Our team is very, very dumb!


Greetings from the pre-rational animal: Was there anything wrong with Biden's pledge—with his pledge to nominate a black woman for the Supreme Court?

Not necessarily, no. Was his pledge an act of perfect societal brilliance? Not necessarily yes.

At that point, along comes Blow, determined to state the tribal script for the ten millionth time. He tends to submit his columns in all caps. Editors lower-case them down.

In his new column today, Blow notes what no one else has been willing or able to remember or say. Fot a long time, especially long ago, only (upper-class) white man needed to apply! 

No one else has uncovered, remembered or stated this forgotten fact. Then the logic kicks in:

BLOW (1/31/22): The irony here is that Ronald Reagan, the Republicans’ patron saint before the rise of Trump, made a similar promise in 1980 when he was in trouble with women for not supporting the Equal Rights Amendment. He promised to nominate a woman—again the word “white” was silent—and that’s how we got Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

[The always ridiculous Ben] Carson wasn’t the only conservative making a fuss about Biden and identity politics. Tucker Carlson also railed against the impending pick, saying, “Biden claims that his race counting is essential so that the court and the rest of his administration, quote, ‘looks like America.’” He continued, “Of all the lies that Joe Biden tells, this could be the easiest to check. We have the latest census numbers, and we can promise you with dead certainty that Joe Biden’s nominees look nothing like America, not even close.” Instead, Carlson said, a Black woman nominee will “represent about 7 percent of the population.”

I say, look at it another way.

Of the 115 justices who have served on the bench since 1789, 108—roughly 94 percent—have been white men. Zero percent have been Black women.

Viewed this way, through the long sweep of American history, the United States has some work to do.

Reagan pledged to nominate a woman? No one else has said that!

The always ridiculous Ben Carson is almost always ridiculous. In this case, Tucker Carlson at least managed to the get numbers pretty much right.

Regarding the alternate way Blow looks at it, we would only say this:

It's true! It's true that, since 1798, zero percent of Supreme Court Justices have been black women.

It's also true that zero percent have been Hispanic men. Also, zero percent have been Asian-Americans, whether women or men.  Within that demographic, gender doesn't matter. 

The same is true of Native Americans, the subgroup of longest standing. Zero percent of Supreme Court Justices have been Native Americans. There have been no Native American women, no Native American men.

There was nothing "wrong" with what Biden did. It also wasn't necessarily the perfectly right thing to do. 

No one is required to think it was the best way to proceed. But within our failing national culture, you can be fairly sure that almost everything you hear about Biden's decision is going to be dumb—selective, illogical, overstated, possibly loud and overwrought.

When it comes to a matter like, there is no type of bean-counting which can solve or nullify the historical problem of proportional representation on a nine-member body. There is no statistical way to square this particular circle.

There is no way to bean-count your way to some perfect resolution of this matter. That said, we can tell you this:

Our blue tribe is, on balance, very, very dumb. Our reasoning skills barely exist. We're cruelly tethered to narrative. We're the spawn of preferred Storyline.

"Man [sic] is the rational animal," Aristotle is widely said to have said. He'd never read the New York Times. He had never watched cable news—not our channels, not theirs. He wasn't able to observe the work of either tribe in this, the era of Trump and anti-Trump. 

In fact, we humans are the script-reading animal—the animal tethered to script. We're told this on a nightly basis by disconsolate major experts who report to us from the future. They speak to us through the nocturnal submissions the haters refer to as dreams.

Our team is very, very dumb. You'll very rarely be shocked, surprised, disappointed if that's all you expect.

Other bean-counting procedures: We strongly recommend Jay Caspian Kang's essay on the type of bean-counting which now controls admission to highly "selective" colleges. Headline:

"It’s Time for an Honest Conversation About Affirmative Action"

Kang covers some important points. We think he may have omitted one, which we hope to cite in the future.

STARTING TOMORROW: Otherization is Us!


The Ohio 88: Here at this award-winning site, we're praying for Candidate Ryan.

We refer to Candidate Tim Ryan, the six-term Democratic congressman who's running for the open Senate seat in Ohio. 

For whatever it's worth, we're also praying for Candidate Morgan Harper, who's running for the same Senate seat. But since Ryan is profiled in the Washington Post today, we're going to focus on him.

To be more specific, Ryan and Harper are currently seeking the Democratic nomination for that open Senate seat. In the Post, Michael Scherer starts his profile of Ryan as shown:

SCHERER (1/31/22): Congressman Tim Ryan has been traveling the foothills of western Appalachia with a joke about marriage he hopes will make him Ohio’s next U.S. Senator.

The voters he needs to turn his way—the forgotten, the struggling, in communities with hollow factories, Trump flags and fentanyl epidemics—don’t agree with everything he stands for as a Democrat. But then, he asks his small crowds, who does?

“If my wife and I have 10 conversations in one day and we agree on six or seven of them, we crack a bottle of wine and celebrate how great our marriage is,” he said at a recent stop here along the Ohio River, just a few blocks from an empty brownfield where furnaces once burned. “So why would you think you are going to agree with someone 100 percent of the time?”

Ryan’s bet—and the national Democratic dream—is that a few issues still just might matter more than his party label. He lists three whenever he speaks, after talking up his small-town upbringing and all of his union relatives who once worked at steel plants or auto suppliers...

It may be that Ryan won't win the nomination. it may be that Morgan will. But if Ryan ends up as the nominee, will he able to draw white working-class voters (among others) back into the Democratic Party fold?

We're praying that he will! Scherer defines this part of the party's political problem:

SCHERER: The pitch has made Ryan one of the most consequential Democratic candidates of the 2022 cycle, a test case on whether his party has any hope of reclaiming its erstwhile White working-class voting base, as former president Donald Trump, who sped their flight, waits in the wings. The struggle is, by any measure, uphill—Democrats have just one statewide win in the former swing state since 2012—and Republicans remain favored to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R) in November.

Republicans during the Trump years ceded strength in the college-educated suburbs to make inroads among Whites and Hispanics without college degrees in more rural areas. Issues like political correctness and disdain for political elites accelerated the drift, hitting the Democratic Party hardest among White working-class voters, who have the ability to decide elections in the presidential swing states that border the Great Lakes.

Republicans nationwide got votes from 50 percent of Whites without college degrees in 2000, when George W. Bush ran, and just 45 percent in 2008 at the end of Barack Obama’s first campaign. Trump won in 2016 with 62 percent of the same voters, with only a slight drop-off to 59 percent in 2020, according to data compiled by the American National Election Studies.

The near-term future of the party, and the next presidential contest in 2024, may well depend on whether the party can reclaim some of its old appeal, much like Sen. Sherrod Brown, the last Democrat to win statewide in Ohio, did in his 2018 race.

The GOP moved from 45% of that vote all the way up to 62! Can Democrats regain some of that lost vote? We pray they'll be able to do so! And Ryan is out there pushing hard. Here's how hard he's working:

SCHERER: With less than 10 months to go before the general election, Ryan has already visited 72 of the state’s 88 counties in a full-press effort to try to persuade the hinterlands, a handful at a time, that Democrats like him are human beings who breathe the same air...

Ryan has already visited 72 of Ohio's 88 counties! Sadly, pathetically, this question comes to mind:

How many of those 88 counties are actually Bumfuck Counties? How many voters in those counties know they're openly viewed that way by many people in our self-impressed liberal tribe?

Last Friday, Kevin Drum citation of "East Bumfuck County" was surprising, strange, disappointing. For a background report, just click here.

Drum's citation was disappointing—but at that point, the floodgates opened. The comments to his post were appalling, but were also highly instructive.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our tribe is full of loathing and otherization. The otherization to which we refer is very, very, very dumb. It's also self-defeating.

Bill Clinton "believed in a place called Hope." Many members of our tribe believe in a place called Bumfuck.

We're often eager to showcase this view. We'll ponder the topic all week.

Tomorrow: "The rat smart thing to do?"

Colbert King writes a very good column!


We note an additional point: In this morning's Washington Post, Colbert King writes a column about various forms of bigotry / group hatred.

(King: "Antisemitism is as vile as racism, homophobia, sexism, Islamophobia and other forms of oppression.") 

King's column focuses on expressions of hatred or poor judgment directed at mere children. At one point, he recalls a forgotten event:

KING (1/29/22): D.C. residents can hardly tsk-tsk about events beyond our borders.

In December, third-graders working on a project in a D.C. public school library were directed to reenact scenes from the Holocaust, including digging mass graves and simulating shootings. One child, who is Jewish, was cast as Adolf Hitler, told to emulate him and pretend to die by suicide, according to a parent.

In addition to allegedly making other antisemitic comments during the staged reenactment, the school librarian, responding to a child who asked why the Germans did it, reportedly said: “Because the Jews ruined Christmas.”

Following parents’ complaints, the librarian was placed on leave and an investigation promised. The incident, confirmed by the school’s principal, was reported by The Post on Dec. 19.

This week, I called D.C. Public Schools to learn results of the Holocaust reenactment probe. After all, more than 30 days had elapsed. Schools spokesman Enrique Gutierrez told me “the investigation is still ongoing” and there was “nothing to report.”

Apologies all around, but I went off. No results, a month later?

After I demanded that he recheck, Gutierrez emailed several minutes later, “No information was shared with me, and the status of this investigation is still ongoing.” Where’s the outrage?

King complains about a (perceived) lack of outrage within the D.C. Public Schools. We'll also mention this:

This incident has basically been forgotten by King's own newspaper. Beyond that, it seemed to us that the incident was significantly underplayed within the Post at the time it came to light.

