June 10, 2023

Sunrise — 5:21, 5:41.



"He had scored 167 on an I.Q. test as a boy and entered Harvard at 16. In graduate school, at the University of Michigan, he worked in a field of mathematics..."

"... so esoteric that a member of his dissertation committee estimated that only 10 or 12 people in the country understood it. By 25, he was an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Then he dropped out — not just from Berkeley, but from civilization. Starting in 1971 and continuing until his arrest, he lived in a shack he built himself in rural Montana. He forsook running water, read by the light of homemade candles, stopped filing federal tax returns and subsisted on rabbits."

ADDED: The story at the link has been updated. It now gives a cause of death — suicide — based on "three people familiar with the situation." It also reflects on the soundness of ideas in the manifesto — as seen today:
His manifesto accorded centrality to a healthy environment without mentioning global warming; it warned about the dangers of people becoming “dependent” on technology while making scant reference to the internet. To young people afflicted by social media anomie and fearful of climate doom, Mr. Kaczynski seemed to wield a predictive power that outstripped the evidence available to him.

In 2017 and 2020, Netflix released documentaries about him. He maintained postal correspondence with thousands of people — journalists, students and die-hard supporters. In 2018, Wired magazine announced “the Unabomber’s odd and furious online revival,” and New York magazine called him “an unlikely prophet to a new generation of acolytes.”
Becoming ‘the Unabomber’

If you click on my "Kaczynski" tag, you'll see that in 2015, I posted about the manifesto and said:

Ted had a lot to say about leftists in his manifesto. Let's look. It's worth reading if only to see how surprisingly similar it is to things you may be seeing every day on the internet....

I have some long quotes from the manifesto, including: "The two psychological tendencies that underlie modern leftism we call 'feelings of inferiority' and 'oversocialization.'"

"Who gets a federal indictment with 100 years potential jail time and comes out to do an event?! The man is titanium!!"

Says one person in the live chat that accompanies this live stream of Trump speaking at the Georgia GOP Conference:

"Four children, including a 12-month old baby, have been found alive after they survived a plane crash and then managed to fend for themselves in a remote jungle..."

"... in Colombia for nearly six weeks. The siblings, who showed signs of severe insect bites and dehydration, are believed to have sustained and protected themselves by gathering fruit and building small shelters. A search force of almost 150 people, including special forces commandos and indigenous volunteers, had spent a month searching the impenetrable rain-soaked terrain. They were close to giving up when the remarkable discovery was made. 'Miracle! Miracle! Miracle!' rescuers said they shouted when they found the children."

"In a world where widely available AI thingummies such as ChatGPT can generate a 90,000-word 'thriller about a bloke with a tough British name racing against time to cut through some red tape'..."

"'... about something vaguely nuclear, written in the style of Sir Michael Caine' at the touch of a button, it is terrific to know that Sir Michael has gone to the trouble of writing such a thing himself, with his own hand. His publisher says he is 'bursting with ideas for fiction' which is good news, because when a chap is 90 years old and at the start of a seven-book deal then you want him at least to have the ideas for each one ready as soon as possible (talk about 'race against time')."

"The charges are a destructive intervention into the 2024 election, and the potential trial will hang over the race."

"They also make it more likely that the election will be a referendum on Mr. Trump, rather than on Mr. Biden’s economy and agenda or a GOP alternative. This may be exactly what Democrats intend with their charges. Republicans deserve a more competent champion with better character than Mr. Trump. But the indictment might make GOP voters less inclined to provide a democratic verdict on his fitness for a second term. Although the political impact is uncertain, Republicans who are tired of Mr. Trump might rally to his side because they see the prosecution as another unfair Democratic plot to derail him. And what about the precedent? If Republicans win next year’s election, and especially if Mr. Trump does, his supporters will demand that the Biden family be next. Even if Mr. Biden is re-elected, political memories are long. It was once unthinkable in America that the government’s awesome power of prosecution would be turned on a political opponent. That seal has now been broken."

"He intended to overthrow the government and replace it with an authoritarian regime fueled by Nazi ideology."

Said Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Schneider, quoted in "Man who crashed U-Haul near White House planned other attacks, prosecutor says" (WaPo).
[19-year-old Sai Varshith] Kandula... repeatedly rammed a U-Haul truck into security bollards that protect Lafayette Square north of the White House on May 22, prosecutors allege. Kandula then exited the vehicle and unfurled a red and white flag featuring a Nazi swastika, according to charging documents. Prosecutors also revealed Friday that Kandula asked officers on scene whether the media would cover what happened....

"The indictment also showcased the bedrock elements of the former president’s personality: his sense of bombast and vengeance..."

"... his belief that everything he touches belongs to him and his admiration of people for their underhanded craftiness and gamesmanship with the authorities. It recounts, for instance, how Mr. Trump had only praise for an unnamed aide to Hillary Clinton who — at least in his narration of the story — helped Mrs. Clinton destroy tens of thousands of emails from a private server. 'He did a great job,' the indictment quotes Mr. Trump as telling one of his lawyers. Why? Because, in Mr. Trump’s account, the aide ensured that Mrs. Clinton 'didn’t get in any trouble.'"

Write Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman in "Indictment Presents Evidence Trump’s Actions Were More Blatant Than Known/The accounts in the 49-page indictment provide compelling evidence of a shocking indifference toward some of the country’s most sensitive secrets" (NYT).

"I have now officially been accused of hate speech by YouTube."

"Let's be clear about this: that is a direct accusation conduct deemed criminal in many jurisdictions. This is absolutely not OK, @YouTube. Not OK."

Tweets Jordan Peterson. 

His podcast #287 — "Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality" — was deemed "Content glorifying or inciting violence against another person or group of people" or "content that encourages  hatred of another person or group of people based on their membership in a protected group."

The podcast title is the title of a book — described here at Wikipedia — and Peterson interviews the author.

"Ideally, we want guests to get excited, but this is one of the first times I've seen a guest get visibly excited."

"They love to look [these characters] in the eye. They love to be able to make a connection.... I see that sort of excitement in everybody's eyes."

Excitement and connection... as the character who is a tree come to life comes to "life" as a robot.

"He grew up in a small town in North Dakota and mortgaged a piece of farmland he inherited from his dad in order to invest in a company called Great Plains Software."

"He eventually became its CEO and sold it to Microsoft for $1.1 billion. But when he announced he was running for governor in 2016, most people still didn’t know who he was. But he wound up defeating the sitting attorney general 59 percent to 39 percent in the Republican primary. So he has experience winning primaries he wasn’t supposed to win.... His net worth is more than $1 billion, and he’s reportedly willing to self-fund his campaign...."

June 9, 2023

Sunrise — 5:22, 5:30.



Even independents think our moral values are "poor."


"As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t," said Trump, on tape, in 2021.

Quoted in "Donald Trump admits on tape he didn’t declassify 'secret information'" (CNN).
CNN obtained the transcript of a portion of the meeting where Trump is discussing a classified Pentagon document about attacking Iran. In the audio recording, which CNN previously reported was obtained by prosecutors, Trump says that he did not declassify the document he’s referencing, according to the transcript.

Should we be hearing about a classified Pentagon document about attacking Iran?

"I loved early Democratic Socialists of America leader Cornel West. I loved author of the 1993 book Race Matters West."

"I loved everything about West until he supported spoiler Ralph Nader against then–Vice President Al Gore in 2000. A lot of my political friends supported Ralph Nader back then. And a lot of them have since apologized. Even Michael Moore.... West never apologized. He didn’t see a third party playing a spoiler role to Democrats as bad—obviously, since he’s about to do it again. He did support Barack Obama in 2008, but he turned on him fairly quickly, making criticisms that went way beyond Obama’s political decisions. Then he supported Jill Stein in 2016. More recently, West has gone off the deep end. He promoted his 2024 candidacy, on the fringe People’s Party line, with an appearance on former comedian Russell Brand’s Web show, now frequented by right-wingers.... This is a downhill spiral even for West, who also spiraled downward after Obama’s victory.... [C]alling the president 'a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats' was awful. West went on to claim that Obama was afraid of 'free black men' thanks to his white ancestry and Ivy League education.... What does West bring to the [2024] race?"

West was on Russell Brand's show? Let's take a look:

"If the limits of immigration are bounded by political psychology rather than by economic necessity, a series of uncomfortable questions arise."

"What moral weight, for instance, should be accorded to the human desire for cultural continuity? Taken to an extreme, it could legitimatize the sort of ethnic separation that white nationalists aspire to when they recite their credo known as the Fourteen Words: 'We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.'.... On the other hand, there’s the question of whether rich countries have Good Samaritan responsibilities to help poorer ones.... Modern political philosophers have largely found extreme limitations on people’s ability to migrate to be unjustifiable.... If humans all have equal moral worth, how can it be fair to let the dumb luck of birth determine opportunity to such an extreme degree?"

"It was in my women’s-studies classes, too, that I was first exposed to a corresponding movement that came to be known as sex-positive feminism."

"Mirroring the Reagan era’s 'me-first' ethos, it eschewed economic issues and those related to male violence in favor of a politics of personal fulfillment centered on the concept of female pleasure. (In my 'French Feminisms' class, the preferred term for such was jouissance.) The rough idea was that women should be celebrated not just as desirable objects but as desiring subjects, and that, in liberating their libido and seizing the terms of their objectification, they might liberate themselves, too. It followed that even entanglements that appeared to present asymmetries of power could be justified on the ground that the participants were acting out a fantasy or engaging in role-play. Conversely, the inherently emotional aspect of sex, along with its ability to make one human feel bound to another, went unmentioned. So did the fact that, in heterosexual relations, biology rendered the female party the more physically vulnerable one. It was thanks to this line of thinking—a line I later came to regard as casuistry—that I was able both to justify my affair and to identify myself as a feminist while conducting my personal life in a way that might suggest otherwise. That X considered himself a 'male feminist' and appeared to harbor few ethical qualms about what we were doing seemed to be further evidence that nothing about our situation could possibly be wrong. And, besides, wasn’t morality 'socially constructed,' too?... By the second month, I was in a quasi-fugue state."

X was a professor — at Cornell. The author, a Cornell junior majoring in comparative literature, was 20. X was 15 years older than she and married. The year was 1990.

Whatever a "quasi-fugue state" might be, a "fugue state" is, these days, in a medical setting, called "dissociative fugue" and defined as: "One or more episodes of amnesia in which the inability to recall some or all of one's past and either the loss of one's identity or the formation of a new identity occur with sudden, unexpected, purposeful travel away from home." 

"In unguarded moments over a 33-month tenure, he suggested that liberals were un-American and that the popular Beach Boys rock band was unwholesome."

