June 22, 2024

At the Saturday Night Café...


... you can talk all night.


Fungus of the Day.



American/British royalty. Ours is better, right?

Wow. Whose side is Andrew Cuomo on? Or is the point so clear, it doesn't matter? Or he's laying the groundwork for 2028?

What I hear him saying between the lines: I was the one with good senseand you made me cede the ground to these clowns. Look what they've done. Don't you miss me?

"Gen Z may like crew socks, but they’ve remained relatively silent on the issue on TikTok, and don’t seem to care..."

"... when asked on other parts of social media. Meanwhile, the most popular TikToks on the trend war are explainer videos and millennials on the defensive. “This country is in a crisis,” wrote menswear writer and commentator Derek Guy on X after a poll from the sportswear company Bennetts revealed 50.3 percent of its voters preferred 'normal' crew socks. Other videos showed Generation Y bravely wearing hidden socks in public, reluctantly wearing taller socks to stay on trend, or, like Spence, creating makeshift ankle socks by folding longer socks under their heels."

I'm reading "Your socks are showing your age/Millennials have cutthroat defenses of their low-cut socks as Gen Z embraces crew socks" (WaPo)(free access link, in case you need pictures).

It's interesting, from my perspective, to watch millennials facing up to a younger generation that regards them as old, especially when the focus is something that — unlike the inevitable decline toward death — is completely trivial — here, the height of the tops of your socks. 

My advice, from the advanced age of 73, is:

Winning a coin flip, Biden's people chose to place him on right side of the screen at the debate...

... when they could have chosen the advantage of going second in the closing arguments. It's easy to see why it's good to go second in the closing arguments, but the Biden people ceded that advantage to Trump, because they saw a stronger advantage in appearing on the right side. What's so great about the right side?

I found this answer in the Times of India:

"The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s classified documents case grilled special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors Friday on how closely Attorney General Merrick Garland oversees their work."

"Under persistent questioning from U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, the prosecutors declined to divulge details and seemed caught off-guard by the inquiries. At one point, Smith deputy James Pearce said he was 'not authorized' to discuss the level of communication that occurred between the attorney general and the special counsel. 'I don’t want to make it seem like I’m hiding something,' Pearce then said."

The degree of Smith's independence is crucially at issue. If he's too independent — that is, if he's not an "inferior" officer within the meaning of the Constitution — he needs to have been appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. He was not.
The judge’s intense dive into an issue that has been brushed aside by most other courts has caused head-scratching in the legal community and drawn renewed criticism of her handling of the sensitive case.

Head-scratching, eh? It's a perfectly comprehensible issue to anyone who's been through the first semester of Constitutional Law in law school. If anyone in that category is looking puzzled, I think they're engaging in mime. Don't be conned.

And Pearce does look like he's hiding something. And that's not a mimed argument. That's a slip that he feels bad about. How cornered was he to have blurted out "I don’t want to make it seem like I’m hiding something"?

June 21, 2024

Sunrise — 5:23.


"... Miri Sakai, 24, a graduate student in sociology, testified that she had no interest in either sexual or romantic relationships or in having children."

"Although women have made some progress in the workplace in Japan, cultural expectations for their family duties are much as they have always been. 'The lifestyle of not getting married or having children is still rejected in society,' Ms. Sakai said. 'Is it natural to have children for the sake of the country?' she asked. 'Are women who do not give birth to children themselves unnecessary for society?'... Kazane Kajiya, 27, testified last week that her desire not to have children was 'a part of my innate values.' 'It is precisely because these feelings cannot be changed that I just want to live, easing as much of the discomfort and psychological distress I feel about my body as possible,' she said.... At one point, Ms. Kajiya, who is married, considered whether she was actually a transgender man. But she decided that she was 'totally fine with being a woman, and I love it. I just don’t like having the fertility that enables me to have babies with men.'"

From "In Japan, These Women Want to Opt Out of Motherhood More Easily/A lawsuit challenges the onerous requirements for getting sterilized, calling the regulations paternalistic and a violation of women’s constitutional rights" (NYT).

I wonder how common it is for a young woman to mistake her desire not to have a baby for transgenderism. Imagine going to the extreme of transitioning when all you really wanted was sterilization. 

"Richard Hofstadter identified a paranoid style of American politics in the 1960s. His student, Christopher Lasch..."

"... called out the narcissism of American society in the 1970s and ’80s that we now know metastasized into Trump. As a card-carrying historian (who studied under Lasch), I am going to give it shot. The contemporary Republican Party acts as if it has a histrionic personality disorder. Their election playbook speaks directly to type: create a straw man/woman of your opponent, throw corrupt corporate and big PAC money to attack it, and then lie, fearmonger and, well, be histrionic to win votes. Nothing about the truth matters. If the opponent has nothing to distort or take out of context, make something up. Act on rash decisions. Rationalize your choices, no matter how mistaken. Above all, play the victim and win at all costs."

Wrote Tracy Mitrano, last July, in "The Republican Party Has a Histrionic Personality Disorder/And the impact on national security is serious" (Inside Higher Ed). Here's Mitrano's Ballotpedia page. She's a Democrat, so she's not explicitly making the larger point like Hofstadter and her mentor Lasch. But it seems obvious to me: We see histrionics across the board in American politics.

I found that year-old piece after wondering why people diagnose Trump with narcissism, when his personality seems much more like what the DSM calls "histrionic personality disorder." 

Here's what the NIH has to say about HPD:

"When an individual has been found by a court to pose a credible threat to the physical safety of another, that individual may be temporarily disarmed consistent with the Second Amendment."

The Supreme Court rules in United States v. Rahimi

The opinion is written by the Chief Justice, joined by everyone except Thomas, who dissents. There are also concurring opinions by Sotomayor (joined by Kagan) and by Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, and Jackson. That's a lot to sort through.

"A citizen does not have a fundamental liberty interest in her noncitizen spouse being admitted to the country."

The Supreme Court rules, in Department of State v. Muñoz, a 6-3 decision written by Barrett. 

There's a concurring opinion by Gorsuch.

The dissenting opinion by Justice Sotomayor begins:

"When my wife proposed that we stop being monogamous, she said it would make us stronger.... At the time, I was exiting a phase of my life perhaps best described as 'worship pastor bro.'"

"My Christian faith was undergoing a meticulous and scholarly deconstruction. I could begin to imagine a life without God, but with my new, expensive master’s degree in theology, I struggled to imagine a career without Him. By contrast, Corrie’s turn away from religion a year earlier had been quick, uncomplicated and annoyingly joyful.... Corrie started identifying as bisexual, then pansexual, then queer. It was hard to know how to feel about her transformation. On the one hand, it became harder to place myself and our heterosexual marriage on the new map of her sexual interests...."

Writes Jason Bilbrey, in "I Was Content With Monogamy. I Shouldn’t Have Been. Can exploring polyamory both break you and make you?" (NYT)(free access link).

"Donors channeled tens of millions of dollars to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee immediately following his May 30 conviction..."

"... all but erasing the massive fundraising advantage that President Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee once held.... The Biden campaign’s long-standing fundraising lead allowed his campaign to build a much larger footprint than Trump’s and to significantly outspend Trump’s effort on the airwaves.... But at the end of May, the Trump campaign and the RNC had a combined $171 million in cash on hand, surpassing the Biden campaign and the DNC’s combined total of $157 million, according to reports filed late Thursday."

The Democrats tried too hard. It backfired. 

Philippe Reines did not call Joe Biden a "malfunctioning appliance."

I'm trying to read "Debate advice from the man who played Trump for Clinton’s prep" (WaPo)(free access link).

Phillippe Reines, the "longtime aid [sic] to Hillary Clinton" asked whether, in the debate, Joe Biden should "appeal to persuadable voters or engage his base." He says:
You can’t think in those terms. You’re just onstage with a malfunctioning appliance. I mean, you can’t. You can’t assume that you’re going to get done what you want to get done unless you do it in the context of using the malfunctioning appliance to make your point.

I know Joe Biden has had trouble walking and talking lately, but that's nasty. I mean, it's too true and put too humorously. I mean, I know the "malfunctioning appliance" must be the debate. Right? I hope! If Joe Biden is a malfunctioning appliance that must mean he's been a tool all along. That's not something Phillippe Reines would say.

June 20, 2024

At the Summer Solstice Café...

... you can talk all night.

(No sunrise picture: It was raining.) 

"Boebert famously campaigned against drag story hours, while Noem wrote to South Dakota’s college board asking it to ban campus drag shows...."

"Yet these women express themselves via a dizzying mash-up of gendered conventions: They augment their smiles, bedazzle their pantsuits, and broadcast their bench presses. In their fevered performances of hyperfemininity and hypermasculinity, so many of the GOP’s most visible women are themselves engaging in a form of drag. Of course, drag in its queer context offers the chance to slip from and send up the constricting bounds of gender norms, to encourage empathy and celebrate diverse forms of identity. The show these Republican politicians are putting on is its cold opposite: asphyxiated, distended, nasty. Theirs is surely drag’s gothic inverse."

"New Emerson College Polling/The Hill state polls find former President Donald Trump with a slight edge on President Joe Biden in..."

"... Arizona (47% to 43%), Georgia (45% to 41%), Wisconsin (47% to 44%) Nevada (46% to 43%), Pennsylvania (47% to 45%), and Michigan (46% to 45%), while Biden splits with Trump in Minnesota (45% to 45%)."

It's that last one that caught my eye: They're tied in Minnesota now?!

SCOTUSblog is live-blogging the announcement of new Supreme Court cases.

I'm keeping an eye on it, here.

Lots of cases left, and we're close to the end, so today could be very exciting, but it could also be one of those fizzles. We'll find out soon.

MORE: The first case is a tax case — a 16th Amendment case — Moore v. United States. Thomas and Gorsuch dissent, Barrett and Alito concur. As SCOTUSblog puts it: "Because the couple in the case here never actually received the investment gains that were subject to the tax, Thomas contends, they cannot be taxed as 'income' under the Sixteenth Amendment." In Thomas's words: "Sixteenth Amendment 'income' is only realized income. We should not have hesitated to say so in this case."

AND: "We have the second opinion. It is Chiaverini v. City of Napoleon. It is by Justice Kagan and the vote is 6-3. Thomas dissents, joined by Alito; Gorsuch has his own dissent." From the syllabus of the opinion: "The presence of probable cause for one charge in a criminal proceeding does not categorically defeat a Fourth Amendment malicious-prosecution claim relating to another, baseless charge."

ALSO: Diaz v. US. — "It is 6-3, with a Gorsuch dissent joined by Sotomayor and Kagan." "The court holds that expert testimony that 'most people" have a particular mental state is not an opinion about the defendant and therefore does not violate federal evidentiary rules."

FINALLY: Gonzales v. Trevino"The per curiam opinion agrees with Gonzalez, the woman who was arrested, that the court of appeals took a view of Nieves that was too narrow. Requiring her to provide examples of people who also mishandled a government petition but were not arrested 'goes too far,' the court holds."

Fungus of the Day.


ON REVISIT: What are these creatures feasting on the fungus?


"[P]ortraying Trump as not merely a convicted criminal — but a wildly self-centered one — may be a smart play."

"And wedding that charge to a bread-and-butter message about Biden’s commitment to taxing the rich and lowering drug prices also seems wise. Debates over Democratic messaging often posit a binary choice between running against Trump and for popular economic policies. Biden’s new ad shows that these options are not mutually exclusive.... Regardless, Biden must hope that his new message about Trump’s criminality packs a punch — because, for now, the president is losing the fight for reelection and his rival hasn’t fully entered the ring."

I'm reading "Biden’s ads haven’t been working. Now, he’s trying something new. The president has been massively outspending Donald Trump on the airwaves and still losing" by Eric Levitz (at Vox).

AND: Here's a piece in Real Clear Politics by J. Peter Zane addressing the same Biden ad — "If Character Matters, Biden Flunks the Test":

"The Return of Peace Through Strength/Making the Case for Trump’s Foreign Policy."

A column in Foreign Policy by Robert C. O'Brien, who "served as U.S. National Security Adviser from 2019 to 2021."

Trump was determined to avoid new wars and endless counterinsurgency operations, and his presidency was the first since that of Jimmy Carter in which the United States did not enter a new war or expand an existing conflict. Trump also ended one war with a rare U.S. victory, wiping out the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) as an organized military force and eliminating its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But unlike during Carter’s term, under Trump, U.S. adversaries did not exploit Americans’ preference for peace. In the Trump years, Russia did not press further forward after its 2014 invasion of Ukraine, Iran did not dare to directly attack Israel, and North Korea stopped testing nuclear weapons after a combination of diplomatic outreach and a U.S. military show of force. And although China maintained an aggressive posture during Trump’s time in office, its leadership surely noted Trump’s determination to enforce redlines when, for example, he ordered a limited but effective air attack on Syria in 2017, after Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against its own people....

Much more at the link. 

"When someone drones on about 'solidarity,' all I hear is, 'Get in line.' When there’s no room for dissent from the dissent..."

"...there’s no room for me. Color me an anti-fan of performative politics, particularly if it means I’d be part of the show that features bigots posing as bleeding hearts. Plus, all that earnestness! It brings out my ironic and impish side, inclined to correct typos on signage or foment some kind of peripheral debate. Every time someone at one of those encampments cried out 'Free Palestine' I’d be tempted to yell 'From Hamas!' I’d surely get kicked out of the group that wants to kick other people out.... I realize we live in a country born of protest and my attitude may seem vaguely un-American. Watching the rabble-rousers on HBO’s 'John Adams' during Covid lockdown, my first grumbly thought was, 'Stop whining and pay your taxes!' Reading about the Whiskey Rebellion made me think of drunken MAGA types sloganeering at a Trump rally about the glory of firearms...."

Writes Pamela Paul, in "Confessions of an Anti-Protester" (NYT)(free access link).

I share a lot of those feelings. I feel a sense of heightened individuality when I find myself in a crowd. And, like Paul, I've only participated in one political protest in my entire life, but I do rankle at "drunken MAGA types sloganeering at a Trump rally."

Drinking at a Trump rally? Where does she get that? I see the effort at humor after the mention of the Whiskey Rebellion, but I don't think there's drunkenness at Trump rallies. Maybe attend one and look around. You don't have to protest. You don't even need to support the candidate. Snake through the line and talk to people over the railings.


You may be surprised. They might be real human individuals, like you.

"I walked around this place, paranoid of my fellow legislators, racking my brain trying to think, 'What could I have possibly said or done?'"

Said Jim Carroll, quoted in "Vermont Republican secretly poured water into colleague’s bag over months/Mary Morrissey apologizes after being filmed dumping liquid into backpack of Democratic legislator Jim Carroll" (The Guardian).

Both Carroll and Morrissey represent the city of Bennington.

It's not enough to apologize for doing this. The people who depend on this legislator need an explanation for why she repeatedly did something so bizarre. You can apologize for being out of your mind, but you don't really need to. I feel sorry for Morrissey, but she needs to resign. It's interesting that she made Carroll feel that he was insane. Was Morrissey gaslighting Carroll?

June 19, 2024

Sunrise — 5:18, 5:20, 5:31.




"Another acquaintance he made in Paris [in 1792] was John Stewart, an eccentric figure known as 'Walking Stewart.'"

"His nickname came from the fact that he had walked halfway round the world, from Madras, through Persia, Arabia, Abyssinia, much of North Africa, and every country in Europe as far as Russia. He refused to take carriages because they were both elitist and cruel to horses. He came to believe that there was an impending 'universal empire of revolutionary police terror' that would 'bestialize the human species and desolate the earth.' The police state would ban his books, so he urged readers to translate them into Latin (a precaution against the supposed decay of the English language) and bury them seven feet underground. Their locations would be passed down orally until the dawn of the age of the Stewartian man made their disinterment possible. Despite these bizarre beliefs, Thomas De Quincey, who wrote a wonderful essay about him, said that his political views ‘seemed to Mr Wordsworth and myself every way worthy of a philosopher.'"

Red spotted purple and sandhill cranes.

Yesterday, at noon:


This morning at sunrise:


On the day before the solstice, the group "Just Stop Oil" besmirches Stonehenge.

The group stresses its moderation: "The orange cornflour we used will soon wash away with the rain, but the urgent need for effective government action to mitigate the catastrophic consequences of the climate and ecological crisis will not."

I'm told there were a lot of these "Please Remember" billboards along the backroads north of Milwaukee.


Photographed from Meade's truck.

Here's an article about the phenomenon: "Mysterious Trump and Epstein billboards are popping up across Wisconsin" (UpNorth News).

"The support I found on this platform helped me face the toughest days..."

From a TikTok video that begins, "If you're reading these words right now, then I have died."

A view looking out at the crowd — and beautiful Lake Michigan — at the Trump rally in Racine yesterday.

