Category Archives: Politics

Afternoon Links

Burn it all down

Every damn day it’s something else. It’s exhausting. And we’re only a little over a hundred days in.

How to read the newspaper

A critical eye is warranted. Newspapers, like all the works of men, are imperfect things, and the nation’s newspaper editors and television-news producers are very much at fault for the low general level of trust in the media. But they do not traffic wholesale in fiction. All of the cries of “fake news!” in the world are not going to change that. What is happening right now is not salubrious skepticism but a kind of mass hysteria, millions of heads plunging with struthioniform insistence into the same sand, as though insisting that reality is something other than what it is, or merely averting our gaze, would somehow alter the truth. Something has changed radically with remarkable speed. Not long ago, when I would inform someone that they had passed along an Internet hoax or erroneous claim (writers on public affairs spend a fair amount of their correspondence thus engaged) the response would be a sheepish “oops.” About once a week, someone will inform me that Hillary Rodham Clinton was disbarred for misconduct (she wasn’t) or that Barack Obama’s mother-in-law is receiving a six-figure federal pension for having babysat his children (she isn’t) or some other such nonsense, and then cry “fake news!” when corrected. The irony is that they have fallen for fake news, and retreat into “fake news!” when their gullibility is shown…We owe it to ourselves to take account of reality. And we owe it to the country, too. It is cheap, it is cowardly, and it is bad citizenship to simply shriek “fake news!” every time reality forces a hard choice upon us.

Here’s why Comey couldn’t just quit in February

101-year-old D-Day veteran claims new record for oldest skydiver

Books about books

“I am told that what the President did is actually far worse than what is being reported.”

Trump’s defense of his Russia leak is not reassuring

Bosch and Bruegel

Opera’s essence is the orchestra 

A New Jersey bill protects pool owners from low prices

“A child cannot be president. I love my children; they cannot have the nuclear codes.”

One does not need to be a Marvel superhero or Nietzschean Übermensch to rise to this responsibility. But one needs some basic attributes: a reasonable level of intellectual curiosity, a certain seriousness of purpose, a basic level of managerial competence, a decent attention span, a functional moral compass, a measure of restraint and self-control. And if a president is deficient in one or more of them, you can be sure it will be exposed. Trump is seemingly deficient in them all.

Of course he did. He’s Trump.

The music of poetry

Tolkien’s tennis shoes

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Afternoon Links

There is an obvious price to be paid for essentially becoming a party devoted to trolling.

How many great minds does it take to invent a telescope?

Why I hate Jeff Sessions, Chapter 67

Settle down, America.

Trump vs. the Russia investigations

What happened to literary politicians?

Why 40% of Vietnamese people have the same last name

Over 600 Roman statues stored in a basement for 40 years to go on display

Will Hurd is the future of the GOP (hopefully)

This National Gallery of Art program helps people with memory loss ‘connect with who they were’

We need great critics now more than ever. Where are they?

Syria is burning bodies in a crematorium to hide mass killings

Jimmy Kimmel is everything that’s wrong with America’s healthcare debate

More states are pushing to let kids use sunscreen at school without a doctor’s note

This is…amazing.

I think the following is probably true. And it’s why he shouldn’t be president.

But several advisers and others close to Trump said they wouldn’t be surprised if Trump gave information he shouldn’t have. One adviser who often speaks to the president said the conversation was likely freewheeling in the Oval Office, and he probably wanted to impress the officials. “He doesn’t really know any boundaries. He doesn’t think in those terms,” this adviser said. “He doesn’t sometimes realize the implications of what he’s saying. I don’t think it was his intention in any way to share any classified information. He wouldn’t want to do that.”

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Afternoon Links

Tiny suns are transforming the search for extraterrestrial life

In the Netherlands, Mondrian across the decades

How to raise an American adult

Christie’s kicks off auction gigaweek with record-shattering $57 million Brancusi

Why Saturday Night Fever wouldn’t be a blockbuster today: “At the time, kids yearned to be adults, and movies reflected that. Today, adults yearn to be kids, and movies reflect that too.”

Why are Dostoevsky’s novels so compulsively readable? What makes his characters seem so alive?

How painting influenced 19th-century French novelists

What’s happening to Venice?

