Jean-Jacques Sempé: French Cartoonist Known in America for Children’s Book Illustrations and Covers for The New Yorker

From a New York Times obit by Robert D. McFadden headlined “Jean-Jacques Sempé, Cartoonist of Droll Whimsy, Dies at 89”:

Jean-Jacques Sempé, the French cartoonist known in America for children’s book illustrations and for covers for The New Yorker portraying tiny, gentle people with big noses at poignant moments, often dwarfed by monumental backgrounds, died on Thursday.

His wife, Martine Gossieaux Sempé, announced the death to Agence France-Presse. His biographer, Marc Lecarpentier, said Sempé — as he signed his work and was known universally — died at a vacation home. Sempé had a home and studio in Paris.

Activist Investor ValueAct Buys Stake in New York Times

From a Wall Street Journal story by Stephen Nakrosis and Patience Haggin headlined “ValueAct Takes Stake in New York Times”:

Activist investor ValueAct Capital Partners LP has taken a 6.7% stake in New York Times Co.  and intends to push the media company to more aggressively market subscriber-only content.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, ValueAct said it has had and expects to have future conversations with executives and directors of New York Times about various issues, including “whether it makes sense for a ValueAct Capital employee to be on the issuer’s board of directors.”

Explaining the Fog of War in Ukraine


The Fog of War

As we approach the six-month mark of Russia’s invasion, the war is entering a new phase. There’s widespread confusion about the state of the fight, and competing information continues to pour in from all directions.

This week alone, while satellite images showed several Russian military planes destroyed and three large blast craters — suggesting a serious blow to the country’s military — Moscow downplayed the strikes and said the blasts were caused by ammunition accidentally detonating. There’s also great uncertainty about casualty numbers, clouding assessments about how long Russia can keep this up. The Pentagon estimated this week that 80,000 Russian troops have died or been injured so far; Moscow hasn’t updated its March total of 1,351 dead. The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces put the number of dead at 42,200 on social media over the weekend.

Path Lit by Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe

From the New York Times review by Keith Olbermann of the book by David Maraniss titled “Path Lit by Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe”:

Forty summers ago, a man wearing a tracksuit stepped out onto Fifth Avenue to celebrate his 90th birthday by running down the sidewalk in front of the Guggenheim Museum. He was there to publicize the New York City Marathon because in those days the New York City Marathon still needed the help. But, as nearly always happened to Abel Kiviat, the talk quickly turned to Jim Thorpe because there is a convincing argument to be made that Thorpe was the greatest athlete of all time. And 70 years earlier, Abel Kiviat had been Jim Thorpe’s roommate at the 1912 Olympics.

The D.C. Zoo Has Its  Own Police Force—So Does the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

From a Wall Street Journal story by James V. Grimaldi headlined “Of Course, the D.C. Zoo Has Its  Own Police Force. So Does the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.”

Sgt. Ron Gaskins has walked this police beat before, and he knows trouble when he sees it.

A crowd had gathered and was watching a curious character shimmying along two cables, stretched from pole to pole. “Where they’re standing now might not be good,” Sgt. Gaskins said.

“Folks,” the officer warned, gesturing to a painted sidewalk, “you might want to stay clear of the gray concrete.”

Truck Turns Over, Spills Load of Bud Light Beer

From an AP story:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A semitrailer loaded with beer turned over in Kentucky on Wednesday, spilling cases just off an interstate ramp.

The truck crashed around 8:50 a.m. while traveling from the Interstate 71 ramp to I-265 in northeastern Louisville, news outlets reported.

The truck spilled its entire cargo of Bud Light, most of it ending up in the median between the ramp and I-265.

How AP Coverage Will Change for U.S. Newspapers, Broadcasters, and Digital Publishers

From AP executive editor Julie Pace:

Earlier this year, we announced an upgraded AP news offering for our customers in the U.S. – one that is faster and more comprehensive when news is breaking, more visual and more attuned to the needs of digital publishers and their audiences. Today we’re excited to announce a new structure for the U.S. News team that will allow us to deliver on those commitments. Importantly, these are also changes that will create growth and development opportunities for our journalists and put more of you in position to do the kind of work you came to the AP to do

The Maddening Coverage of the Mar-a-Lago Search

From CJR’s The Media Today with Jon Allsop:

“GARLAND VOWED TO DEPOLITICIZE JUSTICE. Then the FBI raided Trump’s safe.” That was how the Washington Post chose to headline a story on Tuesday, one day after federal law enforcement searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in apparent connection with classified documents that he took with him when he left the White House. The top of the Post’s story noted that “supporters” of Merrick Garland, the current attorney general, said he would try to “rebuild trust” after the “tumultuous” Trump years by convincing “the public and lawmakers” that he is “apolitical”—“but” that the search had landed him “square in the middle of a huge political firestorm,” drawing “praise from Democrats who have been hoping the Justice Department would seriously investigate Trump and the ire of conservatives who decried the search as an abuse of power.” Two expert sources quoted further down characterized Garland’s conduct as appropriate, but a third said the Justice Department’s reputation would suffer if it didn’t yield blockbuster evidence. “Part of it depends on what happens hereafter,” they said.

Why Wait? Here’s Liz Cheney’s Concession Speech in Advance

From a John F. Harris column on headlined “Why Wait? Here’s Liz Cheney’s Concession Speech in Advance”:

Liz Cheney is facing an awkward challenge. A few days from now, she will deliver the most consequential speech of her career to date. The polls indicate it will almost certainly be a concession speech.

Rhetorically, the assignment is clear: Accept defeat while sounding like a winner. More specifically, Cheney needs to signal that the loss of her Wyoming House seat in a GOP primary is in no way the end of her career, but the opening of a new phase in which she intends to be one of the most important people in American political life. She needs to invite the audience to imagine that they are not listening to a soon-to-be former congresswoman but instead to a possible future president.

American Literature Loses Out to Consolidation, Putting Bookstores and Authors at Risk

From a New York Times guest essay by Richard Howorth headlined “American Literature Loses Out to Consolidation”:

OXFORD, Miss. — Penguin Random House, the largest English-language trade book publisher in the world, has made an offer to acquire Simon & Schuster, another large publisher and one of its rivals. For American consumers, this is bad news. Allison Hill, the chief executive of the American Booksellers Association, a trade association that promotes independent bookstores, said the sale “threatens to undermine competition … and put bookstores and authors at risk.” A lawyer for the Justice Department commented that the lawsuit “will prevent further consolidation in an industry that has a history of collusion.”