"... he looked like he didn't know where the hell he was, but he didn't know where he was. He's blaming it now on AI, oh yeah, he's saying —he doesn't know what AI is — that's okay. Now, they're saying the media is manipu- — oh, he's saying the media is manipulating...."

Video by Meade, of course. As I said in yesterday's post, with the still photographs, I was not there.

"No, you keen-eyed MAGA sleuths, Biden’s aides didn’t schedule an early debate so that they could replace him after he flails."

"Nor did they engineer Hunter Biden’s conviction just to look virtuous. Democrats, it is not the case that if journalists just stop talking about Biden’s age, many Americans miraculously won’t notice it. Nor are there tea leaves auguring a revolt against Trump at the Republican convention. A respected public intellectual privately promoted that idea to me. And Michelle Obama will not — abracadabra! — be riding to the rescue.... Indulging such illusions is dangerous. Those of us who believe that Trump’s return to the White House would be ruinous must prosaically and persistently make the case for Biden’s superiority, flaws and all. We must plan, plod, slog. No sorcery will save us."

Writes Frank Bruni, in "The Election of Magical Thinking" (NYT).

Is it just dangerous illusion and hope of "sorcery" that has us thinking about ways to replace Biden as the Democratic candidate?! Biden plainly looks and sounds as though he's not capable of performing the job anymore. Trusting him even until January 2025 seems like more of a dangerous game of magical thinking. Bruni has written his column to pooh-pooh those of us who are seriously worried about Biden and to take credit for pretending there's no problem worth talking about. 

But I don't think Bruni is delusional. I think he's bullshitting in print but in his head he's got it figured out. It's too hard to replace Biden* and it seems less likely to work than just crossing your fingers and — la la la — moving along as if nothing is amiss and you are crazy if you think so.** And you know who's really crazy? Donald Trump.


* Word that does not appear in Bruni's column: Kamala.

** There's a word for this: gaslighting.

"An exuberant style of play and an effervescent personality made Mays one of the game’s, and America’s, most charismatic figures..."

"... a name that even people far afield from the baseball world recognized instantly as a national treasure.... Mays propelled himself into the Hall of Fame with thrilling flair, his cap flying off as he chased down a drive or ran the bases. 'He had an open manner, friendly, vivacious, irrepressible,' the baseball writer Leonard Koppett said of the young Mays. 'Whatever his private insecurities, he projected a feeling that playing ball, for its own sake, was the most wonderful thing in the world.'... 'Willie could do everything from the day he joined the Giants,' Leo Durocher, his manager during most of his years at the Polo Grounds, said when Mays was elected to the Hall of Fame.... 'He never had to be taught a thing. The only other player who could do it all was Joe DiMaggio.' But even DiMaggio bowed to Mays. 'Willie Mays is the closest to being perfect I’ve ever seen,' he said."

June 18, 2024

Sunrise — 4:51, 5:16, 5:21, 5:33.





Pictures from the Trump rally in Racine, Wisconsin.

Waiting in line... the shirts...


... the people...





I'm not there, but Meade is, with his friend Ray:


Ray says: "Hey Ann, totally happy with the picture being there. If you give your readers the context that I’m very open to learning and meeting and getting the whole picture in detail instead of the soundbite that I get from the news. I want to feel this thing, talk to the people too. That context would be make me feel good about it. I’d like both sides to explore. I sincerely believe that if we sit and talk and listen with an open mind, we will come together. The fact that there’s so much political engagement makes me feel optimistic."

Great sentiments! 

Photos by Meade.

"The Democrats are making up stories that I said Milwaukee is a 'horrible city.' This is false, a complete lie..."

"... just like the Laptop from Hell was a lie, Russia … was a lie, and so much more.... It’s called disinformation, and that’s all they know how to do. I picked Milwaukee, I know it well. It should therefore lead to my winning Wisconsin. But the Dems come out with this fake story, just like all of the others. It never ends. Don’t be duped. Who would say such a thing with that important state in the balance?"

Said Trump, on Truth Social, quoted in "Trump to stage Wisconsin rally days after calling Milwaukee a 'horrible city'/Ticket-only event follows unflattering remark about state’s biggest city that will host Republican national convention" (The Guardian).

He also said this on Fox 6 News, which shows that he said something about Milwaukee: "I think it was very clear what I meant. We’re very concerned with crime. I love Milwaukee. But as you know the crime numbers are terrible, and we have to be very careful. But, I was referring to, also, the election."

Fungus of the Day.


But was there any competition? Yes, there was this mushroom who dreamed he was a sunflower and loved it... But now the dream is over... and the mushroom is awake....


"These are my 2 ravens. They're not actually mine. I'm just taming them...."

1. Is this a political message in metaphor?

2. Is this just exactly what it is — a man interacting with wildlife that happens to frequent his backyard?

3. The use of "taming" prods us to read the relevant section of "The Little Prince"

"But it only recently struck me that in this new Cold War, we—and not the Chinese—might be the Soviets."

"It’s a bit like that moment when the British comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb, playing Waffen-SS officers toward the end of World War II, ask the immortal question: 'Are we the baddies?' I imagine two American sailors asking themselves one day—perhaps as their aircraft carrier is sinking beneath their feet somewhere near the Taiwan Strait: Are we the Soviets?...  The self-destruction of homo sovieticus was worse. And yet is not the resemblance to the self-destruction of homo americanus the really striking thing? ... The bloated, dysfunctional bureaucracy, brilliantly parodied by South Park in a recent episode—is great for the nomenklatura, lousy for the proles.... A bogus ideology that hardly anyone really believes in, but everyone has to parrot unless they want to be labeled dissidents—sorry, I mean deplorables? Check. A population that no longer regards patriotism, religion, having children, or community involvement as important? Check. How about a massive disaster that lays bare the utter incompetence and mendacity that pervades every level of government? For Chernobyl, read Covid. And, while I make no claims to legal expertise, I think I recognize Soviet justice when I see—in a New York courtroom—the legal system being abused in the hope not just of imprisoning but also of discrediting the leader of the political opposition.... I still cling to the hope that we can avoid losing Cold War II...."

Writes Niall Ferguson, in "We’re All Soviets Now/A government with a permanent deficit and a bloated military. A bogus ideology pushed by elites. Poor health among ordinary people. Senescent leaders. Sound familiar?" (Free Press).

"The Biden campaign seems to believe that journalists should stop reporting on polls, rallies, and other tentpoles of traditional presidential races..."

"... and instead devote their resources to telling Americans that Trump wants to be a dictator, over and over again. If that means ignoring Biden’s missteps and weaknesses, well, the Biden campaign can accept that.... [V]ilifying the media has been a building block of Trump’s political identity.... Trump can win this race without favorable media coverage... Biden is in a different, arguably opposite position. His campaign argues that Democrats, unlike Republicans, are actually tethered to reality. Biden’s people are desperately trying to convince voters that the country is in much better shape than most Americans seem to believe. That elections are safe. That the economy, and unemployment, are not as bad as you’ve heard. Biden’s team needs voters to trust reputable publications that reliably print and publish facts—such as the [New York] Times and the [Wall Street] Journal. Then some campaign staffers and high-profile Democratic supporters turn around and attack these publications, in the process casting doubt on their reliability. It’s a losing proposition.... Biden’s belief in the Constitution means he supports a free and independent press. Authoritarians rise by lying and sowing mistrust...."

Writes John Hendrickson, in "The Biden Campaign’s Losing Battle/Beating up on the media is Trumpian and ineffective" (The Atlantic)(free link: here).

Hendrickson's unexamined belief in Biden's belief in the Constitution makes me want to reverse engineer that sentence I boldfaced: Biden's failure to support a free and independent press means he does not believe in the Constitution. 

I resist even examining why I have a strong mental barrier that stops me from reading this article.

Marrying an American citizen generally provides a pathway to U.S. citizenship. But people who crossed the southern border illegally..."

"... must return to their home countries to complete the process for a green card.That means long separations from their spouses and families. The new program would allow families to remain in the country while they pursue legal status. Officials briefed on the discussions said the announcement could amount to the most sweeping unilateral move by a president to provide relief to unauthorized immigrants since President Barack Obama implemented DACA. In a separate move on Tuesday, Mr. Biden is also expected to announce new ways to help people in DACA, known as Dreamers, gain access to work visas."

From "Biden to Give Legal Protections to Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens/Undocumented spouses of American citizens will be shielded from deportation, provided work permits and given a pathway to citizenship, according to officials briefed on the plan" (NYT).

"The decision comes as Mr. Biden tries to strike a balance on one of the most dominant political issues in 2024. Aware that many Americans want tougher policies on the border, Mr. Biden just two weeks ago announced a crackdown that suspended longtime guarantees that give anyone who steps onto U.S. soil the right to seek asylum here. Almost immediately after he issued that order, White House officials began privately reassuring progressives that the president would also help undocumented immigrants who had been in the nation for years...."

"I now assume that any prosecution or regulatory attack on a business not overtly aligned with the Democrats is undertaken for partisan political reasons."

  A Glenn Reynolds rule of thumb.

"Corporate media has spent 8 years, in consensus, branding Trump a racist and White Nationalist."

"Meanwhile, actual Black voters are migrating away from Dems/Biden to Trump in what even CNN is describing as a historic shift (following Latino voters)."

Writes Glenn Greenwald, looking at this:

June 17, 2024

Sunrise — 5:23, 5:25, 5:36, 5;36





That's me in the 4th picture, the one taken by Meade. 

"Calm down people, it is not raw/cold, it is a veggie burger patty underneath a slice of tofu."

Said Chuck Schumer [CORRECTION: No, just some random commenter], quoted in "Chuck Schumer deletes Father’s Day photo tweet in front of grill after critics slam his spatula skills" (NY Post).

Oh, Chuck! Stand up for yourself. 

Fungus of the Day.



Found near the tiny beach:

"[M]y notes weren’t always as illuminating as I’d expected them to be. 'What does ‘Alt’ mean?' I asked Hugh over dinner one night."

"He looked down at the page. 'It’s not "Alt,"' he said. 'It’s "A.L.T."' Then I remembered. We’d been out early that morning, observing a short parade of ostriches. It was misty, and I pointed to a vague shape on the horizon. 'What’s that?' I asked Dalton. He followed my finger and told me it was likely an A.L.T. 'Animal-looking thing,' he explained."

I'm so glad to see a new David Sedaris essay in The New Yorker, "Notes on a Last-Minute Safari/We saw every animal that was in 'The Lion King' and then some. They were just there, like ants at a picnic, except that they were elephants and giraffes and zebras."

I liked seeing the first syllable of my last name in a new context, but more important was the opportunity to find out David Sedaris's opinion of going on "safari," because I had quite recently asserted, to a complete stranger, that going on safari was really basically the same thing as going to the zoo. These things are packaged. It's not as though you're exploring the authentic natural habitat of elephants, giraffes, and zebras.

"These officials declare that it is now unprofessional or reckless for lawyers to draw historical comparisons to show trials or..."

"... to question the motives or ethics underlying these cases. They warn lawyers not to 'sow distrust in the public for the courts where it does not belong.' Yet, many believe that there is an alarming threat to our legal system and that distrust is warranted in light of prosecutions like the one [against Trump] in Manhattan. ... [C]ritics of political prosecutions under the Crown and during the Adams Administrations were often threatened with disbarment or other legal actions for questioning the integrity or motives of judges or prosecutors. It is not enough to say 'well that was then and this is now.' The point is that the bar association also has a duty to protect the core rights that define our legal system, particularly the right of free speech."

Writes Jonathan Turley, in "Think twice? Bar group tells members it’s OK to criticize, but don’t dare call Trump conviction 'partisan'/Connecticut Bar Association makes chilling claim that calling the case one of political prosecution has 'no place in the public discourse'" (Fox News).

"There is no seatbelt for parents to click, no helmet to snap in place, no assurance that trusted experts have investigated and ensured that these platforms are safe for our kids...."

"Parents aren’t the only ones yearning for solutions. Last fall, I gathered with students to talk about mental health and loneliness. As often happens in such gatherings, they raised the issue of social media.... 'I just don’t feel good when I use social media,' [a young woman named Tina] said softly.... Her confession opened the door for her classmates.... There was a sadness in their voices, as if they knew what was happening to them but felt powerless to change it.... Why is it that we have failed to respond to the harms of social media when they are no less urgent or widespread than those posed by unsafe cars, planes or food?... Students like Tina... do not want to be told that change takes time, that the issue is too complicated or that the status quo is too hard to alter.... Now is the time to summon the will to act...."

Writes Vivek H. Murthy, the Surgeon General, in "For Our Kids’ Safety, Social Media Platforms Need a Health Warning" (NYT).

WARNING — THE QUESTION THAT FOLLOWS MAY AFFECT YOUR BRAIN. How dare the government slap its message on the writing and photography of its free citizens?

Let's have a congressional hearing...

"The design brief provides... that the background of the flag must be colored 'buff'... and the flag should be 'so simple that a child can draw it from memory.'"

"It must also have a pine tree in the center and a blue five-pointed North Star in the upper corner, the brief said.... The contest rules specify that the design has to be an original work and not generated by artificial intelligence. The contest winner will not be compensated and the design can be modified by the secretary of state...."

I'm reading "Maine Accepting Designs for a New State Flag/Maine is seeking design ideas before voters in November determine whether to adopt a new, more distinctive flag" (NYT).

Maine is one of the many states with a flag based on the state seal. These flags are way too cluttered, the polar opposite of something a child could draw from memory. Central to Maine's flag, however, is a pine tree, and the contest requires continued focus on the pine tree. There's also a well-placed desire to return to something like Maine's 1901 flag, which is seal-free and seems to adhere to good principles of flag design:


But a pine tree at this screwy moment makes us think of trumped-up controversy surrounding Samuel Alito's wife:

"It was technically illegal, of course, but everyone was benefiting.... By the end of the ’70s, however, loft living had become quite fashionable..."

"... and some landlords were looking to cash in, pushing out the artists for a wealthier clientele. The artists pushed back, and in 1982 state lawmakers enacted Article 7-C of the New York Multiple Dwelling Law, which is commonly known as the 1982 Loft Law. This legislation gave protection and rent stabilization to people who had been living in these spaces. It also required landlords to bring the units up to residential code. When the law was enacted... there were tens of thousands of artists living in lofts across the city. Now just a few hundred remain...."

From "A look inside New York’s historic artist lofts, the last of their kind" (CNN). Nice pictures of present-day artists lofts.

June 16, 2024

Sunrise — 5:03, 5:17, 5:34, 5:47.





Fungus of the Day.


"Oh. Backordered? Estimated to ship August 13th...."

A TikTok moment.

Over at The New York Times, it looks as though Trump has already won the election.

At the top of the front page:


A quick look at the 4 articles:

"Polls suggest that several of Mr. Biden’s core constituencies — young people, Black people and Hispanics — are increasingly Trump-curious."

"In a Wall Street Journal poll of swing states, 30 percent of Black men said they would definitely or probably vote for Mr. Trump. For the disaffected, Mr. Trump offers the promise of radical change. In [a recent New York Times-Siena College survey], these 'tear-it-down' voters — some 15 percent of registered voters — prefer Mr. Trump by 32 percentage points.... 'The polling data has been wrong all along,' [President Biden] said in an interview.... Rejecting the polls — relying instead on anecdotes, instincts and vibes — is political malpractice.... ... Mr. Biden should assume [the polls] are right — and act accordingly."

From "Biden should assume the polls are right, not wrong" by the Editorial Board of The Washington Post.

Exactly how does one "act accordingly"? Just because Biden says the polls are wrong doesn't mean he believes they are wrong. One way to act as if the polls are right is to assert that they are wrong.

"Stanford’s top disinformation research group collapses under pressure/The Stanford Internet Observatory provided real-time analysis..."

"... on viral election falsehoods but has struggled amid attacks from conservative politicians and activists." 

That's the headline at WaPo, and I'm wondering how the 2 parts of the headline relate to each other. Why did the Stanford Internet Observatory collapse? Was it because conservatives attacked it? How much of a struggle is it for a research group that specializes in monitoring disinformation to handle attacks? The word "amid" fudges the causal connection. Did X happen because of Y or did X and Y just happen around the same time?

The word "amid" also appears in the first sentence: "The Stanford Internet Observatory... has shed most of its staff and may shut down amid political and legal attacks that have cast a pall on efforts to study online misinformation."

"Amid" appears again in the 4th paragraph: "Students and scholars affiliated with the program say they have been worn down by online attacks and harassment amid the heated political climate for misinformation research, as legislators threaten to cut federal funding to universities studying propaganda."

Have I ever gone on "amid" alert before? Yes! In October 2013, there was a NYT headline, "Obama’s Uncertain Path Amid Syria Bloodshed."