Sunday, August 31, 2014

Uncommon posts and countries of readers have made the TOP X now, today, this week and the month just ended:

Outliers now:
New Zealand, 2.
Poland, 2.

Poland is 6th.
Switzerland is 7th.
Paraguay is 9th.

This week:
Poland is 4th.
Switzerland is 9th.
Thailand is 10th.
"SAO Barquin Shooting Close-Out Memo," June 25, 2009 is second among posts read.
"Happy New Year," Jan. 1, 2012 is seventh.

This month:
Poland, 6th.
Slovenia, 7th.
South Korea, 8th.
Turkey, 10th.
"SAO Barquin...", 4th.
"Is Barack Obama Clinically Depressed?", Aug. 24, 2013, 6th.
"On Gilded Pond," Aug. 12, 2014, 8th.
"Police Shootings," August 20, 2014, 10th.

3,197 total pageviews in August. About 100/per day has been the norm the last 3-4 months.

"Putin Urges Talks on Greater Autonomy for Eastern Ukraine."-New York Times.

Lol. Unlike in Crimea however, Putin doesn't want a referendum, he wants the Ukraine government to negotiate directly with the Putin-supported, invasion-supporting rebel leaders. 

Questions, Answers.

U.S. Senator John McCain answers a couple of the questions in the preceding post differently.

Does the West's punishment fit Putin's crime? "And as far as Vladimir Putin is concerned, put strong sanctions (in place.) If you're looking at it from Vladimir Putin's viewpoint... he's doing pretty well with a minimum of penalty and as long as the Europeans are on his energy supplies, they're not going to do much."

Do we wish to revisit the decision not to supply arms to Ukraine? "For God's sake, can't we help these people defend themselves? This is not an incursion, this is an invasion.Give them the weapons they need, give them the wherewithal they need, give them the ability to fight. They will fight.

McCain went on to say that Putin was "establishing a land bridge all the way to Crimea and he may then threaten Moldova and the Baltics if he continues to succeed."

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Putin: "It's best not to mess with us. Russia a leading nuclear power."

A transcript of President Putin's remarks to a youth group at Lake Seliger Friday is not available that I could find. Uniformly reported however are these remarks, which are taken from Reuters:

"Russia is far from being involved in any large-scale conflicts. We don't want that and don't plan on it. But naturally, we should always be ready to repel any aggression towards Russia."

"Russia's partners...should understand it's best not to mess with us. Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers."

He said eastern Ukraine did not agree with Yanukovich's removal and was now subjected to "crude military force" from government planes, tanks and artillery.

"If those are contemporary European values, then I'm simply disappointed in the highest degree. Small villages and large cities surrounded by the Ukrainian army which is directly hitting residential areas with the aim of destroying the infrastructure... It sadly reminds me of the events of the Second World War, when German fascist... occupiers surrounded our cities." 

Putin used the term "Novorossyia," "New Russia," to refer to eastern Ukraine. If not literally the first time, it is one of the first times he has used the term in public.

And so there it is, ladies and gentleman. By his actions and his words Vladimir Putin is laying claim to eastern Ukraine as part of Novorossyia and he is going to get it. It is not precisely clear if Putin's nuclear threat is aimed at Ukraine or the West, if his vow to repel aggression towards Russia encompasses further Western sanctions, Ukraine joining NATO, Western arming of Ukraine. If those remarks were directed toward his paranoid fear that NATO was going to attack Russia over its actions in Ukraine, well, the man is so far out of touch anything he thinks and says is possible. In other words, it is not clear if Putin is drawing a "red line" somewhere or speaking hypothetically.

Putin's actions and his words, that is, his transparent lies, have been consistent to his purpose. The West, once again, is in denial. Putin's remarks Friday were not even reported in America's quasi-official New York Times. I do not know if Official Washington is in denial but quasi-official America seems to be. All should awaken to this reality rationally and strategically. Churchill said in the run-up to World War II "There it all was, laid out in precise detail, in prose as turgid as any in the Koran." Churchill was referring to Mein Kampf. Official and quasi-official America have been in denial about the Koran too but that is a subject well-covered here and a debate lost.

Today, we have a nationalist, expansionist, militarist leader of a major nuclear power who has invaded a sovereign nation and who is rattling his conventional and wmd military capability in casual remarks. The West has imposed economic sanctions against him, "costs," it puts it, for his wrongdoing. The sanctions were intended to be corrective and are temporally limited. They have been effective in costing this dangerous leader but have not proved corrective. We should take him at his word and his actions and ask ourselves some direct questions:

Are the sanctions punitive? Yes. Corrective has left the building. The outcome is pre-determined, Putin will get what he wants in Ukraine, it will just cost him some money to get it. Further sanctions will cost him more money.

Do the nations of the West have the right to punish Russia? Yes. They are sovereign states, they may trade or forbid trade as they wish, permit or deny travel as they wish.

Does Russia have the right to punish the West for its punishment of Russia? Yes.

Does the West's punishment fit Putin's crime? Yes. Both Official America and Official Russia have stated publicly that Russia has felt the costs. For the West, the cost is for the crime of invasion. That is the truth. For Russia, the costs are for no crime. That is a lie. Because the costs cannot be precisely determined there is some risk that the sanctions will impose too great a cost even in the West's view for the crime. The West would not wish to turn Russia into Cuba. Nudging the Russian economy into recession seems the greatest punishment the West is willing to inflict.

Does the West still wish to proceed with another round of official punishment against Russia for the non-official invasion? It does.

Do we wish to revisit the decision not to put American troops into Ukraine? We do not.

Do we wish to revisit the decision not to supply arms to Ukraine? We do not.

Ukraine has asked again to join NATO. Do we wish to revisit the decision to reject Ukrainian membership? We do not.

Is the West still willing to sacrifice Crimea, eastern Ukraine, all of Ukraine possibly to Putin's Novorossyia? Yes. Russia, pay your money at the toll gate.

Those are the components of the strategy for dealing with the Russian invasions laid down early and often by President Obama. He will not go woolly in the knees over those. Good for him.

Should the West, NATO and the U.S. Strategic Command be war-planning for full nuclear war with Russia? Yes. That is only rational to Putin's words and actions.

Is "Greater NATO" the new, final red line for America and the West? Yes. By treaty. Obama has said it is too.

I opposed NATO expansion early, often and vigorously and as with the Koran and Islam that debate was lost. America is committed to nuclear war with Russia, if it comes to that, if Putin's Novorossyia comes to encompass Vilnius, as surely if it came to encompass Washington, D.C. Were I president I would have the damnedest time making the decision to proceed with nuclear war with Russia over Vilnius, Lithuania. I, as president would be committed by formal treaty, law, engage in that war. To fulfill my legal obligations under that treaty I would sacrifice millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of Americans and western Europeans to fulfill a treaty to 3,000,000 Lithuanians. It is entangling alliances like NATO's expansion that formed the links in the chains that bound the European nations together and dragged them like slaves into World War I exactly 100 years ago this summer. I don't know what I would do if I were president and Putin invaded the Baltic states that the U.S. is chained to. Obama, the real president, surely is thinking of this. Isn't he? No...No, I would not do it.  If I were president in that eventuality I would ignore the NATO treaty. I would not engage in nuclear war with Russia over the Baltics. I would ignore the treaty just like Obama ignored the law on Egypt's non-coup coup.

Those are my answers. What are yours?

Sporting News.

Updates! We have updates!

