March 9, 2024

Sunrise — 6:14.


"In his oddly charmed political life, Trump has benefited mightily from what political scientist Brian Klaas calls the 'banality of crazy'..."

" the body politic has grown increasingly numb to Trump’s fire hose of malice.... It must feel almost providential to Trump that his rise to power has also coincided with the downfall of much of the traditional fact-based media, as well as the emergence of just the sort of alternative-reality information silos that he needed to shape his narrative and platform his bluster, bombast and fakery. So now, despite (waves hand) all this, Trump is about to clinch the GOP nomination for the third time, and most national polls show him leading President Biden.... Has anyone ever been this lucky?"

Writes Charles Sykes, in "Donald Trump, the luckiest politician who ever lived" (WaPo).

You could just as well ask has anyone ever been this unlucky. Trump's antagonists have come at him so many times. That's why he's had so many opportunities to be lucky. Who would want all the trouble that's come his way? 

"Residents who dare leave their homes stumble across bodies that have been left where they fell."

"Port-au-Prince reached a high of 92 degrees on Friday. The smell of decaying corpses, human rights activists say, has driven some people from their homes.... One morgue director said he has received 20 calls in the past week from residents asking him to pick up bodies. Four calls came in on Friday, Lyonel Milfort said. He has refused all of them. With gangs barricading the streets, Milfort said, venturing out has been impossible.... 'What I’m witnessing today is unprecedented. It’s been too long,' he said. 'It’s heartbreaking to go around and see bodies being eaten by dogs and see the corpses covered with sheets.'..."

From "Haitians shot dead in street and there’s no one to take the corpses away" (WaPo).

"Under a policy called 'Slant' (Sit up, Lean forward, Ask and answer questions, Nod your head and Track the speaker), the students, aged 11 and 12, were barred from looking away."

"When a digital bell beeped (traditional clocks are 'not precise enough,' the principal said) the students walked quickly and silently to the cafeteria in a single line. There they yelled a poem — 'Ozymandias,' by Percy Bysshe Shelley — in unison, then ate for 13 minutes as they discussed that day’s mandatory lunch topic: how to survive a superintelligent killer snail.... Leon, 13, said that initially he did not want to go to the school, 'but now I am thankful I went because otherwise I wouldn’t be as smart as I am now.'..."

From "'You Can Hear a Pin Drop': The Rise of Super Strict Schools in England/Inspired by the academic success of schools like the Michaela secondary school in northwest London, some principals are introducing tight controls on students’ behavior" (NYT). 


Re "Ozymandias": Here's the full text of the poem, here's the relevant episode of "Frank Skinner's Poetry Podcast," and here's the recitation the poem in one of my favorite movies, "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" (the scene is a traveling theatrical production in the Old West):

"We don’t have a candidate. And it’s possible in the end we won’t find a suitable candidate."

"All of the prominent candidates approached by No Labels have refused. That’s because it’s clear that their ticket is a road to nowhere. No serious person wants to end up in the single digits nationally while helping Trump win.”

Said Matt Bennett, a co-founder of the Democratic-centrist group Third Way, quoted in "Leaked Audio Shows No Labels Has Zero Idea If It’ll Find a Candidate/There was a lot of palaver about how courageous and patriotic they all are. But if you listened closely, there were also admissions that the way forward is very murky" (The New Republic)("Third Way, along with a coalition of other groups, has warned for months that a No Labels ticket would be most likely to siphon votes away from President Biden...").

"Former President Donald Trump on Thursday signaled his opposition to a TikTok ban being considered in Congress, arguing that it would help Facebook..."

"’If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business,' Trump, 77, claimed in a Truth Social post, apparently referring to Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 'I don’t want Facebook, who cheated in the last Election, doing better. They are a true Enemy of the People!' he added."

The NY Post reports.

"The National Guard are our neighbors; these are moms and dads from our communities....They are just there as a deterrent to those who might think..."

".... that they can get away with committing crimes.... This is not heavy-handed.... It is nowhere near what ‘stop and search’ was — a policy I did not support. This is just for a temporary basis to calm things down and let people know they’re safe."

Said Governor Hochul, quoted in "Hochul defends deploying National Guard in NYC subways after 'war zone' backlash" (NY Post).

"Angela Chao, Sen. Mitch McConnell’s billionaire sister-in-law, spent her last minutes alive frantically calling her friends for help as her Tesla slowly sank in a pond..."

"... on a remote Texas ranch, according to a report.... Chao invited several of her girlfriends from Harvard Business School to spend the weekend on a gorgeous, sprawling 900-acre private property in Texas’ Hill Country.... While making a K-turn, she put the car in reverse instead of drive, she told them. While going backwards, the car went over an embankment and into a pond — and was sinking fast.... Blanco County emergency units finally arrived at 12:28 a.m. — a full 24 minutes after they received the call.... One responder described the Tesla as completely submerged. Sheriff’s deputies even stood on top of it during the rescue efforts, trying to bust open a window.... A tow truck arrived to pull the car out of the pond but it didn’t have a cable long enough to reach the vehicle.... A longer cable was finally retrieved. At least one tow truck driver, however, said he was afraid of being electrocuted by the electric vehicle...."

The NY Post reports.

Do electric cars threaten electrocution when submerged? If Chao had been able to get out of the car, would she have been electrocuted? And why was the window so hard to break? Was there a special problem with Tesla, where there's no way to open the door if the electronics fail? Did Chao believe help was on the way and decide to remain in the car? 

"At least 'some' football fans, who attended January's bitterly cold Kansas City Chiefs playoff game, suffered extreme frostbite and eventually needed amputations...."

From "Some attendees of frigid Chiefs game forced into amputations following severe frostbite, Kansas City hospital says /The Jan. 13 wildcard victory over the Miami Dolphins might have come at a terrible price for some spectators who endured sub-zero cold" (NBC News).

"It was the fourth coldest football game in NFL history with the famed"Ice Bowl" of Dec. 31 1967 still serving at the frozen gridiron standard."

"It is theoretically possible, I suppose, that an 81-year-old teetotaling Catholic has suddenly embarked upon a drug-fueled lifestyle."

"But this raises the question of why, exactly, we should care that Biden is using these wonder drugs to elevate his public performance. After all, in sports, we limit steroid use and other performance-enhancing drugs because those drugs have awful side effects, and give those willing to accept them an unfair advantage. What are the side effects of Biden’s alleged drug use?... Or is the idea that Biden is somehow rigging the election by using some kind of drugs that turn him into an energetic public speaker?"

Writes Jonathan Chait, in "Biden Was So Good, Trump Is Accusing Him of Performance-Enhancing Drugs/We need a president who can get high on life?" (NY Magazine).

1. All Trump did was post, at one point during the SOTU, "THE DRUGS ARE WEARING OFF."

2. I suspect Chait knows a lot that he's not saying about how many Washingtonians use drugs. Instead of making analogies to sports and jokes about accusations of rigging elections, why not give us more information about Washington drug culture? I see that a few days ago, Rolling Stone came out with "Trump’s White House Was 'Awash in Speed' — and Xanax/Under Trump, the White House Medical Unit was 'like the Wild West,' and staffers had easy access to powerful stimulants and sedatives, sources tell Rolling Stone." How awash in speed is Washington? I'd like to know. Don't play innocent.

3. What's with Chait's subtitle? "We need a president who can get high on life?"

How to try to achieve racial diversity without trying to achieve racial diversity.

The NYT tried to find out.

Here's a free link to the extensive article, elaborately festooned with interactive graphics.

March 8, 2024

Sunrise — 6:43.


100% cloud cover, but at least I got out before the rain came.

Write about whatever you like in the comments.

"The UK’s first transgender national news anchor has reported 'Harry Potter' author JK Rowling to the police for 'misgendering' her as a 'man' on social media."

"India Willoughby, 58, reported having 'contacted Northumbria Constabulary' over a series of X posts Sunday by the outspoken author. Rowling, also 58, called Willoughby 'just a man reveling in his misogynistic performance of what he thinks "woman" means: narcissistic, shallow and exhibitionist.'... 'I’m legally a woman, she knows I’m a woman, and she calls me a man. It’s a protected characteristic and that is a breach of both the Equalities Act and the Gender Recognition Act...' Willoughby wrote."

The New York Post reports.

"After I did Steve Bannon's War Room, so many listeners asked me for a link they could send to friends or family members who they argue with about politics."

"That's working-class America: People are in community with folks they disagree with. Polarization is an elite phenomenon."

Tweets Batya Ungar-Sargon, who's a fantastic speaker, succinct and impassioned. She's on the left, by her own report, but she's saying what Democrats don't want to have to hear about themselves (that they do not represent the working class, and Trump does):


"Donald J. Trump on Friday posted a nearly $92 million bond in a defamation case he recently lost to the writer E. Jean Carroll..."

"... a move that will allow him to appeal the verdict without having to pay Ms. Carroll.... In a separate case, Mr. Trump faces a judgment of more than $450 million levied by a New York State judge in a civil fraud lawsuit brought by Attorney General Letitia James.... Unless [the intermediate appellate court] panel cuts him a break, Mr. Trump will need to post a bond for the full amount by March 25. If he fails, Ms. James is expected to move swiftly to collect, seizing his bank accounts and potentially even some of his New York properties...."

"There were no gyms open... and so every day, I swam miles aimlessly in the lake. I'd put on a wet suit..."

"... and I'd jump in the boat dock and I'd swim down, by Johnny Cash's house, and I came back, and I did the same route every single day. Because... I knew that I had to if I wanted to continue this breakout season I was having my sophomore year into my junior year. Right? And the amount of snakes that I swam by and, like, dead catfish that are floating on top of the water that, like, hit you in your face while you're swimming is not pleasant...."

