What caught my attention…

Letters from an American, October 10, 2022

… Russia is loosing the Ukraine war… badly…

According to Deborah Haynes, a security and defense editor at _Sky News_ in the United Kingdom, Sir Jeremy Fleming, who is the director of the U.K.’s intelligence and security agency, will say in a speech tomorrow that the Ukrainian forces are “turning the tide” against Russia. “The costs to Russia…in people and equipment are staggering. We know—and Russian commanders on the ground know—that their supplies and munitions are running out…. Russia’s forces are exhausted. The use of prisoners to reinforce, and now the mobilisation of tens of thousands of inexperienced conscripts, speaks of a desperate situation.”

… two things to consider…

… what will happen to the House and Senate in November is a question and Putin is surely waiting to see, probably also planning to try to put his finger on the scales…

… and…

… what is the end game?… what is Russia’s off ramp short of nuclear war?… it may be clear to intelligence officials but it certainly isn’t clear to me…

Tschabalala Self’s Poetic New Paintings Explore the Meaning of Home

… i love this painting…

https://anotherimg-dazedgroup.netdna-ssl.com/614/azure/another-prod/420/6/426784.jpgRed Room, 2022

With this playful, poetic simplicity, Self explores a plethora of social implications. What does a home symbolise? What is the role of the home in our collective consciousness? What does it mean to take a seat at the table, or to bring the domestic setting into the public sphere? “The home has two realities,” says Self. “An aspirational reality – a place of comfort, interiority and true self-expression. Then in reality it’s a place full of expectations, where people have to take on roles.”

20 new books to get you through the week.

… i stop on this one… initially i was going to blow by it because the thought of 20 books i should read in this week was ridiculously impossible… but then i stopped… because the idea was ridiculously impossible… i have so many books to read and i am not at all making progress on reading them…

On Affirmative Action, Clarence Thomas Took a Page From Malcolm X

… i looked at the headline and photograph of Justice Thomas for this article… thought about clicking on it… scrolled by… clicked… read a little… scrolled some more… returned… read the full article… the author is white… hmmm… white man explaining black man… in a favorable way in this case… still… can he be trusted?… i don’t know… at any rate… affirmative-action vs. meritocracy… well, we all know racism isn’t dead and that it informs admissions decisions and hiring practices… we all should know that racism is endemic to our culture and has systematically suppressed people of color in all kinds of ways… how do we compensate?… if not affirmative action, what other mechanism?… i understand the argument that it stigmatizes the success of an individual for it to be thought that there but for the grace of affirmative action go they… the implication being who ever they were did not deserve the success… they didn’t merit it but for the color of their skin… how do we train institutions and corporations to be color blind?… i understand the arguments against affirmative action… but… what is the better solution?… then there is the whole thing about Justice Thomas himself… even if you explain to me that he comes by his views on AA honestly, through Malcom X, how am i to overlook the anger i have with this man and his wife Ginny and the whole Roe v. Wade thing?… and the threat to undo gay marriage, the right to birth control, etc. etc. etc.?… is this a man i can look up to?… can i entertain the thought that he might be right on AA?…

Pop Goes the Weasel?

… Nick Catoggio, writing for The Dispatch, ponders the question of Putin deploying nukes… will he or won’t he… there is no rational basis to… Russia will loose far more than it will gain… the question is… will this reach the point of being an existential threat to Putin in which he and his fellow countrymen who agree with him decide that if they can’t have empire the world can’t have life… or will someone in Russia take him out?… and if they did, would the world be safe in the chaos that followed?… so… it remains a question of the end game… how do we get to checkmate and the toppling of the king without Armageddon?…

The Inevitable Indictment of Donald Trump

… as bad as i know it will be if 45 is indicted, i simply can’t imaging having any faith in the system if he isn’t… sadly, a large part of the country will have their loss of faith confirmed if he is… according to the article, we should know by next spring… fasten your seatbelts…

There’s a date on the calendar when excessive meticulousness potentially precludes holding Trump to account. On January 20, 2025, Merrick Garland might not have a job. His post could be occupied by an avatar of the hard right. And any plausible Republican president will drop the case against Donald Trump on their first day in office.

The excruciating conundrum that Garland faces is also a liberating one. He can’t win politically. He will either antagonize the right or disappoint the left. Whatever he decides, he will become deeply unpopular. He will unavoidably damage the reputation of the institution he loves so dearly with a significant portion of the populace.

Faced with so unpalatable a choice, he doesn’t really have one. Because he can’t avoid tearing America further apart, he’ll decide based on the evidence—and on whether that evidence can persuade a jury. As someone who has an almost metaphysical belief in the rule book, he can allow himself to apply his canonical texts.