August 26, 2023

At the Saturday Night Café…

 … you can write about whatever you want.

"Musk has become a hyper-exposed pop-culture figure, and his sharp turns from altruistic to vainglorious, strategic to impulsive, have been the subject of innumerable articles..."

"... and at least seven major books.... But the nature and the scope of his power are less widely understood. More than thirty of Musk’s current and former colleagues in various industries and a dozen individuals in his personal life spoke to me about their experiences with him. Sam Altman, the C.E.O. of OpenAI, with whom Musk has both worked and sparred, told me, 'Elon desperately wants the world to be saved. But only if he can be the one to save it.'"

Oliver Anthony is aggravated to see conservatives acting like he's one of them.

"In job postings and public statements over several years, SpaceX wrongly claimed that under federal regulations known as 'export control laws'..."

"... SpaceX could hire only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, sometimes referred to as 'green card holders.' Export control laws impose no such hiring restrictions. Moreover, asylees’ and refugees’ permission to live and work in the United States does not expire, and they stand on equal footing with U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents under export control laws...."

Musk's reply:

"I sleep with my friends, and I befriend the people I sleep with. As a result, my social life mostly consists of a sort of merry traveling band of fellows..."

"... with whom I have happily porous and shifting relationships. This is what we all used to do when we were young and then grew out of when we moved into the serious part of life. Except I just didn’t. I know this sounds like hell to most people.... When it works, though, it feels like a vindication that the worth men and women can hold for one another is beyond sexual and romantic and also that it can continuously change, like everything else. When it doesn’t, it’s still pretty hot."

Said Megan Nolan, one of 16 writers asked to name one "irresponsible, immoral, indulgent" thing they do

This collection of confessions — in the NYT — goes along with an opinion piece, "I Don’t Need to Be a ‘Good Person.’ Neither Do You" by the clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster. 

Nolan, a novelist, should add: And to whatever degree it works or does not work, I get raw material for novels.

By the way, the comments over there are all about the one person who confesses to shoplifting. That person, Thomas Morton, tries to sort of justify his behavior on the ground that the prices — in the airport where he commits his crime — are high, the employees are underpaid, and he loves the feeling of "having stuff... that I didn't pay for." I think that entry should have been left out, because it distracted readers from all the interesting material 15 other writers contributed.

Morton was an editor at Vice Magazine. Here's his Wikipedia article, which has already been updated to contain the report of his confession "to habitual shoplifting at airport stores." I would expect to hear from him soon that he was describing a fantasy — nothing he really does.

August 25, 2023

At the Friday Night Café...

 ... you can write about whatever you want.

11 key risk factors for dementia.

According to a study reported in The London Times: "being aged over 60, living alone, poor education, having parents with dementia, being from a deprived background, male sex, having diabetes, depression, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol."

"But during the Globe’s first Shakespeare and Race Festival... she hosted a workshop in the theater with actors of color and learned how they were disadvantaged by some of the set and lighting design decisions."

"'What we have proved subsequently is that it does not work for actors of the global majority,' she said, using the Globe’s preferred language to describe actors of color. 'It feels like a space of empire.' With this in mind, the Globe has plans to change the design when it raises the money, repainting the space in a lighter hue and reconsidering the Renaissance-inspired ceiling mural that depicts the white-skinned goddess of the moon surrounded by similarly complexioned cherubs...."

"With its psychologists overbooked, the clinic relied on external therapists, some with little experience in gender issues, to evaluate the young patients’ readiness for hormonal medications."

"Doctors prescribed hormones to patients who had obtained such approvals, even adolescents whose medical histories raised red flags. Some of these patients later stopped identifying as transgender, and received little to no support from the clinic after doing so.... Pediatric gender medicine is a nascent specialty, and few studies have tracked how patients fare in the long term, making it difficult for doctors to judge who is likely to benefit.... In the United States, health groups have endorsed what’s known as affirming care even as their peers in Europe have grown more cautious.... In a statement to The Times, [Washington University] said that it would not address specific allegations because of patient privacy, and that 'physicians and staff have treated patients according to the existing standard of care.' But doctors in St. Louis and elsewhere are wrestling with evolving standards and uncertain scientific evidence — all while facing intense political pressure and an adolescent mental health crisis...."

"The mugshot was completely unnecessary and vindictive, of course."

ADDED: Here's how The New York Times addresses the mugshot: "Trump’s mug shot is released, a first in his four criminal cases this year":

August 24, 2023

Sunrise — 6:18, 6:19, 6:21.

