Elon Musk claims two million Twitter signups daily. How many are bots?


Gilead

Twitter


Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[1] fair use.

There is a new post entitled, “Information, information cynicism, disinformation, and misinformation.”

Reuters, “Twitter CEO Musk says user signups at all-time high, touts features of ‘everything app,’” November 27, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/technology/twitter-ceo-musk-says-user-signups-all-time-high-touts-features-everything-app-2022-11-27/


Ukraine


Fig. 2. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[2] fair use.

Laurence Norman and Stephen Fidler, “Vladimir Putin’s Red Lines, War Aims Shift in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, November 27, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/vladimir-putins-red-lines-war-aims-shift-in-ukraine-11669556247


  1. [1]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/10/26/elon-musk-barges-into-twitter-headquarters-as-deal-nears/
  2. [2]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q

Then there’s Post. Not Postum. Not the Washington Post. Post.

Gilead

Twitter


Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[1] fair use.

I am way down on a list to join Post (apparently no connection to the Washington Post), a social network meant to foster civil conversation based on real news. If it does anything like it claims, it might even be a network my mother might be willing to join. But if you sign up through this link, I get a bump on the waiting list.

Gee. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this before: Be one of the cool kids! Get in on this whatever! But you’re gonna have to wait!

I’m waiting for: Now, you can invite your friends!

Kali Hays, “Elon Musk fired dozens more Twitter staff the night before Thanksgiving — days after saying he was done with layoffs,” Business Insider, November 24, 2022, https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-fires-dozens-more-twitter-staff-night-before-thanksgiving-2022-11

Laurel Wamsley, “Looking to leave Twitter? Here are the social networks seeing new users now,” National Public Radio, November 24, 2022, https://www.npr.org/2022/11/24/1139079748/leave-twitter-social-networks-mastodon-hive-post



Fig. 2. My kitchen exhaust fan, on the wall above the stove. Photograph by author, October 14, 2022.

How big are the gaps with that kitchen exhaust fan (figure 2)? Apparently large enough for a chickadee to find its way through. I awoke this morning, seeing something fly in a straight line between my front room and the kitchen. Investigating, I found a chickadee, trying to escape, but you know, the glass in my kitchen window is, well, glass. While the poor bird was cowering behind my portable dishwasher, I opened wide my front door and pushed open the screen door, started my coffee (which begins with grinding), took my shower, and hoped the bird had found its way out. I’m still hoping.

I am, of course, also hoping this little bird drew some comfort from the warmth that I assume had attracted it in the first place and wasn’t too terribly traumatized by the experience.

Update: Either the little chickadee found its way in again or had never flown out the first time. I opened the door again and I’ve now taped something up over the fan hoping to avoid a repeat visit; the time I’m away working would be a long time for a little bird to feel trapped. I’m hoping, again, it flew out, but I’m now rather skeptical, even with a little chickadee, I think I ought to have heard the flutter of its wings.


  1. [1]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/10/26/elon-musk-barges-into-twitter-headquarters-as-deal-nears/

Aileen Cannon’s intervention on Donald Trump’s behalf may be coming to an abrupt and ignominious end

Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 1. Department of Justice photograph of seized materials, reportedly partially redacted, via the Washington Post, August 31, 2022,[1] public domain.

An appeals panel does not seem at all favorably disposed towards Aileen Cannon’s ruling appointing a special master to stall the Department of Justice investigation of Donald Trump’s retention of documents[2] retrieved from Mar-a-Lago.[3] Indeed, the question of the moment seems to be whether they will 1) vacate or 2) overturn Cannon’s order.[4]

The common refrain is “you can’t predict a case from oral argument.” Um, this one you can. The only question is how fast [Donald] Trump will lose. He will lose badly. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an oral argument go worse for a litigant. And a shame it has taken so many months just to overrule Judge [Aileen] Cannon’s nonsense.[5]

Ronald Brownstein, “Why fewer states than ever could pick the next president,” CNN, November 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/22/politics/2022-preview-2024-presidential-election

Charlie Savage and Alan Feuer, “Court Appears Ready to End Special Master Review in Trump Files Inquiry,” New York Times, November 22, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/22/us/trump-special-master-review-mar-a-lago.html

Igor Derysh, “‘Goodbye Cannon’: Experts say judge’s controversial pro-Trump order doomed after ‘hostile’ hearing,” Salon, November 23, 2022, https://www.salon.com/2022/11/23/goodbye-cannon-experts-say-judges-controversial-pro-order-doomed-after-hostile-hearing/

Twitter


Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[6] fair use.

Laurel Wamsley, “Looking to leave Twitter? Here are the social networks seeing new users now,” National Public Radio, November 24, 2022, https://www.npr.org/2022/11/24/1139079748/leave-twitter-social-networks-mastodon-hive-post


Ukraine


Fig. 1. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[7] fair use.

It is true that neither Ukraine nor any other eastern European country are innocent of World War II-era pogroms against Jews. And these countries have erred in attempting to whitewash this history. But none of this justifies Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on a pretext of “de-Nazification.”[8]

Efraim Zuroff and Per Anders Rudling, “Russia’s ‘denazification’ lie and the whitewash of Roman Shukhevych,” Times of Israel, November 22, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/russias-denazification-lie-and-the-whitewash-of-roman-shukhevych/


  1. [1]Devlin Barrett, “Justice Dept. says Trump team may have hidden, moved classified papers,” Washington Post, August 31, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/31/trump-documents-removed-storage-room/
  2. [2]Igor Derysh, “‘Goodbye Cannon’: Experts say judge’s controversial pro-Trump order doomed after ‘hostile’ hearing,” Salon, November 23, 2022, https://www.salon.com/2022/11/23/goodbye-cannon-experts-say-judges-controversial-pro-order-doomed-after-hostile-hearing/; Charlie Savage and Alan Feuer, “Court Appears Ready to End Special Master Review in Trump Files Inquiry,” New York Times, November 22, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/22/us/trump-special-master-review-mar-a-lago.html
  3. [3]Jacqueline Alemany et al., “National Archives had to retrieve Trump White House records from Mar-a-Lago,” Washington Post, February 7, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/07/trump-records-mar-a-lago/; Farnoush Amiri, “National Archives: Trump took classified items to Mar-a-Lago,” Associated Press, February 19, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-mar-a-lago-national-security-9c1f6dca7e3e8073ee029604c8253a5c; Scott R. Anderson et al., “What We Do and Don’t Know About the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago Search,” Lawfare, August 9, 2022, https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-we-do-and-dont-know-about-fbis-mar-lago-search; Devlin Barrett et al., “Mar-a-Lago search appears focused on whether Trump, aides withheld items,” Washington Post, August 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/09/trump-fbi-search-mar-a-lago/; Devlin Barrett et al., “FBI searched Trump’s home to look for nuclear documents and other items, sources say,” Washington Post, August 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/11/garland-trump-mar-a-lago/; Devlin Barrett and Josh Dawsey, “Agents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago seized 11 sets of classified documents, court filing shows,” Washington Post, August 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/12/trump-warrant-release/; Alex Leary, Aruna Viswanatha, and Sadie Gurman, “FBI Recovered Eleven Sets of Classified Documents in Trump Search, Inventory Shows,” Washington Post, August 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/fbi-recovered-eleven-sets-of-classified-documents-in-trump-search-inventory-shows-11660324501; Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo, “Trump says FBI conducting search of Mar-a-Lago estate,” Associated Press, August 8, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-mar-a-lago-government-and-politics-9e8d683afe87389407950af7ccfdbdd6; Betsy Woodruff Swan, Kyle Cheney, and Nicholas Wu, “FBI search warrant shows Trump under investigation for potential obstruction of justice, Espionage Act violations,” Politico, August 12, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/12/search-warrant-shows-trump-under-investigation-for-potential-obstruction-of-justice-espionage-act-violations-00051507
  4. [4]Charlie Savage and Alan Feuer, “Court Appears Ready to End Special Master Review in Trump Files Inquiry,” New York Times, November 22, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/22/us/trump-special-master-review-mar-a-lago.html
  5. [5]Neal Katyal, quoted in Igor Derysh, “‘Goodbye Cannon’: Experts say judge’s controversial pro-Trump order doomed after ‘hostile’ hearing,” Salon, November 23, 2022, https://www.salon.com/2022/11/23/goodbye-cannon-experts-say-judges-controversial-pro-order-doomed-after-hostile-hearing/
  6. [6]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/10/26/elon-musk-barges-into-twitter-headquarters-as-deal-nears/
  7. [7]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  8. [8]Efraim Zuroff and Per Anders Rudling, “Russia’s ‘denazification’ lie and the whitewash of Roman Shukhevych,” Times of Israel, November 22, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/russias-denazification-lie-and-the-whitewash-of-roman-shukhevych/

Viktor Orbán’s pretend reforms come up short

The Thanksgiving lull has set in, so I’ll be off to work early, trying to make what money I can despite the winter slowdown, despite an employer who won’t admit being an employer, who treats workers as utterly expendable, ferrying entitled but also expendable passengers around. Not thankful.

My delay comes from a realization that I need to update my offline maps. Holidays are unpredictable. I never know where I’ll end up so on this, of all days, updated maps are crucial.


Illiberalism


Fig. 1. Photograph by Joachim F. Thurn, August 1991, Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F089030-0003, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE.

I had wondered[1] how far Viktor Orbán’s promises[2] actually went to satisfy European Union demands. Joseph Sternberg perceived capitulation,[3] but I guess the European Commission’s answer is indeed, not far enough:[4]

Hungary has failed to adopt promised rule-of-law reforms, the European Commission decided Wednesday, putting billions in EU cash in jeopardy for the country.

The determination comes as Brussels wrangles with Viktor Orbán’s government over the release of both €7.5 billion in regular EU payouts and €5.8 billion in pandemic recovery grants — money the EU has temporarily frozen over democratic backsliding concerns in Hungary.

While the Commission on Wednesday recommended approving Hungary’s plan to spend its recovery funds, it was clear that the country would not actually get the money until it implements 27 specific rule-of-law upgrades.

Meanwhile, the Commission also concluded that Hungary had fallen short in fulfilling a prior pledge to adopt 17 rule-of-law reforms that are needed to access the €7.5 billion in EU funds, which are being held up under a mechanism allowing the EU to freeze funds at risk of graft.[5]

This decision has yet to be ratified. It also calls for an additional 10 reforms, now totaling 27, to roll back Orbán’s competitive authoritarian regime.[6]

Paola Tamma and Jakob Hanke Vela, “Hungary’s EU cash at risk after European Commission concludes reforms fell short,” Politico, November 23, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-eu-funds-hungary-reforms-von-der-leyen-viktor-orban-commision/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “In an election that was the Republicans’ to lose, they’re not doing so hot,” Irregular Bullshit, November 9, 2022, https://disunitedstates.com/2022/11/09/in-an-election-that-was-the-republicans-to-lose-theyre-not-doing-so-hot/
  2. [2]Paola Tamma, “Hungary vows to overhaul its judiciary, hoping to unlock EU funds,” Politico, November 7, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/hungary-overhaul-judiciary-unlock-eu-funds/
  3. [3]Joseph C. Sternberg, “Orbán and the Collapse of the Trump Intellectuals,” Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/orban-and-the-collapse-of-the-trump-intellectuals-hungary-national-conservatives-brussels-european-union-money-legal-corruption-reform-11668696725
  4. [4]Paola Tamma and Jakob Hanke Vela, “Hungary’s EU cash at risk after European Commission concludes reforms fell short,” Politico, November 23, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-eu-funds-hungary-reforms-von-der-leyen-viktor-orban-commision/
  5. [5]Paola Tamma and Jakob Hanke Vela, “Hungary’s EU cash at risk after European Commission concludes reforms fell short,” Politico, November 23, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-eu-funds-hungary-reforms-von-der-leyen-viktor-orban-commision/
  6. [6]Paola Tamma and Jakob Hanke Vela, “Hungary’s EU cash at risk after European Commission concludes reforms fell short,” Politico, November 23, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-eu-funds-hungary-reforms-von-der-leyen-viktor-orban-commision/

Affordable no more? Pittsburgh rents approach west coast levels

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh

Gentrification


Fig. 1. The old Hazelwood library branch. It has been replaced with a new branch on Second Avenue. Photograph by author, May 1, 2020.

This report[1] is late reaching me, older than I would normally include here, but Pittsburgh is a stand-out with rents up 22.8 percent over a year ago and a median rent of $1,877, leading to a new blog post entitled, “The rent is too damn high. But politicians wonder why violence is increasing.

Lily Katz, “Rental Market Tracker: Rents Rose 7.8% in October—Slowest Growth in 14 Months,” Redfin, November 16, 2022, https://www.redfin.com/news/redfin-rental-report-october-2022/

Infrastructure


Fig. 1. Post-collapse scene at the Fern Hollow Bridge, photograph by National Transportation Safety Board, January 29, 2022, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Megan Tomasic, “PennDOT: Still more work set for Route 28, but Fern Hollow Bridge wrapping up,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 23, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/11/22/penndot-route-28-fern-hollow-bridge-highland-park-bridge/stories/202211220102

2022 election


Fig. 1. John Fetterman as mayor of Braddock, photograph uncredited and undated, via Next Pittsburgh,[2] fair use.

Jonathan Lai, Jeremy Roebuck, and Ryan W. Briggs, “Doug Mastriano supporters are flooding Pa. courts with baseless recount petitions in the governor’s race,” Philadelphia Inquirer, November 23, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/doug-mastriano-pa-governor-election-results-recount-petitions-20221123.html


  1. [1]Lily Katz, “Rental Market Tracker: Rents Rose 7.8% in October—Slowest Growth in 14 Months,” Redfin, November 16, 2022, https://www.redfin.com/news/redfin-rental-report-october-2022/
  2. [2]Kim Lyons, “Braddock Mayor John Fetterman keeps on truckin’ in his quest for the Senate,” Next Pittsburgh, March 11, 2016, https://nextpittsburgh.com/features/the-challengers-braddock-mayor-john-fetterman-keeps-on-truckin/

Now that it’s too late to do anything about them, the House of Representatives is getting Donald Trump’s tax returns

Gilead

Donald Trump

Finances


Fig. 1. Trump International Hotel, Las Vegas, undated image credited to https://www.flickr.com/photos/glynlowe/ [bad link], CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court denies Trump bid to withhold tax returns from Congress,” Washington Post, November 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/22/supreme-court-trump-taxes/

Twitter


Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[1] fair use.

Faiz Siddiqui and Jeremy B. Merrill, “Musk issues ultimatum to staff: Commit to ‘hardcore’ Twitter or take severance,” Washington Post, November 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/16/musk-twitter-email-ultimatum-termination/

Joseph Menn, Nitasha Tiku, and Faiz Siddiqui, “Hundreds said to have opted to leave Twitter over Musk ultimatum,” Washington Post, November 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/17/twitter-musk-easing-rto-order/

Johana Bhuiyan, “Elon Musk summons Twitter engineers amid mass resignations and puts up poll on Trump ban,” Guardian, November 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/nov/18/elon-musk-twitter-engineers-workers-mass-resignation

James Clayton and Peter Hoskins, “Twitter locks staff out of offices until next week,” British Broadcasting Corporation, November 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-63672307

Annie Gaus, “Twitter Teeters as Offices Shut Down, Employees Flee,” San Francisco Standard, November 18, 2022, https://sfstandard.com/business/twitter-teeters-on-collapse-as-offices-shut-down/

Elon Musk, “How do you make a small fortune in social media? . . .” Twitter, November 18, 2022, https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1593415171149791232

Sky News, “World Cup risks knocking out Twitter after staff exodus, industry expert warns,” November 18, 2022, https://news.sky.com/story/twitter-reportedly-closes-offices-over-sabotage-fears-as-more-employees-resign-12749959

Faiz Siddiqui, Drew Harwell and Isaac Arnsdorf , “Elon Musk restores Trump’s Twitter account,” Washington Post, November 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/19/trump-musk-twitter/

Ron Kampeas, “Welcome to the new Twitter: Kanye West returns with ‘shalom’ and Elon Musk trolls the ADL,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, November 20, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/11/20/united-states/welcome-to-the-new-twitter-kanye-west-is-back-and-elon-musk-trolls-the-adl

Liz Moyer, “Elon Musk Reinstates Trump on Twitter. Trump Shrugs,” Barron’s, November 20, 2022, https://www.barrons.com/articles/elon-musk-reinstates-trump-on-twitter-trump-shrugs-51668964354

Kelly Rissman, “Donald Trump’s Twitter Account Has Been Reactivated But Will He Return?” Vanity Fair, November 20, 2022, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/11/donald-trump-twitter-account-has-been-reactivated

Vlad Savov, “Musk Welcomes Ye Back to Twitter After Inviting Trump’s Return,” Bloomberg, November 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-11-21/musk-welcomes-ye-back-to-twitter-after-inviting-trump-s-return

Duty To Warn, “Elon Musk tweeted this meme. . . .” Twitter, November 21, 2022, https://twitter.com/duty2warn/status/1594655174852755460

Naomi Nix and Jeremy B. Merrill, “Advertisers are dropping Twitter. Musk can’t afford to lose any more,” Washington Post, November 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/22/twitter-advertiser-exodus-musk/


Student loans


Fig. 1. Unattributed and undated image via James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal,[2] fair use.

