The “Am I Normal?” Edition

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership. Enjoy.

S2: Hello and welcome to the Slate Political Gabfest for February 3rd, 2022, the Am I normal edition that a reference you get John or Emily. You were the only people in the world who would get that reference if you guys don’t get it. That’s a terrible title, huh? No, no, no. That was a sex ed. Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah. We watched when there was Am I normal? It was just

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S3: I remember that now that prompted but seared

S2: into my brain. I’m David Plotz of city cast. I’m here in Washington, D.C. Am I normal? Possibly. Emily Bazelon of the New York Times Magazine and Yale University Law School is in New Haven. Hello, Emily.

S3: Hello. Definitely not normal. I claim yourself or

S2: your John Dickerson of CBS Sunday Morning in New York City. I would say the level of normalcy. I’m the most normal Emily second and John is third,

S4: meaning that I’m not normal.

S2: But it doesn’t. We don’t present that. We don’t present that way.

S3: Wait, so John is the least normal, although presents the most.

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S4: I think that’s true.

S2: Yeah, yeah. John is like John has such dark. He’s not not dark. Does dark like deep. Not dark. I mean, deep, deep, deep and curving in fractal.

S3: Distinctive.

S2: Yeah. There’s just there’s just so many, so much depth there, whereas you and I Emily oh, shallow

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S3: pattering along on the surface of life.

S4: I don’t think that’s true at all. My my father in law recently had a family gathering. After I made what I think we’d be saying. It would be a typical remark that wasn’t exactly right down the middle of the road. Just said into the room that guy’s got a lot of weird ideas. And I think that was a that was, yeah. You think it was a nice kind of encapsulation of my 53 years.

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S2: This week, the debate over getting back to normal, we will be joined by Harvard Professor Joe Allen to talk about whether it’s possible or what it would mean. How to do it then. Did President Biden make a mistake by promising to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court and then what to make of the latest round of shockers involving Trump and Jan. six? The proposed pardons, the seizing voting machines, the admission that he was trying to overturn the election. Plus, of course, we’ll have cocktail chatter. We’re not going to talk about big news this morning, which is the apparent killing of the leader of ISIS by U.S. special forces in Syria just happened. We’re just learning about it. We don’t have enough details for us to get into this morning. But maybe, maybe if it’s still in the news next week, we will end up talking about it. There is a fascinating, frustrating debate on the left, or maybe just on the left Twitter about whether people on the left. Some named suspects are David Leonhardt, Emily Oster Animatic lazy as friends of the Gabfest are too cavalierly calling for a return to normal life in vaccinated and blue America. So we are joined today by Joe Allen, who’s an associate professor and director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard University’s School of Public Health. He is also on The Lancet Journal’s Covid 19 commission, where he chairs the Task Force on Safe Work, Safe School and safe travel. I would like all three of those things to be very safe all the time. And Joe is joining us today to talk about what it might mean to get back to normal. What is that? How would we even talk about that? And how do we measure that? And and is it time to talk about that? So, Joe, welcome to the Gabfest. First of all, I really liked your piece in The Washington Post this week where you talked about four variables to watch to help us decide how to get back to normal. I don’t even that phrase. We learned how to deal with that phrase. Yeah. What does that even mean to get back to normal? Is there a normal to get back to given how much the world has changed?

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S5: Well, so first, thanks for having me on and to talk about this. It’s been unnecessarily contentious, a lot of these debates, and I think it’s understandable that people feel differently about where we are in the pandemic, when to loosen controls, when to put them back. We’ve been white knuckling for two years. Understandably, some people are ready to let go if they’ve been vaccinated. Boosted feel comfortable. Others are holding on tight. That’s totally understandable to your point about, you know, what’s normal. We’re never going back to quote unquote normal or 2019, right? The pandemics, like other disasters, fundamentally change societies, and we can actually use that to propel us to a better normal than we had. But the same time, to think we’re not all fundamentally altered, I think, would be a mistake. And so my article this week was just about how do we know what data sources do we use for decision making? So we know when it’s OK to pull back from controls and when we might have to re-up them because we can’t stay in red alert. You can have the public stay on red alert for two years. It’s not going to happen. Actually, we saw the failure right now. We’ve stayed on red alert too long. Too many people are saying I’m done with this. Their frustration is understandable, but we can use data actually to inform decision making. That’s really what my article is about this week.

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S2: Can you quickly just tell us the four factors that you said we should look at because I thought they were really interesting?

S5: Yeah, sure. I think it’s for under-utilized metrics. The first is the wastewater data. This is the data that we just sample from the water. Look, you know, we shed this virus when we go to the bathroom, it’s in our stool. So it’s a great, unbiased metric doesn’t come with all the problems that rapid tests do. They’re not being recorded. You take a test at home. It’s not picked up in the in the formal system. So wastewater is number one we should be using. It’s a great tool, too. We should be looking at health care capacity. This is important, particularly for governors and mayors that are managing, you know, these large societal collapse type problems through a pandemic and rightly managing that. So how much capacity do we have or are we about to overrun? Do we need to start putting in measures like pulling back on elective surgeries or in the worst case, like we just saw its overcrowding in some places, bringing in the National Guard three an important measure that’s been overlooked, I think, is this question of are you and the hospital due to COVID? You’re sick with Covid and it put you there and that’s what you’re being treated for. Or did you show up at the hospital for something else because of routine screening? They detect it. That’s important in Boston, where I am. We just started reporting this in Massachusetts. About 50 percent of cases are quote unquote incidental. People are not there due to Covid and the fourth measures, one that I’ve been harping on for a really long time, and that’s using risk based analysis in our decision making. So the two biggest determinants of risk are vaccination status and age. Yet look at our policies. We barely incorporate that into decision making that most strict controls right now are on kids that have the lowest risk. And so it’s understandable you have, what, 200 million plus people vaccinated, some fraction that boosted that. They’re going to want to have some controls relax. And quite honestly, they’re protected. That’s really understandable while we try to manage, you know, public health more broadly. So that’s really the four. I don’t think we’ve used enough of them wastewater hospitalization and capacity, incidental first being hospitalized due to Covid and the last one is risk based decision making around vaccination status and age.

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S3: Q. Can you talk a little bit about air circulation in buildings? I mean, this is obviously your forte. And as a Twitter follow of yours, I’ve watched you talk about this for a really long time. One thing about this element of Covid risk is that it feels out of one’s control, right? Like you walk into a building, you don’t know how well the air is circulating. And I think there’s especially been concern in public buildings like schools that may be older. How expensive, how hard is it? And also are these benefits that are going to help more broadly? Like, do they also provide respiratory benefits for things like preventing asthma and other kind of health hazards?

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S5: So we’ve come a long way in the fact that we’re now recognizing that this matters, but it’s been a myth that we haven’t addressed this. We’ve had a ventilation standard that hasn’t been designed for health. So in schools, but also your local coffee shop, your office, we’ve designed ventilation standards for a bare minimum. I’ve done forensic investigations for sick buildings for over a decade. It’s always ventilation filtration. We knew this from day one of the pandemic. We know exactly what to do. This is not rocket science. The protections we put in place with our buildings not only benefit us in reducing risk from Covid 19. They also protect us from other infectious diseases like influenza. My own team’s research shows better ventilation associated with better cognitive function and performance, reduced sick days for kids and workers, better math and reading scores for kids in schools. It’s a no brainer. We should be doing this for a long time, and I think the world is finally starting to wake up to the importance of our buildings and things like ventilation of filtration.

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S4: Joe, two of your four measurements suggest your larger point, which is you need to pay attention to different numbers as the virus progresses and as our health responses to the virus progresses. The world before vaccines required a set of behaviors different than in a post-vaccine world or a world where there are vaccines, particularly with hospital capacity. People are worried about the capacity of hospital not necessarily getting sick. I mean, in other words, what it’s doing to the hospitals in the community and also measuring those in the hospital due to Covid, as opposed to those who are incidentally. Is there a smarter way to think about in one of these public health instances signaling to the public, Hey, we’re changing the number that’s important to us because I’m thinking about a general way to do this because a lot of times people are stuck on the kind of old numbers they knew. And that leads to a lot of frustration and misunderstanding of what the current dynamic situation is.

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S5: Yeah, I think that’s that’s correct. And, you know, we’ve been messaging on cases and a number of tests positive, right? This percent positive metric for two years. So it’s understandable that the public is holding on to those. But I think the reality is that, you know, the metrics that maybe worked in 2020 are not the same metrics we should be using in 2020 to precisely because the vaccine changed the game, but also the bush. There’s new therapeutics, we now have rapid tests that were finally approved. We’ve been calling for these for a year and a half, so things are starting to change. And if you’re unvaccinated, your risk is really extraordinarily high. But that means the metrics need to change, too. And the two metrics that really CDC has been holding onto for really too long are cases and test positivity, both of which are flawed for a couple of reasons. We now have a couple of hundred million rapid tests on the market. They don’t get entered into any of the formal counting around those two metrics. So I have rapid testing Noam. I’ve tested myself, I don’t know a dozen 15 times or something, never been entered into any database, so I’m missing from the denominator, as are a whole lot of people who has the money to get tested, who has access for testing, who is deciding to report or not report the numerator and denominator. And those metrics are really getting funny and worse over time. And it’s really time for CDC to update both of those metrics.

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S2: Joe, this is a slightly I’m going to formulate this question as I’m talking. So it may be slightly incoherent, but it feels like a lot of the debate that has been set off by, for example, this fight over David Leonhardt. It’s sort of a debate over expertise. But Leonhardt and the people who are saying, we need to have people more out in society, kids need to be definitely in school. Masking needs to be reconsidered. Are talking about broader societal impacts of the pandemic, which aren’t directly public health impacts or aren’t necessarily impacts of the disease, but are impacts on society. Because kids aren’t in school, they’re socialize. They don’t have stuff to do. Crime rises, mental health impacts. And so there’s that sort of view of what we’re doing. And then there’s a kind of more narrower view, which is we have to protect people from this disease and the pandemic and the kind of direct impacts of it. I’m just wondering as you’re somebody who sort of almost straddling two camps because you’re a public health person, but you’re also looking holistically at the impact on this. How how do we have a better debate about this?

S5: Yeah, maybe maybe the first thing to do is we should stop pretending it’s this this. It’s such a clear dichotomy. It’s a false dichotomy. You know, we have to protect the public and we have the tools to also let people get back to some aspects of their life and recognize as the World Health Organization does and a fundamental tenet of public health is that health is more than the absence of disease. We’ve been we’ve been doing a disease avoidance for two years. Of course, that’s critically important, but there’s so much more to health. There’s wellbeing, there’s thriving. There’s kids being in school socialization learning. All of these other factors are really important, obviously important for public health. And I think we’ve treated it as all or nothing on either side. It’s not right to say let it rip and anybody could do whatever the heck they want to do. It’s also not right to say we’re going to shut her things down again and pursue zero Colbert, which is a which is totally unrealistic and probably was unrealistic from the beginning if we’re totally honest with ourselves here. But so there’s a middle ground recognizing that the risk has changed for people who are vaccinated and particularly vaccinated and boosted doesn’t mean that we stop doing all the other things we need to do in public health. We continue to work hard to get the unvaccinated vaccinated. That’s the single biggest problem. If you look at the data that’s presented at times and everywhere else in every hospital system and even in Europe, who’s going to the hospital and who’s dying? It’s it’s preventable at this point. It’s the unvaccinated. So that’s really where our efforts should be. And just because, you know, we don’t wait another two years ago, everyone vaccinated. The teenagers have had the vaccine available for six months, and it’s stuck, I don’t know, 50 60 percent. Even for the five to 11 year olds, the vaccines available where we’re down to the 20 percent, it kind of plateauing. So to think we’re just we got to wait until everyone’s vaccinated, it’s just that’ll never happen either. So we have to find this middle ground managing both public health, the risk from this virus, but also the risk from all of these other aspects of health. The lockdowns are real. We have a mental health crisis for kids, not just because of school closures for a million and one reasons. We have a mental health crisis in adults, and so we have to acknowledge those and try to find that middle ground. I think the beginning the starting point, though, is to acknowledge that it’s not an either or proposition it never was.

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S3: So one of the specific ideas that you have for, I think this next phase is this idea that if you are concerned about your own risk, you can keep wearing a mask, particularly and 95 mask, which gives lots of protection. I sort of latched onto this, I think, because it seems like a way out of the current norm of everyone wearing a mask, especially in school and university settings, which I think is hard on the kids who are at much less risk. And it just it’s different than how we thought about masking in the beginning of the pandemic. But how why is it in light of that messaging, which was all about the idea that you were wearing a mask a lot to protect other people? How is it that now you could shift to this idea of individualized mask use and one’s own protection through one’s own use, rather than everybody else?

S5: Mask definitely work. And that gives you protection regardless of what others around you are doing. That’s a key message if you don’t feel safe going to the grocery store because some districts said we’re going to pull back from masking, we’ll get vaccinated, get boosted by all means, wear your high grade mask and this one way masking. That’s about as low risk as you can get. It’s less than 10 to the minus five risk, one hundred thousand risk. Look, I I’m a certified industrial hygienist. This is the field that does this. I have set up programs and control programs and set up PPE, personal protective equipment controls. So fully understand masking. Good masks can protect you, and it doesn’t necessarily matter what others around you are doing.

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S3: Is that true for immunocompromised people?

S5: Absolutely. And this is, I think, one of the most important things you can do if you’re immune compromised first, if you can get vaccinated. But to do that, I think there’s some data coming out that suggests that even the fourth dose may be needed. If you look at what’s happening in Israel for immunocompromised or people are older at some point. Yes, absolutely. Than N95 look as a minimum effectiveness of ninety five percent if you focus on the two F’s filtration and fit. So ninety five and ninety five meters, ninety five percent, at least 95 percent effective at filtering. But you want to make sure that all the air is going through that filter. So you focus on the second half of the fit tight around your nose, flush against the face under your chin. These are really effective masks.

S4: So Joe, it sounds like what we’re talking about here is kind of a restart of response that’s based on local the local situation, which is not just the number of cases, but things like hospital capacity should school capacity be included in that as well. In other words, there are times when schools are so overburdened because people are out, even if it’s only a five day quarantine that that you have to up the measures because you just have don’t have enough substitute teachers, which is a slightly different problem. It seems more like the hospital capacity thing, would you? Would it be wiser instructive to add a school capacity metric in this new approach?

S5: Well, I think kids have to be in school. I think closing schools will go down as one of the biggest mistakes of the entire pandemic. I don’t think there’s a question about that. It was a mistake. So the best metric you can track for how to keep people safe in school, get all the adults vaccinated and boosted. There should be a mandate. And same thing for child care. Dr. Fauci, she’s been saying this for months and we actually just saw data about within home spread related to Omicron that when the caretaker or parent one or two parents are vaccinated, there’s a massive and significant reduction in within home spread. It is validating what Dr. Fauci and others have been saying. The best way to protect kids is to vaccinate those around them. Second, we should be bringing the vaccines to the schools to make vaccines normal again. So, you know, interpretation of metrics for schools, we should have every adult be vaccinated, boosted and be responsible. Kids should also be vaccinated. I have three kids and then do the ventilation filtration. Then on top of that, you track these other metrics I talked about. And if another massive surge comes an unexpected surge or just a seasonal surge, then you could think about putting masks back on as like the next level. So we pull them back because things looked better now and then we can reinstate them if things get worse unexpectedly. But those are the real metrics that we should be tracking around schools and keeping kids and adults safe in schools.

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S2: Joe Allen, thanks for joining us. Emily Gabfest.

S5: I really appreciate you having me on. Thanks.

S2: Slate Plus members get bonus segments on the Gabfest. You have heard me say that a million times, and it’s still true on the millionth time. This week we’re going to talk about work life balance in particular. How do you have a successful career and and a life? And we’re going to talk about things that we’ve learned in our many, many, many years of working and of having a life John. Was it a political mistake for Joe Biden to promise and now clearly attend to keep the promise that his Supreme Court nominee would be a black woman?

S4: Well, seizing on that word, political like a leopard. I know it was. I mean, again, we’re talking just about politics here, not about equity and the history of America and so forth and so on, which we should and which we will, all of which we will. But just as a political matter, if one of your major constituencies is black voters and particularly black women, getting into a public fight over naming a black woman is politically useful for a party that is in really bad, tough straits, particularly because of a kind of glum feeling among Democrats. So yes, it was a smart political move, and we should talk about the other things, too.

S2: Emily just there are historical precedents, but so so the criticism, the totally disingenuous criticism that’s coming from the right primarily of Biden is, Oh, this is, you know, this is just democratic wokeness. Affirmative action tokenism run amuck. You’re not choosing from all the best people by limiting yourself like this. First of all, we can just talk about how every president until you know, the 1960s limited themselves to white men.

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S3: Did they had race and gender requirements? Yeah. Funny.

S2: But that works. But also but also that this is, of course not. This is not unprecedented that other presidents, including Republican presidents, have have made similar vows in the past, right?

S3: Right. I mean, Ronald Reagan said he wanted to put a woman on the court. Then he chose Sandra Day O’Connor. He talked about wanting an American of Italian extraction. We got Antonin Scalia. President Trump said he wanted to put a woman on the court. We got Amy Coney Barrett. There definitely is precedent for this. I mean, here’s the sort of headline the main points for me. One is that there are just amazingly talented black women at the height of their intellectual powers, whom President Biden has to choose among. So what I find really distressing about the criticism and I think disingenuous is the right word is that it’s really just about diminishing the person who gets chosen or the people who are on the list. And I thought Adam Serwer wrote a good piece for the Atlantic this week in which he made these points persuasively. And so that really troubles me. So I completely embrace the idea of one of these eminently qualified excellent candidates becoming the Supreme Court nominee and justice. The part I’ve been wrestling a little bit with is whether when you say you are restricting yourself to a certain group of people, you kind of set up this kind of criticism like the end result is the correct result or a very good result. But should you should Biden have backed off from the promise he made during the campaign season and said something now that he’s looking at everyone so that it is clear that whoever he chooses is an excellent candidate among everyone, not a subgroup? Or is that just like hopelessly caving to the people who are giving the criticism?

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S4: There’s a third option, which is that you lose the political benefit of saying, I’m fulfilling a promise that I made to you in a very specific, useful state to me and to a very specific, useful constituency. And I want to energize right now. So you have to put it on full blast as a political matter, but then it turns out, Hey, check it out, guys. There are all these substantive reasons we want to do this. You want to have a court that looks like America for all the reasons that Ronald Reagan said. But then also, studies have shown that there is a diversity benefit in decision making that leads to better decisions. That leads to when you have heterodox thinking of all the same people you don’t have. The you are actually more wrong based on the studies have been done about this. And there’s a book by Chris Clearfield and András Tille called Meltdown that has all of this data, these data in it. And then the other thing is that the total group becomes more skeptical of their own thinking in a beneficial way when you bring people on to it who are more diverse. So it’s not just better to introduce the one person, but there’s also a group effect which is beneficial.

S2: Also, Emily to your point, you just need to look at the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, who was not. She was not. It wasn’t that that President Obama said, I’m going to name a Latina to the court. He ended up naming Latina to the court, who was an eminently qualified person to be a justice and has been an excellent justice. But she got slammed as a as you know, this is affirmative action. This is tokenism. She’s only being named because of who she is, not what her qualifications are. And so it doesn’t. I think Biden, the criticism would have come anyway. It wasn’t because of the promise. The criticism is that this is the criticism. And you know, you weren’t going to get these guys, these guys were going to, you know, were loaded up. They were going to say these things no matter what happened. I wonder John tactically, it feels like and maybe I’m this is because I’m a superficial, naive person. It feels like there is a there’s a tactical Republican split. There’s a camp McConnell and John Thune, the number one and number two Republicans in the Senate who kind of seem like they’re like, whatever you’re they’re going to get their nominee. It’s not a big deal. The sooner they get done with this nomination, the sooner we can get back to slamming Biden for inflation and Afghanistan and whatever else we want to slam him with. That is really valuable. This justice won’t change the composition of the court in any meaningful way. And then you have Cruz and Hawley and sort of the cultural, conservative anti-war folk who are doing on those doing this performative thing, which won’t have any impact on where the nomination goes through. But it’s for it’s a performance for their presidential ambitions or something. Right?

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S4: I mean, so Holly and Cruz, if you look at the way Cruz talked about it, he said, essentially, Biden is telling white men and white women no need to apply doesn’t include black men in that which probably would have been useful if you were trying to make a case that didn’t open you to criticism. But the argument they’re making is one that plays on the status anxiety that has been shown in political science research about the MAGA voter, which is that there are a series of cultural things happening that are threatening our dominance in the in the system and the caste system in which black women have not played a role had. This role is an immediate threat to the larger idea of the caste system being overturned by a variety of different facts in America, including the fact that white Americans will be a minority in 2045 so that sense of status anxiety identity associated with a changing America is what they’re putting their finger on. And this happens to be the latest moment in that, but it’s a continual thing. What McConnell and Lindsey Graham and others are saying is, Look, why do we want to energize their base when we are going into an election? This isn’t going to change the ideological makeup of the court. We might even believe that diversity is a good thing on the court, as Lindsey Graham said out loud. And so let’s focus on, as you said, the things we care about immigration and crime and leave this. So there is this split. And I think basically at the end of the day, the McConnell wing will will win out.

S3: I just want to say one more thing about addressing historical discrimination. You know, that is a crucial element of what’s happening here. Like Black women have sat at this very difficult nexus of racism and sexism for our nation’s history. The people who have achieved who are on this list have had to surmount those barriers. It has made them, if anything, more excellent than a lot of the other people who might be considered. And it is totally appropriate and like a move toward justice to try to address that historic discrimination and provide more representation. And when you think of like the whole historical trajectory of the Supreme Court and the tiny number of people of color or women who have served on it from the beginning, it just seems like absolutely at a no brainer that we would be diversifying the court for that reason.

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S2: I was so struck. There was this this micro controversy on the side of what’s going on with Ilya Shapiro, who’s a. Libertarian, who’s just becoming an administrator at Georgetown University, who tweeted that there was another person, Sri Sri Srinivasan. Srinivasan, who used to play bat. I used to play basketball in a game with him and Brett Kavanaugh. So man, that was a

S3: high powered game

S2: and another and another federal judge. Actually, there were three federal people who are federal judges that I came

S4: from one court to another.

S2: A lot of foul calls in that game. But but Ilya Shapiro had said that tree was objectively the best candidate and that instead we were going to get a lesser black woman.

S3: And I don’t that in quotes, not your language. I John has been indefinitely suspended.

S2: The objectively best candidate idea is such an incredibly stupid thing for anyone to say, as though there is an objectively best candidate. This is not a 100 yard dash. This is not like like, who’s gotten down the mountain faster. It’s like there’s so much, so many things that compose the act of being a great justice on the Supreme Court, including your humanity and life experience and your perspective. And the idea that there could be a objectively best person is such a it’s so stupid like among all the many other stupid things to say, but that phrase really bugged me.

S3: Yeah, and you can understand why the Black Law Students Association at Georgetown was concerned about this as like feeding into imposter syndrome for students because this notion that like of lesser ness is a problem that goes deep in our society at the same time. The idea that Georgetown indefinitely suspended him for what seems clearly to fit within there are free speech policies which cover lectures, which he was supposed to be, as well as tenured faculty. I think is a problem. I mean, I will also say it’s complicated because he wasn’t yet hadn’t yet begun his job. And there’s this vulnerable period where someone’s made you an offer and you haven’t started yet, and it becomes more ambiguous whether you’re covered by free speech. Apologies, not a smart time to get on Twitter and say something incredibly stupid.

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S2: Before we go, actually, two things Emily two things before we go one. One. Can you just tell us in the weeks since this has unfolded in the last week? Any news on who the nominee is likely to be in any? Do you have any thoughts on having read more about the potential nominees, anything that we’ve learned or anything that’s made you excited or concerned?

S3: I haven’t seen anything of concern. I’ve been hearing, you know, sort of different cases based on different attributes, mostly for Leandro Krueger, who’s on the California Supreme Court and fur coats. Angie Brown Jackson, who’s on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Federal Court. I think it seems like they would both be totally excellent. I’m going to be surprised if Biden chooses someone else. And I haven’t seen any red flags about either of them. No, I should say I’m not doing my own investigation, and I’m sure that the Biden administration is Fleiss picking every single thing they have ever done. You know, I’ve heard from other people who’ve gone through the nomination process for just like the regular old Federal District Court that you have to produce, you know, every single time your name ever appeared in print. Every protest you went to, like anything that anyone could bring up, basically that you’ve done or that someone thinks you’ve done. So I’m sure it’s a really intense vetting process, and I don’t know enough to say whether something will emerge. But at least based on what I know so far, it just seems like these are both excellent writers, extremely sharp thinkers. Leandro Kruger had a really strong reputation when she was in the Solicitor General’s Office, working for now, Justice Kagan. And so there’s a sense like they could kind of bond. And Kagan’s dissents have been really important for the court, and maybe that’s an attribute in Kruger’s favor. I think I mentioned last week that Katju Brown Jackson has been a federal public defender, and I think for people in the defense community, that’s huge. Her writing on the court has been really strong. So, you know, we’ll just see what happens and Kruger’s a little younger. So it’s also possible she could get an appointment down the line if she doesn’t get it this time.

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S4: I think they ask you if you in the 80s when you returned your VHS tapes, if you actually rewound them before doing so.

S3: Oh my god.

S4: Ken Starr, when he was asked about the number of awful things that Donald Trump had done, he basically said, You know, but he helped us gain the majority lock in a majority on the Supreme Court, and that covers up a multitude of sins. And what he said was, of course, Henry

S2: Starr is really good from his tenure at Baylor, really good at covering up a multitude of sins. That is that is a real specialty of Ken Starr’s. I would.

S4: What is true is widely accepted among knowledgeable people in the Republican Party is that, of course, is the case. And what interests me is the extent to which on the right, they made a calculation that power is more important than basically any of. The previous beliefs they held that Donald Trump trampled what it will be interesting in watching the White House talk about this pick and Democrats more broadly is is whether in fact they use it as an opportunity to make a larger case. They have a platform now about the benefits of putting Democrats in office. Turns out this is one of the big benefits. Now, it doesn’t change the balance of the court, but if you believe that diversity is important, then this is a this is a big deal. Having this pick and so who’s in the White House and who has power really matters. And that’s kind of a big conversation in an election year, and it’s an opportunity to drive through that larger message about you may be disappointed with this. That and the other thing with Joe Biden, but it really matters when it matters that you have your people in the positions. Conservatives really understand that really, really well. It’ll be interesting to see the extent to which Democrats understand that as well and use this as an opportunity to make a larger claim about what the party believes. And given this special platform that’s given when there’s a Supreme Court nomination.

