Well, it’s certainly been a week. We lost Burt Reynolds, we gained more of ScoMo and another Scot had a duckin’ good time.
Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve seen the passing of a Hollywood icon, sedition inside Trump HQ, a tough start for Morrison and an embarrassing autocorrect fail.
Iconic actor Burt Reynolds passed away this week at the age of 82. His manager, Erik Kritzer, confirmed the news, indicating that Reynolds had passed away as a result of a heart attack.
Reynolds’ body of work was significant with almost 200 film and television credits to his name. He was a huge box office drawcard in the ’70s off the back of movies like Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance and The Longest Yard. Whilst the ’80s didn’t see him achieve the same heights that he did in the ’70s, he still managed to star in at least a film a year, including well-known titles like The Cannonball Run and the final instalment of the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy.
The ’90s saw Reynolds’ experience a career renaissance, landing major roles in movies such as Striptease and Boogie Nights, which also earned him his only Oscar nomination. Whilst he never managed to win an Academy Award, he did win a host of other accolades including a best supporting actor Golden Globe for Boogie Nights and a best actor Golden Globe for his role in the television show, Evening Shade.
Prior to making the move to the silver screen, Reynolds started in theatre. After winning the 1956 Florida State Drama Award, he moved to New York before being cast in Tea and Sympathy at the Neighbourhood Playhouse before making his Broadway debut in Look, We’ve Come Through.
Reynolds’ was slated to appear in Quentin Tarantino’s film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, however hadn’t filmed any of his scenes prior to his passing.
For all his success, Reynolds’ had a few career regrets, including his decision to turn down the role of James Bond. Reynolds was approached following George Lazenby’s tilt at the role in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service but knocked it back as he didn’t believe the role could be played by an American. Even more notable was his decision to knock back the role of Han Solo in Star Wars. George Lucas approached Reynolds initially, however he “didn’t want to play that kind of role at the time”. The role as we know went to a relatively unknown Harrison Ford and the rest is history. According to Reynolds, his most “stupid decision” was to knock back the lead in Terms of Endearment in 1983 – a role that then went to Jack Nicholson who won an Oscar for it.
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The implosion of the Trump administration hit fever pitch this week following the publication of an opinion piece in the New York Times reportedly written by a member of Trump’s administration. The piece, titled “I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration”, details a group of Trump’s staff who are sabotaging the President’s agenda from within.
The release of the piece has left the world with two important questions: who wrote it and how accurate is it? Based on the reported “volcanic” reaction of Trump inside the White House, it clearly struck a nerve. Democratic strategist, Scott Dworkin, told the media “people have told me is having a complete meltdown at the White House right now. He’s not sure who he can trust and he wants to fire everyone, except his family.”
With Trump’s paranoia in overdrive, staffers quickly printed denials and provided them to the President. Identifying the culprit, it seems, will be difficult – with one administration official anonymously telling the media, “it could be so many people. You can’t rule it down to one person. Everyone is trying, but it’s impossible.”
Some have suggested that the piece was written by Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General of the United States, who is still engaged in straight out public warfare with the embattled Pres. Internet sleuths have pointed to Vice President Mike Pence due to the use of a very specific and archaic word that was used in the article – Lodestar. Pence has used the same word a number of times in speeches over the past few years. Pence and US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, have both publicly denied penning the piece.
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Some have even suggested that the author is none other than the Pres’ wife Melania – although most consider that to be unlikely, even if it was revealed this week that the now First Lady outright refused to appear with her husband on television to mitigate the fallout from “Pussygate”.
While his supporters are denying involvement to anyone who will listen, those who want to see the Pres removed have locked in on the fact that, as Sam Clench wrote for news.com.au: “senior officials and White House staffers, many of whom were appointed by Mr Trump, are so convinced the President is unfit for office that they are trying to stop him from within.” This appears to speak directly to the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution which effectively provides remedies to remove the sitting President should they be considered unfit for office, and has been threatened only once in American history under the Reagan administration but never invoked.
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren publicly gave traction to the idea this week, saying, “if senior administration officials think the president of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment. The Constitution provides for a procedure whenever the Vice President and senior officials think the president can’t do his job.”
Whilst the probability of the 25th Amendment being invoked is very low due to it requiring the VP and the majority of Trump’s cabinet to be on board, stranger things have happened. They did elect him after all.
An accident between a police car and a Mercedes in Cronulla on Wednesday appears to have put the police in hot water. Details emerged late in the week suggesting that the police car was travelling at approximately 140km/h without sirens at the time of the accident.
Wife of racing identity Bert Vieira, Gai Vieira, was driving the Mercedes at the time with her 2-year-old grandson in the car. She was reportedly turning right out of Connels Road onto The Kingsway when her car was struck by the speeding police vehicle. Thankfully, her grandson only received minor injuries, however Ms Vieira is currently fighting for life in the ICU.
Ms Vieira’s son took to social media to search for potential witnesses or anyone that could provide additional information on the accident. It was on Facebook that he indicated the speed of the police car and also indicated that the driver of the police vehicle “didn’t have a chance to use his brakes at all.”
The police are being a little more tight-lipped, with NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Corby suggesting during a press conference that they had received a number of different eyewitness accounts of the crash but wouldn’t detail those accounts. He supported the officers assertion that he was in pursuit of a vehicle after spotting the driver using a mobile phone but also indicated that “the use of lights and sirens is something that is normally associated with this”. One witness came forward to the media and claims to have “heard the sirens and saw the lights as well” however this hasn’t been confirmed.
Corby also indicated that “an independent investigation has been launched and will look into the speed of the police vehicle, if its lights and sirens were activated and the actions of the Mercedes.”
Either way, it seems difficult to justify a police pursuit at dangerous speeds for the use of a mobile phone while driving.
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It’s fair to say our newly-appointed PM, Scott Morrison, wasn’t given the luxury of a honeymoon period. This week saw the PM under fire for posts on social media that have been described as “hateful” towards transgender children.
In the Tweet and Facebook post, Morrison said “We do not need ‘gender whisperers’ in our schools. Let kids be kids,” in direct response to an article published by the Daily Telegraph regarding transgender students. The article suggested that “teachers are being trained to identify potential transgender children in the classroom and experts say that has contributed to a 200% surge in the number of kids wanting to change their gender in the past three years.”
In the circumstances, it probably wasn’t the wisest debate to dive head-first into based on a Daily Telegraph clickbait title. Counsellor and Gender Specialist, Dr Elizabeth Riley, who was quoted in the article, took aim at the PM immediately, saying, “Let kids be kids? That’s exactly what we are doing…and a lot of that is letting children be themselves.”
Writer and activist, Benjamin Law, tweeted “our prime minister is now targeting vulnerable kids – and the good teachers who support them – in this tedious and hateful culture war.” Executive director of change.org, Sally Rugg, responded on Twitter saying, “one in two transgender kids who aren’t supported by their schools and families attempt suicide.”
The Gender Centre, which was identified in the article as being involved in training staff to identify transgender children, immediately issued a statement denying being used to train staff in the identification of transgender children. Kimmi Everson, who is the VP of The Gender Centre’s board of directors, made it clear that they have only provided training after being contacted by a school asking for advice with students who already identify as transgender. She also said, “the training that the Gender Centre then offers to staff is on how to accommodate the needs of existing transgender or gender diverse students within their specific schools. The Gender Centre does not work with any school without the involvement of parents.”
Perhaps the PM might consider researching an issue fully rather than blasting an offensive tweet impulsively in response to an article from a questionable source. As we are all well aware, we don’t need the 25th Amendment to remove our leaders.
Wacky and wonderful
I don’t know about you but my iPhone’s autocorrect can be a ducking pain in the ass. For Glaswegian, Dylan Heggie, it was responsible for a little bit more than the standard frustration or embarrassment.
Heggie was suffering from a problem with his eye which he believed to be a sty. Like many people, Heggie turned to his mum to get some advice on how to resolve his eye irritation. Unfortunately, either as a result of autocorrect or just a basic misspelling, Heggie referred to the problem as an “sti” instead of a “sty” and hilarity ensued.
Texting to his mum, he wrote “I’ve got a sti any suggestions on how to get rid of it?”. His mum, clearly not thinking she could be dealing with a spelling mistake, responded “Honestly? What you got Son?”
Mr Heggie continued, “God knows I’ve just noticed it there when I’ve looked in the mirror. It’s like a bruise”. His mum’s response had the young man turning white, “It is it on your Willy or your Testicles?”
Mr Heggie quickly retracted, explaining the miscommunication before calling his mum a “pedo” for assuming the problem was with his junk. Luckily for all of us, Dylan has a sense of humour and posted the exchange on Twitter before it quickly attracted 85,000 likes and nearly 20,000 retweets.
What a ducking nightmare.
That’s it from me TBSers, have a cracking week!