A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 178

William Jennings Bryan, farmer advocate, anti-imperialist, and three-time Democratic nominee for president.

Wednesday, December 9

Historians will have a hard time explaining the Era of Trump. After all, he’s hardly William Jennings Bryan, able to hold a crowd spellbound with soaring rhetoric that addresses the crowd’s grievances. Hell, he’s a far cry from even being Huey Long.

So how did Trump, a New York City playboy and real estate swindler, win the fervent backing of so many rural and Midwestern working-class voters?  At this point, it only matters because there are sure to be many would-be Trumps vying to pull off the same act in the future.

Just ask MAGA crowd members why they like Trump, and you’ll hear something to the effect of: He tells it like it is. 

But in the face of so many Trump lies (20,000, according to a Washington Post tally), misrepresentations, and bits of disinformation, who could actually believe that? Only people who choose to avert their eyes from reality. Only people for whom things other than absolute accuracy are what really matters. Maybe people subjected to decades of talk-radio conspiracy-mongering.

[Ted Cruz’s father really was involved in the Kennedy assassination, you know.]

It seems like the phenomenon calls more than ever for psycho-historians.

For my part, I think Trump’s popularity boils down to three or four matters: his unvarying pissed-off attitude, his considerable notoriety thanks to his TV shows, and the clear disapproval of educated, somewhat privileged people. 

He is the victim-in-chief, addressing the legions of those who feel they’ve been swindled in the big three-card-monte game of life.

“We’re all victims,” he recently told the crowd at a Georgia rally. Everybody there should wallow in their victimization—with special emphasis on Trump’s loss of the RIGGED election.

Then he adds a side order of racism and sexism—something the white masses know they shouldn’t approve of but they secretly do. 

That friend who used to laugh at something racist that the likes of Andrew Dice Clay might say, or maybe a grotesquely vulgar comment about women— such a person might think: well, I could never say such things out loud…but you know, it’s true!

Get a half-dozen such people together and you’re on your way toward a MAGA rally.

To be honest, one strand of American comedy has contributed as well. Think about how, over the decades, comedians from Lenny Bruce to George Carlin to Chris Rock have pushed the boundaries about what may be said in public and laughed at. As a result, the very definition of what is vulgar or taboo has shifted. The American public, which once blushed at the mere mention of brassieres, divorce, or toilet paper, has been desensitized.

So when Trump mocks a disabled news reporter or says something profane about women…well it’s crude but, hey, he’s got a point….

Dinner: grilled eggplant with tomato sauce and parmesan, and a fresh mozzarella and tomatoes salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

Entertainment: Another episode of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix.

A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 177

The workers’ pal.

Monday, December 7

The global pandemic seems to have triggered an openness to workplace change among employers. 

The New Zealand company that imports and distributes Lipton Tea and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream  has just announced that it is moving to a four-day work week, with no change in pay, for its regular employees.

Meanwhile, of course, a large number of companies are allowing, even encouraging, employees to work from home (thereby saving money on office rent). And in a move that not everyone regards as positive, Uber and its allies recently won a California state referendum that encourages the spread of “gig employment,” under which workers have the freedom to come and go as free-lancers—but also employers have few responsibilities toward said workers.

Unilever New Zealand’s move toward a four-day workweek has prompted many to ask: Why didn’t this happen sooner? After all, Vice-President Richard Nixon predicted a move to such a shorter workweek back in 1956. 

Inertia and bosses’ natural resistance to any kind of pro-worker reform are always at work, of course. Even though Henry Ford’s auto-plant workers had enjoyed an eight-hour day and 40-hour workweek since 1926, it took years for the U.S. to adopt such standards more broadly—the twelve-hour day was standard in much of heavy industry into the 1930s. The Fair Labor Standards Act, signed into law in 1938, set a ceiling on hours at 44 per week, then 40 per week two years later.

And different industries have different limitations. In the steel industry, which in America entered into its prime around the turn of the 20th century, plants ran flat-out, 24 hours a day. Twelve-hour work days meant hiring only two shifts per day; a switch to eight-hour days would mean three shifts, increasing labor costs by 50%. In contrast, lots of “knowledge work” can be and is done anytime, anywhere. The idea for rum raisin ice cream could have arisen while some employee was having his evening dessert pudding.

Moreover, Unilever has a lengthy history with what has been termed welfare capitalism. The New Zealand unit is a descendant of the British company, Lever Brothers, which was one of several companies to create model company towns in the 19th century. Port Sunlight, as the Lever town in Merseyside was called, housed a company soap works and a model village for workers, featuring pretty cottages, an art gallery, a hospital, schools, a concert hall, a swimming pool, and churches. William Lever, who became the Viscount Leverhulme, said his goal was to “socialize and Christianise business relations.” The better environment, he thought, would mean happier and more productive workers. Port Sunlight was an inspiration for other model company towns, including Hershey, Pennsylvania and Pullman, Illinois.

Also among those calling for a four-day workweek is former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Companies that adopt such hours will, he says, draw the best talent, just as Henry Ford did in the 1920s. 

Dinner: Avgolemono soup and a lettuce and avocado salad.

Entertainment: the final episode from season two of the Swedish version of Wallander on Kanopy, plus an episode of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix.

A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 176

Saturday, December 5

Do you shy away from film documentaries? Does the current and possibly most dangerous COVID-19 surge have you wanting escapism?

Well, I know what you mean, and if there were more episodes of The Crown left for me to see, I’d undoubtedly join the queue for them. 

Still there are several new documentaries that have hit my list, including two on legendary musicians, Zappa and Billie.

And there’s one slightly older release that’s well-worth viewing: the Ric Burns bio-doc of neurologist/writer Oliver Sacks, author of such popular books as Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

If you’ve read some of Sacks’s work you may feel that you already know him pretty well. The Burns documentary, Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, could change your mind about that and maybe make you wonder if everyone’s life choices are little more than a series of accidents.

Sacks grew up in the Golders Green area of London, one of four sons born to a husband-wife pairing of doctors. So it seems as though his decision to become a doctor was foreordained. On top of that, one of his brothers was schizophrenic. The mystery of that malady probably inclined Oliver toward neurology.

But when his mother asked him why he had no girlfriends—and he revealed that he preferred males to females, the resulting parental explosion became another turning point in his life. Having graduated from med school at Queens College, Oxford and performed an internship in London, he moved to the United States for further internship in San Francisco and further study at UCLA.

In California, Sacks demonstrated his penchant for becoming, in the words of one of the film’s commentators, “a world-class fuck-up.” He continued his medical practice but devoted much more of his energy to weight-lifting, motorcycle riding, and to in his own words “staggering bouts of pharmacological experimentation”—mostly with amphetamines. 

After moving to New York and beginning to change his ways, he turned to writing. His first book, Migrane, was not a success—and, given its departure from the conventional academic style, it drew disapproval from his colleagues. Then during one hiking vacation in Norway, he fell from a cliff and severely injured his left leg. He decided to write about that experience and his recovery in a work called A Leg to Stand On. However, that writing effort became a huge stumbling block, taking him years to complete. 

Meanwhile, he continued to work as a neurologist at Beth Abraham Hospital’s chronic-care facility in the Bronx. The case notes that he kept of patients there became the source of another book—and provided the key to his engrossing and highly successful writing formula. 

He began working with a group of survivors of the 1920s sleeping sickness encephalitis lethargica. These were people who were catatonic and who had been institutionalized for decades. His treatment of them with the drug L-DOPA seemed to offer relief: Some of them became able to move on their own, to communicate verbally, and enjoy music. The case notes from this experience served as the basis of a 1973 book Awakenings. And that book, in turn, provided a template for other books to come.

There’s much more on Sacks in the documentary, but for me this much was plenty. Sacks, perhaps like most of us, lived through a period of aimlessness and, to give it a positive spin, of experimentation. Then he found his gift. Some said this use of case notes to write books was exploiting his patients: Memorably, one reviewer said that Sacks was “the man who mistook his patients for a literary career.” But to me, the books are profound and humanizing demonstrations of the strangeness and surprising nature of the human mind. Rather than exhibiting his patients in “a highbrow freak show,” as another critic called it, the works invite us to consider each person’s individuality and the possibility of overcoming the most debilitating woes. Nor does the author shrink from the notion that some phenomena—autism, for instance—can be both fascinating and just flat-out mysterious.

Dinner: cornbread tamale pie and a green salad.

Entertainment: More episodes from season two of the Swedish version of Wallander on Kanopy, plus As Time Goes By season 5.

A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 175

Monday, November 30

I hate shopping.

I always have. I particularly hated going shopping for clothes with my mother. 

I’ll just wait in the car.

The universe of online shopping and delivery has opened a new world of angst for me. There’s always some bit of fine print waiting to snare you. And there’s a bit of a game involved, especially on eBay. Maybe something has a low price—supplemented, you’ll discover, by a large shipping price, and you sense that the seller is simply making money on the shipping. Then there are the auctions and bidding—things that Emily is good at, but which for me seem calculated to trigger buyer’s remorse. 

I’m risk-averse and prefer to see what I am buying. Will those apples be bruised? Will those size 36 jeans fit like the last size 36? (No, you fool.) No two clothing makers seem to use the same tape measures. Will that electric toothbrush really survive the shipment and work all right? (No.)

Many in today’s shopping public seem to think little of acquiring something, then quickly returning it. But for me, that just adds another layer of hassle. You gotta repack the dingus, make out a shipping label, then go to the post office or someplace to send it. Better to have never bought anything at all.

Recently while washing my french press coffee maker, I tipped it over in the sink and smashed it. Damn: I’d only had it for 40 years!

So I looked for a new one on eBay, and after lots of deep reading of fine print, comparisons of apples and oranges, I bought one—a Bodum. It was advertised as holding four cups. 

Then it arrived. It was tiny, holding only two cups, I found out. Well, I thought, it’s sort of cute so maybe I’ll keep it. But what if an occasion arises when I need to make coffee for company? (We should only be so lucky as to ever have social gatherings again.)

How dare they misrepresent the device’s size? Closer inspection of all Bodum devices shows that—by American standards—they are all misrepresented. “Eight cup” machines actually make only four cups. Bodum is a Danish company with headquarters in Switzerland (!). So perhaps “cup” to them always means a demitasse. 

In French movies, I’ve seen tough guys like Belmondo or Lino Ventura go into a bar and get a coffee—and, true enough, it always seems to be a tiny little thing. 

Here in the Land of the Free, we want a Mug of Java. A Jolt of Joe. Not a thimble, SVP.

So, I complained to the eBay vendor, and they were perfectly nice about taking the product back. They even emailed me a pre-paid label for the return.

Problem No. 2. We don’t have a computer printer here, so I had to find a place to print out the label.

This is turning into a shaggy pup of a story. All I mean to say is: I hate shopping. 

Dinner: A pearl barley and mushrooms casserole, Brussels sprouts, and a green salad.

Entertainment: More episodes of the Swedish version of Wallander on Kanopy, plus As Time Goes By season 5.

A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 174

Wednesday, November 25

In comparison with the parade-of-nonentities Trump cabinet, the partially announced Biden cabinet reminds me of JFK’s crowd: the best and the brightest. 

But which is actually better for the American public? A group of air-headed, self-dealing jerks like Jared Kushner and Steven Mnuchin? Or a group of knowledgeable, perhaps too self-assured Ivy Leaguers like Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken and possible Pentagon chief Michèle A. Flournoy? It was, after all, a similarly impressive JFK team—including Defense chief Robert McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk—that got us into the Vietnam War with its 2.5 million dead.

Sometimes, there’s something to be said for ignorance and incompetence.

The Biden crowd, with the likes of John Kerry, is likely to be better for the environment than the Trumpists with their strip-mine mindset. Alejandro Mayorkas will bring a needed Latino perspective to the Department of Homeland Security.

But back to the foreign-affairs team: Flournoy, it must be said, seems to enjoy war. She favored the George W. Bush-brainstormed invasion of Iraq, U.S. military intervention in Libya, a doubling of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and a military buildup in the South China Sea meant to put the fear into China. Avril Haines, who will become director of national intelligence, helped shape the Obama administration’s program of targeted assassinations.

Honestly, where do the Democrats find these war-loving women?

Dinner: pre-Thanksgiving lentil soup and a salad.

Entertainment: Episodes from the Swedish Wallander series on Kanopy, plus Season 4 episodes of As Time Goes By.

A Journal of the Plague Year–chapter 173

American Express, the champion of mom-and-pop stores, offers a reminder.

