June 1, 2024

Sunrise — 5:23, 5:28.



"Prior negotiations ran aground after Hamas insisted that it be able to include dead hostages, as opposed to just living ones, in the number required by the agreement’s first phase."

"In his speech, Biden indicated that Israel had now acceded to this previously rejected stipulation. 'Some remains of hostages who have been killed will be returned to their...families,' he said, 'bringing some degree of closure to their terrible grief.'..."

Writes Yair Rosenberg, in "Biden’s Bold Gaza Cease-Fire Gambit/The president has pushed events as far as he can, but even American presidents have their limits" (The Atlantic).

"Men and other mammals live longer if they are castrated... Cat Bohannon [says]... it is not known why men go through life 'smuggling two little death nuggets.'"

An article at The Guardian. Excerpt:

A 2012 study published in Current Biology found that the average lifespan of 81 eunuchs born between 1556 and 1861 was 70 years, which was 14.4–19.1 years longer than the lifespan of non-castrated men of similar socioeconomic status. Researchers concluded that the study “supports the idea that male sex hormones decrease the lifespan of men.”

"my mom called me sobbing, i thought someone died but she was just happy about trump"

From "Your Mom Is Thrilled About the Trump Verdict" (NY Magazine)("Few people are more amped... than moms who still have the signs they made for the 2017 Women’s March").

Bonus TikTok, making (gentle) fun of Mom for caring so much:

"What should Trump's lawyers do now?" — asks Alan Dershowitz...

... who can't serve as one of Trump's lawyers because he has a rule against representing anybody more than once, and he represented Trump in the first impeachment trial. So he's putting his legal advice out here in the open for all to see:

1. Dershowitz says Trump's lawyers should seek to expedite the sentencing. Make it next week! 

2. And if the judge says no to that, go immediately to the New York Court of Appeals — skip the Appellate Division — and propose an expedited appeal — 2 weeks to file briefs and argument within a month. With all this time pressure, we could get an opinion by August. Trump's antagonists have been stressing the need for proceedings to move quickly so that voters will get the information we need. Now, it will be Trump making that argument. Dershowitz doesn't talk about the value of this discourse in the political realm, but you can see it.

3. Dershowitz outlines the grounds for appeal, stressing the recent Harvey Weinstein case, where the New York Court of Appeals reversed the conviction.

4. If the Court of Appeals affirms, then take it to the Supreme Court and ask it to expedite the case. "If I'm Trump's lawyer, everything is speed, speed, speed, speed."

5. Dershowitz says "No, we don't" to Biden's statement that we all need to subordinate ourselves to the decision produced in the legal process. The legal system, Dershowitz informs us, is "deeply flawed." And: "This case was rigged."

ADDED: I received email from someone in a good position to know:
A couple of things about Alan Dershowitz’s recommendations for Trump’s lawyers. First, as to what seems like a lengthy adjournment for sentencing. New York law requires the Department of Probation to draft a pre-sentence report for any defendant convicted of a felony. This cannot be waived. All of us in Manhattan know that the department will not under any circumstance deliver such a report in less than six weeks. In addition, between now and July 11 there are two weekdays in which the courts and all other related agencies, including the Department of Probation are closed for business: June 19 (“Juneteenth”) and July 4. My point is that there are legal and practical reasons for the adjournment, other than the judge’s alleged instransigence.

Second, as one of your commenters has pointed out, there may be a way for the defense to bypass the intermediate Appellate Division, but I’m not aware of it. If there is, it most likely rests with the discretion of the Court of Appeals. Given the composition of the current Court of Appeals, I’d be surprised if the court exercised its discretion in this defendant’s favor.

On the other hand, I’ve been surprised by them before.

May 31, 2024

Sunrise — 5:05, 5:10, 5:15, 5:18, 5:23.






"This was never about justice — this is about plastering 'convicted felon' all over the airwaves. The only thing that Donald Trump is guilty of is being in the courtroom of a political sham trial."

Said J.D. Vance, quoted in "Trump’s Conviction Binds the G.O.P. Even Closer to Him/Prominent Republicans, including congressional leaders, ex-rivals and potential running mates, basked in the energy, and fund-raising, of an outraged base" (NYT).

Also: "Whether they were congressional leaders, potential running mates or onetime rivals, prominent Republicans’ [made a] speedy alignment behind Mr. Trump, with little dissent or discussion.... 'People now see Donald Trump as a symbol of something,' Speaker Mike Johnson said on Fox News on Friday. 'He’s more than just an individual. He’s a symbol of fighting back against this government corruption, the deep state, the bureaucracy and all the rest.'... Those few who offered even muted words of respect for 'the legal process' earned immediate rebukes.

"A Trump supporter who’s outraged by the verdict is not going to be moved for calm by any Democratic president or Republican president who does not back Donald Trump."

"Even if Biden were not his political opponent, if you’re so outraged by the verdict that you’re ready to take to the street, a Democratic president is not going to reach you. That’s the sad reality of being president today."

I think if Biden were at all presentable and capable of reassuring and calming the country, appropriate words could be written for him for him to step up and deliver.

Also, who's "ready to take to the street"? We're not seeing that. And if we were, it would be more important for the President of the United States to show some leadership.

The Trump press conference.

"[T]he conviction of a former president is novel only in the American context."

"Many global heads of state of democratic countries (France, Japan, Israel, etc.) have gone to prison.... The incongruity of the Manhattan case as the venue for Trump’s legal humiliation is that it did not represent his worst crimes, or close to it. The case was always marginal, the kind of charge you would never bring against a regular first-time offender. It was the sort of charge you’d concoct if the target is a bad guy and you want to nail him for something. This, too, is not without precedent. Al Capone’s conviction for tax evasion is the paradigmatic example.... The legal ramifications of this weakness will play out in some indeterminate, possibly terrible fashion.... Life isn’t fair, nor is the legal system...."

Possibly terrible.... It's obviously terrible. It's only a question of which form of terribleness lies ahead.

So Chait is openly saying the the legal system isn't fair and Trump was convicted for being "a bad guy." You want us non-haters to just accept that, as if it's a form of world-weary sophistication? No, you will have to bear the weight of the consequences of persecuting a political opponent. You should not get off easy. 

"‘I just didn’t recognise him!’ TikToker interviews Baz Luhrmann without knowing who he is – and they talk group sex."

The Guardian reports.

Ha ha ha. Why should she recognize him? Baz Luhrmann is quite famous, but he's not a famous face, and even when someone has a famous face, would you recognize that face if it turned up randomly on the street? You wouldn't know if you didn't. And how many times have you had to say, "Was that [name of celebrity]?" Ever been in the middle of a conversation with someone and had the sneaking suspicion that he thinks you're supposed to know he's somebody? Like Luhrmann in that video, most celebrities, I believe, would refrain from saying the dreaded words "Don't you know who I am?"

Anyway, it's a hilarious conversation. Luhrmann says something about marriage that the TikTokker, Georgia Godworth, paraphrases as “It’s a loose contract where you can fuck other people occasionally.” Luhrmann continues the conversation thoughtfully and politely. Watch the whole thing.

"So if your wife flies a flag you don't like and you can't work it out, your choices are to let her continue flying the flag and stay married or get divorced..."

"... or move out in some other capacity. And if your wife's language is flags and she's angry, and so she's decides to fly this distress flag that had been used by the George Floyd protestors by the stop the steal protestors, basically by protestors across the ideological spectrum. And you're like, Hey, but sweetheart, they're going to think that you are associating yourself with Stop the Steal. And then she goes into some sort of rant about how dare you accuse her of that. And that flag's staying up because you know what? They called me, they followed me in front of my home and their car and called me the C word. And then she like goes to bed and refuses to take down the flag.... What are you supposed to do?... This is like a feminist rant for me.... [T]his is private conduct by a private individual who is married to a Supreme Court justice. Why isn't she entitled to that?.... Think he should recuse because we can't prove that he wasn't involved?"

Says Sarah Isgur in the new episode of the "Advisory Opinions" podcast.

David French insists that he wouldn't allow a flag he didn't agree with to fly in front of his house, and the two go back and forth about how a man would physically accomplish the removal of the flag his wife insisted on flying.

For reference, here's what Alito wrote:

"That 12 Americans could sit in judgment of the former and potentially future president is a remarkable display of the democratic principles that Americans prize at work."

The Editorial Board of The New York Times declares, gesturing at the dubious notion that Donald Trump was treated the same as anyone else.

"[T]he greatest good to come out of this sordid case is the proof that the rule of law binds everyone, even former presidents."

Proof? Binds everyone, perhaps, but not in the same way. 

I agree that the case was sordid, but which way was it sordid? The NYT has taken a position on what is the "greatest good" to come out of this case. Tell me also: What is the greatest evil?

"In a complaint filed Wednesday... Justen Lipeles... alleges that [Madonna concert] attendees were subjected to 'pornography without warning'..."

"... including 'topless women on stage simulating sex acts' in an uncomfortable, sweltering environment. He claims that Madonna demanded the air conditioning be turned off and he became physically ill in the heat. Lipeles also cites Madonna's tardiness.... 'Forcing consumers to wait hours in hot, uncomfortable arenas and subjecting them to pornography without warning is demonstrative of Madonna's flippant disrespect for her fans'...."

From "Madonna hit with new lawsuit alleging unwanted exposure to sexual content and emotional distress/California concert attendee Justen Lipeles is the latest to sue the pop star over her 'Celebration' tour" (Entertainment Weekly).

It was hot and she was late are not interesting complaints. The key phrase here is "pornography without warning." I remember seeing "Marat/Sade" in New York in the 1960s when I was a teenager and feeling quite surprised to see the lead actor become completely naked at one point. Somehow I dealt with it. Should I have been warned? It was supposed to be shocking, not that it was "pornography without warning." It was about revolution and madness, not sex.

Maybe some people would like advance consent to anything sexual, including a theatrical performance. Isn't it enough to know it's Madonna? Who goes to a Madonna concert then complains about topless women on stage simulating sex acts?

May 30, 2024

Sunrise — 5:02.


The Trump verdict is in.


From WaPo: "Trump was looking cheerful and relaxed, sharing smiles and laughs with his lawyers, as they prepared to leave for the day. As soon as the judge announced that instead we had a verdict, his demeanor changes dramatically. He crossed his arms and knitted his brows. He continued to whisper with attorney Todd Blanche, but no longer cheerfully."

ADDED: An acquittal will do Biden a favor. This story will fade into obscurity.

UPDATE from NYT: "One juror appeared to glance at Trump. The others didn’t."

Trump is guilty on first eight counts
Counts 9 through 11 are guilty


Trump is unresponsive, sitting slack at the defense table.

ADDED: There goes my hope that this could fade into obscurity. I'm steeling myself for the onslaught of spinning. Too much anxiety and no hope of anything like a normal presidential election. Is this what we, the People, deserve?

AND: Trump speaks. NYT reports it like this: 
“This was a disgrace,” Trump says. “This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt.”

Trump is significantly less animated than he has been as he rattles off the familiar lines that have characterized his remarks in the hallway for much of the trial. He seems more sober.

