I dropped of my MacBook Air at FedEx roughly 27 hours ago for shipment to a Memphis facility. It got there about midnight. I was greeted by a couple of notifications when I arose late this morning, including that they were diagnosing. I just got a text that it’s on its way back. Underpromise, over-deliver indeed.

The Justice Department unsealed an indictment yesterday against 15 individuals connected to the South Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey La Cosa Nostra criminal organization, or mafia. The defendants—including “Tony Meatballs,” “Joey Electric,” and “Louie Sheep”—face charges of racketeering conspiracy, illegal gambling, loansharking, extortion, and drug trafficking. There are no charges expected for bad nicknames.

The Morning Dispatch

Advisory Opinions and All The President’s Lawyers both ran unscheduled podcasts today just because Trump’s litigation team (with or without Sydney Powell) has staged so much off-the-charts craziness since their last podcasts.

My wonderful MacBook Air lasted about nine months before the butterfly keyboard started failing. I put up with it for another seven or eight months (because pandemic). Just dropped off the Fedex box for a warranty repair.

Dark Humor courtesy of the Gang that Couldn’t Steal Straight

Trump’s lawyers—who described themselves as an “elite strike force” on Thursday—have fallen into complete disarray. An affidavit released by the Trump team on Michigan’s results began to crumble when it became clear the affidavit mistook Minnesota data for Michigan’s. After Giuliani’s son tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the entire legal team realized they had likely been exposed. On Sunday, Giuliani and Ellis issued a press release saying that Sidney Powell—whom Trump announced as a member of his “truly great team” last week—is “not a member of the Trump Legal Team.” (Last week, the Republican National Committee tweeted out a video of Powell that referred to her as a “Trump Campaign Lawyer.”)

The Morning Dispatch: The Wheels Are Coming Off - The Morning Dispatch

In dismissing the Trump campaign’s [Pennsylvania] action, [Judge Matthew Brann … a conservative who had been involved in the NRA, the Federalist Society, and the Pennsylvania GOP prior to being nominated to the bench in 2012] noted that the plaintiffs were essentially asking the Court to “disenfranchise” seven million voters. “One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption such that this Court would have no option but to regrettably grant the proposed injunctive relief despite the impact it would have on such a large group of citizens,” Brann wrote. “That has not happened. Instead, this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more.”

The Morning Dispatch: The Wheels Are Coming Off - The Morning Dispatch

If you file a complaint with so sweeping a prayer for relief, you’d better deliver the goods or expect a good reaming out — conservative Republican judge or not.

We’re beginning to look like we’re a banana republic.

Chris Christie, quoted by CNN - Breaking News, Latest News and Videos


Over the past four years, Donald Trump staged a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. Even now, Republican officials remain shockingly complicit in his refusal to accept defeat. That makes it tempting to write off the Republican Party—to believe that the health of American democracy depends on ensuring this party never again occupies the White House.

But in a two-party system, it is neither likely nor healthy for one party to be in power indefinitely. For democracy to thrive, we need a right-of-center party committed to the rules and norms of our republic. This is why Persuasion will be publishing a series of essays on the future of the Republican Party, what it could become, and what is should become. I hope you will enjoy the series and see its value, even if (like me) you are left-of-center.

Yasha Mounck, The Future of the Republican Party - Persuasion

Unfortunately, I didn’t think this first-in-series delivered much punch.

The Trump Administration will go down in history as, among other things, an Administration from which you could be fired in retaliation for doing your job too well.

the CIA’s “most endangered employee for much of the past year” was the whistleblower who helped launch the impeachment proceedings against the president.

Let’s Talk About Fear - The French Press

Many readers outside of California will not have heard of Governor Gavin Newsom. But if you need to summon up a mental image, imagine Marie Antoinette without that late Queen’s sense of self-awareness.

That Douglas Murray sure knows how to write an opening paragraph.

