I am looking forward to this season finale of the Jan 6 Committee. Hope there is a second season airing this fall…
The NYT reports:
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol will hold its next public hearing on Thursday, returning to prime time for the eighth in a series of hearings that began in June.
The committee has spent more than a year investigating the events surrounding the riot. The forthcoming hearing is expected to focus on the 187 minutes during which President Donald J. Trump stood by while a mob of his supporters overran the Capitol, resisting repeated calls from those in his inner circle to tell the rioters to stand down.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to read Isaac Chotiner’s interview with noted narcissist, flim-flam man, Alan Dershowitz, you should do so. I point out that The New Yorker still is the gold standard for fact checking, which is important to remember as you encounter the many parenthetical asides that seem to contradict Mr. Dershowitz’s fables of self-regard.
Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker:
Alan Dershowitz became one of the most famous lawyers in America by representing high-profile clients such as Jeffrey Epstein, Mike Tyson, and O. J. Simpson, and enmeshing himself in political debates on subjects such as torture and the Israeli occupation. (He has defended both.) In recent years, however, his career has taken even more controversial turns, notably his public campaign against the Mueller investigation and his decision to join President Trump’s legal team. In 2019, Connie Bruck profiled Dershowitz for The New Yorker, and looked into allegations that he had sexually abused Virginia Giuffre, who was trafficked by Epstein. (Dershowitz denies the accusations.)
Dershowitz has lately been going on television and Twitter to discuss cancel culture, specifically how he has been shunned on Martha’s Vineyard, his longtime summer getaway. He even released the text of what he said was an e-mail from someone who had been beaten up on the beach for reading one of his books. I recently spoke by phone with Dershowitz, an emeritus professor of law at Harvard and the author of the new book “The Price of Principle: Why Integrity Is Worth the Consequences.” It was released last week and happens to be about the very subject of the e-mail he received: cancel culture, and an unwillingness to hear differing opinions. (He describes the book as “the story of my cancellation.”) During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed what has happened to his social life since he defended Donald Trump, his fallout with Larry David, and why he compared the January 6th committee to McCarthyism.
Governor Greg Abbott is as cold a human being in real life as he appears on television – cares for nobody, nobody cares much for him. If Texas is lucky, Abbott won’t win his re-election, but nobody is holding their breath. This is Texas after all.
Ariana Garcia, Chron reports:
Gov. Greg Abbott did not attend a single funeral for any of the 19 children or two teachers killed mass shooting at Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, according to his schedule, which was obtained through an open records request by ABC News.
Abbott’s schedule from May 25 to June 14 indicates that his last visit to Uvalde was on June 5 to attend a community worship event at the Uvalde County Fairplex. However, missing from the schedule is any mention of Uvalde victim funerals. The last funeral held in Uvalde for victims was on June 16, when 11-year-old Layla Salazar was laid to rest.
“I don’t want this to sound like some political assault on him, but at the end of the day he hasn’t been there since Day 5, when the president came… We had a failed response on giving resources to families,” [state Sen. Roland] Gutierrez said. “He did not go to one single funeral—and quite honestly, many of the families didn’t want him there.”
Gutierrez’s statements align with recent statements from some of the shooting victims’ families. During a July 13 news conference, Angel Garza, father of 10-year-old victim Amerie Jo Garza, alleged that “since this happened, Gov. Abbott has yet to reach out.” Garza added that Sen. Ted Cruz, who also attended some prayer vigils for victims, similarly failed to reach out to victims’ families.
David Frum may be an Axis of Evil asshole, but he is right sometimes. In this case, re: the ridiculousness of US ethanol policies.
The Atlantic reports:
The United States is supporting Ukraine with aid and weapons and punishing Russian aggression with financial and economic sanctions. But the United States can do more to resolve the global crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine: It can end the ethanol program.
For decades, the U.S. government has, at great expense, encouraged farmers to grow more corn so that it can be turned into ethanol, a gasoline additive. Ethanol makers receive all kinds of grants and subsidies. Federal regulations require ethanol to be blended into gasoline, creating a giant industry that would not exist without large subsidies and imperious mandates. America’s largest ethanol company earned annual revenues of $8 billion pre-pandemic. Demand from the ethanol industry, in turn, bids up the price of corn, and the income of those who farm it.
Ethanol has become a Washington joke. John McCain often quipped that he started his day with a glass of ethanol. Who could blame him? The ethanol program is a giveaway so big, so entrenched, and so wasteful that laughter might seem like the best response. But as we laugh, we’re missing that America’s ethanol madness has strengthened Russia’s grip upon the world’s food supply.
I posted a help request to TidBITS last night because Siri wouldn’t launch on my newest iPhone after I switched telecoms.
TidBITS Talk – TidBITS Talk:
I upgraded my iPhone recently and switched carriers, but now my Apple Watch (Series 5, running WatchOS 8.5.1) no longer will connect to Siri (or Shazam) but seems to be able to communicate with iPhone. I can receive calls on the watch, I can see what music is playing on the phone, etc., I receive alerts from various apps, and texts. But if I ask Siri to do something from the Watch itself, it fails eventually.
“I’m having trouble with the connection. Please try again”
Other than nuking everything on the watch, what else should I try?
Yesterday Twitter Inc. sued Elon Musk in Delaware to hold him to his agreement to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share. Twitter’s lawyers are hoping for a quick trial in September, so that the deal can close on schedule in October. You can read Twitter’s complaint here. Here’s the gist of it:
Having mounted a public spectacle to put Twitter in play, and having proposed and then signed a seller-friendly merger agreement, Musk apparently believes that he — unlike every other party subject to Delaware contract law — is free to change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value, and walk away. This repudiation follows a long list of material contractual breaches by Musk that have cast a pall over Twitter and its business. Twitter brings this action to enjoin Musk from further breaches, to compel Musk to fulfill his legal obligations, and to compel consummation of the merger upon satisfaction of the few outstanding conditions.
…The basic narrative beats will be familiar. Musk secretly bought a 9.1% stake in Twitter, violating securities laws in the process, then announced that stake and agitated to join Twitter’s board
…Musk announced that he wanted to buy Twitter because he thought there were too many spam bots. He sent in an unsolicited offer to buy Twitter, did no due diligence at all about spam bots, and asked Twitter for no representations about spam bots. He imagined that there were lots of spam bots, and he was eager to “defeat” them. And then the stock market went down, so now he is pretending that he was tricked into buying Twitter because they went around lying to him about how few spam bots there were. This pretext is bad
Surgical procedures and medication for miscarriages are identical to those for abortion, and some patients report delayed or denied miscarriage care because doctors and pharmacists fear running afoul of abortion bans.
Following the reversal of Roe v. Wade, numerous states are enacting bans or sharp restrictions on abortion. While the laws are technically intended to apply only to abortions, some patients have reported hurdles receiving standard surgical procedures or medication for the loss of desired pregnancies.
The uncertain climate has led some doctors and hospitals to worry about being accused of facilitating an abortion, a fear that has also caused some pharmacists to deny or delay filling prescriptions for medication to complete miscarriages, providers and patients say. Last week, the Biden administration warned that if a pharmacy refuses to fill prescriptions for pills “including medications needed to manage a miscarriage or complications from pregnancy loss, because these medications can also be used to terminate a pregnancy — the pharmacy may be discriminating on the basis of sex.”
I am ashamed to admit that my bandwidth to enable juggling 25 things at once has diminished. I have so far avoided1 the dreaded COVID-19, but cannot seem to muster energy to live, and work on my photography/art, and feed the ravenous maw of this blog. The news of our planet is entirely dreadful, each and every day, perhaps that is a factor.
I am unable to fathom how the Republican Party of my youth, the die-hard anti-Soviet party of Ronald Reagan and George Shultz, has transformed into the Party of Putin. Not all of the current Republicans are on Team Putin instead of Team America, but there are so many! How did this happen? When did this happen? Did it occur because of Trump, or was it again a case of Trump just saying loudly what many said quietly?
I am also sort of surprised that Rupert Murdoch is part of this collective. I’d have assumed that Murdoch, by virtue of his age, and Paleolithic Republican status, would also be anti-Russia, but assumptions would be wrong. Tucker Carlson,Laura Ingraham and others are consistently celebrating Putin on Murdoch’s propaganda channel.
What can Putin’s end game even be? If he installs a puppet government in Ukraine, how can anyone take it seriously? The Ukrainian people are not going to consider the Revolution of Dignity as an aberration, nor will they view Putin puppet Yanukovych as their legitimate leader.
Brief note: was meddling in my WordPress Dashboard today, and noticed that the Jetpack plugin wasn’t activated anymore. Tried to reinstall, and was told by WordPress that I couldn’t install Jetpack because the folder already exists.
Hmmm…probably related to the Auto-Update feature, but who knows?
updated to add, logged in via FTP, deleted Jetpack, and reinstalled. No idea what caused the error, but doesn’t matter, chartreuse is my jam…
As an update to my vinyl LP project, previously mentioned, I’m approaching the end of my first phase. As of tonight, I have added 581 LPs to my Delicious Library 3 catalog, with maybe another 75 LPs to go, or close to that number. I haven’t counted them. Not a huge collection obviously, but one that is important to me.
I’m still compelled to add new physical media to my shared space, but luckily, Covid-19 has stopped me from visiting local record stores and paying their rent by buying everything interesting. So far, only Discogs, and Ernie’s Millions Of Records have benefited from my renewed interest in vinyl.
By now, my routine is fairly well polished, and occurs in roughly this order. The analog universe has its own rules.
1. Pull an LP off the shelf. Take it out of the plastic sleeve, if it has one. If it doesn’t1, give it one. Take a photo with my iPhone2 of the cover, back cover, and any interesting details, including the inner sleeve, or inner gatefold, or the vinyl label. If the LP doesn’t have a good inner sleeve, replace it.
2. Look at the etched runout markings. If I have my reading glasses on, I will note those and search Discogs for the proper edition. If I can’t make them out, I will guess based on year of purchase3 or on other unique identifiers on the spine or cover. Some LPs have had hundreds of pressings, thus I will admit that I am not always successful, some of my Discogs IDs are no doubt incorrect. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I have yet to look up an LP that was not listed at Discogs fwiw. I have only had to contribute 2 or 3 additions/corrections, a great ratio. Crowd-sourced data and the “old school” internet is good when it works!
3. Look up the LP in the Delicious Library 3 interface. This is often harder than it could be, especially for older LPs. It works well when there is a barcode on the LP, a barcode that still exists, that is. About 20% of the barcode lookups fail because the LP is not in Amazon.com’s database. Also, the Delicious Library 3 text search bar is ludicrously small, and once you type, “vinyl”, you can only see the next couple of words. Better to copy and paste from the Discogs site, but of course I don’t always remember to do this. Besides, the Amazon 3rd Party Marketplace is hit/miss with titles. A large percentage of my library doesn’t have a barcode – I’m guessing late ’80s was when the barcode became standard on album covers.
If this process works well, the Amazon lookup populates my Delicious Library catalog with accurate info about title, artist, label, release date, current retail value, and even nice artwork. If the process works partially, I still save myself some typing, but I may have to use my own photo of cover art, correct label info, and so forth. I would estimate I’ve had to hand-type about 50 LPs so far.
Because I’m sorta nutty, I then copy track info, and other credits from Discogs into the Delicious Library entry. Not nutty, maybe a better epithet is data enthusiast. I don’t always care, but sometimes I’m curious who the guest guitarist was on the 3rd track, or who wrote this song on Side 2, yadda yadda…
4. Look at the physical disc, make sure it isn’t warped, or has big scratches visible on the vinyl. I’ve been lucky and only ten or less of these LPs have been too physically damaged to play. I’ve always tried to take good care of my LPs, but ya know, other humans live on this planet. Plus the universe tends towards entropy.
5. Put the LP into my Record Washer MKII. This is a crucial step, but I didn’t always use it early on in my process. I do now though, with a bath of distilled water and a capful of Spin-Clean Washer Fluid4. I try to switch out the bath every week, or when it begins to smell a bit “off”. While I spin the LP 3 times counter-clockwise, I cogitate; when I subsequently spin the LP 3 times clockwise, I count down in my best Casey Kasem voice, “3, 2, 1, play…”
6. I have about 7 or 8 microfiber cloths that I use in a rotation to clean the MKII solution and schmutz off the LP. I prefer to do this during the day so I can stand by my office window and use natural light to ascertain if there are finger smudges or whatever that I can remove. If I didn’t like the album art photo I took previously, I’ll try again.
7. The best part! Playing the damn thing! Drop the needle down, and dance where appropriate! Or play air guitar! or air bass! Whatever! To be truthful, not every record demands full attention from my ears. Sometimes I’ll be working on other records, preparing them with the above mentioned steps until they are ready to play. In other words, at any time, there are several LPs in each of the above steps. For instance, right now I have 8 LPs that are ready to play as soon as I queue them up, another 10 that still need to be cleaned and dried, another 20 or so that I haven’t looked up in Discogs.com yet, plus those other ~75 that I haven’t even started on.
8. Depending upon circumstances, I may research the album at Wikipedia and/or Allmusic.com to get a feel for critical response. Depending upon the artist, there can be quite a lot of history about a particular album. Most of these albums I acquired before the public internet even existed, I might not have realized what a particular artist was all about, or why a song swerves in this particular way, or who knows what weirdness I’ll stumble upon on the internet. Factoids are a certain kind of brain candy.
What’s next? After I finish my journey through all these albums, I plan to alphabetize them. I haven’t yet decided to do a straight ABC alphabetization, or a genre/alpha sort.5 I might need a couple more shelves actually.
Next I want to digitize the albums I don’t have already in my music library. I’m a bit leery of this step; I tried to digitize a John Lee Hooker LP and it sounded like absolute shit. Not sure if my needle was bad, the LP itself was too worn6 or other factors. I will try again though, there is too much gold on these shelves.
something like 20% didn’t have an outer plastic sleeve, or was corroded in some way [↩]
I took this photo in the Cook County Forest Preserve somewhere in 2015, and processed it in my digital darkroom on October 22nd, 2021.
I like some aspect of all three versions, and instead of discarding 2 of the three, decided to publish all three as a sort of triptych. If and when I print them, I’d like to make a 3d triangle sculpture, and hang it on a thread so it can rotate.
These are the thumbnails, but the image is better when bigger, imo.1
The original version of the photograph. I especially like the golden reflections of tree trunks in the pond. Also the faint reds of the leaves at the bottom right.
The tinted version speaks a different emotional language, achieved by using cross-processing2 of Ektar film. Maybe I’d use this as my LP album cover, when I release that sometime in the future.
The black and white version, using Fuji Neopan 16003 is more stark, yet beautiful because of it. There aren’t quite enough visual clues to ascertain exactly what this is a photo of until the viewer studies it for a moment.
The Dean of Rock Critics™, Robert Christgau, writes about a subject near and dear to my heart, namely can we separate the artist from the art?
A little while back in the introduction to your resurfacing of an old piece about Biz Markie, you wrote that you were boycotting Van Morrison. I’ve felt similarly disappointed and disgusted by him of late. (Same goes for Eric Clapton.) Short of him renouncing things he’s said—which seems unlikely—is there anything that would bring you back to his music? I have so much love for so much of his work, and I’m tempted to justify continuing to listen with the belief that the man singing “Into the Mystic” or “Everyone” is not the old crank talking harmful nonsense today. But that leap can feel awfully forced on some days. Should I be making it at all? Does it make an ethical difference if I’m listening to CDs and albums I’ve already bought and not listening to streams? I.E., not putting more money in his pocket. I guess I’m just curious to know more about how you draw—and might redraw—your lines in a case like Van’s. — David Marchese, Brooklyn
Ever read Barney Hoskyns’s excellent Small Town Talk, about the Woodstock “scene”? Van’s not a major player there, but he gets what I presume is his due, which left me with no doubt that he’s long if not always been a major prick. When I read it back in 2018 this did not stop me from listening to Moondance or Into the Music or “Jackie Wilson Said.” Nor has the ignorant, reactionary, racist-to-anti-Semitic blather he and his homeboy Clapton have been spewing during the pandemic turned me off their music (though the only Clapton I actively like is half a century old) because, yes, the music has its own reality. You could even say that the guy who’s making the music is not the prick—that he inhabits or creates some other reality when he sings and plays. So my boycott is about Morrison’s current Latest Record Project, which Greil Marcus did review and thought sounded pretty good until it approached the Protocols of the Elders of Zion part. But Greil’s a big big Van fan, where I’ve merely found some value in his ceaseless recent output. So it’s easy enough for me to say fuck that shit.
Speaking for myself, mostly I can distinguish the music (or other art) as a different entity from the artist who created the art. I always think of Ezra Pound’s fascist leanings, and his poems. Jimmy Page and David Bowie both had a sexual relationship with the same teenaged girl. John Lennon beat his wife. The film Chinatown remains great, despite the ickiness of the rapist Roman Polanski. George Orwell ratted out alleged communist-sympathizers. And so on, there is a long list of people behaving badly who are artists of note.
I rationalize listening to Van Morrison’s back catalog (some of which is pretty great) by not streaming or purchasing any of his newer work. I actually have all the Van Morrison albums I need (though I think my brother borrowed a few of my Van Morrison vinyl LPs), and Eric Clapton hasn’t made good music in decades, imo.
I took this photo on August 6th, 2021, and processed it in my digital darkroom on August 12th, 2021.
ƒ/1.8 at 1/160
35.0 mm prime lens
I think this was embedded in a church wall, but I could be wrong. Maybe it was a former priest’s apartment? I cannot recall. Somewhere in the Gold Coast, probably on Dearborn, if memory serves.
Is the face a Christ? Seems like it could be, though the broken nose reminds me of the Egyptian sculptures, and the conspiracy that the noses were broken off because they were African, or other reasons.
I liked the inherent decay of the sculpture1 and the expression of this man. So seriously sad.
I was listening to my vinyl collection; tonight I played Bob Dylan’s often disparaged album, Street-Legal, which I happen to think is pretty good. By the way, Jerry Garcia recorded a good cover of Señor (Tales of Yankee Power), as did Willie Nelson with Calexico, if you are keeping track.
Senor, senor, do you know where she is hidin’? How long are we gonna be ridin’? How long must I keep my eyes glued to the door? Will there be any comfort there, senor?
This seemed appropriate for a Christ embedded on a stone wall…