Based on what has been reported, a school librarian showed very poor judgment in that particular incident. Beyond that, questions arose about why this particular person had ever been hired by the D.C. Schools in the first place, given her bad record elsewhere.

Might we offer the following thought?

As we can see from this incident, teachers and librarians can sometimes show extremely poor judgment in the way they deal with heavily fraught topics. For the record, they can show extremely poor judgment in ways which may emerge from "the left" as well as from "the right."

Knowing what history to teach, to kids of what age, is not a simple assignment. Teachers should not be given free rein when it comes to such matters. Also, we should not assume that all examples of bad judgment will come from the other tribe.

Also, parents should be respected and listened to when they voice concerns about such matters. Sometimes, such parents may voice complaints which will seem unwise, overwrought, invalid. Sometimes, their complaints will have obvious or partial merit. 

Teachers from our tribe can have poor judgment. So can teachers from theirs.

Greetings from East Bumfuck County!


But also, Chris Hayes falls in line: On Thursday afternoon (East Coast time), Kevin Drum launched a short post. Inoffensive headline included, it (remarkably) started like this:

What are the best books for middle schoolers about the Holocaust?

Our story so far: East Bumfuck County¹ in Tennessee—about 20 miles away from the site of the Scopes monkey trial—has banned Maus, a Pulitzer-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust. Outrage is universal.

There was a bit more to the post; for today, we'll leave it at that. Drum was discussing a recent event in a place called "East Bumfuck County." 

Less comedically, Drum was referring to McMinn County, Tennessee—population, roughly 53,000. For the record, Drum's footnote about this county made his original snarky remarks even dumber and worse.

We were surprised by what Drum wrote; the comments were appalling. That said, the comments were also highly instructive. We expect to visit those comments in the coming week.

How do we liberals picture the Others? How have we always pictured the Others, stretching back through the annals of time? 

Over the years, we've tried to call attention to the dumbness and ugliness of these secret tribal dreams. Also, to the political problems our less-than-secret musings create. 

We've also noted a basic fact:

According to experts, nothing is ever going to change this moral / intellectual dumbness. According to experts, the transcendent belief that Others live in places with names like "East Bumfuck" is deeply wired in our deeply flawed, notably weak human brains.

According to experts, nothing can disconnect this deeply primal wiring. And this wiring exists in the brains of our tribe, as it does in the brains of theirs.

Drum's "East Bumfuck" remark was surprising, disappointing—strange. The comments were appalling. 

In a somewhat similar vein, we were dismayed on Thursday night by Chris Hayes' treatment of a burgeoning tribal Storyline, in the course of which the cable host fully signed on with the gang.

To what burgeoning Storyline do we refer? We refer to the Storyline involving the "forgeries" submitted by Republican would-be electors in December 2020. 

On Friday, January 21, Hayes had offered a segment which added a bit of complexity to this burgeoning Storyline. More specifically, it added a bit of complexity to the childish account of this matter which Rachel Maddow had been spoon-feeding to dumbnified viewers ever since December 2021. 

(On Thursday, January 20, Hayes had also offered a segment which added complexity to the standard Storyline about Donald Trump's phone call with Brad Raffensperger. The analysts had almost begun to think that they had their old Hayes back!)

This past Thursday night, Hayes agreed to dumb himself all the way down, adopting The Maddow Framework. Near the start of his opening segment, his treatment started like this:

HAYES (1/27/22): And now, going even further up the chain, federal prosecutors are looking into the phony elector certifications that were sent to the National Archives from multiple states falsely declaring Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election.

The way I think about this scheme, it's sort of like when you're a kid in school, elementary school, and you get a letter sent home, maybe it's about a bad grade, maybe about getting detention for some misbehavior. You might try to just forge your parent's signature, take it back the next day. 

This was like that, but for a coup that would end American democracy.

It was sort of like when you're a kid and you forge your parent's signature to a bad report card! In this way, Hayes publicly debased himself, signing on to the idiot Maddow's framework.

In fact, it wasn't like when you forge your parent's signature to a letter or a report card. Whatever else it actually was, it wasn't like that at all! 

Indeed, the now-submissive Hayes knew it wasn't like that! Moments later, he submissively offered this:

HAYES: After the 2020 election, Trump supporters in seven different states that Biden won sent phony certificates to the National Archives claiming that they were the actual electors.

Now in some cases, the documents are signed by the top state Republican Party official. This was not just some like freelance group of wackos. So even though this may sound like sort of flailing, again almost comical attempt to forge your parents' signature, send some fake documents, hope the National Archives won't notice—"Oh look, we got this from Arizona!"—it was actually part of a very coordinated plan by Donald Trump and his allies.

It may turn out that this actually was "part of a very coordinated plan by Donald Trump and his allies." It seems to have come from the law firm of Guiliani, Powell and Trump—from three central players who all seem to be completely out of their minds.

That said, it obviously wasn't like what you did when you forged your parents' signatures to your bad report card! Duh:

As Hayes inferentially noted, these groups of would-be electors didn't forge the signatures of the governors of their states to the documents they submitted. Also, they didn't forge the signatures of their states' attorneys general or secretaries of state.

They signed the documents with their own names. Despite what Maddow has been screeching, no act of forgery like the one Hayes described was involved. And by the way:

There was exactly zero chance that anyone at the National Archives was going to think that these submissions were the official statements from these seven states. Despite what the absurdly submissive Hayes now said, there was exactly zero chance that any such misapprehension would ever occur.

There was zero chance that anyone at the National Archives was going to receive these non-"forged" documents and say, "Oh look, we got this from Arizona!" Despite what Hayes was now willing to tell you, there was exactly zero chance that any such thing would occur.

When Hayes read that copy to his viewers, he was dumbing himself all the way down to the ground. He was dumbing himself all the way down to the brain-damaged place from which Maddow had been broadcasting in the previous weeks.

At present, MSNBC is slow-walking its transcripts again, so we're going to wait to give you a full account of what Hayes said this night. (At one point, it got worse. In fairness, if we produced the types of gong-shows MSNBC does, we'd delay our transcriptions too.)

Concerning our two topics today, we can tell you these things:

Concerning the East Bumfuck post: In 1992, Candidate Bill Clinton said he "believed in a place called Hope."

That's one of the ways you win elections. By way of contrast, many members of our tribe believe in a place called East Bumfuck. 

They believe its residents are Others. Our tribe's dumbness and ugliness seize control from there. Our subsequent self-defeating remarks come from a place called West Bumfuck, where many of our tribals live.

Concerning Chris Hayes' submission: On Thursday, Hayes submitted to Storyline, adopting the Maddow Framework. That said, we're sorry, but no:

No, Virginia! What those Republican would-be electors did wasn't like what you did when you forged your parent's signature to your lousy report card! But Maddow has heavily pushed the dumbly enhanced "forgery forgery forgery" line, and as our tribal wars devolve, everyone has to agree to offer the dumbest and most pleasing account of what actually happened.

In the main, your TV shows are pure Storyline now. And no, you really can't believe the things your favorite TV stars tell you. Some are acting in good faith, but you can't assume that they are.

Chris Hayes is much smarter than most of our cable news hosts. He knew that no one's signature had been forged, but so what? On Thursday night, he submissively went ahead and told you that they had been!

Did he believe the things he said? It's hard to believe that he actually did, but he said them anyway.

Also, the Kilmeade rule: We first told you this about Brian Kilmeade of Fox News, roughly two decades ago:

 People will do a lot of things to retain the giant salaries paid by "cable news." 

People who watch these TV shows don't know that they're being misled and misinformed. They don't know that in East Bumfuck, and we don't know over here in the West.

WHEN HUMANS SEE OTHERS: When humans see Others, most reasoning ends!


Now also, The East Bumfuck Files: According to major anthropologists, when we humans believe that that we're seeing Others, things can get ugly real fast.

Indeed, things can get extremely ugly, even here in our own "liberal" tribe! Just consider The East Bumfuck Files.

Yesterday, Kevin Drum triggered the onslaught with this unfortunate post. In a string of ugly comments, delighted droogs fell into line. 

Ugly and stupid, yet highly instructive? What can you say about this behavior—about behavior which has existed within our own self-impressed tribe down through the annals of time? 

We expect to visit the "Bumfuck files" early and often next week. For today, we'll briefly return to yesterday's post, in which an array of commenters pounded away at a peculiar contention by Drum.

As you may recall, Drum had advanced a strange set of claims in this earlier post:

According to Drum in that earlier post, Fox News viewers are "victims" of the Fox "con game" too. According to Drum, Fox viewers don't understand that they're being conned. According to Drum's peculiar contention, the millions of people who watch Fox News don't deserve our contempt. 

Repeat! According to Drum, Fox News viewers don't deserve our contempt! That was a very unusual claim. And then, after that, the deluge:

In 51 comments by Drum's readers, no one seemed to agree with Drum's bizarre contention. To those Drum readers, Fox viewers are Others—and Others exist to be loathed. 

Others deserve our contempt.

According to major award-winning experts, what happens when human beings start seeing Others? To many such people, these experts say, the Others are all just alike:

COMMENT 6: Nope. They are not victims. They deserve all the scorn, ridicule, and contempt we can muster.

COMMENT 9: Fox viewers want to hear this stuff. If they didn't, Fox wouldn't be selling it. 

COMMENT 19: Fox News viewers know exactly what they're buying (with their attention and ad dollars) and they want it. If it wasn't Fox, it would be someone else.

To Commenters 6, 9 and 19, Fox viewers are all just alike. There was no suggestion in these comments that some group of Fox viewers might differ, in some significant respect, from some other such group.