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I'm too much of a morning person to live-blog debates anymore, and live-blogging is really hard anyway...

... because if you don't pause, how are you supposed to write about something you just heard when you're supposed to be hearing the next thing they say? You have to let many things roll by unnoticed and you can't be fussy about verbatim quotes. I think if I were ever to try live-blogging again, I'd just forget about quotes and even the substance of what they are saying and just — on the fly — let you know how this and that made me feel.

But something I can do that's much less stressful that might be worthwhile and even kind of fun is to watch the video the next day after and use a transcript to cut and paste key quotes.

So here's the video:

And here's a transcript.

I really thought, at this point, that I was going to go through the entire debate and make a number of posts. I was just going to take little break first. Time passed. 3 hours. I came back to this project, watched the first half hour of the debate. Somewhere around this...

"Once the gifting took over — and women realized they could charge tens of thousands of dollars per social media post — the originality essential to fashion blogging’s initial success receded."

"In its place came the veneer of a successful, aspirational lifestyle; the idea was for an influencer to look as cool and carefree as possible so that women could understand exactly what they don’t have (and needed, immediately). What seemed like a fun alternative quickly became homogeneous. 'The kernel of this innate, benevolent desire to disrupt the system became its own form of establishment,' as [Leandra Medine AKA Man Repeller] put it. 'And so no longer was the desire to become part of the disruption, so much as part of the new establishment.' And consumers seem increasingly skeptical of the idea that they should buy a handbag or visit a place just because an influencer posts about it. So prevalent is the sense that digital marketing and data have too much control over what we want and desire, that TikTok is experimenting with letting users turn off their algorithm...."

Writes Rachel Tashjian in "Whatever happened to having taste?" (WaPo).

"He’s a bitchy little man.... He’s a little fussy man...."

Says Tucker Carlson after Trump brings up Chris Wallace who, he says, is "probably not a friend of yours."

From the transcript of last night's interview.

Trump says Wallace "wanted to be his father, but he didn’t have the talent." And Trump reminds us that Chris Wallace cut Trump off when he tried to ask Biden — at the first presidential debate in 2020 — "Why is it that the mayor of Moscow’s wife is allowed to give you three and a half million dollars?"

"Are you worried that they’re going to try and kill you? Why wouldn’t they try and kill you? Honestly?"

Tucker Carlson asks Trump to his face in last night's interview — video here, transcript here.

This is something that I've thought about but avoided ever saying, and I've even deleted comments that bring this up, because I'm afraid of stimulating deranged thinking, but Carlson brought it up so conspicuously that my restraint serves no purpose. 

But Trump avoids a direct response. I suspect he didn't appreciate Carlson's floating the idea of assassination. But he doesn't even say that. He says:

"Candidates repeatedly disregarded the debate rules, with little in the way of an attempt to keep the proceedings on track."

"When candidates talked over moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum as they tried to move on, the moderators often just relented and gave them the stage. But the problems were most evident in the moderators’ handling of hand-raising questions — a good and helpful entry at any debate. The first time they requested such responses, DeSantis objected to the format, and they let him do it, declining to make the request again. Later, they asked whether the candidates would support Trump in the general election if he is convicted. Only Christie and Hutchinson declined, but both DeSantis and Pence were slow to raise their hands. And for some reason, there was no follow-up with them."
In "The winners and losers from the first Republican debate" (WaPo), Aaron Blake counts Fox News among the losers.

In contrast to the loud chaos of the debate, there was the gentle fireside conversation between 2 calm men:

"He walks — he can’t lift his feet out of the grass, you know, it’s only two inches... and it looks like he’s walking on toothpicks."

Said Trump, observing our President's frailty, quoted in "Trump: ‘We Have A President Who Can’t Walk, Can’t Talk’" (The Federalist).

ADDED: The quote is from Trump's interview with Tucker Carlson. Here's the transcript, where you can see he goes on at some length about Biden's difficulty walking — not just on grass, but on sand — and expatiates about the symbolism of "the beach":

"Beth Clearman, a veteran honors English teacher at a local middle school... asked ChatGPT to produce six-word 'memoirs' of well-known literary characters."

