It’s A Wrap

Last one of the year, people. And what a year it’s been; but hey, let’s not get into that now. To help us put a bow on 2020, we asked our official election law analyst, John Yoo to stop by to delve into the latest suits filed and what options are left (hie National Review piece published earlier this week worth reading before you listen to his segment). Then, we wanted to end things on a happy note, so we asked our podcasting colleague Arthur Brooks, host of Ricochet’s Art of Happiness podcast to help us reset our attitudes and psyches for 2021. We also asked to give some TLC to a certain misanthropic member of this crew. Did it work? Only time will tell. Finally, we do some spelunking of bad Christmas tunes (and some good ones, too) courtesy of Lileks Post of The Week winner @cliffordbrown. Also, are people with grad degrees doctors? What say you?

Thanks for sticking with us through a turbulent and yes, often contentious year. We very much appreciate the listens and your feedback. We wish everyone a happy and healthy Christmas break and we’ll see you back here on January 8th.

Music from this week’s show: Baby It’s Cold Outside by Ella Fitzgerald (feat. Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five)

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  1. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Your video teaser:

    • #1
  2. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    No surprise, John Yoo assumed his interpretations were correct and didn’t even really consider alternatives.

    • #2
  3. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Re: James, I’d much prefer to have times – the economy, etc – really BE good, while being told that it’s awful; rather than be TOLD that things are great, when they’re really not.

    • #3
  4. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Re: James, I’d much prefer to have times – the economy, etc – really BE good, while being told that it’s awful; rather than be TOLD that things are great, when they’re really not.

    I agree. I think we’ll have both now. Unless, in a year, we have the <eyeroll>  Trump Recession.

    • #4
  5. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Re: James, I’d much prefer to have times – the economy, etc – really BE good, while being told that it’s awful; rather than be TOLD that things are great, when they’re really not.

    I agree. I think we’ll have both now. Unless, in a year, we have the <eyeroll> Trump Recession.

    It may not take more than a few months.

    But, that sure won’t surprise me.  Several of the people who lived around me in Phoenix (SO glad to be out of there, and not just because I have 4,500 sq ft now instead of 1,000 plus a storage unit a mile away!) were absolutely certain that the great employment numbers etc over the past 4 years, were really “leftover Obama.”

    • #5
  6. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    If the Texas lawsuit was so clearly frivolous then it should have easily gone down 9-0. The fact that Alito and Thomas dissented means either:

    a) as a matter of law there is a Constitutionally valid argument that justice Yoo doesn’t understand

    or

    b) Thomas and Alito must now be counted as kooky ignoramuses like the rest of us. You can’t have it both ways.

    • #6
  7. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    If the Texas lawsuit was so clearly frivolous then it should have easily gone down 9-0. The fact that Alito and Thomas dissented means either:

    a) as a matter of law there is a Constitutionality valid argument that justice Yoo doesn’t understand

    or

    b) Thomas and Alito must now be counted as kooky ignoramuses like the rest of us. You can’t have it both ways.

    That’s part of it.  But I think Yoo’s biggest… error?… was his seeming to assert (without real evidence) that courts have actually been weighing the evidence in these cases.  As far as I’ve heard/read, they have been perhaps 100% ignoring the underlying evidence and simply coming up with justifications to dismiss for “standing”  or whatever.

    And/or they’re deciding in advance that the idea of “overturning the election” means the case/evidence can’t even be considered because that would be “too drastic.”  I mean, really, wtf?  If the election is shown to be seriously/fatally flawed/compromised, what else is the remedy supposed to be?

    For that part, at least, it seems to me that they might be deliberately avoiding the responsibility of considering the evidence, and that it might lead to the feared conclusion.  Because to THEN refuse any remedy would REALLY show cowardice.  But if they refuse to even consider the evidence, they don’t look quite as bad.

