For reasons that shall not be explained here, I have, for the last two weeks, binged on Lena Dunham's "Girls." For context, I'm in the middle of season 2 while simultaneously just done with season 6, episode 9.
It's fookin' brilliant.
More context: I went to school in New York. I lived through the late '90s in New York. I was, back then, in my 20s. I watched "Sex and the City" and wondered who those people were, even as I went to the same clubs and bars. I made horrible mistakes. No one guided me. Just like every other 20-something in history.
Basically, in my 20s, people like Shoshanna, Elijah, and Hannah were my friends. As I watch "Girls" I see them clearly. It's almost as if the same problems come around to every generation, and every generation feels like they're the first to feel this way. (</sarcasm>)
But I keep watching, for a simple reason: Dunham can tell a story. I have no idea how closely her feelings align with her character Hanna Horvath's, but Dunham sells it regardless. And I hope I'm not projecting when I say it seems like Dunham has enough perspective on "Girls" to know how to present modern urban adolescence best.
Being 20-something in the '90s sucked. Apparently it does in the 2010s as well. I hope to find out for whom the 20s didn't suck, and why.
Via security expert Bruce Schneier, the AP reports that police in central Connecticut obtained an arrest warrant partially on the timing of a murder victim's Fitbit step data:
Connecticut State Police allege [Richard] Dabate killed 39-year-old Connie Dabate at their Ellington home two days before Christmas in 2015, while their two young sons were in school.
Dabate told investigators a masked man shot his wife and tied him up before he burned the intruder with a torch. Authorities responded to a burglary alarm at the home and found Richard Dabate with superficial knife wounds, with one arm and one leg zip-tied to a folding chair.
But police said evidence contradicted Dabate's story and timeline of events, including information from Connie Dabate's Fitbit that showed she was still moving around the house an hour after Richard Dabate said she was shot.
Dabate pleaded not guilty to the crime. Also, the Fitibit data, while helpful to the police, may have had less impact than the allegation that "Dabate also told his pregnant girlfriend before the slaying that he was going to divorce his wife, state police said in an arrest warrant affidavit."
NBC has more.
The president gave a series of interviews yesterday that have people across the political spectrum perplexed, to say the least. Josh Marshall says they "generally seemed to be the work of a man simply tossing off ideas, rambling or simply drifting in and out of consciousness" and wonders if Trump "was experiencing some sort of collapse of cognition."
Politico has more:
President Donald Trump questioned why the Civil War— which erupted 150 years ago over slavery — needed to happen. He said he would be "honored" to meet with Kim Jong-Un, the violent North Korean dictator who is developing nuclear missiles and oppresses his people, under the "right circumstances."
The president floated, and backed away from, a tax on gasoline. Trump said he was "looking at" breaking up the big banks, sending the stock market sliding. He seemed to praise Philippines strongman President Rodrigo Duterte for his high approval ratings. He promised changes to the Republican health care bill, though he has seemed unsure what was in the legislation, even as his advisers whipped votes for it.
And Monday still had nine hours to go.
Trump's comments questioning the need for the Civil War, aired Monday afternoon, seemed to disregard history and downplay slavery, several historians said.
"White supremacists, lost causers, states-rights activists could latch onto this,” said David Blight, a Civil War historian at Yale University. “I don’t know if Trump even knows he’s doing it. You can be too ignorant to know you’re ignorant.”
Chicago Tribune writer Dahleen Glanton points out the obvious:
Trump likely was suggesting that he and his role model, President Andrew Jackson — a man who celebrated white supremacy and subjugating Native Americans — could have done a better job than Abraham Lincoln staving off the war through negotiations. That is unlikely, considering how Trump has further divided Americans during the short time he has been in office.
In the Civil War, one side had to step aside before America could move forward. There was no room for compromise. The ideals of the two sides were so mismatched, their views of right and wrong too diabolically opposed and their visions for America too different. Doesn't that sound familiar?
And over at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin wonders, "When is it okay to say the president might be nuts?"
I think it's OK, Jennifer. Because if he's not nuts, then he's doing this on purpose. Which is worse?
Just a quick observation, which I hope to expand upon later. Critics and supporters of President Trump alike have noticed that not only has he failed to achieve anything important on his own in the 102 days he's been in office, but the failures more resemble "a bullshit artist who caves easily and is best either ignored" than one would expect from a self-professed master of the art of the deal. (On the other hand, he has successfully enriched himself and his family through corruption, and will continue to do so until someone stops him, so he hasn't failed in all his objectives.)
But his biggest failure might be not understanding the intense scrutiny of his office and how that affects his deal-making skills. If his entire fortune is based on bluster and bullshit, then having to do all of that in public all the time seriously undermines the strategy. Take Mexico, for example: after gearing up for an intense diplomatic battle with the administration, Mexicans have essentially realized Trump is a paper tiger, and have started ignoring him entirely. That will make it hard for Trump to get any kind of a deal from them.
In short: his success in private, one-on-one deals doesn't translate to public, multi-lateral, diplomatic and political dealing. And he was too ignorant or stupid to see that.
Still think he's a business genius?
April seems to have gone quickly this year, but that could just be my advancing age. I'm hoping to have a little more inspiration this month to return to 40+ blog entries a month—i.e., the running average since November 2005. For the 12 months ending yesterday, my average (mean) has been 34.4 with a median of 35, just barely holding above 1.0 entries per day.
Of course, the total number of entries doesn't really matter if they're good. Deeply Trivial took part in last month's A-to-Z blogging challenge, and did a fantastic series on basic statistics that's worth reading. Her 26 entries (plus 5 bonus posts) provide almost a complete intro course in statistics. Start with X and then bounce back to A.
I'm also glad to see center-right commentator Andrew Sullivan back on the Internet, even if only once a week. His column from yesterday, "The Reactionary Temptation," is a must-read.
And, of course, Josh Marshall's frequent posts from the center-left will be vital in keeping tabs on the sub-surface wrigglings of the current administration.
May should see more activity on The Daily Parker for reasons I will get to later in the month. It's time to get writing again.