November 19, 2022

Sunrise — 7:10.


"U.S. News & World Report will continue to rank all fully accredited law schools, regardless of whether schools agree to submit their data...."

"A few law schools recently announced that they will no longer participate in the data collection process.... However, U.S. News has a responsibility to prospective students to provide comparative information that allows them to assess these institutions.... We will continue to pursue our journalistic mission...."

Says U.S. News, quoted at Taxprof.

"... the theory that depolarizing opinion on electric cars by making Musk a right-wing culture war hero helps Tesla?"

"Sam literally said to me, ‘The only people I think I’d wear long pants for are Congress.'"

Said Andy Croghan — a colleague of Sam Bankman-Fried's — quoted in a May 2022 NYT article, "A Crypto Emperor’s Vision: No Pants, His Rules/Sam Bankman-Fried is a studiously disheveled billionaire who made a fortune overseeing trades that are too risky for the U.S. market. Now he wants Washington to follow his lead" (NYT).

Croghan was trying to get SBF to look more conventionally presentable. He says he said, "Sam, you’ve got to cut your hair, dude — it looks ridiculous." SBF retorted: "I honestly think it’s negative EV for me to cut my hair. I think it’s important for people to think I look crazy." 

When SBF did testify before Congress, he wore long pants and was more subtly weird by doing his shoe laces like this:


"Qatar’s vision for the World Cup did not just require the building of seven stadiums and the refurbishment of an eighth."

"The country also needed an entire network of roads and rails to transport fans between the arenas and dozens upon dozens of hotels to house them — nothing less than an entirely redrawn country, rising from the sand in a $220 billion nation-building project. To achieve it, Qatar recruited hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from some of the poorest corners of the planet, swelling the country’s population — which grew by 13.2 percent in the last year alone — and drawing intense focus on the laborers’ treatment, their rights and their living conditions. How many have died over the last decade or more is not known, and may never be. Many thousands more have returned home sick or injured or deprived of the pay they were promised...."

From "The World Cup That Changed Everything/The decision to take the World Cup to Qatar has upturned a small nation, battered the reputation of global soccer’s governing body and altered the fabric of the sport" (NYT).

"A new wave of migrant workers has arrived, meanwhile, to staff the hotels, man the stadiums and serve the food.... Qatar shocked FIFA and fans alike on Friday by deciding, only days before the tournament’s opening match, to go back on its promise to allow the sale of beer at its eight World Cup stadiums..... The about-face raised new questions about whether everyone — particularly LGBTQ+ fans — will face the kind of welcome that Qatar’s organizing committee and FIFA have consistently guaranteed. This month, Khalid Salman, a former Qatari national team player now deployed as an ambassador for the World Cup, did not seem to have heard the organizers’ messaging. 'Homosexuality is haram here,' he told a German documentary, using an Arabic word that roughly translates as forbidden. 'It is haram because it is damage in the mind.'"

ADDED: Is $220 billion really that much? It's just 5 Twitters.

AND: Imagine forbidding everything that is "damage in the mind"? What would escape forbidding?

I wonder: Rewrite that headline.

If you puzzle: A command is not a wondering, you see my problem — one of my problems — with the headline "Why hasn't Sam Bankman-Fried already been forced back to the US for FTX fiasco, critics wonder: 'Lock him up'/SBF's father, Joseph Bankman, notably helped Sen. Elizabeth Warren draft tax legislation." (Fox News).

1. Whether you're a "critic" or not, you can't "wonder" "Lock him up." You might wonder why he's not locked up. But you can't wonder an imperative.

2. I guess you could ignore the colon — which indicates that what the critics wonder is "Lock him up." Then you could see the critics as wondering why SBF hasn't been "forced back to the US." That is something that can be wondered. A question mark might help.

3. I find it hard to believe anyone is wondering that. There are no charges against SBF — not yet. I found that article because I was googling to see if SBF was actively fleeing from legal consequences. Isn't that what most of us would expect him to do — what we would do under the circumstances?

4. And that subheadline! What's the point of that if not to insinuate that SBF has political connections that are the reason he's not already extradited and locked up? It's such a weak insinuation. SBF's father is eminent enough to have some connection to drafting a tax bill, and — if you go to the link in the article — you'll see it was just about simplifying tax filing.

5. If you go on to read the article, you'll see it's not really about what "critics," plural, are saying. It's just about what Judge Jeanine Pirro said on Fox News, on "The Five." And Jesse Watters "agreed."

6. Here's something to wonder: Why is Fox News so trashy?

"I would hate to give up on my dream of becoming a family lawyer, just due to not being able to successfully handle this test."

Wrote Fariha Amin, "a full-time worker and mother to a 6-year-old son," quoted in "Law School Accrediting Panel Votes to Make LSAT Optional/Legal-education community has been divided over testing requirement and its impact on diversity in admissions" (Wall Street Journal). 

And here's a quote from John White, chair of LSAC’s board of trustees: "This proposal will be highly disruptive. The change won’t be worth it, and we won’t get the diversity we are looking for."

I wonder how he knows... how he thinks he knows.

There's also council member Craig Boise, dean of Syracuse University College of Law: "I find the argument that the test is necessary to save diversity in legal education is bizarre." 

How is it "bizarre"? It's something I've heard for more than 30 years. (I was a lawprof for more than 30 years, and I often served on the admissions committee. I've read many real applications and seen the relationship between LSAT scores and other aspects of an applicant's qualifications.)

The LSAT produces a hard number, and it feels secure to rely on such things. But you can rely too much, and the U.S. News ranking has for decades rewarded schools that rely heavily on this number. The question is who will contribute to the class in law school and go on to do good work, not who did best on one structured, high-pressure test.

November 18, 2022

At the Friday Night Café...

 ... it's cold and windy here in Madison, and you can talk about whatever you want.

"The old Republican Party is dead. It has been wasting away for years now, and this month’s midterm results are the finishing blow...."

Writes Josh Hawley in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.

Republicans will only secure the generational victories they crave when they come to terms with this reality: They must persuade a critical mass of working class voters that the GOP truly represents their interests and protects their culture....

Work, family and culture are the touchstones of meaning for working people across the country.... A reborn Republican Party must look very different. It must offer good jobs and good lives.... And it must place working Americans at its heart and take them as they are, rather than treating them as resources to be exploited or engineered away....

From the comments over there: "He doesn't give a rat's behind about working people"/"He's too deeply masculine, and real men don't give a damn"/"No new thinking here. Platitudes about working families but no policies. Protecting our culture - how, exactly, and from what?"/"The GOP is dead because you and your fellow moronic cretins under its tent killed it, you abject loser and coward."

"Trump is said to have told some allies that the idea of a special counsel infuriated him, given his experience with the length of the Mueller investigation."

"He believes it could hang over him for months. Nonetheless, it might make a prosecution more distant."

Writes Maggie Haberman, in "Live Updates: Garland Names Special Counsel for Trump Inquiries/The attorney general announced his decision to name Jack Smith, the former head of the Justice Department’s public integrity section, to to job just days after former President Donald J. Trump announced that he would seek the White House again in 2024" (NYT).

ADDED: Let me connect that with this WaPo piece from 4 days ago: 

"New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach."

"... Professor Dan Epps... hypothesized that Yale plans to make major changes to admissions in the wake of the expected Supreme Court affirmative action rulings, 'and they are doing this proactively'..."

