The Nojoementum

The Pressure Grows, Weekend Whats, Feel Good Friday

Papa go to bed now it’s getting late. Nothing we can say can change anything now. Because there’s just different people coming down here now and they see things in different ways. And soon everything we’ve known will just be swept away.” — Bruce Springsteen, Independence Day

+ Without inner sanctum access to Joe Biden, regular conversations with big money donors, and a better knowledge of the latest key polling data, I’m still not sure I’m qualified to decide to whether or not Joe Biden should stay in the race. As Plato might say, I know that I know nothing—even though everyone else in America with access to a keyboard and WiFi is quite sure they know everything. But after a few decades sitting front of this laptop, ingesting and regurgitating news for an adoring throng of readers, I know what I know, and I am eminently qualified to assess news momentum. And as we head into Independence Day, nearly a week after the debate that rocked Punditland, the media momentum suggesting (cajoling? demanding?) a Biden exit is accelerating. Yes, media momentum can turn on a dime (or more like 3 cents, adjusting for the deflation of the news business), but right now it is what it is. So let’s consider some of the latest thinking on the matter and then shift our holiday weekend attention to the aspects of American culture that are still holding strong: achieving a catatonic couch state watching televised sports and Netflix, shogunning beers, sparking illegal fireworks, complaining about unnatural heatwaves, and grilling meat by-products.

+ Thomas Friedman in the NYT (Gift Article): The Question President Biden Needs to Ask Himself. Now. “How might Biden do what is best for the country and worst for Trump — a small man at a big time who is so unwilling to say goodbye that he will not even admit he lost the election in 2020 fair and square? Not by scrambling to shift a few panicky donors to his side to tough it out until November, insisting that he just had one bad debate night. And not by daring the party to remove him. He should elevate himself and the party above the whole fray.” (Sort of like when Yoda lifted the X-Wing out of the swamp in Star Wars.)

+ Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic (Gift Article) gives a good overview of what’s at stake internationally, and why she thinks the Dems should Roll the Dice. “The Democrats can hold a new round of primary debates, town halls, and public meetings from now until August 19, when the Democratic National Convention opens. Once a week, twice a week, three times a week—the television networks would compete to show them. Millions would watch. Politics would be interesting again. After a turbulent summer, whoever emerges victorious in a vote of delegates at the DNC can spend the autumn campaigning in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania—and win the presidency. America and the democratic alliance would be saved.” (So basically, Yoda steps aside from an active role and becomes a senior advisor to Luke who defeats the Empire. OK, that plays.)

+ In a somewhat less likely and less messy process, Garance Franke-Ruta argues that Biden should Resign and Make Kamala Harris President. (Of course, this strategy means you have to believe Kamala gives you the best chance to beat Trump, or at least a better chance than Biden. And know the answer to that question I do not.)

+ Interestingly, the loudest voices on the chill, you idiots side of the argument are never-Trump Republicans (or former Republicans) like Stuart Stevens: The Absurdity of the Dump-Biden Uprising, and David Frum: Apocalypse Not. And for an insider look, here’s Dan Pfeiffer on what has many Dems so worried and why the panic (like the media momentum) is getting worse. All the opinions aside, the decision really comes down to one guy. And so far… Biden vows to keep running after his disastrous debate. ‘No one is pushing me out.’ Whatever the right answer is, we better find it and execute on it quickly. Trump can’t be allowed to win. Do… or do not. There is no try. May the democracy force be with us.


Where We Find Ourselves

“Without GPS, much of modern life would falter. Delayed ambulances. Extended power cuts. No cellphone signals. Yet the U.S. has no civilian backup system.” The NYT (Gift Article) has a cool, simple overview on how GPS works and why it’s vulnerable. Why GPS Is Under Attack.


The Rise of the Romaine Empire

Not feeling the democracy celebratory vibes this holiday weekend? You can celebrate another birthday. The Caesar Salad is turning 100. “Not many classic dishes can claim a specific birthday. But the Caesar salad was created for the very first time on July 4, 1924, in Tijuana, Mexico.” (Enjoy it until the SCOTUS majority outlaws it.)

+ I know this has been a tough week of news so I’ll share this world-changing Caesar tip. When you make your Caesar salad this weekend, use half Caesar Dressing and half of your favorite vinaigrette-esque dressing. Your friends and family will think you’re a genius. (Also works for a pasta salad.) Yes, there are better Caesar dressings you can create from scratch, but there’s no time for that with a democracy to save.


Weekend Whats

What to Book:Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblatt herself, a bright light in the darkness of social media. Fans around the world are drawn to Her Grace’s voice, her wit, her life-affirming love for all humanity, and the fun and friendship of the community that’s sprung up around her.” This is a great long-weekend read with some serious feel-good vibes. It’s an absolute must read if you’re a fan of Lyle Lovett (which I am) and/or Benjamin Dreyer (which I really am!)

+ What to Watch: We could all use a little nostalgia. So this is the perfect weekend to follow Andrew McCarthy reuniting with and interviewing fellow Brat Packers to answer: What did it mean to be part of the Brat Pack? Check out Brats on Hulu. (It’s really interesting to see all of them now, where they live, how they think about the old days, etc. I even re-watched a few of the old movies. Fair warning: Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson did not do new interviews for the doc.)


Extra, Extra

The Golden Grate: At this very moment, I am reclining on my bed (er, home office) in what is probably California’s coolest microclimate. And my neck-sweat is still of the charts. It’s hot out West and it’s not going to cool off anytime soon. “Life-threatening” heat wave hits California as wildfires burn. Meanwhile, Beryl continues to rip through the Caribbean. Yesterday, I covered just how unusual (but not unexpected) this storm is. Roll Out the Beryl.

+ American Devolution: “We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.” WaPo: The target of the right’s ‘revolution’ is pluralistic democracy itself. (Don’t believe me. Believe them.) That quote is from the guy heading up Project 2025. This would be a good time to understands exactly what that is.

+ Raising Arizona: “Arizona abortion-rights supporters said Wednesday that they turned in more than double the signatures needed to put the issue on November’s ballot in the key swing state.” (If there’s one issue that could be even more determinative that the candidates themselves, this could be it.)

+ Towne Center: Robert Towne, Oscar-winning writer of ‘Chinatown,’ dies at 89. He wrote a lot of other excellent movies too, but Chinatown is basically the gold standard script at every film school.

+ Making a Chilling: “Forget the S&P 500. Look at the ice cream. This investor visits homes around the world to see where diets—and economies—will go next.” Wired: How to Get Rich From Peeping Inside People’s Fridges. (It helps if that fridge is lined with Nvidia and Apple stock.)


Feel Good Friday

Vox: The world’s emotional status is actually pretty good, a new global report finds. “The results are surprisingly … fine.”

+ Time: A New Alzheimer’s Drug May Be the Most Effective One Yet.

+ These people still believe in democracy (little d) and are working to keep it.

+ Tim Bushe decided to shape the hedges in his London neighborhood into a menagerie. They’ve become a local attraction. NYT: You See a Hedge. He Sees Something Else.

+ “I renewed my US passport in a single week with the government’s speedy online beta.”

+ Have a great holiday weekend, folks!

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