Said Riley Gaines, describing the difficulty of training during the Covid lockdown. That's part of a 2-and-a-half-hour discussion with Joe Rogan, which is mostly about her staunch opposition to allowing transgender women to compete against biologically female athletes. I've listened to the whole thing, and I think Joe is boldly risking his reputation with this material. He's very supportive of Gaines, and the two of them frequently declare that the world has gone crazy:

"Saudi Arabia's First Male Robot Touches Female Reporter, Sparks Outrage."

Headline at NDTV.
During its introduction at DeepFest, Muhammad, the first bilingual male Saudi Arabia-made humanoid robot, declared, "I am Muhammad, the first Saudi robot in the form of a man. I was manufactured and developed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a national project to demonstrate our achievements in the field of artificial intelligence."
This isn't just a case of special Saudi Arabian standards of keeping men and women apart. The Muhammad robot grabs her by the buttock:

It's like "Saturday Night Live." Hard to believe I'm not watching a comic actor.

I think that may be how young people talk these days. I think it's learned from TikTok! It doesn't sound natural to me, but it may be the new reality as young people spend so much time watching videos. It may be contagious — like creaky voice and Valley Girl uptalk.

"In perfect sync with his much-hyped generation, Keith... adored the Monkees more than the Beatles and was briefly a Jesus freak...."

"Haring may have out-Warholed Warhol, a mentor and collaborator, in enjoying celebrity friends.... But he was less cool than hot, eager and earnest: handing out free buttons and selling cheap merch at his prescient Pop Shop but fretting about his place in the canon and firing off indignant letters to editors. Time magazine’s influential critic Robert Hughes emerges here as a particular Joker to his Batman, likening Haring and his friend Jean-Michel Basquiat to 'those two what’s their names on "Miami Vice"' and calling them 'Keith Boring' and 'Jean-Michel Basketcase.' (Good lord!)..."

Why I didn't watch the State of the Union address live last night and why I probably will never watch the recording of it.

I didn't watch it live for the same reason I didn't watch "Dragnet" when it was on at 9 p.m. on Thursdays in 1954. It was past my bedtime. I was 3. 

I'm 73 — 8 years younger than Biden — and I'm in the Central Time Zone. He gave that speech at age 81 at 10 p.m. at night and went on until midnight, and I see he was feisty....
I wasn't feisty. I was lying down in my sleep position — a complicated arrangement involving 4 down pillows — and planning to more or less listen, listen until I entered the world of dreams — a place not necessarily more pleasant that the House chamber (last night I woke up screaming at nonexistent crocodiles) — but a place where I sojourn for 7 hours rebuilding the strength of a body that naturally rises at 4 a.m., maybe 3.

As I say, I am 73. I am not feisty at 9 at night and certainly not at midnight. If something were important enough though — stand here in front of millions and read this teleprompter in a dramatic, masterful style — I'd do it properly. I wouldn't yell irascibly. You wouldn't have to shoot me with drugs. In fact, that would be dangerously risky. I might behave erratically. I might yell irascibly. Yell irascibly for 2 hours? What would people think? Is the press on my side? Give me the drugs then! The press is on my side! They'll say I was "feisty."

Calling an old person "feisty" is like calling an African American person "articulate"....

We know what you mean. You're revealing that you have a stereotype and you're giving this person credit for setting himself apart from it.

But I was embracing the old-person stereotype, embracing my pillows, drifting off to sleep, and not really appreciating the irascible tone of voice. But I got to sleep. I've slept through the night. I did not wake up screaming. I'm well rested and perfectly lucid — I think! — composing these remarks before setting out to commune with the sunrise. 

I knew I would have the video of the full speech. What's so special about watching it live? Looking up what was on TV on Thursday at 9 in 1954 — so I could write "Dragnet" in the first sentence of this post — I happened upon this:
Despite hit filmed programs such as I Love Lucy, both William S. Paley of CBS and David Sarnoff of NBC were said to be determined to keep most programming on their networks live. Filmed programs were said to be inferior to the spontaneous nature of live television.

Take away the magic of live television, and what is the State of the Union address? We are perfectly free to watch the entire thing on YouTube the next day. Or never. Or in sliced out snippets — a highlight reel or a collection of verbal slips or biggest applause lines. Or we can just read about it. Did anything happen? Did some grieving mother hear her daughter's name said aloud? Was the name precisely correctly pronounced? Did the President hold up a button? Did he recharge his campaign?

Was he feisty? 


"Feisty," the OED tells us, is based on the familiar word "fist." It's a punch-in-the-nose concept. Fisty. Definition: "Aggressive, excitable, touchy." We're told it's American slang, originally dialect, and the OED has the quotes to prove it:

1913 Feisty means when a feller's allers wigglin' about, wantin' ever'body to see him, like a kid when the preacher comes. H. Kephart, Our Southern Highlanders 94

1926 That-there feisty bay mare jumped straight upwards and broke the tongue outen the plow. E. M. Roberts, Time of Man 152 

1965 Luther gets a little feisty after a few drinks, and he began to argue with him. ‘D. Shannon’, Death-bringers (1966) xiii. 162

1968 He couldn't shake her loose—she hung on to his arm, feisty as a terrier. J. Potts, Trash Stealer xiii. 148


Post-sunrise opinion: The morning after, it is possible to see that the SOTU was a campaign speech. Every morning, there was a campaign speech yesterday.

