August 14, 2021

Trending on Twitter: #BidenMustResign.

"He was a diffident debutante with a distaste for politics. Post-presidency, he is trying too hard on things we don’t need."

"The culture is already swimming in Netflix deals, celebrity worship, ostentatious displays of wealth, not to mention podcasts. Did the world really need 'Renegades,' his duet with Bruce Springsteen? We already knew Obama gravitated to stars but it was disillusioning to see it on such a grand scale last weekend. 'I think the nouveaux riches Obamas are seriously tone-deaf,' said the authority on opulence, André Leon Talley. 'We all love Beyoncé. But people have so many things to worry about with Covid, voting rights, climate warming. People are afraid of being evicted from their homes. And the Obamas are in Marie-Antoinette, tacky, let-them-eat-cake mode. They need to remember their humble roots.' Obama was a cool cat as a candidate in 2008, but after he won, he grew increasingly lofty. Now he’s so far above the ground, he doesn’t know what’s cool...."

From "Behold Barack Antoinette" by Maureen Dowd (NYT).

6:05 a.m.


Feel free to comment on whatever you like.

"Biden is at Camp David this weekend, not at his Delaware beach house. He can relax there, but also has full comms."

"People can come and go without detection, and he avoids the optics of a beach vacation amid a mass evacuation." 

From "Scoop: Biden braces for brutal loss" (Axios). 

The major moment to come: Lowering the American flag that flies over what is essentially sovereign U.S. territory. That's typically done by the Marine Security Guard detachment that's always on post. It's a point of honor for the ambassador or chargé d'affaires to take custody of the flag and bring it back to State or a safe haven....

One U.S. official in touch with a former contact in Kabul asked Friday morning how the locally employed staff — the Afghans working for the United States — is faring. "LES are freaking out,” the contact replied. “Everyone wants to get out of this country.” “I’m so worried about my family.”

"Recently, a welcome new development... was laid on the table while neighbors fight to save the 'historic' Wonder Bar building."

"The alleged reason? It was frequented by Chicago mobsters in the 1930s. Seriously, folks? The building, which has no particularly interesting architectural characteristics, should be preserved because murderers used to eat there?... It’s a ridiculous argument on its face. Yet, the developer will take time and spend money to try to work it out. That will only add to the cost of the project and those costs will eventually find their way into rental payments, assuming the project gets built at all... What may be behind this is Madison’s dislike for tall buildings. The proposal would be 18 stories tall... Too often, I think, the [historic preservation] movement allows itself to be captured by people who just don’t like tall and big buildings in any form. "

Writes Dave Cieslewicz (a former mayor of Madison) in Isthmus.

What counts as a tall building where you live? What counts as too tall, such that the locals resist? What does it take to unleash bullshit about historic value? 

Why do people object to tallness? I think the downtown would look better if the streets were solidly packed with tall buildings, creating urban canyons, and not just because I enjoy walking in shade.

Now, let me read Wikipedia article "High-rise Building":

"I actually thought it was all staged until the shoelace. I’ve become cynical with all the setups 🤷‍♂️"/"It was all setup... Except for the shoelace. They just got lucky on a funny accident."

Comments on a video at the subreddit "Maybe Maybe Maybe"... where I learned about the subreddit "Fake or Scripted Asian Gifs" ("For appreciating those Asian gifs that are obviously fake").

"That was his big SEO/speed secret. He would instruct us to copy text from other sites, post them verbatim so that it looked like we were fast and could scoop up traffic, and then change the story in real time."

Said former Snopes managing editor Brooke Binkowski, quoted in "Snopes Retracts 60 Articles Plagiarized by Co-Founder: ‘Our Staff Are Gutted’/The fact-checking site has banned David Mikkelson, who owns half the company, from writing articles after a BuzzFeed News investigation prompted an internal review" (NYT). 

In a 2016 Slack message... Mikkelson [said]: “Usually when a hot real news story breaks (such as a celebrity death), I just find a wire service or other news story about it and publish it on the site verbatim to quickly get a page up,” he wrote. “Once that’s done, then I quickly start editing the page to reword it and add material from other sources to make it not plagiarized.”

Even if he had rewritten the text a few minutes after publication, that would not be considered ethical under widely accepted journalistic standards. But as both the BuzzFeed investigation and Snopes’s internal investigation found, he frequently never got around to changing the sentences he had stolen....

Mikkelson still owns 50% and is the chief executive of this business that's supposed to be all about ferreting out the truth.

"I consider myself an aficionado of house numbers, and yours are the biggest I’ve ever seen. Why did you choose these truly giant house numbers?"

Dan Kois asked Caryn Wagner, as recounted in "A Q&A With the Woman Who Installed These 2-Foot-Tall Address Numbers on Her House/'The overall look is "the circus came to town"'" (Slate).

From Wagner's side of the interview:

It all started when we first moved in.... we added a bay window to the master bedroom. That’s the window over the garage... but it didn’t have anything on the bottom to balance it out.... They maybe didn’t quite have to be that big... The four digits will go across the garage, and they’ll give the house a little bit of a quirky punch, and then I won’t have to tell the Uber driver where my house is.... People take pictures, people stop and talk to me. I’ve become a kind of mini-celebrity on Yorktown Boulevard.... But you know what, these houses on Yorktown, they’re great houses, I love them, but there’s not a lot of curb appeal. I was looking for a way to give it a little personality. I go in and out of my house every day, and I see my great big numbers, and that makes me happy.

Yeah, there's a house in my neighborhood where the numbers are extra-large. Maybe every neighborhood has a house like that. Maybe in your neighborhood, it's your house. What's the big idea?

"A small, dedicated group of white-collar workers, in industries from tech to banking to insurance, say they have found a way to double their pay."

"Work two full-time remote jobs, don’t tell anyone and, for the most part, don’t do too much work, either. Alone in their home offices, they toggle between two laptops. They play 'Tetris' with their calendars, trying to dodge endless meetings. Sometimes they log on to two meetings at once. They use paid time off—in some cases, unlimited—to juggle the occasional big project or ramp up at a new gig. Many say they don’t work more than 40 hours a week for both jobs combined. They don’t apologize for taking advantage of a system they feel has taken advantage of them.... The pandemic has given us new opportunities to shirk and fib.... [One worker] often tells colleagues he doesn’t think their issue requires a call, and he can help them faster on Slack. 'People love it because they’re like, "This guy just gets [stuff] done. He’s not wasting his time in these meetings"'.... [One worker] unmuted his speaker too quickly before turning off the sound on the other laptop. For five seconds, Meeting One could hear Meeting Two. He cringed. No one noticed...."

From "These People Who Work From Home Have a Secret: They Have Two Jobs When the pandemic freed employees from having to report to the office, some saw an opportunity to double their salary on the sly. Why be good at one job, they thought, when they could be mediocre at two?" (Wall Street Journal).

I was just blogging about a similar topic last month, here. The NYT had an article about how younger workers are resisting going back to the office, and I quoted a comment : 

The dirty secret the white collar world doesn't want to admit is that most people are not working 40 hour weeks anymore, and/or are coming to the realization of how much time they were wasting doing nothing at the office. Why would anyone want to give up 10-20 more hours of their week when they are just as productive....

That seems to assume people want more personal time, but it's consistent with the idea that you could get one job done quickly and do a second job, all in a 40-hour week. I wrote:

If you're at home getting the work done, no one knows how long it took you, and the time you save by working quickly and efficiently is time you get to keep for yourself.

"It’s just frustrating. We knew that this would happen. Now, all the people who went and served, are like, 'Why did my friend die?'"

Said Army veteran John Whalen, quoted in "‘Why did my friend get blown up? For what?’: Afghanistan war veterans horrified by Taliban gains" (WaPo).

"In the pre-Taliban days of the late eighties, when I spent time with the mujahideen of Kandahar, who were then fighting the Soviets..."

"... a pair of local Islamic scholars banned music after consulting their sacred texts; this rule was added to their list of severe prohibitions, which included death for adulterers and the amputation of hands for thieves. In a court, set up in the middle of a battlefield, the two judges explained their sentencing system and told me how many murderers and adulterers they had put to death, after which one of them said, 'We adhere to the Sharia in all cases.' Patting a pile of holy tracts next to him, he added, 'All the answers are here.'... Within a couple years, they controlled most of Afghanistan, and Kabul fell to them in 1996.... Afghan women were all but excluded from public life, with many girls prohibited from attending school; the freedom to work for female teachers, doctors, and nurses was drastically circumscribed. The Taliban zealotry grew so great that children were forbidden to play with dolls or to fly kites, in favor of prayer sessions, while ethnic minorities and members of religious sects other than the extreme Sunni version of Islam that the Taliban espoused were persecuted. In one incident, it is estimated that the Taliban killed at least two thousand ethnic Hazaras, who are Shiite. Public executions became a norm, as well, often of women accused of various moral offenses. The killings were often carried out on sports fields or in stadiums, with the condemned sometimes stoned to death, or summarily shot in the head, or hanged, or, in the case of homosexuals, crushed and suffocated by mud walls toppled onto them by tanks.... The Taliban have rendered Afghanistan unworkable as a country; unworkable, that is, without them. And the truth is that they were never really beaten....."

Writes Jon Lee Anderson in "The Return of the Taliban Their comeback has taken twenty years, but it is a classic example of a successful guerrilla war of attrition" (The New Yorker).

"The swift offensive has resulted in mass surrenders, captured helicopters and millions of dollars of American-supplied equipment paraded by the Taliban on grainy cellphone videos."

"In some cities, heavy fighting had been underway for weeks on their outskirts, but the Taliban ultimately overtook their defensive lines and then walked in with little or no resistance. This implosion comes despite the United States having poured more than $83 billion in weapons, equipment and training into the country’s security forces over two decades. Building the Afghan security apparatus was one of the key parts of the Obama administration’s strategy as it sought to find a way to hand over security and leave nearly a decade ago. These efforts produced an army modeled in the image of the United States’ military, an Afghan institution that was supposed to outlast the American war.... How the Afghan military came to disintegrate first became apparent not last week but months ago in an accumulation of losses... [beginning] with individual outposts in rural areas where starving and ammunition-depleted soldiers and police units were surrounded by Taliban fighters and promised safe passage if they surrendered and left behind their equipment, slowly giving the insurgents more and more control of roads, then entire districts. As positions collapsed, the complaint was almost always the same: There was no air support or they had run out of supplies and food.... And when the Taliban started building momentum after the United States’ announcement of withdrawal, it only increased the belief that fighting in the security forces — fighting for President Ashraf Ghani’s government — wasn’t worth dying for. In interview after interview, soldiers and police officers described moments of despair and feelings of abandonment...."

From "The Afghan Military Was Built Over 20 Years. How Did It Collapse So Quickly?/The Taliban’s rapid advance has made clear that U.S. efforts to turn Afghanistan’s military into a robust, independent fighting force have failed, with its soldiers feeling abandoned by inept leaders" (NYT).

August 13, 2021

Sunrise — 6:00 and 6:03.



Please use the comments section to talk about whatever you want. I'm moderating all the comments these days and I'm pretty strict about comments needing to follow from the post, but the sunrise photo posts are not intended to establish a topic. No need to address the beauty/dullness of a particular sunrise. These photos are part of what is a ritual for me, getting out to experience the sunrise. I'm happy if you enjoy the photographs and completely uninterested in your nonenjoyment of them.

"Right, I love floating heads. Some of my favorite posters are floating heads."

"I’ve spent a good deal of time talking to people about where the design comes from. There’s a 1908 [William Howard] Taft; they show up in Lyndon Johnson for Senate posters, one shows up in 1940, and then by 1944 and on, they sort of become the wave, and in the 1950s, and up to about 1968, floating heads—I mean, no collar at all, just totally floating heads—are everywhere. And then they just disappear. The working theory right now is that jobbers just decided to do it that way. It wasn’t a grand design-school concept."

From "THE ART HISTORY OF PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN POSTERS/Against the backdrop of the 2020 US presidential election, historian Hal Wert takes us through the artistic and political evolution of American campaign posters, from their origin in 1844 to the present. In an interview with Quarterly editor Gillian Jakab, Wert highlights an array of landmark posters and the artists who made them" (Gagosian). 

 I got there as I was researching posters from around 1900 that were characterized by Andrew Cuomo as trying "to communicate their whole platform on one piece of paper." I like the old-time-y posters that do that, but it would be wrong to think that extremely simple posters weren't around back then. I mean, this Taft poster is hilariously simple (and fantastic):

"Why does this poster exist?"

The question in the post title comes from "The 8 Weirdest Unsolved Andrew Cuomo Mysteries" (New York Magazine). The article considers the poster a mystery that remains unsolved even though Cuomo gave an explanation back when he introduced the poster in July 2020: 

"I love history. I love poster art. Poster art is something they did in the early 1900s, late 1800s, when they had to communicate their whole platform on one piece of paper. Over the past few years I’ve done my own posters that capture that feeling. I did a new one for what we went through with COVID and I think the general shape is familiar to you. We went up the mountain, we curved the mountain, we came down the other side and these are little telltale signs that, to me, represent what was going on."

What "early 1900s, late 1800s" posters did he have in mind? I found this one:

And I wanted to show you this one too, even though it's not trying "to communicate their whole platform on one piece of paper":

"Biden himself, normally the most empathetic of politicians, did not address the predictable and predicted human tragedy that his April decision to withdraw..."

"... the roughly thirty-five hundred U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan has now unleashed. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, followed his comments by blaming the Afghan military, which the U.S. funded, trained, equipped, and built over twenty years, for its fate. 'They have what they need,' she said. 'What they need to determine is if they have the political will to fight back.'... There is, quite obviously, a calculation behind all this, which is that, after all this time and with more than enough blame to go around in both parties, Biden will not suffer politically from leaving behind an unwinnable war. Put bluntly, there is a strongly held belief in Washington that Americans simply do not care what happens in Afghanistan...."

From "'Not Our Tragedy': the Taliban Are Coming Back, and America Is Still Leaving/President Biden made it very clear this week that we’re out of Afghanistan, no matter what" by Susan B. Glasser (The New Yorker).

The phrase "the most empathetic of politicians" draws a scoff from me. Why not write "the most political of empathizers"? Clearly, the empathy is not empathy for its own stake, but a political commodity to be spent where you get good political value. Americans simply do not care what happens in Afghanistan, so Biden did not address the predictable and predicted human tragedy.

I'd like to edit out the "normally" in "normally the most empathetic of politicians." The omission of any empathy — or theatrical performance of empathy — when the subject is something Americans don't care about is exactly normal in political empathy. We're just seeing a clear example of what it means to be an empathetic politician.

August 12, 2021

At the Sunrise Café...


 ... you can talk about whatever you like.

The photo was taken at 6:12 this morning.

"Miss Ann (sometimes Miss Anne) was [Karen's] forerunner, coming from Southern Black vernacular of the 19th century — the mistress of the plantation, the boss lady..."

"... (and proto-girlboss), with a mandatory honorific. While she was subordinate to the white man (Mr. Charlie), she still held a higher status in the hierarchy than Black people and exploited this for all she was worth, alternately imperious and dainty, belligerent and helpless, depending on context. The moniker has persisted: The writer Zora Neale Hurston listed it in a glossary appended to her 1942 short fiction 'Story in Harlem Slang,' the memoirist and civil rights activist Maya Angelou deployed it in her poem 'Sepia Fashion Show' in 1969 ('I’d remind them please, look at those knees, / you got at Miss Ann’s scrubbing') and as late as 2016, when CNN exit polls for the presidential election indicated that more than 40 percent of white women had voted for Donald Trump, the journalist Amy Alexander, writing on The Root, explained the results as the 'Miss Ann effect.' But as Carla Kaplan, a professor of American literature, notes in 'Miss Anne in Harlem' (2013), by the time of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, a more subtle white woman had come to earn the name — one who intentionally entered Black spaces at a time when other white people denounced such an act 'as either degeneracy or lunacy.' Some of these women were activists, others mere thrill-seekers or provocateurs, their motives and desires ranging 'from dreadful to honorable,' Kaplan writes, and they were greeted in the Black community with caution."

From "The March of the Karens/The name has come to represent an entitled and belligerent white woman. But what does this narrative say — and elide — about racism and sexism today?" by Ligaya Mishan (NYT).

"An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the rate of decline of the non-Hispanic white population since 2010. It was 2.6 percent, not 8.6 percent."

A correction posted at "Census Live Updates: U.S. Grew More Diverse in Past Decade; Most Counties Lost Population/The government released data from the 2020 census showing large increases in the populations of people who identify as Hispanic, Asian and more than one race" (NYT).

How do you make a mistake like that — confusing percent and percentage points?

What's the fastest growing group? Mixed race. That group doubled. Anyone who goes into the group takes away from one of the other groups.

“We are in a weird time demographically,” said Tomás Jiménez, a sociologist at Stanford who writes about immigrants, assimilation and social mobility. “There’s more choice about our individual identities and how we present them than there has ever been. We can presume far less about who somebody is based on the boxes they check compared to previous periods.”

"Since when does America give anything good to Black people first?" said the Black Lives Matter, when he heard about politicians prioritizing vaccinating minorities.

From "Why Only 27 Percent of Young Black New Yorkers Are Vaccinated/As the Delta variant courses through New York City, many young Black New Yorkers remain distrustful of the vaccine" (NYT). 

People are suspicious of favoritism! Maybe it's not a favor at all. 

In interviews, Black men and women said that much of their distrust of the coronavirus vaccine was shaped by their own experiences with discrimination or their identity as Black Americans...

“They came out with one so fast for Covid, and now they want to pay you to take it,” [one black man] said. “It seems fishy.”...

“It takes a little bit of hyper-vigilance when you’re a woman of color,” said Jazmine Shavuo-Goodwin, 31, who believes she encountered medical racism when doctors were dismissive of her severe stomach problems. “There’s a lot of homework you have to do, because your doctors may not truly listen to you, to your full complaint, before they’ve already diagnosed you.”... 

"[S]ome of the country's top doctors and professors... say that whole areas of research are off-limits. They say that top physicians are treating patients based on their race. That professors are apologizing..."

"... for saying ‘male’ and ‘female’ and that students are policing teachers. And in more than a few alarming instances, politics has come before patients. As one doctor put it: 'Wokeness feels like an existential threat.'"

I'm listening to this new episode of Bari Weiss's podcast. It features Katie Herzog.

5:52 a.m.



"I don’t see how I can go back to being a hermit because society is not going to allow it. I would have people coming every weekend..."

" I just can’t get out of society anymore. I’ve hidden too many years and I’ve built relationships and those relationships have continued to expand.... Maybe the things I’ve been trying to avoid are the things that I really need in life.… I grew up never being hugged or kissed, or any close contact... I’ve had somebody ask me once, about my wife: 'Did you really love her?' And the question kind of shocked me for a second. I’ve never loved anybody in my life. And I shocked myself because I hadn’t realized that. And that’s why I was a hermit. Now I can see love being expressed that I never had before."

 Said David Lidstone — "River Dave" — quoted in "‘River Dave’ says he doesn’t see how he can ‘go back to being a hermit’/‘Society is not going to allow it,’ says New Hampshire man who lived off-the-grid life until his cabin burned down last week" (The Guardian).


"Maybe I was a hermit for nothing."

"Powerful people are more likely to interrupt others, not look at people when they are speaking, and to be rude, hostile, and humiliating."

