What were Jeffrey Toobin and New Yorker friends doing on their Zoom call?

The righteous Trump-haters at New Yorker magazine have been in the news lately, but not for their four years of anti-Trump journalism. The story that has excited public interest is mostly about Jeffrey Toobin’s unscripted appearance on camera. What I’m more curious about is the original purpose of the call. From the same VICE article:

Two people who were on the call told VICE separately that the call was an election simulation featuring many of the New Yorker’s biggest stars: Jane Mayer was playing establishment Republicans; Evan Osnos was Joe Biden, Jelani Cobb was establishment Democrats, Masha Gessen played Donald Trump, Andrew Marantz was the far right, Sue Halpern was left wing democrats, Dexter Filkins was the military, and Jeffrey Toobin playing the courts. There were also a handful of other producers on the call from the New Yorker and WNYC.

How was this supposed to be productive? A bunch of Democrats get together and half of them pretend to be Republicans for an hour or two? If you’re a journalist, what is the point of this? Why not simply wait for stuff to happen and then report on it?

(See also “Who is Casey Greenfield and when did she have a child with Jeffrey Toobin?” (The Sun, regarding a Yale Law School graduate who discovered that the real gold was in “Child Support Litigation without a Marriage”); see also a NYT story about this successful plaintiff.)

Let me sample the at-least-daily New Yorker emails that I get. I deleted a bunch of these, but Gmail says that there are 1,394 left that contain the word “Trump”!

From October 23, 2020:

From January 25, 2020, a Letter from Trump’s Washington (he owns the whole city now, not just the lease on one hotel!)…

Immigrants were our last best hope on November 24, 2019:

If only there were some way to replace or dilute the natives with these wonderful people! In the meantime, Trump was going to impeach himself on October 4, 2019:

(Little did Hunter Biden realize at the time that his most formidable enemy was the stripper with whom he’d had sex.)

May 26, 2019:

April 19, 2019:

January 18, 2019:

It was the Russians on October 8, 2018:

Trump mocks a terrified-to-fly survivor on October 3, 2018:

Admittedly, he wasn’t nearly as harsh on Christine Blasey Ford as this Canadian literature professor:

This is a professional career woman? With that little-girl croaky voice and poor-me face and the trembly “I’m going to cry at any moment” narration supposedly because of the trauma of reading out a prepared script about something discussed in therapy and rehearsed dozens, if not hundreds, of times with a legal team and other advisors. A trauma that required putting two doors on a big costly house. Yes, this is the elite professional woman that feminism has created after 50 years of nonstop grievance-mongering.

It was the Russians on July 20, 2018:

On May 1, 2018, we were running short of low-skill Syrians:

Trump was hated by “most of the population” on January 30, 2018:

It was the Russians on September 22, 2017:

On August 18, 2017, shortly before Congress cooperated with Trump to pass the most substantial changes to the U.S. tax code in 20 years(?):

It was the Russians on February 15, 2017:

On February 4, 2017, the magazine was concerned that Americans would stop thinking about “race-related history” and all things LGBTQIA+:

December 29, 2015:

New York was anti-fascist long before it was fashionable!

The passionate curiosity regarding Donald Trump’s net worth goes back at least to July 29, 2015:

Trump won’t win, but he will get in some peoples’ heads… Also, the Greeks need some more of that sweet German cash! July 8, 2015:


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Do lobbyists support Biden-Harris or Trump-Pence?

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., I drove through Bethesda, Maryland on my way back to the airport. In the neighborhoods where successful government workers might live, Biden-Harris, BLM, and rainbow signs were common. Example:

Within the yards of those who draw a paycheck from the Federal government, not a single Trump sign could be found (but maybe the virtuous removed them?).

How about the lobbyists? I drove through a neighborhood of $2-4 million homes (not quite as nice as the Bethesda house of the climate change alarmist Thomas Friedman). Not a single political sign. It seems as though the Washington elite feels that things will be okay for them regardless of who prevails!

