bugging out
August 20, 2020

Stephen Bannon's self-funded border wall is officially a bust, and butterflies couldn't be happier.

That's because the National Butterfly Center, a nonprofit preserve for the colorful bugs, runs right up against the U.S.-Mexico border and is threatened by President Trump's wall. The center has vehemently opposed the wall for years, and couldn't resist dunking on Bannon on Thursday when his attempt to build the wall himself ended with fraud charges.

Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist and an immigration hardliner, was arrested Thursday along with Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. They were all running a GoFundMe to raise $25 million to build a border wall, but allegedly sifted money off the campaign to fund their own livelihoods.

The National Butterfly Center, whose Twitter feed is entirely dedicated to showcasing erosion of the private border wall that has been built, wasted no time declaring victory after the charges were announced.

The charges could land Bannon and his colleagues up to 20 years in jail — and they should hope the butterfly center doesn't have a say in their sentencing. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 27, 2019

Apparently being called a bedbug has a harsher connotation than most people might think.

After news broke Monday that The New York Times' office was infested with bedbugs, George Washington University Professor David Karpf decided to compare the paper's columnist Bret Stephens with the outbreak in a tweet. But Stephens apparently didn't like the joke, and went to Karpf's boss Monday and then to MSNBC on Tuesday morning to provide an outsized reaction.

On Monday, the associate professor tweeted that "The bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens," earning nine likes and zero retweets at first, he said. Brooks then emailed not only Karpf, but Karpf's provost at GWU, to say Karpf should "come to my house, meet my wife and kids," and then "call me a 'bedbug' to my face."

The reaction promptly exploded, but Stephens wasn't done yet. He took to MSNBC the next morning to condemn the tweet as "dehumanizing," but said he "had no intention whatsoever to get [Karpf] in any kind of professional trouble" by notifying his provost of the public tweet. Stephens then said "being analogized to insects ... goes back to a lot of totalitarian regimes in the past."

The tweet that Stephens took such issue with — the one that barely anyone had seen when he noticed it — now has over 21,000 likes. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads