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Celerity's Journal
Celerity's Journal
January 18, 2023

All the Ways Donald Trump Will Probably "Handle" Ron DeSantis in 2024

The ex-president threatened the Florida governor like a Mafia don threatening his enemies. Here’s how that will likely play out.


Is Ron DeSantis going to run for president in 2024? The Florida governor has not yet said but at this point, all signs very much point to yes. That would be generally unfortunate for the country, as a DeSantis presidency would be just as bad as a Donald Trump one in many ways, and specifically bad for Trump, as it’s very possible DeSantis could beat him, delivering the former guy’s second presidential-election loss in a row.

Trump clearly knows this, having shat several bricks following the midterms when Republicans and the conservative media alike all but dumped him for Governor Ron. He’s also had time to stew over it while hibernating in Mar-a-lago following the lackluster announcement of his 2024 candidacy. Speaking to The Water Cooler, a conservative podcast on Monday, he told host David Brody, of DeSantis, “So, you know, now I hear he might want to run against me. So we’ll handle that the way I handle things.”

Now, if you were an alien only recently dropped onto Planet Earth with zero knowledge about the 45th president, you might hear that line and think, “No biggie. He’s gonna handle it. Probably means he’s just going to outspend the other guy and make a compelling case to voters why he should be elected again.” Of course, if you’ve spent any amount of time on Earth whatsoever, you know that when Donald Trump says he’s going to “handle” something “the way I handle things,” you know that that’s absolutely a threat. And while Trump’s language—like that of a Mafia boss—is purposely vague, having observed him for many years, we have a few ideas of what he means when he says he’s going to “handle” DeSantis in 2024.

They include:


The bread and butter of Trump’s arsenal, the ex-president has already begun deploying his patented name-calling tactics against his would-be rival, dubbing him “Ron DeSanctimonious” at a campaign rally just before the midterms last November. While we don’t know what other names the ex-president will have in store for the governor, we do know that he loves to take shots at his opponents’ heights, and would bet good money that we’ll hear a “Little Ron” before the election cycle is over. The names, as indicated by the aforementioned, also tend to be very juvenile, so “Rotten Ron” has definitely got to be in the cards.


January 18, 2023

AI Is Not the New Crypto

The torrent of investor money that flowed into crypto is now hitting the AI scene. We’re already seeing the results.



Recent breakthroughs in generative AI, such as the image generator DALL-E and the large language model ChatGPT, are “potentially akin to the release of the iPhone in 2007, or to the invention of the desktop computer,” Derek Thompson told me in December. Here are the latest AI developments to watch in the coming weeks and months.

Hype Machines

Investors are pouring money into AI.

Last year, investors put at least $1.37 billion into generative-AI companies across 78 deals—almost as much as they invested in the previous five years combined, according to the market-data company Pitchbook. Microsoft, in particular, has taken a big leap: Since 2019, the company has invested $3 billion in OpenAI, which designed DALL-E and ChatGPT, and it’s reportedly in talks to invest another $10 billion. Microsoft purchased an exclusive license to some of OpenAI’s technology, and it’s working with OpenAI on a new version of its search engine, Bing, that would incorporate a ChatGPT-like tool.

Schools are concerned about academic integrity.

How will these tools change our lives? As Derek told me recently: “We don’t know. The architects of those technologies barely know. But it’s so interesting to play with, and the technology is improving so quickly, that we should absolutely take it seriously, as if it’s something that can’t be avoided.” Some universities are modifying their courses to minimize the risk of students handing in essays generated by an AI tool. And they’ll likely have to deal with even more capable tools soon—OpenAI reportedly plans to release GPT-4, which would be better than the current versions at generating text. Meanwhile, a 22-year-old computer-science student has built an app to identify whether a piece of text was written by a bot.

It may be time to worry about deepfakes—again.

You might remember that term from back in 2018, when media outlets and misinformation experts panicked about a rise of fake, realistic-looking videos. (In a famous example that BuzzFeed engineered, Barack Obama appeared to say “President Trump is a total and complete dipshit.”) While that panic remained just that—a panic—advances in generative AI “have experts concerned that a deepfake apocalypse” is on the horizon, our assistant editor Matteo Wong reported last month. As AI-generated media get more advanced, these experts argue, in the next few years the internet will be flooded with forged videos and audio touting false information.

January 17, 2023

The 4 Types of Independents

From what I can tell from existing research, awaiting a deeper dive and more data, there are essentially 4 categories or types of independent voters:

1. “We need more moderates”

2. Populist-left

3. Populist-right

4. Deeply disaffected and disengaged


Gallup is out with new time series data showing that the percentage of self-identified independents remains at a historically high level with 41 percent of Americans calling themselves independent in 2022—far above the less than 3 in 10 Americans, respectively, who identify as either a Democrat or a Republican. Forced to choose, independents still break equally between the two parties thus producing a near even split in party identification in the United States: 45 percent Republican/Lean Republican and 44 percent Democrat/Lean Democrat.

As TLP has argued before, political scientists and party strategists too readily write off independents as closet partisans when in fact these Americas are a diverse group worthy of much more serious consideration. Pretending that independent voters will always get with the program by hating one side more than the other—or by grudgingly accepting the party line established by a small pool of party elites and diehards—is a recipe for unpopular parties and bad politics. This flippant attitude towards independents goes a long way in explaining why the party brands of both Democrats and Republicans are so dismal in the eyes of many voters, and why the two parties in Congress receive such poor favorability numbers.

Democrats and Republicans tend to treat independent Americans like a bunch of schlubs who can be bossed around by party loyalists and forced to toe a line that is not of their choosing every election. But if the parties approached independents with more respect and curiosity, they might learn something important about how citizens process complex public policy issues and then shape their party platforms and priorities accordingly.

For such a large group of voters, little is concretely known about independents in terms of their precise make-up, views, basic values, and sometimes quirky and ideologically malleable policy preferences. Based on available studies, one thing seems clear though: Independents do not constitute a uniform or coherent bloc of voters. The concept that a single independent party could represent this 40 percent chunk of voters—even if such a party were viable in electoral terms—seems off the mark. We’ll explore each of these groups in a series of posts starting with the largest group: the “We need more moderates”.

January 17, 2023

New York Law Journal Op-ed: Yes, Justice Hector LaSalle Really Is Conservative



When Gov. Kathy Hochul nominated Appellate Division, Second Department Presiding Justice Hector LaSalle to be the next chief judge of New York’s courts, 149 organizations sounded the alarm that LaSalle would ensure a continuation of previous Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s 4-3 conservative majority. Forty-six law professors were alarmed by his opinions on reproductive rights, unions, and criminal justice. Fourteen state senators publicly declared that they would oppose LaSalle’s nomination, casting his confirmation into question.

Since then, there has been a steady hum of op-eds and letters here in the Law Journal raising the possibility that perhaps LaSalle is not quite so bad. Perhaps all these voices were hasty—in fact, if you look closely at LaSalle’s record, does it really show such conservative tendencies? The answer is yes.

Despite the outcry that progressive groups “cherry-picked” cases, the coalition opposing LaSalle has cited a large number of disturbing cases. A recent analysis of his votes in criminal cases puts LaSalle in the most conservative 25% of Second Department justices. Another recent news analysis showed that he sided with the Court of Appeals’ conservative bloc in eight of his previous nine decisions.

In all his thousands of criminal cases, he has never once dissented on behalf of a criminal defendant. In a telling case, DiFiore personally vouched LaSalle onto the court so that he could break a tie in favor of that conservative majority. White v. Cuomo, 2022 NY Slip Op 01954; see also U.S. Bank N.A. v. DLJ Mtge. Capital, 2022 NY Slip Op 01866 (where DiFiore vouched in LaSalle, who voted with the conservative majority, but where his vote was not necessary to break a tie).


The New York Law Journal, founded in 1888, is a legal periodical covering the legal profession in New York.

January 17, 2023

Richest 1% of people in UK now wealthier than 70% of population combined

“Governments must introduce higher taxes on the super-rich now", Oxfam GB chief executive Danny Sriskandarajah said.


The richest 1 per cent of people in the UK are now wealthier than 70 per cent of the population combined, according to analysis by Oxfam. A report by the charity highlights how the 685,500 richest people in Britain are worth a total of £2.8 trillion, compared with 48 million people in the UK whose combined wealth totals £2.4 trillion. Oxfam’s report, called Survival of the Richest, builds a picture of widening worldwide inequality, after extreme poverty and extreme wealth increased simultaneously over the past two years for the first time in quarter of a century.

“New wealth”

Throughout 2021 and 2022, the richest 1 per cent accrued nearly twice as much “new wealth” – revenue created in the global economy – as the rest of the world combined, Oxfam has said. According to the report, this elite group pocketed £21 trillion in new wealth over the last two years, which equates to almost two-thirds of all new revenue. This comes after both the number and wealth of billionaires doubled over the last decade.

At the same time, at least 1.7 billion workers now live in countries where inflation is outpacing wages, and more than 820 million people – roughly one in 10 people on Earth – do not have enough food. Oxfam is calling for a wealth tax of up to 5 per cent on the super-rich to raise £1.4 trillion each year, which the charity argues is enough to lift two billion people out of poverty.

“An affront to basic human values”

Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam GB chief executive, criticised governments for failing to tackle the issue of financial inequality, describing the current economic situation as “an affront to basic human values”. He said: “Multiple crises have pushed millions to the brink while our leaders fail to grasp the nettle – governments must stop acting for the vested interests of the few. “How can we accept a system where the poorest people in many countries pay much higher tax rates than the super-rich?


January 13, 2023

Supreme Court Reportedly Eyeing 'Small Number of Suspects' in Roe v. Wade Leak


The hunt for the person who leaked a draft of the Supreme Court opinion that overturned Roe v. Wade is still dragging on, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. However, investigators have narrowed the focus to “a small number of suspects including law clerks,” WSJ reported Friday.

All of the three dozen-or-so clerks who were working for the court’s nine justices last May, when the draft was leaked to Politico, have been ordered to sit for interviews and hand over their cellphones, prompting some to seek legal advice. The interviews have been short and superficial, WSJ reported, with blunt questions like, “Did you do it?”

The Supreme Court’s marshal, former lawyer Gail Curley, is leading the investigation but the court’s in-house police force are more versed in providing security than conducting complex investigations. Curley has reportedly sought assistance from outside government investigators but the source of the leak continues to evade them.

Read it at The Wall Street Journal
January 13, 2023

Trump's Shortlist of VP Picks All Have One Thing in Common

Donald Trump’s campaign has pretty much been asleep since he announced. But that isn’t stopping him or his confidants from gaming out a vice-presidential pick.


Donald Trump’s third bid for the presidency has thus far been uncharacteristically sleepy, but confidants are hoping that floating names for a hypothetical running mate can awaken Trump and snap his campaign out of its slumber.

While the former president’s campaign has yet to make many hires in early primary states—or even leave the state of Florida to do any actual campaigning—Trump and his inner circle have been tossing around names for an entirely premature veepstakes, according to two sources that have spoken to Trump as well as a GOP strategist familiar with the conversations.

And the one common thread among Trump’s imagined running mates? They’re all women. So far, Trumpworld has been bandying about the names of Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), along with a third contender who has already begun to rankle corners of Trumpworld: Tulsi Gabbard.

The Fox News contributor and former Democratic congresswoman has caught Trump’s eye in her appearances on the network, according to the Trump confidant, mainly when she filled in for top-rated host Tucker Carlson. While the Gabbard chatter has all the hallmarks of a Trumpian trial balloon and immediately befuddled some of the MAGA faithful, it’s less of a surprise for longtime Tulsi supporters.

January 12, 2023

Swedish miners discover Europe's largest deposit of rare earth metals

Europe's largest deposit of rare earth metals has been found in the far north of Sweden, a find that could aid the production of electric cars.


Swedish mining company LKAB said the newly-explored deposit, found right next to an iron ore mine, contained more than one million tonnes of rare earth oxides.

“This is the largest known deposit of rare earth elements in our part of the world, and it could become a significant building block for producing the critical raw materials that are absolutely crucial to enable the green transition,” LKAB’s chief executive Jan Moström said in a statement.

“We face a supply problem. Without mines, there can be no electric vehicles,” Moström added. The full extent of the deposit has not been established yet. Moström said it would likely “take several years to investigate the deposit and the conditions for profitably and sustainably mining it.”

Asked when the deposit could actually be mined, Moström said at a press conference it would largely depend on how quickly permits could be secured. But based on experience it would likely be “10 to 15 years”, he said. The find was presented as a delegation from the European Commission visited Sweden, which took over the rotating EU presidency at the start of the year.

January 12, 2023

Wisconsin Republicans look to undo 'conversion therapy' ban


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Republicans planned to vote Thursday to again allow therapists, social workers and counselors to try to change their LGBTQ clients’ gender identities and sexual orientations, a practice known as conversion therapy.

A ban on conversion therapy was passed in 2020 by a state board within the Democratic governor’s administration overseeing licensing for mental health professionals. But a committee in the Republican-controlled Legislature temporarily blocked it then and was poised to do so again Thursday.

LGBTQ rights advocates have decried the scientifically discredited practice of trying to “convert” LGBTQ people to heterosexuality and traditional gender expectations as harmful, citing research suggesting the practice can increase the risk of suicide and depression.

At least 20 states and the District of Columbia have outlawed conversion therapy for minors, according to the Movement Advancement Project, a pro-LGBTQ rights think tank. Wisconsin is not one of them.


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