Today I came across a geographic survey of last syllable pronunciation for days of the week. My pronunciation of that syllable always rhymes with say, not see.
An arrest history is shockingly commonplace for males. This study indicates that nearly half of black males and 40% of white males have been arrested by the time they reach their early 20s. Arrest is not the same as conviction, and many of the arrests may have been for relatively trivial crimes, but these figures do not include simple traffic offenses. They're slap-on-the-cuffs arrests.
Venezuela is a violent, economic basket case. Here's how Hugo Chavez destroyed his nation. The writer of the second piece is young, but thoughtful and well-informed. A key distinction he draws in his piece is the difference between socialism and the welfare state with a robust free market economy. The welfare state redistributes income through taxation and various targeted subsidies, while the socialist state largely replaces the efficiency of markets with state owned and directed production and distribution of goods and services. The former can serve the common good quite well while the latter is inevitably disastrous for an economy. Venezuela is an example of the the failed socialist state, while Sweden and Denmark are strong examples of successful welfare states.
Rahm Emanuel has approved a deal for Elon Musk to build an entirely privately-funded, super-rapid underground transit system between downtown Chicago and O'Hare Airport. The proposed system would move passengers between the city center and the airport in 12 minutes. Currently, public rail transit takes 45 minutes for the same trip. The deal has so far been greeted with widespread skepticism about the feasibility of the project. I'm inclined to agree with the skeptics.
A Chicago alderman flashed his alderman's badge during a parking dispute with a woman who sounds like a real piece of work. I'm more than fine with what he did as long as he wasn't attempting to misrepresent himself as a police officer.
A study found that time-restricted fasting--eating only between certain specified hours of the day with no other intervention--resulted in an average 3% weight loss over a 12-week period. I know someone who has been doing this. He eats only between 11:30 am and 6pm, but he also cut out all sugar. He lost about to 40lbs in the past year.
American Animals: A slightly psychological heist-flick based on the events surrounding the real attempted theft of one of the most valuable books in the world. Pretty good film that could provoke discussion about how some young people make decisions as a group that they'd never make on their own. X-ometer 87/100
Won't You Be My Neighbor?: A thoughtful and engaging documentary about the career of children's TV host Fred Rogers. X-ometer 94/100
Hereditary: Who knew that a single click of a child's tongue against the roof of her mouth could send shivers down your spine? This is a gripping horror suspense film with a meh ending. X-ometer 90/100 for all but the last 10 minutes.
We saw Hearts Beat Loud and Hereditary back-to-back. Toni Collette had a supporting role in HBL and starred in Hereditary. We didn't know that going in. It was fun to see her play two utterly different characters.
....Paul Manafort came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time (he represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole & many others over the years), but we should have been told that Comey and the boys were doing a number on him, and he wouldn’t have been hired!
In bed last night, I watched CFL Edmonton play Winnipeg on my notebook. Tonight my phone is sending sports updates--not just the Eskimos final, but baseball scores too.
At first I was taken aback, but then I realized I was watching the game on ESPN via Youtube TV, owned by Google. Youtube TV is a pretty good deal, but now I've got figure out how to stop it from sending sports info to my phone. I'm sure there's a way to do it, but I really wish they would ask if you want to opt-in rather than having to figure out how to opt out.
Later, a reporter asked him to clarify the comment. Trump said he was kidding and called the reporter "the worst." Nothing in his tone suggested he was kidding.
If it hasn't been abundantly clear already, the scrum with reporters in front of the White House this morning further confirms the impossibility of allowing Trump to be interviewed by Mueller.
This will end badly. For whom, I don't know, but we are in deep trouble.
That NY State lawsuit against Trump and his kids contains accusations that have serious criminal implications. I cannot believe the NY AG is acting absent careful coordination with federal prosecutors. I think the message to Trump is 'you cannot protect yourself or your children with pardons. We will use this to bring state charges if you use your pardon power to obstruct justice.'
Paul Schrader's new film, First Reformed, is one of the most artistically daring and morally courageous films of the decade. I expect it will win some awards this year.
In both content and cinematic style, Schrader draws heavily from Robert Bresson's austere and claustrophobic Diary of a Country Priest. Like the lead character in Bresson's film, Shrader's 'priest' is an alcoholic clergyman struggling with doubt, despair and challenges to his integrity under pressure from the demons both within and outside himself. But in Shrader's rendering, the clergyman is a Calvinist minister, Rev. Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke), re-imagined in our modern sociocultural context. Like his Catholic counterpart in Bresson's Diary, the tormented minister is also the film's narrator who attempts to contain his dis-ease by keeping a scrupulously truthful, daily diary of any thoughts that enter his mind. Even in this task, he's tormented by doubts about the authenticity of his voice and the purity of his motives.
Rev. Toller also has more than a little Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) in his character. In Taxi Driver, Bickle, a returned soldier traumatized by war, is an insomniac with a growing sense of apocalyptic mission. Toller, who is himself a veteran, is guilt-ridden over the combat death of his only child, a son whose enlistment he encouraged against the wishes of the boy's mother. Toller's guilt is further compounded by the suicide of a younger man he had begun to counsel under complicated circumstances. Like Shrader's Bickle, an unraveling Toller yields to a sense of apocalyptic mission much in the way I suppose such madness takes hold with malignant inevitability in the minds of many mass shooters and bombers.
I saw this film three times. At the first showing we attended, the ending left many in the audience gasping and laughing uneasily. The second time I saw it, there was a conspicuous dead silence and a lengthy pause before the audience silently left. At the third showing, there was more uneasy giggling again and some incredulous "what the hells?"
I'll avoid spoilers, but I will say that the controversial ending of the film worked for me. We can discuss it in comments if anyone is interested.
A jailhouse interview with the woman is posted below.
Sometimes there are good reasons for evaluating fitness to stand trial, as well as justifications for the insanity defense that so many scoff at. Regarding fitness to stand trial, listen to her responses to questions, then ask yourself if she seems able to cooperate with counsel. With respect to criminal culpability, does she understand right and wrong and can she control her actions? She does seem to know that there are certain questions she shouldn't answer, but you can also hear, for example, that sending 65,000 emails seems completely appropriate to her.
I get why her attorney might have gone along with this interview, but I wonder why the police allowed this. Perhaps they wanted the public to understand?
I don't have a problem with the pardon of Alice Johnson, but the recent portrayal of her crimes as benign is highly misleading. She was a very active player in a drug cartel, dealing in tons of cocaine.
The curious thing about Trump pardoning her is that he said this less than three months ago:
“We’re wasting our time if we don’t get tough with drug dealers, and that toughness includes the death penalty... The ultimate penalty has to be the death penalty. Maybe our country is not ready for that, it’s possible, it’s possible...personally I can’t understand that."