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William C. Altreuter
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Monday, July 06, 2020

Like Marylin Monroe A sleeps with the radio on. This means that we frequently get BBC overnight followed by NPR's hourly news update. The difference is striking on a number of levels, but one notable divergence is that the BBC plays longer clips from Trump's speeches, while NPR tends to summarize them. The effect of the latter is to normalize the President's spittle-covered ravings. He really is a raging id-monster who spews hatred with nearly every syllable. He is also, incredibly, a profoundly stupid man who appears to be in significant cognitive decline. Does he believe any of it? I can't say that there is any evidence of a thought process in his speeches- apart from the visceral emotional appeal he is making to the reptile brains of his supporters I can't discern any sort of coherence in the things he says, and the way he says what he says makes it appear that he is even stupider than George W. Bush- something I'd have thought nearly impossible in a functioning adult. I can't even say that he comes across as shrewd- he is operating on the level of pure emotion.

 NPR is shielding us from reality, and failing in its mission. And I am terrified by the fact that there are Americans who either don't see what this man is doing, or are enabling him in spite of it- especially every single Republican, elected or electorate.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Funny James Baldwin quote about Norman Mailer: “… matters were not helped at all by the fact that Negro jazz musicians, among whom we sometimes found ourselves, who really liked Norman, did not for an instant consider him as being even remotely ‘hip’ and Norman did not know this and I could not tell him … They thought he was a real sweet ofay cat, but a little frantic.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Number 36 at my polling place this morning

Friday, June 19, 2020

Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio is a thing that absolutely delights me.

Monday, June 01, 2020

I was sad when I learned that Christo had died, but then I remembered The Gates, and what a joyful experience it was.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The (old, white) guys who drafted the Constitution were well-aware of the Common Law-- it is what informed the entire document. Since common law principles are necessarily evolutionary in nature, they had to have understood that those principles would inform Constitutional interpretation, and the earliest decisions of the Supreme Court, including Marbury, written by one of the principal authors of the Constitution expressly acknowledged this. The notion that conflicts in interpretation are best resolved by resort to the dictionaries that were contemporaneous with the language in the foundational document or subsequent statutes is the worst sort of outcome deterministic, intellectually dishonest jurisprudence I can think of.
I have no doubt that Gorsuch and Bart's law school essays all started, "Webster's defines..." and take off from there.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020


VSOP The Quintet.jpgI'm not sure why this set is new to me: I remember seeing the ads for VSOP in Rolling Stone back in the day, and although my deep interest in jazz didn't develop until much later, I just never got around to it. So now I have. For some reason Apple categorizes VSOP as a Herbie Hancock led band I can't say I agree. This is Miles' Davis' Second Great Quintet with Freddy Hubbard in the trumpet chair. There are some incandescent moments here, but those seem to be the moments when things come into focus- there isn't an obvious leader here and as a result there are some slack stretches that I imagine would have sent Miles into a rage. Is it retro? Yeah. By 1977 everyone here had long since moved on into fusion, or electronic jazz of one sort or another, Hancock with Headhunters,  Shorter with Weather Report, Williams with Lifetime, etc.. None of that work was a patch on what Miles had them doing back in 1970, which was the third or fourth of fifth time Miles Davis re-invented jazz, but all of it was worthwhile, and some of it still holds up. This does too, as an artifact.  


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