Monthly Archives: June 2019

“Aretha, will you do it — but you’ve got to do it in Pavarotti’s key?”

The Washington Post: Aretha: Her story was in her songs. “Six songs tell you as much about Aretha Franklin as any memoir ever could. The Queen of Soul was not much for talking about her life, so with the help of Oprah Winfrey, Paul Simon, Questlove and others, we peel back the layers of emotion, technique and lived experience she packed into these key performances.”

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“Trump is not simply a serial liar; he is attempting to murder the very idea of truth”

The Atlantic: Trump’s Sinister Assault on Truth. “The president appears committed to destroying the very idea of facts.” By Peter Wehner, contributing editor at The Atlantic and senior fellow at EPPC.

“Trump is not simply a serial liar; he is attempting to murder the very idea of truth, which is even worse. “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda,“ according to the Russian dissident and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov. “It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.“
Destroy the foundation of factual truth, and lies will be normalized. This is what the Czech dissident (and later president) Václav Havel described in the late 1970s when he wrote about his fellow citizens making their own inner peace with a regime built on hypocrisy and falsehoods. They were “living within the lie.“ In such a situation life becomes farcical, demoralizing, a theater of the absurd. It is soul-destroying.

The United States is still quite a long way from the situation Havel found himself in. But to keep it that way—to keep civic vandalism from spreading—we all have a role to play, including calling out lies, including the lies of Trump, in every way we can.

The most obvious thing Americans can do is to vote for men and women who prize integrity and are, in the main, truth-tellers. It doesn’t seem too much to ask that we not vote for those who are chronically dishonest and corrupt. Americans can also end their financial support for parties that are aiding and abetting compulsive liars.

(Emphasis mine.)

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The crisis escalates…

The Guardian: Scientists shocked by Arctic permafrost thawing 70 years sooner than predicted. “Ice blocks frozen solid for thousands of years destabilized – ‘The climate is now warmer than at any time in last 5,000 years’.”

“Diving through a lucky break in the clouds, Romanovsky and his colleagues said they were confronted with a landscape that was unrecognisable from the pristine Arctic terrain they had encountered during initial visits a decade or so earlier.

The vista had dissolved into an undulating sea of hummocks – waist-high depressions and ponds known as thermokarst. Vegetation, once sparse, had begun to flourish in the shelter provided from the constant wind.

Torn between professional excitement and foreboding, Romanovsky said the scene had reminded him of the aftermath of a bombardment.

“It’s a canary in the coalmine,“ said Louise Farquharson, a postdoctoral researcher and co-author of the study. “It’s very likely that this phenomenon is affecting a much more extensive region and that’s what we’re going to look at next.“”

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“I’ll just keep talking to people — I like talking to people.“

The New York Times Magazine: Elizabeth Warren Is Completely Serious. “About income inequality. About corporate power. About corrupt politics. And about being America’s next president.”

“Warren, like everyone in the race, has yet to prove that she has the political skills and broad-enough support to become president. But a parallel from another country suggests that perhaps bearing down on policy is the best strategy against right-wing populism. Luigi Zingales, the University of Chicago economist, comes from Italy, and he feared Trump’s rise back in 2011, having watched the ascension of Silvio Berlusconi, the corrupt billionaire tycoon who was elected prime minister of Italy in the 2000s as a right-wing populist. After Trump’s victory in 2016, Zingales pointed out in a New York Times Op-Ed that the two candidates who defeated Berlusconi treated him as “an ordinary opponent,“ focusing on policy issues rather than his character. “The Democratic Party should learn this lesson,“ Zingales wrote. He now thinks that Warren is positioned to mount that kind of challenge. “I think so,“ he said, “if she does not fall for his provocations.“ “

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