Webb’s Wrap: Opinion briefs – Two Utah brothers on Trump’s Supreme Court list . . . Newspaper crisis continues . . . Social media dumpster fire

Sibling rivalry? It is quite unique that two Utah brothers, Sen. Mike Lee and Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee, have twice made Pres. Trump’s list of possible U.S. Supreme Court nominees if he wins a second term and a spot comes open (which is likely).

The question arises: Which brother would make the best high court justice? Some smart lawyers tell me that Thomas has the best legal mind. But Mike, who has no judicial experience except as a young clerk, knows Washington politics and might be more easily confirmed. Either one would be a conservative justice and constitutional originalist. They would avoid making laws from the bench. See more at the Deseret News and the Tribune.

Media Watch: Pandemic exacerbates newspaper crisis. Headline on a Route-Fifty article: “Covid-19 Is Crushing Newspapers, Worsening Hunger for Accurate Information,”
An excerpt: “Since 2004, publishers have shuttered at least 1,800 newspapers, leaving so-called ‘news deserts’ where people have limited information about their communities. In some places, newspapers have had to retreat to fewer printed editions each week or have laid off so many employees that they’ve become ‘ghost newspapers’ with marginal value to the audience they’re supposed to serve. Read full article HERE.

The social media dumpster fire. An old friend of mine, Bud Scruggs, once said he didn’t listen much to talk radio because, “It’s mostly the uninhibited talking to the uninformed.” That was long before Facebook and Twitter existed. But the social media platforms fit that description a thousand times over. That’s why I engage very little with social media beyond communicating with family and friends. I have no interest in reading snarky comments from people who I don’t know and who have nothing interesting to say. It’s interesting that most people are fairly polite when walking down the street among people they don’t know. But get them on a social media platform and they turn into boorish beasts, especially if they can do it anonymously. The New York Times has an interesting article about how Facebook distorts reality.

Trends to watch: Governments are reducing office space. Like many private businesses, state and local governments are beginning to downsize the amount of office space they use as more people are performing well while working from home. Over time, state and local government should be able to save some money. Route-Fifty has a nice roundup of what states are doing. Read full story HERE.

Reader response. After reading my observation that, “Only disaster left to experience this year is an invasion of cockroaches,” Carl Stark wrote: “Don’t you dare tempt fate!!! Besides, we’ve already seen this done in Hollywood. In the 1977 post-apocalyptic film ‘Damnation Alley’ the heroes are attacked by flesh-stripping cockroaches in Salt Lake City.” View a clip from this classy film featuring killer cockroaches HERE.

Parting shot. Here’s how to get rich: Get a job with Trump, take good notes, and then write a book. Trump touts his economic success. But he’s been especially good for the book industry – especially tell-all books about himself with lots of salacious tidbits. Michael Cohen is out with the latest of dozens of books. Bob Woodward seems to be doing one after another, all with “bombshell” revelations (as CNN likes to put it). Peter Strzok has a book out. Even, Kim Darroch, the former British ambassador to the United States, has a book disparaging the Trump administration. Ditto John Bolton, Mary Trump, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, and the list goes on and on. A Columbia Journalism Review article notes, “The publishing industry has produced more material on Trump than any president before, with books selling in the millions.” There are 86 books about Trump in just his first term. Obama had 71 in two terms. Ronald Reagan had 32 books in two terms.