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June 20: New York Times: "You may be hunched over your phone right now, worrying about reports that young people are growing horns on their skulls from spending too much time hunched over smartphones.... Recent articles by the BBC and the Washington Post have cited a 2018 study in the journal Scientific Reports saying that these bone growths have been turning up more often than expected in people aged 18 to 30. The study suggests that 'sustained aberrant postures associated with the emergence and extensive use of hand-held contemporary technologies, such as smartphones and tablets,' are to blame.... Experts give the report mixed reviews." ...

     ... Update. Uh, it seems one of the authors of the "scientific study" is a chiropractor called David Shahar, who used his own patients as subjects of the study AND, according to Quartz, is "the creator of Dr. Posture, an online store that advertises information and products related to forward head posture. One section tells users how to 'look and feel your best in three easy steps,' which include watching a video by Shahar, downloading at-home exercises, and sleeping with a Thoracic Pillow, which Shahar has trademarked and sold for $195." So hunch over, pick up your phones, & call your friends with the good news that the "study" is more likely a marketing scam than a warning about another dire effect of cellphone use. Thanks to safari for the link.

 

Nick Schager in the Daily Beast: "Premiering on Netflix and in select theaters on July 24, The Great Hack is the most enraging, terrifying and — I don’t use this term lightly — important documentary of the year. Directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim..., its subject is the Cambridge Analytica data scandal—a story that’s galling on the surface, and infinitely more bone-chilling when one considers its far-reaching ramifications. That’s because Cambridge Analytica’s deceptive and criminal relationship with, and conduct on, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform had world-altering consequences: helping launch the Brexit movement, and successfully aiding the election campaign of Donald Trump.” 

Guardian: “The businessman Arron Banks and the unofficial Brexit campaign Leave.EU have issued a legal threat against streaming giant Netflix in relation to The Great Hack, a new documentary about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the abuse of personal data. The threat comes as press freedom campaigners and charity groups warn the government in an open letter that UK courts are being used to 'intimidate and silence' journalists working in the public interest. In a joint letter to key cabinet members, they call for new legislation to stop 'vexatious lawsuits', highlighting one filed last week by Banks against campaigning journalist Carole Cadwalladr.”

AP: "MAD, the long-running satirical magazine that influenced everyone from 'Weird Al' Yankovic to the writers of 'The Simpsons,' will be leaving newsstands after its August issue. Really. The illustrated humor magazine — instantly recognizable by the gap-toothed smiling face of mascot Alfred E. Neuman — will still be available in comic shops and through mail to subscribers. But after its fall issue it will just reprint previously published material. The only new material will come in special editions at the end of the year."

Hill: "The Democrats beat the Republicans in a high-scoring 14-7 win Wednesday [June 26] night in the 58th annual Congressional Baseball Game. It was the Democrats' 10th win in 11 years."

New York Times: "... the Library of Congress has named [Joy Harjo] America’s new poet laureate. She will take over for Tracy K. Smith, who has held the position for two years.... Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, is the 23rd poet and first Native person to be selected for the role."

New York: "The mass of the metal 'anomaly' beneath the moon’s largest crater is five times greater than the big island of Hawaii, and according to a new study from scientists at Baylor University, it could contain metals remaining from an ancient asteroid impact, weighing in at around 4.8 quintillion pounds."

New York Times: "A skeleton in Siberia nearly 10,000 years old has yielded DNA that reveals a striking kinship to living Native Americans, scientists reported on Wednesday. The finding, published in the journal Nature, provides an important new clue to the migrations that first brought people to the Americas. 'In terms of peopling of the Americas, we have found close to the missing link,' said Eske Willerslev, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen and a co-author of the new paper. 'It’s not the direct ancestor, but it’s extremely close.'... The DNA of [a group scientists call] the Ancient Paleo-Siberians is remarkably similar to that of Native Americans. Dr. Willerslev estimates that Native Americans can trace about two-thirds of their ancestry to these previously unknown people.”

New York Times: Navy pilots flying along the East Coast of the U.S. spotted UFOs "almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015.... The sightings were reported to the Pentagon’s shadowy, little-known Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which analyzed the radar data, video footage and accounts provided by senior officers from the Roosevelt. Luis Elizondo, a military intelligence official who ran the program until he resigned in 2017, called the sightings 'a striking series of incidents.'” In one incident, the UFO flew between two Navy jets "flying in tandem about 100 feet apart over the Atlantic east of Virginia Beach.... It looked to the pilot ... like a sphere encasing a cube."

Mrs. McCrabbie: This actually seems crazy to me:

New York Times: "A shiny stainless steel sculpture created by Jeff Koons in 1986, inspired by a child’s inflatable toy, sold at Christie’s on Wednesday night for $91.1 million with fees, breaking the record at auction for a work by a living artist, set just last November by David Hockney. Robert E. Mnuchin, an art dealer and the father of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, made the winning bid for Mr. Koons’s 1986 'Rabbit' from an aisle seat near the front of the salesroom."

Might as well just get this -- it's vintage! it's "authentic"! -- and give it pride-of-place in the front hall. Sure, visitors will think you're tasteless & nuts, but in such a vintage, authentic way.

UPDATE: (May 19): New York Times: Mnuchin would not reveal the identity of his client; i.e., the purchaser of Stainless Bunny is. During an NYT interview, "He was near tears when asked about his son Steve and refused to comment about their relationship. But friends said that he is in an impossible predicament, conflicted over his sense of duty about being a loyal father and his concern as a citizen that President Trump is bad for America."

David McCullough Is a Crap Historian. Rebecca Onion of Slate reviews his book on the history -- okay, make that "hagiographic platitudes" -- about the settlement of the Northwest Territory. "Its success (it is No. 10 on Amazon’s best-seller list for books, as of Friday) shows how big the gap between critical history and the “popular history” that makes it to best-seller lists, Costco, and Target remains.” Mrs. McC: Onion doesn't mention it, but I get the impression all the "settling" was done by men; apparently the women's tasks were of no account. Somehow I don't think most of the "ladies" sat around drinking tea & doing needlepoint in their pretty parlors.

Saturday
Jul132019

The Commentariat -- July 14, 2019

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

What's Wrong with These People? Oh. They're Sociopaths. Kevin Fitzpatrick of Vanity Fair: "Speaking with Sunday Morning Futures host Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network, Senator Lindsey Graham vehemently disagreed with humanitarian concerns raised by Vice President Mike Pence's recent tour of a migrant detention facility in Texas. 'I don't care if they have to stay in these facilities for 400 days, we're not going to let those men go that I saw,' said Graham. 'It would be dangerous.' Graham was referring to now-viral footage of Pence's tour, which saw the vice president blithely overlooking a fenced room filled to capacity with migrants protesting unsanitary conditions. Pence subsequently claimed over Twitter that the men 'were in a temporary holding area because Democrats in Congress have refused to fund additional bed space,' and derided CNN for allegedly 'ignoring the excellent care being provided to families and children' in a separate facility.... Donald Trump likewise tweeted on Sunday that 'Friday's tour showed vividly, to politicians and the media, how well run and clean the children's detention centers are. Great reviews!'... Graham, meanwhile, emphasized that the facility was 'overwhelmed,' and claimed 'all of [the detained migrants] broke our law.'"

Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Inquirer: "She had them at 'hello.' No, seriously. After applauding performatively for anti-Trump red meat tossed out by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillbrand ... and former Cabinet secretary Julian Castro..., more than 3,000 politically left activists at the Convention Center went wild the instant that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren took her first stride onto the Netroots Nation stage.... With her slam-dunk performance Saturday, Elizabeth Warren became president ... of the American progressive movement, anyway.... The current frontrunner ... Joe Biden, whose national headquarters is just a few blocks away in Center City, chose instead to campaign in New Hampshire rather than face what might have been tough questioning of his more moderate stances."

Bianca Quilantan & David Cohen of Politico: "... Donald Trump on Sunday called out progressive Democratic congresswomen in xenophobic terms, saying: 'Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.'... While the president didn't mention them by name in his tweets, it appears he was attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a native of Somalia, and possibly Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), whose family is Palestinian. Both have been outspoken when it comes to Trump's administration and the conditions of migrant detention centers on the border. 'So interesting to see "Progressive" Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,' the president wrote on Twitter."

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Obviously Trump is unaware that telling "us" how "our" government is to be run is part of these Congresswomen's job description. BTW, they are "us," something else Trump can't bear to face. ...

     ... Update. Justin Wise of the Hill: "Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday condemned President Trump for telling a group of progressive lawmakers to go back to where they came from, saying the 'xenophobic' comments reaffirmed that Trump's plan is about 'making America white again.'" ...

... Katie Rogers & Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times: "Broadly, Mr. Trump's attack was meant for members of the so-called squad, a group engaged in an existential and generational war of words with Ms. Pelosi: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts.... Only one of the women, Ms. Omar, who is from Somalia, was born outside the United States. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx to parents of Puerto Rican descent. Ms. Pressley, who is black, was born in Cincinnati and raised in Chicago. And Ms. Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrants.... Mr. Trump's attack came after days of Fox News coverage that centered on Ms. Omar.... 'Like some of my Democratic colleagues, I’m young, from an immigrant family, also very critical of Trump,'[Rep. Brendan] Boyle [D-Pa.] wrote on Twitter. 'Funny thing though, he never tells me to "go back where I come from." Hmm I wonder why?'... He is white."

During yesterday's Midtown blackout, Mayor Bill De Blasio was MIA in Iowa, but after the power outage forced the show "Come from Away" to close, the cast took to the streets to keep the peace:

Forrest M. sent this along to cheer us up, but I'm afraid many of you will be ever so upset at the implied disrespect to the Addams family.~~~~~~~~~~

Tom Hilton in No More Mister Nice Blog: "We're in a situation that is completely untenable, that cannot be allowed to continue, but that absolutely will continue until (at least) January 20, 2021. Trump has to be removed; Trump will not be removed.... But the point isn't that the situation is shitty (it is) and isn't going to change for a while (it won't). The point is the toll this shitty situation is taking. And maybe it would be a good idea to recognize that toll when we interact with each other. To understand that we're all stressed and anxious right now;... To treat each other with kindness and patience, and to refuse to let small differences escalate into acrimony. Because we're all in this together unless we aren't. And if we aren't, the enemy will go on winning long after January 2021." --s

Trevor Hughes of USA Today: "Fear and anxiety spread through immigrant communities nationwide over anticipated federal raids aimed at detaining and deporting thousands of people accused of remaining illegally within the United States. Immigration reform advocates said that communities around Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco were being targeted by raids expected to start Sunday and last through at least Thursday.... Many large U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle and Miami, have declared themselves 'sanctuaries' for undocumented immigrants, and adopted policies barring local government workers from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.... In Denver, Mayor Michael Hancock said city police officers would avoid helping ICE agents but said city human service workers were on alert to assist any minor children left behind if their parents are arrested.... San Francisco Mayor London Breed reiterated that the city's police would not cooperate with any ICE operations and that the city was gearing up to protect its immigrants." ...

... AP: "Several thousand protesters have marched through downtown Chicago to protest the Trump administration's immigration policies, including planned sweeps in several American cities, including Chicago, over the weekend.... Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says the protest was peaceful and that there were no arrests. He says there were an estimated 5,000 protesters at its peak." ...

Daily Kos: "On Friday evening, The Wall Street Journal reported that agents had made their first foray to homes in New York City, but when agents arrived in Harlem and Brooklyn without warrants, the residences they visited stayed resolutely shut. So the agents retreated. For now." (Link is to the WSJ story.)

... Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker (satire): "Donald Trump was reportedly 'hopping mad' on Saturday after a surprise ICE raid left his Mar-a-Lago retreat with no employees.... A spokesman for Mar-a-Lago called the situation 'dire,' warning that the resort had lost almost as many staff members as the White House."

Brian Contreras & Paige Cornwell of the Seattle Times: "Tacoma[, Washington,] police said they shot at an armed man early Saturday who was attacking the Northwest Detention Center, the holding facility in Tacoma for federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The man died at the scene.... Police said [Willem] Van Spronsen tossed lit objects at vehicles and buildings, causing one car fire, and unsuccessfully tried to ignite a propane tank.... Four responding officers all opened fire and then took cover, uninjured. After medical aid arrived, officers found Van Spronsen dead. He had multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Pierce County Medical Examiner's office."

Rachel Frazen of the Hill: "Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Saturday that she will create a commission to investigate 'crimes committed by the United States against immigrants' if she is elected president." Mrs. McC: This is a good idea. Maybe McConnell will propose it to Pelosi (ha ha), and we can get a truth commission started right away.

