Wednesday/ at the museum ⚔️

The National Nordic Museum is a museum in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, dedicated to the Nordic history, art, culture, and the heritage of the area’s Nordic immigrants.

Here are a few pictures that I had taken inside of the museum, and of items on display.

Monday/ he was racketeering in Georgia 🩻

“We hear they’re shredding thousands and thousands of ballots,” Trump said on the call.
“Mr. President, the problem you have with social media, they — people can say anything,” Raffensperger replied.

Defendant Donald John Trump lost the United States presidential election held on November 3, 2020.
One of the states he lost was Georgia.
Trump and the other Defendants charged in this Indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump.
That conspiracy contained a common plan and purpose to commit two or more acts of racketeering activity in Fulton County, Georgia, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, and in other states.
– Introduction of the indictment against Trump and 18 others brought in Fulton County, Georgia

And there it was, late Monday night— the fourth indictment, long expected, and a sweeping one, that documented all that Trump and his allies did in Georgia to try to overturn the 2020 presidential election results there.

Fulton County district attorney, Fani T. Willis, has extensive experience with bringing racketeering cases, and 18 other conspirators were charged along with Trump.

Infographic by the Washington Post.

Saturday/ something lost 😢

“I am trying to be philosophical about it, given the scope of so many people’s problems, but it’s been pretty crushing,” Mr. Anthony said. “There must be a word to describe those peculiar things that happen to us as a result of the most mundane little mechanical intricacies of life.”

“I think I feel better having lost this myself than I would had it been stolen,” he said. “And I remind myself that people lose all sorts of valuable things, including loved ones in floods and fires. I suppose, ultimately, on a certain level, this was just a piece of paper with signatures on it of people who were, and are, no more intrinsically valuable than any of us.”
– Historian Carl Sferrazza Anthony (64), describing his feelings to NYT reporter Michael Levenson, after inadvertently losing an engraved card he had had for decades, with signatures of US presidents and of their spouses, on.

The newest signatures added to the card are those of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. Mr Anthony still wanted to track down No 45, and Melania, for their signatures.
Further reporting from the NYT:
After he had collected the card with Mr. Biden’s signature at the White House Historical Association on July 24, he said, he walked across the street to Teaism. He was holding the manila folder gently, careful not to crush the card inside, he said.
Mr. Anthony, who lives in Los Angeles, was in Washington to read and sign copies of his latest biography, “Camera Girl: The Coming of Age of Jackie Bouvier Kennedy.”
After lunch, he walked along H Street to St. John’s Church. It was hot, and he stopped inside for a rest and sat in a pew where President Lincoln had sat, in the back corner.
He then walked to McPherson Square, where he stopped to take a photograph of the equestrian statue of James B. McPherson, a Civil War general, with birds perched on its head. It’s possible the signed engraving slipped out there, he said.
He continued to walk to Thomas Circle, where he stopped to take another photo, this time balancing a bag of salty oat cookies from Teaism and the manila folder in one hand and his camera in the other. He thinks that was most likely where he dropped it.
When he got back to his hotel room, at 1400 M Street, Northwest, he went to admire the engraving again and saw that it was gone.

Friday/ the week that was 🛸

David Grusch, a former employee of the Pentagon’s UAP task force, even claimed that the government has recovered “non-human” “biologics” at the scene of various crashes. Say what?

Happy Friday after a busy news week.

From the Washington Post:
On Wednesday alone, the hearing for “unidentified anomalous phenomena” (UAP) by a House Oversight subcommittee had stiff competition for the public’s attention.
A plea deal involving President Biden’s son Hunter fell apart in court, raising questions about the future of the government’s case against him for tax and gun charges.
Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was escorted out of a news conference after he appeared momentarily unable to speak, sparking concerns about the Senate minority leader’s health.
Donald Trump was charged with 3 more counts in the documents case, along with a new co-conspirator, the property manager at Mar-a-Lago. (Charges for the Jan.6 events are still expected).
And the ongoing, dramatic heat waves in Europe and the United States and wildfires in Canada and North Africa continued — with rising warnings about how climate change is rapidly altering life on Earth.

Tuesday/ on indictment watch— again 💣

The former president may soon receive his third criminal indictment.
It’s been at least 10 days since he had received a target letter from Special Counsel Jack Smith.
(In the classified documents case, the indictment followed 10 days after the target letter.)

A person receives a target letter when a U.S. attorney has substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime.
This target letter, for attempts to invalidate the 2020 election results and stop the transfer of power to President Joe Biden, reportedly cites three statutes:
—a charge pertaining to deprivation of rights,
—conspiracy to commit an offense against or defraud the United States, and
—tampering with a witness.
Let’s roll.

Just one of several AI-generated pictures of the Republican Party 2024 front-runner and Now Criminally Indicted Threat To Democracy getting taken down by dragnet of officers. Yes, this scene is unlikely to play out in reality, but as a metaphor we can all hope that it is accurate. We need democracy to survive, after all.
[Posted by Eliot Higgins @EliotHiggins on X* under the caption ‘Making pictures of Trump getting arrested while waiting for Trump’s arrest’.]
*Twitter. Twitter is now X, a rebranding effort by owner Elon Musk that many say is doomed to fail.

Thursday/ who gets in— and how? 👨‍🎓

I’m still reading up about it— the US Supreme Court’s ruling today that effectively overturned decades of affirmative action precedents for admitting students to higher education.

David French writes in a NYT opinion piece titled ‘Harvard Undermined Itself on Affirmative Action’:
To understand why Harvard lost — and why race-based affirmative action in public colleges and federally funded private schools is now unlawful — it’s necessary to understand two key facts about the case. First, the evidence is overwhelming that Harvard actively discriminated against Asian applicants. As Chief Justice John Roberts notes in his majority opinion, a Black student in the fourth-lowest academic decile had a higher chance of admission to Harvard than an Asian student in the top decile.

Former President Barack Obama denounced the Supreme Court decision, while acknowledging that “Affirmative action was never a complete answer in the drive towards a more just society” in a blog post today.
Mr. Obama is pictured here in 1990 at Harvard Law School.
[Photo Credit: Joe Wrinn/Harvard University, via Getty Images]

Wednesday/ what the hell 😡

I made it my after-dinner stroll to walk down to the QFC on Broadway to buy a bread.
From a block away I could see a commotion going on.

‘What’s going on?’ I asked someone coming from the store.
There were two guys arguing right next to him, he said.
Then one of them pulled out a gun and said to the other ‘Do you want to die?’.
At this point everyone got the hell away from them, and soon after that the store was evacuated.

I later learned that the gunman (age 42) then compounded the two very bad decisions he had already made— 1. bringing the gun into QFC and 2. brandishing it in public during a heated argument—
by holding eight people hostage at the Gold’s Gym next door.
He surrendered to the police soon after that and is now in custody.

Sunday/ at the Pride parade 🌈

Here are a few pictures of Seattle’s 49th annual Seattle Pride Parade along 4th Avenue in downtown.
That’s Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell in the middle of the first picture.

Tuesday/ ‘some birthday’ 🥳

“Some birthday,” Mr. Trump grumbled on Tuesday as he visited Versailles, a popular Cuban coffee shop in Miami. “Some birthday.”
– Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman reporting for the New York Times (Trump turned 77 today).

Trump is technically in federal custody, after his indictment in a federal courthouse in Miami today. He was booked, a procedure that included digital fingerprints. However, he was not in handcuffs, nor was his passport surrendered or travel limits placed on him.

