Editors’ Blog

More Big Lie Terror Threats

Nice scoop here. Local reports, one of which I picked up last night, had it that the top official in Maricopa County, Arizona had had to go into hiding after the midterms because of threats tied to the midterms. That’s not the case, though he still has additional security provided by the Sheriff’s Dept. It turns out, as Kaila Philo reports, that this happened on election night, when Republican Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Gates had to be taken to an undisclosed location under armed guard because of Big Lie-themed threats.

Ironically, it is often Republican elected officials who are the top targets of MAGA-aligned terrorist groups and paramilitaries.

Dispatch #1: McCarthy’s Brittle Speakership Prime Badge

After retaining the Senate, Democrats’ biggest win in the midterm election was locking House Republicans into a slender and brittle majority. Though holding the House would have been a boon for Democrats, it also came with significant disadvantages. There’s a thermostatic dynamic in American politics. One party in power for too long spurs a desire to provide some check on the incumbent party. It also builds up partisan energy in the opposition. 2024 is the year when everything is at stake, when either party could take total control of the federal government. Joe Biden holding the presidency provided a check on the worst that could happen from a GOP congress in 2023 and 2024. After that, all bets are off.

Read More
Amidst the Corruption Prime Badge

This morning the NRSC, the GOP Senate campaign committee, sent out an urgent email soliciting funds for Herschel Walker to contest the Georgia runoff election. No surprise there. Warnock and Democratic committees are doing the same. Let’s look at the details.

Here is what you see when you click through to donate.

Read More
Weekend Miscellany

Oliver Sacks on the dehumanizing effects of iPhones and internet culture, published in The New Yorker in 2019, four years after his death.

Maricopa County Chairman Bill Gates, a Republican, moved to an undisclosed location with a sheriff’s protective detail in response to threats tied to the 2022 midterm. Maricopa County is governed by a five-member board of supervisors. As chairman, Gates is the chief executive authority in the county. Gates has been an outspoken defender of the integrity of the county’s voting system.

Newly elected Arizona Republican state representative announces she will not vote in the state house until the 2022 election is redone. Rep. Liz Harris’s decision would reduce the GOP’s effective majority to a margin of 30 to 29.

Annals of AI

This article on “Galactica,” a Meta (i.e., Facebook) AI engine that was supposed to organize and synthesize 48 million scientific papers, is a new addition to a growing list of such reports which make me think that both the transformative and dystopic versions of the AI future are further in the distance than we are often led to believe.

5 Dead at LGBTQ Nightclub in Colorado Springs

Five died and eighteen were wounded overnight in a mass shooting at a LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. Initial reports suggest that the gunman was initially subdued by club attendees rather than police, perhaps reducing the death toll. We should treat all the initial reports as tentative. The shooter was apparently also injured and is in custody receiving medical treatment. (In the summer of 2021 the alleged shooter threatened violence against his mother with “a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition.” A SWAT team negotiations unit was able to get Anderson Lee Aldrich to come out of the home voluntarily and he was taken into custody.)

Let’s Not Whine About Trump Being on Twitter Prime Badge

I see we’re back to the question of whether Donald Trump should be allowed back on Twitter, whether Elon Musk will allow him back, what it will mean? All I can add to this debate is that getting hung up on this question is undignified and unwise. Put simply, it makes the supporters of civic democracy and Americanism sound weak, helpless, lacking the courage of their convictions and beliefs, afraid. (As I was writing this post, I heard that Elon Musk had announced he was reinstating Trump on the platform.) Much of this stems from the really wrongheaded idea that Trump leapfrogged to the commanding heights of American politics in 2015 because he got so much TV coverage or because people engaged with his tweets on Twitter. That was never true. All sorts of bad conclusions flow from that misapprehension.

Read More
Garland Appointing Jack Smith is Just Fine Prime Badge

Many of you are asking me what I make of Merrick Garland’s decision to appoint Jack Smith to serve as a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation into Jan 6th (he won’t take over current cases) and the Mar-a-Lago investigation. I think it’s fine. I strongly suspect, though here I’m talking more hunch, that it’s also bad news for Donald Trump and probably various associates.

Read More
Who Is Jack Smith?

A quick rundown on the newly appointed special counsel Jack Smith, with whom I wasn’t familiar prior to today’s announcement:

Read More
Jack Smith Named As Trump Special Counsel

Update: Merrick Garland named Jack Smith, pictured above, as special counsel. More soon.

Original post:

The big news of the day: We could get an announcement as early as this afternoon from Attorney General Merrick Garland that he is naming a special counsel to handle the various federal investigations of former President Trump.

The Wall Street Journal was the first I saw to report the news, but other Main Justice beat reporters have the same info.

Read More
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: