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Roaming Charges: The Impotent Empire

Still from Blazing Saddles.
walked eye-deep in hellbelieving in old men’s lies, then unbelievingcame home, home to a lie,home to many deceits,home to old lies and new infamy
– Ezra Pound, “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley”
The problem with American politics isn’t…

Still from Blazing Saddles.

walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men’s lies, then unbelieving
came home, home to a lie,
home to many deceits,
home to old lies and new infamy

– Ezra Pound, “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley”

The problem with American politics isn’t that it’s polarized (we need more polarization over inequality, over war, over climate), but that it’s polarized around two of the most inept and ridiculous figures in American history. The only two people Americans can apparently think of to run their dying Empire have both lost their frigging marbles, if they ever had any, which is a sure sign that your Empire is in fact dying.

Biden is hounded everywhere he goes now, even at a gathering of the UAW. Trump hounds people wherever he goes, even if he’s not quite sure who those people are, as when he confused Nikki Haley with Nancy Pelosi on the eve of the New Hampshire primary. And confusing Haley with Pelosi may have been the least strange thing he said: “You know, when she comes here she gets like nine people, and the press never reports the crowds…“You know, by the way, they never report the crowd on January 6. You know, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley. By the way, you know they, you do know they destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence, deleted and destroyed all of it., because of lots of things, like Nikki Haley. Nikki Haley was in charge of security. We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guards, whatever they want. They turned it down. They don’t want to talk about that.” What the hell was that all about? 

It doesn’t matter. Backers of both geriatrics don’t seem to care much that their candidates don’t seem to have a fix on where they are or what they’re talking about. About anything, frankly. When anti-war protestors at Biden rallies (if that’s what you want to call them, seems a stretch to me), chant: “Stop killing babies” or “End the genocide”, his claque, like automatons of the doomed, shout reflexively: “Four more years!” Four more years of slaughter? 

+ Biden bombed four different countries…this week: Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. He admitted the bombing doesn’t seem to have much, if any, effect, but vowed to keep doing it anyway. It’s a helluva way to run for president.

+ Stephen Semler: “Joe Biden’s foreign policy is basically a collection of ill-fated, costly, and violent “solutions” to problems that wouldn’t exist if not for…Joe Biden.”

+ What keeps me from calling Biden’s foreign policy “incompetent” are the probabilities. The law of averages dictates that incompetents will eventually stumble on a plan that causes less not more bloodshed. Not the case with Biden.

+ This will be the 6th presidential election since the start of the Iraq War. In four of those elections, the Democrats nominated a candidate who voted for the war, while the two who were elected president continued waging it.

+ Percentage of Swiss population who trust their government: 84%

+ In the USA: 31%, sandwiched between the Czech Republic (34%) and Lithuania (30%)


+ After outlawing abortion 16 months ago, Texas has seen more than 26,000 rape-related pregnancies. Nationwide, at least 60,000 women and girls have gotten pregnant after being raped since the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion. Few of these women were able to legally get in-state abortions.

+ Yet Biden’s “big steps” to support “access to abortion,” perhaps the biggest issue the Democrats have left for the 2024 elections consist only of…

1. A task force
2. Guidance for patients
3. Training materials for providers
4. A team of experts to support hospitals
5.  Clarify standards for insurers of federal employees
6.  A letter to private insurers on contraception

+ Once again Biden demonstrates that he is one of the worst politicians–regardless of political orientation–to ever become president. He’s absolutely tone-deaf. Biden made his mark running against the Democratic base of the FDR/LBJ era: tough on crime, anti-welfare, deregulation, pro-banks, and a hawk. Biden also supported the Hyde Amendment, which effectively outlawed by economic decree (ie, no federal funds) abortions for poor women, almost every year he was in the Senate…He simply can’t do anything else authentically.

+ Biden’s talking points for saving what’s left of reproductive rights sound like they were written for a gathering of Actuaries for Insurance Reform instead of an angry popular mvt that wants Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett exiled to a manmade island in the Gowanus Canal.

+ According to a review by Pro Publica, the states with legislatures most dominated by men have adopted the nation’s harshest abortion bans. Of the 10 states where men made up the largest share of the legislatures: 8 have strict abortion bans and 5 don’t allow exceptions for rape.

+ Meanwhile, “pro-life” Mike Pence (back in the States from signing his name to a US-made missile in Israel the IDF was probably preparing to launch at a pediatric ward in Gaza) says the first things a conservative president (that is, the man who wanted him lynched on the steps of the Capitol) should do are: 1. Order the Justice Department to stop investigating and charging anti-abortion protesters outside abortion clinics; 2. “Pull the abortion pill off the market.”

+ Mississippi is planning to bring back ballot initiatives, but would specifically exclude any measures that would overturn the state’s abortion ban.

+ During a debate in the Wisconsin legislature on a proposed 14-week abortion ban, State Rep. Ron Tusler endorsed forced birth regardless of health considerations by citing the Biblical precedent of John the Baptist’s mother, Elizabeth: “For example, Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist. Estimates are she was 88 years old when she was told she was going to have John the Baptist.”


+ Nikki Haley after being asked about her statements that America has never been racist and she has “black friends”:  “We were the only Indian family in our small southern town. I was teased every day for being brown. So, anyone that wants to question it can go back and look at what I said on how hard it was to grow up in the deep South, as a brown girl. Saying that  I had black friends is a source of pride. Saying that I had white friends is a source of pride. If you want to know what it’s like growing up, I was disqualified from a beauty pageant because I wasn’t white or black, because they didn’t know where to put me.”

+ Maybe that’s why she identified herself as “white” on her voter registration form…

+ The DeSantis campaign spent more on air travel than TV advertising. One reason why: his wife Casey “won’t fly commercial.”

+ I challenge you to make up this narrative arc and try to sell it to a Netflix showrunner…

+ David Wallace-Wells: “There is a lot to unpack about Ron DeSantis’s presidential flameout, but one of its lessons is that no meaningful backlash to pandemic mitigation policies has really materialized in American politics. Those predicting or hyping a backlash have been wrong.”

+ Rep. Nancy Mace, a rape survivor who just endorsed rapist Trump over her fellow South Carolinian Nikki Haley, on January 6: “Not only were our lives in danger, but if my kids were here their lives would have been in danger, too. The two most precious people in my life…. We need to hold the President accountable.”

+ The perpetually perplexed Sen. Susan Collins says she doesn’t see herself endorsing Trump…”at this point.” Of course, she never does…until “that point.”

+ This must be one of the most Democrat things ever…A NH Democrat told Dave Weigel of Semafor: “I told friends two weeks ago, after two margaritas, that I couldn’t possibly vote for Biden because of this Middle East thing. But I’ll mellow out before Tuesday. And I’ll be sober.” All it takes is two margaritas to break down party programming and an aspirin & a cup of coffee to snap it back in place.

+ Marjorie Taylor Greene: “Not only do we support President Trump, we support his policies, and any Republican that isn’t willing to adopt these policies we are completely eradicating from the party.” Eradicate! The eliminationist rhetoric is spreading…


+ New York Post (Not the Onion)…

+ The NYPD is the most lavishly funded police department in the world. It has a budget of $11 billion a year, plus an additional $1 billion in overtime. All with little or no accountability. In order to fund the police, the Mayor wants to slash funding for schools, libraries, health care, and housing….

+ Last week NYC Mayor Eric Adams quietly vetoed a measure passed by the City Council to ban solitary confinement in city jails.

+ Nearly all the copies of a small-town Colorado newspaper were stolen from newspaper racks on the same day the Ouray County Plaindealer  published a story about the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl that took taken during an underage drinking party held at the police chief’s house, while the chief was home.

+ Several DC police have been caught turning over confidential information on crash victims to local attorneys in exchange for referral fees.

+ The war on drugs has also been a war on women. Women’s drug arrests have risen 216% since 1985. More than 25% of women incarcerated today are held for drug crimes.

+ Last year, the Alabama Parole Board held 3,583 parole hearings in fiscal year 2023; yet it granted parole in just 297 cases–or roughly 8%–even though the board’s own guidelines suggest more than 80% of eligible prisoners should qualify for release.

+ After Brittany Wise was briefly jailed over a traffic ticket in Georgia, she couldn’t regain custody of her seven children because she didn’t have stable housing. The children have been in foster care for nine months.

+ Two former LA County Sheriff’s deputies have now been sentenced to federal prison for abducting and framing a skateboarder in Compton in 2020. In his victim impact statement, Jesus Alegria told the former deputies: “What goes around comes around.”

+ At least 45 people died while in LA County’s custody at the Men’s Central Jail last year. Three people already died there in the first three weeks of 2024.

