Fallibility

At first I did blame him. You should say there is no loyalty if someone commits crime, but if someone didn’t, then you should not lie about people. Then one day I was so angry when they told me that a detainee lied about me. When I was tortured, I did not blame them anymore, because I was saying, “Wow. This is one way for Allah to show me that I am a weak person too.”

Mohamedou Slahi

Not weakness. Fallibility. Choosing life over death isn’t a weakness. He lied to save himself. He’s human.

Radiolab – The Other Latif: Episode 4 – February 25, 2020

This is episode four in a series from WNYC and Radiolab. Like most of my long-term listening podcasts, I’ve listened to every episode, even some that aren’t on the current podcast list. Since they don’t link the other episodes in the series, I will link them here.

If the only other person that had my name that I could find on Google had been a detainee at Guantanamo, I would have wanted to understand that RAnthony the way that Latif wants to understand this guy. There is a American football player who uses RAnthony the way I do. I wondered who that guy was who was more popular than me.

In the first four episodes we discover just how little evidence existed for why we took him prisoner in the first place. In episode five we go into the Upside Down (is it a movie reference instead of a Stranger Things reference? I wonder) and discover the other side of Abdul Latif Nassir. What did we do to him? What have we done to him in the eighteen years we have kept him locked up. Locked up without trial. Without charges. Without a justifiable reason other than that we wanted to hide away what we had done to him, and to the other detainees in Guantanamo Bay.

There will be an episode six as well.

#MAGA: Quid Pro Quo or Quod Erat Demonstrandum?

Mr. Trump, the Orange Hate-Monkey, keeps insisting there was no quid pro quo in his phone call with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. It’s interesting that he keeps using that phrase. Quid pro quo. He uses like he knows what it means, and his supporters respond like they know what it means.

But they don’t know what it means. Most English speakers don’t know what it means. Quid pro quo is meant to equate to tit for tat or a favor for a favor. Which is what the transcript that Mr. Trump keeps saying exonerated him reveals. He explicitly asks for a favor in exchange for a favor.

On July 25, during a roughly 30-minute phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, our commander in chief engaged in not one, but two acts of bribery — one of the only high crimes, along with treason, specifically delineated by our Constitution.

“You just added another word,” McCarthy said. “No, it’s in the transcript,” Pelley responded. “He said — ‘I’d like you to do a favor though?” McCarthy asked, incredulous. “Yes,” Pelley responded once more, “it’s in the White House transcript.”

The reason McCarthy refused to accept that Trump said those words is because he knew they fit the definition of solicitation to a T. Nobody literally says “Here’s a bribe,” but “I would like you to do us a favor, though” is about as close as it gets.

Washington Post – The transcript Trump released is still the only evidence needed to impeach him

…He engages in two illegal acts in the transcript that he keeps insisting exonerated him. Then he uses the phrase “there was no quid pro quo.” Oddly enough, he is telling the truth when he says that. Think on that for a minute. Donald J. Trump, the president that has told more lies in his few short years as president than any one person can do in the course of a lifetime, is telling the truth about there not being a quid pro quo in that telephone conversation. There was no quid pro quo, if you revert to the meaning of the words as they were used in latin.

The Latin phrase corresponding to the usage of quid pro quo in English is do ut des (Latin for “I give, so that you may give”). Other languages continue to use do ut des for this purpose, while quid pro quo (or its equivalent qui pro quo, as widely used in Italian, French and Spanish) still keeps its original meaning of something being unwillingly mistaken, or erroneously told or understood, instead something else.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So he’s not substituting something for the thing that he’s promising. He’s not trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Volodymyr Zelensky, trying to get something for nothing. Which is completely the opposite of Donald Trump’s standard of practice. He steals from everybody else, all through his life, and now this time, when he honestly offers a favor for a favor, he gets in trouble. In any other transaction with Donald Trump, Volodymyr Zelensky would have been right to adhere to Caveat Emptor. But this time, Mr. Trump is being honest.

Do me a favor, and I’ll do you a favor. In every other instance in his life, he’d crawfish on that promise. Welsh on the deal. Or to use language that isn’t taken from gangster movies, stab his business partner in the back. He’s rightly pissed off at this. There was no quid pro quo, no attempt to get out of doing what was promised. Donald Trump would have given Volodymyr Zelensky exactly what he wanted in exchange for Zelensky doing what Mr. Trump asked for.

English speakers do this frequently. Reverse the meanings of words used in casual parlance. Sometimes they do this by accident. Sometimes it is done on purpose. But it happens a lot, and you have to wonder if Mr. Trump knows about this reversal of the phrases definition. Does he know, and this is just another showman’s wink at the camera?

It is just too bad for Donald Trump that even asking for the things he asked for is illegal. Even if he has to give the thing that President Zelensky wanted without getting anything in return. Which makes him even madder. No one steals from the Don! Except there is no theft here. Congress approved the aid. It goes without any strings attached, and asking for personal favors in exchange for unconditional aid is looking for bribes. Again, illegal, even if you don’t get the proceeds you ask for.

Ask any lawyer. Asking for a bribe, what in legal terms in the United States and England is defined as a quid pro quo, even if you don’t receive the payment, is a serious crime. Worse than lying under oath, even. The transcript that Mr. Trump caused to be released and insists exonerated him, proves that he asked for a bribe. That is quod erat demonstrandum or Q.E.D. Another latin phrase that Mr. Trump and his supporters should familiarize themselves with. This one means exactly what it says, unlike quid pro quo.

“The very thing it was required to have shown.”

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If it please the court? I’d like to enter exhibit A into the record.

Stay Tuned with Preet -Impeaching 45 (with Susan Glasser)

..In which Preet and Susan discuss just how the transcript is QED for Trump’s criminality (without using the phrase directly) and their wonderment that this farce of the Trump presidency has been allowed to continue to destroy the government and reputation of the United States for as long as it has.

I’d love to have a membership to the Insider. I hear it makes a great gift.

Separating Families? #ImpeachTrump

The child separation policy is still going on, over a year and a half after I posted this article the first time (August 26th, 2018) So I’m revising it and moving it up to today, December 22, 2019. We have since learned that the Trump administration has been separating children from their families from the very beginning. So, the crime against humanity that this policy is has gone on in our name for almost three years now.


No one who’s read this damned and damnable executive order, has read it and isn’t a Stormtrumper, seems to think that anything will change tomorrow. Frankly, I don’t see how anything can change tomorrow, which means that the outrage and lawsuits have to continue until we #ImpeachTrump, because the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) doesn’t know what the truth is. If there is one thing we can say for certain about the OHM, it is that he does not have a personalized conception of  the truth beyond whatever the words coming out of his mouth at that very moment are. Some people would call that stupid, some people would call that moronic. I simply refer to it as Real Estate Developer’s syndrome, something that everyone of them I’ve ever met seems to have in common.

For days I’ve been reading and posting news stories about the Trump administration’s policy of family separation. This policy is the most inhumane and unAmerican thing that the OHM has done to date, but I don’t think he’s done with the outrageous behavior on the subject of immigration yet. Not by half, even. He can’t stop. This is exactly what he campaigned on. This is why people voted for him. This is what his base wants him to do, punish immigrants to whatever level it takes in order to make the immigrants leave. To make asylum seekers go elsewhere. This is what his cabinet officers and advisors who have spoken on this subject have been saying for weeks now, that punishment is the goal and self-deportation is the desired outcome.

NPR POLITICS PODCAST, Trump Signs Order To End Family Separations June 20, 2018

So he can’t be done and this practice will continue in some form, possibly in exactly the same way it has been going on for months. Going on in our name. Rachel Maddow broke down in tears on national television (Tuesday June 19, 2018) just reading about the tender age shelters, the Trump administration’s euphemism for places where they put babies they’ve torn from their parent’s grasp, or tricked them into surrendering voluntarily. So we’ve gotten to a place where talking heads, people trained in the art of maintaining calm in the face of anything the news throws at you, talking heads breaking down in tears at the news that babies have internment camps that they are being sent to. Babies. In internment camps. Let that idea sink in for a few.

The defenders of these policies have a few valid points. The first one is that the parents in question are breaking a law, it is a misdemeanor to cross into the United States except at border crossings. A misdemeanor that would not even get you arrested were it not involving the convoluted subject of immigration in the United States. This law has almost never been subject to prosecution until now, but the OHM is correct that he can have these people prosecuted, and does want these people prosecuted. That is the job of the executive branch of the federal government, 100% his policy in spite of every protestation he has made to the contrary.

The second point is that there are many American children who go to sleep each night in worse conditions than these children in internment camps on the Southern border. This is also demonstrably true. I myself had days when three hots and a cot were more an aspiration than a reality when I was a child. However, the fact that many children face worse treatment and housing conditions in the US is not a justification for treating the children of asylum seekers as badly as we treat our own citizens; rather, it is an observation of just how far the poor in the US need to be elevated in order for them to meet the standards set by governing bodies all around the world for treatment of refugees, let alone what the citizens of the wealthiest nation on the face of this planet should be able to expect from being among the chozen few who get to live here.

