June 8, 2024

Sunrise — 5:21, 5:29, 5:31.


IMG_8016 2

IMG_8020 2

Today's sunrise photos are all by Meade. I did not get my act together in time!

"English sales have accelerated in recent years, in part because books now go viral on social media, especially TikTok."

"Booksellers in the Netherlands said that many young people prefer to buy books in English with their original covers, even if Dutch is their first language, because those are the books they see and want to post about on BookTok.... 'We are in the middle of a transition,' said Simon Dikker Hupkes, a commissioning editor at the Dutch publisher Atlas Contact. The fact that many readers overlook the Dutch translations, he said, 'hurts our hearts a little.' Asha Hodge, 19, who described herself as an avid reader, said she preferred to read in English because she enjoyed posting about books in English on her Instagram account...."

From "English-Language Books Are Filling Europe’s Bookstores. Mon Dieu! Young people, especially, are choosing to read in English even if it is not their first language because they want the covers, and the titles, to match what they see on TikTok and other social media" (NYT).

"Four Israeli hostages have been rescued alive from Gaza, the Israeli military said Saturday."

"Israeli forces rescued Noa Argamani, 26; Almog Meir Jan, 21; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 40, from two locations in Nuseirat, in central Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. A Gaza Health Ministry spokesman said at least 55 dead and 'tens of wounded' had arrived at a hospital nearby....Video showed that Netanyahu also spoke to Argamani shortly after she arrived at the hospital. 'We never gave up on you for one moment,' Netanyahu said. When he asked how she was feeling, she replied, 'I’m very excited. I haven’t spoken Hebrew for so long.'"

WaPo reports.

Noa Argamani receives a call from President Herzog:

"Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan revealed Friday that a Facebook user claiming to be a 'cousin' of a juror in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial..."

"... suggested he had advanced knowledge of last week’s guilty verdict. 'Today, the Court became aware of a comment that was posted on the Unified Court System’s public Facebook page and which I now bring to your attention,' Merchan wrote in a letter to Trump attorney Todd Blanche and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. 'In the comment, the user, "Michael Anderson," states: "My cousin is a juror and says Trump is getting convicted … Thank you folks for all your hard work!!! …."' the judge explained. .... In his Facebook profile, Anderson describes himself as a 'Transabled & a professional sh** poster.'"

I'm reading "Hush money judge alerts Trump lawyer, prosecutors to Facebook post claiming prior knowledge of jury’s verdict" (NY Post).

It's hard to imagine how this can amount to anything... even if it turns out that the person who posted actually is the cousin of one of the jurors.

I've chosen to link to this story at the NY Post, because other news outlets did not include the detail that "Michael Anderson" called himself "transabled." According to Wikipedia, "transabled" is a term used by some persons with body integrity dysphoria, which is "a rare mental disorder characterized by a desire to have a sensory or physical disability or feeling discomfort with being able-bodied, beginning in early adolescence and resulting in harmful consequences."

Why would someone who presented himself as a "shit poster" — I'd write "shitposter" — also want to identify as "transabled"? Actually, it's hard to understand why a shitposter would want to call himself a shitposter. Wouldn't the usual game of shitposting be undercut by telling people that's what you're doing?

"A fascinating new book by John Ganz, 'When the Clock Broke: Con Men, Conspiracists, and How America Cracked Up in the Early 1990s'..."

"... offers a useful way to think about the value system undergirding MAGA’s romance with the mob. Ganz’s book excavates a prehistory of Trumpism in the angry, cynical period between the end of the Cold War and the full flush of the Clinton boom. You can see, in the rise of figures like David Duke, Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan, Trumpism in embryo.... But the most revelatory section... involves the mystique around the mobster John Gotti and the Buchanan-style paleoconservatives who saw, in the mafia, an admirable patriarchal alternative to the technocratic liberalism they despised.... Societies fetishize Mafiosi to the degree that they lose faith in themselves.... It’s a sign that a culture is in the grip of a deep nihilism and despair when moblike figures become romantic heroes, or worse, presidents."

Writes Michelle Goldberg, in "Donald Trump’s Mob Rule" (NYT).

"Two recent polls show President Biden and former president Donald Trump tied in Virginia, a surprising finding for a blue-trending state that Biden won by 10 points in 2020..."

"... and that independent analysts still see as a stretch for the presumptive GOP nominee.... 'Whether the numbers are fully accurate or not, you do get a general indication of what’s happening. … Things are not going well for Joe Biden. They’re just not,' [said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist and self-described polling skeptic].... Karoline Leavitt, national press secretary for Trump’s campaign [said] 'Joe Biden is so weak, and Democrats are in such disarray, that not only is President Trump dominating in every traditional battleground state, but longtime blue states such as Minnesota, Virginia, and New Jersey are now in play.... President Trump is on offense with a winning message and growing his movement every single day. Joe Biden’s campaign should be terrified.'"

WaPo's reporter on Virginia, Laura Vozzella, strains to cheer readers up in "Virginia still seen as stretch for Trump despite two tied polls with Biden/While some analysts say they have trouble squaring those polls with other surveys showing a tight race nationwide, they still see potential warning signs for Biden."

June 7, 2024

Sunrise — 5:16, 5:20, 5:21, 5:21:30.





In the year 3035.

I'm reading "U.S. Tightens Car Mileage Rules, Part of Strategy to Fight Climate Change/The shift, which could reshape the American auto market, is designed to encourage sales of electric vehicles and hybrids" (NYT):

Thanks to my son Chris for noticing that... 


I love the idea of the culture around pickup trucks in 3035.

Anyway, seriously:

"Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney called one of President Biden’s top aides last month to complain about the president’s criticism of the International Criminal Court’s action against Israeli leaders..."

"... a case his wife, Amal Clooney, worked on, according to three people familiar with the conversation. Clooney called Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president, to express concern about Biden’s denunciation of arrest warrants sought by ICC prosecutors for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, especially his use of the word 'outrageous.'... The actor was also upset about the administration’s initial openness to imposing sanctions on the ICC because his wife might be subject to the penalties, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private conversation. Clooney’s call came just weeks before he is set to appear at a fundraiser for Biden’s reelection campaign June 15 in Los Angeles. His concerns spread throughout Biden’s orbit.... In 2020, [George Clooney] donated more than $500,000 to Biden’s campaign effort and co-hosted a virtual fundraiser for him that raised $7 million.... The White House later said sanctions against the ICC were 'not the right answer'...."

From "George Clooney called White House to defend wife’s work on Israel warrants/Biden had sharply criticized a move by the International Criminal Court to issue warrants for Israeli leaders" (WaPo).

"In recent weeks, Trump has repeatedly talked about Rubio, Vance and Burgum, according to people familiar with his remarks...."

I'm betting on J.D. Vance, because I like Vance best as the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination in 2028. As soon as Trump wins the election — if he wins — he will be a lame duck and the 2028 campaign will have begun. Trump should want someone who can carry forward his approach to governing. Isn't that Vance?

On rejecting Nikki Haley:

The Trump verdict is the worst verdict Alan Dershowitz has seen in his 60 years of studying legal cases.

"I still don't know what he was convicted of."

Dr. Phil interviews Trump.

"Imagine if, when Obama got into office, he decided to prosecute Dick Cheney and George Bush for crimes against humanity."

"Oh, my God. Do you know how crazy that would be? You know how divided the country would be then? Well, that's the same thing kind of taking place now on a lesser scale, obviously, because it's not a war crime you're charging someone with, but you could. You could charge Trump with war crimes. You could find some things that he did, especially with bombings. Even what Obama did -- during the administration, they dropped a drone on a US citizen. No trial, no nothing. Boom...."

Said Joe Rogan, quoted — with video — at "Rogan: It's Scary How Many Democrats Are Willing To Set These Precedents To Go After Trump" (Real Clear Politics).

There were people, at the time of the 2008 election, who were quite serious that Obama must prosecute George W. Bush. I vividly remember having to deal with Jane Hamsher on Bloggingheads. She was quite adamant and insulted me — me, a law professor! — for not agreeing that it was absolutely necessary. And the topic came up because VP candidate Joe Biden had made the news by saying the Obama administration might pursue criminal charges against Bush:

Imagine if Jane and Joe's notion had won the day back in the first Obama administration! Where would we be now?

ADDED: Here's the blog post of mine from just before that Bloggingheads discussion, "Biden says a President Obama might pursue criminal charges against George Bush." I wrote:

In France, Biden rhapsodized about 'the story of America' told by the rows of graves at the Normandy America Cemetery: 'Nearly 10,000 heroes buried side-by-side...'"

"'... officers and enlisted, immigrants and native-born, different races, different faiths, but all Americans.' In Phoenix, Trump, invoked the racist 'great replacement' conspiracy theory, saying Biden had orchestrated an 'invasion' at the border as part of 'a deliberate demolition of our sovereignty' because “they probably think these people are going to be voting.... Trump... complained about 'endless wars' and 'delinquent' Europeans, and vowed to 'spend our money in our country' — including by 'moving thousands of troops, if necessary, currently stationed overseas to our own borders.'... Will Americans recognize their country in the dark and desperate portrait Trump painted? 'Our country is falling to pieces,' he said, and if he isn’t returned to power, 'the country is finished ... You won’t have a country anymore.' Trump described a nation full of 'crooked people' and serving as 'a dumping ground for the dungeons of the Third World.'"

Milbank's writing is so heavy-handed, but it must please some readers, perhaps readers who want to believe Biden is a good-enough candidate. He rhapsodized about a story told by the rows of graves, while Trump complained of endless wars.

June 6, 2024

Sunrise — 5:13, 5:24, 5:26.




"Gunmen have killed the female mayor of a town in Mexico just hours after the country celebrated the election of Claudia Sheinbaum as the nation's first woman president."

"Yolanda Sánchez was ambushed by gunmen in the centre of Cotija, Michoacán, on Monday. Local media say she was shot 19 times and died in hospital shortly after the attack. Her bodyguard was also killed in the gun battle.... More than 20 people running for office have been killed since September according to official figures, but independent surveys have put the number closer to 40...."

