Is This a New Low for Trump?

I Admit To Not Keeping Track

Gotta be close to a new low, though, right?

Have voters slapped themselves in the face, awakening to the fact that they're supporting this slimeball? According to the bettors… nope:

Candidate EBO Win
Donald Trump 51.0% +1.4%
Joe Biden 31.0% -4.9%
Michelle Obama 7.1% +1.1%
Gavin Newsom 4.0% ---
Other 6.9% -1.6%

Digging around on the EBO site shows (unsurprisingly) a sharp drop of Biden's victory odds on Thursday. Concurrent with the reappearance of Gavin Newsom, and a healthy odds bump for Michelle Obama.

And Donald Trump continues to be the oddsmakers' favorite. I suppose there's no toxicity he could emit that would change that.

Also of note:

  • It wuz the AI that done it. Bloomberg describes How Investigators Solved the Biden Deepfake Robocall Mystery.

    When New Hampshire authorities set about tracking down the origin of a bogus, AI-enabled phone call purporting to be from President Joe Biden, they turned to a company that has long-predicted the rise of audio deepfakes for help.

    Nomorobo, part of New York-based Telephone Science Corp., is a service that automatically blocks robocalls and unwanted tests. It monitors 350,000 mobile phone numbers to catch robocalls, in addition to more than a million regular phone numbers they’re commercially contracted to monitor in order to protect against scams, according to founder Aaron Foss. The company is hired to offer such protection.

    It logged 41 samples of the fake Biden calls and used that to extrapolate that somewhere between 5,000 and 25,000 phony Biden calls had been made.

    An interesting aside, for those who've been wondering whether this was really "AI", or just a talented impersonator:

    My colleague Margi Murphy reported the message was made using technology from AI startup ElevenLabs, which has already suspended the creator. New Hampshire officials say they are still investigating. ElevenLabs has declined to comment.

    Actually, they suspended the creator's account. It's one of those sites where you can log in and play with their tools.

    Reason magazine has been doing this (non-nefariously) for a while: their Best of Reason Magazine podcast features articles "read" "using AI trained on the voice of Katherine Mangu-Ward". And, yes, it sounds like her!

  • When he's not crapping on military service, he's just bullshitting. Glenn Kessler notes the latest excrement: Trump claims low unemployment numbers under Biden aren’t ‘real’. It's something he's been doing since his first run in 2016, but in the runup to the NH Primary:

    “We had the best unemployment rates ever. And they were real unemployment, not like you have today where nobody’s working and they consider it to be. It’s a whole different thing. Too complicated to explain, but it’s a whole different thing. You don’t have to know about it.”


    Trump has no basis to suggest that the unemployment numbers are being cooked. The career professionals at the BLS are collecting the data the same way they did before he was president, when he was president and after he was president.

    But now that views on the economy have shifted toward a more positive note, Trump is cynically suggesting the numbers can’t be trusted. It was ever thus.

    Verdict: Four Pinocchios.

    All is not peachy with the economy; see Peter Suderman's Reason article The Bankruptcy of Bidenomics for more on that. I'd like to say that Trump should stick to such fact-based criticism, but… you know if he did that, Trump would not be Trump.

  • It's crazy, but it just might work. Andrew C. McCarthy has Advice for Joe Biden: Pardon Donald Trump on the Classified Documents.

    Special counsel Robert Hur’s report on Joe Biden’s misadventures with classified intelligence is flawed — at least if it is meant as a justification for not indicting the president; if it is meant as a predicate for invoking the 25th Amendment, it is quite well done.

    The political caterwauling by Democrats against the special counsel is a misfire, as I argue in a column on the homepage. For now, I want to address the incoherence of what passes for the explanation of why Biden has not been indicted for mishandling national-defense information, even as former President Donald Trump faces dozens of such felony charges.

    Specifically, I have a proposal that would help Biden politically (at a time when he needs it) while curing, at least in this instance, the scandal of disparate treatment in the Democrats’ unabashedly self-serving, two-tiered justice system: President Biden should pardon former President Trump on the Florida federal indictment’s 32 charges of illegally hoarding intelligence, narrowing the case against him to the eight counts of obstruction.

    Not that it matters, but Pun Salad has been blogging about the 25th Amendment applied to President Dotard since before he became President.

Recently on the book blog:

The Murder of Mr. Wickham

(paid link)

It is a truth universally acknowledged (yes, even the Klingons agree) that a book appearing on the WSJ list of the best mysteries of 2022 may not be all readers' cup of tea. That's the case here.

Nevertheless, I set myself a reading project to consume all the books on that list, so it's really on me.

The book is set in 1820-ish England. The main characters are from Jane Austen novels. There's Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (and also the titular victim, Mr. Wickham), from Pride and Prejudice; Emma and George Knightley, also Frank Churchill, from Emma; Marianne and Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility; Anne and Frederick Wentworth from Persuasion; and Fanny and Edmund Bertram from Mansfield Park. One of the primary characters here, Juliet Tilney, is the 17-year-old offspring of Catherine Tilney (nee Morland) from Northanger Abbey.

Reader, I strongly suggest you read all those novels before you read this. I had read zero of them.

Although I did watch a couple of movies, long ago… But to show you how confused I was, I "pictured" Elizabeth Darcy as Emma Thompson and Mr. Darcy has Hugh Grant. Who (now I see) were in a different Austen-based movie, Pride and Prejudice, and they didn't even get hitched in that movie.

The author, Claudia Gray, adopts (as near as I can tell) an Austen-like style throughout the book. Everyone is obsessed with appearances, etiquette, manners, propriety. Except Mr. Wickham. He turns out here to be an utter scoundrel, a blackmailer, a mountebank, a cad!

The setting is a house party at Donwell Abbey, the Knightly estate; all the principals are invited. But also showing up is Wickham, who soon meets his fate. One of the guests seems to be the perp, but who?

On the case are young Juliet and the son of Elizabeth and the elder Mr. Darcy, Jonathan. They are concerned that justice might not be done, because Frank Churchill, who's the local law, seems to be kind of willing to pin the crime on a vagabond or servant.

Eventually, the truth is revealed.

Goodreads readers: the site encourages you to rate books based on your personal reaction, so don't take my mediocre rating too seriously.