May 4, 2016

Now that Trump is the GOP nominee, shouldn't Republicans want to see Merrick Garland confirmed?

I'm seeing a fair amount of discussion of a point I'd been making — if not on this blog, then in person on a couple panels I've done at the law school: The GOP should want to confirm Garland now.

Garland was a moderate choice for a Democratic President. After an election won by a Democrat — presumably Hillary — we'll almost surely see a more strongly liberal nominee. Conservatives shouldn't hang onto much hope that Donald Trump — if he's elected — would nominate someone who'll turn out to be a solid conservative. So it's a good time to take the known person, Merrick Garland.

Aside from the effect on the Supreme Court, the theater of confirmation could — at this point — do the Republicans in the Senate some political good. The congressional elections are important, not everything should be about Donald Trump, and the Senate Judiciary Committee is a place where the party can display itself as dedicated and principled. I'm sure Ted Cruz — a member of the committee — can help with the show.

"I’ve never noticed anyone not liking my body hair."

"We’re seeing a return to ’70s fashion... The late ’60s and early ’70s were about freedom, the hippie movement, having lots of hair."

"You’re a Trump supporter, and you frequently refer to him as Daddy."/"I do because that’s what he is."

"I assume that’s not in a purely father-figure sense. Are you sexually attracted to Donald Trump?"/"Oh, yes. I call myself a Trump-sexual. I have a very antiwhite bedroom policy, but Trump is kind of like the exception to that rule."

From a dialogue — in the NYT — between Ana Marie Cox and Milo Yiannopoulos.

And now we can stop asking why he's still in.

Kasich is out.

Are you reading the post-mortems on Ted Cruz?

I've been avoiding things like "What Went Wrong for Ted Cruz" (in The Weekly Standard).

I think it's impressive he got as far as he did. Why fuss over why he didn't do more?

Why you accidentally call family members by your dog's name.

But not your cat's name.

"I never, ever, ever read anything about myself. Not my interviews, not stories about me."

"I never, ever read any criticism of my films. I scrupulously have avoided any self-preoccupation. When I first started, that was not the case. [But now I] just pay attention to the work and don't read about how great I am or what a fool I am. The enjoyment has got to come from doing the project. It's fun to get up in the morning and have your script in front of you and to meet with your scenic designer and your cinematographer, to get out on the set and work with these charming men and beautiful women and put in this Cole Porter music and great costumes. When that's over, and you've made your best movie, move on. I never look at the movie again — I never read anything about it again."

Said Woody Allen.

Also, he doesn't read: "I never enjoyed reading. I was not a bookish guy.... I'd always rather watch a baseball game or a basketball game or go to the movies or listen to music."

One reason not to read — of the many, many reasons — is that people are writing horrible things about you. Allen is quick to say none of the scandal affected him — "Oh, no. Not in the slightest."

And let me excerpt the anti-travel sentiment — anti-travel being a theme of mine — "I never liked to fly on an airplane for six hours and get the time change. It makes me crazy; it takes me six months to get [over the time change]. Just from daylight saving time, I can't recover." By the way, I like the idea of relocating and living somewhere different for something like 6 months. That's very different from travel. You get the feeling of living there, no pressure to stack up the seeing of things in a particular set of days.

His view of religion: "I feel it's a pleasant fantasy for people to try and mollify the pain of the reality of existence."

On Donald Trump: "I've met Trump because he was in one of my movies, Celebrity. He's very affable, and I run into him at basketball games and at Lincoln Center. And he is always very nice and pleasant — hard to put together with many of the things he has said in his campaign."

"The winning design for the American Institute of Architects' competition to design a tiny house community for Chicago was built in two days and displayed at the University of Illinois-Chicago campus."

Hmm. Strangely porch-heavy don't you think?

They invited commentary from 3 formerly homeless persons, one of whom said "Well, I really didn't like it, I'm going to be honest because ... you really can't put that much stuff in that little house. I mean I just think it was just... it would be bigger than that."

Larry Wilmore reflects on his White House Correspondents Dinner performance — which, to him, felt "very surreal... almost like an out-of-body experience."

"And I think the first indication [of the reaction in the room] was the Wolf Blitzer joke, which to me was more tongue in cheek than anything else, you know? I think it came off harsher than how I had initially intended it. It seemed like a hard comment, but I really meant it more roasty. Because I saw all of this as a roast, really. Like, in other words, I have nothing against Wolf Blitzer. He’s a nice guy. I’m just giving my observation on that. And just trying to be snarky about it, but it came across pretty cold-blooded."

More at the link, including discussion of why he addressed President Obama with the n-word: "Usually that’s something we only do behind closed doors. But to do it in public, I thought, would be a strong way to end. And I knew it would be controversial and I was ready to accept the fallout from it."

ADDED: The bit about Wolf Blitzer was: "Speaking of drones, how is Wolf Blitzer still on television? Ask a follow-up question. Hey, Wolf, I’m ready to project tonight’s winner: Anyone that isn’t watching 'The Situation Room.'"

The loopy optics of Hillary's "Woman Card."

Count the problems:

1. Hillary's original response to Trump's pestering her about playing the woman card was "Deal me in!," which refers to playing cards. That's not a playing card, it's a credit card.

2. A credit card is for running up debt, so the most obvious meaning is that women are to blame for the debt, we have our needs and wants and think we deserve special, gender-based power to satisfy ourselves, and Hillary wants to facilitate this profligacy.

3. That awful international pictogram for woman — so impersonalized, so inane. The main distinguishing feature of a woman isn't the shape of the torso, delicate legs or hands, or long hair, but a skirt. And Hillary never wears a skirt.

4. Skirts... the color pink... I thought we were getting away from these stereotypes — from the stark binary view of the sexes. She's off trend.

"It’s time for MLB to force teams to expand protective netting before another death at the ballpark."

Argues John Harper at The New York Daily News.
[Teams] know fans are more vulnerable than ever these days, for a variety of reasons: modern ballparks have them sitting closer to the field than ever; pitchers throw harder than ever, which results in harder-hit foul balls; modern, thin-handle bats break more easily sending them flying into the stands; and iPhones at the ballpark, which distract fans from games, are a way of life.
So the people who want to pay attention must look through netting so that the people who want to look at iPhones can have the freedom not to pay attention? And the teams can't even decide for themselves and their fans which group to favor — it ought to be a top-down rule dictated by the MLB?

Good metaphor, by the way.

The "historic" decision of the Italian court is "right and pertinent" and based on an idea that has "informed the Western world for centuries — it is called humanity."

Proclaimed, celebrating the ruling in favor of a homeless man who was convicted of theft for taking $4.50 worth of cheese and sausage from a supermarket.
"The condition of the defendant and the circumstances in which the seizure of merchandise took place prove that he took possession of that small amount of food in the face of an immediate and essential need for nourishment, acting therefore in a state of necessity," wrote the court.
The BBC headline is: "Italian court rules food theft 'not a crime' if hungry."

The case of the UW student arrested for "White supremacy iz a disease" and other graffiti is diverted to Community Restorative Court.

"Many times, diversion is more onerous than paying a ticket. The majority of people want us to hold people accountable, they would like people to repair the harm and they would like some assurance … that we are working to ensure this doesn’t happen again."

Said Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne about the case of UW student Denzel McDonald (previously discussed here, after the UW police apologized for going into a classroom to confront him).

Meanwhile, there's another Madison graffiti case in the news:
Timothy A. Arnold, 21, was charged with four counts of misdemeanor graffiti after a criminal complaint said he used green paint to draw Swastika-like symbols on the Jewish Experience of Madison and the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, both located on Langdon Street, and the Samba Brazilian Grill on Gilman Street.... According to a criminal complaint, Arnold told a Madison police detective that he found some green spray paint and used it to draw “old runic” symbols on places in the Langdon Street area. He also admitted to painting the symbol on the building where the Samba Brazilian Grill is located. He said when he paints the symbol, “he is trying to express pride,” the complaint said.

Are medical errors the 3rd most likely cause of death in the United States?

"Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the research, said in an interview that the category includes everything from bad doctors to more systemic issues such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another."

May 3, 2016

Polls have closed in Indiana, Trump already declared the winner.

Let's talk about it.

ADDED: Whoa! Sanders is going to beat Hillary?

AND: CNN talk is all about Trump but the big news is Hillary's humiliation.

AND: And Cruz slinks off.


AND: Horns emerge from the head of Donald Trump:


"The real reason some people end up with partners who are way more attractive."

"[A] study published last year in the journal Psychological Science... found that heterosexual couples who were friends before they dated were more likely to be rated at different attractiveness levels."

But look for more closely matched couples in the future as people get together primarily through computer services. This friends-first thing isn't going to be happening much. 

"Clearly, elite journalists, political advisers, media anchors, and pollsters, for all their analyses, have no idea where, why, and how Trump garners support."

That's Victor David Hanson in National Review with "Trump: Something New under the Political Sun."

I'm of 2 minds here.

1. He's addressing the topic I said I want addressed.

2. He said "garner."

Campus signage.

On Bascom Mall, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, yesterday:



Novelists, why?

Why are you continually telling me how and where characters are moving — in and out of rooms and buildings, onto and up out of chairs and sofas, hands gesticulating this way and that? It's 20% of some novels. Why are you doing this?

Maybe you don't think we, the readers, notice. Maybe you imagine yourselves successfully staging a play in our minds — causing us to "see" your story as if we were sitting in a theater. But a play wouldn't waste my time with words about X passing through doorways and across rooms. X would be saying something interesting.

I won't say what I was trying to read. I'm just pushing back any novelists whose foot this shoe fits. You can walk across this dark, cluttered room, over the worn, plush carpet, and plant your well-padded ass on that comfy upholstered chair and remove your customary footwear and place your nether extremity inside this shabby slipper and ascertain if it's approximately your size.

I'm having a flashback to high school English class, where we were taught why "Lord of the Flies" was well-written. I still remember the sentence the teacher used — half a century ago! — to make his point that it's best to convey the emotions of the characters by describing some outward movement: "He took two leaden steps forward."

"As a graduate student... he graded what he called a 'so-so' exam by a young John F. Kennedy and the English assignments of 'an intense, hungry-looking' Norman Mailer."

From the obituary of Daniel Aaron — "Critic and Historian Who Pioneered American Studies" — who has died at the age of 103 and who "described himself as 'a citizen of two Americas'":
“One of them is the country of Uncle Sam... an America, in the words of Herman Melville, ‘intrepid, unprincipled, reckless, predatory, with boundless ambition, civilized in the externals but savage at heart.' The other is its blessed double, home of heroes and clowns and of the cheerful and welcoming democratic collective — ‘the place where I was born.’ For all of my romantic Satanism and the satisfaction I took and still take in the doctrine of original sin, it is this second America to which I feel culturally and temperamentally attuned."