BBC reports.

"On set, Scorsese made one big stipulation. He ordered Dunne not to have sex for the duration of the shoot."

"I am gobsmacked by this, but the actor was unfazed. 'It made perfect sense to me,' he says. 'I knew what he meant. The character had to be boiling over with this unfulfilled anxiety. You had to see …' He pauses. 'Not to be crude, but you had to see the semen build up to where it’s practically coming out of his eyes.' One Saturday night, though, Dunne cracked and broke the rule. The next day of filming, Scorsese spotted the change and went berserk. 'You’ve fucked up the whole picture,' he shouted. 'I don’t think I can finish it now.' Dunne says that he was probably being directed here, too. 'Because now I’m afraid. I’m terrified. And it turns out that a certain level of fear is the same as not having sex. So [Scorsese’s] second piece of direction is telling me that I’ve ruined his movie. That’s excellent direction. It brought all the old anxiety back.'"

From "I’ll never forgive or forget’ – Griffin Dunne on the darkness that overtook his gilded Hollywood upbringing/Griffin Dunne’s memoir is full of wonderful tales about Martin Scorsese, Carrie Fisher and Madonna. But the killing in 1982 of his 22-year-old sister – and the subsequent trial – overshadows everything" (The Guardian).

If a male director did that to a female....

Anyway... the Scorsese movie in question is "After Hours":

"The admission came after footage taken by a hiker circulated widely on Chinese social media, prompting consternation online."

"It showed water gushing out of pipes that had been built high up into the rock face, feeding some — if not all — of the waterfall’s flow.... 'Depending on the season, I cannot guarantee that I am in my best condition whenever my friends come to see me,' read the statement, written from the perspective of the waterfall. To make your experience of the journey more complete and to make you feel that it’s a worthwhile trip, I underwent a small enhancement so that I could meet my friends in better shape in the dry season,' it continued."

From "Tallest waterfall in China is fed by pipes, officials admit/Yuntai Falls is considered China’s 'tallest uninterrupted waterfall.' Officials admitted that its water is sourced from a pipe network during the drier months" (WaPo).

"In their generation, in their hour of trial, the Allied forces of D-Day did their duty. Now the question for us is, in our hour of trial, will we do ours?"

Said President Biden, quoted in "Biden, world leaders and veterans mark D-Day’s 80th anniversary in France/While the U.S. president’s speech was directed at a global audience, it comes against the backdrop of a fierce domestic political battle with his predecessor, Donald Trump" (WaP0).
Biden did not name Trump during his remarks, but he offered an unequivocal endorsement of the global order that the Republican front-runner has trashed, asserting that NATO and other alliances “make us strong.”... “Make no mistake, the autocrats of the world are watching closely to see what happens in Ukraine; to see if we let this illegal aggression go unchecked,” he said. “We cannot let that happen. To surrender to bullies, to bow down to dictators, is simply unthinkable.”... 
Biden has pointed to his administration’s record of building alliances amid the war in Ukraine as a top selling point for his reelection as he seeks to draw a sharp contrast with Trump. In an interview with Time magazine, Biden said Trump “wanted to just abandon” U.S. alliances, and suggested that the former president would ultimately pull the country out of NATO if he returns to the White House.... 

"Mr. Trump’s musings on his planned prosecutions serve an immediate political purpose, highlighting his argument that his conviction in New York..."

"... was the product of an effort by Democrats to keep him from being elected again and providing the red meat of prospective retribution to his base. But they also have the effect, partly incidental and partly calculated, of undermining faith in the integrity of the criminal justice system, a development that could have profound effects in a nation where the rule of law has been foundational. Mr. Trump and his supporters have argued that the system is already politicized, pointing to the four criminal prosecutions against him as irrefutable evidence — an assertion rejected by those who say that no one, including a former president or leading presidential candidate, is above the law.... The president can certainly instruct his attorney general to investigate given individuals. In his 1960 presidential campaign, for instance, John F. Kennedy pledged to target Jimmy Hoffa, the labor leader.... "

Writes Adam Liptak, in "Trump’s Vows to Prosecute Rivals Put Rule of Law on the Ballot/Donald Trump’s promise to seek retribution challenges long-established norms. The election could hinge in part on what kind of justice system the country believes it has now and wants in the future" (NYT).

I think Trump's campaign rhetoric is mostly designed to force his adversaries to proclaim principles that support his own arguments. Liptak acknowledges that as he contends that what Trump is threatening to do to his political opponents is different from what they are doing to him. Trump's political enemies will appreciate the asserted difference. His supporters won't. And what is it? The most obvious difference is that Trump's opponents are currently deeply engaged in prosecuting him, but Trump did not prosecute his enemies in his first administration and he's only referring to the potential to do so the next time around. He's issuing a credible threat in a game of tit-for-tat that he did not start. Won't we need to see what charges his next administration brings (if there is to be a next administration)? These might be solid charges that rest on the proposition that no one is above the law... as Trump's opponents like to say about the charges brought against him.