Sunday, November 22

Two memories: When I first came to live in New York City, my boss described how he’d gone looking to match this very old and odd wallpaper from his house. And of course, he’d found it somewhere. “You can get anything in New York,” he’d said. I suspect that he’d found the wallpaper in one of the dozens of quirky small shops that then existed in the city. 

Then, in the early 2000s, I was visiting Chicago, where I attended the book industry’s annual convention, BookExpo. Leaving to go back to NYC, I took a shuttle bus to the airport and got into conversation with others. Talking about Chicago with a flight attendant, she said that she longed for the days, not so very long past, when every city she went to had different retail shops and individualized cultures. “Now, they’re all pretty much the same,” she said. The same clothing stores, the same chain hotels, even many of the same restaurants. 

My New York City neighborhood around Union Square has certainly been homogenized for many years now. Back in the 1980s, a lot of old and very quirky New York could be found in the area. But for some years, the real estate there has been dominated by many of the same stores that you’d find in a mall or shopping strip anywhere. Staples, Nordstrom, Best Buy,  Citi and Chase banks, Wells Fargo, DSW, Starbucks, Panera Bread, Dunkin’, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Barnes & Noble.

Will the pandemic’s shutdown only make the consolidation in retail and banking more intense, as the few remaining small and independent stores bite the dust? Or, is it possible that a combination of factors could lead to a revival of the small and quirky enterprises?

Time was, independent bookstores saw the big-box guys like Barnes & Noble and Borders as threatening to drive them out of business. Then came amazon.com. Now Borders is a distant memory, and  Barnes & Noble almost seems to be in some other, non-bookselling business. 

The online and home-delivering retailers, aided by COVID-19, seem to be on their way to driving big-box stores and retail chains out of business. But it could be a long time before any entities emerge that are able to absorb all the vacant NYC storefront space. But maybe, just maybe, once the pandemic passes there could be a renaissance of small enterprises, some initially as short-term, pop-up outlets. A lot depends upon whether big real estate sees fit to drop the rents. And they may not—Wall Street, which has securitized a lot of real estate, may not let rents fall lest the underlying value of the buildings be affected. A few years, maybe decades, must elapse before we’ll know the answer.

I’ve just received an e-mail from American Express (that champion of mom-and-pop enterprises) urging me to “shop small” during the holiday season. There’s a map attachment that lets you search a zip code to find a bunch of such small businesses. But when I enter 10003, the East Village zip code, a lot of what appears are restaurants. And that is certainly one of the most-endangered business sectors around—are they even allowed to be open? One day yes, the next day, no. 

Dinner: Latin American picadillo, rice, and a green salad.

Entertainment: more episodes of Netflix’ The Crown and more As Time Goes By.

A Journal of the Plague Year–chapter 172

A conspiracy so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man.

Friday, November 20

What is paranoia? In his classic and now much-referenced 1964 article “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” historian Richard Hofstadter defines paranoia as “a chronic mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions of persecution and of one’s own greatness.”

Hofstadter makes it clear that he is not a psychologist and is analyzing only a paranoid style. He finds this phenomenon to have existed in various historical periods among a variety of figures, including 18th century worriers over the activities of the Bavarian Illuminati, a precursor of the fraternity known as the Masons. Primarily, of course, Hofstadter is focused on the activities and writings of the mid-20th-century wacko political right wing in the United States. In the essay, he details some of the proclamations of infamous Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy and John Birch Society head Robert Welch.

McCarthy, of course, won notoriety for discovering Reds Under the Beds of key U.S. institutions such as the State Department and the Army. He accused Secretaries of State George C. Marshall and Dean Acheson of participating in a Red “conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man.” Welch proclaimed that “Communist influences are now in almost complete control of our federal government.” Former Supreme Allied Commander and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was, to Welch, “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.”

Setting aside the particular subjects of McCarthy and Welch’s broadsides, the hyperbole, urgency, and delusions are all reminiscent of Trump and his cronies. In his proclamations, Trump wins elections and all other challenges by almost unfathomable margins. Allies and appointees he supports are uniformly, unbelievably marvelous.