What’s the yard sign situation here in the Boston area? From a public sign forest in the center of Lincoln, Maskachusetts:

Note that one wag had decided to taunt the righteous with a Trump 2020 sign. This was at least the second iteration of the taunt, the first sign that I saw having been removed within 24 hours. By October 18, the Trump 2020 sign was gone, but we learn about a “Local GAY teen (& dad) 4 Biden”:

Why isn’t the local GAY teen’s “mom” (or “daddy #2”?) also “4 Biden”?

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Rainbow flags for our prisons?

Here’s a luxury resort in the Catskills that you might not want to visit… Federal Correctional Institution, Otisville:

As we looked down from the Cirrus SR20 (IFR training), it occurred to me that the prison is lacking one thing: a rainbow flag. I’m hopeful that President Harris will correct this and then the prison can be renamed “Ministry of Love is Love”.

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How did the Biden-Trump debate go?

I didn’t watch the debate (my vote is irrelevant here in Maskachusetts), but now it is time to look at the transcript

Trump and Biden on COVID-19:

[1:03] Trump: So, as you know, more 2.2 million people, modeled out, were expected to die. We closed up the greatest economy in the world in order to fight this horrible disease that came from China. It’s a worldwide pandemic. It’s all over the world. You see the spikes in Europe and many other places right now. If you notice, the mortality rate is down, 85%. The excess mortality rate is way down, and much lower than almost any other country. And we’re fighting it and we’re fighting it hard. There is a spike. There was a spike in Florida, and it’s now gone. There was a very big spike in Texas, it’s now gone…

In other words, humans are in charge of the virus.

[3:12] Biden: 220,000 Americans dead. If you hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this. Anyone who’s responsible for not taking control — in fact, not saying, I take no responsibility, initially — anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America. We’re in a situation where there are thousands of deaths a day, a thousand deaths a day. And there are over 70,000 new cases per day. Compared to what’s going on in Europe, as the New England Medical Journal said, they’re starting from a very low rate. We’re starting from a very high rate. The expectation is we’ll have another 200,000 Americans dead by the time, between now and the end of the year. If we just wore these masks — the President’s own advisors told them — we could save 100,000 lives.

Humans are in charge and it is as simple as wearing masks (why are the fully-masked-for-months Europeans now suffering from exponential infection?). If true and if obvious, why does it matter what a U.S. President says and does? State governors and mayors can and did order masks (typically starting in April and May; see also Dr. Fauci on masks).

The moderator then asks about a vaccine and when it will show up. Is this a fair question for politicians with zero training in biology or medicine? They’re supposed to have special insight into when a drug or vaccine gets approval and whether the drug or vaccine is effective? Trump eventually gets around to something that a politician could potentially influence, i.e., distribution:

I think my timeline is going to be more accurate. I don’t know that they’re counting on the military the way I do, but we have our generals lined up, one in particular, that’s the head of logistics. And this is a very easy distribution for him. He’s ready to go as soon as we have the vaccine, and we expect to have 100 million vials as soon as we have the vaccine, he’s ready to go.

For Joe:

[6:12] Welker: Vice President Biden, your reaction? Just 40% of Americans say they would definitely agree to take a coronavirus vaccine if it was approved by the government. What steps would you take to give Americans confidence in a vaccine if it were approved?

[6:25] Biden: Make sure it’s totally transparent. Have the scientific world see, know, look at it, go through all the processes. And by the way, this is the same fellow who told you this is going to end by Easter last time. This the same fellow who told you that, don’t worry, we’re going to end this by the summer. We’re about to go into a dark winter, a dark winter, and he has no clear plan and there’s no prospect that there’s going to be a vaccine available for the majority of the American people before the middle of next year.

Why would a U.S. president need to be involved in “transparency” regarding vaccine trials. Isn’t it likely that most of the vaccines will be developed outside of the U.S. and the results published outside of the U.S.? We don’t have a monopoly on pharma research.

An argument about who wanted to shut down China earlier ensues. Trump then makes my Your lockdown may vary point!

We can’t lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does. He has the ability to lock himself up. I don’t know, he’s obviously made a lot of money, someplace, but he has this thing about living in a basement. People can’t do that. By the way, I, as the president, couldn’t do that. I’d love to put myself in the basement or in a beautiful room in the White House and go away for a year and a half until it disappears. I can’t do that.

(See Town and Country for photos of Joe Biden’s mansions, the first of which was a 10,000 square foot former DuPont mansion purchased in 1974 “as a young senator”.)

Biden succumbs to gender binarism:

That man or wife going to bed tonight and reaching over to try to touch their, out of habit, where their wife or husband was, is gone.

What about spouses with the 48 other gender IDs who die from the Trump-caused Covid-19?

How about young slender healthy American Progressives voting themselves into another year or two of lockdown in order to protect old fat unhealthy Republicans?

[12:33] Welker: OK, let’s talk about your different strategies toward dealing with this. Mr. Vice President, you suggested you would support new shutdowns if scientists recommended it. What do you say to Americans who are fearful that the cost of shutdowns, the impact on the economy, the higher rates of hunger depression, domestic and substance abuse, outweighs the risk of exposure to the virus?

[12:51] Biden: What I would say is I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country. It’s his ineptitude that caused the country to have to shut down in large part — why businesses have gone under, why schools are closed, why so many people have lost their living and why they’re concerned. Those other concerns are real. That’s why he should have been — instead of in a sand trap at his golf course — he should have been negotiating with Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats and Republicans about what to do about the acts they were passing for billions of dollars to make sure people had the capacity.

[13:21] Welker: You haven’t ruled out more shutdowns

[13:24] Biden: Oh no, I’m not shutting down the nation but there are, look, they need standards. The standard is, if you have a reproduction rate in a community that’s above a certain level, everybody says, slow up. More social distancing. Do not open bars and do not open gymnasiums. Do not open until you get this under control, under more control. But when you do open, give the people the capacity to be able to open and have the capacity to do it safely. For example schools — schools, they need a lot of money to open. They need to deal with ventilation systems, they need to deal with smaller classes, more teacher, more pods, and he’s refused to support that money, or at least up to now

Is Biden disavowing his previous promise to listen to the Science Karens and shut down whenever they say to do so? (CNN, August 22, 2020) Also, if the schools needed better ventilation systems (like my idea!) and they are under state and local government control, why weren’t they already installed over the summer?

Maskachusetts is featured! We had a powerful shutdown in mid-March, masked city residents starting in April, and a statewide mask law with high compliance starting in early May. We’ve been at least as successful as the early-shut early-masked Peruvians!

[14:46] Welker: Let me follow up, President Trump. You’ve demanded schools open in person and insisted they can do it safely. But just yesterday, Boston became the latest city to move its public school system entirely online after a coronavirus spike. What is your message to parents who worry that sending their children to school will endanger not only their kids, but also their teachers and families?

[15:04] Trump: I want to open the schools. The transmittal rate to the teachers is very small, but I want to open the schools. We have to open our country. We’re not going to have a country. You can’t do this, we can’t keep this country closed. It is a massive country with a massive economy. People are losing their jobs, they’re committing suicide. There’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level that nobody’s ever seen before. There’s abuse, tremendous abuse. We have to open our country.

Trump is totally out of step with his cower-in-place fellow citizens! He hits many of the same points as “The COVID-19 shutdown will cost Americans millions of years of life” (The Hill) without recognizing that Americans now care only about COVID-19 deaths, not deaths or loss of life-years from any other cause. Biden is more aligned with the American people that I recognize:

[15:51] Biden: Simply not true. We’re gonna be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. We ought to be able to safely open, but we need resources to open. You need to be able to, for example, if you’re gonna open a business, have social distancing within the business. You need to have, if you have a restaurant, you need to have plexiglass dividers so people cannot infect one another. You need to be in a position where you can take testing rapidly and know whether a person is, in fact, infected. You need to be able to trace. You need to be able to provide all the resources that are needed to do this and that is not inconsistent with saying that we’re going to make sure that we open safely. And by the way, all you teachers out there — not that many of you are going to die, so don’t worry about it.

