June 26, 2016

"The most satisfying video in the world."

"Hillary Clinton employs a half-dozen battle-hardened media handlers who field hundreds of daily requests. Mr. Trump has Ms. Hicks..."

"... who was working for his daughter Ivanka’s luxury lines and for the Trump real estate brand when the candidate called her to his office in early 2015 and declared that she was joining his campaign," writes Michael M. Grynbaum in a NYT article that fell off the front page quite quickly.
“Mr. Trump sat her down and said, ‘This is your new job,’” said her mother, Caye Cavender Hicks. “It was a shocker.”...

Suddenly, she found herself a near-constant presence by Mr. Trump’s side, flying in his jet, living rent-free in a Trump-owned apartment and attending to his mercurial moods....

Unlike her Clinton counterparts, who take pains to shape their candidate’s image, Ms. Hicks is not active on Twitter and does not show up on cable talk shows. Contacted for this article, she declined to be interviewed, insisting that she did not want to draw attention away from her candidate....

“I’m lucky to have her,” Mr. Trump said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “She’s got very good judgment. She will often give advice, and she’ll do it in a very low-key manner, so it doesn’t necessarily come in the form of advice. But it’s delivered very nicely.”

Did he have qualms about hiring a campaign spokeswoman with no political background? “Well, I have a lot of political experience, so I wasn’t really concerned about it,” Mr. Trump said.
Hope Hicks is 27.


"Is there anything I can do to train my body to need less sleep?"

No. You might think so, but that's only because you're not thinking well when you're sleep deprived. "Multiple studies have shown that people don’t functionally adapt to less sleep than their bodies need."
Extended vacations are the best times to assess how much sleep you truly need. Once you catch up on lost sleep and are not sleep deprived, the amount you end up sleeping is a good measure how much you need every night. You can ask yourself the questions, “Do you feel that your brain is much sharper, your temper is better, you’re paying attention more effectively? If those answers are yes, than definitely get the sleep,” said Dr. Veasey, who realized -- to her chagrin -- that she needs nine hours of sleep a night to function effectively.
Unaddressed subject: Are you oversleeping because you believe you should get at least 7 or 8 hours? If, on that "extended vacation," you're up after 6 or 5 hours, can you credit yourself with only needing that much? What if it's only 4 (as it is, we're told, with Donald Trump)? At what point can you say, I'm not an insomniac, I just happen to have a body that only needs that much?


1. "'Brexit' Revolt Casts a Shadow Over Hillary Clinton’s Cautious Path" (Patrick Healy, NYT). ("[W]hile many of Mr. Sanders’s supporters are expected to support her in November, she has not recalibrated her message to try to tap into the anger that he and Mr. Trump channeled. Nor does Mrs. Clinton have any plans, advisers say, to take cues from the Brexit campaign and start soft-pedaling her support for globalized markets, or denouncing porous borders, illegal immigrants and the lack of job protections in free-trade agreements...." And the pivot would not be easy because she supported NAFTA and because her views about trade are "nuanced" compared to Trump's.)

2.  "The Hillary Campaign Should Be Panicking/But are they buying into their own good press?" by Sarah Isgur Flores in The Weekly Standard. ("[It's] been over 200 days since her last press conference.... Hiding their candidate is exactly what the Clinton campaign is doing. It's hard to imagine Trump will make the rest of this race as easy for Clinton as he has the last few weeks. He's having a significantly better few days, and Brexit only helps his momentum. The fantasy within the Clinton campaign that they could easily take down Trump by calling him 'dangerously incoherent' should be giving way to reality after this batch of polling.Clinton is such a deeply flawed candidate that her staff is learning they can't even run up the score against Trump during the worst month of his campaign....)

3. Riddle: What's the difference between "nuanced" and "incoherent"? (The answer is easy, so I'll withhold my simple riposte and turn the discussion over to you.)


"Conservative columnist George Will told PJM he has officially left the Republican Party and urged conservatives not to support presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump even if it leads to a Democratic victory in the 2016 presidential election."

June 25, 2016

The wonderful "street-style" fashion photographer Bill Cunningham has died.

So sad. Sad, even though he was quite old — 87. What a loss.
In 2009, he was named a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy and profiled in The New Yorker, which described his columns On the Street and Evening Hours as the city’s unofficial yearbook, “an exuberant, sometimes retroactively embarrassing chronicle of the way we looked.”
He was a very unusual man...
He didn’t go to the movies. He didn’t own a television. He ate breakfast nearly every day at the Stage Star Deli on West 55th Street, where a cup of coffee and a sausage, egg and cheese could be had until very recently for under $3. He lived until 2010 in a studio above Carnegie Hall amid rows and rows of file cabinets, where he kept all of his negatives. He slept on a single-size cot, showered in a shared bathroom and, when he was asked why he spent years ripping up checks from magazines like Details (which he helped Annie Flanders launch in 1982), said: “Money’s the cheapest thing. Liberty and freedom is the most expensive.”
I highly recommend the documentary about him, "Bill Cunningham New York."

UPDATE: We re-watched the documentary just now. Very moving. "If you seek beauty, you will find it."

AND: Things in the documentary that I'm still thinking about the next morning:

1. All the bicycling. Bicycling in New York City, even at night, without a light (just wearing a reflective vest), even at the age of 80 and beyond.

2. His claim that he's interested in the clothes themselves and not the people, and his lack of any personal social or sex life. Even as he attended parties and other people tried to included him, he kept a distance.

3. People speculated that he must have come from wealth, because who else would willingly resist the wealthy, glamorous, famous, beautiful people who opened their arms to him, while he maintained his stance as the photographer, dressed — despite his love of clothing — in a cheap street-cleaner's jacket. Whatever the occasion was for the people he photographed, including the most formal galas, the occasion was the same for him: photography.

4. His family was, in fact, middle class, and he professed great love for his parents and saw himself as a combination of his father — who was very social and gregarious — and his mother — who, as he summarized it, was Catholic.

5. We learn that he goes to church every week, though he seems to want to say that he goes for the purpose of listening to the music. Then, late in the movie, he's confronted with the question of his sexuality. He deflects it: "You want to know if I'm gay?" That's a question he won't answer or he believes he's answered by saying that he has never had sex with anyone. (He insists that there was no time for that. He was working.) Did he abstain from sex because he was gay but, because of religion, believed that he needed to refrain from having gay sex? He was very supportive of gay people in his photojournalism, and we don't see him asked that question. But the next question is about religion, something about whether he really believes it. He's overcome with emotion and puts his head in his hands for a long time.

ADDED: 2 things from Meade:

1. That line I quoted from the movie — "If you seek beauty, you will find it" —  corresponds to what Jesus said: "Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you/For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened."

2. The explanation of the mystery of Bill Cunningham could be: He was a combination of his father and mother. The rich sociability of his father had to fit within the religion of his mother. He found a way to experience the attractions of materialism, wealth, and the physical, sexual world while keeping himself clear of all of the sins. Even gluttony: at the galas, he refused any of the food and drink (even a glass of water), he had no kitchen in his living quarters (even after he was moved out of the kitchenless studio at Carnegie Hall, he had the kitchen appliances and cabinets removed from the new apartment), he ate very cheap food from restaurants (and not enough to be anything but skinny), and he claimed not to care at all about food.

The 15th century mansion where Rupert Murdoch and his wife Jerry Hall had dinner with Donald Trump.

It's the MacLeod House, part of the Trump International Golf Links Scotland. Very nice. I'm also interested to be reminded of the weirdness that is Mick Jagger's ex-wife being married to the 80-year-old media tycoon. The Daily Mail reports and includes details like Trump's driving of Murdock and Hall in a golf cart (with Murdock left sitting alone in the back seat), the fact that Trump would probably order the the king prawn cocktail and a steak, and the reporters faux-fretting about the way Trump was showing off his a golf course instead instead of behaving like a conventional candidate who'd be grinding through a lot of fundraising at this point. Lots of pics at The Daily Mail, where they're sloppy enough to have a caption that reads "Whirlwind romance: Hall married Trump in March, three months after they announced their engagement," and mean enough to dig up an unflattering  2012 photo of Trump teeing off.

"When asked 'Where are you from?' almost no one would answer 'Europe,' because after 50 years of assiduous labor by the eurocrats, Europe remains a continent, not an identity."

Writes Megan McArdle:
As Matthew Yglesias points out, an EU-wide soccer team would be invincible — but who would root for it? These sorts of tribal affiliations cause problems, obviously, which is why elites were so eager to tamp them down. Unfortunately, they are also what glues polities together, and makes people willing to sacrifice for them. Trying to build the state without the nation has led to the mess that is the current EU. And to Thursday's election results. Elites missed this because they're the exception — the one group that has a transnational identity. And in fact the arguments for the EU look a lot like the old arguments for national states: a project that will empower people like us against the scary people who aren’t.
And it makes the argument against xenophobia seem like xenophobia.

SpotMini, the dog robot, is sprightly and agile...

... but don't miss the encounter with banana peels at 1:27.

And here's an article about it: "Boston Dynamics' robot dog is good enough to show how terrible home robots are right now."

"I put no stock in 'portents' and 'vibes,' but I can't help wondering if what's happened already this cycle is just a hint of what's to come."

Tweets Jeff Greenfield, the longtime political analyst and author of 13 books.

I can't remember the last time I laughed so much at something that I found funny precisely because of the seriousness with which it was intended.

If you know the podcast "Topics," by the comedians Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black, you should understand what I mean when I say that "Topics" is hilarious because of people like Jeff Greenfield.




Subject line of new email from Michelle Obama: "Eight more years like these."

Ann --

Tomorrow will be one of the many happy anniversaries that we've been able to celebrate together over the past few years -- one year since the Supreme Court ruled that every American has the right to marry the person they love.

I hope you'll take a minute to think about all the moments like this one, when we've been able to look back and see the fruits of all our hard work. (In fact, go ahead and take a few minutes, because there's so much that we should be proud of.)

And then I want you to think about how much we could accomplish with another eight years like these. ...
Enjoy this moment, Ann.

Take a minute to enjoy all the moments or — with Michelle's permission — take multiple moments to enjoy just so many moments looking backward 8 years and then take some more moments — lots of moments — to think about 8 more years of the same kind of thing. Enjoy!

Who declared "a simple, simple, simple belief that we share, that anything, anything, anything is possible" — and where was he when he said that?

Anything is possible if you say it 3 times.*

It was Joe Biden, in Ireland. 

What?! As Brexit happens, Joe Biden's in Ireland and Donald Trump is in Scotland, and both men are talking about their mothers. (Biden's mother had Irish ancestors, and Trump's mother immigrated from Scotland.)
[Biden] noted how his mother had instilled in him a pride in his Irish heritage, as well as “an absolute certitude that she or any of us were equal to any man or woman on Earth.”
Trump said:
I love the people of Scotland. That's why I built in Aberdeen in one of the great golf courses of the world.... I've gotten to know the people of Scotland so well and you know, through my mother and through everything else. The people of Scotland are amazing people....

"The vote to Leave amounts to an outpouring of fury against the 'establishment.' Everyone from Barack Obama to the heads of NATO and the IMF urged Britons to embrace the EU."

"Their entreaties were spurned by voters who rejected not just their arguments but the value of 'experts' in general. Large chunks of the British electorate that have borne the brunt of public-spending cuts and have failed to share in Britain’s prosperity are now in thrall to an angry populism."

Say the editors of The Economist.

People are stopping taking instruction from the elite. The elite are terrified — at least for themselves and their own power — and they must struggle to find a way to convey that terror to the common people, who seem to be coming to believe that it's all been a big con. The main argument the elite have for the people is: If you don't stick with us, you're doing populism — you're in thrall to angry populism — and populism is bad and wrong.

Judging from the "readers' picks" comments, the NYT article designed to instill empathy for immigrants did not work.

The article, "Low-Priority Immigrants Still Swept Up in Net of Deportation," begins:
Three agents knocked on the door of a modest duplex in a Wisconsin town just after dawn. The Mexican immigrant living on the ground floor stuck his head out.

They asked his name and he gave it. Within minutes José Cervantes Amaral was in handcuffs as his wife, also from Mexico, silently watched. After 18 years working and living quietly in the United States, Mr. Cervantes, who did not have legal papers, rode away in the back seat, heading for deportation.

It is a routine that continues daily.
You can read the whole thing, but you catch the drift. Readers are being instructed to rankle at the new Supreme Court case and to empathize with the good, hard-working, long-suffering immigrants.
After Thursday’s Supreme Court decision, the president’s protections are gone, but the enforcement plan remains in effect. It is part of a particularly edgy moment for immigrants and their supporters framed by the Supreme Court ruling, Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign and Britain’s surprise vote, influenced in part by anti-immigrant sentiments, to leave the European Union.
But look at the highest-rated comments. They're not taking the cue to distinguish themselves from those terrible people who vote for Trump/Brexit and thereby increase the suffering of immigrants. Despite the promptings of the elite opinion-leaders of the NYT, they're agreeing with the Trumpers and Brexiters.

Here's the 2 highest-rated comment, each with 118 recommendations:
Michael H. Alameda, California
These are good, hard-working, wonderful people. Unfortunately, there are two or three billion more, just like them, who would also love to come to the USA.

Meanwhile, US citizens with minimal skills and poor work habits are unemployed. Until we can motivate our own citizens to work, we have no room for anyone else. Part of the motivation would be higher wages, leading to more expensive tomatoes.

I can afford more expensive tomatoes. As a nation we can't afford a completely disenfranchised lower class, with no chance of working their way up. Charity starts at home.

June 24, 2016

Bachelor button, blooming.


Compare yesterday's photo of the bud.

"Restorative justice is not a place for me to use or send a case to sweep things under the rug or to avoid making difficult decisions."

"It is a place for this community to work with its young people to build a more just and peaceful community."


Humor in The New Yorker... which also came up with this "silly walks" new cover by Barry Blitt:

"Britain’s stunning vote to leave the European Union suggests that we’ve been seriously underestimating Donald Trump’s ability to win the presidential election."

Says James Hohmann (in WaPo), who clearly wants Hillary to win:
In the short term, the impending fallout from Brexit will make the presumptive Democratic nominee look good. She advocated for Britain remaining in the union; Trump advocated for leaving. The markets are going to tank today, and this vote will set off a tsunami of repercussions that could meaningfully damage the global economy. People’s 401(k)’s might take a shellacking, and interest rates may spike. Any long-term benefits from breaking away will not be apparent until after the general election....

But the results across the pond spotlight five forces that could allow him to score an upset: 1. RESENTMENT OF ELITES.... 2. XENOPHOBIA... 3. ISOLATIONISM... 4. FLAWED POLLING/The polls showed a neck-and-neck race, and surveys in the past few days showed movement in the direction of “Remain” after Cox’s murder. In the end, though, “Leave” prevailed by 4 points.... 5. COMPLACENCY/The Remain campaign was burdened by complacency. Millennials, who overwhelmingly wanted to remain in the E.U., did not turn out at the same rate as older voters, who wanted to leave...

"No games!"

What's up with the "No games!" line? To me, it seems like something from an old personals ad — something trite and dumb. But I have seen it in the political context. Here — from the Wisconsin protests of 2011: