October 2, 2021

At the Dark Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.


"If the company had merely been an empty shell propped up to lure positive publicity and venture-capital dollars, it likely would have been less alarming than the apparent reality."

"According to the five former Ozy staffers Intelligencer spoke with, what’s remarkable isn’t how little there was behind the façade but how much. These staffers say that founder and CEO Carlos Watson’s demands, expectations, and plans were often detached from reality, yet were enforced with an intensity that some felt bordered on cruelty.... Founder and CEO Carlos Watson, a Stanford and Harvard graduate who had briefly worked on-air at MSNBC, was a charismatic salesman for a website that offered Obama-era corporate-friendly multiracial optimism.... Numerous former employees describe the environment as abusive and cultlike.... Editors were expected to turn out eight or nine pieces a week and have their stories polished and filed two weeks in advance.... 'Carlos didn’t like that people slept...'.... 'You work your ass off on a thing, and then it gets like 60 readers, you know?... There was just no one there. It’s crickets.'... Ozy’s failure to catch on had a silver lining for Watson: The lack of attention also meant a lack of scrutiny. That free pass came to an end on Sunday with Smith’s New York Times column and its detailing of Ozy’s apparent deceptions.... On Friday... came word that the company was folding."

"Bring on the audits. Really. As a Republican election lawyer who has participated in more than 30 post-election recounts, contests and audits..."

"... I am extremely confident: They won’t find anything. The massive fraud that former president Donald Trump claims tarnished the 2020 election has been and will remain illusory — because it didn’t exist. But audits, I believe, can be the friend of sanity, helping everyone in the political process, especially the Republicans who understand that convincing their voters that elections are hopelessly rigged is no way to win elections.... If the audits that Trump himself has demanded keep coming up empty, maybe, just maybe, some true believers in Trump’s falsehood will recognize he’s been feeding them snake oil.... Something has to change, and the key to that change is to convince some portion of the 30 percent that Trump has failed to deliver on his bombast. Trump is hoisting himself on his petard. Let him."

I've read some of the comments over there, and the most common notion seems to be that it's no use producing evidence because Republicans won't believe it or will just interpret it to mean what they want it to mean.

"Today, President Biden honored us with his first in-person visit to our Caucus. He received a hero’s welcome!"

"His presentation on the values of the Biden vision was warmly and enthusiastically received. We look forward to a successful enactment of the Build Back Better Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.... Our Chairs are still working for clarity and consensus. Clearly, the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill will pass once we have agreement on the reconciliation bill...."

She's being sarcastic, right? 

Clearly, X will happen once Y happens. If Y rather than X is the unlikely thing, then she's undercutting confidence in X. X is no more likely than Y.

"The mural, painted by local artist Simone Lawrence, depicts a line of children of color waiting to pick out goods from a vending machine."

"In between the vending machine and the children is a white lady handing out money to the kids. But everything in the vending machine is bad. It’s filled with items that represent systemic inequality. At the same time the white woman is handing out money to the kids of color to 'buy' those undesirable items, she is depicted as stopping a couple of Black workers bringing packages full of empowering things with which to fill the vending machine. The symbolism is meant to be a sharp portrayal of Madison, where progressive liberal whites often seem to want to tackle issues of race and equity themselves while simultaneously refusing to step aside and let people of color do it.... Lawrence said her intent is to show the nature of performative allyship and the manner in which white savior complex permeates Madison.... 'It’s very Madison and that’s what I wanted... Especially, like, Monroe Street is one of the whitest spots in Madison. They need to be thinking about this....'"

From "Anti-racism mural unveiled on Madison's Monroe Street" (Capital Times). 

I noticed this mural yesterday. Here are my photographs:


The white woman — this liberal lady who thinks she's good but needs to think again — has no face.


This criticism of typical Madison liberals was a city project. Here's how the city presents it on its website:

October 1, 2021

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.


I don't remember ever noticing the word "soulcraft" before today, when I saw it in a David Brooks column. Writing about "the cultural transformation" that could be achieved through the Democrats' $4 trillion in spending, he declared: "Statecraft is soulcraft." I blogged that — with disapproval — here

But what is "soulcraft"? If "statecraft" makes sense, it must mean the work of the state, so shouldn't "soulcraft" mean the work of the soul? But, in context, it seems to mean the state's work is to work on the soul. I think he's saying that the state ought to engage in massive spending with the aim of shaping the soul of the people who live under the power of the state, and the lack of parallelism in the use of the ending "-craft" is disturbing.

I try to think of other "-craft" words. "Witchcraft" is the work of witches, not the shaping of witches. It's done by witches, not to witches. It fits with "statecraft," not "soulcraft."

In the comments to my post, Lloyd W. Robertson and Peter Spieker independently bring up George Will, and Quaestor writes: 

Mick drinks in America.

"The Democratic spending bills are economic packages that serve moral and cultural purposes.... In real, tangible ways, they would redistribute dignity back downward...."

"In normal times I’d argue that many of the programs in these packages may be ineffective.... But we’re a nation enduring a national rupture, and the most violent parts of it may still be yet to come. These packages say to the struggling parents and the warehouse workers: I see you. Your work has dignity. You are paving your way. You are at the center of our national vision. This is how you fortify a compelling moral identity, which is what all of us need if we’re going to be able to look in the mirror with self-respect. This is the cultural transformation that good policy can sometimes achieve. Statecraft is soulcraft."
From "This Is Why We Need to Spend $4 Trillion" by David Brooks (NYT).

I quoted that because I found it really offensive, verging on insane, but not insane enough to dull the evil edge. Statecraft is soulcraft. It's like something the villain in a dystopian novel would say.

