I know some people, maybe some of you, were able to relax at 12:01 p.m. January 20. It was a trendlet on Twitter to say you’d had the best sleep in four years, that night and thereafter. It didn’t happen that quickly for me. But I cracked my third novel in a month and realized, Holy shit, I have an attention span for this stuff again.
It’s been a minute. It’s been a lot of minutes. For a long time — four years, to be exact — it was hard to concentrate on anything other than the brewing shitshow in Washington. I had trouble sleeping. I still have trouble sleeping, but not as much. I’ve decided to go limp on my insomnia. No more melatonin, no more cannabis; I just accept that sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and don’t get back to sleep for an hour or two, and that’s OK, because the same world that gives us insomnia also gives us black coffee, which is delicious. Little by little, it’s getting better.
The great unclenching, like most transitions, didn’t happen all at once. But the world feels a little less clenchy at the moment.
Honestly, stuff like this helps:
We’re having a challenging discussion of late about our responsibility in how we cover the candidacy of Republican Josh Mandel for the U.S. Senate in 2022.
This is from the Cleveland.com (RIP, Cleveland Plain Dealer) executive editor, and Josh Mandel is the former state treasurer. He is, shall we say, cut from the Trumpian cloth. Chris Quinn goes on:
Usually with political campaigns, we cover where the candidates stand on various issues and report what they say. They lay out how they would improve the lives of constituents and attack their opponents’ failings. It’s pretty straightforward.
The issue is that Mandel has a history of not telling the truth when he campaigns – he was our PolitiFact Ohio “Pants on Fire” champion during his first run for Senate because of the whoppers he told. More recently, he is given to irresponsible and potentially dangerous statements on social media. He’s proven himself to be a candidate who will say just about anything if it means getting his name in the news. We have not dealt with a candidate like this on the state level previously.
What an excellent question for a journalist to ask. You can click through and read the whole thing — it’s not long — but here’s the tl;dr:
As we get closer to election time, what Mandel says might be news, and I don’t believe the right approach to covering dangerous statements by candidates is the traditional “he said-she said.”
A round of applause for Editor Quinn! It took four years of hell, but we’re starting to get it.
I trust everyone’s weekend was good? Mine was fine, although I spent a chunk of it working, which chaps my ass. But I got a good book from the library (“The Sympathizer,” Viet Thanh Nguyen) and, well, see above. Also, saw our pot of chives stirring to life, so even though it’s still fucking cold, it’s less fucking cold, and that’s good.
Bloggage: Like my insomnia, it’s going to take a while to rinse these tinpot con men out of the system, because there’s a sucker born every minute, and sometimes they converge in a state legislature:
In early October, Kris Kobach, Kansas’ former Secretary of State, and Daniel Drake, a Wichita-based venture capitalist-turned-CEO, made a sales pitch to Kansas legislators. The duo wheeled in what looked to lawmakers like a “refrigerator” — a shiny metal box Drake called a “revolutionary” device that would “kill COVID” and bring “several hundred jobs back to Wichita.”
“This stuff is very cutting-edge,” Kobach said. The local development of such exciting technology was why, he told lawmakers, he wanted Kansas to get the “first bite at the apple.”
During their pitch, Drake explained that his company, MoJack Distributors, had developed a line called “Scent Crusher” that uses aerosolized ozone, a tri-oxygen molecule, to sanitize hunting and sports products, “only to realize that we weren’t here today to be able to get hunters or sportsmen to be better athletes or better hunters, but to kill COVID.” He told lawmakers the sample product next to him was part of a new line called “Sarus Systems.”
See if you can guess how well this miracle device works:
There is no evidence Sarus Systems has made material steps toward rehoming hundreds of jobs to Kansas, and shipping records show products are currently being manufactured in China. There is also scant evidence their machines, or ozone in general, can safely eliminate SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. And while the pair have hyped the products’ popularity, claiming a three-month backlog and international interest, we were unable to verify any purchases — from the state of Kansas or otherwise.
Kris Kobach, I remind you, used to serve as Secretary of State in Kansas, and did the GOP thing of implementing strict voter ID laws, purging voters from registration rolls, etc. Presumably his post-officeholder career is as a petty grifter. As I said on Twitter, the Trump era is sort of a rancid remake of “The Music Man,” only no one can sing. And Marian the Librarian is a villain now.
Oh, well. It’s Monday, and we can all do better. So let’s.