April 1, 2023

At the Saturday Night Café...

... you can talk about anything you like.

The new Yahoo/YouGov poll — taken after Trump's indictment — has Trump with his largest lead yet.

Yahoo News reports.

2 weeks ago, it was Trump 47%, DeSantis 39% — 8 points ahead.

The new poll has Trump up 10 points, to 57%, and DeSantis down 8 points, to 31%. Trump is 26 points again. 

When Trump is pitted against the whole field of GOP candidates, he pulls a majority — 52% — up from 44%, with DeSantis at 21%.

"Highly anticipated cases have made the [Wisconsin] Supreme Court race the most expensive in the nation’s history."

"Top issues include abortion and redistricting — not transgender rights. But American Principles Project (APP) is part of a national, far-right movement to demonize transgender people and undermine their rights."

I haven't looked at the ad yet, but I find it hard to believe that what it does is "demonize transgender people." I'm going to guess that the "demonizing" — to the extent that there is any — is aimed at the providers of treatments who have transgender persons as patients and to those who would regulate speech in schools and places of business.

"No one ever thinks that! No one ever thinks they’re Umbridge!"

Said J.K. Rowling, in Chapter 7 — "What If You're Wrong?" — of the podcast "The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling" (transcript), responding to this question from the interviewer, Megan Phelps Roper:
I’m really interested in the question of discernment. I think of this scene from one of your books. It was “Harry Potter in the Order of the Phoenix,” where Hermione, the hero, and Professor Umbridge, who was clearly in the wrong, have this showdown in class. Hermione says in a moment of defiance that she disagrees with something in her textbook and Umbridge berates her like, who are you to disagree with this expert who wrote this textbook and punishes her. Now to anyone reading this, it is so frustrating and unjust. But I venture to say that no one thinks they are the Umbridge.

Talked myself into buying the blue check.

"The presumption that gender-diverse identities are not real — that young people will eventually come to accept their birth assigned gender as their minds catch up to their maturing bodies..."

"... is not supported by the evidence and is likely harmful...."

Writes Marci L. Bowers, a gynecologic and reconstructive surgeon and president of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, in "What Decades of Providing Trans Health Care Have Taught Me" (NYT).

I was surprised to see the term "birth assigned gender." What's "assigned" at birth isn't "gender" but sex. Earlier in the column, the doctor does refer to "gender identities [that] do not match... sex assigned at birth."

But what is the science of this "matching"? Is it a medical problem not to "match"? 

What will happen on Twitter, now that the elite are no longer boosted by the old blue check system?

I'm reading a Twitter thread from Nathan Hubbard, who presumably is who he says he is, since he had a blue check when he wrote this last night:
1) As someone who was (briefly) in charge of the Twitter Media team - the group tasked with getting high profile people onto Twitter, and verification - AND as one of the few ever to voluntarily give up the blue check...

But you've got a blue check now. 

... I want to try to articulate how risky this policy change is.  
2) The reason the Twitter Media team existed was because *almost all* of the engagement on Twitter happens with tweets from high profile people/organizations across government, sports, music, business, news, whatever the Kardashians are, etc. They’re the lifeblood of the platform.

Are or were... but it doesn't have to be. TikTok works on the power of the individual message posted and uplifts complete nobodies if the platform users engage with it. 

March 31, 2023

At the Friday Night Café...

 ... you can write about whatever you want.

"An advance team of Secret Service agents... conducted a site tour of the courthouse on Friday to map Trump’s path in and out of the building..."

"... according to a law enforcement official involved in the planning. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the arrangements, said that 'dozens and dozens of agents' will be required to secure the former president’s travel between Mar-A- Lago, his Florida home and private club, and New York.... [T]he agency will take 'the necessary steps' to protect Trump from harm, including placing agents and officers in a bubble formation to separate him from approaching members of the public. But... the Secret Service has not sought any special accommodations in the court’s standard processing and arraignment procedure, the official said, such as closing off courthouse hallways to the public.... Court security officers will manage the former president’s movements inside the building, in the company of Trump’s security detail, and New York police officers will secure the outside streets surrounding the courthouse and along Trump’s motorcade route through the city...."

"In a contentious debate in Madison last week, in front of a standing-room-only crowd, the mutual contempt between candidates was palpable."

"[Daniel] Kelly kept pointing at [Janet] Protasiewicz and calling her a liar as she looked straight ahead; the event had a bit of the same vibe as the infamous second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Kelly inveighed against Protasiewicz for speaking in terms of policy outcomes rather than legal doctrine, calling her 'a candidate who does nothing but talk about her personal politics.'"

"Twitter’s system of account verification comes to an end Saturday..."

"... when, as the company’s owner Elon Musk announced earlier this month, all 'legacy' verified accounts will lose their blue check.... But if Musk thought that by stripping 'legacy' accounts of their verification, he could convert those account holders into Twitter Blue subscribers, at least when it comes to American media he’s mistaken...."

If this be humor, make the most of it.


Get ready...

"The extreme lack of curiosity about the political ideology of the Nashville shooter, and what role that ideology may have played in motivating the massacre...."

"As she has evangelised about chakra healing and $75-per-month vitamin supplements, Paltrow's high-end 'yoga mom' spirit has overshadowed her film career."

"Even her exceptionally trim body, at 50, is another part of the brand: recently, she has spoken about a bone-broth diet which has been widely criticised as 'dangerous.' (She subsequently insisted that she has many days of eating 'whatever' and 'french fries.') There is something so absurd about Paltrow's image that it seems almost to transcend the disdain you might expect to be levelled at her for such flagrant unworldliness. To many, she's such a caricature of privilege, doing things that are so glossily removed from ordinary life.... inconceivably wealthy, hyper-fixated on things that most have never thought about (vaginal steamers, anyone?).... [I]n today's relentlessly critical social media discourse, many find her schtick so over-the-top that they can't help but find it entertaining."

Side note: She won the case. 

I trust that the jury ascertained that she and not the optometrist was the one who told the truth. 

Does that make her a less ridiculous figure in our pop culture?

"You’re actually super transphobic and I never want to share a space with you."

Said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to "Libs of TikTok" creator Chaya Raichik, quoted "AOC storms away from ‘Libs of TikTok’ creator on Capitol Hill" (NY Post).

"We are discussing with them, you know, obviously, there’s a group called the Secret Service that’s involved now. I mean, this is going to be something we’ve never seen the likes of."

Said Trump's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, quoted in "'Shocked' Donald Trump will face 34 counts of business fraud after NYC indictment: lawyer Joe Tacopina" (NY Post).

34 counts?

“We now heard 34 counts," the lawyer said, "And I guarantee you it’s going to be 34 counts when we find out next week. They’ll take each check and make that a count, perhaps, and that’s how they’ll do it because the checks are paid to Cohen."

Tacopina plans to win the case. He says, "We will humiliate them, and they will pay the price."

March 30, 2023

Sunrise — 6:45.


"Grand Jury Votes to Indict Donald Trump in New York."

"Mr. Trump will be the first former president to face criminal charges. The precise charges are not yet known, but the case is focused on a hush-money payment to a porn star during his 2016 campaign."

The felony indictment, filed under seal by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, will likely be announced in the coming days. By then, prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, will have asked Mr. Trump to surrender and to face arraignment on charges that remain unknown for now.

Sunrise — 6:39.

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"After serving eleven months in solitary prior to his sentence being imposed, and only 16 months of his sentence thereafter, it is appropriate this gentle and intelligent young man..."

"... be permitted to move forward with the next stage of what undoubtedly will be a law abiding and enriching life. I applaud the decision of the US Bureau of Prison in this regard."

The headline implies that the early release is because of that newly seen footage. Was it?

"I’m trying to show people that they can move here and actually have a reasonable mortgage, while building on the progressive community that is here."

"For a lot of people of color and queer people, there is this generational poverty that continues to get passed down. They don’t have family that can pass down housing or other assets. I’m bisexual, and I’m a woman of color. I’ve been able to find a lot of community here through both of those aspects of my identity."

Here's one of her videos:

"To be clear, I am not denying that Chinese LGBTQ content creators have been forced to survive... in regulatory blind spots by cleverly packaging their stories with less provocative keywords like 'youth' and 'romance'..."

"... instead of 'Boys’ Love' or 'LGBTQ.' Instead, I believe it’s important to look deeper into an ecosystem that allows Chinese queer culture to persist.... [C]reators rely on huge streaming platforms [that]... use queer content to pinkwash their reputations while pursuing younger, more liberal audiences.... Streaming media platforms’ support for queer culture is at best speculative; it can be, and often is, withdrawn when the political winds shift.... In 2020, the Chinese government [objected to] 'chaotic fandom activities' and unconventional gender presentation, a phenomenon exemplified by the so-called sissy pants idols, many of them straight, appearing on television.... [W]hile the past two years were unkind to LGBTQ content creators and platforms alike, there are reasons for optimism. Time and again, when offered a choice, Chinese audiences have proven receptive to queer content and themes...."

I was interested to see the phrase "sissy pants," but this isn't the first time. Here's a post of mine from 2021. I quote an AP report:

"When we realized how many needs were going unmet in the category, we saw this as a timely opportunity to put people’s needs front and center in our stories, creating another chapter of DownThereCare."

Said FCB Chicago chief creative officer Andrés Ordóñez, quoted in "Cottonelle Gets Personal—and Funny—About 'Down There Care'/No cuddly mascots appear in comedic campaign by FCB Chicago" (AdWeek).

"When I was 16 years old, my hair started turning white.... he insecurity, anxiety, and ruminations about my slowly deteriorating hair lasted for over a decade."

"Every mirror became my own personal Picture of Dorian Gray. ... I was 16 and I was already fully immersed in a midlife crisis. And it was this preoccupation with my hair that made Tractate Nazir such a moving and deeply personal learning experience. A nazirite vow prohibits one from cutting their hair, drinking wine, and becoming contaminated by contact with the dead. But more so than any of the other prohibitions, the crowning definition of the nazir—a person who has taken this vow—is hair. The very word 'nazir,' explains Rashi, is a crown. And throughout Tractate Nazir, I discovered how to find sanctity in my own hair...."

I don't know about baked equations, but do Ghanaians think Kamala Harris looks like them?

I'd say this photo caption — at Politico — is an embarrassing/offensive racial gaffe:
"In Kamala Harris, Ghanaians see someone at the table who looks like them. But that doesn’t mean that trust was baked into the equation."

March 29, 2023

Sunrise — 6:47.


"'I’m going to have to tell shorter stories,' Mets announcer Keith Hernandez said this month..."

".... after rapid pitches (and quick outs) interrupted his anecdotes. A half-inning barely gave him time to recall his minor league days in Tulsa long ago, when he hit Leon Russell’s nightclub to see Eric Clapton or Freddie King."

By "returning to the past," he means that in the old days, the games averaged something like 2½ hours, and in recent years, the average had elongated into 3 hours 11 minutes. Under the new rule, which sets a 15-second clock — 7 seconds for the batter to get ready and 8 seconds for the pitcher to start the windup — we seem to be returning to the old game length.

"It’s amazing how hearing the umpire yell 'Strike!' or 'Ball!' as a penalty, just because you have dawdled an instant too long, can speed up a fellow’s metabolism."

Sounds a little nerve-wracking. And too umpire-y. Too officious. Why were we watching? Maybe we loved the languors and the anecdotes.

"Genuine users are rightly outraged at the idea of being blackmailed into paying Musk to prove who they are."

"These people — the signal amid the Twitter noise — are, after all, a core component of the value of the network. So of course they shouldn’t (and won’t) pay — and so their visibility on Twitter will decay.... In a further twist, only paying users will get a vote in future Twitter policy polls — meaning Musk will guarantee populist decision-making is rigged in his fanboys’ favor...."

Writes Natasha Lomas in "Twitter is dying" (TechCrunch).

"Last year, federal prosecutors in the [Washington D.C.] U.S. attorney’s office chose not to prosecute 67 percent of those arrested..."

"... by police officers in cases that would have been tried in D.C. Superior Court.... In an interview, Matthew M. Graves, the Biden-appointed U.S. attorney for the District, said his office was continuing to prosecute the vast majority of violent felonies. He said prosecutors were declining less serious cases for myriad reasons, including that the city’s crime lab remained unaccredited and police body-camera footage was subjecting arrests to more scrutiny...."

"Not every time, but most times, you select Twitter and put the name 'The Kinks' in there, and it warns that it could be quirky stuff, like a porn star or kink porn."

"Of course it isn’t. We’ve been the Kinks. It’s a band name that we’ve had since ’63. We used it perfectly fine all of these years. I think this needs to be cleared up, because it puts people off, having a warning sign on their posts. You think you’re doing something you shouldn’t do. I hope there’s someone out there that can do something.... I’m a big admirer of Elon Musk and his work. Maybe they’ve set a program into motion that they can’t sunset. I don’t know. They must be able to unravel it somehow...."

Said Dave Davies, quoted in "We Are the Viral Tweet Restoration Society/The Kinks’ Dave Davies says Twitter is suppressing his band’s content—and he knows why" (Slate).

"If it’s happening to us, I’m sure it would happen to a lot of people with slightly devious names. The whole idea of being creative, it’s to come up with new things, or different and unusual things. So, it’s going to put a damper on creative ideas.... I can choose what words I want to say—'hello,' 'good day,” and 'how are you'—and it shouldn’t be limited by certain rules or regulations, which might rule that you can only say 'hello' and 'goodbye.'..."

"Appropriately titled 'Tightness-Looseness Across the 50 United States,' the study calculated a catalog of measures for each state..."

"... including the incidence of natural disasters, disease prevalence, residents’ levels of openness and conscientiousness, drug and alcohol use, homelessness and incarceration rates.... The South dominated the tight states: Mississippi, Alabama Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and North Carolina. With two exceptions — Nevada and Hawaii — states in New England and on the West Coast were the loosest: California, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont...."

I'm going to read "Fear pervades Tennessee's trans community amid focus on Nashville shooter's gender identity."

At NBC News. 

The headline signals that we are to prioritize empathy for members of the trans community because they are experiencing fear rather than to want to find out what happened and what role transgenderism may have played in the murder spree. This is the idea that just to talk about the subject or to want to understand and analyze something having to do with transgender people is already inflicting a harm: fear. The message is: Don't even think about it, move on, because your attention is hurting vulnerable people.

This, though three 9-year-old children were murdered, along with 3 adults, and our natural empathy would go to them. Instead, we're expected to look away because trans people feel fear of what you might think if you think about it. Indeed, fear pervades the trans community — at least in Tennessee.

From the article:
Within 10 minutes of police saying that the suspect was transgender, the hashtag #TransTerrorism trended on Twitter.

I reveal the name of the puzzle cited in yesterday's post, "She feels that curves are far more appealing than angles...."

I didn't want to spoil the day's "Name Drop" puzzle, but now that I've updated the post, I'm afraid you won't see it and some other new material that I added there, and because I think some of it is kind of cool, I'm going to repeat it here, after the jump:

The annoying use of "you" in headlines these days is especially annoying when they assign mistakes to you that you haven't made.

I found this one especially irksome: "Why You Fell for the Fake Pope Coat/The pope didn’t actually wear that great jacket, but a lot of people were ready to believe he did" (The Atlantic).

I didn't think this really happened, did you? The Atlantic article explains "why" something that didn't happen — my falling for the fake Pope coat — happened and offers to help me not make such non-mistakes in the future. I haven't read the advice about not falling for AI-generated images because, on my own, I'm experiencing and developing skepticism and powers of observation and common sense.

In the case of the Pope's coat, it's way overdetermined that he didn't wear that. The Pope is unlikely to ever be anywhere so cold that a coat like that would even be comfortable. And if he was, he'd have to wear more of a hat than his usual minimal beanie, and he would need mittens. The source photo had to be taken indoors, probably on a fashion runway. And it screams "fashion." And the Pope never wears things that speak of fashion. It's always only traditional garb. Finally, what's he carrying? A water bottle? The Pope is never going to hydrate while out walking. I'm sure he has people to provide him with water if he needs it, but he'd never dangle a plastic bottle from his fingertips.

March 28, 2023

Sunrise — 7:14.

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"I once felt that I would rather die than go blind. Now I feel the opposite. Daily life has a renewed delight and vigor."

"I am learning new things constantly. The most ordinary tasks, like going to the post office, have become terrifically interesting. In terms of everyday life, I feel that I am finally in there, more mindful and alert, more fully present. I have chosen curiosity over despair. When my disability was invisible, I irritated strangers constantly — they thought I was rude or dithering or both. People are impatient when they don’t know why you’re holding up the line. Now that I signal my disability with a white cane, I find that I have tapped a well of visible kindness.... Like a Buster Keaton film, my life is full of mishaps and averted disasters...."

Writes Edward Hirsch, who has been going blind for 20 years, in "I Am Going Blind, and I Now Find It Strangely Exhilarating" (NYT).

Beautiful! And I like that he brought up Buster Keaton. I've watched 3 short Buster Keaton movies in the last month — "Neighbors," "The Goat," and "Playhouse":

Blaming Michael Cohen for the Manhattan D.A.'s difficulties indicting Trump.

I'm trying to read "How Michael Cohen’s Big Mouth Could Be Derailing the Trump Prosecution" (NY Magazine).

Key witness Michael Cohen and his pathological need for media attention have not been making things easier.... He clearly thinks very highly of himself and seems to have little awareness of his limitations.... He appears constitutionally incapable of telling the same story twice in the same way.... He is also obsessed with taking down his former boss Trump... [H]e could be confronted with inconsistent or problematic past statements.... 

"U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday charged a Wisconsin man with firebombing a conservative anti-abortion group's office last May..."

"... just days after a leaked draft of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning the nationwide right to abortion became public. Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, was arrested at an airport in Boston after authorities said DNA from a thrown-away bag containing a partially eaten burrito had helped them identify who caused the May 8 fire at Wisconsin Family Action's office."

"For a long time, the dominant thinking about Latinos was that they complicated the Black-white binary that has defined race in the United States."

"Recently, though, some Afro-Latinos have argued that Latinos have reinforced it. There are Black Latinos and white Latinos, who each experience the world differently. [Nancy López, an Afro-Dominican sociologist at the University of New Mexico] has argued that Latinos’ different experiences stem from their 'street race,' meaning how they are perceived when they walk down the street.... 'Now we’re just gonna mix race, ethnicity, and origin, everything,' she told me. 'It’s all the same. We’re all the same color. No, that’s not the reality. And to say otherwise is to eradicate our ability to document inequities based on what you look like.'... [I]t is hard to imagine what the shared racial characteristics of Latinos are. Proponents of the combined question say that the experience of anti-Latino discrimination defines Latinos as a race. This seems to grant too much power to non-Latinos to define who Latinos are, and doesn’t acknowledge how Latinos, even if they are racialized, are racialized differently depending on factors such as skin color and class background...."

Sunrise — 6:53.

IMG_0670 2

"A Russian man who was detained by police after his daughter drew anti-war pictures at school was sentenced on Tuesday to two years..."

"...after being convicted of discrediting the armed force. But in a dramatic turn of events, a court spokesperson said the man, Alexei Moskalyov, had fled house arrest overnight and his whereabouts were currently not known.... [H]is daughter, a sixth-grader, refused to participate in a patriotic class at her school and made several drawings showing rockets being fired at a family standing under a Ukrainian flag and another that said 'Glory to Ukraine!'"

"A Maryland appeals court on Tuesday reinstated the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, the subject of the 'Serial' podcast who was freed last year..."

"... after he had spent 23 years fighting charges that he had killed his former high school girlfriend. The Appellate Court of Maryland ruled that a lower court had violated the right of Young Lee, brother of Hae Min Lee, the victim, to have been notified of and to attend a hearing on the state’s motion to vacate Mr. Syed’s conviction. The appeals court ordered a new hearing on the state’s motion to vacate Mr. Syed’s conviction. The court wrote that it 'has the power and obligation to remedy those violations, as long we can do so without violating Mr. Syed’s right to be free from double jeopardy.' 'We can do that, and accordingly, we vacate the circuit court’s order vacating Mr. Syed’s convictions, which results in the reinstatement of the original convictions and sentence.... We remand for a new, legally compliant, and transparent hearing on the motion to vacate, where Mr. Lee is given notice of the hearing that is sufficient to allow him to attend in person, evidence supporting the motion to vacate is presented, and the court states its reasons in support of its decision."

