The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

In search of a dozen impartial New Yorkers

Yesterday, the XPOTUS began his first (!) criminal (!!) trial of the multiple legal actions he currently faces, and it didn't go well. For starters, as Josh Marshall pointed out, the XPOTUS has always behaved as if he believes nothing more than one is either dominating or dominated. Being at the defense table on trial for multiple felonies puts one distinctly in the second category:

What is clear to anyone who has ever tried to understand the man is that he lives in a binary world of the dominating and the dominated. The visuals around the man endlessly illustrate this. Most of us live in a much more fluid and textured world. We interact with most people on a ground of relative equality. Where real differentials of power exist most of us try to paper over those realities with softening trappings. Trump’s whole world view, the way he interacts with friends and foes, won’t accept any middle ground. And this is more than just performance. It’s clear that this is deeply rooted in his experience of the world. Being dominated is a kind of social and ego depth. That’s why he’s so good at his whole racket. Because it’s coded so deeply into him.

At the most basic level, sitting in the dock is horribly and perhaps even fatally off brand. Trump’s brand is swagger and impunity. Always be dominating. Until you’re not.

The XPOTUS's first reaction? He fell asleep, which comedian Trae Crowder summarized as, "there's an ongoing screaming match where one side is like, 'your guy can't even stay awake in the Oval Office,' and the other side accurately responds, 'your guy can't even stay awake in his criminal trial,' and somehow that doesn't immediately end the debate."

So far, jury selection in that trial has actually found 6 jurors, despite everyone having heard of the XPOTUS. Alexandra Petri imagines how the New York County District Attorney could amend the jury questions to speed this along:

1. Wait, you don’t have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about Donald Trump?

2. Have you been living in a hole for the past 20 years?

3. For the past 50 years?

I dunno, man. I feel for everyone involved in the trial—well, except that one guy—having to slog through that exercise.

The XPOTUS will do everything he can to make the trial a circus, partly because he does that with everything, but partly to force a mistrial so he won't have to run for president as a convicted felon. Meanwhile, he has three other trials going on. This will be a long summer.

Walks like a duck, poops like a duck...

Attorney Liz Dye teams up with Legal Eagle to explain that the smell emanating from the Truth Social merger and meme stock listing is exactly what you think it is:

So if the XPOTUS gets re-elected, the shares become an intravenous emoluments delivery mechanism; if not, he can cash out and pay his legal bills.

I wonder if I can short it...

One news story eclipsed all the others

Ah, ha ha. Ha.

Anyway, here are a couple other stories from the last couple of days:

Finally, Ohio State wildlife and ecology professor Stanley Gehrt has written a book I will have to stop myself (for now) from adding to my ever-expanding shelf of books I need to read. Gehrt spent decades studying Chicago's coyote population and how well they co-exist with us, tagging more than 1,400 coyotes and collaring another 700.

My only complaint about the animals is they don't eat enough rabbits. I live near several suspected dens, the closest only about 400 meters from my front door. I can't wait to read the book.

As for the risks coyotes pose to humans, he lets us know who the real enemy is: “If you were to ask me, ‘What’s the most dangerous animal out there [for urban dwellers]?’, it’s white-tailed deer,” Gehrt said.

Coding continues apace

I'm almost done with the new feature I mentioned yesterday (day job, unfortunately, so I can't describe it further), so while the build is running, I'm queuing these up:

All right! The build pipelines have completed successfully, so I will now log off my work laptop and order a pizza.

The dread of a colorful radar picture

Ah, just look at it:

Rain, snow, wind, and general gloominess will trundle through Chicago over the next 36 hours or so, severely impacting Cassie's ability to get a full hour of walkies tomorrow. Poor doggie.

If only that were the worst thing I saw this morning:

  • The XPOTUS called for an end to the war in Gaza, but without regard to the hostages Hamas still holds, irritating just about everyone on the right and on the left.
  • Knight Specialty Insurance Company of California has provided the XPOTUS with the bond he needed to prevent the Manhattan District Attorney from seizing $175 million of his assets, which makes you wonder, what's in it for the insurer?
  • Related to that, Michelle Cottle analyzes the Republican Party's finances and concludes that the XPOTUS is destroying them.
  • These are the same Republicans, remember, who are threatening to block money needed to re-open the Port of Baltimore and replace the Key Bridge.
  • Massachusetts US District Judge Allison Burroughs has ruled that a case against the private air carrier who flew migrants to Martha's Vineyard may proceed, and the case against the politicians who paid for the flight could come back with an amended complaint.
  • Charles Marohn argues that cities using cash accounting, rather than accrual accounting, end up completely overwhelming future generations with debt they would never have taken on with an accurate view of their finances.
  • But of course, the prevalence of the city-killing suburban development pattern in the US has an upside of sorts: everywhere you go in the US feels like home.

And after all this, does it surprise me that Mother Jones took a moment to review a book called End Times?

The biggest April Fool in the country

Yes, I do mean the demented, very old man running as the Republican nominee for President. One might believe, in a moment of weakness, that Swiss farmers harvest tons of spaghetti each year, but that wouldn't bother most people outside of your closest friends and possible your boss.

Alas, the guy who believes whatever will get him the next win, no matter how un-strategic that may be, keeps popping up in my newspapers:

Finally, check out this new Cyber Security product! I'd bet your company has already installed it.

Really busy couple of weeks

Through next weekend I'm going to have a lot to do, so much that I've scheduled "nothing" for the back half of next week going into our annual fundraiser on April 6th. I might even get enough sleep.

I hope I have time to read some of these, too:

Finally, submitted without comment: Grazie Sophia Christie, writing in New York Magazine, advises young women to marry older men.

Mentally exhausting day, high body battery?

My Garmin watch thinks I've had a relaxing day, with an average stress level of 21 (out of 100). My four-week average is 32, so this counts as a low-stress day in the Garmin universe.

At least, today was nothing like 13 March 2020, when the world ended. Hard to believe that was four years ago. So when I go to the polls on November 5th, and I ask myself, "Am I better off than 4 years ago?", I have a pretty easy answer.

I spent most of today either in meetings or having an interesting (i.e., not boring) production deployment, so I'm going to take the next 45 minutes or so to read everything I haven't had time to read yet:

All righty then. I'll wrap up here in a few minutes and head home, where I plan to pat Cassie a lot and read a book.

It's all Billy Joel to me

A friend posted on Facebook that Billy Joel's album Glass Houses came out 44 years ago today. That means it's as far behind us as the 1936 Olympics was from Billy Joel at the time. A horrifying pun war followed, but that has nothing to do with the horrifying fact that people have known "You May Be Right" for 44 years.

And speaking of things that happened a long time ago, it turns out the President's memory is just fine, thank you, despite what Republican Special Prosecutor Robert K Hur said in his memorandum last month:

A transcript of a special counsel’s hourslong interview of President Biden over his handling of classified files shows that on several occasions the president fumbled with dates and the sequence of events, while otherwise appearing clearheaded.

In a report released last month, Mr. Hur concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge Mr. Biden with a crime after classified documents ended up in an office he used after his vice presidency and in his home in Delaware. But the report also portrayed Mr. Biden, 81, as an “elderly man with a poor memory,” touching off a political furor amid his re-election campaign.

Mr. Biden’s lawyers, who were present for five hours of questioning over two days, have challenged the damaging portrait by Mr. Hur, a former Trump administration official. But the transcript had not been publicly available to evaluate Mr. Hur’s assessment that Mr. Biden’s memory has “significant limitations.”

But Mr. Hur made a particularly striking assertion in stating that Mr. Biden “did not remember when he was vice president.” As evidence, Mr. Hur quoted him as saying, “If it was 2013 — when did I stop being vice president?” According to the report, Mr. Biden displayed similar confusion on the second day of questioning, asking, “In 2009, am I still vice president?”

The transcript provides context for those lines. In both instances, Mr. Biden said the wrong year but appeared to recognize that he had misspoken and immediately stopped to seek clarity and orient himself.

I wonder how Hur would have done in a similar situation? And can you imagine how the XPOTUS would handle a deposition like that? Oh, wait—we don't have to imagine it, we have ample evidence of his inability to get through one without falling apart completely.

Before I start ranting more about the way the press treats President Biden's occasional (and rare) senior moments versus the way they treat the XPOTUS being unable to string together a coherent though, I'll go back to the original topic and leave you with Weird Al's eloquent response to Glass Houses:

We did not get Uncle Fluffy last night

I didn't expect to watch President Biden's State of the Union Address to Congress last night, so instead of live-blogging here, I live-commented on Facebook. Some highlights, with annotations as needed:

  • MTG didn't even let him get to the podium before snarking at him. She's the Nobby Nobbs of the House
  • Sweden's PM is sitting to Jill Biden's left. Wow. That's a message about NATO
  • Wow, someone ate his Wheaties today. "Many of you were here [on January 6th]. ... But they failed! Democracy prevailed!"
  • "You can't love your country only when you win."
  • Mike Johnson looks like he needs to change his diaper
  • "My predecessor failed the most basic duty, the duty to care." Cue first Republican outburst
  • Despite my best efforts, Cassie appears disappointingly nonpartisan:
  • Somebody get Mike Johnson a Pepto-Bismol
  • "The state of our Union is strong and getting stronger!" (Four more years!)
  • Seriously, did Mike Johnson take a large gummie before the speech? He looks like he's dissociating...
  • "America is safer than 4 years ago... Violent crime fell to the lowest level in 50 years" (And an incoherent protestor is escorted from the gallery?)
  • "The only real solution is a two-state solution. ... There is no other path that guarantees peace between Israel and all of its neighbors."

Of course, many more-qualified people also had reactions. Here are just a few:

  • Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post fact checker: "Biden’s job record in his first three years certainly tops Trump’s performance. ... The U.S. inflation rate is much better than the OECD average of 5.7 percent. But other G-7 members such as Japan, Italy and Germany had lower inflation rates as of January. ... A Rand study published last month, using 2022 data, concluded that across all drugs, U.S. prices were 2.78 times higher than prices in 33 other countries that are part of the OECD."
  • Josh Marshall: "I thought this was a strong speech."
  • Assorted New York Times columnists, starting with Gail Collins: "For Biden, the speech was a real rouser."
  • Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times: "Biden’s speech set the stage for the reset he needs on the Israel-Hamas war."
  • Michael Tomasky: "[President Biden] threw punches—and he landed almost all of them. But let’s not talk about Biden. Let’s talk instead about that little guy in the chair over the president’s left shoulder. House Speaker Mike Johnson showed, in his histrionic facial expressions, everything that’s wrong and idiotic and dangerous and even treasonous about the Republican Party."

As for the official opposition response that US Senator Katie Britt (R-AL) delivered, I could barely watch. Her entire demeanor and manner made my skin crawl. It was like watching a high-school junior work up fake outrage in a campaign speech for class secretary, except Tracy Flick probably wouldn't have worked in all the comments about rape and murder.

Michael Bender and Kayla Guo summed it up best: "With a sunny, inviting smile, Senator Katie Britt of Alabama welcomed Americans into her kitchen on Thursday night. Many soon backed away nervously." Monica Hesse also got a little skeeved out: "Somehow, despite also being a White 42-year-old mom who watched the State of the Union from my own kitchen, I did not feel I was her target audience."

One of my friends posted "Katie Britt proves it’s hard to find normal people in Alabama not on a football scholarship," at which I reminded him that, looked at one way, she is on a football scholarship.

I enjoyed this SOTU a lot. And I'm very much looking forward to hearing President Biden's Second Inaugural in 10 months.