Shakespeare’s Richard III to be staged at Leicester Cathedral

How to decode an ancient Roman’s handwriting 

Bikers might be inconvenienced, so Portland’s Rothko Pavilion might be dead:

“I wonder if that’s part of the idea, to create a structure that will make the homeless and poor feel unwelcome,” museum neighbor Geoff Wren told the Willamette Week.

Yes, I’m sure that’s it, bro. Nailed it.

Profoundly sad for the coming effort on the right to defend veiled threats by a president to intimidate a former FBI director into silence. It’s unacceptable.

Yep. This.

The Comey debacle

They should be worried. Nothing has gone right for them except Gorsuch. And every time they try to put the fire out and be productive President ManToddler stumbles into the room with a gas can.

Even Fox News…

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Afternoon Links

His fathomless lack of interest in America’s path to the present and his limitless gullibility leave him susceptible to being blown about by gusts of factoids that cling like lint to a disorderly mind.”

“The angel is forever handcuffed to the ape”

What a dumb time to be alive

Correct. This is the main problem with Trump’s tweeting.

How jazz, flappers, European emigrés, booze and cigarettes transformed design

Can’t believe this needs to be explained to people but, no, the AHCA does not make rape a pre-existing condition.

Lincoln, not Jackson

Researchers have developed a device that allows you to play an instrument by thinking

Reading is good for your health

We’re all murderers now

Just another day in the Drug War

The story of the most valuable stamp in the world

Painter inspired by indigenous art accused of ‘cultural genocide’ by lunatics

Like most of Trump’s executive orders, the religious liberty EO is worthless

This will probably suck.

 

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Your Morning Cup of Links

Oh shut the fuck up

Good, good. Let the Wall Street money flow through you.

Cassini plunges through Saturn’s ‘Big Empty’

AMERICA IS ALREADY GREAT

Very sad

LOL “If Trump is cool with the shitty Democratic policy we used to hate then we’re cool with it too!” What a party of morons.

The rule of law is partly responsible for ‘Mario Kart’s’ success

Hilarious. Are you sick of all the winning yet?

New York’s vanishing diner culture

The case for reading John Milton today

Trump’s executive orders are mostly theater

“First 100 days suggest our democracy is more likely to die in dumbness than in darkness”

“For those at Berkeley celebrating what they believe to be a moral victory, consider this: As much as you may detest Ann Coulter, she has never used violence or the threat of violence to keep someone from speaking. She is a better citizen than you are, with a deeper commitment to genuinely liberal and humane values. You may call yourselves the anti-fascists, but your black-shirt routine — along with your glorification of political violence and your rejection of liberal and democratic norms — suggest that the “anti” part of that formulation is not entirely appropriate. Perhaps you are only young and ignorant, but if you had any power of introspection at all, you would see that you are the thing you believe yourselves to be fighting. You are the oppressors, the censors, the violent, the hateful, the narrow-minded, the reactionary.”

A Japanese scholar on his collection of Middle English manuscripts

The Left’s pants-shitting hysteria over the NEA was for no reason. I told them this President would work out way better for them than for me.

Andrew Roberts reviews the 19th volume of the Churchill Documents

Flannery O’Connor and the way of violence

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Your Morning Cup of Links

Smithsonian to mount first U.S. exhibit exploring the life and art of Marlene Dietrich

Two long-hidden Veronese paintings, restored to their former splendor, head to the Venice Biennale

Imagine that

So good:

Hasn’t Bill Clinton been fellated thoroughly enough?…Clinton provided American progressives with all they really want out of a politician: emotional validation. (Hey, Trump voters!) And so Democrats loved him — deeply, madly, and, in many cases, to the point of abasing themselves…Rather than send Bill Clinton into his dotage with a generous allowance of Viagra and interns, they gave his wife — his batty, corrupt, inept, corrupt, feckless, corrupt, preening, unbearable, corrupt, condescending, and corrupt wife — the Senate seat being vacated by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the last good Democrat.

It’s a good gig, being a senator. But that was not a big enough tribute to the Big Creep. And it wasn’t enough for Mrs. Creep, either, who had endured so much public humiliation in the cause of making NPR listeners feel good about themselves. She was running for president from the day she was seated in the Senate. But she could not close the deal. First, she got whipped in the primaries by a nobody back-bencher…And then, after barely edging out Comrade Muppet in the 2016 primary, she lost to a half-literate game-show host. But, as the poet said, there ain’t no cure for love, and Democrats just can’t quit the Big Creep. So they’ve turned to the Little Creep.

Chelsea Clinton, most recently lionized on the cover of Variety, is a 37-year-old multi-millionaire who has never uttered an interesting word about any subject at any time during the course of her life. Judging from the evidence of her public statements, she has never had an original thought — it isn’t clear that she has had a thought at all. In tribute to her parents, she was given a series of lucrative sinecures, producing a smattering of sophomoric videos for NBC at a salary of $600,000 a year. She later went more formally into the family business, leaving her fake job at NBC for a fake job in her parents’ fake charity. She gave interviews about how she just couldn’t get interested in money and bought a $10 million Manhattan apartment that stretches for the better part of a city block. And, since her mother’s most recent foray into ignominious defeat, she has been inescapable: magazine covers, fawning interviews, talk of running her in New York’s 17th congressional district. The Democrats are doing their best to make Chelsea happen.

And, who knows, it might work. It would be tempting to write her off as a know-nothing rich kid who has made a living off her family connections while operating one of the world’s most truly asinine Twitter accounts, but . . . well, you know. But, for Pete’s sake, stop it. Have a little self-respect, Democrats. Build Bill Clinton a statue or . . . whatever. Send him your daughters like a bunch of bone-in-the-nose primitives paying tribute to the tribal chieftain. But stop trying to inflict this empty-headed, grasping, sanctimonious, risible, simpering, saccharine little twerp on American public life. It’s stupid enough out there.

Colossus 82-ton statue of Ramses II unveiled in Egypt after restoration

The messy world of New York’s mid-century art galleries

Soviet children’s books

The naked mole rat is the world’s strangest mammal

Jacek Dehnel argues that Polish fiction has changed little since Communism fell – it is still stuffed with dreams

When pop music was literary

A fascinating guide to moths

Weird clouds may have inspired ‘The Scream’

Second parchment manuscript copy of Declaration of Independence found

 

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Your Morning Cup of Links

Did Jane Austen die of arsenic poisoning?

Is American culture rotten? (Spoiler: Yes.)

How lemonade helped Paris fend off plague

Breaking ground – and betting big – on a doomsday community for the rich.

The rise, fall, and lonely death of Benny Hill

I stopped watching “Girls” after season 2, but if it ended up being an indictment (albeit unintentional) of postmodern feminism and millennials maybe I’ll go back and watch.

This:

What followed was a toxic culture of conservative celebrity, where the public elevated personalities more because of their pugnaciousness than anything else. Indeed, the fastest way to become the next conservative star is to “destroy” the Left, feeding the same kind of instinct that causes leftists to lap up content from John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and Stephen Colbert. Liberals use condescending mockery. Conservatives use righteous indignation. That’s not much of a difference. The cost has been a loss of integrity and, crucially, a loss of emphasis on ideas and, more important, ideals. There exists in some quarters an assumption that if you’re truly going to “fight,” then you have to be ready to get your hands dirty. You can’t be squeamish about details like truth or civility or decency.

The message sent when conservatives rally around the flag to defend the indefensible is exactly the message the Democrats sent so loudly as they continued to prop up the Clinton machine through scandal after scandal. Only winning matters. Ambition is everything. Political movements are about personalities, not ideas — so you’re left with the political equivalent of warring mafia families in which the highest value is loyalty, and the ends always justify the means. But ambition isn’t everything, and the single-minded quest for winning ultimately creates a class of losers.

The conservative movement includes some of the best and most admirable people I’ve ever met. It also includes its share of grasping, ambitious fame-hounds, people who live for the next Fox hit and angle to write this year’s version of the “liberals are sending this country to hell” bestselling book. But bad character sends a country to hell just as surely as bad policy does, and any movement that asks its members to defend vice in the name of advancing allegedly greater virtue is ultimately shooting itself in the foot. O’Reilly’s fall can be an important act of public hygiene, but only if it represents the beginning of the end of a conservative culture that makes us behave like the cultural enemies we purport to despise.

The return of Beowulf

The forever young Percy Bysshe Shelley

Scientists find footprint of unknown ancient reptile

Good piece on the deep generational divide on the right

“The problem with connecting everyone on the planet is that a lot of people are assholes.”

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