Tennis: The guy hits the ball it goes over the net the other guy hits the ball IT goes over the net the first guy hits the ball BACK over the net...

Soccer: manchestercity0stoke1. sonofabitchfriggingstoke.stokeitinyourfriggingarse.

And that concludes our Sporting News updates! (6:30 pm)

They're still playing that tennis tournament. Instant updates here.

In America this week scholars began playing tackle football. Menz. On Thursday night the University of  "South Carolina Must be Destroyed"...was. In the sport of "watching the grass grow" the Boston "Red Sox" suck.

And in Albion just now, an early relegation battle between Chevrolet United of Manchester and  Burnley (The "Clarets.") saw the two XI's wheeze to a scintillating nil-nil draw. Oh, and Angel di Maria, who CUM bought from Real Madrid for a record $99,000,000 and was playing his first match, went down to the turf clutching his leg and had to be taken out injured. First match.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Truth or Consequences.

There is no doubt of it, the CNN photo above shows it, NATO says there are about 1,000 Russian troops involved, in addition to the tanks, the artillery batteries, the military transports: Russia has invaded Ukraine. The Kremlin of course denies it; Lavrov said NATO's photos were from a computer game, but there is a reluctance to call an invasion an invasion even in the West. The American government's "quasi-official"* house organ, The New York Times, puts it this way:

"there is no longer any doubt: Russian troops are in Ukraine..."

Yes...Yes, that is true, however, it is like saying a burglar is in your house or a rapist is inside a woman. Lack of consent is missing from the Times characterization and that is a distinction with a difference! When a friend or guest is in your house we do not call that a "home invasion." When a woman has consensual sex we do not call that a "personal invasion," rape.  The Times, following the lead of President Obama, refuses to use the "I"-word:

QUESTION: Do you consider today's escalation in Ukraine an invasion? 

OBAMA: I consider the actions that we've seen in the last week a continuation of what's been taking place for months now. As I said in my opening statement, there is no doubt that this is not a homegrown, indigenous uprising in eastern Ukraine. The separatists are backed, trained, armed, financed by Russia. Throughout this process, we've seen deep Russian involvement in everything that they've done. I think in part because of the progress that you had seen by the Ukrainians around Donetsk and Luhansk, Russia determined that it had to be a little more overt in what it had already been doing, but it's not really a shift.

NATO uses a different "I"-word, "interference." German Chancellor Angela Merkel characterizes it as:

"reports of an increased presence of Russian soldiers"

That's a double avoidance. "Reports" suggests "not confirmed" and "increased presence" is too many house guests.

Why? Different reasons for different seasons. For Putin, it is not only the moral component of invading another country. Admitting you are invading another country is a confession of wrong-doing. Soviets and Nazis never admitted to invading other countries. But the present season is not as cold as the season was in Hungary in 1956, nor during "Prague Spring" in 1968. Those were cold, that was the Cold War. Putin, a former Soviet KGB officer, knows cold. Putin is a Soviet Cold War veteran, Putin is a lot of things, but Putin is now the democratically elected head of the Russian state. He cares about what his constituency thinks. They think a lot of him now, 83% approval, up 29% since before Crimea. But a similar poll shows that only 5% of Putin's constituency favor sending Russian troops into eastern Ukraine. And there's this: most Russian people get their news from TV, which in Russia is state-controlled, and most Russian people believe Russian state-controlled TV. So
the Russian people believe Lavrov's lies, Putin's lies, the Kremlin's lies. If Putin admitted to an invasion of Ukraine, that would be, like, covered on Russian TV and Poot-poot's popularity would be

For official and quasi-official Europe, so dependent on Russian trade, so dependent on Russian-controlled energy, so afraid of Russia and of war, they don't want any more sanctions, they had to be cajoled into the sanctions now in place--for three months!  If it's called an invasion, new sanctions kick in automatically. For Europe this is unpleasant. Make it go away.

For America, for Obama, there is real moral angst, it is most unpleasant, it shows up Obama's sanctions to restrain Russia as having failed, but there is real commitment to that strategy. Rightly, the president has stated clearly and often that America will not go to war with Russia over Ukraine. Obama has his constituency too and the American people would not have that.

There is then, in Russia, in official and quasi-official Europe, in official and quasi-official America, denial. They are in denial. They are all playing the same game. Nobody except Russia wants a Russian invasion of Ukraine and nobody, including the Russians, wants to call an invasion an invasion. The consequences are most unpleasant for Russia and for Europe. But what unpleasant consequences are there for America?

The game of denial is a game of deceit. When we deny reality we deceive others and ourselves. We deny truth. Most of us believe most of the time that that is immoral, at least amoral. Obama's denial of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is identical to his denial that the Egyptian military staged a coup in 2013. The consequences with Egypt were said to be a loss of American influence because American taxpayers would not be giving the Egyptian military billions of dollars in annual aid. ? That was unconvincing. We had to look after our own interests in Egypt, that was another consequences of calling a coup a coup. Same ? with that one. We had to "get the most out of the situation," that was another one articulated by another quasi-official American government mouthpiece at the New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman. That was just craven. All those consequences were viewed as more undesirable than the undesirability of engaging in deceit, in refusing to call a coup a coup.

I don't know what consequences the Obamas feel are more undesirable than again engaging in transparent Big Brother doublespeak and deceit in refusing to call the Russian invasion of Ukraine an invasion. I don't see it. We are already sanctioning Russia. We are not going to get militarily involved. One undeniable consequence, a casualty, of both denials is the truth. That is seldom good for democratically elected leaders because their constituencies don't like to be deceived. It undermines legitimacy. With Russia, how does America playing the denial game help it's strategy of sanctions? Pravda does not even have to censor the remarks of the president. If Obama doesn't say it's an invasion, that helps Putin! Obama does not want to help Putin. It seems to me, an idiot blogger, that there is no downside to calling an invasion an invasion. It has the comfort of being the truth and it would seem to help the case for additional sanctions. Not calling it an invasion undercuts the case for additional sanctions. It seems to me.

*"Yes, I’ve heard about the notion that I should be nominated as Treasury Secretary. I’m flattered, but it really is a bad idea...the main point, as I see it, is that it would mean taking me out of a quasi-official job that I believe I’m good at...The New York Times isn’t just some newspaper somewhere, it’s the nation’s paper of record...being an op-ed columnist at the Times is a pretty big deal...and those who hold the position, if they know how to use it effectively, have a lot more influence on national debate than, say, most senators."

Thursday, August 28, 2014


In addition to Paul Krugman, scholars from the following have read this page avidly in recent times:

That's...My God, that looks like Krugman. There is...a clear resemblance...

See, even Krugman sees it. The facial structure--clearly both highly intelligent men--the facial hair is almost identical, but it's also the faces generally, similar noses, eyes similarly spaced, mouths, Krugman seems to have his open more, well, his mouth is open more, he doesn't look as intelligent as the other one because of the open mouth. Open mouth~stupid, no? Si. Similar smart dressers. Both athletic physiques. Wow. Who'd a thought?

We are proud to welcome, the State of Alabama (the whole state), which is sufficient explanation for Updyke's pic, no? Si. "Roll Tide!" Paulie, come on, join me and Harvey, "ROLLL Tide!"

And the government of Lower Saxony, the whole government.

THE California State University at San Marcos.
GRRROWL! Go Cougars. Never heard of them. Never heard of the school. Heard of San Marcos! 
Bananas! Woody Allen! Loved that movie. I guess I owe Dylan Farrow an apology.

The Catholic University of...Eichstatt Ingolstadt? Go Catholics!

The University of Beavers.

A SUPER computing center at some Bayer aspirin factory. Evidently.

The University of Snowflake. Willkommen.

Ni hao, Nihon.

And the University of Pennsylvania.
Welcome all scholars!


Nothing new! Don't want to get any hearts racing.

I love checking in on this thing once every several weeks, long enough that it tickles me that there's still "news" about it. From, who else? CNN:  Some member of the ground crew in Malaysia tried to call the plane after the last "handshake."--Oh yeah, "handshakes!" We learned through this that airplanes have handshakes. Cool. I initially mis-read this, I thought the handshake, excuse me, the phone call was made by somebody on board. Wasn't there something about that? I could understand the significance of that. But no. This one was made by some Malaise on terra firma.
Apparently, because it was a satellite phone? I don't know, man but somehow this friggin phone call from the ground has led to a...Hold onto your seats!...a "refined" search area. :) This refined search area is still on the seventh arc though...Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, the "seventh arc"?  What do you mean the seventh arc? What the hell is the "seventh arc?" I don't remember a Seventh Arc. "When the plane is in the seventh arc, and Jupiter aligns with Mars..." The Fifth Dimension! Age of Aquarius! Come on!  Seventh Seal? Arright, fine.

Now the Aussies, who unfortunately for them have taken the lead on this search now ("We MUST find the plane.") have NOT found the plane, not a molecule of it but they still have to give the press conferences. Imagine these press conferences. Omg.

Truss (Some Aussie) said ongoing mapping of 87,000 square kilometres of the ocean floor had uncovered “quite remarkable geographical features” including the discovery of new undersea volcanoes up to 2,000 metres (6,562ft) high.
“In one place in particular … the sea depth is as little as 600 metres and then falls away in just a very short distance to 6,600 metres,” he said.

Oh man, poor Truss. Poor reporters. "Remarkable geographical features!" Lol.

Russia Has Invaded Ukraine.

The United Nations Security Council will meet in emergency session at 2 pm Eastern Time in New York.
Russia has invaded Ukraine.

Paul Krugman Just Had An Orgasm.

The French government of Francois Hollande has fallen. The French government has fallen because of the pain caused by EU, i.e. German, fiscal austerity. Paul Krugman, who would have been U.S. Secretary of the Treasury if his New York Times column wasn't already read so avidly by administration officials thus rendering their firm tender of "NO OFFER" moot, I say Paulie has been banging the anti-austerity drum slowly and vigorously for years. And when Krugman bangs, people notice:

“We have to prioritize growth. We shouldn’t focus solely on the deficit. You have Nobel economists — Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman — as well as Gerhard Schröder all of them are arguing that it’s impossible to reduce the deficit without growth."
                 -Arnaud Montebourg, Hollande's FORMER economy minister.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


No, not a pageview number here. The S&P 500, an American stock market index, closed Tuesday at 2,000. Standard & Poors has been putting out their index since 1957. This is the first time it has ever hit 2,000 at close.

Full Time.

4-zip. United's players might want to spend the night in Milton Keynes or where ever they are, rather than head back to Manchester right now. Louis van Gaal might want to go back to Holland. Permanently.There is no excuse for this. MK Dons are in tenth place in "Football League One,"* which is in third place in Britain's football hierarchy. This has to be the most embarrassing loss in Manchester United's history.

*Also known--not by me--as the "Sky Bet One League." 

Milton Keynes Dons 4, Manchester United 0, 87th minute.

This is unreal. MK Dons are in the third division (out of 4) in British football. Oh my God.
Don't look now if you're a CUM lover but, um, "Milton Keynes Dons" is beating Chevrolet United of Manchester 3-0 in the 76th minute. I think this is in the FA (Football Association) Cup* or something. MK Dons is a lower division club. I don't even know what division they're in but it ain't the Premier League.

*Ah, the enchanting Capital One Cup, not the FA Cup. I'm starting to feel sorry for Louis van Gaal now. This is embarrassing. (9:42 pm)

"The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google."-The Intercept.

One last check of the news and...sleep forestalled. Look at THAT! "I'm feeling invasive." And look who's Icreach account this is: Keith Alexander's. These guys are totalitarians. They're Nazis. What does Icreach do? This is from The Intercept which broke the story from the Snowden trove:
ICREACH contains information on the private communications of foreigners and, it appears, millions of records on American citizens who have not been accused of any wrongdoing. Details about its existence are contained in the archive of materials provided to The Intercept by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The search tool was designed to be the largest system for internally sharing secret surveillance records in the United States, capable of handling two to five billion new records every day, including more than 30 different kinds of metadata on emails, phone calls, faxes, internet chats, and text messages, as well as location information collected from cellphones. Metadata reveals information about a communication—such as the “to” and “from” parts of an email, and the time and date it was sent, or the phone numbers someone called and when they called—but not the content of the message or audio of the call.
Legal experts told The Intercept they were shocked to learn about the scale of the ICREACH system and are concerned that law enforcement authorities might use it for domestic investigations that are not related to terrorism.
The NSA described ICREACH as a “one-stop shopping tool” for analyzing communications. The system would enable at least a 12-fold increase in the volume of metadata being shared between intelligence community agencies, the documents stated. Using ICREACH, the NSA planned to boost the amount of communications “events” it shared with other U.S. government agencies from 50 billion to more than 850 billion, bolstering an older top-secret data sharing system named CRISSCROSS/PROTON, which was launched in the 1990s and managed by the CIA.
To allow government agents to sift through the masses of records on ICREACH, engineers designed a simple “Google-like” search interface. This enabled analysts to run searches against particular “selectors” associated with a person of interest—such as an email address or phone number—and receive a page of results displaying, for instance, a list of phone calls made and received by a suspect over a month-long period. The documents suggest these results can be used reveal the “social network” of the person of interest—in other words, those that they communicate with, such as friends, family, and other associates.
A key question, according to several experts consulted by The Intercept, is whether the FBI, DEA or other domestic agencies have used their access to ICREACH to secretly trigger investigations of Americans through a controversial process known as “parallel construction.”
Parallel construction involves law enforcement agents using information gleaned from covert surveillance, but later covering up their use of that data by creating a new evidence trail that excludes it. This hides the true origin of the investigation from defense lawyers and, on occasion, prosecutors and judges—which means the legality of the evidence that triggered the investigation cannot be challenged in court.

Maybe Obama is just scared. Maybe he feels he would be in personal danger if he took on
NSA. This is scary power and Obama is passive. Let him come out and say he approves of this. Or not. He won't. It would be stupid shit as he sees it, on more than one level. Whatever it is Obama will
no nothing or next to nothing. He doesn't have the guts to anything substantive. All he came to Washington to do was school uniforms.

Monday, August 25, 2014


I bet that post is the longest thing written here in years. Look at that thing! Is it any good? "It's what I wanted to say in the way I wanted to say it." That's what Tolstoy said about War and Peace. It's not that long. I didn't spend 12 hours writing that either, like one or two of the China posts back in the day. But I don't remember now how long it took, I can't remember when I started it. It was at Carmen's. Saturday. I didn't work on it all day Saturday. We watched a movie, yada yada. I remember driving on the way home thinking of two things I wanted to add. That was mid-Sunday afternoon. I touched it up Monday night and a wee bit just now. I don't remember when the heck I started it though. It's all hazy now. I'm tired. Good night.