    • #7
  8. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Just heard the “swingin'” version of I’ll Be Home For Christmas, by Tony Bennett.  Way to miss the point…

    • #8
  9. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    If the Texas lawsuit was so clearly frivolous then it should have easily gone down 9-0. The fact that Alito and Thomas dissented means either:

    a) as a matter of law there is a Constitutionality valid argument that justice Yoo doesn’t understand

    or

    b) Thomas and Alito must now be counted as kooky ignoramuses like the rest of us. You can’t have it both ways.

    I would like to hear Yoo and Mark Levin go at it over the Texas lawsuit. Levin has not been shy about expressing absolute contempt for John Roberts and most of the rest. Notable exceptions are Alito and Thomas. 

    • #9
  10. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Django (View Comment):
    I would like to hear Yoo and Mark Levin go at it over the Texas lawsuit.

    Plenty of members would love thay too, but not our leadership, I suspect.

    • #10
  11. Blue Yeti Admin
    Blue Yeti
    @BlueYeti

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):
    I would like to hear Yoo and Mark Levin go at it over the Texas lawsuit.

    Plenty of members would love that too, but not our leadership, I suspect.

    We’d be happy to host/podcast/Zoom this. 

    • #11
  12. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):
    I would like to hear Yoo and Mark Levin go at it over the Texas lawsuit.

    Plenty of members would love that too, but not our leadership, I suspect.

    We’d be happy to host/podcast/Zoom this.

    Keep us posted. 

    • #12
  13. SParker Member
    SParker
    @SParker

    Louis Jordan was a saxophonist, vocalist, composer, band leader.  He tended towards R&B, Jump Blues, and precursor Rock and Roll.  This is probably his best known hit (although for some reason I have “Open the Door, Richard” deeply embedded in my aural memory).  I present it for another reason: Once long ago I had a black and white hallucination–I’d tell you how but it’s an area of psycho-chemistry best left unexplored–and if I ever have another one I want it to be just like this:

     

    As much as I love Ella and Louis Jordan, though, the Ray Charles/Betty Carter version is even better (and this scientifically-derived fact cum God’s Eternal Truth is indisputable).  (I believe the Bing Crosby/James Stewart version would be the most interesting, but I’ve never actually heard it.  I am not currently hallucinating.  There is one.)

     

    Actually, though no asked, Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite and a big hit of ginger, cinnamon,  nutmeg, and cloves will get your Christmas head straight.

    • #13
  14. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    This is an example of a sentimental purely pop song that I quite like. I like it because it has the Christmas fluff along with war and death. Oddly, it reminds me how the story of Christ begins with Herod killing babies and the eventual betray torture and death of the world’s only innocent man. The hope of Christmas appears more meaningful and beautiful in a time of suffering and death. That’s why Mr. Lileks so loves the line, “I’ll be home for Christmas. If only in my dreams.” Our soldiers in Germany wanted to remember Christmas while being shot at by the modern day incarnations of Herod and his soldiers. 

    • #14
  15. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I find John Yoo very persuasive. The part where he’s making fun of the accounting controls in the election are critical. Nobody talks about that enough. It’s a joke.

    My request going forward is for a guest that is into the Facebook ballot harvesting scam. Parts of this are clearly illegal and the rest of it is un-American. Mark Levin talked about this for 40 minutes in the first hour last night. 

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/12/18/report-mark-zuckerbergs-419-million-non-profit-contributions-improperly-influenced-2020-presidential-election/ 

     

     

    • #15
  16. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    SParker (View Comment):
    (I believe the Bing Crosby/James Stewart version would be the most interesting, but I’ve never actually heard it. I am not currently hallucinating. There is one.)

    I have that version on a bing crosby Christmas cd I bought ten or twenty years ago. It’s pretty short, not the whole song. But it’s good. I think it’s cribbed off of a tv or radio show.

     

    Edit:  Just checked – 45 seconds.

    • #16
  17. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Miffed White Male: I think it’s cribbed off of a tv or radio show.

    That was from the December 14, 1949 broadcast of The Bing Crosby Show for Chesterfield. It marked a return to CBS where Bing started his broadcasting career. 

    • #17
  18. Wolfsheim Member
    Wolfsheim
    @Wolfsheim

    I have sometimes joked that I got a Ph.D. so that I might, without being accused of sour grapes, make fun of those who insist on being addressed as “Doctor”… I am now also “professor emeritus” to boot—which allows me to make fun of the entire “emeritus” system…

    Even when I was an undergraduate back in the Stone Age, we addressed our instructors with neither “Doctor” nor “Professor”—and that was, as Peter Robinson clearly implies, because it was assumed that at our (prestigious) institution, most everyone was “credentialed.”

    I am very much with Rob Long about titles. My brother the doctor (a physician) refers to himself as such only to identify himself as someone qualified to see patients. It’s not so different from: “Good evening. I’m Percival. I’ll be your waiter for this evening.” (Well, except that he doesn’t get the same fat tip.)

    • #18
  19. Wolfsheim Member
    Wolfsheim
    @Wolfsheim

    Christmas, as scoffers are fond of saying, as though they had just made an original discovery, has always been a mixture of the sacred and the profane, the celebration of the Incarnation, along with kitsch—“Jingle Bells” and the fat man in the red suit.

    I confess that I am not at all fond of secular American Christmas “songs.” And pop singers even manage to ruin the beautiful old English carols as well. (Fortunately, they do not know the old German and French carols, and so leave them alone.)

    It’s often argued that the “Christmas blues” stem from nostalgic memories (or false memories) of childhood. There may be something to that, but I think there’s something deeper. For Christians, Christmas ought to be a reminder that the Incarnation is about the Divine entering a fallen world: “He came down from heaven, who is God and Lord of all.” Christmas fills us (or should fill us) with a sense of wonder—and, at the same time, longing, easily mistaken for melancholy. “And our eyes at last shall see Him, through His own redeeming love.” That is what Christmas is really all about, and if that sometimes fills us with (realistic) sadness, that’s all for the good.

     

     

    • #19
  20. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):
    I would like to hear Yoo and Mark Levin go at it over the Texas lawsuit.

    Plenty of members would love that too, but not our leadership, I suspect.

    We’d be happy to host/podcast/Zoom this.

    I doubt Levin would take my phone calls and yesterday was his last radio broadcast of the year. He’d probably want the debate on his TV show anyway, but I’d like to see how two presumably competent lawyers can come to such different conclusions. 

    • #20
  21. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    This should be very good. Dershowitz also has some very intelligent observations about improving election controls. 

     

     

     

    • #21
  22. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    I find John Yoo very persuasive. The part where he’s making fun of the accounting controls in the election are critical. Nobody talks about that enough. It’s a joke.

    In a way, anyone who has a perspective on a subject can be very persuasive if you don’t hear from a different perspective.

    • #22
  23. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Wolfsheim (View Comment):
    It’s often argued that the “Christmas blues” stem from nostalgic memories (or false memories) of childhood. There may be something to that, but I think there’s something deeper.

    More likely it’s something like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651

    • #23
  24. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    kedavis (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    I find John Yoo very persuasive. The part where he’s making fun of the accounting controls in the election are critical. Nobody talks about that enough. It’s a joke.

    In a way, anyone who has a perspective on a subject can be very persuasive if you don’t hear from a different perspective.

    I’ve heard the other side plenty.

    • #24
  25. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    I find John Yoo very persuasive. The part where he’s making fun of the accounting controls in the election are critical. Nobody talks about that enough. It’s a joke.

    In a way, anyone who has a perspective on a subject can be very persuasive if you don’t hear from a different perspective.

    I’ve heard the other side plenty.

    But if they’re not arguing it out at the same time, whoever you’re listening to at the moment can seem more persuasive just because of that.

    And if you’ve heard A’s argument, and then B comes along and disputes what you’ve already heard so now you believe B, that ignores that A hasn’t had a chance to rebut what B just told you.

    That isn’t necessarily what ALWAYS happens, but it CAN.

