Is there anyone Fani hasn’t fooled around with? I can see her smoochin’ it up with the sexy lawyer, but … well …

Kidding aside, I am having a hard time believing this story. Michael Isikoff is a respected journalist, but I would like to know his source for these anecdotes, and whether he followed the standard practice of getting another source to confirm.

Supposedly Graham said, “If you told Trump Martians stole the election, he’d probably believe you.” That’s kind of true, at least as hyperbole. If he could believe the Hugo Chavez and Ruby Freeman stuff, he would believe almost anything. This reminds me that I once worked with a market research expert who told me this anecdote about a time when his client insisted on introducing a product that had been summarily rejected by consumers in test markets.

“Since he insisted on a roll-out, I had to come up with a target market for his commercials. Do you buy ads targeting old people? Teenagers? Housewives? Since the product’s use applied more or less equally across all demo groups, and was rejected across-the-board by all of them. I got the idea of developing a gullibility score outside of the traditional demos. The client looked at my questionnaire about his product and asked me why I had included a question about the Rapture. ‘How can that be relevant?,’ he asked. I said, ‘Look, your ad claims are dubious, so you need some gullible people. If people believe in the Rapture, they will believe absolutely anything.’ He scoffed, but it turned out I was right. There was a tight correlation between people’s responses to his ads and the Rapture question. He ended up buying ads on conservative religious programming and cable networks friendly to evangelicals. It worked like a charm. The product picked up tons of first-time customers. Unfortunately, they turned out to be one-time customers because the product didn’t do what the ads implied. The lack of repeat purchases and the bad word-of-mouth soon killed it. But I still contend that my idea was Nobel Prize material.”

This is shocking. Ron DeSantis was running for President? I just thought he was taking that long-coveted Iowa vacation.

He collected more than $100 million in his war chest, and visited every nook and cranny of Iowa, only to find out that he had no prayer. Expensive lesson. 99% of the people in America would have told him that for free. I wonder what he thought his path would be, given that he wouldn’t take a position against the guy he was supposedly opposing. He never really gave anyone a good reason to vote for him instead of Trump. And of course, he has approximately zero charisma or charm. He makes Steven Wright seem energetic and engaging. Who is the most drab, charisma-challenged presidential candidate you can think of? Perhaps John Kerry? In a world of DeSantises, John Kerry would seem like a combination of Reagan and JFK.

There is a silver lining for him: he never quit his day job. Denied the chance to screw up the country, he promised that he would rededicate himself wholeheartedly to screwing up Florida.

Trump is the betting favorite.

More interesting to me is the way they rank the also-rans. Per the oddsmakers, Michelle Obama is more likely to become President than either Gavin Newsom or Kamala Harris, so they’d kinda-sorta consider her the front-runner in case Biden were to disappear from the picture. That’s amazing because, as far as I know, Michelle Obama is not running for the job and has never expressed an interest in it. Her candidacy appears to be entirely a delusion of the right-wing rumor mill.

The oddsmakers also consider Michelle far more likely to be elected President in 2024 than Ron DeSantis. Now that one doesn’t surprise me, considering that I am probably more likely to be elected than Ron DeSantis. In fact, the only person in America less likely to be inaugurated in 2025 is the “rent is too damn high” guy.

SIDEBAR: Nikki Haley says she will not accept a vice-presidential nomination. “I’m not running for vice-president.” I don’t know why not. Trump will be 78 if he begins a new term. It seems to me that running to be the vice-president beneath a 78-year-old fat guy is approximately the same as running to be the president, except with a longer waiting period between election day and inauguration day.

Joking aside, Trump is unlikely to give her the chance to decline that nomination. He needs an absolute loyalist in that position because, thanks to a quirky element of our system, the vice-president is the only person in the executive branch that the President can’t fire. Trump must therefore seek a blind loyalist who will simply echo every Trump pronouncement. In other words, he needs a total buffoon who will be nothing more than his loyal, unprincipled, unquestioning flunky – a younger version of Rudy Giuliani.

From Politico: The GOP Is Already Clashing Over Trump’s VP Pick

Kevin, we hardly knew ye.

The House has never removed its leader before.

I read Cassidy Hutchinson’s book, in which McCarthy comes off as a decent human being, which kind of surprised me. Unfortunately for him, his cowardly groveling and kowtowing to the nutbags did him no good at all in the long run. He’d have been far better off compromising with the Democrats.

(Matt Gaetz, by the way, comes off as a total creep in Hutchinson’s story, which probably comes as no surprise to most people.)

This ouster means that they can’t conduct any House business now, despite the fact that another shutdown is looming. The temporary speaker can’t conduct any business except when it involves electing a new one, and I can’t imagine how either party is ever going to produce enough votes to do that. It’ll be messy.

I’m not going to go into them, because they will be done to death this week as she promotes her book.

I just want to make a note on a picture accompanying a Cassidy story.

One site says: “Congressman Jim Jordan is 6’3″. This makes him one of the taller members of Congress.” Yeah … maybe not.

Here is Jordan next to Cassidy Hutchinson (5’7″, so probably 5’10” in heels), Kevin McCarthy (5’10”) and Mark Meadows (6’0″).

image host

There are some perspective issues in that photo, but it’s clear that Jordan is much smaller than Meadows.

Matt Gaetz is reliably measured at 6’2″ according to his arrest record, but if Jim Jordan is 6’3″, then I’m guessing that Gates may actually be seven feet tall (see below). I guess that could be. He does have the forehead of Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster, who was about seven feel tall in those built-up shoes.


image host

Jordan’s real height? Well, he wrestled at 134 in college, so I’d say 5’7″ or 5’8″ is a decent guess.

Trump up by ten.

Men favor Trump by a margin of 30 points (62-32) in this poll. (!!)

How depressing is it to be the seated President and be down so far to a Bond villain and complete schmuck with a -14 net favorability rating?

Biden really has to hope that poll is an outlier, but with his own approval rating under water by 19 points, he’s definitely in a jam. There’s more than a year to go until the election, so these polls are not very meaningful, but the way it looks now, he could run unopposed and lose to “none of the above.”

“Radical left-wing feminists in Chile with “ponytails inserted in their butts and performing dances” in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the military coup against Salvador Allende.”

(In an event sometimes called “the other 9/11,” the USA backed the overthrow of Allende, a democratically elected Marxist, by a military coup. The Nixon administration wanted to prevent the spread of Communism during the Cold War.)

I don’t think the ponytails are actually in their butts, so the quote above kind of overhypes the protest. Nonetheless, the impact is approximately as promised – women in thongs or with bare butts, some waving strap-on ponytails. I assume they are anti-coup, but isn’t this counter-productive? After seeing the vid, I want to join the CIA and foment a military coup so more women will do this.

There are also about 30 unindicted co-conspirators. “The Defendants, as well as others not named as defendants, unlawfully conspired and endeavored to conduct and participate in a criminal enterprise in Fulton County, Georgia, and elsewhere.”

Full indictment.

Among the national figures charged were Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and Jeffrey Clark.

Sen. Lindsey Graham was not indicted.

—–

The Georgia indictments offer certain features that the federal ones can’t:

Total transparency. The trial may be, and almost certainly will be, televised.

Accountability. Neither the POTUS nor the Georgia governor has pardon power over Georgia convictions.

On the other hand, this case is incredibly complex, with 19 different defense lawyers filing motions and demanding discovery. Many defendants will file to remove the case to federal court, and some may file to sever their case from the mass trial. Trump and his co-defendants are expected to file multiple motions and to appeal motions denied by the judge. Trump’s tactics are always the same – delay, delay, delay. All sorts of things happen over time, all of them favorable to the defense. Evidence disappears. Witnesses die or forget key facts.

Jury selection alone could take months, as it has in another racketeering case currently being pursued by the same DA. Jury selection for that trial began in January and not a single juror has been selected. Since the trial itself may last many months, it is no simple matter to find unbiased jurors who can commit to an unlimited amount of time to participate in a trial. That problem is further exacerbated in any case involving Trump, where the jurors’ lives may be at risk.

Even the trial itself may take several months, with 19 defense attorneys constantly objecting and cross-examining.

I know that the DA wants to handle the case expeditiously, but that’s unlikely. I’ll be surprised if she can bring this case to trial before the 2024 election. If Trump wins that election, I for one will be surprised if Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani will live to hear the jury return its verdict in this case.

The WAPO featured this headline:

“State affirmative action bans helped White, Asian students, hurt others”

A quick look at the data indicates that the headline should read “State affirmative action bans helped White, Black, Asian students, hurt others.”

The headline does not say that, presumably because it is extremely inconvenient for the liberal narrative to admit that Black students do better in the states that ban affirmative action.

As you can see in WAPO’s own chart (below), the main beneficiaries of AA, by far, are Hispanics, who are brought from significant underrepresentation almost all the way to population parity by Affirmative Action.

image host

If you want to design a program that benefits Hispanics, there’s a much easier and totally constitutional way: just give admissions preference to any student who is totally fluent in more than one language. If, on the other hand, you want to extend a helping hand to Black students, the great brains at Harvard and elsewhere should be able to create a system that works better than the existing Affirmative Action models, which don’t seem to have worked at all for that purpose.

(Note: black students are still dramatically underrepresented in both groups, with or without AA, when measured as a percent of the population. In other words, even those who actively seek diversity should realize that it was probably time to shelve the existing Affirmative Action programs and replace them with some new schemes. The Supreme Court’s action will apparently have a negative impact on Hispanic students, but not so much for other minorities, who have apparently not been helped significantly by any of the existing admission models, with or without AA.)

I would go even farther than this guy.

Granted, I am a skeptical man, but here’s what I see:

  • Prigozhin challenged Putin with an armed rebellion, but was allowed to re-settle in Belarus, with all charges dropped. (Oh, that Putin – always the forgiving guy!)
  • Prigozhin is going to end up in Belarus, unpunished, not as a lonely exile, but with his mercenary army.
  • The Wagner group potentially could have access to the nuclear weapons that Putin conveniently started moving there last week.
  • It is only about 100 miles from Kyiv to the nearest point in Belarus.

All of the bullet-points above seem to be undisputed facts, yet few people seem to find that concatenation of circumstances to be alarming.

Add one more possibility. Russia and Belarus have been in talks to unite as a single country. Even if that does not happen, Belarus is just a vassal state, so as Putin sees it, Prigozhin is just in another part of his empire.

Some Ukrainians have noticed. One Ukrainian blogger wrote:

There will be a threat from the north. There is no need for “patriotic heroism,” but a sober approach to the current situation is needed. It was too easy for Putin and Prigozhin to reconcile. For Russia, a couple dozen corpses and five downed planes are a trifle when implementing a secret operation to “kindly” transfer Wagner specifically to Belarus. And think about why, under an agreement and “good will,” Prigozhin was sent specifically to Belarus and not to Africa or Syria, where Wagner has existing bases.

Another opined:

Even if there are only 15,000 mercenaries, in order to prevent any provocations on their part, we need to redeploy 5-6 brigades to the North. Under the conditions of the offensive in the South, this is a lot.

The list includes Stephen Colbert, Brad Raffensberger, Letitia James, Morning Joe and Seth Meyers.

Raffensberger and James, in particular, are not involved in foreign policy. To my knowledge, neither of them has made any public statements about Russia, but they are among Trump’s bugbears. Perhaps the most obscure private citizen on the list is the Capitol Police officer who killed one of the January 6th rioters. (Although this man has no connection to Russia in any way, he is the subject of lunatic conspiracy theories among the Trumpies, and has also been singled out by Putin in the past.)

The list is confusingly inconsistent.

  • One of the most baffling omissions is Jimmy Fallon, given that Kimmel, Meyers and Colbert are banned. If Fallon’s writers ever return to work, they should have a lot of fun with this. Conan O’Brien is not on the list either, and he’s just ballsy enough to go to Russia for a comedy special.
  • In another example of inconsistency, the list does not include others perceived by Trump as enemies, like Alvin Bragg.

The list of 500 new names means that there are now 1,344 Americans covered by Russian sanctions. I was kind of heartbroken to see that I did not make the cut.

Biden is correct about the numbers. More than 1/3 of the American electorate consists of white people with no college degree.

There is a very good reason why Donald Trump famously said:



They voted 67-32 in favor of Trump in 2020.

That means that a Democrat must either (a) cut into that group or (b) win 60% of the remaining votes. Neither is easy to accomplish. Biden won with (b) in 2020, but has chosen to focus on (a).

No problem. All he needs is a time machine back to 1960, when the unions could bring in lots of blue-collar white voters for the Democrats. At the moment Biden has devised no strategy to counter the culture-war stuff with blue-collar voters. He thinks money is the answer, but those voters are not responding.

The weirdest thing about the current state of American elections is that candidates who would appeal to both sides (except their fringes) can’t win the primaries. Chris Sununu would probably defeat Biden in a landslide, but he ain’t makin’ it through the wackjobbery in those GOP primaries.

Oh, cripe, I just dread a Biden-Trump rematch.

Get out your popcorn out for this one, which will end up with many matters to be decided by the judiciary.

Jim Jordan will be investigating the Jan 6th investigation – of which he is almost certainly a target. Should an FBI officer be forced to reveal details of an investigation to the guy he’s investigating? The common sense answer is obvious, but the legal answer is not.

Furthermore, there could be a battle of subpoenas. Jordan could be issuing subpoenas to the investigators while they are issuing subpoenas to him to testify about his actions on and leading up to January 6th. The DoJ will obviously challenge any congressional subpoena in court if the subpoena interferes with a criminal investigation, and the Supreme Court will probably have to sort it out eventually. The congressman, on the other hand, can’t ignore a grand jury subpoena. Judges take those very seriously. In the most extreme example, it could actually end up with Jordan questioning a guy one day, then getting arrested by the same guy the next day!

538 now shows that the GOP is slightly more likely to capture the Senate. The forecast model moved the GOP from “51 wins per 100 simulations” to 55/100.

538 now shows Fetterman ahead by half a percent in Pennsylvania. No forecast or poll comes close to that kind of precision so the bottom line is – we know nothing.

Georgia is in precisely the same boat. 538 shows Walker up by a tenth of a point. There is a key distinction between Georgia and the other states in that a win on Tuesday does not mean an automatic Senate seat unless the winner exceeds 50%. Given a third party candidate and a virtual tie between the major party candidates, a December run-off seems like a strong possibility.

538 still has Nevada in the toss-up category, but it seems increasingly likely that Laxalt will win. 538 shows him winning 59/100 simulations, versus 41 for the Democrat. The problem here is that Sen. Masto (birth name Catherine Cortez), despite being Hispanic through her father’s side, has lost Hispanic support. In September she had a 19-point lead among Hispanic voters, and she now faces a 13-point deficit. A Laxalt win will most likely mean that the Democrats have to win both Pennsylvania and Georgia.