Sporting News.

And now for the sporting news. In sporting news there's apparently some women's tennis tournament going on someplace on account of Google has a doodle on it. Cool. And in America there's baseball. Men's.

Concluding this round-the-world look at sporting news, in merry old England Chevrolet United of Manchester (C.U.M.) played "Sunderland" in soccer. Men's. Sunderland's nickname is the "Black Cats" and they wear red-and-white vertical-striped shirts. For some reason. CUM and the "Black Cats" played at the "Stadium of Light" yesterday. At full-time the scoreboard at the "Stadium of Light" read:

Sunderland, 1.
CUM, 1.

That makes CUM zero-for-the-season so far in, like, "wins" and only two goals. Twenty-two other CUM shots were sprayed all over the place. Wayne Rooney took one right in the face.

 All of which makes new CUM manager Vincent van Gaal and all CUM lovers unhappy.

And today, ho-hum, at the Etihad Stadium, God's Angels in Blue beat the Liverpool "Ex-Cannibals" 3-1 which makes God and all His Believers...happy. Really happy.

"Brewery & Distillery Law CLE."

I would like to know when this "genre," this legal "specialty" came into existence. I would like to know why I did not receive this continuing legal education email before I completed my current requirements. And I would like to know why this was not taught in my law school. Although I believe I took the clinical.

"Brewery & Distillery Law CLE."


Saturday, August 23, 2014


Similar to the physician's creed, "First, do no harm." Sounds good to me!  I like it. It's modest. A president should definitely avoid doing stupid shit.

That would not have been my first principle. It may not have been a principle at all for me. Temper. I have a temper. Itchy trigger finger. "Better rubble than rabble." That was articulated here as my similarly pithy Guiding Light of foreign policy. Lot of people would have been killed under B.R.T.R. I don't think the American people would have been down with BRTR. Impeached my ass. UN resolutions. War crimes charges, maybe.

Obama's DDSS works for me now, the way I see America post-NSA. America has done a lot of stupid shit by foreign policy actions that are kissin' cousins to BRTR. After the NSA revelations, after Egypt, after Benghazi, I'm more modest about BRTR. DDSS has resulted in a weaker America abroad, less influence. I think that is good. I don't think that's what Obama wanted DDSS to do but that is what the Right has excoriated Obama for doing. I don't excoriate Obama for his overall foreign policy record. At this moment I cannot think of a foreign policy decision Obama has made that I, putting myself in his position (As I believe I should.), would not have made also. Going along with the Russians on Syria: I would have done the same. Ukraine: no boots on the ground, absolutely. Tentatively feeling out Iran: okay, try it. Sanctioning Russia: yep. Sort of leaving Israel and the Palestinians to figure things out themselves: I've thought for a long time we should pull back a bit there. So on the individual decisions Obama has made, I support him and admit they have turned out better than BRTR likely would have...Pivot to Asia, that's one, I disagree with that. Would not have done that. I don't know what that is about. Make divots not pivots.

But, "Don't do stupid shit" still would not have been my beacon. It's negative: "Don't." Don't tell me "don't," I'm the president of the Unites States! "Don't do." So, "don't act."  "Don't act?"  No, I think a president should probably act. What about the Hippocratic creed?  "Do." "Do no harm," but do. That's positive, active. "Don't do stupid shit" is negative, passive. The two creeds are so similar though. Maybe now I'm being too lawyerly. Maybe there's only a distinction without a difference. Can we phrase the Obamic creed positively and actively? "First, do no stupid shit."  "Do no stupid." You're telling me--I'm telling myself--I have to  remind myself--not to be stupid? That stupid comes naturally to me and I have to guard against my instinct to be stupid? Now, that does seem to me different from the Hippocratic creed. The Hippocratic creed is power-conscious, it is not power-doubting. The Obamic creed is both: "Shit! I have all this power now. What do I do with it? I don't know, just don't do stupid shit, Barack!" That's too modest. That's too modest a First Principle for the President of the United States.

I have another pithy principle. This principle says, "Sometimes that power is greatest which is not exercised." That's modest. I think that fails the test of principle-hood though, if a command is a criterion for principle-hood. There's no "do" or "don't," it's more like something to think about. It's consistent with what Merkel said, that just because you have the power to do something doesn't mean you should do something. A dog has the power to lick his balls; in my opinion, that is a power better left unexcercised. That principle of mine also is power-conscious. It is also not power-doubting.

No, now that I think this through, there is a distinction with a difference between the Hippocratic
creed and the Obamic creed. Those are Obama's words, he chose that phraseology, his creed is
negative and it is passive, it is doubting. En passant, DDSS is a double entendre in American
informal speech: "Different Day, Same Shit." That refers to the drudgery of office work and
bureaucracy. I don't think that was a deliberate double entendre by Obama, it may have been subsonscious though. He seems jaded, disinterested; the work seems drudgery to him. However that may be, the Obamic creed provides Insight into Barack Obama's judgment on his own judgment. He doubts his own judgment in the exercise of power. A physician does not. (I do not.) Of all the things we can think here is a thought that has never been thought: "I faint at the sight of blood, my hands shake when I use a pair of scissors to cut a piece of paper, I think I'll be a brain surgeon!" The physician is power-conscious but not power-doubtful. He is confident that if he chooses to act he will do good. A president should have confidence, I think, in his judgment to exercise power. Confident that if he chooses, he will do good.  A president should not, as it were, be writing on the bathroom mirror "Don't do stupid shit" as reminder each morning.

You know what I think bothers me, at base, about "Don't do stupid shit"?  If that's your principle, why do you want to be president? The best way to avoid doing stupid shit as a president is not to be a president! Barack Obama once said, when he was first running for president, "I didn't come to Washington to do school uniforms." A put down of President Clinton. Clinton's lack of ambition in affecting real Change. Clearly implicit in Obama's statement then is positive action. But it was phrased negatively. Obama didn't say what he was going to do, just that he woudn't do school uniforms. It was a positive-negative statement, an ambitious statement of unarticulated ambition. "Don't do stupid sit" is a very cautious, very modest message to have on the bathroom mirror. If not BRTR, how about something like "Carpe Diem." That's active, positive. I'm gonna seize something, the day seems a fairly innocuous thing to seize.

DDSS didn't stop NSA either. Spying on Merkel, on Rousseff, on our allies and non-enemies, those are foreign policy actions. Obama did them. NSA is the greatest foreign policy debacle in American history. DDSS was no match for NSA. DDSS is too passive, too doubting, in addition to being negative. But Obama didn't want to stop NSA for fear of doing stupid shit! I would have seized NSA by the throat and taken up a blunt cutting instrument and hacked it to pieces and I would not have been stupid! But hacking NSA to pieces would have violated the "don't" and the "do" of Obama's DDSS in addition to the "stupid" so that's 3 out of the 4 parts of DDSS. "Stupid" though admits to some play. One man's stupid is another man's Change. That was Obama's once, too. Hope and Change.

Change: I would have changed as president after NSA and I would have changed NSA. Not cutting NSA, not acting, "don'ting" and "don'ting doing" was stupid. So there's stupid in doing and stupid in DDSS. Stupid is as stupid does and stupid is as stupid doesn't do. Sometimes. DDSS doesn't prevent stupid. It may prevent success.


Obama's first principle of foreign policy. "Don't Do Stupid Shit."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Is Barack Obama Clinically Depressed?

