Sunday, September 23, 2018


Queenpin is a shockingly fun novel by Megan Abbott. It is a pastiche of 50s pulp noir, a tale of women in The Organization. Fast, fun, short.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Senator Feinstein's Office

UPDATE: She still has not shown the letter to the committee!

A rape victim on due process

A rape victim  talks about why he did not report the crime immediately, and the need for due process. Do read it.

And I cannot recommend Julia Shaw's book The Memory Illusion strongly enough.

Monday, September 17, 2018

HuffPo nails WaPo fakery

The Huffington Post, of all places, dismantles a WaPo front page story about passport denials. Here.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Bearing false witness

A small example here.

Trump lies, and his opponents lie. But not in the same way. I have been struggling to put succinctly how they seem different. It's about bearing false witness. 

Trump lies about the size of his inauguration crowd, Hillary lies about a film maker causing an attack in Benghazi. Trump says CNN’s ratings are down, Kampala Harris says Brett Kavanaugh called the pill an abortifacient. Trump says he ended birtherism, NBC reports Trump told Flynn to collude with Russia during the campaign.

Now, I have chosen some of Trump's less consequential lies for effect, but most of Trump’s lies are inconsequential. Here is Politifact's list of all his statements rated “pants on fire”. Most are puffery or opinion or silly. Very few bear false witness. All the others one I cited do, and they are just the tip of the iceberg.

To me this is an important difference.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Almost Forty

This is from the Metropolitan Opera 2012 version of Satyagraha by Glass. The tempo is noticeably slower than the original recording. Astounding music.

Update: Truly we live in the golden age of the accordion!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Flos Campi

By Ralph Vaughn Williams. One of my very favourite pieces. 21 minutes.

Waltz #2

Some versions of Shostakovich's Waltz #2. It's very famous of course, but I think it is much grimmer than most seem to find it.

For music box. I really like this; the lovely sound with the hard, metronomic precision that brings unease.

For wind quintet.

Chailly is particularly good at bringing out what I think is the essence of this music: it's a death waltz.

And of course, because we live in the golden age of the accordion, an arrangement for accordion. I see he agrees with my take ...

And I thought Trump was tough on the press

Cory Booker accuses a reporter of violating the constitution by asking him a question.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


Historically minded readers will recall Becket refused to allow priests to be tried in normal courts, or be subject to normal laws.
We testify to the grace, the keen wit, and the intellectual commitment of Professor Ronell and ask that she be accorded the dignity rightly deserved by someone of her international standing and reputation.

Some are now backtracking, and citing in their defense we didn’t know all the facts. Oddly enough, that's the point Becket would have cited too: he didn’t need to know the facts, the priests deserved exemption. It's the the point I would cite too, since it’s a straightforward demand for special treatment. The facts aren’t what’s important here.

Monday, August 20, 2018

History for atheists

After the latest eruption of mythicism over at SlateStarCodex I want to link again to this useful site: