April 24, 2024

"Biden and his supporters are intent on making Trump the Nelson Mandela of America."

Said Trump pollster John McLaughlin, quoted in "How 'The Nelson Mandela of America' Is Making Bank Off of His Criminal Trial/'I’m catching up on my fucking sleep ’cause I’m bored,' Trump told one source" (The Bulwark).

Wow, that caught my eye, and not just because "I’m catching up on my fucking sleep ’cause I’m bored" is hilarious. Just this morning — and before reading that — I was saying, in conversation, that if Trump goes to jail the Trump movement will gain energy and "He'll become Nelson Mandela."

"We heard from employees who, because of noncompetes, were stuck in abusive workplaces."

"One person noted when an employer merged with an organization whose religious principles conflicted with their own, a noncompete kept the worker locked in place and unable to freely switch to a job that didn't conflict with their religious practices."

Said FTC Chair Lina Khan, quoted in "U.S. bans noncompete agreements for nearly all jobs" (NPR).
The vote was 3 to 2 along party lines.... [The U.S. Chamber of Commerce] has vigorously opposed the ban, saying that noncompetes are vital to companies, by allowing them to better guard trade secrets, and employees, by giving employers greater incentive to invest in workforce training and development.

"I said: 'This is a terrible, toxic relationship, you and Trump. And you’ve got to break up.'"

Said Tom Arnold, "the actor and comedian best known for his role on the 1990s sitcom starring Arnold’s ex-wife, Roseanne Barr." 

Arnold was quoting himself advising Michael Cohen.

"National Enquirer made up the story about Ted Cruz's father and Lee Harvey Oswald, former publisher says."

NBC News reports.

The paper had published a photo allegedly showing Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, with Lee Harvey Oswald handing out pro-Fidel Castro pamphlets in New Orleans in 1963, not long before Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy....

"What I do know is that even the most peaceful of protests would be treated as outrages if they were interpreted as, say, anti-Black..."

"... even if the message were coded, as in a bunch of people quietly holding up MAGA signs or wearing T-shirts saying 'All Lives Matter.' And besides, calling all this peaceful stretches the use of the word rather implausibly. It’s an odd kind of peace when a local rabbi urges Jewish students to go home as soon as possible, when an Arab-Israeli activist is roughed up on Broadway, when the angry chanting becomes so constant that you almost start not to hear it and it starts to feel normal to see posters and clothing portraying Hamas as heroes. The other night I watched a dad coming from the protest with his little girl, giving a good hard few final snaps on the drum he was carrying, nodding at her in crisp salute, percussing his perspective into her little mind. This is not peaceful..."

April 23, 2024

Sunrise — 5:42.


"This hearing, ostensibly about violations of a gag order, doubled as a complete onslaught on the Trump ethos. "

"Justice Merchan clarified that politics infused everything that the former president does and insisted on hearing good faith arguments, and the truth, wherever possible. We knew this was going to be a big moment; it was even more revealing than expected."

Writes Jonah Bromwich, covering the Trump trial at the NYT.

Some of us are worried that politics infuses everything that the judge and the prosecutors do. I insist on hearing good faith arguments — and the truth — wherever possible.

It seems to me, we are talking about gagging a presidential candidate, whose prosecution might be political persecution, and that's inescapably political. It's not something to be brushed off as some sort of "ethos" of Trump's that deserves "a complete onslaught." 

Jon Stewart's view of the Trump trial: It's a test of the media's fairness and accuracy.

"If the media tries to make us feel like the most mundane bullshit is earth shattering, we won't believe you when it's really interesting. It's your classic boy who cried Wolf Blitzer."

"After listening to Monday’s opening statement by prosecutors, I still think the Manhattan D.A. has made a historic mistake."

"Their vague allegation about 'a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election' has me more concerned than ever about their unprecedented use of state law and their persistent avoidance of specifying an election crime or a valid theory of fraud.... Both the misdemeanor and felony charges require that the defendant made the false record with 'intent to defraud.'... Instead of a theory of defrauding state regulators, Mr. Bragg has adopted a weak theory of 'election interference,' and Justice Juan Merchan described the case, in his summary of it during jury selection, as an allegation of falsifying business records 'to conceal an agreement with others to unlawfully influence the 2016 election.' As a reality check, it is legal for a candidate to pay for a nondisclosure agreement. Hush money is unseemly, but it is legal.... In Monday’s opening argument, the prosecutor Matthew Colangelo still evaded specifics about what was illegal about influencing an election, but then he claimed, 'It was election fraud, pure and simple.'... Calling it 'election fraud' is a legal and strategic mistake, exaggerating the case and setting up the jury with high expectations that the prosecutors cannot meet...."

Writes Boston University lawprof Jed Handelsman Shugerman, in "The Bragg Case Against Trump Is a Historic Mistake" (NYT)(that's a free access link because there is good detail there that I haven't quoted).

"'There’s just one question on voting day. Do you want an Islamized Europe or a European Europe?'"

"This stark choice was posed by Marion Maréchal, a rising star of the French far right, at the launch of her party’s campaign for the European elections in June.... While Ms. Maréchal’s Reconquest party sulfurously accuses elites of orchestrating a Great Replacement of Christians by Muslims, it seeks its own place in the corridors of power. Across the continent, the aim of far-right parties like hers is not to exit the bloc but, increasingly, to take it over. In this project, they have a model: Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy....  Ms. Meloni’s group, dominated by her Brothers of Italy party and Poland’s Law and Justice, isn’t the only European home for far-right forces. There’s also the Identity and Democracy group, which houses France’s National Rally and Italy’s League party.... Far from seeking to break up the European Union, these far-right groups are now bidding to put their own stamp on it — to create what Ms. Maréchal calls a 'civilizational Europe' rather than the technocratic 'commission’s version of Europe.' Ms. Meloni, for her part, seems convinced the two can go together."

Writes David Broder, in "The Far Right Wants to Take Over Europe, and She’s Leading the Way" (NYT).

This David Broder is the author of a 2023 book titled "Mussolini’s Grandchildren: Fascism in Contemporary Italy." Don't confuse him with David S. Broder, the Washington Post journalist, who died in 2011 at the age of 81. I accidentally used my David Broder tag for this post, but have removed it.

"I’m seeking out clients that are also neurodivergent, disabled and autistic so I don’t need to mask or hide my disabilities..."

"Especially on your wedding day, when there’s so much pressure on it being just right. Why would they hire me when they could just hire somebody who’s nondisabled?... I’ve marketed myself as a queer, awkward, anxious photographer who hopefully makes others feel more comfortable in front of the lens, so I tend to organically attract those same people.... I wear earplugs to reduce the noise level. I’ve learned to take breaks, to ask for what I need, to not take calls at night and communicate transparently upfront so I don’t have to work with people who are not going to be a good fit. I used to mask or camouflage my disabilities at weddings, but because I work with so many autistic and neurodiverse people, I feel free to be myself, and I feel understood by the people I’m photographing, who in turn feel understood by me. It creates a more authentic relationship and unmasks all of us so that I get photos other photographers wouldn’t be able to get otherwise...."

Said Shannon Collins, quoted in "Capturing Special Moments, While Creating Inclusive Weddings/Shannon Collins, a 'queer, awkward, anxious photographer,' wants to change the way disabled people are viewed, one picture at a time" (NYT).

Here's her Instagram account, and here's an example (where she's discussing the problem of telling photographic subjects to "relax"):

Here's a long interview with RFK Jr. and someone I hadn't thought about in a long time — Glenn Beck.

The nothing that happened.

ADDED: I suspect that the person who posted the video actually wanted to show that the protesters were not accosting those they identified as Jews. In that light, here's a NYT article: "A Night Different From Others as Campus Protests Break for Seder/Pro-Palestinian protesters, many of whom are Jewish, prepared Seder dinners at college protest encampments, even as other Jewish students sought community in more traditional settings":

"Do you think that someone who is a drug addict is absolutely incapable of -- that all people who are drug addicts are absolutely incapable of refraining from using drugs?..."

"All right. Then compare that with a person who absolutely has no place to sleep in a particular jurisdiction. Does that person have any alternative other than sleeping outside?... They have... none. They have absolutely none. There's not a single place where they can sleep.... So the point is that the connection between drug addiction and drug usage is more tenuous than the connection between absolute homelessness and sleeping outside."

Said Justice Alito, in yesterday's oral argument in City of Grants Pass v. Johnson. There's a precedent, Robinson v. California, that found it to be cruel and unusual punishment to make a crime of the "status" of drug addiction. The 9th Circuit said that the city — by prohibiting sleeping outdoors — had made a crime out of the status of homelessness.

Roseanne's political comedy: "Joe Biden raped me."

Is this good satire?

"Joe Biden. He raped me right here. In the shoe department of Bergdorf Goodman... I need to sue."

I get the point: You can't trust women who say they've recovered a memory of a rape from the distant past. That's not funny as an idea. Does it become funny when a comedienne enacts it? Theoretically, it could. I don't think this did. To me, it works more as a declaration that E. Jean Carroll should not have won her case against Trump.

Does comedy need to be funny? There is some debate these days on that questioning the centrality of funniness in the performances of some artists who are categorized as comedy. For example, "Does comedy have to be funny?," by the sophomore Monika Narain, last year in the Duke student newspaper. Excerpt:

"Lola DeAscentiis, a sophomore, zeroed in on the song 'But Daddy I Love Him,' comparing it to the Sylvia Plath poem 'Daddy.'"

"She plans to explore the link in her final paper. 'I hesitate to say that the song was anywhere near the genius of Sylvia Plath — no offense to Taylor Swift — but I can definitely see some similarities in the themes, like sadness, depression and mental health,' Ms. DeAscentiis, 20, said.... 'The way that Taylor overlays her relationship with the significant other that she’s talking about in the song with the relationship that she has with her father — I think that was very Plath,' she added."

I'm reading the NYT article "Harvard’s Taylor Swift Scholars Have Thoughts on 'Tortured Poets'/The students taking Harvard University’s class on the singer are studying up. Their final papers are due at the end of the month."

In the Harvard undergrad course called "Taylor Swift and Her World" student compare Taylor  Swift song lyrics to the work of poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth.