Read Opinion: Gavin Newsom's French Laundry scandal is no reason to toss him out (CNN)
Lincoln Mitchell writes that though California Gov. Gavin Newsom has made mistakes during the Covid pandemic, he has not done anything that rises to the level of prematurely removing from office.
My friend Dave Harris asked me about this article.

In general, I’d say that the Republican party is trying to rile up something where nothing truly exists. They’re feebly trying to inflame Democrats to “cancel” Newsome so they have a shot of getting a Republican in office. Sadly, the unwritten subtext here is that if a Republican were actually governor during the pandemic, California would have just followed suit with the Trump administration and fared far worse as a result. Where is their position on that?!

It would be nice if, instead of being against something like they are in this case, the Republicans would state what they’re proactively for—and preferably something that would improve the lives of all Californians. We know that they’re against Newsome and a progressive agenda, but why not tack a bit toward the middle and actually accomplish something instead of continually trying to split us all apart?

Their push on this front is simply an attempt at creating a wedge issue at the lowest level when there are so many, many other things that are more important right now. If they couldn’t as a party and we couldn’t as a country agree on the far more egregious aggressions of Donald Trump, then nit picking at Gavin Newsome is going to be a losing proposition, especially in California.

Read - Want to Read: The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again by Robert D. Putnam (Simon & Schuster)
An eminent political scientist's brilliant analysis of economic, social, and political trends over the past century demonstrating how we have gone from an individualistic "I" society to a more communitarian "We" society and then back again, and how we can learn from that experience to become a stronger, more unified nation--from the author of Bowling Alone and Our Kids.
Deep and accelerating inequality; unprecedented political polarization; vitriolic public discourse; a fraying social fabric; public and private narcissism--Americans today seem to agree on only one thing: This is the worst of times.
But we've been here before. During the Gilded Age of the late 1800s, America was highly individualistic, starkly unequal, fiercely polarized, and deeply fragmented, just as it is today. However as the twentieth century opened, America became--slowly, unevenly, but steadily--more egalitarian, more cooperative, more generous; a society on the upswing, more focused on our responsibilities to one another and less focused on our narrower self-interest. Sometime during the 1960s, however, these trends reversed, leaving us in today's disarray.
In a sweeping overview of more than a century of history, drawing on his inimitable combination of statistical analysis and storytelling, Robert Putnam analyzes a remarkable confluence of trends that brought us from an "I" society to a "We" society and then back again. He draws inspiring lessons for our time from an earlier era, when a dedicated group of reformers righted the ship, putting us on a path to becoming a society once again based on community. Engaging, revelatory, and timely, this is Putnam's most ambitious work yet, a fitting capstone to a brilliant career.
Read A Time of Self-Reflection (aria4sheriff.com)
Anarchist. Shemale. Tranny. Libertarian. “Fuck the police.” Free Talk Live. Bitcoin. Reformed Satanic Church. Black Lives Matter. It’s all there. None of it is a secret. I couldn’t possibly have been more upfront about who I am, or my position on things. Did none of you pay attention to the election two years ago, when I criticized Eli Rivera for not going far enough with his sanctuary policy? Did none of you remember the six foot tall tranny who ran for sheriff and then city council?
This sounds crazy, but I can easily imagine it in many parts of the country where people are simply just too busy to care for the “downticket” races.
Liked a tweet by ntnsndr (Twitter)
Listened to Corporations Were Always People from On the Media | WNYC Studios

Ten years ago Citizens United declared that corporations are people and that their money is speech. A historian tells us actually, it was ever thus.

No discussion of money and politics is complete without a tip of the hat to Citizens United, the landmark Supreme Court ruling of 10 years ago that recognized corporations as people and their money as speech. 

That ruling was followed a few years ago by the Hobby Lobby decision, giving business owners the right to flout federal law based on their religious beliefs. To many Americans, particularly on the left, both rulings were bizarre and ominous expansions of corporate rights. But, if you think this is the novel handiwork of a uniquely conservative Supreme Court, you haven't been paying attention to the past three or four hundred years of court cases and American history.

Adam Winkler, professor of law at UCLA, is the author of We the Corporations: How American Business Won Their Civil Rights. He told us in 2018 that the principle of corporate rights has been litigated forever and predates our very founding. 

To even out the playing field we should definitely prevent corporate interests from dominating the discussion. Certainly they may need some protections in law where it comes to owning property and some of their basic functions, but allowing them outsized influence in governance is not necessary.

This episode has some fantastic historical discussion. It is painfully disappointing to hear corporations taking advantage of the 13th and 14th amendments that African Americans weren’t able to appreciate in the same way at the same time.

Read Frederick Koch, Who Spurned Family Business, Dies at 86 by Katharine Q. Seelye (nytimes.com)
The oldest of four boys, he had little interest in his brothers’ conglomerate or politics. Instead, he collected art and restored manor houses.
I was coincidentally reading a bit about the Kochs last night in American Amnesia. They indicated that Koch’s father was a co-founder of the John Birch society and naturally the boys were all steeped in their philosophy.
Read 10 Words for People Who Are Bad At What They Do : Plater (merriam-webster.com)
Don't quit your day job
Patzer is such a great word. I’ve only heard it in context in the movie Searching for Bobby Fisher. 

Most of the others I’ve heard as well, though many are rarer. Throttlebottom is a solid one that I wasn’t aware of before, but seems very fitting. I’m half-tempted to change the tagline of my website to Philologaster now.

Bookmarked The Federalist with Letters of "Brutus" by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, Terence Ball (Cambridge University Press)

The Federalist represents one side of one of the most momentous political debates ever conducted: whether to ratify, or to reject, the newly drafted American constitution. This authoritative new edition presents complete texts for all of the eighty-five Federalist papers, along with the sixteen letters of "Brutus", the unknown New York Antifederalist. Each paper is systematically cross-referenced to the other, and both to the appended Articles of Confederation and U.S. Constitution. Terence Ball's editing skills enhance the accessibility of a classic of political thought in action.

More and more I find myself wanting to go back and read all of these.
Bookmarked The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion by John R. Zaller (Cambridge University Press)
In this book John Zaller develops a comprehensive theory to explain how people acquire political information from the mass media and convert it into political preferences. Using numerous specific examples, Zaller applies this theory in order to explain the dynamics of public opinion on a broad range of subjects, including both domestic and foreign policy, trust in government, racial equality, and presidential approval, as well as voting behavior in U.S. House, Senate and Presidential elections. Particularly perplexing characteristics of public opinion are also examined, such as the high degree of random fluctuations in political attitudes observed in opinion surveys and the changes in attitudes due to minor changes in the wording of survey questions.
Hat tip: Strong recommendation by Vicki Boykis (#)
Bookmarked Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change by Eitan Hersh (Scribner)

Who is to blame for our broken politics? The uncomfortable answer to this question starts with ordinary citizens with good intentions. We vote (sometimes) and occasionally sign a petition or attend a rally. But we mainly “engage” by consuming politics as if it’s a sport or a hobby. We soak in daily political gossip and eat up statistics about who’s up and who’s down. We tweet and post and share. We crave outrage. The hours we spend on politics are used mainly as pastime.

Instead, we should be spending the same number of hours building political organizations, implementing a long-term vision for our city or town, and getting to know our neighbors, whose votes will be needed for solving hard problems. We could be accumulating power so that when there are opportunities to make a difference—to lobby, to advocate, to mobilize—we will be ready. But most of us who are spending time on politics today are focused inward, choosing roles and activities designed for our short-term pleasure. We are repelled by the slow-and-steady activities that characterize service to the common good.

In Politics Is for Power, pioneering and brilliant data analyst Eitan Hersh shows us a way toward more effective political participation. Aided by political theory, history, cutting-edge social science, as well as remarkable stories of ordinary citizens who got off their couches and took political power seriously, this book shows us how to channel our energy away from political hobbyism and toward empowering our values.

Bookcover of

Read Grand Guignol (Wikipedia)
Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol (French pronunciation: ​[ɡʁɑ̃ ɡiɲɔl]: "The Theatre of the Great Puppet") – known as the Grand Guignol – was a theatre in the Pigalle district of Paris (at 20 bis, rue Chaptal [fr]). From its opening in 1897 until its closing in 1962, it specialised in naturalistic horror shows. Its name is often used as a general term for graphic, amoral horror entertainment, a genre popular from Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre (for instance Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, and Webster's The Duchess of Malfi and The White Devil), to today's splatter films.

Audiences had strong reactions to the new disturbing themes the horror plays presented. One of the most prevalent themes staged at the Grand-Guignol was the demoralization and corruption of science. The “evil doctor” was a reoccurring trope in the horror shows performed.

Development idea: Bring back the Grand Guignol, but have evil politicians instead.
Annotated on January 20, 2020 at 04:06PM

Listened to Family Feud from On the Media | WNYC Studios

Bernie-Warren coverage, political hobbyism, and the rise of two American oligarchs.

A pre-debate news drop from CNN threatened the relative peace between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. On this week’s On the Media, why the feud is more distracting than illuminating. Plus, why paying close attention to political news is no substitute for civic participation. And, the origins of two oligarchic dynasties: the Trumps and the Kushners.

1. Rebecca Traister [@rtraister], writer for New York Magazine, on the inevitability of the questions facing women in politics. Listen.

2. Eitan Hersh [@eitanhersh], political scientist at Tufts University, on the political hobbyism and news consumption. Listen.

3. Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaWNYC], co-host of WNYC's Trump, Inc. podcast, on the corruption, improbabilities, and ironies of the Trump and Kushner family histories. Listen.

The segment on political hobbyism is particularly interesting and apt. Definitely worth taking a closer look at and implementing.