March 4, 2023

Sunrise — 6:45.

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"At the most famous annual gathering of America's conservatives, the chairs are empty, the energy is low—and everyone seems a little bit defensive about it."

"The Sad, Desolate Scenes of CPAC 2023" (The New Republic).

ADDED: Watch Trump's speech here.

Sunrise — 6:28.

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"Twice in the past week, Republicans scored wins and divided Democrats by employing an arcane maneuver known as a resolution of disapproval..."

".... The biggest victory came on Thursday, when President Biden told Senate Democrats that he would sign a Republican-led resolution blocking the District of Columbia’s new criminal code if it reached his desk. It was a reversal from his earlier opposition and a frank acknowledgment that Republicans had gotten the better of Democrats on the hot-button topic of violent crime. It is somewhat unusual for the president to have to confront legislation he opposes when his party controls at least part of the Congress — in this case the Senate — since his allies on Capitol Hill can usually bottle up legislation they don’t like and spare him from a veto or a tough decision...."

"Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) felt that sense of tension, or agita as her Italian family might say, the moment she walked into the massive hotel — that burden..."

"... from helping lead so many policy retreats here. Then, calm. 'You don’t have any responsibilities,' the former speaker told herself, attending the annual getaway for House Democrats as a congressional commoner for the first time in more than 20 years. As Biden administration officials gave policy presentations on Wednesday, Pelosi said she whispered a message to those at her table: 'If you don’t like your pillow, it’s not my fault. If you don’t like the menu, I don’t care. I don’t even care.'"

The bird news.

1. "Two suspected illegal immigrants shot and killed a bald eagle with the intention of cooking it for dinner, and the town’s sheriff whose department arrested them says federal authorities, who could keep them behind bars, won’t return his calls" (Washington Free Beacon).

2. "Swedish power giant Vattenfall did a two-year, €3 million study of seabirds at an offshore wind farm off Scotland.... Not a single collision between a bird and a rotor blade was recorded... 'these birds are really good at avoiding the turbines'" (electrek).

3. "This year marks the 80th anniversary of the federal duck stamp. Since its enactment, this landmark initiative has generated well over $900 million to conserve nearly 8 million acres of wetlands all across the United States through the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund" (Democrat and Chronicle).

4. "Exploring how birds use contractions... A team of researchers at Kyoto University has found evidence that the wild passerine species Parus minor appears to merge two consecutive calls into a single vocal message... the cognitive capability known as core-Merge...." (

"W. David Marx, the author of the book 'Status and Culture,' said that for luxury goods to function as status symbols, they need... to be used in a way that is not only to mark status."

"Someone carrying a beat-up Hermès bag suggests that they are not simply wearing it because of its label, according to Mr. Marx. It can give the impression, he wrote in an email, that 'I don’t even care if it gets beat up, because I’m not using this for status marking.' 'It’s just a bag,' he wrote. 'Who cares if it’s beat up?'"

If you care, you're not doing it right. And if you don't care, you wouldn't even be trying. So, go ahead now....

U.S. News says the law schools withdrawing from its ranking system are in prep mode for the end of affirmative action.

I'm reading "Defending Its Rankings, U.S. News Takes Aim at Top Law Schools/The publication accuses Yale and other schools of trying to evade accountability — and sidestep a likely end to affirmative action — by opting out of its ratings" (NYT).
“Some law deans are already exploring ways to sidestep any restrictive ruling by reducing their emphasis on test scores and grades — criteria used in our rankings,” Eric J. Gertler, the executive chairman and chief executive of U.S. News, wrote in an opinion essay on Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal....

It's a little hard to figure out the causality. If law schools can't directly take race into account, why would they make an adjustment that puts less emphasis on test scores and grades?

"Don’t hand that government more power under the guise of conservatism.... We shouldn’t look for larger-than-life personalities, but rather we should fight power in the rooms like this one."