I presume Syed will remain free, Lee will be given a respectful hearing, and the result will remain the same.

I'm just "obsessed" with the insincere use of "obsessed" and the way WaPo seems to think 2-syllable words are "monosyllabic."

I'm trying to read "How ‘live, laugh, love’ and Rae Dunn took over American homes/Consumers love decorating with words and sayings. Rae Dunn pottery is the latest craze. Why are we so obsessed?" (WaPo).
“I am a very quiet and super-shy person,” says Dunn, now 60 and living in Berkeley. “I pretty much have always distilled what I had to say out loud down to using the least amount of words possible.” She started inscribing plates, bowls, mugs and vases with verbs like “dream,” “focus” and “begin” — monosyllabic aspirations for her own life. 

I was surprised to see this in WaPo, published today, not 10 years ago. This stuff has been a laughing stock for years. I've seen TikToks that are just some young adult wandering around the family home pointing to the various words the mother has affixed to the wall and lined up on shelves and counters. WaPo is taking it seriously? Why? Because Dunn looks kind of cool at the potter's wheel and lives in Berkeley?

"She feels that curves are far more appealing than angles, and won’t accept photographs that do not show her a bit more voluptuous and rounded than the slim silhouette the modern woman has succeeded in making popular."

I'm reading something written in The New Yorker in 1928: "Mae West, the Queen of New York/The writer and star of 'Sex' and 'Diamond Lil' is calm, clear, and eager for success," by Thyra Samter Winslow. 

If you do a certain puzzle, which I won't spoil by naming, you too may have clicked on the link to this article from a century ago.

Sunrise — 6:37.

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"My name is Joe Biden. I’m Dr. Jill Biden’s husband. And I eat Jeni’s ice cream — chocolate chip. I came down because I heard there was chocolate chip ice cream."

"By the way, I have a whole refrigerator full upstairs. You think I’m kidding? I’m not."

Remarkably, Biden again returned to the subject of ice cream with another shout-out to a rep from Jeni’s....

"Women are the only group — to my knowledge — that are being asked to embrace members of their oppressor class — unquestioningly, with no caveat."

Said J.K. Rowling, interviewed in Chapter 7 — "What If You're Wrong?" — of the podcast "The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling."

AND: Here's the full transcript, which I'm delighted to see. I wanted to highlight the part where Rowling agonizes over the politics of the left wing, which she wants to be a part of. It's very difficult without a transcript. The interviewer, Megan Phelps Roper, prompts: "There are a lot of critics who say, you and your comments are giving fuel to the right."

Rowling answers:

"The IRS Makes a Strange House Call on Matt Taibbi/An agent shows up at the home of the Twitter files journalist who testified before Congress."

That's the headline for a piece labelled "Opinion" and signed by The Editorial Board of The Wall Street Journal. 

[Taibbi told the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government] that an IRS agent showed up at his personal residence in New Jersey on March 9. That happens to be the same day Mr. Taibbi testified before the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government about what he learned about Twitter. The taxman left a note instructing Mr. Taibbi to call the IRS four days later. 

It seems to have just been about an identity theft issue, in which case Taibbi is the victim, not someone accused of anything. It's annoying, but not threatening to the taxpayer. The question is just why come to his house about that and why on the same day that he testified in Congress. The WSJ editors say it "raises questions about potential intimidation" and endorse the Committee's request for "documents and communications relating to the Taibbi visit." 

The IRS needs to prove the timing was just a coincidence.

The fear of many Americans is that, flush with its new $80 billion in funding from Congress, the IRS will unleash its fearsome power against political opponents. 

March 27, 2023

At the Monday Night Cafe…

 … you can write about whatever you want.

"One of the main tenets of gentle parenting is choice. Rather than saying no, you try and offer alternatives..."

