This is an excerpt from Incoming, BuzzFeed News’ morning newsletter dedicated to making sense of this chaotic world we live in. Join the club here.
Something weird is happening in this Senate race: Fun
As Democrats across the country warn that the many pro-Trump Republican candidates represent grave threats to US democracy as we know it — and the GOP repeatedly ties Democrats to an unpopular sitting president — Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman is using whimsical trolling to cast his Republican opponent as an out-of-towner who only pretends to know the struggles of blue-collar voters.
As Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor and former mayor of Braddock, Fetterman is running against none other than celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz, a Republican newcomer to both politics and Pennsylvania. (Oz only recently moved to the state from New Jersey, where he still owns a mansion that he appears to regularly visit.) And while viral tweets and cameos from Snooki aren’t enough to win elections, the Democrat’s campaign understands that these moments can translate into messaging opportunities.
“Right now, Fetterman really has Oz dancing to whatever it is he wants to talk about,” said one Republican primary communications adviser. “I think the Fetterman campaign is doing a good job of making Oz react to things, and you never want to be in that position as a campaign.”
Rebecca Katz, a senior adviser and general consultant to the Fetterman campaign, said the team is indeed having fun, but “to be clear, we’re not taking any victory laps.”
“It’s good to have fun, but our eyes are on the prize for November,” she said.
The daughter of one of Putin’s allies was killed in a car explosion
- Daria Dugina, the 29-year-old daughter of Russian nationalist and Putin ally Alexander Dugin, was killed in a car explosion near Moscow. Ukrainian officials deny any involvement in her death, the Washington Post reports, but foreign analysts say it’s still possible this could become an inflection point for the war.
- On Saturday, Russian authorities reported shooting down Ukrainian drones in Crimea, highlighting the Kremlin’s new vulnerability in the region. Fighting in parts of southern Ukraine near Crimea has also escalated in recent weeks, according to AP.
Actor Gary Busey is facing sex crime charges over his alleged conduct at the Monster-Mania convention. Busey, 78, is now facing four sex offense charges, including criminal sexual contact and a disorderly conduct count of harassment, police said.
Misogynistic influencer Andrew Tate has been banned from Instagram and Facebook. At the time of his removal from Instagram, the content creator had 4.7 million followers, 2 million of whom he acquired in the last 30 days.
The USA Mullet Champion is an 8-year-old named Emmitt Bailey. “It’s awesome,” Emmitt told BuzzFeed News of his win. “It’s cool that so many people tell you that you got sweet hair.”
Underwater artifacts are resurfacing in Europe as water levels drop because of drought
In the Netherlands, the Waal river is so low it has fallen below the bottom marker on bridges. The Dolmen of Guadalperal, or Spanish Stonehenge, has been exposed for just the fourth time since the 1960s. Elsewhere in Europe, so-called “hunger stones” — markers placed by people in droughts from years past — are appearing in rivers once more.
It’s not uncommon for water levels to drop in the summer months, but this year is particularly drastic. Weather disasters like droughts are inextricably linked to human-induced climate change. The planet has already warmed 2.1 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, according to NASA, and that’s making extreme weather more common every year. Stopping this vicious cycle will require drastically reducing global reliance on climate-polluting fossil fuels.
More unreal photos of the summer drought here.
The Game of Thrones prequel is actually good
If you want to avoid spoilers, avoid this article.
Where Game of Thrones told a sprawling, epic story following various threads, wars, and family squabbles across multiple continents, House of the Dragon spends most of its time in King’s Landing with the Targaryen family, the titular House of the Dragon, about 200 years before the events of the original series.
King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) is some years into his reign over Westeros, but lacks a male heir. A stunningly naive leader who consistently tries to do the right thing, Viserys is an easily manipulable target for anyone with designs on the throne — which, in King’s Landing, is everyone. And as the young Rhaenyra, Viesrys’ daughter and rightful heir to the throne, Milly Alcock is phenomenal at emanating a princess’s self-possession and calculation. Like her descendant Daenerys, Rhaenyra is becoming a queen, and she has plenty of people willing to teach her how to be a cold, cruel ruler.
It’s possible that, as time goes on, House of the Dragon will tip its hand, and start explicitly setting up the events of Game of Thrones. But for now, it has more punch, more depth, and more self-awareness than you might expect from a series spun off to capitalize on the success of Thrones, and deserves to win over its skeptics.
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