April 19, 2024

"It happens all the time" — "in a rural town, in the west" — The signs say "F Biden" and little kids give him the finger.

"In a city where many feel ready to snap, dogs have become easy targets for a bubbling undercurrent of rage."

"Now, strangers will just tell my dog he’s an asshole. On three separate occasions, a woman in my building, who doesn’t know I work from home and who doesn’t live on my floor, has come downstairs to stand right in front of my door until Milo starts barking, then yells at him gleefully. Walking to the corner store the other day, Milo made a little woof while crossing the street. 'Shut up, dog,' a man told him, staring at me. The woman next to him started laughing. 'Yeah, shut up dog!'..."

Writes Bindu Bansinath, in "Why Does Everyone Hate My Dog? In a city bubbling over with rage, pets — and their owners — are enemy No. 1" (The Cut).

"A young man set himself on fire on Friday afternoon near the Lower Manhattan courthouse where jury selection continued in the criminal trial of former President Donald J. Trump."

"The man doused himself with a liquid around 1:35 p.m. in Collect Pond Park, across the street from the courthouse.... It was unclear what motivated his action. People rushed over to try to extinguish the fire, but the intensity of the heat could be felt several hundred feet away. After a few minutes, dozens of police officers rushed over and tried to smother the flames. The man, who appeared to be alive, was loaded into an ambulance and rushed away."

The NYT reports.

"The ugly shoe conversation reminds me of..."

"... the stylist Allison Bornstein’s 'wrong shoe' theory: the idea that you can really make an outfit sing — or make a boring outfit interesting — with a shoe that contradicts the rest of the look.... I think there’s also concern around being a 'fashion victim' not just by wearing an ugly shoe, but by wearing a shoe that will be everywhere. I like the non-ugly Bode Nike Astro Grabbers, for example — especially the cream style with colorful shoelace charms. But even if I’m able to nab a pair when they’re released on May 1, do I want to be wearing the same sneaker as every other joker on Orchard Street?"

This gets my "paradox" tag: the wrongness is the rightness.

Sitting within good information.

I like the plants in the background, because she really is visualizing the people as plants. Watch for her snarky snicker when she knows she's characterizing NPR's news as manure for us to take root in and grow in the direction that pleases her.

"In 1877 a British philosopher and mathematician named William Kingdon Clifford published an essay called 'The Ethics of Belief.'"

"In it he argued that if a shipowner ignored evidence that his craft had problems and sent the ship to sea having convinced himself it was safe, then of course we would blame him if the ship went down and all aboard were lost. To have a belief is to bear responsibility, and one thus has a moral responsibility to dig arduously into the evidence, avoid ideological thinking and take into account self-serving biases. 'It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence,' Clifford wrote. A belief, he continued, is a public possession. If too many people believe things without evidence, 'the danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.'"

From "The Courage to Follow the Evidence on Transgender Care" by David Brooks (NYT).

Here's the essay "The Ethics of Belief."

And here's Hilary Cass's study (discussed in the Brooks column), "Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People."

"When your community no longer reflects morals and values, it might be time to move."

 Says the website Conservative Move, quoted in "Sick of Your Blue State? These Real Estate Agents Have Just the Place for You. Agents in South Carolina, the fastest growing state in the country last year, say that many newcomers are Republicans eager to leave the Northeast and West Coast" (NYT).

Yana Ghannam, a recent client of [a Conservative Move real estate agent], said that she had moved to Greenville from Livermore, Calif., because she wanted to make friends who wouldn’t criticize her for voting Republican or for being anti-union. “It was very much, ‘Oh you have to do this to fit in, you have to do that,’” Ms. Ghannam said of her life in Livermore.

There's a big difference between: 1. Wanting to live where everyone thinks like you, and 2. Wanting to be free of rejection for failing to think like everyone else.

Reason #1 is anti-diversity. Reason #2 is pro-diversity. Don't mix up the 2 mindsets! A conservative might want to leave a blue state because Democrats are treating them with hostility. That is, Democrats are in mindset #1, seeking uniformity. 

What are you supposed to do if you want good social interaction among people who enjoy a diverse marketplace of ideas? I'm afraid the only option — even if your motivation is to flee hostility (Reason #2) — is to go to the place where people agree with you (which would be Reason #1 if it were your motivation).

Why is Trump doing so well in the polls?

I'm reading "As Trial Begins, Was Trump Benefiting From Being Out of the News? His liabilities weren’t dominating the conversation the way they once did, perhaps helping his polling" by Nate Cohn.
Donald J. Trump appears to be a stronger candidate than he was four years ago, polling suggests, and not just because a notable number of voters look back on his presidency as a time of relative peace and prosperity. It’s also because his political liabilities, like his penchant to offend and his legal woes, don’t dominate the news the way they once did....

Really? I think he seems to dominate the news. But of course, he isn't President. The actual President does necessarily claim some space. In Biden's case, it's the least space I've ever seen claimed by a President. Because of all the prosecutions, Trump's first presidency is still immensely important daily news. And Trump also gets attention as the leading contender to be the next President. Biden is overwhelmed. What do we hear of Biden? He said something weird about cannibalism. He didn't wear a bow tie with his dinner jacket.

Nevertheless, Cohn seems to have convinced himself that Trump is lower profile in the news these days:

"News aggregation and analysis accounts like Mx. Spehar’s are shaping the discourse about current events in the United States, especially among young people."

"They’re a modern version of old-school bloggers — users respond to the personal tone, and the editorializing. (Some creators have even built followings simply by reading print news articles to their followers.) Pew Research Center has found that about one-third of 18- to 29-year-olds say they get news regularly on the platform, far outpacing people in other age groups."

From "Love, Hate or Fear It, TikTok Has Changed America" (NYT). That's a free-access link. The article has a wide scope. I excerpted what was interesting to me, an old-school blogger, a living relic of the pre-modern period.

"Mx. Spehar posts to more than three million followers from the handle @UnderTheDeskNews and films many clips lying on the floor, a gimmick that began as an effort to differentiate from the authoritative tone of traditional television news anchors. The style of communication has resonated enough to make Mx. Spehar a regular at White House briefings with social media influencers."

If you, like one-third of 18- to 29-year-olds, were getting your news from Spehar, here's what you'd be seeing this morning. Just guess how a TikToker would present the news that Israel retaliated against Iran. Now compare that to what Spehar actually did:

"Biden’s Catholic faith should make him a natural middle-grounder..."

"... but his personal qualms about abortion have zero policy substance since he abandoned his support for the Hyde Amendment, and he’s planted himself to the left of secular Europe on transgender issues.... Biden is only now considering a Trump-like executive order on border crossings....  [T]he White House is reluctant to put any clear distance between itself and climate activists.... 'If you like your gas-powered car, you can keep your car' is a simple, politically effective formulation. Yet somehow the Biden administration has ended up with 'If you like your gas-powered car, you’re a clueless antiquarian' instead. One explanation for this pattern is that Biden’s White House is staffed by progressive ideologues.... The greater freedom that Trump enjoys has roots in some dark places — cynicism, conservative tribalism, a populist indifference to policy detail...."

Writes Ross Douthat in "Why Can’t Biden Triangulate Like Trump?" 

