Racket Weekender: Your baby is ugly

Happy day-after-Friday everyone.

My Saturday has been consumed with priming a hinged-top bench seat for our kitchen that a neighbor with woodworking skills fabricated for us; signing and preparing a stack of Christmas cards to mail; and trying to equal Chick-fil-A’s mastery of the chicken biscuit. Photos of some of this at the end.

The other activity today has been coming to terms with the fact that Republicans need to see something they refuse to acknowledge. I once went to a marketing trade show, where I attended a seminar titled “Your baby is ugly.” The session consisted of a website designer asking for volunteers to have their websites reviewed, live, in front of the attendees. All of these marketing folks thought they had the most wondrous and beautiful masterpieces of online perfection, and the leader cut them to ribbons. It was glorious, and at the same time, sad, to watch these professionals learn that their baby was, in fact, ugly.

Such it is with Republicans and Donald J. Trump.

I wrote a piece over at The First, where the audience is distinctly rooting for Trump, trying as gently as possible to get them to look through the nursery glass window, at the baby they are cooing over. Trump is never going to stop fighting to stay president. Republicans are supposed to take the principled, high road. Underhanded, sky-screaming #Resistance is for the Democrat rabble, but this president plays by their rules, not “ours.”

It doesn’t matter that Democrats, four years ago, tried to convince states to change their electors, ignoring the will of the voters. It doesn’t matter that in 2016, celebrities recorded a “public service” video asking electors and state legislatures to “vote their conscience” instead of the results of the presidential election. It doesn’t matter that Democrat activists disrupted the Wisconsin legislature certifying the 2016 election results. That does not give Trump a pass to go even lower this time.

Of all the things Republicans have been called to defend Trump doing in the last four years, this latest stunt is the most indefensible, and the most dangerous to our republic, were it to succeed. We do have the benefit of knowing with near-certainty, that it’s not going to succeed, however, that doesn’t mean Trump would say “never mind, it was all a joke” if SCOTUS somehow overturned the election. We know with more certainty that he wouldn’t do any such thing, even if it meant a bloody civil war.

I wrote that this realization accounts for much of the anger we’ve seen among the conservative pundit class, and the fact that so many Republicans are going along with Trump’s folly. It’s a bad case of “ugly baby” or “our side-ism.”

Read the whole thing.

Long Tom Jefferson

One of Thomas Jefferson’s nicknames was “Long Tom.” It makes sense, given that he was 6 foot 2, in a time when most men were around my limited height, at 5’6”. My brother, Jay, is working on a (weekly?) regular feature where he tweets things Jefferson might say.

Though we published the first tweet and some possible replies, I neglected to add the actual historical basis for the tweet. We wouldn’t just make things up and attribute them to Jefferson; he had to actually say them to tweet them.

In this case, the tweet in question is “absolutely nothing today can be believed seen on social media and newspapers. The truth itself becomes suspicious by being put to use in these polluted vehicles.”

In a letter to John Norvell, a young man seeking advice on publishing a newspaper, written on June 11, 1807, Jefferson wrote, among other things:

To your request of my opinion of the manner in which a newspaper should be conducted, so as to be most useful, I should answer, “by restraining it to true facts & sound principles only.” Yet I fear such a paper would find few subscribers. It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly deprive the nation of it's benefits, than is done by it's abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day. I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens, who, reading newspapers, live & die in the belief, that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time; whereas the accounts they have read in newspapers are just as true a history of any other period of the world as of the present, except that the real names of the day are affixed to their fables. (emphasis added.)

That’s the source of the tweet. We’ll try to do better in future installments, given that the history of the tweet is at least as important, and much more interesting, than the words themselves.


Time Magazine’s blown chance

David wrote a really good article about Time Magazine and how they blew it by choosing the obvious choices of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Neither Biden nor Harris have done anything notable this year, other than beating the most beatable incumbent president since Jimmy Carter. They’d have been more relevant choosing Trump himself.

Without putting Trump in the category of any of these despots, it’s fair to point out that Time has selected, at various times, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Nikita Krushchev, and the Ayatollah Khomeini as Men of the Year. The editors of Time don’t have to be fans of someone to pick them as The One (or Ones). These folks were not role models, but they had a significant impact on the world around them.

Definitely worth reading all of it.

Also, be sure to read David’s flying story. One day I might share some of my own, but I don’t fly jets like David does.


Thank you for reading. It’s a joy writing here at The Racket News. Not just because it’s partly “my baby” (remember, your baby is never ugly when it’s yours), but because I really enjoy interacting with you, our readers.

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Finally, here’s the pictures I promised at the top of this article. Enjoy your weekend!