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Greg Abbott: Scrooge
Plus, the Southwest Airlines saga cripples the skies.
Best of The Bulwark in 2022:
CHARLIE SYKES: Get Ready for the Right's Bonfire of Vengeance
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Editor’s note: We’re going to be a little slower paced than usual going into New Year’s… As you know, there won’t be a TNB this week, but we’ll still be publishing as news breaks! Take it easy out there in the last days of 2022.
MONA CHAREN: Greg Abbott: Scrooge.
On Christmas Eve in Washington, D.C. the temperature plunged to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, the coldest on record. In our neighborhood, people were exchanging hints on the Nextdoor app about opening taps to drip (it prevents pipes from freezing) and avoiding black ice on roads. Some were admonishing their neighbors for leaving dogs outside too long. “It’s friggin’ 15 degrees!”
And yet, the governor of Texas nonetheless decided to dump another 130 men, women, and children—some wearing just t-shirts—on the doorstep of Vice President Kamala Harris’s official residence. Three buses arrived between 8 and 10 p.m., and, thanks to the work of Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, the dazed and confused migrants were offered blankets and conveyed to local churches. Several restaurants donated food. So the immigrants were okay. But without that intervention, we must assume that the bus drivers were under instructions to leave them there, in a residential neighborhood, on a frigid night, wearing only light clothing, not speaking the language, and having no idea where they were.
Tucker Carlson regularly borrows conspiracy theories from the racist right, and counsels his viewers that immigrants, nonwhites, and non-Christians are trying to destroy them and everything they love. Meanwhile, his show brings in more advertising revenue than any other Fox News program. The New York Times’ Nick Confessore, who watched more than 1,100 hours of Tucker’s show, joined Charlie Sykes for this encore episode, originally released in May.
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ADDISON DEL MASTRO: Should We Be More Skeptical of the ‘Digital Future’ After the COVID Experience?
The Future Is Analog is a quirky and fascinating book. Really, it’s two books. The first is a sequel of sorts to one of David Sax’s earlier books, The Revenge of Analog (2016), which featured, among other things, a visit to a record-pressing plant (vinyl records, that is). The second is a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic as a society-wide experiment in replacing real life with digital facsimiles: school, work, church, entertainment.
The “analog” in the title, which in the earlier book nodded to the curious phenomenon of people rediscovering obsolete but wonderfully tactile technology, has been expanded here to simply mean “not digital.” Real-life conversation becomes “analog conversation”; what we used to call “school” becomes “analog schooling.” On the one hand, Sax applies a unique framing to analyzing why living life in-person matters; on the other hand, his “analog” analogy is so broad as to lose some of that analytical insight. “Analog” here is not an aesthetic, but a set of values, an approach to life.
Ft. Myers, Florida—I am a Southwest Airlines Refugee today. I have it better than most, I know. Nearly 70% of SWA’s flights were cancelled yesterday, today, more than 60 percent are. It will take days for the Texas-based airline, perhaps my favorite, to recover. Probably 90% of my time in the air over the years has been with them.
Most airlines, like American, which I am about to fly in a “retro livery” jet painted like a PSA Grinning Bird, use a hub and spoke system. Southwest is a little different. And, as we saw earlier this year, when Southwest fails, they succeed at failing better than any other airline, because their staff are all throughout the country, not at hubs, and their staffing system is antiquated and was overwhelmed. Staff have to have FAA-mandated rest, book hotels, and without a system that can guarantee that it took place… well… It’s gonna be a while… (Here’s a wild thread on SWA’s problems.)
Yesterday morning at 5:30, my wife got a text notifying us our flight to Reagan was cancelled. We rebooked on American and didn’t get through to request a refund. Southwest rebooked us for Thursday and notified us of this. This morning around 4, SWA texted us to tell us that flight was cancelled. No matter. We’ll get a refund, eventually, and the feds are looking into matters, too.
A sibling of mine was flying SWA to BWI and saw two cancellations on Monday, ultimately resulting in them renting a Toyota Corolla, kids and all, driving straight home to the D.C. area through the middle of the night. The other made it home to Ohio, only to have a pipe burst earlier today.
We had t-shirts made for our family vacation. Perhaps those who survived the second SWA Meltdown of 2022 should make t-shirts, too. Hoping our readers weren’t terribly impacted, but I suspect some of you were, or still are. Send me your good stories and your horror stories from the end of 2022.
Seems as though we’re all a little unlucky this time of year. Bah humbug! But, despite these first world inconveniences, most of us are extremely lucky, something to reflect on.
Here’s a story… That will warm your heart as winter storm Elliott disappears…
Back in 2014… John McCain called it.
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