In the comments: I'm getting a lot of pushback on the etymology of "feisty." It's not the fist that is the hand in an aggressive clench? It's a dog, you say? Well, let's go back to the OED. I see I made an assumption. What I was seeing at the OED entry "feisty" was:

I had not clicked on the boldface "fist." But if I had, I would not have gone to the entry for the kind of "fist" that is the clenched hand. I'd have gone to a separate entry, with 3 things together: a fart, a puffball fungus, and a dog:
1. A breaking wind, a foul smell, stink. Obsolete....

2. The fungus usually known as puff-ball.... Obsolete....

3. U.S. dialect. A small dog....

The etymology pointed us to #3, so — no matter how much we might enjoy thinking "feisty" means farty — we must accept that the comparison is to a small dog. Yappy, hopping around, over-excited. Still farty though. You see the connection. It's always the dog.

March 7, 2024

Sunrise — 6:11, 6:23.



Talk about whatever you like in the comments... except the State of the Union Address. Go one post down — here — to discuss the SOTU.

"Is there an ‘L.B.J. Moment’ in store? Don’t count on it."

Asks Peter Baker (at the NYT).

Back in 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson stunned the nation — and many of his own advisers — by adding a secret 90-second bombshell finale to an Oval Office address on Vietnam that he was pulling out of the presidential campaign. With war raging, he said, he should not “devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes.”

No one should expect President Biden to emulate Johnson during his State of the Union on Thursday night, no matter how much some Democrats and commentators have floated the idea.... 
The SOTU is still over an hour away, but please put your SOTU comments on this post.

It's all about how you feel and they're betting a military presence will make you feel good.

I'm reading "Gov. Kathy Hochul sending National Guard members to New York City subways to combat ongoing crime/'No one heading to their job or to visit family or go to a doctor appointment should worry that the person sitting next to them possesses a deadly weapon,' she said" (NBC News).
"No one heading to their job or to visit family or go to a doctor appointment should worry that the person sitting next to them possesses a deadly weapon," she told reporters.

Thomas Taffe, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department’s chief of operations, said "reducing the fear of crime" is as important as "reducing crime itself."

"Our focus is to respond to issues that most affected riders, the feeling of disorder, that fear of crime," he said....

I was wondering what military personnel would do to fight crime in the subway. Turns out they're going to "conduct bag checks at some of the busiest stations."

750 members of the National Guard are deployed to go through your personal things.

"It would never have been realistic for New York, with its chronic housing shortage, to house an open-ended number of migrants at city expense."

"But Mr. Adams’s mismanagement of the crisis made it clear he never had a workable strategy to deal with it. Last May, for example, the mayor opened a flagship welcome center for migrants in the old Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Since then, he has allowed the building, two blocks from Grand Central Terminal, to deteriorate in plain sight. Some ground-floor windows are blacked out, and mattresses hang from a huge metal trash receptacle in the street. Mopeds block one sidewalk, and graffiti defaces the side of the building near Grand Central...."

From "The Disappearance of Mayor Adams" (NYT).

Mayor Adams makes a notable appearance in this "Daily Show" segment (which is long but really good, going after multiple targets, not just Republicans):

"It is time to unleash Dark Brandon on this soul-sucking downer of a presidential race."

I'm reading this


It's mainly about tonight's SOTU. I guess the idea that it's a statesmanlike address to the whole nation is shot to hell. It's a campaign event: 

"[T]he white matter that forms the wiring deep in the brain had 'moderately severe' damage, and in some areas was missing entirely."

"The delicate tissue sheaths that insulate each biological circuit lay in 'disorganized clumps,' and throughout Mr. Card’s brain there was scarring and inflammation suggesting repeated trauma. This was not C.T.E., the report said. It was a characteristic pattern of damage that has been found before in military veterans who were repeatedly exposed to weapons blasts during their service."

From "Profound Damage Found in Maine Gunman’s Brain, Possibly From Blasts/A laboratory found a pattern of cell damage that has been seen in veterans exposed to weapons blasts, and said it probably played a role in symptoms the gunman displayed before the shooting" (NYT).

Mr. Card = Robert Card, who had been a grenade instructor in the Army Reserve and, after 8 years of exposure to blasts, "began hearing voices" and experiencing "paranoid delusions." He killed 18.

"'You take thirty or sixty seconds of a kid’s voice and log in to ElevenLabs, and pretty soon Grandma’s getting a call in Grandson’s voice...'"