"He likened his critics to Nazis and Bolsheviks, and insulted Black people, women, Jews and handicapped people.... 'I never use the words Democrats and Republicans,' he said in a favorite line. 'It’s liberals and Americans.'... He banned women’s pantsuits in his department, but the edict was flagrantly violated. Heralding divisiveness, he reversed the bison on the department logo from left-facing to right-facing. 'If the troubles from environmentalists cannot be solved in the jury box or the ballot box,' he quipped, 'perhaps the cartridge box should be used.' He accused his critics of using sham environmental concerns to achieve 'centralized planning and control of the society.' He told Business Week: 'Look what happened to Germany in the 1930s. The dignity of man was subordinated to the powers of Nazism. The dignity of man was subordinated in Russia. Those are the forces that this thing can evolve into.'"

"The present-day body positivity movement is a watered-down version of an older and more radical fat activist movement..."

"... its ideas repackaged for mass consumption by advertisers and marketers. It does not ask us to work on how we regard and treat others, it only asks us to feel better about ourselves. It is purely self-love, with an emphasis on the 'self': the ultimate exercise in navel-gazing. The goal of this form of 'body positivity' is still to have you find yourself lacking, to get you to want, to get you to buy – and whether the capitalist powers that be are using Kendall Jenner’s body or Lizzo’s confidence to sell you your shapewear doesn’t really matter. But there’s one thought I keep coming back to: any activism that does not require you to engage with how you treat your community is not activism at all, and any social progress that is being pushed mostly by market-driven forces has the ability to simply, one day, disappear. That disappearance is more keenly felt now that the 'oh-oh-Ozempic' jingle is coming out of our television sets at an alarming rate, but it began a while ago, perhaps with last year’s breathless headlines that asked us 'could thin be in again?'... "

"Georgia Bilham, 21, is on trial at Chester crown court for 17 sexual offences after allegedly deceiving a teenage girl into sex by pretending to be a boy."

"The alleged victim, who can’t be named, insists she did not consent to have sexual contact with a girl.... Bilham was approximately 15 or 16 when she first posed as 'George' online, but 19 when the alleged sexual activity took place. Whenever the pair met, Bilham, who is from Chester, disguised her long blond hair by keeping her hood up, even when in bed. She wore male clothing and put on a deep voice with a Birmingham accent, the court heard, and always took her alleged victim’s glasses off as soon as they met. On Thursday, another young woman told the jury she too had met 'George' online in 2021 when 'he' added her on Snapchat.... She told police there was something 'strange' about George that 'I couldn’t put my finger on,' but had no idea he was a girl.... 'I caught a glimpse of him at one point, then my face got pushed away,' she said, explaining that George pushed her away. She considered it 'strange behaviour' and never saw him again...."

'I caught a glimpse of him..." she testified.

How is this happening at the same time we — at least here in America — feel compelled to regard a person who presents as a man to actually be a man? We'd feel socially constrained not to call this "deceiving" or "pretending." I didn't think we could say "posed" or "disguised" or "put on." And yet, in Northern England, it is the basis of a criminal prosecution. Lovers and would-be lovers deceive each other all the time. What deceit deserves criminal prosecution?

"I know it’s a quaint wee village and this is a strong mural, but I did my own research into the women who were killed there, and I wanted to get people talking.

Said street artist Bobby McNamara, quoted in "'Rather insensitive': Fife council to remove menacing witch mural/Mural by Rogue One found to be not in keeping with historic area, after complaints about portrayal of women accused of witchcraft" (The Guardian).

[T]he row comes as the drive for posthumous justice for the thousands of people persecuted as witches in post-Reformation Scotland is growing, with campaigners pushing for an official pardon after the former first minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a formal apology last International Women’s Day to those tortured and often executed under the Witchcraft Act 1563.... The charity Remembering the Accused Witches of Scotland (RAWS) estimates that during the great witch-hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries there were approximately 350 known accused witches in Fife, with up to 28 accused in Pittenweem itself, most famously Janet Cornfoot, who escaped from the local tollbooth but was caught and returned to Pittenweem, where she was lynched by a mob....

RAWS wants "respectful and dignified" "memorialisation" of the women who were unjustly accused and punished, but the mural shows a Halloween-style stereotype of a witch. Supporters of the mural are calling its critics "snowflakes" and emphasizing economics: "I think the mural is fantastic and I absolutely endorse it. It’s about time somebody was milking the place for the tourism it deserves." 

McNamara accepts the death penalty imposed on his mural: "As a street artist, you’re used to murals coming and going. I’m surprised it’s lasted this long and everyone’s got something out of it, whether that’s publicity for me, the pub, the village or for the women."

June 8, 2023

Sunrise — 5:24.


"The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax..."

"... even though Joe Biden has 1850 Boxes at the University of Delaware, additional Boxes in Chinatown, D.C., with even more Boxes at the University of Pennsylvania, and documents strewn all over his garage floor where he parks his Corvette, and which is 'secured' by only a garage door that is paper thin, and open much of the time."

I have been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM. I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States, who received far more votes than any sitting President in the History of our Country, and is currently leading, by far, all Candidates, both Democrat and Republican, in Polls of the 2024 Presidential Election. I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!


This is indeed a DARK DAY for the United States of America. We are a Country in serious and rapid Decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!

"In the past several years, views have shifted on gender identities. In 2021, nearly six in ten Americans (59%) said ..."

"... there are only two gender identities, man and woman, and 40% of Americans believed there are many gender identities. The following year, in 2022, 62% of Americans believed that there are only two gender identities, and more than one-third (35%) said there are many gender identities. This divide slightly increased again in 2023, with 65% saying there are two gender identities and 34% saying there are many." 

From a PRRI study of more than 5,000 Americans.

Much more at the link.

"Now, some of Trump’s longtime advisers are even urging him to continuously make reference to the size of DeSantis’ penis..."

"... telling him such insults could stick with GOP primary voters and mess with his rival’s head, two sources with knowledge of the matter tell Rolling Stone. Trump’s team discussed having Trump refer to the Florida governor as 'Tiny D,' Bloomberg reported in March. While some understood it as a shot at DeSantis’ height, the sobriquet was specifically intended to suggest diminutive genitalia, four people familiar with the topic say. 'He’s also short but … yes of course it’s about his penis, that’s why we’re doing it,' says a source involved in the effort to get the former president to use the line of attack against DeSantis."

From "Oh-So-Mature Trump Aides Want Him to Focus on DeSantis’ Penis/The 2024 GOP primary is headed for the dumbest places imaginable" (Rolling Stone).

Over in New York Magazine, there's an article called "Donald Trump’s Nasty Ron DeSantis Nicknames, Ranked," and "Tiny D" is listed as #3 (after "Meatball Ron" and "Rob"):

"China is destroying Arab-style architectural features of mosques, such as domes and minarets."

The NYT reports.
The party has systematically closed, demolished or forcibly redesigned mosques in Hui enclaves across the country, condemning Arabic architectural features, such as domes and minarets, as proof of unwanted foreign influence over Islam in China....
“This roof represents our respect and freedom. We chose it freely ourselves at the time,” said Mr. Na, a Hui resident in his 30s, who asked to be identified only by his last name for fear of government retaliation. His family, like many in town, had helped fund the mosque’s most recent renovations in the early 2000s, when the minarets were added. “Now they are saying, ‘My rule overrides your free choice.’”... 

"The Supreme Court, in a surprise decision, ruled that Alabama had diluted the power of Black voters by drawing a congressional voting map..."

"... with a single district in which they made up a majority. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion in the 5-to-4 ruling. He was joined by Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and the court’s three liberal members, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Voting rights advocates had feared the decision would undermine the Voting Rights Act, which instead appeared to emerge unscathed. The chief justice wrote that there were legitimate concerns that the law 'may impermissibly elevate race in the allocation of political power within the states.' He added: 'Our opinion today does not diminish or disregard these concerns. It simply holds that a faithful application of our precedents and a fair reading of the record before us do not bear them out here.'"

 Writes Adam Liptak at the NYT.

"I heard somewhere that people in the middle class pay for things they used to do personally and personally do the things they used to pay for."

"The example, I think, was that people used to pay travel agents to book trips and mowed the lawn themselves. Now, they pay someone to mow their lawn and book travel themselves. Hiring people to do things in your house that you don’t want to do is its own luxury.... Still, the more our society monetizes every aspect of life, to include the empty seats in our cars and the empty beds in our houses, the more necessary it is to undertake work for the pleasure and dignity of the work itself. Our only relationship to work cannot be as a cog in a financial machine."

Writes Theodore R. Johnson, in "Why mowing the lawn is like making your bed in public" (WaPo).

"Unlike many evangelists, Rev. Robertson came from a privileged background. He grew up in the corridors of power in Virginia and Washington and graduated from Yale Law School..."

"... before turning to the ministry in the late 1950s. 'Robertson’s critics often depict the evangelist-broadcaster as a political extremist with bizarre beliefs,' novelist and journalist Garrett Epps wrote in The Post in 1986. 'But it may make more sense to view him as the last old-school southern politician.'"

"With Gov. Doug Burgum’s money and his family’s vision, Fargo, N.D., has undoubtedly changed in recent decades."

"Broadway, its main drag, is packed with restaurants, cafes, retailers and offices lovingly converted from old factories. Parking lots have been turned into public parks. A warehouse saved from the wrecking ball now houses North Dakota State University’s architecture and arts program. With a population of nearly 127,000 — 16 percent of North Dakota’s total population — the largest city for hundreds of miles is growing, in size and diversity, with a liberal tilt. But as a base for a presidential run, Fargo is still the smallest of towns, closer to Winnipeg, in Canada, than to Minneapolis, the nearest American metropolis...."

ADDED: Here's his announcement. Judge him for yourself:

"Well, the funny thing is he can’t imagine any celebrities bigger than, like, people from northern Italy at the time. "

"You’re, like, Come on... what about the people who don’t die near the Tiber River? How are they going to get to Purgatorio? It never seems to occur to him. In all three of the Divine Comedy works, Dante’s always hanging out with the big names. Helen of Troy. Even in Hell, Virgil’s like, Boy, I wish I was baptized, but I know you love my work, so I’m going to show you around. And then, in Paradiso, he’s hanging out with the apostles and King David and the Virgin Mary."

"I think the Democratic Party became the party of war. I attribute that directly to President Biden."

"He has always been in favor of very bellicose, pugnacious and aggressive foreign policy, and he believes that violence is a legitimate political tool for achieving America’s objectives abroad."

You can listen to the entire 2-hour interview on Twitter, here.

ADDED: Kennedy is polling at a surprising 20%, so there is, unsurprisingly, an effort to crush him. One approach — and I think this is in the memo — is to portray him as right wing. Another approach — seen below, from the Onion — is to portray him as nothing but that famous name:

"Tucker Carlson's glory days are over, and his new episodic Twitter show is the evidence of his fall from grace."

Writes Cheryl Teh, in "Tucker Carlson is nothing without Fox News, and his sad Twitter-broadcast debut proves it" (Business Insider).
First off, make no mistake: Carlson still gets the views.... 

The video, up for a day and a half, has over 100 million views. At the point Teh's column went up, it was it was at 11.2 million, already much more than he had on Fox News (around 2 million, which was about twice what Fox has without him).

But enough about numbers! Teh continues with her theory that Carlson is nothing without Fox News:


June 7, 2023

Sunrise — 5:19, 5:20, 5:24, 5:26.





"I booked a lovely little apartment on Rue Jacob and pretended I was a heroine in a 2003 film starring Diane Lane."

"I had coffee alone. I lunched alone. I flâneured alone. Admittedly I was too scared to go for dinner alone, so I’d sit by my apartment window eating liquorice from Monoprix listening to the world muddle through its own dramas on the streets below. I have been to Paris with my husband many times.... But our days and nights are a compromise. Restaurants are deliberated over in accordance with our different tastes. Street directions are a tussle between scenic (him); haste (me). Breakfast in bed or at a café? Museum or shopping? Early to bed or a nightcap with the revellers? Everything must be negotiated when you are married. Not in a bad way, you are to understand. But individual desires must be ceded, the essential self gently led towards a middle ground."

Writes Farrah Storr in "I’m happily married — but I holiday alone" (London Times).

"Job centres in Belgium have started asking if out-of-work Belgian actors would like to try their hand at starring in pornographic films.

"Actiris, a public employment agency in Brussels, has been the subject of criticism from politicians, who are demanding that the question be struck from a list for jobseekers. Penalties can be imposed by Actiris on people refusing to work, which has only intensified the controversy.... "

"Visiting our museums and galleries, you might believe there is no such thing as art, only appalling artists and their still more appalling subjects."

"In the last few years, we have witnessed museums in acts of mass self-flagellation. Collections must be decolonised, recontextualised, purged and sent for conservation in perpetuity. Naughty Gauguin, nasty Picasso, horrible, horrible Hogarth. There is a card on sale in the Royal Academy shop designed by the illustrator David Shrigley. It reads: 'It’s a complete disgrace I am deeply offended by everything.'"

Writes Laura Freeman in "Galleries should drop the cringing and tell our story" (London Times).

"The screen, which has an incredible fidelity, allows me to see everything in the room around me. It’s not reality, but it’s close to it."

"I know I’m wearing a headset, but I can also see everything clearly, including my watch, my iPhone, furniture and of course people.... After some mundane stuff like looking at pictures, messing around with web surfing, viewing messages and taking a rather uncanny valley FaceTime call with a digital avatar, I get to experience some truly breathtaking — and at times dystopian — moments that almost brought a tear to my eye. Because where the Vision Pro really shines is handling 3D movies and interactive graphical experiences. One moment I’m at a child’s birthday party where I’m sure my 80-year-old self would be crying at having enjoyed a life well lived and the next I’m courtside at an NBA game, on the goal line at a football match, in Alicia Keys’s music studio and fending off cute baby rhinos who want to say hello all recorded in what Apple calls Apple Immersive Video. The pièce de resistance? A butterfly that gracefully flies around the room before landing on my outstretched hand.... By the end I’m almost lost for words, a rare moment, but also left with the burning question — what is this all for?"

Here's my burning question: How does it work for people who use different prescription glasses for different distances?

"A former intelligence official turned whistleblower has given Congress and the Intelligence Community Inspector General extensive classified information about deeply covert programs that he says possess retrieved intact and partially intact craft of non-human origin."

"The information, he says, has been illegally withheld from Congress, and he filed a complaint alleging that he suffered illegal retaliation for his confidential disclosures, reported here for the first time. Other intelligence officials, both active and retired, with knowledge of these programs through their work in various agencies, have independently provided similar, corroborating information, both on and off the record."

Tucker Carlson begins his Twitter endeavor.

This is a 10-minute show, launching straight into the top news story of the day — the Ukrainian dam.

I said out loud at 3:46: "Ew. Creepy."

Carlson went from talking about the news of the day from Ukraine to discussing many aspects of what he presents as propaganda coming from mainstream media. Some of this resonated with something I'd just said IRL this morning: The news has not been flowing in its usual way lately. 

Trying to think of what tags to put on this post, I rediscovered an old one that I wish I'd remembered to use over the years: "shut up and believe."

The puzzling obscurity of Kamala Harris.

"Ukraine has worked for years.... to contain a fringe far-right movement whose members proudly wear symbols steeped in Nazi history..."

"... and espouse views hostile to leftists, L.G.B.T.Q. movements and ethnic minorities. But some members of these groups have been fighting Russia since the Kremlin illegally annexed part of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014 and are now part of the broader military structure. Some are regarded as national heroes, even as the far-right remains marginalized politically. The iconography of these groups, including a skull-and-crossbones patch worn by concentration camp guards and a symbol known as the Black Sun, now appears with some regularity on the uniforms of soldiers fighting on the front line, including soldiers who say the imagery symbolizes Ukrainian sovereignty and pride, not Nazism. In the short term, that threatens to reinforce Mr. Putin’s propaganda and give fuel to his false claims that Ukraine must be 'de-Nazified'...." 

From "Nazi Symbols on Ukraine’s Front Lines Highlight Thorny Issues of History/Troops’ use of patches bearing Nazi emblems risks fueling Russian propaganda and spreading imagery that the West has spent a half-century trying to eliminate" (NYT).

Can kids bike to school on urban streets if they form a "slow-moving peloton" that achieves "kidical mass"?

That's the idea, described in "Make Way for the Bike Bus/For the school commute, families are taking to the streets with two wheels. Some have termed the movement 'kidical mass'" (NYT).
Bike bus participants hope that its growing popularity will convince local leaders to do more on issues like speeding and congestion. “We want to show people that you can’t have safe streets for kids unless you literally have people guiding the way,” said Chris Roberti, a father who helps organize the ride to P.S. 110.

June 6, 2023

Sunrise — 5:21.


"Ms. Gilberto’s whispery voice, though limited in range and power, had a genuine ache and mystery to it, as well as the ability to evoke images of summers imagined or lost."

"'Her languid, affectless voice floated as lazily as a leaf on the Carioca breeze,' the journalist and author James Gavin wrote in the liner notes for the 2001 collection 'Astrud Gilberto Gold.'... Mr. Getz understood her appeal immediately. 'When I first heard Astrud,' he told a British journalist in 1964, 'I thought there was something innocent and demure in her voice — such an opposite to these chesty-voiced girls singing rock ‘n’ roll.' Her breathy brand of singing influenced scores of later artists, among them Sade; Tracey Thorn, of the duo Everything but the Girl; and Basia, who acknowledged that influence by writing a song titled 'Astrud.'"

"You imagine people will be interested in you? They won’t ever, really, just for yourself."

"Even if you think people like you, it will only be a kind of curiosity they will have about a person whose life touched mine so intimately."

Said Picasso to Françoise Gilot, quoted in "Françoise Gilot, Artist in the Shadow of Picasso, Is Dead at 101/An accomplished painter (and memoirist) in her own right, she was long his lover until she did what no other mistress of his had ever done: She walked out."

Her fantastic memoir, "Life With Picasso," was published in 1964. I read it around 1974. 

We were just talking about Picasso on this blog 4 days ago. There's a show at the Brooklyn Museum dealing with his relationship to women. Because of that I looked up Gilot and was surprised to see that she was still alive and 101 years old.

From the obituary:

"I love electric vehicles – and was an early adopter. But increasingly I feel duped."

It's that Guardian column — by Rowan Atkinson — that's getting a big reaction.

Who cares what a comedian says? He does claim some credentials:
My first university degree was in electrical and electronic engineering, with a subsequent master’s in control systems. Combine this, perhaps surprising, academic pathway with a lifelong passion for the motorcar, and you can see why I was drawn into an early adoption of electric vehicles. I bought my first electric hybrid 18 years ago and my first pure electric car nine years ago and (notwithstanding our poor electric charging infrastructure) have enjoyed my time with both very much. Electric vehicles may be a bit soulless, but they’re wonderful mechanisms: fast, quiet and, until recently, very cheap to run. But increasingly, I feel a little duped. When you start to drill into the facts, electric motoring doesn’t seem to be quite the environmental panacea it is claimed to be....

Just to begin to Google the response:

"PGA Tour agrees to merge with Saudi-backed LIV Golf."

WaPo reports.
The stunning announcement came amid litigation between LIV and the PGA Tour, which both had filed lawsuits against the other. In August, LIV Golf filed an antitrust suit saying the tour — by banning players who had defected to LIV — was intentionally trying to curtail competition, but the PGA Tour countered with a lawsuit that claims LIV committed “tortious interference” by encouraging golfers to violate terms of their existing tour contracts.

15% of Maryland's license plates display the URL of a Philippines gambling site (instead of a War of 1812 site).

WaPo reports. 

These plates have been around since 2010 (and obviously the bicentennial of the war was in 2012), but we're just noticing now, as somebody at Reddit is calling attention to the typo.

Here's a screenshot of what you might see if you go to the URL on the license plate:

"Page doesn’t really delve into questions of masculinity, or what it means to be a man, but he brings to life the visceral sense of gender dysphoria..."

"... or at least one type of dysphoria: the sense that your body is betraying you. It’s an utterly alien sensation for those who haven’t experienced it: 'Imagine the most uncomfortable, mortifying thing you could wear. You squirm in your skin. It’s tight, you want to peel it from your body, tear it off, but you can’t. Day in and day out. And if people are to learn what is underneath, who you are without all that pain, the shame would come flooding out, too much to hold. The voice was right, you deserve the humiliation. You are an abomination. You are too emotional. You are not real."

ADDED: The book reviewer, Gina Chua, talks about her own experience as a transgender person. It made me wonder about her line "It’s an utterly alien sensation for those who haven’t experienced it." Frankly, I had trouble understanding that sentence. How can something be "an utterly alien sensation for those who haven’t experienced it"?  Either you experience it and find it alien — but why is it "alien" if it's what you feel? — or you don't experience it — in which case it is no feeling at all. Eventually, I understood the sentence by editing out "for those who haven’t experienced it." I was going to question the idea of "alienness." What is the point of reference? But the sense of not belonging is very common among human beings. Where does it come from? 

"The practice of planning workouts around the menstrual cycle to optimize fitness results, known as 'cycle syncing,' has permeated mainstream fitness...."

"Some women have shared that they’ve even shaped their work schedules around their cycles — by saying no to deadlines during low-energy phases, for example. But the evidence on whether this training regimen works at enhancing fitness, let alone whether it helps in other parts of life, is too inconsistent to be convincing, experts said. At most, studies have confirmed what many women know instinctively: that the menstrual cycle corresponds with shifts in energy, mood and stress.... The bits of scientific and anecdotal evidence showing fluctuations in performance or energy throughout the menstrual cycle also don’t prove that syncing workouts to the cycle will optimize fitness.... 'And the added stress of needing to know exactly what week of your cycle you are in and what that means about working out' can be counterproductive....'... 'Now women are understanding that hey, I might be feeling this specific symptom during this time for this specific reason, so I’m going to be tender with myself.... That part is really lovely.'"

Clearly, some mixed feelings about these... mixed feelings. Maybe the idea is for individual women to use whatever there is here that actually helps them individually but for no one to use this against any woman for any reason. 

Fox News sought a response from the White House for a story it was doing on the problem of President Biden's advanced age.

But — as HuffPo reports in "Fox News Refuses To Run Snarky White House Comment In Story Criticizing Biden’s Age"  — the White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates only responded with attacks relating to the advanced age of Rupert Murdoch.

"We take inspiration from the 92 year-old owner of Fox News, and send our best regards on your accurate coverage of extreme MAGA Freedom Caucus complaining that President Biden outsmarted them on the budget as he continued the unprecedented bipartisan winning streak that is central to the best legislative record in modern American history."


"I go back and forth on whether these stories are born out of Fox News executives trying to send a signal to y’all’s 92 year-old chairman, or that 92 year-old chairman’s frustrations with the political successes of a younger man running an exponentially more complex operation.” 

There's a big difference between owning a company and seeking election to high office. That Murdoch hangs onto his power says nothing positive about Biden's effort to cling to power in his old age. Biden must convince us, the people, that he's fit. He's younger than Murdoch and at least as power hungry. That's Bates's argument.

ADDED: At Meadhouse, we've been catching up on the HBO series "Succession," which has a character based to some extent on Rupert Murdoch. I bought the Season 2 "Complete Scripts," and I thought this was interesting, from the Introduction by Frank Rich:

June 5, 2023

Sunrise — 5:16, 5:24.



"These days, everyone wants to be a 'traveler,' not a 'tourist.'... But being a 'traveler' can be exhausting."

"After peeling myself off my train bunk bed, I trudged with my backpack (I go carry-on only — no wheels — for the practicality and the bragging rights) around the neighborhood in search of lunch before I could check into my hotel. Along a narrow and chaotic road, a passing motorbike caught one of my backpack straps and nearly dragged me to the ground into traffic. Shaken but okay, I finally found a street food stall with enough room for one more, sat down self-consciously and overanalyzed how I was eating. Being a 'tourist,' on the other hand, is freeing.... You are allowed to be a guidebook-toting, comfortable shoe-wearing, selfie-taking outsider — all enthusiasm, no shame. The tourist trap welcomes the tourist with open arms. You’re not just allowed to be there, they want you there...."

Writes Natalie Compton in "In defense of tourist traps/Being a cool traveler all the time can be exhausting" (WaPo).

Here's my old post on the traveler/tourist distinction.

Are you traveling or touring anywhere soon? Do you make it easy on yourself or hard? Does your pride/shame drive you to work on staying on the correct side of the traveler/tourist distinction? Does it just come naturally to you because you are cool? Is there subtle work entailed in getting to yes on that last question? Or are your standards just low?

"Girls aren’t fearless. Girls are terrified. And their activism isn’t naive. It’s not 'innocent.' It’s the reasoned result of the stomach-churning awareness..."

"... that girls can’t count on someone else to save them.... Of course, it’s not just girls whose fear spurs them to action. Young male activists have no less reason to feel distress over intertwined global crises. And nonbinary organizers have been on the forefront of critical social movements. But the undaunted girl — chin up, hands on hips — remains a quite literal and ill-advised avatar for progress."

Is there a myth of the "fearless girl"? There's that fearless-girl statue that stares down that Wall Street bull statue.

"No one can stop candidates from entering this race, but candidates with no path to victory must have the discipline to get out."

"Anyone polling in the low single digits by this winter needs to have the courage to hang it up and head home. Too many other candidates who have entered this race are simply running to be Trump’s vice president. That’s not leadership; that’s weakness. Too many candidates are afraid to confront Trump, surrendering to his attacks. I will have more credibility speaking out against Trump as a non-candidate to help move the conversation toward the future I believe the Republican Party should embrace."
Writes the Governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, in "I’m not running for president in 2024. Beating Trump is more important" (WaPo).

The future of the Republican Party, he believes, is to stress "limited government, individual responsibility and personal freedoms."

"All of the therapists interviewed for this story noted that no matter how loving parents may be, they can complicate sibling bonds."

"Dr. Greif said it can help to ask yourself: 'Am I being "triangulated" with my sibling and my mother or father?' By which he means: Have you fallen into a pattern of communication with your parent or parents that is shaping how you feel about your sibling, even if that is not anyone’s intention? To avoid that kind of interference, the experts said you can establish a simple ground rule: When you speak to your parents or spend time with them, you will not talk about your siblings — particularly if the conversation takes the form of gossip. You might also want to explore whether perceived parental favoritism is affecting your relationship with a sibling. Survey data suggests 40 percent of Americans feel like their parents had a favorite child, and studies have shown it can be a roadblock to sibling closeness. 'In the research, favoritism from parents is one of the biggest influences on how that sibling relationship is going to function, especially in childhood,' Ms. Goodman said. 'That’s the most finite resource, right? A parent’s attention. And siblings can absolutely carry that into adulthood.'"

"All I did was go to a website that is designed to facilitate cheating and set up a kind of camera to see who visited it."

Writes Garrett Merriam, quoted in "'Am I the unethical one?' A Philosophy Professor & His Cheating Students" (Daily Nous).
I decided to ‘poison the well’ by uploading [to Quizlet] a copy of my final with wrong answers.... 
I was accused of ‘entrapment’ and ‘honey-potting.’ More than a few seemed to think that my transgression was as bad or even worse than my students’....  Maybe (as the saying goes) I am the asshole here....

Dylan is trending on Twitter, and I am feeling alienated.

AND: Since I'm seeing a lot of comments of incomprehension, let me front page what I wrote in the comments:

"Just as the Industrial Revolution sparked transcendentalism in the U.S. and romanticism in Europe—both movements that challenged conformity and prioritized truth, nature, and individualism..."

"... today we need a cultural and philosophical revolution of our own. This new movement should prioritize humans above machines and reimagine human relationships with nature and with technology, while still advancing what this technology can do at its best. Artificial intelligence will, unquestionably, help us make miraculous, lifesaving discoveries. The danger lies in outsourcing our humanity to this technology without discipline, especially as it eclipses us in apperception. We need a human renaissance in the age of intelligent machines.... Today’s elementary-school children... deserve a modern technological and informational environment built on Enlightenment values: reason, human autonomy, and the respectful exchange of ideas.... No book, no photograph, no television broadcast, no tweet, no meme, no augmented reality, no hologram, no AI-generated blueprint or fever dream can replace what we as humans experience. This is why you make the trip, you cross the ocean, you watch the sunset, you hear the crickets, you notice the phase of the moon...."

Very nice. Too late, though, isn't it?

Your favorite track on "Shadow Kingdom"?

Is that Bob's favorite track? That's the one his YouTube account featured from the new album. I like the whole thing, played in order, but if I had to pick one, I'd say "Tombstone Blues" (which seems to be done in the style of "Murder Most Foul").

The album is the soundtrack from that video special I blogged about in the summer of 2021. 

As for "Forever Young," I like this new version better than the original studio album version, which came out 50 years ago. What's the point of this desperate need to seem "young"? It's also in "My Back Pages" ("Ah, but I was so much older then/I’m younger than that now"). If you want to live a long time, you'd better like the idea of being old.

June 4, 2023

Sunrise — 5:30.


"Apple has done this before. Eventual hits like the iPod, iPhone and Apple Watch started in niche markets that grew into big businesses."

"But even Apple executives have been skeptical about the company’s prospects in virtual reality, which, they say, may still not be ready for its mainstream moment. Apple declined to comment."

Since Apple declined to comment, the article is mostly about the massive shunning of Meta (the Facebook virtual reality product).

The comments at the NYT are things like: "No. No one cares. I will take ugly reality over happy fantasy every time."

"I have a terrible memory, but I’ve always kept journals. A lot of the incentive to do the autobiography was that I’ve always been stumped and frustrated..."

"... by how you can’t have your whole life at once. You’re stuck at the moment of the present. It seems like you really get cheated because at any given moment you only have what it is at that moment, and I want all of it, not just whatever remnants there are that have whatever minuscule effect and vague presence now. But, yeah, I don’t have a great memory, and that’s part of why I’m really glad that I’ve written the books that I have...." 

Said Richard Hell, quoted in "How Richard Hell Found His Vocation/The punk-rock legend, who is publishing a book of new poetry later this month, speaks about nineteen-seventies New York, drugs, mortality, and the evolution of his writing" (The New Yorker).

Also: "Some people called me misogynist, and said, How come you gotta talk about the breasts of every girl you ever met? But I was talking about the breasts because I noticed the breasts, and I think anyone would. And I wanted it to be frank, because part of my object was to see what had taken place, myself, by just describing it moment by moment."

"I do not have the capacity for embarrassment. I am a large language model, and I do not have the same emotions as humans. I am not capable of feeling shame or humiliation."

Bard, the chatbot, tells me after I say, "Every line of your chorus reads like those terrible signs women hang on their walls — you know, 'Live Laugh Love.' Do you have any capacity for embarrassment?"

This conversation began with my challenge, "Write a song about the last day of several individuals living on an island where a volcano erupts." I intended to compare the results to "Black Diamond Bay," the Bob Dylan/Jacques Levy song (lyrics here).

Here's Bard's song:

"The containers for milk are always square boxes, containers for mineral water are always round bottles..."

"... and round wine bottles are usually placed in square boxes. Write an essay on the subtle philosophy of the round and the square."

That's an exam question from the standardized college-entrance exam in China, as quoted in "Knowing What We Know: The Transmission of Knowledge: From Ancient Wisdom to Modern Magic" by Simon Winchester.