He closes by saying, “We will fight for our Constitution. This is long from over.” Then, looking more somber than I have seen him at any point in the last several months, he walks away from the cameras and does not answer questions.
Video here.

AND: My transcription: "It's okay. I'm fighting for our country. I'm fighting for our Constitution.... This was done by the Biden administration, in order to wound or hurt a political opponent. And I think it's just a disgrace. And we'll keep fighting. We'll fight to the end. And we'll win. Because our country's gone to hell. We don't have the same country anymore. We have a divided mess. We're a nation in decline, serious decline. Millions and millions of people pouring into our country right now — from prisons and from mental institutions — terrorists — and they're taking over our country. We have a country that's in big trouble. But this was a rigged decision, right from day one, with a conflicted judge who should have never been allowed to try this case — never. And we will fight for our Constitution. This is far from over."

ALSO: Strange how he slotted in the immigration issue. It seemed as though he started in on his rally speech beginning with "our country's gone to hell" and then he could have gone through a list, but he only got to one item — I presume it's his #1 issue — illegal immigration

ODDLY: The NYT coverage has an embedded Biden tweet that has a "donate" button:

"Six decades ago, this Court held that a government entity’s 'threat of invoking legal sanctions and other means ofcoercion' against a third party 'to achieve the suppression' of disfavored speech violates the First Amendment...."

"Today, the Court reaffirms what it said then: Government officials cannot attempt to coerce private parties in order to punish or suppress views that the government disfavors. Petitioner National Rifle Association (NRA) plausibly alleges that respondent Maria Vullo did just that. As superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, Vullo allegedly pressured regulated entities to help her stifle the NRA’s pro-gun advocacy by threatening enforcement actions against those entities that refused to disassociate from the NRA and other gun-promotion advocacy groups. Those allegations, if true, state a First Amendment claim."

Writes Justice Sonia Sotomayor for a unanimous Supreme Court, in National Rifle Association v. Maria Vullo, issued this morning.

Justice Gorsuch adds a very concise concurrence:

"The prosecution theory is essentially a Russian nesting doll of criminal violations..."

"... under New York law, falsifying business records is a felony only if the records were falsified in furtherance of another crime. Prosecutors have said that other crime was violating a state law against unlawfully promoting or preventing an election. But the 'unlawful' reference in the state code has to refer to a distinct, different crime. In Trump’s case, prosecutors have offered three types of crimes that would make the state election-meddling charge come into play: federal election law crimes, tax crimes or false business records. The jury must be unanimous when it comes to determining whether Trump is guilty or not guilty of each specific falsifying business records count, and whether he did so in an effort to unlawfully impact an election, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan said. He added, however, that the panel did not have to be unanimous about which of those three types of crimes could serve as the underlying violation that brings the state election charge into play."

Writes Devlin Barrett, in "Jurors must be unanimous to convict Trump, can disagree on underlying crimes/While jurors deliberated in the first trial of a former U.S. president, Donald Trump railed online against one feature of the charges he faces" (WaPo).

Trump's on-line railing said the judge didn't require "a unanimous decision." And you can see why he said that. The WaPo article makes the unfairness clear enough. It doesn't come out and say Trump is right, but it refrains from saying he's wrong. I don't think he's wrong. It's hard to believe something so complicated was piled together. I'd love to hear the jury trying to sort this out. I'm picturing them puzzled to the point of exasperation. If one juror were able to explain the instruction correctly, I would expect responses like "You've got to be kidding" and "What did you even just say?"

I've got a bit of a theme going now, so I'm going to have to talk about what Jerry Seinfeld said.

And I'm choosing the A.V. Club article, because it's got an excellent headline, "Jerry Seinfeld still talking, even though Pop-Tarts movie came out like a month ago/Seinfeld was waxing nostalgic for 'cultural hierarchy' and 'dominant masculinity' for some incomprehensible reason."

I like the generosity of crediting Jerry with reason, and I feel challenged to comprehend what the A.V. Club writer, William Hughes, purports not to comprehend. And it better not just be that Jerry Seinfeld, a comedian, was joking. That would be boring. Let's read. Jerry went on Bari Weiss's podcast and...
Seinfeld agreed, in the interview, with Weiss’ assertion that part of the guiding philosophy of the ’60s-set Unfrosted—which contains, among other things, a scene that is literally Mad Men fan fiction, complete with Jon Hamm and John Slattery reprising their parts—was a return to that age of “style.” “I miss a dominant masculinity,” Seinfeld said, being careful, admittedly, to note that he doesn’t consider himself part of the list of “real men” he admires. (Including JFK, Muhammad Ali, Sean Connery, and, apparently, Howard Cosell.) “Yeah, I get the toxic thing,” he said with deliberate dismissiveness. “But I still like a real man.”

"[P]erhaps one-third of today’s young Americans will never marry, with couples living together not replacing marriages."

"More people, [says sociologist Brad Wilcox], are simply detached and on their own. Some women in America have publicly proclaimed that they are distancing themselves from men, abstaining from sex or going 'boy sober.'... One window into gender tensions is a viral meme on TikTok in which women discuss whether they would rather encounter a bear in the woods or a man. Many go with the bear. Young people are not only marrying less and partnering less; they’re also having less sex.... To me, the fundamental problem is the struggle of men to adapt to a world in which brawn matters less than brains, education and emotional intelligence.... I fear that I’m a romantic in a world that is becoming less romantic."

Writes Nicholas Kristof, in "Less Marriage, Less Sex, Less Agreement" (NYT).

Excerpting that quote, I was stunned by the last sentence — where the word "romantic" appears twice — because my post from an hour ago — the one about gendered architecture — features a quote with a distinctive use of that word from an essay called "The Gender of Genius," by Hilde Heynen. I'll re-excerpt from Heynen's essay:
According to Christine Battersby, the way we understand the term genius is rooted in 19th-century Romanticism, which admired originality and creativity in the individual. The Romantic notion of genius referred to men of great intellectual and artistic capacities, who were in touch with their feminine side – for great art requires sensitivity, emotionality and love. The great artist, for the Romantics, was thus a feminine male.... The gradual disappearance of women during the long march towards the top is in part explained by our romantic notion of the architect as artist and genius. As Naomi Stead has noticed, the figure of Ayn Rand’s Howard Roark in The Fountainhead, the ‘arrogant and virile hero architect, casts a long shadow over any discussion of authorship in the discipline’, infusing it with a mystique heralding the creativity of the individual artist-designer
Kristof's usage of "romantic" is so different, but it's an intriguing difference. Kristof is worried that men and women won't enter into romance with each other, and he associates maleness with "brawn" and seems to think men are impaired when it comes to the life of the mind. Heynen is talking about 19th-century Romanticism and an idea that the greatest minds are male.

Would you rather encounter a bear in the woods or 19th-century Romantic genius?

@susankehoe1 This bear likes my company. So he climbs on the deck and sits nearby. I truly believe he likes my company. Please don’t say otherwise🙏 #foryou #bear #love #wildlife #viral #woods #funny #laugh #smile #spirituality #bear #animals #enjoy #hangout #mountains #camp #country ♬ original sound - Susan Kehoe

"Young voters overwhelmingly believe that almost all politicians are corrupt and that the country will end up worse off than when they were born..."

"... according to new polling from Democratic firm Blueprint obtained exclusively by Semafor.... A whopping 65% agreed either strongly or somewhat that 'nearly all politicians are corrupt, and make money from their political power' — only 7% disagreed. 'I think these statements blow me away, the scale of these numbers with young voters,' Evan Roth Smith, Blueprint’s lead pollster, told Semafor. 'Young voters do not look at our politics and see any good guys. They see a dying empire led by bad people.'... 54% — a number that included a solid mix of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — believed the country is going downhill...."

From "'A dying empire led by bad people': Poll finds young voters despairing over US politics" (Semafor).

"Understanding racialized space in architecture."

We see the mayor of West Hollywood trying to explain how architecture — which he pronounces "architexture" — has to do with race and gender.

He's got a tough argument explaining the connection to race, but come on, architecture is obviously gendered! I'm thinking of skyscrapers and phallic symbols, but here's something I found at The Architectural Review: "The gender of genius," by Hilde Heynen. Excerpt:

Appropriating this video to make assertions about what "what leftism does to you" is deeply sick.

1. The woman in the video does not say anything about her politics or purport to explain herself in terms of politics.

2. It's a tragic case, and you shouldn't be cheaply triumphing or laughing.

3. If you think the old version of this woman shows a natural beauty she once possessed, then you don't know much about beauty filters and makeup.

4. She was trying to be pretty in the old days, and then she decided to try to be something more like what she felt inside and not like what she had to torment herself thinking society wanted from her. The new look, however, expresses that torment. So she remains, now permanently, in thrall to society’s expectations.

"Crazy thing that we still do as human beings. And the problem is, I don't see a way out of it because terrorists are real."

"Criminals are real bad. People are real. This is the world we're living in. Unless you take mushrooms, we gotta get mushrooms legal for the entire country, the whole country and just force them down. Everybody's throat, force people to do mushrooms do it for everyone else."

Said Joe Rogan, an hour into his 3-hour podcast with Duncan Trussell.

The "crazy thing" under discussion was war and "any kind of violence — like stabbing your neighbor."

The question whether the category "any kind of violence" includes forcing drugs down "everybody's throat" was not noticed by Rogan or Trussell. Obviously, the answer is yes. Note the incoherence: If "mushrooms" were the cure to violence, someone who's had the cure would not recommend violence.

I wanted to add a note about the decades old idea of putting LSD in the water supply and googled "plan to put lsd in the water." I was thinking about hippies, but my screen filled up with items about the CIA. I'll just link to this BBC article from 2010: "Pont-Saint-Esprit poisoning: Did the CIA spread LSD?"

May 29, 2024

Sunrise — 5:15, 5:17, 5:21, 5:26.





What gender gap?

"Most hair-raising of all, is the boymom a nightmare of toxic narcissism and internalized misogyny who sees her son as a crypto-romantic interest..."

"... and other girls and women—even her own daughters—as her nemeses?... [O]ne wrote of the moment that 'you realize [you’re] gonna have to share the love of your life (my baby boy) with another female one day'..."

Writes Jessica Winter, in "The Trials and Tribulations of the Boymom/A new book encapsulates the zero-sum thinking that affects much of contemporary parenting discourse" (The New Yorker).

About that book — 'BoyMom: Reimagining Boyhood in the Age of Impossible Masculinity' [commission earned]... we're told the author Ruth Whippman "gave birth to her youngest in 2017, the year that Donald Trump took office and the first avalanche of #MeToo revelations broke":

"The judge has now arrived at the reason prosecutors charged Trump with falsifying business records as a felony: Because, they say..."

"... he covered up a second crime, violating the state election law that forbids a conspiracy to aid a person’s election by unlawful means. The judge didn’t call specific attention to the layered nature of the two crimes — but this is where things get complicated. Some of the jurors are taking notes."

From the NYT's live reporting of Justice Merchan's reading his instructions to the jury.

The layered nature.... layered or circular? Is a misdemeanor transformed into a felony by counting the same "unlawful means" twice? 

The same NYT reporter, a couple minutes later, writes: "Justice Merchan is now explaining to the jurors what I’ve taken to thinking of as the 'false records sandwich' prosecution theory. Under this theory, jurors could find that Trump falsified records… to hide an election conspiracy that used the unlawful means…of other falsified records." 

ALSO: "[The judge] says that, to find Trump guilty of the first charge, jurors would have to find that Trump, personally or acting in concert with others, made or caused a false entry in business records.... They would also have to find that Trump caused that false record with intent to defraud — that is, with the goal of keeping it secret — and that he either intended to commit another crime or aid the commission of another crime." What is the other crime? 

"’The fact is whether he’s acquitted, whether it’s hung jury, whatever it is, he is guilty, and we all know it,' the actor said..."

"... after the news conference, as a rowdy group of Trump supporters confronted him and yelled insults before he left. 'I’ve never seen a guy get out of so many things, and we all know this. Everybody in the world knows this.' Asked if he thought Mr. Trump should be in jail, Mr. De Niro replied: 'I sure do. Absolutely.' The foray by a Biden surrogate into commentary about Mr. Trump’s guilt... was a stark departure from the president’s directive to avoid discussing his rival’s felony charges. Mr. Biden has said next to nothing on the subject, to avoid feeding the false Trump-inspired narrative that he ordered prosecutors to bring criminal charges against his predecessor. The moment illustrated how difficult it may be for the Biden campaign to navigate its response to a potential verdict, with outside allies far more willing than his disciplined operation in Wilmington, Del., to lob frontal attacks at Mr. Trump over his legal peril...."

From "Robert De Niro, as Biden Surrogate, Says Trump ‘Absolutely’ Should Go to Jail/Seeking to troll Donald Trump outside his Manhattan trial, the Biden campaign held a news conference with the actor and two former Capitol Police officers. Mr. De Niro veered off script" (NYT).

"He has found snakes, and even a freshwater eel, in his pool, but the water is clear enough that he can spot animals before there’s trouble."

From "Come On Over, I Just Installed a Pond/Backyards that feature natural pools trade chlorine for plants, don’t need to be closed for winter and may feature kois with names like Cutie" (NYT).

I'm skeptical!  The "he" who "can spot animals before there’s trouble" is a man whose business is installing "natural" pools.

By the way, I love the subreddit, r/FindTheSniper, which features photographs where it's hard to see the snake (or other wildlife). I'm now convinced that I've walked by many snakes.

Anyway, let's say you do spot the snake before there’s "trouble," what do you do? I think you back off, and in the end, cede the pond territory to the wild things. Who is in the business of removing "natural" ponds (and their creepy denizens)?

"There is concern for potential violent protests regardless of who wins the presidency in November."

"Although more are concerned about potentially violent protests by Trump supporters if Biden wins (36% very concerned; 31% somewhat concerned), there is also concern about violent protests by Biden supporters if Trump wins (19% very concerned; 29% somewhat concerned). Democrats were much more concerned about Trump supporters’ reactions (54% very concerned; 30% somewhat concerned), while Republicans were about equally concerned regardless of who wins."

From "Roanoke College Poll: Biden and Trump tied in Virginia."

And, yes, it's a big deal that Trump is now tied with Biden in Virginia. A year ago, in the Roanoke poll, Biden was up by 16 points:

"If he is sentenced to probation... Trump would be required to clear any out-of-state travel — such as to campaign rallies and fundraisers — with a probation officer...."

"If Trump were to serve home confinement at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., New York authorities would likely have to work with counterparts in Florida to accommodate him, the experts said.... 'If you have a probation officer, you are not supposed to travel without permission. Your home is subject to random search because you don’t have a Fourth Amendment right to your home being private. You can get drug-tested, potentially. Travel outside the country is difficult,' said Matthew Galluzzo, another former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. 'That would be super awkward for someone on the campaign trail, but not impossible,' Galluzzo said. 'If he had to go to a debate against Biden, he probably could go, but you’re supposed to make that request far in advance.'...  Merchan... could impose a financial penalty or require him to do community service or undergo counseling, some legal experts said. If the judge were to impose a more onerous penalty, such as home confinement, Trump could still find ways to continue campaigning, even if he were not on the road...."

Immobilizing a political opponent — have we ever seen anything like this in the United States? We will see how much this outrages Americans and turns people toward Trump. I know it outrages me. I have a strong emotional reaction. I feel as though I'm keeping a vigil for Trump today. 


Bonus grammar question. For the purpose of this survey, ignore the issue of whether you would opt out of grammatical correctness in this case. That's an interesting issue, but don't let it affect your answer.

Which of these is grammatically correct?
pollcode.com free polls

"If we choose former president Donald Trump, then we will see what happens when 'the checks of conscience are thrown aside and a deformed picture of the soul is revealed.'"

Writes Jennifer Rubin, quoting Ken Burns, in "The media and sullen nonvoters should listen to Ken Burns/The historian knows something about civil war — and moral responsibility in politics" (WaPo).

Burns, the filmmaker, was giving a commencement speech at Brandeis when he veered off topic to denounce Trump. Rubin, the columnist, thinks that was just wonderful.
Burns’s exhortation that “the kinship of the soul begins with your own at times withering self-examination” should sound an alarm for voters.... If voters on the right and left renounce “withering self-examination,” they at least might imagine how they would fancy a fascist regime under Trump.... Democracy defenders should hope the essence of Burns’s message reaches beyond Brandeis.... Biden’s message, like Burns’s, is simple: This is the existential choice of our time. There is nothing equal about this equation....

What should "democracy defenders" think of the Democrats' effort to fight Trump through the use of the criminal process? To say "there's nothing equal" is to suggest that this isn't a democratic process in which 2 candidates compete for the vote. It's an "existential choice" — some sort of apocalyptic battle. So, what does that mean — that you can use all weapons and fight any way that you can? Well, look around. We're already seeing "what happens when 'the checks of conscience are thrown aside and a deformed picture of the soul is revealed.'" In this "picture," who is uglier? 

"Sounds like schools assume all families have a lot of spare cash."

Says one commenter, at "Why is it always spirit week? Schools keep adding theme days, and parents can’t keep up" (WaPo).

From the article: "Some themes are simple enough (wear blue for autism awareness, wear pink to stand against bullying), but others ('Book Character Day,' 'Favorite Animal Day,' 'Adam Sandler Day') are far more likely to involve advanced crafting skills or a panicked 9 p.m. Target run. 'Some of it is just wildly specific: ‘Wear a Dr. Seuss hat.’ Who has that just lying around? "Crazy Sock Day." Socks are expensive!; says... a single mother.... 'I think I spend a good $200 on spirit days every year.'"

May 28, 2024

Sunrise — 5:17, 5:18, 5:25.




"I have a visceral reaction against, against the attacks on those statues. There were heroes in the Confederacy who didn’t have slaves..."

"... and, you know, I just, I just have a visceral reaction against destroying history. I don’t like it. I think we should celebrate who we are. We should celebrate the good qualities of everybody. … If we want to find people who were completely virtuous on every issue throughout history, we would erase all of history...."

Said RFK Jr., quoted in "RFK Jr. had a ‘visceral’ reaction to tear-downs of Confederate statues/Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said on a podcast that he doesn’t think 'it’s a good, healthy thing for any culture to erase history'" (WaPo).

The tree swallow in the Biocore Prairie.


And here's Meade's photo of me getting the picture. Do you see the bird?

"[Richard] Dreyfuss took to the stage in a house dress to a background track of Taylor Swift’s Love Story, shaking his hips suggestively and..."

"... brandishing his walking stick like a baseball bat.... [S]ocial media posts suggest that he called [Barbra] Streisand a 'genius' but [said] that he didn’t listen to her as she was 'a woman, and woman shouldn’t have that power.'... [H]e also said 'you shouldn’t be listening to some 10-year-old who says they want to be a boy instead of a girl'... [and] that allowing such young people to transition 'was bad parenting and that someday those kids might change their minds.'... [M]any audience members did remain and were highly appreciative of the actor, who cautioned against a decline in critical thinking to considerable applause...."

"Todd Blanche, the defense lawyer, says his closing argument will take about two and a half hours, and..."

"... Joshua Steinglass, the prosecutor, responds that his will be between four and four and a half hours. The judge says that means we may or may not finish at 4:30, and that he will ask the jurors if they can stay late in order to finish closing arguments if necessary."

From the live updates of the Trump trial in the NYT. That's a free-access link — my last gift link to give until next month, so use it well.

UPDATE: "Todd Blanche is focusing on the 34 documents that led to the 34 felony charges. He sounded as if he was getting close to making a legal argument about 'intent to defraud.' The jurors would have to find that Trump acted with intent to defraud when he directed the falsification of the documents in order to find him guilty. Justice Merchan appeared to glare at Blanche as he came close to commenting on the law. But the defense lawyer moved away, and the judge said nothing."

UPDATE 2: "Todd Blanche is now walking a very thin line as he seeks to convince the jurors that there was no intent by Trump to defraud — a legal concept at the heart of the case — without trespassing into the judge’s territory. Every time Blanche says the phrase 'intent to defraud,' the judge stares over at him — but thus far, Justice Merchan has not said anything."

UPDATE 3: "Todd Blanche just offered quite a quote — and take — on the nature of American politics, saying that it didn’t matter if there was 'a conspriacy [sic] to win an election.' He adds: 'Every campaign in this country is a conspiracy' to elect a candidate. He continues to hammer this idea home, saying: 'This is the campaign, this is an election, this is not a crime.'"

UPDATE 4: "We have no idea what the jurors are thinking and facial expressions are notoriously hard to read. But I thought I saw the foreperson — who sits close to the gallery and has had a skeptical, slightly amused expression on all day — flash a look of disbelief as Blanche argued that the 'Access Hollywood' tape was just another difficult day in a campaign full of them."

How to get started working on your female impersonations.

Some are easier than others. We all think we can do Kamala, and we all actually can do Cher.

"School choice programs have been wildly successful under DeSantis. Now public schools might close."

A headline at Politico. Subhead: "The Republican governor’s school choice programs may serve as a model for other GOP-leaning states across the country."

[S]ome of Florida’s largest school districts are facing staggering enrollment declines — and grappling with the possibility of campus closures — as dollars follow the increasing number of parents opting out of traditional public schools.... In Broward County, Florida’s second-largest school district, officials have floated plans to close up to 42 campuses over the next few years....  Broward County Public Schools claims to have more than 49,000 classroom seats sitting empty this year, a number that “closely matches” the 49,833 students attending charter schools in the area....

"The benefits of face-to-face interactions may be related to smell. When our noses pick..."

