… i read Heather Cox Richardson and get the overwhelming impression that democracy is crumbling and there is little we can do about it… its not a good start to the day…

Heather Cox Richardson post this morning is largely about voting rights… Biden and Harris went to Georgia and made a speech vowing to protect voting rights and urging legislators everywhere to stand up for Democracy… the Senate is the roadblock… the filibuster is the roadblock… Senators Manchin and Sinema and possibly a few others are the roadblock… all the news analysis is suggesting that Manchin and Sinema will not budge… i am presently skeptical about whether Democrats are going to be able to do anything… but, as Rachel Maddow might say… watch this space…

First notes…

227.6 lbs

… feeling more rested today… not much alcohol… went to bed earlier… slept ok… awake at 2:30 AM… stayed in bed until 3:45 AM… maybe i slept a little more…

…clean out the coffee pot… get coffee water started… grind coffee beans… feed the cat… take my meds… release the hounds from the bedroom… take them outside… f***!, its cold outside… check my weather widget… in the teens… the fingertips of my right hand starting to tingle by the time we come back in… the air is so crisp and i am so warm from being inside… the contrast is wonderful… i am alive!…

… i started my quest for the principles one can lead their life by and for something that may be a legitimate alternative to the present extractive and destructive economic system… i am coming to the conclusion already that one can live their life within the system without participating so much in it… the two texts i have chosen to begin with reading are Buddhist Economics, E. F. Schumacher, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig… BE requires some reading up on the basic principles of Buddhism which also benefits the reading of Zen and the Art… from the former i learn that if one follows the eightfold paths, one will not be engaging in the worst aspects of the dominant system… from the latter i expect to learn that pursuing quality in product and experience will lead to a happier existence, which is also a subtext of Buddhism… to the extent that we all must consume to stay alive, one can make choices that are ‘quality’ choices… we have arrived at a system where mean and shabby are the rule, not the exception… i am looking forward to developing a philosophy of how to live… or, rather, confirming a philosophy of how to live and then pursuing it…

… Heather Cox Richardson writing about the Ahmaud Arbery case… the three men convicted of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced yesterday… two of them to life in prison without parole, one of them to life with the possibility of parole… she points out that justice came perilously close to not happening… she uses the case as a springboard to discussing voting rights and states rights… she notes that the SCOTUS is poised to strike down federal vaccine mandates and that the court gutted voting rights legislation… leading to the result that states have increasingly enacted restrictive voting laws and, in some cases, have installed partisans to be in charge of elections or have passed laws that provide for the overturning of election results by partisan officials… interestingly, the cry against gerrymandering has quieted, largely because it appears to be a wash overall, with neither Republicans or Democrats gaining or loosing much ground in numbers of representatives in Congress… the discussion on states rights is an interesting one… the current originalist leaning SCOTUS is bending towards the supremacy of states rights, not an unreasonable stance… the question starts to be, to what degree can you allow individual states pursue governance and policies that are favorable to one group over another… isn’t the role of the Federal Government to protect the freedom and rights of everyone across the country, and don’t they need to be able to trump states rights in some instances to do so?…

First notes…

227.2 lbs

… second day of No S diet observance… weight down again…

… i spent most of yesterday installing the new storm door… it went pretty well… i have to make some adjustments to the frame that will be a bit of a pain, but it is installed and we are happy with it… the door was not as custom as i would have thought we paid for… it came with extension pieces and was more than an inch short of the full height required… it was, at least, just short of the full width of the rough opening as it should have been… the door cost us $850… its a good door… well insulated, weatherstripped, and features a screen that automatically drops down when the top window pain is lowered… for the good weather… i practiced what i learned from 4K Weeks… embrace what one is being asked to focus on in the present moment… let the other priorities stand in abeyance while this one thing claims center stage… return to the rest when it is done…

… we watched more Station 11 last night… i fell asleep… i find the current rage for telling stories in non-linear fashion a bit tedious… i get the artfulness of it… i suppose it develops a kind of suspense that might keep some hanging on waiting to figure out what it is all about… it seems more device than art to me in this case… at this moment i compare it to Georges Perec’s life which in a way, is this concept on steroids, but it works better in Perec… perhaps it works better in the book the series is based on…

… Heather Cox Richardson this morning, as expected, is all about the J6 Select Committee asking Sean Hannity to appear before it and answer some questions… Hannity will likely decline to do so on first amendment (freedom of the press) grounds… the committee’s questions were narrowly aimed at communications between Hannity and 45’s administration and it is clear that he is acting as adviser, not journalist, and, in any case, Hannity has said in public, on air, that he does not consider himself a journalist… there is a good chance the committee could compel his testimony should they wish to… whether they will or not is probably dependent on how effectively they can steer clear of the violation of first amendment rights accusations that will certainly be leveled by Trumpist conservatives… one needs also to have a clear eyed view of whether 45 will become president and how the tools of government might be used to exact revenge…

… every day, Liz Cheney is more a hero to me, as is the entire Select Committee, as every member is enduring death threats and threats to their careers in general… Cheney is currently not expected to survive the next election cycle…

… i have allowed myself to think that Democracy will not win this current struggle… one of the key ways it could stay in the game, national voting rights legislation, seems unlikely given the intransigence of Manchin and Sinema on the filibuster rule… personally, i don’t think Mitch McConnel would hesitate for a second to throw it overboard if it stood between him and something he wanted to accomplish…

… the other thing that could save democracy is the work of the J6 Committee… they appear to have a pretty clear picture of what happened… there appears to be criminal culpability on the part of 45 and senior members of his administration… but… the attempt to overturn democracy is ongoing and the partisanship is so fevered and delusional that over 70% of Republicans believe the last election was stollen from them, even though there is no audit of the election, official or otherwise, that has turned up any wrong doing, any fraud… Facts said Kelly Anne Conway, don’t matter. What people believe matters… the truest words ever uttered by a political operative… whatever you can get the people to believe is what matters… and, a majority of the people is not needed, only radicalization of enough of the minority to a fevered pitch… Trumpian conservatives are winning the belief and fever pitch game at the moment…

First notes…

228.4 lbs

… read two depressing articles in The Economist yesterday… one a broad discussion of how the United States might loose its democratic government, the other a discussion of how 45 stands a good chance of becoming president again, should he decide to run… i imagine he will… he has too many scores to settle… and, just like that, we are an authoritarian government… the news out of the Biden/Harris administration isn’t good… one wonders if Mitch McConnel will step in… perhaps he will help with voting rights… i struggle to maintain hope that things will turn out well…

