Today is the big day, when the Electoral College meets to determine our next president. Is it really possible that a majority of the 538 electors could change the course of the election, and history, by voting against Donald Trump? It’s not likely, but this year’s vote is, at minimum, more than a formality. Via the New York Times.
Famous last words
In what was probably Barack Obama’s last news conference, the president made the case that he may well be the last sane person in town. And then he took off for Hawaii. Via the New Yorker.
For those who wonder what the Trump presidency will be like, Newt Gingrich has your answer: He’s going to kick over the table. Via the Atlantic.
Among those wondering most about America today are those experts from Chinese think tanks whose job it is to explain American policy to China’s leaders. One such expert says he fears America in the Trump era “has become a country out of our recognition.” Via the Philadelphia Inquirer.
It’s a trap
Rich Lowry: Are Republicans setting a trap for themselves on Obamacare repeal? Via the National Review.
If you’re looking for a model of what happens when populists come to power, look to Poland. The Law and Justice Party, promising to drain the swamp in Warsaw, has changed Poland entirely in a year, with liberals there calling it a neo-Dark Age. And yet, the party is by far the most popular in the country. Via the Washington Post.
Famous for being famous
Zsa Zsa Gabor, maybe the first person of whom it was said that she was famous for being famous, dies at 99. Via the Washington Post.
New York Life
New York Life is the third largest life insurance company in the country. When it began in 1845, the company struggled to gain traction. And then it started selling life insurance on slaves. By 1847, a third of the company’s policies were sold to slaveowners looking to protect the value of their human assets. This is that story. Via the New York Times.
If you didn’t see the latest Saturday Night Live Trump/Putin/Tillerson send-up, it’s not too late. Here it is, Via Vox.
Why so serious?
If you’re confused as to why Donald Trump doesn’t think Alec Baldwin’s Trump is funny, Al Franken’s observation to Mark Leibovich may clear it up: “Donald Trump never laughs.” Via the New York Times magazine.