"... up the body odor of other people, for example, we tend to pick up their emotions, too: from anxiety and fear to happiness. In one experiment, researchers applied electrodes to the faces of volunteers and asked them to sniff samples of sweat of people who had previously watched either happy video ('The Jungle Book') or neutral videos (the weather forecast.) After inhaling the body odor of cheerful people, the volunteers’ facial muscles twitched in a way that suggested they felt happier, too.... This role of scents in feeling the emotions of others, he says, may help explain why people with more sensitive noses tend to have larger circles of friends and suffer less loneliness — both important predictors of health and longevity.... Smelling the body odor of a loved one can help reduce stress. When European researchers submitted a group of volunteers to weak electric shocks, those who could sniff T-shirts previously worn by their romantic partners stayed calmer...."

From "Why in-person friendships are better for health than virtual pals/Simply having good friends isn’t enough. Research suggests that to truly thrive, we need to physically meet with our friends on a regular basis" (WaPo).

1. I have almost complete anosmia so does that make other people less useful to me? I guess I would have more friends if the potential to smell them was part of the allure. 

2. Apparently, you have to go to Europe to find people who volunteer to take electric shocks and attempt to succor themselves with smelly T-shirts.

3. We're not hearing about experiments that made people smell the sweat of unhappy people, but wouldn't that change the inferences? If you can smell and you go out and about where you can smell people in person, then, presumably, the smell affects you, but the effect could be negative or positive, depending whether the smellees are happy or unhappy.

4. On the internet, nobody knows you're a smelly dog....

"This sense of court as theater, and the attention Ms. Brourman’s approach has garnered her, has not always sat well with her colleagues."

"They were dubious of her at first.... Was it possible to be women in their line of work, one that has seen so many men on trial for doing many bad things to women, and not bring themselves into it even slightly? 'I think we are so focused on trying to get these drawings down and done,' Ms. Williams began, 'that our personal female view is like …' She trailed off.... The world is often male by default; politics and the law even more so. There is something unique, even fun, in knowing that this little corner of the universe.... has been so thoroughly taken over by the female gaze that the women themselves don’t even notice."

Writes Jessica Bennett, in "'Accordion Hands' and 'Caterpillar Eyebrows': Trump Meets the Female Gaze" (NYT) — an article about courtroom artists who are female.

I'm not sure what enlightenment this article has garnered me. It seems that the writer went looking for feminist material but couldn't pry it out of these artists who — obviously — have a professional interest in maintaining a reputation for neutrality. They draw what they see. That's what they must say. They're not going to help the NYT have "fun" with the idea that they are women getting back at "many men on trial for doing many bad things to women."

May 27, 2024

Sunrise — 5:03.


Memorial Day at Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, Wisconsin.



Photos by Meade.

ADDED: Meade's video of the crowd listening to the Military Service Medley by the VFW 1318 Band:

"It's a world of hopes and a world of fears...."

Terrifying, but take a moment to mourn for Richard Sherman — "Richard Sherman, Songwriter of Many Spoonfuls of Sugar, Dies at 95/He and his brother, Robert, teamed up to write the songs for 'Mary Poppins' and other Disney classics. They also gave the world 'It’s a Small World (After All)'" (NYT).

Sherman and his brother wrote "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious," "Chim Chim Cher-ee," “Fundamental-Friend-Dependability," "Tall Paul,"  "Let’s Get Together," and the songs from "Charlotte's Web," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats," and "Bedknobs and Broomsticks."

The brothers also wrote the great rockabilly song that's considered sexually wrong today:

"Belly casting is a growing trend among mothers-to-be — a chance to make a permanent memento of a momentous experience...."

"Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian turned the belly casts they commissioned into plot points for their family’s reality show, while Cardi B posed for a shoot in her custom breast and belly cast... to announce the impending arrival of her second child.... Japanwala used her entire body for her first collection: One piece, which included her breasts and vulva, left her parents speechless.... Such defiant sculpting is anchored in shamelessness, a rebuttal of the Urdu insult beghairat — roughly meaning 'without shame or honor' — often hurled at women. She’ll hold open casting calls at her studio in Karachi, Pakistan, and finds many women will come to have their breasts and nipples cast, anonymously, without telling another soul. 'That’s a radical act of quiet shamelessness, a secret between the artist and her,' she says...."

From "Why women are making nude casts of their bodies/From Cardi B to the Kardashians, women are stripping down for hyper-realist molds — especially while pregnant — and displaying the results in ways both private and public" (WaPo).

"If the past is any guide, even with a full acquittal, Mr. Trump will be angry and vengeful, and will direct attacks..."

"... against everyone he perceives to be responsible for the Manhattan district attorney’s prosecution.... Some of Mr. Trump’s former staff members who spent time with him after his previous investigations said that he was in no mood to celebrate after these purported victories but instead sought retribution.... And after surviving his first impeachment, in early 2020, for trying to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine into investigating Mr. Biden and his son Hunter, Mr. Trump was in a mood so foul that it surprised some of his aides who were relieved the episode was over. He sat in his private dining room adjoining the Oval Office, scowling at the television and spewing expletives, according to a person with direct knowledge of the events.... The verdict of this trial will land in the middle of a presidential campaign, which gives the aftermath a new dynamic, especially if Mr. Trump is acquitted, said John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser.... 'He will display the sense of injury that he had to put up with it at all because if they couldn’t follow through with it then there was nothing there,' Mr. Bolton said...."

Message to jurors: Don't think that by by acquitting Trump you can expunge the depredations of the prosecutor and the judge... (and Biden?).... 

"Simply for posting a link to the Israeli chapter of the Red Cross, the novelist Kristin Hannah was deemed a 'Zionist'..."