I clicked on that headline as soon as I saw it, so I'm surprised to see it's dated April 13th. Since I scan the front-page headlines at the NYT every day, I have to think Biden's failure to "triangulate" is something the editors wanted buried. By the way, "triangulate like Trump" is funny, considering that Bill Clinton was the original triangulator. No mention of Clinton in Douthat's column.

April 18, 2024

Sunrise — 5:59, 5:59, 6:00, 6:20.





"Behind the scenes, Trump’s defense team is scrambling to find and review potential jurors’ social media accounts..."

"... and when they find ones critical of the former president and presumptive GOP presidential nominee, they are racing to show them to the judge to try to get those people dismissed. The turnaround time for such work is tight — lawyers on the case have been given lists of names of potential jurors, some of whom they have to start questioning in a matter of hours.... To fight back against what he says is an inherently unfair jury pool, Trump’s defense team hired a jury consulting firm that is analyzing all posts from jurors.... So far, the judge has been mostly skeptical of the defense claims of dangerous bias exhibited by old social media posts. Jurors questioned in court about their old social media posts were often defensive and dismissive of the suggestion that the old posts revealed anything important about their views or ability to be fair...."

"Since Donald J. Trump’s election in 2016, many campuses have become especially volatile places, seeing an increase..."

"... in angry demonstrations over conservative speakers, some of whom have been disinvited out of fear for their safety. The Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel has sparked another wave of protests.... In interviews, they described encountering students who were unwilling to engage with administrators when invited to do so, quick to use aggressive and sometimes physical forms of expression, and often wore masks to conceal their identities..... 'When I talk to my fellow university presidents, everybody has the same experience,' said Daniel Diermeier, the chancellor of Vanderbilt.... 'They’re not interested in dialogue. When they are invited for dialogue, they do not participate,' Dr. Diermeier said. 'They’re interested in protesting, disruption. That’s different... This has nothing to do with free speech. That’s a red herring'...."

From "Colleges Warn Student Demonstrators: Enough/After years of tolerating unruly protests, some schools are starting to suspend and expel students, raising questions about where they should draw the line" (NYT).

Meanwhile: "Live Updates: Police Arresting Pro-Palestinian Protesters at Columbia/Officers began arresting students on Thursday, a day after university officials testified about antisemitism before Congress" (NYT)("The arrests, which drew a new crowd of students to support the protesters, came the day after university leaders pledged to Congress that they would crack down on unauthorized student protests tied to the war in Gaza").

"'I think that, like, boys’ rooms as a concept is interesting,' said Mr. Isaacson, who is a full-time comedian."

"'It’s just very fun to see myself and these other, you know, contestants, for lack of a better word, in their natural habitat.' Mr. Isaacson’s apartment tour included a large amount of clothes spread across the floor; a dresser filled with gray wigs (for his sketch comedy, he says); and a desk that was given to him by his grandmother. 'I think of the clutter as, like, if you’re crossing a creek,' said Mr. Isaacson, who has since cleaned his apartment in response to some of the comments. 'There are sort of steppingstones that you use to avoid the water. And I think in a good messy boy’s room, there are steppingstones of floor.'"

Here's the "Boy Room" tour of Chris's room. More of "Boy Room," here, at Instagram.

I came away from the experience wanting to paraphrase Leo Tolstoy: Messy boy rooms are all alike; every neat rooms is neat in its own way. 

Now, it's the negative that's all alike, so I've reversed Tolstoy's idea —  Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. And that makes me want to examine the possibility that unhappy families are all alike and every happy family is happy in its own way. I mean, why not? Who has done the research here?

We're talking about chaos and order. It's chaos that is always the same. There are so many possibilities for order.

Men in stores.

Trump later proclaimed, "That was great action at the bodega," and there was an instant campaign ad.

"Furry is a fandom. We don’t think that we’re animals. I really like the idea of animals that walk and talk, so I’m going to dress up as one, as kind of a fun sort of cosplay thing."

Said a student named Strudel, quoted in "Students walk out of Utah middle school to protest ‘furries’" (abc4). Strudel explained that people who think they actually are a nonhuman animal are called "therians."

The student protesters object to the school's tolerance of the furries. There is a dress code banning things that "draw undue attention, distract, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with the learning atmosphere." You can see from the video of the protest, below, that signs say things like "Compelled speech is not free speech" and "I will not comply," so there seems to be more going on than a simple failure to enforce the dress code against the furries. I haven't watched much of the video, but I'm guessing the non-furry students are compelled to acknowledge the furries' professed identity in some prescribed way. And the article says the protesting students accuse the furries of "biting, scratching, spraying air freshener on, barking at and chasing other students." I'm guessing they are claiming a privilege to manifest behavior in line with their professed identity. How would that explain spraying air freshener? Perhaps that's a mellow substitute for a spray bottle of urine.

I'm not sure this isn't a hoax. There's plenty of video though:

"Donald Trump, who relentlessly undermined the justice system while in office and since, is enjoying the same protections and guarantees of fairness and due process before the law that he sought to deny to others during his term."

So says the Editorial Board of the New York Times, in "Donald Trump and American Justice."

That's a free access link, in case you want to search for details about that relentless undermining. 

I got there via Mickey Kaus, who tweeted, "@NYTopinion gives zero (0) examples of Trump denying due process to others during his term."

According to the Editorial Board:
[Trump] portrays himself as a victim of an unfair and politically motivated prosecution. That defense is built on lies. Mr. Trump is no victim. He is fortunate to live in a country where the rule of law guarantees a presumption of innocence and robust rights for defendants.

I don't like how the Board is conflating the prosecution and the court and the rule of law. The rule of law is an abstraction. Rights exist within the abstraction, but rights can be violated. The abstraction doesn't guarantee the rights. People exercising power must ensure that those rights are protected, and they may deviously hide behind the abstraction... perhaps with the help of elite onlookers who make abstract pronouncements in print. 

April 17, 2024

At the Trout Lily Café (formerly the Bloodroot Café)...


... you can talk all night.



[I]f she has a vision of a shared future that doesn’t resonate with you... exaggerating your feelings in order to preserve the status quo would amount to “breadcrumbing”: leading her on, and preventing her from moving along with her life. The prototype breadcrumber is the manipulative cad who just wants to keep all options open on a Friday night. More typical breadcrumbers, I suspect, are driven not by cynicism but by uncertainty, and by a desire to avoid conflict....

Breadcrumbs. I tend to think of Hansel and Gretel dropping breadcrumbs to mark a path that leads back out of the forest. But breadcrumbs fail as path markers because the birds eat them. But there's also the idea of feeding a person mere crumbs. Isn't that usually seen from the point of view of the person offered the crumbs? You're just giving me crumbs! I don't think I've seen it from the perspective of the person hoping to get what they want by only giving crumbs. So I don't think this is a good buzzword — not unless it's used by the person who's rejecting the offer of crumbs.

Googling, I see that it is, in fact, a well-established term for manipulating someone. Why are people letting themselves be manipulated by metaphorical crumbs? I'm blaming the victim here.

"No one’s been harder on Trump than me. But I get it, and I’m bored with it. And there’s a different way to do this...."

"Not to defend Trump, but to defend the people who still vote for him. Because what they see on the other side, to them, is even more dangerous. Because it’s closer to home: 'My kid is coming home from school and he thinks he’s a racist? He’s five, what have you been telling him? My son thinks maybe he’s not a boy.' And maybe that’s true, that happens. Those kind of things are what they say. 'That’s why I’m voting for Trump.'"

Said Bill Maher, criticizing the mainstream commentators who endlessly express negativity toward Trump, quoted in "Bill Maher Defends Trump Voters in Contentious Katie Couric Sit-Down" (Daily Beast)(video at the link).

Maher is right. The media pundits should not be aiming disrespect and contempt at the millions of Americans who support Trump. They are voters, and they are human beings. The self-important experts ought at least to pretend to care about understanding and reaching them.

"Having rarely missed a Morning Edition or All Things Considered every day every week for every year between 1984 and 2013, by 2014 NPR became less and less tolerable to this centrist..."

"... until by 2020 I just stopped caring and certainly stopped listening. I doubt I am alone in having concluded NPR had become something of a joke. And a really sad one."

That's the second highest-rated comment on the NYT article, "NPR Editor Who Accused Broadcaster of Liberal Bias Resigns/Uri Berliner, who has worked at NPR for 25 years, said in an essay last week that the nonprofit had allowed progressive bias to taint its coverage."

Highest rated: "Kudos to Berliner for having the backbone to write the essay he did. Weren’t we all thinking it anyway and he just voiced the reason many of us stopped listening to NPR on a regular basis?"

Third-highest: "Mr. Berliner was on suspension not for working for outside organizations but for truthfully criticizing NPR's bias."

Fourth: "I've been listening to NPR my entire life. Things took wild turn after 2016. And now I am finding myself disjoint from almost all conversation happening on NPR.

Remember, these are NYT readers. These are most likely liberals who are put off by the left-wing slant. I was going to write What happened in 2016? I had to laugh at myself.

"My husband...’s a frat bro who loves sports, and I’m a radical alien witch academic nerd."

"In the beginning, we did all the typical stuff. Read the books on nonmonogamy, did the relationship check-ins. We’d sit down, take notes. We did every exercise in the books, listened to every podcast. We learned a strategy from the Multiamory podcast called 'agile scrum,' which was adapted from business-meeting models. We utilized that format. We did that for a year and a half, at least once a month, sometimes six to 10 hours of hard poly-processing. That gave us great communication tactics."

Said a woman named Ann, quoted in "Lessons From a 20-Person Polycule/How they set boundaries, navigate jealousy, wingman their spouses and foster community" (NYT)(free access link).

My head spins. Who could listen to every podcast? Exhausting, and I'm barely picturing what "hard poly-processing" must mean!

Anyway, what does Ann's husband think? He seems quite a bit less jaunty and managerial about the whole thing. This is actually pretty sad, so I will put it after the jump, for your protection:

"I don’t think the obvious thing needs to be stated out loud, which is that when Russia blocks YouTube, they’ll justify it with precisely this decision of the United States."

Said the Russian opposition blogger, Aleksandr Gorbunov, quoted in "What a TikTok Ban Would Mean for the U.S. Defense of an Open Internet/Global digital rights advocates are watching to see if Congress acts, worried that other countries could follow suit with app bans of their own" (NYT).
By targeting TikTok... the United States may undermine its decades-long efforts to promote an open and free internet governed by international organizations, not individual countries, digital rights advocates said. The web in recent years has fragmented as authoritarian governments in China and Russia increasingly encroach on their citizens’ internet access.... 

"Many people with obesity... have fat deposits in the tongue and in the back of the throat. The neck gets larger with fat that narrows the airway..."

"... and the tongue gets larger in all directions, 'like blowing up a balloon'... During sleep, the tongue obstructs the flow of oxygen, repeatedly waking the person repeatedly.”

Writes Gina Kolata, in "Sleep Apnea Reduced in People Who Took Weight-Loss Drug, Eli Lilly Reports/The company reported results of clinical trials involving Zepbound, an obesity drug in the same class as Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy" (NYT).

That's good news, and I hope this drug helps with sleep apnea, which must be a terrible problem, but I'm blogging this because I was cheered up by the phrase "repeatedly waking the person repeatedly."

"Many younger women, for instance, shaped in part by the #MeToo movement, are engaging in intentional abstinence."

"There are trends on TikTok about going 'boysober'... 'Platonic life partners,' meanwhile — friends who commit to owning a home and even raising children together — insist that sex and romance are not necessary to lifelong unions. The sex educator and researcher Emily Nagoski is resistant to the idea that frequent sex should be a chief component of every committed relationship. Nagoski — who has been open about her own hiatus from marital sex — doesn’t endorse obligatory sex, nor does she encourage aiming for any sexual base line in terms of regularity or behavior. Drawing on the work of the Canadian sexologist Peggy Kleinplatz, Nagoski believes that low desire can sometimes be evidence of good judgment. 'It’s not dysfunctional not to want sex you don’t like,' Nagoski says.... For couples measuring themselves against what Nagoski calls the 'fictions' of sex, or for those worried that their relationship is on the line whenever they enter the bedroom or don’t meet some monthly number, there may be too much pressure for sex to be enjoyable. It’s more important that couples establish what kind of sex is worth having...."

Writes Amanda Montei, in "Can a Sexless Marriage Be a Happy One? Experts and couples are challenging the conventional wisdom that sex is essential to relationships" (NYT).

My excerpt deprives you of a lot of anecdotes, so I'll just give you one as an example... an absurd example:

"If a belligerent state launched 186 explosive drones, 36 cruise missiles, and 110 surface-to-surface missiles from three fronts against civilian targets within the United States..."

"... would Joe Biden call it a 'win'? Would the president tell us that the best thing we can do now is show 'restraint'? What if that same terror state’s proxy armies had recently helped murder, rape, and kidnap more than 1,000 American men, women, and children? What if this terror state were trying to obtain nuclear weapons so it could continue to agitate without any consequences?"

Asks David Harsanyi, in "The World Is Paying A Deadly Price For Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy Legacy" (The Federalist).

"I spent most of Mr. Trump’s speech not far from the stage, sandwiched between two exceptionally kind older guys clad in camo..."

"... one with a matching hat that read 'Ultra MAGA warrior.' One of them rustled me up a chair, offered to serve as a wind shield and even tried to lend me his gloves so my fingers wouldn’t freeze. I was comfortable enough, but after nearly an hour of listening to Mr. Trump’s usual ravings, I decided to call it a night."

Writes Michelle Cottle, in "What I Found Inside the MAGAverse on the Eve of Trump’s Trial" (NYT). That's a free access link, so you can find more of Cottle's experience among the deplorables and her seeming surprise at finding them happy, not angry, and pretty nice.

"There was a vibe of unity, common purpose, faith and joy. I didn’t run across anyone sweating the trial. But I spoke with plenty of folks like Lauren Herzog — who was rocking pigtails, a MAGA hat and an American-flag pajama onesie — with her husband and a bunch of their friends, who were happy to field my questions about whether they were concerned that Mr. Trump would soon be in court. There was much laughter and even more cross talk, but the bottom-line ruling from the group was, 'Nah.'"

"Would pulling a fire alarm before a vote qualify for 20 years in federal prison?"

From yesterday's argument in Fischer v. United States, the case about charging January 6th defendants with violating a federal statute that arose out of the Enron scandal and was aimed at the destruction of documents.

What fits the statute under the government's interpretation?
JUSTICE GORSUCH: Would a sit-in that disrupts a trial or access to a federal courthouse qualify? Would a heckler in today's audience qualify, or at the state of the union address? Would pulling a fire alarm before a vote qualify for 20 years in federal prison?

The fire alarm scenario must allude to the Jamaal Bowman incident, but of course, the Solicitor General proceeds smoothly and professionally, and calls it a "hypothetical":

GENERAL PRELOGAR: There are multiple elements of the statute that I think might not be satisfied by those hypotheticals, and it relates to the point I was going to make to the Chief Justice about the breadth of this statute. The -- the kind of built-in limitations or the things that I think would potentially suggest that many of those things wouldn't be something the government could charge or prove

"When Peter first showed me some restored images of the film, one was of a couple of the Beatles from the back, and..."

"... their hair in the original looked very clumped. Then he said, 'Now let me show you what we’ve been working on.' It was the same shot, but you could see the individual strands of hair. The new version is a 21st century version of a 20th century movie. It is certainly brighter and livelier than what ended up on videotape. It looks now like it was intended to look in 1969 or 1970, although at my request, Peter did give it a more filmic look than 'Get Back,' which had a slightly more modern and digital look.... [M]ost people who saw Peter’s picture as a corrective to mine haven’t seen mine, because no one was able to see it for 50 years. So unless they were children when they saw it in theaters, the only way most people would have seen it was on VHS or bootlegs, which changed the original aspect ratio and had dark and gloomy pictures and bad sound."

Said Michael Lindsay-Hogg, quoted in "Long Dismissed, the Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ Film Returns After 54 Years Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s unloved — or misinterpreted? — 1970 documentary, the source for Peter Jackson’s 'Get Back,' will stream on Disney+" (NYT).

I saw "Let It Be" in the theater when it came out in 1970, when I was a "child" of 19. I guess I'll have to subscribe to Disney again to see this digitally restored version. If we can now see the individual strands of the famous hair....

When I get older, losing my hair... it will be digitally possible to restore your hair, to individualize the strands so that they pulsate and coruscate as never before. I was once 19, in a movie theater, gazing upon the film "Let It Be," trying to see the reason why Beatles were breaking up — couldn't Paul please lead more subtly? couldn't George tone down the sarcasm? — and now, at 73, I can strap Vision Pro goggles to my face, lie in bed, and marvel at the individuality of the hairs in the once seemingly clumpy moptops. It's getting so much better all the time.

April 16, 2024

Sunrise — 5:56, 6:14, 6:18.



IMG_5971 (1)

"A first in the jury selection process: a man who says he read 'The Art of the Deal' and..."

"... two other books published by Trump. Trump responds with a chuckle and an approving nod."

"The Supreme Court seemed wary... of letting prosecutors use a federal obstruction law to charge hundreds of rioters involved in the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021...."

"Mr. Trump’s case did not come up at the argument, which was largely focused on trying to make sense of a statute that all concerned agreed was not a model of clarity. But the justices’ questions also considered the gravity of the assault and whether prosecutors have been stretching the law to reach members of the mob responsible for the attack. Justice Clarence Thomas, who returned to the bench after an unexplained absence on Monday, asked whether the government was engaging in a kind of selective prosecution. 'There have been many violent protests that have interfered with proceedings,' he said. 'Has the government applied this provision to other protests?'..."

Adam Liptak reports in the NYT.

"NPR has formally punished Uri Berliner, the senior editor who publicly argued a week ago that the network had 'lost America's trust' by..."

"... approaching news stories with a rigidly progressive mindset. Berliner's five-day suspension without pay, which began last Friday, has not been previously reported. Yet the public radio network is grappling in other ways with the fallout from Berliner's essay for the online news site The Free Press.... In an interview...."

The shocking realization that Jack and Diane voted for Trump.

ADDED: I question whether Mellencamp was talking about Biden. Something bothered him and made him vindictive against the whole crowd:

Well, it's obvious why but I doubt if David Frum comes out and says it.

I was halfway through the headline when I wrote the post title.

The second half of the headline confirms my suspicion.

We're not supposed to read Biden's refusal to debate to mean that he lacks the mental capacity to debate. Frum and others will instruct us, repeatedly, in articles repeating the talking point.

"Park officials can’t patch up the fallen rocks and perch them back on their original site. Once people intervene..."

"... the attraction is no longer a product made by Mother Nature. 'If you restore it, then it becomes anthropogenic. It is art rather than something natural,' said Elizabeth Cottrell, a geologist at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. 'That doesn’t invoke the same wonder and awe of nature.'"

From "Lake Mead visitors caught on video destroying ancient rock formations/National Park Service rangers are looking for information on two male suspects in the vandalism incident" (WaPo).

Could the story "Fire consumes Copenhagen’s 400-year-old stock market building" have anything to do with Trump?

Not really, but after I read that Washington Post article, I opened the comments section fully expecting to find someone connecting it to Trump.

I was not disappointed. The 3rd most-liked comment is: "I know the cause: They started trading trumpy’s Truth Social, and the trash caught fire."

"The Supreme Court will hear arguments [today] in a case that could eliminate some of the federal charges against former President Donald J. Trump..."

"... in the case accusing him of plotting to subvert the 2020 election and could disrupt the prosecutions of hundreds of rioters involved in the Capitol attack. The question the justices will consider is whether a provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, enacted in the wake of the collapse of the energy giant Enron, covers the conduct of a former police officer, Joseph W. Fischer, who participated in the Capitol assault, on Jan. 6, 2021. The law figures in two of the federal charges against Mr. Trump in his election subversion case, and more than 350 people who stormed the Capitol have been prosecuted under it.... The law, signed in 2002, was prompted by accounting fraud and the destruction of documents, but the provision is written in broad terms. Still, in an earlier case involving a different provision of the law, the Supreme Court said it should be tethered to its original purpose...."

A text sent by Fischer: "they should storm the capital and drag all the democrates into the street and have a mob trial."

Listen to the oral argument live, here, at 10 EDT.

A conversation about Tom Cotton and Bob Dylan.

Texting at 6 in the morning. I'm out for the sunrise, and Meade is on the internet, thinking about the government...

Later, I expand on "yikes":

It's Bob Dylan's get out of the way song.

And here's the link to Tom Cotton's tweet.


April 15, 2024

Sunrise — 6:18.


"According to FIRE Campus Advocacy Rights Director Alex Morey, under the First Amendment, Chemerinsky’s 3L dinner is considered a limited public forum..."

"... in which the government, or individual or group in charge of the forum, can open up the forum for speech in any way they decide. Morey said Chemerinsky and his wife, Catherine Fisk, opened up a forum and were able to determine its limits in the case of the 3L dinner.... 'This is a situation where students have to recognize that yes, they have First Amendment rights, but they also know those rights come with certain specific limitations,' Morey said... 'Schools should exact some kind of punishment on students who engage in misconduct, but I think that some level of understanding can be given when students are trying to exercise their First Amendment rights in good faith but are still learning how to do so,' Morey said. 'It’s a delicate balance, but we hope Berkeley can figure out the right way to find that balance.'"

From "FIRE calls Chemerinsky 3L dinner limited public forum, says free speech has limitations" (The Daily Californian/Berkeley's News)

"The black-clad man, stabbing wildly, had 27 seconds alone with him. That is long enough, Rushdie points out, to read one of Shakespeare’s sonnets..."

"... including his favorite, No. 130.... Rushdie is initially held together by staples. His ruined eye bulged out of its socket and hung down his face 'like a large soft-boiled egg.' He spends time on ventilators.... No one will permit him to look in a mirror. Mentally, he tortures himself. Why had he not defended himself? Was it that he was 75 and his attacker 24? 'On some days I’m embarrassed, even ashamed, by my failure to try to fight back,' he writes. 'On other days I tell myself not to be stupid, what do I imagine I could have done? This is as close to understanding my inaction as I’ve been able to get: The targets of violence experience a crisis in their understanding of the real.'..."

Writes Dwight Garner, in "Salman Rushdie Reflects on His Stabbing in a New Memoir/'Knife' is an account of the writer’s brush with death in 2022, and the long recovery that followed" (NYT).

"Right now, Steinglass, the prosecutor, is doing a lengthy recounting of Trump's comments on the infamous Access Hollywood tape."

"There is no new information there, but Trump is listening as his own words about grabbing women’s genitals are recounted.... Trump, listening to a tape of himself from fall 2016 in which he says no one has more respect for women than he, mouths: 'True.'"

I'm following "Live Updates: Trump Trial Poised to Begin, a Criminal Case Without Precedent/Jury selection is set to start as Donald J. Trump faces charges he faked business records to cover up a sex scandal before winning the presidency. The judge declined Mr. Trump’s request to recuse himself" (NYT).

They chant it before they know what it means. Then someone asks what it means. And they chant it again when they know what it means.

The linked Free Press article is "American Anti-War Activists Cheer for Iran’s War/At a left-wing conference in Chicago, activists believe Iran is 'part of the arc of resistance because the enemies are Israel and the USA.'"

"Unlike nearly every other state, New York does not allow cameras in the courtroom and also prohibits audio recordings..."

"... of witness testimony and other proceedings.... In an era when even the U.S. Supreme Court streams live audio of oral arguments, New York is way behind the times; the official court rules for coverage of People v. Trump allows for about 60 journalists (including two sketch artists) to witness the proceedings with 'no video, no photographs, no audio recording.'... In New Yor​​k — again, in a departure from the federal system and every other state — official rules state that transcripts of what gets said in court must be purchased from the court stenographers who have the job of recording, on a specialized keyboard, every word, action, and ruling in criminal cases." 

From "Free the Trump Trial Transcripts/The New York court system’s maddening lack of transparency is about to be a national embarrassment" (New York Magazine).

"Trainers are good for one thing only: running in the forest or perhaps on a beach."

"If you must wear them, you should wear old-fashioned tennis shoes or topsiders. Anyway, I am thrilled people will stop wearing them all the time — visually I find them clumpy and heavy.... The feet should be light and beautifully dressed, not burdened with these visually heavy trainers. Lightness and comfort have always been essential in my design process. My shoes have old-fashioned values that are not impacted by the constant moves in fashion. I can’t wait to see a new era of well-dressed men."

Said the shoemaker Manolo Blahnik, quoted in "How Instagram made brogues fashionable again/The classic leather shoe is making a comeback, aided by social media and vintage resale sites" (London Times).

Do you think these kids today are returning to non-sneaker shoes?

Do you know why the British call sneakers "trainers," and why Americans call sneakers "sneakers"? If it's that the British are more about athletic training and the Americans are more about not making noise — sneaking up on people — then why is that? Americans attempted to shift from "sneakers" to "running shoes," but that failed, didn't it? We've established our preference for sneakiness over athletics.

April 14, 2024

Sunrise — 6:14, 6:19, 6:19, 6:23.





"Maleness did not appeal to me at all, with its acrid musk, its stubble, its needful dangling genitalia, its oafishness and clumsiness, its sense of mission and conquest, its resemblance to the aspects of myself I most despised."

Writes Lucy Sante, formerly Luc Sante, quoted in "How Lucy Sante Became the Person She Feared/In her memoir of transitioning in her sixties, the writer assesses the cost of suppressing her identity for decades" (The New Yorker).

Also: "I created a male persona that was saturnine, cerebral, a bit remote, a bit owlish, possibly ‘quirky,’ coming close to asexual despite my best intentions."

The article is by Emily Witt, who says:

"Me, as a New Yorker I can’t judge him for who he is. Basically, I can only judge him by the way he carries himself, especially in the White House."

"I liked the way he handled himself in the White House, and I think he brung America back to its feet. … I like him. I agree in everything that he has said, because what he said is true. It has to be true. It can’t be false, because if it’s false and he can be brung up on charges."

That was a 64-year-old hospital worker who lives in East Harlem.

By contrast, a 71-year-old retired woman, asked if she could be impartial if she were a juror, said "Listen, I can’t stand Donald Trump, so I guess the answer is no. I mean, he’s as crooked as you can find in a person."

Cartoon life.

"The Biden administration, hoping to avoid a wider war in the Middle East, is advising Israel that it does not necessarily need to fire back at Iran..."

"... U.S. officials said. They said that its successful defense proved Israel’s ability to protect itself along with its American allies. As people gathered in Tehran to celebrate, Iran’s mission to the United Nations said that the attack was a direct response to the April 1 strike, and that 'the matter can be deemed concluded.' But it said that if Israel struck back, 'Iran’s response will be considerably more severe.'..."

The NYT reports.

So, the only response to an attack should be the defense against the attack. Where is the deterrent? Just in the humiliation of showing that, so far, the attacking has failed? The message would seem to be: Attack all you want, but your attacks will be ineffective. Is that a desirable stasis?

"Even 30-mile-an-hour wind gusts whipping down from the nearby Poconos couldn’t move the bubble of Donald Trump-scented awe and alternative reality ..."

"... that descended on this hilltop village for about eight hours on Saturday.... This Schnecksville extravaganza was the fourth Trump rally in the Mid-Atlantic that I’d attended since 2016. I go largely because I think the media still fails to understand America’s most important story of the last 10 years. U.S. democracy is staring out into the abyss not so much because of the narcissistic bluster of one alleged billionaire ex-president, but because of the people with fleece hoodies over their MAGA hats who spent hours in an April windstorm to see him.... So who are these people? A new best-selling book blames Trump’s unshakable popularity on 'White Rural Rage' and that is something you might expect to see here in Schnecksville, where the urbane Eastern Seaboard melts into live-bait shops, Baptist churches and red-brick 19th-century homes. The only problem is that almost everyone I met scoffed at their Green Acres stereotype...."

Writes Will Bunch, in "'Trumpstock' brings peace, unity and a ton of disinformation to Schnecksville/Fierce mountain winds in Lehigh County couldn't move the bubble of misinformation surrounding the throng at a Trump rally" (Philadelphia Inquirer). 

Here's video of that Trump's rally:


Trump: "This is a hell of a rally. I just heard there are 42,000. You know we expected maybe — because it's freezing, right, it's freezing. I'm freezing my ass off up here. At least they could have given me a little bit of a heater underneath this. They gave me nothing! See, they take advantage — my own people take advantage of me. They gave me nothing. But... you know we expected maybe 10,000 people. We have 42,000 people tonight. 42,000. As far as the eye can see. I wish the I wish the fake news media would turn those camera look at all those cameras. Wow wow wow wow...."

"Record-level migration has brought record-breaking death to Maverick County, a border community that is ground zero..."

"... in the feud between Texas and the Biden administration over migration. Whereas in a typical month years ago, officials here might have recovered one or two bodies from the river, more recently they have handled that amount in a single day.... First responders have run out of body bags and burial plots.... On certain days the turbid water is only knee-deep. But a dam upriver periodically releases water, changing the depth. Smooth rocks beneath the surface make it hard to find a grip. And a powerful undercurrent can drown even the strongest. Videos on social media showing migrants easily crossing lure many into a false sense of comfort....."

From "'WHERE DO WE PUT THE BODIES?’/Migration’s human toll overwhelms a border county in Texas" (WaPo).

Can't we use the torture devices in the best order?

"Why did this seamy Trump trial have to be the first?" Ruth Marcus complains, in The Washington Post.

Can't we conduct this persecution in a sequence most effective in shaping the emotions of the electorate?

Don't you hate when you're using the courts to destroy a man and the courts interpose their own ways of doing things and interfere with efficient destruction?

"When he was first running, I was, like, what is this guy even yapping about? Like, what is he even saying?"

"Like, he’s saying all the wrong things. But to be honest, if you look deep into his personality, he actually cares about the country. You know at first I didn’t like it. But sometimes we need that type of person in our lives."

Said a 23-year-old self-described former "Trump hater" named Maya Garcia, quoted in "Four Years Out, Some Voters Look Back at Trump’s Presidency More Positively/A new poll by The New York Times and Siena College finds that voters think highly of the former president’s record on the economy, but memories of his divisiveness largely remain intact" (NYT)

I'm giving this my "Trump derangement syndrome" tag because of the Trump hating that existed in the past and may be healing to the point of not being derangement anymore. Even if you think it was never derangement, it is still the topic under discussion, and that's my tag for the topic.

By the way, this is one of the many articles about Trump that uses the shibboleth "chaotic." The second sentence begins, "While the memories of Mr. Trump’s tumultuous and chaotic administration have not significantly faded...."

Another article I read this morning, at CNN, began: "While many Democrats still consider former President Donald Trump to be about pure chaotic improvisation and impulse, they should consider that his campaign team has put together a very clear roadmap as to how they intend to work different institutions to their advantage...."

Much of what Trump offers to do is about restoring order. Those of us who care about order are warned away from him. He embodies chaos. That's a longstanding message. See, e.g., "Donald Trump: Chaotic and Wrong." His antagonists rely on it heavily, but what they don't do is demonstrate that they can deliver order.

April 13, 2024

Sunrise — 6:19, 6:20.



"The strain that runs really deep in the court in the last 10 years is a concern about prosecutors over-prosecuting."

"The court is very focused on ensuring that criminal statutes are not construed too broadly."

Said Roman Martinez a former law clerk to Chief Justice Roberts, quoted in "Supreme Court to weigh if Jan. 6 rioters can be charged with obstruction/Defense lawyers say prosecutors improperly stretched the law by charging hundreds with obstruction of an official proceeding" (WaPo, free access link). 

"I’m testifying. I tell the truth. I mean, all I can do is tell the truth. And the truth is that there’s no case. They have no case."

Said Donald Trump, quoted in "Trump Says He Intends to Testify in His Manhattan Criminal Case/Jury selection begins Monday in the prosecution of Donald J. Trump on charges of covering up a sex scandal. He said he would try to sway jurors personally, though he has backed away in the past" (NYT).



Open thread in the comments.

"Judge Maryellen Noreika denied all five of [Hunter] Biden’s motions, keeping the case on track..."

"... for a June trial in Delaware. Biden was indicted in September on three counts tied to possession of a gun while using narcotics. Efforts to have the case thrown out included arguments of selective and vindictive prosecution and that special counsel David Weiss was unlawfully appointed to oversee the case. The judge also rejected Biden's contention that a pretrial agreement, which would have nixed the indictment and upcoming trial, was in effect...."

"But from the start of her career as a cartoonist, she said she felt shut out by her male peers, who excluded her from parties as well as comic anthologies..."

"... that helped draw wider attention to their work. 'There are very few fields as heavily male,' she once told the Los Angeles Times. 'Maybe the only equivalent is the fire department.' Ms. Robbins became a fierce critic of peers such as Crumb, calling out pieces like a three-page 1970 story in which Crumb imagined himself strangling a female television interviewer. 'I think that a lot of these guys simply were misogynist,' she told the pop culture website Vulture in 2018. 'It turned out what a lot of these guys, what they had in their head was very vicious stuff, very violent stuff.'"

From "Trina Robbins, cartoonist who elevated women’s stories, dies at 85/She put out the first American comic book created entirely by women. Years later, she chronicled the history of female comics artists, writing books that excavated the stories of overlooked writers and illustrators" (WaPo).

Trina Robbins was also a clothes designer of the very coolest kind: "For much of her 20s, she designed clothes in Los Angeles and New York, where she befriended Jim Morrison, dressed folk and rock musicians including Donovan, Cass Elliot and David Crosby, and inspired a verse in Joni Mitchell’s song 'Ladies of the Canyon.'" It's the first verse. Listen here.

And here's some video of Robbins, talking about women comic artists:

"To better accommodate diverse gender identities, some Spanish and Portuguese speakers are increasingly using the -e suffix for some nouns..."

"... such as using 'todes' in addition to 'todos,' both of which mean 'everyone.' Even some government offices in Latin America have adopted using the -e suffix as part of a wider movement for inclusive language. Using Latine (sounds like 'la-TEEN-eh') in the U.S. 'makes sense as an internationally used way of speaking and writing in a less gendered manner,' says Monica Trasandes, director for Spanish language media and representation at GLAAD.... More than half of those polled from states along the U.S.-Mexico border or in the Midwest said the term Latine makes them uncomfortable, and more than 60% of respondents aged 65 and older said the same. There's also pushback in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries, with people arguing the term is unnecessary or that it distorts grammar rules...."

From "Latine is the new Latinx" (Axios).

It's hard to imagine how this feels to someone whose native language envisions every noun as either masculine or feminine. I've spent time learning French and Spanish, and I have my feelings about the masculinity and femininity that permeates everything, but these are an outsider's feelings, weighed down by effort it takes to learn a lot of extra and seemingly arbitrary information. If it's your native language, you know what's masculine and what's feminine. Isn't it natural and fluent to you? Isn't it disturbing to be pressured to speak differently and to use made-up words in service to someone else's ideology? Do you feel a sense of loss when the world is not enlivened by the masculinity and femininity of inanimate objects and abstract concepts? I don't come from that world, but from a distance, it feels beautiful, and if I were you, I would want to believe it is beautiful.

April 12, 2024

Sunrise — 6:24, 6:25, 6:26.




Another look at that Berkeley dinner party violence.

I'm reading "At Berkeley, a Protest at a Dean’s Home Tests the Limits of Free Speech/Pro-Palestinian supporters disrupted a dinner for law students. There was a tussle over the microphone and conflicting claims of harm" (NYT).
In a viral video, Erwin Chemerinsky, a noted constitutional scholar, can be seen shouting "Please leave our house! You are guests in our house!" as a third-year law student, Malak Afaneh, interrupted the event on Tuesday, speaking into a microphone to the students gathered in the dean’s backyard in Oakland, Calif.

Mr. Chemerinsky’s wife, Catherine Fisk, also a Berkeley law professor, can be seen with her arm around Ms. Afaneh, trying to yank the microphone away and pulling the student up a couple steps. 

"The mythological couples provided ideas for conversations about the past and life, only seemingly of a merely romantic nature."

"In reality, they refer to the relationship between the individual and fate: Cassandra who can see the future but no one believes her, Apollo who sides with the Trojans against the Greek invaders, but being a god, cannot ensure victory, Helen and Paris who, despite their politically incorrect love affair, are the cause of the war, or perhaps merely a pretext. Who knows? These days, Helen and Paris represent us all: each day we can choose whether to focus solely on our own private lives or whether to explore the way our lives are entangled with the broad sweep of history...."

Said Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the Director of the Archaeological park of Pompeii, quoted in "Pompeii: a dining room decorated with characters and subjects inspired by the Trojan war has emerged from the new excavations" (pompeiisites.org).

But election denial is reprehensible, no?

"There is a booming market in tests of biological age.. Partly they are for people who want to study ageing. Mainly they are for curious consumers."

"Perhaps the most famous adherent is Bryan Johnson, a 46-year-old tech entrepreneur with the sheeny face of a shop mannequin, who is spending millions to reverse his ageing clock to 18....  GlycanAge looks at a process known as glycosylation... Studies of population levels have shown an association between glycosylation patterns and disease ― often before other signs of illness appear.... On its website, GlycanAge identifies this as a root cause of ageing.... The test was just meant to be a bit of fun. In the days after receiving it, I oscillate between dismissing it and thinking I’m an idiot for dismissing it...."

I'm reading "What’s your biological age? We had a shock when we found out ours/What happened when the Times science editor Tom Whipple and two of his colleagues, James Marriott and Robert Crampton, took the ultimate age test (price, £289)?" (London Times).

Whipple is 42 and was told his "biological age" is 71.

He goes to a regular doctor who administers various tests and says, “You don’t seem to be 71.”

I just ran into this article while scanning the London Times, but I'm realizing that Bryan Johnson is the guy in a Tucker Carlson interview that Meade was nudging me to watch.

"I confess, I had sometimes imagined my assassin rising up in some public forum or other, and coming for me in just this way."

"So my first thought when I saw this murderous shape rushing towards me was, 'So it’s you. Here you are.'"

Said Salman Rushdie, quoted in "'So it’s you. Here you are': Salman Rushdie describes moment he was stabbed/In first interview since his stabbing, writer tells how knifeman was 'last thing my right eye would ever see'" (The Guardian).
"One of the surgeons who had saved my life said to me, 'First you were really unlucky and then you were really lucky.' I said, 'What’s the lucky part?' and he said 'Well, the lucky part is that the man who attacked you had no idea how to kill a man with a knife'"....

"The anxiety that’s been ricing my lungs turns steely and sharp when I see a pale wooden door built into a hillside, framed by lava rock."

"It looks like the entrance to Bilbo Baggins’s house. I go in. A stairway tumbles down to a windowless, 300-square-foot room with textured walls, a bathroom, and a wooden bed that smells like sage. A single low-wattage bulb hums faintly overhead. It’s controlled by a switch covered with a hard plastic guard, which makes it difficult to turn off and on. That’s the point. This room and two others like it in these secret woodlands are the heart of what might be the country’s only established commercial dark retreat. This is a spiritual place, where visitors pay good money to spend long periods of time in crypt-like blackness, devoid of all light and most sounds, in an attempt to uncage their minds and, they hope, discover something deeper within... I flip the switch to see just how dark the dark is, and terror presses into me like 13,000 vertical feet of seawater...."

Writes Tim Neville, in "The Darkness That Blew My Mind/Embarking on four days of total blackout, inside the sensory equivalent of a tomb, our writer went on a dark-cave retreat, the same one that quarterback Aaron Rodgers did" (Outside).

"One of the books that I find myself tapping on repeatedly—without ever getting past forty per cent, somehow—is Richard Brautigan’s novella 'Trout Fishing in America.'"

"I’m not being compelled by an algorithm. But there’s a surf spot in Marin County that I used to go to which is very near the house where Brautigan, in 1984, died by suicide. Over the years, I told a handful of other surfers about the links between Brautigan and this spot, and later, whenever I would make it back out there, I would see the cropping of little houses on the hill overlooking the ocean, many of them with chicken runs and ruined vegetable-garden projects, and I would think to myself, with a great deal of embarrassment, that I still hadn’t actually finished 'Trout Fishing in America.'... What’s particularly distressing to me is that, although I can imagine a world in which careful regulation and avoidance of algorithms makes phones less addictive, I cannot imagine myself freed from such stubborn vanities."

"I was initially startled in early 2020 when... a 16-year-old girl asked, 'How come boys all want to choke you?'"

"In a different class, a 15-year-old boy wanted to know, 'Why do girls all want to be choked?'... Another sophomore confided that she enjoyed being choked by her boyfriend, though it was important for a partner to be 'properly educated' — pressing on the sides of the neck, for example, rather than the trachea. (Note: There is no safe way to strangle someone.) A male freshman said 'girls expected' to be choked and, even though he didn’t want to do it, refusing would make him seem like a 'simp.' And a senior in high school was angry that her friends called her 'vanilla' when she complained that her boyfriend had choked her.... I’m not here to kink-shame (or anything-shame)...."

Writes Peggy Orenstein, in "The Troubling Trend in Teenage Sex" (NYT).

"I’d been a part of the pro-life movement my entire adult life... But now I’m left wondering how much of the movement was truly real."

"How much was it really about protecting all human life? And were millions of ostensibly pro-life Americans happy with pro-life laws, only so long as they targeted 'them' and imposed no burden at all on 'us'?

Writes David French, in "The Great Hypocrisy of the Pro-Life Movement" (NYT). He's looking at the reaction to the Alabama Supreme Court decision that treated IVF embryos like in utero embryos under the state’s wrongful death statute.

Pro-lifers "caved, almost instantly, on a core philosophical element of the movement — the incalculable value of every human life no matter how small — and the movement is now standing by or even applauding as Trump is turning the Republican Party into a pro-choice party, one more moderate than the Democrats, but pro-choice still...."

"It was hard not to interpret these recent offenses within the broader context of a roving and seemingly ever-more-insidious misogyny."

"In 2022, the most recent year for which there is available city data, women were killed by intimate partners at a rate 30 percent higher than the previous year. Reports of domestic violence also increased during that period, and nationwide, between 2018 and 2021, incidents of domestic violence involving guns went up by more than 7 percent. According to a survey from the Pew Research Center, a third of women under 35 report having been sexually harassed online. And this is to say nothing of the less manifestly aggressive if pervasive abrasions — the distillation of any middle-aged woman who complains about anything to the favored signifier of oblivious bourgeois entitlement, the 'Karen.'..."

Writes Ginia Bellafante in "Sexism, Hate, Mental Illness: Why Are Men Randomly Punching Women?/Conversation about the attacks on the streets of New York have centered on mental illness, but the offenses seem to have their roots in hatred of women" (NYT).

"I wouldn’t trust her farther than I can spit. She’ll say whatever..."

