Here’s the story behind the tweet.

Lee Drutman/Atlantic:


Pretending to be independent in a partisan system won’t improve America’s politics. But more parties might.

Sinema’s own words show the fallacy in her reasoning. “While Arizonans don’t all agree on the issues, we are united in our values of hard work, common sense, and independence,” she wrote in The Arizona Republic, announcing her newfound political identity. What is “united in … independence”? How do we agree on anything if we are all independent?


David Rothkopf/Daily Beast:

Biden’s Midterm Foreign Policy Report Card

There were surprising successes and dispiriting disappointments—but overall a transformative rejuvenation of America’s international standing.

The Clinton years saw the post-Cold War world with naïve hope and a focus on free markets that compounded inequality.

The George W. Bush years were shaped by 9/11, and came to stunningly misguided conclusions—from reordering U.S. national security policy to focus on the (grossly overstated) threat of terrorism, to launching a war of choice in Iraq that quickly proved to be a grotesque error, almost certainly the worst in modern U.S. foreign policy history.

Barack Obama offered hope and soaring rhetoric, but a presidency that was far too cautious in taking major steps on the international stage. And Trump was, of course, a disaster, undercutting the U.S.’ international standing, cozying up to enemies, and attacking our allies and alliances.

Then along came Joe Biden. 

He entered office with more foreign policy experience than any president in U.S. history and a strong international team. But he is Joe Biden. He is not a soaring speaker like Obama. He is not brash in the way that Dubya Bush or Dick Cheney were. He is not the made-for-TV president that Trump was. He is dull, older, kind of gray. It is tempting to say that many of his successes in his first two years have been due to the fact that he is easy to underestimate. (And he was underestimated, most notably by Vladimir Putin.)

But that would be selling him short. Because in two years, half a term, Biden has not only demonstrated the greatest foreign policy mastery of any U.S. president since George H.W. Bush, but has transcended his achievements by being the first president to create a post-Cold War foreign policy that meets the moment—one defined by a recognition of new priorities, threats, opportunities, and challenges.

The Verge:

Sherlock Holmes will finally escape copyright this weekend

The Holmes news specifically also marks the end of a tortured legal debate about how copyright law should treat the character. Several of Doyle’s earlier works were already in the public domain before 2019, but the author’s estate argued this shouldn’t loosen its hold. That led to multiple legal tangles over unauthorized new Sherlock Holmes stories, including a now-settled suit against Netflix for its spinoff Enola Holmes. Now, if you were considering a new interpretation of the world’s greatest detective, there’s never been a better time to do it. Just spare a thought for Canada while you do it — thanks to a law issued earlier this year, it’s about to start its own 20-year freeze. And get ready for one of the biggest copyright landmarks of all next year: the public domain debut of Mickey Mouse.

Charlie Warzel/Atlantic:

Elon Musk’s Text Messages Explain Everything

A disastrous year for the tech industry, captured for eternity in a billionaire’s private exchanges

Beyond the obvious tabloid intrigue, what’s most striking is how Musk’s texts shed light on two of 2022’s biggest tech meltdowns. If you came out of a lengthy coma in mid-December, puzzled by headlines about collapsing crypto exchanges and once-beloved entrepreneurs behaving like villains, you could read a copy of Exhibit H and understand everything with surprising clarity. The texts are, of course, a guide to the events that ultimately led Musk to purchase Twitter—a decision that has tanked his net worth, saddled his new asset with debt, and led to the quick erosion of his reputation as a savvy businessman. But also lurking in Musk’s inbox is Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the now-collapsed crypto exchange FTX, who was arrested in the Bahamas when federal prosecutors charged him with defrauding investors and customers.

Olivia Beavers/Politico:

Santos scandal crashes into McCarthy speakership battle

The GOP leader has stayed silent as the incoming Republican congressman has admitted to several lies about his background.

“At a minimum, it was a colossal lack of judgment that has now put the conference in a very difficult position,” retiring Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), who represented a similarly moderate district in the state, said of Santos.

“Do they defend someone they know has made several material misstatements about his background? Or do they cut him loose with a razor-thin majority?” Katko added, calling it a “no-win situation.”

House Republicans generally believe Santos’ future will become clearer once they have an official speaker. But right now, the Republican leader has five members threatening publicly to oppose his speakership bid on Jan. 3, which happens to be the same number required to block him from reaching the needed 218 votes. And the party is buckling in for potentially multiple votes, marking only the second time since the Civil War that the speakership race would go beyond a first ballot.

GOP leader? Yes. Speaker? We will see.

Timothy Snyder/Substack:

January 6: The Facts

A very concise summary of the Select Committee’s Final Report

What is described in palpable and convincing detail in the Final Report is indeed profoundly shocking: a planned and coordinated attempt by the president of the United States and his allies to carry out regime change in the United States of America on the basis of a Big Lie.

Here is my very brief summary of the factual part of the report, in fifteen quick points. I am deliberately understating here; the evidence, in the Final Report itself, permits much broader conclusions.



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