Here is Michelle Obama speaking in New Hampshire earlier today. I've started it in the middle, after all the intros and throat-clearing are done. Listen to the whole thing. Just do it. That is all.

At the New Republic yesterday, Alex Shepard suggested that this might be the year for Don DeLillo to win the Nobel Prize in Literature:

No American has won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 23 years, not since Toni Morrison. And it’s easy to presume that the game is rigged against the United States: In 2008, Horace Engdahl, then the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, went out of his way to dis American literature as a whole....The backlash to Engdahl’s comments was severe....But the criticism changed nothing: Seven Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded since then, and none of them went to Americans. Many in the U.S...think that the Swedish Academy has blackballed American writers.

....Of all the leading American Nobel candidates, DeLillo is a writer of the moment.... Swedish journalist Jens Liljestrand of the newspaper Expressen also thinks that this might be DeLillo’s year. “The Academy is very much aware of the fact that their disregard for American literature is starting to look silly, and might even make the ‘brand’ of the Nobel Prize suffer internationally,” he wrote in an email.

Call me cynical, but this is the lens through which I judge Bob Dylan's Nobel win. The Academy did indeed feel like their boycott of American literature was starting to look silly, but they still didn't want to award a prize to an actual American writer. So they chose Dylan. No matter what you think of his work, I view this as practically the ultimate snub of American novelists. You think Pynchon and DeLillo and Roth and Oates are great writers? Hah! They're not even up to the standards of a good pop singer.

And now they can spend another two decades ignoring American writers.

 Why are fewer prime-age men working these days? Is it because video games are more attractive than low-paid work? Because they can increasingly rely on women making good incomes? Because society is breaking down? Princeton professor Alan Krueger suggests a large part of it is due to pain and depression:

In a recently released draft of his paper, which he will present at a Federal Reserve conference in Boston on Friday, Krueger finds that 44 percent of male, prime-age labor force dropouts say they took pain medication the day prior — which is more than twice the rate reported by employed men....About two-thirds of the people taking pain medication were using prescription drugs, not over-the-counter remedies like Tylenol or aspirin.

Compared to their employed counterparts, these men also reported more emotional pain — more feelings of sadness, tiredness, and stress....“This is a group is that particularly unhappy and distressed, that often faces significant health conditions which are a barrier to employment,” Krueger said in an interview.

Of course, it could be due to more than one factor. It's also worth noting that this is a worldwide phenomenon across developed countries:

In most countries, male participation in the labor force has been dropping for decades. The US has been near the bottom of the pack for a long time, but saw a much sharper downward spike during the Great Recession than other countries. Does pain account for that?

And what is Sweden's secret? They fell to the bottom of the pack in the late-90s, but starting in the mid-aughts they beat the trend and have increased the participation rate of men by nearly four percentage points since then. How did they do it?

Donald Trump has lost the support of women, blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, the disabled, Muslims, and pretty much every other demographic group other than angry white men. So who's left that might vote for him? How about Serbians?

"The bombing of Serbs, who were our allies in both world wars, was a big mistake,” Trump told the Serbian weekly magazine Nedeljnik for an article published on its website Thursday. “Serbians are very good people. Unfortunately, the Clinton administration caused them a lot of harm, but also throughout the Balkans, which they made a mess out of."

....Eric Gordy, professor in Southeast European Politics at University College London, told Newsweek Trump’s words echo the tactic used by the Russian government to cultivate support among Serbs. “The most obvious interpretation of his statement is that it is another sign of alignment with Russia,” he says. “To be honest, this kind of statement is usually more a symbolic attempt for Russian politicians to drum up resentment towards the U.S.,” Gordy explains.

Regardless of your opinion of Slobodan Milošević and the NATO bombing of Serbia, I find it extremely unlikely that Trump has ever actually had an opinion about this. So why did he suddenly decide to talk about it? I figure Trump has three good reasons: (a) it takes attention away from Gropegate, (b) it aligns his views with Vladimir Putin's, and (c) anything Bill Clinton did is bad.

I doubt any of this will work. Gropegate is a firestorm. Putin probably doesn't care about Trump anymore now that it's clear he's a loser. And Milošević escaped being an official war criminal only by dying before his trial could finish. I think that even most Republicans are OK with the bombing war against Serbia these days.1

1I'm just guessing about this. They were pretty critical at the time, but it never seemed to turn into much of a hot button issue.

UPDATE: This interview may be a hoax. More here.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, on Monday:

Speaker Paul Ryan told House Republicans on a conference call Monday morning that he’s done defending Donald Trump and will focus on maintaining his party’s increasingly imperiled House majority, according to sources on the call....Ryan told his members that “you all need to do what’s best for you in your district," said a source on the call, giving rank-and-file lawmakers political cover to disavow Trump.

National Review editor Rich Lowry, today:

I’ve come to believe [Ryan's call] was a mistake. As Tim Alberta pointed out, he didn’t really say anything new....All the call did was create more headlines about Republican dissension, make Ryan a hate figure for the Trump right, set Ryan up for the blame if Trump loses, and provoke Trump into pointlessly spending days attacking the speaker. None of this is helpful to anyone, especially to Ryan.

I've spent countless hours writing posts about Ryan's fundamental dishonesty on policy. He plays the part of deficit scold, compassionate conservative, and policy intellectual, but every year he releases a budget roadmap that would cut taxes on the rich, slash services to the poor, and blow up the deficit. Then, despite having the policy chops to know perfectly well what his roadmap would do, he blandly pretends it doesn't. I have very little patience for this.

That said, I confess to sympathizing with him over Donald Trump. He's taken a lot of crap from liberals over his hypocrisy in refusing to defend Trump but continuing to endorse him. But what can he realistically do? As he made clear months ago, he's a leader of the Republican Party. He really has no choice but to endorse the party's presidential candidate.

So why did he make such a point of abandoning Trump on Monday even though—as Lowry points out—he didn't really say anything new? I think the reason Ryan spoke up is simple: He may not feel that his position allows him to officially unendorse Trump, but he wanted to make it clear that, in practice, he doesn't endorse Trump. Lowry believes this was not helpful to Ryan, and I think he's right about that. What's more, I'm quite sure Ryan is keenly aware of it. Martin Longman thinks it might cost Ryan the speakership.

In other words, at considerable risk to his own career, Ryan felt like he had to make it clear how disgusted he was by Trump. I have nothing but respect for that. He didn't have to do it. No one would ever have noticed if he hadn't. But Ryan has enough of a conscience that he couldn't stay silent. Kudos to him for that.

So how did Donald Trump respond to today's New York Times story featuring two women who said he groped them? He, um, denied it:

In a phone interview on Tuesday night, a highly agitated Mr. Trump denied every one of the women’s claims. “None of this ever took place,” said Mr. Trump, who began shouting at the Times reporter who was questioning him. He said that The Times was making up the allegations to hurt him and that he would sue the news organization if it reported them. “You are a disgusting human being,” he told the reporter as she questioned him about the women’s claims.

But he didn't just threaten to sue once:

ZOMG! Can you imagine the discovery phase of this suit? Trump's lawyers would lock him inside his own gold-plated bathroom to keep him from going through with it. But wait!

There is not enough popcorn in the world for this movie.

Donald Trump Is a Pig

Is Donald Trump a serial groper? Jessica Leeds says yes:

More than three decades ago, when she was a traveling businesswoman at a paper company, Ms. Leeds said, she sat beside Mr. Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York. They had never met before. About 45 minutes after takeoff, she recalled, Mr. Trump lifted the armrest and began to touch her. According to Ms. Leeds, Mr. Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt. “He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.”

Rachel Crooks says yes:

Ms. Crooks was a 22-year-old receptionist at Bayrock Group, a real estate investment and development company in Trump Tower in Manhattan, when she encountered Mr. Trump outside an elevator in the building one morning in 2005....They shook hands, but Mr. Trump would not let go, she said. Instead, he began kissing her cheeks. Then, she said, he “kissed me directly on the mouth.”

Several contestants in the 1997 Miss Teen USA contest say yes:

“I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here,’” said Mariah Billado, the former Miss Vermont Teen USA....Three other women, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of getting engulfed in a media firestorm, also remembered Trump entering the dressing room while girls were changing. Two of them said the girls rushed to cover their bodies, with one calling it “shocking” and “creepy.”

Kamie Crawford says yes:

Cassandra Searles, Miss Washington 2013, says yes:

In a Facebook post this year, Searles called Trump a "misogynist" who "treated us like cattle" and "lined up so he could get a closer look at his property."...Searles added in a comment on her initial post's thread, "He probably doesn't want me telling the story about that time he continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room."

Mindy McGillivray says yes:

McGillivray, 36, said she was groped by Trump at Mar-a-Lago 13 years ago. She said she never reported it to authorities. But her companion that day, photographer Ken Davidoff, vividly remembers when McGillivray pulled him aside moments after the alleged incident and told him, "Donald just grabbed my ass!"