Liptak quotes something Justice Alito said in the oral arguments in the case about presidential immunity:

"[Hunter Biden] was gonna plead guilty to misdemeanor tax charges, do deferred prosecution on the gun charges. And the judge asked a very simple question..."

"... so does this mean that Hunter Biden has immunity from all other past crimes that he has committed? And the defense said, yes, that's our understanding. And the prosecution said, no, we're still investigating him for financial crimes. And the judge said, Then, we don't have a deal. Right? There's no meeting of the minds. There's no contract that can be formed.... [T]he reason this thing blew up was related to the other Hunter Biden stuff, all of the foreign stuff going on.... I'm not figuring out this willingness to go to trial on these charges with these facts.... All of that is gonna be horrible for the Biden family. And again, politically really unpleasant for his father.... Joe Biden has said he will not pardon his son, but... why would you say you're gonna pardon your son before it's necessary and before an election?..."

From the new episode of the Advisory Opinions podcast, "Will President Biden Pardon His Son?"

... the other Hunter Biden stuff, all of the foreign stuff going on.... In my view, all this theater about taking gun statutes seriously serves at least 3 purposes.:

1. It might con people into into thinking that the government is vigorously enforcing gun statutes.

2. It might make people forget "the other Hunter Biden stuff, all of the foreign stuff" that is much more serious and that might intertwine with Joe Biden.

3. It might make people empathize with Joe Biden — that poor father! — and respect him for standing back and declining to rescue his son from what might look like the normal workings of the legal system — and maybe that will make it seem more as though Donald Trump is just another guy caught in a ruthless and neutral meat grinder called criminal justice.

NOTE: I added the words "In my view" to this post, because a commenter wasn't sure whether these 3 points were taken from the podcast. They were not! Be assured that if I were quoting or paraphrasing ideas from someone else, I would say so. Quotes are in quotes or blocked and indented. The 3 points are mine.

"He’d been to Rome and seen the Sistine Chapel, and that was his inspiration for the 9,000-square-foot shrine he built..."

"... which he covered with 84 murals, along with bronze panels and stained-glass windows. It took four years to build; Mr. Butcher often worked, as Michelangelo had, flat on his back, suspended on scaffolding, painting the stories of the Bible from the creation to the resurrection. But unlike Michelangelo, who was known for his muscular figures, Mr. Butcher peopled his chapel with his signature sprites. And he allowed himself some creative leeway. For his depiction of the first day of creation, from the Book of Genesis — the part where God said, 'Let there be light' — Mr. Butcher painted three angels armed with flashlights. For Day Four, when God made the heavens, Mr. Butcher painted an angelic basketball team he called the Shooting Stars...."

From "Sam Butcher, Who Gave the World Precious Moments, Dies at 85/His childlike porcelain characters thrilled and inspired generations of collectors. They also made him a millionaire" (NYT).

June 5, 2024

Sunrise — 5:03, 5:26, 5:39.




"I said, Wouldn’t it really be bad? … wouldn’t it be terrible to throw the president’s wife and the former secretary of state — think of it, the former secretary of state — but the president’s wife into jail?"

"But they want to do it. So, you know, it’s a terrible, terrible path that they’re leading us to, and it’s very possible that it’s going to have to happen to them.... It’s a terrible precedent for our country.... Does that mean the next president does it to them? That’s really the question."

Said Donald Trump, quoted in "Trump again suggests political opponents may face prosecution, too/In an interview with Newsmax that aired Tuesday evening, the former president said 'it’s a terrible, terrible path that they’re leading us to, and it’s very possible that it’s going to have to happen to them'" (WaPo).

He didn't set the precedent. And he calls it a "terrible precedent." But should he guarantee that he won't follow the "terrible precedent"? I think he's primarily making the argument that what's happening to him should stop. He's making the argument in a way that is, I presume, intended to feel threatening. 

Fungus of the Day.



And here's the current state of the fungus of the day from June 2nd, which I now agree is Chicken of the Woods:


Bonus: a butterfly. Seen today in the woods by Lake Mendota. I believe this is a red-spotted purple:


"Now that the trial is concluded, the concerns articulated by the government and the Court do not justify continued restrictions on the First Amendment rights of President Trump … and the American people."

Wrote Trump's lawyers, quoted in "Trump asks N.Y. judge to drop gag order after hush money conviction/Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said he wants to be able to answer his critics and speak about the trial as he campaigns" (WaPo).

Trump’s defense also pointed to the fact that he’s debating Biden at the end of the month as a reason he needs to be able to speak freely and defend himself. In his comments about the trial, Biden did not address Trump’s guilt or innocence, but said the legal process should be respected and not attacked or undermined.

"The most cynical interpretation sort of feels like you chose two of your buddies to come in and help run the Post, and we now have four white men running three newsrooms."

Said one reporter, to Washington Post publisher Will Lewis, at a meeting on Monday about the "the abrupt exit of Sally Buzbee, who had led the paper since May 2021."

