March 15, 2018

Zeus As In Seduce

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
Let me say,
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 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 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...
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'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

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


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.

December 10, 2017

Annals of Constitutional Thought

Our forefathers did not intend the form of government required by, e.g., the 13th Amendment, says accused pedophile:

Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore said in 2011 that it would "eliminate many problems" for the US government if it got rid of every constitutional amendment besides the first 10.

"You know people don't understand how some of these amendments have completely tried to wreck the form of government that our forefathers intended."

— Roy Moore, 2011

November 27, 2017

Invitation To A Racism

The fellow handing Trump a card the President seems unable to decipher wears a yellow t-shirt under a long-sleeved, wide-collared shirt neatly adorned with more than a dozen ribbons recognizing specific contributions he's made during the course of a career in the US Marines. He's one of the surviving Navajo Code Talkers of WWII.

Behind him hangs a scarlet battle banner celebrating the US Army's victory over the Nez Perce in 1877, and in the background, looming over the proceedings, a portrait of Andrew Jackson.

This is some insulting symbology when you're hosting an event meant to celebrate the deeds of Navaho warriors. Just saying.

November 14, 2017


In the Philipines they have a word for it, amok, for when some random guy goes off on a killing spree (typically, by age-old custom, armed with a machete to slash at any he can reach before he's ended).

Amok in America is semi-automatically armed.

Case Solved

Limbaugh: Moore was a Democrat at time of sexual misconduct allegations

Weather Front

It's mid-November and Santa Cruz is toying with a rainy season.

A couple of desultory storms have passed through so far, but we haven't yet had that set of sequential drenchings that a real rainy season presents, with endless days of gray sky and soaked soil. Perhaps this next ten days will spell out what sort of season it will be. I'm constitutionally on the side of rain, myself.

November 06, 2017

The Precession of the Pleiades Enters The 21st Century

And I’ve done it well, I’ve done it really well, much better than people understand and they understand I’ve done well.

—A recent president's unforced evaluation is that though people understand he's done well, they don't fully get how right they really are: he's done it well, really well.

Who are the “special snowflakes” of early 21st Century America, the people whose underwear is too tight, who are too sensitive about everything, who can’t take even the least criticism? No, it’s not some exquisitely tuned 20-year old leftist at a selective private college. It’s the cultural right, the people who curl up into a Rush Limbaugh-endorsed fetal position every time anyone says even the slightest thing that perturbs the preciousness of their world. I get that everyone in all the wide world feels entitled to the integrity of the lifeworld in which they have grown and thrived as human beings. But that entitlement has its limits, and they are at a minimum the classic limits of liberalism: swing your fist if you must, but stop at my nose. In fact, stop well short of it. Right now we have a minority of people in the United States who insist that they can still flail wildly long after they have pummeled everyone else bloody.

If America is not great, it is not for a lack of attention to our sensitive right-wing snowflakes. They said: hands off our guns. Well, we stand now at the moment of the most intense judicial restraint on any attempt to restrict gun ownership and use in the history of this republic. They said: lower our taxes! We are the least taxed liberal democracy on the planet, we are 37 years into a national regime of ceaseless tax reduction. They said: cut the welfare state, get rid of the safety net! The safety net has been cut, the great revolution of the late 19th and early 20th Century in favor of public goods is nearly totally undone. They said: stop teaching our children what we don’t want them to know. Creationism is back in schools, the government is actively hostile to science, it’s ok for the top leaders of this country to endorse historical falsehoods and insist they be taught to the nation’s children. They said: we’re too free to see pornography and get divorced and live together outside of marriage and take drugs. And where is it that pornography is most popular and adultery flourishes and opoids and meth take hold? In Trumplandia, where people apparently need the Nanny State to stop them from doing what they blame on others who do it far less. They said: stop crime at all costs! And thirty years later, they’re still afraid in a country that locks up more of its own people than any other comparable nation, that allows cops to kill black men with impunity.

—Timothy Burke, Easily Distracted, November 6, 2017 via LG&M