… yesterday i began, after first notes, by reading a book rather than articles in my feed… it was a much more satisfying way to begin the day and i will do it again today…

… i have made the change over to Obsidian as my main writing app… i am refining my use of drafts as a note taking throughout the day app… yesterday, i reorganized the location of apps on my phone to reflect the apps i most use… i am feeling i have a near perfect suite of tools…

… we watched Don’t Look Up… it seemed an utterly useless movie… i understood it’s satire, it’s metaphor, but i suppose it hit too close to home on the stupidity of humankind and the present moment without offering anything that might compel change… i don’t find the present moment in time a laughing matter… H really liked it and claimed i don’t understand satire, and, as she often does, that i have no sense of humor… i have a good if somewhat dry sense of humor, but humor isn’t really what is called for in this moment…

HCR meter

… the big news is that January 6 committee may be considering criminal referral of 45 to the DC Federal courts… they are not compelled to take it up, but…

… the 45 admin’s involvement in creating the riot on January 6th is getting clearer… if anything is proven i fervently hope there will be consequences…

The Manchin Mess… good article in the Bulwark about the mess

Heather Cox Richardson, December 21, 2021

… the January 6 Select Committee noose tightens around the neck of 45’s administration… violent rhetoric is increasing… the HCR meter pointing down… we are on course for rough times…

Heather Cox Richardson, December 20, 2021

… about the betrayal of Joe Manchin… makes a compelling case for an economy centered around ordinary people and how BBB would have helped create that… it notes that Goldman Sachs downgraded economic growth projections by 1% upon news of Manchin’s betrayal… there is more to this than meets the eye though… it sounds like someone in the administration really pissed him off and he is having a temper tantrum… he has also, from what i see, left the door open for a reformulation of the bill into something more to his liking… i suspect we haven’t seen the end of BBB… politics is complicated, there are always steps back and steps forward…

Democrats walk on eggshells around Breyer as GOP plans another blockade for any Biden Supreme Court pick, Edward-Isaac Dovere and Manu Raju, CNN, December 19, 2021

… the idea that there might be a supreme court vacancy in 2021 just came on my radar screen through this article on Reason.com about Biden’s potential impact on the federal court system (it’s been relatively substantial so far)… and, of course, its Justice Breyer… according to the article linked above…

Breyer has told several people who’ve made unofficial efforts to push him to retire that he thinks the confirmation process shouldn’t be political, according to people told of those discussions, and Democrats worry he’d remain as an act of resistance to show he’s not bowing to politics.

… and…

Privately, multiple Senate Democrats complain that Breyer seems to have let his ego overtake him and he is not being realistic to how radically Supreme Court confirmation politics has changed in the last five years.

… please let’s not make the same mistake as we did with Ginsberg… ego has got to give way to doing what’s right for future generations… current SCOTUS is awful… it would become more than tragic if conservatives get another seat to fill…

The Death of Build Back Better?…

this article in National Review explains conservative opposition and concerns about the BBB bill as well as a detailed account of Senator Manchin’s concerns about the bill… i have to count myself as among the frustrated with Manchin, probably more over voting rights and the filibuster than this… but i am also one of the more progressive who hopes this will lead to a reformulation of its contents into a narrower selection of priorities with longer term funding which he justifiably claims will be more likely to last into the future…

Reading Notes, News, Politics…

Heather Cox Richardson, December 16, 2021… a mixed bag today… Build Back Better Act has been shelved for the moment, due to the intransigence of Senator Manchin… voting rights has moved to the forefront and here again, Senator Manchin is a stumbling block… i believe Democracy is at stake and voting rights legislation is essential… there is no way to do it without amending the filibuster rule… Manchin is steadfastly against that so far… at the end, a bit about the Urghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which passed the Senate unanimously… the US pushing back on China for human rights violoations… polysilicon, used to make solar panels, will become scarcer as half the wolrd’s supply comes from Zinjiang from which the Biden administration is preventing all imports unless there is clear proof that slave labor wasn’t part of its production…

What’s Polluting the Air? Not Even the EPA Can Say… how the EPA fails to act even when receiving reports that indicate a huge toxic release problem… i wish i was not surprised…

The Most Detailed Map of Cancer-Causing Industrial Air Pollution in the US

The FDA Just Made Medication Abortions a Whole Lot Easier to Get… a step in the right direction, but, easily reversable by a future administration and:

Yet the change won’t mean a whole lot in much of the country. Nineteen states(https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/medication-abortion), including Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama (which recently introduced a “heartbeat bill” similar to Texas’) restrict the use of telemedicine for abortion. People across the South and the Midwest will have to travel to sanctuary states like California or New York for telemedicine appointments and to receive the medication. #abortion

Biden Administration Permanently Lifts Restrictions on Abortion Pills… an alternative take on the abortion pill story…

Manchin and Sinema Are Blocking Everything… it is so depressing… i am hoping that MJ is being overly dramatic, but the available evidence supports the doom and gloom scenario… Manchin and Sinema are currently blocking everything that would help most Democrats in the midterm, and, ultimately, 2024, since a disaster at midterm will prevent them from doing anything to make a case for their continuation in power in 2024…

Congressional Republicans Provide a Way Forward on Supply Chains… it takes pot shots at Democratic efforts but does offer what seem to be reasonable solutions… one thing that puzzles me is why the water transportation industry would favor regulation that makes it harder to expand port facilities and process larger ships?… this seems counterintuitive…

If We Don’t Get Inflation Under Control, It Could Unleash Some Dramatic Consequences

What i read…

Heather Cox Richardson, December 15, 2021… about the January 6 commission and the noose tightening around the administration of 45… about the build back better spending bill and Manchin’s insistence that the price tag come in under 1.75 trillion over ten years… about a defense budget with 25 billion more than 46 asked for for a single year… there is money for new technologies while preserving money for old technologies that provide jobs to constituents…

Senator Manchin, Keep Holding Out on Build Back Better, the Editors, National Review… Manchin is the lynchpin of Build Back Better… Heather Cox Richardson reports above that he will accept a bill with a 1.75 trillion price tag over ten years… this article tries to hold him to a statement early on that said 1.5 trillion was his limit… i suspect something will get passed in the end…

Sinema Doubles Down on Filibuster Defense amid Democrats’ Pivot to Voting Bill, Caroline Downey, National Review… apparently Sinema remains a know on filibuster busting… a spokesman for Sineam:

“Senator Sinema has asked those who want to weaken or eliminate the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation which she supports if it would be good for our country to do so,” LaBombard told Politico. He said that there’s a risk that the measure gets “rescinded in a few years and replaced by a nationwide voter-ID law, nationwide restrictions on vote-by-mail, or other voting restrictions currently passing in some states extended nationwide.”

DeSantis Introduces Bill Banning Critical Race Theory in Public Schools, Private Company Staff Trainings… Caroline Downey, National Review… my understanding is that Critical Race Theory is not taught in any K-12 school anywhere… that it is taught at the college level only and mostly in law schools… this article suggests that DeSantis’ bill would not only ban something that isn’t happening from K-12 programs, but reaches up to the college level and into the training programs of private companies… that would be a huge overreach that is suspect would not hold up in the courts… so, is he proposing it without expectation of it passing just to check off a box on his expected run for President?…

Are the Parents of the Michigan School Shooter Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter? Jacob Sullum, Reason.com… this article argues that they may have been negligent, but that their actions, or lack thereof, do not rise to Involuntary Manslaughter… i suspect the author is correct on this point and so, this case becomes an argument for tighter gun control laws…

The Attempted Republican Coup Should Be the Democrats’ Leading Message. A. B. Stoddard, The Bulwark.… i agree wholeheartedly with the opinion expressed in this article and have for some time… the threat to Democracy is the number one issue that needs to be dealt with…

The events of January 6 were clearly planned and coordinated to some extent—to what extent we have yet to learn. And the same is true of the post-coup cover-up.

Republicans must be made to answer for these facts at the next election. For two reasons: If they are not made to answer for it in 2022, then they never will be. And if aiding and abetting a coup doesn’t prove to be a political liability, then such attacks will be incentivized in the future.

‘West Side Story’ and the American Melting Pot. Christian Thrailkill, The Bulwark… a glowing review of the new movie by Spielberg, though i already knew i wanted to see it… this was one of my favorite films growing up as i have always beens a sucker for stories of romance against the odds… accomplishments of any kind against the odds really…

Aleksei Navalny: The Man vs. The Symbol. Benjamin Parker, The Bulwark… this article is interesting… heroes are rarely pure as the driven snow, often, far from it… we work with the heroes we have is the point of the article… it also gets me thinking about any kind of accomplished individual that has broken ground in new or courageous or new and courageous territory… humans are imperfect creatures, to say the least, and society moves forward none the less, often carried by heroes with major flaws…

Does it degrade the thoughts of Navalny’s fans, employees, and followers to support such a man? It’s tempting, especially for Americans, to argue that racism and xenophobia ruin even the most vigorous advocacy for human and civil rights. But Russia has no equivalent of the 1619 Project. They went through a period of iconoclasm in the 1990s, tearing down Lenins and Stalins all over—and then they stopped.

Perhaps one day, Russians will have the luxury of arguing over whether to dismantle statues of Navalny for his manifestations of bigotry. But that luxury is, at this point, so far in the future that it is hard to even imagine. It would mean that democracy in Russia is so entrenched, so stable, so unthreatened that it would no longer need reminders of his sacrifice. Perhaps before we worry about whether or not a man such as Nalvany deserves statues, we ought to get to a place where erecting a statue to him is an option.

Where’s the beef? Brent Orrell, The Bulwark… it strikes me as significant that this article is published in The Bulwark, a conservative leaning publication created at the beginning of the Trump Administration by conservative journalists who could not abide Trumpism and still can’t… there are some particularly interesting acknowledgements in the article:

Over many decades, the American economy has depended on a seemingly endless supply of workers (documented and not) willing to work for the sometimes parsimonious wages on offer in our advanced, globally-integrated, highly competitive, and skills-biased economy. If employees didn’t like conditions, well, there was always someone else anxious to take the work. Just five years ago, McDonalds had 50,000 applications lined up for 13,000 jobs.

… note the in parenthesis part about workers, documented and not… i have long thought there was conservative hypocrisy on the issue of immigration and that their protestations of loose border policies had more to do with ensuring an undocumented (and therefore cheap) flow of workers into the country… that is how it looks to me anyway… sure, we need well controlled borders and immigration policy is a mess… but part of the reason for the mess is our unacknowledged dependence on undocumented labor… again, my opinion…

But it goes beyond just working conditions and into less tangible, but no less real, issues with how the people who do this work are viewed and treated. Meatpacking jobs were (and are) disproportionately held by undocumented, refugee, and other immigrant workers in mainly conservative, rural states that left workers exposed to employer and government pressures and community indifference during the opening chapters of the COVID crisis. (emphasis added) The status of these workers as essential “outsiders” aggravated long-standing problems in an industry that had come to take access to a continuous flow of cheap labor as part of its business model.

… and then there is this:

We didn’t get here overnight. As one meat processing plant manager commented to NPR a few years ago, “Workers are really cheaper than machines. Machines have to be maintained. They have to be taken good care of. And that’s not really true of workers. As long as there is a steady supply, workers are relatively inexpensive (emphasis added)”, a quote that summarizes the situation better than anything else could. No doubt the market will eventually bring wages and working conditions into balance with supply and demand. For now, we know the answer to the age-old question, “Where’s the beef?”

… inflation has become a big worry… as we are mostly on fixed income at this point, i am certainly not a fan of it… but to the extent it is about better wages, working conditions for workers, and a rational immigration policy, i am happy to learn to live with higher prices for the goods i purchase…

What i read…

Exclusive: Nadia Lee Cohen’s Powerful Portraits of Strong Femininity, Ted Stansfield, AnOther Magazine… Nadia Lee Cohen turns the idea of Male/Female gaze into something quite different…

Power is the key word here – these images vibrate with the stuff. They confront you. Command you. Compel you. Meet your gaze head on. And they are full of contradictions, too: simultaneously retro and modern, they draw on a legacy of British and American cinema, but feel new and current. Likewise they are staged and stylised, but at the same time real and irrefutably raw. Meanwhile, the women themselves display both a vulnerability and a strength, presenting a fictional character and also their true self, or at least a version of it. It’s hard to look away and even harder not to feel something.

… i read that this project took six years to accomplish… i admire the discipline of a woman in her 20’s… i imagine they have fierce ambition and incredible focus…

Inside Nadia Lee Cohen’s New Book of Chameleonic Self-Portraits, Ted Stansfield, AnOther Magazine… not a unique idea, but a unique execution of the idea…

Place: Ikea Parking Lot, Anelise Chen, Believer Magazine… i plunge in to reading the article and immediately like it… as i am reading, i get the strong impression that i am inhabiting the thoughts of a woman… i knew, without having seen who the author was, that it was a woman…

For me, extended time in parking lots has always signified an emergency, precise moments of narrative dissolution: one version of the good life has come apart irretrievably, and you must, humbly, construct another. Outside hospitals and motels, breakups and breakdowns. I paced because pacing feels like the good, primal thing to do when a body is penned in. It’s what lions and tigers do in their zoo enclosures. Back and forth, up and around, prowl, prowl, repeat. I organized my movements by row: up and down the parking rows toward the now-dim signs for exchanges, returns, exit, enter. The circularity of the movements, plus the weird, abstract commands, felt cosmic. I was in an undetermined space of pure matter, performing a ritual of eternal reincarnation, living many lives.

… didn’t love the way this piece ended, but i love the idea of pacing in super large parking lots to clear one’s head, and then, beginning to pay attention to what is in that lot, which is way more than one would think…

Stuff I’ve Been Reading: Rickie Lee Jones, Emma Dabiri, and More, Nick Hornby, Believer Magazine… a set of well written and compelling impressions of the books in question… impressions seems the right word, because i don’t read these as critical reviews, just an accounting of a book enjoyed thoroughly… also, in the course of reading these impressions i encounter the author referring to themselves as ‘he’ again… it happened in the article above, which led me to search for information on the author and confirm that they present as female and refer to themselves as ‘she’… so now i am wondering what is going on… is being gender confusing a thing and i am out of the loop? Hmmm…

… and now i discover that Summer Thomad is not the author of the articles i am reading, but for some reason comes up with the byline when the articles feed through to Feedbin… i circle back and follow the links through to the Believer Mag website and find the actual authors and switch credit accordingly and the pronoun mystery continues because it turns out i am right about the parking lot article, written by a (Asian) woman… her bio on Wikipedia refers to them as ‘her’ and ‘she’ while she self-refers as male in the body of the article… hmmm some more…

… by the way, i really like The Believer Magazine

Nietzsche on Walking and Creativity, Maria Popova, The Marginalian… i am a walker… i walk every day… my daily goal is at least 10K steps… right now, my weekly average is close to 15K steps… i walk, i think, i make pictures… this has gotten me through the pandemic in good shape… it turns out that Maria Popova is a walker too…

Almost everything I write, I “write” in the notebook of the mind, with the foot in motion — what happens at the keyboard upon returning from the long daily walks that sustain me is mostly the work of transcription.

Maria Popova’s recommendations on reading are always compelling… i have found so much of what i read through her…

Senator Blumenthal Delivered Speech at Communist Party Awards, Brittany Bernstein, National Review… red bating is a time honored tradition of conservatives… this reads like a political hit job… is there something wrong with what Blumenthal did?… why should his wealth-by-wife be any more of an issue than Mitch McConnel’s?… i am fine with socialist policies… not so much with communism… i also believe in freedom of association and speech…

Gone Too Far, Brendan Dougherty, The National Review… refreshing for this substantially right of center magazine to publish an article stating that:

But the riot at the Capitol happened because President Donald Trump simply lied, and lied, and lied. On that very day he lied about what the vice president’s powers were. “All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people,” he told the crowd.

What I Read Today

  • Letters from an American, December 13, 2021, Heather Cox Richardson… the January 6 Commission referred Mark Meadows to the House for Contempt of Congress… in doing so they revealed details of information they already had… details that made it clear the 45 knew what was going on and accusing them of “dereliction of duty,” which is military speak for, you are in some serious shit… additionally, it was clear that a number of Fox News personalities not only had close ties to the Whitehouse but called repeatedly on the day of the riot to plead with 45 to say something to calm the situation… that same day they went on air and began making the case to their viewers that 45 had nothing to do with the riot, that it was ANTIFA that infiltrated a peaceful rally and turned it deadly… they were clearly lying to their viewers…
  • Booz Allen Sounds the Alarm On China’s Coming Quantum Harvest, Arthur Herman, Hudson Institute… quantum computers are likely within a 10 year time horizon… they will be capable of cracking encryption deployed on most computer systems today in defense and industry… China is likely stealing and warehousing encrypted data in anticipation of that day… efforts to secure systems against quantum computing capabilities need to accelerate…
  • Fox Hosts Begged Trump to Stop the January 6 Attack on the Capitol, Amanda Carpenter, The Bulwark… confirms Heather Cox Richardson report that Fox News personalities pleaded with 45 to stop the riot and then went on to spin it as not his fault at all… family members and members of congress too…
  • What Did Governor Hochul Say About Religion!?, Josh Blackman, Reason.com… a case is made that injunctive relief should have been provided given the awkward at best statements of Governor Hochul about the religious exemptions being denied…
  • Barrett and Kavanaugh Supply Another Majority to Deny Religious-Liberty Exemption… this case is seeming more interesting than i at first thought, or, rather, i thought is was interesting at first, but for the wrong reasons… i am no friend of organized religion, i am somewhere on the spectrum between atheist and agnostic… but the reasoning here seems a bit botched… > - This time, it was New York’s vaccine mandate, which initially included an exemption for religious objectors. These objectors included some Catholics and other Christians who oppose abortion. The vaccines are derived in part from abortion — specifically, from fetal-cell lines used in vaccine production and testing. Nevertheless, when Kathy Hochul replaced Andrew Cuomo as governor, she stripped the religious exemption from the mandate, making the astonishing acknowledgment that she had done so “intentionally” because those who resisted vaccination “aren’t listening to God and what God wants.”

  • January 6 Committee Votes to Recommend Contempt Charges for Mark Meadows, Zachary Evans, National Review… of note to me is the article’s description of the events on January 6th and the calling into question the makeup of the committee: > - The select committee was formed to investigate the Capitol riot, during which supporters of the former president breached the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to interrupt the certification of the Electoral College results. > > However, Pelosi refused to appoint two lawmakers recommend by House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) to the panel, leading McCarthy and most Republicans to withhold cooperation with the committee. Representatives Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.), both staunch critics of President Trump in relation to the events of January 6, are the only Republicans on the nine-member committee.

Stepping Away from the Partisan Divide

Over the weekend I read this lengthy and fascinating article about human characteristics we all share that have made us vulnerable to the increasingly virulent partisan divide we are experiencing today.

