Wednesday, January 4th, 2023


Running Up That Hill

McCarthySchism is the new McCarthyism. Kevin's haunted House has failed to elect him Speaker for a fifth straight time (it's certainly not the first time many of his opponents have taken the fifth). While it's nice to see the modern GOP finally in favor of a lot of voting, this is getting ridiculous and embarrassing, not just for the Bakersfield Bust, but for America in general. There are many lessons being learned from McCarthy's up-Hill battle, from the downside of standing for nothing but personal power to enabling and empowering terrible people. The GOP empowered Trump and created a monster they couldn't control. Trump empowered the most rabid members of his base, and they couldn't be controlled. Kevin McCarthy kissed Trump's ring after the insurrection and it did him no good because Trump can't control his election-denying House member minions who have turned politics into a freak show. Maybe creating monsters is a bad idea. But this disaster is broader than the laughing stock and troubling visuals (McCarthy has already moved his stuff into the Speaker's office). At some point, these hooligans holding up the vote will hold up our ability to govern. The House Speaker has an important role and the House has a job to do, and sadly, this week's DC comics are a preview of things to come.

+ In a visual that has seemed impossible for years, and unthinkable in recent days, Mitch McConnell just appeared alongside President Biden at the Brent Spence Bridge connecting Kentucky and Ohio to make note of a positive aspect of the infrastructure bill. It turns out building bridges is a great way to build bridges.


Living on the Down Low

As a tall person, I can assure you there are many downsides to being tall. It's hard deal with legroom on planes, it's difficult to find a car where one's head (or at least hair) doesn't come uncomfortably close to the roof, back and neck problems seem worse, we require more fuel to survive, and the visual of one's private-parts to total body ratio can be unfavorably skewed. Oh, and you're more likely to die sooner. Mara Altman in the NYT (Gift Article): There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be Short. "Short people don't just save resources, but as resources become scarcer because of the earth's growing population and global warming, they may also be best suited for long-term survival."


No More India Rubber Stamp

"A 'world order which is still very, very deeply Western,' ... is being hurried out of existence by the impact of the war in Ukraine, to be replaced by a world of 'multi-alignment' where countries will choose their own 'particular policies and preferences and interests.'" Roger Cohen with a really informative piece in the NYT (Gift Article): Russia's War Could Make It India's World. "The Ukraine war, which has provoked moral outrage in the West over Russian atrocities, has caused a different anger elsewhere, one focused on a skewed and outdated global distribution of power. As Western sanctions against Russia have driven up energy, food and fertilizer costs, causing acute economic difficulties in poorer countries, resentment of the United States and Europe has stirred in Asia and Africa."

+ "In many ways, Vehant embodies the new India. He's the first in his family to be born in a hospital. His parents married for love — a rarity in a country where matchmaking is a tradition. And their young family — now settled on the fast-growing edge of India's biggest city, Mumbai — is the product of a massive wave of migration out of India's countryside." He also may have been the baby that pushed India past China as the world's most populous country.


Appetite for Reduction

Doctors and patients have learned that many drugs associated with tamping down high blood sugar have also been associated with losing weight. Any drug that helps people lose weight will be a gold mine, in part because so many people will want it, and in part because it's going to be really expensive. NBC News: A new weight loss drug could become the best-selling drug of all time. Who can afford it?


Extra, Extra

Cry Me a River: One of my kids is back on Zoom school and a highway exit down the hill from me is closed because of flooding. And this is just the beginning of a California bomb cyclone atmospheric river that I really hope doesn't live up the hype. (If I lose power, I'll deliver tomorrow's NextDraft via smoke signal.)

+ Salesforce Cower: The big tech layoffs continue. Salesforce just announced a 10% staff reduction.

+ The Best Western Wall: "Critics accused the government of declaring war against the legal system, saying the plan will upend Israel's system of checks and balances and undermine its democratic institutions by giving absolute power to the most right-wing coalition in the country's history." Israel's new government is, sadly, living up to the worst fears. Israel's new government unveils plan to weaken Supreme Court.

+ Church on the Hill: "Even though nearly three in 10 Americans claim no religious affiliation — a rate that has steadily risen in recent years — only two of the 534 incoming members of Congress publicly identify as such." Religiously, Congress doesn't reflect America. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is more Catholic than the Vatican.

+ Varsity Orange: Rick Singer, "the mastermind of the nationwide college admissions bribery scheme that ensnared celebrities, prominent businesspeople and other parents who used their wealth and privilege to buy their kids' way into top-tier schools was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison Wednesday." (And that was after cutting a deal and giving prosecutors the dirt on many others.)

+ Bury the Hatchet: "A former Colorado funeral home owner was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on Tuesday for defrauding relatives of the dead by dissecting 560 corpses and selling body parts without permission."

+ That which we call their clothes by any other word would smell as sweet: "Now in their 70s, Hussey and Whiting filed a lawsuit in Santa Monica Superior Court on Friday, accusing Paramount of sexually exploiting them and distributing nude images of adolescent children." Romeo and Juliet Stars Sue Paramount for Child Abuse Over Nude Scene in 1968 Film. (For never was a story of more whoa!)

+ Hamlin Upate: Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition, but there are signs of improvement. Here's the latest. I shared my take on the incident on the field, and the coverage off the field, yesterday. Are You Ready for Some Commentary?


Bottom of the News

"While aficionados of the pursuit favour thin, flat stones for long-distance skimming, the researchers' mathematical model reveals that heavier, potato-shaped stones can achieve more dramatic results, which blast the rock into the air." Potato-shaped stones are better for skimming, say experts. (There are experts on everything...)