I'm down in LA this weekend for Summer GameFest. I'm helping out at the Magic booth, just a small area for Press to come and learn about the game, learn the game itself, etc. It's going to be a nice change of pace for me.
I was looking out the window of my hotel room when a very obvious fact struck me - how little grass there is in LA. There are a few trees I can see, planed along property or next to roads, but they don't have grass they have dirt and mulch. I literally cannot see any grass as I look out around me.
I hate it. Cities need more nature.
Sometimes a crisis hits so hard that a country needs help from others to overcome it. That’s not one-way humanitarian saviourism, it’s international solidarity. 200 South African firefighters land in Edmonton, Canada to help fight the wildfire. Sound up ????pic.twitter.com/QdXdkL8k0O— Ben Phillips (@benphillips76) June 8, 2023
I ended up watching this documentary on the way down from Seattle to LA and found it quite interesting and entertaining. It's an interesting story with a lot of twists and turns along the way.
It follows a story about a possibly discovered lost painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, the "Salvator Mundi" aka "The Savior of the World" which depicts Jesus Christ. I was recounting the documentary to friends last night and it is a wild story. It also puts, front and center, the very real truth that high end collector art is used for washing funds (central to this story is a Russian oligarch) and also for general tax evasion, etc.
It also definitely reminded me how much I enjoy documentaries. Need to watch more.
My blog is meant to be user friendly, but I recognize there are some things which are not. Or, at least, are not obvious. This entry is a sort of running archive of tidbits for interest, or explain some oddities, or "editorial" structures I use.
Last updated: June 9th, 2023
- If a link in a header is in quotation marks, it is the article's own title at the time of publishing. All other link titles are editorialized by me.
- Review posts for media get a score out of a 5 added to the header, what that score item is is purely done for entertainment purposes and doesn't denote any additional rank. I just find it more enjoyable than just saying "4/5 stars."
- The Date archive page uses collapsable headers, clicking (or tapping) expands or collapses them. When you get down to the month view and it lists out days. Any posts which have their own actual page, rather than just existing within the date page, are also shown on that view.
- Link posts flag when I know I'm linking to a blog which has a pay wall or some other limitation on visitors. The hope is you can either read it as a non-regular visitor.
Those were the items I wanted to explain off the top of my head, I'll see what other tips come up and I'll come back to update this.
Two other bits of good news yesterday
I know I mentioned the death of Pat Roberts yesterday, but due to travel I neglected to celebrate the other two bits of wonderful news from the day:
First, Donald Trump was indicted on seven counts - We had known indictments were coming from the leaks, but to finally see it is historic and going to be a huge deal. They wouldn't do it without an air tight case, and now it's just about getting through it.
Second, the Supreme Court upholds Alabama is gerrymandered is huge.
By a 5-to-4 vote, a coalition of conservative and liberal justices reaffirmed the court's 1986 precedent interpreting how legislative districts must be drawn under the landmark voting rights act, as amended in 1982. The court said that in Alabama, a state where there are seven congressional seats and one in four voters is black, the Republican-dominated state legislature had denied African American voters a reasonable chance to elect a second representative of their choice.
The decision could reverberate across other states, with reconsideration of how congressional lines are drawn in areas with significant Black populations.
I just had an absolutely fantastic evening on this work trip. We had a great day of work and now I'm back in the hotel room. After we wrapped up, I let the team know I was going back to the hotel and was going to order Thai food. Anyone was welcome to join me. As it turns out, our entire foursome did. So we got on Doordash and ordered food from a local place.
The food was good. And we got to just sit around and shoot the shit. Talk. Tell stories. Laugh.
Just a fantastic evening. Highly recommend it.
I don't know if/when I'll publish it. But I've had something I wanted to do for a while. It was to take a list of political platform questions and begin writing down my thoughts on them, as well as my ideas. Not to say I expected any revelations out of it, but it's one thing to have a political platform in your head and another to commit to to text and actually figure out what you have to say on each issue.
I ended up doing this on my flight to LA yesterday. Before take off I got a list of topics from ChatGPT by asking for it to give me a bulleted list of the topics which are often found on political platforms. No positions, no statements. Just the buckets of topics.
It was actually a really interesting thing. I had answers or thoughts on most of them, and others I had to figure out how to say what I believe.
What I wrote is still quite bare bones and nowhere near where I want to share it. But I found it really interesting to work on and is something I plan to write more on in the future.
And for those curious, here is the list it gave me.
- Economy and Jobs
- Environment and Climate Change
- National Security
- Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement
- Social Welfare and Safety Nets
- Civil Rights and Equality
- Foreign Policy
- Defense and Military
- Technology and Innovation
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Trade and International Relations
- Housing and Urban Development
- Government Accountability and Transparency
- Veterans Affairs
- Drug Policy
- Gun Control and Second Amendment Rights
- Abortion and Reproductive Rights
- LGBTQ+ Rights
I added one item, which was "Government Functions" to capture things like how I felt about shutting down the government, term limits, age limits, etc.
After Trump left office, I resolved to not give him more of an imprint on my blog. He was done as a politician (at least temporarily) and I just had enough of letting him be in the narrative of my life. But this indictment is not fucking around and it needs to be remembered.
The guys at Crooked Media were crowing about it on a clip I saw on TikTok. One saying how it was so funny as a document that the DOJ had crossed the writer picket line.
And it is no joke. 37 charges. Incredible. Potentially over 400 years in prison.
Additionally I saw that two of his lawyers resigned today. But when you see things like this in the WaPo article:
The document, complete with color photographs and witness accounts of breathtaking criminal conduct, lays down a marker for a legal and political battle to come that could reshape the 2024 presidential race, the politics of national security, and the public's perception of the Justice Department and the 45th president of the United States.
"Wouldn't it be better if we just told them we don't have anything here?" Trump allegedly asked when his lawyers told him in May 2022 that they had to comply with a grand jury subpoena seeking the return of any documents marked classified. In that same conversation, he praised a lawyer for Hillary Clinton for what he claimed was the act of deleting 30,000 of her emails when she was in government.
"He did a great job," Trump allegedly said.
It's not hard to imagine why they decided they should probably get as far away from the orange turd as fast as they can.
I have no idea how fast or slow this process will be, but it certainly seems like they aren't going to drag their feet on this:
Smith signaled that prosecutors would try to move quickly to bring the case to trial.
The timing will be critical, because Trump faces a March trial in Manhattan in an unrelated case in which he is accused of arranging illegal hush money payments to women during his 2016 presidential campaign. Separately, state prosecutors in Georgia are considering filing charges this summer over Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election result, and Smith is investigating those efforts on the federal level. And any trial in mid-2024 could crash up against the major parties’ nominating conventions.
I can only dream that Trump's segment in the history books is riddled with shame and horror at what a fucking idiot people in America felt deserved a chance in the big chair.
In "Holy shit, what?" news, I saw this headline as I was scrolling and I had to scroll back up to read it again. Incredible.
Four Indigenous children who disappeared 40 days ago after surviving a small plane crash in the Amazon jungle were found alive, Colombian authorities announced Friday, ending an intense search that gripped the nation.
The children were alone when searchers found them and are now receiving medical attention, President Gustavo Petro told reporters upon his return to Bogota from Cuba, where he signed a cease-fire agreement with representatives of the National Liberation Army rebel group.
The crash happened in the early hours of May 1, when the Cessna single-engine propeller plane with seven passengers and a pilot declared an emergency due to an engine failure.
Two weeks after the crash, on May 16, a search team found the plane in a thick patch of the rainforest and recovered the bodies of the adults, but the small children were nowhere to be found.
Sensing that they could be alive, Colombia's army stepped up the hunt for the children and flew 150 soldiers with dogs into the area to track the group of four siblings, ages 13, 9, 4 and 11 months. Dozens of volunteers from Indigenous tribes also helped search.