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S2: I want to just close with one little bitter note and just a reminder, Justice Breyer, about the folly of what you’ve done in waiting too long, which is that we had an event this week which which was a perfect encapsulation of why Breyer’s decision to dilly dally about his resignation could turn out to be disastrous for Democrats, which is that just this week, a senator, Senator Ben Ray Luan, a Democrat of New Mexico, had a stroke. Young man had a stroke. He’s expected to fully recover. That’s a state where where a governor would be able to appoint a Democratic replacement because it has a Democratic governor, too. So probably wouldn’t change the composition of the Senate. But right now, actually the Senate, if Democrats want to do something vigorous in the Senate this week, they couldn’t because Luann isn’t there, and it’s they only have 49 years later.

S4: They don’t have an agenda for vigorous. That’s true now, isn’t she? That was totally

S2: cheap. But it’s, you know, it’s one it literally their one misstep, one one problematic senator from a state which doesn’t have a Democratic governor or where they can’t get a replacement in for some procedural reason from not being able to do what they want to do. So just just a reminder. A remarkable and alarming set of stories emerged this week about President Trump and January 6th. Former President Trump, of course, there is the fact that, he said, baldly that he had wanted Pence to overturn the election, admitting out loud what he always pretended was that he always pretended it was something different. But in fact, he wanted Pence to overturn the election. He said he would consider pardoning the January 6th rioters and insurrectionists any. It also has come out that he had been severely entertain. The idea, pushed by a former army colonel named Phil Waldron to seize voting machines using the Department of Justice or the Department of Defense, American soldiers or the Department of Homeland Security, and was only deterred from doing this by like a vaguely heroic actions from some unlikely people that we’ll talk about in a second. So of these stories this week, Emily, which is most alarming to you and why?

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S3: Oh my god, I mean, it was the rolling up of them all together. Like, imagine we had known this, this was happening in December, and then imagine that we known this along with other things we’ve learned. Like all the pressure on the Justice Department, when Bill Barr, the attorney general, had resigned and his deputy, former deputy Jeffrey Rosen, was in charge. This is leading up, of course, to January six, trying to get the Justice Department to do these bogus, you know, fraud investigations and interfering in Georgia, where the secretary of state was holding the line against interference. I mean, this just I this is so shocking to me. I mean, forget whether it’s surprising or not. It’s just shocking. And it should be shocking. And it’s a five alarm fire that the president of the United States had a draft executive order on his desk to commandeer voting machines to use the military or some other law enforcement apparatus. I mean, remember the Department of Homeland Security? They’re the ones who sent people in to stop the protest in D.C. against Trump, and they showed up with, you know, uniforms without clear insignia like this kind of vague, shadowy federal police force. Imagine if people like that had marched into Georgia or Arizona or Wisconsin or Michigan or Pennsylvania and taken the voting machines away like that is the end of our democracy. This, to me, is like the epitome of treason, and I am just really boggled and shaken by the story.

S4: It is extraordinary. Department of Justice Barr said No Pentagon, they said. No DHS said no. You almost imagine that he was like, Why not HUD? You know, he’s just going through the cabinet agencies trying to find one and and we should we should really focus for a moment on defense that says, well, he didn’t do anything. Ultimately, this is insane. The only reason the President Trump didn’t go forward is because people at these agencies said, you can’t do it. So to define the presidency, to say well, he flirted with smashing the constitution, but he didn’t actually smash it. There is not a diamond bit drill sharp enough to burrow into the Earth to set the bar for the presidency any lower than to say that there is somehow that it’s somehow OK that this didn’t actually work out. I mean, here you had somebody shredding the basic centerpiece of American government while in office. And that’s what this is about.

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S3: Well, but I think it’s also worse than that. Sorry, David. I mean, that’s bad, but also because there has been no real recriminations in the Republican Party. Indeed, the opposite. See what has happened to Liz Cheney, who’s been effectively drummed out. It’s only more likely that if former President Trump was re-elected or someone like him tried to do this, that they would get away with it the next time, because most of the incentives in the signals are in favor with going along with it. I mean, think about that important election commissioner in Michigan, the Republican who held the line on certifying the vote, which was like a basic following the law moment who lost his position over it. And then there’s Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state in Georgia, who’s facing this primary challenge and has already been stripped of some of the powers of the office in the next election. Like all the signals the Republican Party has sent are toward making this more likely this kind of betrayal to succeed the next time. And that’s terrifying.

S2: Yeah. So we had this amazing fact that it’s Bill Barr at the Department of Justice who tells Trump he can’t do this using the Department of Justice and then Ken Cuccinelli of all people, the Department of Homeland Security. Ken Cuccinelli, who if you’d asked liberals for their bingo card of who is going to be the last, the last person to be a hero who upholds, you know, the integrity of the federal government? It would Ken Cuccinelli would definitely be the final person on that list

S3: because he has a record of being super anti-immigrant. But it turned out he was a patriot.

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S2: He he was a patriot, the import. This moment, but but there’s every reason to think that in a that Trump will get better in a second Trump term at at personnel. And he clearly even at the at the end, he’s going to get better at finding people who are are willing to do his bidding. And you can just see, I mean, the fact that Michael Flynn, like Michael Flynn, is everywhere, everywhere at once these days. And he is he’s just a terrifying personage. And you know that Michael Flynn is going to end up as like national security adviser. Or you can end up as secretary of defense in the next Trump administration. If there is one, people who have no restrictions on them are going to be making the decisions and carrying those decisions out.

S4: That’s terrifying. These stories do have a Star Wars bar quality in the White House of just random people tumbling in. And then, as you say, even Rudy Giuliani was against some of these harebrained schemes that the president didn’t follow up on, only because the people who have to execute those schemes said no, it wasn’t that he had a change of mind. It’s just he literally didn’t have the muscle to do it, and it’s important that they said no on two grounds. The first ground was, Barr said. There’s no evidence of this fantasy you have at all that the election was stolen. They all said, This is nuts. It’s bonkers on its face. And then they said, beyond the pile of nuts, there is this other thing, which is it turns out you can’t do this thing you want to do. So it was a double. It was a double decimation of the thing that is now at the centerpiece of the Republican Party, which is that this fantasy is true and that measures taken to overturn the election, as President Trump put it, should also have been done.

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S2: So I feel like I on this on the Gabfest. I’m always playing the role of well, but you know, to do and I’m going to throw this at you guys again, which is the problem we have is that there’s a public that’s essentially numb to these stories. There is no capacity within Congress to. Do very much about this, I mean, there’s the capacity to investigate and to refer to the Department of Justice, and I suppose there’s theoretically the power of the Department of Justice to bring some kind of prosecution of some of these folks. But it’s it is clearly not the public, it’s not at the top of the public’s list. And. And January 6th is not is not front and center in the minds of Americans, the way that inflation is front and center in the minds of Americans. So what? What’s to be done Emily with this terrifying news?

S3: I mean, what’s to be done is to pass a law that will protect us from election subversion. And there is some interest in that among Republicans as well as Democrats in the Senate. And we should like hope those folks really run with it and come up with something and give them whatever encouragement we need. And that is a nonpartisan, bipartisan stance about just protecting the democracy. And to the extent that, you know, we the press, if such as we are, can help de Noam people to give encouragement for that, then that’s our job. That’s really important. You know, I think the challenge is twofold. The stories are always drip drip in the sense that different revelations occur at different times than you have to like. Remember how they fit into the whole picture. And I think also for many people, it’s frustrating to be pulled back into the past. We want to be moving forward and thinking about our current predicament, not like having to remember what happened a year ago and this huge danger that we did manage to escape. So I get it. But the protection for the next time is just super, super crucial and we don’t have it yet.

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S4: And you’re talking about the Electoral Count Act.

S3: Yes, I’m talking about the Electoral Count Act, this confusing law from the late 19th century that creates an ambiguity if there’s, you know, some whisper of a contested election. And I’m also talking about this question of Congress preventing state legislatures from changing the rules and trying to reverse the outcome of a state election by taking over that power after the voters have voted. I saw some Republicans claiming that they didn’t think Congress had the power to pass such a bill. That is just not a correct reading of the Constitution’s elections clause. In the view of every election expert I’ve ever talked to about this, and they really just need to get moving and the broader then make that bill the better. As long as it’s clear and sensibly thought through who is playing what role in a way that tries to depoliticize the process, right? You want politics to play into who wins the election and not how the votes are counted or how the election is certified.

S2: Let us go to cocktail chatter. When you’re having. Your electoral count act cocktail. It would contain a mix of liquors from all 50 states. What will you be chattering about? Emily Bazelon.

S3: I have been watching with great interest. Successful unionization efforts at a few Starbucks and now building with some momentum to efforts to unionize in as many as 50 stores. One of the things that’s really interesting here is this question of strategy. Are you better off trying to organize a whole big business like Starbucks or regionally or going store by store? This came up in the Amazon unionization drive, where they’ve also pursued a more like one at a time strategy, and I usually think of one at a time store strategies as really frustrating because like the fast food chain business where everyone is franchised, you have to do it that way. And I thought of that as a real limiting factor, but I was reading this really good piece in fast company by Kristin 2st that explains that in this case, it was the union that preferred to do it this way. And the idea is that it’s easier to go store by store as you’re trying to get people on board for the union. And then it’s like a spark catching, which can then ignite at other stores as well. And it was actually Starbucks in this case, which was arguing that there should be a broader requirement of voting with the National Labor Relations Board and Starbucks actually lost that. And so they’re having this individual store by store strategy, and it’s going to be really interesting to watch. In addition to Kristin two cents piece, I recommend checking out Noam Scheiber coverage of this in his Twitter feed, which has been good on the topic.

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S2: Interesting. John Dickerson what’s your chatter?

S4: I was reading in a periodical that’s big up here in New Amsterdam, The New Yorker Adam Gopnik piece on moving Moliere back into the Panthéon. And in it I learned that Moliere died on stage while portraying a man faking his death. Which is kind of amazing, but then I was sent on Twitter by someone whose name is just G.R., the story of Clement vowing Adam, who’s an American political leader, actually a copperhead with copperheads

S2: were were northerners who supported

S4: slavery. Copperheads were northerners who wanted to didn’t think the war was the civil war was worth fighting. Okay, so are they. So they were kind of in a they they nominally favored the union but opposed the Civil War and wanted to have, you know, peace with the Confederates. OK. So anyway, he was a Confederate, but Clement Bellingham, he was also a defense attorney and in the middle of defending his defendant in a murder case for killing a man in a bar room brawl. He took a loaded revolver and in the course of trying to show how this death took place, shot himself and killed himself in the trial. And that was the end of Mr. Valli camp, and as he was fatally wounded, his last words expressed in his expressed his faith quote that good old Presbyterian doctrine of predestination.

S2: That category of ironic death is not one that I want to end up in. I remember I used to have a book of famous last words, and one of them was some general generals last words, which was they couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance. And then he gets hit.

S4: By the way, when the defendant was acquitted and released because of the the demonstration, so so as an act of lawyering, it was. Successful, I once heard that Oscar Wilde, his last words were either this wallpaper goes or I do.

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S2: Yeah, I think that’s not true, but

S4: probably apocryphal, but it’s a great line.

S2: Yeah, my chatter is about a really a really entrepreneurial young man named Jack Sweeney, who I read about in Bloomberg this week. He’s a freshman at the University of Central Florida. He launched a Twitter feed some years ago, called Elon Musk’s jet. He wrote some code, and what the code does is that it basically uses various publicly available FAA data to figure out where Elon Musk’s jet is and where it’s going. And it just tweets out automatically when there’s movement in this jet. And the the value of this, I mean, he did it for fun, but it like there is people are actually really curious because they’re like, Oh my gosh, Elon Musk is going to Korea. Does that imply he’s about to do a big partnership with, you know, a Korean car company? And so there’s value in this data. And and Jack Sweeney was offered $5000 by Elon Musk to shut the Twitter feed down. He turned it down and said, How about $50000 and an internship at Tesla? And Musk said no. And so Musk and Sweeney are at odds. Sweeney’s continuing to tweet this out. And Musk appears to be actually engaging in various acts of chicanery to try to hide where his jet is. But it turns out there’s this whole industry of tracking the private jets of very wealthy people, which Sweeney is now trying to start a business around. Because, you know, if you know where where the private jet of some hedge funder is going or you know where, where the head of some major company is going to be, you might get some hint as to what this company is about to do. So the peccadilloes of the rich and I just hope all that information is highly public and every bit of their jet life is exposed. But mostly, I was just impressed with Jack Sweeney, who seems a very ambitious and entrepreneurial person. Listeners do send us great chatters all the time, and you send them to us at Gabfest Slate.com. Also, you tweet them to us at Adam. Gabfest. There was one of you sent a magnificent charter, which we’re not doing because we’ve done a lot of animal charters, but it was about a dying chimpanzee. I think it was being visited by somebody who, you know, had a long relationship person and had a long relationship with her. And this chimpanzee was just curled up and clearly at the end of her life, just lit up at the presence of this person and just like their connection. It’s one of the most beautiful little videos. That’s not what our listener chatter is today, but I would recommend. I think it’s called Mamas Mama’s last hug. It is. I was weeping watching it. That great story about Mamas last talk, by the way, was sent to us by listener Larry Williams. Thank you, Larry. But our listener chatter is instead also great from Erin, a breezy shores.

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S1: Hi there, Gabfest. This is Erin or Rosie Shores calling from Raleigh, North Carolina, and my chatter this week is the latest episode of the wonderful podcast The Double Shift. The episode is called The Checks Not in the Mail, and it’s about the child tax credit and the impact it had on the lives of a few different families around the country last year while it was in existence. It’s a great story about good policy and the difference that good policy can make on people’s everyday lives and how much it can really matter. Thanks for listening.

S2: So the reason I was drawn to Erin chatter is the double shift. You guys know who makes a double shift. Noam, it’s our old colleague, Katherine Goldstein from her Slate colleagues, is magnificent, and she’s she has this whole life as a as a journalist, activist, creator around issues with women and work and motherhood and work. And the double shifters is a podcast she does, which is great. So congratulations, Catherine. That is our show for today. The Gabfest is produced by Jocelyn Frank. A researcher is a Bridgette Dunlap. What a team. Great team. June Thomas is managing producer of Slate Podcast and Alicia Montgomery is executive producer of Slate Podcast. Please follow us on Twitter at Adam Gabfest Tweet Chat or to us there for Emily Bazelon John Dickerson I’m David Plotz. Thank you for listening. We will talk to you next week. Hello. Slate plus, how are you? So as you know, we did a conundrum show at the end of the year, we always do a conundrum show. We’ve got great conundrums for you and there are so many good ones and we only got to a small fraction of them. And occasionally we check back in on them and revisit. And there was one that that resonated with us from Greg Smallgoods and Greg. I’m not going to read the whole thing. But Greg Brief briefly describes that he’s a Ph.D. candidate in the sciences and he wants to make an impact and and he wants to succeed in this competitive sphere. He wants to be Wikipedia page worthy, but he’s also torn about whether or not he’s making sacrifices within his personal life to the pursuit of this goal. DeLay in getting married and starting a family. He’s not traveling as much. Not spending time on leisure hobbies because he’s trying to do all the work that is needed to succeed. And while I’m aware that these things, while you know life and work are not mutually exclusive, they often feel like they’re at least in competition. My conundrum is how to reconcile these desires and balance my personal and career goals. And and Greg turned to us and I think actually he’s like, I actually think he’s made a wise choice because I would say that the three of us actually interestingly represent like how to balance this because all of us have had, you know, rich and and rewarding professional lives and have that. And we also have rich and rewarding personal lives and close relationships and and interests outside of our work. And we’ve been extraordinarily I feel myself to have been extraordinarily fortunate in that because I know it’s it’s, you know, lucky to have one of those and it’s very lucky to have both. But I wondered if we could talk about whether there are choices that we’ve made or thoughts that we have about how if you’re getting started in your work life, how you can do some of these, how you can make deliberate choices that will help you both succeed in what you’re doing, but also allow you the time and space and mental energy to do the other things that are important, which are more important, such as having family and having loving connections and friendships and interests. I have a ton of thoughts on this, but but does it one of you want to start? One of you start.

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S3: Well, I could start. I think one thing about this issue is that some of the markers for it are set when you’re relatively young, like maybe in your 20s and your career is developing. And I think for a lot of people and this was totally true for me, it’s a time of a lot of professional insecurity. You’re not established. You can’t see the road forward. I mean, in my case, like, I felt like I really had no idea how I was going to get to have the career in journalism I wanted to have. And at the same time, I was trying to have a good relationship and set the foundation for having kids in a family, which I knew I wanted. And I had these tricky moments that had to do with location where my now husband was on the academic job market and we had like three years running where we could have ended up in a lot of different parts of the country. And some of them would have really been hard for my career. And we had to figure out what to do, and it ended up working out in part because we were both flexible and we sort of made different choices at different points. But the other thing I realized about this stage of our lives was that we spent a lot of time worrying about job offers that Paul did not yet have and a lot of time fighting about what was going to happen if we ended up in Norman, Oklahoma, for example, which was on the table at one point. And I then decided I was not going to pre worry about this stuff, like I was only going to worry about the actual job possibility that in fact existed. Not some theoretical thing that might end up making things really hard because it felt like I was gaining out all these possibilities and getting really upset about things, then just never came to pass. So for me, the lesson was that it was good to prioritize my relationship and my personal life, even though as a feminist, I was also trying to be ambitious, but that it was a huge waste of energy to worry about things prematurely.

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S4: John. I think that’s the key that you were having those conversations and that those conversations actually make you stronger with a partner, even if all the decisions are ones that serve your ambition. But it’s the process of constant conversation because hopefully at the heart of those conversations is a set of values for both of you. And you’re don’t borrow worry is one of my favorite expressions. Often I say it in conversation. And so I’m not a I agree with you. Emily you shouldn’t spend a lot of time angst ing over things that haven’t even been offered to you yet. However, I am actually a fan of worry in the. A sense that those conversations heightened by worry, help you define what your values are. I remember once having a conversation with Anne about her decision to stop working to have kids and feeling like that was feeling basically guilty about that on my part. And she basically said, Stop it. This is something I want to do and I’m choosing to do. Stop thinking of it as a secondary choice. This is actually a primary choice, and that wouldn’t have come out if it hadn’t been for this kind of constant conversation about where we end up being. I think the other thing I would add is there is the idea that all the work you do now will pay off later. I have seen time and again, particularly in the television industry, where you’re kind of always trying to get to be, you know, an anchor or whatever that once you get there, it actually ain’t what it was. And what do you think it was? So I would say make sure that all the way along the line, basically, even if you’re saying I’m investing this now for a payoff later that you can still satisfy yourself with some joy and meaning in whatever you’re doing in the moment, because expecting a huge payoff of meaning later in the working world anyway is often it turns out that payoff doesn’t show.

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S3: Totally agree with that. Plus, if you’re doing something you enjoy in the present, that is more likely to lead you to something else.

S2: Exactly. I have a ton of thoughts. I mean, first of all, I think, you know, we all have come from positions of great luxury, which is that we, you know, had fancy college degrees and and support and resources like flexibility and choices that a lot of people don’t have. And so I want to acknowledge that. Oh right. I do think that when you were in your twenties, you should accept that one of the subsidies of work life is that people in their 20s work so that older people don’t, that when you were younger, you were going to work more. You’re going to work extra hours, you’re going to work harder than your older colleagues. And that’s a cross subsidy that exists for parents and older people. And it is not explicit. You’re in fact you’re paid less than your older colleagues. But it is in fact a thing that generally in most professions, you will work harder. And that is that’s just a thing. But you also have more energy. So deal with it. The other thing is like at the other side of it, as you will reach an age, know that you’ll reach an age where you will get bad at the date detailed daily work of your profession, either because it’s technically the work has changed and you can’t master whatever the new technology is or you physically lack the ability to do it. Like, You know what, you’ve lost whatever actual physical strength or physical dexterity that

S3: really hurts

S2: or you’re or you’re like mentally exhausted, but you’ve done it so long is a

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S4: great

S2: point. And that will happen. It’s going to happen. That’s why you have to develop these other skills like of management and and supervision and and expertise, because you can then the young, the younger will do the work, but you still are valuable. You are not yet should not yet be put out on the ice floe because you actually have a lot. I mean, this is what I count on every day is that I’m worse at almost everything I do than everyone I work with. But I do have a certain kind of experience and like pattern recognition because I’ve done it for so long that I can kind of see things and make things easier for them. So that’s that’s a point. OK, now I think like actual advice for you, Greg, if you can. I think trying to be in a profession that is output dependent rather than time dependent or input dependent helps because time dependent jobs like you just have to be there, you need to be at a particular place for a particular amount of time. And and where you just that’s just like a pain or you or where your your your productivity is measured in the hours you work. I’m thinking of law like corporate law, for example, whereas the input rather than actual actually what you do that is that is counted. And that is that’s a recipe for working too hard because if you want to succeed, it’s the people who work the hardest, who get the credit for it and who you put in the face. So that’s that’s the thing to keep an eye out for.

S4: And then can you define in putting that billable hours?

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S2: Yeah, billable hours. It’s something, yeah.

S4: Can you talk about the given examples of corporate laws that one bad example was the example of what you’re talking about

S2: of something that’s output dependent? That’s yeah. Well, something that’s well, some input to something. Well, something that is something that is the work that we do. If you are a freelance writer, I don’t recommend being a freelance writer, but a lot of times if you are able to do as much work or put out articles like those articles can have an impact. And it doesn’t matter whether you put two hours into them or 40 hours into them or 400 hours into them like they can. No one’s counting how many hours you put into the article to judge how good the article is. So like there kinds of professions where where what you create is, is. Not dependent on the hours you put into it directly and where you’re not measured, no one is measuring you on the hours that you’re putting into something. They’re measuring you on what the product is. Those are better professions to be in if you want to work life balance. So that’s that’s what can I say.

S3: One thing about that, which is that there is a downside, which is that you have homework all the time, like, that’s the right. Like if you’re, for example, social worker or a nurse or a doctor and you go and you have your hours, then you come home and it’s done. Yes, or at least you’re done, and we are never done. So that is something to keep in mind, just in terms of one’s temperament and how you want your kind of week and month to unfold.

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S4: And also, I totally agree with that Emily. It’s a great point. The hunted feeling of constantly there’s a time. There are times when I basically can’t read the newspaper because I read the paper and I think of a story. And then I think, why am I not writing that story? It makes it very difficult to have a leisurely Sunday afternoon. But here’s the other thing, though I would I would modify what you say. David, although I like the frame of it, is if you love being a nurse and on the clock or you love being a lawyer and on the clock or public relations and you’re on the clock, then that’s fine. As long as there is a consistency between the time, you know, you may really enjoy the non hunted feeling of being able to go home and have the clock off. So as long as it’s just consistent with your values and what grooves you on the day to day, that’s you. Yeah, yeah. And then and then your other point about hard work. It’s not just a generational transfer, which is a clever way of thinking about it, but the wisdom that you talk about in that pattern recognition is hard won. It’s in that stage of life between when you take your book learning and then it and then it has first contact with the enemy. And that first contact with the enemy is all those long hours in which you learn all the pattern recognition you’re talking about later. And not just about, do I apply this kind of writing to this kind of task or this medical school thing to this of the benefit sometimes of working with somebody who is an awful boss and how you know those kinds of pieces of wisdom come from all those hard hours you put in. It’s like the in Karate Kid, you know, paint the fence, wax the floor. You think at the time, like, what is this stupid stuff I’m doing? And then later in life? Turns out it helps you block incoming stupidity when you are older. Yeah.

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S2: That’s well said. I accept your your guys as critiques and improvements on what I was saying there. I want to make one more point, which is that I’m fortunate I know this of myself. I have a really good natural work-life balance temperament I have even from youth. It’s that I always I was never somebody who was like, I’m going to work until eight. I just just don’t have it in me. I always I know that I cannot function unless I have time to have physical activity, unless I have time to relax myself. And I just and I always have have made it like clearly cordoned off my work and my life so that I have that. But that said, you know, not everyone is built that way. If you really want to try to have a great work life balance, do your very best to work for somebody who has a good work life balance themselves and be do the research on whether they will. They are like that. Like a boss who doesn’t respect your work life balance is a terrible boss to have and do your research, do your research, do your research. Because if they don’t, you know, even if they say, Oh yeah, we value, you know, you should have family life. But you turns out that nobody, nobody in this place has a family life. Don’t go work for them if that’s important to you because they’re not going to change for you, they are not going to make a special exception so that you get to go have nice dates with your with your boyfriend. They’re not like that. So look at and do your research on on who your boss is going to be.

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S3: Mean the other thing I would say about that, which I say to one of my children constantly, is that when you’re taking a break, take a real break. Like don’t if you have the kind of job that is measured in output. And so you have potential homework all the time. Don’t let it hang over. You like some terrible miasma like go when you are off, be off and think about other things and go enjoy yourself and recharge and rejuvenate. Don’t let it like constantly hang there as nagging at you.

S2: That’s sort of like a temperament thing I have. I’m so good at that. I’m that is something I’m excellent at, but not everyone can do that.

S3: Well, if you’re not good at it, try to retrain yourself. This is what I say to my child.

S4: You know, that’s interesting. The when the food came or what’s the Washington Irving quote? When the when I cannot feel, when I cannot find a mood, a meal to fit my tastes, I change my taste to fit the meal. The other version of that is which is the healthy thing to do. Some of us can’t do that, but I think you’re right, Emily if the secondary thing is, if you can’t change the way you relax, to be able to relax in more instances is to find the one thing that takes you out of the moment and go do that when you force yourself to go do that when you know you need to do it. So for a while, we were very into rock climbing indoors, and the benefit of rock climbing was that you could not think of another thing. Wow, you are rock climbing and and we were just we knew it had that salutary benefit. And so we we were all over it. We just have rediscovered that recently playing Dfinity, too, which is a co-op computer game, which I’m sure everybody else is going to go flock to now, but engage in something that does that for you because maybe watching TV or playing cards just doesn’t.

S2: All right, sleepless. You got you got into the deep soul of our earth here. Talk to you later.