October 29, 2022

Sunrise — 7:31, 7:32.


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"But in recent weeks we’ve been treated to a boomlet of pieces suggesting that maybe women aren’t really all that angry about Dobbs after all."

"In this telling, women just kind of burned hot for a few weeks, until they came to realize that they cared about gas prices and milk prices more than they cared about reproductive justice. Central to this story was the narrative that Democrats face-planted in every possible way by focusing on abortion as the only election issue. Indeed, this mistake is supposedly so catastrophic that they are poised to be walloped in the midterms for it.... Just as there was no place for Alito to park reproductive freedom in the Constitution, so too, there is nowhere to park it in larger electoral politics. Abortion, pregnancy, and birth control: These issues will directly affect at least half the electorate, yet even now they remain hopelessly niche.... As far back as the time stamp on Alito’s shallow dive into history allows, women were being told that their interests were secondary, were a distraction, and were subsumed under bigger more important interests that are in the care of men.... If you accept the framing that women’s rights will always be lesser, you are pretty much signing up to guarantee that women’s rights will always be lesser in the future."

Writes Dahlia Lithwick in "Don’t Bail on Abortion/Women have been asked to stop prioritizing this problem for centuries" (Slate).

ADDED: What happened to the reports of individual women and girls impregnated by rape or pregnant and facing serious health problems? Was a decision made not to pursue this form of persuasion? It seemed to be presumed, right after Dobbs, that these stories would be powerful, but then they were gone. Why?

"Neighbors described DePape as a homeless addict with a politics that was, until recently, left-wing, but of secondary importance to his psychotic and paranoid behavior."

"'What I know about the family is that they’re very radical activists,' said one of DePape’s neighbors, a woman who only gave her first name, Trish. 'They seem very left. They are all about the Black Lives Matter movement. Gay pride. But they’re very detached from reality. They have called the cops on several of the neighbors, including us, claiming that we are plotting against them. It’s really weird to see that they are willing to be so aggressive toward somebody else who is also a lefty.'.... Wrapped up in their own obsession with Trump Republicans, most journalists have missed the real story. David DePape is not a microcosm of the political psychosis gripping America in general. Rather, he’s a microcosm of the drug-induced psychosis gripping the West Coast in particular. Yesterday afternoon I visited the Berkeley house where DePape had lived with his former lover, Oxane 'Gypsy' Taub, 53, a charismatic Russian immigrant 11 years David’s senior. DePape appears to have fallen under the spell of Taub around 2003, when DePape was a quiet, video game-obsessed 21-year-old in Powell River, a town of 14,000 people that is a four-hour drive up the coast of British Columbia from Vancouver....."

Writes Michael Shellenberger in "Pelosi Attack Suspect Was A Psychotic Homeless Addict Estranged From His Pedophile Lover & Their Children/Berkeley resident David DePape was more in the grip of drug-induced psychosis than ideology-induced fanaticism" (Substack).

This is my second DePape post of the morning. For the Depape-is-a-righty perspective, go to the earlier post. I am utterly neutral on DePape. I don't need him to fit one narrative of the other. So I will continue to watch and post/comment when I think it might be helpful.

"A great concern is that adolescents may be making faulty self-diagnoses and treatment plans in the absence of professional insight."

Said Corey H. Basch, a professor of public health at William Paterson University of New Jersey and lead author of a study of #mentalhealth on TikTok, quoted in "Teens Turn to TikTok in Search of a Mental Health Diagnosis/While social media can help people feel less alone, using it to evaluate symptoms has several downsides" (NYT).

Unsurprisingly, the article doesn't mention teenagers who identify as transgender, but that subject comes up in the comments. Someone writes:

Where do you think kids are getting the idea they are trans or non-binary? The only difference is how it is treated in the US. Rather than question, everyone is told to go along with it, leading to unnecessary medication and surgery.

"But as Twitter and other social networks grew, powerful people found that these apps could help them extend their power in new ways."

"Authoritarians discovered they could use them to crack down on dissent. Extremists learned they could stir up hateful mobs to drive women and people of color offline. Celebrities and influencers realized that the crazier you acted, the more attention you got, and dialed up their behavior accordingly. A foundational belief of social media’s pioneers — that simply giving people the tools to express themselves would create a fairer and more connected society — began to look hopelessly naïve.... Since 2016, Twitter has tried to clean up its mess.... And some users grew nostalgic for the messier, more freewheeling Twitter they’d loved. One of those users was Mr. Musk.... Mr. Musk has framed his Twitter acquisition as a move to return the site to its former glory. 'The bird is freed,' he tweeted on Thursday night.... It’s possible that... relaxing Twitter’s rules could revitalize it.... It’s also possible that it could empower bigots and trolls... or that Mr. Musk could back off his plans for radical change.... But whatever happens.... Twitter won’t recapture its onetime identity as a place for rebels and revolutionaries to communicate under the radars of the powerful. That bird has flown."

From "Twitter, Once a Threat to Titans, Now Belongs to One/A decade ago, the social media platform was a tool for rebels and those challenging authority. But over time, the powerful learned how to use it for their own goals" by Kevin Roose (NYT).

Roose describes the bird that has flown so narrowly that he's not really committing to much of a prediction: We can't get back to Twitter as a place for rebels and revolutionaries to communicate without being detected by the powerful people who have grown accustomed to using Twitter to acquire even more power.

Nevertheless, conspicuous rebels and revolutionaries can use Twitter to attack the powerful, and Musk can resist the influence of the powerful and give the rebels and revolutionaries breathing room that the powerful had been convincing the old guard at Twitter to squelch.

That bird hasn't flown. I'm sure there are other birds. That's just the one I heard tweeting most noisily.

"I saw that it wasn’t the black that made the picture come alive but the light reflected on the black surfaces... The light was... coming from the color that is the greatest absence of light."

Said Pierre Soulages, quoted in "Pierre Soulages, Leading French Abstract Painter, Dies at 102 Once called 'the world’s greatest living artist,' Mr. Soulages was best known for exploring the possibilities of the color black" (NYT).

 For more than four decades, Mr. Soulages worked every possible variation on black in an evolving series of paintings he called “outrenoir,” or “beyond black,” sometimes using spoons or small rakes to create new textures in his thick slabs of paint and evoke subtle effects of color and light.

David DePape — the man who allegedly attacked Paul Pelosi — has been "blogging for at least 15 years, with his views growing more extreme over time."

Rolling Stone reports. 

[In his] subscription-model blog... he vented rage over Covid-19 precautions and espoused beliefs shared by the conspiracist QAnon movement. The page also includes dedicated sections for Holocaust denial, climate change denial, transphobia, racism, misogyny, voter fraud conspiracy theories, Second Amendment absolutism, screeds against groomers and “pedos,” and trashing actress Amber Heard, the ex-wife of Johnny Depp....

In an Aug. 23 post on his personal blog, DePape wrote, “How did I get into all this. Gamer gate it was gamer gate.

October 28, 2022

Sunrise — 7:28, 7:30.

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Goodbye to the great icon of rock and roll, Jerry Lee Lewis.

"Jerry Lee Lewis, the hard-driving rockabilly artist whose pounding boogie-woogie piano and bluesy, country-influenced vocals helped define the sound of rock ’n’ roll on hits like 'Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On' and 'Great Balls of Fire,' and whose incendiary performing style expressed the essence of rock rebellion, died on Friday at his home in DeSoto County, Miss., south of Memphis. He was 87" (NYT). 

Here's Episode 59 of "A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs": "'Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On' by Jerry Lee Lewis" — about the rise of Jerry Lee Lewis:

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was hospitalized after he was assaulted by someone who broke into the couple’s residence in San Francisco early on Friday morning...."

"'The assailant is in custody and the motivation for the attack is under investigation.'... The Pelosis have owned a three-floor red brick townhouse in San Francisco’s exclusive Pacific Heights neighborhood since 1987. In January 2021, after Congress passed a stimulus bill, their home was vandalized with graffiti, and a pig’s head was left on the sidewalk. The vandalism occurred before the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. In the months since that attack, members of Congress from both parties have experienced a surge in threats and confrontations, including stalking, armed visits to their homes and assaults.... [T]here was no immediate indication that the attack was politically motivated."

The NYT reports.

We will learn more soon, as they've got a person in custody. I think the Times ought to refer to him as "the alleged assailant," not "the assailant." We don't know for certain what happened. I will be interested to see whether the incident fits better into the GOP narrative — we're in a horrific crime wave — or the Democratic narrative — domestic terrorism. 

I would have thought the Pelosis' house was a well-protected fortress. How could someone just break in? Was the 82-year-old husband of the Speaker of the House home alone, with no security guards, open to assault? What's the point of being wealthy if you cannot protect yourself from physical attacks?

ADDED: The very next thing I saw was this, and it felt related:

Here's a line from the newest episode of "Survivor" that I'm not seeing quoted anywhere.

I took the trouble to transcribe it:

"We're all trying to gauge not only what is best for our individual game but what is every other individual thinking is best for their game, and that's just I don't even know what factorial that is, but 13 to the 12th? — like that's just so many different permutations of people working together and thinking different things."

That was said by the cast-member Jeanine Zheng at tribal council, so, in front of all the other contestants, whose faces read to me as though they were thinking things like "Factorial?! I was told there would be no math" and "Too smart, she's got to go."

Anyway... Zheng is 24-year-old UX designer. I had to look up "UX."

Is Trump coming back to Twitter?

Talking to Elon. There's a lot of it right now.

Just one example:

"The geometry of a throuple is complex. With a couple, there’s only a straight line connecting two dots. But introduce a third point..."

"... and so many more possibilities emerge — only one of which is an equilateral triangle. Although the Third slept between us in bed, sat across from us at dinner and walked between us holding both of our hands, the angles in our throuple kept shifting."

From a NYT "Modern Love" essay, "A Throuple’s Tricky Geometry" by Evan Sterrett.

I found this story hard to believe — 3 men and a chihuahua sleeping night after night in a queen-size bed?

One early July morning, I opened my eyes to my boyfriend making out with the guy who had been living with us for the past month. Not really a fan of sex before tooth-brushing, I smiled, mumbled “hot” and turned over....

I see I have a tag for "geometry." When did I ever blog about geometry before?

Biden — using his "car guy persona" — drives 118 mph.

Here's a screen grab of my search: 


Here's some funny deadpan from the NYT article:

The president has long used his affinity for cars to burnish his workaday origins and, more recently, to conjure an aura of vitality despite being the oldest president in American history. In the run-up to the midterm elections next month — with control of Congress and the future of his agenda at stake — Mr. Biden is hoping his gearhead reputation will appeal to some parts of the Republican base.
IN THE COMMENTS: Meade writes...
Joe Biden is unsafe at any age.

And here in person, Meade nudges me to show you a picture he took of a real-life Corvair (in Decorah, Iowa):



October 27, 2022

“Elon Musk has started cleaning house at Twitter with the firings of at least four top executives on Thursday….”

The NYT reports.

The Twitter executives who were fired include Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief executive, Ned Segal, the chief financial officer, Vijaya Gadde, the top legal and policy executive, and Sean Edgett, the general counsel…. At least one of the executives who was fired was escorted out of Twitter’s office…. 

