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What Kim Jong-Un Wants

What does Kim Jong-Un want from this week's summit from President Trump? More than anything else, he wants what he has always wanted, like his father and grandfather before him: to split the U.S. off from its allies South Korea and Japan. The worst part is, he is already getting what he wants.

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Zero-Sum Trump and the Chumps

I used to be close to a pair of senior citizens who'd retired from long, prosperous careers as bookies. And after a while I began to realize that, although they were both still extremely sharp, they were not especially good with money. They weren't catastrophes. They didn't go broke with bad investments. They just never did as well as they should have, almost never got the full value from a deal. They had both done very well in an illegal business, but they seemed weirdly unable to make an honest buck.

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Don Corleone's Guide to Attorney-Client Privilege

So the President of the United States is very concerned, and very confused, about attorney-client privilege. Let me try to explain, using the example of Tom Hagen from The Godfather. Why The Godfather? Two reasons. First, I want to. Second, I have a terrible suspicion that some of Trump's misunderstanding comes from watching the Godfather movies. (He does love TV.) Trump reportedly believes any meeting that has a lawyer in the room is protected by attorney-client privilege, and oh my sweet God is that not true.

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Partial List of Hope Hicks's White House Duties

White lies
Little fibs
Harmless prevarications
Genteel fictions
Telling the truth mainly, but stretchin' it some
Artful misdirection
Poetic license
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The Deputy Who Didn't Shoot

People, including the President of the United States, are heaping scorn and shame on the Broward County Deputy who was assigned to protect Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, but who did not go into the building to confront the Parkland shooter. He has lost his job. He will probably never live this down, and may never get over his guilt. I don't particularly admire him, but we should not pretend for a second that he is the reason that lives were lost. I might hope and wish he'd gone into that building, but his behavior was completely normal.

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For Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin was my hero. Urusla K. Le Guin is my hero still. She is gone from this world, and only her words are left to us. Those words are marvels.

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The Art of No Deal

As everyone has already noticed, a president who boasts about his deal-making skills, author of The Art of the Deal, has been unable to strike a deal to keep his own government funded. Worse, he actually blew up a deal in the making, and now negotiations from the White House side seem to have all but stopped. This is because the word "deal" doesn't mean what Donald Trump thinks it means. He doesn't want a deal. He wants a "win," which he defines as the other side losing. And that makes deal-making impossible.

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Your Public Domain Report for 2018

Hey gang! It's time for Public Domain Day again, where we list all of the music, film, books, and other pieces of art leaving copyright today. And here's that list again, just like last year:

Nothing. Nothing at all.

Happy New Year.

Although the Framers of the Constitution only gave Congress power to grant copyrights and patents "for a limited time," repeated extensions have made sure that nothing has entered the public domain in the United States since January 1, 1979. Today makes nearly forty years since that happened.

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Never Trust an Action Hero: Star Wars' Lost Politics

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has hit the cineplex and begun raking in the customary astronomical profits. But the film has some angry detractors among hard-core Star Wars fans (a minority, I think, but a loud one) who complain bitterly that The Last Jedi is unfaithful to the Star Wars tradition. I'm not going to talk about the new movie here, and I'm going to do my best to delete discussion of it in comments (no spoilers!) for at least the next week. But I'd like to talk about the old Star Wars movies, the originals and the prequels, and the ambiguity that George Lucas tried, but failed, to give them.

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The New York Times Wants You to Know How Normal Everyone Is Here at the Applebee's

Here in bucolic Fairfield, California, amidst rolling vineyards and struggling big-box stores, unassuming souls like Norman Bates go largely unremarked. While most Americans would instinctively recoil from his habit of brutal murder and the uses to which he puts his victims’ bodies, here in Middle America he is Norman Next Door, a soft-spoken young man whose manners nearly any mother would applaud, working to keep open a family motel that serves both as symptom and as symbol of the economic anxieties roiling the heartland. Norman has heard murmurs advocating radical change, from Wal-Mart’s gun aisle to the local church’s pork-and-beans supper, and seems guardedly optimistic. Perhaps it will become easier for him to date. “Most girls don’t want to hear about being violently stabbed to death and having selected portions of their remains repurposed,” he says, browsing the knives at the dollar store. Now, he feels, things may be about to go his way.

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TypeTitleAuthorRepliesLast updated
Blog entryYes, You Can Still Watch Woody Allen Movies and Ignore Nick Kristof Michael Maiello2686 days 9 hours ago
Blog entryWhat Kim Jong-Un Wants Doctor Cleveland56 days 20 hours ago
Blog entryZero-Sum Trump and the Chumps Doctor Cleveland71 week 2 days ago
Blog entryIt's Fine To Destroy Wells Fargo Michael Maiello61 month 4 weeks ago
Blog entryDon Corleone's Guide to Attorney-Client Privilege Doctor Cleveland112 months 6 days ago
Blog entryThe Deputy Who Didn't Shoot Doctor Cleveland482 months 3 weeks ago
Blog entryLife Goes On, So Should We Danny Cardwell452 months 4 weeks ago
Blog entryPersonal Best: Roger Bannister laps in at 88 PeraclesPlease13 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryPartial List of Hope Hicks's White House Duties Doctor Cleveland93 months 2 weeks ago
Reader blogOnly Once, Why Women Don’t Tell tmccarthy0184 months 11 hours ago
Blog entryThoughts On Education Danny Cardwell44 months 11 hours ago
Blog entryThe Art of No Deal Doctor Cleveland174 months 3 weeks ago
Blog entryFor Le Guin Doctor Cleveland74 months 3 weeks ago
Reader blogOprah for President? HSG325 months 1 week ago
Blog entryNever Trust an Action Hero: Star Wars' Lost Politics Doctor Cleveland575 months 1 week ago
Blog entryYour Public Domain Report for 2018 Doctor Cleveland195 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryCharlottesville, Salem Witch Trials and Historic Monuments Danny Cardwell125 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryYour New Year Public Domain Report: 2012 Doctor Cleveland46 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryThe New York Times Wants You to Know How Normal Everyone Is Here at the Applebee's Doctor Cleveland176 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryPrayer for Atheists & the Culture Wars PeraclesPlease137 months 3 weeks ago
Blog entryWhat Is Praying? Doctor Cleveland148 months 1 week ago
Blog entryHef & the Culture Wars PeraclesPlease258 months 2 weeks ago
Reader blogFor the Friends of Stratofrog librewolf258 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entrySome People Are Not Duelable Doctor Cleveland258 months 3 weeks ago
Blog entryHarassing the Professor Doctor Cleveland219 months 6 days ago

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