"The A.I. chatbot promptly manufactured descriptions like: 'lavish parties, unrequited love, green light' and 'arrow’s aim, rebellion’s face, Mockingjay’s fire.' Ms. Clearman said she planned to ask students to match the names of protagonists with their chatbot bios. (Spoiler alert: Jay Gatsby, Katniss Everdeen). Originally leery of A.I. chatbots, Ms. Clearman said she now planned to use ChatGPT 'so much!' with her writing students. 'I’ve flipped my whole way of thinking,' she said."

The only way to overcome "cheating fears" is to redefine what "cheating" is in the age of the chatbot. That's what "flipped my whole way of thinking" means. 

The NYT headline is "Ramaswamy Seizes Spotlight as DeSantis Hangs Back." And: "It was the Ramaswamy show."

The subheadline for the article offered "7 Debate Takeaways,"It was the Ramaswamy show" — in boldface — was the first takeaway.
[Ramaswamy echoed the Barack Obama line] “Who the heck is this skinny guy with a funny last name?” 
That skinny guy quickly became a punching bag for rivals, led by former Vice President Mike Pence, who invoked his experience to say that it wasn’t time for a “rookie” who needed “on-the-job training.” 
Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey recalled the Obama line, quipping, “I’m afraid we’re dealing with the same type of amateur.” 
But Mr. Ramaswamy smiled his way through the night... He stirred controversy to soak up screen time, and lobbed some of the evening’s most strikingly personal slights.... The Harvard-educated Mr. Ramaswamy came off at times as slick — Mr. Christie dismissed him as “a guy who sounds like ChatGPT” — but he was the one everyone else was talking about, a victory in itself.

That was the most interesting line of the night: "a guy who sounds like ChatGPT." In other words, you give him a prompt and he comes out with many perfectly coherent and substantive sentences. That's an insult that should backfire. It was, essentially, You're superhumanly smart and communicative.

August 23, 2023

Here's a place to talk about the GOP debate.

Are you watching?

Here, my son John is live-blogging at Facebook.

Sunrise — 6:22.

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"A stolen traffic sign that someone had painted over with the slogan 'Stop the Steal 2020' and the image of a grinning skull with Donald Trump’s hair, smoking a cigarette..."

"... had an undeniable flair, even if its iconography was hard to parse. More poignant was a strip of blue fabric with the word 'pence' in white letters that had seemingly been torn—in anger? sorrow?—from a 'trump pence' flag. A white poster board was stencilled with... 'time to cross the rubicon.'... [Photographs of] graffiti... such as 'power to the people!' and 'where are you thomas jefferson?!,' along with—easy to parse—an S.S. symbol.... [A] photojournalist, Madeleine Kelly, donated the protective vest she was wearing when she was kidney-punched by a female protester who shouted, 'That bitch is photographing us!' When Kelly returned home, she found a slit in the vest; she’d been the victim of an attempted stabbing. For the record, no one at the museum seems much interested in acquiring the furry Viking-style headpiece famously worn by Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon Shaman (not that he’s offering it)...."

I'd thought nobody was talking about "negging" anymore?

But here's "In Defense of Negging" by Magdalene J. Taylor — a new article in New York Magazine.
But perhaps what negging really has going for it is that it’s inescapably personal.... You can message a dozen women the same compliment on Hinge, but honing in on some little detail of a person’s profile you can lightly joke about takes a bit more time and energy. You can’t perform a roast without knowing your subject. To be negged, in other words, is to be seen.... 

"There have been debates over whether marijuana smoke inside an apartment building is any more annoying than, say, a spicy curry simmering on a stove all day or a pungent pot of chitterlings."

"A better comparison would be to the 'corpse flower' at the U.S. Botanic Garden on the National Mall, so named because it smells like rotting flesh."

From "Learning the highs and lows of D.C.’s medical marijuana lingo/As recreational marijuana sales prosper in Maryland, medical dispensaries in D.C. jump through" (WaPo).

It would be racist to object to "a spicy curry simmering on a stove all day or a pungent pot of chitterlings," so be careful what you say about the marijuana smoke permeating your apartment building. That's the insinuation I'm picking up.

"Eggo Brunch in a Jar makes it easy for parents to kick back when they’re not caring for their little ones."

Says the press release from Eggo, quoted in "Eggo’s ‘Brunch in a Jar’ sippin’ cream is a boozy, diabolical disaster" (WaPo).
Was this some kind of bizarre meal-replacement product, with the added bonus of a buzz (thanks to the 20 percent ABV)? No, apparently it’s meant to be consumed alongside … real Eggo waffles in their solid form.... [I]t’s a rich beverage infused with dessert flavors including banana pudding and dark chocolate and coffee....

