Gleanings & Observations

Ordinary North Koreans may be starving, reduced to eating grass, but their missile makers are not short of cash. North Korea has conducted at least seven missile tests, including of missiles that can reach U.S. bases and troops in Guam, the first response location if there is activity in the Taiwan Strait. North Korea is now figuring out how to arm its hardware with nuclear warheads, of which it now has an estimated 45-60.

The State Department announced it intends to rely on “dialogue and diplomacy” to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

In May, North Korea will become president of the UN Conference on Disarmament, established to support nuclear disarmament and the creation of new weapons of mass destruction.

After the Super Bowl, rioters took over parts of downtown Los Angeles. A fan was shot, a bus destroyed, the police called out.

There is a move to declare the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday a national holiday. That would give the city’s prosecutors a day off before returning to work to refuse to prosecute any of the rioters, and judges time to figure out how to release without bail any who fell into the hands of prosecutors unsympathetic with bail reform.

“Big law is on a tear,” reports The Economist. Business is booming and profits are soaring, with average income per equity partner at U.S. firms around $2.5 million. The pandemic has taught the firms that many of the ways they practice law are unnecessarily expensive – too many meetings, too much senseless travel. Cost savings do not appear to be finding their way onto client bills. The money keeps rolling in.

56% of lawyers report they are unhappy, frustrated with their careers. There are no studies reporting why, in a nation with 11 million job openings, lawyers are not stampeding out of the law business. One reason might be that delivering pizzas is less satisfying, investment banking even more arduous. Perhaps Groucho was right, “While money can’t buy happiness, but it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.”

Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashid Tlaib, Jamal Bowman and Cori Bush, the so-called “squad”, have called for defunding the police. AOC, Bowman and Tlaib voted “present” on a bill to add $1.9 billion to the budget of the capitol police, which protects members of congress. A “no” vote on their part would have killed the bill, which passed by one vote.

Members of the squad would be less affected than most if the police were defunded. Fox News, not a supporter of this congressional gaggle, reports that according to Federal Election Commission records, the squad spent a combined $325,000 on their own private security last year.

“What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, Shakespeare tells us. But no longer will Guyère cheese smell or taste quite like, well, cheese from the Guyère region of Switzerland or the neighboring region of France. U.S. courts have ruled they will not stop American cheese makers from calling their product Gruyere cheese. The Interprofessional du Gruyère, Joe Queenan tells readers of the WSJ, is more than a little upset.

Meanwhile, South Dakota Senator John Thune is urging congress to re-enact mandatory country-of-origin labeling of meats, which had been repealed in response to objections from the World Trade Organization. American consumers, he says, want to know where their meat is coming from. The origin of their Gruyere is apparently of less concern, especially to the Wisconsin “Cheeseheads” seen at Green Bay Packer games cheering on their MVP quarterback, Aaron Rogers, who chose to avoid an “unvaccinated” label by claiming immunity to Covid.