Or so he has said.

But he says a lot of stuff.

The existing management was planning to cut a quarter of the staff even if the acquisition failed, but Musk is tripling down on that! That’s a lot of money, because:

Twitter’s median compensation — the point at which half make more and half make less — is about $240,000 for all employees

When you add in the employer burden like FICA, it means the median cost to the company is about $300,000 per employee. I’m assuming that Musk is not going to fire janitors and receptionists, so the average for the dismissed employees will probably be higher than the overall average, perhaps far higher. I assume Musk will bring in a new turnaround team, and everyone in the current upper management team can start looking for jobs, because their stewardship created the mess in the first place.

And it is a mess. It’s not just the costs that are a problem:

“Twitter estimates that its monetizable daily active users (MDAU), defined as the number of users eligible to see ads, is 237.8 million, up 16.6 percent compared with the same quarter last year. But documents that have emerged in Twitter’s court battle with Musk point to far lower numbers, with Musk’s side claiming, using Twitter’s own data, that fewer than 16 million users see the vast majority of ads.”

So its costs are bloated and its revenue potential is exaggerated. As a result, one analyst has suggested that Musk’s $44 billion bid is four times what the company is worth!

“Recently Andrea Walne, a general partner at Manhattan Venture Partners, a firm that has invested in the deal, told Business Insider that she thinks Twitter is worth only $10 billion to $12 billion and that other partners were trying to get out. Musk himself said that he and his investors were ‘obviously overpaying’ for the site during Tesla’s earnings call on Wednesday. Walne did not respond to requests for comment.”

Here is the full article on WaPo, if you can get past their pay wall.

Sing along with me … “Mild Bruce Banner, belted by gamma rays…”

“The light from this ancient explosion brings with it valuable new insights into stellar collapse, the birth of a black hole, the behavior and interaction of matter near the speed of light, the conditions in a distant galaxy – and much more. Astronomers may not detect another GRB this bright for decades.”

And those are just the compensatory damages. There are still punitive damages to discuss! As Spicoli would say, “Righteous bucks!”

but …

How much will the victims actually receive? A jury declaration is not an instant winner like a lottery ticket. In order to hide and shelter his money, Jones will try every legal trick and probably every illegal flim-flam known to man. Even if the families eventually get a big chunk of money, it will be in the future, after Jones responds with years of delaying actions.

Here’s betting that Jones’s lawyers end up getting more than the victims.

“The Onion’s amicus brief is itself written in a very tongue-in-cheek, satirical way, though its ultimate aim is genuine – to convince the Supreme Court to take up the case involving free speech and qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that largely shields law enforcement officers from constitutional claims and one that the justices have largely avoided questioning in recent cases.”

Here is the full text of the brief. The legal arguments are genuine, but it is written in their usual style!

For example:

“Rising from its humble beginnings as a print newspaper in 1756, The Onion now enjoys a daily readership of 4.3 trillion and has grown into the single most powerful and influential organization in human history.

In addition to maintaining a towering standard of excellence to which the rest of the industry aspires, The Onion supports more than 350,000 full- and parttime journalism jobs in its numerous news bureaus and manual labor camps stationed around the world, and members of its editorial board have served with distinction in an advisory capacity for such nations as China, Syria, Somalia, and the former Soviet Union. On top of its journalistic pursuits, The Onion also owns and operates the majority of the world’s transoceanic shipping lanes, stands on the nation’s leading edge on matters of deforestation and strip mining, and proudly conducts tests on millions of animals daily.”

… although it may or may not be a shark. Marine biologists say the dorsal fin is wrong.

Tarpon, maybe? But still, that’s one big backyard fish.

Legends of backyard sharks creep in after every storm, but this is the real deal.

It was a bad day for Trump. It was a far worse day for Judge Cannon in Florida. The appeals court ruled that every element of Judge Cannon’s ruling was incorrect, and totally agreed with the DoJ in every particular.

Trump’s declassification argument was ruled (1) unproved; and (2) even if it had been proved, irrelevant. It is irrelevant for two reasons: (1) declassification does not impact the content of the documents, and none of the cited criminal statutes are affected by whether any documents are classified; (2) even if everything was declassified, the documents would still belong to the United States, not to Trump, and the government agents therefore had the right, and obligation, to seize them.

The appeal was reviewed by a three-judge panel, two of whom were Trump appointees.

There is another issue with declassification that nobody has mentioned but (surprisingly) Bill Barr. If Trump did in fact declassify some documents that include material that needs to be secret for the security of the United States, thus making them accessible to anyone through the freedom of information act, that would be an act of recklessness more dangerous than anything else Trump has ever done.

To make an extreme example, suppose some documents showed that Al-Qaeda was developing a nuclear weapon, based on a tip by our spy within Al Qaeda. If declassification allowed Al-Qaeda to find out about the spy and to move their base of operations, and thus to continue the operation while eliminating our eyes on it, that would be providing aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States.

Declassifying that kind of information would meet the precise constitutional definition of treason. If I were in his shoes, I’d be less concerned with a charge of mishandling some papers than a charge of treason. I think it would be wise of him to drop that “I declassified everything” argument.

But then again, when has he ever been wise?

Note: The fact that somebody has the POWER to do something does not automatically make it legal. A President of the United States has pretty much unlimited power to grant federal pardons, but if he offered to grant pardons for ten million dollars each, it would still be corrupt and would be prosecuted (after the President left office) under the RICO and other statutes.

Similarly, the Vice-President has the POWER to break a tie in the Senate, but if she were to do so in return for a massive kickback from the Pharma companies, it would be criminal.

The same logic applies to declassification. If the Presidential declassification of a necessarily secret document provides aid and comfort to America’s enemies … well, he has the POWER to do that, but it could be an act of treason.

(Those are hypothetical arguments. I have no idea what is actually in the secret papers because … well, mainly because if a schmuck like me knew, they wouldn’t be very secret, would they?)

HUMOROUS SIDEBAR: I assume that back in his school days, Trump’s excuse for not having his homework was that he did it in his head. Today he said there is no documentation of declassification because he did it in his head!

“If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified.’ Even by thinking about it.”

He also speculated that the FBI may have been looking in his desk for the missing Hilary Clinton e-mails, a speculation which is utterly demented even by his own lofty standards.

Although the words below were composed two years ago, I think Charles Pierce wrote the appropriate eulogy:

“If a more sanctimonious toad than Kenneth Starr ever has crawled through American politics, I’m hard-pressed to know who it was.”

Despite his often pious public pronouncements, Starr simply had no moral compass at all. He once wrote a letter of support for convicted and confessed pedophile Christopher Kloman, who was sentenced to 43 years in prison, despite Starr’s absurd suggestion that a more appropriate punishment would be “community service.” He didn’t have to make such an argument – he was not on the defense team. He just felt it was an appropriate recommendation to provide justice for a man who was convicted of molesting five children, accompanied by “strong evidence” pointing to the abuse of 26 more, with the accusations ranging from inappropriate touching to rape.

But then again, seeking sweetheart deals for child molesters was really Starr’s specialty. He also helped to secure a ludicrously lenient deal for the notorious Jeffrey Epstein, and was removed as President of Baylor when he did his best to sweep a campus rape scandal under the rug.

Satchel Paige, possibly America’s greatest pitcher and certainly its greatest philosopher, once said of his deeply lined face, “We seen some sights, it and I.”

Queen Liz saw some sights herself.

When she assumed the throne, her Prime Minister was Winston Churchill, and Stalin was Russia’s evil dictator du jour. Mao Tse-Tung was China’s leader and David Ben-Gurion was Israel’s PM. Harry Truman was President of the USA and Le Grand Charles would not be the President of France for another six years.

In the entire history of our world, only one head of state ever ruled longer, France’s famous Louis XIV, and Liz was even closing in on the Sun King, but now she’ll have to settle for second.

The new king is officially styled Charles III. He already owns a record of his own. No monarch in English history first assumed the throne so late in life. In fact, nobody ever came close. King Chuck broke the previous record by nine years. King William IV, son of Mad King George, ascended to the throne at 64 in 1830. He took over when his older brother died with no living legitimate children. (Although he seemed to have plenty of offspring. Long story for another day.)

Far be it from me to debate Almighty Science or Almighty Headlines (the real culprit here, for oversimplifying the study’s conclusions), but I think the differentiation might not be in degree of motivation, but the target of that motivation. Yes, I would be just as motivated if I were stoned, but instead of being motivated to code the blog, drive to the store to get things I need, or solve some fun logic puzzles, I would be motivated to watch some comedies, eat some pizza and take a little nap, and I would probably be much happier than I am at a keyboard.

By the way, where would jokesters be without new studies? The studies, and the often errant headlines describing them, are the very lifeblood of humor for people like Seth Meyers (yes, and me).

So, a prominent figure who opposed Putin has died. There’s a shocker.

According to his company’s statement, Maganov “passed away following a severe illness.” However, the Russian news agency Interfax reported that he died after falling from a window.

That all makes sense. They didn’t say he died FROM the severe illness, just “following” it. Here’s my theory: the dizziness from the severe illness caused him to lose his balance and fall from the window. That could happen to anyone.

Well, anyone in Russia.

Philadelphia was rated the rudest.

Who knows? Could be, I guess. Philly has always had this reputation. It’s the city where they once booed Santa Claus, and my dad claimed that they booed him for “only” hitting a ground-rule double when he was playing for the legendary Philadelphia Cheesesteaks. Of course, if you are familiar with my dad’s stories from reading this blog over the years, you’ll know that almost nothing he ever said in his life was true or even close to it, so there is no reason to expect an exception here, but that Santa thing is true, more or less.

Note to those unfamiliar with the Danny Sparrow stories:

I was fortunate enough to have the greatest big brother any man ever had. What made it complicated is that he was actually my dad, a fun-lovin’, tale-tellin’, incredibly entertaining man who was on the one hand totally irresponsible, but on the other hand, and for pretty much the same reasons, always fun to be with. I gave a more serious explanation of my complicated relationship with my dad in my review of Big Fish, a movie which felt like a Danny Sparrow biopic.