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Ravi Kunjwal
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i came, i saw, and i still wonder
i came, i saw, and i still wonder

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Everything is fine again

I've stopped worrying about Trump. I'm taking Impeachara! 

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This has to be some kind of record. The man on the right in this video is interviewing the man on the left, who became aware that he was gay at the age of five and then took 90 years, during which he had a 67-year marriage and became a father, grandfather and great-grandfather, to come out. Now he is looking for love. There are a lot of natural questions about this that don't get answered in the interview, but that doesn't stop it being very entertaining. It's sort of moving too, but always in a humorous way.

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"One of the great achievements of free society in a stable democracy is that many people, for much of the time, need not think about politics at all. The president of a free country may dominate the news cycle many days — but he is not omnipresent — and because we live under the rule of law, we can afford to turn the news off at times. A free society means being free of those who rule over you — to do the things you care about, your passions, your pastimes, your loves — to exult in that blessed space where politics doesn’t intervene. In that sense, it seems to me, we already live in a country with markedly less freedom than we did a month ago. It’s less like living in a democracy than being a child trapped in a house where there is an abusive and unpredictable father, who will brook no reason, respect no counter-argument, admit no error, and always, always up the ante until catastrophe inevitably strikes. This is what I mean by the idea that we are living through an emergency."
The dark cloud

Ever since Trump became president he has cast a dark cloud over our country, poisoning the atmosphere, sucking us into the vortex of his madness. I'm sure many of you feel it. Andrew Sullivan explains it well:

I think this is a fundamental reason why so many of us have been so unsettled, anxious, and near panic these past few months. It is not so much this president’s agenda. That always changes from administration to administration. It is that when the linchpin of an entire country is literally delusional, clinically deceptive, and responds to any attempt to correct the record with rage and vengeance, everyone is always on edge.

There is no anchor any more. At the core of the administration of the most powerful country on earth, there is, instead, madness.

With someone like this barging into your consciousness every hour of every day, you begin to get a glimpse of what it must be like to live in an autocracy of some kind. Every day in countries unfortunate enough to be ruled by a lone dictator, people are constantly subjected to the Supreme Leader’s presence, in their homes, in their workplaces, as they walk down the street. Big Brother never leaves you alone. His face bears down on you on every flickering screen. He begins to permeate your psyche and soul; he dominates every news cycle and issues pronouncements — each one shocking and destabilizing — round the clock. He delights in constantly provoking and surprising you, so that his monstrous ego can be perennially fed. And because he is also mentally unstable, forever lashing out in manic spasms of pain and anger, you live each day with some measure of trepidation. What will he come out with next? Somehow, he is never in control of himself and yet he is always in control of you.

One of the great achievements of free society in a stable democracy is that many people, for much of the time, need not think about politics at all. The president of a free country may dominate the news cycle many days — but he is not omnipresent — and because we live under the rule of law, we can afford to turn the news off at times. A free society means being free of those who rule over you — to do the things you care about, your passions, your pastimes, your loves — to exult in that blessed space where politics doesn’t intervene. In that sense, it seems to me, we already live in a country with markedly less freedom than we did a month ago. It’s less like living in a democracy than being a child trapped in a house where there is an abusive and unpredictable father, who will brook no reason, respect no counter-argument, admit no error, and always, always up the ante until catastrophe inevitably strikes. This is what I mean by the idea that we are living through an emergency.

This is why I can no longer enjoy blogging about math and science. I still enjoy thinking about them, and working on them. Indeed, they make an excellent escape from the nasty mess we're in. But to blog about them publicly feels like pretending in front of a crowd that life is normal, when in fact everything has gone terribly wrong.

Later this spring I will go to Hong Kong for a month. I'll be talking to Guowu Meng about Jordan algebras and physics. First I'll spend two weeks at the Sha Tin Hyatt, which is near the lively part of town; then I'll get housing near the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, which is up north, in the boondocks.

I wonder how I will feel there. Of course that city-state has dire problems of its own, but in some important sense they will not be my problems. Even with its problems, Hong Kong is a lively and invigorating place — much more so than my usual summer hangout, Singapore. But here's what I don't know: will physical distance from the USA make me feel any more removed from the insanity there — any more at peace?

For now: help the ACLU by signing this petition! Over 300,000 people have so far, and I just did:

Do not delay – release all documents pertaining to Donald Trump’s actual or potential conflicts of interest. Trump has kept the American people in the dark for too long. For the sake of our democracy, we need you to bring this matter into the light and give the public access to this vital information.

https://action.aclu.org/secure/trumpFOIA

Andrew Sullivan's essay is here:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/02/andrew-sullivan-the-madness-of-king-donald.html
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