"'... rather than dealing with any rankings implications later.' [Some] students [agreed and] speculated... that not having to worry about LSAT and GPA data dragging down its U.S. News rank will allow YLS to either (a) continue to use racial preferences in admissions or (b) water down its academic credentials. Furthermore... some sources suggested that Dean Gerken withdrew from the rankings because she feared that YLS was about to lose the #1 spot it has held for more than three decades—and she didn’t want that to happen on her watch.... One professor told me that... there was no sense within the faculty that YLS’s #1 ranking was at imminent risk. Instead... 'This is clearly part of a larger and deeper commitment on her part toward leadership in the law school industry when it comes to fairness, welfare, and equity.'"

From "Yale And Harvard Law To U.S. News: Drop Dead/Two leading law schools have withdrawn from the influential law school rankings; will others follow?" by David Lat (Substack).

I remember when U.S. News first started this ranking. It was 1987, and I was 3 years into teaching at the University of Wisconsin Law School. From day one, the professors at my school were hostile to the rankings. We had our values, and how dare U.S. News attempt to influence our choices. 

Here's how the rankings looked in 1987. We were #20 at that point — the point when the game began. A decade later we were struggling for position in the 30s and we currently stand at #43.

"And for the gender fluid, she offers 'non-flat' surgery, leaving enough breast tissue so that on some days patients can have a 'perky breast' with cleavage and on other days they can bind their breasts."

Just a snippet of "A gender imbalance emerges among trans teens seeking treatment" (Reuters).

Is this an occasion for poetry? I don't like that impunity/immunity rhyme. It feels callous, and it doesn't even make sense.


If he has impunity, he doesn't need immunity. The headline writer seems to have lost his head. But why? It's no occasion for rhapsodizing!

Here's the article. The immunity is from a civil suit brought by the fiancee of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"Congress has routinely ducked responsibility for addressing border dysfunction, in large part the result of an asylum system that lawmakers have left broken."

"Unless Congress acts, the nation will face the consequences of lawmakers’ dithering. On Tuesday, a federal judge in D.C. ruled that the government can no longer use an order, invoked at the pandemic’s outset, whose public health benefits have long since evaporated.... The progressive collapse of this country’s asylum system over many years... is the main cause of today’s accelerating disarray at the border.... [But] the president and his border policies have contributed to the problem. On taking office, President Biden set about dismantling the Trump administration’s restrictions.... In response to Judge Sullivan’s ruling, the Biden administration... has prepared to rush resources to the border, including thousands of beds to hold detainees in tent facilities, and is planning for quicker deportations as a deterrent. Ultimately, though, the fix, and the failure, lie with Congress."

From the Washingon Post Editorial Board: "Only Congress can solve the coming border surge."

"[T]he crypto ecosystem has basically evolved into exactly what it was supposed to replace: a system of financial intermediaries whose ability to operate depends..."

"... on their perceived trustworthiness. In which case, what is the point? Why should an industry that at best has simply reinvented conventional banking have any fundamental value? Furthermore, trust in conventional financial institutions rests in part on validation by Uncle Sam: The government supervises banks, regulates the risks they can take and guarantees many deposits, while crypto operates largely without oversight. So investors must rely on the honesty and competence of entrepreneurs; when they offer exceptionally good deals, investors must believe not just in their competence but in their genius. How has that been working out?"

Writes Paul Krugman in "Is This the End Game for Crypto?" (NYT).

Comments need to address the substance of the argument.

Nancy Pelosi uses sexist analogy to describe her withdrawal from power: "I have no intention of being the mother-in-law in the kitchen saying, 'My son doesn’t like this thing this way.'"

That's quoted in "Pelosi Steps Aside, Signaling End to Historic Run as Top House Democrat/'For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect,' Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. She has led her party in the House for two decades" (NYT).

That was completely gratuitous — dragging in the stock character, the mother-in-law. We're supposed to know the stereotype and to loathe that sort of woman.

The NYT can't get halfway through the headline without bonking us over the head with Pelosi's womanhood. She was "historic," we're supposed to know, and it's for one reason, the reason we've been told over and over again. 

I guess that makes her the right kind of woman, the woman who achieves in the traditionally male sphere. And good for her. But she turns around and takes a shot at women who do continue in the traditional sphere, the mothers. You know mothers. They can't control themselves and insist on interfering in their adult children's life. 

Did Pelosi feel compelled to stereotype herself? As she sheds the leadership role and thinks about how she will behave in the future, did she naturally think of herself in stereotypical terms. Instead of comparing herself to other leaders who have continued in power but in a lesser role, she instinctively reverted to portraying herself as a traditional woman — a mother who has moved from authority figure in the nuclear family to a lesser onlooker as her son forms his own new family.

"When I first started my foray into poly, I thought of it as a radical break from my trad past... But tbh I’ve come to decide the only acceptable style of poly is best characterized as..."

"... something like 'imperial Chinese harem'... None of this non-hierarchical bulls–t; everyone should have a ranking of their partners, people should know where they fall on the ranking, and there should be vicious power struggles for the higher ranks.... I’m less hedonistic and more masochistic. I get a lot of pleasure from doing things that are hard, unpleasant, physically taxing, or emotionally painful..."

So wrote Caroline Ellison, quoted by the NY Post in "Sam Bankman-Fried ex Caroline Ellison made ‘foray’ into ‘Chinese harem’ polyamory."

Ellison has whatever legal/financial problems that motivated the press to go reading her now-deleted Tumblr account. I realize that I'm piling on by quoting what the NY Post chose to quote, but I want to say that we're not able to tell how speculative/humorous this statements might be if we had the context to know what kind of writer — what kind of person — Caroline Ellison is.

From the popular Twitter hashtag #RIPTwitter: "Gentlemen, it has been a privilege tweeting with you tonight."

In other hashtags:

November 17, 2022

At the Thursday Night Café…

 … you can talk about whatever you want.

"(The mother of Marina Warner, the beautiful and brilliant English cultural historian, used to ask her, 'Why do you keep disagreeing with men? They don’t like it, you know.')"

"Women who are admired as beauties risk dismissal as brains. But Didion was both. It was non-negotiable: it was impossible to dismiss her words, and it was impossible to ignore her looks. Like her words, they were spare, elegant, and arresting...."

From "Joan Didion’s Priceless Sunglasses/An auction of the writer’s possessions is further confirmation of how, for Didion, style was not surface but essence" by Roxana Robinson (The New Yorker).

"The Senate has trouble keeping up with things that lobbyists prefer the Senate not keep up with."

Said Elizabeth Warren, quoted in "Congress took millions from FTX. Now lawmakers face a crypto reckoning. The stunning collapse of the world’s third-largest exchange has forced politicians to grapple with the costs of legislative inaction" (WaPo).

Since January alone, cryptocurrency exchanges and their advocates have spent more than $14.8 million to influence regulators and lawmakers, according to lobbying data compiled by OpenSecrets. Bankman-Fried and other FTX leaders... also donated more than $70 million in the 2022 election, the analysis showed.

"With Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, a loose network of groups allied with Democrats is planning a multimillion-dollar counteroffensive..."

"...  against an expected onslaught of oversight investigations into President Biden, his family and his administration," The NYT reports. 

David Brock, the Democratic activist behind Facts First, said his group “intends to work with the White House where appropriate but will make our own judgments.”... People involved in that initiative... have previously worked with Mr. Brock’s team and have close connections to the White House and the Democratic Party....

