Hoisted By Their Own Fake Cards
February 1, 2022
The Good News
- Steve Irwin’s family has saved over 90K animals, including Australia wildfire victims (ABC)
- Australia to spend a record $35 million to protect koalas (CNN)
“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” – Betty Friedan
A Tragic End For Cheslie Kryst
(TW: Suicide) It’s always shocking when a talented, successful young person with a brilliant future chooses to end their life. In the coming days more may be learned about why 30-year-old Cheslie Kryst leaped to her death from a 60-story Manhattan apartment building Sunday morning. For now, what’s paramount are some inexorably haunting questions – not just why, but were there missed warning signs? Or had a drive to succeed simply overwhelmed the former civil litigation attorney, beauty queen, fashion blogger, and ExtraTV correspondent?
Kryst was born in Michigan to a Polish-American father and an African-American mother. Her large family moved to North Carolina, where Kryst’s mother was crowned 2002 Mrs. North Carolina U.S. when Kryst was 11. Later, the family moved to South Carolina, and Kryst began her winning pageantry career as a teenager. In 2013, Kryst graduated cum laude with a degree from the University of South Carolina. In 2016, while attending Wake Forest University School of Law, she competed in the Miss North Carolina USA pageant. She graduated in 2017 with a J.D. and a Master of Business Administration degree, then joined a Charlotte law firm practicing complex civil litigation while also working pro bono for criminal justice, competing in pageants, and starting her own professional clothing line. After winning Miss North Carolina 2019, Kryst won Miss USA 2019. During her reign she spoke about the importance of protecting one’s mental health.
When Kryst was crowned Miss USA in 2019, she was 28 – the oldest woman in history to win the title. According to Kryst, “some diehard pageant fans” responded to her crowning by trying to have the age limit lowered. In a 2021 Allure magazine interview, this overachieving young woman perhaps shared telltale clues in her thoughts about aging. “Each time I say, ‘I’m turning 30,’ I cringe a little” because it “feels like a cold reminder that I’m running out of time to matter.” She observed that “society has never been kind to those growing old, especially women…Far too many of us allow ourselves to be measured by a standard that some sternly refuse to challenge and others simply acquiesce to because fitting in and going with the flow is easier than rowing against the current.” In terms of her future, she was even more morose, asking, “Why earn more achievements just to collect another win? Why pursue another plaque or medal or line item on my resume if it’s only for vanity’s sake, rather than out of passion? Why work so hard to capture the dreams I’ve been taught by society to want when I continue to find only emptiness?” (South Park Magazine, HITC, ABC News, Allure)
He’s (Not) A Mali Good Fellow
- Last week France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called Mali’s junta “illegitimate” and “out of control.” As a result, Mali’s military leaders are expelling Joel Meyer, France’s ambassador to the former French colony. Meyer was given 72 hours to leave.
- Relations between France and Mali, a landlocked country in West Africa that is one of the world’s poorest nations, have deteriorated since the army seized control in August 2020. Western powers are concerned about Russia’s growing involvement; in recent weeks, Moscow has reportedly sent military advisors to Mali to bolster local security forces in their fight with jihadist insurgents.
- Hundreds of Russian mercenaries are said to be operating in the country, and Le Drian accused Russian mercenaries of “helping themselves to the country’s resources in exchange for protecting the junta.” (BBC)
The Costa Doing Business
- Portugal’s center-left Socialist Party won a third straight general election Sunday. With almost 98% of the vote counted, the Socialists appear to have gained enough seats in the 230-seat parliament to be able to govern without a coalition. The result was a relief for Prime Minister Antonio Costa, Portugal’s leader for the past six years.
- Costa’s been popular for managing the country’s response to the pandemic, but he’s faced questions about his stewardship of the economy. Portugal is the poorest country in Western Europe and the stakes are high for the next administration.
- Now that his party returns to power, Costa is preparing to begin deploying $50 billion of E.U. aid to help spur economic recovery after the pandemic. Two-thirds of the money is slated for major public infrastructure projects. The other third will be awarded to private companies. (NYT, AP News)
Additional World News
- Boris Johnson says sorry after report slams lockdown parties (AP)
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tests positive for Covid-19 (CNN)
- Biden to meet Qatar leader as Europe energy crisis looms (AP)
- Living by the Code: In China, Covid-Era Controls May Outlast the Virus (NYT, $)
- Australia seeks to join WTO talks on China-EU trade row (Reuters)
- US plans to reroute $67m in aid towards Lebanon’s armed forces (Al Jazeera)
- Germany: 2 police officers shot dead during traffic stop (AP)
Plea Deal Rejected For McMichaels
- Travis and Greg McMichael, the father and son found guilty in a Georgia court of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, were sentenced to life without parole for the state crimes, but the two still faced federal hate crimes charges. On Monday, federal prosecutors presented a plea agreement to U.S. District Judge Lisa Wood wherein the McMichaels would avoid a federal trial by pleading guilty to federal hate crimes charges and spending a 30-year sentence in federal prison alongside the life without parole sentence imposed by the Georgia judge.
- If accepted, Travis McMichael would give up his right to appeal and immediately be transferred to federal prison. But the hearing turned emotional and contentious when Arbery’s parents opposed the deal, arguing the McMichaels’ lives in federal prison wouldn’t be as tough as in Georgia state prison. Arbery’s mother told the judge, “Granting these men their preferred choice of confinement would [give] them one last chance to spit in my face.” Wood rejected the agreement, saying Arbery’s family should have a say at sentencing. (AP News)
Hoisted By Their Own Fake Cards
- Two Long Island nurses, Julie DeVuono, 49, who owns Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare in Amityville, and Marissa Urraro, 44, her employee, sold fake vaccination cards and entered false information into New York’s immunization database. The pair charged $220 for forged cards for adults and $85 for children.
- The scheme was uncovered when the women forged a vaccine card for an undercover detective without administering the vaccine. Prosecutors said law enforcement officers searched DeVuono’s home and seized about $900,000 in cash and a ledger which suggested they made $1.5 million in the scheme from November to January. Each woman is charged with one count of second-degree forgery, and DeVuono is also charged with one count of offering a false instrument for filing. (NYT)
Additional USA News
- Kamala Harris drove within yards of pipe bomb on January 6 – report (Guardian)
- Republican John James announces congressional bid in Michigan (The Hill)
- Pennsylvania Dems decline to endorse in Senate primary (Politico)
- Investigators will look at ‘entire history’ of collapsed Pittsburgh bridge (NBC)
- Trump rally Texas: Former president teases presidential run, dangles January 6 pardons (CNN)
- Concern as Republicans push to make dubious Covid cure prescriptions easier (Guardian)
- Quiet part loud: Trump says Pence ‘could have overturned the election’ (Guardian)
A Five-Letter Word For “Wonderful”
- By now, you’ve probably been turned onto the viral word game Wordle. Reddit engineer Josh Wardle created the game for his partner, who loves puzzles. The game gives players six guesses to determine a five-letter word that changes each day. Since its launch in October, the game has become a hit, quickly attracting hundreds of thousands, then millions of players. Social media posts about the game of the day, along with screenshots of the game’s distinctive grid, have become ubiquitous.
- Wardle admits to being overwhelmed by the game’s viral success. “It going viral doesn’t feel great, to be honest,” he said. “I feel a sense of responsibility for the players. I feel I really owe it to them to keep things running and make sure everything’s working correctly.” Overwhelming success can be tricky, and obviously, different people handle it differently. While thrilled that the game has “brought so much joy to so many,” Wardle says, “it’s not my full-time job and I don’t want it to become a source of stress and anxiety in my life.”
- Wardle found a solution that works well for him, and he hopes for all devotees of the game. He tweeted Monday that he was “incredibly pleased to announce” that he’d “reached an agreement with the New York Times for them to take over running Wordle going forward.” He also assured that “when the game moves to the NYT site, it will be free to play for everyone,” and that he was “working with them to make sure your wins and streaks will be preserved.” In return for the Times taking over his brainchild, Wardle got something else besides less stress – an undisclosed seven-figure sum, which is pretty comforting on its own. (Guardian)
- Did Eating Meat Really Make Us Human? (Ars Technica)
- Avoiding the ‘time warp’ of living in space could help astronauts thrive on Mars (CNN)
- Trial opens of six men accused of daring £95m Dresden jewellery heist (Guardian)
- The Feds Plan to Reduce Roadway Deaths—With Smarter Road Design (Wired)
- Getting an F: Alabama city’s new logo stirs strong feelings (AP)
- Megachurch pastor steps down to fight charge of concealing father’s alleged child sexual abuse (WaPo, $)
- Escaped lioness kills keeper in Iran, prowls zoo for hours (ABC)