The billionaire, 51, has promised to transform Twitter by taking it private, loosening the service’s content moderation rules, making its algorithm more transparent and nurturing subscription businesses….

ADDED: Libs of TikTok tweets “FREEDOM.” 

Sunrise — 7:15, 7:23, 7:28.


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Finally, I have more TikToks for you — 10 this time.

1. Dexter, the dog that walks.

2. I know what it's like to be driving along and suddenly a deer jumps into the path of your car.

3. Biden tells a joke.

4. Your mental focus after 2 years on TikTok.

5. Things one's college-freshman kid has texted.

6. Noodles, just noodles.

7. Aren't you worried?

8. WaPo thinks its video will be suppressed by TikTok, but it came up in my feed (and I wasn't already following them).

9. The context of that iconic migrant mother photograph.

10. The dog and the dumpling.

"At one point, a creator pointed out that there were images of corn etched into the columns right before the old Senate chamber and the group joked about the 'it’s corn' TikTok meme."

"'It was incredible to see the creators interpret the government through the lens of internet culture,' Daks* said. Next, it was off to the White House.... After [a] news conference, Biden ushered the content creators into the Oval Office for an hour-long private meeting.... 'We know people listen to trusted messengers, and as an increasing number of young people turn to Instagram, TikTok and other platforms for news and information, we need to engage with the voices they trust directly,' said Rob Flaherty, the White House director of digital strategy.... 'In all my years in politics, I’ve never seen a single strategy that could flip a state on its own,' said [a] founder of digital consulting firm.... 'TikTok is that strategy — it impacts culture and politics in a way that no other media reaches.'... Kat Wellington, 24, a lifestyle and fashion content creator, said she was previously hesitant to get political on her TikTok account, but... 'This trip helped me make the push to use my platform for that. I don’t want to be afraid to share my genuine beliefs about politics, even if it’s going to upset some people.'"

Writes Taylor Lorenz in "Inside the Dems’ elaborate attempt to woo TikTok influencers/A free trip to D.C., a private chat with Obama and an hour in the Oval Office with Biden: The Democrats are rolling out the red carpet for social media influencers" (WaPo). 

This is giving me a flashback to the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, when Democrats were wrangling bloggers. I wrote: 

"He looked forward, he said, to a better diet in prison, with more vegetables and fewer carbs. Life in prison will allow him..."

"... to correspond with his friends, perhaps including a pen pal whom he said he wanted to marry. He’ll have recreation time, be able to play sports and maybe even watch his favorite teams compete on TV. Opponents of capital punishment often claim that life in prison is worse than death.... Instead of putting him out of his misery, they insist, keep him alive so he’ll really suffer. Three decades of documenting daily life on death rows and inside maximum security prisons.... have taught me.... the most vicious criminals often have the best jobs, best hustles and easiest lives.... Mr. Cruz’s hopes, expectations and dreams for his own future remain realistic...."

Writes lawprof Robert Blecker, author of "The Death of Punishment: Searching for Justice Among the Worst of the Worst," in "If Not the Parkland Shooter, Who Is the Death Penalty For?" (NYT).

"'J.D. is kissing my ass he wants my support so much,' the former president had said — while Mr. Vance, Marine Corps veteran and Mamaw’s grandson, stood by...."

"The reliably impolitic Mr. Trump delights in diminishing candidates aching for his benediction, especially one who once asserted that he was unfit for office — who once, in fact, wondered whether he might be America’s Hitler — but who, since entering politics, has demonstrated fervent fealty. 'The best president of my lifetime,' Mr. Vance has maintained. Still, the kisses-my-ass tag has followed Mr. Vance like a yippy dog ever since, with [Tim] Ryan gleefully invoking it again in their second debate last week. When Mr. Vance maintained that Mr. Trump’s comment was a 'joke; that riffed on what he called without explication a 'false; New York Times article — about the reluctance of some Republicans to have the former president campaign for them — one of the moderators sought clarification. 'So I get this straight,' said Bertram de Souza, a local journalist. 'When the former president said, "J.D. is kissing my ass because he wants my support," you took that as a joke?' 'I know the president very well, and he was joking about a New York Times story,' Mr. Vance said. 'That’s all he was doing. I didn’t take offense to it.'"

I'm highlighting the ass-kiss references in the NYT article "J.D. Vance’s Ambition Comes at a Price in ‘Hillbilly’ Terms/The Republican Senate candidate changed his tune on Donald Trump and now has his endorsement, but a remark by the former president about Vance’s fealty is dogging him in Ohio."

Why, exactly, is Caitlyn Jenner attacking Dylan Mulvaney?

There's this:

I got there via "Caitlyn Jenner Piles on Trans TikToker, Calls Body Positive Video ‘Absurdity’/The anti-trans attacks against Mulvaney come days after her interview with President Biden surrounding transgender rights and policies" (Rolling Stone).

I've been avoiding the Mulvaney-at-the-White-House story. Not sure why. I'd already seen many Dylan Mulvaney videos on TikTok, including the one that reenacts the opening sequence of the old TV show "That Girl" (and the subsequent version of that where Marlo Thomas looks on and is (or acts) choked up about the tribute to her long-ago perky, girly youth). 

"She was around in the early 1960s when JFK was cutting a swath through his aides at the White House..."

"... which served as preparation for the moment she became world-famous. That was at the end of January 1998, when she became the public representative of Linda Tripp, the intimate (and betrayer) of Monica Lewinsky, whose taped phone calls (taped on Lucianne’s advice) revealed the relationship between Lewinsky and President Clinton. You’ve probably forgotten, but I haven’t, the hilarious spectacle of a hundred reporters standing on the sidewalk at 84th and Broadway in front of Lucianne’s building as she calmly and with a Cheshire-cat smile replied to the screams of America’s journalists. 'That’s not a Linda Tripp question,' she would say, in her sing-song voice, if they asked what the agenda was here, or the angle, or whatever. Sure, she had an agenda, and she was totally honest about it. She didn’t like Clinton, either personally or ideologically, and wanted to see him laid low, and unlike other people who’ve been in the destroy-the-president game, she didn’t make any bones about it. When Lewinsky-gate ultimately came a cropper, she was even-keeled. 'If you go at the king, you’d best kill the king,' she said, 'and we didn’t.'"

From "Lucianne Goldberg, 1935-2022" by John Podhoretz (Commentary).

Lots more at the link, but let me quote this too: "She could tell you...  how incredibly depressing it was to spend time with Charles Schulz, who drew 'Peanuts'... 'They called him Sparky... It was the most inappropriate nickname ever.'"

"Justice Elena Kagan on Wednesday temporarily blocked a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol for phone records of Kelli Ward..."

"...  the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party.... Justice Kagan ordered the committee to respond to Ms. Ward’s emergency application by Friday. That was an indication that the full court would rule on the matter. Inquiries into efforts to subvert the 2020 presidential election have given rise to all sorts of litigation, but relatively little of it has reached the Supreme Court. That may be changing...."

The NYT reports.

Ward's argument in the court below was based on the First Amendment right to freedom of association. The dissenting judge there wrote: "The communications at issue here between members of a political party about an election implicate a core associational right protected by the First Amendment."

October 26, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...


... Jerry Lee Lewis is not dead, and you can talk about anything you want.

Elon, entering.

ADDED: One response:

"I was never told a woman’s hair should look beautiful. But, definitely, my hair was the most hated — in my culture, in my village..."

"... because in Iran, when I was growing up, oh, my God, curly hair was a disaster. People mocked me, called people with big hair a specific name — it meant 'big-head woman' — to shame us. When I was taking an English course [to prepare to attend university in the United Kingdom], a woman asked me, 'You straighten your hair?' And then she took off my headscarf and said, 'My God, look at your head. What are you doing? You just straighten this part because when it’s out of your scarf, you want to show you have straight hair?' I said, 'Yeah, because I don’t have time. I straighten my hair just a bit.' And she told me, 'Don’t.' I went back to my mirror and she said, 'Just look at yourself.' At first I didn’t know why. She said: 'Just look at yourself and don’t make your hair straight. Just look deeply at your hair. You are going to love it.'"

From "Here’s what it’s like to be persecuted for your hair" (WaPo).

"Justice Kagan wondered if the Warhol case benefited from a 'certain kind of hindsight,' since 'now we know who Andy Warhol was and what he was doing and what his works have been taken to mean'...."

"At the same time, other Justices seemed more comfortable interpreting Warhol’s works. Justice Sotomayor took it for granted that Warhol’s works commented on Prince’s 'superstar status' and 'his consumer sort of life.' The idea that Warhol’s art depicted the flattening of celebrity was repeated so many times over the course of the morning that it flattened out, too. Justice Kagan recognized that Warhol 'took a bunch of photographs and he made them mean something completely different.' Even Chief Justice Roberts repeated, rather uncritically, the foundation’s view that Warhol sent a 'message about the depersonalization of modern culture and celebrity status and the iconic' and showed 'a particular perspective on the Pop era.'"

From "Controversy/In a case litigating Andy Warhol’s use of a photograph of Prince, the Supreme Court wades into the uncomfortable territory where art criticism and copyright law collide" by Liza Batkin (NYRB).

The forest path at sunrise.

Today, at 7:25:


"MPD: Witnesses report motorcyclists going 140+ mph in downtown Madison."

A local headline prompts disbelief on Reddit

ADDED: Stand back, nonbelievers, there is footage of the incident:

"If I emailed my parents like Democrats email me."

The best McSweeney's piece I've seen in a long long time.

"In states as disparate as Wisconsin and New Mexico, ads have labeled a Black candidate as 'different' and 'dangerous' and darkened a white man’s hands as they portrayed him as a criminal...."

"In Wisconsin, where Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is Black, is the Democratic nominee for Senate, a National Republican Senatorial Committee ad targeting him ends by juxtaposing his face with those of three Democratic House members, all of them women of color, and the words 'different' and 'dangerous.' In a mailer sent to several state House districts in New Mexico, the state Republican Party darkened the hands of a barber shown giving a white child a haircut, next to the question, 'Do you want a sex offender cutting your child’s hair?'... Appeals to white fears and resentments are an old strategy in American elections, etched into the country’s political consciousness, with ads like George Bush’s ad using the Black convict Willie Horton against Michael Dukakis in 1988, and Jesse Helms’s 1990 commercial showing a white man’s hands to denounce his Black opponent’s support for 'quotas.'" 

From "With Ads, Imagery and Words, Republicans Inject Race Into Campaigns/Running ads portraying Black candidates as soft on crime — or as 'different' or 'dangerous' — Republicans have shed quiet defenses of such tactics for unabashed defiance" (NYT).

The manipulation of the color of hands is a very specific problem, and I don't like seeing the name of my state mixed up in that accusation. I don't like "In states as disparate as Wisconsin and New Mexico, ads have... darkened a white man’s hands as they portrayed him as a criminal." That happened in New Mexico but not in Wisconsin.

Yes, there has been been relentless advertising against Mandela Barnes here in Wisconsin, but I haven't seen any photoshopping of the color of hands or other body parts. What I'm seeing — and it's practically the only advertising I'm seeing — is the connection of Mandela Barnes to crime and to policies advocated by the most left-wing Democrats. Yes, you can argue that is inherently racial, and the NYT article also does that, but it's a far cry from this awfulness from New Mexico:

"Movies like 'Aquaman' and the upcoming live-action version of 'The Little Mermaid' take place underwater but don’t actually submerge the actors."

"'Avatar: The Way of Water' does, and the actors had to learn how to hold their breath for several minutes to shoot some of its undersea sequences. What’s gained from doing it for real?"

The NYT interviewer asks James Cameron in "James Cameron and the Cast of ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Hold Their Breath/The original was the biggest hit ever, but the sequel still took a long time to come together. How will it resonate in a different era of moviegoing?"

Cameron answers:

Will anyone switch their vote from Fetterman to Oz because Fetterman struggled to speak in the debate last night?

I think not. What's overwhelmingly important is which party gets the majority in the Senate, and every single Senate race could be the one that shifts the power one way or the other. All Fetterman needed to do was not seem dangerously incompetent, and he crossed that low bar. The rest is chitter-chatter. Good night!

But I'll give you some links:

"Fetterman's painful debate" (Axios)("Fetterman struggled at times to respond to the moderators' questions, even with the assistance of a closed captioning device").

"POLITICO Playbook: How much will John Fetterman’s rocky night matter?" (Politico)("The plain fact is that Fetterman was not capable of debating Oz. He could have skipped the debate... but the Fetterman campaign gambled that the media would educate voters about his auditory issues and then referee any attacks on him with charges of ableism").

"The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Pennsylvania Debate/Oz came across as obnoxious. Fetterman struggled to connect" (The Bulwark)("In what sounded like lyrics snatched from Chumbawamba, Fetterman promised that if he got 'knocked down,' he would 'keep coming back up.' He’ll need that kind of attitude in the days ahead").

"John Fetterman debate was painful and shameful — he is physically incapable of being a senator" (John Podhoretz, NY Post)("Only one thing mattered, and that was watching Fetterman try to make a showing of himself despite his painful impairment. I don’t want to quote what he said or make specific note of his speech patterns or answers because it would be unnecessarily cruel").

"Fetterman, Showing Stroke Effects, Battles Oz in Hostile Senate Debate/Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, tried to assure voters of his fitness to serve. Dr. Mehmet Oz, a former celebrity physician and Republican, attacked him as too radical for the job" (NYT)("Mr. Fetterman’s words were frequently halting, and it was apparent when he was delayed in either reading or reaching for a phrase or word. But he was also fluent enough over the course of the hour to present his Democratic vision...").

Wisconsin confuses outsiders.

I'm reading "Video of Wisconsin supermarket’s massive frozen pizza section goes viral: ‘What’s going on down there?’" (The Hill).

Down there? Sounds like you couldn't even point to us on a map. Unless you're in Canada. We are not down there. We are up here. And up here, we have a store called Woodman's. When I first moved here 38 years ago, I used to take visitors from New York City to Woodman's to entertain them in precisely the way this video is entertaining millions this week. I didn't have social media to share the fun at the time, but it's funny to me now that something I've known for 38 years — Woodman's is a very big store — is amazing millions in 2022.

"Right-wing extremists already have a plan to literally steal the next presidential election, and they’re not making a secret of it."

Said Hillary Clinton, just the other day, to some group she addresses as "Indivisibles," quoted in "Hillary Clinton: 'Right-Wing Extremists Already Have A Plan To Literally Steal The Next Presidential Election'" (RCP).

It sounds like left-wing regulars already have a plan to "deny" the next presidential election, and they’re not making a secret of it.

I'm using their shibboleth "deny." I don't think challenging the results of an election is denying the election. At some point the results are sufficiently tested and so well proved that you're in denial if you don't accept the results, but even then you're not denying the election. You still believe in the election. You just don't think that the announced result represents the real election that took place. 

Hillary is laying the groundwork for her side to do exactly that in the next election. The "denying" rhetoric and the "stealing" rhetoric are crossing paths right now and acting like they don't recognize each other.

"A lawyer I just interviewed told me essentially that there was no reason to go into the office at his firm since no one was there, so if you go in, you are all alone."

"He works from home, as does almost everyone. It is just no fun, and there is really no law firm at all. Just a bunch of people logging in. That is why he is interviewing with me — because he wants a place to go where he has friends and human interaction.... At my firm, I am proud to say — and, indeed, the whole point of the firm — is that we are together. We are having fun with each other. We all have friends here. We are a team. We are in the office partly to do work, and partly so we can all add value to each other. Professional value, emotional value, inspirational value, value when we are down to get picked up, value to have the thrill of teaching and being taught, and every other kind of value. Yes, we have bad days of stress, but overall it is fun to be in our office with our friends.... If you are the employer — the partners — you need to make sure your office is one that people want to go to. Or they won’t go in, and as I said, it is game over, sooner or later."

From "Work From Home = Dead Law Firm/Working at home, to your bosses, can make you seem nothing more than a fungible billing unit" by Bruce M. Stachenfeld (Above the Law).

(I only clicked through to that article because of the picture, which was displayed in a much larger version at Facebook. It accounts for my use of the "men in shorts" tag.) 

ADDED: The linked article takes the extrovert's perspective and much of human life has been structured around the preferences and capabilities of the extrovert. The lockdown imposed the structuring that would have been chosen all along by the introverts — if only they'd been vocal and active enough to structure the lives of others the way they would structure it for themselves. Now, the extroverts want to deprive them of working conditions that served them well. The extroverts presume the are the normal we've got to get back to.

I can't watch the TV show "The Office" because office life makes me feel bad, but isn't the opinion expressed in that article pretty close to the attitude expressed by the boss on that show: "We are having fun with each other. We all have friends here. We are a team. We are in the office partly to do work, and partly so we can all add value to each other...."

When you are the guy who says things like that, you don't understand how it feels to those who don't say things like that.

October 25, 2022

Sunrise — 7:11.

 This morning, I was back on the shore of Lake Mendota:



The view from Pikes Peak... Pikes Peak, Iowa.

The day before yesterday, roaming around the Driftless Area, we stopped at Pikes Peak State Park — "a 500-foot (150 m) bluff overlooking the Upper Mississippi River opposite the confluence of the Wisconsin River."


Like the more famous Pikes Peak in Colorado, it is named after Zebulon Pike

Here's a slightly more southward view. The bluff on the opposite shore is Wyalusing State Park, where we camped Sunday night:


We hiked on the Bridal Veil Trail...

"Villagers said he had experienced 'emotional setbacks in his youth' that led him to refuse to wash.... Haji would eat roadkill, smoke a pipe filled with animal excrement, and believed that cleanliness would make him ill."

According to "'World’s dirtiest man' dies in Iran at 94 a few months after first wash 'Amou Haji,' who did not bathe for half a century, reportedly ate roadkill and smoked pipe filled with animal excrement" (Guardian).

I don't think it's right to look around for the new "dirtiest man," and it's not even right to consider the man who has gone longest without bathing to be the dirtiest man. Not bathing is only one factor. Surely there are other ways to maintain cleanliness — sweating, scraping. And staying out of filth ought to count as well. If we're counting. Again, I don't think we should.

But the article tells us about a man in India who hasn't washed in 30 years. This is someone who conceives of himself as keeping a vigil, because of "all the problems confronting the nation." And he is not conceding that he is dirty. He does something every day that he considers the equivalent of a bath: he "lights a bonfire, smokes marijuana and stands on a leg praying to Lord Shiva." He says: "It’s just like using water to take a bath. Fire bath helps kill all the germs and infections in the body."

So it's entirely disrespectful to speak of him as the "dirtiest man." Why is The Guardian so short on appreciation for cultural diversity? This article is inviting mockery and an attitude of superiority.

"House progressives on Tuesday retracted a letter calling on President Joe Biden to engage in direct diplomacy with Russia, less than 24 hours after it sparked intense backlash..."

"... from other Democrats.... 'The Congressional Progressive Caucus hereby withdraws its recent letter to the White House regarding Ukraine,' the caucus’ chair, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), said in a statement after POLITICO first reported that the retraction was imminent. 'The letter was drafted several months ago, but unfortunately was released by staff without vetting.'... A source familiar with the situation told POLITICO that Jayapal personally approved the letter’s release on Monday.... 'Amateur hour on part of the CPC not to have anticipated that,' said one lawmaker who signed on and, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity. A Hill staffer put it even more bluntly: 'It’s just a disaster. The CPC just needs to clean house.'... A leader for another group that endorsed the initiative said, on condition of anonymity: 'We signed the text of the letter, not the editorialized roll out that isn’t consistent with the progressive position on Ukraine.'"

Politico reports.


If Ron DeSantis asked me "How do you spell Lambeau?," I'd say "L-A-M-B-E-R-T."

But that's just my sense of political humor, and I have a long memory, and it certainly goes back to 2004, when John Kerry campaigned in Wisconsin and called Lambeau "Lambert." 

Anyway, here's the context for Ron's question "How do you spell Lambeau?," from the NYT article "Tom Brady and Ron DeSantis Are Said to Be on Texting Terms/The Republican nominee for Wisconsin governor, Tim Michels, told supporters recently that while DeSantis was watching a Packers game at Lambeau Field, he was texting the Buccaneers quarterback"

"In many ways, they each offered the other a different kind of legitimacy and power. For him, it was the legitimacy of high-minded activism..."

"... the idea that he was deeper than his screen image, who chomped on food with gusto and had a light, almost breezy touch. For her... [t]he relationship reaffirmed that Jolie’s stardom was born of a private life made public. Pitt was a magnet for the ravenous press, and she gained a level of visibility she hadn’t quite inhabited before. But it also bolstered her as an artist, a reciprocal dynamic that would persist throughout their relationship.... The beginning of the end of Jolie and Pitt’s intertwined star personae became evident with a single pale leg jutting dramatically out of a black velvet Versace gown at the 2012 Academy Awards.... An endless ream of memes lambasting the actress for seeming forced in her sexiness followed, placing her leg on a variety of figures or doubling it on the other side to make her look like a couture crab. It was the first time she seemed like a punch line...."

From "What Was Brangelina? They were known for their image-making savvy. As their divorce reenters the press cycle, we’re reminded of who’s better at it" by Angelica Jade Bastién (The Vulture).

An endless ream of memes lambasting.... What think you of the torrid, florid writing?

Do these intertwined star personae deserve this prodigious, ridiculous writing?


Overheard at Meadhouse:

I need a rhyme for "prodigious"?


"Elizabeth Wurtzel died nearly three years ago. Since then, silence: No announcement of a repository of her papers, no posthumous publications..."

"... no conferences for the countless writers indebted to her. And so her friends... were shocked to find out only after the fact that the writer’s personal belongings were sold off in an online auction last week.... The bargain-basement prices that resulted made it feel all the more cruel. There was the handbag that they knew Wurtzel would have wanted to go to a specific friend (and even with a reserve of $6,500, the Birkin did not find a purchaser). There went the entire contents of her desk (including three heaping cups of pens and pencils), sold off for $29. The desk itself, beautifully marked with use, had a bit of a bidding war and went for just $535, still way under estimate. A drawing of her rescue dog, Augusta, sold for $20. (I bought her coffee table for $100 — 'Needs Refinishing,' the listing claimed incorrectly — precisely because of the signs of hard use on it.)"

From "The Last Traces of Elizabeth Wurtzel" by Choire Sicha (NY Magazine).

"Interestingly, as the number of surveys of races at the state or district level has fallen, the number of national polls that ask about the generic ballot... has more than doubled...."

"For one thing, politics today are more nationalized than in the past, so pollsters may be incentivized to conduct national surveys.... [S]tate-level polls may require more difficult choices to properly interpret results.... Polling has become more expensive and more challenging, as the response rate to more traditional polling methods, like live telephone calls, is sometimes below 1 percent. Moreover, recent polling misses in 2016 and 2020 — note that 2018 polls were comparatively better — may have also made major news organizations more hesitant to put themselves out there by releasing surveys of important statewide races.... [C]ompared with past cycles, polls in 2022 are more likely to be sponsored or associated with partisan sources.... All of this is a challenge for what we do at FiveThirtyEight, and we hope that pollsters and news organizations figure out how to offer the public greater polling information in the future."

From "You're Not Imagining It: There Are Fewer Polls This Cycle/And a larger share come from partisan sources" (FiveThirtyEight).

Poor FiveThirtyEight! They can't do their thing without the raw material that is polling. 

"But then I also saw other cases where the individual was simply walking into the Capitol building with the permission of Capitol police officers..."

"... and had told the FBI that very same fact, and, on occasion, there was surveillance video to support it. Kind of seemed to me that it was a waste of our valuable resources to pursue even an interview with that individual if we had them on video not committing any crime and just walking into the Capitol building, which is their right to do as an American citizen."

From "FBI Whistleblower: Capitol Police Letting Peaceful Protesters Inside Building On January 6 'Smelled Like Entrapment'" (RCP).

"... Rushdie suffered three serious wounds to his neck and 15 more wounds to his chest and torso in the attack that took away sight in an eye and left a hand incapacitated."

According to his literary agent, Politico reports

“He’s going to live ... That’s the important thing,” [the agent] said. The attack was along the lines of what Rushie and his agent have thought was the “principal danger ... a random person coming out of nowhere and attacking... So you can’t protect against it because it’s totally unexpected and illogical"....

October 24, 2022

Sunrise — in the rain on the road near Dodgeville, Wisconsin at 7:29.


We were returning from our excursion through the Driftless Area — after spending the night in Wyalusing State Park. This is the view not from some special overlook but from our personal campsite. That's how scenic it is at Wyalusing. That's the Mississippi River and, on the other side, Iowa. It was 6:05, and the sun was setting:


"I don’t know what planet we’re on, where you think people don’t need laughter, and that people need to be censored and canceled. If a joke is gonna get me canceled, thank you..."

"... for doing me that favor. It’s sad that society is in this place where we can’t laugh anymore. I ain’t listening to this damn generation. I ain’t listening to these folks. These scared-ass people, these scared executives.... I know my audience. My audience comes to my shows every weekend and they leave feeling great and laughing. One thing about the Wayans, we’ve always told the worst joke the best way.... I think ‘White Chicks 2’ is necessary.... I think we’ve tightened up so much that we need to loosen our ties a bit and laugh a little bit."

Said Marlon Wayans, quoted in "Marlon Wayans slams cancel culture: ‘I don’t know what planet we’re on’" (NY Post).

"A group of 30 House liberals is urging President Biden to dramatically shift his strategy on the Ukraine war and pursue direct negotiations with Russia..."

"... the first time prominent members of his own party have pushed him to change his approach to Ukraine....The Democrats are specifically concerned that the United States is not engaging in regular dialogue with Russia as part of its effort to end a protracted war.... The Biden administration has been adamant that it is up to Kyiv whether and when to negotiate with Russia, arguing that Ukrainians as a free people should decide their fate. But some Russia experts say Moscow will only negotiate with the United States, a fellow superpower. The lawmakers say that opening must be seized given the war’s spreading devastation.... The letter was signed by some of the best-known and most outspoken liberal Democrats in Congress, including Reps. Jamie Raskin (Md.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Ro Khanna (Calif.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.)."

 WaPo reports.

Pentecopterus decorahensis.

Yesterday, roaming around in the Driftless Area, we spent a few hours in Decorah, Iowa. We loved the little town, home of Luther College, and hiked up to Dunning's Spring: 


Somehow, we got to talking about the meteorite — "as big as a city block" — that hit right here 470 million years ago. There's a 4-mile-wide crater underneath Decorah, and "it is filled by an unusual shale that formed after an ancient seaway sluiced into the crater, depositing sediment and an array of bizarre sea creatures that hardened into fossils." The most interesting of these creatures is Pentecopterus decorahensis:

Apple capital.

I've shown you my pictures of yesterday's sunrise, seen from a bluff in La Crescent, Minnesota. Here's one of the many pictures Meade took of me as I was waiting for the right moment: 


After the sun rose, we went into town to look for coffee, and one thing we found was this mural that let us know we were in the apple capital of Minnesota: 


We passed on a perfectly good breakfast spot, because we wanted WiFi, so we recrossed the Mississippi River, back to Wisconsin, trading The Crescent for The Crosse, and had our coffee at Grounded Patio Cafe. We loved the downtown. 

The La Crosse Commercial Historic District is in the National Register of Historic Places. Here are 2 pics I took in La Crosse:

Ted Cruz is able to function within the over-talking shout-fest that is "The View."

Biden says he got the student loan forgiveness program passed by Congress.

"In 1995, at Sinatra’s request, Dylan played his sunless yet defiant song 'Restless Farewell' for the old man at a tribute concert."

"It’s not hard to tell why the last verse would appeal to the guy who often closed his concerts with 'My Way': Oh, a false clock tries to tick out my time,/To disgrace, distract, and bother me,/And the dirt of gossip blows into my face,/And the dust of rumors covers me./But if the arrow is straight/And the point is slick,/It can pierce through dust no matter how thick. So I’ll make my stand/And remain as I am/And bid farewell and not give a damn. Those Sinatra standards replenished him.... But perhaps the nearest Dylan came to explaining both his gift and its durability was in 2015, accepting an award from the charity MusiCares. Reading from a sheaf of papers in his hands, Dylan exploded the myth of sui-generis brilliance. 'These songs didn’t come out of thin air,' he said. 'I didn’t just make them up out of whole cloth. . . . It all came out of traditional music: traditional folk music, traditional rock and roll, and traditional big-band swing orchestra music. . . . If you sang ‘John Henry’ as many times as me—‘John Henry was a steel-driving man / Died with a hammer in his hand / John Henry said a man ain’t nothin’ but a man / Before I let that steam drill drive me down / I’ll die with that hammer in my hand.’ If you had sung that song as many times as I did, you’d have written ‘How many roads must a man walk down?’ too. 'All these songs are connected... I just opened up a different door in a different kind of way. . . . I thought I was just extending the line.'"

Writes David Remnick in "A Unified Field Theory of Bob Dylan/He’s in his eighties. How does he keep it fresh?" (The New Yorker).

I love that connection of "My Way" to "Restless Farewell." I also love Bob's album of Sinatra songs, especially "The Best Is Yet to Come" — here. And here's Bob singing I’ll make my stand/And remain as I am/And bid farewell and not give a damn to Frank for Frank's 80th birthday:

"You were really shouting at him.... Your shouting, though, was really loud.... You want to get more information from him, not... telling him what he needs to do. You kind of sounded like you were telling him what to do.... You don’t want to do that."

Said Bob Woodward's wife — Elsa Walsh, also a reporter — after she heard him talking on the phone to then-President Trump.

Quoted in "The Trump Tapes: 20 interviews that show why he is an unparalleled danger" (WaPo).

Woodward's response was "Okay. But we’re in a different world now, sweetie."

You can hear Bob Woodward yelling at Trump at the link. WaPo and Woodward are making a big thing out of sharing the tapes. Shades of Nixon, perhaps, or so they hope. But Trump wasn't speaking to his insiders in secret. He was doing an interview with Bob Woodward. Yet Woodward and WaPo present this disclosure of the "tapes" as if they are stretching the limits of their professional methods in order to warn the public about... what they've been warning the public about throughout the Trump era:

This is yesterday's sunrise — October 23rd, at 7:33 and 7:36 — from a vantage point in La Crescent, Minnesota, looking out at La Crosse, Wisconsin, over the Mississippi River.



My phone company had me in "low data" mode, so I couldn't post at the end of the day, in my usual fashion. But we're home now, and I hope putting these 2 pictures here, they'll have some continuity with yesterday, and I'll have today's sunrise at the end of today, in the familiar location. We spent yesterday roaming around the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, so I have a few extra pictures to show you, but right now, what I want to do is move on to all the exciting Monday morning news, so stand by for normal blogging.

October 23, 2022

"[Matthew] Perry describes carrying his top teeth to the dentist in a baggie in his jeans pocket."

"(He bit into a slice of peanut butter toast and they fell out, he writes: 'Yes, all of them.')... He recalls the time Jennifer Aniston came to his trailer and said, 'in a kind of weird but loving way,' that the group knew he was drinking again. 'We can smell it,' she said — and, he writes, 'the plural "we" hits me like a sledgehammer.' Another time, the cast confronted him in his dressing room. Perry also drops a sad bombshell about his onscreen wedding: 'I married Monica and got driven back to the treatment center — at the height of my highest point in "Friends," the highest point in my career, the iconic moment on the iconic show — in a pickup truck helmed by a sober technician."'"

"One of the nation’s top universities is apparently not great about doing its homework."

Said David Lat, quoted in "Blunder in Affirmative Action Case May Cost Harvard $15 Million/A missed insurance notice opened a window onto the cost of litigating challenges to race-conscious admissions programs to be heard this month by the Supreme Court" (NYT).

"When he saw the [grizzly] bear mauling his friend, [Kendell] Cummings first tried shouting to scare it away. Then he threw stones and rocks in the grizzly’s direction."

"The scare tactics were not enough. That is when the young wrestler acted on instinct. He leaped in and grabbed the bear, distracting it enough to free Lowry, Cummings said. Then the bear charged Cummings, twice.... Cummings had previously read about what to do in a bear attack, but none of that information had been about grizzly bears. 'In any case, there wasn’t time to think,' he said. Cummings played dead. 'I remember curling up,' he said. According to the National Park Service, it’s best to play dead during a grizzly bear attack, covering your head and neck with your hands and arms, remaining quiet, and lying flat on your stomach. What felt like moments later, Cummings watched the bear walk away....'Before this attack, I had thought that I could take on a bear easily,' Cummings said. 'Now I know that a bear is pretty legit. They are tougher, stronger and bigger than I thought. It’s not so easy.'"

From "A college wrestler fought a bear to save his teammate — and won" (WaPo).

A bear is pretty legit... It's not so easy.... very funny. Nice survival by the wrestler.