The scene in Miami as Trump’s motorcade arrived for his arraignment at the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr.  U.S. Courthouse*. The crazy people were out there, but the crowd was a lot smaller than many had anticipated, and there was no violence.
(Were hard lessons learned in the wake of the thousand-or-so perpetrators that had been arrested after the Jan. 6 insurrection?)
A man walked around with a real pig’s head on a stake. Some Trump supporters had ‘I stand with Trump’ signs; others ‘Trump-DeSantis 2024’ signs.
*Judge Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. (1938-2003) was the first African-American to be appointed to the Dade County Circuit Court. As a trial judge, he made a landmark ruling precluding the systematic exclusion of blacks from juries. That ruling led to important appellate decisions recognizing the impropriety of such discrimination in the court system.
[Picture from the Washington Post]

Thursday/ as the ceiling flew away 💸

We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
The crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
The waiter brought a tray
And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly
Turned a whiter shade of pale
– From ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’, song by the English rock band Procol Harum that was issued as their debut record on 12 May 1967.

10.58 pm, Washington DC
From the New York Times:
The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 63-36, ensuring the federal government will not run out of money to pay its bills on Monday. It now goes to President Biden to be signed.

Saturday/ are we getting there? 🤝

With days to spare until a government default, President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Saturday evening announced a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling and fund the government for the next two years.
– Jeff Stein reporting for the Washington Post

Excerpts from Jeff Stein’s reporting in the Washington Post:

Raises the debt ceiling beyond the 2024 election
For Biden, one upside of the deal — assuming it passes — is that he will not have to deal with the debt ceiling again until after the next presidential campaign, because the agreement raises the debt ceiling until 2025.

Largely holds funding flat for domestic programs
The biggest sticking point in negotiations has been funding levels for part of the federal budget — separate from Social Security and Medicare — that funds hundreds of domestic programs, such as scientific research, rental aid and nutritional assistance for mothers.

Claws back some money for the IRS
Despite sparing domestic programs from cuts, the Biden administration agreed to do so in part by paring back some portion of the $80 billion it approved last year for an expansion of the IRS.

Slight funding boosts for the military, veterans affairs
The deal also meets the requests in Biden’s budget to increase spending for the military and veterans affairs in line with inflation.

New work requirements on federal programs
Meeting a GOP priority, the deal increases work requirements on federal food stamps and on family welfare benefits.

Out of the deal: Closing tax loopholes, cutting student debt relief
Negotiators on both sides agreed to drop key demands.

Now it’s over to the House and the Senate to finalize the details and get this over and done with.
Just to reiterate— this is completely upside-down, inside-out, the-horse-has-bolted-from-the-stable insane.
Congress (the Republican Party) failed to agree on the nation’s spending priorities, overspent— and is now holding the world’s financial systems hostage, while haggling over what the money should have been spent on.

And lest you forget, Congress: the 14th amendment in the Constitution of the United States say
‘The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned’.

Thursday/ be afraid, be very afraid 😵‍💫

If you’re not afraid yet, you should be.
-Catherine Rampell, writing in the Washington Post about the latest debt-ceiling increase showdown in Washington (Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen raised the alarm earlier this week, saying the U.S. government could be out of options to pay its bills by June 1)

Apparently it was not enough that the Republican Party had pushed t****  and his now-convicted seditionist supporters on us for four years.

Now the House Republicans and Speaker Kevin McCarthy want military veterans, social security recipients— and really every American in some way— to pay for the previous Republican administration’s tax cuts.

Here are some scenarios that that will likely play out if the United States indeed defaults on its debt (as reported by Catherine Rampell in the Washington Post):
1. U.S. Treasurys get downgraded — as does virtually every other asset on earth.
2. Interest rates rise further for U.S. consumers, businesses and the government.
3. Global investors likely would sell U.S. dollar-denominated assets as confidence in them evaporates; the dollar might lose value in foreign-exchange markets.
4. Stock markets plummet.
5. Companies holding Treasurys suffer hits to both revenue and balance sheets.
6. There might be a scramble to close out trades that people would otherwise hold.
7. Some of the infrastructure underpinning large parts of the financial system (called “central counterparty clearinghouses”) could essentially get overwhelmed and go down.

Tuesday/ Tucker Carlson’s text 🤮

The New York Times published the text message that got Tucker Carlson fired.

According to the New York Times:
The text alarmed the Fox board, which saw the message a day before Fox was set to defend itself against Dominion Voting Systems before a jury. The board grew concerned that the message could become public at trial when Mr. Carlson was on the stand, creating a sensational and damaging moment that would raise broader questions about the company.

Thursday/ a lot of trouble 😵

What is unbelievable is that this man, this immoral creature, still has sway over so many Americans. It would be comforting to imagine that a verdict in Carroll’s favor could break that spell, but we have learned the hard way: nothing will.
-Ruth Marcus, Associate Editor for the Washington Post

Trump’s trial for the rape & defamation of E. Jean Carroll started today.
Also— Last month Trump was charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with 34 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniel.
Also— Just today, Trump’s VP Mike Pence testified before a grand jury as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s probe of Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn 2020 the election results.
Also— The culmination of a more than two-year investigation into Trump’s election interference in Georgia is expected this summer, led by a local prosecutor, Fani T. Willis of Fulton County.

We are told by the pollsters that this guy will likely be the Republican Party’s candidate for President of the United States for the 2024 general election.

E. Jean Carroll arrives to federal court in New York on Thursday. Carroll testified today that Trump had raped her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in New York three decades ago.
[Picture by Seth Wenig/AP]

Tuesday/ off to the races 🚌

It’s official: President Joe Biden (80) is running for 2024.
He already has my vote.
Where’s my ballot? Oh— there’s still 566 days to go.

Cartoon by Michael de Adder for the Washington Post.
Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg in the Washington Post, commenting on Biden’s ‘disapproval rate’:
‘The facts are that the country is better off. We’ve come out on the other side of Covid. We’ve seen the lowest peacetime unemployment rate since World War II, the lowest poverty and uninsured rates in American history. We’ve made future-oriented investments in infrastructure and tackling climate change. There’s an enormous amount to work with here’.

Thursday/ war and peace ✌

This poster on a lamp post calls for Peace in Ukraine, a cause which we can all support— but when one takes a closer look, it quickly gets very complicated.
Yes, the US should not have invaded Iraq in March 2003.
Does that mean the US should also not supply weapons to Ukraine? Only food and shelter with heat, now that all the cities are getting destroyed by Russia’s invasion?
I don’t think so.

There’s a logo at the bottom of the poster that says ‘Party for Socialism and Liberation’. Is that an American political party? Yes.
Wikipedia: The Party for Socialism and Liberation is a communist party in the United States, established in 2004.

Wednesday/ early days for 2024 🐘

Nikki Haley announced her bid for President for the 2024 election.
She was South Carolina’s governor from 2011 to 2017, and appointed as US Ambassador to the United Nations by Trump and served there from Jan. 2017 through Dec. 2018.
Right now, she is the only official GOP candidate other than The Leader Of The Cult.

I don’t know what Mike Pence is saying. Does it matter? Even if he tried, there is just no way he will win the Trump Party’s nomination for 2024.
[Posted by Devin O’Malley @devin_omalley on Twitter and captioned ‘The lights are bright @PizzaRanch in Cedar Rapids, Iowa’]

Tuesday/ the State of the Union 🇺🇸

President Biden bragged nearly a dozen times about his administration’s accomplishments, but said he had more to do.
[Picture by Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times]
President Biden has not yet officially announced that he is running for a second term in 2024. He seemed energized tonight during the State of the Union address, though— taking on Republican shouters with ‘sharp retorts and even a sense of humor in some moments’, as the New York Times put it.

Further reporting from the New York Times:
President Biden delivered a plea to Republicans on Tuesday for unity in his second State of the Union address, but vowed not to back off his economic agenda and offered no far-reaching, new ideas in a speech filled with a familiar litany of exhortations from more than four decades in political life.

Reading rapidly through his prepared remarks and occasionally sparring with his congressional adversaries in real time, Mr. Biden — at 80 the oldest president in history — used the biggest platform of his office to frame his argument for an expected re-election bid by portraying Republican policy proposals as out of step with most Americans even as he offered to work across the aisle.