Wendell Berry on “intentional communities”

When an interviewer in 1973 asked him about the widespread emergence of “intentional communities,” Berry cut to the quick. “I’m much more interested in the results of accidental communities that have formed by fate and fortune and circumstance. The intentional community seems to me a rather escapist idea, sort of a new version of the white citizen’s council. I thought that’s what we were trying to get away from.” Clearly he had no intention of making sure his counterculture bona fides were up to date. “No community is suitable,” he added. “There’s plenty wrong with them all. I could construct an airtight argument for not settling in my own community. The fact is that I’m spending my life constructing an argument for being here.”

Eric Miller, A Better Stand, Local Culture:A Journal of the Front Porch Republic (Volume 2, Number 2)

(Berry and Christopher Lasch were substantially contemporaries, and influenced each other.)

The neighborhood is more truly cosmopolitan than the superficial cosmopolitanism of the like-minded.

Christopher Lasch, quoted in Local Culture:A Journal of the Front Porch Republic (Volume 2, Number 2). Along with Plough, Local Culture has become one of my favorite periodicals.

As of Tuesday night, the Trump campaign and its allies were—by Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias’ count—1 for 26 in their post-election lawsuits ….

The Morning Dispatch

Not a good omen: Biden Transition Team Member’s Op-Ed on “Why America Needs a Hate Speech Law” – Reason.com

Portugal (whose national anthem I can still sing 52 years after rote memorization) versus Croatia: It’s nice that both teams seem to be present and awake, unlike the last match I watched. ⚽️

Obama is actually nicer to his enemies than Trump is to his friends. (Jeffrey Goldberg’s observation in Why Obama Fears for Our Democracy - The Atlantic).

Damon Linker plays it straight in not exonerating Democrats of undermining trust in Democracy. Democrats aren’t innocent bystanders. Not equal fault, but substantial.

A week ago, I couldn’t identify my favorite spy movie. Tonite, the wife of my youth and I enjoyed again my favorite mystery movie: Murder on the Orient Express, 1974 version. I’ll never bother with another version; it is a metaphysical impossibility that any could be better.

If you’re not familiar with Lawrence Brownlee, consider the (new?) Erato CD, Amici e Rivali with Michael Spyres and Brownlee. Brownlee (the shorter guy on the left) has some high notes few tenors can touch.

Screen Shot 2020 11 16 at 3 31 14 PM

Do your pork chops socially distance?

[T]he Danish mink episode is just one more proof that factory farms are ticking time-bombs of zoonotic disease — those which leap from animals to humans — and petri-dishes of bacterial infections.

Factory farming will kill us all - UnHerd

It comes a shock to me how delightful is much of the music of Maurice Ravel, and a kind of affirmation to learn that some think Bolero was an artifact of a head injury that eventually led him to abandon composition.

I just learned of a Mac OS development that I find quite offensive. I’m not taking a vow never to buy another Mac, but does anyone have a recommendation for a Linux magazine for someone who might consider a switch?

Many theories on why Trump is resisting concession. Occam’s razor: He is retiring campaign debt by skimming/scamming 60% off the top of “election fraud litigation” fundraisers.

Another choice quote from The Myth of Religious Violence

More Myth of Religious Violence:

Transhistorical definitions of religion enforce the normativity of this new arrangement; as in Herbert’s work, the modern definition of religion helps to define the “normal mind.” The normal mind is one that is able to penetrate to the true inward essence of religion. Those who will not separate religion from politics—many Muslims, for example—are often seen as less advanced and less rational than their “normal” Western counterparts.

I’m not normal. (I’m also aware that I’m fallible.)

The confessing church, like the conversionist church, also calls people to conversion, but it depicts that conversion as a long process of being baptismally engrafted into a new people, an alternative polis, a countercultural social structure called church.

Resident Aliens

This strikes me as Knowhere News’ first disappointing call on newsworthiness.

Where to spend your civil liberties dollars

Someone observed that the ACLU stopped taking several constitutional rights seriously after it started casting the net far more widely for money. That made sense of how it became just another left-wing group contemptuous of the favored rights of The Deplorables.

Recently the penny dropped: ADF is, as I have irritably complained, fully integrated into Conservatism, Inc., and probably because it, too, casts a very wide money net.

Becket Fund remains principled.

My main blog is the Tipsy Teetotaler, http://intellectualoid.com.