The battles could be turbocharged by new outside groups like Facts First, which is funded by “dark money” from donors whose identities can be kept secret.

"'SBF,' as he is widely known, visited the White House, attended a congressional retreat, and held countless meetings with lawmakers and top regulators."

"He got chummy with Bill Clinton after paying the former president to speak at a conference....  And he earned praise during Senate testimony from Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., for a 'much more glorious afro than I once had.' In just two years since Bankman-Fried's first political donation, his money hired dozens of top-flight lobbyists and political operatives, made major investments in newsrooms like ProPublica and Semafor, and made him the second-biggest Democratic donor of the 2022 midterms, behind only the 92-year-old financier George Soros. He said $1 billion would be a 'soft ceiling' for his spending in 2024.... His downfall will leave some Democratic groups with budget holes to fill.... 'A lot of people in D.C. thought this was the next big thing. Everybody was trying to get in,' said one source close to the Bankman-Frieds’ political operation who requested anonymity to speak candidly. 'This went from the hottest thing to the most toxic thing. But that’s how D.C. works.'"

From "Vegan canapes and fat donations: How Sam Bankman-Fried won Washington before he lost everything/The 30-year-old mega-donor was building a massive, multimillion-dollar Washington operation. Then the gravy train crashed" (NBC News).

"The showstopper is no doubt 'Untitled (Toothbrushes),’ from 1973-4... Three toothbrushes hang from a rack, as a fourth one with a red rubber tip lies horizontally across the top."

"The upright toothbrushes — as evenly spaced as Monet’s poplar trees —structure the air around them and provide evidence that Brainard, at heart, was a stickler for classical order.... In the three decades since Brainard’s death, the interest in his work has only increased. Last year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art received a gift of 16 of his best works, including 'Prell,' an assemblage that incorporates a dozen shapely shampoo bottles; and 'Whippoorwill,' a small, velvety painting of a long-limbed whippet reclining on a green couch...."

Writes Deborah Soloman in "No Ordinary Joe/The prodigious artist Joe Brainard reveled in making small-scale works, but as a new show reminds us, exemplified the soaring spirit of collaboration between painters and poets in the ’60s" (NYT).

"Is this the end of it? And if so, why couldn’t the Biden administration foresee it being blocked so easily by the courts?"

"Why did they not have stronger legal cards to play with instead of having 43 million filers on a legal and emotional tightrope?"

A Reddit discussion of the current state of the student loan forgiveness program.

Why did Biden get 43 million hopes up?  You can hear the poignancy in the question... or do you think that's phony? Everyone knows the answer to why it was done despite the lack of "stronger legal cards." It's just a question of how outraged they will feel and who they will blame. At least some people will curse the courts — those damned conservatives  — and some will forgive Biden for toying with their feelings because it was worth it, given the modest Democratic Party success in the 2022 elections. You could also say the more obvious it was all along that the program would not hold up in court the less sense it made to invest serious expectations that you'd be getting that $10,000/$20,000 some day.

"Why, just days after a midterm election in which his handpicked candidates lost so many races that a promised 'red wave' turned into a ripple, would Trump decide that it was time to present himself again..."

"... as his party’s standard-bearer? Because Trump knows something that D.C. pundits and what remains of the perpetually out-of-touch Republican establishment has always failed to understand. The defeated former president has never needed the majority of Republicans to control the Grand Old Party. And he won’t need it in 2024. 'Trump has his base. He has a 30-to-35 percent hardcore base that will not leave him,' explained US Representative Fred Upton, a retiring Michigan Republican who is one of the last moderate members in his caucus.... As he competes with a new generation of Republicans such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Missouri Senator Josh Hawley; retreads such as former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former secretary of state Mike Pompeo; his estranged vice president, Mike Pence; and his even more estranged former congressional ally Representative Liz Cheney, Trump is quite certain that he will again secure the Republican nomination. Trump may be delusional about a lot of things, but he’s not delusional about this."

Writes John Nichols in "Donald Trump Knows How to Win the Republican Presidential Nomination/The defeated former president is running again in 2024 and—despite what some pundits say—he’s the favorite to win the GOP nomination" (The Nation).

That's the headline I clicked on as I passed over the many headlines of the pundits he's talking about.

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) private deliberations on whether to run for minority leader have — for now — frozen a potentially ugly fight..."

"... that could pull back the curtain on the party's ideological and generational divides.... A decision by Pelosi to stay will also cause consternation in the caucus, but the party's better-than-expected showing — and her reputation for clapping back at Republicans — gives her a strong case to stay for one more term. Both President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have urged her to stay.... A younger generation of leaders — Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) — has been patiently waiting in the wings to replace the old trio of Pelosi, [Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)] and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.)...." 

From "House Dems' calm before the storm" (Axios).

According to The Washington Post, Pelosi will announce her decision this morning at 10 ET and:  "Apparently still uncertain on what to do, Pelosi took two versions of her floor speech home with her last night — one in which she steps back from her leadership role and one in which she runs again...."

UPDATE: "Pelosi stepping down as House Democratic leader after 20 years" (Axios).

“Never did I think I’d go from homemaker to House Speaker,” Pelosi said, wearing her Mace of the Republic brooch and a suffragette white suit.

"People talk about how hard it is to make friends as an adult but all you have to do is ask someone what their favorite deep sea creature is..."

"... everyone has one and they are desperately waiting to tell you about it."

Tweeted Andrew Nadeau, last year.

Why did I remember that? Probably because it has a cool balance of generality and specificity. (Really, why do you remember things?!) 

But it sprang to mind when I saw a photograph — "A dugong, which is a notoriously elusive marine mammal, photographed in the Red Sea, near the Egyptian resort town of Marsa Alam" — submerged deep in the NYT Style magazine article "The 25 Travel Experiences You Must Have/A pair of internationally minded writers, a chef, an architect and a landscape photographer made a list of the most extraordinary adventures a person should seek out. Here are the results." 

"It’s the worst thing ever when you open a script and read the words 'strong female lead.' That makes me roll my eyes. I’m already out."

"I’m bored. Those roles are written as incredibly stoic, you spend the whole time acting tough and saying tough things."

Said Emily Blunt, quoted in "Emily Blunt Rails Against ‘Strong Female Lead’ Label: ‘It’s the Worst Thing Ever' and ‘I’m Bored’ of It" (Variety)(via my son John, who linked to it on Facebook).

Movies need to be interesting! If the actors think the characters are boring, why would the audience show up? To be bored?

Without Roseanne, I pay no attention, but what's going on here?

"As an impromptu speaker, Bush had a reputation for gaffes and mangling phrases, but Mr. Gerson provided him with memorable flights of oratory..."

"... such as the pledge to end 'the soft bigotry of low expectations' in the education of low-income and minority students and the description of democracy — in Bush’s first inaugural address — as a 'seed upon the wind, taking root in many nations.' As a Bush confidant and head of the speechwriting team, he also encouraged such memorable turns of phrase as 'axis of evil,' which Bush used to explain the administration’s hawkish posture as it started long and costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.In the chaotic months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Mr. Gerson became the key craftsman articulating what became known as the 'Bush Doctrine' — which advocated preemptive strikes against potential terrorists and other perceived threats. With his team of writers, he began shaping Bush’s tone and tenor... 'It is a real mistake to try to secularize American political discourse,' Mr. Gerson told NPR in 2006. 'It removes one of the primary sources of visions of justice in American history.'"

From "Michael Gerson, Post columnist and Bush speechwriter on 9/11, dies at 58/Mr. Gerson helped shape President George W. Bush’s messaging after the 9/11 attacks and then moved to The Washington Post, where he wrote about politics and faith" (The Washington Post).

"Everybody calls me like, ‘You see Dave on 'SNL'?... Well, he normalized antisemitism with the monologue.'"

"I don’t know if you’ve been on comment sections on most news articles, but it’s pretty f-----g normal. As you know, it’s incredibly normal. But the one thing I will say is I don’t believe that censorship and penalties are the way to end antisemitism or to gain understanding. I don’t believe in that. It’s the wrong way for us to approach it.... Dave said something in the 'SNL' monologue that I thought was constructive, which, 'It shouldn’t be this hard to talk about things.' And that's what we're talking about. Whether it be comedy or discussion or anything else, if we don’t have the wherewithal to meet each other with what’s reality, then how do we move forward?"

Said Jon Stewart, quoted in "Jerry Seinfeld says 'subject matter' of Dave Chappelle's 'SNL' monologue 'calls for a conversation'/Chappelle's opening routine on last weekend's episode of 'SNL' has been criticized for 'normalizing antisemitism'" (Fox News).

The headline writer must really not like Jon Stewart... or maybe he just didn't read the bottom half of the article. If you're curious what Seinfeld said, it was much more distanced and wary: "I did think the comedy was well-executed, but I think the subject matter calls for a conversation that I don’t think I’d want to have in this venue." That's three "I thinks"s in one sentence.

Perhaps that wariness is more indicative of genuine fear of anti-Semitism. But Seinfeld, it seems, has always stayed in neutral territory, and social and political discord is Stewart's milieu.



Here's the BBC article, "Cost of Living: 'I've given up booze and Netflix to cut costs, but I've got hope.'"

"Trump Faces Five Major Investigations. He Has Dozens of Ways Out."

This is a brilliantly displayed series of flow charts, showing so many ways for Trump to win, as figured out by Ankush Khardori.

(Khardori has been a prosecutor at the Department of Justice and has "defended corporate clients against charges of fraud and other crimes.")

I don't know how averse you are to clicking on NYT links — I think nonsubscribers get X number of free reads — but if you were to click on one article a year, this should be the one.  Unless you don't read about politics at all... but then why are you reading my blog? Well, I can see why. My blog is, I think, a good filter for readers who loathe politics. So take my word for it, this graphic display of all Trump's escape routes is damned impressive. 

Anyone who thinks there are so many investigations that something will stop him and he can't make it to a victory in 2024 might lose their mind. How can the law be like this? The Trump pardoning himself outcomes are especially aggravating.

I once did a law school exam question with a fact pattern about a President pardoning himself. It was back in the 90s. Clinton was President.

November 16, 2022

"Republicans narrowly win House, ending full Democratic control of Congress."

 WaPo reports. 

The slim GOP majority to come has forced many GOP members, aides, and strategists come to grips with the prospect that their agenda might never come to fruition.... 


Republicans this term have said they will focus in the majority on investigating the Biden administration and they have signaled an intent to use their powers to block Biden’s agenda. Potential investigation targets include the Biden administration’s coronavirus response and border policies, the business dealings of Biden’s son Hunter Biden, and the FBI. Without proof, Republicans have accused the FBI of probing Trump’s handling of classified documents for political reasons.

A mid-morning walk after the snow.



Talk about anything you want in the comments.

"The Senate held a key test vote on Wednesday on legislation to allow federal protections for same-sex marriage, with 12 Republicans joining all Democrats..."

"... to help move it through the 50-50 chamber. In one of their first major agenda items in the postelection session, Democrats moved fast to enact the bill — which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples — while their party still controls both chambers. Should the bill pass the Senate in a vote that is expected after Thanksgiving, it would need to pass the House in its revised form before being sent to President Biden to be signed into law. The push in Congress to pass marriage protections came after Justice Clarence Thomas suggested in an opinion overturning abortion rights that the court 'should reconsider' past rulings that established marriage equality and access to contraception."

From "Live Updates: Senate Takes Crucial Step Toward Protecting Same-Sex Marriage Rights/Democrats are moving quickly to enact federal protections while their party still controls both chambers. Republican senators voted to keep Senator Mitch McConnell as their minority leader; the party is on the brink of capturing a majority in the House" (NYT).

Why are they only just now getting around to repealing the Defense of Marriage Act? Anyway, it's good to see this happening at long last. Maybe they didn't think they needed to do it until the Democrats lost the House, or maybe they chose not to do it so that it wouldn't be an issue in the elections. But, really, what kind of people want there to be a threat to existing marriages? 

And it's nice to see Wisconsin Senator — and former student of mine — Tammy Baldwin featured on the front page of the NYT on this issue, which I strongly support.

And thanks to all the Republicans who voted for this: Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — the co-sponsors — and Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Mitt Romney of Utah, Richard Burr of Virginia, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Todd Young of Indiana, and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

The singing Spanish teacher.

"Inside the West Wing, a small group of presidential advisers has been working to develop a plan for how Mr. Biden and the White House will respond to what they expect will be..."

"... a constant stream of invective from the former president now that he is formally a candidate. Mr. Trump started the attacks almost immediately... as he complained about 'Biden and the radical-left lunatics running our government right into the ground.' Mr. Biden will continue to underscore his belief that Mr. Trump is a threat to democracy, advisers say. But his political handlers are determined to show that Mr. Trump’s four years did not yield actual accomplishments for the American people. On Tuesday... Mr. Biden’s political Twitter account posted a video... titled 'The difference between talking and delivering,' showed Mr. Biden signing his $1 trillion infrastructure measure into law, juxtaposed with a compilation of clips of the former president using the word 'infrastructure.'"

From "Trump Is Running in 2024. The White House Has a Plan. The president’s advisers have been working on a strategy for how the White House will respond to what they expect will be a constant stream of attacks from former President Donald J. Trump" (NYT).

Don't show him signing checks. Show the actual infrastructure. I'd like to see these glorious constructions. They must be everywhere. The heart will soar!

If you just show him signing trillion-dollar checks, people will think of inflation.

Too many Republicans "is precisely why he is moving out of what Rick Perry once described as the 'blueberry in the tomato soup,' a predominantly Democratic city full of liberal expats..."

"... like himself seeking progressive politics and an urban lifestyle at a red-state cost-of-living discount. 'It was easy to just be in Never Neverland, floating with a bunch of other transplants having a good time,' said [somebody named John] Stettin, who relocated from Dallas to Austin five years ago.... [He's moving to] Massachusetts.... What was once seen as an affordable, creative haven is now a runaway boomtown, pricing out most of whatever was left of Austin’s proclaimed weirdness.... In the past year, rent soared more than 20 percent, and the median home price rose almost as much over the same period (before home prices dropped thanks to interest-rate hikes). The airport has new direct flights to Vail, Colorado, and Texas’s first Soho House opened there last year. Elon Musk has built a $1.1 billion 'gigafactory' nearby, turning 'Tesla' into shorthand among some to describe the city’s bougification. 'There’s nothing weird about Austin,' said one Soho House patron, who recently flew home to California for an abortion...."

From "Austin Has Been Invaded by Texas/The progressive paradise is over for some, and they’re fleeing to bluer pastures" (Intelligencer).

"Elon Musk issued an ultimatum to Twitter employees Wednesday morning: commit to a new 'hardcore' Twitter or leave the company with severance pay."

"Employees were told they had to a sign a pledge to stay on with the company. 'If you are sure that you want to be part of the new Twitter, please click yes on the link below,' read the email to all staff, which linked to an online form. Anyone who did not sign the pledge by 5 p.m. Eastern time Thursday would receive three months of severance pay, the message said." 

WaPo reports.

Not just "hardcore," but "extremely hardcore." What does that mean? 

"Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie received huge applause at an annual meeting of Republican governors Tuesday morning after blaming former President Trump for GOP failures in the last three elections...."

"The chorus of Republican office-holders calling for the GOP to move on from Trump is growing louder, driving the party to the brink of civil war just as the former president prepares to announce his 2024 comeback bid.... Christie, a former Trump ally who is now considering his own 2024 presidential campaign, said voters 'rejected crazy' in the 2022 midterms and that Republicans lost because of bad candidates. But he didn't just harp on last week's disappointing results: Republicans lost in 2018, 2020 and 2022, Christie said, with Trump the one constant who has weighed the party down across all three election cycles...."

Axios reports.

The media shoehorn old Trump news into the new Trump news.

They can't just report the news that Trump announced his 2024 candidacy last night. They have to weigh it down with the old news.


NBC News: "Trump, whose lies about the 2020 election inspired an insurrection, announces third White House bid."

The Washington Post: "Trump, who as president fomented an insurrection, says he is running again."

NPR: "Donald Trump, who tried to overturn Biden's legitimate election, launches 2024 bid.

"Abomination Flower."

UPDATED: This was a video of a 6-year-old playing a piano piece, said to be of her own creation and with her own title, "Abomination Flower." The video has been taken down, for whatever reason.


"A White House wedding has historically been the sort of rare event that can add a modern sheen to the dustiness of the presidency."

"It can — for an afternoon, at least — turn the press from restive to fawning. And it can give the president a needed feel-good story." 

That's the sad puffery of the first 3 sentences of "What We Know About Naomi Biden’s White House Wedding/Invitations are in hand, but the administration is taking a state-secret approach to most of the details, citing the privacy of the president’s granddaughter and her fiancé, Peter Neal."

In The New York Times.

Insanely, Trump shows up in this:

In a 10-year period, Trump will have been running for President in 7 of the years, and in 2 of the "off" years, he was actually President.

That means we will only have had ONE year in a 10-year period when Trump was neither President nor running for President.

And not even that, because Trump was President for the first 20 days of 2021. We've got Trump — presidential candidate or President — in 10 consecutive years.

That's too much Trump! And we are only in Year 8 of the 10 years, and if he wins reelection, there will be 4 MORE YEARS of Trump after that, making it a total of 14 years, with only one year in which Trump was neither President nor running for President! 15 if you count the first 20 days of 2029.

If he'd won in 2020, there would only be 2 more years after this year. But with him running for President, the Trump era could go on for 6 more years after this year — 7 if you count 2029.

And it's not as if the little Biden era has been a relief. Biden's been awful, and the effort to suppress Trump perversely kept him in the center of our nation's feeble emotional life.

Here's the time line:

November 15, 2022

He’s running.

 Announced just now.

At the Tuesday Night Café...

... you can talk about whatever you want.

 (No sunrise photo today. It was snow-raining at dawn and I didn't go out.)

Are you ready for the big announcement?

@mattieonthedrums #duet with @brandonethridgemusic Big announcement, Big finish #trump #ragtime #rolandvad503 #roland #vdrums #duet #fyp ♬ original sound - Brandon Ethridge923

"Dave [Chappelle] does a fake monologue during the dress rehearsal, because he doesn’t want [‘SNL’ creator] Lorne Michaels, or anyone else, to know what his real monologue is."

A "source" told Page Six.

"[Those] seeking bigential anatomy—or, both a penis and a vagina—call themselves 'Salmacians'..."

"... [a term] derived from the Greek myth of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, wherein the nymph Salmacis begs the gods to unite her with her male object of desire, Hermaphroditus, and the gods merge the two into a single androgynous being.... [One Salmacian] said they’ve received messages telling them they’re 'making a mockery' of the community by 'only going halfway.' They described a torrent of derogatory comments from self-proclaimed 'trans-medicalists'—those who believe transness is contingent upon a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and a full medical transition. 'That was the hardest hate mail to take—other trans people saying, "No, you're doing it wrong"'..."

From "Trans People Are Seeking Nonbinary Bottom Surgeries/Across the gender spectrum, some patients are looking for mixed sets of genitals, or none at all. Actually receiving this affirming care isn't easy" (Vice).

"She admits to talking to her bathtub as she wipes it dry, saying, 'It’s amazing how you’re always so clean and free of mold.'..."

"A big obstruction to tidying, she notes, is the gap between the way many of us live and our ideal lifestyles. Rather than let this disparity discourage us, she recommends clinging to our dreams and doing whatever small things we can to realize them — like putting a photograph of a beautiful landscape on a windowless wall, where we might wish we had a view.... Her own ideal lifestyle involves daily yoga, herbal tea breaks, time with her three young children and the opportunity, when she can grab it, to scrub the floor on her hands and knees. This activity not only releases tension and improves posture but also brings good vibes, she writes: 'The floor is the foundation of the house. Cleaning it with my own hands helps me feel my connection to it.'"

From "Marie Kondo Takes On a New Role: Life Coach/There’s a big difference between the way most of us wish we lived and how we actually do. The tidying guru is back with a new book to help fix that" by Julie Lasky (NYT).

The new book is "Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Home." That link goes to Amazon, where there's an excerpt from the book that includes defining "kurashi":

"Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, sobbed as she described Harvey Weinstein’s 'distorted' and 'fish-like' genitals during her bombshell testimony..."

" the disgraced movie producer’s sexual assault trial Monday. Identified in court as Jane Doe 4, Siebel Newsom broke down in tears recounting how Weinstein allegedly raped her in 2005 at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills... When asked... to describe Weinstein’s physique, Siebel Newsom said: 'Lots of bruises, markings, yellow and green, lots of stretch marks on his belly, very not physically fit at all. Looked uncircumcised and strange though, kind of fish-like, the penis, something was distorted in the testicles … Lots of skin, lots of skin down there.'... Siebel Newsom, 48, said she agreed to meet Weinstein at his hotel suite to discuss a film project, and because 'he could make or ruin your career.' Once they were alone in the room, however, Siebel Newsom said, Weinstein changed out of his suit into a robe, then started to 'manipulate' and 'threaten' her, while mentioning several actresses’ names...."

From "Gov. Gavin Newsom’s wife breaks down describing Harvey Weinstein’s ‘fish-like’ penis in court" (NY Post).

"What, for his part, did Trump really think of his vice president? In one unintentionally revealing anecdote..."

"... Pence relates how he attended the musical 'Hamilton' and, at the curtain, heard one of the cast members issue a statement on behalf of the show expressing anxiety and alarm over the administration’s lack of commitment to protecting a diverse America. 'I wasn’t offended by anything he said,' Pence writes, but Trump 'was outraged — mostly as a New Yorker. "Broadway is almost like going to church," he told me.' When Pence declined to turn the episode into culture-war point-scoring, Trump 'good-naturedly' admonished him: 'You took the high road. I never take the high road.' Somehow one doubts that Trump intended that as a compliment."

From "Mike Pence highlights his heroic hour, and sidesteps the rest/In his memoir, 'So Help Me God,' the former vice president writes of his outrage at the Capitol invasion but is generally soft on President Trump" (WaPo).

Here's my blog post from the time. I was mainly concerned that Mike Pence was put in physical danger.

"[T]hat the book contains only four songs performed by women... is both grim and astounding...."

Writes Amanda Petrusich in"A Response to Bob Dylan’s 'Philosophy of Modern Song' There was something missing from the bard’s recent book" (The New Yorker).

Is it? Grim and astounding? Is it astounding because you'd think, in this day and age, that any informed writer would know you have to gender-balance your lists of favored works of art? That Bob Dylan didn't is a little astounding, but why is it grim? I think it's kind of encouraging that Bob didn't think he had to do that, and it can be a little grim to see other people's lists and suspect that's what they did.

In the book, Bob talks about women a lot, because the songs written about men tend to be about women — from the man's point of view. Why shouldn't Bob take the man's point of view? You want him appropriating what women think? He does that in his songs — "She's got everything she needs..." — but he's being the man who's imagining — maybe wrongly — what the woman is thinking.

Petrusich writes:

"William Heard Kilpatrick, one of the most influential pedagogical figures of the early twentieth century, would have felt right at home in today’s educational culture wars."

"Back then, as now, the traditionalist defense of math education came from the idea that the subject created order and discipline in the minds of young students. The child who could solve a geometric proof, for example, would carry that logic and work ethic into his professional life, even if it did not entail any numbers at all. Kilpatrick, a popular reformer... dismissed that idea. Algebra and geometry, he believed, should not be widely taught in high schools because they were an 'intellectual luxury,' and 'harmful rather than helpful to the kind of thinking necessary for ordinary living.' Not everyone was going to need or even have the intelligence to complete an algebra course, Kilpatrick reasoned. Why bother teaching it to them? In 1915, Kilpatrick chaired an influential National Education Association committee tasked with looking into the reform of math instruction in high school. He amplified his attack on the place of math in schools, as the committee’s report declared that nothing in mathematics should be taught unless 'its (probable) value can be shown,' and recommended the traditional high-school-mathematics curriculum for only a select few...."

From "How Math Became an Object of the Culture Wars/As was true in the nineties, today’s fights about math are not entirely about what kids actually learn in their classrooms" by Jay Caspian Kang (The New Yorker).

"In the Trump cult’s theology, Mr. Trump is a god with a dual nature: He is simultaneously the macho, swaggering hero and the eternal victim..."

"... at the mercy of the same powerful forces — 'elites' — that his followers believe themselves to be victimized by. Hence the insistent refrain: 'When you say Trump is evil and foolish, you are saying that we who voted for him are evil and foolish.' That doesn’t follow logically, but this line of thinking is about divine transubstantiation, not politics. Mr. Trump’s proposition to his followers is straight from the Bible he has probably never read: 'If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.'... Republicans who still believe that Mr. Trump will be the instrument of their political salvation in 2024 — or who are cynically willing to go along for the same reason — are much more likely to find him the instrument of their political destruction. And perhaps it is time for these dinosaurs to meet their asteroid. The loss of the current Republican Party — deformed, depraved, backward and, in the end, fundamentally anti-American — would benefit the country."

"Why Trump Could Win Again" by Kevin D. Williamson (NYT). 

Trump is expected to announce his candidacy today.

"If he wants to" is funny. How can he not want to? It's Trump!

I'm reading "It’s still Trump’s party and he’ll run if he wants to ... run if he wants to, run if he wants to/The former president is set to announce another White House bid. New polling shows he’s still the top dog, even if slightly weakened" (Politico).

Excerpt from the middle of Politico's musings:

But Trump has survived periods of uncertainty before, fortified by a veritable army of MAGA supporters. And privately, he’s been unmoved by the most recent critics, seeing the chorus as similar to the one he faced during his past White House runs and stint as president.

"Some time today Earth’s population is expected to pass eight billion...."

"The figure, expected today according to projections by the UN Population Fund, has come thanks to longer lifespans and the rapid growth of some nations in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. It came only 11 years after the figure hit seven billion, but amid projections that this 'unprecedented growth' was now slowing. There will not be nine billion people until 2037.... India is now drawing level with China, with a population of 1.4 billion, and is expected to surpass it next year. China’s population may begin to shrink next year.... Beijing began allowing couples to have up to three children last year in an effort to raise a birthrate that had slipped to 1.16...."

The London Times reports.

The rate of population growth is tumbling, even as older people are staying around longer, and beginning in 2087, it is predicted, there will be no growth at all, but decline. I'm looking at this chart and trying to imagine the increasing disproportion of old to young:

November 14, 2022

Sunrise — 6:43, 6:51.



Here are 6 TikToks to amuse and distract you for a moment.

1. The journalist and the elephant.

2. The Irishman and the zebra.

3. Disastrously comical falls.

4. Mixing up the humor styles of your 2 friend groups.

5. Hiking to the most isolated hut in the United States.

6. How to tie your scarf.

Did Prince Charles really breakdance?

If you're watching Season 5 of "The Crown," you may have scoffed in derision when they showed Prince Charles breakdancing, but "This actually happened, and what’s more there’s video to prove it":

"Unschooling argues that if you let kids do what they want, they’ll end up learning what they need to know in order to live happy, engaged lives."

"So what if they don’t learn fractions until they’re 12? The 'learning target' of conventional schools are designed to give taxpayers proof their tax dollars are 'working.' Unschooling eschews accountability of that kind and centers the child’s inner compass. This all holds limited appeal to me because its approach is generally individualistic, a horseshoe-theory meeting of radical progressive permissiveness and separatist libertarian self-determinism. People who make the case for unschooling, like the filmmaker Astra Taylor, who was unschooled until she was 13, are usually exceptional people with unconventional families. Most of us are ordinary people with jobs. We’re foot soldiers of conformity, and we’re imprisoned by our mortgages, student debts, limited skill sets, and sedentary habits. You can pity us and you can call us 'sheeple,' but unless you’re willing to forgive our debts, we’re going to keep working, and we won’t have the time to mind our kids while they unschool themselves...."

From "Would Unschooling Actually Make My Kids Any Happier?" by Kathryn Jezer-Morton (The Cut).

"Musk’s interest in electric cars or Ukraine comes and goes, but the richest man in the world is constantly joking."

"A shameless punchline thief, he doesn’t discriminate between dad jokes or insult humor. On Twitter, he’s Beavis and Butt-Head, chuckling at everything.... His stated reason for buying Twitter is to expand free speech, a cause he took up in part because it suspended the account of a conservative parody site, the Babylon Bee, after a post. Days after taking over Twitter, he tweeted: 'Comedy is legal again.' Then people started making fun of him and you’ll never believe what happened next. Elon Musk, comedy savior, transformed into the joke police.... The reason he’s found himself cast in this public drama as the humorless square, the Comstockian scold, is that while labeling something parody might be bad for comedy, it can be essential for credibility.... While he’s not especially good at comedy, Musk is a wonderful comic character: The boss who thinks he’s funny but isn’t. He’s Michael Scott from 'The Office,' whose terrible jokes everyone must if not laugh at, at least put up with.... Musk doesn’t need to own his haters in a tweet. They already work for him for free." 

