July 16, 2022

A very foggy sunrise...

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... is still a sunrise (by the standards of this blog).

And (by the standards of this blog) a post with just a photograph and minimal words is an open thread.

Ah! It worked out to an even 10 this time. Enjoy my selection of TikToks, and let me know what you like best.

1. She's decided she's going to start gaslighting you.

2. Her problems are not relatable.

3. The Greeter.

4. After that short trip to France.

5. Boy instructs his daddy about the meting out of sweets.

6. The little girl will tell you clearly what she likes.

7. If you ask a 5-year-old boy what he thinks of your dress, you deserve the brutal truth.

8. The Cookie Incident.

9. The Greatest Love.

10. The Donkey Song.

"My name is a Confederate monument, so I cross it out when I write it."

Writes Baynard Woods (in The Washington Post).
[I]n 1860, to take a single year, various Baynards believed that they owned 781 people, while the Woodses — from whom I’m directly descended — claimed possession of 23 more....

Since before Reconstruction, Black Americans have thrown off “slave names,” but I had never read or heard about White people addressing our enslaver names....

"[T]he early Christians believed that both the bodies that created life and the world that sustained it were proof of the 'continual creative activity of God.'"

"Women and nature were aligned, in this view, as the material sources of God’s plan. 'The word nature is derived from nascitura, which means "birthing," and nature is imagined and felt to be like a pregnant womb, a matrix, a mother,' [writes historian Barbara Duden]. But, in recent decades, she notes, the natural world has begun to show its irreparable damage. The fetus has been left as a singular totem of life and divinity, to be protected, no matter the costs, even if everything else might fall. The scholar Katie Gentile argues that, in times of cultural crisis and upheaval, the fetus functions as a 'site of projected and displaced anxieties,' a 'fantasy of wholeness in the face of overwhelming anxiety and an inability to have faith in a progressive, better future.' The more degraded actual life becomes on earth, the more fervently conservatives will fight to protect potential life in utero. We are locked into the destruction of the world that birthed all of us; we turn our attention, now, to the worlds—the wombs—we think we can still control."

The certified vibesmith shows you how to make your life "hit different."

"The womb is the only organ in a woman’s body that serves no specific purpose to her life or well-being.... It is truly a sanctuary."

Wrote Montana state Rep. Brad Tschida (R), "a former Montana House majority leader who is running for the state Senate," quoted in "GOP lawmaker: Womb has ‘no specific purpose’ to a woman’s ‘life or well-being'" (WaPo).

If you have a womb, it's not about you. It's just inside your body, but it's the sovereign domain of somebody else — kind of like the Vatican and Italy.

Tschida, criticized, defended his position: “I’m not going to apologize for saying that. I think that’s exactly what it’s there for. It welcomes in a new life and that’s what it’s there to do, to nurture and sustain that life.”

Well, there are too many apologies these days. But is he right? "The womb is the only organ in a woman’s body that serves no specific purpose to her life or well-being." What about the appendix?

"Ivana Trump, the first wife of former president Donald Trump, died of 'blunt impact injuries' to her torso..."

"... according to a report from the New York City chief medical examiner Friday. The manner of death was classified as an accident, the report added.... Ivana Trump was found unconscious on a staircase in her East 64th Street home near Central Park.... More than one in four Americans older than 65 fall each year, and falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among that age group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths from falling occur at a rate of about 64 deaths per 100,000 older adults...."

"[W]hen I’m working at my desk, no videoconferencing app is running, my camera is switched off and the lens cover is in place, I don’t see why..."

"... I can’t work buck naked if I feel like it and the temperature permits. My wife says that, because we work for the same (very large) company, and thus people who know me know her, at least by association, I owe it to her to follow [the] convention [of wearing a shirt]. She even said that the day I appear shirtless on camera, even by accident, she will quit her job, change her name and file for divorce. I suspect she’s not entirely serious, but I also think I’m willing to live with those odds, because there’s zero chance of what she’s concerned about actually happening."

The columnist takes his side. I don't. He should wear a shirt just because his wife needs it to feel comfortable. And because: Jeffrey Toobin. It only seems like zero until it happens.

"People often say that Sarah Palin anticipated the rise of Donald Trump, but you could say the same of Pat Buchanan or Ross Perot or Herman Cain..."

"... depending on your focus. Trumpism is perhaps best understood as two things: populist-right mood and populist-right policy. The mood is one of resentment toward predatory or incompetent elites, and the policy (in theory, at least) is one of strength through self-containment — whether regarding immigration or commerce or military deployment. J.D. Vance, running for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, represents Trumpism mainly as policy, while Palin represents it mainly as mood. This can make Palin maddeningly hazy on issues that many conservatives and liberals alike care about most.... People often point to personality traits shared by Palin and Trump, such as thin skin and self-absorption... Both have thin skins, but Trump’s covers a hearty and insensate core; Palin described being excluded from McCain’s funeral as a 'gut punch' and told Fox host Sean Hannity that she could watch Tina Fey’s impression of her only with 'the volume all the way down.' Trump enjoys riling the other side, while Palin, despite her flame throwing, seems most eager to please her own side....  Palin’s religious faith alarms many of her critics in a way that Trump’s religious faith, if that’s what you can call it, never did.... [W]hen it comes to self-aggrandizement, her faith also appears to discourage her from Trumpian excesses.... If we can tell a human story of Sarah Palin, maybe people can wish her victory or defeat instead of vengeful triumph or destruction...."

"Much has already been said, tweeted and complained about The Washington Post’s tagline, 'Democracy Dies in Darkness'.... It’s harsh, foreboding and alarming."

"But it’s also true. When people don’t know the facts, a government of the people is impossible. So then why do the Post and many other legacy news publishers leave so many Americans in the dark? See, if you want to read a Post article, including this one about how they came up with the tagline back in 2017, you might be blocked by a paywall.... I often refer to people who don’t pay for news as 'passive' news consumers.... [T]hey’re... consuming the news that comes to them through their daily scrolling of social media feeds, email inboxes and conversations with people they trust.... Passive consumers may have faith that good, accurate news about the world and their own communities will somehow find them. But with few exceptions, they’re wrong about that. Increasingly, the fact-based news that’s necessary for a pro-democracy citizenry is behind a paywall. On social media, passive consumers are more likely to see propaganda that capitalizes on the ways information is distributed there. Biased algorithms reward salacious and emotionally charged content — often favoring right-leaning messaging that is outright false....With a major political party upholding the Big Lie and sowing mistrust in our incredibly secure elections, we have no more time to waste on out-of-touch debates. News organizations must instead seize the opportunity before us to once again serve as the bulwark of our democracy and get factual information to the people...."

There are more kinds of passivity — and propaganda — than McGowan acknowledges, and she's — ironically — doing propaganda of her own. But, yeah, paywalls are gumming up the works.

In case you're wondering what was in that 2017 WaPo article about its ominous slogan, I crossed the paywall for you:

"Former President Donald Trump’s pick to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney in the race for Wyoming’s lone House seat holds a commanding 22-point lead with a month until the primary..."

"... a new Casper Star-Tribune poll shows. Natural resources attorney Harriet Hageman leads Cheney 52% to 30%, the poll shows.... In past elections, Cheney has handily beat her primary opponent. And given that Wyoming is one of the nation’s most conservative states, the Republican House nominee often coasts to victory in the general election. But the Wyoming Republican Party has turned on Cheney, censuring her soon after Trump’s impeachment and voting last fall to no longer recognize her as a member of the GOP...." 

"Let’s say a family of four is going on a weeklong vacation to Hawaii. One of the adults is taking a good-quality dedicated camera, and everyone else..."

"... will be snapping away with their smartphones. How many pictures should the family aim to end up with? Consider the possibility that a reasonable number is eight."

You might have to take five hundred pictures in Hawaii to get eight truly good ones—and, even then, getting those eight good ones won’t be easy.... Mindless snapping of “the sights” isn’t going to hack it. Dozens of images of marine life beneath a glass-bottomed boat won’t make up for missing the zip line that was the highlight of your ten-year-old’s trip. 
The same principle applies when you’re not on vacation. It’s tempting to take—and keep—many photos of birthday parties, picnics, athletic competitions, and so on. But numerous events can be commemorated with a single picture. It just has to be a good one, and to tell enough of the story....

What is the "story"? I don't think it's the thing that was most exciting to do — including that "zip line that was the highlight of your ten-year-old’s trip." Looking back, I would want to see how everyday life felt at a particular time wherever we were in our life. The special occasions matter the least. I look back at the photographs taken of my family when I was a child and I see a ludicrous delusion that we, in the future, would care above all about the opening Christmas presents. It may have felt like the "highlight" of a kid's year at the time, but it's utterly meaningless now. 

IN THE COMMENTS: Mike Johnston wrote:
BTW (I wrote the New Yorker article), I loved Ann's question "What is the 'story'?" That really is the question.

But as a practical matter it's also "...and what worked as a photograph?" Lots of times we know the picture we would have wanted, but it didn't work, and instead we got the birthday girl on the porch admiring her own cake. So then that becomes the picture of the 11th birthday because the one that would have told the story better didn't turn out to be such a good picture. To steal (and mangle) a quote from Robin Kelsey's "Photography and the Art of Chance," the world is a mix of order and disorder, and what works as a picture is the sum of a series of accidents. Put shortly, you have to try your hardest to get what you want but then, later, when you edit, you have to put all that aside and also be totally open to what worked and what didn't.

Yes, I love the potential to be surprised by one’s own photographs… and by the cool happenstance of blogging, like this lovely visit from the article’s author. 

July 15, 2022

The lake in the early evening — 5:55 and 5:47.

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Talk about anything you want in the comments.

And here's a bee on that coneflower (video by Meade, unintended audio by me):

I've got 7 TikToks for you tonight. Let me know what you like.

1. If "Seinfeld" were on today and George used the wrong pronouns.

2. The most disorienting thing about being alive today.

3. The best father-playing-guitar-for-baby video ever.

4. How to act when you see an attractive person.

5. How to kiss a girl.

5. Living conditions inside a truck.

6. "Oh, I'm so sorry. We're actually out of nothing."

7. What does she want?

ADDED: Looking at this at 6:22 the next morning, I see there are two 5s, for a total of 8. Too late to change all that now.

The Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Day today is, we are told, "humorous," "obsolete," and "Apparently an isolated use."

It seems silly to make an obsolete word the Word of the Day, but it is a silly word: "pantopragmatics." 

Definition: "The notional branch of knowledge dealing with meddling in all things."

There's one quote, perhaps the only existing quote, unless we start using it, now that it's been pointed out:
1860    T. L. Peacock Gryll Grange viii, in  Fraser's Mag. May 617   Two or three..arch-quacks, have taken to merry-andrewising in a new arena, which they call the Science of Pantopragmatics.

"My position on Khashoggi has been so clear. If anyone doesn’t understand it, in Saudi Arabia or anywhere else, then they haven’t been around for a while."

Said President Biden, quoted in "Biden lands in Saudi Arabia — a country he once vowed to make a 'pariah'" (Axios).

What is a "pariah"? Can you visit pariahs, if there's something you want from them?

The historical meaning of "Pariah" is (OED):

"I’m just a social democrat, man. Trying to make the world a better place."

Said Ruy Teixeira, quoted in "'A real chilling effect': A Lefty Scholar is Dumping CAP — For AEI/Ruy Teixeira predicted Obama’s rise. Now he’s scorning DC’s liberal think tanks for caring more about diversity than class" (Politico).
To hear Teixeira tell it, CAP [Center for American Progress], and the rest of Washington’s institution-based left, stopped being a place where he could do the work he wanted. The reason, he says, is that the relentless focus on race, gender, and identity in historically liberal foundations and think tanks has made it hard to do work that looks at society through other prisms.... 

"People are being prescribed how they should talk, how to write, and now how to party. This prudish nannying of the politically correct brigade must stop. We are heading for an anti-fun society."

That's a quote from Bild, "the powerful German tabloid," in "Schlager louts? Row erupts over ‘sexist’ pop hit in Germany/Town festival authorities refuse to play chart-topping Layla by DJ Robin & Schürze, prompting complaints of censorship" (The Guardian).
They are loud in volume, unsophisticated in tune and often offensively bawdy in content. With titles ranging from Sex With a Bavarian to Big Tits Potato Salad, the ballermann sub-genre of schlager pop is a big hit in German-dominated nightclubs on the Balearic island of Mallorca.... 
Layla, by DJ Robin & Schürze, which has sat atop the German singles charts for the last three weeks, is a song about a madam at a brothel who is “more beautiful, younger, foxier” than the other sex workers at her establishment....

I'm surprised anyone cares about sexy lyrics anymore. It's almost touching. I looked up the lyrics to "Layla" (which is obviously not the old Derek and the Dominoes number). Here's the English translation. It says "more beautiful, younger, hornier," by the way. I'm glad The Guardian protected me with "foxier," even as it went out of its way to say "Big Tits Potato Salad."

This is the second time today — and it's only 6:49 a.m. — that I've been smacked in the face by "tits" when I was just trying to read a stodgy old mainstream publication. I was looking up the word "slurp" in the OED, because I wanted to see if it did in fact originate in onomatopoeia, as implied by a crossword puzzle clue I'd just seen. Well, look at the the 1971 quote under the figurative use:

"The agglomeration of legal talent on both sides of Twitter v. Musk is mind-boggling—as is the amount of money being billed on this case."

"But with stakes ranging from a $1 billion breakup fee on the low end to a $44 billion acquisition on the high end, with lots of room for a settlement in between, there’s plenty of cash sloshing around to cover the lawyers’ fees.... Who will prevail in the end? I agree with the conventional wisdom that Twitter has the upper hand. It seems to me that Musk simply got a case of buyer’s remorse, especially after the stock market (including Tesla’s share price) went south.... [T]he reasons given by Musk for walking away seem pretextual. Yes, specific performance is generally a disfavored remedy in contract law compared to money damages.... [but Delaware] Chancery has not hesitated to order specific performance of billion-dollar M&A deals in the past... [I]f Twitter v. Musk goes to trial, the spectacle will be incredible. I’m not big on scatology, so I tuned out Amber Heard’s testimony about poop on the bed. But Elon Musk testifying about his poop emojis? I’m here for it."

Writes David Lat (at Original Jurisdiction).

When are things melodramatic enough that we feel like watching? If we are lawyers, then maybe contracts worth a big enough amount of money are enough. I will never forget the way a partner — at the "biglaw" firm where I worked before I became a lawprof — overpronounced the "b" in "billions." If it's a "b" and not an "m," you'd better stand in awe. I wanted to work on cases that had interesting issues, and for that, in that place, I got called "an intellectual."

Speaking of "b" and "m," long ago, when I was growing up, the conventional word for the substance that is now called "poop" — when speaking around children and other delicate folk — was "b.m." At least in the region where I lived, the place with the famous Chancery Court, Delaware. People would say, "Oh, no, I stepped in dog b.m." or "This place smells like b.m." 

And as long as we are talking about Elon Musk and melodrama and scampering away from high finance to more lowly things, here's this new headline in the NY Post: "Elon Musk’s dad, 76, confirms secret second child — with his stepdaughter" ("Elon has not publicly commented on his father’s latest baby admission. The pair are still estranged, with Elon describing his dad as a 'terrible human being'...").

"The fact that she has yet to be publicly branded as a rape survivor who got an abortion does not lessen the trauma she’s likely experiencing..."

"... as her tale gets bandied about in the news. What does it say about a political movement that expects a literal child to carry that much weight? Why do we consistently expect the most vulnerable members of society to not merely endure the most grotesque violations but to publicly broadcast their traumas for the good of the rest of us? What might it look like if abortion-rights advocacy didn’t hinge on the personal traumas of those most harmed by abortion restrictions — if, instead of highlighting the deaths, the imprisonments, the pregnant children, we simply started from the position that abortion is, at a fundamental level, both health care and a social good? What if, instead of evoking the trauma of a nameless 10-year-old, Biden had offered a platform to people who are proud to talk about how easy access to abortion enabled them to plan their lives, and their families, on their own terms?... Promoting that framework for abortion would [empower] the most vulnerable abortion seekers... to decide when, and how, to share the story of their trauma on their own terms and not on anyone else’s."

Writes Lux Alptraum in "A 10-Year-Old Survivor Shouldn’t Be the Face of This Fight" (New York Magazine).

The suffering of a child is offered up as a counterweight to the destruction of the life of the unborn. That's the answer to those questions, as I'm sure Alptraum realizes. But her point stands. She's asking abortion supporters to resist using vulnerable persons as leverage in the fight for access to abortion.

July 14, 2022

Sunrise — 5:32, 5:34.

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Talk about whatever you want in the comments.

I've got 5 TikToks for you tonight. Let me know what you like best.

1. A way of planting potatoes.

2. A way of slicing apples.

3. Camping... and terrorized by ducks.

4. A song about thinking of what you wanted to say long after it's too late.

5. Coming upon a sandwich station that someone else did.

"James Webb Space Telescope images ranked by how good they look to eat."

Ha ha. 

That's the first headline I read — absolutely not kidding — after I emerged from the comments section of the first post of the day, where I'd just written 4 comments bouncing off the question — posed by Inga — "How can any human not be in awe?"

1. "If you're so lacking in imagination, then your idea of what is objectively awesome is meaningless."  

2. "BTW, what is 'awe'? OED: 'Originally: a feeling of fear or dread, mixed with profound reverence, typically as inspired by God or the divine. Subsequently: a feeling of reverential respect, mixed with wonder or fear, typically as inspired by a person of great authority, accomplishments, etc., or (from the 18th century) by the power or beauty of the natural world.'"

3. "'Reverence' is 'Deep respect, veneration, or admiration for someone or something, esp. a person or thing regarded as sacred or holy.'"  

4. "What is the object of respect here — the universe itself or the images human beings were able to produce? I think it's the latter."

This post gets my "religion substitutes" tag. And I have imagination enough to know that some of us don't do religion or even have a "religion-shaped hole" that we hanker to have something jammed into.

"PICTURED: Horrific injuries of selfie-taking US tourist, 23, who toppled into Mount Vesuvius as he tried to retrieve his phone when it fell into the volcano."

 Headline at The Daily Mail.

Philip Carroll, 23, of Maryland was hiking with family members on a forbidden trail up the notorious Mount Vesuvius/At the 4,000-foot summit he stopped to take a selfie to memorialize his achievement/Carroll lost his grip on his cellphone and it landed a few meters inside the lip of the crater....
'He tried to recover it, but slipped and slid a few meters into the crater. He managed to stop his fall, but at that point he was stuck.... He was very lucky. If he kept going, he would have plunged 300 meters into the crater.'...

There's something very grand about Vesuvius, and he didn't die, so we hear about it. But how many people a year die from falling while trying to "memorialize the achievement" of climbing to some high position by taking a selfie?

I think the typical selfie death fall involves turning your back to the edge of a precipice and then taking a step backward or leaning or posing and losing balance. But this was a case of dropping the phone and grabbing at it. Mega-stupid. But he doesn't even get a Darwin Award!

"Biden is the third U.S. president to visit Israel since 2013, and his visit is undeniably the most boring of them all."

