morning 03.15.17

Norman Thomas di Giovanni obituary. I feel inadequate to write anything substantial about his passing.

Discovery of widespread platinum may help solve Clovis people mystery. The relatively high concentrations of platinum at sites 12,800 years ago could be from a strike by an asteroid two-thirds of a mile across that would have triggered the Younger-Dryas period. No impact crater can be identified but the asteroid could have exploded in the atmosphere or struck the glacial ice sheet.

Silk Road was shaped by ancient nomads and their herds 4,000 years ago. Well, duh. 4,000 years is a conservative estimate.

Did ISIS inadvertently uncover the secret to the “lost” Hanging Gardens of Babylon? The Hanging Gardens of Nineveh, build by Assyrian King Sennacherib.

There is no such thing as western civilisation. Somebody tell that rotted pigheaded freak Bannon or that Nazi bootlick Gorka.

Steve Bannon in College: Grateful Dead Fan, ‘Jerry Brown Liberal,’ ‘Ladies Man’. When I started college in 1989, every single Deadhead I met drove a BMW and was an unrepentant racist. We traveled in the same circles because many of my friends smoked pot. Those were the first modern “libertarians” I met.1 I’ve lost track of most of them as they were all cretins and louts, but I’ve no doubt they’re now establishment conservatives who stroke themselves at the thought of a race war or a clash of civilizations. Have I mentioned that I never could get into the Grateful Dead?

American Citizens: U.S. Border Agents Can Search Your Cellphone. Yes, yes- but here’s the point that people need to wrap their heads around.

Data provided by the Department of Homeland Security shows that searches of cellphones by border agents has exploded, growing fivefold in just one year, from fewer than 5,000 in 2015 to nearly 25,000 in 2016.

This increase happened under Obama. That said, at current rate of 2017, the Trump administration will more than double the 2016 number.

Sunday I picked up used vinyl of Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians’ Element of Light. It’s never been one of my favorites of his, always liked and enjoyed, but not loved. Checking eBay, it turns out that it’s a pretty common record that I might have found even a dollar or two cheaper. It’s by far the most available Hitchcock vinyl on there. I’ve already played it at least six times. I already own most everything Hitchcock did until around 1995 on CD (and 1996’s Mossy Liquor on vinyl,) but I pay more attention when I have to flip the record. As many others have insisted, it’s less a format fetish than a listening ritual. This shouldn’t be another tangent I wander down, but it probably will.

Shannon Hurd Got a Life Sentence for Stealing $14. Then He Died in Prison from Untreated Cancer. Evil. This is evil. Jefferson Parish in Louisiana.

Liberals and diversity. Matt Bruenig.

Report: Trump voters in Michigan like economically populist Democrats. This plus Bernie’s town hall in West Virgina on Monday night should tell the Democratic Party something. No. They’ll keep pushing shit about Putin, the emoluments clause, and chasing tax returns.

Sunday Comics (A riff on FX’s show Legion). Legion is better than it has any right to be.


  1. I had an old school, hardline civil libertarian guy as a teach for 6th through 8th grade. He was eccentric, but I still remember him fondly because he taught the Louisiana Reconstruction era very critically and would urge everyone to join the ACLU in the early ’80s, holding up his membership card in a classroom of kids with parents in the KKK. []