"'... saying, "Grandma, I’m in trouble, I’ve been in an accident."' A financial request is almost always the end game.... 'And here’s the thing: the bad guy can fail ninety-nine per cent of the time, and they will still become very, very rich. It’s a numbers game.'... In 2020, a corporate attorney in Philadelphia took a call from what he thought was his son, who said he had been injured in a car wreck involving a pregnant woman and needed nine thousand dollars to post bail.... In January, voters in New Hampshire received a robocall call from Joe Biden’s voice telling them not to vote in the primary. (The man who admitted to generating the call said that he had used ElevenLabs software.) 'I didn’t think about it at the time that it wasn’t his real voice,' an elderly Democrat in New Hampshire [said]... 'That’s how convincing it was.'"

"24-year-old Samantha Hudson — who recently appeared in a new ad for Doritos out in Spain — was put on blast this week by right-leaning X users..."

"... amid her first promotional plug for the chip brand... calling out an alleged social media post where she reportedly declared a desire to do inappropriate things to a 12-year-old girl when she was 15.... Samantha reportedly apologized for the resurfaced posts after becoming famous... saying she doesn't remember writing 'such barbarities' almost 10 years ago. However — she did reportedly acknowledge that she previously 'dedicated [her]self to saying nonsense' in the name of dark humor."

From "Doritos Scraps Deal with Trans Influencer... After Backlash, Old Tweets" (TMZ).

There are so many reasons not to eat Doritos, but I'm afraid this boycott, coming from the right, is going to propel those on the left to re-envision Doritos as elite and edgy. I see this as a win for Doritos. Just putting the word "Doritos" in play right now is going to trigger the urge to eat the strangely compelling low-quality snack food.

So Samantha Hudson — at age 15 — tweeted debased desires? That's completely aligned with the debased desire to eat Doritos. I feel sorry for whoever receives this incident as an incentive to lean into the urge to eat Doritos. If that's not you, good. You should not be eating Doritos anyway. Everyone knows this.

Donald Trump will heckle Biden in real time.

"I am pleased to inform you that tomorrow night we will be doing a LIVE, Play by Play, of Crooked Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address. I will correct, in rapid response, any and all inaccurate Statements, especially pertaining to the Border and his Weaponization of the DOJ, FBI, A.G.s, and District Attorneys, to go after his Political Opponent, ME (something never done before in this Country!). We did this once before to tremendous success - Beating All Records. It is important for the Country to get the TRUTH!"

ADDED: I'm sure plans are in the works to fact-check the fact-checker.

March 6, 2024

Sunrise — 6:28, 6:30.



"What’s next for Sinema after her Senate term runs out this year?... A vanity presidential campaign from corporate-backed No Labels...?"

That's a quote from an article I found when I was looking for discussion of whether Kyrsten Sinema will be the No Labels candidate for President.

It's in The New Republic and, for the most part, it's not the sort of thing I was looking for, as indicated by the really inflammatory headline: "Kyrsten Sinema Is Resigning in the Most Sinema Fashion Ever (Delusional)/Farewell to the 'independent' Arizona senator who did nothing but screw over all her constituents, along with the rest of the country."

"Tensions at The New York Times over an investigative report on Hamas' use of sexual violence in the October 7th attacks have erupted into the open..."

"... over the past week with fresh conflict surfacing nearly every day. The Times crisis reflects a series of cultural divides – between the conventional newsroom and the paper's ascendant audio division; between management and many of the rank-and-file; between factions with differing reactions to the war in Israel and Gaza; and between the two sides of yawning industry chasm over whether to handle dissent internally or air it in public. The Times Guild, the newsroom union representing nearly 1,500 journalists at the paper, filed a formal grievance yesterday with the paper.... At the heart of the newsroom tensions stands a powerful story about sexual violence during Hamas' deadly Oct. 7 attack in Israel. The story, published in late December under the byline of international correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman and two freelancers, said The Times had documented a pattern of sexual assault by Hamas as a brutal strategy...."

NPR reports.

"Did Biden's VA Ban Iconic 'V-J Day in Times Square' Photo?/Screen grabs show a genuine Veterans Affairs memorandum, but officials say it was sent in error."

An intriguing headline at Snopes.
The since-rescinded memo, sent from the VA Office of the Assistant Under Secretary of Health for Operations, stated that photo should be removed on the grounds that it depicted a non-consensual kiss: 

I'm just noticing that Marjorie Taylor Greene is really good at answering questions.

"He has remade the party in his image. There are still some Republicans who are trying to take it away — like, take it back. That's over. There's no back."

Biden mutters to himself, frets aloud about "getting in trouble," looks around worried/confused, and mutters to himself again.

I don't know if he's "not well" or if he's got something else bothering him, but would somebody please help him? Help us.

ADDED: The look on his face reminded of George W. Bush's "My Pet Goat" interlude. Maybe Biden doesn't want to upset the children. 

"They are coming after us. You don't need to talk to them about anything about us."

Fani Willis allegedly said to Terrence Bradley, quoted in this tweet from Jonathan Turley.

"Let's get our fact straight. There's no crisis at the border. C'mon..."

Funny: Not so funny: By the way, Elon's position — that Democrats are rigging the 2024 election by strategically dispersing immigrants (presumably to cities in swing states) — feels like a new version of the 2020 "election denial." He's getting the jump on the accusation of "treason." 

