Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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In key states, Republicans were critical in resisting Trump’s election narrative

The New York Times reports: The telephone call would have been laugh-out-loud ridiculous if it had not been so serious. When Tina Barton picked up, she found someone from President Trump’s campaign asking her to sign a letter raising doubts about the results of the election. The election that Ms. Barton as the Republican clerk of the small Michigan city of Rochester Hills had helped oversee. The election that she

Trump’s already gaming out a 2024 run — including an event during Biden’s inauguration

The Daily Beast reports: In the twilight of his presidency, Donald Trump is discussing different ways to disrupt the impending Joe Biden era, chief among them by announcing another run against him. According to three people familiar with the conversations, the president, who refuses to acknowledge he lost the 2020 election as he clearly did, has not just talked to close advisers and confidants about a potential 2024 run to

EPA’s final deregulatory rush runs into open staff resistance

The New York Times reports: President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency was rushing to complete one of its last regulatory priorities, aiming to obstruct the creation of air- and water-pollution controls far into the future, when a senior career scientist moved to hobble it. Thomas Sinks directed the E.P.A.’s science advisory office and later managed the agency’s rules and data around research that involved people. Before his retirement in September, he

How Democrats suffered crushing down-ballot losses across America

The New York Times reports: Just a few seats shy of a majority in the State House of Representatives, Democrats in Pennsylvania this year zeroed in on Republican-held suburban districts, where disdain for President Trump ran hot. One of their prime targets was in the North Hills suburbs outside Pittsburgh, which are home to big brick houses, excellent public schools and “the fastest-trending Democratic district in the state,” according to

Withdrawal from Afghanistan may be Trump’s gift to Joe Biden

Mark Perry writes: You’d have to be a fool not to listen to Bob Gates. The former head of the CIA, retired defense secretary and tough, outspoken, nose-to-the-grindstone amateur historian, is viewed as a sage observer of all-things-Washington. His judgments are regularly quoted, celebrated, admired and repeated. That’s important just now, as President-elect Joe Biden mounts his transition to the Oval Office, a room he’s regularly frequented, but never inhabited.

Pushed by pandemic, Amazon goes on a hiring spree without equal

The New York Times reports: Amazon has embarked on an extraordinary hiring binge this year, vacuuming up an average of 1,400 new workers a day and solidifying its power as online shopping becomes more entrenched in the coronavirus pandemic. The hiring has taken place at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, at its hundreds of warehouses in rural communities and suburbs, and in countries such as India and Italy. Amazon added 427,300

What complexity science says about what makes a winning team

Jessica Flack and Cade Massey write: In Philip K Dick’s classic science fiction novel Ubik, one of the main characters, Runciter, is in charge of assembling a team of individuals called ‘inertials’. The hope is that they will counteract the power of ‘precogs’ and ‘telepaths’, recruited by corporations to carry out espionage and other nefarious activities. Each inertial is a superstar with a unique talent – but Runciter’s concern is

Music: Cory Henry — ‘Trade It All’

 

In Trump against Biden, Native American voters played a crucial role. It’s time to recognize that

Julian Brave NoiseCat writes: On Election Night, CNN broadcast a table showing the results of an exit poll that broke the national electorate down into racial demographics. It read: White — 65 percent, Latino — 13 percent, Black — 12 percent, Something else — 6 percent, Asian — 3 percent. Almost immediately, that second-to-last category, “Something Else,” provoked an online uproar among the digital denizens of Indian Country. We were

‘Voters, not lawyers, choose the president’: Appeals court shoots down Trump suit in Pennsylvania

Politico reports: A federal appeals court panel forcefully rejected the Trump campaign’s effort to throw out millions of Pennsylvania ballots, declaring its allegations of misconduct meritless and its suggested remedies as “breathtaking” and undercut by a lack of evidence. “Voters, not lawyers, choose the President. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,” Judge Stephanos Bibas — an appointee of President Donald Trump — wrote for the three-judge 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals

Why did so many Americans vote for Trump?

Will Wilkinson writes: President Trump’s disastrous mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic probably cost him re-election. Yet it seems mind-boggling that he still won more votes than any incumbent president in American history despite his dereliction of responsibility at a time of a once-in-a-century health crisis and economic devastation. Why are President-elect Joe Biden’s margins so thin in the states that clinched his victory? And why did the president’s down-ticket enablers

The inexorable rise of Jake Sullivan, Joe Biden’s national security adviser

Politico reports: “You have to be kidding me.” Philippe Reines was sitting in a yurt in Mongolia during a trip with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sure that he’d finally done it: traveled to more countries than anyone else with Clinton as one of her top aides. And then Jake Sullivan strolled in. “He’d literally just been in Oman for secret peace talks with the Iranians, and he managed to

How the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist can sabotage diplomacy and start a war

Trita Parsi writes: Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a key Iranian nuclear official, has been assassinated in Tehran. While it’s unclear as of this writing who is responsible, Israel has assassinated numerous Iranian nuclear scientists in the past, but had, until now, been unable to get to the highly protected Fakhrizadeh. Some Iranian reports claim it was a suicide attack, which would reduce the likelihood of Israeli operatives carrying out the attack, but

To the very end, Trump remains haunted by one word: loser

Dan Barry reports: In the now-distant Republican presidential primaries of 2016, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas handily won the Iowa caucuses. This was determined by a method that has lately come under attack but at the time was considered standard: elementary math. One of the losers in Iowa, the developer and television personality Donald J. Trump, soon accused Mr. Cruz of electoral theft. He fired off several inflammatory tweets, including

How Einstein reconciled religion to science

Brian Gallagher writes: Not long ago, I heard an echo of Albert Einstein’s religious views in the words of Elon Musk. Asked, at the close of a conversation with Axios, whether he believed in God, the CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla paused, looked away from his interlocutors for a brief second, and then said, in that mild South African accent, “I believe there’s some explanation for this universe, which

Music: Cory Henry — ‘Sugah Daddy’