• pshinnok

BAPB No. 3: January 6 committee and less serious matters

Updated: Oct 21

Note: This version is edited Oct. 21, 2022 to show where I got football games right. Keep looking, you''ll find one.

For here and now, I'm reviving an occasional bout of verbal diarrhea branded BAPB (Bouncing Around Pauls' Brain) to take on a few things I've been thinking about or playing with. Here are No. 1 and #2 from a couple or more months ago if you want to check them out.


Five takeaways from Season 1 (and only?) of the January 6 Committee


  1. This is a convincing story and it seems to be a mostly true story, but it isn't the whole story. Congress rarely holds hearings to get a balanced view and this one is no exception. However, the work is impressive and it's been very well presented. What remains to be learned from those who didn't appear and what was edited out from those who did needs to see the light of day for any of us to make an informed judgement. But we have a process for that...

  2. This show's over. While the decision to subpoena President Donald Trump was a good plot twist and an important statement, it marks the end of the committee's work and the beginning of a new phase. If the committee believed they could continue after January, they would have delayed so as not to have an impact on upcoming elections. They must assume Republicans will be in charge in January and it's time to wrap things up.

  3. It's in the executive branch's hands now. Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department (and President Joe Biden) have to decide what to do next. The Trump subpeona likely would have been the last thing they'd have done in a criminal investigation before pressing charges. Now they'll have to pick up where the committee left off. I have no doubt that the full committee record gives them enough to charge Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and John Eastman with several very serious charges. They are probably already negotiating with Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and several others on at least partial immunity in exchange for testimony. Whether to subpoena Trump and when will be incredibly difficult decisions and likely the defining issue for the rest of Biden's term.

  4. Public servants can mostly be counted on to do the right thing, eventually. It's tricky to be loyal to your country, your colleagues, and your bosses and sometimes you have to pick one or two. Those who testified to the committee (nearly all under order to do so) ultimately picked country and in some cases colleagues. Most probably did so in the face of significant intimidation and some likely remain under threat. Without their testimony the story would not yet be out now, if ever.

  5. A real investigation is still needed. The original questions, why did this happen and how did we not see it coming? still need some serious investigation. I'm convinced that Trump anticipated it and encouraged it, but how did so many law enforcement agencies have intelligence about how bad it could be and not take serious actions to prepare? Congress has made important progress on understanding Trump's role and may still make the election reforms we need. But we really need to work right now on how to prepare for, prevent, and suppress the next attempted coup. I hope we don't need that this November, but we might well in a couple years.


College football picks


So many Excel spreadsheets in my brain! Been working on college football prediction/ranking tool and have it to where the hits are occasional and the misses aren't so embarrassing as to not be publishable. (Also, I have a delete key and might be willing to use it on this if things go horribly wrong).


On average for the year, we're correctly picking 70 percent of straight-up winners and 52 percent against the line (thus betting is not our major source of income yet).


Here's predictions for this week's Top 25 games, where Alabama could finally lose one, Michigan and USC move to the top of their leagues (which pains me in both cases!), and there's even less joy in Oklahoma, where both the Sooners and Cowboys should lose.


These are updated with results. Underlined choices were correct and italic ones less so. Overall, I count 65% correct in picking winners and 53% correct against the line.


Away

Home

Line

Winner pick

Pick against line

Vanderbilt

#1 Georgia

Georgia by 38

Georgia

Vandy

#3 Alabama

#6 Tennessee

'Bama by 7

Tenn

Tenn

#4 Clemson

Florida St.

Clem by 3.5

Clemson

Clemson

#5 Michigan

#10 Penn St.

Mich by 7

Mich

Mich

#7 USC

#20 Utah

Utah by 3.5

USC

USC

#8 Okla. St.

#13 TCU

TCU by 4

TCU

TCU

#9 Mississippi

Auburn

Miss by 14.5

Miss

Miss

#15 NC State

#18 Syracuse

Syr by 3.5

Syracuse

Syracuse

# 16 Miss. St.

#22 Kentucky

Miss St. by 4

Miss. St.

Push

Iowa State

#22 Texas

Texas by 16.5

Texas

Iowa State

#24 Illinois

Minnesota

Ill by 6.5

Illinois

Push

#25 Jas. Madison

Georgia Sou.

Madison by 12

Madison

Madison

And the rest of the Big 12 and Pac 12 games, which should cover most of my readers (I'll take requests if you're a raging VMI fan!). The Big 12 could still have 3 winless teams after Saturday and the Pac 12 should separate the mediocre (Cal and Oregon State) from the meh (Washington State) and the dismal (Colorado and Arizona).

Away

Home

Line

Winner pick

Pick against line

Baylor

West Va.

Baylor by 3.5

Baylor

Baylor

California

Colorado

Cal by 14.5

Cal

Cal

Arizona

Washington

Wash 14

Wash

Wash

Stanford

Notre Dame

ND by 17

Notre Dame

Stanford

Wash. State

Oregon St.

OSU by 3.5

OSU

OSU

If I spent hours watching college football on TV (I do; zero hours per week), the games that will probably be most fun will be Alabama-Tennessee, and Oklahoma State-TCU. The games I'd feel best about betting on would be Mississippi over Auburn, Tennessee over Alabama, and Cal and Washington (again, ugh!), to more than cover the spread.


Diversions

In music, my favorite recent release is "Expert in a Dying Field," the third album from the New Zealand band The Beths. This is some of the best pop-rock made in recent years. Smart lyrics about love gone wrong, great guitar work, pop song sensibilities, and killer harmonies. Reminiscent of Liz Phair and The Cranberries, among others but what I hear most is the gems from The Byrds and the middle period of The Beatles (in albums like "Beatles for Sale", "Help!", and "Rubber Soul"). Check out especially the title song and 2am.


I'm also trying to get a read on Alvvays' new record and will be spending lots of time with new releases by The 1975 and Taylor Swift.


In books I've been perusing Mark Twain's Autobiography. It's really not a biography but random thoughts he dictated in the last couple years of his life. So it rambles and veers off in too many directions, but a lot is sweet, like memories of his daughter who died in her 20s and readings from an autobiography of her dad that she wrote when very young. Like anything he wrote or spoke, you're never more than a handful of sentences that are brilliant, frustrated, and hilarious take on humans, Americans in particular.


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