Mueller Makes It Clear: Trump Was Worse Than a ‘Useful Idiot’

Security Trump Mueller report 1137877403’After selling himself to American voters as the great negotiator and dealmaker, maybe Donald Trump was simply too embarrassed by the truth: He’d been taken advantage of, deeply and systemically, by everyone around him, including by Russia and Vladimir Putin and by his own staff. During the campaign, they grifted him without his knowledge. In the White House, they simply ignored him.

The bottom line of the Mueller report is that if Trump wasn’t guilty of conspiracy, he was simply conned by everyone around him. To a man as egotistical as he is, the reality that everyone was in on the con but him might hurt more than Mueller’s handcuffs.…’

Read article at WIRED

Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind

21mag gilmore slideshow slide GMHQ superJumbo v3In three decades of advocating for prison abolition, the activist and scholar has helped transform how people think about criminal justice.

’Instead of asking whether anyone should be locked up or go free, why don’t we think about why we solve problems by repeating the kind of behavior that brought us the problem in the first place? [We should] consider why, as a society, we would choose to model cruelty and vengeance.…’

Read article at The New York Times Magazine

Why Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue” Is So Beloved

Why miles daviss kind of blue is so beloved 1050x700’Legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis recorded the second and final session of his seminal album Kind of Blue on April 22nd, 1959. It remains the best-selling jazz album of all time. Its unforgettable solos by Davis, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, and pianist Bill Evans create an ethereal atmosphere; the album continues to be one of the most beloved records in jazz.

Kind of Blue popularized a new approach to improvisation. Rather than basing its five tunes on a rigid framework of changing chords, as was conventional for post-bop music, Davis and Evans wrote pieces with a more limited set of scales in different modes. “Modes” maintain the basic intervals of an underlying major or minor scale, but move the tonic (first note) to one of its other notes, creating different moods or coloration. As this detailed video on modal jazz by Polyphonic explains, this creates a more open network of harmonic relationships. Davis and Evans’s “cooler” approach shifts the musical emphasis from “harmonic rhythm” of post-bop jazz, toward the melodic inventiveness of individual players.

The modal approach to jazz became so popular it changed the way jazz was taught and analyzed.
The modal approach to jazz became so popular it changed the way jazz was taught and analyzed. This has justified the significance of the album for many players and aficionados. Music scholar Samuel Barrett argues, however, that this narrative oversimplifies both the way Kind of Blue was composed and performed, and its true cultural impact.…’

Read article at JSTOR Daily

Extinction symbol

440px Extinction Symbol svg’The Extinction Symbol was created in January 2011 by ESP, an artist from London whose identity is kept secret.[1] It represents the Holocene or Sixth Mass Extinction.

The symbol is described on the Extinction Symbol website as “The circle signifies the planet, while the hourglass inside serves as a warning that time is rapidly running out for many species.”

After its creation the symbol gradually attracted an online following amongst environmentalists and activists. It came to be used by environmental action group Extinction Rebellion, created in 2018, and has been sprayed in removable chalk paint on government buildings during actions to raise environmental awareness in the UK. The aims of Extinction Rebellion go beyond species extinction, including climate change and other issues that could lead to human extinction.…’

Via Wikipedia

Does Mueller’s report create a “constitutional duty” to impeach Trump?

GettyImages 639918664 0Ezra Klein:

’As I understand the House Democrats’ plan, it’s to use the Mueller report to launch investigations, send out subpoenas, and hold public hearings. All of that could lead to revelations that tilt the public toward impeachment, it could prove that the public doesn’t consider these revelations important enough to merit impeachment, or it could simply inform the public to help them make a decision in the 2020 election.

Either way, it keeps the focus on Trump’s crimes and his lies, rather than overwhelming that conversation with a debate over removing Trump from office at a time when there’s no prospect of marshaling the votes to actually remove him from office. It seems like a reasonable strategy to me.…’

Read article in Vox

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Wallace Stevens

UnknownKate Stanley:

’CAN POEMS TEACH US how to live? What does it mean to approach poetry as a source of self-help? It’s not hard to call to mind examples of poetry that rouse or soothe or refocus a reader, lifting or quieting the mind like a deep breath. Yet much of the poetry encountered in literature classrooms and canonical anthologies may not readily reflect the self that is reading it, and therefore may not readily become a tool of self-improvement. The work of many modernist poets in particular is placed under the banner of “art for art’s sake,” a motto meant to explicitly free such poetry from the responsibility of serving a didactic or utilitarian function. The poems of Wallace Stevens, for instance, are frequently taken to epitomize the kind of high modernist difficulty that in its slippery symbology and ambiguous affect would seemingly resist being reliably employed for any useful purpose.
But Joan Richardson’s How to Live, What to Do: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Wallace Stevens emphatically asserts the practical use-value of poetic difficulty. As is suggested by Richardson’s title (which borrows from a Stevens poem), Stevens is in fact concerned above all with improving the daily lives of his readers.…’

Via Los Angeles Review of Books

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

I

Among twenty snowy mountains,

The only moving thing

Was the eye of the blackbird.

II

I was of three minds,

Like a tree

In which there are three blackbirds.

III

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.

It was a small part of the pantomime.

IV

A man and a woman

Are one.

A man and a woman and a blackbird

Are one.

V

I do not know which to prefer,

The beauty of inflections

Or the beauty of innuendoes,

The blackbird whistling

Or just after.

VI

Icicles filled the long window

With barbaric glass.

The shadow of the blackbird

Crossed it, to and fro.

The mood

Traced in the shadow

An indecipherable cause.

VII

O thin men of Haddam,

Why do you imagine golden birds?

Do you not see how the blackbird

Walks around the feet

Of the women about you?

VIII

I know noble accents

And lucid, inescapable rhythms;

But I know, too,

That the blackbird is involved

In what I know.

IX

When the blackbird flew out of sight,

It marked the edge

Of one of many circles.

X

At the sight of blackbirds

Flying in a green light,

Even the bawds of euphony

Would cry out sharply.

XI

He rode over Connecticut

In a glass coach.

Once, a fear pierced him,

In that he mistook

The shadow of his equipage

For blackbirds.

XII

The river is moving.

The blackbird must be flying.

XIII

It was evening all afternoon.

It was snowing

And it was going to snow.

The blackbird sat

In the cedar-limbs.

— Wallace Stevens (1954)