In other words, trillions of dollars have been spent so far, but if Americans spend another few $trillion on Plexiglas, we will show coronavirus who is boss. Biden is also in sync with American priorities. Marijuana and liquor stores are essential and can never be closed. Schools should be the last institutions to reopen. (Contrast to Ireland; in the most severe lockdown so far, everything is closed except for schools, universities, and adult education.)

For a guy who owns hundreds of $millions of NYC real estate, Trump is not going to be selected by the Chamber of Commerce to promote the city:

[16:39] Trump: I will say this, if you go and look at what’s happened to New York, it’s a ghost town. It’s a ghost town. And when you talk about plexiglas — these are restaurants that are dying. These are businesses with no money. Putting the plexiglas is unbelievably expensive, and it’s not the answer. I mean, you’re going to sit there in a cubicle wrapped around with plastic? These are businesses that are dying, Joe, you can’t do that to people, which again, take a look at New York and what’s happened to my wonderful city. For so many years, I loved it. It was vibrant. It’s dying. Everyone’s leaving New York.

Joe Biden doesn’t see color:

[17:34] Biden: Take a look what New York has done in terms of turning the curve down, in terms of the number of people dying. And I don’t look at this in terms of what he does, blue states and red states. They’re all the United States. And look at the states that are having such a spike in the coronavirus. They’re the red states.

In other words, Biden beats up the red states (not that he looks at states in terms of “red” and “blue”) for doing exactly what the

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Get your yard ready for Election Day

From a single house near our local airport (in Lincoln, Massachusetts):

One of my big concerns with the above is that the LGBTQIA+ rainbow flag, part of the Biden-Harris sign, is placed in an inferior position to the American flag, which the 1619 Project informs us is a symbol of oppression (not to mention treason against legitimate British rule that would have ended slavery decades earlier!). In what moral universe does the Flag of Slavery (TM) get to be placed higher than the Rainbow Flag of Tolerance?

(Note that “Science is not a Liberal Conspiracy” is illustrated with lithium, useful for treating poor mental health occasioned by forgetting to take away the Deplorables’ right to vote.)

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Why did Twitter and Facebook suppress the New York Post after it published the Biden emails, but not the New York Times after it published the Trump tax return info?

Catching up a bit here on the news… “Twitter Won’t Let The New York Post Tweet Until It Agrees To Behave Itself” (Forbes):

Twitter TWTR +1.2% has kept the Post’s official Twitter account locked since Thursday, the Post says, when the newspaper shared several tweets about its story on Hunter Biden that has been increasingly called into question.

On Thursday, Twitter blocked sharing of the Post story and said the piece violated several of its rules, including a prohibition on sharing personal information and hacked materials. Facebook also reduced distribution of the Post report, but the brunt of conservative displeasure over the social media sites’ limiting access to the Post story fell on Twitter.

The New York Times published information that it says came from Donald Trump’s personal tax returns (but they haven’t published the actual returns so we can’t see for ourselves?). Yet the NYT wasn’t banned by Twitter or Facebook. Aren’t personal tax returns “personal information” and/or “hacked materials”?

I’m sure that there is a justification for how the banning of the Post is consistent with the celebration and approval of the Times, but I wonder what it is!

Related (some NY Post stories you won’t see in the NYT):

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How will Amy Coney Barrett rule on the big question for 2021?

Readers: How are the Amy Coney Barrett hearings going? Did she truly sit through five (5!) hours of opening statements on Monday? Why couldn’t she have been resting at the Trump Hotel while the politicians talked about themselves?

This video shows that Judge Barrett’s daily driver is a Honda Odyssey minivan. Have the senators therefore questioned her on the big question for 2021: should we loyal Honda owners jump ship to the new Sienna minivan?

