If you’ll be around relatives or friends — physically or virtually — who are still clinging to conspiracies about the election, Andrew Romano and I have an article that can be a resource for you. (We also did a video and written piece on the tell-tale signs of real conspiracies versus conspiracy theories, which you can read or watch here.)

The first section of this piece on election conspiracies — which discusses the way that bad actors have persuaded many people that there must be fire because they have blown so much smoke — is most important to understanding the mindset of people who have a hard time accepting established facts about the election, or COVID-19, or anything else. …

If you or those you know are wondering about the technical details of how elections are run, how votes are counted, and what is done to make sure every vote is counted fairly, without cheating, I’ve done lengthy podcast interviews with three Republicans who run and oversee the elections in their state. And remember, every state runs its own election, and has different rules. But the best practices shared in these interviews will give you a sense of what is generally done.

Here’s my interview with Kentucky’s Secretary of State Michael Adams.

Here’s my interview with Ohio’s Secretary of State Frank…

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Will Ferrell is a funny Sherlock Holmes, but you don’t want to be the punchline to a joke. Aim to be the kind of person who is more like the real Sherlock: wise, discerning, and not easily manipulated.

Three years ago I wrote a survival guide for normal people, because I knew that many people were feeling overwhelmed by two things. First, we already lived in an Information Age that bombards us with too much to process. And second, in 2017 the pace of news was too fast, too breathless, and just too much.

So I advised a few things: wait 24 hours to let a story play out before even beginning to make up your mind about it; become an expert on one issue or topic, and be a student on the rest; and make time for beauty. …

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I interviewed Jonathan Karl about his new book for one reason. It turned into something much bigger.

There has been a lot of debate over the president’s coronavirus briefings at the White House. Some say TV networks shouldn’t air them because of all the misinformation and confusing things the president says. Then Trump indicated he might pull back from them. So far he hasn’t.

Anyway, I realized that someone who sits in the front row of the White House briefing room almost every day just published a book about covering the Trump White House. And I’ve known him for years.

Jonathan Karl is chief Washington and White House correspondent for ABC News. …

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I’ll admit it: the first time I heard John Prine’s voice was only two years ago. It was a glorious Sunday afternoon in late May, and I was pulling out of the driveway of a barbecue joint in Virginia. I’d eaten so well: fantastic pulled pork with mustard sauce, and brisket cooked in massive outdoor ovens. The blessed sun had poured down on me while I pulled on a beer.

I was on that high you get when you’re just starting out on a trip that you’ve looked forward to: nothing but anticipation and open road in your future. …

At some point, you’ll need a book over the holidays. You — or someone you love — will be tapped out on Christmas movies and binge-watching Netflix.

Personally, I love getting a good book Christmas morning and then sitting around for part of the day getting lost in it.

But while we are on the subject of TV, here’s an incomplete list of some of the best and worst I’ve seen this year:

SUCCESSION — 4 Stars

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It’s the best TV show I’ve watched this year and an all-time favorite at this point. The characters are all bad guys essentially, but it is a very smart, funny and well-written show and I did end up caring about some of the characters, oddly enough. …

Reason #3 of “12 Reasons CAMELOT’S END makes a great Christmas gift

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It is both unfashionable and difficult to look backwards. Progress move forwards, into the future.

And there is little time in 2019 to catch one’s breath. The never-ending story (argument), always available on cable TV and Twitter and Facebook, is bewitching and addicting.

There are some who have chosen to look away. It may be that most people have done this.

Hopefully they are reading history, and then applying that perspective to our modern times.

“The story and the study of the past, both recent and distant, will not reveal the future,” wrote Barbara Tuchman in her essay “The Historian’s Opportunity.” …

You might have thought Ronald Reagan was the only thing worth knowing about 1980. Wow, were you wrong.

Reason #2 of “12 Reasons CAMELOT’S END makes a great Christmas gift”

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Republicans still quote Ronald Reagan in political speeches all the time. There’s a statue of Reagan at the main airport in Washington, D.C., right at the entrance. Google the phrase “Reagan Dinner” sometime and see how many local Republican groups and state parties have an event by that name each year.

There are tons of books about how Reagan came to power, about his presidency, and about what conservative like to call the “Reagan Revolution.”

It was a big deal for Republicans because Democrats were so dominant in American politics for 50 years preceding 1980. They held both chambers of Congress most of that time, and had a choke hold on the South and on the big cities in the industrial North. …

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A 17-year old recently made a calculation of how much time he’d spent on social media since he was 13. He was on his phone three hours a day for a total of 4,927 HOURS over four years. If you divide that by 16 to represent one day — assuming we each sleep 8 hours a night on average — that’s 307 days, almost a full year mostly wasted in endless scroll searching for likes and clicks.

Creation beats consumption. I believe that deeply. I’m going to put it on the walls of our home so our children see it every day. I think it’s one of the most important things they can hear every day in our current moment in history, when our phones are turning us into mindless drones. …

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The new paperback cover, out January 2020

Click on each title to read more. CAMELOT’S END is available here.

  1. Remember books?
  2. You might have thought Ronald Reagan was the only thing worth knowing about 1980. Wow were you wrong.
  3. Politics got you down? Reading history can help.
  4. You can’t watch “Succession” and “The Masked Singer” all winter break.
  5. I wrote from a place of love — not spite, or indifference, or timidity.
  6. Jimmy Carter is more appreciated now than when he left office. This book, in telling his incredible personal story, explains why.
  7. Ted Kennedy is less respected now in some ways than when he passed away a decade ago, especially following the release of the movie Chappaquiddick (2018). This book explains why he may have acted the way he did that night in 1969, without letting him off the hook in any way. …

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Jon Ward

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