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Friday 8th of December 2023 Available without prescription™ © 2015
Academic achievement [He] directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges, and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores. Michael Cohen, Trump's lawyer, on Trump © 2023
Academic achievement I always say I would have committed genocide, but my grades weren’t good enough. Errol Morris, reflecting on the Ivy League backgrounds of Donald Rumsfeld and many other advocates and implementers of the Iraq War © 2023
Aging In 2020 the share of people 65 or older reached  17 percent, according to the Census Bureau. By 2034, there will be more Americans past retirement age than there are children. By 2053,  more than 40 percent of the federal budget will go toward programs for seniors, primarily Social Security and Medicare  — but those programs are not designed for or prepared to handle the new demographic reality. New York Times, October 6, 2023 © 2023
The arts Get yourself a different woman. Donald Trump's takeaway from Citizen Kane © 2023
Cocks of the walk say I am a man of great achievement. I win, Maureen, I always win. Knock on wood. I win. It’s what I do. I beat people. I win.  Donald Trump to Maureen Dowd, New York Times, August 15, 2015  © 2023
Cocks of the walk say I think apologizing's a great thing, but you have to be wrong. I will absolutely apologize, sometime in the hopefully distant future, if I'm ever wrong. Donald Trump © 2023
Dead-in-the-heads say The emotional truth is first. The factual truth is secondary. Hasan Minhaj © 2023
Democracy Any American watching Israel's turmoil  must recognise the parallels between the two countries — not just today, but stretching back to the founding of both states. Israel and the US are two improbable creations that went on similar journeys. Both may soon end with the dismantling of democracy.  Both states hit identity crises when the ethnic  majority realised it risked becoming a minority. It’s often said nowadays that Israel can be a Jewish state or a democracy, but it can't be both. Similarly, the US can be a white-ruled ethnostate or a democracy, but not both. Simon Kuper, Financal Times, August 3, 2023 © 2023
Facts [N]o reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.  Sidney Powell, on her widely-believed lies about voting fraud by Dominion Voting Systems voting machines and Smartmatic software during the 2020 presidential election © 2023
Housing In a typical year,  the country builds more three-car garages than one-bedroom apartments. Dante Ramos, The Atlantic, July/August 2023 © 2023
Immigration In a sense you might distill the challenge facing liberals to a choice: Take more responsibility for restricting immigration, or get used to right-wing populists doing it for you. Ross Douthat, New York Times, September 23, 2023 © 2023
Kwiplers say Count votes in Congress by: 1. Calculating a Member's Proportional Vote (MPV) for each member, as follows: MPV = SPNP / NLRS where: SPNP = State's Percentage of the National Population NLRS = Number of Legislators Representing the State (in that legislature) 2. Totaling “yes” MPVs and “no” MPVs 3. Passing if total MPV is more than 50 OTHERWISE Abolish the Senate © 2019
Math At the root of maths chauvinism is a childlike craving for certainties, or at least probabilities, amid the flux of adult experience. Janan Ganesh, Financial Times, October 20, 2023 © 2023
Math The most important businesses in the world used to be extractive (Shell, ExxonMobil) or industrial (Ford, Mitsubishi).  Now, they are financial (BlackRock, JP Morgan) or digital (Google, Facebook).  Companies that valued maths have given way to companies for whom maths permeates everything: it is the essence of their product. And so they have to hire in that image, which in turn incentivises the generation below to choose their educational path accordingly. The result is a brilliant but narrow over-class, who allow their super-facility in one academic discipline to colour their wider worldview. The very universality of maths encourages them to range with dangerous confidence outside their domain. Janan Ganesh, Financial Times, October 20, 2023 © 2023
Post-2022 Senate shituation 15 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming) 2020 population: 40,737,128 Senators: 30 Republicans 1 Senator per 1,357,904 people 1 state (California) 2022 population: 39,995,077 Senators: 2 Democrats 1 Senator per 19,997,539 people 19,997,539 / 1,357,904 = 14.7, therefore: average 15er's vote is worth nearly 15 times a Californian's, a Californian's vote is worth less than 7% of an average 15er's 1 state (Wyoming) 2022 population = 579,495, therefore: 1 Senator per 289,748 Wyomians, a Wyomian's vote is worth 69 times a Californian's, a Californian's vote is worth 1.4% of a Wyomian's  © 2023
Power The US is going through the most awkward phase in the life cycle of an empire. Its relative power in the world is somewhat down from its all-time peak, but its burdens aren’t. It must prioritise, and at the same time daren't. Janan Ganesh, Financial Times, October 17, 2023 © 2023
Public discourse You always learn more from conversation than Gotcha!. Errol Morris © 2023
Reading [H]igher-level reading activities have been shown to improve and reinforce the development  of linguistic competence, empathy, social cognition and perspective-taking, focus and attention, cognitive patience (concentration and discipline), our grasp of the complexity of humans and their predicaments, evaluating different points of view, knowledge beyond the immediate purpose, and,  finally, creativity, imagination and mental imagery. Without deep and critical engagement with the  content and language of the text we are ill equipped to counter populist simplifications, fake news, conspiracy theories and disinformation, and thus vulnerable to manipulation. This seriously endangers society’s capacity for informed democratic decision-making. Schüller-Zwierlein, “Why higher-level reading is important” © 2023
Reading If Russians knew how to read, they would write me off. Attributed to Catherine the Great © 2023
Reading In the 2021 international Pisa survey, 49 per cent of students agreed that “I read only if I have to”, 13 percentage points higher than in 2000. Simon Kuper, Financial Times, October 19, 2023 © 2023
Selfie My faith informs everything I do. Mike Johnson © 2023
Selfie Any monk still producing calligraphy after 1492 probably sensed he was working in an outdated medium. I write texts of more than 30 words, so I now feel the same. Simon Kuper, Financial Times, October 19, 2023 © 2023
Trumpists say By the way, the United States is not a democracy. Do you know what a democracy is? Two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner. You don’t want to be in a democracy. Majority rule: not always a good thing, Mike Johnson, in 2019, to parishioners at First Baptist Church of Haughton, LA © 2023
Trumpists say Experts project that  homosexual marriage is the dark harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy that could doom even the strongest republic. Mike Johnson on same-sex marriage  © 2023
Trumpists say The problem is the human heart, it’s not guns, it’s not the weapons. At the end of the day, we have to protect the right of the citizens to protect themselves, and that’s the Second Amendment, and that’s why our party stands so strongly for that. This is not the time to be talking about legislation. In Europe and in other places, they use vehicles to mow down crowds at parades — where they’ve done that here at the United States. It’s not the weapon, it’s the underlying problem. Mike Johnson, October 27, 2023, a day after a shooter in Lewiston, Maine, killed 18 and wounded 13 in 2023's 565th mass shooting  © 2023
Trumpists say Shut up! Shut up! Virginia Foxx, one of Mike Johnson's supporters surrounding him during a press conference  following his election as Speaker of the House, shouting at the reporter who asked him about his deep involvement in attempts to overturn the election and Trump's attempted coup, which he refused to answer and to which the others chanted "Boo! Boo!" in unison  © 2023
Trumpists say You can call it sinful or destructive — ultimately it’s both. Mike Johnson on same-sex marriage  © 2023