If you can live with seven seats, the top-of-the-line Siennas feature these Gulfstream-style recliners:

An expensive option? The Court disagrees! The entire top trim Sienna costs less than a single FAA-certified seat for a business jet.

How about this grille?

For comparison, the 2021 Toyota Avalon:

And the Audi e-tron (electric!):

Who decided that we needed cars with huge grilles?

Circling back to the Supreme Court nominee, let’s check my Facebook feed… From a Democrat who fled Manhattan:

A woman who hates women for the Supreme Court; it’s great, she can join a black man who hates black people (tap dancers get the bad rap but Clarence Thomas IS the ultimate Uncle Tom) and sit with the white guy majority who hates everybody. Bye-bye civil rights, bye-bye civil behaviour. Voting T-rump is the greatest act of self-hatred (and planetary destruction) currently available. Unmasked rage disguised as pride; wear it well. My absentee ballot has been counted in Maine.

From a righteous computer programmer:

I don’t know what Barrett will do once she’s seated on the Supreme Court. But it’s perfectly clear to me what the man who nominated her expects her to do. And it’s perfectly clear to her, as well.

(i.e., even after she gets her lifetime job, her thoughts and actions will be determined by a man)

From Maskachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark:

#AmyConeyBarrett says she doesn’t have an agenda. But she does have a record—and it stands as an affront to women’s health and rights.

From a divorced mom, part of the most reliable Democrat voting bloc, over a YouTube of Senator Klobuchar’s opening statement:

Please Vote. We can’t just stand by. We have to turn out. #vote2020 #vote

(but her friends are mostly in coastal elite states that are already 100 percent guaranteed to vote for Presidents Biden and Harris!)

From a university employee who describes herself as a “cat person, voter”:

This is not a drill. If Barrett is named to the Supreme Court, I and millions of others will lose access to health care.

(she needs some tips from folks who arrive via caravan over the southern border! Show up at the hospital, don’t give an address, and say “I’m undocumented”!)


  • NYT headline: “Barrett, Declining to Detail Legal Views, Says She Will Not Be ‘a Pawn’ of Trump” (i.e., the nominee talked about people who are and aren’t pawns of the evil mastermind Trump); NYT article body: “I would certainly hope that all members of this committee would have more confidence in my integrity than to think that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide this election for the American people,” she said. (i.e., no mention of Trump specifically!)
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Should I vote for ranked-choice voting?

The first of my five mail-in ballots has arrived. 3 out of 7 candidates are Democrats running unopposed. The remaining 4 races are 100 percent guaranteed to be won by Democrats. A potential contest: Question 2 is whether to adopt ranked choice voting.

As someone whose political beliefs are most aligned with the libertarians, a last-choice party in a nation where people want a planned economy (my 2012 document after watching both the Republican and Democrat candidates promise that government would create jobs, ensure fair wages, etc.), is this for me? I could vote for a libertarian candidate and then also pick a second choice from a party that has a chance in a country whose citizens want government to cater to their every need? Yet in a Massachusetts general election it is almost inconceivable for a non-Democrat to win. So how can this have any practical effect?

The “Independent Women’s Law Center” opposes this question. We don’t know what people identifying with the remaining 50+ genders say. Wikipedia says that Estonia had something like this, but abandoned it in 2001. As government in Estonia is radically more efficient than here in the U.S., that’s a strike against the idea.

Readers: What do you say about this proposal?

Update, 10/16: a friend highlighted “The Ancient Greeks Teach Us The Perils of Ranked Choice Voting”, by a political science professor:

As this list [of supporters] makes clear, RCV supporters fall overwhelmingly into two (mostly overlapping) categories: Democrats and groups whose members vote heavily for Democratic candidates; and groups that (Libertarians aside) have practically no chance of winning elections even under RCV, except at the local level. Given Massachusetts’s status as a heavily Democratic state (the state’s congressional delegation consists solely of Democrats, who also have long held a substantial supermajority in the legislature), Democrats have little to fear from losing elections to Republicans as a result of RCV. Rather, they need to court members of left-liberal fringe groups, as well as public-employee unions, to ensure that they turn out to vote — knowing that those groups’ supporters would almost surely make the Democratic candidate, at worst, their second-choice candidate, further guaranteeing the defeat of any Republican contender.

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Swedish scientist and expert on coronavirus endorses Joe Biden

A young Swedish scientist who predicted the worldwide shutdown of schools and universities as early as September 2019 and who has deep experience with the coronavirus has endorsed Joe Biden to be the head of state in a country in which she does not live:

“The upcoming US elections is above and beyond all that. From a climate perspective it’s very far from enough and many of you of course supported other candidates. But, I mean…you know…damn! Just get organized and get everyone to vote #Biden,” the [Swedish scientist] tweeted.

(source: New York Post)


  • the Great Barrington Declaration (Swedish science rewritten for an American and British audience)
  • April 2020 video from Johan Giesecke, a Swedish MD/PhD (former chief scientist of the European CDC) whose predictions seem to have been accurate for the U.S. (lockdown will yield a delay) and China (lockdown will squash the virus… until the next lockdown)
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American physicians: The healthiest people live in police states

The New England Journal of Medicine has endorsed Joe Biden (without mentioning him by name) in “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum”. Once we get over the shock that a group of physicians support the political party that made it illegal for Americans to refrain from purchasing insurance policies that make payments to physicians, what are these doctors/editors actually saying?

the United States leads the world in Covid-19 cases and in deaths due to the disease, far exceeding the numbers in much larger countries, such as China. The death rate in this country is more than double that of Canada, exceeds that of Japan, a country with a vulnerable and elderly population, by a factor of almost 50, and even dwarfs the rates in lower-middle-income countries, such as Vietnam, by a factor of almost 2000.

We know that we could have done better. China, faced with the first outbreak, chose strict quarantine and isolation after an initial delay.

This is consistent with what the Swedish MD/PhDs said, i.e., that lockdowns could work in a police state. But how was Donald Trump supposed to arrogate police state powers to himself? Supposedly, only state governors had the ability to terminate Americans’ First Amendment rights to assemble, terminate children’s rights to go to school, etc.

(Why cite Vietnam? Laos and Cambodia have had zero deaths! See “Vietnam miracle escape from Covid may be down to ‘natural immunity'” (Telegraph) for a report on Oxford professors poking into this question)

The unkindest cut of all:

Yet our leaders have largely chosen to ignore and even denigrate experts.

(But Trump can just say that he wants to follow the 15,000ish doctors and MD/PhDs who say that shutdown is the wrong policy. Sunetra Gupta, Oxford professor, doesn’t qualify as an “expert”? Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard, is not an “expert”?)

To minimize COVID-19 deaths, therefore, what we really need is a police state that can take dramatic muscular action unfettered by a written constitution. This reminds me of Looking at Covid-19 death rate is like the old saying “An economist is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”?

Is asking an epidemiologist whether to keep schools and playgrounds open like asking your accountant whether you should buy a dog? Yes, the expert can give you a bit of insight (“my other clients with dogs spend $4,000 per year on vet, food, and grooming”), but not a life-optimizing answer.

In this, the NEJM simply ignores its own content, e.g., “The Untold Toll — The Pandemic’s Effects on Patients without Covid-19” Shutting down every other part of society in order to focus on COVID-19 necessarily results in a lot of deaths. “The COVID-19 shutdown will cost Americans millions of years of life” (The Hill) takes a stab at calculating the cost.

Maybe this is a good window into what would have happened if technocrats had been allowed to run the White House!

(Separately, if you work at a hospital or medical school, one fun thing to do is listen for when a physician criticizes Donald Trump for trying to stem the tide of undocumented low-skill migrants. Most of these folks eventually end up on Medicaid and/or have children who are on Medicaid, thus becoming revenue sources for physicians. Then ask “Should a Swiss, German, French, English, or Taiwanese doctor who is fluent in English be able to come over here and practice?”)


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