"... to empower your child to participate in decision making. The other night my son asked for ice cream after dinner and I obliged but he didn’t like the flavor so I let him know there was another one I could get him. He promptly let me know that one wasn’t good either and because he’s so used to options, started asking what else was in stock. I had to laugh, hearing my own mom’s voice in my head bluntly stating that this isn’t a grocery store. It’s inevitable that this all-in method breeds feelings of resentment, not necessarily against my kids but against this philosophy that more often than not feels designed to constrain and shame parents, moms in particular.... In our quest to do better by our kids, are we making things worse? So in the spirit of my promise to myself to fill my tank first, I’m going for an adapted model, a kind of 'gentler parenting' that takes into account my humanity as well as my kids'. Just the other day, I was pretty blunt with my kids about getting to school on time...."

Writes Amil Niazi in "Gentle Parenting Is Too Gentle" (The Cut).

"What would be the point of hedonism?" — the automatic transcription mistranscribes. He said "heganism."


(Yes, 2 David Sedaris posts (almost) in a row. It just happens sometimes. I don't artificially separate posts from other posts.)

"In gold jewelry and luxe-looking riffs on traditional businesslike silhouettes like the suit, cardigan and turtleneck sweater, her hair loose and makeup modest..."

"... Paltrow has effectively split the difference between demure propriety and power glam. She has simultaneously telegraphed two messages that very well could have been at odds: 'Look, I’m just a mom who tried to take her teenagers on a nice ski vacation,' and 'Yes I am wealthy and famous, and I shan’t be wasting my time on this.'... Paltrow’s soft, gentle silhouettes also presented a subtle contrast to the allegation that she had crashed into another skier and then bolted away. On Thursday, Paltrow wore a soft-looking relaxed-fit gray double-breasted suit over a thin scoop-neck shirt of the same color. Friday, when Paltrow sat listening to witness testimony in a collared, dark long-sleeved top with slight puff sleeves, lips pursed and cheekbones jutting, she looked pleasant and non-threatening — if also mildly annoyed to be missing a Goop staff meeting, or a farm-to-table vegan lunch reservation, or a crystal sound bath...."

The question in the case is who skied into whom — that is, who was uphill. The plaintiff sued Paltrow for $3 million, but it got reduced to $300,000. Why didn't she just settle? She counterclaimed for $1 plus attorney's fees. I think it's because she's telling the truth.

I watched this clip of her testimony on TikTok, and I predict she'll win — as one commenter says, "I'm with bone broth lady":

"I think that children are like animals that don't have any natural predators left and they're just not afraid of anything...."

"I was in London not long ago and there were these boys breaking the branches off a tree and this woman said, 'You boys stop doing that,' and they said, 'You can't talk to us,' and they were right. You know what I mean? What she was doing was bullying, you know, according to the law, and they knew it."

Said David Sedaris, in conversation with Bill Maher.

Maher added: "That's a sea change from when we were kids when... not only could your parent hit you, the neighbor could hit you.... It was like it takes a village — that was the mentality like any adult could — maybe that's going a little too far — but — I don't know — I think that's better than what we have now.... I mean, I I don't have children, you don't have children and some people say to me, you know, like, 'How do you know?' I'm sentient!..."

Sedaris: "I'm always surprised I meet a teenager and I say... you have to have an after-school job, and the parent, always: "This is Atticus's time to be Atticus.'"

Texting at Meadhouse at 6 a.m.

"When I see the boys going to school and doing whatever they want, it really hurts me. I feel very bad."

"When I see my brother leaving for school, I feel broken, Earlier, my brother used to say I won't go to school without you. I hugged him and said you go, I'll join you later. People tell my parents you shouldn't worry, you have sons. I wish we had the same rights."

March 26, 2023

Sunrise — 6:39.

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"[A] former assistant who said she had to pick up clothes from Chanel for Mr. Sachs’s wife... and prepare meals for her French bulldog..."

"... consisting of wild rabbit, spinach, aloe water and coconut oil.... [A] studio spokesman told Artnet that assistants were in fact dispatched to make Napoleon’s 'veterinarian-prescribed meals.'... On Tuesday, Mr. Sachs... said that he sincerely regretted having referred to a particular room in the studio housing an air compressor as the 'rape room.'... For all the recent show that the art and fashion worlds have made of their progressive politics — their efforts to market their alignment with inclusive causes — they remain tied to caricatures of intemperate genius — even when the genius itself is hard to locate. A brilliant artist reads beneath the culture, identifying the undercurrents the rest of us cannot easily recognize. What should we make of one who has managed to miss what is happening right on top, who has been blind to a tidal wave of shifting social norms?"

This gets my tag "geniuses." 

Oh, Jordan, is that really your go-to humor?

J.K. Rowling quotes Andrea Dworkin.

"Elon Musk... has lately been dreaming aloud about building his own version of an old-fashioned company town."

"And not just dreaming. In September, Bastrop County, Texas, outside Austin, approved the construction of Project Amazing, a subdivision of 110 modest homes on land owned by Mr. Musk that is to be called Snailbrook.... Snailbrook is named for Gary, the official snail of the Boring Company, a tunneling company that is one of Mr. Musk’s less successful ventures, which has a workshop nearby. Company towns are often named for their owners — Alcoa; Hershey, Pa.; Steinway Village, N.Y., in Queens...."

Writes Binyamin Applebaum in "Welcome to Muskville, Texas" (NYT).

But he didn't call it Muskville. He called it Snailbrook. It's a modest name, just as Boring is modest.

And there really is a terrible problem of unaffordable housing in Austin, so why does Applebaum want to kick him around for building homes for the workers he's bringing into the area? 

"The abuses of power that we’re currently witnessing at all levels of government will go down as among the most shameful, corrupt and depraved chapters in all of American history."

Said Donald Trump, quoted in "Trump Puts His Legal Peril at Center of First Big Rally for 2024/Facing a potential indictment, the former president devoted much of his speech in Waco, Texas, to criticizing the justice system, though his attacks were less personal and caustic than in recent days" (NYT).
Lamenting all the investigations he has faced in the last eight years that have — to date — not resulted in charges, Mr. Trump claimed that his legal predicament “probably makes me the most innocent man in the history of our country.”

Mr. Trump tried, as he has before, to link his personal grievances to those of the crowd. “They’re not coming after me, they’re coming after you,” he said.

I wish the Times — or someone — would provide a full text of the speech. I'd like to dissect it. I did listen to it, and I could re-listen — here — and pause and transcribe things, but I'm not up for that at the moment. I did want to say that, for me, the most successful part is when he lists and elaborates on his accomplishments as President. I suspect that the people who loathe him don't even remember — or would never have conceded — that he did anything positive.

"At bottom, IA's fair use defense rests on the notion that lawfully acquiring a copyrighted print book entitles the recipient to make an unauthorized copy..."

"... and distribute it in place of the print book, so long as it does not simultaneously lend the print book. But no case or legal principle supports that notion. Every authority points the other direction."
Wrote Judge John G. Koeltl, of the Southern District of New York, quoted in "A judge sided with publishers in a lawsuit over the Internet Archive's online library" (NPR)(full text of case here).

It's well established that if you buy a printed book, you can share that book with as many people as you want, pass it around, lend it out, give it away, re-sell it. The book is an object that is owned, like a hat or a teddy bear. But a digital copy of that book you own is not the object. It's something else. And you've made a copy and are only lending that out. You still have the book, even though you may be keeping it, inert, on a shelf.

"The new left sees society as a web of overlapping power structures or systems of oppression, constituted by language and norms as much as law and policy...."

"[Almost everything debated recently — critical race theory, the distinction between sex and gender, we can go on — originated in academia over the last half-century.... Academic scholarship is ... the source of the expanded, academic meanings of 'trauma,' 'violence,' 'safety' and 'erasure,' which implicitly equate the psychological harm experienced by marginalized groups with the physical harms of traditional illiberal oppression.  This does not readily lend itself to a 'politics of hope,' as virtually everything about America might have to change to end systemic racism. No law will do it. No candidate can promise it. But it does imbue individual actions that subvert oppressive hierarchies with liberatory and emancipatory implications, helping explain the urgency of activists to critique language and challenge norms in everyday life.... This is quite different from Obama-era liberalism...."