It’s also American Family Day, Friendship Day, National Fresh Breath Day, Psychic Day, Hiroshima Day and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony (it was on this day in 1945 that the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan), Sisters’ Day, Farmworker Appreciation Day, and Independence Day in Jamaica, celebrating the independence of that country from the United Kingdom in 1962.
Here’s an interview with Paul Tibbets, the pilot who flew the B-29 bomber Enola Gay over Hiroshima and dropped the bomb:
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the August 6 Wikipedia page.
*Although rules prohibit televising criminal trials in federal court, Steve Bril (who started Court TV) argues in a NYT op-ed piece—”The country will only believe the Trump verdict if they can see it“—that we need to suspend these rules for the upcoming Trump insurrection trial. (Note that “only” is misplaced; it should be before “if” not “believe”.)
In the 1980s, as a journalist reporting on the law, I interviewed jurors after their trials to find out how they had reached their verdicts. After a while, one thing struck me as unusually consistent: Jurors said that after sitting on juries they were surprised by how much more favorably they thought of our justice system. When they got to see the system up close and at full length — instead of how it was displayed on the 11 o’clock news (this was well before we all went online), with sound-bite spins from lawyers on the courthouse steps or prosecutors at a news conference — they decided that it worked well. That it did a good job sorting out the truth. More than one juror told me that it was something we should all be proud of.
. . .Federal court rules do not allow cameras in any criminal trials. However, no matter which side of this Donald Trump case you may be rooting for, you should want those rules to be suspended so that this trial can be televised live.
The last thing our country and the world needs is for this trial to become the ultimate divisive spin game, in which each side roots for its team online and on the cable news networks as if cheering from the bleachers. Much of that would still happen, but imagine how a quiet, methodical, but sure-to-be-riveting presentation of both sides’ arguments — subject to the rules of evidence and decorum of a federal court, not the algorithms of Facebook and Twitter — might temper the national mood when a verdict is announced. At the least, it will make people more informed about what could be the single most important activity their government will conduct in their lifetimes.
An ancillary benefit to setting up one silent pool camera in the back of the courtroom and sending a feed to all media outlets around the world that want it is that it would give the judge and court administrators a good rationale for pushing away from the courthouse the likely circus outside. The scrum of cameras and journalists — gathered for the trial of the century, but unable to give their audiences a full picture of what is happening inside, and trying to get offhand comments from one of the lawyers on the case or from the mass of lawyer-pundits who wish they were on the case — is otherwise likely to make the chaos of past high-profile trials look placid.
I agree completely, but it’s not so easy to suspend the no-t.v. rules:
Suspending the rule against cameras in federal criminal trials will not be easy. In fact, it requires suspending three rules. First, the U.S. Judicial Conference, chaired by the Supreme Court’s chief justice, John Roberts, and consisting of the chief judges from each of the country’s appellate circuits and the Court of International Trade and trial judges from each of those circuits, would have to vote to suspend its nationwide rule against cameras in federal criminal trials. The judicial council of the District of Columbia Circuit has its own rule, which would then have to be suspended. And then the federal rules of criminal procedure, which also prohibit cameras, would have to be changed.
Given the overwhelming importance of this trial, though, all these bodies should cooperate. I don’t know how fast it is to change the federal rules of criminal procedure, though. And, by the way, I see no good reason to ever prohibit cameras from the courtroom. Can you think of any?
*David Brooks lays some blame for Trump on “progressive” politics and on the meritocracy in his NYT column, “What if we’re the bad guys here?”
Donald Trump seems to get indicted on a weekly basis. Yet he is utterly dominating his Republican rivals in the polls, and he is tied with Joe Biden in the general election surveys. Trump’s poll numbers are stronger against Biden now than at any time in 2020.
What’s going on here? Why is this guy still politically viable, after all he’s done?
In this story, we anti-Trumpers are the good guys, the forces of progress and enlightenment. The Trumpers are reactionary bigots and authoritarians. Many Republicans support Trump no matter what, according to this story, because at the end of the day, he’s still the bigot in chief, the embodiment of their resentments and that’s what matters to them most.
But the story in which we on the Left are the “bad guys” involves the leftist emphasis on elitism and meritocracy
The meritocracy isn’t only a system of exclusion; it’s an ethos. During his presidency, Barack Obama used the word “smart” in the context of his policies over 900 times. The implication was that anybody who disagreed with his policies (and perhaps didn’t go to Harvard Law) must be stupid.
. . . Like all elites, we use language and mores as tools to recognize one another and exclude others. Using words like “problematic,” “cisgender,” “Latinx” and “intersectional” is a sure sign that you’ve got cultural capital coming out of your ears. Meanwhile, members of the less-educated classes have to walk on eggshells because they never know when we’ve changed the usage rules so that something that was sayable five years ago now gets you fired.
Most of us are earnest, kind and public-spirited. But we take for granted and benefit from systems that have become oppressive. Elite institutions have become so politically progressive in part because the people in them want to feel good about themselves as they take part in systems that exclude and reject.
The upshot: people gravitate to Trump because it’s part of this “class war.” Now I do think that Wokeness has contributed to support for Trump, as has the disdain of the progressive left for the working person. But I don’t think meritocracy plays a role. After all, I see the Right as more meritocratic than the left (who supports affirmative action?). It’s authoritarianism and snobbery at play here, not a belief in meritocracy.
*The U.S./Sweden World Cup match is over, and the winner is. . . . .nobody yet. As of writing this it’s a 0-0 tie after Sweden’s goalkeeper made a great save in the 89th minute. But now (ugh) the match will be decided by penalty kicks. Stay tuned for a new post.
TIME FOR PENALTIES!
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 6, 2023
*In the Weekly Dish, Sullivan emits a huge, plaintive kvetch in his column, “Liberal democracy in the ICU.” It’s mostly about the perfidy of Trump, but, like Brooks, doesn’t exempt the Democratic Authoritarian Left.
My own view has long been that Trump is beyond truth and lies: his ego is everything; there is nothing outside it; it is the only reality he knows. If he were to acknowledge any facet of a reality that does not flatter his ego, he would have a psychic break. So he doesn’t. He is beyond accountability because he only lives in the moment, and reinvents the past at will. He is a truly postmodern man: no truth exists apart from his; and any alternative reality has to be attacked mercilessly. Because his whims oscillate, so do the non-facts he invents to satisfy them. He is a spluttering, glowering fusillade of fantasies. He is, in Wolff’s words, “a man whose behavior defies and undermines the structures and logic of civic life.”
. . . But even here, it was not Trump’s listening to these loonies [his lawyers] that was a crime. It was acting on their advice in order to overturn an election result, and stay in power, ending the American experiment in self-government. That it amounted to a creepy farce that ended in performative violence is irrelevant. That it was pursued by a man utterly detached from reality doesn’t matter. It remains the most egregious presidential crime in the history of the republic.
But wait! The Authoritarian Left is also to blame:
Yes, others bear some blame for our crisis of democratic legitimacy. The “Resistance” has played a part in widening the gyre. I’ve not stinted these past few years in showing how the Democrats’ and elite-liberal whites’ adoption of left extremism in every single cultural dispute has deepened tribalism on both sides, and eroded liberal democracy and its institutions from within. Their overt race and sex discrimination, their embrace of critical race, gender, and queer theory, their insouciance toward borders, their censorship of dissent, and their undisguised contempt for half the country have made everything worse.
. . . We are entering late-stage democratic collapse, where tribalism overwhelms reason, common trust evaporates, debate is gone, norms destroyed, and all that matters is the purity of the extremes, and who can win power by any means. The latest indictment of Trump — and more specifically, the reaction to it — is proof that the “extinction-level event” of liberal democracy is here. Future historians may look back and conclude, in fact, that it has already happened.
Well, that seems a bit histrionic. I’m counting on things being all right, although Biden himself has bought into the Authoritarian Left since he was elected, and often seems barely sentient. But we won’t lose our democracy—so long as Trump doesn’t win the election next year.
*If you’re watching the Women’s World Cup, and nearly half of the women’s games include a penalty kick (just one player against the goalie), you’ll be interested in this WaPo article by Richard Sima: “Soccer players react in milliseconds in penalty kicks. How do they do that?”
The simplicity of the penalty kick’s setup belies the complexity of the biomechanics, game theory and psychology underlying it.
“It looks like a simple duel between the goalkeeper and the kicker,” said Rafael Monteiro, a graduate student of rehabilitation and functional performance at the University of São Paulo. “But actually, it’s a really complex environment.”
The odds are stacked against the goalkeeper.
They need to defend a goal that is 24 feet wide and 8 feet tall against a kick from just 12 yards away. That kick is also fast — traveling, on average, at 70 mph.
From the time the kicker’s foot makes contact, the ball takes about 400 milliseconds to reach the goal — roughly the amount of time it takes to blink.
The human eye needs time to register visual information, which the brain’s visual areas then need to process. This visual information needs to be relayed to the brain’s motor cortex which then tells the muscles how to move. Adding up the time from each of these biological relays, humans have a visual reaction time of about 200 milliseconds.
Then — the dive. The movement itself can take 500 milliseconds if the goalkeeper wants to cover the post, Wood said.
So how does a good goalkeeper manage to get the saves?
Waiting and reacting is too slow, so goalkeepers need to predict the kick before it happens.
“The good goalkeepers don’t guess, but they try to anticipate based on a number of cues that the penalty takers give off,” Wood said.
In one analysis of 330 penalty kicks, professional goalkeepers dove about 220 milliseconds before the kicker kicked.
Eye-tracking experiments show that experienced goalkeepers use cues that the kicker gives off with their body, particularly focusing on the movement of the torso and legs, to make their prediction.
In one 2018 study, Wilson and his colleagues showed more than 700 online participants of varying levels of soccer experience 60 different videos of penalty kicks with varying amounts of time leading up to the kick. As expected, the more information the goalkeeper saw leading up to the kick, the more likely they were to predict which direction the shot would go.
The kicker also has hard decisions to make: where to put the ball, whether to kick hard or soft (the softer kicks are more accurate), and whether to do a fake. Most of the pressure is on the kicker as the goalkeeper isn’t really expected to make a save (these kicks score about 80% of the time). I hope that the US/Sweden match (I’m writing this on Saturday afternoon) isn’t decided by penalty kicks: the worst outcome of any World Cup match or championship.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is kvetching, and is off to sleep in the Great Outdoors:
Hili: I’m going to sleep.A: You can sleep at home.Hili: There is constant ringing there, if not one phone then another.
Hili: Idę się przespać.Ja: Możesz spać w domu.Hili: Tam są ciągle jakieś dzwonki, jak nie jeden telefon, to drugi.
From Reader Pliny the in Between’s latest Far Corner Cafe:
From Stash Krod, an ‘oy vey’ Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson:
From Masih; the Iranian police are really good at shooting out people’s eyes, but often that’s not enough punishment for protestors:
First, they shot her, blinding one of her eyes; now, they've summoned her.#Kosar_Eftekhari, an Iranian woman who lost an eye to an Islamic Republic agent, was summoned to court today. Her response was: ‘Taking my eye was not enough? Has the place of the plaintiff and defendant… pic.twitter.com/3SFRapwMis
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) August 4, 2023
It’s good news that the NHS is now using puberty blockers only in clinical trials, as their long-term effects aren’t yet known. This is just doing what many other European countries are doing, but the activists regard this as a “cesspit”. Emma Hilton responds:
Nancy here arguing that a system of ethics board approval, defined and measurable outcomes (even incidental outcomes), monitoring and scheduled follow up is a “cesspit”. https://t.co/mIFxd2K0UY
— Emma Hilton (@FondOfBeetles) August 3, 2023
From Barry: a gecko saves another gecko from a snake:
— Tahir Munir (@TahirMu49047594) August 3, 2023
From Malcolm; a cat mom gets a break:
— Pier Pets (@PierPets) August 2, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, and antifascist Jew gassed upon arrival:
6 August 1944 | Italian Jew, Moise Poggetto, was murdered in a gas chamber at Auschwitz II-Birkenau.
Moise was engaged in antifacist resistance in Italy. He served in the XIX Garibaldi Brigade.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 6, 2023
Tweets from Herr Doktor Professor Cobb. First, why does misteltoe have a genome thirty times as large as the human genome?
Today we submitted our largest #genome – and the largest in Britain & Ireland – the European Mistletoe (Viscum album)… 30 times the size of a human genome! 🧬🎉
— Wellcome Sanger Tree of Life Programme (@SangerToL) August 4, 2023
Orang plays with and feeds tiger cubs:
this is the cutest video ever pic.twitter.com/ORnnxbiM1B
— why you should have an animal (@shouldhaveanima) August 2, 2023
A Giuliani transcript followed by an old Jewish joke. Life imitates art!
An IRL example of the old Jewish joke. pic.twitter.com/mr9H6DFKiQ
— David Pinsen (@dpinsen) August 2, 2023