The funny/terrifying mix is painfully strong.

March 5, 2024

An overcast sunrise at 6:33.


Later, the same day, at 3:29 p.m., I was basking under clear blue sky on a rock in Biocore Prairie....


Meade took that picture, and it reminds me of the Harry Nilsson version of "It Had To Be You," which I'd heard on my sunrise walk. He sings: "But with all your faults, it's you I adore/When you stand up, your hands touch the floor/It had to be me/Unlucky me/It had to be me."

Write about whatever you like in the comments. 

You have to say "If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve."

That's the unambiguous "Sherman statement."

Everyone knows this.

If your director of communications says you "will not be running for President," you've conspicuously failed to say the magic words. This is especially true if there's no occasion for running for the nomination because the incumbent President is in your party and he's running, but the delegates he's collecting in the primaries may, at the time of the convention, be free to nominate somebody else, somebody who hasn't run for President but who may accept the nomination if it is handed to her and may, if elected, deign to serve.

Hotel or AirBnb — you choose.

"Mariah Carey takes the next step from Whitney Houston... the way-over-the-top vocals that almost exist outside of a song."

"Influence wise, I certainly get it. My problem is I don’t care for much of her music. From the start, she was an industry darling.... There’s only a handful of singles I really like and I find each of her albums are a bit of a slog to get through. She’s not getting my vote...."

And: "I’m excited to see her name. The Rock Hall has been trying to put these 'pop singers' more on the ballot these last few years, which freaks out some of its constituency. I think those types of artists belong. Mariah’s not going to get my vote.... But, my God. The talent and reach. Look at how long she sustained her career and what she means to people. If Whitney Houston is in, Mariah Carey is in.... She’s worthy. I always love it when women pop singers are on the ballot in a way that pisses people off. It’s not rock! It’s always fun when you get some people to yell that."

Say 2 unnamed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voters, quoted in "'It’s a Brand, Not a Band': Two Rock Hall Voters Reveal Their 2024 Ballots" (NY Magazine).

Have we stopped calling it the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? It's just the Rock Hall now? The whole thing is one mistake after another — just swapping in new mistakes.

I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 2005 and blogged 7 things about it. The 7th is the best:

On "Curb Your Enthusiasm" — Richard Lewis goes to an AA meeting and can't help treating it like standup.

Richard Lewis died a few days ago, but he's alive in the new episodes of "Curb."

"By limiting its restrictions to a list of ideas designated as offensive, the Act targets speech based on its content."

"And by barring only speech that endorses any of those ideas, it penalizes certain viewpoints — the greatest First Amendment sin."

DeSantis had framed the “Stop Woke Act” as a tool for employees to “stand up against discrimination.” “No one should be instructed to feel as if they are not equal or shamed because of their race,” he said in a statement in 2022. “In Florida, we will not let the far-left woke agenda take over our schools and workplaces.”

It's Super Tuesday, and the only interesting thing seems to be whether the California Senate race will be between Adam Schiff and Katie Porter or Adam Schiff and Steve Garvey.

I'm reading "Schiff’s insider support trumps Porter’s outsider appeal/Polling shows Rep. Katie Porter running in third place, behind fellow Rep. Adam Schiff and a Republican he helped boost" (WaPo).
The two popular Democrats [Schiff and Porter], who are both prodigious fundraisers, had long been viewed as the probable victors Tuesday in California’s jungle primary, in which the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election regardless of party.

"Jungle primary"? There's some outmoded slang.

But with Schiff, Porter and their Democratic colleague, Rep. Barbara Lee, splitting their party’s vote, Schiff has wielded his enormous war chest to boost support for their top Republican rival, former Major League Baseball player Steve Garvey.

Oh? So Garvey's success has been Schiff's shifty doing?

"Someone who has biomarker evidence of amyloid in the brain has the disease, whether they’re symptomatic or not."

"The pathology exists for years before symptom onset. That’s the science. It’s irrefutable."

But Jack and his colleagues are not saying to test everyone.
A 2015 Dutch study estimated that more than 10 percent of cognitively normal 50-year-olds would test positive, as would almost 16 percent of 60-year-olds and 23 percent of 70-year-olds. Most of those individuals would never develop dementia....

What's the point of knowing you technically have this dreaded disease if you don't have the aspect of it that is dreaded — the outward symptoms?

"When people wonder how things might go wrong if AI controlled the world, this example clearly illustrates the point."

Coincidentally, the NYT has this on its front page right now:
The article is full of graphics, apparently designed to boost our inadequate imagination. Here's one of the many vivid images that fly by as you scroll:

March 4, 2024

Sunrise — 6:12, 6:17, 6:29, 6:30.





The Supreme Court case.... is unanimous and in Trump's favor.

 Here's the full text. From the per curiam opinion:

Because the Constitution makes Congress, rather than the States, responsible for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates, we reverse....