What follows is a lengthy exploration of this article and what I believe to be important about it. In case you need to cut to the chase and move on with your day, here are my main takeaways:

To have any hope of engaging in productive and deescalating dialogue on the critical issues of our time:

  • discuss issues, discuss values, discuss policy, discuss facts, embrace complexity and don’t argue when others characterize your politics
  • make a sincere effort to inquire about and understand the reasons people have for their views, share the reasons for your views, and resist the temptation to immediately debate the rightness or wrongness of those views
  • assemble a carefully curated set of information sources that you have verified for factualness and understand the biases of; include sources from far left to far right and in between; make an extra effort to read or view the sources that challenge your views on major issues… here is my list1

Read on if you would like to know more about what underpins my basic take aways.


Last week I read an article about Fred Hiatt and the Washington Post in which the following paragraph jumped out at me:

Sarah Longwell recently told a story about meeting me (Benjamin Wittes, the author of the article) and having no ability to identify my politics. This is an ethos I learned from Fred: discuss issues, discuss values, discuss policy, discuss facts, embrace complexity and don’t argue when others characterize your politics.2

Over the weekend I read Why Is It So Hard To Admit When You’re Wrong? by Ronald Bailey in The Bulwark. It confirmed my instinct about the importance of the above quote.

Bailey makes the following point about people and partisan politics:

Today, if you are a member of one of the two major American political parties, you are statistically likely to dislike and distrust members of the other party. While your affection for your own party has not grown in recent years, your distaste for the other party has intensified. You distrust news sources preferred by the other side. Its supporters seem increasingly alien to you: different not just in partisan affiliation but in social, cultural, economic, and even racial characteristics. You may even consider them subhuman in some respects.

You’re also likely to be wrong about the characteristics of members of the other party, about what they actually believe, and even about their views of you. But you are trapped in a partisan prison by the psychological effects of confirmation bias. Being confronted with factual information that contradicts your previously held views does not change them, and it may even reinforce them. Vilification of the other party perversely leads partisans to behave in precisely the norm-violating and game-rigging ways they fear their opponents will. It’s a classic vicious cycle, and it’s accelerating.3

And then there is this paragraph:

The consequences of this big chill are apparent in several other studies, notably the work of the Louisiana State University political scientist Nathan Kalmoe and the University of Maryland political scientist Lilliana Mason. One of their more striking results is that 60 percent to 70 percent of both parties in a 2017–18 survey said they thought the other party was a “serious threat to the United States and its people”; 40 percent of respondents in both parties thought the other party was “downright evil.” In another poll, 15 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats agreed with the brutal sentiment that the country would be better off if large numbers of opposing partisans in the public today “just died.” And 18 percent of Democrats and 13 percent of Republicans said that violence would be justified if the opposing party won the 2020 presidential election.4

It dismayed me to find that I am rolling with the statistical majorities of both parties. I currently believe that the Republican Party, at least the part of it that seems to be in control at the moment, is evil. My wife will tell you that I have more than once expressed the sentiment that perhaps it isn’t such a bad thing that “Trumpers” are refusing to vaccinate and wear masks, my presumption being that more of them will die. I draw the line at violence if the opposing party wins, but i might get there if i believe they stole the election in 2024, as MSNBC and other news sources warn daily that they are trying to position themselves to do. By the way, is anyone else surprised that Democrats were 5% more likely to resort to violence than Republicans if the other party won in 2020?

This brings me to another point brought home by this article. Our perceptions of what the other side is feeling and thinking relative to our perceptions of ourselves and what each side is actually thinking is significantly misaligned:

In a 2015 YouGov survey, respondents reckoned that 32 percent of Democrats are LGBT, 29 percent are atheists or agnostics, and 39 percent belong to unions; the right figures are really 6, 9, and 11 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, they estimated that 38 percent of Republicans earn over $250,000 per year, 39 percent are over age 65, and 42 percent are evangelicals; actually, just 2 percent earn that much, 21 percent are senior citizens, and 34 percent are evangelicals.

Democrats and Republicans also regularly overestimate just how much their opponents loathe them. On a sliding scale from 0 (least evolved) to 100 (most evolved) Republicans rated the humanity of their fellow partisans at around 85 points and that of Democrats at 62 points, a 23-point difference. Conversely, Democrats gave 83 points to their political confreres and only 62 points to Republicans, a 21-point difference. Even more interesting is that the Democrats guessed that the Republicans would award them just 36 points (26 points less than the true number), while Republicans estimated that Democrats would give them a measly 28 points (34 points less than the true number).5

And, less I believe that my party, the Democrats, is the superior one when it comes to tolerance there is this:

One of the more dire consequences of this exaggerated meta-perception—the perception partisans have of the other side’s perception of them—is that it seems to make people more willing to support illiberal and antidemocratic policies, such as curbs on free speech and political participation.

Moore-Berg’s findings were essentially replicated in a 2021 study by the University of California Santa Barbara social scientist Alexander Landry and his colleagues, who further found that “despite the socially progressive and egalitarian outlook traditionally associated with liberalism, the most liberal Democrats actually expressed the greatest dehumanization of Republicans.” Democrats also expressed greater antidemocratic outgroup spite than Republicans.6

Note that these are findings confirmed by a study conducted in 2021 and are highly counterintuitive to what I believe I am experiencing.

Depressingly, the article goes on to say that providing more accurate information generally fails to convince anyone siloed in their partisan points of view of anything other than their rightness. We select and deploy the information that supports our silo.

And here is a critical point for me:

Partisan cheerleading sounds harmless—not much different from fans rooting for a local football team, right? Nope. Hannon argues that ”if our disagreements are not based on genuine reasons or arguments, then we cannot engage with each other’s views.” If team loyalty is the main thing, then the upshot for Hannon is that “we cannot decrease polarization by reasoned debate.”7

A recent conversation with a family member about January 6 (they were denying it was anything other than a first amendment sanctioned protest) quickly made me angry and when I shut it down (a moment I was not entirely proud of), they noted that they were just trying to relate how things looked to “their team.” Hmmm…

And what if people are offered a range of information sources which could provide additional information about whether their beliefs are accurate? Will they take advantage of it? Apparently not:

Peterson and Iyengar also gave respondents access to various news sources so that they could check for additional information on whether their beliefs were accurate. These included sources identifiably associated with both liberal and conservative partisan loyalties, so-called mainstream sources, and expert sources from peer-reviewed journals. Some 29 percent turned to co-partisan sources, 26 percent to expert sources, 38 percent to mainstream sources, and only 7 percent to out-party sources.8

I have found this to be true of myself in the past. Even now, after a number of years of making the effort to read from various sources across the political spectrum, I struggle with information that contradicts a strongly held view. It is critically important to put together a range of factually accurate sources of information which both support and call into question our partisan beliefs and most people, on both sides, don’t do that.

The proliferation of self-consciously partisan broadcast media, such as Fox and MSNBC, and of partisan gathering places on social media platforms provides political sectarians plenty of opportunity to find information that confirms their ideological predispositions and disparages their opponents’ views. In 2019, a Perspectives on Psychological Science review of 51 studies testing for political bias found that “both liberals and conservatives were biased in favor of information that confirmed their political beliefs, and the two groups were biased to very similar degrees.”910

In case you thought your side was superior in its ability to follow the facts where they lead there is:

… a 2019 study, “(Ideo)Logical Reasoning: Ideology Impairs Sound Reasoning,” that found an equal tendency among liberals and conservatives to ignore the soundness of classically structured logical syllogisms in order to reach conclusions that supported the political beliefs that they already held.

Or perhaps you thought your side has the superior set of moral values:

… a 2018 study in Political Psychology, “Deep Alignment with Country or Political Party Shrinks the Gap Between Conservatives’ and Liberals’ Moral Values,” found that liberals and conservatives broadly share the same moral foundations and values.11

Towards the end, Bailey notes that the partisan divide around any given issue can be thawed if each side gives reasons for their views, rather than engaging in debates about those views, as most of us are all too quick to do:

The good news is that when presented with reasons favoring their opponents’ views, partisans were less likely to report that their opponents lacked intellectual ability or moral character. “Our results provide evidence that reasons serve a novel function distinct from persuasion, decision change, or acquiring knowledge,” conclude the researchers. “Even if the consideration of opposing reasons does not induce a change in one’s position, our results indicate that presenting opposing reasons might at least make people less likely to view their opponents negatively. This, in turn, might have the potential to make people more willing to listen to opponents and more willing to engage in genuine discussion with their opponents, which might have positive implications for compromise, fruitful deliberation, and the pursuit of a common good.”12

And that is what led me to the steps for stepping back from the partisan divide at the beginning of this post.


  1. Note: there are no cable/television news outlets on the list because i don’t consider any of them a good source of nuanced information about the issues that confront us [return]
  2. Benjamin Wittes, Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post, and America’s Moral and Political Seriousness, The Bulwark, December 08, 2021 [return]
  3. Ronald Bailey, Why Is It So Hard To Admit When You’re Wrong?, Reason Magazine, January 2020. [return]
  4. Ibid. [return]
  5. Ibid. [return]
  6. Ibid [return]
  7. Ibid [return]
  8. Ibid. [return]
  9. Ibid [return]
  10. The fact that MSNBC, which I watch, and Fox were mentioned in the same sentence in a way that made them roughly equivalent caught me by surprise. The idea that MSNBC is the liberal equivalent of Fox unsettled me. Fortunately, I depend much more on reading for information than cable news. Even so, I have become more and more aware of the way in which my preferred cable news outlet provokes my anger at the other side. [return]
  11. Ibid. [return]
  12. Ibid. [return]

Beginning the day…

229.0 lbs

… continuing to wake up between 2 and 3 AM, then fitful sleep until 4 AM, then up and get the day started…

… H’s doctor appointment went well, professional confirmation that they have nothing to worry about…

… watched 12 Dates of Christmas last night… pretty much the same concept as Groundhog Day, except it’s Christmas and the woman is the not very nice person who needs to learn a thing or two…

… HCR this morning is all about a Supreme Court decision handed down yesterday on Texas S. B. 8… it denied, for the most part, federal power to bring lawsuits against state-court judges and clerks… HCR makes the case that this will set federal efforts to protect civil rights back… she warns that the implications are ominous… an article in the National Review makes the case that it was a proper decision… an article in Reason Magazine, while being more neutral in it’s reporting, is in line with the National Review article… articles in Mother Jones are supportive of the dessent of Justice Sotomayor… in general, the ruling is viewed as a narrow win for right-to-an-abortion advocates, but too narrow to provide any good prospect of relief… we apparently still await a private individual to come forward and lodge a lawsuit under the S. B. 8 to get to a case that could determine the law’s constitutionality or lack thereof…

… it is ten days till we set out for Florida and Christmas with M…

… i am feeling like i have finally assembled a set of news sources that give me a balanced view of major news stories…

What i read today…

Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, December 07, 2021… the heroism and death of Messman Doris Miller, a black man, in WW II… he was on board the U.S.S. West Virginia in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked… he survived the sinking of the West Virginia but later perished when the U.S.S. Liscome Bay was sunk by a Japanese Torpedo, November 24, 1943…

I hear a lot these days about how American democracy is doomed and the reactionaries will win. Maybe. But the beauty of our system is that it gives us people like Doris Miller. Even better, it makes us people like Doris Miller.

In Defense—God Help Us—of Lauren Boebert, Chris True… i read the article and understand the point being made, but on the fence about whether i agree… my great frustration is that individuals that “no decent person … should give the time of day” get the time of day, get traction, take cover behind the protections of the system they are working towards dismantling… it puts those of us who want to stop them at a great disadvantage… we may be at a place where lines have to be drawn… on the other hand, it is a slippery slope…

No decent person should give Lauren Boebert the time of day. Congresswoman Boebert, however, is a different story. Congresswoman Boebert is representing over 700,000 people and those 700,000 people deserve the same representation in Congress as everyone else, even if that makes Democrats feel unsafe. Sticking to your principles often does._  International Court of Justice Rules Azerbaijan Must Stop Destroying Armenian Cultural Heritage in Artsakh, Yelena Ambartsumian… the ICJ apparently has the authority to refer its decisions to the UN Security Council which has the authority to do something about it… i am in sympathy based on what the article tells me, but wonder how straightforward the issue really is… last night Rachel Maddow’s opening monologue talked about the taking down of monuments to war heroes of the Confederacy… would the Confederacy, such as it exists today, have the right to appeal to the ICJ for relief?…

… a cartoon by Guy Richards Smit in Hyperallergic… last week, on Deadline Washington, Donny Deutsch lamented that the people he talked to in his crowd (he’s pretty wealthy) weren’t particularly concerned with whether democracy survives or not…

The Power of the Dog Is a Different Kind of Western Film, Ela Bittencourt, Hyperallergic…

In Jane Campion’s elegant adaptation of Thomas Savage’s novel The Power of the Dog, nature is an instrument of both wonder and violence.

