Sunday, September 30, 2018

Rachel Mitchell's Report

Rachel Mitchell is the prosecutor who questioned Dr Ford at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. She has written a report. I will not summarize it or give highlights, just a link. This is the reverse of what I saw CNN do: they gave a summary but no link.

UPDATE: David Bernstein draws a conclusion from Ford's refusal to turn over records here. My first thought was that he is being a bit harsh, but he isn’t. She submitted a part of that record to bolster her case, but now refuses to let even the committee investigation see the full context and any other details.  That's just not reasonable.

UPDATE: Her lawyers say they did inform her about the committee's offer to travel. Her testimony conflicts. Analysis.

Piers Morgan

A sane take.

I am reminded again of Richard Feynman: it's okay to not know. It might be frustrating and unsatisfying, but honest uncertainty is something you need to get used to.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

One thing Trump is right about

is the media. Every one of these journalists and pundits, who blather about fact checks and integrity, retweeted this lie without checking.


Thursday, September 27, 2018



Whatever you think about anything Kavanaugh, Graham is right about Feinstein, and the Democrats.

The WSJ summarizes.

Andrew Sullivan too. An excellent article.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


Britain famously has an “unwritten” constitution. All that really means is that there isn’t an explicit one in writing. America has a written constitution, but it too has an unwritten one, norms and standards without which the written cannot function. I believe that it is under attack. You discard it at your peril. This week seems like a Rubicon in the making.

UPDATE: This expresses some of my concerns well. Ford seems, to me, sincere. She seems to believe what she says. But that does not make her right, it just means she trusts her memory. This could easily be a false or mistaken memory, in any of several ways. That she named several witnesses, and that they all, all, contradict her suggests to me that her memory is at fault. This is why corroboration is important, and probing questions essential. There is no logical contradiction between believing she was attacked and believing it was not Kavanaugh.

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.