The Sunday Six
What I read this week and why
How is everyone’s weekend going? Thanks for spending a portion of it with the Six.
It seemed every time I turned on any prestige media channel or podcast this week, the ‘A’ block talking point was a version of this narrative:
President Biden is way too old to perform his duties as president
There’s no way he’ll run again in 2024
Congress should consider invoking the 25th Amendment
Basically, the usual hair-on-fire commentary.
I don’t disagree with pundits who say Biden has had a poor first 18 months in the White House. Check the record.
But what’s missing in all of the discourse is an understanding of what a President is actually responsible for.
No greater example of this than the recent failed-to-pass climate/energy/tax legislation (Joe Manchin an easy front runner for The Most Villainous Politician Award by the far left). As reminded, Congress passes laws, not the President.
When a bill doesn’t get enough votes, who’s at fault?
We can blame The Chief for an inability to build a coalition around an agenda. But it’s congressman that hold the power (the legislative branch) and when proposals fail to cross the finish line, they are ultimately responsible.
If we’ve learned anything over the past 28 months, it’s how looking to one person – or government, for that matter – to fix all of the country’s problems is misplaced.
That’s why November 2022 matters more than November 2024.
Let’s proceed with the Six.
As discussed in the intro, concerns over Biden makes for rare jockeying by incumbent party candidates for the next presidential election in ‘24. One potential candidate making the rounds is Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. This weekend, Pritzker is in Florida giving the keynote address to the Leadership Blue Gala hosted by Florida Dems in Tampa. With the involvement of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee in ‘24 (although I’d never count Trump out) and Pritzker, a Florida resident, this sets up for an intriguing pre-election battleground. “Florida is in dire need of a pro-choice, Democratic governor, and Governor Pritzker is proud to support the Florida Democratic Party in their efforts to flip the state blue,” said a campaign spokesperson to Politico.
What an opening paragraph to this thought-provoking, beautifully-written essay from The Paris Review: “About six months after our daughter was born, my husband calmly set the idea on the table, like a decorative gun. I said I’d think about it.” A fascinating look at what an open marriage looks like and the author takes an historical aside on the definition of “open” and how it can mean all sorts of different things, not just about different partners.
I’m huge consumer of coffee. Hot coffee. Never have ‘warmed’ up to Chilled Joe. But I’m a slow adopter (old dog, new tricks kind of thing) and way behind on the cold cafe trend – sales of cold brew coffee ordered at quick-serve restaurants was up 27 percent in the 12 months ending April 2022, hitting about 373 million servings. Cold coffee beverages in general were big in 2022, with frozen and slushy beverages up 3 percent and iced coffee up 11 percent, and chilly coffee making up 80 percent of Starbucks’ sales. The writer of this piece from QSR Magazine attributes some of it to the pandemic, as cold beverages tend to travel a little better than hot beverages, with cold beverage sales particularly robust in the afternoon. Maybe I’ll come around on the chilled stuff but I doubt it (I’ll indulge on a cold Mountain Dew first).
Are the days of human balls and strikes calls over? Support among fans for replacing Major League Baseball umpires with automated ball and strike calling systems in coming seasons is pretty high – with 48 percent of MLB fan respondents to a new poll at least somewhat supporting a full switch to a robotic strike zone in 2024, and just 32 percent at least somewhat opposed to the move. A slightly more gradual move, such as switching to a system where an automated system calls every pitch and tells the umpire what the pitch actually was in an earpiece, got pretty much equivalent support and opposition. This at least would transition umpires into a job as robot spokespersons rather than fully eliminating their positions.
In 1982, a film was released titled “Tron.” It didn’t do much at the box office, caught up in the “E.T” and “Poltergeist” wave, two hit movies that came out at about the same time. But “Tron” has since proven to be innovative in what its story foreshadowed – in cinema, in real life, and in virtual life. From this Guardian piece: “As a piece of entertainment, it is admittedly no classic, but thematically, “Tron” anticipates issues we are still grappling with today: artificial intelligence, digital identity, privacy, personal data, the dominance of big tech.”
We are in the middle of July. Pool party videos are flying all over social media channels. So why shouldn’t the animal population join in on all the fun? As this video shows, no monkey business…just straight up good times and livin’ that crazy, baboon life.
Thanks for reading everybody and enjoy the rest of your weekend.
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