Withdrawn, disinterested, disengaged, tone-deaf, alone...Boy oh boy, those are classic symptoms.

I have wondered about this before. Last year at that summit in St. Petersburg. That bizarre walk alone. He seems to have fewer friends than any president since...Nixon maybe? Job approval at 41%. No personal connection with other heads of state. He is shunned. He is alienated. Has to fight "Hawaii laziness." No relationships with Congress. Constant gridlock. His body language, his facial expressions, seem to betray an inner sense of resignation, of hopelessness. I was thinking about this tonight, googling "Obama disengaged," "Obama golfing" (I have not googled "Obama depression" yet) and I ran across this quote:

You know, when you’re down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, 
you’re not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward. One issue is that we don’t even tell our own story very well these days.”

That, friends and enemies, is from Hillary Clinton. That is as close as I've found to Obama being depressed but that's what that means. He's "down on himself," he's depressed. 

Why, specifically? This is amateur psychoanalyzing, just my gut feel: the turning point in Obama's depression was the NSA spying revealed by Edward Snowden. I wrote this at the time, you can look it up, I did not know how Obama's presidency could survive that, the spying on Merkel, on Rousseff, the hypocrisy on China spying. And this: he didn't know. He didn't know he was bugging Merkel's cell phone. That would make you get "down on yourself," no? If he had known he would have been down on himself because he had gotten caught. Since he didn't know he got down on himself for doing it and not knowing. A double whammy. 

I wrote here a little while ago that in everything I write I try to put myself in the shoes of the person I write about. I did that with Obama over NSA. I would have been ashamed to show my face. I would have shown my face because I would have had to. I think he was ashamed. But I would have confessed. I would have admitted that I had been spying on my allies and that I didn't know I was spying on my allies. And then I would have ended the spying, not only on Merkel, which Obama did, but on other Germans, which Obama did not, on my other close allies, which Obama did not. And I would have cut NSA back so far it would seem I was cutting them out. He did not do that. 

The shame at what I had done would not have left me; my humiliation at my ignorance would have been lasting; I would have become depressed. But I would have done the right thing in the end. He just became depressed.

Opinion of the night.

What is the MATTER with him?

WASHINGTON — He had just hung up the telephone with the devastated parents before heading in front of the cameras. Unusually emotional, President Obama declared himself “heartbroken” by the brutal murder of an American journalist, James Foley, and vowed to “be relentless” against Islamic radicals threatening to kill another American.

But as soon as the cameras went off, Mr. Obama headed to his favorite golf course on Martha’s Vineyard, where he is on vacation, seemingly able to put the savagery out of his mind. He spent the rest of the afternoon on the links even as a firestorm of criticism erupted over what many saw as a callous indifference to the slaughter he had just condemned.
He long ago stopped worrying about what critics say, according to aides, and after the outcry over Wednesday’s game, he defied the critics by golfing again on Thursday, his eighth outing in 11 days on the island.
...the criticism went beyond the usual political opponents. Privately, many Democrats shook their heads at what they considered a judgment error. Ezra Klein, editor in chief of the online news site Vox, who is normally sympathetic to Mr. Obama, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that “golfing today is in bad taste.”
“As a general rule, I think that he’s right that you can’t be held hostage to the news cycle — the man deserves a bit of downtime,” said Jim Manley, a longtime Democratic strategist. “But in this particular instance, I think a lot of Democrats flinched a little bit.”

The video, Mr. Manley added, “was just so shocking that the idea that he was going to immediately run to the golf course was just a little too much for folks; it was tone-deaf.”

NBC’s “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon made fun of President Barack Obama for his golf schedule on Thursday. 

“The president isn't really helping himself by going on vacation. In fact, I saw that President Obama played the eighth round of golf of his vacation today. I mean, he's played so much golf, I guess he's getting pretty good, but he's still not quite at the pro level yet,” Fallon said.

He illustrated this by showing golfer Rory McIlroy teeing off with the gallery shouting “get in the hole,” and then showing Obama’s tee shot with voices yelling “get back to work” and “get back to the White House.”

Obama Golfing After James Foley Beheading Statement: Is The President's Vacation Tone-Deaf?

“I’m sorry, Mr. President, but your behavior [Wednesday] was not about thumbing your nose at or simply ignoring those who refuse to acknowledge that you have a right to a vacation and to some time playing a game that relaxes you. It was also not about those who refuse to appreciate that you can do your job anywhere on the planet with the same effectiveness as sitting behind your desk at the White House,” Rick Ungar, a liberal contributor to Forbes magazine, wrote. “It was, instead, about revealing a side of yourself that Americans, of all political stripes, cannot help but be troubled by -- a coldness that revealed a complete lack of understanding of the classy thing to do at a difficult moment.”

With Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, sitting a few feet away, Mr. Reid complained that Senate Republicans were spitefully blocking the confirmation of dozens of Mr. Obama’s nominees to serve as ambassadors. He expected that the president would back him up and urge Mr. McConnell to relent.
Mr. Obama quickly dismissed the matter.
"You and Mitch work it out," Mr. Obama said coolly, cutting off any discussion.
Mr. Reid seethed quietly for the rest of the meeting...After his return to the Capitol that afternoon, Mr. Reid told other senators and his staff members that he was astonished by how disengaged the president seemed.
Grumbling by lawmakers about a president is nothing unusual. But what is striking now is the way prominent Democrats’ views of Mr. Obama’s shortcomings are spilling out into public, and how resigned many seem that the relationship will never improve. In private meetings, Mr. Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone, has voiced regular dismay to lawmakers and top aides about White House operations and competency across a range of issues, according to several Democrats on Capitol Hill.

“Maybe if something isn’t working, you’d say, ‘What can I do better?’ ” said Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia.."But it kind of is what it is.”
Asked to characterize his relationship with the president, Mr. Manchin, a centrist Democrat who has often been a bridge builder in the Senate, said: “It’s fairly nonexistent. There’s not much of a relationship.”
...some Democrats say, they have just learned to accept the president’s solitary nature and move on.
If there was an opportunity amid the Washington paralysis for Mr. Obama to build relationships, it might have been during his frequent golf games. But only twice in more than 180 rounds has the president invited members of Congress to play with him, and only one Democratic official — Senator Mark Udall of Colorado — has joined a presidential foursome.


Until today, the reports have been encouraging that Russia might be cutting its losses--or gains--in Ukraine, pulling some of the most hated invasion leaders, like Igor Bezler, and losing ground to the Ukraine military. When writing the post on the May Day celebrations I thought of this and thought, "Putin is not going to let Ukraine keep the east." Putin is too invested in this now, he has the backing of the Russian people and his "Greater Russia" advisers are pushing it.

Today, Russia has sent a convoy of trucks into Ukraine. Russia claims the trucks carry humanitarian aid to Russian invaders and Russian-speaking Ukrainian supporters in places like Donetsk. Russia has warned Ukraine and everyone else not to stop the convoys. The Obama administration doesn't think the Russian trucks are carrying humanitarian aid and has said that if the convoy doesn't stop, more sanctions will start. Undoubtedly the Obama administration is right. This is just another phalanx in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Putin has not given up. He won't. He can't.

Channeling Larry David.

So it was about 136 degrees outside this afternoon. And I sweat when it gets above 72. And I'm in my suit in my car where it's 508 degrees. So hot I can't touch the steering wheel and I burn my fingers on the metal seat belt. I'm not sweating, I'm squirting. The perspiration is squirting out of me like from one of those perforated lawn watering hoses. And I have to be in court.