In fairness, Drum had also drawn no distinctions between different groups of Fox viewers. But when we humans start seeing Others, it will often seem that the Others are all just alike. 

A few commenters did draw distinctions between different groups of Others. As we noted yesterday, this comment provides one example:

COMMENT 11: The reality is there's more than one type of Fox News viewer. Some are racist jerks who know, deep in their hearts, that the outcomes they want are profoundly wrong and unjust. But they support the things they do (and consume the news they consume) out of resentment and bitterness. They're like Gollum. I know one or two like these. And there are also Fox News viewers who genuinely are entirely bereft of the ability to analyze what's going on in the world. And they really do believe the stuff Murdoch pushes on them. Such people are profoundly ignorant.

The world is a complicated place.

Somewhat comically, this commenter identified two groups of Fox viewers. One group is profoundly ignorant. The other group is worse!

A few other commenters seemed willing to draw sweeping conclusions about Fox viewers based on their own experience—even though, inevitably, their experience seemed to be limited. The high-powered scholars with whom we've consulted pointed to comments like these:

COMMENT 3: In my experience, most Fox News types are also huge assholes. Sure, to some extent they're being conned, but the con is designed to appeal to selfish, racist, sexist, xenophobic jerks. AKA Republicans.

RESPONSE: In my experience, they also tend to be gun owners, so having sympathy while afraid of them is simply not possible...Where so many have multiple weapons & some give them to kids, I just cannot sympathize.

COMMENT 17: I work with many of these people. Hard to have sympathy for them. Maybe for their families, who, in several cases I see, disagree strongly with the Trump fan.

According to Commenter 3, most Fox viewers (in his experience) were huge assholes. In response, someone else said that, in his experience, Fox viewers tend to be gun owners.

Commenter 17 said he works with many Fox viewers (actually, with many of "these people"). That said, how many such people could he possibly know? Millions of people are watching Fox News at every hour of the day.

According to experts, when we humans start seeing Others, it may not occur to us that our personal experience is limited. We tend to plow ahead with our sweeping judgments based on the relative handful of people we do know.

Meanwhile, what about the Fox News viewers who aren't huge asshole and aren't gun owners? Do those Fox viewers deserve our contempt? 

Inevitably, the answer will be yes. Experts tell us this:

When we humans identify a group of Others, we'll often say that the Others are all just alike. We may tend to draw sweeping conclusions based on our limited experiences. 

When the Others are political Others, it will rarely cross our minds that there may be something some Others may think or may know which might explain their different inclinations from ours. It will never occur to us that the Others could even be right in some way.

These experts added one additional point:

When we humans start seeing Others, a lack of fundamental humanity will often reveal itself. Inevitably, these Others will deserve our contempt. Even if they truly can't see that they're being misinformed and misled, we'll extend no sympathy to them.

By definition, all Others are bad. No other viewpoint is possible. "There but for fortune" will not occur. As we saw in Drum's original post, empathy comes off the table when humans start to see Others.

Then we arrive at the Bumfuck files, the files which appeared yesterday. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but the Bumfuck comments are ugly.

We expect to look at those comments next week. We advise you to read those files

Why do (some) Others vote as they do? Why are (some) Others inclined to side with the viewpoints they encounter on Fox?

Could it be because of what you can see in those files? The experts all say that's a yes.

We humans are inclined to "kill the pig." The principle holds, major experts say, when we humans invent and see Others.

Lawrence Lessig gets off to a very good start!


After that, the illness: Lawrence Lessig gets off to a very good start in his new essay at Slate.

Not long ago, he could have been a contender! Lessig is a professor at Harvard Law School. In the fall of 2015, he was briefly a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination—and a quixotic hopeful at that!

His essay gets off to a very good start. Headline included, here's the way he begins:

Many Trump Electors Facing Criminal Referrals Were Just Following Precedent

Though the facts behind the story have been known for more than nine months, many are now obsessed with what the presidential electors committed to Donald Trump did in December 2020, in seven key states. Their acts, many insist, were “fraudulent,” or “forgeries.” They establish, as Democratic California Rep. Pete Aguilar put it, a “dangerous precedent.”

But the “dangerous precedent” from that election is not what many of these electors did. The “dangerous precedent” is the potential it reveals.

The Trump electors in those seven states were acting on the basis of a well-known precedent, in the face of an even better-known feature of our Constitution. The 2020 election was not close. But under our law, any candidate challenging the results of a presidential election must take steps very much like what these electors did.

Especially for a Harvard professor, we'd call that a darn good start. 

Lessig seems to be rolling his eyes at the claim that these people engaged in "forgeries." Along the way, he calls attention to the following facts:

Professor Lessig's stated facts:
1) Everyone knew what those (would-be) electors did. We knew this in real time. 
2) Only now, some thirteen months later, are certain people obsessively insisting that they engaged in "forgeries." 
3) There was in fact a type of precedent for what those (would-be) electors did. That's stated right there in the headline! 
4) According to Lessig, anyone challenging a presidential election has to do something like what those people did.

Friends and neighbors, duh! Let's recall where matters stood:

In the wake of the 2020 election, the crazoid law firm of Giuliani, Powell & Trump were claiming that Trump had actually won those seven states. 

It has become amazingly clear that there was no real evidence in support of those claims. It has also become amazingly clear that Giuliani, Powell & Trump seem to be totally out of their minds. That said, millions of regular people did (and do) believe their unfounded / inaccurate claims.

Presumably, many of those (would-be) electors believed that Trump had actually won their states. They were seeking to challenge the official outcomes in their respective states.

Unfounded though their claims may have been, they had every right to challenge the official outcomes in their states—and according to Lessig, you pretty much have to do something like what they did if you're trying to do such a thing.

Listen up! People have an obvious right to challenge election outcomes. And when it comes to the question of "forgeries," it's hard to see how the (would-be) electors were trying to deceive someone by the act of filing their statements.

Criminal forgery normally involves the attempt to deceive someone in order to gain something of value. No one at the National Archives, and no one in the United States Congress, was going to think that the statements those (would-be) electors signed were the actual, official statement about who had won their states.

They hadn't forged the signatures of their governors, or of their secretaries of state. Exactly no one was going to think that those were the official records of who had won those states.

No one was going to be deceived. The electors were simply lodging a claim. They were very dumb to believe such claims, but then, what else is new?

It's very, very hard to see how there was some attempt to deceive when these people were dumb enough to think that Trump won their states. The fact that they believed something dumb doesn't mean that they were committing a crime. If believing things that are dumb was some sort of criminal act, then everyone who watches the Maddow Show would be on their way to the pokey.

Those people believed something dumb, and they signed statements to that effect. Their statements had no power to deceive anyone, as a criminal forgery will do.

At this site, we have no idea why you'd want to call those statements "forgeries"—except, in fact, we actually do know.

At this time of tribal war, our attempts at politics are devolving into something the experts describe as "the criminalization of everything." 

Crazy people like Michael Flynn want to get Hillary Clinton locked up. We liberals respond by trying to get a wide range of Others locked up.

We want to see Donald Trump locked up. We want to lock up Mat Gaetz. We want to lock up would-be electors. Rachel screams and howls and wails every night, and we're too dumb to see how stupid this whole mental breakdown is.

Watching cable in the past five years, we've noticed an unfortunate fact. Our thousand-and-one former federal prosecutors have inordinate skill at the task of dreaming up various ways to get other people locked up.

They can mic and match an array of laws and come up with crimes every time. As proof of that cultural tendency, you should read the Lessig piece to the end, where he ends up saying this:

LESSIG: What the Trump electors did in 2020 was, in every case, close to this, though in critical cases, something much worse. Two states were quite clear about the contingency of their votes —New Mexico and Pennsylvania. But five states prepared documents that made it seem like Trump had in fact prevailed in their state. Those claims were obviously false. Filing false claims with the government can be a crime. So yes, what those electors did should be criticized, and perhaps prosecuted. They should have done as their fellow electors in New Mexico and Pennsylvania had done — and certified a slate of votes contingent upon their candidate being declared the winner in their state. That certification, then, would have to wait—either for some state authority to declare its candidate the winner or for Congress to determine that that slate actually represents the candidate whose votes should be counted.

What the heck, this creepy guy says. Maybe we should just lock them all up, though only in five of the seven states!

In five of the states, the would-be electors didn't include the minor disclaimer they did in the other two states. Does "lack of disclaimer" break federal law? On cable TV, such things can be easily done!

It's a mental and a moral sickness to want to lock everyone up. On a national basis, it's a road to national perdition.

Rachel Maddow is almost as nuts as Giuliani, Powell & Trump and Powell. On balance, our tribe is morally and intellectually ill.

We're morally ill, and we're visibly failing. And no, those statements don't stack up as "forgeries."

They had to do it, Lessig says. Also, we may have to lock them all up!

Full disclosure: "We must not be enemies," Lincoln said. 

A month later, Lincoln was killed.

WHEN HUMANS SEE OTHERS: Kevin Drum's readers began to see Others!


After that, they started to hit: Reporting to us from the future, a wide array of expert sources describe a peculiar fact. These highly-acclaimed but despondent experts invariably tell us this:

In the future, Gene Brabender is widely regarded as the greatest anthropologist of all time!

This claim seems peculiar because the late Gene Brabender was a rawboned right-hander for the Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Pilots / Milwaukee Brewers. He wasn't highly "educated" in any conventional sense.

He's best remembered as a key figure in Ball Four, Jim Bouton's iconic 1970 book about the Seattle Pilots' 1969 season. According to future experts, Brabender is widely considered the greatest anthropologist because of this iconic statement, as quoted in Bouton's book:

"Where I come from, we just talk for a little while. After that, we start to hit."