"That’s not a criticism of Biden, however. In fact, the opposite is true – it’s a compliment. The uneventful and uncontroversial first day of his visit, which included fist bumps and handshakes at the airport, an exhibition of Israeli defense systems and a trip to Yad Vashem, represents a good kind of boring, which had been missing from the U.S.-Israel relationship under Biden’s two predecessors. When Donald Trump arrived in Israel in May 2017... [all the media] it had to do was place a camera in front of America’s erratic president... and let his unpredictable behavior and immature understanding of the world speak for themselves.... [Obama's] visit to Israel in 2013 was also great TV drama – a tense meeting between two rivals who had just spent the four years of Obama’s first term fighting each other over endless policy disagreements.... [Biden's visit] truly is a boring visit.... Israel is better off with a president who comes here for 48 hours, sees an Iron Dome battery, pledges to stop Iran from getting nukes, greets the American team at the Maccabiah games, and moves on to his next, more urgent challenges."

Spelling Bee appeals to the women.

I reveal the first 2 things I found in today's NYT Spelling Bee:

"During the Apollo era... NASA flooded the public domain with views of both the astronauts themselves and photographs taken by the astronauts."

"One goal was bottling wonder.... In the decades after Apollo funding evaporated, a new visual culture emerged from NASA missions connected to the Jet Propulsion Lab in California and a cohort of Hollywood-adjacent scientists like Carl Sagan. They promoted a new rationale for wandering into the expanse for the sake of intellectual curiosity, not just to beat the Russians."

Yet President Biden remained grounded in the old rationale. He said: "These images are going to remind the world that America can do big things."

In the new rationale, we don't get a flood of photographs. We get a slow succession of carefully chosen, heavily processed images.

The news media and politicians were invited to galas to see eagerly anticipated first glimpses of other planets, beamed back like postcards from sightseeing drives through the solar system. In this era, at the inception of digital imagery, engineers on missions like Voyager often experimented with combining multi-wavelength data into pictures with ultra-vivid hues, said Elizabeth Kessler, a historian of visual culture at Stanford. "They just look like throbbing, shifting, morphing, psychedelic colors," she said.... 
In 2016, a committee of representatives from the Space Telescope Science Institute, NASA and the European and Canadian space agencies convened to start choosing Webb’s very first demo targets. They checked off boxes that vibed with the telescope’s scientific goals: a deeper-than-ever deep field, galaxies pulsing in the void like jellyfish, a star with an attendant exoplanet, star-forming regions like the Carina Nebula and more.... 
Stars in Webb images have six points, unlike the four spikes common in most space photography, a quirk that emerges from the quantum mumbo-jumbo of how incoming photons lap against this telescope’s structure and are then gathered up by its hexagonal mirrors. In particular wavelengths.... clouds that would otherwise look diffuse seem to have hard soap-bubble surfaces, skins of interstellar gas that are absorbing ultraviolet light from nearby stars and shining it back into space as infrared radiation. And in the mid-infrared, when space itself looks afire because of glowing molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are produced by aging stars, colors again get wonky. 'We end up having psychedelic purple clouds'.... 
Will anything land as hard as the Apollo shots?

Part of the science is the science of our emotions and how to manipulate them with images. We are expected to gape and gasp "wow." Color is big. The word psychedelic keeps coming up. Composition matters. They choose to put solid-looking "vaguely geologic structures" at the bottom to mentally orient us in something that feels like a landscape:

Think 19th-century paintings from surveys of the Western frontier, the photography of Ansel Adams, background scenery in countless Westerns — or El Capitan, from Yosemite National Park, looming in the desktop background of a Mac computer.

They are hoping this will "land as hard as the Apollo shots." I remember how Apollo interfaced with the public. I was a skeptic at the time. I'm quick to feel the manipulation and resist. I'm not saying the science isn't worthy, only that what we are getting is a show about science. 

July 13, 2022

At the Wildflower Café...

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 ... you can write about anything you want (including the Chinese government and TikTok).

Overheard at Meadhouse.

I think this is a great set of TikToks. I think people are going to like them. I've got them trained now to talk about whether they like them. None of this ooh, the Chinese government. You just gave your telephone number to Donald Trump. Truth Social. Call me, Donald. 

Include me in your group text. Let me know when you're having your next insurrection.

Text me, Donald. Include me in the insur-text-ion.

The real one, this time. 

We're going full John Bolton. 

Never go full John Bolton.

Here are 8 TikToks for your delectation tonight. Let me know what you like best.

 1. You know what it means when you kick the Italian husband under the table.

2. That feeling, halfway through a hike.

3. What kind of reader are you?

4. Sometimes there really is a rescue possum.

5. Sometimes the cat is satanic.

6. Meet Andrea, the on-line influencer.

7. "Yeah, space is sexy. It's also none of my business...."

8. "Is baby talk ever acceptable?"

"A Columbus man has been charged with impregnating a 10-year-old Ohio girl, whose travel to Indiana to seek an abortion led to international attention..."

"... following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade and activation of Ohio's abortion law. Gershon Fuentes, 27, whose last known address was an apartment on Columbus' Northwest Side, was arrested Tuesday after police say he confessed to raping the child on at least two occasions. He's since been charged with rape, a felony of the first degree in Ohio.Columbus police were made aware of the girl's pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services that was made by her mother on June 22, Det. Jeffrey Huhn testified Wednesday morning at Fuentes arraignment."

There had been some doubts cast on this story. A few days ago, I wrote:

"When Elon Musk came to the White House asking me for help on all of his many subsidized projects, whether it’s electric cars that don’t drive long enough, driverless cars that crash..."

"... or rocketships to nowhere, without which subsidies he’d be worthless, and telling me how he was a big Trump fan and Republican, I could have said, 'drop to your knees and beg,' and he would have done it…"
 
Writes Donald Trump (at Truth).

Twitter's writing prompt is "What's happening?"





I don't know what's happening now, but for me, this morning, that prompt — "What's happening" — unlocked an old memory, the 60s catchphrase, "It's what's happening, baby."

"[T]he confluence of economic problems and resurgent cultural issues has helped turn the emerging class divide in the Democratic coalition into a chasm..."

"... as Republicans appear to be making new inroads among nonwhite and working-class voters — perhaps especially Hispanic voters — who remain more concerned about the economy and inflation than abortion rights and guns. For the first time in a Times/Siena national survey, Democrats had a larger share of support among white college graduates than among nonwhite voters — a striking indication of the shifting balance of political energy in the Democratic coalition. As recently as the 2016 congressional elections, Democrats won more than 70 percent of nonwhite voters while losing among white college graduates."

Writes Nate Cohn in "Poll Shows Tight Race for Control of Congress as Class Divide Widens/Nonwhite and working-class Democrats worry more about the economy, while white college graduates focus more on cultural issues like abortion rights and guns" (NYT).

This is one of the graphics. Don't miss the fine print that shows the smallness of the segment of voters that puts the "blue" issues first:

"Before Roe was overturned, architecture became an effective tool to limit abortion access, as states used regulatory codes — like zoning and building codes..."

"... to make it extremely difficult to operate. Known as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, TRAP laws included Texas’s HB 2, a 2013 law that required abortion clinics to meet the same requirements as ambulatory-surgery centers, which included a lower staff-to-patient ratio; larger exam rooms, hallways, and doorways; having a room dedicated to operations; and complex HVAC systems. In just three years after HB 2 was passed, Texas went from 40 to 16 clinics. Abortions doubled in neighboring states....  There are over 70 architects from 16 states currently on the growing list of those willing to help expand or build new clinics. The list will not be publicly published, and will be shared only with clinics that are looking for architectural services, as a way to protect the architects’ and clinics’ privacy and help guard against retaliation...."

"We are... publishing the entire video for those who want to see what we obtained... [W]e blurred the identity of a child who exits a bathroom as the shooter approaches the classroom."

"The child runs back to bathroom to hide and was later rescued. We also have removed the sound of children screaming as the gunman enters the classroom. We consider this too graphic. We have also chosen to show the face of the gunman as he enters this school. Our news organization guidelines state that we should not glorify these individuals and give them the notoriety that they seek. We chose, in this instance, to show his face to chisel away at any conspiracy that we are hiding something. This last point included much discussion among our senior leaders.... Some three minutes after the shooting begins, three officers initially respond and run to the classroom door, where there is more gunfire, and the three officers retreat to the end of the hallway and stand behind the corners that provide some cover. For the next hour-plus, officers congregate and amass in the hallway and then more show up. Heavily armed officers from at least five agencies stand in the hallway that lead to the classrooms. These officers carry dozens of high-powered rifles, handguns, vests, helmets, camouflage gear and shields.... After 77 minutes, the video shows the officers breach the classroom."

"I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to raise an American girl in this moment.... Their right to bodily autonomy is more conditional."

"The backlash against not conforming to gendered ideals seems more virulent than in recent memory.... Maybe part of the answer is telling the truth in all its absurd failure and glory. Several brilliant American Girl doll meme accounts on Instagram have done just that. They’ve made me laugh and, even though they’re laced with dark irony, they still retain some of the plucky hopefulness of Kit and Samantha. These accounts take photos of the American Girls and put them in ridiculous situations for a doll. Many of their posts portray the dolls witnessing random historical moments — like when Dan Quayle misspelled the word 'potato' — with their blank yet slightly knowing half-smiles dominating the images.... A meme account whose Instagram handle is a bawdy play on 'Kit Kittredge' posted a viral image after Roe v. Wade fell, highlighting the states where the Nixon-era American Girl doll Julie may have had more access to abortion in 1974 than we do today.... Within the world of these memes, there is nothing the world won’t throw at an American Girl doll, and there is nothing she can’t do.... [My daughter is] a few years away from marching on the National Mall, but she’s learning that progress doesn’t happen without effort and determination, and that’s a message any American girl should know by heart."

Writes Jessica Grose, in "What It Means to Raise an American Girl Now" (NYT).

The "bawdy play on 'Kit Kittredge'" — presumably not fit to print in the New York Times (those body shamers!) — is "Klit Klittredge," and here's how that image looked:

"Tattooing is perfectly safe. The real reason it was made illegal was that people associate tattoos with undesirable types."

"They figured that by getting rid of tattoo artists, they’d get rid of undesirables."

When he made the quoted statement, it was 1976, and he was breaking the New York City law against tattooing. He did it publicly, in front of the Museum of Modern Art — "a bit of performance art as civil disobedience" (in the words of the NYT obituary). 

He was — in the classic civil disobedience format — arrested. That gave him a chance to argue in court that there's a First Amendment right to tattoo. He lost, but tattooing continued, and ultimately, in 1997, the ban ended. 

"Tapper didn’t immediately stop Bolton, who worked in the last four Republican administrations, when he admitted orchestrating coups abroad."

"Eventually, though, the CNN host asked his guest to elaborate, and Bolton pointed to the attempted effort in 2019 by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro. (At the time, Bolton publicly said the plot, which the Trump administration supported, was 'not a coup.') When Tapper asked him if 'there’s other stuff you’re not telling me,' Bolton played coy: 'I think I’m sure there is.'"

From "John Bolton Admitted on National TV That He Helped Plan Coups"
(NY Magazine).

July 12, 2022

A Lunchtime Café...

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... write about whatever you want.

The — photo with a large duck family — shows the sunrise at 5:23 this morning.

My new collection of TikToks goes all the way to 11. Let me know what you like best.

1. Such an intense night.

2. Far away and then very close

3. Emmanuel! Do not do it! Don't do it, Emmanuel!

4. You let a marshmallow guilt-trip you.

5. A pretty arty song about shame.

6. I can't not show you the man in shorts when he's in Wisconsin... and these are the shorts.

7. I will take my shirt off before executing you/I don't think I need that, personally.

8. The history of pants raises the question why anyone is wearing pants today.

9. Finding it so much easier to talk to the dog.

10. No. We do not think you're sexy.

11. New advice from the certified vibesmith.

"Like so much of the world right now, the Starbucks business as it is built today is not set up to fully satisfy the evolving behaviors, needs and expectations of our partners or customers."

Said Howard Schultz, quoted in "Starbucks Closing Some Stores, Citing Safety Concerns in Certain Cafes/Coffee chain said it is permanently closing 16 cafes after workers reported drug use by members of the public and crime concerns" (WSJ).
Starbucks said it would permanently close six stores each in the Seattle and Los Angeles areas, two in Portland, Ore., and single locations in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. by the end of the month

"Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. And that light that you are seeing on one of those little specks has been travelling for over 13 billion years."

"And by the way, we're going back further, because this is just the first image. They're going back about 13 and a half billion years. And since we know the Universe is 13.8 billion years old, you're going back almost to the beginning." 

Said NASA administrator Bill Nelson, quoted in "James Webb telescope takes super sharp view of early cosmos" (BBC).

President Biden dragged the profound down to earth, to rah-rah-America-is-great politics:  "These images are going to remind the world that America can do big things, and remind the American people — especially our children — that there's nothing beyond our capacity. We can see possibilities no-one has ever seen before. We can go places no-one has ever gone before."

You're looking at an image that shows a tiny part of the universe, including what is 13 billion years old, and that's what you want to say? That is so far beyond the existence of Earth, let alone the existence of human beings. It makes me think of how infinitesimal America is, not how big. We can look back 13.5 billion years, where no one has gone before, but we are not going there, and it is something — something huge — that is beyond our capacity. 

"They gather on Telegram to let out howls of grief and short, sharp shrieks of pain. 'Eeeeeeee!' yowls a young woman. 'Waahahahah,' roars a man in a deep baritone."

"A third person wails like a baby. These are victims of the cryptocurrency bloodbath, 3,315 of whom have assembled in a 'Bear Market Screaming Therapy Group' group to vent their anguish. 'I had a few people lamenting and crying,' says the group’s founder, a 30-year-old cryptocurrency investor who gives only his first name, Giulio. 'I decided not to ban them. I felt bad. They weren’t even able to scream any more. They were just sobbing.'"

You don't hear about scream therapy much anymore. It was a 1970s thing. There was a book by Arthur Janov called "The Primal Scream." John Lennon and Yoko Ono talked about it. Here's the Wikipedia article "Primal Therapy":
Janov states that neurosis is the result of suppressed pain, which is the result of trauma, usually trauma of childhood origin. 
Not so much about losing money in the financial markets.

"Uber paid high-profile academics in Europe and the US hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce reports that could be used as part of the company’s lobbying campaign."

"The Uber files, a cache of thousands of confidential documents leaked to the Guardian, reveal lucrative deals with several leading academics who were paid to publish research on the benefits of its economic model.... Using techniques common in party political campaigns, Uber targeted academics and thinktanks to help it construct a positive narrative, namely that it created well-paid jobs that drivers liked, delivered cheap transport to consumers and boosted productivity.... Scholars were excited about Uber’s data because it gave them rare real-time evidence about the effect of prices on markets – one of the key issues among liberal economists arguing for free markets."

"Politics right now in the world is all kinds of crazy, and I feel like the creature that I drew kind of resembles the craziness of politics and the world right now."

Said Hudson Rowan, 14, who entered the Ulster County competition to design the new "I VOTED" sticker, quoted in "What Has 6 Legs, 2 Eyes and 158,500 Votes? This 'I Voted’' Sticker. 'This is how we all feel about politics right now,' a Twitter user wrote of one submission for a New York county’s 'I voted' sticker design contest" (NYT). 

   
It's a voting sticker and they put it up for a vote — along with 5 other submissions from teenagers. You can see them all here. The rest are respectfully sedate, reflecting the concept of voting as a civic duty. In the predictable style of internet voting — need I say "Boaty McBoatface"? — the wild-eyed voter-insect has 93% of the vote.

"If there’s one consolation in Biden’s age, it’s that he can step aside without conceding failure. There’s no shame in not running for president in your 80s."

"He emerged from semiretirement to save the country from a second Trump term, and for that we all owe him a great debt. But now we need someone who can stand up to the still-roiling forces of Trumpism. There are plenty of possibilities: If Vice President Kamala Harris’s approval ratings remain underwater, Democrats have a number of charismatic governors and senators they can turn to. Biden said, during the 2020 campaign, that he wanted to be a 'bridge' to a new generation of Democrats. Soon it will be time to cross it."

That's the end of the new Michelle Goldberg column, "Joe Biden Is Too Old to Be President Again" (NYT).

There's a link on "underwater" and "bridge" but not on "a number of charismatic governors and senators." I wonder who that refers to but guess that they sound more charismatic without names attached. Those wonderful governors and senators out there somewhere. Gavin Newsom, presumably. One is a number, after all. Two can be as bad as one. 

Anyway, did the NYT notice the ambiguity in the headline. Does it mean he wasn't too old the first time, but if he wants to be "president again," we must inform him that now he's aged out? Or does it mean he was too old before and he's too old again?

Who wrote these stupid lines for Jill Biden — "as distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx... and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio"?

That's a description of human beings!

It's like something you'd make a politician character say in a movie comedy — and I don't mean a sophisticated comedy. Just a mainstream comedy that would make a general audience laugh.

I'm reading "Jill Biden rebuked after saying Latinos as unique as ‘breakfast tacos.'"

Jill Biden was praising civil rights icon Raul Yzaguirre during the annual conference of UnidosUS.... 

“Raul helped build this organization with the understanding that the diversity of this community — as distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx, as beautiful as the blossoms of Miami, and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio — is your strength,” Biden said. 

When addressing the Bronx bodegas though, she mispronounced the convenience stores and said “bogedas.”... 

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists panned the remarks, stating, “We are not tacos.”

Isn't it obvious that you don't liken an ethnic group to its conventional food? Notice that the words seem to be intended to say that the individuals within the community are different from each other. There's diversity within the set of people who are Hispanic. But then she cited a stereotypical food — breakfast tacos — and presented them as diverse. That's the level of individualism — the way a breakfast format accommodates different food items.

I can't think of any other examples of public speech comparing an ethnic or a racial group to the food people associate with them. Maybe you can suggest a comparable statement about white people — as unique as the....

July 11, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...

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... you can write about whatever you want.

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"The hotel launched its Sleep Concierge service in early 2021, assisting guests with all things slumber through a range of services and amenities..."

"... from hypnotherapy to calming tea.... The hotel is one of many to invest more heavily in sleep-themed services, with offerings across numerous properties aimed at helping guests get the most out of their shut-eye.... The Cadogan partnered with hypnotherapist Malminder Gill to create a meditation audio recording, and it also offers a pillow menu, a weighted blanket, a lavender pillow mist and more, all included in the room price. Guests also can book a private in-room session with Gill in advance for around $375."


If only hotels could ensure that you'd be able to sleep. How much would that cost? 

Imagine paying $375 to get Malminder Gill to come to your room and make you go to sleep. Would that help? Or would that make it harder to sleep? I don't know. Maybe he has a way to drive the thought what the hell am I paying $375 for out of your head.

If you want people to trust vote drop boxes, it's obtuse to post political signs on them.

Seen today in Madison (near Camp Randall): 

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The signs say "Banned by antidemocratic right-wing extremists," "Wisconsin Republican Legislators are crafting laws RIGHT NOW to keep you from putting your ballots in U.S. Mail Drop Boxes. BEWARE," and "NO MERCY."

Context: The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently held that these drop boxes are illegal. As The NYT wrote:

"Even if Twitter does prevail in recovering the deal or recouping a $1 billion breakup fee, a court battle [could force Twitter] to make key business metrics public..."

"... inviting questions from Wall Street about the overall health of the company, which turned its first profit in 2018 amid a major financial retooling. Donna Hitscherich, a Columbia Business School professor, said Musk’s filing will naturally raise questions about why he lost interest... Anticipating more scrutiny of the role of bots in the deal, Twitter gave a Thursday background briefing to reporters. The core of the presentation was about how Twitter calculates its estimate that unwanted bots make up less than 5 percent of what it terms monetizable average daily users, those which the company feels comfortable charging advertisers to reach. Twitter does not ban all bots, which include purposeful automated accounts, such as those that post otter pictures on the hour or the temperature in a specific location. Instead, the company is looking for indicators that include mass creation accounts or coordination among humans to artificially amplify a tweet, set of tweets or topic....  [T]he company is measuring and disclosing problematic accounts, not their activity or impressions — so a small number of accounts might have a large footprint of views...."
I bet you did thing there'd be otters in this story.

"President Biden is facing an alarming level of doubt from inside his own party, with 64 percent of Democratic voters saying they would prefer a new standard-bearer..."

"... in the 2024 presidential campaign, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll, as voters nationwide have soured on his leadership, giving him a meager 33 percent job-approval rating.... More than three-quarters of registered voters see the United States moving in the wrong direction, a pervasive sense of pessimism that spans every corner of the country, every age range and racial group, cities, suburbs and rural areas, as well as both political parties.... In the survey, 94 percent of Democrats under the age of 30 said they would prefer a different presidential nominee.... One glimmer of good news for Mr. Biden is that the survey showed him with a narrow edge in a hypothetical rematch in 2024 with former President Donald J. Trump: 44 percent to 41 percent. The result is a reminder of one of Mr. Biden’s favorite aphorisms: 'Don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative.'"

"A New York City bodega group says the Big Apple should adopt a local version of Florida’s controversial 'Stand Your Ground' law after a Manhattan store worker was charged with murder..."

"... for defending himself. United Bodegas of America — which has rallied behind Jose Alba, the 61-year-old shop employee facing a slay rap after fending off a violent ex-con — said Sunday that the measure is needed to protect others who toil behind the counter. 'Bottom line — in Florida, this is what you would consider stand your ground,' UBA spokesman Fernando Mateo said at a press conference, referring to Alba’s case. 'That’s what New York City needs,' Mateo said of the law.... Mateo said a more expansive statute in New York, similar to Florida’s, would have provided Alba with legal grounds for stabbing and mortally wounding 35-year-old Austin Simon when he stormed behind the counter July 1 and accosted Alba. Alba tried to get past Simon and pulled a knife when he was unable to flee, in the caught-on-video incident."


A "stand your ground" law would only save him from need to prove that he could not flee, but we are told that "he was unable to flee" (and that's how it looks in the video). The more difficult question is whether he believed he was threatened by great bodily harm, and that's still an issue if there is a "stand your ground" law. If someone is only trying to rob you, you don't get to kill them.

"I am very passionate about politics and current events, even more so after the past few years. My brother-in-law, 'Brad' is silent on these topics."

"A few times I asked my husband what he thought and he just said Brad 'wasn't very political.' I volunteer for a local chapter of a national organization that aligns with my values. Last week I saw a donor list and Brad donated a substantial sum.... I came home and asked my husband about it. I was surprised Brad has this kind of money to donate. I’m also surprised somebody who isn’t very political would use their money this way. My husband did not seem surprised at all and just said that I saw the donor list as a volunteer and I shouldn’t bring it into the family."

Says a letter to the WaPo advice columnist from a woman who finds it "really weird." I find that pretty funny, because I don't think it's weird at all. Some people hate to talk about politics, especially with somebody who's "very passionate." You might think somebody who doesn't want to talk about your issues must be secretly on the other side (or just apathetic), but I can think of lots of reasons to want to avoid conversations with someone who's intense and verbal in support of causes that I support too. If you're getting together with someone, you want to spend time with them, to learn what's going on in their personal world, not to hear something like social media bloviating. 

The columnist opines that it's weird, but only "low-key weird."

Here's a reason that I, specifically, do not talk about politics in person even with someone I agree with. I feel an ethical responsibility to represent people who are missing from a conversation, especially if my in-person interlocutor expresses contempt for those people or misstates their reasons for believing what they do. That puts me in a "really weird" position.

Why should any man becumber himself with a cucumber?

I wonder, reading...

 becumber  v.

Brit. Hear pronunciation/bᵻˈkʌmbə/
U.S. Hear pronunciation/bəˈkəmbər/
Hear pronunciation/biˈkəmbər/

1550    M. Coverdale tr. O. Werdmueller Spyrytuall & Precyouse Pearle xxi. sig. Hvjv   Why shulde any man..becomber hym selfe about that thing?

I'm reading the Oxford English Dictionary, specifically the entries under the second definition of the prefix "be-," which is used "Forming intensive verbs, with sense of 'thoroughly..., soundly, much, conspicuously, to excess, ridiculously,'" and which arose this morning — as these things do — in the context of "bepenised."

I had blogged a quote that referred to "the spectacle of bepenised straight heterosexual males." Quite aside from the context — go back to that post if you care about context — there was some clamor over the word "bepenised."

My dear husband Meade commented:
To bepenised or not to bepenised… 
Bespectacled. Bepenised. Bemused.
And now, I'm very proud and happy to present one of my newest and nicest friends:

"The idea that some hapless, well-meaning person would put up a poster like this, thinking that they had a cat..."

"... it just seemed so funny to her. So it was obvious that it was a joke. She really didn't expect the calls."

 

I highly recommend "The Possum Experiment," the new episode of "This American Life," which is centered on the question whether people are basically good and can be trusted. 

All the segments were high quality, not just the part about the possum experiment. There's also a part about a black male comedian who went blind:

Can we — most of us — come together and agree to allow access to abortion in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy — or at least the first 10?

I'm seeing this at Twitter this morning: And it's something I'd discovered on my own, independently. In a post on July 2, I discussed a little unscientific poll of mine called "What sort of law protecting access to abortion do you think Congress should pass?" I'd noticed the problem with the polls I was seeing: They were just asking if there should be statutes establishing a right to abortion. But:

"Except the T has interests that are diametrically opposed to those of the LGB. How so? By denying that homosexuality is same-sex attraction..."

"... and attempting to replace it with 'same-gender' attraction. Whence the spectacle of bepenised straight heterosexual males who identify as 'trans' (and thus consider themselves 'lesbians') browbeating actual lesbians into considering them as sexual partners, with the inevitable accusations of 'transphobia' raining down on lesbians who insist that they are only attracted to women. Think I'm kidding? Google 'cotton ceiling.' Or have a look at this: https://twitter.com/Rocio_Arias_/status/1490314002295046150."

Banjopotato gets some pushback from BuffaloGal78:

July 10, 2022

Sunrise — 5:28, 5:30.

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Talk about whatever you like in the comments.

Sarah Palin, praising Donald Trump.

ADDED: Rupar has some more good clips:

"Searching for Rosebud, Auletta alights, for lack of better explanations, on the Weinstein brothers’ flame-haired and apparently flame-tempered mother, Miriam..."

"... (for whom their company was named, along with their milder father, Max, a diamond cutter who died of a heart attack at 52). A childhood friend told Auletta that Harvey referred to Miriam as 'Momma Portnoy,' after the shrill character in Philip Roth’s 'Portnoy’s Complaint.' [Harvey's brother] Bob, who somehow avoided growing into a 'beast,' as Harvey is repeatedly described here, allows for the possibility of Miriam’s frustration at her life’s limitations. 'She could have been Sheryl Sandberg or one of these C.E.O.s of a company. She had that kind of smarts,' he told Auletta. Instead, she proudly brought rugelach to her sons’ headquarters, and had an epitaph worthy of Dorothy Parker: 'I don’t like the atmosphere or the crowd.'"

From "‘Hollywood Ending,’ a Cradle-to-Jail Biography of Harvey Weinstein/Ken Auletta looks for Weinstein’s Rosebud in this dispiriting account of the former movie mogul’s life" by Alexandra Jacobs (NYT)(reviewing "HOLLYWOOD ENDING/Harvey Weinstein and the Culture of Silence" by Ken Auletta).

"Ed departments in colleges. If you work in a college you know, unless you work in the ed department.... They are the dumbest part of every college...."

"You can think about why for a minute. If you study physics, there is a subject. … How does the physical world work? That’s hard to figure out. Politics is actually the study of justice. … Literature. They don’t do it much anymore, but you can read the greatest books, the most beautiful books ever written. Education is the study of how to teach. Is that a separate art? I don’t think so.... If you read a book called ‘Abolition of Man’ by C.S. Lewis, you will see how education destroys generations of people. It’s devastating. It’s like a plague. … The teachers are trained in the dumbest part of the dumbest colleges in the country. And they are taught that they are going to do something to those kids. …"

Said Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, quoted in "Teachers go to the ‘dumbest colleges' — who said it and why it matters," a WaPo column by Valerie Strauss.

But what's really bothering Strauss isn't the outrage of insulting education departments.

"She was defended by Alexander Graham Bell, and by Mark Twain... with a thumping hurrah for plagiarism, and..."

"... disgust for the egotism of 'these solemn donkeys breaking a little child’s heart with their ignorant damned rubbish! . . . A gang of dull and hoary pirates piously setting themselves the task of disciplining and purifying a kitten that they think they’ve caught filching a chop!'"

I'm reading Cynthia Ozick's "How Helen Keller Learned to Write/With the help of her teacher, Annie Sullivan, Keller forged a path from deaf-blind darkness to unimaginable artistry"  — from June 8, 2003 in The New Yorker.

I'm reading that because — and I can't remember why — I got to thinking how hard it is to believe that Helen Keller could have acquired the language skills needed to write the works attributed to her. (You, who are not blind, can see the entire text of her "Story of My Life" at Project Gutenberg.)

Ozick writes:

"Glad to see you finally know what a woman is," the 3-star general replied to Jill Biden's tweet.

Her tweet was: "For nearly 50 years, women have had the right to make our own decisions about our bodies. Today, that right was stolen from us."

So he loaded down her tweeted speech about abortion rights with his snark that relates to recent discourse about transgenderism. 


I don't think he was "mocking Jill Biden’s support of abortion rights." I think he was observing her use of "women" in the abortion context and tying it to this separate "What is a woman?" issue. It's annoying when someone uses your social media speech to give visibility to something they want to say about a different topic.

"[O]n Oct. 4, 1969, everything changed... 20-year old Diane Linkletter jumped to her death from the window of her Los Angeles apartment after allegedly trying acid."

"Her grieving father, TV and radio host Art Linkletter, told the press, 'She was murdered by the people who manufacture and sell LSD.' The newspapers ran wild with Linkletter’s take: 'LSD KILLED DIANE.' Later, when news of her clean toxicology report made the rounds, Linkletter blamed the jump on an '“acid flashback.' President Richard Nixon — in the midst of launching his War on Drugs — invited Linkletter to the White House. Nixon knew that a story like this could galvanize the anti-drug movement more than any fact or figure could.... It was the perfect moment for a book like 'Go Ask Alice.'... The fact that the author was anonymous only heightened the buzz. 'Alice' could be anyone, even your daughter. The media ran with it — everyone from The New York Times to the Library Journal presented the book as a verified teenager’s diary. A million copies sold nearly overnight. Avon Books published the paperback and two years later, in 1973, ABC aired a TV adaptation of the book. That, too, was a supersonic hit, with nearly a third of all US households viewing it...."

People believe what they want to believe. Too good to check! I wanted to see how embarrassing the NYT coverage of this ridiculous book was. Here, from 1973: "Diary of a Schoolgirl En Route to Death." It's a review of the ABC TV movie. 

"Hello one percenters, I take walk in Moscow premium hood Patriarshy Ponds."

A photo essay at Quora — answering the question "What is the most expensive area to live in Moscow?" — by Misha Firer (whose profile says "Lives in Moscow/Brutalsky Son of Quora"). 

Here's the Wikipedia article for "Patriarch Ponds" — "Patriarch's Ponds (Russian: Патриаршие пруды, Patriarshiye prudy) is park, pond and an affluent residential area in downtown Presnensky District of Moscow, Russia. For the last 200 years, there has been only one pond, although, as the name of Tryokhprudny Pereulok (Трёхпрудный переулок, lit. Three-Pond Lane) suggests, there used to be more."

Firer encounters the pond: "And here is a pond. One. Not plural. Where plural I do not know. Tall building in front most expensive apartments in Moscow.... Clothes big difference vulgar and cheap you see office plankton, drivers and such plebs walk around pond inhale airs of wealth."