"They are more self-centered, losing the capacity to even guess what others feel or want; power seems to take away not only compassion but the ability to even see other people’s needs. Not to put too fine a point on it, but people who are given power in psychology experiments are more likely to touch others inappropriately. New York’s current constitutional structure, in other words, sets up the state for abuse.... New York needs some constitutional restructuring, as a matter of both culture and law. The Legislature, not the executive branch, should be leading on the budget..... [Cuomo] never acted as a governor who thought about the real needs of the people of New York, never worried about those hurt by crumbling infrastructure, or what it was like to be a child in an overcrowded classroom—or how it felt to have your loved one’s death in a nursing home covered up. As his pathetic final performance made clear, for him it was always about his small, selfish, soul. Like Richard Nixon, he resigned whining. What we should learn from Andrew Cuomo’s tenure is that no one should ever be given such power to play with people’s lives. The first step toward that transformation is for the Legislature to proceed with his impeachment. Cuomo wants to resign so the facts won’t all be laid out—and so he can run for office again. He doesn’t deserve that kindness...."

Writes Zephyr Teachout, in "The Real Question Is Why Andrew Cuomo Took So Long to Fall/New York hasn’t had a governor leave in dignity in years—and that is not a fluke" (The Nation). 

Cuomo said he'd leave in 2 weeks, but remember that Trump was impeached when he had only 1 week left in his term. The proceedings continued after his term ended, until February 13th. It was stressed at the time that impeachment was not merely to remove a person from office. There was the same idea that Teachout stresses — laying out the facts and preventing running for office again.

On the subject of Cuomo's running for office again, here's something in the NYT this morning, "Cuomo Has $18 Million in Campaign Cash. What Can He Do With It?/The huge war chest is the most money retained by a departing New York politician in recent memory."

August 11, 2021

At the Sunrise Café...


 ... you can talk about whatever you want.

"I assume that I'm not the only viewer who would rather watch this lineup than what's on the networks today."

A comment on a montage — at YouTube — of all 37 of the prime-time shows that were on ABC in the Fall of 1961. 

ADDED: In 1961, I eagerly consumed the "Fall Preview" issue of TV, which didn't come out until mid-September. I guess they took the equinox seriously in those days. Back in August, 60 years ago, TV challenged the notion that TV was "for 12  year olds"....

I was only 10, so I had to aim higher just to reach 12. Not only were people concerned that television might not be sufficiently worthy of adult viewership, they were consuming advice on "How to teach your children how to watch TV":

That was my favorite show, "Dobie Gillis." About high school. I couldn't find the original text of that teach-your-children article, but I found an article about it:

"But the importance we place on pleasant weather is exactly why an altered climate could be so devastating to this state’s identity."

"The Mamas & the Papas sang of California as an escapist dreamland untouched by gloom. You’d be safe and warm if you were in L.A. Not long from now, Los Angeles and elsewhere here might be more nightmare than dream — way too warm and none too safe, all the leaves burned, the sky ash gray."

From "Lovely Weather Defined California. What Happens When It’s Gone?" by Farhad Manjoo (NYT). 

It could be worse...

"There is this post-apocalyptic, beige, baggy style that people think of when they hear genderless, which is limiting."

"We want to create an equal shopping experience for everyone, however you express yourself. All of our bottoms have either a flat front design or a pouch front design, and all of our tops are essentially unisex. Whether you’re extra small or 5X, it’s always the same price, and every style is available equally across prints and colors....”

Says E Leifer, answering the question "What’s the difference between gender-equal and gender-neutral clothing?" in "His, Hers, Everyone’s: Gender-Equal Underwear Goes (Slightly More) Mainstream/For years underwear has been strictly gendered. The co-founders of Play Out Apparel are reimagining it for all gender identities" (NYT).

Another question is: "Is gender-equal clothing the future for all apparel brands?" Answer:

Yes. The larger cultural conversation is just starting to meet us where we’re at, which is great, because it’s hard to fight alone.... So I don’t see equality being attainable in fashion or beyond without the demolition of the gender binary. That doesn’t mean everyone needs to be nonbinary. Everybody can be as femme or as masc as they want. Younger generations already get that. They don’t want to be told how to shop or how to express themselves. They want to be marketed to in a completely different way. And to me, that speaks to progress." 

ADDED: Here's the top-rated comment over there:  "So now instead of identifying as male (M) or female (F), we will identify as flat front (FF) or pouch front (PF)." Somehow this makes me think of Star-Bellied Sneetches.

AND: It’s a bit like “You can have your cake and eat it too”: You can have your gender binary and demolish it too.

"[A]ll the blaming and shaming on social media and elsewhere is less about persuasion than about the emotional needs of those doing the blaming and shaming."

"It makes them feel better about themselves, and in today’s society, feeling better about oneself is the greatest of achievements. It’s helpful if the feeling suffices to legitimate the right of laptop-class 'meritocrats' to bully the oiks on things like masks and lockdowns — when their actual performance casts serious doubts on their merits. It’s also easy for politicians to capitalize on. They thrive on division, and on passions that distract people from what they’re actually doing. But if you’re making the country worse to feel good about yourself, maybe you’re not such a good person after all. And if you’re falling for politicians’ tricks, maybe you’re not as smart as you think."

Writes Glenn Reynolds in "Mask bullies don’t want to persuade you — but to humiliate and rule you" (NY Post). 

I should note that Glenn begins his column by quoting me quoting 2 anti-mask memes. Here's my post from a few days ago: "What do my Facebook friends think they are doing expressing this kind of hostility?" 

Glenn also says: "[T]his sort of thing isn’t aimed at convincing those who disagree, but rather at garnering high-fives from people who agree...." Some may say that to use the word "garnering" is to call out to me.

Speaking of words, do people know the word "oik"? I had to look it up. The OED calls it "colloquial (originally School slang)." It means "An uncouth, loutish, uneducated, or obnoxious person; a yob (esp. with connotations of lower-class origin)." The OED quotes, among other things,  M. Marples, "Public School Slang" (1940): "Oik, hoik: very widely used and of some age; at Cheltenham (1897) it meant simply a working man, but at Christ's Hospital (1885) it implied someone who spoke Cockney, and at Bootham (1925) someone who spoke with a Yorkshire accent."

The lush, painterly quality of a photograph taken with an iPhone 12 — in the woods under overcast skies, 11 minutes before sunrise.


Click and click again for a closer look. It was 5:48 on the morning after a heavy thunderstorm. I stopped in the middle of my sunrise run to get a photo of the big tree limb that crossed the path. The other shot, taken 10 seconds earlier, does not show the same effect: 


I can't explain the difference. I only took photographs to document the phenomenon of falling tree branches, a safety hazard the forest walker/runner must consider.

"When then-Lt. Gov. David Paterson took over in 2008 after a prostitution scandal forced out Gov. Eliot Spitzer, he’d served in the state Senate for decades, including as minority leader."

"Hochul has years in local government, a term in Congress and seven years as Cuomo’s rarely consulted LG. (Ironically, she led the gov’s 'Enough is Enough' sexual-assault-prevention initiative.)"

The New York Post editors write, in "Kathy Hochul’s huge challenge as New York’s next gov."

Did you remember the last time New York had to move on to its Lieutenant Governor — and that it was another sex-focused scandal? Paterson had a lot more relevant experience, but he was not a successful governor.

"Individuals used to own two-thirds of apartment properties with five to 24 units. But from 2001 to 2015, that share fell to two-fifths..."

"... and researchers from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies found that as large, Wall Street-backed investors purchased the buildings, they raised rents more quickly. 'Given that units in these structures are generally older and have relatively low rents, institutional investors may consider them prime candidates for purchase and upgrading. These changes in ownership have thus helped to keep rents on the climb,' researchers wrote. Wall Street investors owned virtually none of America’s single-family homes a decade ago but now own about 2 percent of them, according to the Federal Reserve. Redfin senior economist Sheharyar Bokhari said small landlords who are struggling to keep up should at least be able to find buyers for their properties. In the second quarter alone, investors — rather than traditional home buyers — dropped a record $48.5 billion to acquire 67,943 homes, the highest quarterly figure on record, according to a recent Redfin report. Investors bought 1 in 6 homes sold in the second quarter, up from a typical 1 in 10. 'It’s unlikely that a lot of them are underwater, because the values have been rising. So one opportunity for them is to sell the house and take the gain,' he said."

From "With tenants who won’t pay or leave, small landlords face struggles of their own/Corporate landlords are booking big profits, but the extended eviction ban means there’s no relief in sight for mom-and-pop landlords" (WaPo).

I cherry-picked the cold numerical facts. Go to the article to read the heartstring-tugging anecdotes of the small landlords. Will we miss them when they are all gone, the "mom-and-pop landlords"? Apparently, we are deeply into a process of transferring their property to big investors. 

This article, for all its empathetic anecdotage, is shouting the message: Cash out now. "Redfin senior economist Sheharyar Bokhari said small landlords who are struggling to keep up should at least be able to find buyers for their properties." How much can you get for your property when you've got nonpaying tenants and an eviction moratorium? You're the desperate character they call the "motivated seller." 

ADDED: Near the end of the article there's a paraphrased quote from a small landlord, the owner of 6 rental homes in Kansas City: "friends and acquaintances in the industry have decided to sell and that foreign investors are snapping up homes." I was surprised to see the word "foreign," especially outside of quote marks. It has a xenophobic vibe that I expect The Washington Post to eschew. 

I have to guess that the landlord did not use the word, but that it was wanted to convey a warning that the author of the article didn't want to take responsibility for. The author is Jonathan O'Connell, "a reporter focused on business investigations and corporate accountability. He has covered economic development, commercial real estate and President Donald Trump's business." Elsewhere in the article, the investors are called "large, Wall Street-backed investors," "institutional investors," "Wall Street investors," and just "investors." 

To what extent are these foreign investors? Is this some bugaboo of a "mom" landlord in Kansas City or is there a powerful dynamic, assisted by the federal government, in which vast amounts of American real estate are coming into the control of non-Americans? Can we step back from the sentimentalism about small businesspeople and get some facts?

"Who Said It: Cuomo or Your Ex?"

Headline for an amusing quiz format — in New York Magazine — presenting 15 of Cuomo's most absurd quotes, mostly defenses for his bad behavior, e.g., "In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn." 

On the list of 15: "I love you" — from his planning-to-resign speech. After you click the right answer, Cuomo, you see: "Yes, this is from Cuomo's resignation. But if your ex did say it, I’m sure he, like Cuomo, tried to excuse shitty behavior by then saying, 'And everything I have ever done has been motivated by that love.'"

The 15th entry is unlikely to be something your ex could have said: "EXCELSIOR!" When you vote "Cuomo," it says: "Yes, Cuomo said this toward the end of his resignation speech. I don't know what to tell you." 

Are people thinking that was nutty? I know why he said it. It's the same reason Wisconsin's Russ Feingold once ended a concession speech with "Forward!" It's the state motto.

By the way, here's my blog post about Feingold's speech, in 2010, after he lost a Senate race to Ron Johnson. Feingold also raised his hand in the air in a manner that, as I said at the time, he must have intended to represent the "Forward" statute that appeared on a plinth at the State Street pathway to the state capitol. I say "appeared," because that statue was torn down during the riots last summer and there's still an empty plinth where that venerated statue once stood:

The New York State motto "Excelsior!" means "ever upward." For those who know what "Excelsior!" means, in the context of Cuomo's predicament, it sounds like a dirty joke.

Here's a list of the state mottoes. The best and most famous one is New Hampshire's, though don't try just tweeting it. I might get you banned. The most mystical is North Carolina's — "Esse quam videri" ("To be rather than to seem"). 

Other uses of Latin to elevate state mottoes: "Cedant arma togae" ("Let weapons yield to the toga," Wyoming), "Montani semper liberi" ("Mountaineers are always free," West Virginia), and "Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice" ("If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you," Michigan).

August 10, 2021

At the Sunrise Café...


 ... you can raise any topic.

Whither Cuomo? What can he do now?


With all support yanked from out under him, he had to go. But what now? 

From that NYT link:

Mr. Cuomo is resigning on a defiant note, not a submissive one. That is, arguably, the best he could hope to achieve, given the New York State Assembly’s commitment to moving forward with impeachment.... 

“It’s not about me, it’s about we,” Cuomo says as he resigns his office, effective in 14 days.

He adds it's "the best way I can help now."

ADDED: "New York tough means New York loving, and I love you. And everything I have ever done has been motivated by that love. And I would never want to be unhelpful in any way. And I think that, given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing" (video).

"Seismometers can scan the ground for the 'P waves,' or compression waves, which precede the slower and more powerful 'S waves,' or shear waves..."

"... that are responsible for severe earthquake damage, like lightning before thunder. Using the P waves, a local data-processing center can calculate the likely reach and magnitude of a quake moments after it begins. The resulting alert, dispatched at the speed of light, usually beats the S waves, which ripple through rock at about two miles per second. To call the warning 'early' is generous. It usually arrives between a few seconds and less than a minute ahead of the quake—advance notice that, in duration, is somewhere between a sneeze and a red light....  In the past few decades, more than half of earthquake injuries in the U.S. have been caused by people or things falling—two occurrences easily avoided if you have time to take cover beneath a sturdy piece of furniture. For those who are landing planes, assembling electronics, operating cranes, or drilling into molars, even the smallest warning would be welcome. You might have just enough time to lock the wheels on your wheelchair, or to remove your scalpel from your patient’s chest.... The brief window for action created by the systems doesn’t allow for hesitancy or confusion.... To some, an advance warning might seem like an invitation to evacuate, or a prompt to check on other family members. Many earthquake myths persist—doorframes are no good, it turns out—and there are still gaps in public awareness: What do you do if you get the alert in bed? (According to fema, you should turn face down and cover your neck and head with a pillow.)"

 From "There’s an Earthquake Coming!/The newest warning systems give users ten seconds’ notice. What can be done in that time?" (The New Yorker).

I've been listening to the new Ricky Gervais/Sam Harris podcast.

You can get a pretty good idea of what it's like from this trailer:


I paid for the series after listening to the first episode, which was free. I was a little irked that it's on Spotify, which I pay for, and I had to pay even more. But it costs something like $15, and I pay $15 for books all the time. Isn't it as worthy as a book? 

I'm only interested in Ricky Gervais. I listened to the whole first episode with no awareness of who the other guy was supposed to be. "Sam." He felt like a complete nonentity to me, just a dull voice to make it so that Ricky wasn't just talking to himself. 

I was surprised to see that it was Sam Harris, a famous name that I know, though not someone... I was going to say: not someone I'd ever paid much attention to. But when I search the blog archive, I see I've blogged about him many times, usually without adding a "Sam Harris" tag. The failure to tag means that when I wrote the post, I didn't think I'd be writing about the same person again. It's odd to see that's happened so many times with this particular person — especially after my experience with the podcast, where he made no distinct impression on me!

But now he has made a distinct impression on me as the person who makes no distinct impression. I'll honor the occasion by going back to all the untagged posts and adding the tag. Then maybe all the faint impressions will congeal into something interesting. [UPDATE: It didn't.]

And the podcast is good. I recommend it. It's mainly Ricky asking the questions, Sam giving bland answers, and Ricky bouncing off Sam's answers. For example, Ricky asks Sam if he had to choose between being 3 feet taller than he is or 3 feet shorter than he is, which would he choose? Sam gives the wrong answer (taller) and Ricky drags him through the wrongness of the decision. 

ADDED: If you buy this podcast, you can listen to it on any podcast app. It's not like Joe Rogan, isolated on Spotify. That's why having to buy it separately makes sense.

"Psaki grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut—but not exactly that Greenwich. 'There’s a lot of hippie vibe in my family,' she tells me."

"She’s the oldest of three daughters: Her youngest sister, a Unitarian Universalist minister, does indeed send out hippie vibrations, as does her mother, a therapist who grew up in blue-collar Queens. Psaki’s father, a retired real estate developer, declared bankruptcy when she was in seventh grade.... For the most part, Psaki was focused on her high school swim team—she had a powerful backstroke—and, later, on her sorority, Chi Omega at the College of William & Mary. She was the president, but then, as now, she didn’t seem to want to be the center of attention. 'She’s an under-the-radar leader,' her college roommate, Ally Wagner, tells me. Psaki quit the college swim team after two years but stayed 'crazy athletic,' Wagner says. Katie McCormick Lelyveld, who got to know Psaki early in her career, describes her as 'a deeply devoted friend,' and despite her work ethic, 'she knows how to relax and laugh, and she likes a dance party.' As for the music, 'she’s a Top 40 girl,' McCormick Lelyveld says. But not current stuff. 'The music that was popular during her 20s and 30s.' She mentions the CD compilations Now That’s What I Call Music."

From "Press Secretary Jen Psaki is Good At Mending Fences. Just Don’t Call Her Nice" by Lizzie Widdicombe (Vogue).

I had to look up "Now That's What I Call Music." It's basically a U.K. series, each CD containing the songs that were hits when it was issued. There's only one U.S. CD with that branding. It came out in 1998 when Psaki was 20. 

There she was in college, distinguished by her love of Top 40 hits, at a time when that meant "MMMBop" and "Barbie Girl"...


I'm a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world/Life in plastic, it's fantastic/You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere/Imagination, life is your creation.... Make me walk, make me talk, do whatever you please/I can act like a star, I can beg on my knees...

ADDED: I misread the Wikipedia page I linked to, which is about the first "Now That's What I Call Music" release in the United States. The series does continue, and, as you can see here, goes up to volume 79, which just came out a few days ago, so I guess we can expect a lot more. I'm proud of this mistake because it means I successfully shielded myself from the advertising. Deliberately annoying crap like this:

"Doing his best Mussolini imitation, he took off his mask in a macho display of invulnerability. He clenched his teeth and jutted out his jaw..."

"... just as my grandmother did when she was biting back anger or clamping down on her pain. In Donald, I saw the latter.... I have asthma, so I am acutely aware of what it looks like when somebody is struggling to breathe. He was in pain, he was afraid, but he would never admit that to anybody – not even himself. Because, as always, the consequences of admitting vulnerability were much more frightening to him than being honest."

Mary Trump has a new book, quoted in "Trump was ‘in pain and afraid’ during post-Covid display of bravado, niece’s book says/Mary Trump’s new book The Reckoning, seen by the Guardian, describes a national trauma worsened by her uncle" (The Guardian).

What is the value of Mary Trump's writing? The writing style isn't horrible, but she didn't have access to him. She was just watching him on television like the rest of us, right? Purporting to know the workings of his mind makes her less credible than those of us who would add phrases like "I think" to assertions like "he was afraid" or who would change that "was" to "looked." 

There are other efforts to bolster her authority. In that brief passage, I note "just as my grandmother did" and "I have asthma." Let's examine those 2 notions. 

1. "just as my grandmother did" — This must be a reference to Mary's grandmother who was the mother of Donald Trump. Mary has observed her grandmother and perhaps knows a style of holding her mouth and can say that Donald Trump's mouth has the same look. She implies that there are family mouth positions and other members of the family know what they mean. So Mary has special expertise at watching Donald Trump on television.

2. "I have asthma" — Mary claims a sort of medical expertise: "I am acutely aware of what it looks like when somebody is struggling to breathe." Really? You're aware of "what it looks like"? No, you're not looking at yourself when you are having an asthma attack. You are acutely aware of what it feels like, not what it looks like. Unless you do your asthma attacks in front of a mirror.

