June 4, 2022

Sunrise — 5:17.



And here are 2 photos taken by Meade at 5:24:

"Some women are opting out of sexual relationships altogether and adopting labels like asexual or 'femcel' (female celibate)."

"There has even been a rise in millennial nuns. These women are fighting back against an ideology that has always best served the likes of Hugh Hefner. In doing so, they are trying to rediscover their sense of self-worth. In 2021, a TikTok video by a young American woman called Abby went viral. In the video, Abby tells the camera: 'I, like many other college students, am someone who is entangled in hook-up culture, and often hook-up culture makes it difficult for me to determine whether or not what I’m doing is good for me and kind to myself. Very often as women we are led astray from what we actually deserve. So here’s what I’ve been doing lately . . .' She pulls up onscreen a series of childhood photos of herself, and explains that the men she’s hooked up with have often made her feel undeserving, not only of love but also basic respect. So she’s trying to remind herself of her worth as a person by playing the role of mother to her inner child. 'Am I OK with that for her?' she asks tearfully, gesturing at her younger self in the photo. 'Would I let her be a late-night, drunk second option? Would I let this happen to her?' She shakes her head, weeping: 'From a third person, caretaker point of view, I would never let any of this stuff happen to her.' Abby is trying to mother herself, though she isn’t quite sure how to do it."

From "Women have been betrayed by a culture of porn gone wild/The sexual revolution was supposed to liberate women. Yet the tragic life of Marilyn Monroe and the nightmarish world of violent pornography which today’s young women must navigate suggest otherwise" by Louise Perry (London Times). 

Here's the author's forthcoming book: "The Case Against the Sexual Revolution."

I've got 10 TikTok selections for you today. Let me know what you liked best.

1. They ruined "Satisfaction."

2. When Johnny Depp impersonated Donald Trump.

3. Reviewing Grandma Sue's pear salad.

4. "Walk That Lonesome Valley."

5. The Queen turns on the lights.

6. "You just have to have the courage of your convictions."

7. The lemon used to douse the shrimp....

8. If European-Americans experienced microaggressions

9. The Italian husband thinks his wife must be tricking him about the meaning of "peacock."

10. People who think hating small talk is a personality.

Sunrise — 5:11, 5:13.



"I tried to visit Eve’s tomb once in Saudi Arabia."

"For some Muslims, tradition holds that the grave site of the woman who is the biblical Eve is in the Red Sea city of Jeddah (the Arabic word for 'grandmother'). The cemetery’s caretaker said no women were allowed in.... The [Depp/Heard] trial resonated because it was a primary story. We find depictions of vertiginous falls compelling. It is human nature to be fascinated by stories that echo how our nature became human, in darker respects, once Adam and Eve were demoted to mere mortals. According to the Book of Genesis and 'Paradise Lost,' the sort of behavior described in the sordid defamation trial — jealousy, violence, excess, overindulgence — came as a result of Eve giving in to Satan and Adam giving in to Eve.... And what could be more Edenic than Depp’s $100-million property portfolio...?"

Writes Maureen Dowd, in "Johnny and Amber: Trouble in Paradise" (NYT).

Dowd is distancing herself from the sordid detail of Depp's proving he'd been defamed. Let's back way the hell off and see only the vague outlines of the timeless myth of Man and Woman.

But who knew they had Eve's tomb somewhere?

After the Depp/Heard verdict, let's talk about the role played by the ACLU.

There's this column, from Erik Wemple — "Depp-Heard case hinged on the world’s worst #MeToo op-ed." Wemple's column, like the "world's worst #MeToo op-ed," was published in the Washington Post:

The first draft came off the keyboards of the ACLU, via consultation with Heard. Four lawyers at the ACLU reviewed it to ensure that it aligned with the organization’s policy positions. Heard’s lawyers separately scrubbed it for compliance with a nondisclosure provision of her divorce settlement, according to an ACLU spokesperson. 

Borrowing edge and then retreating when criticized.

"There is, so far, only one proven fact in digital publishing: The more you publish the more successful you are...."

"The most effective of the influencers turned commentators, like @houseinhabit’s Jessica Reed Kraus, know this. Kraus is a San Clemente, California, mother who got her start in the content mines as a lifestyle blogger (picture lots of wavy-haired sons, surfboards, pools, and exposed ceiling beams). Over the past year or so, she morphed into a trial-obsessed Instagrammer.

I see that Senator Ben Sasse called out the "weirdos"... but who are the weirdos?

It sounds so childish, calling other people "weird." I'm writing this, still not knowing what the reference is. I decided to blog this based on the headline — "Sen. Ben Sasse calls out ‘weirdos’ dividing country in fiery Reagan Foundation speech" (Yahoo) — and beginning to read this quote: 

"This is a government of the weirdos, by the weirdos and for the weirdos,” Sasse said Thursday night in California. “Politicians who spend their days shouting in Congress so they can spend their nights shouting on cable, are peddling crack — mostly to the already addicted, but also with glittery hopes of finding a new angry octogenarian out there."

Octogenarian! What kind of ageist bullshit is this? And isn't he exemplifying the problem he's attempting to state — which seems to be something like mindlessly emoting about politics. 

I think it's going to rain.


This morning at 5:16. And 5:15:


June 3, 2022

Paddleboarding on Lake Wingra.


It was sublime!

Talk about whatever you want in the comments.

"[Sheryl] Sandberg has been telling people that she feels burned out and that she has become a punching bag for the [Facebook's] problems..."

"'She sees herself as someone who has been targeted, been tarred as a woman executive in a way that would not happen to a man. Gendered or not, she’s sick of it,' said one person who worked alongside Ms. Sandberg for many years.... [P]olitical consulting firm Cambridge Analytica... improperly accessed the data of [87] million Facebook users. That data was then used to target voters...to get them to support Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign.... After the fallout of Cambridge Analytica, Mr. Zuckerberg told Ms. Sandberg that he blamed her and her teams for the scandal.... Ms. Sandberg confided in friends that the exchange with Mr. Zuckerberg had rattled her and she wondered if she should be worried about her job... Ms. Sandberg also has been anxious about how coming film and television projects on Facebook will depict her tenure as one of the top women in tech. 'There’s no scenario in which a successful businesswoman is not portrayed as a raging bitch,' she told one adviser...."

From "Why Sheryl Sandberg Quit Facebook’s Meta/One of the world’s most powerful executives became increasingly burned out and disconnected from the mega-business she was instrumental in building. That dovetailed with a company investigation into her activities" (Wall Street Journal).

"Our model of social change is still rooted in midcentury clichés. Younger Americans imagine that starting a family and owning a home was much easier..."

"... for previous generations than it really was. They buy the broad outlines of the boomers’ nostalgia and take it to mean they are inheriting a desiccated society. Confronting injustice, they almost unthinkingly re-enact the outward forms and symbols of college protests of the 1960s, generally to no effect.... The vacuum of middle-aged leadership is palpable. There are some politicians of that middle generation... They have not made this moment their own, or found a way to loosen the grip of the postwar generation on the nation’s political imagination. A middle-aged mentality traditionally has its own vices. It can lack urgency, and at its worst it can be maddeningly immune to both hope and fear, which are essential spurs to action. But if our lot is always to choose among vices, wouldn’t the temperate sins of midlife serve us well just now?"

Writes Yuval Levin, in "Why Are We Still Governed by Baby Boomers and the Remarkably Old?" (NYT).

This gets my "gerontocracy" tag, which you can click to read what I've said about it. Hint: I don't like it. But Levin is making the additional point: It's not just that the old Boomers are clinging to power. It's that the generation after them is terribly weak and empty: "The vacuum of middle-aged leadership is palpable."

I was sad but also amused by the notion of a palpable vacuum. Can you palpate a vacuum? It reminds me of the old childhood revelation: Nothing... is... something.

"I like what one touches, what one tastes. I like rain when it has turned to snow and become palpable" — Virginia Woolf, "Waves" (1931).

"[F]ew of the Hollywood figures who spoke up during the height of the #MeToo movement are showing any solidarity with Heard..."

"... a stance that would require a modicum of courage given the power of the #MeToo backlash and Depp’s evident popularity. She may well be ruined for good. One of the statements in her Washington Post essay that was deemed defamatory was, 'I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.' The trial that she lost proved her point."

Writes Michelle Goldberg in "The Amber Heard Verdict Was a Travesty. Others Will Follow" (NYT). 

The top-rated comment (by far) is from Mari (in London): "I am really starting to get sick of these partial articles, of the cherry picked facts, of the caveats and concessions for Amber’s side when presenting this trial in the media. I am a progressive, a feminist, work in human rights. I am not a conservative or a wild Johnny Depp ‘tik tok’ fan. I watched the whole trial. I was on Heard’s side, for years. But it was clear as the trial went on, that it is very likely that Heard has fabricated the allegations - something absolutely heinous to do, to destroy someone else’s life. Please Michelle, don’t be dishonest here. Everyone watching the trial could see the facts as they were presented; most people are smart enough to infer their own conclusions that Heard acted with malice."

I haven't read all the comments, but I haven't found one that isn't critical of the position Goldberg takes.

"A lesson meant for first grade called 'Pink, Blue and Purple'... from a curriculum called 'Rights, Respect, Responsibility'... tells students that gender is not a fixed attribute."

"'You might feel like you’re a boy even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are "girl" parts,' the teachers are told to say. 'You might feel like a girl even if you have body parts that some people tell you are "boy" parts. And you might not feel like you’re a boy or a girl, but you’re a little bit of both. No matter how you feel, you’re perfectly normal!'... In his kindergarten classroom, one teacher in western Massachusetts using 'Rights, Respect, Responsibility' introduces the idea of gender as part of an exploration of identity. He explains that people use all sorts of pronouns: he, she, they, ze. He introduces the terms transgender and gender queer but doesn’t fully define them because that is too much for kindergartners, said the teacher, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because his district did not authorize him to speak publicly. He talks to students about anatomy but declines to classify various body parts as male or female. 'We don’t say a penis belongs to a man,' he said. It belongs to a human, he explains."

From "Gender identity lessons, banned in some schools, are rising in others/Students are told that dolls aren’t just for girls, and that there are no 'boy colors' or 'girl colors'" (WaPo).

I don't see why there should be any need to say anything at all about genitalia in kindergarten and first grade. To force the subject, with open discussion about how children think about their genitalia, strikes me as wrong — to the point where I'd say it's objectively wrong. It's at least objectively true that some of the parents will feel that it's wrong to have kindergarten and first grade lessons teaching children about genitalia and how to think about them. 

WaPo nudges its readers to regard objection to these lessons as something conservatives do. We're told that "a conservative activist" calls it "cult grooming and ideological grooming." That is, we're encouraged to see the objection to the lesson — rather than the lesson itself — as strange and extreme.

June 2, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write about whatever you want.

"Hollywood doesn't appear progressive to me. What I see is unrestrained capitalism topped with a thin layer of virtue signaling."

Says the top-rated comment on "Are the Movies Liberal? Everyone knows Hollywood is progressive. But look at the films it churns out. They tell another story" by A.O. Scott in the NYT. 

I only skimmed the article. It's a ridiculous straw man. "Everyone knows"... but what "everyone knows" is actually not true, as the film critic explains citing examples of various recent films that I have no interest in seeing. I didn't "know" it, didn't think it, and would prefer to read an article about the things the film critics "know" that just are not true.

"Inflation has the potential to drive welcome change for the planet if Americans think differently about the way they eat...."

"There is an inherent conflict in asking people to change their most personal habits because of climate change when government policy puts few restraints on polluting industries like oil, gas, coal and automobiles.... Rising prices for all kinds of consumer goods are exerting pressure on Americans, but our food spending can be modified more easily than what we pay at the gas pump. We do not have to become, overnight, a nation of vegetarians and vegans, but we could adjust what we eat to save both our pocketbooks and our planet.... The inflation of the period between the Gilded Age and World War I gave Americans a taste for peanut butter, pasta and stews and casseroles graced with but not dependent on meat. The 1970s brought us brown rice, granola, exciting vegetables like eggplant and zucchini, and every conceivable way to prepare a lentil. Freed from having meat in every meal and with a world of recipes at our fingertips, what will the delicious culinary legacy of this inflationary period be?"

Writes Annaliese Griffin, in "Inflation Should Make Us All Vegetarians" (NYT).

Poverty is such a lovely opportunity, if you think about it! And it's always nice to discover an opinion piece in the New York Times that nudges us to think about it. 

Did you know it could "free" us from having meat in every meal? Did you realize your excess money was enslaving you to eating meat 3 times a day?

Am I missing the tone? Could this be intentional humor? I mean... "exciting vegetables." As we used to say in the 70s... Call and they'll come to you/Covered with dew/Vegetables dream of responding to you...

"She was only 13 years old, but she was 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, far larger than any of the teachers or school administrators...."

"For a moment, the only sound was Sabrina’s loud moans. She threw a shoe at a teacher. She took off her shirt. She cursed at the school staff arranged around her in a protective circle. Summoned to the scene, her parents tried to soothe her. She kicked and swung until they backed off. On the Sabrina tantrum scale, so far this registered only a 4 out of 10, declared her father.... This was the third time this week he had rushed to school for one of Sabrina’s meltdowns.... In interviews, parents across New York State described... being attacked by an adolescent child, now bigger and more aggressive than before....  In the years since [large state] institutions were closed, there has been a clear presumption [that] children with intellectual or developmental disabilities... should live at home through childhood.... But the presumption can fail a small number of families...."

From "Sabrina’s Parents Love Her. But the Meltdowns Are Too Much. Unpredictable violence, chaotic outbursts and countless trips to the emergency room. What happens when an autistic teenager becomes unmanageable at home?" (NYT).

"Whereas the old Christian conservatism was about defending an old order, the new social conservatism is about overthrowing a new one...."

"In the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the G.O.P. was the party of the traditional moral order, many individualists, rebels and eccentrics found themselves aligned with progressives. Today the reverse is true. The left is now widely seen as the schoolmarm of American public life, and the right is associated with the gleeful violation of convention. Contemporary social pieties are distinctly left wing, and progressives enforce them with at least as much moral ardor as the most zealous members of the religious right... Today’s left-wing cultural program represents the tastes and worldview of an insular class of often white progressive elites, who now sit to the left of nonwhite Democrats on any number of social issues, including race....

"A New York appeals court on Thursday upheld Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction on felony sex crimes..."

"The New York decision had been hotly anticipated by the state’s legal community, particularly after oral arguments in December, when members of the five-judge panel that heard the case seemed skeptical of some decisions made by the trial judge. But the decision Thursday was unanimous — and clear.... Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers... argu[ed] that three women who had accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual assaults for which he was not charged should never have been allowed to testify and that prosecutors had 'tried Weinstein’s character not his conduct.' But Judge Mazzarelli said... that their accounts had been key in showing Mr. Weinstein’s pattern of behavior. They demonstrated, she said, that Mr. Weinstein did not see his victims as 'romantic partners or friends,' but that 'his goal at all times was to position the women in such a way that he could have sex with them, and that whether the women consented or not was irrelevant to him.'"

From "Weinstein’s Sex Crime Conviction, a Milestone for #MeToo, Is Upheld/New York judges approved testimony from women who said they were abused by Harvey Weinstein. The disgraced producer, awaiting another trial in Los Angeles, is serving 23 years" (NYT).

This is the intermediate appellate court, and Weinstein's lawyer indicates there will be an appeal to New York's highest court.

"The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence.. That is why I spent so much time in the factory — so that those on the line could see me..."

"... working alongside them. If I had not done that, SpaceX would long ago have gone bankrupt." Wrote Elon Musk to SpaceX employees, quoted in "Elon Musk to Workers: Spend 40 Hours in the Office, or Else/In emails to workers at SpaceX and Tesla, Mr. Musk said they were required to spend a minimum of 40 hours a week in the office" (NYT).

Annie Dean, the head of distributed work for Atlassian, an Australian software company, [said] “This mind-set is regressive and discounts the last two years of collaborative, digital-first work”.... 

It is unclear if Mr. Musk will adhere to his own rules of spending 40 hours a week in Tesla’s and SpaceX’s offices. He is rarely in the office and often travels, said two people who have worked with him and who spoke on the condition of anonymity....

From the comments at the NYT: "I’m always amused when people describe non-local work as 'phoning it in' and 'not real work.' It’s about as amusing as Musk — who has no experience in manufacturing — claiming that his micromanagement on the factory floor is why his companies didn’t go bust. Plenty of automakers support full time remote work now; they’ll happily poach Tesla’s most capable people."

"I want to scream. I want to vomit. I want tear down every courthouse brick by brick because there is no justice to be had in our system of laws."

Said a woman — identified only as "Meghan" — who had experienced "physical and emotional abuse" during her marriage.

Quoted in "'Men Always Win’: Survivors ‘Sickened’ by the Amber Heard Verdict/It didn’t matter what the verdict was — as one domestic violence survivor puts it, 'this case is my worst fear playing out on a public stage'" (Rolling Stone).

This morning, I'm brushing off the many knee-jerk reactions to the Depp/Heard verdict — low-quality ravings about how women in general will suffer because this one woman wasn't believed. (It seems to me, the greater cause is the truth, and we can very coherently side with real victims and oppose phony victims. This was a case of catching a liar in action.)

But this quote struck me as different and bloggable because it speaks of destroying the buildings that house the governmental entities that are functioning in a way that you believe falls below proper standards: I want tear down every courthouse brick by brick because there is no justice to be had in our system of laws

It made me think of the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol building. Put to the side whether you agree that the 2020 election was rigged or that Amber Heard didn't get justice. The question is, if you do think something like that, should your reaction be to attack the building?

"For years, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg encouraged women to climb the corporate ladder by promoting themselves in the workplace..."

"... and asking for more help from their spouses at home. Now, her departure from Facebook as one of the highest-ranking female executives in corporate America marks the end of an era in the brand of self-empowerment feminism she championed as a critical tool to fight sexism in the workplace.... Her advice to women who wanted to ascend higher in their careers was simply to 'lean in,' or be more assertive at their jobs, which became a cultural phenomenon.... 'There isn’t another Sheryl.' Over the years, Sandberg has struggled to retain her voice as a champion of women as Facebook.... The movement to get more women into better roles in corporate America has stalled in recent years.... Sandberg’s image as a corporate feminist was first burnished after the 2010 TED Talk, in which she chronicled what she saw as the reasons women were still struggling to compete with men in moving up the corporate latter...."

From "Sheryl Sandberg departure marks the end of an era for women in tech/Silicon Valley is losing one of its highest-profile female leaders" (WaPo). 

Here's that TED Talk from 12 years ago. 

I blogged about the "Lean In" movement back in 2012 — "'Leaning in' evolves into coffee-sipping wishful supportiveness":

If you can bear to keep reading you'll see that there's a Lean In Foundation where you can register your "Lean In" circle and there are actually 7,000 registered circles. This is all very nice for the Chief Leaner In Sheryl Sandberg, she of the book "Lean In." It's her branding. You want to get her branding on you? That furthers her leaning in, but what does it do for you — you, over there in that circle in a coffee shop getting lost in the evolving cross-currents of mutual support?

June 1, 2022

Sunrise — 5:10, 5:11, and 5:12.




I'm surprised the colors changed so much with each minute.

Please feel free to write about anything you want in the comments.

"Verdict: Johnny Depp wins defamation case against Amber Heard."

The NY Post reports.

"What if we got more ambitious with the messaging and went after gun ownership itself?... Before you shut this down as Tipper Gore territory or just say no to Nancy Reagan 2.0..."

"... consider the effect of other big public service campaigns, which are especially successful when it’s clear the message comes down to saving lives... the seatbelt campaign... the “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” campaign... [the campaign against] cigarette use.... While in the pocket of the tobacco industry, Hollywood played a key role in glamorizing smoking, but then later, after paid tobacco product placement was banned, clamped down on the appearance of smoking on film and TV....  Sometimes, of course, a cigarette, like a gun, is key to a movie’s story line or characters. But the use of firearms onscreen can certainly be more intentional. Reaching for the gun in the course of storytelling isn’t always necessary. The best cinematic fight scene by far this year involved a weaponized fanny pack...."

 From "What to Do About Americans Who Love Their Guns" by Pamela Paul (NYT). 


They're still glamorizing violence! I would hate to see filmmakers pour their imagination into weaponizing more of the many ordinary objects that surround us. 

I'll bet you can think of some deadly household items you've witnessed over the years. Help me make a list. I'll start with the Roald Dahl/Alfred Hitchcock frozen leg of lamb. And the phone is ringing for Grace Kelly:

"They were originally all male references but the woke bros at the news website wanted to make them female because of misgendering. It’s quite shocking. I can’t think of any other situation where we would change the words of an alleged rape victim."

Said an unnamed source, quoted in "BBC ‘altered gender in trans rape claim’" (London Times).
The BBC article replaced every reference to “he” or “him” with “they” or “them”. A source said the quote was the subject of heated debate prior to publication. Some journalists argued that the quote should remain intact, while others said it should reflect the trans woman’s preferred she/her pronouns....

Here's the quote the BBC radically edited:

“I was too young to argue and had been brainwashed by queer theory so he was a ‘woman’ even if every fibre of my being was screaming throughout, so I agreed to go home with him. He used physical force when I changed my mind upon seeing his penis and raped me."

"The impulse to pull out my phone and micromanage my persona was constant: post at the right time, tag the right people, pin comments that supported my views..."

"... leave my own smart, witty comments on other influential accounts, re-share mentions of my work with just enough faux humility so as to not appear gross — all of it had become as reflexive as scratching an itch.... What was it specifically about Instagram that was so destructive for me? ... I was chasing a goal that was impossible to reach. When a post did well, or I got a bunch of followers, I felt great for a minute, but just as quickly I felt pressure to do it again. If something was negatively received, or I lost people, I was consumed by anxiety and felt compelled to 'fix' it. Over time, I made hundreds of tiny adjustments to how and what I shared, editing myself to get the best outcome. But there was no 'best' outcome. No matter what I did, there would never be enough followers, enough approval, enough success. The more I posted, the less I felt like my true self.... When I begin to think there might be a way for me to handle social media, I do what I did in my first days of sobriety from alcohol: I play the tape all the way through and force myself to viscerally... feel the buzz of fear in my stomach, the clutch of anxiety around my throat, the endless procession of negative thoughts and the fractured texture of my attention. When I do this, I remember it’s simply not worth it."

From "How I Knew I Needed to Quit Instagram/Just like with alcohol, social media left me feeling anxious and removed from myself" by Laura McKowen (NYT).

"Tracy [Flick] was... an underdog cursed, for some reason, to be construed as an infuriating alpha who needed to be put down."

"In his sequel [to 'Election,' Tom] Perrotta elaborates on the case of Tracy’s mistaken identity. Do people (mostly men, but some women) hate her because of … misogyny? Or is it because they can’t stop themselves from punishing a person who insists, absurdly, on believing that life should be fair? Or is it because Tracy, for all her political ambitions, still fails to grasp the most important political skill of all, which is the gift of making other people feel good about themselves? In middle age, Tracy’s optimism (or naïveté) is unchanged.... Maybe it’s a credit to her integrity that she hasn’t been squashed into submission. Maybe it’s preposterous that she refuses, after all this time, to play by the rules of the game. Even if the game is rigged. Even if she shouldn’t have to play it...."

From "‘Tracy Flick Can’t Win’ Catches Up With a Hard-Luck High Achiever/Tom Perrotta’s sequel to 'Election' finds Flick, the character immortalized in film by Reese Witherspoon, reconsidering her past" by Molly Young (NYT).

If you haven't seen the movie "Election" (or read the book it was based on), this post probably won't make much sense to you. This post is for those who have.

"The impregnator — a clarifying term for a man who starts an unwanted pregnancy — suffers not one twinge of pain related to childbirth, only pleasure in the sexual act."

"And none of the new laws forcing pregnant women to give birth have mandated consequences for the impregnator.... Forced-birth laws mandate a woman not only to withstand childbirth but also to choose: either raise a child she does not want or surrender that child for adoption, a decision that some women embrace but others describe as a lifelong grief. In this way, abortion bans and restrictions could also be called 'forced child-surrender' or 'forced motherhood' laws.... A wise grandmother once told me: 'The decision to have a child is a decision to have your heart go walking outside your body for the rest of your life.' What happens if that decision is made in a statehouse? A courtroom? Does the lawmaker’s heart walk with a child — the one whose mother was denied an abortion — for life?"

From "Antiabortion laws are forced-birth laws. Here’s what that looks like" by Kate Manning (WaPo).

There's also this: "Like abortion foes who wave photos of bloody fetuses outside clinics (fetuses that could not survive outside a woman’s uterus), we who oppose the annihilation of our bodily autonomy ought to plaster statehouses with photos of our episiotomy incisions, our Caesarean scars, our intravenous-line hematomas, our bloody postnatal sanitary pads and bloodstained bedsheets, our cracked nipples and infected breasts."

"The departures have been so pronounced that, according to one current and one former White House official, some Black aides have adopted a term for them: 'Blaxit.'"

I'm reading "Biden sees exodus of Black staffers and some frustration among those who remain/The White House is historically diverse. But there are concerns internally about a wave of departures and the current culture" (Politico).

A White House official pushed back on those concerns, saying that around 14 percent of current White House staffers identify as Black — in line with national proportions.... 

Some “people have not had the best experiences and a lot of that has to do with the dearth of Black leadership,” said one former White House official, who is Black. “Think about any workplace. Black folks need some person to go to, to strategize and be a mentor, and we just don’t have as many folks who can be mentors to us.”... 

Staffers concede that the salaries, which start at $48,000 for an entry-level White House job, has made it difficult to retain Black employees in a city with a high cost of living....

The heads of Drudge have got me wondering — which one is the real boy?

Note the headless angel, the creepy succession of men, and — topping it all off — the little puppet boy. Beyond heads — hands: I like the mirrored hand gestures, the angel and Joe Biden and then Tom Cotton and Pinocchio. All the human entities frown. We can't know the expression on the angel statues head and Pinocchio is slack-jawed and woozy. 

Anyway, what's up with Disney sending the live-action remake of "Pinocchio" straight to video? It was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks. That's conspicuously intended to be huge. It must stink like a bad cigar.

ADDED: I see that there is a second live-action version of Pinocchio coming out this year.

"The Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with the technology industry and blocked a controversial Texas law that bars large social media platforms..."

"... like Facebook and Twitter from removing posts based on the viewpoints they express. The justices divided 5-4 in an ideologically scrambled vote.... When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the law last September, he declared that 'conservative viewpoints in Texas cannot be banned on social media.' Tech companies challenged the law, saying it violates their First Amendment right to control what speech appears on their platforms.... Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton [argued that because the law] only requires social media platforms to serve customers on an equal footing... [and that they are] 'common carriers' – a legal term for businesses that transport people, goods, or services and cannot pick and choose among their customers.... In his dissent, Alito explained that the court should not reinstate [the district court's] injunction unless the technology groups can show that, under existing law, they are likely to prevail on the merits of their challenge. But whether the groups can make that showing, Alito suggested, 'is quite unclear,' because both the law and the business models for social media platforms are 'novel.'"

Writes Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog.

The Return of the Loch Mendota Monster

At 5:16 this morning:

May 31, 2022

This morning's sunrise — at 5:08, 5:26, and 5:45.




Write about whatever you want in the comments.

I've selected 8 TikToks for you tonight. Let me know what you liked best.

1. CoCo's sad checklist.

2. Rooster crowing in slow motion must be the sound the dinosaurs made.

3. Oh my gosh! Look! It's a pretzel from last night.

4. Whoa! That hat!  

5. The most beautiful landscape in Scotland?

6. Downtown L.A. is really dodgy.

7. Moose versus grizzly bear.

8. Don't get Paul McCartney mad.

"Ex-Clinton campaign lawyer Sussmann not guilty in Trump-Russia trial."

 The NY Post reports. 

The verdict came midway through the second day of deliberations following a two-week-long trial on a single count of making false statements to a federal agent. Prosecutors unsuccessfully sought to prove that Sussmann deliberately lied to then-FBI general counsel James Baker by claiming not to be acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign and an Internet executive when the two met in 2016.

"Justice Scalia... could not have been clearer in the closing passage of Heller that 'the problem of handgun violence in this country' is serious..."

"... and that the Constitution leaves the government with 'a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns.' Heller merely established the constitutional baseline that the government may not disarm citizens in their homes. The opinion expressly recognized 'presumptively lawful' regulations such as 'laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms,' as well as bans on carrying weapons in 'sensitive places,' like schools, and it noted with approval the 'historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of "dangerous and unusual weapons."' Heller also recognized the immense public interest in 'prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill.'... Heller [does not] prohibit giving law enforcement officers more effective tools and greater resources to disarm people who have proved themselves to be violent or mentally ill, as long as due process is observed.... Most of the obstacles to gun regulations are political and policy based, not legal; it’s laws that never get enacted, rather than ones that are struck down, because of an unduly expansive reading of Heller.... As the nation enters yet another agonizing conversation about gun regulation in the wake of the Uvalde tragedy, all sides should focus on the value judgments and empirical assumptions at the heart of the policy debate, and they should take moral ownership of their positions."

Biden's in trouble, and the solution could be... Anita Dunn!

I'm reading "Inside a Biden White House adrift/Amid a rolling series of calamities and sinking approval ratings, the president’s feeling lately is that he just can’t catch a break — and that angst is rippling through his party" (NBC News):
Speculation is churning that Biden could shake up the West Wing staff, although that’s not about to happen right away. Multiple people close to the White House said they’ve heard that chief of staff Ron Klain will depart at some point after the midterms, and one has heard him discuss leaving. Should Klain go, a potential successor is Anita Dunn, a White House adviser and Biden confidant whom he often turns to when his fortunes look bleak. Dunn began working at the White House at the start of the term, then left and returned in early May at Biden’s specific request. No woman or person of color has ever been the White House chief of staff since the position was created after World War II.

Anita Dunn. What I remember about her is that in 2009, she got into trouble for quoting Chairman Mao: "You know, you fight your war, and I'll fight mine." And in 2011, it was revealed that she said that the Obama White House "actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women."

The idea that women will rescue Joe Biden is persistent and strange.

"She remains her husband’s fiercest defender—something voters glimpsed in March 2020 when she was likened to a linebacker for tackling a protester who rushed him onstage...."

"'I try to be a support for Joe, because I don’t know how many people are saying to him, "That was great. That was brilliant." I try to be that person for him,' she says. 'Some days, I see Joe and I’m just like, "I don’t know how you’re doing it." It’s the pandemic and then it’s the war and then it’s the economy and then it’s the gas prices. You feel like you’re being slammed.' Which is not to say that she holds back when he frustrates her. The president does not get a pass. During the Obama years, they took to hashing out their occasional spats over text to avoid fighting in front of the Secret Service. (They christened it 'fexting.') Not so long ago, she tapped out a message to him in a fit of pique. 'Joe said, "You realize that’s going to go down in history. There will be a record of that."' She grins. 'I won’t tell you what I called him that time.'"

Have you ever fexted?

ADDED: So they are in the same room and could talk out loud, but they don't want the Secret Service to hear it, and they just type out things? I've texted with someone who's in the same room and could be talked to. Haven't fexted though. I think if I just wanted to call my partner a "fucking idiot" — which I'm just going to assume is was Jill called Joe that time — I could do it just by thinking it and making eye contact. 

What's Elon talking about now?

"The Democrats lost an election they never expected to lose. They... lost to a reality TV show host when Hillary Clinton had all the backing of the establishment in the world."

"And instead of asking, what is it about our ideology that ruled the country for eight years, that drove people away from us into Donald Trump's arms, they instead decided they were going to blame everybody else. The Democrats simply replaced Trump with the same ideology they governed with for 8 years under Obama that caused people to run away from them as fast as they could. And now that people are doing that again, instead of asking ‘why is that happening’ they're getting poised to blame the electorate for being stupid -- for thinking the economy's bad when it's actually good." 

Said Glenn Greenwald, quoted at Real Clear Politics.

I remember when the incumbent President lost to a Democrat who said "It's the economy, stupid."

Now, apparently, the message is: If you think it's the economy, you're stupid.

By the way, who was getting called stupid in the 1992 Clinton slogan "It's the economy, stupid"?

It is often quoted from a televised quip by [Bill Clinton's strategist James] Carville as "It’s the economy, stupid."... His phrase was directed at the campaign's workers and intended as one of three messages for them to focus on. The others were "Change vs. more of the same" and "Don't forget health care."

Was he calling the campaign workers "stupid"? It seems as though he was compelling them to focus on the economy by internalizing the taunt "Stupid!" — to be triggered if they ever stray into any other topic. It might have been heard as an insult to the President George H.W. Bush. He's so out of touch, he doesn't know the people are hurting. He's stupid. It can't be that they were calling us, the People, stupid. That wouldn't work. 

Anyway, right now, the Democrats aren't blatantly labeling us stupid. That's Greenwald's rhetoric. He's saying the Democrats are telling the People they are stupid if they think the economy is bad. So, I would add, that means the Democrats are taking the George H.W. Bush position and are vulnerable to the attack that brought down Bush: "It's the economy, stupid." 


In giving this post my "stupid" tag, I see an old tag I'd forgotten about: "the stupid party." I need to publish this post so I can click on it to refresh my memory of what that was about. I think it has to do with the way each party characterizes the other as the "stupid" one. Or maybe it was about how the 2 parties vie for the honor of being the "stupid" one.

May 30, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.


"As one of the nation’s leading proponents of the insurrection hoax, Liz Cheney has pushed a grotesquely false, fabricated, hysterical partisan narrative. Look at the so-called word insurrection, January 6 – what a lot of crap."

Said Donald Trump, quoted in "Trump calls Capitol attack an ‘insurrection hoax’ as public hearings set to begin/Former president intensifies attacks on Liz Cheney at Wyoming rally and endorses her Republican primary challenger in midterm elections" (The Guardian).

I believe what he was calling a hoax was the "insurrection" characterization. That's why he said "the so-called word insurrection." Now, that's a bit inarticulate. Obviously, "insurrection" is really a word. The point is that entry into the Capitol doesn't fit the definition of an "insurrection," which isn't a surprising assertion. Trump gets back at his accusers by calling the "insurrection" characterization "a grotesquely false, fabricated, hysterical partisan narrative."

Has anyone on the Cheney side ever explained how it could be possible to think that overrunning the building could overthrow the government? I wish people on both sides would use accurate language, but of course, they won't.

"The mathematics books published by the People’s Education Press contain illustrations of people with distorted faces and bulging pants. Boys are seen grabbing girls’ skirts..."

and one child appears to have a leg tattoo. The books are reportedly used in elementary schools across the country, from Shandong province in the north-east to Yunnan in the south.... Some social media users came to the conclusion that the artwork was deliberately bad and provocative, noting a backwards Chinese flag in one instance and some clothing in the colour combination of the US flag... One commenter described the illustrations as 'evil' and warned of a 'worrying' future where 'the education department is infiltrated by the west, and the textbooks are manipulated by the people who have infiltrated the system.'"

From "'Tragically ugly’ school textbook causes social media outcry in China/Education ministry orders publisher to rectify illustrations of children deemed inappropriate" (The Guardian).

"I’m beginning to question the idea of sex segregation in sport. We need to learn to sit with discomfort."

Said Anna Posbergh, a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland, "a former pole-vaulter who studies the mechanics of human movement and gender and athletes [who] sees notions of gender disadvantage in sports as rooted in culture and an outdated view of what women can achieve."

Quoted in "What Lia Thomas Could Mean for Women’s Elite Sports/Although the number of top transgender athletes is small, the disagreements are profound, cutting to the core of the debate around gender identity and biological sex" (NYT).

What do you do with discomfort? Sit with it?

Ah! I see it's mental health jargon:

May 29, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.




"This reminds me of a question I used for years in interviewing potential assistants: Do you know how to drive a manual transmission?"

