Kavanaugh Vote: NBC News and CNN report that the committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is expected to moving forward Friday at the behest of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. That decision comes following Thursday’s testimony from Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh regarding alleged sexual misconduct.

Said Sen. McConnell:

The committee is going to vote in the morning (Friday), and we’ll go forward.

If the committee does vote to proceed, which national media is reporting as likely, a full vote could take place as early as next week. Republicans can lock the vote without any Democratic support, but there are three key Republicans to win over: Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Jeff Flake have all been up in the air.

And on the Democratic side, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia could go the other way and vote in support of Mr. Kavanaugh.

The American Bar Association (ABA) issued a request to hold off on a vote pending an FBI investigation into Dr. Ford’s claims, says The New York Times and CNN. ABA President Robert Carlson made the request to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley following Thursday’s hearing.

Mr. Carlson wrote:

Each appointment to our nation’s highest court (as with all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote. Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court.

Other senators have echoed that sentiment, but Sen. McConnell is bringing back the words of Joe Biden from the Clarence Thomas hearing of 1991 in an attempt to quiet that down, says USA Today and The Washington Post.

I wouldn’t tug at that string too hard: 2016 Mitch McConnell has said all kinds of things 2018 Mitch McConnell doesn’t want to do. On this topic alone, as a matter of fact.

He also released a statement late last night:

The Senate and the nation heard two witnesses testify under oath to completely conflicting recollections. What we did not hear was any evidence whatsoever to bolster the allegation made against Judge Kavanaugh … No evidence corroborates Dr. Ford’s allegation. No evidence was presented today to back it up. And all existing evidence refutes it. The task now before the Senate is to do justice. In America, justice begins with the presumption of innocence.

I am glad Chairman Grassley has scheduled a committee vote for tomorrow. I will be proud to vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh when the full Senate votes on his nomination in the coming days.

You can read the full statement on his official page.

WIRED says yesterday’s testimony was a “Tale of Two Internets.” Hashtag versus hashtag; #BelieveWomen versus #BackBrett. If you were on one side, you applauded Dr. Ford’s thoughtfulness and courage; if you were on the other, you were bolstered by Mr. Kavanaugh’s fiery and impassioned defense.


These stances are wildly, maybe disastrously, different. Each side casts the other as inappropriate and lionizes their own entrants into the fray. And as these narratives grow, change, and refract their way across the internet — being discussed and rehashed by people in their own corners of the political spectrum as they go — the gap between them is likely to widen. Partisan narrative has come to trump attempted objectivity.

Which sums up much of our discourse in 2018.

I Have a Pizza Company I Can Sell You: On Wednesday, CNBC’s Contessa Brewer reported Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has been in talks to buy back the company and take it private.

A spokesperson for Mr. Schnatter denied that report:

Any such report about a potential transaction involving Mr. Schnatter is totally and completely false. It is unfortunate that CNBC published this false story without first contacting Mr. Schnatter to obtain the true facts.

Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, Reuters, Fortune, The Hill and USA Today said Papa John’s sent out inquiries for a potential auction to sell itself to another company or private equity firm. Caitlin Bowling also covered the story here at Insider yesterday.

This is week 12, by the way, for those keeping score at home.

The Wall Street Journal reports Inspire Brands, owner of Arby’s, just bought Sonic for $2.3 billion and lists Papa John’s as another possible future acquisition, according to equity analyst Mark Kalinowski, with Cheesecake Factory, Cracker Barrel, Five Guys and Chipotle as other possible targets of interest.

Using the Sonic deal as its template, Yahoo Finance/Business Insider calculates Papa John’s value at $2.6 billion. So if you have some extra cash sitting around …

The private equity solution can be a little tricky, experts say. The Atlantic published an article earlier as Toys ‘R’ Us closed shop: “The Demise of Toys ‘R’ Us Is a Warning: The private-equity companies swooping in to buy floundering retailers may ultimately be hastening their demise.

From the Atlantic:

Given private equity’s poor track record in retail, it can be difficult to see what companies like Toys ‘R’ Us hope to get from a buyout. For private equity, however, the appeal is clear: The deals are virtually all upside, and carry minimal risk. Many private-equity firms chip in only about 1 to 2 percent of the equity needed for a leveraged buyout, and skim fees and interest throughout the deal. If things go well, the firms take a huge cut of the profit when they exit. If everything blows up, they usually still escape with nary a burn. Toys ‘R’ Us was still paying interest on loans it got from KKR and Bain up until 2016, as well as millions a year in “advisory fees” for unspecified services rendered. According to one estimate, the money KKR and Bain partners earned from those fees more than covered the firms’ losses in the deal.

Dark Days: Just last week, we talked about the fate of the X-Men movies, and then this week, the trailer for Jennifer Lawrence’s next film “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” hit, says The Washington Post and USA Today.

Without further ado, here’s that for you:

Vanity Fair says the trailer hints at a massive shift for the franchise.

The Hollywood Reporter says it is without question the “end of an era” as the 19-year-old franchise likely moves to Marvel/Disney. The trailer also uses “The End” from The Doors to drive that one home.

Nineteen years. Wow. Remember this?


Entertainment Weekly gives you a whole breakdown of the thing so as to give you the full significance of every three-second shot that whizzed by you. Film School Rejects does the same.

One of those details Twitter’s going crazy over: Storm holding an umbrella. For the uninitiated, Storm’s power is to control the weather. MovieWeb says it’s a mistake that’s certainly cause for alarm.

I don’t know. I mean, I can run pretty fast, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to forgo the car for long distances. “No, you all go ahead. See you in Portland.” I bet controlling the weather would take a lot out of you, and some days you just want to put on a rain jacket and be done with it.

And also, that power is like the pickup truck of superpowers. You have a truck, you’re helping everyone you know move stuff at some time or other. You knew that when you bought it. I bet there’s not a day goes by Storm doesn’t get asked to move the temperature up or down a degree, or make it snow, or can you make it rain a little to the left on my birthday so the party goes OK. Like how much effort does that take? We don’t know.

Maybe it’s raining so hard because the lady who controls the weather is sad. You think of that, MovieWeb? Solved.

Let her have her umbrella.

Comicbook asks “Is Mystique Going to Die?” and … Do I need to spoiler tag a trailer? OK, I’ll spoil tag the trailer.




It sure looks that way. She’s absent in some pretty key shots, namely at a burial site where just about everyone else is present. And then the Beast looks like he’s holding her still body at one point. And then he goes all dark his own self — what could make him do that? Maybe if his love interest were to get killed along the way.

Coming Soon gives you their list of “The 10 Best Jennifer Lawrence Movies.” Doesn’t look like it’s in honor of anything in particular other than wanting to talk about Jennifer Lawrence movies, which is just fine by me.

Here’s what they came up with:

  • “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • “The Hunger Games”
  • “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2”
  • “Winter’s Bone”
  • “American Hustle”
  • “mother!”
  • “X-Men: First Class”
  • “X-Men: Days of Future Past”
  • “Joy”
  • “Red Sparrow”

That’s about half the films in her catalog, give or take, so that’s a lot of movie-making in a relatively short period of time. No wonder she wanted to take a sabbatical this year. Sort of. She still has films coming down the line, just nothing she’s actively shooting.

Instead, says Vanity Fair, she’s been speaking out about government corruption. Regular visitors here at the mighty “In Other News …” column are no doubt aware of her role on the board of Represent.Us, a group dedicated to bipartisan anti-corruption legislation and getting the dark money and lobbies in Washington under control.

This week, she co-presented a talk at the Concordia Summit on behalf of Represent.Us. She told Gayle King of CBS why she got involved:

It could have been age, it could have been the election. Two years ago was when the passion for politics really started growing, and the more I was educated and educated myself, I realized the most important thing that a political movement can have is support from the right and left.

When Animals Attack 2018: It’s the same old story you’ve heard a thousand times: A group of kayakers are out minding their own business when a seal pops up and slaps one of them in the face with an octopus.

That’s right. The infamous Eight Tentacle Seal Slap.

That may be the seal equivalent of “Get off my lawn” right there. Hit me with an octopus once, shame on you. Hit me with an octopus twice, it’s because I couldn’t get the hell out of the water fast enough after the first time.

Yeah. That’s a big nope. On the plus side, it’s given me a new way to evaluate my day. “Yeah, that is bad news, but a seal has not attacked me with an octopus, so all in all, still a win.”

See you next week.