ADDED: I could write a book about Mary's book, in which I use Mary's approach to observational expertise against her. I would go through the book paragraph by paragraph and find every turn of phrase that I can characterize as evidence of the traits that she finds in Donald Trump and I would repetitively bolster my points by reminding the reader that Mary and Donald belong to the same family, so we can presume these are family traits. Whatever she says about him I can observe in her, and the only evidence I will need is her own book.

August 9, 2021

At the Zinnia Café...


... you can write about whatever you want. That doesn't mean I will publish anything you write. There are standards around here. Be interesting. Don't be ugly.

"I exactly remember looking down, seeing his hand, which is a large hand, thinking to myself, 'Oh, my God. This is happening.'"

From "Cuomo accuser Brittany Commisso breaks her silence to detail groping allegations and says the governor is lying" (CBS).

"NASA is looking for four crew members who will live and work for a year in a 3D-printed, 1,700-square-foot module called Mars Dune Alpha..."

"... based at NASA's Johnson Space Center. According to NASA, the crew might perform tasks such as simulated spacewalks, using virtual reality and robotic controls, exchanging communications and conducting other research.... The posting calls for healthy and motivated U.S. citizens between the ages of 30 and 55 years old, plus a STEM master's degree or sufficient experience piloting an aircraft... NASA warns that the crew will experience simulated problems like those humans might face on Mars, including resource limitations, equipment failure, communication delays and other environmental stressors."

NPR reports.

Get in a box for a year with 3 other people and practice living on Mars, i.e., let us watch you put up with whatever hardships we decide to inflict on you. 

"They don't know I'm in a New York Times article."


I found that via a New York Times article, "Text Memes Are Taking Over Instagram/Fueled by Gen Z, text-heavy meme posts, often paired with nonsensically unrelated pictures, are turning the photo and video app into a destination for written expression." 

“You just post your thoughts,” said Mia Morongell, 20, a creator of the @lifes.a.bender Instagram account, which has amassed over 134,000 followers. “It’s like Twitter, but for Instagram. It’s like a blog where you’re airing personal thoughts and feelings.”...

In one recent post, Tanisha Chetty, 15, who runs the Instagram page, posted an image of a mattress in a graffiti-covered room. Overlaid on it was a message, in chunky black-and-white text, which read: “We should care less about mental help. Girl, go insane! You are valid.”

"In a wild rant posted to Twitter Sunday, the Kentucky senator — speaking direct-to-camera before a dark blue backdrop — railed against the 'petty tyrants and bureaucrats' implementing new mandates."

That's how Mediaite characterizes it

Judge for yourself:

I'd say he's making a standard activist point: If people resist in huge numbers, they can't be stopped. That's America's great civil disobedience tradition. Those who are in the position to announce new mandates know this and must take it into account. The potential for mass resistance is a built-in safeguard. One of 2 forces will stop them. Either they will self-regulate, or they will uncover the inherent limit to their power.

"But what I'd like to know is not why Cuomo would commit so many acts of sexual harassment for so long, but who knew and who protected him?"

"Presumably, there are a lot of New York Democrats who've protected Cuomo over the years, probably people who made sanctimonious pro-woman statements in the heyday of the 'Me Too' movement. Tell me about them."

That's what I wrote on August 5th

Today, I see "Melissa DeRosa, top aide to Cuomo, resigns in wake of state attorney general’s report" (WaPo): 

She was known for her bare-knuckle and profane style and was disliked by many of her colleagues.... But... she said attacks on her were sexist. Throughout the attorney general’s report, DeRosa is mentioned by name 187 times — as much as Cuomo. She is portrayed as a constant force, taking part in an alleged effort to discredit one of his accusers, lining up women and elected officials to defend him....

DeRosa also tried to squelch a news story scrutinizing whether state rules were changed so an inexperienced female state trooper could join Cuomo’s detail, the attorney general’s report found. The trooper was repeatedly harassed by Cuomo, who touched her back and stomach, kissed her and made comments about her appearance, investigators said....

People who have spoken to DeRosa in the past week said she remained defiant....

ADDED: I'm reminded of all the many people — including many women — who facilitated Bill Clinton. 

AND: Maureen Dowd's column, published on the 7th, aimed squarely at DeRosa:

"Good god, almost every single one of these buildings is a crime against humanity. The blather that the architects and critics offer..."

"... in support of these atrocities ('every single detail has a relationship to logic, from the corners to the steel to the cabinets to the grid of the entire structure' -- what does this even mean?) shows just how divorced from reality the architectural intelligentsia has been for the better part of 100 years now."

That's just one of many very similar comments on the NYT article, "The 25 Most Significant Works of Postwar Architecture Three architects, three journalists and two designers gathered over Zoom to make a list of the most influential and lasting buildings that have been erected — or cleverly updated — since World War II. Here are the results."

I recommend clicking through to see the many photographs. If you do, I predict you will find yourself muttering or exclaiming things like, "I hate all of these!" Or perhaps, "Where's Frank Lloyd Wright?"

To be fair, "most influential and lasting" doesn't mean most beautiful or most beneficial. It could mask dismay: This is what took hold and has tormented us for so long.

"President Biden’s top aides were told on Friday that experts studying the mysterious illnesses affecting scores of diplomats, spies and their family members were still struggling to find evidence..."

"... to back up the leading theory, that microwave attacks are being launched by Russian agents. The report came in an unusual, classified meeting called by the director of national intelligence, Avril D. Haines, according to several senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The purpose of the meeting was to assess the investigations and efforts to treat victims of the so-called Havana syndrome — the unexplained headaches, dizziness and memory loss reported by scores of State Department officials, C.I.A. officers and their families. While Mr. Biden has said almost nothing publicly about the episodes, the National Security Council has begun an urgent effort to address the issue, and two separate task forces are now in operation...."

From "Mystery Attacks on Diplomats Leave Scores of Victims but Still Little Evidence/While the leading theory in the 'Havana syndrome' cases is directed microwave attacks, a classified session for senior government officials said months of investigation were inconclusive" (NYT).

August 8, 2021

"'Please give me some hope of publication, or at least provide some consolation.' We must, after reading, choose the latter."

"So attention please, we’re giving comfort. A splendid fate awaits you, the fate of a reader, and a reader of the highest caliber, that is to say, disinterested—the fate of a lover of literature, who will always be its steadiest companion, the conquest, not the conqueror. You will read it all for the pleasure of reading. Not spotting 'tricks,' not wondering if this or that passage might be better written, or just as well, but differently. No envy, no dejection, no attacks of spleen, none of the sensations accompanying the reader who also writes."

From "A selection from Wislawa Szymborska’s anonymous advice column" (NYRB). Szymborska won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1996, but she wrote an advice column in a Polish literary journal from 1960 to 1981. A book collecting her columns, called "How to Start Writing (and When to Stop)," is coming out in October. 

I added the boldface.

"Diving Into the Subconscious of the 'Cuomosexual'/How could we have witnessed the Governor’s narcissism, bullying, and hackneyed paternalism, and found these qualities attractive? A psychoanalyst gives her take."

Ah! Perfect! This is exactly the article I'd have requested if The New Yorker had asked me What can we write for you? 

I could go looking for this material myself and grope at amateur psychoanalysis, but I found this, by Lizzie Widdicombe. How absolutely pleasing to just sit back and read (and react):

[J]ust a year ago, much of blue-state America was lusting after Governor Andrew Cuomo... The erotic interest was documented in a Jezebel article—“Help, I Think I’m in Love with Andrew Cuomo???”... The term “Cuomosexual” was popularized in a song called “Andy,” by the comedian Randy Rainbow, set to the tune of “Sandy,” from the musical “Grease”....Celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Trevor Noah announced their Cuomosexuality.....

... I contacted Virginia Goldner, a psychoanalyst... “He was radiating an erotized masculinity that has within it hostility and a little tenderness,” she said. “That combination of soft and hard—mostly hard, but also soft—is what so many women crave in some way,” she said.

She called it the “retrosexual part of us”—the part that was raised with the image of a “big, square” daddy/lover figure, even if we’ve never actually had one.... The harasser enjoys creating sexual tension in the workplace, but what he really likes is the psychological torment....

She quoted Henry Kissinger, noting that power is an aphrodisiac. That’s true, but it’s really “the sensation of power relative to powerlessness,” she said—power over someone else....

“We can still love those dimensions of masculinity, and ask ourselves, What are they? And how do they get corrupted?”

Yes, let's think deeply — and not just about Cuomo — about why we respond at a sexual level to displays of power. And don't start with denying that there's anything sexual about your response to power. 

A bit from the Jezebel article, linked above, which is from March 2020:

"Why does no one say that glamping isn’t real? It does not exist outside the lifestyle pages. It’s a magazine fantasy for middle-class people."

"Lovely photographs of professionally styled and accessorised spaces — a four-poster bed with artfully dishevelled linen sitting on a beautiful faded rug inside an authentic Mongolian yurt — are taken at the golden hour to convey an idea of bucolic bliss.... The women are wearing expensive kaftans and beaded jewellery; the men have pastel sweaters knotted around their shoulders, like Italians. Everyone is tanned. Then there’s the reality. There is no plump, inviting bedding. There is no rug. The bed is hard. The inauthentic, not-Mongolian yurt is really gloomy and dark, what with the lack of windows or light, and it smells musty. You weren’t expecting the other glampers to be quite so close.... The men don’t look Italian: they are in bad shorts with blindingly white skin.... There is nothing wrong with normal camping. There are little family-owned campsites all over the country that really do have ocean views and wildflower meadows, fresh eggs for breakfast and locally grown vegetables for supper. If that’s not your thing, there are lovely and affordable bed-and-breakfasts in wildly scenic spots. I feel sad for B&Bs and small family hotels, nudged out of the running by so-called glamping and Airbnbs, which should really be called Airbs, as you can’t count on a fry-up." 

From "Glamping fantasies fold faster than a damp yurt/A madness has gripped the middle classes. It’s still a tent in a muddy field, folks" by India Knight (London Times).

A fry-up. I learned a new term, but I think I know what it is. Ah, yes:

Somerset Maugham said that to eat well in Britain you should eat breakfast thrice daily, and perhaps he was right. We're damn good at it – bacon and eggs, the sausage sandwich, boiled egg and soldiers, kedgeree, bloody marys, eggs benedict, marmalade and toast, gegs, Marmite, all make me leave the breakfast table with a great spring in my step. But we should find the man who decided that the majority of these beautiful things were best enjoyed all on one plate and slap his pudgy wrist.

Anyway, about that glamping. It could exist. And all presentations of travel should be met with skepticism.

"In September last year, Williams lost his virginity with a specially trained 'sex surrogate,' an experience he described as 'liberating.'"

"'Because it was funded by the state I could basically not have the shame of it being an unsafe or outlawed practice,' he said. However, the funding was removed in April after the local clinical commissioning group (CCG) wrote to him saying it had been decided that continued sessions were not 'an appropriate use of taxpayers’ funds.'.... 'The NHS opened up a political can of worms by awarding me funding and they wanted to shut it quickly. But they have already set a precedent.'... [Beverlee] only with disabled clients and describes herself as a 'conscious sex worker' offering 'companionship and sexual intimacy' in a non-judgmental setting. 'It’s really not all about sex A lot of my clients want to cuddle and caress,' she said. Most of her clients, she added, would find it 'really difficult' to find a girlfriend, 'because their level of disability is so severe.'...  Williams intends to appeal against the NHS decision to withdraw his funding. 'The money in itself isn’t what makes it legitimate,' he said. 'But funding it as a medical need allowed me to see it in the same way as I would a surgical procedure or a tablet. It’s a medical need and a necessity.'"

From "Sex on the NHS: disabled man loses prescription for intimate sessions" (London Times).

What do my Facebook friends think they are doing expressing this kind of hostility?

Here are 2 memes I encountered the other day. I suppose the people who put these up think of themselves as funny and scientifically correct. The first one exults in punishment and the second one makes casual use of the Holocaust.

"I’m old enough to remember when it was a bad thing for presidents to knowingly and blatantly violate their oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States."

"I’m even old enough to remember a time — lo these seven months ago! — when the left responded to such maneuvers with horror, rather than egging them on."

Writes Megan McArdle in "Opinion: What the left doesn’t want to face about the eviction moratorium" (WaPo). 

I agree that Presidents of both parties ought to be judged by the same standard when they take a challenging legal position, but we need to be consistent in when we're going to say they have "knowingly and blatantly violate[d] their oath." 

I read in The Washington Post that Professor Larry Tribe advised the President that the new moratorium would be constitutional. If Biden sincerely believes that — or embraces it with whatever feeling a politician has in the place in heart where ordinary people experience sincere belief — should we denounce him for knowingly and blatantly violating the Constitution? 

McArdle proceeds to argue (persuasively) that the moratorium is bad policy. But bad policy doesn't make it a blatant constitutional violation. And yet, even as the desire to adopt the policy is what led Biden to take a challenging constitutional position, recognition that the policy is bad could lead people who don't really care about constitutional limits to back off from that position. 

But I don't even trust Biden to choose the best policy or even to believe he is choosing the best policy! It's political maneuvering, and I presume that he not only expects the courts to strike it down, he wants that outcome.