Tasha Dixon says yes:

 He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Others girls were naked....Who do you complain to? He owns the pageant. There’s no one to complain to. Everyone there works for him.

There's more, but you get the idea. The floodgates have opened.

Let's give some thought to a journalistic quandary: How should news organization handle the leak of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's hacked emails?

Under normal circumstances there would be nothing much to think about. Once they're out, they're out. You trawl through them and print anything that seems newsworthy. Neat and simple.

But consider the circumstances here. There's evidence that the hack was directed by a foreign power trying to influence the US election. The leak itself came from an organization that detests one of the candidates. And they're playing a transparently too-clever-by-half game of trying to keep this in the news for weeks by parceling out the emails a few thousand at a time.

Leaks often have a partisan motive, but this one is self-evidently hyper-partisan. So should news organizations allow themselves to be used as pawns in this obvious effort to affect the presidential election? If they do, they can hardly pretend to be neutral channels of information. But if they don't, they risk failing to report genuinely important news.

What to do? I think there's a fairly straightforward way to handle this: just dial up the threshold for "newsworthiness" a notch or two. You'd still ignore the obvious trifles, and you'd still report anything truly newsworthy or scandalous. But for stuff in the gray middle, you'd lean against publication.

Since this is not an abstract question, but an actual, concrete issue that affects an actual, concrete candidate named Hillary Clinton, it's all but impossible to discuss this on its merits. But it's worth trying. After all, does anyone think that this kind of hack is going to get less common as time goes on?1

1Actually, it might. People in high places might (a) start taking more care to never say anything embarrassing in email, and (b) start encrypting their email and other data more routinely. This might start to make hacking less productive, and eventually kill it off.

Tyler Cowen points to the following tidbit in the Financial Times:

The plummeting pound is threatening UK households’ supplies of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Marmite spread, as Tesco, the country’s biggest supermarket, pulled dozens of products from sale online in a row over who should bear the cost of the weakening currency.

Unilever has demanded steep price increases to offset the higher cost of imported commodities, which are priced in euros and dollars, according to executives at multiple supermarket groups. But Tesco signalled it would fight the rises, removing Unilever products from its website and warning that some of the items could disappear from shelves if the dispute dragged on.

Um, what? Tesco thinks that if the pound falls, prices on imported items shouldn't change? How do they figure that? Then again, maybe it's nothing:

An executive at another consumer goods manufacturer said Unilever would probably regard Tesco’s action as a negotiating tactic rather than a serious threat.

Roger that. But in the long run, there's no getting around this. A weak currency means cheaper exports and more expensive imports. You can try to jam a finger in the dike for a little while, but eventually you have to give in.

I don't know what the long-term impact of Brexit will be. I suspect it will be moderately negative on several levels, and in particular, will probably hurt the blue-collar workers who were suckered into voting for it. Rage-based voting rarely does anyone any good. In the short-term, however, the impact will be unambiguously bad. Prices of imports will go up before the benefits of rising exports work their way through the economy, and uncertainty over Britain's final status will paralyze lots of decisions from foreign firms about whether they should continue to invest there. This will all shake out in the end, but there will be some pain in the meantime.

In the LA Times poll, Donald Trump has been consistently in the lead for the past month, even as other polls show Hillary Clinton ahead. Today, 27 days before November 8, doomsday has finally been postponed:

There is a 19-year-old black man in Illinois who has no idea of the role he is playing in this election. He is sure he is going to vote for Donald J. Trump....He’s a panelist on the U.S.C. Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Daybreak poll, which has emerged as the biggest polling outlier of the presidential campaign. Despite falling behind by double digits in some national surveys, Mr. Trump has generally led in the U.S.C./LAT poll.

....Our Trump-supporting friend in Illinois is a surprisingly big part of the reason. In some polls, he’s weighted as much as 30 times more than the average respondent, and as much as 300 times more than the least-weighted respondent. Alone, he has been enough to put Mr. Trump in double digits of support among black voters.

....He is also the reason Mrs. Clinton took the lead in the U.S.C./LAT poll for the first time in a month on Wednesday. The poll includes only the last seven days of respondents, and he hasn’t taken the poll since Oct. 4. Mrs. Clinton surged once he was out of the sample for the first time in several weeks.

In some way, I suppose it was worth experimenting with the unusual, panel-based design of the LA Times poll. However, their decision to weight lots of tiny subgroups separately is harder to defend. It's the reason that one guy in Illinois can have a significant effect on the entire poll.

Nate Cohn's piece on the LA Times poll is worth a read. It's a very good introduction to the whole issue of poll weighting and how it works. There's as much art as science to this stuff sometimes.