[Student loan] [p]ayments were set to resume Jan. 1, but they now will resume 60 days after litigation over the loan-forgiveness program is resolved or the program is implemented. While many people would have the entirety of their remaining loan balances erased through the debt-relief program, those who didn’t would be required to resume payments once the payment pause was lifted.

If the litigation hasn’t been resolved by June 30, payments will resume 60 days after that date, according to the Education Department.[3]

Gabriel T. Rubin, “Student-Loan Holders See New Path for Wiping Out Debt Through Bankruptcy,” Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/student-loan-holders-see-new-path-for-wiping-out-debt-through-bankruptcy-11669034068

Andrew Restuccia, “Biden Administration Extends Pause on Federal Student Loan Payments,” Wall Street Journal, November 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-administration-extends-pause-on-federal-student-loan-payments-through-june-11669149679


Ukraine


Fig. 1. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[4] fair use.

How fraught would negotiations between Ukraine and Russia be? Let Julia Ioffe count the ways. But then, too, Joe Biden isn’t keen to run for re-election with this war still raging with its knock-on effects, including inflation.[5] Ioffe usually has a tighter knit story to tell. This isn’t one of those. It’s ugly, it’s a mess, and it’s very much a necessary and worthwhile read.

Julia Ioffe, “Biden’s Price of Peace,” Puck News, November 22, 2022, https://puck.news/bidens-price-of-peace/


  1. [1]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/10/26/elon-musk-barges-into-twitter-headquarters-as-deal-nears/
  2. [2]Richard K. Vedder, “Eliminate or Radically Restructure Federal Student Loans,” James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, September 16, 2020, https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2020/09/eliminate-or-radically-restructure-federal-student-loans/
  3. [3]Andrew Restuccia, “Biden Administration Extends Pause on Federal Student Loan Payments,” Wall Street Journal, November 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-administration-extends-pause-on-federal-student-loan-payments-through-june-11669149679
  4. [4]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  5. [5]Julia Ioffe, “Biden’s Price of Peace,” Puck News, November 22, 2022, https://puck.news/bidens-price-of-peace/

Students should just go bankrupt

Student loans


Fig. 1. Unattributed and undated image via James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal,[1] fair use.

I missed this from last Thursday, but it seems the Joe Biden administration announced new rules for how the Department of Justice will handle bankruptcies involving student loans.[2]

The bankruptcy changes set specific requirements for [student loan] borrowers to prove that they are experiencing economic distress. Government lawyers will assess a borrower’s ability to repay their loans based on a set formula—whether expenses equal or exceed a debtor’s income—and other considerations, such as retirement age, disability, educational attainment and job history.[3]

I would almost certainly qualify for this. While there should be some accountability for this economic system’s absolute refusal to honor my human right to suitable employment, bankruptcy is not something I take lightly.

Gabriel T. Rubin, “Student-Loan Holders See New Path for Wiping Out Debt Through Bankruptcy,” Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/student-loan-holders-see-new-path-for-wiping-out-debt-through-bankruptcy-11669034068


Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 2. Original: The White House. Derivative work: J. J. Messerly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

With only a few exceptions, this year’s results showed each side further consolidating its hold over the states that already lean in its direction. And in 2024 that will likely leave control of the White House in the hands of a very small number of states that are themselves divided almost exactly in half between the parties – a list that looks even smaller after this month’s outcomes. . . .

These offsetting and hardening partisan strengths could, once again, provide the power to decide the White House winner to a few hundred thousand voters in a very few closely balanced states. That’s a windfall for the owners of television stations who will be deluged with television advertising in states such as Nevada, Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona. But it’s also another reason for the prodigious stress in our fraught modern politics. Each side in an intensely polarized nation of 330 million recognizes that the overall direction of national policy now pivots on the choices of a miniscule number of people living in the tiny patches of contested political ground – white-collar suburbs of Atlanta and Phoenix, working-class Latino neighborhoods in and around Las Vegas and the mid-sized communities of the so-called BOW counties in Wisconsin.

The partitioning of the nation into distinct and intractable partisan camps is one of the defining features of modern US politics. The Democratic and Republican presidential nominees have each carried 20 states in every election since at least 2008. That means 80% of the states have voted the same way in at least the past four presidential elections – a level of consistency unmatched through the 20th century. Even during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four consecutive presidential victories from 1932 through 1944, only about two-thirds of the states voted the same way each time.[4]

Republicans likely improve their chances in 2024 if they ditch Donald Trump,[5] Whether they can do that remains to be seen and we should emphasize that Ron DeSantis probably should be seen as even more frightening.[6]

Ronald Brownstein, “Why fewer states than ever could pick the next president,” CNN, November 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/22/politics/2022-preview-2024-presidential-election


Gilead

Twitter


Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[7] fair use.

Y’all have to forgive me. I’ve never been a parent, let alone of a rebellious teenaged boy, so I’m a little slow on the uptake.

