April 15, 2021

Thursday sunrise.

6:27


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6:29:

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"Congressional Democrats will introduce legislation Thursday to expand the Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices..."

NBC News reports.

The Democratic bill is led by Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee. It is co-sponsored by Reps. Hank Johnson of Georgia and Mondaire Jones of New York. The Supreme Court can be expanded by an act of Congress, but the legislation is highly unlikely to become law in the near future given Democrats' slim majorities, which include scores of lawmakers who are not on board with the idea. President Joe Biden has said he is 'not a fan' of packing the court....

Last week, Biden announced the formation of a commission of liberals and conservatives to study the structure of the Supreme Court, including the number of justices and the length of their service.

"To study the structure" ≈ to quietly kill the idea. So Markey and Nadler are stepping on their President's subtle manipulation. Another way of putting that is they could see what Biden was doing, so now is precisely the time to get out in front of him.

ADDED: I'm strongly opposed to enlarging the Court. I'm just saying I can see Markey and Nadler's motivation.

(To comment, email me here.)

"Before hospitality was a business, it was more of a virtue — a barometer of civilization."

"And in light of the past year, and the extreme hospitality expected from workers during a global pandemic, it might be helpful to think of it that way again. Ancient ideas of hospitality were in place to protect pilgrims, travelers, immigrants and others who looked to strangers for food and shelter on the road. At the root of hospitality is the Latin word 'hostis,' wrote the philosopher Anne Dufourmantelle, which means guest, but also enemy.... Writing about the ethics and politics of hospitality, another philosopher, Jacques Derrida, claimed that 'unconditional hospitality is impossible.' It’s never been reasonable to expect infinite generosity, but that idea has still shaped the industry in countless ways.... The art critic John Berger often talked about hospitality as necessary to his understanding of art and culture, to the act of storytelling, to being human. Hospitality, to him, was a continuous and conscious choice — to listen, to be kind, to be open. If an exchange relied on someone’s exploitation? That wasn’t hospitality at all."

From "What Is Hospitality? The Current Answer Doesn’t Work/The host-guest relationship puts all the onus on the server, particularly during the pandemic, and points to the dysfunction at the heart of the business" (NYT).

FROM THE EMAIL: SGT Ted writes: 

"Azaria, who is White..."

Is he?

I'm trying to read the WaPo article, "Hank Azaria apologizes for playing Apu on ‘The Simpsons’ for three decades." 

I've already blogged about this apology, so I'm not rehashing that. I just want to focus on the unsupported assertion that Azaria "is White." 

If Azaria is White, maybe Apu is also White. 

The question whether people from India are white has been litigated in the United States. From Wikipedia's article "Racial classification of Indian Americans"

I'm so old-fashioned, I thought that, when Don Lemon said "I have a lot of support from the Big Guy," he was talking about God.

I'm in the middle of listening to the NYT podcast — which you can play and read a little about at "CNN Is in a Post-Trump Slump. What Does That Mean for Don Lemon?/The prime-time host on the future of cable news, the urgency of conversations about race and whether CNN is a boys’ club."

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Kara Swisher is interviewing Lemon about his ranting on his CNN show, specifically the time he called President Trump "a racist." That must have been difficult, hmmm? 

Lemon pauses, then ventures: "I have a lot of support from... the Big Guy." Does Don Lemon get his strength from religious faith? That's what I thought. 

But Swisher gets him. She immediately says, "Jeff Zucker?" and he says "yeah" blah blah blah. 

***

There is no comments section anymore, but you can email me here. Unless you say otherwise, I will presume you'd enjoy an update to this post with a quote from your email.

"Mr. Jacobs’s parody of the Great American Songbook prompted Irving Berlin and a group of song publishers representing the work of Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein and others to sue..."

"... Mad’s parent company, E.C. Publications, for copyright infringement. At issue was 'Sing Along With Mad,' a pullout section published in 1961 that consisted entirely of song parodies by Mr. Jacobs and Larry Siegel. Among them were 'Louella Schwartz Describes Her Malady' (a lampoon of Berlin’s 'A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody') and 'The First Time I Saw Maris' (a spoof of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s 'The Last Time I Saw Paris'), about the commercialization of the Yankee slugger Roger Maris during the season he hit a record-breaking 61 home runs.... In his opinion, [2d Circuit] Judge Irving R. Kaufman (most famous for presiding over Julius and Ethel Rosenberg’s espionage trial) wrote, 'The fact that defendants’ parodies were written in the same meter as plaintiffs’ compositions would seem inevitable if the original was to be recognized, but such a justification is not even necessary; we doubt that even so eminent a composer as plaintiff Irving Berlin should be permitted to claim a property interest in iambic pentameter.'"