Quoted in "'I Can’t Sugarcoat It Anymore': Will Lewis Bluntly Defends Washington Post Shake-Up/Addressing a rattled newsroom in the wake of Sally Buzbee’s resignation, the Post’s CEO and publisher stressed the need for taking 'decisive, urgent action to set us on a different path,'" by Charlotte Klein in Vanity Fair.
Later in the meeting, another reporter asked Lewis whether “any women or people of color were interviewed and seriously considered for either of these positions,” a question that prompted applause. Lewis said there will be “significant opportunities” within the new organizational structure. Asked by another staffer about which people he met with, Lewis said, “It was an iterative, messy process, which I don’t want to go into the details of.”... 
At one point Lewis was asked whether he was intentionally bringing in people who come from a different culture than the Post. “We are losing large amounts of money. Your audience has halved in recent years. People are not reading your stuff. I can’t sugarcoat it anymore,” Lewis said.

"Most of the prominent Democrats with whom I speak have been concerned to the point of panic about how inept they’ve found [Biden's] campaign."

Said Frank Bruni in a "Round Table" discussion at the NYT, "Trump Is Blocking Out the Sun: Three Writers on the Political Impact of the Guilty Verdict."

And there's this gem from Olivia Nuzzi: "The eternal problem for candidates running against Donald Trump is that he sort of photosynthesizes any and all attention to grow bigger and stronger and block out the sun for everyone else around. He manages to define the terms of the conversation, and because he lives in his own reality, these things do not matter as they would for any other candidate."

Why face up to the smallness of Joe Biden when confronted with the ludicrous hugeness of Donald Trump?

June 4, 2024

Sunrise — 5:08, 5:09, 5:10, 5:17.





"We must face a simple truth. To protect America as a land that welcomes immigrants, we must first secure the border and secure it now."

Said President Biden, in the 4th year of his presidency, facing up, at long last, to the "simple truth."

“The administration has left us little choice but to sue,” said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer at the A.C.L.U, which led the charge against the Trump administration’s attempt to block asylum in 2018 and resulted in the policy being stopped by federal courts. “It was unlawful under Trump and is no less illegal now.”...

No one's above the law.

"[Alec] Baldwin, who is scheduled to stand trial next month on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer..."

"... on the set of the film 'Rust,' announced that a reality show featuring the couple and their 'seven growing kids' would be coming next year to TLC. Its working title is 'The Baldwins.' 'We’re inviting you into our home to experience the ups and downs, the good, the bad, the wild and the crazy,' Alec Baldwin said in a video announcement with Hilaria that he posted to Instagram on Tuesday...."

The NYT reports, in "Alec and Hilaria Baldwin and Their 7 Children Get a Reality TV Series/'We’re inviting you into our home,' the actor, who is set to stand trial next month on an involuntary manslaughter charge, said as he announced a show about his family on TLC."

When your life is dangerously overcrowded, add a new level of difficulty... and subject 7 kids to it all. It just might work. The best criminal defense is to get all those kids on camera. And let them and the dogs romp around and scream until everyone can see he's suffered enough that family needs a dad.

Fungus of the Day.

From our front lawn:


And here's the current state of the previous Fungus of the Day:

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

Bill Clinton famously explained, defending himself for having said under oath that "there's nothing going on between" him and Monica Lewinsky. He continued: "if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement."

I'm reminded of the ballsy precision of Clinton's defense as I read the NYT live reporting from Day 1 of the Hunter Biden trial:

[Abbe] Lowell, Hunter Biden's lawyer... implies that the present tense of the question about drug use on the form to buy a gun — the verb “is” — means the government must prove Biden was getting high at the exact time he bought the gun.

It's called the Rule of Lenity.

Let me quote a SCOTUSblog piece from 2016, "The Court after Scalia: The Rule of Lenity":

"Fetterman’s health has improved more and faster than expected, and in what may not be a coincidence..."

"... the more his brain damage recedes, the less he agrees with lefty activists and the Democratic Party’s functionaries. Speaking at Yeshiva University’s commencement, Fetterman dramatically stripped off his Harvard hood and announced he was 'profoundly disappointed' at his alma mater’s refusal to address the antisemitism rampant on its campus, a discontent he extended to the entire antisemitism-enabling Ivy League. Quoth Fetterman: 'As an alum of Harvard — look, I graduated 25 years ago, and of course, it was always a little pinko. But now, I don’t recognize it....' When pro-Palestinian protesters showed up at the senator’s house (no dogpiling in his defense from lefty activists over this) and told him he had 'nowhere to hide,' Fetterman defiantly got on his roof with an Israeli flag....."

"'He’s convicted, so now he’s in our community,' said Rahim Buford, 53, who also has a felony conviction on his record."

