought on partly to woo advertisers and will now be tasked with the futile endeavor of finding more in the wake of Musk’s rant.

As is her wont, Yaccarino responded to this most recent controversy with another one of the saccharine and detached-from-reality posts that have made her, in the eyes of Defector’s David Roth, “the last funny Twitter bit left.” “X is enabling an information independence that’s uncomfortable for some people. We’re a platform that allows people to make their own decisions,” Yaccarino posted, hours after the event. “And here’s my perspective when it comes to advertising: X is standing at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street—and the X community is powerful and is here to welcome you.”

Good luck with all that.

The Supreme Court Isn’t Done Messing With Your Reproductive Rights

The high court’s last-minute business includes a key ruling that could upend patients’ ability to access medication abortions.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images

Here in the waning days of its most recent session, the Supreme Court is turning its attention toward some key abortion cases left on its docket.

On December 8, the court is expected to make a decision on whether to hear a case challenging the availability of a common abortion pill, mifepristone—a decision that could have some of the most dire outcomes for abortion access since the court’s conservative supermajority overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

Mifepristone was first developed in the 1980s and, along with misoprostol, it comprises one of a two-pill prescription jointly referred to as “the abortion pill.” Together, they account for more than half of all the abortions in the United States, according to a 2022 report by the Guttmacher Institute.

In April, a Trump-appointed judge halted access to the drug. Four months later, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the plaintiffs, the right-wing Christian organization Alliance Defending Freedom, ruling that while the pill was safe for market, the Food and Drug Administration had overstepped its role by taking several steps that expanded access to the drug in 2016: allowing women to access it 10 weeks into pregnancy instead of seven, lowering the standard dosage, and allowing the prescription to be accessed via telemedicine. None of those changes have been felt, however, thanks to a Supreme Court stay on the case. But all that could change should the nation’s highest court decide to hear the appeals.

“If the portions of that order affirmed by the Fifth Circuit are now allowed to take effect, it would upend the regulatory regime for mifepristone, with damaging consequences for women seeking lawful abortions and a healthcare system that relies on the availability of the drug under the current conditions of use,” the Justice Department wrote in court filings.

Given the chance, the plaintiffs would like to see more than curtailed access to mifepristone. In court filings, the Christian legal group made it clear that they hope the court would instead examine the drug’s original 2000 approval.

“FDA’s actions concerning mifepristone—spanning from the 2000 Approval to its most recent removal of safeguards—have consistently elevated politics above law, science, and safety,” they wrote.

But other challenges to reproductive health care may come even sooner than that. One case, centered on Idaho’s emergency request to fully enforce its own state abortion law, could see a ruling as early as this week. Then, on Friday, the justices will consider whether to take up an appeal that would effectively allow challenges to state bans that currently prevent anti-abortion activists from harassing people approaching abortion clinics.