"If you said no, you didn’t get hired. I know that sounds terribly arbitrary. But here’s my reasoning. It is not necessary to know how to drive a stick in the 21st century—particularly if you’re 22 years old. So the only people who do are those who are willing to take the time to master a marginally useful skill. Now why would a 22-year-old do that? One reason is that they like knowing how to do things that most people do not. Another is that they realize that the most fun cars in the world to drive are sports cars, and the most fun sports cars to drive are the ones with manual transmission, and they like the idea of being able to turn a rote activity (driving) into an enjoyable activity. I want to work with the kind of person who thinks both those things.... I think, in no small part, human happiness is a numbers game. The more small things in your life that you can turn from negative to neutral, or neutral to positive, the happier you are. The people who bother to learn how to drive a manual understand this. Like I said, these are the people I like to have working with me."

Writes Malcolm Gladwell in "Do You Know How to Drive a Manual Transmission? My reasoning behind the seemingly arbitrary interview question I used for years..."

Every car I've bought, up through the 2005 Audi TT that is still my main car, has had a manual transmission. I keep getting a manual transmission because it's more fun, and I like maintaining my skills. But I must say that I did not originally learn to drive a manual transmission for the fun of it. We needed to buy a car, and it was 1976, and a manual transmission was not only cheaper to buy in the first place, it got better gas mileage in those days, and we were in the midst of the damned energy crisis. Gas zoomed up to $1.20 at one point. It felt crazy and out of control. That was not fun at all.

"Modern American culture has a way of transforming nearly every philosophical and spiritual tradition... into an anodyne pop-culture analogue."

"But contemporary iterations of Stoicism... may win the prize for reducing complex ideas to shallow, if marketable, sound bites.... At its best, Stoicism challenges us to tame our selfish passions and trains us to accept injustice, failure and death. Contemporary pop-Stoicism, however, treats this idea of self-control as... a useful 'life hack': individualistic, capitalist-friendly self-help... For [writers such as Jordan Peterson], Stoicism can often be boiled down to therapeutic platitudes: work hard, push through pain, reframe toxic narratives. But pop-Stoicism doesn’t ask one of philosophy’s most important questions: What does it mean to live a good life?... [G]oodness, unlike productivity, is something we can’t 'hack' our way toward achieving."

Writes Tara Isabella Burton under the heading "Stoicism" in a collection of short essays, "Spring Cleaning 2022," at WaPo. She's the writer of novels and also the nonfiction works "Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World" and "Self-Made: Curating Our Image From da Vinci to the Kardashians."

The "Spring Cleaning" title refers to the prompt given to the various writers — "what all of us should toss."

I don't think Burton has established a reason to throw out Stoicism. Ironically, she wants people not to use this philosophy in a shallow way, but her rejection of today's efforts at Stoicism seems shallow too. She's certainly capsulized Jordan Peterson in an aggressively pat way.

"Though prostitution is legal in India, those who practice it have long faced marginalization, violence and police harassment..."

"[T]he Indian Supreme Court... identified two categories: consenting adults voluntarily employed in prostitution; and minors, trafficking victims and those eager to leave the industry. For consenting adults, the court said, the police must refrain from arrests and other forms of harassment.... 'It is as if they are a class whose rights are not recognized,' the court [wrote]. 'The police and other law enforcement agencies should be sensitized to the rights of sex workers who also enjoy all basic human rights and other rights guaranteed in the Constitution to all citizens. Police should treat all sex workers with dignity.'... Rights groups estimate that India has about 900,000 prostitutes. Most, they say, have been pushed into the work by crushing poverty and sometimes forced into it by human traffickers. Others have chosen it over other informal employment opportunities, researchers have found.... [D]ecriminalizing sex work is, alone, not enough to improve conditions for workers in the industry."

From "India’s Supreme Court Orders Police to Respect Prostitutes’ Rights/Though sex work is legal in the country, those who practice it often endure harassment and abuse. The justices urged the authorities to employ a more nuanced and humane approach" (NYT).

The Loch Mendota Monster.


Photographed by me, this morning at 5:32 a.m.

"Here's your opportunity... you're all about to graduate... .. is there an unpopular opinion you'd like to share with us?"/"Jesus is Lord!"

"Its title is a glancing reference to a Bob Dylan song called 'Visions of Johanna,' which has variously been described as a song about how one man is being pushed to the brink and about to burst emotionally."

"I am no Bob Dylan aficionado, but this strikes me as being a potent metaphor for what this country is going through."

Writes Kenneth Dickerman in "'Infinity Goes Up on Trial': A personal exploration of U.S. turmoil" (WaPo). The book he's talking about, “Infinity Goes Up on Trial,” by Alan Chin, is a collection of photographs that show the United States as a "powder keg" of "white supremacism, misogyny and the increasing gap between the have and have-nots."  

A glancing reference? The title is entirely composed of a quote from the song. It's nice of Dickerman to inform readers who might be puzzled by the otherwise weird title, and as someone who'd had the words of that song seared in my brain for more than half a century, I don't mind seeing it explained for other people, but it's irritating to see it declared "a potent metaphor" for what's in this book, which doesn't seem to have the slightest connection to the what's in "Visions of Johanna." 

What would it mean for infinity to go up on trial? Dylan fans have contemplated that mystery for many decades. The trial of infinity, in the song, is something that happens not on violent streets but inside the museums: