Tuesday, October 24th, 2023


Because I Don’t

People always ask me how I can consume so much bad news and not suffer from a paralyzing depression. The answer is pretty simple: I use my coverage of the news to deflect the associated emotions. It's a defense mechanism. My job isn't to feel something about the news, it's to make you feel something about it. But in the days after October 7, the strategy is not working. I'm the son of two Holocaust survivors. I have family in Israel. That's most of my worry, of course, but there's more. While it's entirely unsurprising, I've been saddened by the antisemitism and regional naivete by many of my fellow Americans who seem incapable of understanding that Hamas is an anti-peace terrorist organization intent on killing Jews and martyring Palestinians, even as they're carrying out those goals in real time. I'm a proponent of the policy of wiping Hamas from the face of the Earth, but I'm dubious about the current Israeli government's ability to execute that goal given its unthinkable intelligence failure and general unpreparedness to achieve much beyond propping up Netanyahu. Yes, people need to be punished for Oct 7, but so far, I'm seeing a lot of the wrong people being punished; the same innocent Palestinians that have been victims of Israeli policies, Hamas leadership, and an entire region that treats them as negotiating and messaging pawns. Even as I lie awake worried about the more than 200 hostages held in Gaza, I also mourn for the Palestinians caught, once again, in history's crossfire. I see countries, including America's adversaries, choosing sides and I'm worried about this crisis spilling over into a much wider war, which, with one party turned into a bizarre un-governing cult, America is particularly ill-equipped to manage. My usual news-deflecting strategy isn't working this time because I agree with so much of what Ned Lazarus wrote today. Lazarus has spent much of his "professional life to seeking peaceful change in this conflict, trying to listen to and understand Israelis and Palestinians and find ways to work toward peace or justice or coexistence or mutual understanding or anything better than what there is now." But he doesn't see a good or even decent way out of this mess. The Atlantic (Gift Article): I Don't See a Better Way Out. "There are those who see a nonviolent way forward in Gaza right now: A cease-fire, an exchange of prisoners for hostages, a UN protectorate. I envy them, whatever clear answer they might have to how Israel should respond to the massacre of more than 1,400 Israelis and the kidnapping of more than 200 others by a fundamentalist terrorist organization that rules over and hides among an impoverished civilian population of 2 million people. I envy those who know exactly how Hamas can be stopped without any more killing, any more suffering, for any more people in Israel and Gaza. Because I don't." And that's why my old defense mechanisms aren't working this time. Because I don't either.

+ "This government's inability to give answers and actions that serve the people is what we were protesting against. In the last nine months, we've been building all kinds of civil organizations with very good logistical and execution abilities. It was natural we would fill the vacuum left by the government." WaPo: Israel's massive democracy movement is ready for war.

+ The New Yorker: Another Hospital in Gaza Is Bleeding.

+ Here's the latest from CNN, BBC, and NBC.


Ellis For the Way You Lied to Me

"She rose to speak after pleading guilty, fighting back tears as she said she would have not have represented Trump after the 2020 election if she knew then what she knows now, claiming that she relied on lawyers with much more experience than her and failed to verify the things they told her." Another day and another Trump lawyers pleads guilty in the Georgia election case. Jenna Ellis becomes latest Trump lawyer to plead guilty over efforts to overturn Georgia's election.

+ "The topic was the statement of financial condition. He would look at the total assets and he would say ‘I'm actually not worth 4.5 billion, I'm really worth more like six.' He would then direct Allen and I to go back to Allen's office and return after we achieved the desired goal." Michael Cohen is spilling the bean counting techniques in the Trump fraud trial.

+ Meanwhile, Trump compared himself to Nelson Mandela as he railed against the criminal charges against him. (For that alone he should get twenty years in prison.)


Tom Foolery

Seven of the nine men running for House speaker voted to overturn the 2020 election results. While he signed onto the Texas challenge to the vote, Tom Emmer wasn't one of them. He's the latest nominee facing an uphill battle on the Hill to become the next Speaker. Trump has already come out against him and called him a RINO. He probably won't get the nut-jobs to vote for him. Will this be the guy the Dems throw a few votes towards? Here's the latest.


It’s a Graze Area

"A variety of storied lawns have relied on grazing to keep up appearances. Starting in 1863, sheep were a common sight in New York's Central Park — the "Sheep Meadow" was not a metaphor. Flocks could be found munching on public parks in London, Boston and Chicago. In 1914, more than 100 sheep were invited to the nation's capital to graze near the Lincoln Memorial, and later the White House grounds. Then they promptly disappeared as machines assumed their role." And sheep are back in vogue. WaPo (Gift Article): The surprising benefits of switching to ‘lamb mowers.'


Extra, Extra

Shock and Thaw: "Schools, shops, banks and Iceland's famous swimming pools shut on Tuesday as women in the volcanic island nation — including the prime minister — went on strike to push for an end to unequal pay and gender-based violence."

+ Erdogan's Singular Sensation: Turkey's Erdogan Backs Sweden NATO Membership After Long Delay. "Erdogan's decision represents a major breakthrough for NATO's push to strengthen its defenses after Russia's incursion, having already admitted Finland in a similar process."

+ Has Facebook Meta Match? "The complaint alleges that Meta knowingly rolled out features and platform incentives that promote harmful behaviors to young users, including allowing 'Likes' on posts and failing to remove content related to disordered eating and bullying." Dozens of states sue Meta over youth mental health crisis.

+ Engine Trouble: "Emerson engaged with the pilots in 'casual conversation' before allegedly trying 'to grab and pull two red fire handles that would have activated the plane's emergency fire suppression system and cut off fuel to its engines.'" Off-duty pilot allegedly tried to shut off engines on Alaska Airlines flight.

+ Pile-Up: Seven dead after 'super fog' causes huge pile-up in New Orleans. Fog and smoke mixed to create a 158 car pile-up.

+ The Age of Shrinkage: "Mixing business with ice baths or showers can feel ‘like being shot by a BB gun.' It can also be an invigorating way to network and bond with co-workers, some executives say." WSJ (Gift Article): Seal It With a Handshake and a… Cold Plunge? The Hot New Way to Do Business. (I'll take the BB gun...)


Bottom of the News

I know, I know. You need a bottom of the news story to cheer you up. Well, I present the story of a dog named Bret Michaels, rescued by a guy named Bret Michaels, who was ultimately adopted by the Bret Michaels. WaPo (Gift Article): Rock star Bret Michaels adopts hero stray dog also named Bret Michaels.

+ Speaking of rockstars, Robert Plant just performed Stairway to Heaven for the first time in forever.