Speaking of dystopia (and reading the NYT), the new Michelle Goldberg column is titled: "If You’re Feeling ‘Fatalistic’ About Our Dystopia, You’re Not Alone." That's just great. We'll all go crazy together. Hello? Your party won. And yet: 
I know of no one who cares about politics who feels relaxed now. The problem, rather, is a sort of numb despair.... During the last five years, it was at least possible to identify dates at which things might turn around. The midterms offered an opportunity to curb Trump. The 2020 election was a chance to get rid of him.

And you did get rid of him, so now your anguish is more amorphous and aimless, and therefore more existentially awful.

Biden’s agenda is stuck in a congressional standoff that’s at once frustrating, terrifying and extremely boring.

The new political suffering is boring

"The average slave gave birth multiple times during adolescence, and then was forced into forced labor about two weeks later. So, this idea that there's space for Black women to rest..."

"... and heal and bond with their baby, that's been completely devalued throughout the history of our society. We actually have never recovered from that. You have to have a conscious conversation about what does it look like to recover and reclaim. It means, yeah, breastfeeding, but it also means having the financial reality and the housing and the employment support and the space and the equipment to pump and the different things that you need to support you in breastfeeding."

Said Ali Muldrow, Co-Executive Director at GSAFE (an organization concerned with LBGTQ+ youth), quoted in "Contributing Factors in Black Parents Breastfeeding" (Wisconsin State Journal).

"I wish the whole framework that we thought about breastfeeding changed. And I think seeing breastfeeding as this divine right — to take care of your baby and seeing yourself and your body as something that you are in charge of — I think is something Black women are denied aggressively. This conversation about whether or not black women are choosing to breastfeed is the wrong conversation. This is not a choice."

Low-level disorder.

Recent yelling in Kalispell:
Someone wanted Kalispell Police Department to check on a man’s welfare after they saw him throwing his arms around, waving his shirt, and yelling. Officers checked on the man who was "just being his normal self."...
A man reportedly jumped out from between two recycling containers, scaring a woman and her son.... 
A bearded man with scruffy dark hair was standing in a duck pond, yelling and throwing rocks.... 
About five people were yelling at each other....

"Men, protecting men, who are abusing women. I’ll say it again, men, protecting men, who are ABUSING WOMEN. Burn it all down. Let all their heads roll."

Tweeted Megan Rapinoe. 

I got there via "NWSL players speak out amid abuse claims: ‘Burn it all down’" (WaPo).

The players’ union demanded an end to “systemic abuse plaguing the NWSL” in the wake of reporting from The Athletic that an NWSL coach, the North Carolina Courage’s Paul Riley, had sexually coerced multiple players, as well as reporting by The Washington Post about verbal and emotional abuse by the former coach of the Washington Spirit. Riley denied the allegations to The Athletic. 

In both cases, former NWSL players did something they had never done before: they went on the record to detail the abuse they said they had experienced. And on Thursday, a long list of NWSL players... offered angry criticism of a league they said had failed to protect players....

September 30, 2021

Good night.


Thanks to YouTube TV for being so easy to cancel!

Recently I had a hellish time getting out of AT&T U-Verse, the cable service I'd been shoveling money into for decades. 

I replaced it with Criterion, Netflix, and YouTube TV. The latter was mainly a way to get the ordinary broadcast TV, but today I got the news: "YouTube TV on track to lose all NBC channels tonight -- or cost $10 less/ YouTube TV's deal to carry NBCUniversal networks -- including USA, E!, CNBC, Bravo and NBC with NFL Sunday Night Football -- is expiring, but they haven't reached a new pact." 

So I impulsively decided to bail on them and go with Hulu/Live TV for now. I have no idea if that will be better. Like YouTube TV, it doesn't have the Brewers games that play on broadcast TV. Whatever. I’m least interested in the remnants of TV-like TV.

ANYWAY: YouTube TV was perfectly easy to cancel. I googled asking how to do it and immediately got to a page with a clear button to push and I was out in less than a minute. 

"In 1972.... the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported that parents in his town were worried: high school kids in Webster Groves were spending too much time at church."

"The reason was Fellowship, a rapidly growing Christian youth group, and its edgy leader, Bob Mutton—a youth pastor with a 'tormented Jesus' look about him. Emulating his style, his followers grew their hair long, dressed in their most worn-out clothes, smoked cigarettes, and played guitar. They flocked to Sunday evening meetings, where they blindfolded one another and performed trust exercises, palpated one another’s faces with their fingers, and practiced radical honesty in drawn-out sessions of uncomfortable truth telling. A member for six years, [Jonathan] Franzen spent his adolescence immersed in the group. Though Fellowship was affiliated with the First Congregational Church, its members rarely prayed or consulted the Bible. They expressed their spirituality through their actions by cultivating 'authentic relationships' with one another and working with the poor.... He attended mainly for the social scene. And, anyway, he suspected that kids were faking openness through rote gestures and that they used demonstrations of honesty to impress one another and gain popularity."

"Whenever Joel moved to a new city, he introduced himself and his son to the local police. 'This is my child; take a good look at him,' he would say..."

"... trying to ensure that the officers would see my nephew, this young Black man, as a human being rather than a target. He told them the makes and models of the cars that he and his son drove. It is not likely that these gestures could prevent the tragedies he feared most — tragedies that happen daily in America, even if they don’t make headlines — but I think my brother needed to feel a semblance of control in a world where so much was beyond his control. He never made himself smaller in the ways the world expected him to. But he needed to believe that he and his child were not trapped in an impossible place."

I perfectly timed my arrival at my vantage point this morning.

I thought I was running a bit late. The official sunrise time was 6:53, and I got into position to take my first shot at 6:56:05...


... so I didn't miss the view of the sky before the sun pops over the line, but I only had 13 seconds to spare, because this was 6:56:18:


That podcast I keep recommending.

As you may have noticed, I'm a big fan of Andrew Hickey's podcast "A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs." I discovered it around the first of this month. (I forget why, maybe Spotify pushed it.) And I've truly binged on it, getting all the way through the 133 episodes that are currently available. 

There are bonus episodes, most of which are available only to those who subscribe on Patreon, and I've done that, the first and only time I've subscribed to an individual on social media. I have some subscriptions, but only to things that begin with "New York": The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and The New York Review of Books. Wait there's one more: The Times (London). I have a couple subscriptions that were gifts: The Washington Post, Reason. But basically, I'm a subscriber to big media, not to social media. This one thing — "A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs" — is my exception. 

I've recommended the podcast a few times. Click the "Andrew Hickey" tag to read all the old posts. I love that there's a published transcript, making it super-bloggable. I have to resist over-blogging it, because there are so many interesting things in every episode.

But let me blog 2 things that stood out to me over the 133 episodes I've consumed. Maybe it's evidence of something wrong with me, but I am drawn to stories of the impoverished childhood of a person who goes on to be very successful. So here are 2:

"Claims that conservatives are higher in threat sensitivity are challenged by findings from a large long-term survey in Britain."

"People with left-wing economic political views had higher rates of anxiety disorder symptoms/People with liberal economic views tend to be higher in neuroticism and lower in conscientiousness than their conservative counterparts/The relationship between threat sensitivity and political ideology may be more complex than previously thought."

I got there via my son John's Facebook post. My comment over there — based on just reading the headline — was "Why is this 'unexpected'?"

I would expect left-wing orientation to go along with anxiety. Left-wingism seems to be more about feeling there are all sorts of problems and action must be taken or there's going to be a lot of pain and suffering. The conservative orientation seems to be more relaxed and confident that things will work themselves out as people go about dealing with their own affairs and that it's best not to experiment with improvements. 

But I can see that conservatives are accused of having irrational fears about people who are not like them — outsiders, immigrants, people of other races and religions.

"I do think it would be helpful for the president to be more engaged. I think his voice matters a lot. He’s been engaged, don’t get me wrong. But I think him becoming more personally engaged would be helpful."

Said Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-Mich.), quoted in "Biden sticks to his dealmaking strategy, as some Democrats want him to do more to bring holdouts on board" (WaPo).

He's great — don't get me wrong — I just wish he'd be a little more great.

The highest-rated comment over there is from Canadian Retired Guy: 
Politicians in the U.S. confound me. Totally self centered and desperately clinging to power. Unable to put self interest aside and do what is best for the people that put them in power. The result of this is that the Democrats will lose the House and the Senate and Trump gets positioned to win in 2024.......... and here we go again. 
America's greatest enemies and foes are not the Russians or the Chinese, but themselves and the politicians they return to office time and time again.

"You can't do affirmative action, maintain black dignity, and maintain the standards at the same time. That's a trilemma."

"You can't do all of those things at the same time. If you lower the standards for black people to admit them to elite venues of intellectual performance and the standards are correlated with performance, you assure as a statistical necessity, on average, lower performance of the blacks whom you've admitted. If you insist on their dignity, you can't be Sandra Sellers. This is the adjunct lecturer at Georgetown Law Center who was caught on an open mic lamenting the fact that most of the kids in her class who were at the bottom were black.... And the whole brouhaha, the whole navel-gazing conflagration that happened at the institution of Georgetown Law with a black faculty demand of the white faculty that they acknowledge their white supremacist, blah, blah, blah. It's all a cover for black mediocrity. Yes. There, I said it. You lowered the standards. Now the black kids are at the bottom, but they have to have dignity. Therefore, you immolate yourself morally.... [T]hey’re now going to search under every bed for racist white people."
Said Glenn Loury, talking with Bari Weiss on her podcast "Honestly" — which has a transcript, here. (I've changed the punctuation a bit.)

September 29, 2021

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk 'til dawn.

"When I see those Black bodies at the border, I am unable to separate them from myself, or my family, or my friends. They are us."

"There is a collective consciousness in blackness, born of the white supremacist erasure of our individuality. Your accomplishment is never your own, but a credit to the race. Your sins are never your own, but a stain on the race. In America, and throughout the diaspora, all Black people are linked together like a chain of paper dolls."

Writes Charles Blow in "The Mendacity of Joe Biden" (NYT).

"The 'Lord God Bird' is dead. The ivory-billed woodpecker, a ghostly bird whose long-rumored survival in the bottomland swamps of the South has haunted seekers for generations..."

"... will be officially declared extinct by U.S. officials after years of futile efforts to save it. It earned its nickname because it was so big and so beautiful that those blessed to spot it blurted out the Lord’s name. Even the scientist who wrote the obit cried. 'This is not an easy thing.... Nobody wants to be a part of that... Just having to write those words was quite difficult. It took me a while.'"

"As historians, we the undersigned condemn Prof. Peter Singers’ [sic] abhorrent views that some humans have less value than others."

"We object to inviting him to Rhodes College to speak as part of a 'Pandemics Ethics' panel. Positioning him as an expert on ethics only legitimizes his reprehensible beliefs that deny the very humanity of people with disabilities. Hypothetical philosophies on morality cause real violence. We historians are all too familiar with ideas that justify labeling marginalized, vulnerable, and minority populations as 'life unworthy of life,' and the murderous consequences for those deemed 'unfit' to live. Adhering to the College’s own IDEAS Framework that seeks to foster 'a sense of belonging' and embrace 'the full range of psychological, physical, and social difference,' we historians assert that Prof. Peter Singers’ blatant inhumanity has no place in serious academic exchange here at Rhodes."

