Oustian Bargain

"Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president's crusade to undermine our democracy." So said Liz Cheney on Tuesday night, hours before being ousted from her GOP leadership position. She was right that the lie emboldens, but she should have said liars, plural. The adherence to the big election lie and the choosing of authoritarianism over democracy is hardly restricted to a single liar at this point. This movement is broader than ever, and after today's move against Cheney, more dangerous than ever.

+ Peter Wehner, who served in three Republican administrations, in the NYT: "Liz Cheney understands that only a decisive break with Mr. Trump will stop the continuing moral ruination of the Republican Party. But her break with the former president, while courageous, came too late to change anything. She is trying to rally an army that doesn't exist ... Declaring fealty to a lie has become the single most important test of loyalty in today's Republican Party. Everyone recognizes this, but from time to time we need to stop to register its true significance."

+ Jeff Flake in WaPo: In today's Republican Party, there is no greater offense than honesty.

+ How bad is it? Here's Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia explaining that there was no insurrection and January 6th basically looked like any other tourist day at the Capitol.

+ Today, the GOP traded conservatism, democracy, and truth for this Tweet from party up and comer Madison Cawthorn. "Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye Liz Cheney." (He's one "hey" short of reality. For these guys, being truthful and accurate is like finding a needle in a hey stack.)


Sanity Running on Fumes

"The cyberattack disabled computer systems responsible for fuel production from Texas to the Northeast, and now gas stations in the Southeast are seeing panicked motorists lining up in droves to fill their tanks ... Drivers are being turned away from now-empty gas pumps." Panic Drives Gas Shortages After Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Attack.

+ WaPo: Gas shortages intensify in Southeast, with 28 percent of North Carolina stations now dry. (The frenzied gas buying is one more example of citizens not trusting government officials who are telling them not to panic. This mistrust is a bigger threat than hackers.)


No Middle Ground in Middle East

"The deadly exchange of fire between Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli military has escalated significantly, with the UN fearing a "full-scale war".
More than 1,000 rockets have been fired by Palestinian militants, Israel says. Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes on Gaza, destroying three tower blocks and killing senior Hamas officials. At least 53 Palestinians and six Israelis have been killed since Monday. That includes 14 Palestinian children caught up in the conflict." Israel-Gaza: Fears of war as violence escalates.

+ "Israel is being battered by incessant rocket fire, spreading death, destruction and panic through a widening swath of southern Israel. The IDF is hitting back in Gaza, targeting Hamas and other terror groups' installations, rocket launch teams, and numerous terror commanders. The battle over the narrative is in full sway, with Hamas bragging of the indiscriminate harm it is wreaking in Israel while simultaneously protesting the Israeli counterstrikes. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza is highlighting what it says are the deaths of children in IDF strikes, while the Israeli army declines to comment on specific incidents but says at least some of the Gaza civilian fatalities, including children, were caused by the terror groups' own rockets misfiring or landing inside the Strip." David Horovitz on how so much of this sounds so depressingly familiar.

+ Photos from the scene.

+ Negotiations to oust Netanyahu stall amid Jerusalem crisis. Isn't that convenient for Bibi...


Prevent Defense

"It said preparation was inconsistent and underfunded, the alert system too slow and too meek, while the World Health Organization was underpowered. It concluded the response had exacerbated inequalities. 'Global political leadership was absent' ... February 2020 was 'a month of lost opportunity to avert a pandemic, as so many countries chose to wait and see.'" Covid pandemic was preventable, says WHO-commissioned report. (We're a year and a half into this nightmare and there are still plenty of people waiting and seeing.)


Broken Record

"Decades before 'Zoom fatigue' broke our spirits, the so-called computer revolution brought with it a world of pain previously unknown to humankind." Vice with an interesting look back at How the Personal Computer Broke the Human Body. (I've got the MRIs to confirm this story.)


Hollywood Chipper

"The Globes has always been hyped as 'Hollywood's favorite party,' a boozy free-for-all prologue to the Oscars where viewers could join the tables of the biggest stars in the world ... NBC announced it would not broadcast next year's ceremony following a cascade of diversity failures, racism allegations, professionalism complaints, and public embarrassments surrounding the group that votes on the awards, the 86-member Hollywood Foreign Press Association." Vanity Fair: Inside the Collapse of the Golden Globes. (This situation is being overcomplicated. Get rid of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and keep the booze and the stars. Throw in Glenn Close twerking and you've got a win.)


The Exercism

"The findings underscore how braided the relationship between physical activity and psychological well-being can be, and how the effects often run both ways." NYT: How Exercise May Help Us Flourish. This is the most consistent story in science. (The second most consistent is my refusal to exercise in the face of the most consistent story in science.)


Simply the Best

Tina Turner, LL Cool J, Todd Rundgren, Carole King, Jay-Z, The Go-Go's and the Foo Fighters are among the latest class of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees. This just makes me more excited to get back to going to rock and roll shows.


Free Trade

"A family of Trade Me fans offered her a red minivan for the iPhone. While it was the most surprising upgrade, Skipper remembers it as the most emotionally difficult. A couple were so inspired by the project, they drove the van 29 hours from Minnesota to San Francisco with their two kids." Trading up: one woman's quest to swap a hairpin for a house. (Once she has the house, she can trade up and get an NFT version of a house.)


Bottom of the News

"Francisquini started handing out pamphlets printed with her Instagram account after sneaking onto the campus around 8:30 a.m. Monday, police said. She had a black backpack and carried a skateboard as she walked through the hallways, recording herself." A 28-year old woman posed as a high school student to promote her Instagram page.

+ As it turns 50, 11 Facts About Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven. (Not even Robert Plant knows what the lyrics mean.)

+ Fangs and tentacles: rarely seen deep sea fish washes up on California beach.