"... she’ll say something to you, and something else to you, in the same day — if she thinks it’s going to help her, whether it be money, whether it be fame or power."

Said Ellen Doughty, about Stormy Daniels, quoted in "The horse wars of Stormy Daniels/As she tangles with a former president, the adult-film actress also plays a starring role in a drama that has rocked the world of competitive English riding" (WaPo)(long article, free access link).

Before Stormy Daniels came forward to attack Donald Trump, she attacked Ellen Doughty. Doughty is suing Daniels for defamation after Daniels accused Doughty, a horse trainer, of mistreating horses.

"I think in the barbershops today, Black people are saying, 'he got away with it, but the police got away with killing a lot more of us.' That’s the mentality."

Said politics professor James Lance Taylor, quoted in "What O.J. Simpson meant to Black America" (WaPo).
Taylor... remembers the day that Simpson led police on a car chase and how tens of thousands of people, including many White people, lined the streets and highways yelling, “Go, O.J., Go.”... 
Local police prepared for riots if Simpson was convicted, Taylor said. “But Black people didn’t love O.J. like that. This wasn’t about O.J. the person,” he said. “O.J. was just an extension of the general polarization between Black America and law enforcement.”

“The sympathy for O.J. is not as deep as we think it is” in the Black community, Taylor said.

April 11, 2024

Sunrise — 6:32, 6:35.



"In sharing her preferred title and pronouns, Ms Wood celebrates herself and sings herself – not in a disruptive or coercive way, but in a way that subtly vindicates her identity, her dignity, and her humanity."

Wrote federal district judge Mark Walker, quoted in "Florida can’t ban teacher from asking students to use her preferred pronouns, judge rules/Katie Wood, a transgender algebra teacher, has long gone by ‘Ms Wood’ but the law required students to say 'Teacher Wood'" (Guardian).

The judge was using Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself," which famously begins:
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

"It's a rare verdict - she is one of very few women in Vietnam to be sentenced to death for a white collar crime...."

"Truong My Lan was convicted of taking out $44bn (£35bn) in loans from the Saigon Commercial Bank.... The habitually secretive communist authorities were uncharacteristically forthright about this case.... They said 2,700 people were summoned to testify.... Vietnamese law prohibits any individual from holding more than 5% of the shares in any bank. But prosecutors say that through hundreds of shell companies and people acting as her proxies, Truong My Lan actually owned more than 90% of Saigon Commercial.... Her loans made up 93% of all the bank's lending.... According to prosecutors, over a period of three years from February 2019, she ordered her driver to withdraw 108 trillion Vietnamese dong, more than $4bn (£2.3bn) in cash from the bank, and store it in her basement. That much cash, even if all of it was in Vietnam's largest denomination banknotes, would weigh two tonnes."

From "Truong My Lan: Vietnamese billionaire sentenced to death for $44bn fraud" (BBC).

"I myself have long been skeptical of the value of increasing turnout, and am also a longtime opponent of mandatory voting...."

"I think most people do not have a duty to vote, even in high-stakes elections. And I have argued that relatively ignorant citizens can often do more good by abstaining from voting than by casting poorly informed votes (though I am also skeptical of arguments that government should try to weed out ignorant voters, primarily because I doubt that it can be trusted to do so in an unbiased way).... I held those views back when increased turnout was generally believed to benefit Democrats, and I continue to hold them today."

Writes Ilya Somin, in "Increased Voter Turnout Now Benefits Republicans/Survey data shows relatively infrequent voters are significantly more likely to support the Trump-era GOP than those who vote more often. Will this change traditional left and right-wing attitudes towards mandatory voting and other policies intended to increase turnout?" (Reason).

ADDED: I've declined to vote a couple times, and I strongly defend the right to abstain. I responded to critics on November 3, 2020, in a post titled "I'll just say this once, Althouse. Abstaining from voting is neither courageous nor principled."

"In Sudden Reversal, Harvard To Require Standardized Testing for Next Admissions Cycle."

The Harvard Crimson reports.

The decision comes in the face of Harvard’s previous commitments to remain test-optional through the admitted Class of 2030, a policy that was first instituted during the pandemic....

"Liberal Justice Opts Out: Wisconsin Supreme Court Race Heats Up."

Tweets Grok, with the disclaimer, "Grok is an early feature and can make mistakes. Verify its outputs."
In a significant development for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has announced she will not seek reelection next year, with her current term ending on July 31, 2025. This decision has stirred up the race for control of the court, as it could potentially shift the balance of power from the current 4-3 liberal majority. The announcement has improved the odds for conservatives to regain the majority they lost last year. The race for her seat is already heating up, with conservative and former Attorney General Brad Schimel announcing his candidacy. This news has far-reaching implications for the state's judicial landscape and political dynamics in the swing state.

I blogged many, many words about Ann Walsh Bradley, back in 2011, the days of the Wisconsin protests, e.g., "No criminal charges against Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser or Justice Anne Walsh Bradley in the so-called 'chokehold' incident," "I've finally waded through the 'chokehold' investigation file," and — sorry this is coming up on the morning of the obituary for O.J. Simpson — "Attacks upon the neck."


"It is not an accident that on the first day of the Japanese state visit, Dr. Biden greeted Mr. and Mrs. Kishida in a black Armani dress with a keyhole neckline that she had worn several times before. Re-wearing clothes has been one of Dr. Biden’s signatures, part of the conversation around sustainability, which nods to her husband’s climate policies (not to mention the economic realities of the country). She has done so consistently over the course of the administration. To do so again at such a moment of ritual display was to double down on the point. Nor it is an accident that, in the last month, Mrs. Trump has been... stepping out at strategic moments in the luxury brands that are shorthand for the financial success her husband has made part of his selling point, as if to shrug in the face of the civil penalties that have been levied against him...."

Writes Vanessa Friedman, in "At the Japan State Dinner, Jill Biden Makes an Entrance/The first lady was glittering in crystals — four days after Melania Trump stepped out in pink at a Palm Beach fund-raiser. Together, the pictures offer a harbinger of what is to come" (NYT).

For some people, the re-wearing of clothes can be counted as a "signature." And I love this idea that the political wife is a walking symbol of her husband's achievements.

"Three men who were stranded on a remote Pacific island for more than a week were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard after spelling out 'HELP' on a beach using palm leaves."

The NYT reports.

Just like in a TV sitcom from the 1960s, except in a TV sitcom, they'd never be rescued.

O.J. Simpson has died.

Here's the NYT obituary, "O.J. Simpson, Athlete Whose Trial Riveted the Nation, Dies at 76/He ran to football fame on the field and made fortunes in movies. Then a trial in which he was charged with killing his former wife and her friend changed everything" (free access link).

They have a comment section opened over there. No comments yet.

What can we talk about here? Maybe: Where were you when the verdict was announced? I was on campus, in a room full of students. Everyone focused on one little TV, and when the verdict came in, many black students leapt out of their chairs and cheered. The rest of the crowd sat in stunned silence. I left the building, and as I was walking down the sidewalk on Bascom Hill, a young man on a bicycle coasted by, chanting "Not guilty! Not guilty! Not guilty!" It was a solo celebration. Or did he fancy himself the town crier?

ADDED: The third-highest-rated comment over at the NYT is: "He now stands before a Judge who can’t be swayed or swindled by a clever defense attorney."