From a letter by the History faculty and the Anthropology/Sociology/African Studies Program at Rhodes, quoted at Brian Leiter's blog. Leiter's point is that the Philosophy faculty invited Singer, and it's a matter of their academic freedom. 

Why don't schools call the police when crimes are committed in school?

I'm reading "Madison Mom worried for son’s safety after school fight at East High School/When a fight happens, protocol is to go through the district’s internal safety and security director before making a decision on whether or not to call police" (NBC15.com). 

Go to the link and watch the video news report, which includes student video of the violence in school. There's an interview with Tim LeMonds, MMSD Director of Communications. If I understand him correctly — and he's not a particularly good communicator — the school's policy is not to call the police unless a weapon is involved or police are needed to stop the fight. The message I hear is that there's a plan never to call the police if attacks are quick and done with bare hands. The video shows a defenseless child getting pummeled as his desk.

As LeMonds put it, “When the attack took place, the teacher reached out for assistance and by the time staff were able to respond the incident was over.” How is that a reason not to call the police?! 

There used to be a police officer — a "student resource officer" — stationed in the school, but last summer, the school board voted to end the program — after it was characterized as a racial problem. An argument was made at the time that the lack of a resource officer in the school would increase the likelihood that police would need to be called in from the outside. Now, we're seeing how the school operates, resisting calling the police when there is obvious violent crime in the classroom. This is an untenable solution, victimizing peaceful students. 

6:51, 6:55.



"Still, Pinker is troubled by what he sees as rationality’s image problem. 'Rationality is uncool,' he laments."

"It isn’t seen as 'dope, phat, chill, fly, sick or da bomb.' As evidence for its diminished status, he quotes celebrations of nonsense by the Talking Heads and Zorba the Greek. (Pinker is also vexed by the line 'Let’s go crazy,' which he says was 'adjured' by 'the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.')"

Prince wasn't calling himself the Artist Formerly Known as Prince when "Let's Go Crazy" came out (or when he last walked the face of the earth), but I guess the idea is to highlight his connection to the irrational. Ironically, Pinker's writing employs irrationality in an effort to convince us that people don't value rationality. Maybe that's rational. If we're irrational and he wants to persuade us that rationality is good, maybe he needs to scare us about the threat of irrationality. 

"Bill invited me to a show but I said, 'No,' cannot go/There's a dress that I've got to sew and wear for Norman."

If you were listening to the radio in 1961, this will strike a chord of memory. 

Posted today because: "Sue Thompson, Who Sang of ‘Norman’ and Sad Movies, Dies at 96/She started out a country singer, but she found fame and pop-chart success in the early 1960s with catchy novelty songs, as well as the occasional ballad." 

You remember all the "name" songs — lyrics focused on a name — like "Linda" and "Sheila" and "Oh, Donna"? "Norman" has to be the silliest choice of a name to build a song on. Who would choose that? I feel like maybe the writer was bragging about how easy it is to write a song based on a name and someone said oh, yeah, write a song called "Norman."

"A large study by Jones, Bellet, and McNally found that trigger warnings reinforced the belief on the part of trauma survivors that trauma was central (rather than incidental or peripheral) to their identity."

"The reason that effect may be concerning is that trauma researchers have previously established that a belief that trauma is central to one’s identity predicts more severe P.T.S.D.; Bellet called this 'one of the most well documented relationships in traumatology.' The perverse consequence of trigger warnings, then, may be to harm the people they are intended to protect. In other respects, trigger warnings seem to have less impact than their critics have feared. Some opponents of trigger warnings seem to suppose that they are a way for students to demand that they not encounter ideas that challenge their beliefs.... Trigger-warning studies, however, have revealed that giving trigger warnings does not seem to result in recipients choosing to avoid the material. Instead, the warned individuals tended to forge ahead....  As the scientific consensus on trigger warnings develops further, it’s conceivable that universities might even begin to worry about liability arising from their myriad instructors acting in ways that are known not to help—and possibly to harm—students’ mental health. Perhaps what is called for is a more neutral and humble stance, in which instructors don’t approach pedagogy as if it were an adjunct of psychological care."

"The simplest explanation is that Biden simply lied. But there is that possibility that Biden genuinely does not remember what his military advisors recommended a few months ago..."

"... on one of the most consequential decisions of his presidency. If the president insists he did not lie in the George Stephanopoulos interview, is it now acceptable to ask if Biden can remember what he is told in briefings?"

From "Say, How Is Joe Biden’s Memory These Days?" by Jim Geraghty (National Review).

IN THE COMMENTS:  Balfegor writes:
I think Geraghty is ignoring the possibility that Milley and McKenzie are lying. And the possibility that they "recommended" it him, but in a manner calculated to avoid anyone actually doing anything about it. The Rhodesia solution, as it were. I do think it's more likely that Biden just went for the glib, impulsive, obvious lie on the spur of the moment, as has been his practice throughout his long career. But we shouldn't dismiss the possibility that other people in this little drama might also be liars.
Rhodesia solution?

"The pro-appropriation people will say, 'well, Johns is an artist and anything that Johns does is going to be transformative.'"

Said the intellectual property lawyer, quoted in "How did this teenager’s drawing of his knee wind up in a Jasper Johns painting at the Whitney?/A new work debuting in a major exhibition raises complex questions about artistic license and appropriation" (WaPo). 

