Tuesday 30 August, 2022

For this trike…

Spotted at a Los Bandidos rally in Arles, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“A suicide kills two people, Maggie. That’s what it’s for.”

  • Quentin, in Arthur Miller’s play, After the Fall

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh | Beauty Deas an Oileáin | Hollywood Inn, Wicklow | 2009


With Julie Fowlis (Tin Whistle), Éamon Doorley (Bouzouki) and Martin Ross (Guitar) in a recording made for the Geantraí music series on the Irish language TV channel, TG4, in 2009.

This lovely song (in Irish) comes from Co Kerry (or at any rate was first collected there in 1938). Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh is a sensationally talented singer and musician, and this is the nicest recording of the song that I know of.

Long Read of the Day

Bill Barr Calls Bullsh*t

This record of a conversation between the blogger Bari Weiss and Trump’s Attorney General, William Barr makes for interesting but uncomfortable reading. Interesting because it provides an insight into how an experienced and senior official explains his experience of holding high office under Trump, and uncomfortable because it evinces how some things that most of us regard as unconscionable can be viewed as acceptable or even laudable when viewed through a right-wing lens.

Here’s how it begins:

BW: I want to begin with a quote from your wife, Christine. “The Left and the Press have lost their minds over Trump and Trump is his own worst enemy. Any sacrifice you make will be wasted on this man.” That’s what she told you in 2019 before you joined the Trump administration. Obviously, you did it anyway, which is why we’re talking. But was she right?

AG BARR: She was, as usual, dead on. The left has lost their mind over Trump. Trump Derangement Syndrome is a real thing. But Trump is his own worst enemy. He’s incorrigible. He doesn’t take advice from people. And you’re not going to teach an old dog new tricks.

So I was under no illusions when I went in. But I thought a Republican administration was important during this period. I hadn’t supported Trump originally, but once he got the nomination I supported him and I felt he was following good, sound policies generally. And I thought that he was being unfairly treated. I felt Russiagate was very unjust and I was suspicious of it from the very beginning. I was also upset at the way the criminal justice process has been used and, I thought, was being used to interfere with the political process. The Justice Department and the F.B.I. were being battered and I care about those institutions.

I felt I could help stabilize things, deal with Russiagate and get the Justice Department and the F.B.I. on course. So I agreed to do it.

BW: “Any sacrifice you make will be wasted on this man.” True or not true?

AG BARR: I hoped that it wasn’t true. I thought there was a chance he would rally to the office and be more disciplined in his behavior. I thought he might recognize that the presidency is a unique office, which is not only a political leader but the head of state, representing the whole nation. I hoped he would rise to the occasion. He didn’t…

Do read the whole thing.

More on the Bitcoin dump story

The version I cited as a Long Read the other day was in the New Yorker. But Charles Arthur (whom God Preserve) emailed later to say that the story originated in some good investigative journalism done by Alex Hern of the Guardian in 2013 which you can find here. Charles (who was the Guardian’s Technology Editor at the time) writes:

I was there when Alex Hern was sitting opposite me on the Guardian’s technology desk trying to pin down the story. He had seen someone post on Reddit that they’d let their hard drive go in the bin, and all he had to go on was what seemed to be the name. No location, no other clue.

We encouraged him to do some Real Journalism. Try Linkedin. Try any sort of social network. Try to put the clues together. Slog. Dead end. Another try. Dead end. Finally he got some potential names and companies and started ringing. (On an actual Telephone. Not that easy these days: mobile numbers can be hard to come by.)

And then – he struck gold. “You ARE??” we heard him say. His face lit up. Pure joy. And then he got down to the professional bit, asking the questions, getting the details. The story was later covered by all the TV networks, plus quite a few from abroad.

Even vicariously, that was a great experience. And I think about it every time that story pops up, which it does quite regularly.

My commonplace booklet

“Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose”.

  • Hotel Notice, Zurich. (Another gem from Dennis Winston’s lovely book, French Widow in Every Room.)

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