I'm driving and I am physically miserable. I take a nicotine gum out of my pocket but the heat has made it so soft it won't pop out of the foil thing. I clean my glasses, unbutton my shirt, mop my brow, I itch and I'm sticky. Everything is stuck together. I try to "adjust myself" over my trousers. No. I stick my hand down my pants but I'm on the highway now, I've got a seatbelt on, I've got a belt on my trousers and I...can't...get my hand...all the way down there. 

I unzpip my fly. Direct action. I stick my hand in there. I stick my hand in there and realize that since my cleaning lady didn't come Tuesday I was all out of clean clothes this morning and had to wear one of my daughter's shorts as boxers. No fly.

I have to open up more. I unclamp my pants, arch my back, open my legs, I'm off the seat now and my head is touching the ceiling of the car, stick my hand in, take my hand out, in out, in out until I...get to where I have to go and I'm rounding a curve and have drifted a little. I look over and...the lady, the lady in the car to my left, who evidently has been watching me for several seconds squirming around doing something! with my left arm down in my crotch, up down, up down, is eesing me, staring hard straight at me.

I slowed down a little so that she would pass me and couldn't get my license plate number.

Deuces wild.

At 11:20 this morning we hit 222222 pageviews since July 2009.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Three visitors on here right now, one each from Russia, Ukraine, and the United States, the most recent from Russia. The most recent post read was on and is Therefore...Confident, confident that the gent or gentette who read that fun-poking "Rooski" post is the Russian. It makes me feel bad. It makes me feel guilty. That "Rooski" post was written, as I recall, just about exactly one month before "the greatest crisis of my life" as I have put it (and have meant it), the Snowden revelations. 

They must think I'm a hypocrite; a blinded American nationalist hypocrite swine. Almost never have I written anything positive about Russia or its people. Yesterday, I called them terrible, despicable. That was honest. For what that's worth. That is how I feel. 

I'm not clear why I have warm feelings for China, the Chinese people, just as bad, if not worse. Maybe because I have met them, have corresponded with many; they are interested in what I think about them, there have been several Chinese who I have felt a real personal, almost an intimate, connection with: my Red Guard friend, Kitty, Dr. Youqin Wang, Dr. Rongfen Wang, Dr. Mo, Ms. Ye, Zhang Mu. I feel, yes "I feel their pain," I do. There is real empathy there. They have reached out to me. They have been honest with me, some have lied to me, some have obfuscated, some have stonewalled. All of that is human interaction. There are those who loathe me, who I worry, perhaps frighten, but I KNOW they care about what I write about them and their country. They, some of them, some repeatedly, thank me, just for my interest. That has endeared the Chinese people to me. has not been up long, I don't really know how long, maybe a year, Google never told me, I didn't know there was a either and inexplicably a, Singapore.  But about a year or two ago I started noticing an impressive, sustained surge in readers from Russia, before I knew of the .ru version. It is clear to me that the Russians are reading this site carefully, the whole site. They want to know what I've been thinking and writing about a whole range of things. They want to know about me. I have been flattered. When I see that someone has read a long-ago post on a non-Russian topic I now thing, "It's a Russian." Maybe half the time I have been right. It touches me, I admit. I thank the Russians who pay attention to me, I thank them in print. By contrast, when I see there's a hit on one of the Chinese evergreen posts, I KNOW, no matter where the reader is from that he or she is Chinese or of Chinese descent. Chinese don't read the personal posts that would give them some idea of who I am. The Russians do. I have warm and fuzzy feelings toward Russians when I see that but I just do not like the Russian people generally. Just don't like them. 

That 2013 post recalls an actual incident that occurred during the Cold War so it was honest. Honesty is overrated. I don't remember what prompted it but it was a Rooski post which means I was making fun of them, showing my dislike for them. I would not have written that post a month later but the disrespect, the contempt that I felt has now has morphed into unvarnished anger. Yet, in all this interest in, not one Russian has ever written to me. Hell, Muslims have written to me. Not Russians. I don't trust the Russian people and I may have good reason to mistrust them. Maybe they're just keeping tabs on an American enemy. Sounds hubristic, I confess, but having a blog about public occurrences and writing in the hard, hard-hitting style that I do, I wonder. China blocks this blog, has messed with the site. Having this blog encourages suspicion, paranoid thinking. Anyway. I enjoy channeling my anger toward Russians with humor. I seldom write humorously about Islam because I hate Islam. I don't hate Russians, I "merely" dislike and distrust them. I, the Obamas, 
the American people don't like or trust Russians either. We have too much bad blood that goes back generations and now, in Putin's second stint as president, the cautious feeling out, seeing if it was possible, is gone. It's gone for as far into the future as any of us can look. There is no going back. Not this generation nor the next generation of Americans will ever think, "Is it possible? To be friends with Russia?" No. No, it is not. There is no going back from the invasion of Ukraine, from this hare-brained and ominous notion of a "Greater Russia," from the shoot-down of MH17, from the hateful statements coming from the Kremlin. There will be no reset, there can be no reset. It's all over, as far into the future as any mortal can see.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Did you know Russia celebrated May Day this year for the first time since 1991? I didn't. What the hell did I post here May 1 and 2? I don't know. What a change, huh? First time in 13 years, corresponding with the invasion of Ukraine--God, Putin changed! Terrible, terrible.
But he has got the pulse of the Russian people, hasn't he? I don't know if it was survey research or his instincts but he has become the most popular man in Russia, 80% approval.
Terrible, the Russian people are just terrible.

Ahh, fuck you, wizard sleeve.

That's Medvedev to Putin's left. Medvedev! Obama's hamburger buddy. Called him Barack and everything. Thanked him. "Thank you Barack for getting us into the" G8, or G20, maybe G-string, something with a G. Unbelievable.

The Colonel in the Kremlin. Ah, the good old days.

Uncle Joe! The good old days for the Russian people!

Jeez, the marching Sumo Wrestlers Division.

Oh here we go. You know what's coming now.

Are the cameramen, and you know they are men, ever embarrassed when they take these pictures? If I did that in the States, openly like that, I'd get clobbered, they'd bang the drums slowly on my head, stab me with their drumsticks. Third Estaters just go up and go, "Hey girls? Stand right there, wouldja? I want to get a good candid upskirt." Men are such cockroaches.

At least some of the women don't mind, look at that flirt in the skirt! From
Arright, I had to do that. 

The Russian people are despicable.

Blue Star over Russia.

Well, that's the picture of the day! In the darkness of Tuesday night, Wednesday morning four Ukraine supporters climbed atop a Stalin-era apartment building, the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment, in Moscow, within site from the Kremlin, painted the Soviet star Ukrainian blue and gold and topped off the "wedding cake" architectural specimen with Ukraine's flag! And that's the site some Muscovites saw on their morning commute! Oh my God! Well done Ukrainians! 

Police Shootings.

There are calls for the District Attorney in Ferguson, Missouri to be replaced or to recuse himself. Why?

"[Robert] McCulloch's father was a police officer and was killed on the job in 1964 by an African-American man, when McCulloch was 12, McCulloch's spokesperson Ed Magee confirmed to CNN. In addition to his father, McCulloch's brother, an uncle and a cousin all served with the St. Louis Police Department, and his mother worked as a clerk at the department, Magee said."

Ah jeez. I am on record, very recent record too, advocating that local D.A.'s should not be investigating local police shootings. Why? Because local prosecutors work with local cops on a daily basis and it is very hard to go from being law enforcement ally to law enforcement adversary and then back again to ally. Typically, in my experience and in Ferguson, the incestuous relationship goes even deeper: the cops investigate their own! So today's brother in blue is tomorrow's suspect in blue. 

So why does this seem different to me? My first reaction was and my reaction still is "Nope. Not enough." I guess because this isn't a policy decision, it's personal to Mr. McCulloch. He, it is claimed, and his office, can't be fair. But isn't a personal, "case-by-case" policy fairer than a blanket policy, as I advocate? Isn't that in fact how, like, the law proceeds, case-by-case? It is. Isn't that part of what I have called the law's "modesty," not, or being cautious about, going beyond the case at hand, being very reluctant to, establish broad frigging policy? Yes! Yes, it is! boo-hoo-hoo (The witness is breaking down under cross-examination.)  And wouldn't you acknowledge, SIR, that in a case-by-case "policy," THIS one cries out for Mr. McCulloch's removal? Yes! Yes! I confess! I confess! I shot Michael Brown! Wait...

All of that is true, well, not the confession, but that truly is the law, or what the law's aims are but it's not ALL the law. It's true as far as it goes but it doesn't go far enough. The law takes a case-by-case approach to the facts but not as to the applicable law. The "policy" discussion above is really a discussion about the law. We don't make up the law on a case-by-case basis, we have centuries of statutory and common law that guide, usually dictate, the legal principles that govern the outcome. They are "precedent," they provide stare decisis and they are a priori, established ahead of time. That's the law against ex post facto laws, you can't make up a law that never existed before and apply it to some poor Schmo retroactively. You are not kept in the dark on the law, in fact, you are presumed to know the law! Judges don't make up the law when you go to court, they apply what has already been made. Here's another legal nostrum, the law is an organic thing, don't you know? It grows, it mutates, it evolves, it has babies--all to serve the public interest, too late in Johnstown, Pennsylvania's case. The law is process-determinative not result-determinative but the law is not result-insulated. It orders, it regulates, it serves the public interest. You're supposed to get justice out of it. When the public does not believe that it is getting justice, then the law's ability to order and regulate is compromised. The law pays attention to this. There is no law that can or should be passed or changed or evolved in the Missouri case. That would have to come later. Of course the law sets "policy, of course it sets policy, legal policy. Finally, there is the law against making laws specific to an individual. "You, Harris, new law: you, and only you, must now wear your underwear on the outside." Can't do that: equality before the law.

So, "Wait..." above incorporates everything...below the wait. And so I believe my first reaction to the calls for Robert McCulloch's removal was sound. It seems to me to violate the principles behind the ex post facto laws and equality before the law, it is against established precedent, (there is a "policy" in place for removal or recusal) and, in my opinion, it sets bad precedent for future policy. My suggested law that "Thou shalt not investigate one of y'all's own" avoids all those problems. The cops and the D.A. in the next county over investigate Ferguson P.D. homicides and Ferguson will reciprocate whenever y'all have one.  But man, it sure does seem as if this is not the "appropriate" case for Robert McCulloch, with his and his family's history. It would not establish bad legal precedent--or any legal precedent at all--for Robert McCulloch to voluntarily recuse himself, to grit his teeth and swallow the insult to his integrity and acknowledge the public interest and just recuse himself. Bet he doesn't need the work.

"Who was Ernest Hemingway?"

This is a really good book review by Edward Mendelson * of the second volume of Hemingway's letters, 1923-25, published by Cambridge. Professor Mendelson writes that the sexually conflicted, androgynous Hemingway created by some biographers is as simplistic as the macho man of Hemingway's own creation.

On the emotional distance in Hemingway's best work Mendelson quotes F. Scott Fitzgerald, writing on The Sun Also Rises:

"Jake Barnes, he said, 'isn’t like an impotent man. He’s like a man in a sort of moral chastity belt.'”

That's a difference! There's a difference between impotence and imposed chastity!

There was something else Hemingway was striving for, writes Mendelson. He traces it back:

"The young men in Hemingway’s early stories live by a moral code that requires them to answer only to themselves. The moral question they ask about their actions is whether they are living up to their own heroic ideal, not what the effect of their actions might be on anyone else. They refuse the obligations imposed by their families and the commitments desired by women. In place of personal relations, they merge into an undifferentiated band of brothers." (emphasis added)

The hair fetish, the gender mixing, the alarming physical merger in The Garden of Eden are not actually sexual, Mendelson writes:

"What Hemingway wanted—both as he-man and as androgyne—was a lasting intimate connection that did not require him to be a separate individual person..."

That's deep. It is out of my depth. Don't get that.

"Hemingway’s deepest wish...was to become one with someone or something else, to live without the burden of a self."

Okay...a little clearer. I guess.

"Denis de Rougemont observed that lovers like Tristan and Isolde who wish to dissolve their separate selves by merging into each other instead find themselves trapped in their separate bodies, and can escape the trap only by dying...At the climax of a bullfight in The Sun Also Rises, Romero’s “sword went in, and just for an instant he and the bull were one.”

Okay, I understand what Mendelson is saying now. I am still not clear on what Hemingway was trying to do, if Mendelson is correct on what Hemingway was trying to do. How did Hemingway think he was going to resolve this "problem" of being "a separate individual person." That sounds to me a pretty fundamental obstacle. Impossible. Only in death, like Tristan and Isolde, like the bull? Where the hell was Hemingway intending to go with this, his "deepest wish," into the frigging afterlife? Where did he go with it in his fiction, according to Mendelson? Does this have anything to do with Hemingway's own death? Baked but half-baked. I don't know about all this; this is a good review, not a very good review.
I got a kick out of Mendelson's review of this Cambridge edition.

"The Cambridge Edition of the Letters of Ernest Hemingway seems to have been edited for readers who do not exist..."

"...readers who use scholarly editions but who need footnotes identifying Tolstoy and Picasso."
"The air of unreality that pervades this and many other learned editions..."

"The new edition, unlike the old one, interrupts the text with a footnote explaining the philosophy of 'Marcus O’Realius.'” Hah!

"Other notes are even less helpful. Proust, the editors report, wrote a work titled A la recherche du temps passé (they also mistitle the English translation)..."

"...the third volume of which “had recently drawn attention” to the suburban village of Guermantes."

 "Hemingway writes in a letter, “Thus are we buggared by destiny, as Hamlet remarked...” 

"...and the editors explain:

"Possibly a reference to Prince Hamlet’s remark shortly before his fatal sword fight at the end of Hamlet by William Shakespeare that there is “special providence in the fall of a sparrow”—that ultimately “providence” controls even the smallest action and event, and that death will come when it will come."

"This overlooks Hemingway’s anatomical paraphrase of Hamlet’s: 'There’s a divinity that shapes our ends.'”

curb your enthusiasm.

Rooski, very disappoint. You leave nyet choices. We sanction. Rooski... Rooski...ROOSKI, SHUT!  Rooski, why you always complain, why you always moan and complain like old peasant woman with hair on mole and sex organ loose like wizard sleeve? Why you no be MAN Rooski and bend over and have anoose violate like man, eh? I announce sanctions. Now you listen Rooski.

US&A announce sanction.
On behalf of Iman President Barack Saddam Hussein Obama, black man, US&A announce following sanction:

One: Three curb you out! No Rooski allowed mix curb with vodka. Vodka or curb. No vodka and curb.
Two: US&A no sell more curb to Rooski. America curb companies forbid sell curb to Rooski.
Three: Rooski Ramada Reward program member cancel. No more stay two night get one free. No more Reward member!

Conclude. That end announcement sanction on Rooski. Have nice day.

Mothers Against Drunk Russians.

Separatist fighters have taken to carousing drunkenly at night and wearing civilian clothes. This month, three of them crashed a car into the curb outside the Ramada hotel. On Saturday, two separatists again crashed at the same spot, rolling their vehicle and scattering broken glass and bullets on the street. On Tuesday, a drunken rebel, improbably, again crashed at that location, severely injuring four civilians.*

Rooski! What you do? You never hear of IUD law? Vodka and Ramada curb no mix! Mix vodka and Yak urine, hmm goot; vodka and Ramada curb, NYET. Everybody know, Rooski. Lay off Ramada curb, stick with vodka ONLY.

*"Plenty of room at the top of Ukraine's fading rebellion, New York Times, August 20.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Fish Too Far.*

I really like this show on Public Radio International called "The World." It does really off-beat stories and I beat off and they do stories like on the British Marine Forecast that are really cool and quirky and I'm quirky, or like today's, an interview with an Iraqi war veteran named Alex Horton who has a blog or website or something and who is really into movies. Alex Horton wrote on his site about how much he liked Robin Williams and was recalling some favorite scenes and a guy began corresponding with him who liked Robin Williams too. Common enough occurrence. The guy, however, turned out to be an ISIS supporter in Iraq, a legit ISIS guy AND a legit Robin Williams fan. NOT a common occurrence. This was right up "The World's" alley and so they arranged an interview by host, Marco Werman. Werman has a great radio voice and is a very good interviewer. I like him a lot.

You know how interviewers try to ask "And the moral of the story is?" questions, they try to make a larger point, try to imbue a cool, quirky story with Meaning, how they can't leave cool and quirky alone? Marco Werman did that today, it sounded like against his better instincts because he prefaced his question with "I almost want to ask"--No, you don't!--and appended his question with "Am I fishing too far out there?"--Yes, Yes!--because the question Marco Werman asked Alex Horton was

"Could the conflict in Iraq come to an end through an appreciation of Robin Williams?"

"You're fishing too far out there," Alex Horton.

*Marco Werman wasn't rowing his fishing boat with both oars in the water when he asked that question. That is the dumbest question in the history of questions. It's hard to believe. When I originally posted this Tuesday night, there was no doubt in my mind that I heard it correctly, but it was so stupid I wondered if I missed a chuckle or something that would indicate Werman wasn't being serious. Instant replay wasn't available Tuesday night but it is now! Here's the link, the record-setting question begins at 3:49.
-Updated Aug. 2, 1:21 am.

Hey. Guernsey checked in yesterday. Cool. Love that map. They join Norfolk Island from last week. We are the blog of islands No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine. We are an island blog, an itsy bitsy Guernsey, a teenie weenie yellow polka dot Norfolk iland of a blogge, at peece with all, a part of Maine, As Maine goes so goes New Hampshire!

Scholars at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais were also here yesterday. "UFMG" is in Brazil.
Wait...I think Germany just scored again.

And recently, not yesterday, Europe. Just that. Europe. Cool.

"Families, businesses pay price for strife in Ferguson."-McPaper.

Can you believe that? Everything and everybody has got a price in America. That's what we're about. The soul of America is the pursuit of happiness.

Riots in Missouri.

Calling out the National Guard didn't work. Thirty-something arrests and the gengarde came under heavy gunfire.

There's a risk when you ratchet things up like that. You're made to appear weak--and to people who didn't think you were weak--and the rioters are emboldened with a strength they didn't know they had. It puts ideas into peoples heads.

The Federal Aviation Administration has extended a no-fly zone over Ferguson--Look! See those helicopters, low-flying planes, Do NOT shoot at them, okay? Promise?--like the no-fly zones in Ukraine, Syria, and other war zones. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Police Shooting of Michael Brown.

On August 9, a 28 year old armed white man, Darren Wilson, a Ferguson, Missouri police officer, shot and killed a black, unarmed, 6'4", 292 pound, 18 year old named Michael Brown, who was in the company of another black man, 22 year old Dorian Johnson. It is unclear to me, and apparently to others, how and why Ofcr. Wilson and the two black men came into contact initially, if Wilson was responding to a convenience store robbery or knew nothing about any robbery, and if it was a robbery, whether Brown and Johnson were suspects and why. Besides being two young black men. I think it is the position of Ferguson police that whatever the situation with the strong-arm robbery there was some physical confrontation between Ofcr. Wilson and Brown and perhaps Johnson. I am not clear on Johnson's role, besides being black.

There followed in Ferguson 9 days, so far, of "unrest." Today the Governor of Missouri called out the National Guard to assist in maintaining order. That may have been a necessary step, I do not know, but it was an ominous step as calling out the National Guard is a sign of considerable local loss of control over facts on the street. Also today Dr. Michael Baden released the results of a private autopsy he and a local Missouri Medical Examiner performed on Brown's body and the, I think satisfactorily clear, body diagram at top, identical to a thousand such I have seen over the years. Six shots, all in the front of Brown's body, two in the head. I would think all the shots being to Brown's front is a good sign for Ofcr. Wilson, as good as 6 shots into an unarmed person can be, which doesn't strike me as being cause for police celebration, but I would think one or more shots to the back would have been worse for Wilson. Although I have also read that Brown relatives and protesters are as happy with Baden, et al's report as it is possible to be happy when your unarmed 18 year old loved one or friend has been shot six times and killed by a police officer. Main Justice is going to investigate and conduct its own autopsy. No close range characteristics on the body per Baden's team but the results of gunshot residue analysis on Brown's clothes, an intermediary target, were not available to them.

We have, at this point, the two damning facts: the number of shots and a victim who was unarmed. Those facts (and the races of the principals) would cause unrest and they may remain the most probative facts in the decision whether to prosecute Ofcr. Wilson in state or federal court. Police shootings are a professional area of experience for the undersigned, as are racially-tinged homicides. I hope and I would pray if I prayed that this investigation is conducted with the integrity and thoroughness and independence that have not been present in some police-involved homicide investigations where I practice law. Missouri is the "Show Me" state and Missouri has something to show here.

You know how Florida is shaped "like a turd coming out of the asshole of America?"...Lasting image, no? A cop friend of mine told me that a long time ago. I have never forgotten that. Obviously. It's hard to forget that. For me.

I think things like this Florida thing and the 2009 thing, I think they have done lasting damage to me.

The Florida thing came to mind, unfortunately, when I had the map of another state in mind. If you had a map of Pennsylvania by population density, you'd have these big humps in the southeast, Philadelphia, and southwest, Pittsburgh. In between, not much. It would look something like the remnants of the South Fork Dam:

It would look...Look: See that big hump over there: Philadelphia--I didn't say it would look EXACTLY like the dam, for Godssake--and that's Pittsburgh...that other hump by the guardrail, the other dam wall remnant, is Pittsburgh...Or vice versa, it doesn't matter...In my mind I could PICTURE this--Maybe Harrisburg is like...I don't know, Harrisburg would be like...a tree or something down there in between--I didn't picture Harrisburg, okay--Forget Harrisburg! The point, the only point is, one hump is Philadelphia and the other hump Pittsburgh and nothing much is in between...See?

Oh God.


to me
Call shrink.