The teenager, Jéan-Marc Togodgue, had made an anatomical drawing of a knee (because, he says, he wanted to understand an injury to his knee). The artist saw the drawing hanging in Togodgue's doctor's office and copied it as part of a painting. It's painted to look like the original drawing is taped to the painting. 

Johns wrote to Togodgue, "I would like you to be pleased with the idea and I hope that you will visit my studio to see what I have made." 

An artist named Brendan O’Connell — O'Connell's son is friends with Togodgue — called attention to the copyright issue: “This isn’t like him doing the Savarin coffee cup or doing some pop appropriation like I do.... This is somebody’s work that he directly copied."  
In the era of Black Lives Matter, [he] found it particularly offensive that a White artist from the segregated South was using the work of an African teenager in this way.

September 28, 2021

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write about whatever you want.


"If it’s not something 'we' ever did, what substance is there to the assurance that 'we' won’t be doing it?"

"Somehow it was the 'digital team'—that is, whoever tweets under the name of the organization. Seems like those folks are part of the 'we.' I’m amused to find myself objecting once again to their use of pronouns." 

I wrote, over on Facebook, responding to a hamhanded nonapology from Anthony Romero, the head of the ACLU:
We won’t be altering people’s quotes.... It was a mistake among the digital team. Changing quotes is not something we ever did.” 

I added the boldface to "we." The earlier pronoun difficulty — the one for which Romero nonapologized — was a brutalization of a quote by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She'd written:
“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.” 

The ACLU rewrite was: 

“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to [their] well-being and dignity … When the government controls that decision for [people], [they are] being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for [their] own choices.”

"The colors of our flag are intended to stand for unity, valor and justice. The gray, monochrome flag represents America surrendering..."

"... to its fall from power and loss of the ideals it once stood for. The American dream is being washed away."

Here's her redesign:

Here's a webpage showing more work from Na Kim. She's mainly a book cover designer, but she's also been prominent in social media, including in this Instagram account Panolo Blahnik, which is photographs of shoes made of bread (or... should I say bread made into shoes?):

Take that into account as you decide how to understand the proffered flag.

"Mr. Kelly once stood atop the realm of R&B music, catapulting himself into an international sensation in the 1990s and 2000s on the success of hits like 'I Believe I Can Fly.'"

"But as the Me Too movement continued to gain steam, cracks in his armor began to show.... The image he once crafted as an alluring sex symbol and genre-redefining lyricist collapsed in the public eye.... [A]s he gained immense access to young fans, Mr. Kelly became a criminal mastermind who used a universe of enablers and sycophants in his orbit to ensnare women, girls and boys.... [Kelly's] lawyers aimed to cast his accusers as opportunists, liars and obsessive fans, arguing their sex with the singer had been consensual, and their accounts of abuse and misconduct fabricated.... [A] cascade of witnesses described a repressive system of restrictions that the women and girls around Mr. Kelly were forced to abide by — from a directive to address him as 'Daddy' to requirements to obtain his permission to eat or use the bathroom. They said that when the rules were broken, the singer doled out harsh and startling punishments, from skin-tearing spankings to forcing one woman to smear feces on her face and eat it."

Why did people ever fall for the delusional self-empowerment of "If I can see it, then I can do it/If I just believe it, there's nothing to it/I believe I can fly/I believe I can touch the sky"?

Believe in yourself, and you can do it. People ate that up, and — as they say in the NYT — he gained immense access to young fans.

Was he "a criminal mastermind"? What does it take to qualify for that title? I didn't follow the trial. I'm just trying to read a NYT article about it.

ADDED: He can replace "I Believe I Can Fly" with "If I Had Wings Like an Angel" (AKA "Prisoner's Song"). Chose a version or listen to the 1925 original:

If I had wings like an angel/Over these prison walls I would fly/And I'd fly to the arms of my poor darlin'/And there I'd be willing to die....

"That is the classiest burn I've ever heard."

"The Madison School Board on Monday unanimously supported a mandatory staff vaccination plan proposed by district administration...."

"While presenting the plan, district director of student services operations and accountability Leia Esser said that the district has an 'obligation' to protect the health of students and staff.... Requests for religious or medical exemptions will be reviewed by district human resources personnel. Unvaccinated staff will have to submit negative COVID-19 test results twice a week.... Staff who have not submitted proof of vaccination or an exemption request by Nov. 15 will be placed on unpaid administrative leave. Staff who do not submit proof of vaccination and haven’t been approved for an exemption by Dec. 20 will be fired.... Madison teachers overwhelmingly support mandatory vaccinations, with 85.5% of those surveyed in favor of requiring vaccinations, according to a survey conducted by the district’s teachers union, Madison Teachers Inc. "

Can they make up Leonardo DiCaprio to look like Jonah Goldberg and have Meryl Streep as the female Trump?

Yes and yes. Here, see for yourself:

"[A]s restaurants, retailers and other businesses raise wages to attract scarce labor, they have poached child-care workers...."

"[T]here are limits to just how much child-care providers can raise their wages to compete, because margins are slim and the families they serve can barely afford existing prices.... There are currently 1.7 million fewer mothers of minor-aged children employed than there were the month before the pandemic began, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Federal Reserve officials have noted that lack of child-care availability is likely holding back job growth. This problem won’t resolve on its own anytime soon; in a survey released in July by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, more than a third of child-care providers said they were considering leaving or closing their program within the next year. A one-time infusion of cash to help the industry recover, appropriated by Congress this past spring and now being distributed, should help stabilize some of these providers.... The only solution is the one Congress is now considering: using [government] resources — generously, reliably, permanently — to bridge the gap between what families can afford, and what providers need to pay."

