Forced retirement.

My plan to cram all my work into one day a week didn’t work, this time, but I got my taxes done, so there’s that.

And thus explains my absence this week. However, I slept terribly last night, so I expect a day of sitting and staring gloomily into space. Which is to say, happy arraignment day!

I won’t be complaining about the inescapableness of it all, because it turns out cutting the cord was the best thing I could have done. Just seeing the screen grabs on Twitter of the O.J.-like coverage of it all disgust me. And after reading the stories about Marjorie Taylor Greene’s snow job of Lesley Stahl Sunday night, I’m pretty down on all legacy media these days.

With some exceptions.

But from what I saw of the Greene/Stahl encounter — clips, mainly — suggest it’s time to retire “60 Minutes,” or at least retire the elderly correspondents stinking up the room. When a lunatic calls Democrats pedophiles, the correct journalistic response isn’t “wow.” But that’s what the “60 Minutes” crew does — looks down its aristocratic nose and thinks a well-placed insult will do the trick. It won’t. She was unprepared. We are unprepared.

Yesterday I read Neil Steinberg’s column about Israel. It’s…not cheering:

Israel, a democracy-loving country, at least when it comes to Jewish people — non-Jews, not so much — has been convulsed with unprecedented protests, and unprecedented shocks like military reservists vowing they won’t serve a dictator.

A stable democracy sliding toward civil war over the return of a judiciary-wrecking would-be autocrat. Hmm, as with Brexit, there seems a subtle warning here to those of us in the United States.

…Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But as with any good horror movie, the monster you thought was buried in the yard is actually moving around the house somewhere. Republicans who hope Ron DeSantis shows up and saves them forget: a) DeSantis is a stiff and b) should it happen, they’ll be stuck with Ron DeSantis. Queen Elizabeth II dying did not mean the end of monarchy. Putin is in every sense a one-man ruler. Netanyahu is trying.

I was feeling pretty good after the elections last fall. Now I’m gloomy again. Part of this is a lack of sleep, as well as the near-certainty that the pool where I swim twice a week is going to close next year, thanks to budget cuts due to falling enrollment.

So let’s move on to the gloomy news, then, eh? Maybe this is more smug news, but you can’t beat Paul Krugman when he’s pointing out the obvious, in this case the drop in life expectancy in the U.S., but particularly in red states:

Now, Covid killed a lot of people around the world, so wasn’t this just an act of God? Not exactly. You see, America experienced a bigger decline in life expectancy when Covid struck than any other wealthy country. Furthermore, while life expectancy recovered in many countries in 2021, here it continued to fall.

And America’s dismal Covid performance was part of a larger story. I don’t know how many Americans are aware that over the past four decades, our life expectancy has been lagging ever further that of other advanced nations — even nations whose economic performance has been poor by conventional measures. Italy, for example, has experienced a generation of economic stagnation, with basically no growth in real G.D.P. per capita since 2000, compared with a 29 percent rise here. Yet Italians can expect to live about five years longer than Americans, a gap that has widened even as the Italian economy flounders.

Yeah, funny how that works.

OK, enough doom and gloom for one day. The good news: The rain may end today — we’ve been getting cats and dogs’ worth — and I’ll get a bike ride in. Hope your day is sunnier.

Posted at 9:40 am in Current events |

32 responses to “Forced retirement.”

  1. Jeff Borden said on April 4, 2023 at 10:05 am

    As a refugee who fled Ohio in 1985, I was gobsmacked to see a comparison between the life expectancies there vs. New York state. Some 30 years ago, they were largely the same, but now, New Yorkers are living an average four years longer than Ohioans. Hmmm. Wonder how Ohio has changed in the past 30 years?

    Lesley Stahl is 81. It’s time for her to enjoy retirement. She was bulldozed by a moron who has mislabeled “Gestapo” as “Gazpacho” and “Petri dish” for “Peachtree dish.” Pretty damned shameful.

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  2. Jeff Gill said on April 4, 2023 at 10:31 am

    Re: Neil’s point — the call is coming from inside the house.

    On the Stahl interview, I think I would have wrapped up on the insistence that the opposition is justly to be called pedophiles. Or, assuming she’d done her due diligence, knowing what MTG intends to mean, she could have drug more of that out of the subject to see where her language would have taken her . . . which may have happened and not been in the aired material.

    I’ve only twice gone back to an editor who sent me to interview someone and said “this is not a story, it’s an idiot working the system.” Both times the editor was not happy, but the person ended up mentioned in someone else’s story, so they got less platform than originally intended. I don’t know how 60 Minutes works, so I wonder who decided MTG would get a profile, but it wasn’t Stahl . . . who surely could have said no at this point in her career. The B-roll made me think they hoped she could make nice, schmooze in Georgia with her, then open her up . . . but to get what, exactly? It just ended up feeling like a missed opportunity, which then leads to the fair statement that Taylor Greene got airtime without any real probing pushback.

    Added: editors really hate being told they’ve been suckered by a grifter, especially when that’s clearly what happened.

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  3. Suzanne said on April 4, 2023 at 10:46 am

    As I have said so many times, someone like Stahl, and so many other rational, successful, wealthy people living in places like NYC metro area have no clue how mainstream the garbage someone like MTG spews is out here in the great Midwest. Stahl probably thought if she let MTG blather people would see what a lunatic she is and be enlightened. It wouldn’t occur to Stahl that viewers would wholeheartedly agree with MTG and hear nothing from her that they don’t hear from their friends & family every day.

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  4. David C said on April 4, 2023 at 10:55 am

    Election day in Wisconsin. Unless both Janet Protasiewicz wins the Supreme Court seat and Jodi Habush Sinykin wins to keep the State Senate from having an R supermajority democracy is fucked in Wisconsin. Unlike Michigan, we have no initiative so we have no opportunity to reverse the extreme gerrymander and the Senate leader has promised they’ll impeach anyone they can. Fingers crossed but I’m frightened.

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  5. Jeff Borden said on April 4, 2023 at 11:11 am

    The Koch brothers got their money’s worth when they backed that empty sack Scott Walker and began introducing their wacky, right-wing ideas. Walker is long gone, but the march to turn a once progressive state into a red state backwater continues apace.

    Meanwhile, in Floriduh, DeathSantis is pushing a bill intended to undercut New York Times vs. Sullivan, even though it would clobber right-wing media outlets, too. “Meatball Ron” is really putting on an authoritarian show in his efforts to seize attention away from the orange tumor. Oh, and he signed a law allowing concealed carry without a permit. They’ll protect you from “Tango Makes Three” in DeathSantisLand, but guns? Gimme more, more, more!

    Tennesse GA QOPers are threatening Dems over a demonstration on the floor of the statehouse to focus attention on the slaughter at Covenant School. The goobernor, Bill Lee, recently signed legislation allowing Tennesseans to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

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  6. Deborah said on April 4, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I just got word from my sister that my niece’s farmer husband died this morning. I feel really bad for my niece and their 7 year old son. Bummer. I’m going to try to go to the funeral, but we’ll see.

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  7. LAMary said on April 4, 2023 at 11:56 am

    Lesley Stahl just sat there letting the bullshit flow over her. We got to see MTG’s faux plantation house and see her being all strong and sweaty and stuff. She compared herself to trump because they were both in the construction business. There should be a word that describes the feeling you have after you witness some smug asshole flat out lying, portraying themself as someone just wanting to do good things. It’s not an uncommon feeling these days. It combines rage, disappointment, fear and the desire to punch someone in the face.

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  8. Heather said on April 4, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe a country that has made healthcare increasingly unaffordable for so many people now is showing lowered life expectancy! Who could have seen that coming.

    So many journalists are still laboring under the misconception that people like Marge can be reasoned with or shamed. Or that simply showing how outrageous they are will be enough. The only hope for this country is the end of the Republican Party. Notice I didn’t say the end of conservatism–but that brand of conservatism has got to go. And I don’t know how you do it, but it’s not through elections in a system that has been gerrymandered and otherwise manipulated to keep them in power.

    I just voted for Brandon Johnson for mayor of Chicago. I really hope we don’t end up with Vallas. Beyond the fact that he’s been shown not to be good at what he claims to do and espouses policies that don’t work (i.e., more police, that’ll fix it!) he really seems like a sign of the creeping fascism that’s a threat to all of us.

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  9. Jeff Gill said on April 4, 2023 at 12:49 pm


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  10. Sherri said on April 4, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    What’s the use of long form shows like 60 Minutes if they can’t take the time to contextualize what they’re showing? When slurs like “pedophile” get tossed around casually, show the history of how that has been used politically.


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  11. Deborah said on April 4, 2023 at 1:55 pm

    OMG Jeff G, it’s already over. What was that all about?

    I’m reading that the press scrum in Manhattan is 30 to 1 over the protestors, both sides pro-Trump and anti-Trump. That’s the story, the press covering the press coverage.

    I voted for Johnson today, I don’t want the white guy to win, and not because he’s white.

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  12. ROGirl said on April 4, 2023 at 2:33 pm

    I couldn’t bring myself to watch the interview, apparently I missed a really enlightening and thoughtful exchange.

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  13. FDChief said on April 4, 2023 at 3:50 pm

    1) the GQP as it is currently constituted is indistinguishable from the fascist parties of the 1930s.
    2) No one but a tiny, ignored minority of the U.S. public has been willing to say – much less accept – that to stop these SOBs will take the same level of merciless enmity that was required to stop the originals.

    And that’s the problem.

    Because that’s “civil war”, and the last one was the worst (outside of the genocide of the native tribes) war in our history.

    I get it. Nice normal people don’t want to think about what it takes to stop people like Empty G. That’s horrifying.

    But the alternative is she rules you and me and everyone.

    And in my opinion?

    That’s worse than horrifying.

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  14. MarkH said on April 4, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    Yesterday, I was a little disheartened when I came to nn.c and saw how lightly some here appeared to take the Stahl debacle. It appears to have been corrected in today’s posts.

    But what we need to ask is WWMWD? I’ll tell you what Wallace is doing right now – spinning in his grave at a speed rivaling a Formula One engine. A legacy correspondent on a legacy investigative news platform not just dropping the ball, but willfully catapulting it over a cliff. I understand portraying Ms. Greene on her turf as background, but when it mattered Stahl only needed to ask two questions: specifically, which of the mass shootings were staged or ‘false flag operations’? And define ‘pedophile’. Think of what not just Wallace, but Dan Rather, Ed Bradley, Steve Kroft, even Morley Safer might have done with this.

    Jeff Gill, I don’t know where you get the notion that Lesley Stahl didn’t have a say in that story, let alone in taking it on. No one told her what do do, although it may have been EP Bill Owens’ idea. She had the clout to back out and even discourage them from doing it. I’m sure she has it in her contract that 35% of her segment time is her reaction shots.

    Nancy put this to bed succinctly: Stahl was woefully unprepared for what came at her.

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  15. Dorothy said on April 4, 2023 at 5:12 pm

    There wasn’t any chance in hell that I would waste my time watching that 60 Minutes interview because I knew it would be revolting and out right lying because that’s the only way MTG knows how to express herself. I was sort of hoping the outrage over the anticipated interview would make CBS pull the interview. But it’s not like they have spare stories sitting around the office to plug in at a moment’s notice.

    Nancy have you considered looking into any area schools (high school or colleges) that have indoor pools to ask if they offer a community usage account for a fee? When I worked at UD they offered faculty and staff the ability to buy a pass to use the pool. I only did it once because the hours it was available were not really convenient to me. But I am surmising maybe other schools might offer something similar.

    In a perfect world Georgia would have piled on TFG and filed charges against him there for interference in an election. I’ll have to extend my patience a little longer for that case, I guess. And then there’s the Jack Smith work being done about January 6. I just want all of this to be snowballing well ahead of the 2024 election. Time to storm heaven and ask for some help from all the saints and my dead relatives. I’m not a practicing Catholic anymore but I still believe in the power of prayer when it comes to righting wrongs.

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  16. Deborah said on April 4, 2023 at 5:42 pm

    The press keeps talking about 34 counts but then don’t explain what they are except in very general terms. I finally read the actual indictment and it lists each count, as far as I can tell, it’s one for each check Trump wrote to reimburse Michael Cohen which fraudulently claimed to be a retainer for legal services. Am I wrong about that?

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  17. alex said on April 4, 2023 at 7:18 pm

    Re: Lesley Stahl:

    Mainstream media always seem to be asleep at the wheel, especially in this era of performative politics. The subjects of interviews say things that are shocking and bizarre and the interviewers seem to think that this alone tells the story and that they needn’t editorialize that the person is a lying nutcase. This is how Trump played the press in 2016 and again in 2020. And the press still hasn’t fucking learned its lesson. The press doesn’t realize that this isn’t giving malefactors rope with which to hang themselves; it’s giving them the oxygen they need to fan the fires that are burning down the country.

    If you think about it, this is exactly what Fox is using in its own defense while pretending to be a legitimate news outlet: “C’mon, nobody would be stupid enough to believe that shit, so no harm done.”

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  18. Sherri said on April 4, 2023 at 9:38 pm

    With authoritarians and fascists, it’s not about believing or not believing the lies, it’s about demonstrating fealty to the leader. The lies keep getting bigger and bigger, but so does the requirement for fealty.

    So it’s not really about whether anybody believes what Fox News is saying, Fox News has to say these things or its audience will go elsewhere. That’s what the execs at Fox News understood.

    Same with the QOP. I suspect there are Republicans left who would prefer not to have to say these things and hope that Trump ends up in jail and that the fever breaks, and they can go back to being normal assholes instead of crazy assholes. But they can’t, because that’s where the QOP voters are.

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  19. Sherri said on April 4, 2023 at 11:20 pm

    Great news tonight from the election in Wisconsin, where control of the state supremes just flipped, which opens the possibility of undoing an abortion ban and some ugly gerrymandering.

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  20. Dexter Friend said on April 5, 2023 at 2:27 am

    I quit 60 Minutes years ago, when I became an MSNBC devotee. They employ a bevy of very smart attorneys who break down Trump’s felonies so we can understand what’s up. Now that Major League Baseball is back, my news-junkie time is curtailed a bit, and Tuesday my local veterans’ rep called for me to come sign more documents; he is working to get my disability claim bumped up somewhat. It’ll be months and more medical tests before I know anything. In my dotage, my job has become running to VA and civilian hospitals for tests and appointments. My advice is to go to St. Augustine and bathe in The Fountain of Youth, so as to never get old A.F. like me.
    From Wikipedia:
    “The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is a privately owned 15-acre park in St. Augustine, Florida, located along Hospital Creek, part of the Intracoastal Waterway.”

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  21. Deborah said on April 5, 2023 at 4:30 am

    Brandon Johnson won the mayoral race in Chicago! Good news.

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  22. David C said on April 5, 2023 at 5:52 am

    The loser in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election was, of course, an asshole in his “concession” speech. He said “I wish I could concede to a worthy opponent, but I can’t”. Well, she beat him like a rented mule. After ‘lil Scotty put him on the court to fill a vacancy, he lost his election to fill the rest of the term by a big margin too. There’s hope for us. Last I heard, the Senate race to keep the Rs from having a supermajority was too close to call.

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  23. David C said on April 5, 2023 at 6:01 am

    The courtroom sketches.

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  24. Jeff Borden said on April 5, 2023 at 9:04 am

    There’s an episode of “Seinfeld” where Elaine is driven so mad by a neighbor’s yapping dog that she hires Kramer and Newman to make the dog “disappear.” That’s where I’m at with tRump. I just want him to disappear. . .but just as in the sitcom episode, he keeps coming back. Damn, I am sick of him. He just won’t go away.

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  25. Deborah said on April 5, 2023 at 9:46 am

    Me too, I’m sick to death tired of Trump, he’s sucking all of the air out of the country.

    I’ll be making a whirlwind trip to Minnesota next week for my niece’s husband’s funeral. I was kind of hoping he would be cremated so there could be a little more time. There was a write up in their local paper about his death and they raved about what a wonderful person he was but didn’t even mention that he had a wife and young child. I thought that was weird. They also got his age wrong by 3 years.

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  26. Deborah said on April 5, 2023 at 10:00 am

    David C, I have a question for you about WI politics, I think I mentioned this before and you responded, but I’ve forgotten what you said. There’s a Democratic area in far Northwest WI, how did that happen?

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  27. Heather said on April 5, 2023 at 11:15 am

    Really happy about the victories in Chicago and Wisconsin. Combined with the Trump arrest, it was a banger of a day.

    I went to the gym to go swimming around 7:30 last night and Vallas was slightly ahead. How things can change! As I was leaving I got a text message from my boyfriend that Johnson was in the lead, and things moved pretty quickly after that. Serves my cynical ass right.

    Of course Johnson has a hard road ahead of him. The holistic model will take a lot of time and effort to pay off. But research shows it will, and I’m here for it.

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  28. David C said on April 5, 2023 at 12:28 pm

    There was a blue area in NW Wisconsin. It’s more purple now. It’s because the shipyard workers in Superior, WI/Duluth, MN were union workers and voted for Dems.

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  29. LAMary said on April 5, 2023 at 2:33 pm

    The disappeared dog on Seinfeld runs all the way back from some suburban area to the upper west side. I don’t see Trump running all the way back from wherever we toss him out of a car. He’s lazy. He’ll just whimper on someone’s doorstep until they feed him and call his limo driver.

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  30. Jeff Borden said on April 5, 2023 at 5:27 pm

    Oh, FFS.

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is filing to run for the presidency as a Democrat. He’s an anti-vaxxer loon these days, but with his famous name, he might siphon votes. He’s a world-class jerk.

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  31. Dexter Friend said on April 6, 2023 at 1:12 am

    But Jeff, he cleaned the Hudson River.
    Across the pond, Charles King of England takes a lot of guff from all corners, but I always liked the guy.
    It seems William, Prince of Wales, the Duke of Rothesay , should have a much longer reign than Charles will ultimately have.

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  32. Dorothy said on April 6, 2023 at 1:43 pm

    I dunno, Dexter. If King Charles lives as long as his mother did, he’s got about 20 more years on the throne. William will be 41 this summer. In 20 years he’ll be 61, and yes his reign could be much longer, but one never knows. I plan to watch the coronation and it’s probable it will be the only one I ever get to see.

    The day William was born I was at a hospital in Pittsburgh visiting a friend who had just given birth to her first son the day before Will was born. And I had just found out I was pregnant with my daughter. That’s how I know how old Will is without looking it up.

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