"Mr. Buford believes that neither Democrats nor Republicans have done enough to address significant parts of America’s criminal justice system that are broken, including wrongful convictions, racial disparities and a rate of imprisonment that far outstrips that of other industrialized nations.... For Dawn Harrington, who served time on Rikers Island in New York and now directs an organization called Free Hearts for families affected by incarceration in Tennessee, watching the news coverage of Mr. Trump’s criminal conviction last week was upsetting. She heard liberals rejoice that he was now a 'convicted felon,' a term she and others have tried to persuade people not to use.... After the Trump verdict, she also heard President Biden defend the justice system as a 'cornerstone of America' that has endured for 'nearly 250 years' — back to a time, Ms. Harrington noted, when slavery was legal. The rhetoric, she thought, was 'quite frankly dehumanizing to the base that we organize with,' she said...."

From "People With Criminal Records React to Trump Verdict: ‘Now You Understand’/The New York jury’s decision stirred conflicting emotions, including surprise at the responses of many on the left" (NYT).

She heard liberals rejoice.... "liberals" is not the right word for people like this. 

"Men seldom have to put up with the kinds of discomfort in dress women have historically been obliged to endure."

"Still, Mr. Murdoch’s decision to wear sneakers — although unconfirmed, the shoes appear to be Hokas, not far from the sustainably designed 'Transports' model Mr. Biden wore for a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border — to his own wedding may have been a don’t-care play by a master of the universe. 'Sure, it could raise eyebrows in some conservative circles, and I personally think sneakers with suits are hideous,' said Eugene Rabkin, editor of the magazine StyleZeitgeist. 'But casualization has penetrated so far up the chain of formality that it would almost be punk for him to wear leather shoes.'"

Murdoch is 93. Biden is 81. I don't think their wearing of sneakers raises conservative eyebrows or is anything anywhere near "the ultimate power flex." It's just a reminder that these men are quite old and we're all best off if they wear secure, stable shoes.

In any case, praise to Rabkin for coming out with the line "casualization has penetrated so far up the chain of formality that it would almost be punk for him to wear leather shoes." We need more people talking like that. It's not really that hard. Please do it. 

"Do the American people deserve to be abused like that, Mr. Fauci, because you’re not ‘Dr.,’ you’re ‘Mr. Fauci’ in my few minutes...."

"... in my time, that man does not deserve to have a license. As a matter of fact, it should be revoked, and he belongs in jail."

Said Marjorie Taylor Greene, quoted in "GOP chair reprimands Greene for refusing to call Fauci 'doctor'" (The Hill).

Contemplate the power that flows from the embrace of negative attention. It has worked for Trump, and Marjorie Taylor Greene has apparently decided to excel in this mode.

The givers of negative attention might want to rethink what they are doing. I will, once again, quote my mother on this subject: You'll only encourage them.

Morning Consult has been checking the pulse of America in the days before and since the Trump verdict, and it has remained steady.


"I told my mom, 'This isn’t serious.... I’m just going to wait till I’m 6.'"

Said Mira Nadon, when she was 5, quoted in "At City Ballet, a Once-in-a-Generation Dancer Arrives/Mira Nadon, the rising New York City Ballet principal, is coming off her best season yet. And it’s only the beginning."

The ballet class for 5-year olds was "pre-ballet, which meant running around the studio, maybe getting a shot at fluttering like a butterfly" and Nadon "found out that students began proper training at 6."

Is it okay to love seriousness in 5-year-olds? Mostly, we want the very young to laugh and play — experience delight. What's up with early-arising seriousness? When is it too young to manifest staunchly that you know you've been presented with the bullshit kid's version of something and you want the real

Have you ever known such a kid? Were you one?

I'm picturing the child drawn by Edward Gorey....

"A post on WeChat on May 22.... reported that nearly all information posted on Chinese news portals, blogs, forums, social media sites between 1995 and 2005 was no longer available."

"'The Chinese internet is collapsing at an accelerating pace,' the headline said. Predictably, the post itself was soon censored. 'We used to believe that the internet had a memory,' He Jiayan, a blogger who writes about successful businesspeople, wrote in the post. 'But we didn’t realize that this memory is like that of a goldfish.'... I searched for one of the most consequential tragedies in China in the past few decades: the Great Sichuan earthquake on May 12, 2008, which killed over 69,000 people.... My search found what had to have been a small fraction of the coverage.... I didn’t find any of the outstanding news coverage or outpouring of online grief that I remembered....When my Weibo account was deleted in March 2021... [i]t had more than three million followers and thousands of posts recording my life and thoughts over a decade.... 'If you can still see some early information on the Chinese internet now,' [wrote Mr. He], 'it is just the last ray of the setting sun.'"

Writes Li Yuan, in "As China’s Internet Disappears, ‘We Lose Parts of Our Collective Memory’/The number of Chinese websites is shrinking and posts are being removed and censored, stoking fears about what happens when history is erased" (NYT).

On the other hand: "Many people intentionally hide their online posts because they could be used against them by the party or its proxies. In a trend called 'grave digging,' nationalistic 'little pinks' pour over past online writings of intellectuals, entertainers and influencers.... "

"Kendi is a vegan, a tall man with a gentle, serious nature.... He considers himself an 'introvert and loner' who was chased down by the spotlight..."

"... and is now caught in its glare.... There is a corniness to Kendi that’s endearing, like his use of the gratitude notebook — a thick, pastel-colored pad with gold spiral binding.... Kendi had hired a pair of crisis-P.R. consultants to help him manage the fallout from the layoffs [at the Center for Antiracist Research].... In the fun-house mirror of conservative media, Kendi has long loomed as an antiwhite extremist trying to get rich by sowing racial division.... 'When it comes to the white supremacists who are the greatest domestic terrorist threat of our time, I am one of their chief enemies,' he told me.... Kendi was frustrated to be constantly lumped in with [Robin] DiAngelo, whose ideas diverge from his in important ways. DiAngelo considers 'white identity' to be 'inherently racist,' while Kendi argues that anyone, including Black people, can be racist or antiracist. That puts him at odds with an understanding — common in the academy and the racial-justice movement — that Black people can’t be racist because racism is a system of power relations... that racism is 'prejudice plus power.' Kendi thinks of 'racist' not as a pejorative but as a simple word of description.... Racist and antiracist are 'peelable name tags,' Kendi writes; they describe not who we are but who we are being in any particular moment. He says he opposes the censoriousness that has become the sharp edge of identity politics, because he doesn’t regard shame as a useful social tool...."

"The Wisconsin ad doesn’t show Mr. Evers until the end. It focuses on solar projects, which the ad says will power 750,000 homes in the state."

"'Governor Evers is working with the Biden administration to do even more,' the ad’s narrator says as photos are shown of Mr. Evers and Mr. Biden touring a Milwaukee factory last summer. 'Your home value goes up and your energy bill goes down.' The ad concludes with footage of Mr. Evers’s annual State of the State address.... Because Evergreen is technically an issue-advocacy organization, it is prohibited from making an explicit push to vote for Mr. Biden, but the message here is not subtle.... ... Evergreen is seeking to remind voters that something they like — ... using solar power in Wisconsin — is brought to them by the Biden administration. Less than six months out from the presidential election, Mr. Biden has failed to convey that message to voters, leaving supportive outside groups and Democratic governors to do it for him."

1. "Mr. Evers" is the unflashy personage who serves as Governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers. He appears in the last 5 seconds of the ad... in all his low-key glory.

2. $1 million spent on TV ads seems too trivial to be warrant a NYT article. Is it an effort to cheer readers up: $1 million to the rescue? Or is this a gentle raising of the alarm: "Mr. Biden has failed...."? 

June 3, 2024

At the Prairie Café...


... you can talk all night.

"Republicans... pressed Fauci on [his statement] that the federal government’s recommendation for six-foot social distancing 'sort of just appeared'... 'wasn’t based on data.'"

"Fauci said Monday he meant there was no clinical trial to settle on the distance of six feet, and that officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who crafted the recommendation were basing the distance on early expectations of how the virus spread. The answer did not satisfy Republicans.... 'This six-foot rule crippled businesses, it allowed students to stay at home and not learn,' Rep. John Joyce (R-Pa.) said. Other countries and the World Health Organization recommended a distance of about three feet of social distance, and experts said a similar measure in the United States would have allowed schools to reopen more quickly...."

From "Fauci dismisses ‘preposterous’ allegations that he led covid coverup/The infectious-disease expert said Republicans have distorted emails between scientists as they discussed whether a lab leak of the coronavirus was possible" (WaPo).

Fungus update.


Go here for the original "Fungus of the Day" post.

"... a parade of MAGA voices.... The MAGA crowd.... the MAGA cult.... Some MAGA voices.... the MAGA movement’s coordinated assault on the rule of law.... MAGA threats and smears.... MAGA calumny...."

Excerpted from "Opinion/Democrats must defend Trump’s guilty verdict against MAGA jury denial/The danger of delegitimizing jury verdicts is real" by Jennifer Rubin (WaPo).

And note the phrase "jury denial." It's like "election denial."

"For months, Republicans have claimed, without producing evidence, that President Biden somehow profited from his son’s overseas business deals..."

"... in hopes of diverting attention from the accusations against former President Donald J. Trump and initiating a tit-for-tat impeachment. But it is the son — and not the father — who will stand trial during an election year in which Mr. Trump has already been convicted of felony."

From "Live Updates: Hunter Biden’s Trial in Gun Case Begins/The president’s son goes on trial in Wilmington, Del., on three charges that he lied about his drug use on a federal firearms application in 2018. The unusual prosecution carries stiff penalties: up to 25 years in prison and a $750,000 fine" (NYT).

"I didn’t say 'lock her up,' but the people said lock her up, lock her up. Then, we won. And I say — and I said pretty openly, I said, all right, come on, just relax, let’s go, we’ve got to make our country great."

But after his election, on Nov. 9, 2016, Trump did not lash out at Clinton when, during a post-election rally, a crowd began a loud chant of “Lock her up!”

“Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country,” Trump said then. “I mean that very seriously. Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division. … I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”

You can't make an event out of feeling good about anything anymore. How dare you celebrate?

"She was blown away by the positive remarks she received on the streets of New York City when she went out in a red coat one day in 2016."

"'I was originally was not feeling that great, but after hearing all those compliments, I thought, oh my god, aren’t I awesome?!' So Sheng returned to China with a mission: To make her shop and art space a venue for spontaneous feel-good moments. 'Instead of being dragged down with jealousy and self-doubt, why don’t we tell ourselves and the people around us that we are awesome?' she said. Sheng has hosted speed-dating-style praise gatherings where attendees shower adulation on each other for three minutes before moving to the next person.... Random compliments are not a standard part of Chinese culture.... [Praise events] — and praise culture more generally — are a grass-roots attempt to 'cultivate a more sustainable social microenvironment' where people readily extend empathy and goodwill, said Xu Moxu, a former indie band vocalist.... 'When I notice something that I like about someone, I will let them know rather than hold it in,' said Xu...."

From "OMG your hair looks so cute! Young Chinese love American ‘praise culture.’ Even as China cools on the United States’ fashion and entertainment trends, one aspect of American life is sparking admiration: American ‘praise culture.’" (WaPo).

"It is a violent spectacle, blood-spattered, brutish and brawny."

"A fighter from California named Kevin Holland and a fighter from Poland named Michal Oleksiejczuk beat each other to a pulp inches from Mr. Trump’s face. The former president watched with interest as the American got the Pole onto the ground, secured his right arm and appeared to yank it out of its socket. ([Dana White, the chief executive of the U.F.C.] described it as an 'absolutely beautiful' moment in his post-match commentary: 'The arm clearly, at the very least, dislocated and possibly snapped,' he said.) Victorious, Holland emerged from the octagonal ring, walked over to Mr. Trump, bent down and shook hands, leaned in to hear the former president tell him something and clapped his left hand on Mr. Trump’s right shoulder...."

From "After Verdict, Trump Revels in Embrace of His Most Avid Base: Male Fans/The former president’s appearance at a U.F.C. fight in Newark on Saturday night showcased his hypermasculine appeal, and his defiance" (NYT).

This is just a little article about Trump going to the UFC fight right after the 34-felonies conviction. I had to look elsewhere for more on the broader topic of Trump's "hypermasculine appeal." A sprinkling of what my search turned up:

"So many senior positions in government here are held by women that gender wasn’t a big topic in the presidential race...."

"[T]here was nothing like the sense of anticipation that accompanied Hillary Clinton’s presidential run in 2016. 'For most of the population, the gender theme isn’t all that important in and of itself,' said Lorena Becerra, a prominent pollster. 'We had already internalized the idea that the next president would be a woman.'... Sheinbaum’s gender hasn’t attracted much fanfare in part because her political career has developed in LĂłpez Obrador’s shadow. During the campaign, the low-key Sheinbaum emphasized she would continue the policies of the popular leader.... About 25 percent of voters surveyed during the presidential campaign, for example, said it would be harder for a woman to address problems of security or organized crime. There was almost no difference on issues like health or the economy. But it was difficult to gauge whether Sheinbaum’s gender helped or hurt her in the election because her top competitor was also female.... Sabina Berman, a writer and feminist who supports LĂłpez Obrador’s Morena party, said... 'In every household, in every classroom across the country, the idea that a woman exists to serve and please a man is going to crumble'...."

From "How Mexico, bastion of machismo, got a female president before the U.S./The election of Claudia Sheinbaum caps a decades-long campaign for gender parity in politics, a key element of the country’s transition to democracy" (WaPo).

"This year’s election season has been particularly bloody, with dozens of mayoral candidates and local officials killed."

"As Mexico headed to the polls, voters were deeply concerned about rising cartel violence, which has emerged as a top election issue. Despite some efforts, the current government has struggled to curb the rampant killings, disappearances and extortion that plague the country."

June 2, 2024

Sunrise — 5:23.


Fungus of the Day.


Not that I'm considering eating it, but can you identify it?


I tried using ChatGPT to identify it:
ME: what is this fungus that is yellow and looks like macaroni

Trump is now on TikTok.

Here's his first post... followed by some Trump-related TikToks you might appreciate:

Sean Ono Lennon is just opting out and watching the shit show.

He doesn't support any particular candidate (and I believe him because I feel the same way):

If the accused is guilty, does it matter if the prosecution is political?

I'm rephrasing the question to assist liberals — "liberals" — whose hearts might inappropriately lift when they see the headline "If Trump Is Guilty, Does It Matter If the Prosecution Was Political?"

The piece is by David A. Graham in The Atlantic:

"You now have a Republican leading candidate who’s a felon, who’s going to be debriefed on national security issues knowing how loose-lipped he is."

"You do not allow somebody like Donald Trump to be declassified, especially now as a felon. So, my concern is, in a prison situation, he is willing to give away these secrets, as I always say, for a bag of tuna or a book of stamps. He will do it because [he] does not care."

Said Michael Cohen, on MSNBC, quoted in "Michael Cohen Worries Trump Will Spill Secrets in Prison 'for a Bag of Tuna'" (Daily Beast).