+ The FBI raided the homes of four Albuquerque cops and the law office of a local attorney. They also towed away a patrol car, apparently as part of an illicit DUI scheme. The raids took place shortly after Albuquerque DA Sam Bregman threw out more than 150 DWI cases these officers were involved in. Cops who work DUI cases are some of the highest-paid officers largely because of the amount of overtime they earn while testifying in court.

+ Without dissent, the Supreme Court cleared the way for Alabama’s experimental execution of Kenneth Smith with nitrogen gas, an unprecedented method, on Thursday.

+ “I’ve never seen rats jump so high, so fast and look so agitated. They broke their nails trying to claw their way out. It was horrible to watch” – A doctor who used nitrogen to euthanize rats.

+ Federal Judge Jill Pryor of the 11th Circuit on Alabama’s effort to execute Kenny Smith with nitrogen gas after a previous failed attempt to execute him by lethal injection: “The cost, I fear, will be Mr. Smith’s human dignity, and ours.”

+ New York City will purchase millions of dollars of medical debt and then erase it in effort to help as many as 500,000 city residents, I loathe Eric Adams but why Biden isn’t doing stuff like this every day (even if he has no intention of fulfilling his promises) makes absolutely no political sense…Instead, he’s going to war against YEMEN. It’s political malpractice.


Highest recipients of aid from the United States since WWII (adjusted for inflation):

1. Israel: $312.5 billion

2. Vietnam: $184.5 billion

3. Egypt: $183.7 billion

4. Afghanistan: $158.9 billion

5. South Korea: $120.7 billion

+ Katie Porter on why she hasn’t called for a “ceasefire” in Gaza: “Ceasefire is not a magic word. You can’t say it and make it so.” Pity, the impotent empire.

+ Turkey finally approved Sweden’s NATO bid. Putin may have succeeded in expanding Russia by two Ukrainian oblasts, but he also expanded NATO by two countries that had long resisted joining the alliance, Finland and Sweden, with three more in the waiting room: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Sweden and Ukraine.

+ Taking advantage of the stalemate in the Ukraine/Russia war, rats and mice have infested the trenches in Eastern Ukraine.

+ Ukraine admitted this week that it shot down a Russian plane, which was apparently carrying 65 Ukrainian POWs. This is a war with no winners and losers of every kind.

+ After experiencing several near meltdowns at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station during the Russian invasion, Ukraine wants to start construction work on FOUR new nuclear power reactors within the next year. Two of the plants are based on old Russian technology imported from Bulgaria and two on Westinghouse designs. What could possibly go wrong?

+ A report by the World Bank, United Nations and European Union said Libya’s deadly flash floods in September will require $1.8 billion in reconstruction and recovery costs. The disaster displaced about 1.5 million people or 22% of Libya’s population. According to the U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA, there were 4,352 confirmed deaths and 8,000 people are still missing.

+ Violent crime in Britain doubled during the decade of Thatcherite austerity and has declined by 80% since then…

+ Among the kickbacks allegedly given to Singapore’s Transport Minister S. Iswaran by Malaysian property tycoon Ong Beng Seng were tickets to English Premier League football matches, Formula One races and plays including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hamilton and Kinky Boots, as well as a business class flight from Doha to Singapore in 2022.

+ Americans on whether Israel’s devastation of Gaza constitutes genocide:

Agree: 35%
Disagree: 36%
Undecided: 29%

Among 2020 Biden voters:

Agree: 50%
Disagree: 20%
Undecided: 30%


+ So half of Biden Democrats (and half of all young Americans) believe Israel is committing genocide, the Economist poll shows. These poll numbers won’t suddenly begin climbing upward for Biden, even if they start killing a bunch of Somali, Houthi, Syrian and Iraqi kids to show Americans it’s not just Palestinian kids he despises, which seems to be his plan….


+ Let’s check the scoreboard for how the Climate Prez is doing: the United States is now producing more oil than any country in history:  13 million barrels per day (International Energy Agency). The US now produces one-in-five barrels of global oil production.

+ Since 1970, the Greenland ice sheet has lost over 6 trillion metric tons of ice, which is more than 700 tonnes lost per person for every person on the planet today.

+ A new report says that climate change, not El Niño, was the main driver of the Amazon drought in 2023. The study concluded that climate change made the agricultural Amazon drought 30 times more likely from June to November.  In Amazonas state, 59 out of 62 municipalities are facing drought and 15 of them are in an emergency situation, according to the Amazon Working Group. Rivers in some regions have fallen to their lowest levels in more than 120 years. The drought has increased the spread of wildfire and caused mass die-offs of fish and dolphins.

+ Because climate change isn’t producing the expected increase in atmospheric moisture over dry regions, according to a study from the National Science Foundation: “We could be facing higher risks than what’s been projected for arid regions like the SW, which has already been affected by water shortages and extreme wildfire…”

+ In most parts of the country, charging an EV is equivalent to a gasoline price of $1 to $2 per gallon. The national average is $1.41 per eGallon, which is less than half the current gasoline price of $3.07 (as of Jan. 16, 2024)

+ On one of the coldest days of the year in Texas, solar output hit a record high of more than 14,000 megawatts of production, contributing about 20% of the total production of the ERCOT power grid.

+ Officials in southern Portugal’s Algarve region are planning to cut the water allocation for agricultural use by 70% and for households by 15% this year. But the region’s reservoirs are still likely to run dry by summer. An official said, “The situation is becoming catastrophic.”

+ In the last three years, renewable energy cut over $1 trillion from the fuel bill of the electricity sector worldwide.

+ On the same day, a Human Rights Watch report found that 56% of communities of color are located near sites producing carcinogenic waste, a federal judge barred the EPA from enforcing a Civil Rights Act provision in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley.” In his opinion, the judge wrote “pollution does not discriminate.”

+ The EU announced it will ban diesel trucks by 2040. Medium and heavy-duty trucks constitute about 3% of the vehicles on the road but they account for 30% of the pollution.

+ A new analysis projects that ammonia-fueled ships can prove cheaper to run than a fossil-fueled fleet and cut emissions by nearly 80%.

+ Just one of the 23 planned LNG facilities could lead to as much greenhouse gas being emitted over the course of its expected operating life, as the EPA’s new methane rule is projected to save in total over the next 15 years.

+ According to a piece in Scientific American, China used more cement in three years (6.6 gigatons from 2011 through 2013) than the United States used during the entire 20th century (4.5 gigatons).

+ A study published last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the direct economic cost of car crashes in 2019 was $340 billion, or about 1.6% of GDP, the social cost is many times higher.

+ A new study published in the Economics of Transportation shows that the major cause of the pedestrian fatality crisis in the US is tall hoods on SUVs and trucks, which are associated with much higher rates of pedestrian deaths: “A 10 cm increase in the vehicle’s front-end height is associated with a 22% increase in fatality risk.”

+ A recent study found that pollution could have been 30 percent less between 2010 and 2022 if cars had stayed the same size.

+ In Paris last December, there were almost 50% more bicycles than cars on the city’s streets.

+ After a year of record deaths on LA roads, LAPD Chief Moore blamed cyclists riding on streets that don’t have bike lanes and pedestrians who don’t wear reflective clothing…

+ Desperate to hold his fraying government together, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak just appointed David Frost, the peer who praised rising temperatures, to Britain’s climate commission. Frost: “At the moment, seven times as many people die from cold as from heat in Britain. Rising temperatures are likely to be beneficial.”

+ The Heritage Foundation’s “Project 2025” policy brief for the Department of the Interior calls for reinstating oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, expanding the Willow project from three to five drilling well pads, and opening up nearly all of the 23-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to oil/gas leasing and development.

+ Wind and solar capacity in Southeast Asia climbed by 20% in a single year

+ Fire in the hole!


+ Apparently the Left has been running the World Economic Forum all these years. Who knew?

+ During a Davos session titled “How to Trust Economics,” ECB chief Christine Lagarde charged that economists constitute a “tribal clique” whose models discount the possibility of pandemics, climate change-induced weather events, and sudden supply shortages.

+ Housing is now unaffordable for a record half of all U.S. renters, according to a new report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The biggest jump in unaffordability since 2019 was for households making $30,000 to $74,999 a year. Even among those working full-time, a third of all renters were still cost-burdened. 

+ UAW head Shawn Fain: “We want a general strike. We want everybody walking out just like they do in other countries.”

+ The workers of Argentina just launched one…

+ According to a new report from the Inspector General of the Dept. of Homeland Security, ICE performed hysterectomies on two detainees for whom medical necessity was not documented.

+ The Houston trial of Food Not Bombs had to be rescheduled after too many potential jurors objected to a $500 fine for feeding the homeless.

+ Ohio pastor, Chris Avell, was arraigned in court after being hit with 18 zoning law violation charges related to keeping his church open to house the homeless in Bryan, Ohio, a town of 8500 people about 50 miles southwest of Toledo. “Many of these people have been rejected by their families and cast aside by their communities,” Avell said. “So, if the church isn’t willing to lay down her life for them, who will? This is what we’re called to do.”

+ In the latest newsroom purge, the LA Times laid off 100 staffers this week, including some of its best reporters and columnists.

Christopher Ingraham: “Reports say the LA Times is losing $40 million a year. Its owner, Patrick Soon-Shiong, has an estimated net worth of about $5 billion. Even if he never makes another penny he could cover those losses every year for a century and still have more than $1 billion left over in the bank.”

+ In 2010, there were roughly 260,000 people working on newspapers in the US. Fourteen years later there are less than 80,000.

+ In 1930, each American household subscribed to 3.1 newspapers on average.

+ Journalism layoffs in the last 10 days: Sports Illustrated, Pitchfork, LA Times, National Geographic, TIME and Business Insider.

+ In 1964, Marshall McLuhan predicted the ultimate demise of newspapers: “The classified ads (and stock-market quotations) are the bedrock of the press. Should an alternative source of easy access to such diverse daily information be found, the press will fold.”

+ This week a Florida House committee approved a GOP bill to let employers schedule 16-and-17-year-olds for over 8 hours of work on a school night and more than 30 hours a week. One lawmaker defended the bill by saying, “We’ve been weakening our society” and the remedy is to have kids “start working full-time.”

Child labor violations in the US increased by 50% in 2023. A single Wendy’s franchise in Pennsylvania was fined $300,000 for 766 child labor violations, including failing to give breaks to 81 kids, 18 kids working without permits, and 10 kids working without parental knowledge.

+ Jodie Foster on Gen Z: “They’re really annoying, especially in the workplace. They’re like, ‘Nah, I’m not feeling it today, I’m gonna come in at 10:30 a.m.’ Or, like, in emails, I’ll tell them this is all grammatically incorrect, did you not check your spelling? And they’re like, ‘Why would I do that, isn’t that kind of limiting?’”

+ Excuse me, Jodie, Gen Z would like a word…

+ Donald Trump, Jr: “I’m the son of a billionaire. And if I take my kids to the grocery store or a fast-food place on the weekend, I have sticker shock.”

+ Half of recent US inflation is due to high corporate profits, according to a new report by the Groundwork collective.

+ What are the odds that McCardle has ever done anything other than clutch her purse tight and run to the other side of the street when she saw what she believed to be a poor family heading toward her?

+ If you’re looking for job security in the news biz at a time of brutal staff-slashing, specialize in writing stories saying the policies that make life slightly more bearable for poor people, black families & immigrants are actually really bad for them. You’ll be the last to go.

+ The European Central Bank is asking banks to closely monitor activity on social media to detect worsening consumer sentiments which could lead to runs on deposits.

+ A Colorado pastor accused of banking $1.3M in a crypto scheme marketed through his church claimed that the “Lord told us to.” Flip Wilson’s old “the devil made me do it” routine sounded more authentic…But, of course, that was pre-crypto.

+ People like this guy (the most likely Bay Area biz school grad to take a post with the Milei regime in Argentina) actually exist and show their faces in public…


+ The Superintendent of the Barbers Hill Independent School District took out a full-page ad in the Houston Chronicle to defend the suspension of Darryl George, the black student kicked out of school for wearing dreadlocks. The ad declared: “Being American requires conformity with the positive benefit of unity.”

Charlie Kirk fulminating about DEI in the cockpit: “I’m sorry. If I see a Black pilot, I’m going to be like, ‘Boy, I hope he’s qualified.’” Kirk even threw in a “boy” to see how much he could get away with…

+ Any rational racist would be more paralyzed with anxiety over the fact that the cost-cutting managerial types with MBAs from Stanford and Harvard who are running Boeing have cut so many corners to maximize profits that passenger plane doors and nose wheels are falling off in mid-flight…

+ Maybe these guys couldn’t’ve stormed the Capitol after all…

+ Evan Power, the newly elected chair of Florida’s Republican Party, was arrested in 2018 for driving drunk, crashing his car, and was found with a loaded gun that had a bullet in the chamber. The police report also mentions he had a bunch of silver bars. In a video of the arrest, Power can be heard laughing as the cops take him to jail. Maybe he should call Robert Menendez’s lawyer?

+ The GOP-controlled House Ethics Committee investigating Florida’s Matt Gaetz has contacted the U.S. Justice Department about Gaetz’s alleged involvement in sex trafficking, as well as a woman with whom the congressman allegedly had sexual relations when she was 17 years old.

+ Meanwhile, Colorado’s top Republican in the state house, Rep. Mike Lynch, announced he will step down after a report surfaced about his arrest in 2022 on drunk driving and gun possession charges.

+ A federal appeals court ruled that Mexico can sue American gun companies for making and selling assault weapons trafficked across the border to arm drug cartels. The court ruling cited the rise of gun violence in Mexico correlates with the expiration of the US assault weapons ban in 2004. Seven U.S. gun manufacturers produce more than 68 percent of American guns trafficked into Mexico—up to 597,000 guns each year are illegally diverted into Mexico for criminal use.

+ Number of gun stores in Mexico: 2

+ Percentage of firearms recovered at crime scenes in Mexico originally purchased in the United States: 70

+ Like the US, Europe is also experiencing a sharp rise in measles cases. Over 30,000 cases were reported by 40 of the Region’s 53 Member States between January and October, according to the World Health Organization. Compared to 941 cases in all of 2022, this represents a more than 30-fold increase.

+ Many Americans have refused to get the latest COVID boosters, a trend that exists even among those who did get flu shots this year.

+ More than 1 in 4 Gen Z adults in the U.S. identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer, a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found.

+ ~100,000: the estimated number of children on Facebook & Instagram subjected to online sexual harassment every day, according to internal Meta documents.


+ Apparently, angels have the time, power and God-given operational discretion to find someone’s glasses, but neglect to divert 2000-lb bombs from killing children. What kind of cosmology is this?

+ On October 15, 1943, FDR wrote a note to Henry Wallace advising him how to  confront (gently) critics of the Four Freedoms…

Dear Henry:

I have talked to Morris Ernst about short books on the Four Freedoms and I would delighted if you would do one of these books.

Personally, I would use a gentle panning of the opponents of the Four Freedoms–but in a light vein. For instance, one could make comparisons between them and the nobility of France at the beginning of the French Revolution; with the small, but noisy minority who opposed the Magna Carta; with the rioters of Athens who drove out many wise men; and with the rambunctious children of Israel who made Moses so angry he smashed the Tables of Stone.

As ever yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt

+ And people actually buy self-driving cars from this guy?

+ Musk visiting Auschwitz is like getting a papal indulgence for endorsing 5000 anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi Tweets…

+ Death camp tourism is the weirdest kind of tourism.

+ Blazing Saddles and The Life of Brian are the two best films about politics ever made…Prove me wrong.

+ Tim Shorrock on Oppenheimer: “Oppenheimer” and its director’s failure to include a single Japanese or Korean face is a most disgraceful act in a film that instead glorifies the political travails of the bomb’s inventor. Poor, poor Oppy!”

+ How many people did your dad kill in the war?

+ It was entirely predictable that the Academy would shower Bradley Cooper’s ego-fest, Maestro, with nominations. But the film is in many ways an insult to its subject, Leonard Bernstein. For example, the only black person in the film is a student Bernstein tries to hit on, instead of the black radicals he raised money for and free jazz musicians, such as Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman, he championed….

Baby Take Your Teeth Out, It’ll be Fine, There Ain’t Nothin’ Left to Smile About

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Defending Animals: Finding Hope on the Frontlines of Animal Protection
Kendra Coulter
(MIT Press)

Until I Find You: Disappeared Children and Coercive Adoptions in Guatemala
Rachel Nolan

With and Against: the Situationist International in the Age of Automation
Dominique Routhier

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

How Lost
The Fauns

Technically Acceptable
Ethan Iverson
(Blue Note)

Mary Halvorson

Little Pieces of Blazing Hell

“American television is full of smiles and more and more perfect-looking teeth. Do these people want us to trust them? No. Do they want us to think they’re good people? No again. The truth is they don’t want anything from us. They just want to show us their teeth, their smiles, and admiration is all they want in return. Admiration. They want us to look at them, that’s all. Their perfect teeth, their perfect bodies, their perfect manners, as if they were constantly breaking away from the sun and they were little pieces of fire, little pieces of blazing hell, here on this planet simply to be worshipped.” – Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives

This content originally appeared on and was authored by Jeffrey St. Clair.

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