Cassie and I hung out for a bit at Spiteful Brewery yesterday. She, of course, got pats and love from everyone. But the couple sitting next to us had a Land Camera, so she also got photographed:
These are now on display in my library.
As reported in The Economist this week, US Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) composed a haiku to encapsulate the sum total of his understanding of how education works in the US:
All this woke, uh, Trans-
Gender athletes, CRT
(I edited slightly for meter.)
I mean, you have to admire how well this illustrates the intellectual firepower that Tuberville brings to the Senate, and how far Representatives Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) have yet to go to approach his level.
Media reports, including the XPOTUS's own social-media posts, suggest the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York will issue an historic indictment on Tuesday:
The Manhattan district attorney's office is expected to issue criminal charges against Trump in a case centering on a payment that Michael Cohen, Trump's attorney and fixer at the time, made to the adult film star Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen told CNN Thursday that he believed an indictment of Trump was "imminent."
Trump has maintained his innocence in the case and claims he did not have an affair with Daniels. His attorneys have also argued the investigation is politically motivated. Trump attacked Daniels Wednesday on his social media platform Truth Social.
To secure a conviction, prosecutors would have to prove Trump knowingly broke state law by reimbursing Cohen for his payment to Daniels and then falsifying his business records to cover it up.
There is also no guarantee the case will go to trial.
Of course this won't go to trial. The XPOTUS may have massive lacunae in his higher functions, but I'm sure he's canny enough to realize that he can't afford politically to have Stormy Daniels take the stand.
If you think the Democratic Party wouldn't be as hard on one of our own as we think the Justice Department should be about the XPOTUS, here's just one of the things I wrote about Democratic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich—who I fucking voted for—when it turned out he was unfit for office. Heck, read all of the things I wrote.
See, it's not about partisan politics; it's about not wanting our politicians to do crimes. And it's about wanting something approaching ethics based on a simple fear of consequences to guide these narcissists, as actual moral philosophy is simply beyond them.
Also, this is likely only the first indictment coming for the XPOTUS. There are at least two other grand jury investigations in other jurisdictions, operating on their own timetables. The next election will not be fun.
Twenty years ago today, the United States invaded a neutral country that hadn't taken a shot at us for over a decade. This had predictable results for the region, including making our long-time adversary Iran a major player:
The invasion “was the original sin,” said Emile Hokayem, a senior fellow for Middle East security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a British think tank. “It helped Iran bolster its position by being a predator in Iraq. It’s where Iran perfected the use of violence and militias to obtain its goals. It eroded the U.S.’s image. It led to fragmentation in the region.”
All of that was enabled by the political changes that the American invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, set in motion. Later on, the 2014 takeover of a large swathe of northern Iraq by the Islamic State terrorist group prompted Iraq to turn to Iran as well as the United States for help, cementing Iran’s grip.
Under the Iraqi dictatorship, the Sunni minority had formed the base of Mr. Hussein’s power; once he was killed, Iran set up loyal militias inside Iraq. It also went on to dismay Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies and Israel by supporting proxies and partners, such as the Houthi militia in Yemen, that brought violence right to their doorsteps.
People on my side of things in 2003 felt incandescent rage at President Bush and Secretary of State Powell lying through their teeth about Iraq's supposed cache of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Robert Wright points out that the invasion's premises were already dishonest, since the United Nations was already there doing what we claimed our invasion would do:
The fog of time makes it easy to lose sight of one of the most amazing facts about that war: In order to invade Iraq and start looking for weapons of mass destruction, the US had to first kick out UN inspectors who were in Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction.
And they’d been looking intensively! Over the previous four months they had inspected more than 500 sites and found no WMDs and no signs of a WMD program.
Given that those inspected sites included the sites US intelligence agencies had deemed most likely to yield paydirt, this result—zero-for-500—suggested to the attentive observer that information coming from the US government about Saddam Hussein’s activities was not to be trusted.
But let’s leave that aside. Suppose the US government hadn’t been thus discredited—suppose that on the eve of the invasion there was still good reason to think that WMDs were out there somewhere. Why not let the UN inspectors—who had been allowed by the Iraqi government to inspect every site they had asked to inspect—keep looking? There just isn’t an answer to this question that holds water.
By dividing our attention between Iraq and Afghanistan, we failed to accomplish any of our claimed long-term goals in either country—and made the world a much more dangerous place in the process.
I refuse to purchase tickets from the Live Nation/Ticketmaster monopoly, no matter how much I love the act or believe that going to a show would bring about world peace. The Cure's Robert Smith makes it clear the artists themselves hate the monopoly as well:
Hours after Ticketmaster began the “verified fan” process on March 15 to distribute tickets for the band’s first American tour in years — an additional layer of security that Smith insisted upon to prevent scalpers and astronomical prices — the front man wrote an angry screed against the company for the mandatory fees they snuck in for buyers. “I am as sickened as you all are by today’s Ticketmaster ‘fees’ debacle,” he wrote in an all-caps Twitter thread. “To be very clear, the artist has no way to limit them. I have been asking how they are justified. If I get anything coherent by way of an answer I will let you all know … There are tickets available, it is just a very slow process. I will be back if I get anything serious on the TM fees.”
One particular tweet gained virality for showcasing the extent of the company’s malpractice: A fan’s reasonable ticket price of $20 was more than doubled due to processing fees and charges.
At least The Cure have enough clout to get some changes made. Ticketmaster backed down ever so slightly from the 110% surcharges after Smith's complaints:
“After further conversation, Ticketmaster have agreed with us that many of the fees being charged are unduly high, and as a gesture of goodwill have offered a $10 per ticket refund to all verified fan accounts for the lowest ticket price transaction,” [Smith Tweeted]. “And a $5 per ticket refund to all verified fan accounts for other ticket price transactions for all Cure shows at all venues.”
Unregulated capitalism produces monopolies in short order; that's why we have regulation. But having a history degree means watching everything in the present rhyme with everything in the past. So while the monopolies of today have their moment or rapacious greed, I fully expect that we'll see some serious trust-busting soon, and then, 60 years from now, our grandchildren will have forgotten why.
Welcome to March in Chicago, where the temperature drops 20°C in 31 hours:
This morning's -10.7°C was the coldest temperature in Chicago since the night of February 3rd-4th. What a strange winter.
Check back on Wednesday when it's back above 10°C.
As I'm feeling a bit under the weather, I will defer intelligent comments until later. Until then:
The time since March 2021 has both dragged and flown. But I would have had a much worse time without this lovely mutt in it:
She adapted to her new situation well: I took this photo about half an hour after she came home.
I'm hoping for at least 10 more years.
I'm arguing with the Blazorise framework right now because their documentation on how to make a layout work doesn't actually work. Because this requires repeated build/test cycles, I have almost no time to read all of this:
Finally, a group of Chicago aldermen have proposed that the city clear sidewalks of snow and ice when property owners don't. Apparently the $500 fines, which don't happen often, don't work often either.
Welcome to an extra stop on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Greenwood Brewing, 922 N. 5th St., Phoenix
Train line: Valley Metro Rail, Roosevelt/Central
Time from Chicago: 3½ hours by air
Distance from station: 350 m
I walked just a couple of blocks from Pedal Haus and found the kind of taproom where Cassie and I would hang out often: the woman-owned Greenwood Brewing. I enjoyed all the beers and found their space comfortable and inviting.
Once again, I had a flight and took notes.
Emera Easy Hazy IPA (3.6%): fruity, hoppy, bitterness comes around the back, nice low-alcohol beer. Herstory Pale (5.5%): bursting with hops, long finish, well-balanced. Warrior Hazy IPA (6.5%): grapefruit, blackberry, Citra, balanced, nice flavor. Rosemary IPA (7.2%): wow, lots of complexity, depth, the rosemary adds something interesting, strong, lingering finish. On second tasting, even better. Yum.
The next evening, one of the partners in my company organized a brewery tour that included both Pedal Haus and Greenwood. I tagged along but didn't drink anything except for one Rosemary IPA. That would probably be my go-to beer in Phoenix if I were exiled there.
Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Yes
Serves food? No; BYOF
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes