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.

Breadseed.

P1330420

P1330425

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.

Michelle
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.

DSC_0022

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."

"BRITISH LOSE RIGHT TO CLAIM THAT AMERICANS ARE DUMBER."

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:

DSC_0037

DSC_0082

Musicians in Washington Square Park.

Some new photos by my son John Althouse Cohen (click on the photos for a better, larger view):

Washington Square Park

Cohen_160620_0417.jpg

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

"And take careful note of the American man’s v-neck sweater. That’s the uniform of a man who is owned by a woman."

That's Scott Adams hating on the v-neck sweater in a blog post titled "The Humiliation of the American Male in 2016." He uses a Cascade TV ad to illustrate his point that "the humiliation of American men is now institutionalized in the media" — and he sees that as a big undercurrent in the rise of Donald Trump. I guess "Make America Great Again" translates, psychically, to Restore My Manhood and consequently — according to Adams — there's going to be a massive turnout of men sweeping thrusting Trump to victory.

But what's so awful about the v-neck sweater? I was struck by Adams's certitude about the unmanliness of the v-neck. How could the shape of the neck matter? Is he reading the letter "V" and thinking of the prominently feminine V words, vagina and vulva? But there are masculine V words: virility, valiant, vigor (JFK's word), vitality, victory.

You may remember that on Christmas eve in 2014, I was puzzled by something a saleslady in Austin, Texas said to me as I was looking for a sweater to give to one of my sons (both are men in their 30s).
She pulls one out that she thinks might be suitable, but then says in a somewhat apologetic tone: "It has a V-neck."

ME: Is there something wrong with V-neck sweaters? People have some kind of problem with V-necks? What's that about?

SHE: Well, my husband doesn't like them. But he's black.

ME (resisting the urge to say "Black people don't like V-neck sweaters?"): V-neck sweaters... are... square?
I blogged that really not knowing what the problem was with V-neck sweaters. Did the commenters help? Well, Jason said "Get back home, Loretta," refers to Loretta Martin, the character in the Beatles' "Get Back" who "thought she was a woman but she was another man." But it wasn't Loretta who was "wearing her high-heel shoes and her low-neck sweater," it was her mother, who was waiting for her back home where she once belonged.

And lemondog said "Uh... oh... V-neck," linking here:



Wow! He's got his hand in the position seen in picture of John Calvin I put up in yesterday's post about the Café Fellatio (where I was hoping you'd read that hand gesture in phallic terms?).



Anyway, I was very interested in getting a solution to this v-neck mystery from Scott Adams. The v-neck, in his view, is aggressively, horrifically emasculating:
How many of the married men reading this blog have received those same sweaters as “gifts” from women? Personally, I’ve received about 25 over the years. None from men. I received three of those sweaters so far this year. I throw them away. Nice try.
Ah! But wait! Wait, Scott Adams: You need to get your mind around this painting of Donald Trump that hangs in his Mar-a-Lago estate:

"The whole world is more peaceful and stable when our two countries – and our two peoples – are united together, as they will be under a Trump Administration."

"The people of the United Kingdom have exercised the sacred right of all free peoples. They have declared their independence from the European Union and have voted to reassert control over their own politics, borders and economy. A Trump Administration pledges to strengthen our ties with a free and independent Britain, deepening our bonds in commerce, culture and mutual defense. The whole world is more peaceful and stable when our two countries – and our two peoples – are united together, as they will be under a Trump Administration. Come November, the American people will have the chance to re-declare their independence. Americans will have a chance to vote for trade, immigration and foreign policies that put our citizens first. They will have the chance to reject today’s rule by the global elite, and to embrace real change that delivers a government of, by and for the people. I hope America is watching, it will soon be time to believe in America again."

Trump leverages Brexit. 

"I found a cicada with the mcdonalds logo on it's back."

I know. It should be "its." But still....

"Will the EU still use English?"

"Yes, says BBC Europe editor Katya Adler. There will still be 27 other EU states in the bloc, and others wanting to join in the future, and the common language tends to be English - 'much to France's chagrin,' she says."

"The simple answer to the question as to whether the EU referendum is legally binding is 'no.'"

"In theory, in the event of a vote to leave the EU, David Cameron, who opposes Brexit, could decide to ignore the will of the people and put the question to MPs banking on a majority deciding to remain. This is because parliament is sovereign and referendums are generally not binding in the UK."

ADDED: "The referendum result is not legally binding - Parliament still has to pass the laws that will get Britain out of the 28 nation bloc, starting with the repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act."
The withdrawal agreement also has to be ratified by Parliament - the House of Lords and/or the Commons could vote against ratification, according to a House of Commons library report.

In practice, Conservative MPs who voted to remain in the EU would be whipped to vote with the government. Any who defied the whip would have to face the wrath of voters at the next general election.

One scenario that could see the referendum result overturned, is if MPs forced a general election and a party campaigned on a promise to keep Britain in the EU, got elected and then claimed that the election mandate topped the referendum one.

"Fearing ex-boyfriend, woman installs security system only to find him under her bed."

WaPo headline. Some text:
As the [ADT Security] technician finished up the installation of the system on Tuesday, around 3 p.m., the woman went into her bedroom to grab her cellphone. But the phone had vanished from where she’d left it. If there was a mystery to where it had gone, the reason was immediately — and alarmingly — apparent. A pair of feet poked out from underneath her bed....

The woman drew a gun, shot Gunter in his left foot and told the ADT installer to dial the police. WZTV reported that she demanded the now-wounded Gunter give her back her phone, which he tossed to the woman from beneath the bed. She kept him there, weapon trained, until the authorities arrived. Police say he admitted to breaking into the house, and stole the phone to prevent her from calling for help....
So a security system was a good idea, and it's good to have a phone (if you can find it) to call the police, but the gun was important. That said, I don't see why she had to shoot him.

"Following a vote to leave the EU the former Mayor of London was called 'scum' and 'racist scum' by crowds waiting outside his home..."

"Wearing a blue suit and red tie [Boris] Johnson, a leading Leave campaigner, was forced to move swiftly as a large group of people chanted and screamed at him following the vote."
Johnson said nothing the dozens of journalists waiting outside his London home when he finally left. He was flanked by several police officers who escorted him to a waiting car, while one member of the public was heard to shout 'twat'....

A crowd of roughly forty cyclists and bystanders blocked a junction, taunting him with "where are you going Boris?".

One man yelled: "The pound is down, what do you say about that? Is it going to be all right, Boris? Is the UK going to be all right, Boris? Are we going to be all right, mate? Come on, man up."
Here's a picture of Boris Johnson, whose resemblance to Donald Trump is very weird.



He may be the next British Prime Minister (and David Cameron just announced, after the Brexit vote, that he's stepping down). And Johnson has been compared to Donald Trump. Here's former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg saying: "Perhaps Boris has looked across the Atlantic at the Republican presidential front-runner and decided that with enough bluster and bravado he can get away with ignoring the facts and saying whatever he wants."

And Donald Trump is in the UK right now. What's going on? WaPo columnist Dan Balz writes that Trump's trip may just be a coincidence (really?) but there are similarities in the "emotional issues of national and cultural identity at a time of growing demographic diversity, highlighted in both countries by often-angry debates over immigration."
In this new arena [of social media and cable television], Trump proved more skillful than his Republican opponents at mastering communication. In Britain, there are complaints that Cameron and others leading the “remain” campaign have been outdone in this category by the likes of Boris Johnson, the flamboyant former mayor of London and a Conservative member of Parliament, whose ambition to take Cameron’s job is well known....
And here's Politico's Joseph J. Schatz:
An American in London could be forgiven for having Donald Trump flashbacks Tuesday night. In the penultimate debate before Thursday’s landmark vote on leaving the European Union, held at Wembley Stadium, former London mayor Boris Johnson delivered what might be called his “Make Great Britain Great Again” speech, telling the British people that "if we vote leave and take back control, this Thursday can be our country's independence day.”

But rhetorical similarities to “Make America Great Again” aside, Boris Johnson is not Donald Trump. And for all the common misgivings about globalization in both countries, and the parallels being made between Great Britain’s nativist-tinged debate over leaving the EU and the rise of conservative populism in the United States, a vote for “Brexit” doesn’t exactly equal a vote for Trump....

... Cameron has appeased the anti-EU backbenchers in his ranks for years, but instead of strengthening him, the appeasement has expended him. To [Tim Oliver, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science] it’s very much like how GOP leaders stoked anti-Washington rage among their members, inadvertently fueling the rise of Trump. Cameron kept “throwing concessions to his Euro-skeptic backbenchers” in the same way that U.S. Republican leaders kept saying “no, no, no” to Obamacare and promising again and again that they would repeal it, Oliver said. That helped discredit the GOP establishment—and lead to Trump.
AND: Here's the NYT: "Populist Anger Upends Politics on Both Sides of the Atlantic." Excerpt:
“Basically, they took back their country,” Mr. Trump said Friday morning from Scotland, where he was promoting his golf courses. “That’s a good thing.”

Asked where public anger was greatest, Mr. Trump said: “U.K. U.S. There’s plenty of other places. This will not be the last.”...

June 23, 2016

Bachelor button bud.

DSC_0005

DSC_0006

"Counting is under way in a referendum that will decide whether the UK remains a member of the European Union."

"There is no exit poll - so the millions who cast a ballot will have to wait until results start coming in to find out how the country voted.... The referendum result... should be known by breakfast time on Friday...."

So in the UK, people are supposed to just go to bed on election night and find out what happens the next day. The election is not a TV show to be watched all night like a sporting event. What fun is that?!

"Tüpflischiesser — Literally someone who 'shits little dots,' a Tüpflischiesser is a pedant for whom everything has to be done in the right way."

"This could include the government official who makes you redo a form because you’ve filled everything out in black pen rather than the blue pen clearly specified. Or it might include the neighbour who enjoys reminding you cleaning is not allowed after 10pm."

From "Nine surprising Swiss German words you need to know now."

At the Café Fellatio in Geneva.

You can get café and fellatio.
Modelled on similar establishments in Thailand, the proposed Geneva café would add a new dimension to the sex trade in the city of the protestant reformer Calvin.

Put simply, the business model would see men ordering a coffee and using an iPad to select a prostitute they want to perform oral sex on them. They would then sit at the bar.
I like the way Calvin made an appearance in this news story.



In other Swiss sausage news — cutting the other way — the school district of Binningen in Basel-Country, in deference to Muslims, has taken pork off the primary school lunch menu. Not without objection:
“We are outraged. When we first hear [about the decision] we thought we weren’t reading it right,” Swiss People’s Party representative Susanna Keller said at a local council meeting on Monday. Speaking at the meeting, she argued that sausages such as the Klöpfer – a boiled sausage similar to the cervelat – were part of Switzerland’s cultural heritage.
“Could it be that we are adapting to certain cultures, rather than the other way around,” Keller said...
Can't we all — like the bratwurst, the schüblig, and the cervelat — just get along?



We all know that people are the same wherever you go/There is good and bad in everyone/And we learn to live, we learn to give each other/What we need to survive together alive/Cervelat, brat, and schüblig live together in perfect harmony/Side by side on my buffet sideboard, oh Lord, why don't we?

"The Baltimore police officer who drove the van in which Freddie Gray sustained a fatal spinal injury was acquitted on Thursday of second-degree murder and six lesser charges..."

"... leaving prosecutors still without a conviction after three high-profile trials in a case that has shaken this city."
In his ruling, Judge Barry G. Williams rejected the prosecution’s claim that the officer, Caesar R. Goodson Jr., had given Mr. Gray a “rough ride” in the van, intentionally putting him at risk for an injury by taking a wide turn while Mr. Gray was not secured with a seatbelt.

“The court finds there is insufficient evidence that the defendant gave or intended to give Mr. Gray a rough ride,” Judge Williams, said, adding that there had not been “evidence presented at this trial that the defendant intended for any crime to happen.”...

The state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, heaved a sigh and walked out, her head down, escorted by her security guard. The two prosecutors who tried the case, Jan Bledsoe and Michael Schatzow, followed, purse-lipped and looking glum.
ADDED: Remember last year, when The Huffington Post was enthusing about the "objectively badass" Marilyn Mosby?



I said at the time: "If the question is the abuse of government power in the form of the police, the answer is not mindless cheerleading for another form of government power, a prosecutor."

Federal jury decides in favor of Led Zeppelin.

In the "Stairway to Heaven" trial.
Jurors were not played the Taurus recording, which contains a section that sounds very similar to the instantly recognizable start of Stairway. Instead, they were played guitar and piano renditions by musicians on both sides of the case. Not surprisingly, the plaintiff's version on guitar sounded more like Stairway than the defense version on piano.

Experts for both sides dissected both compositions, agreeing mainly that they shared a descending chord progression that dates back three centuries as a building block in lots of songs....

Jurors never heard a note from Page or Plant live, but they were treated to lo-fi vintage recordings of the band creating the song, renditions on guitar and piano by other musicians and, finally, the full recording of one of rock's most enduring anthems.

Page, 72, bobbed his head and moved to the tune while Plant, 67, sat still. Both men wore sharp suits, white shirts and ties throughout the trial and had their hair pulled back in neat ponytails. They didn't chat with anyone in the gallery, including several fans, and were escorted by personal bodyguards to the restroom and in and out of the federal courthouse each day....

Here's a new thing to worry about.

We're using up the sand.

Alito's analogy.

In Mathis v. United States, just announced today, Alito begins his dissenting opinion like this:
Sabine Moreau lives in Solre-sur-Sambre, a town in Belgium located 38 miles south of Brussels. One day she set out in her car to pick up a friend at the Brussels train station, a trip that should have taken under an hour. She programmed her GPS and headed off. Although the GPS sent her south, not north, she apparently thought nothing of it. She dutifully stayed on the prescribed course. Nor was she deterred when she saw road signs in German for Cologne, Aachen, and Frankfurt. “I asked myself no questions,” she later recounted. “I kept my foot down.” [OMITTED: A footnote citing news coverage like this.]

Hours passed. After crossing through Germany, she entered Austria. Twice she stopped to refuel her car. She was involved in a minor traffic accident. When she tired,she pulled over and slept in her car. She crossed the Alps, drove through Slovenia, entered Croatia, and finally arrived in Zagreb—two days and 900 miles after leaving her home. Either she had not properly set her GPS or the device had malfunctioned. But Ms. Moreau apparently refused to entertain that thought until she arrived in the Croatian capital. Only then, she told reporters, did she realize that she had gone off course, and she called home, where the police were investigating her disappearance.

Twenty-six years ago, in Taylor v. United States, 495 U. S. 575, 602 (1990), this Court set out on a journey like Ms. Moreau’s. Our task in Taylor, like Ms. Moreau’s short trip to the train station, might not seem very difficult — determining when a conviction for burglary counts as a prior conviction for burglary under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U. S. C. §924(e)....

The Supreme Court affirms United States v. Texas — Obama and immigration — by an evenly divided 4-4 decision.

SCOTUSblog reports: "This means that the enforcement of the Obama admnistration's [sic] 2014 deferred-action policy remains blocked by a nationwide injunction."

There's nothing from the Supreme Court to read, just: "The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court."

Here's my blog post from the oral argument last April. The question was about standing, whether the states have a good-enough injury to make it a real "case" within the meaning of Article III of the Constitution.
The government lost below, so a 4-4 split would leave in place an injunction barring the policy. There had been some speculation that Justice Roberts might give a 5th vote to the pro-government side using a standing doctrine ground, but he said something that made that seem unlikely:
... Mr. Verrilli asserted that the state of Texas should not be allowed to challenge the president’s actions by claiming it would cost the state money to give driver’s licenses to the millions of immigrants affected by the federal policy. Mr. Verrilli argued that Texas could simply change its law to deny driver’s licenses to the immigrants.

“You would sue them instantly,” Chief Justice Roberts said as he repeatedly questioned the government’s arguments.
So the outcome today is what the argument made me think would happen.

ADDED: It's very good, I think, to have this policy frozen in place as we go through the election where immigration is a big issue. 

AND: Here's Adam Liptak's coverage in The NYT, with the background on Obama's plan, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.

The Supreme Court upholds the affirmative action program at the University of Texas.

SCOTUSblog reports.

MORE: This is a 4-3 decision, not a mere affirmance by an evenly divided Court. The odd number of Justices is due to Kagan's recusal. (She worked on the case when she was Solicitor General.)

According to SCOTUSblog, the opinion, written by Justice Kennedy, is "decidedly a compromise," because it requires UT to "continue to reassess its need for any kind of race-conscious affirmative action" and finds it "justified only by a robust record showing that other means of addressing diversity concerns have failed." SCOTUSblog detects "a pretty meaningful shift away here from the trajectory of Fisher I," which "faulted the lower court for giving too much deference to the judgments of the university." Kennedy wrote:
"Considerable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission."
AND: As the Court put it:
"The Court’s affirmance of the University’s admissions policy today does not necessarily mean the University may rely on that same policy without refinement. It is the University’s ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admission policies."
ALSO: Alito has a 50-page dissent that includes the line: "Something strange has happened since our prior deci­sion in this case." I don't think that's supposed to be a reference to the death of Antonin Scalia. In any event, if Scalia had lived — assuming he wouldn't have swayed Kennedy from his deference-to-educators approach — the decision would have been 4-4, affirming the Court below and leaving UT to its own devices.

PLUS: Those of you who are disappointed by this decision should consider that it advantages your side of the political argument. A decision going the other way would have made the issue of Supreme Court appointments much more conspicuous and given Hillary Clinton a great boost.

AND: This is the case where Justice Scalia — at oral argument, 3 months before his death — expressed objection to affirmative action in a notably clumsy way, saying maybe those who would, without affirmative action, be better off, because they'd be at "slower-track schools."

Is it just a coincidence that Trump is in Scotland the day the U.K. is voting on Brexit?

The NYT is portraying him as cluelessly attending to a business venture, while his campaign here in the U.S. is understaffed and underfunded. The article is by Ashley Parker and Maggie Haberman, to whom Trump recently said: "You two wouldn’t know how to write a good story about me if you tried."

In today's article, Parker and Haberman say:
Normally when presidential contenders travel abroad, they do so to burnish their foreign policy credentials, cramming their schedules with high-level meetings with foreign dignitaries and opining on the pressing international issues of the day. But, to a large extent, Mr. Trump’s business interests still drive his behavior, and his schedule. He has planned two days in Scotland, with no meetings with government or political leaders scheduled.

And despite the fact that Mr. Trump touches down in Britain the day after its “Brexit” vote on whether to leave the European Union, his itinerary — a helicopter landing at his luxury resort, a ceremonial ribbon cutting and family photo, and a news conference — reads like a public relations junket crossed with a golf vacation.

“Traditionally, nominees travel oversees during this period to brush up their foreign policy depth and visit 10 Downing Street and Israel — for politics back here,” said Scott W. Reed, senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Everyone knows this is the wrong thing for the nominee to be doing now, and it is amazing this can’t be stopped.”
Everyone knows.... But I suspect Trump knows some things that other people don't know and has ideas about what he's doing that are not reflected in the itinerary. Maybe golfing and attending to business in Scotland is better political theater than hobnobbing with government and political leaders.

Remember how the various characters Trump beat went to London?
A tour of London is becoming an unpleasant rite of passage for American politicians with presidential ambitions. Republican Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana traveled to the United Kingdom recently to try to burnish their foreign policy credentials. Next up is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is in London this week as his early-state polling numbers back home have started to tick up. They've all found that traveling across the pond can be more like sailing into a perfect storm.

They've all found that traveling across the pond can be more like sailing into a perfect storm. For Christie, his troubles stemmed from a puzzlingly ambiguous comment about vaccinations that unleashed a firestorm of disapproval and quickly had the governor's aides scrambling to clarify his initial remarks. For Jindal, it was his condemnation of so-called "no-go" zones and "non-assimilation" of immigrants in Europe that had his critics agitated even after he was back on American soil.

Walker wasn't able to entirely escape controversy. He punted on a question about evolution on Wednesday, saying it's not a topic for politicians to discuss -- an answer that could revive scrutiny of how some Republicans interpret science.
Trump isn't going to London, but to Scotland.

Back to Parker and Haberman:
When Barack Obama headed to Europe as a presidential candidate in 2008, and Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, traveled to England, Israel and Poland during his campaign, both men went to demonstrate their global savvy and stature, in meticulously planned visits. (Mr. Romney’s trip, nonetheless, was a gaffe-ridden disaster and many of his aides later said they wished he had stayed home.)
Why, oh why, did what worked for Obama not work for Mitt Romney? Once might say everybody knows European leaders don't like to be used as props to give Republicans the appearance of "global savvy and stature."
Showing up right after the Brexit vote, in the middle of a tumultuous time, is leaving Mr. Trump especially vulnerable to criticism, as well as creating the potential for an international blunder.
How can he blunder if he has no political events on his itinerary? You can't have it both ways! Either his visit is Brexit connected or mere coincidence. You have to entertain the theory that he's doing some sort of political theater that's not yet clear. But points for revealing that you're rooting for him to commit an international blunder.
When asked about the vote in an interview this month with The Hollywood Reporter, Mr. Trump seemed not to be familiar with Britain’s referendum, first answering, “Huh?” and then, “Hmm.” Finally, after the Brexit vote was explained to him, Mr. Trump answered with his trademark decisiveness: “Oh yeah, I think they should leave,” he said, a sentiment he has since repeated. On Wednesday morning, however, Mr. Trump told Fox Business that his opinion on the issue was not significant since he had not followed it closely.
Dumb or cagey. I'm thinking the pro-Brexit Brits know Trump's on their side and see that he's on their territory, territory they are intent on protecting from the insufficiently British hoards — sentiment that corresponds to Trump's signature issue back in the U.S.A.

Golfing is symbolic of the traditional in Scotland as the U.K. votes on embracing its traditional identity. So golfing — and attending to business — may be good political theater. You have to think about the optics, and what can be used against a Republican will be used. But I'm thinking these optics work for him.

And by the way... is Obama — who golfs more than any President — ever criticized for the bad optics? It takes quite a lot, but the answer is yes:

"tribal-court jurisdiction, affirmative action, DUI tests without a warrant, the interpretation of a federal law prohibiting possession of firearms by individuals convicted of domestic violence, abortion, Bob McDonnell, immigration...."

A "really short version of what's left" for the Supreme Court to decide, from SCOTUSblog, which is live-blogging the release of opinions this morning.

"The Democrats Are Boldly Fighting For a Bad, Stupid Bill."

Writes Alex Pareene, at Gawker (that is, not a conservative, gun-rights type person).
The no-fly list is a civil rights disaster by every conceivable standard. It is secret, it disproportionately affects Arab-Americans, it is error-prone, there is no due process or effective recourse for people placed on the list, and it constantly and relentlessly expands. As of 2014, the government had a master watchlist of 680,000 people, forty percent of whom had “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” This is both an absurdly large number of people to arbitrarily target in gun control legislation, and far, far too few to have any meaningful effect on actual gun ownership, let alone gun violence.
How is his lefty audience taking it? From one of the most up-voted comments, by RappingNinja:
1) I don’t give a shit about denying anyone the ability to buy guns, even if it’s “unfair” to those people, because - unless you’re getting a single-shot rifle to hunt squirrel to feed your starving family - NO ONE SHOULD OWN ANY FUCKING GUNS....
Why aren't human beings better at reasoning? Notice that this guy is — probably unwittingly — declaring that he'd be just fine with a law that came right out and said no Muslims can buy guns.

When people think a particular liberty isn't worth exercising or is actively wrong to exercise, do they become blind to the problem of selective deprivation? Think of the liberties that could fall into that category: drinking alcohol, having an abortion, sodomy, etc. Assume you're one of the people who think that no one should do these things. You shouldn't accept a law that said only young men are forbidden to buy a drink, only white women are forbidden to have an abortion, and only same-sex couples are forbidden to engage in sodomy. So why would you close your eyes to a government arrogation of power to make a big list of persons who may not do these things? I suspect that the answer you might not want to have to admit is: You favor the discrimination but think it needs to be done covertly.

June 22, 2016

2 views of the poppy.

By me, with the point-and-shoot:

P1150415

By Meade, with the Nikon SLR with the Micro-NIKKOR 105mm lens:

Poppy

"The political system that’s rigged," says Donald Trump, inviting "Bernie Sanders’ voters to join our movement: so together we can fix the system for ALL Americans."

Here's the full transcript of today's speech.
We will never be able to fix a rigged system by counting on the same people who rigged it in the first place. The insiders wrote the rules of the game to keep themselves in power and in the money....

[I]t’s not just the political system that’s rigged. It’s the whole economy. It’s rigged by big donors who want to keep down wages. It’s rigged by big businesses who want to leave our country, fire our workers, and sell their products back into the U.S. with absolutely no consequences for them. It’s rigged by bureaucrats who are trapping kids in failing schools. It’s rigged against you, the American people....

If I am elected President, I will end the special interest monopoly in Washington, D.C. The other candidate in this race has spent her entire life making money for special interests – and taking money from special interests. Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft. She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund – doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others, in exchange for cash. Then, when she left, she made $21.6 million giving speeches to Wall Street banks and other special interests – in less than 2 years – secret speeches that she does not want to reveal to the public. Together, she and Bill made $153 million giving speeches to lobbyists, CEOs, and foreign governments in the years since 2001. They totally own her, and that will never change.

The choice in this election is a choice between taking our government back from the special interests, or surrendering our last scrap of independence to their total and complete control. Those are the stakes.
Much more at the link, where you can also watch the video.

"So it seems to [Scott Adams] that gun control can’t be solved because..."

"Democrats are using guns to kill each other – and want it to stop – whereas Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats."
...  Democrats are unlikely to talk Republicans out of gun ownership because it comes off as “Put down your gun so I can shoot you.”...

So let’s stop acting as if there is something like “common sense” gun control to be had if we all act reasonably. That’s not an option in this case because we all have different risk profiles when it comes to guns. My gun probably makes me safer, but perhaps yours makes you less safe. You can’t reconcile those interests....

Fear always beats reason. So as long as Democrats are mostly using guns to shoot innocent people (intentionally or accidentally) and Republicans are mostly using guns for sport or self-defense, no compromise can be had.

"Family says Madison police used unfair treatment in arresting 18-year-old woman."

"Police said Genele Laird displayed a knife, threatened to kill security staff, and resisted officers trying to detain her," the Wisconsin State Journal reports.
About 30 demonstrators protested Laird’s arrest Tuesday night at the Public Safety Building, displaying a sign that said: "Hands off black women."...

A rose...

DSC_0093

"I don’t know what’s going to happen under Hillary Clinton. Obviously she’s preferable to Donald Trump..."

"... and I don’t blame black folks who vote for her or support her. I get it. But I just don’t know. When I see her husband defending her use of the 'superpredator,' come on. Talking about how the crime bill actually cut crime, come on. Stand back. Defending welfare reform at this hour? Here’s the thing that’s most damning for me: How do you take $600,000 from Goldman Sachs for speeches, knowing you’re going to run for president? Somebody says, 'What were you doing?' and you say, 'Well, that’s what they offered.' It’s a disturbing lack of personal judgment. So it scares me.

Said Ta-Nehisi Coates in his Playboy interview.

"But if you’re not a gamer and you’re not looking for a new kitchen, V.R. is, at this point, just too immersive for most media."

"A few minutes after donning my goggles, I came to regard my virtual surroundings as a kind of prison. Yes, V.R. is a prison of fantastical sights and sounds and one that is at moments irresistibly exciting, but it’s a prison nevertheless," writes Farhad Manjoo in The NYT, who thinks virtual reality is especially bad for porn. He was afraid to try it himself, so he quotes some tech editor named Mike Wehner:
“I don’t care who you are, there’s a fantastic chance you know the paralyzing fear that shoots up your spine when you’re watching a smidgen of erotica and you think you hear the door open, a creak from the stairway or even a random footstep... That feeling is amplified to an insane degree when you can’t actually see or hear what is happening around you, and it’s not an experience that is conducive to self pleasure.”

"'I didn’t cooperate well,' a woman said. 'I wasn’t courageous enough,' another confessed."

"Then the [bank employee training] session took a bizarre turn. The coach brandished a wooden stick and shouted, 'Get your behinds ready!' He proceeded to slap the employees on their rears, going down the line four times."

Which of the 2 conventions is going to get the more politically damaging protests?

That's the real question, I think, behind the NYT headline, "Will Dominant Images of Conventions Be of Unity or Protest?" Look how the text — written by the delightfully named Trip Gabriel — probes into the comparison between what Trump's going to get and what the Democrats are attracting:
Republicans arriving in Cleveland next month to nominate Donald J. Trump will be greeted by as many as 6,000 protesters on the first day, a noisy coalition of dozens of groups, including Black Lives Matter and the Workers World Party. The demonstrators intend to ignore restrictions keeping them far from the delegates, raising fears the violence that accompanied some of Mr. Trump’s rallies will be magnified on a mass scale....
This doesn't seem to be much of a threat to Trump. Either the protests will be inconsequential and not matter or, if they get unruly or violent, they will help Trump. These are left-wing groups, so they're not expressing any GOP sentiments, and if they are disorderly, they'll be making the argument for more order, which is essentially a pro-GOP argument.
A week later, as Democrats pour into Philadelphia, so will an army of Bernie Sanders supporters planning Occupy Wall Street-style protests against what they call the “fraudulent” nomination of Hillary Clinton. One group, Occupy DNC Convention, is circulating information about protecting oneself from tear gas by wearing a vinegar-soaked bandanna and swim goggles.
These protesters, being Sanders supporters, are Democrats. We'll be seeing Democrats fervently asserting that the Democratic Party nominee should be opposed. That's going to hurt Hillary, because her own party's people reject her, and, if it's chaotic or violent, it will — for some viewers — suggest the need for more conservative government. The terms "Daddy Party" and "Mommy Party" have long been used to refer to the Republican and Democratic parties, and that comparison is more vivid than ever this year, and not just because the Democrats are nominating a woman. The Republicans are nominating an unusually steely patriarch. If chaos or violence cause us to long for order, it may help Republicans even more than it usually does.

When you get about half way into the longish NYT article, you'll find it gets around to the point I'm making:
In Cleveland, Mr. Trump — who will be confronted by left-wing demonstrators, not fellow Republicans — could potentially benefit from scenes of mayhem that allow him to call for law and order and project strength... Street chaos, if it occurs, could overshadow disunion in the convention hall as an increasing array of party leaders nervously break ranks with Mr. Trump.

Democratic leaders are worried about emerging from their convention with an unmollified “Bernie or Bust” contingent whose protests could provide jarring split-screen images as the party seeks to rally around Mrs. Clinton.
I'm sure that the media will work to help Hillary Clinton frame the narrative to her advantage and that they will resist any facilitation of the pro-Trump narrative even if the facts on the ground amply support it.

But Trump has some great potential material here, and he can even use the discord within his party to his advantage. That discord is drama, and Trump can make some post-Lewandowski pivoting moves that break the tension at just the right moment inside the convention hall. With peace breaking out inside, and the forces of barbarism raging outside, the home-viewing audience will feel satisfaction in the theater of Trump's convention launch.

A morning walk.

P1150415

I snapped that as I arrived back Meadhouse after walking what my iPhone assures me was 3,076 steps.

"It's not about Harriet Tubman, it's about keeping the picture on the $20. Y'know? Why would you want to change that? I am a conservative, I like to keep what we have."

Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) was trying — unsuccessfully — to get the House to vote to forbid the Treasury Department from redesigning the $20 to replace "what we have" — Andrew Jackson — with the sublimely admirable Harriet Tubman.
The conservative gadfly said it is "racist" and "sexist" to say a woman or person of color should be added to currency. "Here's what's really happening: This is liberal activism on the part of the president that's trying to identify people by categories, and he's divided us on the lines of groups. ... This is a divisive proposal on the part of the president, and mine's unifying. It says just don't change anything.... President Obama's on his way out the door.... He's going to do everything he can think of to upset this society and this civilization."
The Rules Committee managed to step up and save the Republicans from the political idiocy of voting against Harriet Tubman.

Actually, I think there should be some way for Republicans to accuse Democrats of racial divisiveness, but voting against Harriet Tubman isn't the right way. King objects to identifying people by categories, and dividing us on the lines of groups, which — at an abstract level — is the best approach for Republicans to counter what Democrats are continually doing with race and sex.

But Harriet Tubman is one, specific person and obviously a big hero. There's political theater in selecting her and enshrining her on the $20 bill that seems motivated by a desire to gratify people in some of the groups that the Democratic Party poses as championing, but there are plenty of other shows in this theater. You picked the wrong one to boo.

June 21, 2016

"Mono is the ultimate... because it's deep. Stereo is distractingly wide..."

"... and because of that, you don't focus on the depth. It's a little bit false, stereo.... And if you're listening in any room, your stereo is your own ears, bouncing off of the walls, but it's one source...."

Said Neil Young, on the new episode of Marc Maron's podcast.

"But if television ads are persuasive in 2016, would we have GOP nominee Trump? It seems unlikely to me."

"The Clinton team is fighting the war of 2008, using the tools of that era. Trump is dominating social media and gobbling up free TV time. Those are the tools of 2016. Do you know why you didn’t realize TV ads are less effective these days? Because the only people who could tell you that rely on political ads for their profits."

Writes Scott Adams, who also asks if "the mainstream media gave enough attention to the recent Trump assassination attempt?" Try to imagine the media coverage we would be seeing "if a Trump supporter tried the same thing with Clinton."

ADDED: Adams is reacting to all the news about how the Clinton campaign has amassed far more money than the Trump campaign. The main thing to do with all that money is buy ads, and paid-for ads are only one way to convince people to vote for you. Is Adams saying free media is more effective? No. Only that it's been effective for Trump, because he's interesting (and persuasive). Hillary does very little of it, and she especially avoids the kind of free media that could be interesting: press conferences (or anything where she's seriously challenged). You have to suspect that she avoids it because she's not good at it.

At the Rose Café...

DSC_0089

... you can talk about whatever you want.

Terror with no weapons at all.

"All they said was just, 'Run, run, run, run,'... People getting stampeded, getting trampled, bags flying. It's crazy right now."

Today, on the NY subway.

Once people know about terror attacks, words alone are enough to get ordinary people to unwittingly weaponize their own bodies. (This is the old "shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.")

Meanwhile, also in NYC: "Three people were arrested with multiple loaded guns, rifles and ballistic vests at the Holland Tunnel Tuesday when police stopped them for driving with a cracked windshield.... Two senior law enforcement officials say the three suspects are so-called 'gun enthusiasts' and have no nexus to terror. There is no known threat."

"Donald Trump’s campaign money problems aren’t problems at all, the presumptive Republican nominee said..."

Politico reports:
"We want to keep it lean. I'm not looking to spend all this money. You know, I hear people spend a billion dollars. I’m saying, how do you spend a billion dollars? It's impossible. Politicians are the only ones who can spend a billion dollars,” Trump said. “Hillary Clinton will spend a billion dollars of Wall Street money and money from the Middle East. She's got a lot of money from the Middle East. She's got money from people you don't want her to have money from, but she's going to spend more than a billion dollars. I don't want to do that.... I can go a different route, I can just spend my own money.... I have a lot of cash and I can do like I did with the other — just spend money on myself and go happily along, and I think I win that way. There are many people that think I do better that way, by being a little bit of the insurgent, the outsider and, you know, not working along."
This emphasis on how little money he has lets the old billionaire look like a scrappy newcomer, fighting the powerful. As we the people watch this spectacle, he's the one who looks like the hero. He's the character you'd root for if this were a movie. Clinton supporters are choosing to glory in the massive size of her "war chest"32 times larger than Donald Trump's — but in movie logic, that casts her as the villain.

And I know some people are sick of George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language":
Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print... [T]here is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves....
I know you're too lazy to come up with fresh expressions for everything. But at least notice when your crusty old metaphor isn't working in its typical, serviceable, boring way and has become ludicrous. Stop talking about a lady's chest!

"How spectacular was LeBron's chase down block?"



ESPN provides an excellent graphic depiction of greatness.

"The annual Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival... will open this week coinciding with the summer solstice...."

"According to traditional Chinese medicine, some foods... have warm energy... Both dog meat and lychees are seen as warming.... In parts of China, dog meat is typically consumed in the winter because it is seen as warming and restorative. But in the southern Chinese city of Yulin, some say eating dog meat and drinking lychee liquor on the summer solstice is an old tradition... [T]he concept of 'yire gongre,' or using heat to attack heat, is also prevalent."

Snippet from the new CNN poll showing who's better — Clinton or Trump? — on the economy, terrorism, immigration, and foreign policy.



Much more at the PDF.

Note that Clinton lost ground on all of these important matters, and she's below Trump on what may be the 2 most important things — the economy and terrorism. Trump picked up 3 points on terrorism while Clinton lost 5 in this survey that was taken after the Orlando massacre.

I wonder what, specifically, people think about when they hear "foreign policy." That's the one place where she's dominating, perhaps because of her experience as Secretary of State. People can picture her doing foreign policy. Trump not so much.

There are a few other issues in this section of the poll: women's equality (69/26), women's rights (70/23), nominating Supreme Court justices (53/39), trade with other countries (50/45), gun policy 43/50, gay rights (62/27).

IN THE COMMENTS: eric said:
Btw, sticking with my theory that each poll needs to be compared against itself, the last CNN poll had Clinton at +13. This current one has her at +5. What's happened that has caused her to lose 8 points?
I just got email from something called the "Conservative Campaign" saying: "A series of new polls show Hillary Clinton with a growing lead, including a new Monmouth poll out today showing her up by 8%." But the previous Monmouth poll had her up by 10.

"Whether it’s buying new cushions, putting up a photo of our loved ones or giving an old chair new life by painting it, we often try to improve the feeling of hominess."

"More and more people also appreciate the experience of doing DIY jobs and 'hacking' their things. In our study, 37% say that they enjoy making, modifying and assembling things for their home. Those who do, even report being more satisfied with their lives. On the positive side, some researchers claim it’s not the modifying as such that matters, but the fact that we are interacting with and caring for our objects. We can see an example of this 'caring effect' in the use of 'dementia dolls' in care homes. Patients are given plastic dolls to look after, with reports of reduced anxiety and aggression as a result. It seems we have a lot to gain by personalising and taking better care of our things, not only for our wallets, but for our well-being and feelings of hominess too."

From the IKEA "Life at Home" study

ADDED: You need to try to picture how this insight plays out in products and advertising. Like: It's rewarding for us to have to put the IKEA furniture together. And if we understand that, we may refrain from seeking psychic comfort by sprucing up the things we already have.

A letter from The Unabomber ridiculing Lawrence Wright — a writer at The New Yorker — for believing he'd received a letter from The Unabomber.

The letter, below, was sent to Buzzfeed's Andrew Kaczynski, who just happens to have the same last name as The Unabomber (Ted Kaczynski).

"Donald J. Trump enters the general election campaign laboring under the worst financial and organizational disadvantage of any major party nominee in recent history..."

The NYT reports:
Mr. Trump began June with just $1.3 million in cash on hand, a figure more typical for a campaign for the House of Representatives than the White House. He trailed Hillary Clinton, who raised more than $28 million in May, by more than $41 million, according to reports filed late Monday night with the Federal Election Commission.

He has a staff of around 70 people — compared with nearly 700 for Mrs. Clinton — suggesting only the barest effort toward preparing to contest swing states this fall....

Mr. Trump’s cash crunch marks a stark reversal from the 2012 presidential campaign, which seemed to inaugurate a new era of virtually unlimited money in American politics, buoyed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision two years earlier....
Yeah, well, at least it deprives Hillary Clinton of her big talking point about that terrible Citizens United case.

"People familiar with West Wing security laugh at the idea that Byrne or any uniformed officer ever would have walked in on Bill Clinton anywhere..."

"... whether in a meeting or, as a New York Post article over the weekend claims, in the middle of a make-out session in the Map Room with the late daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale. The Secret Service presidential detail would have stopped him.... 'The inner perimeter is 100 percent controlled by the presidential protective division,' said a former supervisor of the presidential protective division, who asked not to be identified by name. And if Byrne or any uniformed officer had been posted near a room the president entered, he would have been moved at least 15 yards away, to the outer edges of the security bubble — not quite what Byrne describes in his book: 'I stood guard, pistol at my hip, outside the Oval Office, the last barrier before anyone saw Bill Clinton,' according to the Post, which has been teasing excerpts of the book."

From "Secret Service veterans denounce anti-Clinton tell-all book" (in Politico).

ADDED: If what these Secret Service veterans are saying is true — and Byrne as a uniformed officer couldn't possibly been in the position he claims he was in and to have seen what he says he saw — then Bill Clinton should sue. Bill Clinton could show that Byrne knew that what he was saying was false, and that would meet the "actual malice" standard that applies when a public figure sues for libel.

BUT: I'm assuming that if Byrne didn't see what he says he saw, the stories are false. It's possible that the stories are true, but Byrne isn't a first-hand witness. And I can see why Bill Clinton wouldn't want to get embroiled in those questions (and others, like what damage do these additional stories do to his reputation).

After the assassination attempt on Trump, shouldn't the media tone down the Trump hate?

AP reports:
A British man arrested at a weekend Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas tried to grab a police officer's gun so he could kill the presidential candidate after planning an assassination for about a year, according to authorities."
After the assassination attempt on Trump, shouldn't the media tone down the Trump hate?
 
pollcode.com free polls

"Your post seemed modeled after a Trumpish tweet. Amusing!"

Said Lauderdale Vet, my 9:39 pm post about using Loretta Lynch.

Apt!

Real reason for the similarity: Writing on the iPad. I almost never post from the iPad.

June 20, 2016

Using Loretta Lynch to say the Mateen transcript would be redacted.

Embarrassing. 

The outrage was predictable. The full transcript was released. Why was Lynch used like that? She was on all the Sunday shows, in the manner of Susan Rice. So avoidable!

"Not only do bacteria outnumber humans but they outweigh us, too, by a factor of a hundred million."

"Civilization is only a tweak to their landscape. 'If Homo sapiens disappears, cities will be gone and fields will become rain forest again, but life as such will not change,' [Slava] Epstein told me. 'If microbes disappear, then everything is gone—no New York, no rain forest.'"

From a great New Yorker article by Raffi Khatchadourian called "THE UNSEEN/Millions of microbes are yet to be discovered. Will one hold the ultimate cure?"

I was listening to the audio version as I was walking today, and I gasped aloud when I heard "a factor of a hundred million." And I cried over Epstein's struggle to become a microbiologist in the Soviet Union....
Through a friend, Epstein found a job... in Kamchatka, where he manned a lone microbial-research station on the Bering Sea. He hiked. He avoided bears. And, dreaming of exile, he memorized seven thousand English words from an old dictionary, with no sense of how they fit together.
... and then, relocated to America...
... with his limited English, reëntering academia was impossible at first, and he half-considered becoming a contractor. While fixing driveways, he listened to NPR, the language flowing by in an undifferentiated stream. Over time, the words revealed themselves, until one day he realized that he was listening to the news.
And then there's the prediction of a “post-antibiotic world”...
[I]f trends continue, annual fatalities from drug-resistant microbes could exceed ten million by 2050, eclipsing those from cancer. Many key advancements in modern medicine could be reversed. As one researcher noted recently, “A lot of major surgery would be seriously threatened. I used to show students pictures of people being treated for tuberculosis in London. It was just a row of beds outside a hospital—you lived or you died.”

Possibly the ugliest flowers I've ever seen.

P1150410

Photographed today in Allen Centennial Gardens (at the University of Wisconsin).

"Omar [Mateen] and I... talked about the presidential election and debated our views of the candidates that were running – he liked Hillary Clinton and I liked Bernie Sanders."

"This banter continued through texts and phone calls for several months. My last conversation with Omar was by phone in mid-May. He called me while he was at the beach with his son to tell me about a vacation he’d taken with his father to Orlando the previous weekend. He’d been impressed by the local mosque. What happened next is well-known. We’re still in shock. We’re totally against what he did, and we feel the deepest sadness for the victims and their families. If you don’t agree with someone, you don’t have the right to kill them. We are taught to be kind to all of God’s creation. Islam is very strict about killing: Even in war – to say nothing of peace – you cannot harm women, children, the elderly, the sick, clergymen, or even plants. You can’t mutilate dead bodies. You can’t destroy buildings, especially churches or temples. You can’t force anyone to accept Islam. 'If anyone slew one person, it would be as if he killed the whole of humanity,' says the Koran."

From "I reported Omar Mateen to the FBI. Trump is wrong that Muslims don’t do our part./We love America, too, and we're horrified by what our neighbor did." By Mohammed A. Malik in The Washington Post.

"Are you a magician?"

Anton Yelchin on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," annoying Larry David with a card trick.

A delightful child actor, who grew up to appear as Chekhov in the recent "Star Trek" movies.
As played by Mr. Yelchin, Chekov was endearingly antic, humorously navigating his way through high-pressure scenarios and — even in the 23rd century — having difficulty with the “V” sounds in words like “Victor” and “Vulcan.”
And now he has died at the age of 27, killed by his own car, which he'd gotten out of and left running and which rolled down the driveway and pinned him against a brick mailbox.

He was born in Leningrad in 1989, to parents who were figure skating stars and who, that same year, left what was then the Soviet Union and came to the United States, to L.A., to escape religious persecution.

In case you think Second Amendment is standing in the way of banning semiautomatic weapons...

The Supreme Court just declined to review a Second Circuit decision upholding a Connecticut law banning some semiautomatic guns — things some people call "assault weapons."
It has been eight years since the Supreme Court recognized an individual right to keep guns at home for self-defense in District of Columbia v. Heller, which struck down parts of an exceptionally strict local law. Since then, the justices have said almost nothing about the scope of that right.
It's just not much of a right under the current workings of the law.

I got that phrase "current workings of the law" from Loretta Lynch, the Attorney General, who was on TV yesterday talking about denying access to guns to people the government has put on its list. As I said yesterday:
The current workings of the law... what a phrase! What does it mean? I, a law professor, think it means: We'll meet the standards the courts impose, but we're part of the process of defining those standards, and if we can get a bill through Congress, we expect the courts to interpret the Due Process and the Second Amendment in a suitably responsive manner.
And now, today, we see more evidence that — whatever fans of the Second Amendment may think or hope it means — in court, it doesn't mean very much. But Heller did win his case, so it means something.

Hillary knows all this of course. That's why she's able to be completely cagey about whether she's out to destroy the Second Amendment, depending on whom she's talking to.

The scary top right-hand corner of Drudge.



Yikes.

What is Drudge doing?
 
pollcode.com free polls

"The Madison left has no idea how to compete politically in the state outside of Dane County."

"They're like a baby crying in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Over half the crowd probably loves kids and has no problem with the occasional brief outburst, but when the crying doesn't stop (and the parents do nothing) eventually the whole crowd turns against the kid."

From a comment in a thread at Isthmus (a local Madison paper).

Good analogy?
 
pollcode.com free polls

"Donald J. Trump has fired his contentious campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski..."

"Mr. Trump had faced increasing concerns from allies and donors, as well as his children, about the next phase of the campaign as he pivots toward the November election," the NYT reports.
Mr. Lewandowski was said to have resisted certain moves that would have increased the staff, at times blocking Mr. Manafort from making hires or later undoing them....

[An anonymous source] said that the campaign is now focusing on bringing the party together, including hiring new staff members and adjusting to the race against Hillary Clinton....

My crazy political fantasy: What if the 2016 election were Kasich vs. O'Malley?

No pleasure and no pain. No thrills. No anxieties. Just blandness against blandness. Wouldn't it be wonderful?

How do you feel about the fantasy alternative 2016 election, Kasich vs. O'Malley?
 
pollcode.com free polls

"We Americans have a confused and contradictory relationship with vacation. In theory, we love it; in practice, we often dread it."

"So much expectation is heaped on a few weeks of free time that disappointment, if not inevitable, is common. Worse, our escape from the job and daily routine fills us with anxiety that, somehow, this interlude will inflict a gruesome revenge once we return to work. Nevertheless, we go forth. We hustle to beaches, mountains, national parks, theme parks, unfamiliar cities or (best yet!) the back yard. The democratization of recreation is one of the 20th century’s quiet upheavals. Leisure travel spending in 2015 totaled nearly $651 billion and involved 1.7 billion person-trips, says the U.S. Travel Association. In the 19th century, only the rich could abandon sweltering cities for cooler resorts: Saratoga, N.Y.; Newport, R.I.; Cape May, N.J."

That's the very interesting beginning to a column — "Are you a ‘work martyr’?" (at WaPo (sorry!)) — by Robert J. Samuelson, who goes on to talk about all the people who have accrued vacation time and don't even take it. American workers have 658 million unused vacation days. The travel industry sees this as 223 billion unspent dollars that are somehow meant to be theirs. The term "work martyr" comes from the travel industry, and Samuelson is mostly passing along the results of the travel industry study. The travel industry, of course, wants to know why you don't give them your money, and you can see why they'd present your resistance to vacation as a mental disorder or psychic suffering for which they have the cure.

The study showed that the main reasons not to take time off were that your work would pile up while you were away (37%), that you're sort of indispensable (30%), and that you don't have the money for it (30%). Speculating about that, I'd say: If people don't want to spend their money actually leaving town, it makes more sense to simply pace yourself at work, comfortably doing what comes along, and relaxing and enjoying yourself on weekends, evening, and breaks. That doesn't make you a "martyr" to your work, especially if you also enjoy your work.

In these days of air conditioning, when there's no need to "abandon sweltering cities," why should you look forward to 2 or 3 weeks at some point in the year and then dump so much money into a trip (which might involve travel delays, bad weather, and other problems)? That's an awfully unpleasant attitude toward your work, and there's no way a little vacation is going to offset the 95% of the year that you're going to be working, a thought that might even oppress you during the vacation. And you'll never know the answer to the question: How much of your psychology is shaped by the travel industry that studies the psychology of people like you whose psychology was also shaped by all those years of advertising based on studies of people who — if you go back far enough — were sweltering in cities with no air conditioning? Is there a real you in there? What does that strange character want? How would you even know if you knew?