Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward







Frustrated by following links to articles you can’t continue reading? Learn more, here, here, and here.



The FBI will treat Kavanaugh’s lies as ‘a flashing signal to dig deeper’

James Comey writes: F.B.I. agents are experts at interviewing people and quickly dispatching leads to their colleagues around the world to follow with additional interviews. Unless limited in some way by the Trump administration, they can speak to scores of people in a few days, if necessary. They will confront people with testimony and other accounts, testing them and pushing them in a professional way. Agents have much better nonsense

Hundreds of migrant children quietly moved to a tent camp on the Texas border

The New York Times reports: In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night in recent weeks and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new home: a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas. Until now, most undocumented children being held by federal immigration authorities had been

Human-caused climate change severely exposes the U.S. national parks

Trees have died in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colo., as climate change has intensified bark beetle infestations and drought. Patrick Gonzalez, CC BY-ND By Patrick Gonzalez, University of California, Berkeley Human-caused climate change is disrupting ecosystems and people’s lives around the world. It is melting glaciers, increasing wildfires, and shifting vegetation across vast landscapes. These impacts have reached national parks around the world and in the United States. Until now,

Does language spring from the things it describes?

Mark Vernon writes: In conversation at the Hay Festival in Wales this May, the English poet Simon Armitage made an arresting observation. Discussing the nature of language and why it is so good at capturing the experience of being alive, he said: ‘My feeling is that a lot of the language that we use, and the best language for poetry, comes directly out of the land.’ Armitage was placing himself

Music: Shai Maestro Trio — ‘Treelogy’


Why Kavanaugh is unfit for the Supreme Court

Yascha Mounk writes: At this moment of feverishly intense partisanship, it takes a great deal of courage to tiptoe away from your own tribe. Sen. Jeff Flake has not yet announced that he is willing to part for good; in the end, he may yet betray his professed principles and cast his vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. And yet, we should not underestimate how much strength it took for him

Let’s not pretend the Kavanaugh facts are unknowable

Caleb Mason, a litigator and former federal prosecutor, writes: There’s nothing arcane or even particularly difficult about the investigatory steps the government could take to reach a reasonable factual conclusion about the Kavanaugh allegations. I simply cannot understand why the Judiciary Committee refuses to use the resources it has—namely, subpoena power, through which the committee can compel witnesses to testify and produce documents. The committee’s approach to the Kavanaugh hearings

How reliable are the memories of sexual assault victims?

Jim Hopper writes: Incomplete memories of sexual assault, including those with huge gaps, are understandable–if we learn the basics of how memory works and we genuinely listen to survivors. Such memories should be expected. They are similar to the memories of soldiers and police officers for things they’ve experienced in the line of fire. And a great deal of scientific research on memory explains why. I’m an expert on psychological

Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100

The Washington Post reports: Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous 7 degrees by the end of this century. A rise of 7 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 4 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. Many coral reefs would dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Parts of

‘I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia’

Lindsey Hilsum writes: In June the circus came to town. Nothing remarkable, you might think, except that the town was Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, where until two years ago all forms of entertainment were banned. The previous week, the head of the General Entertainment Authority—sometimes called the Ministry of Fun—had been fired because a female performer in another circus had worn a tight-fitting, flesh-colored outfit that had sparked

The belligerence of male entitlement and the cowardly rituals of male bonding

The Associated Press reports: He let his anger flare repeatedly, interrupted his questioners and cried several times during his opening statement. She strived to remain calm and polite, despite her nervousness, and mostly held back her tears. Throughout their riveting, nationally televised testimony on Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh served as Exhibits A and B for a tutorial on gender roles and stereotypes. Amid the deluge of reaction

As soon as Kavanaugh got into dangerous waters, Republican senators ditched prosecutor Mitchell

  Philip Bump notes: [Arizona prosecutor Rachel] Mitchell had been stepping in for Republican senators during the day’s questioning, a tactic that helped the majority avoid the spectacle of men grilling a woman about an attack she says she experienced. There was no break in that pattern — until the July 1 question. Matthew Zeitlin writes: July 1 was a Thursday. Kavanaugh’s defense also relied on his insistence that the

How Trump’s rebukes unite a fractious Iran

Azadeh Moaveni writes: President Donald Trump went to the United Nations on Tuesday to try to weaken and isolate Iran. He called the Islamic Republic the principal U.S. adversary and blamed its leaders for “sowing chaos, death and destruction.” He vowed to push ahead with sanctions and economic strangulation so severe that Iran will be forced to change its aggressive behavior in the region or crack under the pressure. But

How Rod Rosenstein protects the Mueller investigation

Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes write: Greatness in not the right word for Rosenstein. Whatever happens today, he will never measure up to Attorney General Elliot Richardson, who was fired by President Richard Nixon for his refusal to dismiss Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Saturday Night Massacre. But for whatever reason, and by whatever means, Rosenstein has grown immeasurably in the role he has played. He has become

Trump engages in collective assault on all victims of sexual abuse

The Washington Post reports: President Trump on Wednesday placed himself at the center of the anguished national debate over sexual assault, suggesting in his defense of embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh that the #MeToo movement was “very dangerous” and unfairly threatened an entire class of powerful men. Trump’s expansive argument cast doubt on the credibility not only of the three women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault,

White House views Trump lackey with ‘biblical view of justice’ as good replacement for Rosenstein

The New York Times reports: Convinced that the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, was ready to resign after the revelation that he suggested President Trump was unfit for the job, senior White House aides got to work last weekend installing a replacement. Matthew G. Whitaker, the chief of staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, would become the acting No. 2 official at the Justice Department, his White House counterpart,