Tuesday, June 13th, 2023


Time Served

In the case of the United States v Donald Trump, I sentence you to time served.

I'm a contrarian among media types when it comes to allowing cameras in the courtroom for the Trump trial. I'm glad there were no cameras in the court for today's arraignment and I hope that continues to be the case. We've spent enough time obsessed with the Trump show. Especially when it comes to the impending case over his efforts to incite an insurrection and overthrow an election, we already witnessed the treacherous behavior in real time. In a split America, the only thing that's been undivided has been our attention on Trump. Trump has taken enough from Americans. He did the crime, we shouldn't have to do the time. The masses didn't show up outside the courtroom in Miami. The mass media should take the cue.

+ Bottom line, Trump was arraigned, as we knew he would be. He entered a plea of not guilty as we knew he would. Maybe the biggest detail to come from the day is how hard it's been for Trump to hire lawyers with relevant experience. Here's the latest from NYT, WaPo, CNN, and AP.


This is Gonna Sting

"Medical remedies have improved since those times — no more smashed snails, salt-cured weasel flesh or ashes of cremated dogs' heads — but surgical instruments have changed surprisingly little. Scalpels, needles, tweezers, probes, hooks, chisels and drills are as much part of today's standard medical tool kit as they were during Rome's imperial era." NYT (Gift Article): Scalpel, Forceps, Bone Drill: Modern Medicine in Ancient Rome. "'There were no licensing boards and no formal requirements for entrance to the profession,' ... 'Anyone could call himself a doctor.' If his methods were successful, he attracted more patients; if not, he found another career.'" (From the sounds of how medicine was done back then, being a lumberjack might make a decent alternate career choice.)


Shut Up and Take My Money

"The nonprofit Patriotic Millionaires has lobbied Congress to make changes for more than a decade. Its members see inequality as a danger — they worry big money is corrupting politics and driving civil unrest. But they haven't had much success. President Donald Trump's 2017 tax cuts largely benefited the wealthy, and even when Democrats controlled the Senate in 2021, they failed to pass a bill to raise the minimum wage. 'We hit a wall,' says Erica Payne, the group's founder. 'We have hammered them on both sides of the aisle for 12 years, OK. It's time to go to the people who hand them their power.'" Meet the millionaires want to tax the rich. Lobbying didn't work. So now they're going grassroots.


Wave Runner

"Luke needed his good, stable job. He was 27 years old, with two small children. His girlfriend, Natalia, was already working three gigs. But no matter how much they hustled, rent always seemed to be due, groceries got pricier, the gas tank needed filling, and the medical bills piled up. He couldn't be late. Not today. His family was with him, so Luke made a split-second decision. He kissed Natalia and told her to take the wheel. Said bye to their kids in the back seat. Then he hopped out and took off running for Waimea." Luke didn't miss his shift as a lifeguard on one of the busiest and most dangerous days of the year. He also didn't miss his turn to compete. GQ: Casual Luke Rides the Big Wave. "Earlier this year, a North Shore local named Luke Shepardson paddled out during his break and won the most prestigious big-wave competition on the planet, beating some of surfing's brightest stars."


Extra, Extra

Life Neverlasting: This is supposed to be the era of life-extension. So why are Americans dying sooner? Annual numbers of excess deaths in the US relative to other developed countries are growing at an alarming rate.

+ Miami Pound Machine: "The title ends Denver's 47-season wait for NBA glory. Add in their ABA years and the Nuggets played 56 seasons before winning it all." The Denver Nuggets are champions at last.

+ Ban Ban: "A new law lets the state withhold funds from libraries that remove books or don't follow American Library Association guidelines." Illinois Becomes First State to ‘Ban' Book Bans.

+ If You Can't Beat Em, Destroy Em: "Kenyan tea pickers are destroying machines brought in to replace them during violent protests that highlight the challenge faced by low-skilled workers as more agribusiness companies rely on automation to cut costs."

+ Tweet, Slay, Shove: "Elizabeth Gilbert, the bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, announced that she is halting the release of her next book following a "massive" backlash about its setting in Russia." (We really live in an age of idiocy.)

+ Ticket to AI: Paul McCartney said the technology had been used to 'extricate' John Lennon's voice from an old demo so he could complete the song. Thanks in part to AI, the Beatles are about to release one last single.

+ Letter R.I.P. "Well, the time has come. I've decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last. It's been a wonderful ride, and I'll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all." And with that, Pat Sajak announced that he'll be retiring from Wheel of Fortune. (So soon?)


Bottom of the News

"Julia, who works the drive-through at a White Castle in Merrillville, Ind., is in many ways a model employee: polite, prompt and doesn't mind working the overnight shift." WSJ (Gift Article): Welcome to White Castle. Would You Like Human Interaction With That? "Customers have love-hate relationship with ‘Julia,' a bot who is not shy about encouraging add-ons." (With all these uses of AI, it's wise to remember that these are just the early versions of the technology and one of the things AI is especially good at is getting better.)

+ "Most marine scientists have characterized hundreds of encounters between boats and orcas that have sunk at least three vessels and damaged dozens of others over the years as a "fad," implying that the animals will eventually lose interest and resort to more typical behavior. But if that's the case, there are few signs this behavior is going out of style anytime soon." Revenge of the killer whales? Recent boat attacks might be driven by trauma.

+ A 76-year-old woman who was declared dead at a hospital in Ecuador was found to be alive and knocking on her coffin during her own wake in the city of Babahoyo. Bababooey!