Welcome to the first “work” day of October: Tuesday, October3, 2023: National Soft Taco Day, a boon for those with dental issues. Here’s the difference if you don’t know:
— Buoy Local® (@BuoyLocal) June 16, 2020
It’s also Global Smoothie Day, National Butterfly and Hummingbird Day, National Caramel Custard Day, Mean Girls Appreciation Day (see also here), National Boyfriend Day, National Fruit at Work Day (I’m having raspberries), and, in Germany, German Unity Day.
Most important, it’s the 123rd birthday of one of my favorite American writers, Thomas Wolfe (Oct. 3, 1900-September 15, 1938). Although my literary friends decry my love of Wolfe, saying he overwrote and was sometimes juvenile (and yes, I say he’s sometimes guilty on both counts), nobody could capture the spirit of America as well as this writer. Note this from Wikipedia:
After Wolfe’s death, contemporary author William Faulkner said that Wolfe might have been the greatest talent of their generation for aiming higher than any other writer.
Most famous for Look Homeward, Angel, Wolfe wrote several other books, which were really all part of his life story, somewhat fictionalized:
Novels published during his lifetime:
- The Web and the Rock (1939; published posthumously)
- You Can’t Go Home Again (1940; published posthumously)
- The Hills Beyond (1941; published posthumously)
- The Hound of Darkness (1986; published posthumously)
- The Good Child’s River (1991; published posthumously)
- The Starwick Episodes (1994; deleted sections from Of Time and the River; published posthumously)
- O Lost: A Story of the Buried Life (2000)
He died at only 38 of tuberculosis of the brain, and his final deathbed letter to his editor at Scribners, Maxwell Perkins, is ineffably sad (see it here). If you don’t want to read one of his novels, two sections taken from his novels can serve as standalone short stories that show his powers:
The Child by Tiger (free on the Internet, but enlarge the print)
I Have a Thing to Tell You (woefully shortened version here)
Here’s Wolfe standing on crates containing pages of his manuscripts. These pages were painstakingly assembled into novels by Maxwell Perkins during a long and antagonistic process in Perkins’s office at Scribner’s. (Perkins, who also discovered Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, was America’s greatest editor.)
Wolfe with his mother at her boarding house in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina:
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the October 2 Wikipedia page.
*As you know, Trump’s on trial for fraud in a civil case in New York, and the opening statements took place today with Trump in the courtroom. Trump didn’t start off well, but only a rational person would think that; his supporters would love his intransigence:
The trials of Donald J. Trump began Monday in a New York courtroom, where the former president made an appearance to fight the first of several government actions against him — a civil case that imperils his company and threatens his image as a master of the business world.
. . . Just outside the courtroom, Mr. Trump fired a fusillade of personal attacks on Ms. James and the judge overseeing the case, Arthur F. Engoron, even suggesting that they were criminals.
Inside, however, Mr. Wallace methodically cast doubt on the value of some of Mr. Trump’s signature properties, including Trump Tower in Manhattan, laying the groundwork for a reckoning of the former president’s net worth. If the attorney general’s office proves its case, the judge could impose a sweeping array of punishments on Mr. Trump, including a $250 million penalty and a prohibition on operating a business in New York ever again.
. . .On Monday, Mr. Trump sat mostly silent at the defense table, arms crossed and scowling, while occasionally rolling his eyes at the judge and yawning during the duller portions of the proceeding. But he came out swinging on his way into the courtroom, telling reporters that Ms. James was out to get him because he is performing so well in the polls.
“You ought to go after this attorney general,” he said, an explicit call to others to join his attacks on Ms. James, while also calling Justice Engoron a “rogue judge” who “should be out of office” and the case against him “a witch hunt, it’s a disgrace.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t what Trump is doing defamation of the judge? And, if so, doesn’t the judge have the right to find him in contempt of court and put his sorry butt in jail? That won’t happen, of course, but surely Trump must know that his repeated insults of the very judge who will decide his fate are not helping his cause!
*Florida Republican Matt Gaetz has decided to call for a House vote to depose Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy, for Gaetz, like a few other demented Republicans, can’t stand it that the Speaker did a bipartisan deal to keep the government from shutting down.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) have been on a collision course since the start of the year. Now, the two lawmakers will finally square off in the Capitol in a historic vote over the party’s direction and leadership.
Gaetz, 41 years old and a fourth-term member of the House, took to the House floor late Monday to formally move ahead with a vote to oust McCarthy as speaker, known as a motion to vacate. “Declaring the office of speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacant, resolved that the office of the speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant,” Gaetz said in brief remarks laying out his motion.
“Bring it on,” McCarthy, 58, said on social media. “Just did,” Gaetz responded.
The vote will test both Republican support for McCarthy in the GOP-controlled chamber, as well as what part Democrats and their leader Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) want to play in saving his speakership or pushing him out.
The mutinous plan has surprised few in the Capitol, where Gaetz has long made clear his vehement opposition to McCarthy, who engineered a short-term spending deal that will keep the government funded through mid-November over hard-line conservatives’ objections.
McCarthy has said he is ready for any vote, and painted Gaetz as an obstructionist with a personal vendetta against him. “Don’t judge the GOP by Matt Gaetz. Judge us by the enemies we keep,” he said on Fox News on Monday. “Look, that’s fine if Matt dislikes me. That’s OK.”
I have to say that McCarthy did the right thing during the budget impasse, and all Gaetz is doing is impeding the actions of Congress. In the end, given the lack of a credible replacement for McCarthy, I bet Gaetz will fail. Here he is, and for some reason when I see him I get creeped out:
Americans view college campuses as far friendlier to liberals than to conservatives when it comes to free speech, with adults across the political spectrum seeing less tolerance for those on the right, according to a new poll.
Overall, 47% of adults say liberals have “a lot” of freedom to express their views on college campuses, while just 20% said the same of conservatives, according to polling from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the University of Chicago Forum for Free Inquiry and Expression.
Republicans perceive a stronger bias on campuses against conservatives, but Democrats see a difference too — about 4 in 10 Democrats say liberals can speak their minds freely on campuses, while about 3 in 10 Democrats say conservatives can do so.
At least both parties are united in something: their recognition that your speech is chilled more often if you’re a conservative. Needless to say, that’s not a good thing.
“If you’re a Republican or lean Republican, you’re unabashedly wrong, they shut you down,” said Rhonda Baker, 60, of Goldsboro, North Carolina, who voted for former President Donald Trump and has a son in college. “If they hold a rally, it’s: ‘The MAGA’s coming through.’ It’s: ‘The KKK is coming through.’”
Indeed, even a centrist Republican is compared to Nazis and the KKK, or even a centrist Democrat (I’ve been called all kinds of names and I’m a Left-centrist Democrat. If you want to see the executive summary of this report, go here, while the 16-page pdf of the report is here.
Nicholas Fleisher, who chairs an academic freedom committee for the American Association of University Professors, said public perception is skewed by the infrequent cases when protesters go too far.
“The reality is that there’s free speech for everyone on college campuses,” said Fleisher, a linguistics professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. “In conversations within classrooms, people are free to speak their minds. And they do.”
Fleisher needs to get out more. For one thing, he could read the FIRE report on how comfortable American students feel when discussing controversial topics.
*The debate on panpsychism between Sean Carroll and Philip Goff at Marist College, a debate I mentioned the other day, is now up on the web, and you can find it here. It’s two hours long, and the audio level is very low, but maybe you can use earphones. (The details of the whole conference, sponsored by Templeton, are here.) (h/t Daniel).
I really can’t be arsed to watch this, as I’ve watched two debates including Goff and Carroll that you can find at the first link above, and they didn’t differ much. Goff’s arguments are always the same, as his views on panpsychism are refractory to data (largely because there isn’t any supporting him), and Carroll has all of physics on his side.
Seriously, if panpsychists can’t come up with new arguments and, especially, new data supporting their contention that everything in the Universe is conscious, then it’s time to put the “theory” in the circular file. Panpsychism isn’t a new idea, and has had decades and even centuries to prove itself, and it’s made absolutely no progress. That’s a lot longer than string theory, which is still going but pretty moribund, and with no progress over such a long time, the theory should be binned. I really believe that those who still promote it realize this but since their careers depend on promoting such a heterodox theory, they persist. In my view, they are grifters who wastes philosophers’ time, physicists’ time, neuroscientists’ time, and my time.
Actually, I did watch a few minutes, and saw that Goff argues that physicalism is not involved in panpsychism; he denies that “the physical world is fundamental and consciousness emerges from physical processes in the brain.” (I believe that in an earlier debate with Carroll he actually agreed with that statement.) Now, however, he adheres to this: “Certain facts about consciousness are fundamental and the physical world emerges from those underlying consciousness facts.” Thus he limns a fundamental proposition: that all matter is conscious, yet has not a shred of evidence to support that. The only way to deal with someone like Goff is not to keep allowing him to give the same talk over and over, but to ignore him.
*What is it with Taylor Swift? I consider her songs forgettable, and yet, as this WaPo article (in the Style “Of Interest” section) notes, she’s the most famous pop star 0n the planet. Click below to read how her possible romance with Travis Kelche, tight end for the football team the Kanas City Chiefs, has got the nation all cattywsmpus–even adult human beings! It was even on the NBC News last night: when the Chiefs play, more people apparently come to get a glimpse of Swift (rooting for Kelce) than to see the team! Click to read
Here’s a bit of the hype:
The sight of the planet’s most famous pop star jumping and yelling “LET’S F—ING GO” as one of the NFL’s most talented and charismatic players scores a touchdown would cause a commotion if we were living in normal times. But it’s 2023, so this budding romance story has consumed every corner of the internet, sports media, non-sports media, sports betting apps, cable-news segments, memes and text messages from dads to daughters asking, “Have you seen this?” During the Sept. 24 game, Fox announcers gleefully dubbed the Swift-Kelce pairing as “the romance that we all need. It feels like it’s right for America.”
Could someone PLEASE explain this to me? Why is it “right for America”? Why is this the “romance we all need”? Even if her music were good, I still don’t get why America (including adult humans) is ga-ga over this maybe/maybe not romance. If the pattern of Swift’s career holds, she’ll date the guy for a while, dump him, and then write a song about love and football.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is pondering:
A: What are you thinking about?Hili: Whether to sit down here or go a bit further along.
Ja: Nad czym myślisz?Hili: Czy tu usiąść, czy pójść dalej.
Shhhhh. . . . Baby Kulka is sleeping:
Some stitching from Irena:
Verb conjugation from Anna (click to enlarge):
From Masih. Crikey, this woman is brave, showing herself face on without a hijab.
Sepideh Rashono, arrested & tortured for protesting mandatory hijab last year, just shared a photo without it, declaring: "I'll appear in court like this, defending womanhood. I'm aware of the pressure on my family, but loyalty to the truth is paramount." These are the women of… pic.twitter.com/8TYE0MtOFP
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) October 2, 2023
A wonderful woman nurses a skunk back to health with great difficulty, even building a maze for it and watching it in the middle of the night! This at least partly restores my faith in humanity.
Woman nurses wild skunk back to health 💙💙 pic.twitter.com/hLuSQpEyMu
— Noble Ron (@perry_ron) October 1, 2023
From Malcolm: I think the photo has a clue to the answer:
Brilliant Minds Answer !!! 😲🤔 pic.twitter.com/9wPQqI23q8
— Science And Nature (@InterestingSci1) September 10, 2023
Yes, this is an American, seemingly rational. . .
Woman at Trump rally in Iowa today is asked about seeing Trump: “I’ll probably start crying. I’m going to start crying now. When he comes out on stage and I can see him face-to-face, it’s going to be the best day of my life. I love that man.” pic.twitter.com/1uZ10TvQRP
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) October 1, 2023
From The Auschwitz Memorial, a boy gassed upon arrival, age 10:
3 October 1933 | A Hungarian Jewish boy, Robert Bleier, was born in Gyömrő.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 3, 2023
Tweets from Dr. Cobb. This one’s heartbreaking!
Owner left his cat alone with camera for 30 minutes and he decided to never leave again pic.twitter.com/hVP7f7k35O
— place where cat shouldn't be (@catshouldnt) October 1, 2023
This rooster is apparently trained to make its owner look like the cock of the rock!
— lin hillside (@linjianyangbe) September 30, 2023
The Kiffness is famous: listen to that audience response!
Lonely Cat has become a Worldwide Star ⭐️😿 pic.twitter.com/goJF7ysCyy
— The Kiffness (@TheKiffness) September 30, 2023