Buy me a Coffee! If you find this post or this site interesting, and would like to see more, buy me a coffee. While I may actually buy coffee, I’ll probably buy books to review.
You should read this for 4/21/2018:
Art and Film
Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard has blazed his own wine trail for decades. But it’s not just what’s in the bottle that has garnered attention. From Le Cigare Volant to A Proper Claret and beyond, the labels that adorn Grahm’s creations are equally compelling and original. He talks with us about the first labels that captivated him, breaking from the traditional design and his collaboration with a myriad of artists.
Books, Writing, and Language
Lots of coverage last week and this regarding James Comey’s about-to-be-related book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership
This observation about Comey’s book in the Washington Post’s The Fix caught my eye:
Perhaps the only politician who comes off well in the excerpts so far is Obama. Comey says Obama’s kindness in the aftermath of the Clinton investigation nearly brought him to tears. The Post’s Rucker reports:
Comey writes that Obama sat alone with him in the Oval Office in late November and told him
“I picked you to be FBI director because of your integrity and your ability. I want you to know that nothing — nothing — has happened in the last year to change my view.”
On the verge of tears, Comey told Obama, “Boy, were those words I needed to hear . . . . I’m just trying to do the right thing.”
“I know,” Obama said. “I know.”
The Post’s Amber Phillips neatly sums up my personal take on Jame’s Comey’s book thus far (I haven’t read it yet):
But for nearly everyone else, this book is Comey’s version of the unvarnished truth, which can pretty much be summed up like this: At one time or another, the former FBI director felt pressured by members of each party to shape an investigation in their favor.
In other words, politicians will probably see this book the same way they see everything: through their own, often self-serving, partisan lens.
The Washington Post has posted some excerpts and commentary. This piece James Comey’s memoir: Trump fixates on proving lewd dossier allegations false by Phillip Rucker is one example. It’s worth reading. It includes this:
Comey recalls being struck that neither Trump nor his advisers asked about the future Russian threat, nor how the United States might prepare to meet it. Rather, he writes, they focused on “how they could spin what we’d just told them.”
With [James R. Clapper Jr., then the director of national intelligence] and then-CIA Director John O. Brennan — both Obama appointees — still in the room, Priebus and other Trump aides strategized for political advantage, Comey writes. The Trump team decided they would emphasize that Russian interference had no impact on the vote — which, Clapper reminded them, the intelligence community had not determined.
From NPR: Arizona Teachers Vote To Strike, Sparking Statewide WalkoutTeachers in Arizona held a strike vote on Thursday that launched Arizona’s first-ever statewide walkout and turned down a proposed pay raise — instead demanding increased school funding.
But as the article points out, “according to the Associated Press”:
“Teachers themselves could face consequences in this right-to-work state, where unions do not collectively bargain with school districts and representation is not mandatory. The Arizona Education Association has warned its 20,000 members about a 1971 Arizona attorney general opinion saying a statewide strike would be illegal under common law and participants could lose their teaching credentials.”
Food and Drink
Pay It Forward and Make It Better
‘This is my country’: how a Melbourne suburb defied the far-right to welcome refugees “The settlement of refugees in Eltham sparked far-right protests. But locals presented a different vision of Australia”
Comey’s remarkable new admission helps explain how Trump won. Regarding Hilary Clinton and emails:
Under ordinary circumstances he’d never publicly criticize the subject. Comey has repeatedly said this case was extraordinary because the FBI would come under heavy scrutiny after closing a probe into a presidential candidate, and he didn’t want the public to lack confidence in the electoral outcome if Clinton won. Comey repeated this to NPR.
The take-home lesson from this:
As Jonathan Chait explains, Comey’s willingness to let such concerns influence these episodes reflects the success of a decades-long campaign by Republicans and GOP-aligned media to skew the political dialog by hyping fake scandals, which in this case led Comey to act to “avoid charges of favoritism,” thus willingly handing bad-faith actors leverage over law enforcement. It’s hard to read Comey’s NPR interview as anything other than confirmation of this. Worse, Comey also revealed that not allowing this to happen would have been a perfectly appropriate outcome.
In some cases, Facebook collects data about its users even when they’re not on Facebook’s website or apps. For example, third-party websites that feature Facebook’s “Like” button send some user data back to Facebook. Although the process is slightly different, “Share” buttons on websites and other tools essentially do the same thing.
Lawmakers question FBI’s decision to take Apple to courtA group of 10 representatives — split evenly between Republicans and Democrats—said the report raised concerns that the FBI officials didn’t exhaust the agency’s technical options “precisely because they wanted the suit against Apple to go forward,” the article adds.
What It’s Like To Be A Blind Software Engineer At Amazon “Michael Forzano has worked at Seattle’s e-commerce giant for nearly six years, using a regular laptop with a screen he’s never seen.
Facebook-quitting advice from a professional internet quitter “One thing I always tell people, and it’s something I wish I did a better job of putting into practice, is to ‘keep it small.’”
Via NPR reporting on the research of Kelly Dittmar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.A Record 309 Women Are Running For Seats In The House (And 1,103 Men) While the number of women filing to run is almost a 90-percent increase over 2016’s numbers, the number of men running has also risen; the total percentage of women is still a mere 22%
Too Many Men “In China and India, men outnumber women by 70 million. Both nations are belatedly trying to come to grips with the policies that created this male-heavy generation”
Simply put, the memos confirm that Trump did, in fact, try to exert a level of control over his FBI director, and over an ongoing investigation into his and his cronies’ conduct, that is wildly at odds with norms dictating that law enforcement should be free of political and/or presidential interference.