There should be a backlash by Americans over the treatment of children who had the misfortune to be born outside the US in a time of global unrest. People who are no different than we would be if we were forced out of our homes and made to seek charity from the tender mercies of the more fortunate. Let us hope that the people we are faced with, should such a misfortune befall any of us, are more forgiving than we have been. We need to send a clear signal to the rest of the world, and we need to do it now. #ImpeachTrump. Do it now. Do it before more horrors are committed in our names.


The OHM’s administration failed to meet family reunification deadlines set by the courts today (July 10, 2018) So the torment of children and their parents at the hands of the US government continues. These are our dollars at work here. This is our government. If you voted for Trump, you voted for this to happen. Understand the horror you have created here. Child abduction is not a political issue. Abducting children and imprisoning their parents for crimes they were given no alternative but to commit can’t be a political issue because there’s nobody out there aside from slavers that think that stealing children is a good idea. I will go so far as to say that I don’t even think immigration should be a political issue.

You live here, you work here, you pay taxes here? Welcome, citizen. I don’t know what other requirements for citizenship there should be aside from saying I want to be a citizen and proving your upstanding status (again, live, work, pay taxes) I’m singularly uninterested in there being an underclass that can be subjected to lower wages and fewer rights so that I can get my tomatoes a few dollars cheaper. I’ll pay more for produce. Institute a guest worker program with a path to citizenship, screen everybody and then let them get to work. It certainly isn’t rocket science to make the immigration system function, we just have to admit that we need the workers and that we want to do right by them.

Asylum seekers are being stripped of rights under the current regime. It was bad enough when Obama allowed ICE to house children in detention centers when they were coming over the border unaccompanied (and with parents) back in 2014 seeking asylum. But at least those kids got asylum hearings and were dealt with in a legal fashion. This travesty has to end, and it isn’t just Trump to blame. Every Republican in congress could have stood up and fixed this problem back in 2010 and every year since. They haven’t. They haven’t even tried, aside from Rubio, who backpedaled from his own bill so fast you’d swear someone else had written it. Shame on them, is all I have to say. Shame on them and everyone who voted for them.


Like the article on Puerto Rico, this article and the other open-ended #ImpeachTrump articles will be updated as I run across more substantial stories that alter or strengthen their core arguments. The hashtag that should be trending if you think this is the election issue to motivate voters? How about #TrumpInternment2018? That has a nice double-entendre to it.

Beto O’Rourke Facebook Live video outside ICE processing center in El Paso, July 21, 2018


In testimony given in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, it was revealed that the kinds of trauma we are witnessing in the children seperated and now reunited with their parents, was detailed to the Trump administration officials who wanted to carry out these policies, before they put the policies into force,

“There’s no question that separation of children from parents entails significant potential for traumatic psychological injury to the child.”

Commander Jonathan White, PBS Newshour July 31, 2018

This is 100% on Trump. Nobody else. His administration, his policies, his fault. Not to mention the hundreds of other children not reunited, that the US will now be sued over because of Trump’s ham-handed policies that violated international and US law. Grounds for impeachment, yet again.


LatinoUSA, The Port of Entry, JUL 31, 2018

At the Nogales pedestrian port of entry in Arizona, some families with small children waited for up to two weeks before a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer allowed them to come through and ask for asylum, according to the Kino Border Initiative, a binational organization that gives aid to migrants along the border.

On a recent visit to Nogales, four families were waiting. Two had spent the night on the makeshift camp at the port of entry. All of them waited for at least two days to be seen by a CBP officer. And on that day, agents processed only two families.

This inaction is what is forcing asylum seekers to cross the border illegally.

On The Media, Journalism To The Rescue, August 2, 2018

This summer, in a project designed by ProPublica, 10 news organizations are sharing information to flesh out the hidden details of families separated by the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy. Bob speaks with Selymar Colón, digital managing editor at Univision News, one of the organizations involved in the collaboration, about how the consortium has investigated and reported on some of the 200 tips it has received —and about the four families that were reunited after their stories were published.

Perhaps this was what the Trump administration was thinking they would rely on when they tried to fob off the chore of reuniting these poor people with their children. As usual, when it comes to the OHM’s lack of thought on a subject, they mistook this effort for the efforts of the ACLU. Perhaps if he read things instead of relying on visualizations, he would look less ignorant to the outside observer.


LatinoUSA, Torn Apart 1: Sign Here, AUG 14, 2018

After U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy in April, the U.S. government faced a national outcry. This new policy meant all adults crossing the border illegally would be criminally prosecuted. A consequence of that shift has meant that thousands of immigrant children have been torn apart from their parents.

Since then, and under a judge’s mandate, the federal government has been scrambling to reunify families. In part one of a two-part episode, Latino USA breaks down the aftermath of the family separation crisis and explores what happens to the hundreds of kids who still aren’t reunited with their families because their parents have been deported.

LatinoUSA, Torn Apart 2: The Moral Dilemma of Juan Sanchez, AUG 17, 2018

Juan Sanchez first gained national notoriety back in June of 2018 when Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley flew to Texas to try and tour a shelter that he believed was housing children who had been separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy. Senator Merkley was denied access to the shelter and was even questioned by police who were called by the shelter’s staffers.There seem to be two opposing narratives when it comes to Juan Sanchez. So host Maria Hinojosa and producer Antonia Cereijido travel to Austin, Texas, to see which one was the correct one.


Some five hundred and sixty children are still separated from their parents, including twenty-four who are five years old or younger, and the parents of more than three hundred and sixty of them have already been deported. Between seven hundred and eight hundred other children were reunited with their parents in detention, where their situation is especially confounding. About half of the reunited parents have final orders of deportation—in many instances, because they’d been pressured to sign papers waiving their rights to pursue their immigration cases. As a result, families face a choice: either a parent and child can agree to be deported together, or the child can stay in this country alone while her own case is decided. Last Thursday night, Sabraw issued an order temporarily blocking the deportation of reunited parents so that they could have more time to weigh their legal options with immigration lawyers. As Dara Lind wrote, at Vox, “The question right now is when they will actually be deported, not whether they will be.”

The New Yorker, Will Anyone in the Trump Administration Ever Be Held Accountable for the Zero-Tolerance Policy? By Jonathan Blitzer, August 22, 2018

To date (as the article details) no one in the administration has been held to account for their administration’s policy of kidnapping the children of asylum seekers with the intent to profit off of keeping these children in the US illegally. Someone must answer for the Trump administrations crimes.


William Gorgas

Gorgas was just 27 years old when arrived at Fort Brown. There was a full-blown yellow fever epidemic raging at the time. It was so named because it turned eyes and skin yellow. About half the people who came down with it, died. Yellow fever was not only deadly, it was quick. You could feel fine on Wednesday morning, have symptoms kick in that afternoon, and be dead by Saturday.

W.F. Strong
Texas Standard: Stories from Texas – The Man Who Led The Battle Against Yellow Fever – Dec. 11, 2019

But the political leaders in charge didn’t want to hear anything about his mosquito theory. They told him to keep that crazy theory to himself because “everyone knew that those tropical illnesses came from miasma – bad air.” Hell, the word “malaria” itself came from Italian, translating, verbatim, “mal” and “aria” – translation: bad air.

W.F. Strong

World's Oldest Dog?

The history of just how and when dogs split from wolves is unresolved. There’s a general agreement among scientists that modern gray wolves and dogs split from a common ancestor 15,000 to 40,000 years ago, explains Brian Handwerk previously for Smithsonian.com. How dogs became dogs, however, is contested. Some research suggests that dogs were domesticated by humans once, while other studies have found dogs were domesticated multiple times. Exactly where in the world wild canines became man’s best friend is also disputed. The origin of the human-animal bond has been traced to Mongolia, China and Europe.

Smithsonian

Hat/tip to the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe #753

Murphy's Law

Every now and then I hit on an episode of Decoder Ring that hits me back. This episode was one of those.

StitcherSlate – Decoder Ring: Murphy’s Law – Dec 09, 2019

Nick Spark fell down a rabbit hole tracking down the origins of Murphy’s law, the ubiquitous phrase that says, “If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.” On this episode of Decoder Ring, we follow spark on his journey while taking a few detours of our own to find out how Murphy’s law was (maybe) born out of the rocket sled experiments of the dawning jet age. We talk to Spark, hear some of the recordings he collected during his own research, and speak to researchers who are skeptical of Nick’s hypothesis, all to try to find out how an obscure engineering aphorism spread to become a world-conquering philosophical observation. Some of the voices in this episode include Nick Spark, Craig Ryan (author of Sonic Wind, a biography of John Paul Stapp), George Nichols, David Hill Sr., Fred Shapiro, and Stephen Goranson.

Decoder Ring: Murphy’s Law

I just happen to still have the poster that hung in my bedroom for most of my teenage years. here’s a picture of it.

Yes, this actually hung on my wall right next to the poster of Christy Brinkley. I was a weird child, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before. Murphy was an optimist, as the poster itself notes. Having said that, it would be in keeping with Murphy’s law that trying to prove the origin of the law would inevitably end up down a blind alley somewhere. Having not planned to avoid this failure in advance, the failure occurs. Murphy remains a mystery.

The Afghanistan Papers

“What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?” Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. He added, “After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan.”

THE WASHINGTON POST – Confidential documents reveal U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan
On the Media – The “Pentagon Papers” Of Our Time – December 11, 2019

I had hopes, when Bush II went into Afghanistan, that he would keep his eye on the ball of catching and punishing those responsible for the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. It didn’t even take a year for me to realize that he and his administration were not up to the task. Iraq became the thing he was obsessed with instead of getting the job that he had started done properly.

What I didn’t know was how complicit President Obama was in covering up the failures in Afghanistan. At least he managed to finish the job Bush II started. If only he could have gotten us out of Afghanistan, too. Attempting to occupy Afghanistan was what did in the USSR. It looks to destroy the United States, too.

Bullshit is Still Bullshit

June 2017. Cast your mind back all those eons ago to when the firehouse of daily outrage had just been turned on long enough for everyone trying to drink from it to start to drown. This is where I was,

RAnt(hony)-ings

As for the content of that article, I’ll freely admit to just dumping a bunch of comments that I had made on the various subjects that had emerged over the course of six months as I tried in vain to keep track of all the crap that spewed from the White House under the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) I wanted to do a thorough job of cataloging every single outrage that flew past me as I consumed the daily news, but even I had started to drown at that point.

There was too much. Too much lying by Trump. Too much pain caused by Trump. Too much of too many people running down blind alleys trying to address some bullshit that had emerged from Trump’s ass and splashed across the front pages of every website on the internet. There was no way to keep track of it all.

…And that was the point. That was the plan, if the OHM can be said to have a plan. Keep the outrage going for long enough for him to get re-elected on the same outrage from 2016 that got him elected the first time. That is why he has never stopped campaigning. If he stopped, people who supported him might have time to think about what he had made them all do, and that wouldn’t help him in any way.

So I wrote Bullshit is Bullshit and then altered my news consumption in such a way as to eliminate all news that began with the phrase “president Trump said”…and I did this purposefully, since everything he says is designed to disguise and distract. I blocked his Twitter account. I blocked his son’s Twitter account. What they say has no meaning, and so listening to what they say is to engage in self-destructive behavior.

I started actively blocking his voice. Hearing his voice on anything still causes me to stop whatever it is I am watching or listening to, and skipping forward until the hated noise stops. I refused to listen to arguments that included anything he said. At least, I refused to listen as far as is possible in this Orange-tinted sewer that is today’s America.

That is where I’ve been since shortly after the OHM’s election. Biding my time. Waiting for the day that the rest of the country woke the fuck up. The first glint of dawning understanding appeared after the 2018 midterm elections revealed that the electorate was far more aware of what was going on than the news media had led us all to believe. Which was good news.

Then a month ago the new congress finally understood that they would have to impeach the OHM, just like I knew they would have to do when the 2016 election rendered a verdict that Trump would be president. It was just a matter of time. It would have been nice had the Republicans not been so venal as to think that their president was better than anyone else’s president would be, even another one of their own that wasn’t stealing from the American people hand over foot, and taking bribes from foreign governments to boot, they were quite happy to let the theft go on and pretend that the clueless rubes that put the OHM in the White House would be enough of a voice to keep them in power.

So 2018 taught them the lesson that they could be trounced by a dedicated opposition. Liberal was no longer a dirty word. Conservative was becoming a dirty word thanks to Trump (finally) and now the Democratic majority in the house had the numbers to impeach the president. But they fumbled around with reasons to impeach, as if there wasn’t blatant evidence against the president just by his being Donald Trump, the fraud. And then Trump, being Trump, handed them the perfect reasons to impeach him by first being caught asking for bribes on the one hand, and then refusing to cooperate with congress when they tried to investigate his behavior on the other hand.

You see, boys and girls, refusing to respond to a subpoena is itself a crime. Now, you can argue about jurisdiction and privilege, but you have to go to court to do that, and that would have been admitting that the president wasn’t a king in Trump’s eyes. So, he committed the same acts that got every president before him impeached by trying to cover up his crimes and claim he didn’t have to explain his behavior. He is dead-to-rights guilty of the high crimes and misdemeanors that he has been accused of, as well as many others that remain unwritten.

…but still the bullshit continues. Not just from him, but from everyone around him that feels obliged to cover for his indiscretions. I have no idea why they do this. He’d throw every one of them under the bus if it meant his cowardly ass didn’t have to go to jail for his many crimes.

I’ve been listening to several podcasts (some of them are mentioned here) that deal with the impeachment of Donald J. Trump. Most of them just deal with the facts, but one in particular seems determined to pretend that there is a balance to be struck between the bullshit spewing from Trump and his yes-men, and the truth. The first time that Brian Lehrer invited one of Trump’s yesmen on the show I had to delete it unlistened to because the bullshit was flying fast and furious every time the guy opened his mouth.

Twitter

Was my response on Twitter. Then Brian Lehrer invites the same guy back again a few weeks later, as if the guest was worth talking to a second time. The bullshitter calls for more witnesses, as if there wasn’t a move to have more witnesses speak before the House committees, and then Trump blocked them from speaking. Which he is being impeached for, now.

Listening to the constitutional scholars speaking about Trump’s crimes later that same week, I found myself agreeing with the guest who was invited by the Republicans. Which was quite shocking. I don’t know what the hurry is. Why do we have to have this all done by the end of the year? Republicans were happy to pretend nothing was worth worrying about for two years while Trump stole the nation blind and Moscow Mitch shoehorned every judicial nominee he stole from Barack Obama through an otherwise catatonic Senate. Republicans were happy to talk about #Benghazi for three years. What’s the rush? I say we keep the impeachment hearings going until November 3rd, 2020. I suggest they hold hearings on election day, even. Draw it out. Reveal the crimes of all of Trump’s yes-men as well as all of his 40 years of financial and real estate crimes.

Paint it all in glorious technicolor detail, for all the world to see. The damage has been done already, anyway. No one will trust the United States again. Not for a generation.

The Good Place

StitcherEzra Klein – The moral philosophy of The Good Place – Dec 10, 2019

After creating and running Parks and Recreation and writing for The Office, Michael Schur decided he wanted to create a sitcom about one of the most fundamental questions of human existence: What does it mean to be a good person? That’s how The Good Place was born.

Soon into the show’s writing, Schur realized he was in way over his head. The question of human morality is one of the most complicated and hotly contested subjects of all time. He needed someone to help him out. So, he recruited Pamela Hieronymi, a professor at UCLA specializing in the subjects of moral responsibility, psychology, and free will, to join the show as a “consulting philosopher” — surely a first in sitcom history.

I wanted to bring Shur and Hieronymi onto the show because The Good Place should not exist. Moral philosophy is traditionally the stuff of obscure academic journals and undergraduate seminars, not popular television. Yet, three-and-a-half seasons on, The Good Place is not only one of the funniest sitcoms on TV, it has popularized academic philosophy in an unprecedented fashion and put forward its own highly sophisticated moral vision.

This is a conversation about how and why The Good Place exists and what it reflects about The Odd Place in which we actually live. Unlike a lot of conversations about moral philosophy, this one is a lot of fun.

Ezra Klein – The moral philosophy of The Good Place – Dec 10, 2019

I mentioned the show here.

RAnt(hony)-ings

…so I thought I could at least mention it again in an article about it. I wish I had more to say on the subject than just watch the show. I’ve gone back and started watching Veronica Mars because of Kristen Bell‘s lead role in the show. That’s how much I like it.

Writers Write

I’m a slow worker and I think a steady worker. You know, so many writers don’t like to write. I think that is their chief complaint. They hate to write. They must, they do it under the compulsion that makes any artist what he is. But they really don’t enjoy sitting down and trying to turn a thought into a reasonable sentence. But I do. I like to write, and sometimes I’m afraid that I like it too much because, when I get into work I don’t want to leave it.

Harper Lee

Her final trial and associated literary work were never finished, as is documented in the book Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep a story described in this episode of Criminal,

StitcherCriminal Episode 127: The Reverend

In the eyes of those who anxiously seek perfection, a work is never truly completed—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned; and this abandonment, of the book to the fire or to the public, whether due to weariness or to a need to deliver it for publication, is a sort of accident, comparable to the letting-go of an idea that has become so tiring or annoying that one has lost all interest in it.

Paul Valéry