I believe this is local:
These tactics have no place in Texas, my home state, and no place in America.— Dr. Eric Cervini (@ericcervini) October 31, 2020
Please vote. Please volunteer this weekend. The future of our democracy is at stake. pic.twitter.com/G0O4yg2vnJ
The reason I think it is local is that this is a lightly paraphrased/anonymized communication from the other day:
Some of us that were notified yesterday that the Biden bus was coming through [Heebieville] and was invited to go to see the Castro brothers at and arrange time in [Heebieville]. When we showed up to greet the bus, there was a huge Trump train that followed the Biden bus from San Antonio to Austin attempting to run into volunteer cars and keeping the bus surrounded. The Hays county Republican sheriff did not respond to calls asking for help with protecting the bus. Instead [different town] police Department came in to assist with managing the bus from Kyle to Travis County. It was a Trump train - confederate flags, MAGA, etc.
(JFC, you guys, we're really down to the last few days of this election thing.)
Maybe a year or two ago, I told you about my Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, where my 4th and 5th fingers on my right hand would go numb during the summer, when I work more from home, and then go away during the school year. Eventually I bought a brace, which took care of it for a while. But then Covidtimes has really made it get significantly worse.
I decided to invent my own PT, based on other positive PT experiences that I've had. The strategy seemed to me to be "take each joint involved and possible direction of motion, and do it 5-10 times with a bit of resistance, to strengthen all possible muscles involved." So I did that with my fingers, wrist, and elbow for a little while.
Finally I concluded that I was a dumbass, and arrogant to boot, and that I don't know what I'm doing. This time I googled PT exercises for Cubital Tunnel syndrome. They're so weird! They're these nerve gliding exercises. Now I'm picturing the nerve as a rubber band that snags on corners, and it needs to be oiled up now and then when it starts to get grippy or ragged. Anyway, 10/10 on nerve gliding exercises. Would recommend, would do again, etc.
Minivet writes: I'm impressed at the simple power in the brevity of this essay, and its examination of altruism as cultural motif as separate from reality (without going so far as to dub it a scam from the beginning).
Remember when we were marveling here at the acceptance of the evils at Abu Ghraib implicit in Bush's reelection? That's in here.
It turns out that by the time the American public learned the sorts of things I'd felt they needed to learn, by the time they came to look in the mirror, what they saw there didn't look so bad to them. And so, yes, an awful lot of people don't get upset when they hear Trump talk.
On the contrary, they seem to feel a great sense of relief. Trump has liberated a lot of people from the last vestiges of the Sermon on the Mount. A lot of people turn out to have been sick and tired of pretending to be good.
First: "Wallace Shawn" made me think of Shaun the Sheep/Wallace and Gromit, and I was very confused. Then when I googled him, it turns out to be the Inconceivable! guy from the Princess Bride. So apparently I'm late to the party and everyone knows he's really smart and thoughtful? (I thought about changing the post title to "Conceivable".)
Second: the linked essay really is good, and Minivet is right that it's brevity is the key. It's not earth-shattering in the sense that it won't surprise you to learn that we're in a sorry state today, but as a short personal narrative, it's very poetic and well done.
(This is intended to be our system for checking in on imaginary friends, so that we know whether or not to be concerned if you go offline for a while.)
Clearly I cannot keep this simple thing together. Maybe I'll just aim to keep one on the front page at all times.
Crabs are evolutionarily desirable:
According to a 2017 paper from the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, this evolutionary process has occurred on at least 5 separate occasions in the last century alone:Curiously, not only did the crab-like habitus evolve independently from the 'true' crabs (Brachyura), it also evolved three times independently within anomurans. [...] Although enormous morphological disparity is observed in the internal anatomy of the crab-like taxa, reflecting the fact that the evolution of the crab-like habitus was indeed convergent, various corresponding dependences are found across the different lineages between the external characters of a crab-like habitus/morphotype and inner structures. In other words, as a result of carcinization certain structural coherences led to the specific internal anatomical patterns found in crab-like forms.
Lurid Keyaki suggests: Can run with this.
Most Americans know that, in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court effectively ruled that Bush would be the next president of the United States. But few can likely explain the court's justification for that holding, and for good reason: It doesn't make any sense, and the Supreme Court has not invoked it since. In an unsigned opinion that allegedly spoke for the five conservative justices, the court held that Florida's recount used procedures that violated "the equal dignity owed to each voter." Because the standards used to recount ballots varied between counties, the court concluded, the process violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause. Then, in an unprecedented move, the court declared that this analysis was a ticket good for one ride only, and that lower courts should never invoke its made-up principle again. This disclaimer acknowledged that SCOTUS had never applied such strict scrutiny to ballot tabulation and never would again.
This rationale shocked legal observers at the time, because Bush's lawyers had barely bothered to raise it. It was an afterthought in their briefings and oral arguments, a backstop tacked onto their chief argument: that, in ordering a recount, the Florida Supreme Court had unconstitutionally usurped the authority of the Florida legislature. This argument was so extreme that Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy refused to support it, leaning instead on the risible equal protection rule that carried the day.
But the other three conservative justices--William Rehnquist, joined by Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas--embraced it in a separate opinion. Rehnquist's concurrence rested on the electors clause of the Constitution, which says that "Each State shall appoint" presidential electors "in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct." He accused the Florida Supreme Court of having "impermissibly distorted" the state's election code when it ordered a recount. Because the court ran afoul of the "clearly expressed intent of the legislature," Rehnquist concluded, it had violated the electors clause.:
My ultra-naive response is that if the Supreme Court rules that state Supreme Courts can't usurp the power of state legislatures, it's only a hair's breadth further to wonder about Marbury v Madison and the federal Supreme Court itself. But then again, optimistic spin is how I respond to scary things. (However, for optimistic spins, no one can touch Kevin Drum. General optimism on the subject of democracy in the US, and optimism specific to this issue of voting and state courts.)
I'm sure you all saw this, since it's been out for awhile, but there was so much to discuss last week that I put it on the backburner:
A story published last fall by The Daily Princetonian found that the Gold Coast of Connecticut pumps more athletic recruits into Ivy League schools than any other region in the nation. Kids' sports look a little different here--as they do in upscale neighborhoods across America. Backyards feature batting cages, pitching tunnels, fencing pistes, and hockey rinks complete with floodlights and generators.* Hotly debated zoning-board topics include building codes for at-home squash courts and storm-drainage plans to mitigate runoff from private ice rinks. Whereas the Hoop Dreamers of the Chicago projects pursued sports as a path out of poverty and hardship, the kids of Fairfield County aren't gunning for the scholarship money. It's more about status maintenance, by any means necessary.
I mean, what a complicated cage to trap yourself in. Class anxiety is its own reward, I guess.
There's also this one:
Before the pandemic, most agents would sell islands as a boutique fraction of their broader real estate business.
Now that many sellers report seeing a surge in island interest, several brokers said it was taking over more of their business.
The poor dears are overwhelmed.
"Before, an island was a toy," said Marcus Gondolo-Gordon, the chief executive of Incognito Property based in England. Now clients describe dreams of a "a bloody long boat ride" to ensure that no one will cruise up and infringe on their isolation, he said. They also want access to fresh water, solar panels and a house that is ready to sleep in, tomorrow.
Quickly setting up an island for self-sufficiency is going to be hard, Mr. Gondolo-Gordon has to tell them. Construction on private islands takes far more time than on the mainland or even on typical, nonprivate islands. And brokers cannot guarantee that islands will be safe havens from civil unrest. For example, just this week he looked at a lovely island in the eastern Mediterranean -- a steal at $7.4 million. But there are some tensions in those waters, which are contested by Turkey and Greece.
Some children in Africa have never even seen me play the world's smallest violin.
"You're going to have to read the news," he tells clients. And they'll also have to consider that their shoreline will most likely be affected by climate change. When they cannot handle this, he advises them to rent a superyacht.