The urge among food companies to booze-ify their offerings is apparently strong, no matter how improbable the resulting product. (See Arby’s french-fry-flavored vodka, Oreo Thins wine, Hellmann’s ‘mayo-nog,’ and the Velveeta martini.)...

I was irritated by the vague hillbilly cosplay of the [Eggo] container, a jar meant to conjure up moonshine, and the folksy droppin’ of the letter “g”...

I'm glad the elite WaPo writer — Emily Heil — is offended on behalf of the hillbillies of this world. But what about some empathy for the people who really do love waffles and are just wondering what alcoholic beverage to pair them with? 

ADDED: To paraphrase Obama: Why it is that, like, I can't just eat my waffle and sip my sippin' cream? Just gonna eat my waffle and sip my sippin' cream right now.

"My interests were moving out of this idea of self-optimization. I think what happens in the wellness world is this desire for control and certainty...."

"I don’t think the answers are deep inside myself. If anything, the answers are in the collective, in recontextualizing ourselves and realigning ourselves with other women."
Said Elise Loehnen, out of wellness world but still speaking the mystifying lingo of wellness world, quoted in "She Outgrew the Wish to Be Perfect/For years Elise Loehnen peddled wellness for Gwyneth Paltrow. Her new book explores 'the price women pay to be good'" (NYT).

Notice that she's saying that being inside Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop made her too individualistic, and she needed to leave the cult to become more of a collectivist. What?!

ADDED: I think what's really going on here is that Loehen is trying to establish her own business, parallel to Paltrow's, and the rest is nonsense. She's still "peddling wellness."  

August 22, 2023

Sunrise — 6:16, 6:18, 6:20, 6:22.





"[P]eople enjoy repeat experiences more than they predict they will. And not because they use the sameness to lull themselves into a comfortable trance..."

"... but because they discover new things they’d missed first time around.... 'Doing something once may engender an inflated sense that one has now seen "it," leaving people naive to the missed nuances remaining to enjoy.' It’s less a question of loving the familiar, then, than of discovering it wasn’t so familiar after all. This isn’t so surprising when you consider the mismatch between the information bombarding our brains at any given moment and the tiny amount our conscious minds can process (about 0.0003% of the total, according to one estimate) which means almost everything gets filtered out.... We have no trouble accepting that the work of Shakespeare or Austen repays multiple encounters. But our limited capacities mean the same is true, to some extent, of any airport thriller or TV reality show. When you relate to everyday life in this spirit, you begin to grasp what the writer Sam Harris means when he says that 'boredom is always just a lack of attention.'"

 From "Do you love doing the same thing over and over? Here's why it doesn’t make you boring/We don’t always need new distractions – there’s a value to experiencing something more than once" (The Guardian).

That's from January 2020. I found it this morning because I googled "I love doing the same thing every day." 

"Instead of sending their kids to public school, they have 'some educators who come to the house.'"

"(She pointed to the special relationship between Alexander the Great and his private tutor, Aristotle, as a model.) Like Vivek, [Apoorva, a head-and-neck-cancer surgeon at the Ohio State University, is] ambitious and career-driven. She told me she doesn’t necessarily plan to give up her job at OSU even if her family moves into the White House. 'I think Jill Biden did show that it is possible to be a spouse who is working,' she said. 'This is a totally new world for me, and the concept of being a political spouse is not, like, the fifth thing I would call myself,' she said. 'It’s, you know, this is the thing we’re doing, for sure. And I’m proud to support my husband in it. But I think this is about him and his vision. This is not about me.'..."

Rhetoric should be "hard to police."

I'm disturbed by this Washington Post headline: "In Trump cases, experts say defendant’s rhetoric will be hard to police."

Let's read the text. Is it as oblivious to traditional free-speech values as it sounds? 

As a 2024 candidate, Trump “has the best imaginable First Amendment case for talking about the charges against him, the evidence against him, the witnesses against him,” [said Kenneth White, a former federal prosecutor in California who specializes in free-speech issues]. particularly when one of those witnesses is former vice president Mike Pence, who is also seeking the GOP nomination....
Long before the indictments in D.C. and Georgia, Trump said the election-related investigations themselves sought to punish him for exercising his First Amendment speech rights in the aftermath of the 2020 voting. A pretrial legal battle over what the former president can or cannot say about those events might buttress that line of attack, experts said.

