Tuesday, April 4th, 2023


Arraign Drops Keep Falling on My Head

We are in the same tent as the clowns and the freaks—that's show business.
—Edward R. Murrow

You're under arrest. And unlike the former president arraigned on Tuesday, you are not free to return to your normal life until proven guilty. The handcuffs the media shackled on your wrists will not be unlocked. Your perp walk is perpetual as the coverage will be perpetuated 24/7. Just when you thought you were out, they pulled you back in. And what are you being pulled into? The circus has come to town—the town of New York and the town of your unconscious—and this time the ringmaster is joined by the likes of MTG and George Santos. It's showtime at the Apoll-OMG. My mugshot shows me grimacing with my eyes shut tight. I would pay hush money to get the cable outlets to STFU. I want asysum from the asylum.

But asylum will not be granted. Even if Trump remains free, you won't be. After all, this is just the first day of what could be a year-long process—one that the ringmaster will use to raise money and increase polling numbers. Yes, along with the legal coverage will be the alienating daily reminders that millions of your fellow Americans love this treacherous creep. The greatest gift the judge in this case could give is to continue to keep cameras out of the court and gag-order everyone involved, from the defendant, to the lawyers, to the media, to the person at the next table over in a restaurant who will not stop talking about this garbage. We've had enough of our lives dominated by this criminal. And remember, this is just the first (and most minor) of Trump's legal challenges. The circus is nowhere near maximus. In short, he's baaaack.

It could be worse. You could be someone whose daily gig includes consuming and regurgitating the daily news, which now, like those awful four years we already experienced, will include physical regurgitation, too. It's too late for me, but there's still time to save yourself. Take my friend Dahlia Lithwick's sage advice (even though she won't follow it herself), and just Let Donald Trump Cry It Out. "What is called for here, really, is the Ferberizing of the former president." If you can't Ferberize him, consider anesthetizing yourself. If you won't do it for personal mental health, do it out of spite. He wants your attention. Hell, he even brought his own videographer to document his big day. For the self-flagellaters who can't look away from the slow motion car crash, let me dust off my inner-Maddow and provide a brief wrap of what happened at the arraignment (in case, you know, you missed it).

+ AP: Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony charges. "The case is unfolding against the backdrop not only of his third campaign for the White House but also against other investigations in Washington and Atlanta that might yet produce even more charges." The felonies charges are all related to falsifying business records. You can read the full indictment here.

+ "Prosecutor Chris Connolly did not ask for a gag order but did ask Justice Juan Merchan to address recent public statements and what he called threatening communications from former president Donald Trump. He said that Trump made irresponsible social media posts that threaten 'death & destruction.' He also pointed out that those posts directly threatened the district attorney's office, including Trump's post about using a baseball bat that led to public safety measures around the D.A.'s office in the past few weeks." After surrendering to authorities, Trump posted the words SURREAL and WOW. This is the first time we've ever agreed. Here are some photos from the scene, and the latest from NPR, the NYT, and WaPo.


Finland Mark

It wasn't just a bad day for Trump. It was a bad day for one of his favorite allies. "Finland has become the 31st member of the Nato security alliance, doubling the length of member states' borders with Russia."


Falling on Their Dairy Error

These days, lactose intolerance is as much a mental state as a physical affliction. The younger crowd is avoiding the stuff. NYT (Free Article): Got Milk? Not This Generation. "The dairy industry isn't banking on nostalgia to save the day. It has embarked on a full-frontal marketing assault intended to do what the 'Got Milk?' mustaches on celebrities like Taylor Swift and Dennis Rodman did for previous generations." (I'm old enough to remember when a white mustache meant you spent the night at Studio54.)


Graduating from U of Me

"In January, Matthew Prince, a public relations executive at Taco Bell who teaches at Chapman University in Southern California, was telling 80 students what to expect from his influencer marketing course as he walked them through the syllabus projected onto a screen at the front of the lecture hall. This semester, he said, things would be a little different: If anyone in the class could create a TikTok video that received one million views before he did, the final exam would be canceled." NYT (Gift Article): Want an A in His Class? You Had Better Go Viral. The teacher already showed you how to go viral in the news. Just do what he did.


Extra, Extra

Tennessee No Evil: Here's a nice mix of crazy from Tennessee: "Tennessee Republican lawmakers took the first steps Monday to expel three Democratic members from the GOP-dominant House for their role in a recent gun control protest at the state Capitol." The reps are being punished because the "did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives." (If they'd shown up with AR-15s, they would have been welcomed.)

+ Money Talks: "Abbas Ali, a vegetable vendor in an upscale neighborhood in New Delhi, started accepting digital payments in 2021. But every time a customer paid online, the 48-year-old, who can neither read nor write, would need to call his son to confirm that the payment had been received." How tiny, cheap smart speakers unlocked the rise of digital payments in India.

+ UConn Not Be Serious! "The team from Storrs, Connecticut, topped off one of the most impressive March Madness runs in history Monday night, clamping down early, then breaking things open late to bring home its fifth national title with a 76-59 victory over San Diego State." UConn wins March Madness with 76-59 smothering of SDSU. Maybe Dan Hurley's lucky, fire-breathing underwear were a factor.

+ Paris Wheels: "Car trips within Paris declined by almost 60 percent between 2001 and 2018, according to research from Atelier Parisien d'Urbanisme, the city's planning arm." How Paris Kicked Out the Cars.

+ Forward Starch: "New research found that obesity in the U.S. military surged during the pandemic. In the Army alone, nearly 10,000 active duty soldiers developed obesity between February 2019 and June 2021, pushing the rate to nearly a quarter of the troops studied."

+ Hips Hip: "The longer-lasting replacement hips have led to a change in mindset: from holding out as long as possible so you won't need to have a second procedure, to doing it when it becomes clear that less invasive remedies ... are not enough." How the hip replacement became the hot Gen-X surgery.


Bottom of the News

"Italy's ruling party has had it with the bastardization of their language and is seeking to pass a new law asking people to say ciao to English words." Mispronouncing 'bruschetta' could soon cost thousands of euros in Italy. Chi Non Fa, Non Falla...

+ Chai-ching: Bubble tea is brewing up serious profits in the US.