    • #25
  26. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    If the Texas lawsuit was so clearly frivolous then it should have easily gone down 9-0. The fact that Alito and Thomas dissented means either:

    a) as a matter of law there is a Constitutionality valid argument that justice Yoo doesn’t understand

    or

    b) Thomas and Alito must now be counted as kooky ignoramuses like the rest of us. You can’t have it both ways.

    That’s part of it. But I think Yoo’s biggest… error?… was his seeming to assert (without real evidence) that courts have actually been weighing the evidence in these cases. As far as I’ve heard/read, they have been perhaps 100% ignoring the underlying evidence and simply coming up with justifications to dismiss for “standing” or whatever.

    And/or they’re deciding in advance that the idea of “overturning the election” means the case/evidence can’t even be considered because that would be “too drastic.” I mean, really, wtf? If the election is shown to be seriously/fatally flawed/compromised, what else is the remedy supposed to be?

    For that part, at least, it seems to me that they might be deliberately avoiding the responsibility of considering the evidence, and that it might lead to the feared conclusion. Because to THEN refuse any remedy would REALLY show cowardice. But if they refuse to even consider the evidence, they don’t look quite as bad.

    This is, I suspect, the proverbial case of asking the plastic surgeon about epidemiology.

    Prof. Yoo is simply not an expert in this area of the law.

    For example, he says that 2004 was the last time electoral votes were challenged in Congress.

    Just a couple of days ago I heard Byron York, in his Ricochet podcast, read a passage from his new book, Obsession, in which one Democratic Congressman after another raises objections during the counting of the electoral vote in January 2017, quashed each time because they failed to have the backing of at least one Senator, as required by law.

    On an earlier occasion, Yoo had pooh-poohed claims of voter fraud in inner-city Democratic districts because the State government was Republican.

    • #26
  27. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Taras (View Comment):

    For example, he says that 2004 was the last time electoral votes were challenged in Congress.

    Just a couple of days ago I heard Byron York, in his Ricochet podcast, read a passage from his new book, Obsession, in which one Democratic Congressman after another raises objections during the counting of the electoral vote in January 2017, quashed each time because they failed to have the backing of at least one Senator, as required by law.

    If I were Yoo (see what I did there?) it would be easy for me to counter that the electoral votes were not actually “challenged” in 2017 because a “challenge” requires a Representative AND a Senator.  Since no senator ever agreed, there were not really any “challenges” in 2017.

    But I still think he’s wrong in several aspects of this situation.

    • #27
  28. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Django: I’d like to see how two presumably competent lawyers can come to such different conclusions. 

    The world is full of 5-4 decisions and competing dissents.

    • #28
  29. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Django: I’d like to see how two presumably competent lawyers can come to such different conclusions.

    The world is full of 5-4 decisions and competing dissents.

    That happens a lot at the SCOTUS and we all know why. 

    It’s different when two lawyers such as Yoo and Levin disagree. I’ve heard Levin’s side, hard though it can be to listen to him sometimes. Levin stressed some clause in Article II and his opponents seem to stress Article III. I haven’t followed this in detail, but would like to see them discuss the “weighting” of the points of view. 

    • #29
  30. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Django (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Django: I’d like to see how two presumably competent lawyers can come to such different conclusions.

    The world is full of 5-4 decisions and competing dissents.

    That happens a lot at the SCOTUS and we all know why.

    It’s different when two lawyers such as Yoo and Levin disagree. I’ve heard Levin’s side, hard though it can be to listen to him sometimes. Levin stressed some clause in Article II and his opponents seem to stress Article III. I haven’t followed this in detail, but would like to see them discuss the “weighting” of the points of view.

    Many lawyers especially seem to assume that Article I is the most important part of the Constitution, and then Article II less so, and then Article III less yet.  And I can see some rationale for that: it apparently was created by the Founders in some sense in order of importance.  Which would mean that an Article II argument carries more weight than an Article III argument.

    • #30