That is, Trump's opponents are in a bind. The more the courts restrict Trump's speech about the substance of the cases, the stronger his argument that they're violating his freedom of speech.

"Scandalously... seventy per cent of the state’s prisons do not have air-conditioning in living areas. The temperature inside those enclosed, often windowless spaces..."

"... can be higher than it is outdoors—a carceral heat dome. Earlier this year, a measure to install air-conditioning passed in the Texas House, only to die in the state Senate, despite the fact that the state has a budget surplus. The state has instead dealt with the issue haphazardly, mostly by shuffling the elderly incarcerated to detention centers that are air-conditioned, and, supposedly, by distributing water. Inmates and their advocates have compared the conditions to torture. The Texas Tribune reported that in the past few weeks there has been an unusual spate of prisoners dying of cardiac arrest or of undetermined causes. One of them had been mowing grass outside; he was thirty-five years old...."

From "How Much Hotter Can Texas Get?" (The New Yorker).

August 21, 2023

Sunrise — 6:14, 6:30.



I want to watch this whole Bill Maher interview with Vivek Ramaswamy, but I must stop 25 seconds in to share this screenshot.

I got distracted by Maher's high jinks with the zucchini (and I credit Ramaswamy with knowing Maher was choreographing to get this screen shot):

For all I know the 2 men planned this scene together, but I will not accept the alternative that Ramaswamy didn't see the joke and just got pranked. Watch it unfold (and watch the rest of the video) here:

Yes, there were some men in shorts...


... out in Spring Green last night, at the American Players Theatre's production of "Anton's Shorts."

But no, the play was not about shorts. It was a series of 5 short plays. "Anton" is Anton Chekhov. We loved it! Laughed a lot. Cried once each — at different things. 

The director writes:
[Chekhov's] early "low-brow" comedies and vaudevilles, like the ones in Anton's Shorts, were written and sold largely to make money for his family after his father was forced to declare bankruptcy. It wasn't until a visit to 1887/1888 visit to Steppe that he came into his literary adulthood, writing ever more serious short stories about people feeling trapped in their lives, and finally plays like the ones we still produce today. While Chekhov was often pegged as having a fairly pessimistic view of people, he disagreed, saying: "I wanted to tell people honestly: 'Look at yourselves. See how badly you live and how tiresome you are.'"
As for all the men in shorts... it was a pretty hot day, and it was still daytime when the play started....


... and, as you can see, we were outdoors. There's a delightful walk into the woods to this theater, an uphill walk. It's not a little walk from your air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned theater. We were out in the wilds of what Chekhov — as a character on stage — called "rural Wisconsin."

"A week out from the debate, Ramaswamy said he hasn’t held formal practice sessions and doesn’t want to be 'overly prepared.'"

"But many more-seasoned political hands would say that’s a strategy that could backfire onstage."

WaPo has the nerve to instruct us on "What to watch for in the first Republican debate."

I'd say many who are "more-seasoned" in the wit and wisdom of Vivek Ramaswamy would say that’s a strategy that could succeed spectacularly. 

Backfire? Is frontfire a word?

"Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows has asked a federal court to order all charges against him brought by Fulton County, Georgia, prosecutors last week to be dismissed..."

"... since he says the charges relate to his then-role in the federal government. In a weekend filing, Meadows argues he should have immunity from the state’s 2020 election interference criminal case because he was carrying out his duties as a federal official working for then-President Donald Trump.... In the Trump White House, 'Mr. Meadows served a critically important advice-and-assist function that has been firmly entrenched in federal law for nearly 100 years,' his attorneys wrote to a judge Saturday about the Georgia charges. 'The conduct charged here falls squarely within the scope of Mr. Meadows’s duties as Chief of Staff and the federal policy underlying that role.'"

"President Biden is set to break away from his summer vacation on Monday to fly to Hawaii to inspect damage wrought by wildfires...."

The NYT reports, in a presentation that is not supportive to Biden:

The asymmetrical photograph tips Biden into the lower corner. He looks small and weak. It's an unflattering view from the side, with his unround head bowed. He's headed into the weeds. But he's a man on vacation — hidden away at Lake Tahoe. 

Paragraph 3:

Who's the "most normal" in this "pretty weird group"?

On "Meet the Press" yesterday, the Democratic Governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, was invited to talk about the Republican Governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum, who is running for the Republican nomination for President. Walz had recently said — at the Iowa State Fair — "I'm not a Republican. And I'm not going to vote in the Republican primary. But if I did, I'd vote for him."

Now, Walz was in Iowa representing the Biden campaign, so his "endorsement" of Burgum is to be understood in that context, but here's what Walz had to say about Burgum on "Meet the Press":
[Y]ou were asking what's going to come out of this debate. The minute they all step on the stage, the American people have lost. Are they going to debate who can ban the most books? Who – you know, Doug, he didn't tell you this, but he signed a six week abortion ban, which is hugely unpopular and simply wrong in America. So yeah, we're friends, but I hate to see it go down this road. Those are very simple questions about – you were asking about the President, about the indictments and so I was a little bit tongue-in-cheek. And the sad part is, I do believe that Doug is probably the most normal of these. That's a pretty weird group of folks that are going to be on the debate stage. Doug's a pretty good guy, but he's trapped in a Republican party with no ideas. 

No ideas? Come on. At least give them credit for having weird ideas. 

Anyway, it seems that "normal" is a very high standard this time around. But it's strange for Democrats to call the whole group of Republican candidates "weird" when, for so long, they've been stressing the singular weirdness of Trump. I'm very susceptible to the argument that we need a President who's at least normal, but there's something abnormal — perverse — about generating the feeling that all the candidates are weird. 

August 20, 2023

Sunrise — 6:10, 6:11, 6:14.

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"Earlier this year, The Times found, Mr. Weiss appeared willing to forgo any prosecution of Mr. Biden at all..."

"... and his office came close to agreeing to end the investigation without requiring a guilty plea on any charges. But the correspondence reveals that his position, relayed through his staff, changed in the spring, around the time a pair of I.R.S. officials on the case accused the Justice Department of hamstringing the investigation. Mr. Weiss suddenly demanded that Mr. Biden plead guilty to committing tax offenses...."

"Many people in southern India, and especially those who toil outside, begin their workday around 4 a.m. and work until no later than noon."

"The afternoon often includes a nap. Work then resumes at 4 or 5 p.m. for a few more hours.... [T]raditional homes manage to stay cool... open windows early in the day and close them before it begins to warm up. Heavy, dark curtains block light and heat from entering the house, and ceiling fans circulate the cool air trapped inside. My family home had curtains made of khus, a native Indian grass, which we sprayed with water every couple of hours. The curtains transformed hot gusts into cool, fragrant breezes. Many traditional Indian homes have verandas, high ceilings and walls of mud that keep the interior cool...."

If you can do it, beginning your workday — or your exerciseday — at 4 a.m. is a very effective way of structuring your waking hours to avoid summer heat.

"I think British people don’t really care. They have, like, no standards. Like, they don’t really care about anything."

Said Bella Fisher, a British 21-year-old, vacationing in Spain, quoted in "A Summer Rite in Spain: Coping With the British Tourist Invasion/On the front lines of a low-cost resort, Spanish residents complain that U.K. visitors drink too much and don’t spend enough" (NYT).

"[Ron] DeSantis, 44, is not the first Republican politician of his generation to rail against his own Ivy League degrees while milking them for access and campaign cash."

"But now, as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination, he is molding his entire campaign and political persona around a vengeful war against what he calls the country’s 'ruling class': an incompetent, unaccountable elite of bureaucrats, journalists, educators and other supposed 'experts' whose pernicious and unearned authority the governor has vowed to vanquish...."

I see no problem with a young person taking advantage of elite education and then rejecting its values. Who better to challenge the "ruling class" than someone who's had a direct experience with it? If education is any good it equips you to go on to pursue your own goals. Does the NYT think the students are supposed to absorb indoctrination and then go on to be loyal to the elite?

"Unfortunately, it seems there is little appetite in the Biden administration for confronting the marijuana problem."

"But the longer the federal government waits to step in, the worse the dangers will become — and the stronger the cannabis industry will grow politically. Best to tame the beast before it’s too big to control."

What exactly is this "problem" (other than the conceptual chaos of states "legalizing" something that's still a crime federally)? It seems that if you're not going to take the federal crime seriously, you need federal regulation:

The Russian lunar lander has "ceased its existence as a result of a collision with the lunar surface."

According to according to Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, quoted in "Russia’s Lunar Lander Crashes Into the Moon/The robotic Luna-25 spacecraft appeared to have 'ceased its existence' after a failed orbital adjustment, the space agency Roscosmos said" (NYT).