Friday, January 8th, 2021


Capitol Offense

You've been taking off your shoes in airport security and giving up your liberties for 20 years, and then terrorists just barge into your Capitol, take over the place, and walk out, free? One of the biggest stories of 2021 will be what the hell happened to enable this; especially following the show of force—troops, tear gas, helicopters, the sec of defense, the commander in chief, and the chairman of the joint chiefs in camo—during the unprovoked attack on peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square. Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund, House Sergeant at Arms Paul D. Irving, and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael C. Stenger have all resigned. But there's little chance the buck stops there. "'You didn't need intelligence. You just needed to read the newspaper,' said Michael Chertoff, who served as Homeland Security secretary from 2005 to 2009 under President George W. Bush. 'They were advertising, ‘Let's go wild. Bring your guns.' You don't need to have an FBI investigation. You just need to be able to be able to read.'" WaPo: How the U.S. Capitol Police were overrun in a ‘monumental' security failure.

+ Maryland Governor Larry Hogan describes how he was standing by with national guard troops, and standing by, and standing by. It took an hour and a half for the federal government to give Hogan authorization to send help. (Remember that the Pentagon's top echelon had been filled with lackeys appointed by the Inciter in Chief over the past few weeks.)

+ AP: Capitol Police rejected offers of federal help to quell mob.

+ And while we failed to protect the Capitol, America's allies were shocked, and its enemies were gloating. Robin Wright in The New Yorker: The World Shook as America Raged.

+ "The U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement that Officer Brian D. Sicknick was injured 'while physically engaging with protesters' during the Wednesday riot. He is the fifth person to die because of the Capitol protest and violence."

+ The man seen in viral photograph at Nancy Pelosi's desk has been arrested. (Do me a favor. Find and arrest this dude. Warning, highly appropriate swear words ahead.)


Two For The Road

Apparently, some feel that reading from a teleprompter that you'll agree to an orderly transition is not an appropriate punishment for incitement and insurrection. Nancy Pelosi says there's more House support for a second impeachment than there was for the first one. She added: "This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike. The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy." Here's the latest from CNN. I'm not too worried about nuclear war, but I am very worried about the unhinged Potus. I discussed the President's mental state and much more in yesterday's edition.

+ Shortly after being backed into a corner and giving a phony speech about a peaceful transfer of power, Trump was back to belligerence on Twitter. He also announced he'll skip Biden's inauguration. (This reminds me of the time my wife and I didn't invite a relative to our wedding and they later sent a note apologizing for being unable to attend.)

+ NBC: Troubled by Capitol riot, Cabinet officials DeVos, Chao resign. (Is this really what happened? Or is the correct headline: Faced with Possible Vote on 25th Amendment, Trump Enablers Abandon Posts.)

+ Their boss, however, is still on the job: Trump awards Medal of Freedom to three golfers after his supporters attacked U.S. Capitol.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: My wife and I are on a Scandinavian TV binge. Our current favorites are Rita and Home for Christmas, both on Netflix. (And it's not too late for the latter. Trust me. Jul love it.)

+ What to Anime: My son is an anime watching fanatic, and our family recently watched an excellent and beautiful movie called Weathering with You, which is available many places, including HBO Max.

+ What to Doc: I'm a sucker for medium production value music documentaries, singer-songwriters, Canadians, and hearing the song, "If You Could Read My Mind" many, many times. So I dug Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind, on Amazon Prime.


Murdoch, She Wrote

The WSJ editorial board has indicated that the best outcome would be for Trump to resign to spare the U.S. another impeachment fight. But before we give a Murdoch-owned publication too much credit, let's remember how we got into this mess. Margaret Sullivan in WaPo: The pro-Trump media world peddled the lies that fueled the Capitol mob. Fox News led the way. "In the Trump era, the network — now out of favor for not being quite as shameless as the president demands — was his best friend and promoter. So to put it bluntly: The mob that stormed and desecrated the Capitol on Wednesday could not have existed in a country that hadn't been radicalized by the likes of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, and swayed by biased news coverage." (And then there are all those people who died from Covid, believing it was just a hoax.)


Jonas Balk

We've been distracted by politics (and so have our leaders), but Covid-19 hasn't been. We're up to 365,170 American deaths. That includes more than 4,000, yesterday alone. In other words, it's worse than ever.

+ "It is happening in nursing homes and, to a lesser degree, in hospitals, with employees expressing what experts say are unfounded fears of side effects from vaccines that were developed at record speed. More than three weeks into the campaign, some places are seeing as much as 80% of the staff holding back." AP: Vaccine rollout hits snag as health workers balk at shots.

+ "'One in 30 Londoners now has COVID-19,'" Khan said. The London Ambulance Service is taking 8,000 calls per day, which the city said is about 2,500 more than a 'typical busy day.' And nearly 500 people have died in London hospitals because of COVID-19 complications in the past three days." The variant is doing a number on London.

+ Some relieving news: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine protects against key mutation found in fast-spreading virus variants, study shows.


Fever Dream

Don't look at the attack on the Capitol as an end of the Trump era. It was a huge moment in the rise of the far right and White Supremacists. Trump's election was an apex for the movement at the time. His leading them into battle while the world watched was a dream come true. And the riot was fuel for a massive social media push. The Pro-Trump Mob Was Doing It For The 'Gram.

+ ProPublica: Domestic Terrorism: A More Urgent Threat, but Weaker Laws.


Josh Pit

Simon & Schuster says it will not publish a forthcoming book by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley called, The Tyranny of Big Tech after his role in fomenting the Capitol riots. (Maybe they'd reconsider if he changed the title to, I'm a Seditious Shit Stain?) Hawley responded with a tweet that misunderstood free speech (He went to Yale Law), Orwell, and whined about cancel culture. (If I were one of these seditionists, I'd be less worried about cancel culture and more worried about prison yard culture.)

+ Of course, Hawley and Ted Cruz weren't alone. Here Are The Republicans Who Objected To The Electoral College Count.


Pent Up Story

"It was a story he had chosen not to tell — until 2015, when he sat for a four-hour interview, promised that this account would not be published while he was alive." NYT: Now It Can Be Told: How Neil Sheehan Got the Pentagon Papers.


Start Spreading the News

"North Americans weren't the first to grind peanuts—the Inca beat us to it by a few hundred years—but peanut butter reappeared in the modern world because of an American, the doctor, nutritionist and cereal pioneer John Harvey Kellogg, who filed a patent for a proto-peanut butter in 1895" A Brief History of Peanut Butter. (I'm gonna write an additional chapter to that history just as soon as I publish this edition.)


Feel Good Friday

"The base pay for incarcerated people in the state of California is eight cents an hour. Those with an industry job make $1 an hour, which can get you to $100 a month. That income didn't stop almost 800 inmates from raising $32,000 for the scholarship over the course of 3 years." Inmates work together to raise $32,000 for student's tuition.

+ UPS driver drives up to parade in his honor. Beautiful.

+ Police officer pays for shoplifting suspects' holiday dinner.

+ NFL considering filling Super Bowl seats with vaccinated health care workers.

+ A Connecticut teen saves the lives of a mom and three children by pulling them from a burning car.

+ Marin County girl, 12, raises hundreds of dollars for homeless man who returned grandmother's lost wallet.

+ Newark police: No officer fired a single shot in 2020, thanks to de-escalation program.