But Hofstadter discovers one key difference with the Trumpist proclamations. The mid-20th-century right-wingers were assiduous quoters of sources and wielders of footnotes. Trump never offers any support for his over-the-top claims; it’s as if a Trump assertion alone should be sufficient. And for many Trump rank-and-filers, it seems to be enough.

The pre-Goldwater right wing were no more prone to accuracy than Trump. They simply saw the need to mimic academic and legalistic forms. Thus, Hofstadter notes “the very fantastic character of its conclusions leads to heroic strivings for ‘evidence’ to prove that the unbelievable is the only thing that can be believed.” (Hofstadter’s prose is itself so heroic that the temptation to quote him is overwhelming.) So it is that a 96-page pamphlet by McCarthy contains 313 footnote references, while Welch’s assault on Eisenhower has a hundred pages of bibliography and notes.

Trump and his surrogates, meanwhile, offer only “evidence-free” (in the Times’ phrasing) outbursts about questionable vote-processing in Nevada, purportedly suspicious mail ballots in Pennsylvania, and alleged votes by dead people in Michigan. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has pressured Georgia election officials to throw out absentee ballots since, he says, they were likely phonies. Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani has asserted that Detroit voting was “a fraud, an absolute fraud.”

Again, there is no evidence for any of these claims, and whenever they have come before courts, judges have not hesitated to disregard them. Yet, a poll released on Wednesday by Monmouth University found that 44 percent of Americans think the election smells—they say we do not have enough information about the vote count to know who won. Nearly one-third of the public believes Biden won only because of voter fraud.

How can Americans be so gullible? Or maybe the right word is….paranoid. 

Dinner: a frittata with shallots, red bell pepper, and Dubliner cheese, along with braised potatoes and a green salad.

Entertainment: More episodes of Netflix’ The Crown.

A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 171

The former Horseman Antiques on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, November 17

Recently, Emily has decided that she must have a dresser or chest of drawers in order to store her clothes more handily. (In general thanks to the lockdown, our house has become more of a furnished residence and less of a make-do, weekend getaway.) She has found a couple of such chests for sale on eBay, but they are located far away—in Florida or somewhere—and sellers do little to facilitate shipping. We might arrange for such a piece to come here on a moving van that’s loaded primarily with someone else’s stuff. But even that would be likely to cost $200 or so, and the furniture we’re seeing isn’t free—even when the seller drops the price a bunch to entice Emily.

So I woke with a thought: What about that old strip of antique stores in Brooklyn that we often went to back in the ‘90s? Does it still exist?

It seems not. A 2008 article in a small Brooklyn publication describes a guy we bought stuff from on more than one occasion: “Norman Benjamin, the owner of Boerum Hill Restoration, says his store and others are closing or have closed because of shifting consumer tastes and the ‘upscaling’ of the neighborhood. ‘Twenty years ago, every address on the block was an antique store,’ says Benjamin, who opened his store in 1979 and will continue to operate a restoration business out of the back of 375 Atlantic. ‘There were easily 30 of them.’ Benjamin notes that most of the stores carried Victorian or turn-of-the-century antiques, which he believes have fallen out of favor with many consumers who now look for mid-century pieces.”

And that article appeared a dozen years ago! A 2018 article updated the sad decline of that antique-store strip. The 18,000 square foot Horseman Antiques closed after 53 years, selling its Atlantic Avenue location for $18 million, the article says.

Apparently the industrial-antiques City Foundry still existed in 2018, as did the curio-oriented Holler & Squall. But much of the commercial space along Atlantic had been taken over by trendy restaurants and clothing boutiques. Who knows what further damage the pandemic has wrought? Many of these spaces may simply be shuttered now, with their future unclear.

What happened to the vast inventory of desks, pianos, chairs, chests, and odds and ends that once filled such stores? Some may have gone upstate to shops in towns like Hudson or to Pennsylvania. Other stuff is probably just in cobwebby basements or Salvation Army outlets.

There are still a couple of antiques shoppes out on the East End, but their wares carry steep prices. Bridgehampton once sported a whole row of antiques stores, now all but vanished. There were a few more such places in Amagansett.

And the places that do still exist are open only a few hours a day on a couple of days each week. Don’t forget your mask.

Dinner: chicken paprikash, noodles, and a green salad.

Entertainment: Episode 3 of season 5 of The Crown, and more old episodes of As Time Goes By and All Creatures Great and Small

A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 170

Sunday, November 15

There’s a dense mat of leaves on the ground. A pelting rain followed by wind whips the stuff around, sounding like heavy surf. No birds sing at dawn, and none come to the recently restocked feeder.

Such strange times. As I and many others have pointed out, time seems to have slowed to a near standstill. Yet we are almost desperate for it to pass—specifically into mid-December, when the presidential electors meet and we get to learn whether Trump and his enablers will try to pull something outrageous to detonate the public will.

These are the relevant dates: Up until December 11, states will be certifying their election results. On December 14, each state’s electors convene, cast their votes for the presidency, and send those votes on to Congress. They must arrive by December 23.  Congress is sworn in on January 3, and on January 6 the two houses convene jointly to hear the electoral votes counted and certify a winner.

So far, the most dire imaginings of violence at the polls or in the halls of congress have not come to pass. But given the extreme statements of several GOP and Trump administration figures–and the menace of Proud Boys and other bozos on the streets–many people are waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

In the courts, most challenges to votes have seemed little more than fantasies or wishful thinking on the part of the challengers. But beginning this past Friday, the Georgia ballots are receiving a second look in the form of a hand count. They must finish by Wednesday, two days before the state’s certification deadline. If Biden’s lead proves to be under half a percentage point, a third count—or a formal recount—can be requested.

Will Republican legislatures in key states ignore the vote and choose Trump loyalists to be electors? Apparently not. According to the Times, “leaders of the Republican majorities in legislatures in key states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia” say they see no role for themselves in picking electors.

But Emily and I at least, and many others I suspect, won’t relax until Biden raises his hand and Justice John Roberts swears him in. And that should take place on January 20, 2021. 

Dinner: black beans and rice and a lettuce and avocado salad.

Entertainment: Season 4 of Netflix’ The Crown, plus episodes of To the Manor Born on Britbox. There’s never enough of the aristocracy it seems.

A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 169

An old tactic resurfaces.

Wednesday, November 11

Was Trump stabbed in the back? Did he actually win the election, only to have his victory stolen away by traitorous slime—including some turncoat Republican officeholders?

Let me ask you another question: Did Germany actually win World War I—only to have that triumph snatched away by a secretive cabal of Jews, anti-monarchist opponents of Kaiser Bill, and agents of the British Empire?

It’s pretty much the same scenario at work. Who can say just how deluded MAGA man might be—but he and his enablers sense that, whatever the outcome this time, they have in the past profited from proclamations of outraged victimhood—just as the Nazis profited in the aftermath of WWI.

Get ready for “fraud at the polls” and “stolen election” to become the bywords of GOP fanatics and Fox News commentators for years to come. Evidence? “We don’ need to show you no stinking badges!” A large number of Americans already feel victimized and are eager to shout from the rooftops a shared sense of outrage with the Big Orange man.

A Morning Consult survey conducted over the weekend found that seven out of 10 Republicans now doubt that the 2020 election was “free and fair.”

Prior to the election, 68 percent of GOP voters said they had at least some trust in the U.S. election system. Post-election, that dropped to 34 percent.

It’s not just the everyday wackos. In Georgia, the two Republican senators, both of whom face runoff elections shortly, have called for the resignation of the Republican secretary of state, who they imply presided over a corrupt election process.

Even more vociferous howling has taken place where the election officials happen to be Democrats. In Pennsylvania, the GOP leadership of the state legislature has called for the secretary of state, Kathy Boockvar, to resign. 

And in Wisconsin and Michigan, legislators are forming investigative committees and issuing subpoenas to search out “election irregularities.”

Trump himself seems focused on Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Recounts of ballots now cast won’t do much for the GOP. The former GOP Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, has pointed out that election recounts may differ from the first vote by no more than a few hundred votes—not the thousands needed by Trump to overturn the presidential election. 

So what? If Trump can’t get a reversal of the vote count, his peals of protest can probably win him a new slot on television or a megabucks book deal. Why not both? Ripped Off can command the No. 1 spot on the failing New York Times best-seller list and mega-sales at crooked Jeff Bezos’ amazon.com

Dinner: Avgolemono soup and a salad.

Entertainment: More of our marathon viewing of As Time Goes By on Britbox.