Jonathan Blitzer of the New Yorker: "Early next week, according to a D.H.S. official, the Trump Administration is expected to announce a major immigration deal ... with Guatemala.... According to a draft of the agreement obtained by The New Yorker, asylum seekers from any country who either show up at U.S. ports of entry or are apprehended while crossing between ports of entry could be sent to seek asylum in Guatemala instead.... Under this new arrangement, most of these migrants will no longer have a chance to make an asylum claim in the U.S. at all.... The biggest, and most unsettling, question raised by the agreement is how Guatemala could possibly cope with such enormous demands. More people are leaving Guatemala now than any other country in the northern triangle of Central America. Rampant poverty, entrenched political corruption, urban crime, and the effects of climate change have made large swaths of the country virtually uninhabitable." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This plan, then, is insane. According to someone who has read the agreement, it "reads like it was drafted by someone's intern." My guess: the "intern" is named Stephen Miller.

Daniel Politi of Slate: "... Donald Trump is getting an early start in bashing former special counsel Robert Mueller as he came up with a deal to testify in the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on July 24.... Trump went back to a favorite talking point Saturday, accusing Mueller and his team of carrying out 'illegal deletion' of text messages that were exchanged between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.... Needless to say, the president has not presented any evidence to back up his explosive claim.... Trump also retweeted several [nutty] messages from Judicial Watch...." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Trump didn't "present any evidence" because of course there isn't any. As Tal Axelrod of the Hill reminds us, "Strzok was swiftly removed from Mueller's team after the texts were unearthed, and a Justice Department investigation found that while the messages did go missing for a time, their absence was attributed to a technical error rather than any malicious intent." But Trump doesn't need to worry much about the hearing, IMO. Mueller will be dry as burnt toast, his interrogators will be silly, and Nancy Pelosi will continue to quash impeachment proceedings. (The only hope on Pelosi is that she's waiting to open impeachment hearings until after (and if) the courts force Trump officials & toadies to testify before Congress. That would make sense.)

Molly Beck & Mary Spicuzza of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "... Donald Trump raised $3 million in Wisconsin cash on Friday touring Milwaukee to promote a new trade deal.... But ... the president downplayed the suffocation felt by Wisconsin dairy farmers because of Trump's own tariffs.... Trump told a crowd at Derco Aerospace on Milwaukee's northwest side, '... We're over the hump. We're doing really well.' Trump said the new trade agreement would help Wisconsin dairy farmers by providing access to Canada's market, painting an optimistic picture of the future of the Wisconsin industry -- which is losing two dairy farms a day. Nearly 700 Wisconsin farms were shut down last year by owners used to enduring a brutal workload and hard times, calling it quits in a downturn now headed into its fifth year. In 2018, for the third straight year, Wisconsin led the nation in farm bankruptcies. If he's saying farmers are over the hump, he would be badly mistaken, said Darin Von Ruden..., dairy farmer ... and president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union."

BBC News: "Donald Trump abandoned the Iran nuclear deal to spite Barack Obama, according to a leaked memo written by the UK's former ambassador to the US. Sir Kim Darroch described the move as an act of 'diplomatic vandalism', according to the Mail on Sunday.... The paper reports that Sir Kim wrote a memo to [Boris] Johnson, saying: 'The outcome illustrated the paradox of this White House: you got exceptional access, seeing everyone short of the president; but on the substance, the administration is set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism, seemingly for ideological and personality reasons - it was Obama's deal. Moreover, they can't articulate any "day-after" strategy; and contacts with State Department this morning suggest no sort of plan for reaching out to partners and allies, whether in Europe or the region.'"

** Bill Browning of LGBTQ Nation: "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced a new commission that he said will decide which human rights are more important to U.S. foreign policy.... Every member ... is an anti-LGBTQ activist.... Pompeo said that the commission would conduct 'one of the most profound reexaminations of the unalienable rights in the world since the 1948 Universal Declaration' of Human Rights. The group will focus, he said, on 'natural law.' Natural law is a philosophical thought that says that certain rights are inherent to being human, usually endowed by God, insisting that universal moral truths can be arrived at by examining religious texts or an imagined 'state of nature.' Natural law as a concept is often used by the right to argue against women's and LGBTQ people's rights." Mrs. McC: You can be pretty sure that if you're a white, straight, Christian, professional Republican male adult American citizen, you've got "natural" rights. The majority of us -- not so much.

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Nobody told the New Republic editors that gay-bashing is "inappropriate" until after they published an opinion piece by a gay writer that bashed Pete Buttigieg as "'the gay equivalent of Uncle Tom,' and referred to him as 'Mary Pete.'"

Lloyd Green in the Guardian: "Tim Alberta, Politico's chief political correspondent, has written a masterful must-read. Across 600-plus pages [of American Carnage], he chronicles more than a decade of transformation and turmoil within what was once but is no longer the party of Abraham Lincoln.... Like the deity on the sixth day of creation, Donald Trump has recast the Republican party in his own image. Aggrieved and belligerent is the new normal. The soul of the party has migrated from the sun belt to the Bible belt, from the suburbs to rural America, from a message suffused with upward arc to one brimming with resentment." ...

... Politico publishes an excerpt of the book, which covers how Trump survived release of the "Access Hollywood" tape. ...

... Oh, and here's more reaction from Trumpelthinskin to Alberta's interviews of former Speaker Paul Ryan. Christian Vasquez of Politico: "... Donald Trump on Saturday broadened his attack on Paul Ryan, saying conservatives like the former speaker 'almost killed the Republican Party' because they were 'weak, ineffective & stupid.'"

Burgess Everett of Politico: "Republicans have no real plan to establish a new health care system if the courts strike down the Affordable Care Act before the 2020 election. But plenty of them are rooting for its demise anyway -- even if it means plunging the GOP into a debate that splits the party and leaves them politically vulnerable. After a decade of trying to gut Obamacare, Republicans may finally get their wish thanks to a Trump administration-backed lawsuit. Its success would cause chaos not only in the insurance markets but on Capitol Hill. And Republican senators largely welcome it -- even if they don't know what comes next."

Jodi Kantor, et al., of the New York Times: "A strange thing happened when Jeffrey Epstein came back to New York City after being branded a sex offender: His reputation appeared to rise. In 2010, the year after he got out of a Florida prison, Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos dined at his Manhattan mansion with a British royal. The next year, Mr. Epstein was photographed at a 'billionaire&'s dinner' attended by tech titans like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. A page popped up on Harvard University's website lauding his accomplishments, and superlative-filled news releases described his lofty ambitions as he dedicated $10 million to charitable causes."

Mrs. McCrabbie: So if you're not booked up for September, you may want to block out the days around Friday, September 20, because that's the day "all of us" are going to storm Area 51, the U.S. Air Force facility in the Nevada desert, so we can "see them aliens." Apparently, the whole "plan" is a satire, but that hasn't stopped 600,000+ people from signing up. Since the base is super-restricted, the instigators have reckoned with the danger of getting shot dead by asserting, "If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets." Here's a demo, so practice. It sure seems as if it would work:

Beyond the Beltway

Idaho. Cynthia Sewell of the Idaho Statesman: "Former Idaho GOP chairman and lobbyist Jonathan Parker now has three pending criminal charges. The latest charge, misdemeanor unlawful entry, stems from Parker allegedly entering a woman's Meridian home without her consent. Parker pleaded not guilty to that charge on July 3, marking his third court appearance on three separate charges over the course of about one month. Parker resigned from his GOP post Feb. 18, with more than two years left in his term." --s

News Lede

AP: "Weakened but still potent, Barry inundated the Gulf Coast but appeared unlikely to deluge New Orleans as it continued its slow advance.... New Orleans had been braced for heavy rains Saturday, but instead had intermittent bands of moderate showers and occasional sunshine. Though Barry will continue to dump rain throughout the weekend, forecasters downgraded rainfall estimates for the city through Sunday to between 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters). Forecasters had earlier said New Orleans could get up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain...."

Reader Comments (14)

This is what our own State Dept. thinks about travelling to Guatemala:

"Exercise increased caution in Guatemala due to crime....Violent crime, such as armed robbery and murder, is common. Gang activity, such as extortion, violent street crime, and narcotics trafficking, is widespread. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. "

As has already been established, the cruelty is the point. Send the poor & vulnerable to Guatemala City where they will be preyed upon by the country's web of gangs. Let the rape, abuse, and extortion occur long from our border.

Central Americans are not "people" in the eyes of this administration, they're disposable labor units. The Spanish term "braceros", figuratively meaning "arms" (for labor), is much more apt than "migrant worker", as the category of "refugee" has been effectively defined out of existence it seems. When you void them of their humanity and only see financial calculations, it makes perfect sense to cage them like animals (for profit) while they await an opportunity to be let in and likely exploited (for profit).

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/guatemala-travel-advisory.html

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Looks like Wisconsin dairy farmers are (maybe) learning an essential lesson: never trust Trump. He’s a liar, a con man, and a stunningly corrupt incompetent. If he tells you it’s a nice day, look outside before you agree. But then check your wallet. He probably lifted it while you were looking the other way. Also, he probably tried to grope your wife if he thought she was “his style”, meaning “his” for short.

But here’s the problem. What will they do with that newfound (but readily available) knowledge? Will they vote for a Democrat next time?

My thinking: no.

First, Nancy Pelosi is proving that Democrats can’t be trusted with power. They might not lie to you and pick your pocket, but when presented with the greatest existential crisis for the nation since the Civil War, they’ve gone full Hamlet. Wait and see.

Second, this election will be the acid test for the confederate propaganda program that has spent the last 40 years pouring brain melting sludge into the ears of any who listen for more than 30 seconds.

My guess is that it will hold back the forces of truth, decency, responsibility, and honor once again. Especially since the leader of those forces has told them to sit down and shut up.

Will we see Wisconsin dairy farmers pull the lever for Trump even as their farms are taken away from them?

Too many, I fear. Like millions of red staters who will have their healthcare taken away by a spiteful narcissist. Too many will line up for the MAGA monster.

Despair is my constant companion.

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

AK: Despair must have a twin who sits on my shoulder. It is practically too toxic to even tune in to MSNBC anymore. Reports of anything good, anything powerful, anything uplifting are so scarce that I am spending my summer in the arms of the libraries, fiction and the swimming pool.

By the way, my splendid local lap pool (in which I dip but do not lap)keeps closing early, due to labor shortages. Apparently kids are no longer choosing to take the courses for lifeguarding. I was told that they are expensive, and when employed, the kids make minimum wage or a bit more. The other pool is filled with families who cannot afford a beach house, and that pool requires more watching, so our lifeguards are pulled. Even then, safety issues are being stretched. Just part of the changing of daily life, where restaurants can't find good summer help, and pools can't serve as relief for us all...

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

I have similar feelings, Jeanne, so I have set up nyjer feeders for the goldfinches. Their colors (red, yellow and blue, so far) are gorgeous and their activity is soothing. I tried to set up a bigger feeder so I wouldn't have to change those tiny socks every day, but a bear came along, broke the branch the bigger feeder was on, and left the feeder crushed, but neatly cleaned of all the nyjer seed.
Back to the socks.
I'm sure there's a lesson there, somewhere, but I choose to just look at the birds.

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

Since we are trying like the dickens to obliterate the chaos, suck up the fact that we will have to put up with this for many a moon, I, too, concentrate––at least for as long as I can muster––the goodness and love around me. I'm glad to report that our gardens are doing splendidly––good harvest of all the vegetables and the flowers are lovely and until the Day Lillies have their day they are now abundant.

DAY LILLY

She was always like that—
At least that’s the way I remember her.

She was gorgeous—it’s the perfect word.
Open—exuberant—full of life’s possibilities—

Took on a day like it was her last. Males drawn
To her beauty drown in her elixir.
She wasn’t the least interested in long term relationships.

Don’t ever grow old, her mother said.

She never did. At the end of the day
She did herself in; breathed in an air

Heavy with death, her softness diminishing
Closing tight against the still vibrant life
Going on around her.

She won’t be missed—like all brief beauties
She simply gathered into herself and––slowly faded away.

July 2005

Our fervent wish for that fella without feelings except for himself.

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

P.S. The excerpt above of Tim Alberta's "American Carnage" was extraordinary in its details–-"Mother would not be pleased" should be on the back of all those red hats. One wonders with whom he talked to in order to get all that info. I remember thinking then that if this didn't stop him nothing would and we can now see ––in some respects–-why Nancy might want to travel differently down the impeachment trail. It's as if we have all the evidence to put his fat ass in jail but the jailers refuse to cooperate and the MAGA mobs are lining up at the gates. No more Tick-tock MoFo––it's now counting the days waiting for Godot to save the day and put the bastard away––for good. What are the odds?

I'm with Victoria––think I'll stick with watching the birds.

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

"....crime infested places from which they came."

Two thoughts:

The Pretendere didn't write it. The "from which they came" locution is the giveaway.

Second, if they were white, they would take it as an invitation to the
White House, crime infested as it is.

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

@Ken Winkes: Good forensic work there.

July 14, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

“Acute Monsoon Flooding in Nepal and India Leaves Dozens Dead”

Breath-stealing, heart-rending photos.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/14/world/asia/monsoon-floods-nepal-india.html

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHattie

Definitely heartbreaking Hattie -- just like the videos of Isfahan, Iran, were in March. People were so ignorant of what a bad rainstorm was that they were walking around in fast moving floodwater. There is even a viewing of a woman being carried off by the flood. No one seemed to have any idea that she was being swept to her death. They hadn't ever seen that kind of rain.
Who'll stop the rain?

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

@Victoria: Creedence Clearwater Revival---
Who'll stop the rain.

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforrest.morris

“Who’ll stop the rain?”
Indeed, Victoria.
(As well, the reign/s.)

A practice of discipline was demanded from career choices. (full disclosure: I fell - jumped? - off that wagon, often.). Yet I find, in this current world of ours, that “keeping the faith” demands a far stricter daily regimen.

“Think Golbally, Act Locally”

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHattie

Re: my Golbally, above

Hahahahaha - “It’s just a brain thing, Kiddo.”

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHattie

Leftover weekend thoughts...

A couple of things I didn't manage to comment on in time.

First, PD, loved your poem about day lilies. "Took on a day like it was her last", such a memorable line, as well as great advice for living life like, well, like flowers in bloom.

I remember reading an evolutionary biologist speculating about the first flowering plants. Until then I hadn't really thought about the amount of resources a flower requires of the plant. It's pretty amazing.

There had to have been some evolutionary value in expending all that energy to generate a flower. Basically, it's the survival of the species, its propagation. Flowers seem to have appeared relatively late in the timeline (about 100 million years ago). I suppose they were waiting for the bees and wasps and various spore distributing insects to evolve far enough along for flowers to make sense. Still, flowers didn't have to be so colorful and beautiful, did they? Or maybe they did.

Some might scoff at the idea that other species are as attracted to (and require) beauty in their lives as we do, but I prefer to think that, had your day lilies resembled blackened spit balls, the bees might give them a pass. In the Age of Trumpian Nastiness, we have to find beauty where we can, no?

And from the sublime to the absurd...Ken brought up the demise of MAD magazine. Even though I haven't thumbed through the covers of MAD for years , with the exception of picking one up at a newsstand for a quick jolt of nostalgia, I too bemoan its passing.

MAD, I'm sure, aided the whimsical, absurdist, political, and social sensibilities of several generations of American kids, myself included. The art alone was the worth far more than the price of each issue, Mort Drucker's amazing abilities, Al Jaffe's back cover fold ins, Don Martin's crazy characters, and the irreplaceable Spy v Spy, which alone offered a trenchant commentary on the madness of the Atomic Age.

There was a movie that came out in the 80's, "War Games", the lesson of which is straight out of Spy v Spy. A computer designed to arm and fire nuclear warheads, is hacked by a kid who unwittingly triggers military alarms all across the board. Eventually, military masterminds all watch in horror as the computer plays the game "Thermonuclear War", running through all the multiple scenarios then in place for responses to Soviet missile attacks. Eventually it recognizes that this game is stupid because no one wins. Everyone dies. The computer eventually quits and asks the assembled, frightened brass if they wouldn't rather play "a nice game of chess".

Spy v Spy taught this same lesson. They each cancel each other out. Both sides always lose. Absurdity as national military policy. And MAD taught that lesson.

Ah, me. It certainly helps to have a healthy skepticism about power and celebrity, and if I now possess that trait, I owe at least some of its oranges to the maniacs at MAD.

And lest you think that MAD had a tiny niche audience of aporetic adolescents indulging their taste for the absurd, here is something both weird, wonderful, and not a little bit disturbing.

Back in 1959, MAD's seventh year in publication, Fred Astaire (!) did a dance routine on a TV special as Alfred E. Neuman. He wasn't just wearing a mask, he had a Hollywood special effects makeup guy work on this weird incarnation. So it wasn't just us kids, okay?

And that's all I have to say about it.

July 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
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