Tue, 16/04/2024 - 23:00

In this column, professional speechwriter Chandler Dean provides partly satirical, partly genuine “How To” advice focused on a hyper-specific subcategory of speeches—from graduation speeches to wedding toasts to eulogies, and all the rhetorical occasions in between.

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Tick-tock: the bachelor or bachelorette or bachelorx party is approaching, and your buddy has insisted that they want you to “totally roast them.” Unfortunately, there is no time to question what ignominious circumstances led them to this masochistic desire. There is only time to write jokes.

I’ve written roasts for celebrities and politicians at fundraisers and closed-door events; I’ve roasted coworkers at their farewell parties; I’ve made fun of friends when they made a typo in the group chat and then I’ve changed the name of the group chat to have the typo in it.

So take it from me: you can both get laughs and protect your friendships (and professional contacts, and geopolitical relationships). Here’s how.

Tue, 16/04/2024 - 23:00
With apologies to Digby For most on the right, pitching a hissy fit is a ploy to control the political narrative. A little phony sanctimony here, some faux outrage there, and plenty of echo-chamber volume, and Democrats run for cover. Maybe even beg forgiveness for something they did not do. But for Donald Trump, pitching a hissy fit is a way of life to which that Marvelous he is entitled. How dare any lesser being deprive him of his birthright? Yet, here Trump sits facing justice for falsifying business records and defrauding voters, a mere pleb in an ungilded New York City courtroom where hissy-fitting is not permitted. On Monday, Justice Juan Merchan explained to Trump just how things work in his domain (New York Times): As part of the pretrial housekeeping, Justice Juan Merchan delivered the so-called Parker warnings on courtroom behavior directly to the defendant, reminding him that he could be jailed if he disrupted the proceedings.
Tue, 16/04/2024 - 22:51
What we want to believe and what is true are seldom the same thing. By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 15th April 2024 We draw our moral lines in arbitrary places. We might believe we’re guided only by universal values and proven facts, but often we’re swayed by deep themes of which we might […]
Tue, 16/04/2024 - 22:00

Dear Wyna Liu, Editor of Connections:

My morning ritual used to be a time of peace and solitude. A sacred time in which I’d gather up the energy to face the day. I’d brew my coffee and eat my smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel. And then I’d open up the New York Times Games App.

I’d always start with the Spelling Bee. Personally, I like to find the pangram first and then hopefully find enough words for a respectable “Great” or “Amazing.” Not every morning is a “Genius!” morning—and that’s okay!

Then, I’d do the daily Crossword. Not the Mini, the Crossword. A delightful five-minute exercise on Mondays, an hour-long conquest on Sundays.

And if I still had time before my first meeting of the day (and sometimes I’ll admit, during my first meeting of the day), I’d do the sudokus. My personal goal was to solve the easy level in under three minutes and the medium in under four. Just for an extra little challenge, you know?

These puzzles were our brain ticklers, modern man’s solution to the sphinx’s riddle. But you got excited, maybe you got greedy.

You introduced Connections.

Tue, 16/04/2024 - 13:41
The Standard Conditions Peaceful Or Violent Revolution, Collapse and Coups

We’ve discussed this before:

  1. fiscal inability;
  2. an elite faction which wants to take over;
  3. support of 20% or more of the population;

What is also very common is lost of prestige due to military defeat. This Russia in WWI (and they had also lost to the Japanese, which was particularly humiliating) or Germany, also after WWI. Getting your ass kicked makes people doubt you.

Or, if you want to put it another way: imperial overstretch, military defeat and internal strife.

Tue, 16/04/2024 - 08:00
And the media buys it So Trump came out of the trial today whining like an 8 year old that the big mean judge won’t let him attend Barron’s high school graduation — and all of MAGA world is having a full blown collective mental breakdown over it, calling the judge evil and screaming “Witch Hunt!!!!” One little problem: Fact Check: Trump falsely claims judge won’t let him attend son’s high school graduation next month From CNN’s Marshall Cohen After leaving court on Monday, former President Donald Trump repeatedly suggested that Judge Juan Merchan would prevent him from attending his son’s high school graduation in May.  Trump’s son Eric Trump ratcheted up the rhetoric by tweeting, “Judge Merchan is truly heartless in not letting a father attend his son’s graduation.” Facts First: The judge hasn’t ruled yet on Trump’s request to be excused from court so he can attend Barron Trump’s high school graduation. Criminal defendants like Donald Trump are typically required to attend their case proceedings in person.
Tue, 16/04/2024 - 06:37
Efter att ha misslyckats med att få in Sverige i euron på demokratisk väg försöker nu marknadsliberaler andra metoder. ”Jag ser inget behov av en ny folkomröstning om euron” säger Liberalernas ordförande Johan Pehrson … Syftet med demokrati är inte att folket alltid vet bäst. Det är att eliter alltid lider av grupptänk och hybris, […]