The "one-time infusion" under consideration is $450 billion. The author is saying that's a boost that might help a bit in recovering from the covid lockdown, but there is a much larger problem, and it will take far more money — spent continually — to solve what is a problem isn't going to go away. 

I'm sure some readers are about to tell me that the solution is to have a stay-at-home parent for every child. If that's your idea, tell me, do you think Americans should choose to avoid having children unless they are living in a 2-adult home where one adult's income is enough for the family? It's hard to understand how Americans with children can get by. The second earner in the family must bring in substantially more than childcare costs and childcare workers only exist because they are individuals who are accepting working for low pay. And then there are the single parents. If you'd like them to have a choice to be a stay-at-home parent, how would you make that happen? Pay them?

September 27, 2021

At the Sunrise Café...


 ... you can write about whatever you want.

"When boys express effeminacy, some Zapotec mothers will begin to train them in traditional female roles."

"Similarly, many mothers do not disavow young men who show an interest in work traditionally assigned to women. Notably, muxe children are traditionally forbidden from leaving their parental homes to start their own families, or to live independently with their partners. Even here, tolerance and acceptance, it seems, have their limits."

This topic is incomplete without information about how this group treats gay people. The phrase "When boys express effeminacy" might hide a lot. Are these people "accept[ing] — and celebrat[ing] — gender nonconformity" or are they erasing homosexuality? Why is a boy being called "effeminate" and why is effeminacy something to be dealt with by channeling young people into what their culture deems the woman's role? Is that "gender nonconformity" or a particularly rigid idea of gender roles? 

I have the feeling that the NYT fails to explore these questions because it is romanticizing and otherizing native people.

"In Italy’s rural areas, hunting wild boar is a popular sport and most Italians can offer a long list of their favorite wild boar dishes, including pappardelle pasta with boar sauce..."

"... and wild boar stew. But animal rights groups have been adamantly opposed to mass culling. Those beliefs are not shared by some urban residents. 'I am afraid of walking on the sidewalk, because on one side there are the dumpsters for the rubbish and they (the boars) jump on me,' said Grazia, a 79-year-old grandmother.... 'We have been invaded here,' lamented Pino Consolati, who runs a restaurant on a busy street corner in Rome's Monte Mario neighborhood.... One day this week, he said, his sister found 30 boars outside her shoe store when she left at 8 p.m."

"If he hadn't tried to kill the president, he would have been unconditionally released a long, long, long time ago. But everybody is comfortable now after all of the studies, all of the analysis and all of the interviews and all of the experience with Mr. Hinckley."

Said U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman, quoted in "John Hinckley, who shot Reagan, to be freed from oversight/A federal judge says the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan four decades ago can be released unconditionally from the restrictions he's been living under next year if he remains mentally stable" (ABC News).

Sunrise with birds and a dog and, no, that's not my Cane's cup (and not my canid).









"In just eight months Joe Biden and the radical Democrats are well on their way to turning America into a third-world nation. That’s what’s happening. You see it here as much as anybody...."

"American sovereignty is being extinguished by the deliberate and willful policies put in place by Joe Biden and the left-wing extremists he has installed in power. I don’t know if Joe is exactly involved. I don’t know. I don’t know. I really don’t. But somebody is really screwing up our country and destroying our country.... We’re living through the worst border crisis in the history probably of civilization. There’s no border. Nobody has a border like this. We don’t do anything. Other countries, even if they’re not well-equipped, they put up a fight. They don’t let people come in. We’re just letting them just walk right in. And your own Senator Raphael Warnock has not uttered a single solitary word of criticism, because he’s a Marxist controlled by the radical left Democrats who don’t believe in borders, and they don’t believe in a nation. And they don’t believe in our nation. I don’t believe they believe in our nation. Next year, Warnock and every single one of these far-left lunatics must be routinely and resoundingly and decisively defeated. They have to be defeated. You’re not going to have a country left. If you want to have a country left, you must elect no Democrats and vote only for America First Republicans. America first.... Think about Make America Great Again, Save America, America First..... And you know, they are starting to say very strongly Merry Christmas. Remember when I first ran, I said, you’re going to say Merry Christmas. They’re all saying Merry Christmas again....."

Said Donald Trump at a September 25th rally in Georgia. Trump is supporting Herschel Walker, a candidate for the GOP nomination in the race to unseat the Democratic Senator Ralph Warnock (who unseated the Republican Kelly Loeffler in a special election in 2021).

"Does real goodness even exist, or is it always compromised by the dividends it pays to the do-gooder?"

"To ethicists, that is a question about whether right thinking matters more than right action—that is, whether we should judge people’s goodness based on what they are doing or on why they are doing it. Most of them agree that motives matter: in a perfect world, we would all do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. But we don’t, and Franzen repeatedly exploits the gap between what we do and why we do it—which, in fiction, is the gap between plot and character."

Here's the book, "Crossroads." Don't you read all of Jonathan Franzen's books?

"[Ingmar] Bergman suggested that marriage was meant to address a metaphysical need: our connection to reality."

"[Hagai Levi, in the HBO remake of 'Scenes from a Marriage'] sees marriage as a way of navigating one’s place in the economic and social order. Child rearing features much more saliently in his characters’ lives, as does the management of a shared household. ... If marriage is composed of a set of tasks or projects—a career, parenting, keeping a home—its failures can be displayed as extrinsic to the question of how spouses connect. Levi’s diagnosis is something like: these people have different priorities.... What was, in Bergman’s hands, a horrifying picture of the limits of human contact becomes, in Levi’s, a set of increasingly independent journeys of personal growth. By the end of the remake, Jonathan, Mira, and their daughter are flourishing, and even part of their house has been renovated.... For Bergman, connecting is the goal, and it’s not clear that we can do it.... Can you get close enough to any person for life to feel real? These are Bergman’s questions; Levi doesn’t ask them."

This article transcribes a quote that I'd half-remembered since I saw the Bergman movie in 1973: "I have a mental picture of myself that doesn’t correspond to reality... My senses—sight, hearing, touch—are starting to fail me. This table, for instance: I can see it and touch it, but the sensation is deadened and dry. . . . It’s the same with everything. Music, scents, faces, voices—everything seems puny, gray, and undignified."

That's said by an older woman to the main female character, who is a young woman under the impression that she has a fine marriage. I was seeing the movie when I was 22, and I had just gotten married, and those lines truly freaked me out. The feeling of being dead while alive — separated from life and unable to get back into it — is a terrible thing, and if you attribute that feeling to you marriage, how frightening. Marriage is what had seemed like the destination, an opening up into the greatest feeling of being alive.

ADDED: This seems to call for the song "Being Alive." Here: pick one.

Like many Boomers, I got enamored of Frances Moore Lappé's "Diet for a Small Planet" — the meticulous vegetarianism that entailed "completing" proteins.

I'm reading "‘Diet for a Small Planet’ helped spark a food revolution. 50 years later, it’s evolving" in The Washington Post. 

Key paragraph:
But it was with the 50th-anniversary edition of “Diet for a Small Planet” that [Moore's daughter] Anna took on a specific goal of adding more recipes from Black, Indigenous and people of color and taking a serious look, with the expert help of nutritionist Wendy Lopez, at both culling and updating the recipes from the original edition. Ingredients such as soy flour and margarine and ideas such as “protein combining” (designed to alleviate the fears of skeptics of vegetarian diets) from the original book were scrapped, while the overall focus continues to stay on eating whole fruits and vegetables.

How can there be an "edition" of the book that omits the main idea?! That book didn't just "alleviate the fears of skeptics." It informed us about the completeness of the protein in eggs and meat and gave us a formula for building a complete protein from vegetarian elements. For example beans with rice made something like a complete protein. If you've taken that idea out, it's not what "Diet for a Small Planet" has meant to us devotées and former devotées for half a century. 

The WaPo article links to a 2015 WaPo article that scoffs at the old "completing the protein" idea: "The best reason to eat beans and grains together: They’re delicious."

There’s a persistent myth involved, though: the idea that you have to combine the two to get a so-called “complete protein,” or protein that contains all the essential amino acids found in animal protein. In fact, some legumes, grains and other plant-based foods can be complete sources of protein on their own. Moreover, researchers have learned that you don’t have to eat complementary foods in the same meal to get the benefit.

The "Forward!" statue — photographed by me, yesterday — is back in its place of honor at the State Street corner of the Wisconsin Capitol Square.

IMG_7458 2

Here's my post from June 24, 2020 about the toppling of 2 important (and progressive) statues during protest riots in our city. 

And here's my post from yesterday with a photograph of the other statue, of Hans Christian Heg, on the other side of the square. The Heg statue is especially meaningful to me because Meade tended to it on 3 different occasions during the Wisconsin Uprising of 2011: 3/2/11, 3/13/11, and 3/21/11 (video by me at those links).

"So our desire is not some neutral, private thing... It colludes with society to stratify and imprison us. Feminism should help point the way..."

"... out of this predicament, but feminism, Srinivasan* believes, bears some blame for getting us into it in the first place. Female desire isn’t seen as an appropriate subject for feminist critique. Sex positivity rules the day: whatever a woman claims she wants is, by definition, a good thing, an expression of female agency, so long as it takes place within the bounds of consent. 'Sex is no longer morally problematic or unproblematic,' Srinivasan writes. 'It is instead merely wanted or unwanted.'... Sex is a useful thing to have on your side, but, Srinivasan believes, it comes at a cost. 'The important thing now, it is broadly thought, is to take women at their word,' she writes. 'If a woman says she enjoys working in porn, or being paid to have sex with men, or engaging in rape fantasies, or wearing stilettos—and even that she doesn’t just enjoy these things but finds them emancipatory, part of her feminist praxis—then we are required, many feminists think, to trust her.' She herself doesn’t seem to think so—her tone here is laced with skepticism, even sarcasm—but she stops short of saying that directly."


* Srinivasan is Amia Srinivasan, an Oxford philosophy professor whose book of essays is called "The Right to Sex."

"Yes. I know that it's illegal… but, I have a heart. And I love these animals. I can’t just let them die if there’s something I can do to help."

"'But what was I supposed to do? Let him die?' Mathews has been rehabilitating opossums for years and releasing them. He is not a licensed wildlife rehabilitation official, a license which he said the state makes nearly impossible to receive. He also said he doesn’t want to be a full-time rehabber—between his photography business and barrel racing, he doesn’t have time. But, he also will never turn down an animal who needs help. 'I don’t consider myself a wildlife rehabber. I rehabbed Donovan,' Mathews said. 'He was my baby. He was a part of my family. I wasn’t taking in babies everyday… I took in Donovan.... I know that I was in the wrong for doing it... But what was I supposed to do? Let him die? I knew I was his only hope. I knew if I didn’t take him, he would die.' Donovan was physically deformed when Mathews took him in, couldn’t walk and was missing an ear after his siblings had eaten it.... Mathews said Donovan only drinks water with a drop of honey; has a specific diet; loves low-fat strawberry yogurt for a treat; can only eat at a certain angle; and needs help using the bathroom. His eyesight is waning. Laughing, he said he takes care of Donovan like he would an elderly family member...."

Mathews, a social media person, is using social media to push his cause.

September 26, 2021

Sunrise at 6:51, 6:55.



Write about whatever you want in the comments.

Last Wednesday, we were talking about the use of the words "deadbeat" and "lambent" in a New Yorker piece about Norm Macdonald.

The author of the piece, Nathan Heller, emailed me and defended his language usage. I've added that to the post — with his permission — so go back here if you'd like to read it.

"Now, whether Norm Macdonald's comic persona was that of a loafer; a sponger and a loafer; a sponger, a loafer, and a worthless idler; or simply a man down on his luck is a matter I'll gladly turn over to the authorities...."

The statue of Hans Christian Heg, restored to its place of honor at the Wisconsin Capitol.



Photographed by me, this morning. 

Click the "Hans Christian Heg" tag to scroll through many posts about this statue, which was torn down by protesters last summer and put back up this week. Keep going all the way back to 2011 and you'll find 3 different posts — March 2nd, March 13th, and March 21st— with my video showing Meade addressing vandalism to the statue during the "Wisconsin Uprising" (when taking over a Capitol building was celebrated by people of the left).

"He introduced a descending bassline... 'a common enough progression in jazz, but unusual among folksingers.'"

"It’s actually something you’d get a fair bit in baroque music as well, and van Ronk introducing this into the song is probably what eventually led to things like Procul Harum’s 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' ripping off Bach doing essentially the same thing. What van Ronk did was a simple trick. You play a descending scale, mostly in semitones, while holding the same chord shape which creates a lot of interesting chords. The bass line he played is basically this...  And he held an A minor shape over that bassline, giving a chord sequence Am, Am over G, Am over F#, F.... This is a trick that’s used in hundreds and hundreds of songs later in the sixties and onward — everything from 'Sunny Afternoon' by the Kinks to 'Go Now' by the Moody Blues to 'Forever' by the Beach Boys — but it was something that at this point belonged in the realms of art music and jazz more than in folk, blues, or rock and roll."

From Episode 115 of "A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs," "'House of the Rising Sun' by the Animals."

I love hearing about influences that surprise me, about songs I've known very well for over half a century. Another example of that from this podcast is from Episode 113: "'Needles and Pins' by The Searchers":

"In June... news began to spread among the Haitian community in South America that crossing to the United States had become easier under the Biden administration...."

"It seemed that there was a window of opportunity.... 'Lots of people I knew had made it across. I spoke to them. They were in Florida. Some were making the same in an hour that I was earning in a day'.... The most horrific part of the journey, all agreed, was the Darien Gap, a six-day trek through the mountainous jungle between Colombia and Panama, an area stalked by bandits and rapists.... At night the travellers, about 100 people including children, would sleep together in a circle so the whole group would be alerted to any threats from wild animals or criminals. Arriving, exhausted, at the Del Rio bridge and seeing the United States for the first time, Edouard convinced himself that all the effort he and Maricia had made would somehow be rewarded. 'I honestly thought the Americans were going to welcome us,' he said...."

From "Joe Biden treats us like slaves say deported Haitian refugees/At least 1,400 have been sent back to a country facing the most desperate times in its troubled history, writes Stephen Gibbs, Port-au-Prince" (London Times). 

Top-rated comment over there: "Well run democratic countries cannot take in the worlds poor. The countries these people come from must change. Illegal immigrants should all be sent back."

"Last week her book, Larger than an Orange, a reference to advice she received from the [abortion] clinic ('Go to the hospital if you pass something larger than an orange'), went on sale in her own name...."

"Burns discovered that her 'right to choose' was neither freeing nor empowering.... The procedure itself was brief but traumatic. The book describes the humiliation she faced approaching a clinic: 'It was like I had to beg.'...  Burns admits that this process left her angry and hurt, and the experience appears to have drained her of any wish to become an advocate either for or against any aspect of abortion. 'It would be great if [the book] did change how women are treated, I have to say that,' she said. 'But I struggle to have anything to say except an expression of pure anger and hatred. It’s difficult to want to engage to improve these process when you’ve been treated in the way I have.' While finding a UK publisher was not a problem, the American market has proved tougher to crack. She said: 'We haven’t got a US publisher yet. That might change, I’m not sure. It’s about an abortion in the UK so the legislation and procedure and context is different. But the culture and the ‘debate’ about abortion is so different in America that I’m not sure we’ll ever find a US publisher.'"

"The Moors claim to be about Black liberation and opportunity, and uplifting Black people. But he is literally oppressing me and taking what’s mine as a Black woman."

Said Shanetta Little, the legal owner of a house in Newark, quoted in "She Bought Her Dream Home. Then a ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Changed the Locks. A New Jersey woman was preyed upon by a fast-growing extremist group that claims its members are sovereign Moors, not bound by U.S. laws" (NYT).
Ms. Little found herself in her yard on Ivy Street on a June afternoon as a police SWAT team negotiated with a man who had broken in, changed her locks and hung a red and green flag in its window. He claimed he was a sovereign citizen of a country that does not exist and for whom United States laws do not apply. 
Ms. Little was a victim of a ploy known as paper terrorism, a favorite tactic of an extremist group that is one of the fastest growing, according to government experts and watchdog organizations. Known as the Moorish sovereign citizen movement, and loosely based around a theory that Black people are foreign citizens bound only by arcane legal systems, it encourages followers to violate existent laws in the name of empowerment....

Before the man broke into her house and changed the locks, Little had received strange documents in the mail from "Lenapehoking of the Al Moroccan Empire at New Jersey State Republic." This was not an isolated case. The Moorish sovereign movement is, we're told, actively pursuing their idea of the law "across the country, filing spurious lawsuits and burying county clerk offices in flurries of fake deeds, liens and other documents."