The audacity of the original book comes from Savage combining a heated sibling rivalry, an illicit love story, the Western myths of male virility, and a murder mystery all within its slim pages.

How Marisol, “the True Trailblazer,” Paved the Way for Andy Warhol, Karen Chernick… “Behind every great man there’s a great woman.”… Marisol was quite well recognized at the time, so, not living in the shadows… but… an interesting exhibition…

Marisol, “Andy” (1962–63) (Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, image © Acquavella LLC (1962-63), © 2021 Estate of Marisol / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

The Hungry Eye: Eating, Drinking, and European Culture from Rome to the Renaissance, Leonard Barkan, review by Lauren Moya Ford, Hyperallergic… for art lover epicureans… there don’t appear to be recipes, but i suppose we can find our own…

… this image from the book catches my attention in particular… so many layers to dig through…

Joos van Cleve, “The Holy Family” (c. 1512-13) (the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

New Study on NFTs Deflates the “Democratic” Potential for the Medium, Jasmine Liu, Hyperallergic… yesterday i upgraded my micro.com subscription to premium to take advantage of the new email signup feature and begin posting short videos which i call video stills… i was ambivalent about doing this because i have viewed these video stills as ideal for the NFTA world… it is interesting to see that the market is shaping up to be a reflection of the physical art world system of value creation and art distribution, where there are taste makers serving as intermediaries advising the well to do on their art purchases… i struggle with this system because it is exploitative and elitist and a direct reflection of the power structure in which art is created… artists don’t often make out well trying to participate in this system… i don’t have to make money from my art at present, so i don’t have to participate in the system if i don’t want to, and lately, i don’t want to… right now, i create my art and offer it for free on a platform that isn’t profiting from my free content…

Beginning the day… i wake at 2:30 AM… stay in bed… get up at 3:30 AM… Fiona comes with me… i weigh myself, 230.8 lbs, get dressed, go down stairs, let Fiona out, fill the kettle, put it on the stove, take my meds and vitamins, feed the cat, let Fiona in, read HCR, which depresses me… she’s struggling with the idea that the game may be lost already, democracy may be on its way out… she is trying to have hope… i make the coffee, put a little cold water into my thermal mug, add a pinch of cinnamon, add a little agave, pour coffee into the mug, screw the top on, return to my studio/dressing room upstairs… Fiona is waiting for me on the studio bed… i start to settle down but Chas whines… i let him out of the bedroom where H is sleeping… Chas, Fiona and i return downstairs… i let them out… i read an article in The Bulwark arguing that Lauren Boebert should not be stripped of her committee assignments because of her Islamophobic comments aimed at representative Ilhan Omar… i am on the fence as to whether i agree or not… the author argues we should deplore and ignore citizen Boebert but we should not block congressperson Boebert from representing her 700K constituents… the dogs come back in, i give them and the cat treats, the dogs and i return upstairs… i let the dogs into the bedroom where H is sleeping and return to my desk… i spend the first 45 minutes organizing my journal… i have been reading through it at the rate of two weeks per day, which should have me finished by the end of the year…

What i read today…

  • Letters from an American, December 06, 2021, Heather Cox Richardson… a little less depressing than the December 05 post, she discusses the Biden/Harris administration’s upcoming conversation with Vladimir Putin, the Summit for Democracy, and the administration’s comprehensive strategy for combating corruption around the globe which undermines democracy and allows illiberal governments to flourish… she discusses the West’s ability to hold Putin accountable should he invade Ukraine, which a troop buildup along the border suggests he might do… she then circles back to the problems we are having at home with a right bent on authoritarianism…
  • a review of Instructional Photography: Learning How to Live Now… the review is very positive… i am much more interested in I Am My Lover (1978) by Joan Blank and Honey Lee Cottrell, a book on female masturbation referenced in the article… i find i can have a copy for $65… hmmm says primal me… i learn more about Carmen Winant
  • Paradise, by Daniel Dorsa… i like the photography in this spread, excerpts from a new book…
  • my December horoscope by Lorelai Kude on Chronogram:
    • Intensity is still the name of the game this month, which starts out with a literal bang when Mars sextiles Pluto December 6, with Capricorn Moon square your Sun. Unless you are an active-duty combat soldier, resist all urges to engage in battle. The spectrum of aggression ranges from petulant pugnaciousness at best to punitive pyromania at worst. If power is your priority, Mars square Jupiter December 8 will supersize the struggles and their consequences. Align yourself with higher thoughts and broader horizons when Mars enter Sagittarius December 13. To whom do you owe your fiery allegiance, after all?
  • A Look Back at Art News in 2021, From NFTs to Restitution… in reviewing the art stories of the year presented by Hyperallergic, i found myself more hopeful… in many ways, the art world seems to be progressing and promoting liberal causes better than the discouraging mainstream news would seem to suggest… from protesting the Sacklers to unionizing museum staffs to repatriation of stolen cultural heritage, the news seems good…

First thoughts…

229.8

… i am in a run where 6 to 6 ½ hours of sleep is sufficient… at some point i will need more, but for now, it’s good… i like getting up a little earlier… being at my desk by 4 AM…

… hotel bookings for the trip to Florida are complete… we found a cheap Red Roof Inn room in Savanah Georgia and booked it for two nights on the way back so we have a chance to see a little something of the city… looking forward to that…

… looking forward to visiting M except that i am increasingly anxious and angry about efforts of the far right to undermine democracy… lots of news stories yesterday proclaiming we are nearing the “break glass in case of emergency” point… some are saying we are past that… returning to M, as far as i can tell, they get their information entirely, or almost entirely from Fox News… i won’t be able to have a conversation with anyone who gets their information solely from Fox… most of my knowledge of the news comes from reading and i have both liberal and conservative sources…

… made a delicious mushroom cream soup last night… it turns out to be H’s favorite…

… after dinner we watched LoveHard and agreed it gets added to the Christmas rotation… it’s plot is predictable, it spoofs Love Actually a bit and is not as good, but, in the end, a satisfying Christmas romcom… i told H i was feeling a jones to watch Lars and the Real Girl and Hugo… she agreed with Hugo, was skeptical about LATRG as Christmas fare…

First thoughts…

… morning did not start well… very depressing post from Heather Cox Richardson, stopping just short of saying Democracy is dead in the United States… the urgency to protect Democracy that should be there, just isn’t… she quotes someone or writes that we need to imagine what actions are needed in a break the glass emergency… Democrats are faltering in a crucial moment… will they kill the filibuster and pass voting rights legislation?…

… and then there is this image from Representative Thomas Massie, ®KY:

… in what world, on what planet, is this an acceptable way to celebrate this Christmas Holiday?… i am not Christian, but i always thought this holiday was about peace and good will towards humankind?… no more…

… the best i have been able to do on break the glass planning is to consider how i might leave the country… immigrate just over the border to Canada, or something…

… i calmly think, ok, there is one voter in my life that i might have a chance to turn… how many of us turning one voter away from the authoritarian march would it take to halt the march?… not that many… so… i must try… but how to do it?… it largely consists in turning that person away from Fox News… i wonder if i can have a conversation with them that asks the question, what are you afraid of?…

What i read today…

  • Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, December 5, 2021… HCR sounding the alarm about failing democracy in this country in the most strident way to date…
    • The problem is this: “Democrats…need to win every single election from here to prevent the destruction of democracy, while Republicans only need to win one. And the American system is set up so that Republicans will win sooner or later, whether fairly or by cheating.” Atkins urges the American people to “start thinking about and planning for what ‘Break glass in case of emergency’ measures look like—because it’s more likely a matter of when, not if. It not only can happen here; it probably will happen here. Conservatives are guaranteed to make every attempt to turn America into the next Russia or Hungary. It will take coordinated, overlapping solidarity among both regular people and elites across various institutions to stop it.”1
  • The Plague Legends… Emily Urquhart writes about plague legends and the early days of the pandemic… she captures well the feelings so many of us had and the struggle to preserve sanity and well being…
  • Ron DeSantis and His State Guard Aren’t Happening in a Vacuum
    • Again: Political grandstanding is the most innocent possible explanation. But not the only possible explanation. DeSantis’s private force cannot reasonably be viewed in isolation from the other challenges Republican governors and legislatures have been raising—not only with their National Guards, but by probing every possible weak point in the Constitution when it comes to vaccines, voting, vote counting, and more.2
  • Winter Trees as a Portal to Aliveness, Maria Popova, The Marginalian
    • In winter, we are prone to regard our trees as cold, bare, and dreary; and we bid them wait until they are again clothed in verdure before we may accord to them comradeship. However, it is during this winter resting time that the tree stands revealed to the uttermost, ready to give its most intimate confidences to those who love it. It is indeed a superficial acquaintance that depends upon the garb worn for half the year; and to those who know them, the trees display even more individuality in the winter than in the summer. The summer is the tree’s period of reticence, when, behind its mysterious veil of green, it is so busy with its own life processes that it has no time for confidences, and may only now and then fling us a friendly greeting.3
  • Ursula K. Le Guin on Being a Man
    • That’s who I am. I am the generic he, as in, “If anybody needs an abortion he will have to go to another state,” or “A writer knows which side his bread is buttered on.” That’s me, the writer, him. I am a man. Not maybe a first-rate man. I’m perfectly willing to admit that I may be in fact a kind of second-rate or imitation man, a Pretend-a-Him. As a him, I am to a genuine male him as a microwaved fish stick is to a whole grilled Chinook salmon.4

What I Read Today…

  • Letters from an American, December 02, 2021: the government got funded last night and Heather Cox Richardson explains why that strengthens our hand on the international stage…
  • Ridley Scott’s Dyspeptic Disposition: a review of Ridley Scott’s film making career… a promise that Raised by Wolves will be released winter 2022…
  • my journal entries from weeks 5 & 6 of 2021… i am trying to review my journal for the year… two weeks a day should get me through the entire 2021 journal by Christmas… certainly before the new year… i am making sure everything is tagged so that i can filter content into significant people, reading and thought trends… in weeks 5 and 6 i continue to make my way through Simone de Beauvoir’s _The Second Sex_…
  • Dinaya Waeyaert Come Closer: i read the review, written by Brad Feuerhelm and glean that it is a photobook about two women who love each other… one is the photographer… it is a book about intimacy which BF’s hyper-intellectual style barely is able to crack into… i go to the photographer’s website which has a full presentation of the project, opening with a short film… it is a beautiful testament of one young human being’s love of (obsession with?) another young human being, with it’s all enveloping sexual attraction, action and reaction bubble… how well i remember those days in my own relationship with H… this appears to be a beautifully done project… i put it on my to get list…
  • A Conversation With 10x10 Photobooks: in which i am reminded of a book i would like to own, What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women, which Colberg points out was in part put together to address the dearth of women in The Photobook: A History, volumes 1 and 2, which i own copies of… what they saw is also on my to get list…

First Thoughts

… i have switched back to Firefox as browser after discovering that Safari didn’t play nice with many websites… a shame… both on the Safari and websites ends… at any rate, i will now have to update passwords in the Firefox environment as i was switching over to keychain… sigh… it is so hard to maintain a unified browsing and password environment…

HCR meter about the booming economy (inflation not withstanding) and the January 6 commission… also about the news failing to celebrate the economy… two different spins on the future of inflation… HCR maintains that Jerome Powell told congress inflation would abate as supply chain issues got worked out… the news indicated that testimony was given to congress saying the opposite… i don’t remember if it was Powell or another economic official… the January 6 news is that there is evidence of 45 communicating with the “command center” at the Willard Hotel and January 5… and finally, news that Mark Meadows is starting to cooperate… will anything in the way of accountability ever come of it?…

… not feeling great this AM… sleep a little fitful… i am not rested…

… first day of December… i bought H a Tim Burton Nightmare Before Christmas Advent Calendar… she was pleased… now to work on everyone else’s gifts… i have ideas, just have to execute…

… did a course on optimizing SEO on Square Space websites… we have done probably 70% of what can be done… for some of what remains to be done, it isn’t clear that we should do it… in any case, with a little further tweaking i will be able to tell J that we are fully optimized…

… uploaded the Beached Stones series to my portfolio website… i submitted this series to Shots Magazine for their Earthly Delights call… i wonder how much of what gets published will be nudes, especially female nudes, thought the call for entries had a male nude… Earthly Delights references Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, a tryptic painted between 1510 and 1515… the tryptic is thought by some art historians to be a warning against lust, suggesting that hell awaits those who loose control of themselves… my submission references female genitalia with photographs of stones on the beach around which ocean waves have eroded the sand in suggestive ways, at least to my mind… so my entry is both a reference to lust and configured from earthly materials… it is perfect really, but i have been disappointed by the editors before…

Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymous Bosch