Teresa Hanafin writes the Fast Forward feature for the Boston Globe, interpreting the big events of the day and referring to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the weather, and sports in Boston.

She writes today about the Department of Fake Outrage:

I am so sick and tired of this week that I was tempted to make this a TFF. But too much happened yesterday to ignore. Nonetheless, in honor of it being the Friday leading into a long weekend, I’ll try to be brief. (Ha!)

Before we get to AG William Barr’s neat political theater, let’s consider that Trump appears to have threatened to continue to ban New Yorkers from the federal Trusted Traveler programs unless NY prosecutors stopped investigating him and dropped their lawsuits against him. That guy just loves his quid pro quos!

That’s the interpretation by Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics who resigned in 2017 because he was too ethical for the new administration.

The Trumpian tweet at issue: “I’m seeing Governor Cuomo today at The White House. He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics. New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment [sic], start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes.”

Shaub was so alarmed by the tweet that he has been posting his concern on Twitter every half-hour, frantically waving his arms to try to break through the Trump fog machine. At one point he wrote in frustration, “here’s my hot take on Barr, airplane chairs, nicknames, insults, primaries, nominees, Bolton, campaign ads, comets or your lumpy oatmeal: Fresh on the heels of his acquittal and weaponizing the Justice Department, the president attempted quid pro quo extortion on Twitter.”

He did get the attention of a handful of congressional Democrats and some other ethics types, but most of the media has been focusing on Barr’s performance.

Speaking of which, here’s the background: Barr faced a revolt from career prosecutors in the Justice Department over his decision to take the extremely rare step of changing a sentencing recommendation in a case in which the defendant just happened to be a friend of Trump’s.

He didn’t insert himself into any of the thousands of federal cases that occur nationwide; he jumped into the one that involves Trump’s buddy, political adviser Roger Stone.

He also received a sharp rebuke from the New York City Bar Association, and was the subject of accusations that he was allowing Trump to compromise the integrity of the judicial system by trying to use it to help Trump’s friends and punish his many, many, many, many, many perceived enemies.

Finally, Barr was certainly aware of the rumblings that some prosecutors across the country were discussing resigning en masse in protest of Barr carrying water for Trump — an internal insurrection that would be stunning. He also realized that history may hold him responsible for the erosion of the judicial system’s historic — and vital — reputation for independence from politics.

So to salvage the situation, he quickly gave an interview to ABC News in which he said he wouldn’t be bullied by anybody, and complained that Trump’s tweets about court cases and attacking judges were making his job “impossible.” Of course, Trump’s been doing that during Barr’s entire tenure, but who’s counting.

(If the situation is so “impossible,” will he resign when Trump does it again?)

The reaction was swift: Wow! Barr is bucking the president! He’s criticizing Trump publicly! Anyone who has ever done that has either been eviscerated by Trump or fired! What is Trump going to do?

Um, nothing.

Remarkably, Trump — the guy who turns dark orange with rage whenever somebody so much as looks at him cross-eyed, let alone criticizes him publicly — just shrugged his shoulders and said that what Barr said was fine. It was almost as though … he knew it was coming.

From The New York Times: “The attorney general had let the president know some of what he planned to say and is remaining in his job, a person familiar with the events said.” Huh.

Democrats and other critics scoffed at Barr’s supposed rebellion. “The tell here will be how Trump reacts,” said Joe Lockhart, Bill Clinton’s press secretary. “If he lashes out, those who argue Barr is being genuine may be right. If he’s muted, the opposite.”

Oh, and Barr did not explain why, of all the gin joints court cases in all the towns in all the world, he walked into this one.

By the way, Trump finally admitted that he sent Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden after months of lying about it. Just to clarify.

Outrage and anger continue to grow today over the homophobic comment about Pete Buttigieg by radio host Rush Limbaughimplying that Buttigieg is not a real man, or not masculine, because he’s gay, and that Trump could “have fun with that” on the debate stage.

“A gay guy, 37 years old, loves kissing his husband on debate stages. Can you see Trump have fun with that? They’re looking at Mayor Pete, 37-year-old gay guy, mayor of South Bend, loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage. And they’re saying, OK, how’s this going to look, 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage next to Mister Man Donald Trump?”

Mister Man? That sounds like the stage name for a porn actor in a Stormy Daniels video.

I’m not sure if Limbaugh was wearing his Trump-bestowed Presidential Medal of Freedom at the time of these remarks, but let’s remember that Buttigieg has had one spouse; Limbaugh is on his fourth. (And Buttigieg is 38, not 37.)

And this notion that only heterosexual men are masculine is rather odd. As CNN’s Jim Sciutto said, “What’s more manly: volunteering for military service, as Pete Buttigieg did, or avoiding it?”

Pete Buttigieg went to Afghanistan. Where did Trump go? Oh, yeah, bone spurs.