All nine Members of the Court agree with that result.

Our colleagues writing separately further agree with many of the reasons this opinion provides for reaching it. See post, Part I (joint opinion of SOTOMAYOR, KAGAN, and JACKSON, JJ.); see also post, p. 1 (opinion of BARRETT, J.). So far as we can tell, they object only to our taking into account the distinctive way Section 3 works and the fact that Section 5 vests in Congress the power to enforce it. These are not the only reasons the States lack power to enforce this particular constitutional provision with respect to federal offices. But they are important ones, and it is the combination of all the reasons set forth in this opinion—not, as some of our colleagues would have it, just one particular rationale—that resolves this case. In our view, each of these reasons is necessary to provide a complete explanation for the judgment the Court unanimously reaches. 

ADDED: The per curiam opinion emphasizes the role of Congress in determining that Section 3 applies to someone:

"Biden, always a little taller than you expect, wore a navy suit and a bright-blue tie."

"He passed a study off the Oval, where he keeps a rack of extra shirts, an array of notes sent in by the public, and a portrait of John F. Kennedy in a contemplative pose.... He continued to the Oval Office dining room, a small, elegant space where, in Biden’s eight years as Vice-President, he often visited Barack Obama for lunch. One wall is graced by 'The Peacemakers,' a famous painting of Lincoln and his military commanders, on the cusp of winning the Civil War. Another is dominated by a large television set, installed by Donald Trump."

From "Joe Biden’s Last Campaign/Trailing Trump in polls and facing doubts about his age, the President voices defiant confidence in his prospects for reëlection" by Evan Osnos (The New Yorker).

I paused over "always a little taller than you expect." It had a bit of a large-boulder-the-size-of-a-small-boulder feeling about it. It gets my favorite tag: big and small. I love these conundrums of size. Osnos is using "you" to refer to himself. He's talking about his subjective experience, and he — unlike, probably, you — has been in the vicinity of the President on multiple occasions. But what is this taller and taller effect? It must be that when he's around Biden, he's struck that Biden is a little tall, and, afterwards, Biden shrinks in Osnos's memory, setting him up to be struck once again, at the next encounter, by the slight tallness of Biden.

Biden was showing Osnos — as Biden put it — "where Trump sat and watched the revolution."

"To pay for the journey, he said, he had sold an acre of land for $30,000 and raised $6,000 more by mortgaging two other acres..."

"... and borrowing money from relatives. On a recent day back home in India’s Haryana state, he opened Snapchat on his phone. It was filled with images of friends who have reached the United States, dancing at the Mexican border while their families back home set off fireworks and cut a cake in the shape of an American flag. 'I feel, let me go, too,' he said."

From "Ever more undocumented Indian migrants follow ‘donkey’ route to America" (WaPo)(free access link).

I just want to say that "a cake in the shape of an American flag" is a rectangular cake. That cake was in the shape of every country's flag (save Nepal's). Perhaps the icing nailed it down as a U.S. flag. 

Anyway, I'm a bit touched at the celebrations displaying the Indian's idea of America. It's a terrible shame that we've allowed the process of immigration to become so degraded that people this enthusiastic about our beautiful country can't pursue a legal option.

Men in shorts and snow.

Via "'Absolute disgrace': LAFC coach criticizes MLS for playing in blizzard/Real Salt Lake beat LAFC 3-0 in blizzard-like conditions/Referee forced to carve lines into snow on free-kicks" (The Guardian)(And they had to use an orange ball).

"It was impossible conditions. I feel terrible for the players that we put them through this. It was an absolute joke we had to play today. It was one of the worst professional sporting events I’ve ever seen in my life. The game could have and should have been called. In my opinion, it was an absolute disgrace we had to play today."

Said the manager of the team that lost.

"Too much choice is not a good thing. The anxious person is the one who doesn’t know what to do because..."

"... she can do so many things. The neurotic individual is paralysed by the sense that he can’t make the right decision because another one is always available to him. The apparently limitless options afforded to us by dating apps and social media has not made us more content; it has merely intensified our longing."

From "Make coffee. Shower. Clean the loo. In an age of choice, rituals are the key to happiness/Wim Wenders’ film Perfect Days is on to something with its depiction of main character Hirayama’s calm, habitual life" (The Guardian).

From The Guardian review of the movie:

"Almost all of the estimated 4,000 inmates escaped, leaving the normally overcrowded prison eerily empty on Sunday with no guards in sight and plastic sandals, clothing and furniture strewn across the concrete patio...."

"It was unclear how many inmates were on the run but Arnel Remy, a human rights lawyer whose non-profit organisation works inside the national penitentiary, said on X that fewer than 100 of the nearly 4,000 inmates remained behind bars. 'I’m the only one left in my cell,' one unidentified inmate told Reuters...."

"While other countries have inferred abortion rights protections from their constitutions, as the U.S. Supreme Court did in Roe v. Wade..."

"France will be the first to explicitly codify in its constitution that abortion rights are protected. France is not interpreting its constitution; it is changing its constitution. Activists and politicians have been transparent that this is a response to what has been happening in the United States since the Supreme Court overturned Roe in 2022 and determined that the right to abortion has no constitutional stature — it could no longer be inferred from constitutional privacy protections."

Writes Karla Adam, in "France votes on adding abortion rights to constitution — a reaction to U.S." (WaPo).

Inference isn't what it used to be. As Elena Kagan famously put it years ago: "We're all textualists now." And "all" means all. 

"The Supreme Court announced on Sunday that it would issue at least one decision on Monday..."

"... a strong signal that it would rule then on former President Donald J. Trump’s eligibility for Colorado’s primary ballot. The announcement said Monday’s opinion or opinions would be posted online starting at 10 a.m. 'The court will not take the bench,' it said. The court’s usual practice... is to announce decisions in argued cases from the bench. The justices had not been scheduled to return to the courtroom until March 15...."

From "Supreme Court Poised to Rule on Monday on Trump’s Eligibility to Hold Office/An unusual announcement from the court provided a strong hint that the justices will act the day before the primaries on Super Tuesday" (NYT).

I think we all know that Trump will win. The question is how he will win — whether the issue will be conclusively resolved or left with loose ends to be tied up at some later point in the process.

March 3, 2024

At the Sunday Night Café…

 … you can talk about whatever you want.

"We have languages coming into our country. We don’t have one instructor in our entire nation that can speak that language."

“These are languages — it’s the craziest thing — they have languages that nobody in this country has ever heard of. It’s a very horrible thing."

Said Trump, in his big speech at CPAC, quoted in "Trump warns of 'languages coming into our country' that 'nobody' has heard of/Trump's warnings about words add to a pattern of stoking fear around migrants coming into the United States."'

I was going to say the headline was deceptive and unfair because Trump didn't say these were languages nobody has heard of. Trump said there were languages that nobody in this country has ever heard of. Obviously, the people who are speaking this language have heard of it. They're not nobody.

But I see that Trump repeated his concern about foreign languages when he toured the southern border this past week, and he said "Nobody speaks them" and "These are languages that nobody ever heard of."

"But Lake Manly is no illusion. Instead, it’s more like a ghost from Death Valley’s prehistoric past..."

"... temporarily resurrected by the fast-changing, climate-churning present. Thanks to the record-setting rain that has washed over California during the last six months, Lake Manly — which dried up thousands of years ago — has reformed on the floor of Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America. This unlikely and exceedingly rare comeback is a message from the warming climate, which baked the region in a years-long megadrought and has now flooded it with rain...."

From "California rains resurrect a long-dead lake in dry Death Valley" (WaPo).

Beautiful photographs at the link. But you're warned not to enjoy any of this. You can't abstract beauty out of its horrible context, the apocalypse we live in today. Experience it as "churning-churning." It's a "ghost" from the human-free past delivering a "message" that we're sinful and selfish... right when you're thinking of piling into the gas-powered F-150 and barreling across the continent to take a gander at this Lake Manly.

"Whatever style pants look like [expletive] to you are the pants you’re supposed to wear..."

"... and as soon as they start to look normal to you, those are not the right pants anymore. You should always be wearing pants you think look stupid."

Said the comedian Noah Garfinkel, as quoted in the New York Times "Why Are Pants So Big (Again)?/And what the latest swing from skinny to wide tells us about ourselves."

There's also this quote from David Lynch: "I am searching for a good pair of pants. I never found a pair of pants that I just love. If they’re not right, which they never are, it’s a sadness."

Batya Ungar-Sargon was terrific on Bill Maher's "Real Time" last Friday.

Bill Maher makes an effort to satirize Joe Biden. It's not very funny, but it happened.

In another part of the show — this was last Friday — he said if it's between Biden and Trump, he'll say what he's said before: He'd vote for Biden if Biden is just a head in a jar of blue liquid

ADDED: Somehow I thought of this:

"It’s not that I decided not to have a partner. I don’t have a partner, and it happened. It happened step by step."

"I always had somebody. And my therapist said, Have you ever tried to be alone for six months? And I thought, Well, yeah, that’s strange, I’ve never done that.... And so I said, OK, I’ll try six months. And it was a great serenity, I have to say. And so what was for me a six-month experiment to be alone became a year, two years, and then it extended to become 25 years. I didn’t want it, and sometimes I feel like it would be nice to have a partner. There are certain things I don’t do because I don’t have a partner.... Like traveling.... Or going to parties. Going to parties is the worst. Entering a party by yourself is the worst, because the most aggressive, boring person, they isolate you and talk, talk, talk, talk.... So I don’t socialize that way.... There are certain things that you regret. You regret the camaraderie — not regret, miss the camaraderie. But it didn’t happen. So it’s not a choice. It just didn’t happen...."

Said Isabella Rossellini, quoted in "How to Grow Old Like Isabella Rossellini/'How do I fulfill the rest of my life? That question came to me very clearly at 45, and I didn’t have an answer'" (NYTO