Thursday, December 22nd, 2022


There Goes My Hérouxville

"Ms. Hmadi said she had never heard of Hérouxville's code of conduct and had been welcomed warmly by locals. 'We got many phone calls or even people knocking on our door to ask if we needed anything ... One of our neighbors knocked on our door with a big bag of toys for our kids. We didn't even know her. We were still moving in." Historically, in Hérouxville, Quebec, a big bag of toys was the last thing a new immigrant could expect on the other side of a knock on the door. But times change. Sometimes for the better. NYT (Gift Article): How a Town Famous for Xenophobia Fell in Love With Immigrants.


Not In the Room Where it Happened

Yesterday, I explained why Volodymyr Zelenskyy had to visit DC now, right before the powershift in the House. As inspiring as Zelenskyy's speech was, there were plenty of reasons for concern. "Reps. Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert spent part of the speech glued to their phones and barely paying attention. Several others remained seated for many of the portions of the speech where Zelenskyy received standing ovations, and more didn't attend the speech at all ... In all, roughly 90 House Republicans out of 213—fewer than half—bothered to attend the speech." Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie summed up the disturbing, wrong-headed vibe expressed by those who didn't attend. "I'm in DC but I will not be attending the speech of the Ukrainian lobbyist." (Believe me, he'll be in the room when they investigate Hunter Biden's laptop.)

+ "'We have artillery, yes,' Zelensky said. 'Thank you. We have it. Is it enough? Honestly, not really. To insure Bakhmut is not just a stronghold that holds back the Russian Army, but for the Russian Army to completely pull out, more cannons and shells are needed.' To avoid sounding ungrateful, Zelensky framed this question as pertaining only to Bakhmut, but what he was really talking about is the fact that the United States could enable Ukraine to achieve a complete victory, yet aid has been slow and incomplete, and even the current consensus underpinning aid is fragile—this was why Zelensky was addressing Congress in the first place." Masha Gessen in The New Yorker: Volodymyr Zelensky's Critical Visit to Washington, DC.

+ Meanwhile, back at the front: "Every day around 8 a.m., Mr. Shved drives from the neighboring town of Chasiv Yar to Bakhmut, a roughly 25-minute journey that involves passing through at least one Ukrainian military checkpoint. His routine and face have become familiar enough that the soldiers have ceased asking, for the most part, why he is driving into one of the most heavily shelled cities in Ukraine." NYT: Frontline City's Final Food Stand Finds a Way to Keep the Pizza Coming.


Netflix and Freeze

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Maybe too much. It's going to be cold across many parts of the US. Really cold. Coldest Christmas in decades possible for parts of US.

+ Canceled flights, closed highways, deadly windchills, and we're just getting, er, warmed up. Here's the latest from CNN.


Georgia on My Mind

"Fairmount had streets named for deceased factory owners, a shuttered college and the town's last practicing doctor. There used to be carpet mills, but now there was a plant that makes powdered chlorine, and another that made bricks. An IGA grocery anchored one end of town, an American Legion post the other, and in between were three gas stations, one diner, and an intersection where locals reliably shot out the one traffic light the county kept trying to install. 'People here do not like change,' said Connie Underwood, the clerk at the Citgo, explaining life in Fairmount one day. 'Like if I moved the beef jerky, they'd get mad.'" In WaPo, Stephanie McCrummen shares the story of Cody Johnson and why he said no to hate. In rural Georgia, an unlikely rebel against Trumpism. "He voted against all the politics of Trumpism that had been expected to work on somebody like him — white nationalism, grievance, bitterness, bullying and, perhaps most of all, fear of a changing world. 'I have relatives who retreated rather than adapted,' he said, thinking of the life he left behind. 'I think of it as, I left the mountain to come into the world, to go out into the world. It's something I'm kind of proud of.'"


Extra, Extra

FTX Friends: "Two of Bankman-Fried's one-time friends and co-workers – Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang — have pleaded guilty to fraud charges by the SDNY and are cooperating with its investigation, Williams said." This is not the welcome home party he wanted. Sam Bankman-Fried is extradited to the U.S. as two former FTX employees turn on him. Bankman-Fried can post a $250 million bond and live in his parents' California home while awaiting trial.

+ On Second Thought: "'I did not believe it for one second.' ... Hannity's disclosure — along with others that emerged from court Wednesday about what Fox News executives and hosts really believed as their network became one of the loudest megaphones for lies about the 2020 election — is among the strongest evidence yet to emerge publicly that some Fox employees knew that what they were broadcasting was false." In Testimony, Hannity and Other Fox Employees Said They Doubted Trump's Fraud Claims.

+ Got Clearance, Clarence: "Clarence and Ginni Thomas were ultimately untouchable for the Jan. 6 investigators for the same reason they are untouchable for purposes of Supreme Court ethics reform: When you're a justice, they let you do it. And when you are delivering long-sought victories, even ethical Never Trumpers like Liz Cheney will let you do whatever it takes to deliver the goods." Dahlia Lithwick: Why the Jan. 6 Committee Let Ginni and Clarence Thomas Off the Hook.

+ That Depends: "Many said the incident showed Kiir was not well enough to rule a nation facing intense challenges – acute levels of hunger, conflict and climate shocks. Others have criticised the sharing of the footage on social media, complaining that doing so was disrespectful to a man of his age." Ethics row rages after South Sudan leader wets himself on live TV.

+ Take the Points: "Eastern Illinois pulled off the biggest college basketball upset by point spread in the modern era Wednesday, knocking off Iowa 92-83 on the road as a 31.5-point underdog."


Bottom of the News

He's making a bucket list, checking it twice... "KFC Japan's busiest day is usually December 24, on which they usually sell about five to 10 times more than typical days." How KFC became a Christmas tradition in Japan.

+ "I thought, ‘Oh, I guess it came out and didn't do very well,' because I didn't hear anything." Edie Falco Thought 'Avatar' Sequel Came Out Years Ago And Flopped At Box Office.

+ OK, folks, newscycle permitting, this will be the last edition of NextDraft until 2023. I wish you and yours a happy holiday season. See you right back here after the festivities.