"We can’t become the left, following celebrity leaders with their own brand of identity politics — those with fragile egos who refuse to acknowledge reality. … We can’t shift blame to others, but must accept the responsibility that comes to those of us who step forward and lead."

Said Mike Pompeo, at CPAC, quoted in a WaPo column titled "Pompeo’s personal dig at Trump."

If you're going to tell people to stop fixating on the big person, you have to offer some big substance. You can't just invoke generalities like leadership and fighting "power." You're seeking power. And you've already allied yourself with the big celebrity in your rise to power, so I can't even understand your point. You want us to follow you because you're not a celebrity, after you followed the same celebrity we're — some of us — still following?

I'm limited to what the WaPo columnist (Aaron Blake) chose to quote. I searched for the full text of the speech. Couldn't find it. Not even in his Twitter feed. 

March 3, 2023

Sunset — 5:44, 5:51.



Photos by Meade.

Write about whatever you want in the comments.

I haven't used my tag "the stupid party" in a while, but I'm thinking about it this morning...

... as I scan the bloggable headlines at Memeorandum.

Both parties compete for the designation, though they insist the other party deserves the title.

Right now, the Republicans are making a big play for the anti-honor. Must I copy and paste the headlines that have caused me to write this post?

"My conspiracy theory about eye cream is very arguably correct, but I had failed to consider a larger lesson of conspiracism: Truth isn’t the only thing that matters, and it might not even be that compelling.”

That's the conclusion of the essay — in The Atlantic — "The Truth About Eye Cream/Is it just facial moisturizer in a smaller, more expensive tub?"

"Drag is a job. Drag is a legitimate artistic expression that brings people together, that entertains, that allows certain individuals to explore who they are..."

"... and allows all of us to have a very nice time. So it makes literally no sense for legislators, for people in government, to try to ban drag."

Said culture and gender studies professor Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, author of "Translocas: The Politics of Puerto Rican Drag and Trans Performance," quoted in  "As Tennessee, others target drag shows, many wonder: Why?" (AP News).

I found that after struggling to read "Tennessee curbs trans treatment and drag for children" (BBC):

"For our £120, we got 45 minutes of brightly coloured splats [David] Hockney has done on his iPad..."

"... blasted around the four walls while the old ham belted out his... platitudes in quadraphonic stereo all around us ('I love life,' 'the world is beautiful when you look, but most people don’t'). There were all the old banalities about the 'quality of the light' in Los Angeles, lots of film of him 'being inspired' while driving round the California mountains in a convertible while listening to Wagner (even duller than your best mate’s hourly Instagram posts from holiday) and then endless minutes of his opera sets, complete with cringey faux-naif animations that reminded me of when it said 'cartoon' in the TV schedule in the late 1970s and you switched on hoping for Tom and Jerry but got some depressing shadow puppet thing from 1950s Czechoslovakia.... [W]e were laughing so much we had to leave, through a shop in the foyer where they had attempted to find interesting things he has said over the years to put on their brightly coloured 'quote totes' (£20 a pop, if you please) but clearly couldn’t find anything better than 'If you’re not playful, you’re not alive,' 'I’m greedy for an exciting life,' and, from the militant old smoker, 'Health is wealth'...."

Writes Giles Coren in "Don’t splash out on Hockney’s splats and platitudes" (London Times).

"Suddenly, everywhere you look, the Jews are disappearing. You feel it like a slow moving pressure system..."

"... an anxiety of exclusion and downward mobility. Maybe you first noticed it at your workplace. Or maybe it hit when you or your children applied to college or graduate school. It could have been something as simple as opening up the Netflix splash page. It’s gauche to count but you can’t help yourself: In academia, Hollywood, Washington, even in New York City—anywhere American Jews once made their mark—our influence is in steep decline. For many Jews, the first instinct is to look inward: We blame intermarriage, assimilation, the loss of the immigrant work ethic. This is, of course, a cope. Because the most significant cause of the decline isn’t Jews themselves, but that American liberalism, our civic religion, has turned on us. Where Jewish success was once upheld as a sign of America’s strength and progress over its prejudices, Jewish 'overrepresentation' is again something to be solved, not celebrated...."

(I know "Judaism" isn't the right word for this issue, but it's a tag I've had for a long time.)

March 2, 2023

Sunrise — 6:41, 6:55.

The light changes from blue...


... to gray:


Talk about whatever you like in the comments.

The 3-year-old boy who won World Book Day.

"A head teacher has apologised after replacing all the mirrors in a girls’ lavatory with motivational posters urging them to stop wearing make-up...."

"A picture shared online showed one that read: 'If all girls started wearing no make-up and comfortable clothes, guys would have no choice but to fall for girls because of natural beauty.' Others say 'Beauty is nothing without brains' and 'Dear girls, make-up is a harmful drug. Once you start using it, you’ll feel ugly without it'.... Neil Morris, the head teacher, [said t]he mirrors had been removed... to stop the lavatories becoming a 'congregational social area'.... 'The English department had used this as an opportunity to provide some argumentative discursive letter-writing,' he added. 'They put up some provocative posters.... This has produced some frenzied, powerful writing and debate. With hindsight, the posters should have been placed in the classroom area, not in one toilet.'"

O'Keefeless Project Veritas tries to roll out some hard-hitting undercover video, but it's just a run-of-the-mill jackass professor bad-mouthing conservative students.


Concentrate on the comments. To quote a few: Where’s James o’keefe?/You can try all you want, but you’re nothing without @JamesOKeefeIII/Neat no James. Don't care. I'll wait for James and his new project. Vertias [sic] is compromised and cannot be trusted/Don't matter if you're trying to continue the work if you're corrupt. Being [sic] back @JamesOKeefeIII resign and then join @ProjectLincoln/Nothing new here… low hanging fruit. What happened with the Pfizer story? Or are you not supposed to talk about it anymore?

That video is pointless — humiliating a guy who seems to think he's impressing a date by telling her he's in "control" in the classroom and can embarrass students who don't know what he knows about climate change. 

"There’s still a lot of male parts. I don’t know if that would be fair" — fair to get rid of the gendered categories for movie awards.

Said Patricia Arquette, quoted in "Awards Without Gender Categories? Celebrities Debate/Nominees at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday were split on combining award show categories for best actor and best actress" (NYT).
Female nominees in particular expressed concern that the idea of a single prize would put men at a distinct advantage because of the richer and more numerous roles available to them.... 

Something I read in the news yesterday caused an old 3-word expression to come back to me: "modified limited hangout."

I looked it up in Wikipedia, where it's a subsection of the article "Limited hangout."

Here's the origin story:

"... Lightfoot may be a harbinger, or at least a warning, for the other big-city Black mayors..."

"... will their mostly non-Black citizens feel that their safety is being prioritized and secured under Black leadership?"

Concludes Charles Blow, in "The Spectacular Fall of Lori Lightfoot" (NYT).

"A simple but obvious fact has been lost over the past few years, amid Trump’s direct attacks on the FBI, and liberal defenses of the FBI against those attacks..."

"... FBI agents are cops. Law-enforcement officers, including the FBI, have long been disproportionately conservative, but in the past few decades, like the rest of the nation, they have also become far more polarized by party, a reality reflected in the rhetoric and positioning of advocacy groups such as the Fraternal Order of Police. There are liberal and moderate cops, but they are not close to comprising a majority. Simply put, the FBI is full of people who would prefer not to investigate Donald Trump. He remains under federal investigation only because of his own inability to stop criming...."

"In a statement, Sirhan’s attorney Angela Berry expressed concern that the board had been swayed by Newsom..."

"... who overruled the previous recommendation in 2022 and has argued that Sirhan has not been rehabilitated. She also argued against the idea that her client lacked 'sufficient insight' into his actions, citing psychiatric evaluations dating back to 1975 and the 2021 parole hearing. In an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times last year, Newsom said Sirhan had 'not developed the accountability and insight required to support his safe release into his community.'"

"One agency, which the officials did not name, determined that it was 'unlikely' that a foreign actor was at fault, a slightly less emphatic finding..."

"... that did not appreciably change the consensus. One agency abstained in its conclusion regarding a foreign actor. But when asked, no agency dissented from the conclusion that a foreign actor did not cause the symptoms, one of the intelligence officials said.... 'There was nothing,' the official said. This person added that there was no intelligence that foreign leaders, including in Russia, had any knowledge of or had authorized an attack on U.S. personnel that could explain the symptoms."

I'm reading "'Havana syndrome' not caused by energy weapon or foreign adversary, intelligence review finds/After a years-long assessment, five U.S. intelligence agencies conclude it is 'very unlikely' an enemy wielding a secret weapon was behind the mysterious ailment" (WaPo).

Some attempts to allay suspicion stimulate suspicion. I wonder what else does "not appreciably change the consensus." I remember when "consensus" used to feel reassuring.

The intelligence assessment also examined whether an adversary possessed a device capable of using energy to cause the reported symptoms. Of the seven agencies, five determined that it was “very unlikely,” while the other two said it was “unlikely.”

But what did cause the symptoms? Is every possible cause is unlikely? If so, the unlikely causes remain in play, because something caused them.

"The West continues its attempts to push everyone and everything."

Said Sergey V. Lavrov, quoted in "Live Updates: Blinken and Lavrov Meet For the First Time Since Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine/Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia briefly spoke one on one during a Group of 20 summit, U.S. officials said" (NYT).

March 1, 2023

Sunrise — 6:32, 6:33.



Coaster found inside 1961 copy of "Tropic of Cancer."


I was just rearranging my bookshelves, mostly planning to trash decrepit mass-market paperbacks, but I'll keep this. It was, undoubtedly, bought by my parents and read — perhaps only up to page 163 — and then migrated to my house after my parents were both [word in the upper right hand corner, above].

Every American President, re-envisioned wearing a mullet.

 Start here

I'll single out Lincoln:

You'd think the answer to "AITA for wearing a wedding dress at a wedding?" would have to be yes...

 ... unless the bride herself is asking the question. But she's not, and the answer is quite clearly no.

Read the context, at r/AmItheAsshole, here.

"My parents, who were low-income and immigrants, instilled in me the very great importance of finding a concentration that would get me a job..."

"... 'You don’t go to Harvard for basket weaving' was one of the things they would say.... So, when I came, I took a course that was, like, the hardest course you could take your freshman year. It integrated computer science, physics, math, chemistry, and biology. That course fulfilled a lot of the requirements to be able to do molecular and cellular biology, so I finished that, for my parents. I can get a job. I’m educated.... I took courses in Chinese film and literature. I took classes in the science of cooking. My issue as a first-gen student is I always view humanities as a passion project. You have to be affluent in order to be able to take that on and state, 'Oh, I can pursue this, because I have the money to do whatever I want.'... I view the humanities as very hobby-based."

"When California was drawing up its Constitution to join the Union, the state debated excluding Black people."

"The delegate who brought forth an exclusion resolution said that with migrating free Black people, the state could find itself 'flooded with a population of free Negroes,' which would be 'the greatest calamity that could befall California.' In that way, what [Scott] Adams said, while racist, was less outside the bounds of America’s troubled ideological canon and more in step with it on the question of having a functional, egalitarian, pluralistic society."

The last 2 paragraphs of "The ‘Dilbert’ Cartoonist and the Durability of White-Flight Thinking" by Charles Blow (in the NYT).

"Mr. DeRuvo initially decided to forgo shoes because of agonizing bunions, but he has stayed barefoot for reasons that transcend physical comfort."

"In that time, he has become a litmus test of people’s forbearance and their willingness to tolerate a stranger’s unconventional lifestyle and perhaps even try to understand it. There are questions he is asked frequently that he is always happy to answer. How does he manage snow and ice? Doesn’t he get sharp objects stuck in his thick calluses? But that’s the simple stuff. 'Navigating the terrain is easy,' Mr. DeRuvo said. 'Navigating people is tricky.; When asked to leave a shop or a restaurant, he normally does so without protest, said Mr. DeRuvo’s wife, Lini Ecker, a shoe-wearer who serves as a bridge between her husband and a world that generally asks for conformity. 'When someone has put on their "I’m in charge personae,"' she said, 'once they start, they can never change their minds.' On occasion, Mr. DeRuvo pushes back. 'If I’m feeling feisty,' he said...."

He has a job that works with barefootedness: Pilates instructor.

We're told he has other quirks: He prefers to use chopsticks and "He needs reggae music to play in the background at almost all times."

"[O]n the morning of John Kennedy’s death in 1963 I was buying, at Ransohoff’s in San Francisco, a short silk dress in which to be married."

"A few years later this dress of mine was ruined when, at a dinner party in Bel-Air, Roman Polanski accidentally spilled a glass of red wine on it. Sharon Tate was also a guest at this party, although she and Roman Polanski were not yet married. On July 27, 1970, I went to the Magnin-Hi Shop on the third floor of I. Magnin in Beverly Hills and picked out, at Linda Kasabian’s request, the dress in which she began her testimony about the murders at Sharon Tate Polanski’s house on Cielo Drive. 'Size 9 Petite,' her instructions read. 'Mini but not extremely mini. In velvet if possible. Emerald green or gold. Or: A Mexican peasant-style dress, smocked or embroidered.'"

Wrote Joan Didion, in "The White Album" (1979).

Didion continues:

"Some might think that this pervasive progressivism would encourage conservative students to change their views."

"But in fact it has the opposite effect. Graduates of schools like Loyola University Chicago, George Washington University and Mount Holyoke have described how the rampant leftism on their campuses pushed them to the right.... [F]ormative years at elite institutions that have gone woke are convincing right-leaning students and heterodox thinkers that society’s most august institutions — from media outlets to universities — are fundamentally broken and need to be set on a different path. If colleges don’t want to produce a new generation of conservative firebrands, they need to pump the brakes on campus progressivism. Campuses that are more welcoming to conservatives are in universities’ own interest."
Writes Adam Hoffman, a senior at Princeton, in "My Liberal Campus Is Pushing Freethinkers to the Right" (NYT).

"Who are these dolls for? Little girls, but really, their mothers, who took their dolls to the American Girl 'hospital' for repairs, who lovingly brushed their hair..."

"... who still read think pieces on the Samantha aesthetic, or Molly’s potential sexuality or what their choice of girlhood doll foretold for their adult personality. (This author, past owner of a Felicity, was indeed a Horse Girl who 'grew up to have an affinity for lovely things [and] a possibly inflated sense of your own uniqueness,' as [the article at that third link] predicted.) Her daughter is getting a little old for dolls, says [one mother]. But she might get Isabel and Nicki anyway. 'I think I’m going to buy them because I want them for myself,' she says. 'Having those dolls would kind of just give me a piece of my childhood back.'"

From a WaPo article about the new American Girl dolls —  Isabel and Nicki — that supposedly represent the historical era known as 1999.

Did you ever buy your child a toy that was really more about you reliving — or idealizing — your own childhood?

February 28, 2023

Sunrise — 6:40, 6:43.

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"Members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority seemed deeply skeptical on Tuesday of the legality of the Biden administration’s plan to wipe out more than $400 billion in student debt because of the coronavirus pandemic."

Writes Adam Liptak (NYT).
During the first of two arguments on the program, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. indicated that the administration had violated separation-of powers principles by acting without sufficiently explicit congressional authorization to undertake one of the most ambitious and expensive executive actions in the nation’s history. 

"71% of Democratic Voters Think Biden Should Be 2024 Nominee."

Says a new Emerson poll.

I said it 2 weeks ago:

"That's your candidate, Democrats. There's no getting around it. And it seems that America will spend the next 6 years in the arms of the gerontocracy. Snuggle up!"

I'd already factored in my belief that Trump will get the GOP nomination and go on to lose the election. I've decided I'm not getting cranked up about it. I have blogged the presidential campaigns for almost 2 decades, with day-by-day observations and insights throughout 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020. What a hell of a thing to become so immersed in. This time will be different. And not because I'm tired of all the immersion. It's different because I can see it's different. We're in a ridiculous fix. But I'm not going to make it worse by struggling. The ancient grandfather will enfold us. 

"Parents, we are not blaming you. Children and teens are learning to navigate the world free from supervision and often push the boundaries."

"We simply can't let them push those boundaries anymore at our restaurant. We encourage you to talk to your children and ask about behaviors they have seen and perhaps participated in."

Said a post from the Chick-fil-A in Royersford, Pennsylvania, quoted in "Chick-fil-A Royersford says customers under 16 must have an adult to dine in restaurant" (6ABC).

They cancelled Roseanne Barr for a lot less.

Quickly escalating on Twitter, an out-of-context quick escalation.

I tried to find the context, but didn't. Perhaps you can help.

"Ephemeral Tattoos Were 'Made to Fade.' Some Have a Ways to Go."

 The NYT reports.

This is a story that originated in social media — Reddit and TikTok. Customers of a business, Ephemeral, are complaining about the product — disappearing ink, injected — and displaying pictures of tattoos that were always bad but at least "made to fade." 

What sort of disclosure and consent form the tattooees signed? Paragraph 4 shows this is just another tattoo regret story:

February 27, 2023

The female lawgiver.


I took that photograph on February 19th. The sculpture, on top of a Manhattan courthouse, is something I blogged about, here, on January 27, with a closeup picture.

The Washington Post Fact Checker says: "So far, Trump’s rollback of regulations can’t be blamed for Ohio train wreck."

Glenn Kessler investigated Trump's statement "I had nothing to do with it."
We decided to examine every possible regulatory change made under Trump that could be related to the accident and assess whether it could have made an impact. A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the incident, said the Norfolk Southern crew received an alert about an overheated wheel bearing and was trying to slow the train before it came off the tracks. From our analysis, none of the regulatory changes made during the Trump administration at this point can be cited as contributing to the accident.

The fencepost frog and the 3-D printing.

"Before Ozempic, she’d hole up in her hotel on film shoots, juice-cleansing to fit into her costumes. Now, she says..."

"... 'you can eat one and a half meals a day and then you’re kind of hungry at night, but it’s not terrible. You can drink some tea with magnesium and maybe take a Xanax and get to sleep.'..."

"It just looks like a huge cup that's way too big...."

"People start to re-examine their lives. Let’s do something we can wrap our hands around."

"Knowing how to go into the woods and find a mushroom that you can take home and cook for dinner feels like something solid, or tangible."

The NYT is stirring up travel ideas for East Coast people to go to the West Coast and compete with the locals looking for things growing in the wild. It's the opposite of locavorism... is that the word? I'd like to suggest locavoraciousness... a word I just coined.

"Twitter and Tesla chief Elon Musk defended Scott Adams... in a series of tweets Sunday, blasting media organizations for dropping his comic strip..."

I'm reading "Musk defends 'Dilbert' creator, says media is 'racist against whites'/The Tesla and Twitter chief blasted media outlets for dropping Scott Adams’s comic strip after the cartoonist’s rant against Black people" by Will Oremus (WaPo).
Replying to tweets about the controversy, Musk said it is actually the media that is “racist against whites & Asians.”... 
In further tweets Sunday, Musk agreed with a tweet that said “Adams’ comments weren’t good” but there’s “an element of truth” to them, and suggested in a reply that media organizations promote a “false narrative” by giving more coverage to unarmed Black victims of police violence than they do to unarmed White victims of police violence.... 

Here's the Musk tweet, responding to someone who tweeted that the MSM had concluded that Adams is racist:

"The goal is not to expose the 'slipups' of the masters but to understand the human brain."

I'm reading "The Art of the Shadow: How Painters Have Gotten It Wrong for Centuries" (The MIT Press Reader).

"[I]f we were able to more-or-less end teenage cigarette smoking over the last 20 years, it shouldn’t be out of the question to try to do the same with social-media use."

Says Bret Stephens, a NYT conservative columnist, in conversation with Gail Collins, a NYT liberaI columnist. 

Collins agrees and says she's "happy to insist" that Apple prevent the download of social-media apps to phones known to be used by teenagers.

Stephens asserts that "most teenagers" would "welcome" this exclusion from social media.
It’s hard enough being 14 or 15 without needing to panic about some embarrassing Instagram pic or discovering too late that something stupid or awful you wrote on Facebook or Twitter at 16 comes back to haunt you at 20.... We owe it to the kids to shield them from creating public records of their own indiscretions and idiocies. Life will come roaring at them soon enough. I say no social media till they’re old enough to vote, smoke and maybe even buy a drink. Full-frontal stupidity should be left to the grown-ups — like us!

You can see he thinks he's cute... just delightful. So blithely depriving teenagers of freedom of speech. Not even a word about freedom, just safety and protection, and no insight whatsoever into what you are teaching young people these days or awareness of what they will think of you and your repression of them and the values you crudely imposed.

Speaking of wearing blinders... in another part of this rambling but short conversation, they talk about the accomplishments of Jimmy Carter, and Stephens says, "Made air travel affordable to middle-class America for the first time," then barrels on to the next subject. I know this column is supposed to be jaunty, moving swiftly from one topic to the next, but it made me stop and think of the topic the good-thinkers always think about except when they don't: Global warming.

Isn't Jimmy Carter a major villain in the story of anthropogenic climate change? 

February 26, 2023

Sunrise — 6:30.


Write about whatever you want in the comments.

"The E-Sports High School... was founded with the intention of feeding the growing global demand for professional gamers...."

"In truth, few of the students will become pro gamers. E-sports have never caught on in Japan, where people prefer single-player games. And careers are short anyway: Teenagers — with their fast-twitch reflexes — dominate. By their mid-20s, most players are no longer competitive." 

The "unexpected demographic" is the young people who are simply refusing to go to school, such as "Torahito Tsutsumi, 17, [who] had left school after bullying drove him into a deep depression. He spent all day in his room reading comics and playing video games. When his mother, Ai, confronted him about it, he told her that his life was 'meaningless.'"

"I have not worn a scarf for months — I don’t even carry it with me any more. Whether the government likes to admit it or not, the era of the forced hijab is over."

Said Kimia, 23, a graduate student in the Kurdish city of Sanandaj, quoted in "Their Hair Long and Flowing or in Ponytails, Women in Iran Flaunt Their Locks/Defiant resistance to Iran’s mandatory hijab law has exploded across the country after nationwide protests that erupted last year" (NYT).

"Profoundly embarrassed" is putting it outrageously lightly.

ADDED: Here's the NYT article on the subject: "Lab Leak Most Likely Caused Pandemic, Energy Dept. Says, as Spy Agencies Remain Split/The conclusion, which was made with 'low confidence,' was based on new intelligence. The information didn’t lead other agencies to change their assessments on the origins of the coronavirus."

"Efforts by the ruling Communist Party to raise fertility rates — by permitting all couples to have two children in 2016, then three in 2021..."

"... have struggled to gain traction. The new policy in Sichuan drew widespread attention because it essentially disregards birth limits altogether.... In most parts of China, single mothers are denied the government benefits offered to married couples. Until recently, some provinces had even imposed fines on unmarried women who gave birth. But the baby shortage has prompted provinces like Sichuan to start legally recognizing children born to single mothers, part of a Communist Party push toward more 'inclusive' population policies.... But the obstacles for women... go far beyond compensation.... 'What many women, especially single mothers, lack is not money, but the protection of their rights and the respect of society'...."

"If you’re a fan – as I am – of Skinner’s standup, you’ll enjoy tracing how his poetry appreciation now dovetails with, and now diverges from, comedy."

"Transpose on to standup his reading of Gregory Corso’s Man Entering the Sea, which concentrates all of evolution into the spectacle of a bather going for a dip, and you get – bit of a clash, this – Michael McIntyre’s routine about swimming pools. ('It’s all right once you’re in!') That brand of comedy, you might think, can only seem superficial by comparison with poetry. Then you listen to Skinner’s account of what poets do: 'They see an ordinary thing that we all see, and then they illuminate it. They do something with that everyday thing that makes it sacred, if you like.' Remind you of anyone else? Another profession that takes the mundane and fashions it into something intensely, transcendentally alive? Skinner’s podcast is all about the poetry, of course. But you can’t listen without the thought occurring that comedians, himself included, are poets of a sort, too."

Writes Brian Logan, in "From standup to stanzas: Frank Skinner's terrific guide to poetry/The comedian’s new podcast is bursting with enthusiasm for poems. If standup forces him to be funny, here he forces himself to be true" (The Guardian).

The article is from 2020. I dug it up because I've been bingeing on "Frank Skinner's Poetry Podcast" for the past week or so.

"Mrs. Space, 68… weighs just over 80 pounds, making it difficult for her to get warm."

"She and her husband, Thomas, watched as the thermometer in their home dipped into the low 60s. When Ms. Space started having headaches and shortness of breath, the two decided it was time to leave.... The Spaces tried to call hotels in the area, but many were sold out and available rooms were too expensive. Mr. Space found the American Red Cross shelter in Kalamazoo, so the couple packed what they needed from their home and spent the night there on Friday evening. 'It was almost a blessing, just to be able to walk in here and be given a cot,' she said."

"Woody Harrelson hosted Saturday Night Live and used his opening monologue to criticize Big Pharma's response to COVID-19."

I do the NYT crossword every day, and often it contains humor, but I had never, not once, until yesterday, laughed out loud.

It was just a small outburst. A "ha." But it was huge, because I've gotten so many clues over the years that went for humor and not one thing had burst through my steely exterior until yesterday. 

I don't want to spoil the puzzle for you, and frankly, I don't want to have to explain the theme, which is a tad complicated. I'll just say: 88 Across. Finally, a crossword answer that made me laugh. 

Do the puzzle yourself, or read Rex Parker's write up, here

A little music to puzzle over:

"Kiwi Farms harvests anguish. It thrives on pain and revels in death. Users of the innocuously named forum prey on the vulnerable and marginalized..."

"... with persistent and twisted harassment campaigns. Despite its penchant for destroying lives, Kiwi Farms has been mostly overlooked by the media for much of the site’s existence. That is partly because of who it attacks, but also because reporters are wary of becoming targets themselves. The users call their victims 'lolcows' because their pain can be milked for laughs. The group made its purpose clear on its Twitter page before it was taken down: 'Gossip and exploitation of mentally handicapped for amusement purposes.'..."

From "The Website That Wants You to Kill Yourself—and Won’t Die/How the trolls on Kiwi Farms hounded people to commit suicide and created the online culture we have today" (Mother Jones).

That the "Day of Hate" did not happen is a news story that must be reported.

It's not nothing, because of the warnings. When I google "Day of Hate," I see no news of the actual day, when, apparently, nothing happened, but the warnings about it:

I want to see not merely the news of what, if anything, happened but also the investigation of how these warnings came into being. Did the authorities get conned by some internet trolls? Are the Russians afoot? Does our own government seek to control us with racial paranoia?