April 16, 2018

Sean Hannity And The Rule Of Three

Michael Cohen's attorneys have reluctantly revealed, when pressed by Judge Kimba Wood in Federal Court, that Michael Cohen's law practice extends to exactly three clients: Donald Trump, of course, Elliot Broidy, surprisingly, and, after a round of foot-dragging in court today, client number three.

So everyone knows the one about the Irishman, the rabbi and the Scotsman walking into a bar, or the Englishman, the priest and the zen master sharing a parachute, or the president, the adulterer and the broadcaster doing whatever the hell it was they were doing that made them clients of Cohen. The rule of three makes for solid jokes.

April 07, 2018

On A Happier Note

Newly added Andrew McCutchen had a career day at the plate for the San Francisco Giants this evening, going 6 for 7 with 10 total bases, four RBI's, 2 runs, and a game-ending 14th inning three-run walk-off home run. To beat the Dodgers.

In Keeping With Longstanding Practices…

The Quotidian insists it be included on the list.

April 04, 2018

This Post Is Hereby Retracted

Perhaps shipping containers full of human waste could be stacked along the southern border instead of parked in unlucky Alabama towns. Contributions in kind from all over the United States would eventually make possible as complete and repellant a barrier to entry as any nation state has ever assayed, and revive our nation's rail infrastructure to boot.

March 27, 2018

50th

I was drafted into the United States Army exactly fifty years ago today, on March 27, 1968. There was a war going on, and right then the Army needed more bodies: that week's haul of inductees was the largest haul to date, tens of thousands of poor fucks who weren't in college (maybe they couldn't afford it, maybe they weren't smart enough to go or smart enough to stay in once they got there, like me, maybe they'd just graduated and lost their student deferment) or couldn't get a doctor to write a note, or avoided the draft in any of the many other ways creative young men took advantage of at the time.

There I went, after a day at the induction center in Oakland, flying off, drafted, on the first jet plane I'd ever ridden in, flying up north to Fort Lewis.

March 23, 2018

March 15, 2018

Zeus As In Seduce

I,
oh I, can turn a gray sky blue,
you see, I can make it rain when I want it to
oh I,
can build a castle from a single grain of sand
you see, I can make a ship sail on dry land.
Ain't happy am I with all the powers that I possess,
girl, you're the key to my happiness,
and I can't get next to you, babe
can't get next to you.
I've been trying a long time
I don't know what to do
Oooooo
Let me say,
I,
I can fly like a bird in the sky
I can buy anything that money can buy
Oh I,
can turn a river into a raging fire
I can live forever if I so desire
Ain't happy am I with all the powers that I possess,
oh, you're the key, 'cause
I can't get next to you, babe
can't get next to you.
I've been trying for such a long time

Let me tell you that
I,
I can turn back the hands of time
you better believe I can
Oh I, you see, I can make the seasons change
just by waving my hand
Let me say,
I,
I can change anything from old to new, girl,
oh I, all the things I want to do the most, you see, I'm unable to do unimportant, all these things that I'm trying to do the other day, girl,
you see, I can't get next to you, baby
can't get next to you
I've been tryin a long time...
oh if somebody'd only help me...
oh, let me, let me go...
whooooo...
I,
I've been working on it baby
I've been thinking about it you see,
I've been trying to call you all day long but, you see,
I don't have your phone number, honey
I,
I've been thinking about you baby something awful,
you see, sometime I feel like I want to moan about it
and I just don't know what to say
and I say
Mmmmmm...

March 13, 2018

Steven Hawking, January 8, 1942 – March 14, 2018

On his own terms, pretty often right. Now departed.

To Hawking's annoyance, his much-checked calculations produced findings that contradicted his second law of black hole mechanics, which claimed black holes could never get smaller, and supported Bekenstein's reasoning about their entropy. His results, which Hawking presented from 1974, showed that black holes emit radiation, known today as Hawking radiation, which may continue until they exhaust their energy and evaporate.

March 12, 2018

Politics Is Sharp Practices

The established facts of Russian meddling in the 2016 election were the causal basis that prompted the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into the matter early last year.

Tonight the Committee's Republicans have ruled that the established facts are not evidence, and wrapped up their work.

March 08, 2018

Whose Fair Lady Was That Again, International Women's Day Edition

On the Street Where You Live, the song of a stone stalker.

When she mentioned how her aunt bit off the spoon,

She completely done me in.

And my heart went on a journey to the moon,

When she told about her father and the gin

And I never saw a more enchanting farce

Than that moment when she shouted

"move your bloomin' " ....

I have often walked down this street before;

But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.

All at once am I

Several stories high.

Knowing I'm on the street where you live

Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?

Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?

Does enchantment pour

Out of ev'ry door?

No, it's just on the street where you live!

And oh! The towering feeling

Just to know somehow you are near.

The overpowering feeling

That any second you may suddenly appear!

People stop and stare.

They don't bother me.

For there's no where else on earth that I would rather be.

Let the time go by,

I won't care if I

Can be here on the street where you live.

Music by Lerner and Loewe, 1956

March 05, 2018

In Like A Lion And Out Like A Light

The thing of it is that getting Steele to spread the corrosive notion that the Russian Government had vetoe'd Trump's choice of Mitt Romney to be US Secretary of State is a perfect move for Russian policy whether or not the notion itself has a grain of truth to it. Once the seeds of such equivocalities are planted in the "proper soil," for which in this instance we will metaphorically substitute Mr. Steele, the transmission of those seeds by Mr. Steele will certainly serve to disrupt our polity.

If it can be taken as a given that post-Soviet Russian foreign policy includes a strain of sour-grapesist anti-Americanism, then this cleverly crafted imputation about Trump's willingness to do Putin's bidding is an enormous victory for Vlad's side.

March 02, 2018

Winter's Bonus

I didn't look in on the Olympics in real time, so I'm thankful for the folks at Botnik for taking a run at the event with their Predictive Writing app to supply me with what things might have been like over there if I'd bothered to.

February 23, 2018

Annals of Natural History

Viewers inspect the domed roof of the California Academy of Sciences Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, March 2009

February 22, 2018

occasional delusions of clarity

My take is that, clearly, Paul Manafort was desperately seeking a sequence of loans (backed by transparently fraudulent paperwork) to pay the vig on money owed to a connected Russian oligarch named Oleg Deripaska, a serious man, who wanted $19 million or so from Manafort for a relationship they'd established during Manafort's time in Ukraine, as reported here.

This activity was going on all through late 2015-early 2016, just before Manafort volunteered his services to the Trump campaign, gratis. He got on board in March of 2016, just as his latest loan application was turned down, and by June had replaced Corey Lewandowski as Trump's campaign manager.

He saw his erstwhile client's wishes granted when the Republican platform regarding Ukraine was altered at the convention just weeks after he replaced Lewandowski.

He lasted little more than two months in the job, although during that time he did in fact manage to convince an officer of an obscure Chicago bank that he'd be named Secretary of the Army while securing a $16 million loan from said bank.

Whether his debt to the Russian has now been settled or merely postponed is an open question.

February 13, 2018

Sign of the Times

We're delighted to announce that Quinn Norton has joined The New York Times editorial board as our lead opinion writer on the power, culture and consequences of technology…

— Ari Bervacqua, THe New York Times Company February 13, 2018

Uh…

NY Times Hires, Quickly Fires Journalist With History of Homophobic Tweets

Maxwell Tani, The Daily Beast

Would have lasted longer in the Trump White House, even without a security clearance.

February 07, 2018

Soak The Rich

The time-tested solution.

I am in favor of letting Donald Trump's kids go to state colleges for free, and increasing his tax rate to pay for the free college for the rest of the kids.

—Atrios, Eschaton, Feb 7, 2018

February 06, 2018

Apply As Needed To The Affected Area

“The higher, pretentious form of stupidity stands only too often in crass opposition to [its] honorable form. It is not so much lack of intelligence as failure of intelligence, for the reason that it presumes to accomplishments to which it has no right … The stupidity this addresses is no mental illness, yet it is most lethal; a dangerous disease of the mind that endangers life itself. … [S]ince the ‘higher stupidity’ consists not in an inability to understand but in a refusal to understand, any healing or reversal of it will not occur through rational argumentation, through a greater accumulation of data and knowledge, or through experiencing new and different feelings … We may say that the reversal of a spiritual sickness must entail a spiritual cure.”

One crucial word from How to Be a Stoic, Jan 19, 2016

This is stupidity as the willful ignorance of the unwise. Not mentally ill, no, but seriously and actively and obdurately mistaken. ἀμαθίᾳ :Amathia.

February 02, 2018

In Other Other News

Today, Devin Nunes Peeks Out From His Recusal (Six More Weeks Of Malfeasance Foreseen)

January 31, 2018

Idiot Souffle

This is just weird: Russia's SVR chief allowed into US to meet with DCI Pompeo

The chief of Russia's SVR has been specifically and personally forbidden entry into the United States of America for his part in the recent Russian expropriation of Crimea from Ukraine, which the US formally opposes. Allowing him entry into the country requires by law a special exemption from the Secretary of State that a visa be issued.

Of course, it could just be Russia begging the Trump administration as pointedly as possible under the circumstances to please —please— avoid fucking with Korea, the likelihood of which happening increases by the hour.

January 26, 2018

In Other News. . .

Foreign Policy EXCLUSIVE: President Donald Trump pressed senior aides last June to devise and carry out a campaign to discredit senior FBI officials after learning that those specific officials were likely to be witnesses against him.

But his aides dissuaded him, and the Republic was saved.

Just kidding.

January 13, 2018

Whoa, Nellie!

Keith Jackson, October 18, 1928 – January 12, 2018

For decade after decade Keith Jackson was a delightful college and pro football announcer. He had a rich drawl that didn't downplay the drama of a football game, if any was to be had, but he never made it out to be anything but that, a game, an entertainment, a silly something he was happy to witness and transmit. Good night, nurse, he's gone for good.

January 10, 2018

Dogs Barking Idiotically Through Endless Nights

…endless saturnalia of bunk, of bluff, of stupidity, of insincerity, of false virtue, of nonsense, of pretense, of sophistry, of paralogy, of bamboozlement, of actorial posturing, of strident wind music, of empty words—even, at times, of downright fraud

I'm sorry, Mr. Menken, but you say nothing here to distinguish your era particularly.