But after some back-and-forth on (where else?) Twitter, I’ve decided that my description of Elon Musk as having never outgrown puberty is more apt than I imagined. He’s constantly picking fights,[8] even fights he can’t win, like, most obviously, his attempt to back out of the deal to purchase Twitter, but even now with regulators both in the U.S.,[9] possibly even on national security grounds,[10] and the European Union.[11] His defiance of regulators is absolutely nothing new[12] and who can forget the whole ‘pedophile’ thing that didn’t make any sense even before we get to Musk calling a rescue diver a pedophile?[13]

Now Elon Musk persists in antagonizing Twitter’s advertisers and users; these in combination with his layoffs and regulatory concerns have put Twitter on a full-throttle nosedive to doom.[14] He might finally have picked a fight he can win—against himself.


  1. [1]Richard K. Vedder, “Eliminate or Radically Restructure Federal Student Loans,” James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, September 16, 2020, https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2020/09/eliminate-or-radically-restructure-federal-student-loans/
  2. [2]Gabriel T. Rubin, “Biden Administration to Make It Easier to Dismiss Student Loans in Bankruptcy,” Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-administration-to-make-it-easier-to-dismiss-student-loans-in-bankruptcy-11668706819
  3. [3]Gabriel T. Rubin, “Student-Loan Holders See New Path for Wiping Out Debt Through Bankruptcy,” Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/student-loan-holders-see-new-path-for-wiping-out-debt-through-bankruptcy-11669034068
  4. [4]Ronald Brownstein, “Why fewer states than ever could pick the next president,” CNN, November 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/22/politics/2022-preview-2024-presidential-election
  5. [5]Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey, “One likely 2024 GOP contender triumphed on election night. It wasn’t Donald Trump,” Washington Post, November 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/09/desantis-trump-2024-presidential-election/; Ronald Brownstein, “Why fewer states than ever could pick the next president,” CNN, November 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/22/politics/2022-preview-2024-presidential-election; Jonathan Freedland, “The winner of the midterms is not yet clear – but the loser is Donald Trump,” Guardian, November 9, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/09/the-winner-of-the-midterms-is-not-yet-clear-but-the-loser-is-donald-trump; Liz Goodwin, “A red wave of criticism crashes into Donald Trump after midterm losses,” Washington Post, November 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/11/trump-criticism-midterms-republicans/; David Lauter, “The midterm’s big loser: Trump suffers multiple defeats,” Los Angeles Times, November 9, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/newsletter/2022-11-09/the-midterms-big-loser-trump-suffers-multiple-defeats-essential-politics; Jonathan Tamari and William Bender, “‘It’s time for him to retire’: Some Pa. Republicans want to push Trump aside after their election losses,” Philadelphia Inquirer, November 10, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/pa-republicans-blame-trump-2022-losses-20221110.html; Chris Walker, “Trump Is Blaming Everyone But Himself for Midterm Losses — Including His Wife,” Truthout, November 10, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/trump-is-blaming-everyone-but-himself-for-midterm-losses-including-his-wife/
  6. [6]Adam Taylor, “Is the world ready for President DeSantis and a Floridian foreign policy?” Washington Post, November 10, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/11/10/desanntis-foreign-policy-florida/
  7. [7]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/10/26/elon-musk-barges-into-twitter-headquarters-as-deal-nears/
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Elon Musk, groan, again,” Not Housebroken, February 28, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/03/22/elon-musk-groan-again/
  9. [9]Joseph Menn et al., “Twitter’s content moderation head quits as departures alarm the FTC,” Washington Post, November 10, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/10/twitter-security-resignations/
  10. [10]Sanjay Patnaik, Robert E. Litan, and James Kunhardt, “The national security grounds for investigating Musk’s Twitter acquisition,” Brookings, November 4, 2022, https://www.brookings.edu/research/why-biden-would-be-justified-in-blocking-or-modifying-musks-twitter-acquisition-on-national-security-grounds/
  11. [11]Natasha Lomas, “Is Elon Musk’s Twitter about to fall out of the GDPR’s one-stop shop?” TechCrunch, November 14, 2022, https://techcrunch.com/2022/11/14/is-elon-musks-twitter-about-to-fall-out-of-the-gdprs-one-stop-shop/
  12. [12]John C. Coffee, Jr., “How the SEC can be the babysitter Elon Musk needs,” CNN, April 23, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/23/perspectives/tesla-elon-musk-sec/index.html; Tim Higgins, “Elon Musk’s Defiance in the Time of Coronavirus,” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musks-defiance-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-11584733458
  13. [13]Tim Higgins, “Elon Musk Cleared by Jury in Defamation Case Over ‘Pedo’ Tweet,” Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-cleared-by-jury-in-defamation-case-over-pedo-tweet-11575678498; Alistair Walsh, “Elon Musk won’t stop calling diver a pedophile,” Deutschewelle, September 9, 2018, https://www.dw.com/en/elon-musk-wont-stop-calling-diver-a-pedophile/a-45372611; Li Zhou, “Elon Musk and the Thai cave rescue: a tale of good intentions and bad tweets,” Vox, July 18, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/7/18/17576302/elon-musk-thai-cave-rescue-submarine
  14. [14]David Benfell, “Elon Musk’s Achilles’ heel,” Not Housebroken, November 18, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/07/10/elon-musks-achilles-heel/

About staying and ‘fighting’ on Twitter

Gilead

Twitter


Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[1] fair use.

There is a new blog post entitled, “About Elon Musk’s Twitter poll and about Twitter polls generally.”

In that post, I mention that I have two Twitter accounts, one private and one public. I need to surface into the public account when I want to interact with someone who doesn’t follow me.[2] And so I did recently, and met with a torrent of toxic responses. Twitter has temporarily blocked my public account from Julia Ioffe’s account because—I really don’t know how this works—apparently she invoked a safety mode (which I guess is available to verified users but not to me). I doubt Ioffe meant anything against me and I certainly don’t blame her for invoking that mode; I simply got swept up with a bunch of anti-Semites because Twitter’s artificial idiot is incapable of telling the difference. (But hey, let’s all worship the artificial idiot![3])

Twitter is becoming dramatically more toxic. And I am considering my continued presence on the platform because I certainly don’t want to be involved with this toxicity.

I see a number of people urging folks to stay and “fight.” But it remains unclear to me how we “fight” when Elon Musk can dummy up an utterly bogus Twitter poll any way he likes[4] and claim a popular mandate for whatever he wants to do. We have no power whatsoever to compel, nor even means to influence Musk to do anything.

So what is this “fight?” A bunch of people confusing online activism for real activism?

At the very least, I will likely be using that public account much more sparingly.

Ron Kampeas, “Welcome to the new Twitter: Kanye West returns with ‘shalom’ and Elon Musk trolls the ADL,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, November 20, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/11/20/united-states/welcome-to-the-new-twitter-kanye-west-is-back-and-elon-musk-trolls-the-adl

Faiz Siddiqui and Jeremy B. Merrill, “Musk issues ultimatum to staff: Commit to ‘hardcore’ Twitter or take severance,” Washington Post, November 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/16/musk-twitter-email-ultimatum-termination/

Joseph Menn, Nitasha Tiku, and Faiz Siddiqui, “Hundreds said to have opted to leave Twitter over Musk ultimatum,” Washington Post, November 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/17/twitter-musk-easing-rto-order/

Johana Bhuiyan, “Elon Musk summons Twitter engineers amid mass resignations and puts up poll on Trump ban,” Guardian, November 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/nov/18/elon-musk-twitter-engineers-workers-mass-resignation

James Clayton and Peter Hoskins, “Twitter locks staff out of offices until next week,” British Broadcasting Corporation, November 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-63672307

Annie Gaus, “Twitter Teeters as Offices Shut Down, Employees Flee,” San Francisco Standard, November 18, 2022, https://sfstandard.com/business/twitter-teeters-on-collapse-as-offices-shut-down/

Elon Musk, “How do you make a small fortune in social media? . . .” Twitter, November 18, 2022, https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1593415171149791232

Sky News, “World Cup risks knocking out Twitter after staff exodus, industry expert warns,” November 18, 2022, https://news.sky.com/story/twitter-reportedly-closes-offices-over-sabotage-fears-as-more-employees-resign-12749959

Faiz Siddiqui, Drew Harwell and Isaac Arnsdorf , “Elon Musk restores Trump’s Twitter account,” Washington Post, November 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/19/trump-musk-twitter/

Liz Moyer, “Elon Musk Reinstates Trump on Twitter. Trump Shrugs,” Barron’s, November 20, 2022, https://www.barrons.com/articles/elon-musk-reinstates-trump-on-twitter-trump-shrugs-51668964354

Kelly Rissman, “Donald Trump’s Twitter Account Has Been Reactivated But Will He Return?” Vanity Fair, November 20, 2022, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/11/donald-trump-twitter-account-has-been-reactivated

Vlad Savov, “Musk Welcomes Ye Back to Twitter After Inviting Trump’s Return,” Bloomberg, November 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-11-21/musk-welcomes-ye-back-to-twitter-after-inviting-trump-s-return

Duty To Warn, “Elon Musk tweeted this meme. . . .” Twitter, November 21, 2022, https://twitter.com/duty2warn/status/1594655174852755460


  1. [1]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/10/26/elon-musk-barges-into-twitter-headquarters-as-deal-nears/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “About Elon Musk’s Twitter poll and about Twitter polls generally,” Not Housebroken, November 21, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/11/21/about-elon-musks-twitter-poll-and-about-twitter-polls-generally/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Our new Satan: artificial idiocy and big data mining,” Not Housebroken, April 5, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/01/13/our-new-satan-artificial-idiocy-and-big-data-mining/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “About Elon Musk’s Twitter poll and about Twitter polls generally,” Not Housebroken, November 21, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/11/21/about-elon-musks-twitter-poll-and-about-twitter-polls-generally/

Some Protestant preachers accuse their flocks of being more faithful to the Republican Party than to Christianity

Gilead

Evangelical Protestants


Fig. 1. “You shall have no other gods before me.”[1] Photograph posted to Twitter by Antonia Lee Donnelly, February 16, 2020,[2] fair use.

Y’all know I deeply distrust survey research now as response rates have plummeted to single digits.[3] But first, I don’t know how that applies to surveys conducted among specialized groups like, in this case, Protestant pastors;[4] to assume it’s the same would be the ecological fallacy. Which is to say that what is true at one level of analysis (for example, a group) is not necessarily true at another (for example, an individual). And second, that preachers are raising these issues[5] is interesting in itself, regardless of the rate at which they do so.

That said, I should hasten to add that fealty to political party was way down on the list of reasons pastors said they were burning out,[6] so while interesting, the headline is more to grab attention, and perhaps to advance a particular agenda, than it is to reflect actual sentiment.

Barna [Research Group] asked pastors to elaborate on how “current political divisions” have emerged as a source of stress, causing them to consider stepping away from full-time ministry. Majorities of both mainline (66%) and non-mainline Protestant pastors (53%) expressed concern that “Christians are more loyal to their political views than their faith.” . . .

Roughly equal shares of mainline (21%) and non-mainline Protestants (16%) [pastors] reported that “debates about racial justice issues has made it harder for me to lead.” Additionally, 29% of mainline pastors and 19% of non-mainline pastors maintained that “the church is too aligned with political conservatism.” Far smaller shares of both mainline (8%) and non-mainline pastors (4%) believed that “the church is too aligned with political liberalism.”[7]

Ryan Foley, “Many pastors say Christians are more loyal to their political party than to the faith: survey,” Christian Post, November 20, 2022, https://www.christianpost.com/news/barna-pastors-cite-political-division-as-major-source-of-stress.html

Gun nuttery


Fig. 1. “Rally Against Gun Control ‘Come and Take it’ flag at the Minnesota State Capitol,” photograph by Fibonacci Blue [pseud.], April 28, 2018, via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Jonathan D. Silver, “A deadly tide: Officials blame violence in Pennsylvania on relentless flow of guns,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 20, 2022, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/a-deadly-tide-officials-blame-relentless-flow-of-guns-on-violence-in-pennsylvania/

Twitter


Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[8] fair use.

[Elon] Musk’s latest tweet depicts Twitter as a drug that [Donald] Trump will be sorely tempted to return to. The billionaire Twitter owner’s courtship of the network’s controversial figures — beside himself — threatens to further alienate advertisers, who have been wary about associating their brands with the service in recent times.[9]

Faiz Siddiqui and Jeremy B. Merrill, “Musk issues ultimatum to staff: Commit to ‘hardcore’ Twitter or take severance,” Washington Post, November 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/16/musk-twitter-email-ultimatum-termination/

Joseph Menn, Nitasha Tiku, and Faiz Siddiqui, “Hundreds said to have opted to leave Twitter over Musk ultimatum,” Washington Post, November 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/17/twitter-musk-easing-rto-order/

Johana Bhuiyan, “Elon Musk summons Twitter engineers amid mass resignations and puts up poll on Trump ban,” Guardian, November 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/nov/18/elon-musk-twitter-engineers-workers-mass-resignation

James Clayton and Peter Hoskins, “Twitter locks staff out of offices until next week,” British Broadcasting Corporation, November 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-63672307

Annie Gaus, “Twitter Teeters as Offices Shut Down, Employees Flee,” San Francisco Standard, November 18, 2022, https://sfstandard.com/business/twitter-teeters-on-collapse-as-offices-shut-down/

Elon Musk, “How do you make a small fortune in social media? . . .” Twitter, November 18, 2022, https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1593415171149791232

Sky News, “World Cup risks knocking out Twitter after staff exodus, industry expert warns,” November 18, 2022, https://news.sky.com/story/twitter-reportedly-closes-offices-over-sabotage-fears-as-more-employees-resign-12749959

Faiz Siddiqui, Drew Harwell and Isaac Arnsdorf, “Elon Musk restores Trump’s Twitter account,” Washington Post, November 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/19/trump-musk-twitter/

Vlad Savov, “Musk Welcomes Ye Back to Twitter After Inviting Trump’s Return,” Bloomberg, November 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-11-21/musk-welcomes-ye-back-to-twitter-after-inviting-trump-s-return


Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh

Unauthorized violence


Fig. 1. “A woman reacts at a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue following Saturday’s shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Oct. 29, 2018,” photograph by Cathal McNaughton for Reuters, via ABC News, October 29, 2018,[10] fair use.

Jonathan D. Silver, “A deadly tide: Officials blame violence in Pennsylvania on relentless flow of guns,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 20, 2022, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/a-deadly-tide-officials-blame-relentless-flow-of-guns-on-violence-in-pennsylvania/


  1. [1]Exod. 20:3.
  2. [2]Antonia Lee Donnelly, “Now I've seen everything,” Twitter, February 17, 2020, https://twitter.com/DonnellyAntonia/status/1229227422836559873
  3. [3]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/; Steven Shepard, “Report: Phone polls aren’t dead yet,” Politico, May 15, 2017, https://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/pollsters-phone-polls-238409
  4. [4]Ryan Foley, “Many pastors say Christians are more loyal to their political party than to the faith: survey,” Christian Post, November 20, 2022, https://www.christianpost.com/news/barna-pastors-cite-political-division-as-major-source-of-stress.html
  5. [5]Ryan Foley, “Many pastors say Christians are more loyal to their political party than to the faith: survey,” Christian Post, November 20, 2022, https://www.christianpost.com/news/barna-pastors-cite-political-division-as-major-source-of-stress.html
  6. [6]Ryan Foley, “Many pastors say Christians are more loyal to their political party than to the faith: survey,” Christian Post, November 20, 2022, https://www.christianpost.com/news/barna-pastors-cite-political-division-as-major-source-of-stress.html
  7. [7]Ryan Foley, “Many pastors say Christians are more loyal to their political party than to the faith: survey,” Christian Post, November 20, 2022, https://www.christianpost.com/news/barna-pastors-cite-political-division-as-major-source-of-stress.html
  8. [8]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/10/26/elon-musk-barges-into-twitter-headquarters-as-deal-nears/
  9. [9]Vlad Savov, “Musk Welcomes Ye Back to Twitter After Inviting Trump’s Return,” Bloomberg, November 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-11-21/musk-welcomes-ye-back-to-twitter-after-inviting-trump-s-return
  10. [10]Bill Hutchinson et al., “Pittsburgh synagogue-shooting suspect wheeled into courtroom; Trump to visit city Tuesday,” ABC News, October 29, 2019, https://abcnews.go.com/US/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-suspect-discharged-hospital-set-make/story?id=58825389

The endless dithering of Merrick Garland

Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 1. Department of Justice photograph of seized materials, reportedly partially redacted, via the Washington Post, August 31, 2022,[1] public domain.

Merrick Garland, who dithered for weeks before deciding to retrieve improperly secured and highly classified materials from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence,[2] still can’t make up his mind and so has appointed a special counsel to lead investigations into Trump and decide whether or not to prosecute.[3]

Some former Justice Department officials and prosecutors have said such an appointment [of a special counsel] wouldn’t do much to allay criticism of the [Federal Bureau of Investigation] and Justice Department by Mr. [Donald] Trump and his supporters. Others said the appointment sets an unnecessary precedent of appointing outsiders for high-profile investigations and sends a message that the Justice Department can’t be trusted to make decisions in politically sensitive matters.[4]

This is nothing short of absolutely asinine and what it actually is, is that Garland can’t trust himself to make brain-dead obvious decisions regarding Trump. Garland is nothing but an absolute disgrace.

Hannah Knowles, Marianna Sotomayor, and Colby Itkowitz, “Republicans narrowly win House, ending full Democratic control of Congress,” Washington Post, November 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/16/republicans-win-house-majority/

Bryan Pietsch and Amy B. Wang, “Rep. Lauren Boebert race too close to call, with margin inside recount threshold,” Washington Post, November 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/17/boebert-colorado-election-adam-frisch/

Kaleigh Rogers, “Why Lauren Boebert’s Race Is So Close,” FiveThirtyEight, November 17, 2022, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-lauren-boeberts-race-is-so-close/

Katy Stech Ferek, “Adam Frisch Concedes to Lauren Boebert in Colorado House Race,” Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/adam-frisch-concedes-to-lauren-boebert-in-colorado-house-race-11668798633

Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman, “Jack Smith Named Special Counsel to Lead DOJ Probes of Donald Trump,” Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/garland-to-name-special-counsel-to-determine-whether-trump-should-face-charges-11668796152


Gilead

Twitter


Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[5] fair use.

Faiz Siddiqui and Jeremy B. Merrill, “Musk issues ultimatum to staff: Commit to ‘hardcore’ Twitter or take severance,” Washington Post, November 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/16/musk-twitter-email-ultimatum-termination/

Joseph Menn, Nitasha Tiku, and Faiz Siddiqui, “Hundreds said to have opted to leave Twitter over Musk ultimatum,” Washington Post, November 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/17/twitter-musk-easing-rto-order/

Johana Bhuiyan, “Elon Musk summons Twitter engineers amid mass resignations and puts up poll on Trump ban,” Guardian, November 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/nov/18/elon-musk-twitter-engineers-workers-mass-resignation

James Clayton and Peter Hoskins, “Twitter locks staff out of offices until next week,” British Broadcasting Corporation, November 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-63672307

Annie Gaus, “Twitter Teeters as Offices Shut Down, Employees Flee,” San Francisco Standard, November 18, 2022, https://sfstandard.com/business/twitter-teeters-on-collapse-as-offices-shut-down/

Elon Musk, “How do you make a small fortune in social media? . . .” Twitter, November 18, 2022, https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1593415171149791232

Sky News, “World Cup risks knocking out Twitter after staff exodus, industry expert warns,” November 18, 2022, https://news.sky.com/story/twitter-reportedly-closes-offices-over-sabotage-fears-as-more-employees-resign-12749959

Faiz Siddiqui, Drew Harwell and Isaac Arnsdorf , “Elon Musk restores Trump’s Twitter account,” Washington Post, November 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/19/trump-musk-twitter/


Pennsylvania

2022 election


Fig. 1. John Fetterman as mayor of Braddock, photograph uncredited and undated, via Next Pittsburgh,[6] fair use.

As usual, and completely consistent with conservative epistemology,[7] the suits challenging Pennsylvania election results in the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races (Democrats won[8]) offer absolutely no evidence in support of their claims.[9]

I’m a human scientist and as such, alternative ways of knowing deserve my respect. But the epistemology of the legal system relies on written law,[10] arguments, and evidence. This epistemology’s relationship to positivism is obvious. It should be unethical for lawyers to accept cases such as this and those who do should be subject to sanctions by the court.

Rich Cholodofsky, “Lawsuits request hand recounts of votes for governor, senator,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 18, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/lawsuits-request-hand-recounts-of-votes-for-governor-senator/


  1. [1]Devlin Barrett, “Justice Dept. says Trump team may have hidden, moved classified papers,” Washington Post, August 31, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/31/trump-documents-removed-storage-room/
  2. [2]Devlin Barrett and Josh Dawsey, “Trump worker told FBI about moving Mar-a-Lago boxes on ex-president’s orders,” Washington Post, October 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/10/12/maralago-witness-trump-boxes-moved/; Sadie Gurman and Aruna Viswanatha, “Merrick Garland Weighed Search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago for Weeks,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/merrick-garland-weighed-search-of-trumps-mar-a-lago-for-weeks-11660601292
  3. [3]Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman, “Jack Smith Named Special Counsel to Lead DOJ Probes of Donald Trump,” Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/garland-to-name-special-counsel-to-determine-whether-trump-should-face-charges-11668796152
  4. [4]Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman, “Jack Smith Named Special Counsel to Lead DOJ Probes of Donald Trump,” Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/garland-to-name-special-counsel-to-determine-whether-trump-should-face-charges-11668796152
  5. [5]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/10/26/elon-musk-barges-into-twitter-headquarters-as-deal-nears/
  6. [6]Kim Lyons, “Braddock Mayor John Fetterman keeps on truckin’ in his quest for the Senate,” Next Pittsburgh, March 11, 2016, https://nextpittsburgh.com/features/the-challengers-braddock-mayor-john-fetterman-keeps-on-truckin/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “A theory of conservative epistemology,” Not Housebroken, August 19, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/08/06/a-theory-of-conservative-epistemology/
  8. [8]Kris Maher, “Democrat Josh Shapiro Wins Pennsylvania Governor Race Over Doug Mastriano,” Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/election-midterms-2022/card/democrat-josh-shapiro-wins-pennsylvania-governor-race-over-doug-mastriano-rdDSLqwHlckU7Q5yZYF2; Aaron Zitner, “John Fetterman Wins Key Senate Race in Pennsylvania, Defeating Mehmet Oz,” Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/election-midterms-2022/card/oW3cFfkuo97s4Fa2Q9Sl
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