From "Hey, Elon Musk, Comedy Doesn’t Want to Be Legal/He’s Twitter’s chief jokester, but as his free-speech impulses conflict with his push to label parodies, he shows a misunderstanding of how humor works" by Jason Zinoman, the NYT comedy critic.

Zinoman packs a lot into that column. It was hard to excerpt! As a reader, I felt flattered to be assumed to know what "Comstockian" means. If anyone needs to brush up on the story of Anthony Comstock, here's his Wikipedia article. Excerpt:

"They Paused Puberty, but Is There a Cost?/Puberty blockers can ease transgender youths’ anguish and buy time to weigh options. But concerns are growing about long-term physical effects and other consequences."

That's the headline for an article in today's NYT. 

This is a long article, but here's a short excerpt:

"Sam and FTX had a lot of good will — and some of that good will was the result of association with ideas I have spent my career promoting... If that good will laundered fraud, I am ashamed."

Tweeted the philosopher William MacAskill, "a founder of the effective altruism movement who has known Mr. Bankman-Fried since the FTX founder was an undergraduate at M.I.T."

Quoted in "FTX’s Collapse Casts a Pall on a Philanthropy Movement/Sam Bankman-Fried, the chief executive of the embattled cryptocurrency exchange, was a proponent and donor of the “effective altruism” movement" (NYT).

Mr. MacAskill was one of five people from the charitable vehicle known as the FTX Future Fund who jointly announced their resignation on Thursday. In their statement, they said that “it looks likely that there are many committed grants that the Future Fund will be unable to honor.” 

"Many advertisers have concerns about TikTok and its Chinese owners....But companies keep flocking to the app... because it appears to have reach and cultural cachet..."

"Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok has ads appear like any other full-screen video on the platform, so they aren’t always immediately discernible as ads. The app has pushed brands to work with its content creators, making ads seem even more natural. It has told brands: 'Don’t make ads, make TikToks.'...  Last year, the men’s fashion company Swet Tailor posted a TikTok video advertising the same shirt, in different colors, being thrown onto a rotating man. The video garnered 5,000 views, far more than most TikTok videos posted by the company, which has fewer than 300 followers. In two weeks, Swet Tailor sold 35 percent of its inventory for the shirt, when it normally would have sold 5 percent. By contrast, Facebook and Instagram ads 'barely moved the needle,' said Adam Bolden, the clothing brand’s chief executive.... Still, advertising on TikTok is not necessarily straightforward. That’s partly because brands have to avoid becoming, to cite a meme frequently seen on the platform, a middle-aged, skateboard-carrying Steve Buscemi saying, 'How do you do, fellow kids?'"

From "TikTok Builds Itself Into an Ads Juggernaut/The Chinese-owned video app’s ad business is thriving, even as a digital advertising slump hurts Meta, Snap and other rivals" (NYT).

On TikTok, you don't just get views, you garner views.

Here's the Know Your Meme article on "How do you do, fellow kids?"

"It seems the gut reaction should be, ‘No, minors should not get tattoos,’ but minors will get tattoos."

Said Marisa Kakoulas, "a lawyer based in New York City who has written a series of books on tattoos and consults with artists on tattoo law," quoted in "A 10-Year-Old Got a Tattoo. His Mother Was Arrested. In New York State, you must be at least 18 to get a tattoo. Elsewhere, the rules are different — and perceptions are changing" (NYT). 

The 10-year-old's tattoo was "a crude rendering of his name in large block letters on the inside of his forearm.”

And here's a quote from "a tattoo anthropologist" named Lars Krutak: "Maybe decolonizing the Western thought concept of ‘age-appropriate’ tattoos could be enlightening. But I am not saying that children should be tattooed at 10 and 11 years old, because they still have a lot to learn about the world."

Biden goes for power-positioning of the hands, but what captures my eye is the expression on Xi's face.


From "Live Updates: Biden and Xi Meet as U.S.-China Tensions Rise/Amid growing disputes over Taiwan, Ukraine, technology and divergent visions of the world order, the leaders of the two superpowers are holding their first face-to-face presidential talks."

I made this screenshot of the central detail of the photo, by Doug Mill, in the NYT. The original framing  extends down beyond the men's knees and across to include 2 and a half more flags. I wanted to contrast Biden's posing for the camera, using stock techniques to seem in charge — touching the other  person's arm, gesturing with the other hand as if he's explaining something important — with Xi's facial expression, which strikes me a very funny.

What's so funny about Xi's expression, though? Does it mean something like, you pathetic little child?

November 13, 2022

Sunrise — 6:35.


"We asked more than 100 millennials and Gen Xers about their parents’ phone habits. Around half said their parents are good..."

"... about not being on their phones too much and being present in the moment.... The rest, however, are absorbed in their devices. They are playing Words with Friends, Candy Crush and card games, often with the volume turned up. They are looking at the news, checking sports scores, scrolling Facebook and texting. Some are even using them as actual phones. 'Phone calls are the worst,' says Richard Husk, a parent of two. 'They will take a 45-plus-minute phone call with some random golf buddy while I am over with the kids trying to visit with them.' Tyler McClure said his mom is on Facebook constantly and can’t do anything without her phone, while his dad 'Googles the things he’s watching on television as he watches television.'... Many people we spoke to said their parents enjoy reading things out loud from their phones, telling their families or anyone nearby about the weather, the headlines or viral stories that may or may not be true...."

From "Baby boomers can’t stop staring at their phones/Everyone struggles to put down their phones, but some families have had enough" (WaPo).

Reading the news and reading things out loud that you think ought to be shared – that's what my grandfather used to do. He was born in 1899, and the news was in the newspaper. Of course, there was only one copy of the newspaper in the house, and he was the one with the claim to the front section. He'd be sitting in his chair in the corner of the living room, newspaper open in front of his face, and he applied his own standards to what ought to be heard by the rest of us. No one ever considered that this might be some sort of old-man, out-of-it habit that the younger people should mobilize to fix!

And thank God if your aging parent has friends. How dare you characterize your father's friend as "random"? If someone is his friend, that person is not random. I think this Husk fellow ought to think about what he's doing when he's "over with the kids trying to visit with" his father. Maybe dad is trying to give Husk the clue that the visit has gone on too long. Are you there for a few hours, or are you visiting for days? I don't know, but I don't think you should disrespect your father in the newspaper like that.

I wish my father were still alive, spending too much time on the phone or not. And I would love to hear Pop (my grandfather) read selections from the Wilmington Morning News again.

"Chargers are few and far between outside coastal urban areas. In North Dakota, for example, there are just 19 fast chargers..."

"Fast chargers can fill a car battery in 10 minutes to an hour.... Home chargers generally take a full night to replenish a battery. Ruth Milligan, a resident of Columbus, Ohio, tried taking her daughter, Maggie Daiber, to Michigan State University in August. Ms. Milligan calculated where she would need to charge her ID.4 during the four-hour trip. 'I did my homework on the charging network,' said Ms. Milligan.... But she hadn’t considered that the battery would drain faster when the car was weighed down with her daughter’s possessions and her husband, Dave Daiber, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall. Less than two hours into the trip, Ms. Milligan realized that the car was not going to make it to Toledo, Ohio, where she had planned to charge. Instead, they got off the highway in Findlay. Of the four chargers in town, one was behind a locked gate; another was at a Toyota dealership that would not let a Volkswagen use its charger; a third would charge only Teslas; and the fourth had been installed recently and was not yet working...."

From "Electric Vehicles Start to Enter the Car-Buying Mainstream While sales are still skewed toward affluent buyers, more people are choosing electric vehicles to save money" (NYT).

Why do you have to do "homework"? Why doesn't the car do all the calculations and show you where you need to go and how long it will take? It can take an hour on a fast charger? Will you have to wait while others ahead of you take an hour to "fast" charge?

What a nightmare! I can't imagine wanting an electric car unless circumstances change very dramatically, and the rate of change is pathetic. 

Bob Dylan, rhapsodizing about blue.

In "The Philosophy of Modern Song," Bob Dylan — writer of "Tangled Up in Blue" and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" — gets carried away by the color blue a few times:

About "Volare (Nel Blu, DiPinto Di Blu)" — "To Fly (In Blue, Painted Blue") — he writes:

You get the mental picture, Utopia, and it’s painted blue. Oil paint, cosmetics and greasepaint, frescoes with blue slapped on, and you’re singing like a canary. You’re tickled pink and walking on air, and there’s no end to space.... Supposedly it’s about a man who wants to paint himself blue and then fly away. Volare, it means, “Let’s fly away into the cielo infinito.” Obviously, the endless sky. The entire world can disappear but I’m in my own head.

About "Blue Suede Shoes":

These shoes are not like other shifty things that perish or change or transform themselves. They symbolize church and state, and have the substance of the universe in them, nothing benefits me more than my shoes.... They neither move nor speak, yet they vibrate with life, and contain the infinite power of the sun. They’re as good as the day I found them. Perhaps you’ve heard of them, blue suede shoes. They’re blue, royal blue. Not low down in the dumps blue, they’re killer blue, like the moon is blue, they’re precious. Don’t try to suffocate their spirit, try to be a saint, try to stay as far away from them as you possibly can.

There's other blue in the book — singing the blues, "Blue Bayou," "Blue Moon," "Blue Moon of Kentucky," blue veined, blue blooded, baby blue eyes, Bobby Blue Bland, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes...

"Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, an auto shop owner who was a virtual unknown before August’s primary election, pulled off perhaps the most stunning political upset..."

"... in the country this year, winning a congressional seat in Southwest Washington that few saw as competitive. Gluesenkamp Perez, a Democrat, defeated Donald Trump-endorsed Republican Joe Kent on Saturday in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, with roughly 50.5% of the vote."

The Seattle Times reports. 

A quote from Gluesenkamp Perez that's just about perfect: "We are moderate and we are people that work for a living. We are people that pay our taxes and want good schools and want a functioning society. We are tired of politicking and we are tired of extremists, and we just want to know that our kids are going to have a same or better shot at a good life as we did.... I am not an ideologue. I am not a show pony. I am here to work, and I live like the district does...."

"A spreadsheet... references $5bn of withdrawals last Sunday, and a negative $8bn entry described as 'hidden, poorly internally labled "fiat@" account.'"

"Bankman-Fried told the Financial Times the $8bn related to funds 'accidentally' extended to his trading firm, Alameda, but declined to comment further. Earlier this week, he tweeted that FTX international had $4bn in easily tradeable assets when it faced Sunday’s $5bn surge of withdrawals. 'There were many things I wish I could do differently than I did, but the largest are represented by these two things: the poorly labeled internal bank-related acount [sic], and the size of customer withdrawals during a run on the bank,' the spreadsheet adds.... Healthy companies typically have assets that match or exceed their liabilities. The spreadsheet says FTX Trading had a total of $9.6bn of assets, but it is unclear how much of that value could be realised...."

 From "FTX held less than $1bn in liquid assets against $9bn in liabilities/Vast gap highlights the dire state of Sam Bankman-Fried’s exchange before it collapsed into bankruptcy" (Financial Times).

I don't normally blog about finance. It's kind of my least favorite topic, but I was intrigued by "'There were many things I wish I could do differently than I did....' the spreadsheet adds." 

I didn't know spreadsheets experienced regret. 

The "I" is, presumably, Bankman-Fried. Here's a BBC article about him, "The fall of the FTX ‘King of Crypto’ Sam Bankman-Fried":

"You describe growing up under Soviet occupation, being trained to revere the Soviets, rat out your neighbors, to obey."

"It was indoctrinated into you to obey and revere an occupier. And this, you say in the essay’s conclusion, familiarized you with being controlled, with being with someone controlling. 'My marriage was a sort of occupation,' you write. Looking at what’s happening in our country and around the world, do you think about the connection between shame and defensiveness and occupation and politics?"

That's a question the NYT interviewer, Rhonda Garelick, asks Paulina Porizkova in "Paulina Porizkova Doesn’t Call Her Book a Memoir/The model and author spoke about writing 'No Filter: The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful.'"

Porizkova's husband was the rock star Ric Ocasek.

That question was absurdly difficult! And Porizkova doesn't really try to answer it. 

Garelick persists: "But you made that political connection in your essay — between the occupying army and Ric."

Fair enough. Porizkova blows it all off. She was jet lagged and under time pressure when she wrote that — "My marriage was a sort of occupation."

Either say it and defend it or don't speak. The dead Ocasek cannot speak. Or do beautiful women have a special privilege to make aggressive analogies?

Dave Chappelle hosted "SNL" last night. Here's the monologue.

There's a lot of talk about Kanye West. Chappelle takes a cagey position, neither attacking him nor supporting him: "I don't think Kanye is crazy.... He's possibly not well."

Then there's a long pause and an extended run-up to a big leap: "I've been to Hollywood." Pause. "I don't want y'all to get mad at me. I'm just telling you. I've been to Hollywood. This is just what I saw." Pause. "It's a lot of Jews." Pause. "Like a lot."

"But that doesn't mean anything." That's a setup. Punchline: "There's a lot of black people in Ferguson, Missouri. That doesn't mean they run the place."

It's not a crazy thing to think: "The Jews run show business." Pause. "But it's a crazy thing to say out loud." He said out loud. 

And that was the end of the Kanye and anti-Semitism portion of the monologue, very carefully written and delivered. That was halfway point, and he paused after saying the "crazy thing" out loud, and started talking about the midterm elections. Hershel Walker: "I don't want to speak bad of him — because he's black, but, um" — pause — "He's observably stupid."

Chappelle hears people saying the Trump Era is over, but he needs to explain something that he knows, because he lives in Ohio, "amongst the poor whites." Trump is loved. And the reason he is loved is because people have never seen anything like him: "an honest liar."

Control of the Senate will not depend on the Georgia runoff.

The Nevada race has gone to the Democrat.

That's a relief. It's good to be emerging from this period of uncertainty about the balance of power.

If the Republican had won in Nevada, we'd have a repeat of 2020, spending weeks obsessed with Georgia, dependent on Georgia.

I see that Georgia has moved up the date of the runoff election, so it is the first week of December now. After the 2020 election, the runoff was in January. That's better, but it's also much better to not have control of the Senate depend on a runoff in one state.

The Democrats are massively constrained after the 2022 election, if, as it seems, Republicans do take control of the House. It's unlikely that there will be another Supreme Court opening before 2024, and if there is, the Supreme Court will only be put into more of a balance — 5-4 instead of 6-3.