According to Bouton, that was Brabender's angry reaction to annoyingly nuanced discussions out in the Pilots' bullpen. In the future, experts regard Brabender's statement as the most concise account of human nature ever recorded on Earth.

According to these disconsolate experts, we humans could only tolerate a small degree of ambiguity or nuance. After that, we would get angry—and then, we would "start to hit."

We would express our anger in two basic ways, these future experts all say. On the one hand, we would start to see Others—and then we'd accuse them of crimes.

This so-called "criminalization of everything" has been on wide display of late, even within our own liberal tribe. On our favorite "cable news" TV shows, we constantly voice the desire to arrest any Other who moves. 

We see forgeries forgeries forgeries forgeries forgeries fake forged documents. We see vigilantes crossing state lines—and the pattern continues from there.

This "criminalization of everything" is on constant nightly display within our own tribe's "cable news." As a tribe, we long to get Others locked up—as many Others as possible. 

We think and talk about little else. We alienate and dismiss a broad range of voters as we behave this way.

This "criminalization of everything" has been apparent on our highest-rated cable news show for at least a decade. But before we can charge a wide range of Others with crimes, we have to believe in their existence— and we have to let ourselves loathe them.

In recent weeks, Our Own Rhodes Scholar has been dreaming nightly fever dreams about getting the forgers locked up. According to experts, these are the kinds of hard-wired reactions which have led to our species' never-ending succession of racial / ethnic / religious / tribal wars, down through the annals of time.

Back in 1999, a terrified fictional little boy said that he could see dead people; more broadly, we humans are wired to see Others. As we noted at the start of the week, this wiring was called into stark relief when Kevin Drum offered a puzzling post last weekend under this unacceptable headline:

Fox News viewers don’t deserve contempt. Save it for the folks fleecing them.

Is Kevin Drum allowed to say that? His post had created a test!

In his post, Drum began by weirdly saying that "rank-and-file viewers of Fox" are "victims as much as the rest of us." He described such people as "marks in a con game run by Rupert Murdoch." 

This seemed to suggest that Fox viewers don't realize that that they're being fleeced by Fox—that they're misled by the network's various cons. 

In fairness, Drum also said he wasn't able to feel "empathy" for Fox viewers. He merely said that Fox News viewers "don't deserve the contempt" we should aim at Fox News personnel.

Fox viewers don't deserve our contempt! In response to this strange suggestion, his readers began seeing Others.

As of today, 51 reactions have been offered in reaction to Drum's post. That includes 20 first-order comments and 31 responses to same. 

On balance, no one has really seemed to agree with Drum's modest proposal. Many have seemed to reject his suggestions. For example, Commenter 2 offered this:

COMMENT 2: I suppose in a world in which none of this mattered, where our health and our democratic system of government were not in grave danger, we could afford to make such distinctions.

But no, we don't live in that world, and anyone who spouts anti-science or fascist propaganda needs to be called out forcefully.

You'll note that this commenter has already wandered away from Drum's proposal. 

Drum spoke about Fox News viewers in general. This commenter said we need to go after "anyone who spouts anti-science or fascist propaganda."

According to experts, this is what happens when we humans start seeing Others. We'll only tolerate nuanced distinctions for a little while. After that, we start to hit!

On balance, Commenter 3 also seemed to reject Drum's proposal. His or her comment drew an approving response:

COMMENT 3: In my experience, most Fox News types are also huge assholes. Sure, to some extent they're being conned, but the con is designed to appeal to selfish, racist, sexist, xenophobic jerks. AKA Republicans.

RESPONSE: In my experience, they also tend to be gun owners, so having sympathy while afraid of them is simply not possible...Where so many have multiple weapons & some give them to kids, I just cannot sympathize.

Commenter 3 described most Fox viewers. Would he view the rest of the network's viewers as victims? In his comment, he didn't say.

According to experts in The Brabender Cult, such niceties quickly melt away when we humans start seeing Others. We'll only cogitate for a little while. After that, we start to lash out.

All in all, we wouldn't say that a single commenter voiced agreement with Drum's point of view. A number of commenters basically missed the point of what Drum said. Others made comments like these:

COMMENT 6: Nope. They are not victims. They deserve all the scorn, ridicule, and contempt we can muster. And I’d also suggest beating the crap out of them if you can. Left-wing deaths squads! Why can’t we get some of these gangsters to whack them? We let them out of jail, now do some good!

COMMENT 9: I don't necessarily agree. Fox viewers want to hear this stuff, if they didn't, Fox wouldn't be selling it. In other words, I think it's the viewers driving the content.


Don't get me wrong, Hannity, Carlson, lowest of the low, and they know what they're doing, but the people showing up want to hear this stuff.

COMMENT 12: It's hard to vilify an entire group of people who failed to develop a crap detector by the time they became adults. But I usually do so anyway.

COMMENT 14: Even if they are victims, it doesn't mean they aren't victimizing. They deserve contempt, even if for different reasons (e.g., many of them are just simply assholes).

COMMENT 15: I had an interesting exchange upthread with iam4man which has caused me to think a little bit differently about Kevin’s argument that Fox News viewers don’t deserve our contempt. Upon more careful reflection, I think that, on the whole, they derive our contempt because they are as much in on the joke as Tucker or Hannity. My reason is that Fox News viewers remain loyal and don’t suffer from anything like the cognitive dissonance one might reasonably expect.

COMMENT 16: Its OK, Kevin, I have contempt enough to cover both, with an extra share for the fleecers

COMMENT 17: I work with many of these people. Hard to have sympathy for them. Maybe for their families, who, in several cases I see, disagree strongly with the Trump fan.

COMMENT 18: No, no, there are millions of people who need their political-cultural biases reinforced.

COMMENT 19: Fox News viewers know exactly what they're buying (with their attention and ad dollars) and they want it. If it wasn't Fox, it would be someone else. Even they have been outflanked by new, even more wing-nutty outlets like OAN. The base knows it lives in an alternative reality and it *prefers* that reality. They idea is to live forever in white, Christian, small town 1950. These stations give them that.

So it went, from beginning to end. As we noted on Tuesday, the most sympathetic comment may have come from Commenter 11:

COMMENT 11: The reality is there's more than one type of Fox News viewer. Some are racist jerks who know, deep in their hearts, that the outcomes they want are profoundly wrong and unjust. But they support the things they do (and consume the news they consume) out of resentment and bitterness. They're like Gollum. I know one or two like these. And there are also Fox News viewers who genuinely are entirely bereft of the ability to analyze what's going on in the world. And they really do believe the stuff Murdoch pushes on them. Such people are profoundly ignorant.

The world is a complicated place.

Do Fox viewers deserve our contempt? This commenter didn't explicitly say. Instead, he offered this:

Fox News viewers aren't all alike. Some Fox viewers are profoundly ignorant. The rest are even worse.

Drum had gone out on a limb this day. Strangely, he had said that we should regard Fox News viewers as victims. Weirdly, he had said that they don't deserve our contempt.

When Drum floated these heretical thoughts, his readers began to see Others. No one seemed to agree with Drum's mildly humane point of view.

According to Brabender, what had occurred? In the words of the world's greatest student of human nature, Drum's readers "started to hit."

Just like that, Kevin Drum's readers began seeing Others! Of an evening, they may watch the Maddow Show, a popular program which has long been built around "the criminalization of everything."

Drum' s readers began to see Others! Tomorrow, we'll tell you more, much more, about the hard-wired, brain-eating syndrome which has driven our war-inclined species since we first crawled on dry land.

Tomorrow:  Basic intelligence down

The topics you'll never hear discussed in our own tribe's cable news!


Our tribe doesn't care about black kids:  Within our self-impressed blue tribe's world, cable news is all about nightly dreams of seeing The Others locked up.

Will Letitia James get Trump in New York? Will Fani Willis get him in Georgia?  Can we get the Others locked up for their "forgeries / forged documents?" 

Can we get those rookie cops locked up? They were in their fourth day on the job!

Our cable news has been devoted to such topics for quite a few years at this point. Brain-numbing pseudo-discussions go on and on, and then they resume the next night.

There are other topics you'll never see discussed on corporate cable. One such topic appears on the front page of today's New York Times, under the following headline:

How It Feels to Be an Asian Student in an Elite Public School

This is the ten millionth Times report about the demographics of New York City's "elite high schools." At present, those academically high-powered schools are full of Asian-American kids. So where are the blacks and Hispanics?

Why do so few black and Hispanic kids end up in those high-powered schools? You will never be asked to hear such topics discussed on CNN or MSNBC. Basically, black and Hispanic kids don't even exist in a world where we can entertain ourselves with nightly dreams about Locking Trump and The Others Up.

Given the fact that it was written by Michael Powell, today's report is surprisingly lazy. Meanwhile, we've shown you the data a million times about how far "behind" black and Hispanic kids are, on average—in New York City and in the nation—just by the end of fourth grade.

You'll never see any such thing discussed on "liberal" cable. Rachel is paid millions of dollars per year to never ever bore us with that. The other multimillionaire stars are all silent too.

Black kids simply don't exist within our tribe's cable news. This is who, and this is what, our self-impressed tribe really is.

We like to dream about locking Them up. Rachel sells us this car every night, and we come back the next night for more.

This is who, and this is what, our cable news stars really are. They're paid millions to play it this way. We aren't even allowed to know how many millions they're paid!

The interests of black kids don't exist in our world. Setting our posturing to the side, this is who we actually are.

"Forgery forgery forgery forged!" That's good solid "cable news" fun!

WHEN HUMANS SEE OTHERS: At last, we have confirmation, she said!


But we have confirmation of what?: Last night, cable news viewers got to observe a moment of pure cable joy.

Right at the start of her "cable news" program, our tribe's biggest star was finally able to say it. She opened the program with the topic she loves most of all. Here are the key parts of what she said at the start of her program:

MADDOW (1/25/22): At last, we have confirmation of what we thought might be going on here.


Tonight, the story moves forward, thanks to a very rare interview that CNN scored with Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. CNN has now got the U.S. Justice Department commenting, on the record, for the first time, on the requests they have received from state attorneys general and others to investigate these forgeries—to investigate the Republican elector forgeries as possible federal crimes.


Monaco said, quote, “We’ve received those referrals. Our prosecutors are looking at those, and I can’t say anything more on ongoing investigations,” 

So there it is! Welcome to the ongoing investigation phase, everyone!

"At last," we have confirmation, the cable star said. But we have confirmation of what?

Before we try to answer that question, let's take a look at the record:

For the record, MSNBC's onscreen clock said it was 9:02 P.M. at the point where the transcript we've provided leaves off. 

By now, the cable star's program was a bit more than two minutes old—but the star had already used the term "forgery / forged" five separate times by this point!

As we've noted, the cable star had been flogging this beast with great abandon over the past several weeks. At last, we have confirmation, she said last night—and she opened her program with her report of Lisa Monaco's statement.

At last, we had confirmation! But we had confirmation of what?

For starters, consider Monaco's statement. The quoted statement was about as anodyne as any such statement can be:

Some referrals have been received, Monaco said—and they are being looked at.

That just isn't a very big deal at this particular point. In this morning's Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky starts by providing some basic background:

ZAPOTOSKY (1/26/22): Federal prosecutors are examining the decision by Republican electors in some states won by President Biden in 2020 to send in signed statements purporting to affirm Donald Trump as the victor of the election, a top Justice Department official said Tuesday.

Their actions were criticized at the time as a political stunt meant to bolster Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud. But they have drawn additional scrutiny in recent weeks, as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol seeks to understand the origin of the Trump elector slates, and two Democratic attorneys general, in New Mexico and Michigan, have asked federal prosecutors to investigate whether the certifications could amount to a crime.

Let us translate for you:

Two Democratic attorneys general have found a way to finesse the politics of this tricky matter. 

They've passed the matter along to the feds. This helps explain away the fact that they aren't charging these "Republican electors" with any state-level crimes.

The state AGs have passed it along. The DOJ is giving it a look. A year from now, a mumbled statement will emerge explaining why no federal charges have been advanced against the various (mostly little) people who signed those stupid statements. 

In the meantime, we liberals just wanna have fun! And so we turn on cable each night, where Rachel says forgery forgery forged.

(Or possibly not! But this sort of fandango has occurred again and again and again over the past six years as blue tribe cable news has become a venue devoted to endless speculation and accusation concerning very bad crimes.)

Question! Did those "Republican electors" really believe that Trump had won their states? 

If so, we think they were very dumb. But millions of people did (and still do) believe such claims, and there was no attempt in real time to hide what these "Republican electors" were doing and had done.

In real time, their signed statements were derided "as a [silly] political stunt." Thirteen months later, we liberals are looking for crimes!

No one was going to be deceived by the signed statements these people composed. Members of Congress weren't going to think that Trump really had won the state of Wisconsin, despite what they'd heard on CNN and read in the nation's newspapers.

No one was going to be deceived by those inaccurate claims. No one was going to think that those were the official declarations of the seven states in question.

For that reason, we have no idea why you'd want to say that those signed statements constituted "forgeries." Rather, we do know why you'd want to say that:

Forgery is a serious crime—and Rachel Maddow is strongly inclined to want to get Others locked up. This has long been a basic impulse for Maddow. She has betrayed this basic impulse for a large number of years.

At present, Maddow keeps going on the air and yelling forgery forgery. According to experts, this is the way we war-inclined humans are strongly wired to behave.

The weakest among us identify Others, and then we charge them with crimes. Maddow is strongly inclined in that direction. This robs her of insight.

"Forgery" sounds like a crime. That's why she keeps saying it. (That's why we all kept saying that Kyle Rittenhouse had "crossed state lines" on his way to Kenosha. Even though it was completely pointless, it had a wonderfully criminal feel.)

The wiring of our badly flawed brains inclines us in such ways. We're inclined to believe that the Others are evil, and to accuse them of crimes.

If they believed that Trump won their states, those people were very gullible. But so are we liberals, night after night, as we sit in front of our TV machines and swallow Our Own Scholar's guff.

Why would you call those signed statements "forgeries?" Maddow has never explained that point. She just keeps repeating the word! 

One basic final point:

The wonderful words "forgery / forged" don't appear in the Post's report.

They don't appear in the corresponding report in today's New York Times. Nor did Monaco say those magical words.

The exciting word "forgery" doesn't appears in the Washington Post or the New York Times. Maddow had used the term five separate times by 9:02 last night!

Maddow wants to get people locked up. This has always been a key step on the road to national perdition—and, according to major experts, this unfortunate part of our human nature just isn't real likely to change.

The dumbest Others like to do this to Us. Our stars like to do it to Them.

Tomorrow: Drum's commenters talk about Others

"But where we start tonight is in the state of Georgia!"


It was already 9:15: We'll admit that we're somewhat puzzled by the ads for the forthcoming streaming service, CNN+.

At CNN, the thinking seems to be this:

We're already producing 24 hours of programs each day. The bulk of it is lazy work which is almost completely worthless.

Still, having filled the 24 hours of the regular "cable news" day, we'll now be producing additional programs—programs in which our journalistic standards will apparently be even looser!

According to the ads, the big male stars won't even have to wear ties on CNN+! You'll soon be able to watch plain old vanilla CNN or switch over to something that's worse!

Last evening, watching MSNBC, we may have seen the outline of a program called Maddow+. At one point, the star in question told us acolytes this:

"But where we start tonight is in the state of Georgia..."

We were starting tonight in the state of Georgia. the giant cable star said. The problem was, the clock on the cable channel's screen said it was already 9:15! The star had already been yakking, without interruption, for a bit over fifteen minutes!

How had the cable star used that time? In the main, she had wasted the time on pure trivia. 

She had spent the first eleven (11) minutes discussing President Truman's love for ceremonial swords and daggers, not excluding the occasional scabbard.  She had, for example, wasted everyone's time with the monologue shown below. 

We've corrected the many errors in The Slacker Channel's transcript:

MADDOW (1/24/22): Look at all these big old swords and daggers! A little-known fact about the Harry Truman presidency [chuckling] is that he apparently loved this stuff. When he was president, he was given, as gifts, a bunch of these things. It was nothing inappropriate about it. He didn't keep them for himself, he handed them over to the National Archives. They were put on display at his presidential library and museum.

But they were kind of ornate things. This is a 38-inch long presentation sword. The grips of it are gold, it's got four different diamonds inlaid into it. The scabbard, which is like the holder thing that it goes into, is more gold and black leather. It is studded with even more diamonds. It's got 15 diamonds.

Apparently, the gold tassel thing that also came with it, that was not stolen, that was left behind, but the sword and the scabbard were taken. Also, there was this dagger in a scabbard and this dagger in the scabbard fit onto this very pirate-y little belt. This was given to President Harry S Truman by a member of the Saudi royal family.

The belt, which is the thing that you see running horizontally there, it's woven with gold threads, real gold. This scabbard is gold studded with diamonds. The hilt of the dagger itself is also gold. It's got nine more diamond studded into its grip.

Here's a sword that the Shah of Iran gave Truman. This one's silver, a big silver sword and another fancy scabbard thing. And another one that looks like that that's made from different stop from the Saudi crown prince.

And this one is crazy! Look at this one. This is a dagger that seems like it's almost too small to have this entire jewelry stored embedded in it. But look! On this thing, the hilt of it is gold. It's got four fat diamonds in the hilt, and a two and a half carat emerald. Then in the lower grip, it's got a three-carat ruby and another 15 diamonds. 

Then there's the holder thing-y [sic], the scabbard--this is ridiculous. First of all, the scabbard is also gold, naturally. At the tip of it, it's got a three-carat ruby and 12 diamonds. At the base of it, it's an eight and a half-carat emerald, another three-carat ruby, four other rubies, and another 12 diamonds.

[Entertaining beautifully] What, you guys ran out of money and couldn't fit anything else in? You ran out of space, you ran out of money? Why so cheap? 

This is an entire block, like this is an entire block's worth of jewelry stores in one dagger that looks like, you know, a bedazzled garden hose nozzle.

In a world where children die every day, the pointlessness continued along from there. The first fifteen minutes flew or dragged by in roughly this manner, depending on your degree of partisan tribal hypnosis.

MSNBC has been unusually fast with its transcripts today. You can peruse this manifest nonsense yourselves simply by clicking here. In our view, it fits into a framework we've articulated before:

When will NBC News make good on its pledge to take this spent star off the air?

As best we can compute, last evening's Maddow Show featured roughly 45 minutes of actual program, roughly 15 minutes of ads. When Rachel said, "But where we start tonight is in the state of Georgia," roughly one-third of her broadcast minutes had already been pissed away.

From there, we were served our usual porridge. Once the giant star got started, our porridge was ladled to us from these bowls last night:

Last evening's bowls of porridge:
1) Please please please please please please please let Trump get indicted in Georgia! Oh please please please please please!
2) We're going to mess with Sinema good! Sinema's days are numbered!
3) Forgeries forgeries forgeries forgeries forgeries "fake forged documents" forged
4) Two minutes about Ukraine.

With that pleasing porridge in our bellies, we were able to get off to bed. The first 15 minutes had been frittered away with bullshit regarding scabbards and daggers. This is what happens when massively overpaid "cable news" stars signal to the wider world that it's time for them to go.  

In our view, this particular cable news star has made enough money and has gained enough fame. It isn't her fault that she has extremely bad judgment and is preternaturally self-involved, but it's time to get Our Own Rhodes Scholar off this channel's air.

That first fifteen minutes was pure Maddow+. According to many recent ads, CNN's various wonderful stars will soon be following suit!

WHEN HUMANS SEE OTHERS: When humans see Others, we may tend to see crimes!


Rachel Maddow sees Others: "I see dead people," a terrified little boy said.

He wasn't just any terrified boy; he was a fictional child. His name was Cole Sear, and he was one of the central characters in the Oscar-nominated 1999 film, The Sixth Sense.

This terrified little boy could, and did, see dead people. Worldwide, the film he anchored earned $673 million. In the United States alone, it sold more than 57 million tickets.

Little Cole Sear could see dead people. The rest of us often see Others. Sometimes the Others are actually there—but sometimes, on balance, they aren't.

It's always a matter of judgment as to whether the Others are there. But when we humans believe we see Others, we tend to respond in certain predictable ways.

When we humans believe that we're seeing Others, we tend to react with fear. 

We may tend to believe that the Others all just alike. We also may tend to think that we're seeing criminal conduct—and we may give voice to this judgment, again and again and again.

So it has been with Rachel Maddow over the past five weeks. The star has been seeing Others again—and she seems to think that these Others have committed a crime.

She has been voicing this view again and again—over and over and over and over. It could be that her statement is accurate. But to our ear, this sounds like a highly unhelpful form of proselytization. 

Last Tuesday, the terrified "cable news" host expressed her fear by stating the name of a certain crime. She did so again and again.

Explanations were few, or were perhaps non-existent. More on that problem tomorrow. 

A certain key word dominated the evening's non-discussion discussion. In a parody of exposition, she said it again and again:

MADDOW (1/11/22): I picked these five [states] because, thanks to the watchdog group American Oversight, we now know that in all five of these states, Republicans also prepared forged, faked documents that were sent to the government, proclaiming that actually these other electors were the real electors from these states, and they were casting state electoral votes not for Biden, but for Trump.

Just watch this. Tell me—tell me if you notice something. These are the documents from Georgia. In Georgia, that's the real electoral vote document on the left, that's the forgery on the right.

In Nevada, that's the real one on the left, and the fake one on the right.

Here also is Wisconsin, where we reported on their forgery last month. That's the real one on the left, and the fake one on the right. Here's Michigan, where we reported their forgery last night. It's the real one on the left, and the forgery on the right.

And lastly, here's Arizona, the real electoral vote document on the left, and the fake one on the right. It wasn't one state. It wasn`t three states where they did this. At least five states where we've now obtained forged documents created by Republicans. 

According to Maddow, the Others had prepared some "forged, fake documents." On this particular evening, she repeated variants of "forgery / forged" again and again, then again and again, without ever stopping to explain why she was using that term.

A bit later this evening, her forced march toward proselytization continued ahead as shown:

MADDOW: Now, you might remember on last night's show, we noted that the forged documents from Michigan and Wisconsin looked really similar, looked really alike. But the Arizona one actually looked a little bit different.

Here's the amazing thing we discovered today about Arizona. It looks like there were two sets of forged Electoral College documents sent in by Arizona Republicans. There was the sort of different-looking one that we showed you last night with notary stamps all over it and stuff. That was one that was obtained by Politico.com that we showed on the air here last night.

But now, as of today, thanks to American Oversight, we have obtained another one, also from Arizona, also a forgery. A whole different set of Republican impostors sent one in from Arizona, and that matches exactly all of the other forged electoral votes from the six other states that we have found. Excuse me, from the four other states that we have found.

So this is kind of nuts, right? I mean, Arizona alone. In Arizona, they`re so around the bend that two different sets of Republicans sent the National Archives and Congress two different sets of forged, fake documents purporting to be the Electoral College votes from the state of Arizona. One of those forgeries was maybe, like, freelanced. "Let's get a notary to sign every page."

But the other one from Arizona matches exactly in form, spacing, font, and language, exactly the forgeries sent in by Republicans in at least four other states. In these five states, one of the two forgeries from Arizona, and the four other states, the forged documents all match.

Forgeries, forgeries, forgeries, forgeries / forged, fake documents. The terrified adult kept saying the word, without making any attempt to explain her choice.

Let's take a look at the record. On this particular evening—on Tuesday, January 11—the terrified cable news star used some form of "forgery / forged" on 39 separate occasions! 

(The companion word "fake" was given voice 14 times.)

On the previous night's show—on Monday, January 10—the star had exercised a bit more restraint. She had only voiced some form of "forgery / forged" on 21 separate occasions.

On Thursday evening, January 13, the star returned to form. She voiced some form of "forgery / forged" on 27 separate occasions. By now, delighted viewers of her TV show were having that pleasing word drummed into their heads.

Briefly, let's state the obvious. Sometimes, people do engage in some version of forgery. Sometimes, people do create "forged documents."

That said, "forgery" is often a crime, and the terrified cable news star was using the term in this way on these cable news TV programs. 

She persistently suggested that the people who had signed these "forged documents" had engaged in state and federal crimes. Over the course of several weeks, occasional guests would intrude upon the solipsism of the star's uninterrupted monologues—and when they did, she would anxiously ask if the forgers would be prosecuted for their apparent crimes.

A little boy had seen dead people; a cable star could now see Others. In this case, she kept seeming to say that the Others had produced criminal forgeries—but she never explained why she was using that term, or why she had formed that apparent judgment.

Was it true? Had the Others in question really committed crimes? Aside from advancing unfounded claims—claims they may have believed to be true—had they actually produced "forgeries?"

Maddow had started making this claim on Tuesday, December 21, 2021. On that evening's program, she had used  voiced some version of "forgery / forged" 18 separate times. 

That's well short of 39 times, but it was still a lot of repetition. "Look, we have the paperwork they forged," she excitedly said at one point.

Maddow has been saying "forgery / "forged" again and again and again. As she does, she keeps implying that the Others she is able to see have been involved in crimes. 

That said, we don't know why she's using that term. (She continued to do so last night.)  We've never seen her explain her use of the term. We don't think she's ever tried.

We don't know why the terrified star has been using that deeply fraught term. Is it simply an artefact of terror—and of otherization? 

Tomorrow, we'll puzzle it out.

Tomorrow: Aside from the joy of Otherization, why is she using that term?

Humphrey Bogart will always have Paris!


What Yevtushenko said: Has it really been eighty years since Casablanca appeared?

Actually no, it hasn't. According to the leading authority on the topic, "the film premiered at the Hollywood Theater in New York City on November 26, 1942."

According to the same source, the famous film "went into general release on January 23, 1943, to take advantage of the Casablanca Conference, a high-level meeting in the city between Churchill and Roosevelt."  

It hasn't been 80 years just yet, but TCM is showing the film in some big-screen theaters this week, jumping the gun a tad. In the Washington Post, Dave Kindy has recalled the film in a short essay which has already generated well over 2,000 comments.

As Kindy recalls, Casablanca remains the most mysterious of our great films; it's the unmistakably great film which wasn't intended as such. It wasn't expected to be a great film. This factor help animate the ongoing quest to explain its magic, its never-ending significance.

What makes Casablanca so great? Different people say different things. For ourselves, we'll offer a few tiny points:

Casablanca a stunningly well-wrought portrait of the so-called "human condition."  Also, it wonderfully mocks the gloomy existentialism which had been the calling card of high Europe—of the Kierkegaards and the Sartres, even later of a figure like Camus—down through the annals of time.

In fairness, high Europe had plenty to be gloomy about as of the time Casablanca appeared on the screen. Europe was experiencing the disaster og Nazism in a way we Americans weren't, not even out there in Hollywood.

That said, the film captures and mocks the existential crisis—the crisis of "the absurd"—right from its opening moments. Everyone is trapped in Casablanca, a city from which there's no way out. They gather in Rick's Cafe to dance and sing, but they know there's no solution to the human dilemma.

At that point, the mocking humor of the comedically brilliant Julius and Philip Epstein takes over. This may be the cleverest movie script of all time. The final use of the immortal repeated phrase, "Round up the usual suspects," must be the greatest moment of intentional humor found anywhere on the planet.

Along the way, we get to see a semi-heroic portrait of human behavior in the face of vast impending evil. At Rick's Cafe, we human beings really want to sing and gamble and gambol and play:

We human beings just wanna have fun, until you finally push us too far:

At that point, we'll stand and fight, and sing the Marseillaise. We'll stand behind the heroic leader who is right there in our midst.

Do we in this country still know how to do something like? We've become so fragmented by our many identity groups that the answer is far from clear. There's nothing "wrong" with any of these groups, but it isn't clear that a very large modern nation can hope to succeed with so many such identity groups. The forces pulling people apart defeat those pulling a nation together. 

Casablanca is very funny, and it's deeply insightful—and that works in several ways. On the one hand, it's a movie about saving the world. But it's also a movie about three little people, whose problems amount to something much more than a mere hill of beans.

As we read through the comments to Kindy's piece, we were struck by this remark by Indyagnostic:

COMMENT: I guess that I'm the only one who fell asleep during the movie. But then I didn't like the Beatles either. I've tried watching it again, but it's a movie where everyone loses. Depressing.

Is Casablanca a movie where everyone loses? In part, we'll assume that means that Humphrey Bogart loses Ingrid Bergman, and perhaps that Ingrid Bergman loses him.

But along the way, something extremely important happens. Near the end of the film, the Bogart character gets to say this:

"We'll always have Paris."

What has happened has given Rick Blaine the story of his own life back. This allows him to return to the fight—to be himself again.

"We tell ourselves stories in order to live." The late Joan Didion said that.

Some of the stories we tell ourselves are about our own lives. But some of the stories we tell ourselves are about the worth and the value of other people and other people's lives.

We tell ourselves stories in order to live. Yevtushenko recommended a story which starts like this:

No people are uninteresting.

No people are uninteresting, Yevtushenko said. 

Presumably, that would include the people who voted for Donald J. Trump. At these times of ugly tribal loathing, we recommend the poet's tale.

STARTING TOMORROW: Humans v. others!


Empathy for the devil: On Saturday, we called attention to what we called "a very important post."

The piece had been posted by Kevin Drum. It sat beneath this headline:

Fox News viewers don’t deserve contempt. Save it for the folks fleecing them.

People who watch Fox News "don't deserve contempt," Drum said. As we noted, early commenters to Drum's post didn't seem to agree with that sentiment.

To some extent, neither did Drum himself! The blogger wasn't a total squish. He'd ended his post in the manner shown:

DRUM (1/22/22): We can and should treat the founders, shareholders, employees, advertisers, and boosters of Fox News with nothing but shame and contempt. They know the harm they're causing, but the money is good so they keep on doing it.

But it's a different story for the rank-and-file viewers of Fox News. They're victims as much as the rest of us. It's hard to say that they should be treated with empathy—I guess I'm just not a good enough person to go that far—but at the very least they should be recognized for what they are: marks in a con game run by Rupert Murdoch. They don't deserve the contempt that the folks helping to run the con so richly deserve.

Please understand! Drum doesn't feel empathy for those who watch Fox. They just don't deserve our contempt!

Does anyone agree with Drum's general view? We can't say that anyone does! 

As we sit here typing, Drum's web site records the fact that his post has received exactly 50 comments. By our count, that includes 20 original, "first order" comments, along with 30 responses to those original comments.

Some people posted more than once. But of the 40-something different people who posted something about Drum's post, we can't say that a single one agreed with what Drum said. 

No one really seemed to agree. The closest anyone came was this:

COMMENT 11: The reality is there's more than one type of Fox News viewer. Some are racist jerks who know, deep in their hearts, that the outcomes they want are profoundly wrong and unjust. But they support the things they do (and consume the news they consume) out of resentment and bitterness. They're like Gollum. I know one or two like these. And there are also Fox News viewers who genuinely are entirely bereft of the ability to analyze what's going on in the world. And they really do believe the stuff Murdoch pushes on them. Such people are profoundly ignorant.

The world is a complicated place.

"The world is a complicated place," this commenter said. He based his assessment on this observation:

Some Fox viewers are "racist jerks" who know what they want is wrong. The rest of the people who watch Fox are merely "profoundly ignorant."

Did this commenter feel empathy for the latter group—for the profoundly ignorant people who are getting conned? Did he feel that this subset of Fox viewers don't deserve our contempt?

The commenter didn't explicitly state his view on such points. But that's what one of Drum's commenters said—and it was the kindest remark anyone made in response to Drum's challenging post.

We also raised a question lst Saturday—a question about the "forgeries" Rachel keeps talking about on her MSNBC program. Our basic question was this:

Why does Rachel keep describing the documents in question that way, even as she keeps looking for ways to charge all the forgers with crimes?

In recent weeks, Rachel has been calling those documents "forgeries" again and again and again. She uses the term over and over and over and over, and then she says it some more.

To our ear, this is clownish proselytization—but "rank-and-file viewers" of MSNBC love her for conduct like this! A judgmental person could almost argue that we over here in our self-impressed tribe are "marks in a con game" too.

For ourselves, we don't necessarily think that Rachel is trying to run a con. Our guess would be that she's mainly a true believer. We'll guess she truly believes that good would be done by charging a whole lot of Others with serious crimes.

For the record, Rachel wants to charge Giuliani and Trump and Sidney Powell with crimes. (We're inclined to think that these people—Sidney Powell, let's say—possibly seem to be mentally ill in some unexplored way.)

Rather plainly, Rachel wants to see those high-profile figures charged with serious crimes. But she apparently wants to do the same for a whole lot of lesser figures—for people who may just be "marks."

A basic piece of anthropology is involved in each of these theaters. It involves the way we human beings tend to divide into tribes.

It involves the way we're inclined to view Others once we've split into such groups. It leads us toward a basic question, one each person might seek to answer:

In the end, do we actually like other people? Do we like and respect other people in some fundamental way? Or can we only like and respect those with whom we're aligned?

Again and again, then again and again, the answer seems fairly clear. This is especially true at times like these—at times of strong partisan conflict.

All week long, we'll sift through the twin phenomena we've mentioned above. We'll look at what Drum's commenters said—and we'll look at Rachel Maddow's recent ridiculous transcripts.

In our view, Rachel tends to have very unhelpful impulses and instincts. We'd say she strongly tilts toward true belief—toward being a dedicated adept of the one infallible tribe.

Absent strong supervision, she never should have been put on the air to begin with. But in our tribe, we love her most of all our stars—and we thrill to her repeated constructs, in which so many of The Others seem to be guilty of crimes.

Some Fox viewers "are profoundly ignorant." The other Fox viewers are worse!

That's what one of Drum's commenters said—and that was the kindest comment anyone appended to Drum's surprising post.

Those reactions by Drum's readers constitute an anthropology lesson. As our society slides toward the sea, it tells us something about the basic wiring of our highly imperfect species. 

According to leading experts, Rachel's impulse toward criminalization conveys the same sobering  lesson.  Our species is strongly war-inclined, these disconsolate experts all say. 

We're heavily wired for tribal vision—for the war of the Us against Them. Empathy for the devil is out. So is the simplest kind of nuance, along with the tragic vision and basic human respect.

Tomorrow: The 37 blows

Blogger offers important post!


Drum, aligning with Lincoln: This is a very important post by Kevin Drum. The headline atop it says this:

Fox News viewers don’t deserve contempt. Save it for the folks fleecing them.

Inevitably, Drum's early commenters don't agree with that view. As we've noted on several occasions, our species is built to loathe Others.

At any rate, Lincoln said it first, at the end of his first Inaugural Address:

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. 

In our view, that's extremely good politics in the end. But experts say it simply can't happen. They say we aren't wired for that.

The kind of statement our tribe prefers: Who knows if Stevenson actually said it? But the famous apocryphal statement does capture the drift of our crowd.

It's one of our most frequently asked questions!


"Forgery" appears only once: It's one of our most frequently asked questions. The question goes something like this:

Why are you so negative about the work of Our Own Rhodes Scholar?

We'd call that a perfectly decent question. Our answer goes like this:

Because we watch her show.

This brings us to a lengthy, front-page news report in yesterday's Washington Post. Five reporters contributed bylines to the lengthy report.

The report appeared above the fold on page A1. Its continuation consumed the whole of page A4. 

Online, the report appears beneath the headline shown below. It was the Post's initial reporting concerning a topic which has dominated the Maddow Show of late. 

Headline included, the report begins as shown. This is sane and sober reporting about one of Rudy Giuliani's many unusual plans:

As Giuliani coordinated plan for Trump electoral votes in states Biden won, some electors balked

On Dec. 14, 2020, the day of the electoral college vote, Republican electors convened in the capitals of five states that Joe Biden had won. They declared themselves “duly elected and qualified” and sent signed certificates to Washington purporting to affirm Donald Trump as the actual victor.

At the time, the gatherings in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin—all states that had officially approved Biden electors—were widely derided as political stunts intended to bolster Trump’s baseless allegations of fraud.

Understanding the origins of the rival slates has now become a focus of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to people familiar with the panel’s activities. Two Democratic attorneys general have asked federal prosecutors in recent days to investigate whether crimes were committed in assembling or submitting the Trump slates.

The Trump electors gathered in plain sight, assisted by campaign officials and Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, who said publicly that the rival slates were necessary and appropriate. Internally, Giuliani oversaw the effort, according to former campaign officials and party leaders who, like some others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. 

Rudy was at it again. In five states which Biden had won, Republicans met and declared themselves to be the real electors. 

In most cases, their names had appeared on the November ballot in their respective states. They'd hoped to be elected to the absurdly anachronistic position of elector—and they were pledged to Trump. 

Now, even though Biden had won their states, they were presenting themselves as the duly elected electors. (Many of them may have believed that Trump had actually won their states.) They even "sent signed certificates to Washington" in which they affirmed these claims.

According to the Post's reporting, these events on December 14 were conducted "in plain sight." According to the Post, the events "were widely derided as political stunts" in real time.

As its article continues, the Post reports that some of the original Trump electors refused to take part in these December 14 events. Meanwhile, a larger question now prevails:

Were these "stunts" part of a wider plan to have Trump "re-elected" even though Biden had actually won?

Were these gatherings something more than a "stunt?" Were they part of an elaborate scheme even as they were occurring? Did they become a part of some such scheme in the days and weeks preceding January 6?

According to the Post's report, the January 6 committee is exploring such questions, as they very well might. That said, the Post's reporting is sane and sober—and Maddow's endless treatment of this topic has been quite different in content and tone.

We'll focus on one question today. In fact, we'll focus on one word:

We focus on the word "forgery"—a word which occurs only one time in the lengthy Post report.

The words appears just one time in the Post's report. The same is true today as the New York Times files its first report about this general topic.

In each case, the word "forgery" appears only once, and only as part of a public official's statement. In each case, the word is attributed to Dana Nessel, the Michigan attorney general. 

The Post and the Times do not describe the "signed certificates sent to Washington" as "forgeries." On the Maddow Show, Maddow has seemed to be attempting to set a new world record for most uses of that term in the course of one-hour "news" shows. 

What role might these stunts have played in an attempt to keep Donald J. Trump in the White House? Presumably, the January 6 committee will shed some light on that question before its work is done.

In the meantime, if you watch the Maddow Show, you're being relentlessly proselytized, and rather dumbly at that. The transcript of three or four recent shows can be summarized in this manner:

"Forgeries forgeries forgeries forgeries fake forged documents forged."

For ourselves, we have no idea, after watching these program, why the documents which emerged from those stunts should be regarded as "forgeries." When Nessel made this claim on the Maddow Show, she (of course) wasn't challenged or questioned in any way.

We don't know why those certificates should be regarded as "forgeries." There could always be a reason, but the question hasn't yet been explained or explored.

Stupid though the conduct was, the designation doesn't strike us as obvious in any way at all. But of one thing we feel fairly certain:

Maddow will never make any attempt to analyze that basic question. She'll simply keep repeating the magic words, over and over and over again, as she lets us us viewers dream of seeing Others frog-marched to jail.

Maddow will simply keep saying words like "forgery" and "forged documents." She'll keep repeating those magic words, and then she'll say them some more.

(Yes, we've done the word counts. On January 11, Maddow said some version of the word "forged" 39 separate times.)

This is the dumbest possible kind of tribal pseudo-journalism. Our nation is sliding into the sea, and Our Scholar is taking us there.

Yesterday, we tried to cover all the nonsense involved in one recent nine-minute jag. It's very, very hard to accomplish such a task. On balance, Maddow's show tends to be partisan clowning and partisan bullroar pretty much all the way down.

At some point, you simply have to be able to see and hear that. For today, we'll suggest that you proceed with care concerning this super-hyped new topic.

Warning and full disclosure: Last night, Chris Hayes offered a brief but much more nuanced treatment of this emerging topic. His guest was Amy Gardner, one of the five reporters involved in the Post's report.

MSNBC hasn't yet posted a transcript.

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright!


Misogyny's endless summer: In its obituary for Yvette Mimieux, the New York Times barely mentioned it. The passage in question read like this:

Ms. Mimieux was a child bride in “Toys in the Attic” (1963), based on the Tony Award-winning Lillian Hellman play. Mr. Crowther declared her performance “showy but without plausibility” in his Times review, which was not much nicer than what he said about her co-stars Geraldine Page and Dean Martin.

In 1964, Ms. Mimieux turned her role as a doomed surfer with epilepsy on the television drama “Dr. Kildare” into a starring movie role with the show’s star: She was Richard Chamberlain’s too-nice-for-sex new bride in “Joy in the Morning” (1965). She also reputedly became the first actress to show her navel on television.

Then her career took a downward turn...

"Her role as a doomed surfer" on Dr. Kildare barely got a mention in the obituary itself. 

In comments, things were different. Comment 2 went like this, along with that one response:

COMMENTER FROM FORT WORTH: Yvette made a big impression on me as a little kid in the early 1960s, especially in her roles in The Time Machine and in the “Tyger, Tyger” episode of Dr. Kildare. It must have been her blend of extreme beauty and delicacy that melted my pre-adolescent heart.

RESPONSE FROM PHILADELPHIA: Me too! I was twelve when I saw “ Tyger, Tyger.” I’ve never forgotten it.

"Tyger, Tyger" was a two-part episode of Dr. Kildare in January 1964. It was a very important cultural moment in early-60s network television. 

Other commenters remembered it. For example, Commenter 5:

COMMENTER FROM WASHINGTON D.C.: I remember crying my eyes out watching her in the two Dr. Kildare episodes "Tyger, Tyger." Such a beauty.

RESPONSE FROM COLORADO: Amazing how I also remember her in this show, so many years ago. Lovely woman and interesting in aging.

RESPONSE FROM MISSISSIPPI: So glad these two  episodes are remembered. Even the music from them was great.

RESPONSE FROM NEW YORK: Oh my God! Blast from the past!

There were only 73 total comments to the notice of Mimieux's death, but Tyger, Tyger punched well above its weight. In these comments, people began to circle around what made the episodes important:

COMMENTER FROM D.C.: I was a child in 1964 when I saw Yvette Mimieux in an episode of Doctor Kildare, "Tyger, Tyger," in which she played an epileptic surfer.  Ignoring Kildare's concern, she continues to surf and eventually has a seizure while surfing...

RESPONSE FROM BOSTON: I was so impressed with the episode "Tyger, Tyger" that it remains the only Dr. Kildare episode I recall.  It also turned me into a William Blake fan and I memorized that poem.  She was so beautiful and seemed so fragile.

RESPONSE FROM NEW JERSEY: Yes, it was a great episode! When you think of the plot, not being able to give up surfing, it really does belong to a more innocent time.  It really was memorable—two impossibly good-looking blonde people in that ill-fated romance.

For the record, Mimieux's impossibly good-looking surfer was Kildare's only romantic interest during the five-year series. She died on the beach, in the doctor's arms.

Why did people remember Tyger, Tyger? This comment is intriguing:

COMMENT FROM NEW YORK CITY: After all these years, her performances resonate: Where the Boys Are, Tyger Tyger, Light in the Piazza, The Time Machine. The male critics of the day were quite sexist and nasty. Try reading what passes for film criticism from those days online.

That commenter listed Tyger, Tyger with her three most remembered films—and that highlighted comment "brings the eternal note of sadness in."

Were male critics of the day dismissive of Mimieux? We can't speak to that point. But Tyger, Tyger was a giant TV event not just because the young Mimieux was "impossibly good-looking," but because of the greatness of the episodes' theme, in which a very young woman was brought center stage possessed of full and total and complete self-possession and agency.

Again, it was January 1964. Mimieux was cast as Pat Holmes, a young woman surfer with a serious medical condition which made it unsafe for her to continue with her passion for surfing. 

But in the type of role which would traditionally have gone to questing males, the Mimieux character rejects Kildare's sound medical advice. As in the Blake poem for which the episodes were named, she was burning with a bright flame. She was involved in a quest.

She insisted on extending her quest—and she died in a surfing incident at the end of the second hour, with Kildare pulling her out of the water.

We recall these episodes for their greatness in letting "the girl" go center stage. We recall them for their greatness in letting a very young woman who was a surfer perform the depth of her passion. 

We ourselves had just turned 16;  we were now living in California, where the sexual politics was much better than it had been in the old-world Boston area. We're grateful that the Kildare writers presented this type of fully-empowered young female character, just as "the problem that has no name" was starting to be discussed.

(The wife of one of our many young teachers gave The Feminine Mystique to our older sister when she went off to college.)

Someone else was watching Dr. Kildare in Alabama. He was eight years old:

COMMENTER FROM ALABAMA: I must confess to my first crush as an eight year old boy. Yvette Mimieux was not only beautiful but her character  on Dr. Kildare was determined not to let a terrible illness define her. So on she went, to her ill-fated rendezvous with the ocean.

At eight years old, he wouldn't have known that he was being allowed to see something a little bit different.

In 1959, Hollywood had taken a step in this direction with the Sandra Dee character in Gidget. But Tyger, Tyger was pointing the way toward a new and better age of young women's empowerment.

That said, the backsliding is ubiquitous, right to the present day. Kirsten Sinema voted the wrong way this week, and so—at New York magazine, no less!—she was reviewed like this:

JACOBS (1/19/22): She was absent from the chamber for most of the final hour of debate where Democrats inveighed against the filibuster. Minutes after listening to Mitch McConnell’s speech, she slipped out of the chamber and returned with a bag of cough drops, from which she carefully unwrapped one and slipped [it] under her face mask. Then as the roll call began, she prepared for her big moment. She reached into her overstuffed handbag and pulled out a brush she ran through her hair. Then, removing her mask, she applied a layer of powder to her face and carefully re-did her lipstick. Then she pressed the cough drop wrapper to her lips, letting the lozenge drop out and chasing it with a sip of water. She looked tense as senator after senator stood up to solemnly pronounce their vote, smoothing out the wrinkles in her sweater, until finally her name was called. She stood up erect, both hands on her desk, and shouted “aye.”

There were 106 comments to the Ben Jacobs piece. No one mentioned the oddness of this treatment, which comes from a very old playbook—one which refuses to leave.

In the past, we've been puzzled by Sinema's peculiar behavior. That said, we'll have to admit that we thought her Senate speech, in which she stressed "the underlying disease of division," did in fact speak with striking clarity to a very important point.

That said, it's amazing to see where the boys are today, even after all these years. The gentlewoman cast the wrong vote. Even within our own enlightened tribe, a published essay responded by discussing her lipstick, her overstuffed handbag, her powder.

Tyger, Tyger was a major TV event for teenagers of the time. It's generally described as the highest rated program in the five-year run of Dr. Kildare, a humane and intelligent TV show which called intelligent attention to a great many medical issues.

We recall Tyger, Tyger with something resembling passion. We're grateful that we got to see it. Then as now, it was an unusual program, promoting a hidden set of values.

We read the Blake poem at Aragon High. That TV show cut a bit deeper.