From "Frank Jacobs, Mad Magazine Writer With a Lyrical Touch, Dies at 91/He deftly mocked pop culture, politics and more for 57 years/He also wrote new lyrics for familiar songs, which led to a lawsuit from Irving Berlin and others" (NYT).

1961 — I think that's about when I discovered Mad. I was 10! It was the first thing I ever subscribed to. The writings of Frank Jacobs played such an important role in the development of my young mind.

(To comment, you need to email me — here.)

FROM THE EMAIL: Retail Lawyer:

April 14, 2021

6:23 a.m.

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"Ann: Used to be a frequent reader. But, it has become a waste of time trying to understand what you are attempting to cryptically express in your blog posts these days."

"I wish to stay informed, not play clever head games. If you have something to say, just say it. I'm too busy to play your silly exercises. Otherwise, find a more productive use of your and my time. As judge and jury and former reader, I find you in Contempt. Case dismissed. Goodbye!"

Someone wrote that and emailed it to me. It's not a name I recognize, just an email address that's a stray collection of numbers and letters.  

I laughed out loud at "I wish to stay informed, not play clever head games." People read this blog to "stay informed"? That seems ill-informed. And as for that "judge and jury" and "Contempt/Case dismissed" business — that can't be a lawyer. Must just be someone cranked up about my being a (former) law professor and thinking I'm vulnerable to criticisms containing legalistic lingo. 

But you need a specific charge if you want to find me guilty, and what is it? Failure to keep you informed?  Not having something to say and just saying it? The crime of playing clever head games? The infliction of silly exercises? Cryptic expression?

Oh, there I go, asking questions when I don't allow comments. Oddly enough, the complaint you see above never mentions the abolition of comments. Is it possible the person thinks the blog "has become a waste of time" because there are no comments anymore — that the comments used to help him understand what I was cryptically expressing? Ha ha — I can't understand what the emailer is cryptically expressing. And now here I am imposing it on you!

FROM THE EMAIL: Mary writes: 

"FollowByEmail widget (Feedburner) is going away."

So I am told by Blogger, "because your blog uses the FollowByEmail widget (Feedburner)."

The notice continues: "Recently, the Feedburner team released a system update announcement , that the email subscription service will be discontinued in July 2021. After July 2021, your feed will still continue to work, but the automated emails to your subscribers will no longer be supported. If you’d like to continue sending emails, you can download your subscriber contacts. Learn how."

Ugh! I don't know if I can "learn how" to do anything like that, but I clicked through to "Feedburner help" and it says:

It's the time of year to go to Governor Nelson State Park and see the Dutchman's breeches.

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"Dutchman's breeches is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants, a process called myrmecochory. The ants take the seeds to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes, and put the seeds in their nest debris, where they are protected until they germinate. They also get the added bonus of growing in a medium made richer by the ant nest debris." 

"Governor Nelson State Park is a 422-acre Wisconsin state park... on the north shore of Lake Mendota. It is named for former Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson [founder of Earth Day]... Away from the lake one can find restored prairie and savanna, effigy mounds, hiking trails and ski trails.... A portion of the site of the park originally hosted a boys' camp called Camp Indianola. Orson Welles was a camper at the camp in his youth."

Dave Grohl and Mick Jagger endeavor — as only 2 old and punkish men can — to sing us all out of the lockdown.

 

Lyrics by Mick. I'm printing them out even though they're written on the screen so you'll have no trouble discerning them through the earnest noise. I'm just guessing you won't listen through. Plus, if we can read them, we can analyze them:

We took it on the chin/The numbers were so grim/Bossed around by pricks/Stiffen upper lips...

Pricks/Stiffen...  That's literary art.

Pacing in the yard/You're trying to take the Mick...

To take the mick is to tease somebody, and his name is Mick, so he's taking the butt-of-the-joke position.

"This was not a two-week process, I needed to educate myself a lot. I realised I have had a date with destiny with this thing for 31 years."

"I really do apologise. I know you weren’t asking for that, but it’s important. I apologise for my part in creating that and participating in that. Part of me feels like I need to go to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologise."

Said Hank Azaria, quoted in "Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria offers apology to ‘every single Indian person’" (London Times). 

Here's the top-rated comment over there: 

As an Indian having watched Simpsons I didn't even know I was supposed to be OFFENDED and needed to be APOLOGISED to. This woke brigade has created issues out of nothing, mountain out of molehills. Hari Kondabolu does not represent us - never heard of him and now don't even want to know him. There are 1.5bn indians and this guy does not represent even 0.0001% of Indians as most are too busy working hard to get involved in wokery. Remember Indians don't play victim (according to the race report published last week) - they don't have the time as studying, jobs, hard work, looking after family, being a good citizen takes up all the time - not enough time to protest, shout, march and scream at the govt for imaginary issues or time to be offended.

Maybe you've never heard of Hari Kondabolu either, so here's the trailer for his documentary movie: 


 

FROM THE EMAIL: Hari writes:

As a Hari (and a Singh) apology accepted. Having lived my entire 62 years in New York, I have been waiting patiently for my turn to be insulted over my ethnicity, and now I finally have gotten my chance. Thank you!

ALSO: WK says:

When Hank Azaria said "Part of me feels like I need to go to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologise," I pictured Navin Johnson in "The Jerk" handwriting an individual check to everyone who ended up cross-eyed from using the Optigrab he invented.....

"Underwood said he 'genuinely' wishes he hadn't dragged people into 'my own mess of figuring out who I was.'"

"In addition to saying sorry to those women, he would said thank you because, ultimately, they and the franchise helped him get to this place. When he was named the Bachelor, Underwood said he remembered 'praying to God' the morning he found out and 'thanking him for making me straight,' thinking this would lead to him finally getting the wife and them having kids. But Underwood said he had known the truth of his sexuality since a young age, knowing he 'just felt different' from the age of 6, when he couldn't process it. He knew he was 'more emotional' than the other boys in his class. It took until high school for him to realize he 'was more attracted to the boys and the men' than he was the opposite sex. Having grown up in the Catholic church, he remembered he 'learned in the Bible that gay is a sin' in Catholic grade school...."

"Former 'Bachelor' star Colton Underwood comes out as gay" (Good Morning America).

I don't watch "The Bachelor," and I know there's fakery — more or less — in TV reality shows, but I can't believe a show about a crowd of women competing for one man doesn't make absolutely sure the guy is straight. At the very least, the problem of his confusion about his sexual orientation ought to have become part of the show. 

I mean no disrespect to a gay man who goes through a struggle — particularly a religious struggle — to come to admit to himself that he is what he is, but he went on a show — a show about raging heterosexuality. Did he deceive the show people who vetted him? Do the show people not care about this problem or are they just inept? 

Did Robin Roberts ask him any of these tough questions? Or did Underwood choose Roberts as his mode of communication because she'd give him a comfortable forum? 

Buried deeply in the article: 

What'd he do?

Do I have to look this up separately? 

I google "Marco Rubio" and see 3 possible things... none of them even seems clickable!

The Lincoln Project is not known for making the best tweets. Today it may have made its worst one yet.

"Don’t have a good pic cuz it hurts too much and I need to sleep haha, and it’ll be red for a few wks , but gna be beautiful alien scars."

 

Via "Grimes shows off the 'beautiful alien scars' she's had tattooed across her back" (CNN). 

Grimes — a musician whose real name is Claire Elise Boucher — is in a relationship with Elon Musk. You may remember that they had a baby together and named it X Æ A-12 Musk. 

Grimes is obviously very beautiful, but I guess for a super high achiever that's mundane bullshit. Something more must be invented. Even covering your body with tattoos is boring now. What else can be done?! Once you open that door, alien scars seems rather dull too. 

And yet, it's playing, transgressively, with female subordination. It's the look of having been clawed all over her back by an alien. Is Elon sharing her with an alien? Or is Elon the alien?

(Commenting can only be done by emailing me — here.)

"The danger in presenting a defense case, especially in a prosecution that is so video-dependent, is that it allows the prosecutor..."

"... through leading questions on cross-examination, to walk witnesses through the video, explaining to the jury moment-by-moment exactly what the prosecution’s theory of the case is. If he does this skillfully, the prosecutor turns his 'questioning' into the equivalent of a summation.... In addition to stressing Chauvin’s patent awareness that Floyd was in pain, the prosecutor had the witness concede that the defendant had been told by his fellow officers that Floyd had lost consciousness, ought to be rolled over on his side (to facilitate breathing), and had no pulse. While defense attorney Eric Nelson had made much of the crowd presence and the possibility that it could pose a threat to the police, Schleicher had Brodd conceding that the crowd was small and posed no threat to the police.... The foundation of Chauvin’s defense is that he had reason to fear that Floyd would regain consciousness and begin resisting arrest again. Schleicher elicited from Brodd the explanation that there is a difference between a threat and a risk: Police may use force to counter a threat they perceive based on some affirmative act by a detainee; but they may not use force based on a mere risk that a detainee might pose a threat at some future point."

From "Chauvin Defense Expert Destroyed on the Stand" by Andrew McCarthy (at National Review). 

FROM THE EMAIL: Omaha1 writes: