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31.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Taste of +rump's America Permalink to this item

This is "copy-pasted from a Portlander who prefers to remain anonymous" by a friend of a good friend who lives in the city, which is a lot further from first-hand (or credible news) than I usually put on the blog, but it sounds completely consistent with what we've been seeing from the various forms of right-wing nut job ammosexuals in this corner of the world for a good while. We've seen a version of it in Boise. I'm putting it here not to add to the body of (purported) fact, but as a document to consider our history, as it slips into the past, whether we make the decision (and are able to implement it) to remove the criminal psychopath currently occupying the White House and rebuild civil society, or not.

“There's already a lot of lazy reporting about what happened in Portland last night. It was not a 'clash of protesters.'

“A large group, maybe 200 people, gathered at a mall in a nearby county. They formed a caravan of mostly large, jacked-up trucks, displaying pro-Trump and American flags. The people wore various t-shirts, hats, etc supporting Trump but also with fascist and neo-Nazi symbols. Many of the trucks had additional people (usually men) in the beds.

“They were armed with guns, pipes, knives, and other visible weapons. One can reasonably assume there were also concealed weapons. The trucks were also weapons. They drove from the mall, toward downtown. All along this path, local law enforcement (police, sheriffs) facilitated their movement, stopping traffic so they could stay together as a caravan. This includes the Portland Police blocking off other traffic on a bridge that leads into downtown.

“Once downtown—they did NOT go to the area where there have been daily protests for many weeks. No, they drove directly to and through a busy mixed residential/retail area, with people walking to the grocery store, sitting at outside bars, walking their dogs, etc. Yes, some anti-fascist, anti-police brutality protestors came to that area in response to the caravan.

“But this is what the Trumpers did: They indiscriminately assaulted pedestrians in this residential/retail area. They shot them with paintball guns, yelled sexually violent things at women, jumped out of their trucks to physically attack anyone who verbally disagreed with them, brandished their weapons and threatened people. They drove their trucks through groups of people.

“They laughed while they did it.

“Later in the evening, in a different part of downtown, someone was shot and killed. That death will overshadow and cloud the story about the caravan—which is the part that should chill you to the bone.”

Here's the New York Times' careful coverage of what we know as of an update midday today.

30.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Also out of fashion Permalink to this item

Two (sort of) fashion articles in one month, first ever for that on the blog. Also, maybe first ever fashion articles period? At any rate, an article that is closer to three than two years old piqued at me from Pocket ("part of the Mozilla family of products"), why, I have no idea, but here it is: No One Wants Your Used Clothes Anymore. Not that we're giving a lot away (today's dated t-shirt is dated 1989; lovely cotton back then), but it's uncomfortable to think we couldn't even give stuff away anymore. I mean, we can only wear stuff out so fast.

Anyway, Adam Minter, author of "Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade" and "Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale" (both available from the Boise Public Library!, I see) writes that "Chinese manufacturing has become so efficient that a new polar fleece blanket costs a mere $2.50 retail—compared to $2.00 for a recycled blanket (made in India, with "shoddy," cloth made from low-quality recycled woolen yarn).

As of January, 2018. Wonder how that pandemic has changed (or at least interrupted) all those business models?

This does not end well Permalink to this item

Erin Bamer's report in the Idaho Press datelined Nampa, two days ago (Stakeholders discuss how pandemic is affecting Canyon County) has some high and lowlights of the Zeitgeist. Starting with two panels hosted by the city Thursday night.

"Attendees were allowed to join in-person or stream the event online. About 30 people attended the event in person. Face masks were available for people who arrived without one. About eight attendees refused to wear a mask, and were asked to sit on the far side of the conference room away from the people who were wearing masks. All eight attendees refused to sit in that section."

At the "Civic Center," ironically.

The Southwest District Health Director said the county's positive test rate is about 13%. Just in case you weren't sure, Nikki Zogg said "we are still experiencing a COVID-19 pandemic." The president of St. Als Nampa said their tests were running 17% positive.

One physician addresed the "controversy surrounding masks," on that imaginary axis perpendicular to the evidence of their effectiveness. In Taiwan, with about 22 million people, there have been 400 cases and 7 deaths. Scaled up to the US population that would be 6,000 cases, and just over 100 deaths.

The US is closing in on two thousand times 100 deaths.

It's the story from Jalapeño's Bar and Grill owner Irma Valdivia that arrests our attention, however.

"Valdivia said her employees are sometimes harassed by customers for wearing masks. Jalapeno's requires masks for staff and asks customers to wear masks when they are inside the restaurant and not at their table. She related the story of a customer who refused to give his order unless she or her employee took off their mask, and when they both refused, he got angry.

""He said, 'Look lady, I'm strapped. I don't need a mask and you don't have to wear a mask around me; I'm strapped,'" she said. At first, Valdivia didn't recognize that the man was saying he was armed.

Strapped for attention. Strapped for a modicum of common sense and commen decency alike. But hey, any of them coronas come after him he will shoot them in their tracks. Pew pew pew pew pew.

It's crazy-funny to read about, but if you're a 20-something server in a restaurant (or a restaurant owner) struggling to make ends meet, it's just crazy.

Jalapeno's received federal funding from the Paycheck Protection Program, which helped the restaurant early on, Valdivia said. She is figuring out how to navigate her business's finances going forward.

"That money is long gone, and COVID is not," she said.

Given that the pandemic rages on half a year after Dear Leader said it would go away like a miracle, how, exactly, are we going to have school? Dr. David Pate, recently retired CEO of St. Luke's Health System, has an opinion piece describing how physicians can help craft school operational plans, if only school boards and health districts would listen to their doctors. He suggests "stress testing" for operational plans, and, for a school without a well-developed plan, "a walk-through with the principal, the school nurse, the building maintenance staff, a classroom teacher, and the teachers or staff who will oversee programs that are not traditional classroom activities — choir, band, physical education, sports and athletics, cheerleading, etc." to inform developing one. And this (with my emphasis and a paragraph break added):

"While educators rightly focus on what will happen in the classroom, and how to protect students and teachers, my focus will be on all the other things that they likely have not considered. For example, given all the misinformation out there, what will be done to educate students, parents and teachers before the first day on campus? We need to make sure that everyone understands how the virus is transmitted, how that can be prevented and what the school’s policies and procedures will be before anyone steps on campus.

"While school leaders likely have been focusing on inside the building, I will start in the parking lot/drive way. One can imagine students showing up with time to spare before classes begin, seeing their friends that they have not seen since March and congregating, hugging and talking and laughing in the parking lot or in the front of the school. And, just like that, despite the school’s excellent plans about distancing and wearing masks, we have children walking through the front door of school that just got infected."

Thanks to the Sports section, you don't even have to stretch your imagination. There's been breathless talk about football season for weeks and months, just like any old year. In yesterday's paper, the stories and photographs were flowing. Welcome back boys is the big headline on an inside page full of photographs, led by Jake King's, from Fruitland in Payette Co.:

Jake King/Idaho Press

"Fruitland students chat, cheer for their team and blow bubbles in the student section during the season opener against Melba on Friday. Very few of the students and other fans wore masks or adhered to social distancing guidelines." (Jake King/Idaho Press)

Add-end-um: It's not just high school.

Downtown Boise last night.

— Michael Deeds (@michaeldeeds) August 29, 2020

27.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

That's a wrap Permalink to this item

Idaho's Speaker of the House Scott Bedke gets the last word in Betsy Russell's wrap-up of this week's special session of the state legislature, both in the blog version and the full story. The latter:

"I believe that the role that the Legislature has played since the start of the pandemic has been lacking."

No one will argue with him about that, nicely straddling the "we failed" and "the Governor didn't let us do enough" branches. They accomplished next to nothing about dealing with the pandemic during their regular session this year, including establishing appropriate protocols for working in close quarters, and focusing on what was truly essential in the waning days of winter. None of the seven bills passed for Health and Human Services addressed the pandemic. They did nothing to provide for modification to elections.

This week's special session reemphasized their limited capacity, due in part to the state constitution giving the governor the power to specify the bounds of what they could legislate in a special.

The Ammonite rabble's disruption was appalling, and as Rep. John Gannon noted, effectively kept others from participating. But then the legislature has had a long practice of ignoring what citizens of Idaho have to say. The Idaho GOP pretty much reaped the whirlwind of the winds they have sown over the years.

They did end up passing three bills and one House Resolution. (The House Concurrent Resolution to declare the governor's emergency declaration "over" died on the Senate vine.) HR1 provides for calling out the National Guard if we can't get enough poll workers, and to apply for that federal CARES Act money. HB1 provides that voting in person should always be possible. (The Governor canceled in-person voting for the May 19 primary this year, so take that, Brad.)

HB6 adds a Chapter 34 to Title 6 of Idaho Code, the Coronavirus Limited Immunity Act, to provide that businesses, schools, and churches can't be sued for spreading Covid-19 for anything short of "intentional tort or willful or reckless misconduct." And SB1001a provides for one-time leeway on a couple deadlines for the November election, to accomodate the challenges of the pandemic.

It was the immunity to liability that had the Bundy gang worked up, seemingly, which is weird, because they are all acting like the coronavirus isn't even real. They just have suspicious minds?

The governor quickly signed HB6 and SB1001a into law but is slow-playing HB1, at least. That'll wind up the #idleg if he vetoes it, but hey, that's the prerogative we give our head man.

Domestic enemies Permalink to this item

Bruce Reichert of Idaho Public TV posted Idaho Reports' edited video of the scene in the Lincoln Auditorium on Tuesday, with the gal claiming the right to sit at the press desk being asked to leave, refusing, and then being escorted out by Idaho State Police troopers, while the gathered crowed cried "Domestic violence!" and "You're the tyrant!" and "Nuremberg" and stuff.

From Idaho Reports video

Yes, that's right, comparing the enforcement of basic decorum in the state capitol during a legislative session with the war crimes of the Nazis, it's just the first thing that springs to one's mind. If you've been reading Idaho news (or my blog), there's nothing new in it, except that 3½ minutes of video highlights provides a lot more immediate experience of what just happened.

"You're the domestic enemies! Our founders declared that!" one privileged asshole performs for his cellphone recording. Everybody's a citizen journalist now, recording everything for posterity. Everyone gets to sit at the press desk!

From Idaho Reports video

Speaking of domestic violence, a number of the Bundy camp followers brought their children into the melee, enriching their education with the direct experience of adults engaging in pointless verbal and physical conflict. What a scene.

At the beginning of the video, you can see Ammon Bundy in the back of the room, putzing with his signature hat, and leading from the rear, as he likes to do. But all that media attention has made him all too well known, and we see what he's doing. The state of Idaho is no longer having it.

26.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Slightly better headlines today Permalink to this item

"School levies succeed" in yesterday's election, Middleton's after failing in March and May, West Ada's after failing in May. 52-48 is what passes for a landslide for school levies in those districts.

Also on the front page, the Nampa schools are starting fully online, and Olivia Heersink reported from the Southwest District Health meeting.

The good news in that is what isn't in the report: any hint of know-nothings crashing the meeting to disrupt its deliberation. The Ammon Bundy gang were too busy in their second day disrupting the Idaho legislature's special session. What made the health district report headline was physicians and business owners calling for a mask mandate in Canyon Co..

Director Nikki Zogg said "she chose to show the board these documents because they were in contrast to most of the comments they typically receive." The six-county board's single physician representative, Dr. Sam Summers, "openly voiced his support for possible mandate if they were to ever have a vote. Since he said he didn't see that happening, he asked that they stop discussing it."

Do freedom and ignorance necessarily go together? For his part, representing the pandemic-reddest of the SWDH counties, Canyon County Commissioner Tom Dale wants the emphasis on "educating," debunking the idea that Covid-19 is a "hoax," and "let's take this thing seriously." Because... Canyon Co. has more than a fifth of the state's cases and the highest infection rate in the state: about three percent.

Meanwhile, the #idleg news was downgraded from "mayhem" to merely "tumultuous," as the Idaho State Police reacted in Monday's debacle by showing up with overwhelming force. That didn't stop the Lincoln Auditorium from being overrun by covidiots, including some who insisted on sitting at the desk reserved for legitimate press. The committee decamped to "a different room with heavy security" and moved its business along, while ringleader Ammon Bundy made a show of celebrating the Constitution's freedom of the press while completely interfering with those seeking to exercise it. Sung to the tune of "me me me."

Screen cap'd from Idaho News 6

To the delight of many, he got himself arrested for trespassing, strapped to the chair he didn't want to get out of, and rolled on out to the curb, dragging his heels, just to be a bit more of a dick.

But it isn't at all funny if you have to work there. District 18 Representative Brooke Green tweeted that Monday "was the first time during my term that I felt our safety was in jeopardy. The behavior of the crowd w/the looming COVID threat has created a unsafe situation in the people’s house."

Upon returning to the scene of the crime, it seems Mr. Bundy was personally served with a letter from the Director of the Department of Administration. "[A]fter consultation" with the Governor, Speaker of the House, and President Pro-tem of the Senate, he was thereby "prohibited from appearing or otherwise being present at" the public areas of our state capitol, and its exterior. I think that's what's know as a GTFO notice. Anyhow, they done cut 'im out of the Senate gallery, and he was once again rollin', rollin', rollin', this time on a rawhide wheelchair through the tunnels and off to jail. Again.

Individual #2 was also served, and left peacefully. Ammon made the ISP drag him out again. More misdemeanor trespass and resisting arrest, when do we bump it up to a felony?

25.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

The GOP Kool-aid stand Permalink to this item

A.k.a. what's passing for their political convention this year. Platform? Who needs a platform? We'll just re-use 2016's. And add a one-pager to say how undying their support for +rump is. No, I guess they didn't actually say "undying," that's just what many people are saying.

What they did say was that because their convention is "significantly scaled back" in "size and scope" (due to why is that again?) and they didn't want "a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement," and also because, of course, "the RNC, had the Platform Committee been able to convene in 2020, would have undoubtedly unanimously agreed to reassert the Party’s strong support for President Donald +rump and his Administration," what would be the point?

After that bit of self-parody, the next WHEREAS laments how badly they've been treated. À la IMPOTUS, sweet touch:

"The media has outrageously misrepresented the implications of the RNC not adopting a new platform in 2020 and continues to engage in misleading advocacy for the failed policies of the Obama-Biden Administration, rather than providing the public with unbiased reporting of facts..."

"RESOLVED, That any motion to amend the 2016 Platform or to adopt a new platform, including any motion to suspend the procedures that will allow doing so, will be ruled out of order."

So, in the Republican Party's own words, they have hereby reaffirmed that:

"The current Administration has exceeded its constitutional authority, brazenly and flagrantly violated the separation of powers, sought to divide America into groups and turn citizen against citizen. The President has refused to defend or enforce laws he does not like, used executive orders to enact national policies in areas constitutionally reserved to Congress, ... directed regulatory agencies to overstep their statutory authority and failed to consult Congress regarding military action overseas. He has changed what John Adams called 'a government of laws and not men' into just the opposite."

The icing on the Day 1 cake was DeeJayTeeJay g.f. Kimberly Guilfoyle screaming into an empty room. No, seriously, that happened. It was recorded. And, naturally, lampooned. Ladies and gentlemen, IT IS YOUR DENSITY. We'll give Naomi Biden the last word on the day:

So correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that they key takeaway from the RNC is: "Look at how terrible America is right now, vote for 4 more years!"

— Naomi Biden (@NaomiBiden) August 25, 2020

Mayhem at the Capitol Permalink to this item

A lot of us are old enough to remember when dozens and dozens of people peacefully protesting the Idaho legislature's refusal to add the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to our human rights act were arrested.

And yesterday, there was a freaking mob scene at the state capitol, with covidiots assaulting Idaho State Police with impunity to force their way into spectate at the legislature's extra-special session. Some of them armed, of course, because FREEDOM. "Social distancing" be damned, and don't even get them started on "muzzles."

Betsy Russell was there to cover it, god bless her and the other reporters in harms's way. Mayhem at the Idaho Capitol is her front page banner headline.

"We are allowed to get sick if we want," Robert Jones of Nampa testified. And, to completely ignore all responsibility to others while spreading a deadly disease. The fish rots from the head, they say. Out here in flyover country, the rot has reached all the way to the tail. It's libertarian perfection.

Lawlessness, ignorance, and flat-out stupidity. "It's the flu," another woman testified, cherishing her half-year old talking point that was wrong in February, too. Someone touted hydroxy. 5G cell networks came up, because of course they did.

"Protesters led by activist Ammon Bundy rallied on the Capitol steps on Monday morning, then poured noisily into the Statehouse, forcing their way into the House gallery. House Speaker Scott Bedke spoke with the group, and agreed to allow them to fill the gallery under normal House rules, abandoning social distancing measures."

Bravo, Speaker Bedke! Brilliant capitulation to a mob. (This morning he chipped in that "the question of arrest is still open.") The House majority caucus chair said she thought "it's unfortunate that a few people felt like they had to do damage." Indeed. Most unfortunate.

Rep. Steven Harris of Meridian tried to roll out the legislature's one superpower, a concurrent resolution to declare NO EMERGENCY NO DISASTER and force the governor to pretend we all go back to normal. (As if there were a normal to go back to.) Brent Crane of Nampa slapped on a couple of "whereases" to try to make it consitutionally legit.

Ammon Effing Bundy, the epitome of a carpetbagger, was there to "[accuse] the House committee members of 'the mindset of a nanny state, where the people are considered incapable'," while demonstrating just how incapable he and his people could be.

Logan Finney's shot of the crowd in the Lincoln Auditorium that accompanied one of Betsy's posts from earlier in the day captured the scene: no masks; no distancing; some people brought their kids. If you're looking for the Covid-safe section, or to testify in favor of public health, sorry, we're not having that today. This is the super-spreader event.

Logan Finney image, Idaho Capitol Lincoln Auditorium yesterday

24.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Speaking of phony ballots Permalink to this item

Tomorrow is an election day in a lot of Idaho locations, but not ours. Our legislative district, and the county we're in, is partway in. West Ada SD #2 (fka "Meridian"), yay, and Boise SD #1, nay. (Idaho has 117 School Districts and 38 "Independent Local Education Agencies." SD#2 is probably the biggest, but for sure, #1 and #2 are the top two.) But Boise's School District Trustee Election is nigh at hand, one week further out, on Sept. 1, 2020.

Photo of outer ballot envelope

After seeing the news (summarized there on their site) that 28,000 bad ballots had gone out, and they were doing a ginormous re-do, it occurred to me that we had not sufficiently requested absentee ballots to get our bad ones. There was still time to request a good one, so we signed up before the 5pm deadline on Friday.

Today, mine arrived, which is (50%) fast response from both the District and the USPS. Oddly, above the envelope's printed return address for "Boise School District #1," handwritten in pen, it says "Independent School District of Boise City." Why two names when one is clear enough (and what the state calls it, and what they use on their own website)? Is some unfortunate clerk tasked with writing "Independent School District of Boise City" 28,000 times on envelopes?! Must've been very, very bad in class.

Update, 8/25: Early mail delivery today, 9:30am, did not include Jeanette's ballot.

Update, 8/26: No ballot in today's mail, either.

Update, 8/27: No ballot in today's mail. No mail! I talked to our carrier, and he said "I don't know what to tell you."

Update, 9/1, Election Day: It never came. She voted in person today.

The +rump Show Permalink to this item

Off the grocery store this morning, the radio carelessly left on, NPR treated me to the direct stream of IMPOTUS' projection vomit out of North Carolina, how 80 million phony ballots are lined up against him. Coupled with 65 or 70 million real ones, that could be one hell of a landslide for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, eh? Having heard that he planned to speak in the 10pm slot every night of the convention (from the White House, thus defecating on yet another long-standing taboo), I was a bit surprised to hear him at 10am Pacific Time, and god almighty, a little bit goes a long way. As Heather Cox Richardson wrote overnight, "the Republicans have written no platform to outline policies and goals for the future. Instead they passed a resolution saying that “the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.” Full-on cuckolded.

Every jot and spittle of his bluster is self-indictment. As the gold-plated toilet overflows, the scandals are spilling out so thick and fast, it's hard to keep track.

"[T]he Russia story, revived by the fifth volume of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Russian connections to the 2016 Trump campaign, is not going away. [Last night], the Daily Beast reported that Jared Kushner—who after, all, could not get a security clearance until Trump overruled authorities—has been using a secret back channel to communicate with a Putin representative. According to the story, Steve Bannon, who was arrested on Friday by the acting U.S. Attorney at the Southern District of New York and so now has an excellent reason to flip, knew all about it."

Daily Beast/Getty

According to Erin Banco for the 'Beast, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which is under US sanctions, Kirill Dmitriev

"was one of the main participants in the infamous January 2017 Seychelles meeting with former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, in which the two discussed a roadmap for U.S.-Russia cooperation in the new administration. In the years since, Kushner and Dmitriev have communicated—often at a distance, and at times through intermediaries—about ways the U.S. and Russia could work together. The conversations have touched on everything from creating a joint business council to increase investment, to working on a Middle East peace deal, to helping lead negotiations on a recent OPEC deal, to delivering those medical supplies, according to multiple senior officials."

We are really tight with Russia these days, in spite of Ukraine, the bounty on US troops in Afghanistan, all that. So tight there won't need to be a "Russia, if you're listening" moment in any of the speeches this week. They're definitely tuning in, and are no doubt all-in to re-elect their man.

Putin's Russia has a ton of experience in manufacturing desired election results, by the way.

Smoky skies Permalink to this item

Don't usually start the day on the NYT home page, but doing it today, there was just one thing after another that caught my eye and I loaded up tabs. Jerry Seinfeld with a sharp-edged clap-back on "some putz on LinkedIn" dissing his city. Peter Wehner one more time, the lament of "an early and unofficial co-founder" of the Never +rumpers: For Conservatives to Have Any Hope, +rump Has to Lose. His search for "conservative policy successes" in the current swamp brings Hamlet to mind.

Then that sinking feeling of a documented first case of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection. (Please assure us it's going to be "rare"? Mild symptoms the first time, and none the second, yikes. "Not unexpected that a few, or even a few dozen, people might be reinfected," experts have said.)

Meanwhile, the big, surprise presser on the eve of the RNC is that +rump commanded an override to science for political effect. The FDA giving emergency approval for treatment with convalescent plasma, even though our top government scientists had reservations. It's already been given to 70,000 patients, but has yet to supported by "robust data through randomized clinical trials," a fact which angered the orange man, who lied to make it sound more like the "miracle" he said was coming this spring. As ever, he accuses others of his own faults: political motivation. As a result of his political motivation to get reelected and avoid jail, a valid study will be even harder to complete in this country.

While we're on about Covid-19, this question: Are We Looking for the Wrong Coronavirus Vaccines? Simply protecting against infection doesn't stop the spread. Those "too frail to respond to a vaccine, who do not have access to the vaccine, who refuse to be immunized and whose immune response might wane over time" won't be helped by the former. The FDA "has stated that preventing ... infection is in itself a sufficent endpoint for Phase 3 trials"; the WHO has said that "shedding/transmission" is as well. Given that just wearing a facemask has a sizeable tranche of dead-enders literally up in arms, the probability of "near-universal immunization" is zero.

The chances of an emergency override to approve a promising vaccine before Phase 3 trials are complete before Nov. 3 seem much, much greater. You know, like Russia did.

While we wait to see, the NYT has a Coronavirus Drug and Treatment Tracker to dashboard treatments from "widely used" to "pseudoscience or fraud." (ICYMI, +rump's previous miracle cure, hydroxy/chloroquine, is in the "Not Promising" swamp; two of the things he's suggested in press cons are marked DO NOT DO THIS; convalescent plasma is "tentative or mixed evidence.")

In Charles Blow's rundown of +rump's Campaign of Chaos, this inimitable quote from Friday:

“I’m the only thing standing between the American dream and total anarchy, madness and chaos. And that’s what it is. I’m representing you. I’m just here. And I’m not sure it’s an enviable position, but that’s what it is. That’s what it is.”

Leaning into "it is what it is," as he executes his program of American carnage. Perhaps that's Stephen Miller's verbal styling, because Lord Orange actually backed away from it a tiny bit, saying he was "a little embarrassed by it because it sounds so egotistical." A little embarrassed. He lies so easily, he has no idea what is true. "There was no other way to say it," though. "We have to win the election."

Otherwise, you know, GO TO JAIL. DO NOT PASS 'GO'. DO NOT COLLECT $200.

I'd heard that Kellyanne and George were both stepping away from the arena, and gee, just after she'd been deemed "Honorable" in the spit-take speakers list for the RNC. (Ivanka, too.) Daughter Claudia's epic Twitter ranting ("years of childhood trauma and abuse," "my mother's job ruined my life to begin with," "i’m devasted that my mother is actually speaking at the RNC. like DEVASTATED beyond compare," and so on) signaled the reason, but wait, there's more: they've got four teenagers, this morning's story says. She said she's shifting to "less drama, more mama." Not that I'm an expert on raising teenagers or anything, but I'm betting more mama could be a lot more drama, too.

Speaking of drama, that diversion to Twitter turned up a link to the piece waiting for us in yesterday's NYT Magazine: The Chaos Agents, Inside the Boogaloo: America's Extremely Online Extremists.

"[A]round the country, events like this one had become a beacon to fringe thinkers: anti-vaxxers, internet trolls, gun nuts, Proud Boys, hate groups, antigovernment militias and any other Americans who interpreted social-distancing and face-covering regulations as an infringement of their constitutional freedoms."

Rallies "where isolation ends, where communion begins," in a shared unreality redolent with antigovernment libertarianism "and a deep love of firearms." Census takers, contact tracers, Child Protective Services, Health Departments, they're all coming for you.

23.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

The end of fashion Permalink to this item

It's completely on-brand for me to read through the 3-weeks-ago edition of the New York Times Magazine on Sunday morning. There is, ultimately, no "catching up," only "falling behind." The longer one survives, the more there will be not to know. Looking up the link to the story I wanted to blog, below the ads for sweatpants, there's the Sunday Read podcast, "Behind the Cover," a story with the same title (but ending with '!') from two years ago March, and the story itself, made interactive: Sweatpants Forever: How the Fashion Industry Collapsed. "Even before the pandemic, it had started to unravel. [ha ha] What happens now that no one has a reason to dress up?"

Or, you know, put on clothes at all.

To say this is unfamiliar territory for me beggars understatement. It is undiscovered country, speculative fiction, an alien world. Oh, also, it was two weeks ago, not three. Whatever.

T-shirt selfie

As usual, my first choice for what to wear this morning is what I wore yesterday, assuming I didn't get my play clothes dirty. Today finds a dated t-shirt top of the heap. Literally dated, May 11-16, 2009, for Boise Bike Week. The reverse has block lettering large enough to be read from your car as you zoom (in the old-fashioned sense) by: ONE LESS CAR. If I drive somewhere today, I might change it; I try to wear it in public only when I'm biking. "Public" is still up in the air for today. Maybe, maybe not. (Oh wait, Zoom church, I guess I will change.)

Irina Aleksander's feature is about Scott Sternberg, one of many, many fashion designers I've never heard of, his last business (Band of Outsiders) and his current business (Entireworld), which is apparently booming for landing upon "leisure wear" (a term not spoken in the piece, although "athleisure" appears twice) just when lots of people had a reason for not going out, let along presenting themselves in a fashionable way. Spoiler alert: investors aren't as interested in his success as you'd expect, allured instead by "looking to swoop in and pick off bigger brands that were now on the brink of bankruptcy." Everybody loves a boot sale!

Once the winner of two Council of Fashion Designers of America awards, "the industry’s equivalent of the Oscars," Sternberg let his CFDA membership lapse last year, and leaning into the pandemic moment, the "sweatsuit" was his brand's "hero item." This is where the interactive pays off, with a two-scene GIF illustrating this sentence:

Inspired by a French children’s film, Entireworld’s sweatsuits come in a prism of cheery colors and, in Sternberg’s vision, “sort of make you look like a cross between a Teletubbie, Ben Stiller in ‘The Royal Tenenbaums,’ and a J.C. Penney ad from 1979.”

They didn't work in the JC Penney ad. Obviously, fashion hasn't been much on your mind of late, has it?

"In April, clothing sales fell 79 percent in the United States, the largest dive on record. Purchases of sweatpants, though, were up 80 percent. Entireworld was like the rare life form that survives the apocalypse."

Said apocalypse accelerated by ever-shorter cycles, overproduction, and discounting, such that "in 2018, Burberry, the British label, revealed that it had been burning — not metaphorically but literally: burning — $37 million of worth of merchandise per year to maintain “brand value.”

An industrial version of potlatch. Reading the Wikipedia take on Canada's ban on the practice adds yet another layer of irony, the complaint being that potlatch was "by far the most formidable of all obstacles in the way of Indians becoming Christians, or even civilized."

What is economics in 2020 if not "the great desire of every chief and even of every man to collect a large amount of property, and then to give a great potlatch, a feast in which all is distributed among his friends, and, if possible, among the neighboring tribes"? With a miserly, +rumpian twist: we're giving away other people's money, or maybe funny money. $1,200 to everyone! $600 a week to the unemployed! Trillions of dollars—we're not even sure how many trillions—effectively pushed out of cargo planes across the coasts and flyover country alike.

The poles of economic theory turn out to be austerity for a Democratic president in the Great Recession and nearly-unbounded profligacy for a criminal Republican with a taste for gold-plated toilets, desperate for re-election to keep him out of jail.

If it gets hoist on the petard of a few petulant Republicans in the Senate, and the non-negotiable privilege of an August recess for campaigning (and whatever), still more irony? More likely, Mitch McConnell is calculating how to ride to the rescue closer to election day, strengthening the psychic connection between "free money" and "re-elect the conmen."

Forever socks

But I digress from the topic at hand. While reading the story, I thought about my own sense of iconic fashion being Early Winters' "forever socks," which didn't get mentioned in the old-timey brand biography on the web. The original company came and went in the 1970s and 1980s, but those tightly woven wool socks are still in active rotation, 40 years on. There are some thin spots, and repairs, but still. Coming into adulthood, my idea of the best fashion was a "lifetime guarantee," before it was obvious that the company's lifetime was more likely the lower limit. (Counterpoint to go with the socks: the Craftsman tools I used to work on motorcycles and cars are as solid as the 1970-something day I bought them, regardless of whatever happened to Sears.)

The story did also dredge up an older memory of when fashion did matter to me, as a teenager in high school. There were bell-bottoms, hand-tooled leather accessories, a pair of boots with big heels, my first stretch ski pants, and ski sweater, purchased at the chi chi Les Moise ("less mu-WEEZ", not "lay mwahz") for what must have been an extravagant price. (I think that wool sweater is still in the house somewhere, but the stirrups and bells are long gone.) The whole "hippy" thing spoiled me for fashion, I guess. Patched jeans got cool, and I never looked back.

20.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Ah, so THAT'S what the SDNY had simmering Permalink to this item

The US Postal Inspection Service arrested the multi-shirted Steve Bannon whilst he was aboard the "Lady May," a 152 foot yacht owned by a Chinese real estate billionaire and "fugitive dissident," also a member of Mar-a-Lago, and who knows, maybe he's a Chinese spy? Bannon bonded out (for $5M, or some surety fraction thereof), agreeing to "travel restrictions" including "no private jets or yachts," and no international jaunts. Daily Caller's short treatment has a half-hour of yacht porn embedded, fwtw.

REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Jane Rosenberg's courtroom sketch of Bannon appearing handcuffed, in Manhattan is nicely executed, to illustrate Reuters' coverage.

For his part, IMPOTUS said he thought it was "a sad event," but hey, "I haven’t dealt with him at all now for years, literally years." Also, his memory's not so good anymore. And, "it sounded to me like showboating," duh, the surest way to lose the support of the Showboat-in-Chief.

"Bannon is the eighth close Trump associate here to be arrested or convicted of a crime, a list that also includes former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen."

The 24-page sealed indictment, USA v. Kolfage, Bannon, Badolato and Shea, details the charges of conspiracy to commit wire and money laundering, the misrepresentation, shell companies, all the usual stuff, in service to "home renovations, payments toward a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, cosmetic surgery, personal tax payments, and credit card debt." "In or around October 2019," life got way more interesting as the defendants learned that a federal criminal investigation might be going. Fire up the encrypted messages!

Now, in addition to the criminal charges, that darned ASSET FORFEITURE to follow, any and all funds in 11 bank accounts (under an assortment of names, including Freedom Daily LLC, and White Knights & Vultures LLC, that's nice, a boat named "Warfighter" and a 2018 Range Rover.

Reliable idiots Permalink to this item

Need to push Viguerie and his Conservative HQ daily screed back into spam, I think; the headlines are too annoying. But ever-revealing, as they employ +rumpian trademarked projection and gaslighting. Top headline is that they've rounded up "over 100 conservative leaders" who are warning IMPOTUS (which is to say, echoing his "warning") that "chaos and vote fraud are central elements of the new Marxist Democrats’ campaign strategy." That while the scandal of the Postmaster General's monkeywrenching and self-dealing is still unfolding, his testimony to Congress up tomorrow.

If you think my headline epithet is untoward, consider George Rasley's headline, next item down, "Boycott Goodyear Tires," starting with "We feel sorry for Goodyear’s 60,000 employees who work for idiots..." I'd wonder what the hell this was about if I hadn't read the Heather Cox Richardson Letter from an American dated yesterday to read that

"[Yesterday] morning, Trump urged Americans not to buy Goodyear tires because of a rumor that the company had banned MAGA hats. Goodyear tweeted that its policy had been misconstrued, but Goodyear stock dropped more than 2% after the president’s tweet. The company’s headquarters are in Akron, Ohio, a city in an important swing state for the upcoming election. Goodyear employs about 63,000 people. But if his call for a boycott hurts the company, Trump said, workers will “be able to get another good job."

"On Twitter, the City of Akron, Ohio responded: “Goodyear has believed in this community for generations, investing in the power, tenacity and honest people of the heartland, which is more than we can say for this president. #WeStandWithGoodyear

The rest of the CHQ keening, "assault on America," "Mean Girls Night at the DNC," "Democrats abandoning Black Americans" and "Yes, Biden and Harris Will Come For Your Guns," and calling John Kasich "Soros Water Boy" should go without mention, but I list them just in case you haven't smelled the swamp lately. Martha Boneta's headline deems +rump "The Most Consequential Foreign Policy President Of Our Lifetimes," which is true enough. From the essential nation, winner of the Cold War, and unquestioned leader, we have become a pariah, a failing state under a shriveling autocracy being jerked around by the febrile whims of a psychopath escapee from Let's Make A Deal claiming "emergency" powers as fast as its murderous bumbling creates new emergencies.

ICYMI, the closer for last night's session of the Democratic National Convention (after a host of remarkable scenes, including the final speeches, from President Barack Obama, and this year's nominee for Vice President, Kamala Harris, I guess two of those Black people the Democrats are abandoning?), Here's The Video Of Jennifer Hudson Performing "A Change Is Gonna Come." "It's just the video. That's all you need. Trust me."

Well, actually, there's more to say. A lot more. I was looking to see who the three accompanists were (and the sound engineers!) and didn't find that in Dan Adler's Vanity Fair piece, but Sam Cooke, 1964, and the Long History in Politics of that amazing song. And this: "Cooke was shot and killed in 1964, at the age of 33, by a motel clerk who claimed self-defense...."

Cooke only performed “A Change” himself once. One of Cooke’s biographers, Peter Guralnick, told NPR in 2014 that when Cooke “first played it for Bobby Womack, who was his protégé, he said, ‘What’s it sound like?’ And Bobby said, ‘It sounds like death.’ Sam said, ‘Man, that’s kind of how it sounds like to me. That’s why I’m never going to play it in public.’”

19.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

What's in a foot? Permalink to this item

Reading this story, I'd say GEE uh DED ic Survey, but for "geodesist," "gee OH duhsist"? Nah, it's gotta be "gee AH duhsist," but then is it the gee AH duhdick Survey? (No.) Here's the deal: America Has Two Feet. It’s About to Lose One of Them.

When I was engineering objects, they weren't survey-sized, first of all, and second of all, we used millimeters. I did, once upon a time take a class in surveying, handled a chain, a theodelite, and tried to close polygons, which was always sketchy. Someone must have mentioned this "survey foot thing," but it never entered into any real work for me.

The shorter (international) foot is 99.9998476% the length of the longer (survey) foot if I'm following this correctly. Call it 99.9998% for short. Or 100% for shorter.

The story has more forgotten (or never-known) units, just for fun: "the English ell for cloth but also the far shorter Dutch ell, the Rhineland rod and the British chain and the Spanish vara for measuring land, the English flitch of bacon and hattock of grain, plus the German quentchen for gold." (Hey, Sumpter, pass us that flitch of bacon, will ye?)

100,000 units of measurement in use by the time of Independence! "Opportunities for cheating were rife," the story says, so not everything has changed. But anyway, I'm guessing there have been more honest errors than dishonest ones when it comes to the two kinds of feet, but how would I know?

What I used to know is that a meter was 39.37 inches (which was never true: 39.37 inches were a meter, defining them, not it), which happens to be how the survey foot was defined in 1866, and it comes out to the untidy 0.3048006096... meters to the foot. When I was a wee lad, they lopped that off to 0.3048 and called it the "international foot," and that, as they say, was that.

In the big catalog of numbers in my head, there's also 25.4 mm to the inch, and that one, it turns out, is correct, for this soon to be only "foot." 12 x 0.0254 = 0.3048 on the button. I'll keep 39.37 in mind for old-timey stuff, and to remind me that a meter is about 3-1/3 feet.

18.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

East coast geography lesson Permalink to this item

A surprise in store near the end of the front section of the Sunday NYT I made my way through this morning, How the World’s Largest Garbage Dump Evolved Into a Green Oasis. "The radical fix for a noxious landfill in Staten Island: Bury the trash, plant some grass and do nothing for 20 years."

Oh, and the online photographs are much nicer than what's in B&W print, "from an ongoing series documenting the rebirth of Freshkills." The first one is adorned with a swath of rust-ripeness in the midground, and the caption reveals the subtext I didn't know was in it: New York City Skyline with One World Trade from North Mound, Looking Northeast toward Main Creek and the Greenbelt, Autumn, 2018. North Mound, Winter didn't make it to print; Influent, Sec. 6-7, 1-9 is transformed by color, and the more complete plumbing details visible in the digital image. South Mound at Sundown was not put in print, and just as well: the luminous glow throughout the scene would not translate into ink.

But let's cut to the chase or we'll never get out of here. First off, what is this "kill"? Way down the surprisingly long list from the American Heritage, we see it's from Dutch kil, from Middle Dutch kille, and the seemingly copied (and agumented) "Free Dictionary" entry adds "compare Old Norse kīll small bay, creek." AH says see creek: "A small stream, often a shallow or intermittent tributary to a river. Also called regionally branch, brook, kill, run." And the note at run:

Traditional terms for “a small, fast-flowing stream” vary throughout the eastern United States especially and are enshrined in many place names. Speakers in the eastern part of the Lower North (including Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and southern Pennsylvania) use the word run. Speakers in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, the Dutch settlement areas of New York State, may call such a stream a kill. Brook has come to be used throughout the Northeast. Southerners refer to a branch, and throughout the rural northern United States the term is often crick, a variant of creek.

Ah, the Catskills, who knew the name is about the drainages, not the mountains! Variously (and redundantly) "Catskill Creek," "Cauterskill," "Kaaterskill," it flows into the Hudson, 90 miles upstream of the big city. (Also, Kitty at the "Long Branch" is some Southern flavor in the wild West.)

The NYT piece continues, and there's a full-blown photoessay embedded in it, no hint in print that was waiting for us. The New Wilderness, Freshkills was in print, but unreadably drab without the color, and reflected sky that brings the online image alive.

It turns out the geography lesson (an inset image) is not included online. I wanted an expansion of the map anyway, so we turn to the USGS EarthExplorer and its USA Topographic basemap (and, inevitably for its superior user interface, Google Maps).

USA Topographic view of New York

The Big Picture of New York is about the Hudson, and the enormous, 118 mile Long Island. Staten Island is the other thing that stands out there at the mouth of the Hudson River. You can't see Manhattan as a thing, because the Hudson and Long Island Sound and New York Bay all dwarf the East and Harlem Rivers that carve it out from the Bronx and Yonkers.

So, finally, to this morning's epiphany about NY geography: Staten Island is not some little thing in the distance off the tip of Manhattan at the far end of the ferry, but rather more than twice the size of the one island that I think of when I think of the city. (It is the least populated of the five boroughs; not quite half a million people live on it, as compared to 1.4M in the Bronx, 1.6M in Manhattan, 2.3M in Queens, and 2.6M in Brooklyn, by 2019 estimates.)

The Freshkills dissect the now-transformed garbage dump (green in the midst of megalopolis in the center of this Google Maps view), flows into the Arthur Kill, which makes its way to Raritan Bay, the Lower Bay and thence to the New York/New Jersey Bight, all sloshing in and out with the tide.

Google Maps (etc.) view of Staten Island

There's a sobering passage near the end, two sentences describing where New York's trash goes now that it's not going to the Freshkills site:

"[In 2001,] New York’s trash was sent out of the city’s boundaries, as it still is today — by train to Ohio, to Virginia, to upstate New York and to several landfills in Pennsylvania among other places. Some of what would have gone to Fresh Kills is today incinerated in Newark, N.J., Niagara Falls and Chester, Pa., on the Philadelphia border, where 70 percent of residents are African-American."

One last thing, for my wild west readers: take an outline of Staten Island, rotate to match our locale, and see that it's just about the size of Boise (and smaller than our urban sprawl into Meridian, etc.).

Staten Island outline overlain on Boise, Idaho

17.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Just a short conversation Permalink to this item

At 36:35 in today's Here & Now show Ronda Taylor Bullock of Durham, North Carolina, and her son, Zion talk about racism.

"It's a little rough being a kid, especially during this time..."

I don't suppose 6 minutes of a mother-son conversation will change your life, but it will definitely touch your heart, if you listen.

Accurate forecast Permalink to this item

Twitter brought me around to ELizabeth Mika's essay, written March 31, 2016: The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Narcissist. It's written as a description of this quintessential form of psychopathology, and it fits you-know-who to a fare-thee-well. It's not a new thing; having a full-on psychopath in charge of the country for four years is new in my experience going back to memories of the presidents in the 1960s.

"As a narcissist does not understand what other people feel and experience, he must rely on projection (a self-defense mechanism where he denies the existence of his faults while attributing them to others) during those rare occasions when he may try to grasp what others feel and think (of him and his winning schemes, of course — the most fascinating and the only, really, subject that interests him). And what he projects onto others is fairly consistent: fear, jealousy, contempt, rage, hatred, and a desire for revenge."

How it will end:

"Ultimately, there is no escape from the ruthless, paranoia-infected world in which a narcissist finds himself immersed over time, other than through a total destruction of it and/or himself. ... [H]e destroys everything he comes in contact with — relationships, projects, organizations, countries."

16.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Dot con Permalink to this item

The summer I was fresh out of high school, I hit the road, and in the last couple days, I got around to re-reading my journal of the "1 MONTH & 1 DAY" at issue, from July 23 to August 20. It had that sort of unfinished quality to it, the final paragraph a sentence fragment:

Anyway about an hour or so after sunrise

Scan of a 47 year old print

And that's it. Dozens of the 100 SHEETS in the 29¢ NOTE BOOK left empty and aching for more of the story. What I did write was mostly perfunctory, where and how long I had to wait for rides, who picked me up, dividing the people I met into "guys" and "chicks," the various geographic way points I transited. The journey was more alluring than being anywhere in particular, it seems. I left Wisconsin with the initial target of Rocky Mountain National Park, and, getting there with the help of an almost 900 mile ride from somewhere near the Twin Cities to Ft. Collins, and then a post-wedding caravan of 6 cars ("pick one and hop in," the groom said, inviting me to join the party), "two nice chicks" picked me up inside the park and we drove over the top of the 12,000 ft.-something pass, and I landed in Grand Lake, with two rolls of poorly-exposed Instamatic 110 negatives to have and to hold for posterity.

Sometimes the journey is not what you expect. Most times, I suppose.

Just a little over the top of the dot-com bubble, turn of the millennium, we came down to the Bay area for one of my engineering jobs-within-a-job, my trusty bike turned 20, so that this year it could turn 40, and I started this blogging thing. My pithy entries back then were a bit more forthcoming than my teenage NOTE BOOK (and hyperlinked, that was new), but well short of a chronicle, let alone a full-on memoir. It's a pity, those were heady, one-of-a-kind times, followed by many more.

Time and circumstance bring these memories together as I finished Anna Wiener's first book, Uncanny Valley: A Memoir. I don't need to write a review, because my stars, who didn't write one already, and have it boiled down to a blurb on the Amazon page? I'll just pull two words out of Laura Miller's distillation for Slate, "beautifully observed" to summarize, at least until I saw what Rebecca Solnit had quoted: "Like Joan Didion at a startup," that's good.

If only I hadn't been so busy when I was in my late 20s, and had thought to write a book! It wouldn't have been this entertaining. But then the times weren't so interesting, just the Cold War, and Reagan and the boys starting the decades-long program of sabotaging the government for fun and profit during the 2nd half of my life (so far). Anyway, pardon my ramble, but take the recommendation and enjoy the woosh. It's a corker.

14.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Happier Wilderness news Permalink to this item

Tom Claycomb's weekly outdoors column is a pleasant diversion, the latest dispatch from backpacking into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area with his daughter. No shooting involved, just a lot of fishing and berry-picking. As it should be. Lovely picture of her with a cutthroat in hand. We weren't fishing this weekend in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, but we did collect the whole set of berries en route and in the wild: black, thimble, blue, goose, rasp, and grouse whortle.

Thimbleberries are on

An armed society is a polite society Permalink to this item

Annotated from interactive FS map

In today's Idaho news, the front page story is Former Middleton police chief was shooter in 7C incident, which could have also been "Bonners Ferry Police Chief was shooter," because this Brian Zimmerman guy has served up and down the state, including 27 years with the Idaho State Police. For those of you not from around here, we number and letter our 44 counties, so 7C is obviously (if you've memorized your 7 Cs) Custer County, which, ok, the web version just has it in the headline, too. Middleton, Custer Co., and Bonners Ferry covers the territory. The IP story online has a beautiful 2014 file photo of the survivor of the shoot-out, in his personalized ISP collared sport shirt. If Central Casting were looking for Dudley Doright, he'd be the man.

Anyway, tell us more about that shooting? Custer County, comprising some of central Idaho's most beautiful country, has a population density of less than one person per square mile. It got a little crowded at the Tin Cup campground a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday night. Five days later, the Post Register had the Custer County Sheriff's Office news release, and the Idaho Mountain Express expanded that to say "the Custer County Sheriff’s Office requested that the Eastern Idaho Critical Task Force assist with the investigation, according to the sheriff’s office. Detectives with the Bonneville, Bingham and Fremont County Sheriff’s Offices, the Idaho Falls Police Department and the Idaho State Police responded to the area that evening and have continued to assist with the investigation since then."

10:30 p.m., well after dark, "an individual unknown" to a group of 16 to 18 campers "entered their camp." "An altercation began resulting in shots fired. One person is deceased."

Gretel Kauffman's report in the Idaho Mountain Express seems to be the most complete, including details about the dead man. 73-year-old Russell V. Liddell "served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam war," worked in aerospace at Martin Marietta, and retired from a career with the state of Idaho, according to his obituary.

It doesn't say, but I imagine there was too much noise for that time of night out there at the edge of the Wilderness, and Liddle had a complaint. The Forest Service says usage of the 13 campsites on Loon Creek, with no fee, no water, and three vault toilets, is generally "light," but on August 1 this year, it was "heavy."

As of yesterday, the IME hadn't heard back "whether Zimmerman was the only person to fire shots or whether Liddell was armed," but the City of Bonners Ferry's press release on Facebook says Zimmerman "returned fire." As told by those who lived to tell the tale. And because their Chief's "actions were in no way related to his employment with the City of Bonners Ferry," they're not going to put him on administrative leave or anything at this time.

The Idaho Press also added local color about the end of Zimmerman's tenure with the Middleton PD, May 2017, "after falling out with former Mayor Darin Taylor over “micromanagement” of his duties as well as what Zimmerman described as as Taylor’s frequent outbursts of anger..."

No connection whatsoever, except that the story is also in today's newspaper, Boise police arrested two guys after shots were fired at 5:30 a.m. yesterday morning.

"Police believe occupants of one vehicle shot at another vehicle as both traveled in the street, according to the release, although no one was injured. By the time police arrived, the suspects were gone.

"Officers found them shortly after, and identified them as Donovan Leavitt, 25, of Kuna and Tristan Vangerpen, 18, of Meridian. Officers believe there had been an earlier altercation between the two groups near Myrtle Street and Capitol Boulevard.

"Leavitt was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault and destruction of evidence in connection with that earlier incident downtown. Officers also believe Vangerpen was involved, so he was arrested on suspicion of two counts of aggravated battery."

Plenty of charges to go around. I guess the good news is that local shootings are rare enough (still) that they grab our attention? When we talked about this story, Jeanette asked "what were they doing at 5 in the morning?" and I guessed "meth."

11.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Life-saving opportunity Permalink to this item

If you were crossing a bridge, and encountered someone ready to jump to his death, would you intervene, try to talk him out of it? If you saw someone drowning in the lake, would you jump in and attempt a rescue? I've never had the chance to make that decision, but I have experienced being in need of rescue, and having others come to help me, more than once. I think I would do it. I imagine I'd factor in my own risk to some degree, the chances of success against both of us being killed, but I don't—can't—know how altruism and adrenalin would add up in the heat of the moment.

This morning's Health section of the Idaho Press features a story from The Philadelphia Inquirer, four days ago, with the banner headline LIFESAVERS. The punchline is all in the IP subhead (which was the PI's headline): Masks could save the lives of 66,000 Americans by Dec. 1 — if more people wear them. That would be more than the official number of US military killed in the Vietnam war in more than a decade. Except it would be in the next 4 months.

Philadelphia Inquirer datagraphic

You can find the whole story on the Medical Express site (with other helpful articles, but no datagraphics). The PI's story includes an interactive map showing where masks are mandatory in the US, a random hodge-podge of state experiments (not showing our step-child territories). Most states have mandated masks. 16, including Idaho, "recommend" them, but don't have a requirement. Montana and Texas require them statewide, but are exempting counties with low case totals.

Nowhere that I've heard does the requirement have much in the way of teeth. You're not likely to get arrested, even if you pretend you're from a government agency so that you can intimidate a young grocery store employee. (Bonus points for doing it with an accent from your non-English, non-Spanish native language. Welcome, wretched refuse of a teeming shore!)

Gallup/Idaho Press datagraphic

The IP's print (and print facsimile) version included a Gallup poll datagraphic showing frequency of mask use in indoor versus outdoor settings, for "all Americans," and subsets of age, gender, region, political affiliation. Overall survey says outside the home, when it's not possible to keep physical distance from others, respondents said they "always/usually" where a mask 86% indoors, 47% outdoors. You could guess women do better than men, and the northeast region has learned from hard experience. And you know that the political divide is the deepest. Gallup has a timeline graph from April through July from asking whether people had worn a mask in the last week. The Democrats have been in the 90s for three months, nearly 100% for two months. The Republicans went from below half, to two-thirds in May and June, up to 80% in the latest poll, July 20-Aug. 2.

The Covid19 death toll reaching 295,000 by December is an estimate, of course, along with 66,000 of the deaths being preventable by mask wearing in public. If you're a Republican (perhaps one who gets tested regularly, on demand, with rapid results, and able to make sure everyone you come in close contact with is also tested), you might like to second-guess the the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. And you can do that without ever talking to a man on a bridge, face to face, or watching the woman in the lake go under while you stand on the shore and do nothing.

Or you could quit whining and do a simple thing to protect the health and well-being of the community you're in. It doesn't seem too heavy a lift.

4.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Greetings from Dystopian Hell Permalink to this item

Not sure how much direct mail gnome Richard Viguerie is in the day-to-day screeding, but his ConservativeHQ dailies are getting past my spam filters once in a while. His Editor, George Rasley is a piece of work. Today's teaser splutters out this remarkable sentence under the headline "Your Quality Of Life In A Democrat-Run City":

"Whether the Democrats on the Minneapolis City Council are pandering to the Far Left or grandstanding for the media is largely irrelevant to those who now live in this Democrat-run dystopian Hell, where the little people are told to submit to the criminals instead of calling the police and the elite leadership class lives in a private security protected bubble, insulated from the crime-ridden Hell they’ve created."

The headline got me chuckling, as a resident of a Democrat-run city with pretty good quality of life, even considering the present circumstances.

I gather no one edits the CHQ Editor? The punch of "Hell" dissipates when you hit it twice in one go, plus I'm curious about dystopian Hell. As opposed to... the other kind? If he had a sense of humor, he could've worked in the hoary demo version joke. Here's a suitably plodding version, demonizing Bill Gates, no less. That would fit right in with CHQ and its "we never left the 1980s" vibe. They have a lot of stuff tagged Bill Gates, but they're not doing much of their own work on the subject. Top of the stack is a four months-ago teaser to the Washington Times, complaining about how just because Gates is "a philanthropist who's giving millions and maybe billions to help develop a coronavirus vaccine," "the media give[s him] a free pass."

If you're angry enough, it doesn't have to make sense, is the subtext.

1.Aug.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Dogpile Permalink to this item

You might have a collection of old electronics sitting around, e-waste that you're not quite sure what to do with, and that isn't likely to be useful to you. It's got some of your data on it. An old operating system that might or might not even get up and go if you plugged it in and/or charged its battery. If you don't, lucky you. At our house, with two users, and decades of history, we have a bunch of bits and bobs in the described categories. (And it's time for upgrades, too.)

I see Recycle Boise, just down the bench from us will take our junk. They shred hard drives! They take stuff I'm not even sure what it is. "Teradyne Machines"? British aluminum ("aluminium"). "Farm Equipment." "All items made of metal."

Also down the bench (waste flows downhill), only a little further away, The Reuseum with its "Repurpose" angle, "cater[ing] to those who embrace the art, science and fun of DIY by offering new & used equipment & materials of all types. Treasures appear AND disappear daily, so visit often!"

Then Idaho's Governor tossed his recycling bid into the ring, with a Thursday tweet:

Do you have a used laptop or other electronic device that you can donate to a student? Help support our students’ learning by dropping off your device on August 5! Details at @IdahoBusinessEd

— Brad Little (@GovernorLittle) July 30, 2020
Old computers

The jump goes to CLOSE the DIVIDE / Let's connect our kids, and the lede is We have a crisis on our hands. 200,000 Idaho students need computers by August. And here it is August. Because of the pandemic, it's a virtual certainty that "some form of remote learning will be a reality for every child in the state," and hundreds of thousands of them (survey says) do not have a computer.

So, ah, send in your junk. Or donate $350, $7,000, or any amount to the Idaho Business for Education Internet Fund.

Alternately, the state might have allocated more money to education, instead of cutting $99 million less than two weeks ago.

Given our legislature's chronic underfunding of education in this state, some folks banded together as Reclaim Idaho are working to get an initiative on our ballot to raise income tax on the highest 5% or earners in the state, to raise a couple hundred $million for education. $600 per student annually, would be enough to get everyone a computer, eh. But the pandemic hit that effort too, and they tried to switch to electronic signature gathering.

Governor Little put the kibosh on that, taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court to try to keep Idahoans from having this question on the ballot in November. By overruling US District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill, SCOTUS may have squelched the civic uprising, at the Governor's urging.

So yippee skippee, we're open for donations now. If you've used a computer much, you might know that things don't always go right with them. As a general rule, the older they get, the more that goes wrong, until really, you need to start fresh. Maybe upgrade or reinstall the operating system, slap on a raft of patches. And so on.

And if you've ever worked in an office with a lot of computers, you know that heterogeneity breeds contemptible user experiences, and an overloaded support staff. So now that it's August, and everyone's gearing up to get school started in a few weeks, even though they don't know how all that's going to go, just imagine the world of fun that will ensue when tens of thousands of Idahoans turn in their old computers and the tech support staff (who I'm sure will not have much to do what with the whole remote learning thing) try to make them go, and pass them out to hundreds of thousands of students.

Just imagine.


Tom von Alten
ISSN 1534-0007