David Letterman, 9/11, a whole lot of replies, and 7 other things worth your time, 6 of which are related but really, what can you do?

Quote of the Day: “It was the single worst personal decision of my life; I have no excuse for my actions and wish that I could take them back.”

Brad Rukstales, CEO of a tech company outside Chicago, who was arrested and charged with unlawful entry, and placed on administrative leave at work, after he was part of the mob that stormed the Capitol building Wednesday.

Welcome to all our new subscribers, to what might be the two most unusual days in the history of this newsletter. But, I hope you’ll like it, stick around, and maybe share it with others who might appreciate it. The signup link is right here:

Figuring it out

Six days after 9/11, almost two decades ago (!), the first American TV talk show host to go back on the air live was David Letterman.

I remember someone told me his opening monologue was worth watching, so I pulled it up on my computer a day or two later. Actually, I remember being amazed that I could download an eight-minute video over dialup Internet.

Given my state of mind over what happened the last few days now, I went back and watched it. It’s a good example of somebody just trying to work through his thoughts so he can get back to work.

I mean, there are lines that will make you roll your eyes now, perhaps—like when Letterman calls Rudy Giuliani “the personification of courage.”

(Seriously, for younger readers who don’t remember 9/11, yes, it’s the same Giuliani who is now Trump’s personal lawyer, but he really did rise to the occasion back then. Also, he was the mayor of New York City; important bit of context, I suppose.)

Anyway, all day yesterday, my phone was pinging, telling me I had replies to my Thursday newsletter about the riot in Washington.

The main takeaway I’ve had in going through them is simply that we’ll need time.

We’re still in the thick of it, trying to get a handle.

So what I’d like to do today is just share some of the more than 100 replies I got from readers. (I stopped counting, since I also have to do to writing that pays the bills and such for my family.)

Actually, I’ll start with two that took me to task for how I wrote about the mob. They’re from different angles, and trust me, I’ve grown a thick skin over the past year or so. But they show for the umpteenth time that the subscribers to this email newsletter are all over the map, politically…

“You say you’re disgusted?? Try spending 5 years being told to your face that your part in the American process doesn’t matter because your candidate is a disruptor and not a career politician in the pocket of George Soros…”


“It is craven bigotry and white privilege … It was about disenfranchising the vote of people of color. PERIOD! … Just shut up with your phony aggrandizement about how YOU are offended. If they were Black? Those protestors would have been dead BY THE HUNDREDS.”

Overall, really, I’m hearing people trying to figure out how they’ll look back on this years from now.

  • “Thank you for being honest about one of the most upsetting things that I have ever seen.”

  • “Despite our political differences, I hope we all agree that yesterday was a shameful assault on our democracy.”

  • “This is so important - thank you so much for using your platform. I woke up with a heavy heart this morning, too. Yesterday's actions were terrifying and unacceptable.”

  • “We are better as a people than what we observed yesterday. But - those of us who have been silent observers must take a more active role in declaring what is and is not acceptable with regard to how we behave and treat one another.”

  • “I know it pained you to write this, but you produced one of the most even-handed, least hysterical accounts of the closing days of a madman’s reign.”

  • “I’m still processing it and I think will be for a long time. One of my friends commented that she felt safer on 9/11 than she did yesterday.”

By definition, I can’t really come up with a nice bow to tie around this. But if you’d like to add your thoughts, the comments are open.

(Barring tech problems, I suppose, since they always seem to happen. If you want to comment but can’t, reply to this email and I’ll add them.)

7 other things worth your time

  • A Capitol Police officer named Brian Sicknick died Thursday, reportedly after a member of the insurrectionist mob Wednesday hit in the head with a fire extinguisher. Meanwhile, the chief of the Capitol police force announced his resignation. And the head of the Chicago police union actually threw his support behind the rioters. (NBC News, WBEZ)

  • The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board called on Trump to resign. (WSJ, $)

  • The Democratic leaders of both the House and the Senate called for Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Reports are that the secretary of state and secretary of the treasury discussed it, but are worried in part that it would inflame his supporters even more. Aides to Pence however, told reporters the 25th isn’t on the table. Separately, his aides said Pence does plan to attend President-elect Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, even if Trump won’t.

  • Trump was banned permanently from Facebook Thursday (can you believe this is like the 4th item?). After his 12-hour Twitter suspension was lifted, he posted a video in which he said he condemned the violence at the Capitol this week, and acknowledged: “A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.” (NYT, CBS News)

  • However, Trump is reportedly strongly considering blanket preemptive pardons for his children, his lawyer Rudy “Personification of Courage” Giuliani, other members of his administration — and most controversially, himself. (NYT, $)

  • The secretary of transportation, secretary of education, deputy national security, and some other lower-ranked officials all resigned in protest of Trump’s actions. Reports said National Security Adviser Robert C. O'Brien considered resigning as well, but decided against it because it would leave the National Security Council literally devoid of leadership in the remaining two weeks of Trump’s power.

  • And in unrelated news, Elon Musk is now the world’s richest person. He’s worth $185 billion, up from $27 billion at the start of 2020. (Quartz)

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