"... as was the author Gabrielle Zevin for delivering a book talk to Hadassah, a Jewish women’s organization. Needless to say, the creator of the list — whose post on X announcing it garnered over a million views within a few days — encourages readers to boycott any works produced by 'Zionists.'... Since a large majority of American Jews (80 percent of whom, according to a 2020 poll, said that caring about Israel is an important or essential part of their Judaism) are Zionists, to accuse all Zionists of complicity in genocide is to anathematize a core component of Jewish identity. Over the past several months, a litmus test has emerged across wide swaths of the literary world effectively excluding Jews from full participation unless they denounce Israel.... For a growing set of writers, declaring one’s belief that the world’s only Jewish state is a genocidal entity whose dismantlement is necessary for the advancement of humankind is a political fashion statement, a bauble one parades around in order to signify being on the right team....."

Writes James Kirchick, in "How ‘Zionist’ Became a Bad Word in Publishing" (NYT).

"'Sculpture Tactile,' a white box, four and a half by one and a half feet, with a live model inside, and a single hole through which to reach her."

"When I visited, I reached in, past a black curtain, and was struck first by warmth, the stillness of the air suspended like an inhale. I submerged my arm past my elbow until all of a sudden I reached flesh: curves and warm skin. I felt the distinct edge of a forearm giving way to a wrist. How familiar, how sensual, how normal. After a beat I stopped trying to guess how she was sitting and gave into sensation, feeling this delicate creature I was honored to share a species with.... [Yve] Klein conceived the idea for 'Sculpture Tactile' in 1957. But the gallery’s co-owner, Dominique Lévy, who also curated the installation, said Klein feared the world was not ready for this show. He died of a heart attack at age 34.... When Lévy Gorvy Dayan refabricated the box as a complete work of art in 2014... 'You had all these very intellectual conversations about the role of performance,' Lévy said. 'Now, the reactions are much more visceral and emotional.'... Had we become more prudish? Most of the people I observed shuddered upon making contact with the model, instantly retracting their arms. Some shrieked, most winced...."

Writes Rachel Sherman, in "I Was a Nude Model for a Half Hour. Revelatory? Actually, Yes. Two shows — an art fair in Brooklyn and an Yves Klein exhibition uptown — ask if nude art can still inspire or shock. I joined in to find out" (NYT). 

ADDED: The article refers to "'Anthropometries of the Blue Epoch,' a short archival video."

May 26, 2024

Sunrise — 5:09, 5:18, 5:20, 5:23.





The last photo is by Meade.

"It is a very cold home. It’s early March, and within 20 minutes of being here the tips of some of my fingers have turned white."

"This, they explain, is part of living their values: as effective altruists, they give everything they can spare to charity (their charities). 'Any pointless indulgence, like heating the house in the winter, we try to avoid if we can find other solutions,' says Malcolm. This explains Simone’s clothing: her normal winterwear is cheap, high-quality snowsuits she buys online from Russia, but she can’t fit into them now, so she’s currently dressing in the clothes pregnant women wore in a time before central heating: a drawstring-necked chemise on top of warm underlayers, a thick black apron, and a modified corset she found on Etsy. She assures me she is not a tradwife. 'I’m not dressing trad now because we’re into trad, because before I was dressing like a Russian Bond villain. We do what’s practical.'..."

From a Guardian article with a long headline: "America’s premier pronatalists on having ‘tons of kids’ to save the world: ‘There are going to be countries of old people starving to death’/ Elon Musk (father of 11) supports their cause. Thousands follow their ideology. Malcolm and Simone Collins are on a mission to make it easier for everyone to have multiple children. But are they really model parents?"

"Netanyahu 'peed on my leg,' Obama replied, according to two people familiar with the exchange..."

"... who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose a private conversation. The moment [in 2014] was emblematic of a dynamic that is culminating in the bitter debates over Israel now erupting across the American political landscape. Over the past 16 years, Netanyahu has departed sharply from his predecessors’ studious bipartisanship to embrace Republicans and disdain Democrats, an attitude increasingly mirrored in each party’s approach to Israel...."

From "Netanyahu’s split with Biden and the Democrats was years in the making/The Israeli leader’s longtime strategy of aligning with the GOP has helped shatter the American consensus behind Israel" (WaPo).

Are you keeping up with the sock debate?

#sockdebate (TikTok).

Take that in. It's a debate about socks. It seems the millennials and the Gen Zers are fighting amongst themselves and dealing in rules. I'm so far beyond their rules it's just funny, but even when I was their age, I was individualistic about socks. But I will link to a 2010 post of mine:

Socks — with skirts — are a big fashion trend... but we're told not to wear them if we're over 30.

"Democratic strategists seem to see climate change as a key political issue only for white liberal elites and assume that other groups, like Black voters, are either unaware of or apathetic about it...."

"During his speech at Morehouse, [Biden] mentioned the climate crisis explicitly only in a stray line about 'heeding your generation’s call to a community free of gun violence and a planet free of climate crisis and showing your power to change the world.' There’s a better way to talk about the issue, one that might galvanize Black voters... focus[ing] on how the Biden administration is investing in clean energy hubs, green work force development, tax credits for home improvement measures and community grants. Mr. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act earmarked roughly $2 billion for community-level climate justice initiatives, such as grants for green technology and reducing the health risks from heat and pollution that have ravaged Black communities, and there’s more money waiting to be doled out...."

So, the "better way to talk about" climate change to black voters — instead of talking about "a planet free of climate crisis" — is to let them know there are billions of dollars "waiting to be doled out" to their specific communities. And that's "how much black Americans care" — they care about the money that might be doled out to them. That's what it says in the article.

"A lot of people ask why I came to speak at this libertarian convention and you know it's an interesting question."

Watch Trump standing up to boos and pushing back: