July 9, 2016

"Trump... is strangely handsome, well proportioned, puts you in mind of a sea captain..."

"... Alan Hale from 'Gilligan’s Island,' say, had Hale been slimmer, richer, more self-confident.... His trademark double-eye squint evokes that group of beanie-hatted street-tough Munchkin kids; you expect him to kick gruffly at an imaginary stone. In person, his autocratic streak is presentationally complicated by a Ralph Kramdenesque vulnerability. He’s a man who has just dropped a can opener into his wife’s freshly baked pie. He’s not about to start grovelling about it, and yet he’s sorry—but, come on, it was an accident. He’s sorry, he’s sorry, O.K., but do you expect him to say it? He’s a good guy. Anyway, he didn’t do it. Once, Jack Benny, whose character was known for frugality and selfishness, got a huge laugh by glancing down at the baseball he was supposed to be first-pitching, pocketing it, and walking off the field. Trump, similarly, knows how well we know him from TV. He is who he is. So sue me, O.K.?"

Writes George Saunders in a New Yorker piece titled "Who are all these Trump supporters?"

"My mother, who is a Tea Party person, started saying ‘government schools’ all the time... I remember thinking, ‘Wow.’”

Said a woman in Kansas, quoted in a NYT article called "Public Schools? To Kansas Conservatives, They’re ‘Government Schools.'"

Experts are also quoted, including linguistics professor Deborah Tannen, who was reminded of Ronald Reagan's famous line: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help’”:
“People tend to trace the demonization of government to Reagan,” Dr. Tannen said. “That’s kind of iconic, how he was using it. He set the government up as the enemy.”
And I'm reminded of the 1923 Supreme Court case, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, that said:
The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.

Infested with llamas.

"Saturday’s Tour de France stage might be infested with llamas."

The Looking-For-Something-Else Café...

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... is a place where you can bring up some other topics. I wasn't trying to adhere to a theme-of-the-day approach to the blog this morning, so let me turn it over to you to talk about other things here.

"Race is intrinsic, pervasive and part of all our meaningful discussions in modern times, and I don’t think any group ... is going to find any respite from having to grapple with those difficult issues."

Said Madison's police chief, Mike Koval, quoted in "Mike Koval, Samba Baldeh feud comes full circle after Dallas shootings."
It was just a month ago when Ald. Samba Baldeh, who is black, leaned over his microphone in the Madison City Council chamber and said that he didn’t feel safe with Madison Police Chief Mike Koval, who is white, sitting behind him with a gun during the meeting.

Koval, a few days earlier, had published a lengthy blog post, laced with sarcasm and frustration, chastising council members for considering spending $400,000 on a review of his department’s operations and accusing them of not supporting police. The tone of the chief’s post and his behavior at the June 7 council meeting drew widespread criticism from elected officials.

"If you are a normal, white American, the truth is you don’t understand being black in America and you instinctively underestimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk."

Said Newt Gingrich (after the Dallas massacre).

On Facebook, Micah Johnson, the Dallas sniper, liked the New Black Panther Party and the African American Defense League.

The NYT reports. The New Black Panther Party is, according the Anti-Defamation League "the largest organized anti-Semitic and racist black militant group in the United States."
[T]he African American Defense League, which was formed in 2014 by a man named Mauricelm-lei Millere.

“Millere is known for calling for violence against police specifically, on a regular basis,” said Oren Segal, the director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. “Usually after a high profile police-related shooting he takes to social media to encourage violence against police.”

After the killing of Laquan McDonald in Chicago, Mr. Millere called for “death to every blue, bastard, hypocrites, killer pig across the nation,” according to Mr. Segal.

July 8, 2016

"If Roger Ailes were how he's described, there's no way I would've stuck around. I don't feel like putting up with that stuff and I wouldn't."

"Even if he weren't doing it to me, I wouldn't want to work in that environment. I sort of feel bad for Gretchen Carlson because it's sort of a weird thing that she's done. What she's alleging is something that is alien to me. I've never heard it."

Said Greta Van Susteren.

Jill Stein to step aside to let Bernie Sanders have the Green Party nomination.

The Green Party convention is in August.
“I’ve invited Bernie to sit down explore collaboration – everything is on the table,” she said. “If he saw that you can’t have a revolutionary campaign in a counter-revolutionary party, he’d be welcomed to the Green party. He could lead the ticket and build a political movement,” she said.
ADDED: The headline is confusing. Stein has only made an offer. It would require Sanders to accept.

In search of a Free Society.

Here's a list of 17 demands presented in a leaflet that was distributed at the protests outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, as reported by Norman Mailer in "Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968." Boldface mine:
1. An immediate end to the War in Vietnam….

2. Immediate freedom for Huey Newton of the Black Panthers and all other black people. Adoption of the community control concept in our ghetto areas….

3. The legalization of marihuana and all other psychedelic drugs….

4. A prison system based on the concept of rehabilitation rather than punishment.

5.…abolition of all laws related to crimes without victims. That is, retention only of laws relating to crimes in which there is an unwilling injured party, i.e. murder, rape, assault.

6. The total disarmament of all the people beginning with the police. This includes not only guns, but such brutal devices as tear gas, MACE, electric prods, blackjacks, billy clubs, and the like.

7. The Abolition of Money. The abolition of pay housing, pay media, pay transportation, pay food, pay education, pay clothing, pay medical help, and pay toilets.

8. A society which works toward and actively promotes the concept of “full unemployment.” A society in which people are free from the drudgery of work. Adoption of the concept “Let the Machines do it.”

9.…elimination of pollution from our air and water.

10.…incentives for the decentralization of our crowded cities…encourage rural living.

11.…free birth control information…abortions when desired.

12. A restructured educational system which provides the student power to determine his course of study and allows for student participation in over-all policy planning….

13. Open and free use of media…cable television as a method of increasing the selection of channels available to the viewer.

14. An end to all censorship. We are sick of a society which has no hesitation about showing people committing violence and refuses to show a couple fucking.

15. We believe that people should fuck all the time, anytime, whomever they wish. This is not a program to demand but a simple recognition of the reality around us.

16.…a national referendum system conducted via television or a telephone voting system…a decentralization of power and authority with many varied tribal groups. Groups in which people exist in a state of basic trust and are free to choose their tribe.

17. A program that encourages and promotes the arts. However, we feel that if the Free Society we envision were to be fought for and achieved, all of us would actualize the creativity within us. In a very real sense we would have a society in which every man would be an artist.
ADDED: Googling some text, I find testimony from Abbie Hoffman (at the Chicago 7 trial) claiming authorship of the list:
I will read it in the order that I wrote it. "Revolution toward a free society, Yippie, by A. Yippie.
There was a #18 on the list:
And eighteen was left blank for anybody to fill in what they wanted. "It was for these reasons that we had come to Chicago, it was for these reasons that many of us may fight and die here. We recognize this as the vision of the founders of this nation. We recognize that we are America; we recognize that we are free men. The present-day politicians and their armies of automatons have selfishly robbed us of our birthright. The evilness they stand for will go unchallenged no longer. Political pigs, your days are numbered. We are the second American Revolution. We shall win."

At the Prairie Café...

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... you can talk about whatever you want.

"Thank you Jared for using something sacred and special to the descendants of Joe and Rae Kushner to validate the sloppy manner in which you've handled this campaign."

"From the references to 'Palestine' at the AIPAC conference (which got Donald jeered) to the justification of the itchy Twitter fingers your father­in­law has, you've managed to further prove what so many of us have known for many years. Kudos to you for having gone this far; no one expected this. But for the sake of the family name, which may have no meaning to you but still has meaning to others, please don't invoke our grandparents in vain just so you can sleep better at night. It is self serving and disgusting."

Writes Jacob Schulder, cousin of Jared Kushner, to whom he hasn't spoken in 10 years and whose father he helped Chris Christie put in prison.

5 Dallas police officers shot dead by snipers at a Black Lives Matter rally.

7 other police shot, plus 2 civilians.
The Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, said the gunman who was killed had “said he was upset at Black Lives Matter, said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people; the suspect said he wanted to kill white people.” He was especially upset at white police officers, said Chief Brown.... who is black....

“There has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement,” President Obama told reporters Friday morning in Warsaw....
My link goes to the NYT which posits that this incident has "injected a volatile new dimension into the anguished debate over racial disparities in American criminal justice." That is, these murderers undercut Black Lives Matter by complicating the victims-and-brutes presentation.

July 7, 2016

"I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better."

Said Roger Ailes to Gretchen Carlson, according to her sexual harassment lawsuit.

"I have always felt that a man cannot seek the Presidency and get it simply because he wants it."

"I think that he can seek the Presidency and obtain it only when the Presidency requires what he may have to offer (the Presidency was then a mystical seat, mystical as the choice of a woman’s womb) and I have had the feeling (comfortably pleasant and modest again—no phony Nixon here) and it may be a presumptuous feeling, that because of the vacuum of leadership in the Republican Party, because of the need for leadership particularly qualified in foreign affairs, because I have known not only the country, but the world as a result of my travels, that now time (historical-time—the very beast of the mystic!) requires that I re-enter the arena. (Then he brought out some humor. It was not great humor, but for Nixon it was curious and not indelicate.) And incidentally, I have been very willing to do so. (Re-enter the arena.) I am not being drafted. I want to make that very clear. I am very willing to do so. There has never been a draft in Miami in August anyway. (Nice laughter from the Press—he has won them by a degree. Now he is on to finish the point.)…I believe that if my judgment—and my intuition, my 'gut feelings' so to speak, about America and American political tradition—is right, this is the year that I will win."

Said Richard Nixon at a press conference just before the GOP convention nominated him for President in 1968, quoted in "Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968," by Norman Mailer, whose commentary appears in the parentheticals.

Reporters had challenged Nixon to explain why he was running for President again, and he said "this is the time I think when the man and the moment in history come together," and here's what Mailer said about that:
An extraordinary admission for a Republican, with their Protestant detestation of philosophical deeps or any personification of history. With one remark, Nixon had walked into the oceans of Marx, Spengler, Heidegger, and Tolstoy; and Dostoevski and Kierkegaard were in the wings. Yes, Richard Nixon’s mind had entered the torture chambers of the modern consciousness!)
By the way, mystical as the choice of a woman’s womb is not a reference to the right to choose an abortion.



AND: I've added boldface to the quote. That was the line that jumped out at me as I was listening to the audiobook yesterday. I had to pause and think about this year's presidential election. I assume Nixon was bullshitting when he claimed to believe that the Presidency requires what he may have to offer, but I thought about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Imagine the 2 of them in a debate, presented with the Nixon quote and asked to say why the presidency requires what you may have to offer. It's easy to think of what Trump would say. Terrible deals have been made, and he had to come forward and offer his master dealmaking services. But what would Hillary say? What can she do that we need right now?

Hillary Clinton has not held a press conference since December 4th, when she answered 7 questions.

"That must change, and what better moment than immediately, given the news that FBI Director James B. Comey has recommended that no charges be brought...."

What kind of President would she be, hiding from the press like this? The email problem itself arose out of a strange and deeply flawed secretiveness. How is this quality acceptable in a President? I lived through the Nixon administration, and I've never seen anything like this in a person who claims to be presidential material.

Is she thinking: f I speak, I will sound guarded, phony, stilted, and evasive, so it won't even work, so why take the risk?

Meanwhile, Trump is garrulous and convivial — the opposite extreme. I see he's getting criticized for continuing to talk about the shape of a star in an image he tweeted. The theory is supposedly that he should shut up about that and proceed to a new topic-of-the-day. As if the star would be forgotten by his opponents! It will forever be on a list of evidence that will be thrown out as proof that he's a bigot. But he's advised to stop defending himself.

"Reading between the lines and following Comey’s logic, it does sound as if the F.B.I. believes a compromise of Clinton’s email is more likely than not."

"Sophisticated attackers would have known of the existence of the account, would have targeted it and would not have been seen," said Adam Segal, an expert on cyberissues at the Council on Foreign Relations, quoted in the NYT.

Also quoted, James A. Lewis, a cyber security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington: "If she used it in Russia or China, they almost certainly picked it up."

July 6, 2016

"My father-in-law is not an anti-Semite. It’s that simple, really. Donald Trump is not anti-Semitic and he’s not a racist."

Writes Jared Kushner.
Despite the best efforts of his political opponents and a large swath of the media to hold Donald Trump accountable for the utterances of even the most fringe of his supporters—a standard to which no other candidate is ever held—the worst that his detractors can fairly say about him is that he has been careless in retweeting imagery that can be interpreted as offensive....

In my opinion, accusations like “racist” and “anti-Semite” are being thrown around with a carelessness that risks rendering these words meaningless.
Careless is a key word these days. Comey said Hillary was "extremely careless in... handling of very sensitive, highly classified information," and here's Kushner conceding that Trump may have been careless and those accusing him of anti-Semitism are careless. Hillary was careless — extremely careless — with something vastly important. But these other carelessnesses.... Well, we might say Trump's retweeting shows him behaving in a trivial fashion where carelessness doesn't matter, but the man is tasked to prove to us that he can be trusted. We're going to have to trust everything in the world to him if he's President, so he ought to take pains to prove his trustworthiness, not expect us to apply social media standards and say it doesn't matter. As for those who call the use of that star anti-Semitic, these people are atrocious hacks. They disgust me beyond words. And I appreciate Kushner's testimonial to his wife's father, despite its limited value. Family supports family. But Kushner is some special family:
I am the grandson of Holocaust survivors. On December 7, 1941—Pearl Harbor Day—the Nazis surrounded the ghetto of Novogroduk, and sorted the residents into two lines: those selected to die were put on the right; those who would live were put on the left. My grandmother’s sister, Esther, raced into a building to hide. A boy who had seen her running dragged her out and she was one of about 5100 Jews to be killed during this first slaughter of the Jews in Novogrudok. On the night before Rosh Hashana 1943, the 250 Jews who remained of the town’s 20,000 plotted an escape through a tunnel they had painstakingly dug beneath the fence. The searchlights were disabled and the Jews removed nails from the metal roof so that it would rattle in the wind and hopefully mask the sounds of the escaping prisoners.

My grandmother and her sister didn’t want to leave their father behind. They went to the back of the line to be near him. When the first Jews emerged from the tunnel, the Nazis were waiting for them and began shooting. My grandmother’s brother Chanon, for whom my father is named, was killed along with about 50 others. My grandmother made it to the woods, where she joined the Bielski Brigade of partisan resistance fighters. There she met my grandfather, who had escaped from a labor camp called Voritz. He had lived in a hole in the woods—a literal hole that he had dug—for three years, foraging for food, staying out of sight and sleeping in that hole for the duration of the brutal Russian winter.

I go into these details, which I have never discussed, because it’s important to me that people understand where I’m coming from when I report that I know the difference between actual, dangerous intolerance versus these labels that get tossed around in an effort to score political points....
Ah! I will stop my copying now. Please, read the whole thing.

"Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968."

A great read — and a great way to get a little perspective on the upcoming conventions.

The audio version of this 1968 book just came out yesterday. Having preordered, I got started yesterday. If Trump and Hillary are overpresent in your head, stop up your ears with some earbuds and take a nice long walk or crank up the car speakers and go for a good long drive. Spend 9+ hours in another time and place. You know you need it.  Read along with me and let's talk about 1968 and get some historical contrast to the present day.

And, wow, the writing is so different from what's around today. Inspiring on an artistic level. I shouldn't admit I'm reading this and inspired because if I can figure out how to infuse my writing with some of the grand style of Norman Mailer, I will, and I don't want you to laugh at me.

"Hillary Clinton vs. James Comey: Email Scandal Supercut."

This political attack is made possible by the absence of a legal prosecution.



If she were actually being prosecuted, there would be a complicated legal discussion, and the voices speaking on behalf of Mrs. Clinton would be amplified and empathetic. They would laud her indomitable fighting spirit.

These people have nothing they can say now, except to try to say that she's been "cleared."

But Comey's statement does not clear her, it indicts her (politically). She sent email messages that "contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent," she "should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation," and she was "extremely careless in... handling of very sensitive, highly classified information."

"F.B.I.’s Critique of Hillary Clinton Is a Ready-Made Attack Ad."

Headline at the NYT for a piece by Patrick Healy.
... the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, all but indicted her judgment and competence on Tuesday — two vital pillars of her presidential candidacy....

She is running as a supremely competent candidate and portraying Mr. Trump, in essence, as irresponsible and dangerous. Yet the director of the F.B.I. basically just called her out for having committed one of the most irresponsible moves in the modern history of the State Department....

Her clearest selling point — that she, unlike Mr. Trump, can manage challenging relationships with allies and adversaries — has now been undercut because she personally mismanaged the safeguarding of national security information.
Trump has been saying that all along. What's different now is that Comey, based on what looks like unshakably careful investigation, has verified a set of devastating facts that will not be controverted and that can be set — with Comey video — alongside Clinton's repeated statements that must be seen as blatantly wrong.

Read the whole Healy piece. He generates hope for Clinton by portraying Trump as falling short because he is not a "typical" candidate: He's not ready to go with lots of TV ads:
And he has a tendency to choose the wrong targets and overcomplicate his arguments. On Tuesday, for instance, he chose to attack Mr. Comey for not bringing charges against Mrs. Clinton, writing on Twitter, “The system is rigged.”

A few hours later, Mr. Trump issued a longer statement full of insinuations and conspiracy theories... But he did not attack her judgment... “Her judgment is horrible — look at her judgment on emails, who would do it?” Mr. Trump said. But he did not prosecute the argument in any depth, and quickly moved on.
Interesting word there: prosecute. Comey would not prosecute — in the formal sense — but Trump must prosecute — in the political sense. Healy is saying Trump probably doesn't know how to do that. He's all over the place, throwing out little jabs (in speeches and on Twitter). But he needs more solid presentation, a concerted effort to prosecute her in the political arena.

If Trump the Political Prosecutor can't do that, she skates.

"Key assertions by Hillary Clinton in defense of her email practices have collapsed under FBI scrutiny."

AP writers Stephen Braun and Jack Gillum do some useful itemization:
CLINTON: "I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material." News conference, March 2015....

CLINTON: "I never received nor sent any material that was marked classified." NBC interview, July 2016....

CLINTON: "I responded right away and provided all my emails that could possibly be work related" to the State Department. News conference, March 2015....

CLINTON: "I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for personal emails instead of two." News conference, March 2015....

CLINTON: "It was on property guarded by the Secret Service, and there were no security breaches. ... The use of that server, which started with my husband, certainly proved to be effective and secure." News conference, March 2015.

CLINTON campaign website: "There is no evidence there was ever a breach."

CLINTON: "I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department." News conference, March 2015.
Go to the link to see exactly how Comey's remarks refute these things. 

July 5, 2016

I know you've had a rough day.

You're driving yourself comatose over the Comey post. Comments have spiraled up way over 400.

But, come on, people. You should have been prepared. You've got to take the hard and the soft. Flowers spring up through the concrete:

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And here's a great fuzzy bee on a spiky, globular flower:

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Settle in. Calm yourself. There's a long road ahead. You're going to need your wits about you.

ADDED: Look, here are Comey's remarks. The material needed to attack Hillary Clinton is all there. A prosecution would be very controversial AND it would cause many people to step back and allow it to take its course — with due process and the presumption of innocence. That route is closed off, but you have the evidence in front of you and can clearly see what she did:
From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent....

Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information....

There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation...

Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges....
Clinton deserves intense criticism in the political arena, and I think it will be healthy for the public debate to go forward using the evidence the FBI generated and without the confusing static of a criminal proceeding.

Evidence of The Normalization of Donald Trump.

Here's a promo for "America's Got Talent" that appeared as we were comfortably ensconced in the last few minutes of another comfy episode of "Jeopardy." Suddenly, Howie Mandel is yelling "You just made this country great again!"



So Donald Trump's slogan is mainstreamed, nontoxic, and presumed to be accepted by and amusing to Middle America.

"As you know, Trump has branded Clinton as 'crooked.' And that branding has stuck."

"If you doubt it, watch ABC’s Martha Raddatz literally imagine the word 'crooked' in a Trump tweet she is reading about Clinton," says Scott Adams, linking to my video clip of the Raddatzzlement:



Adams goes on to observe that "the Clinton campaign has put together an impressive confirmation bias case that Trump is a racist," but: "In a contest for the office of the Presidency of the United States in 2016, crooked beats racist every time." And he doesn't mean that crooked is a more powerful insult than racist. He means that the person perceived as crooked will beat out the person perceived as racist.

What can Trump do? Adams says his message should be: "Clinton has a race-first view of the world that is corrosive to society./Trump has an American-first view of the world that creates healthy competition with other countries."

I said something similar a week ago: 
I think what Trump is going to try to do — which he started yesterday — is argue that the true meaning of "racist" is what Democrats do, which is to openly talk about everyone — and to frame political appeals — in racial terms. What Trump said yesterday — about Elizabeth Warren — was "She made up her heritage which I think is racist. I think she's a racist actually, because what she did was very racist." The idea is: It's racist to exploit race, and they do that all the time. Democrats can be relied on to cite race continually, and Trump will have a lot of "there you go again" opportunities: They're trying to divide us by race to get political power for themselves. I will never do that.

"Taxpayers are paying a fortune for the use of Air Force One on the campaign trail by President Obama and Crooked Hillary. A total disgrace!"

Tweeted Donald Trump, reported by Politico.

What did Noel Neill — the Lois Lane of the 1950s — mean to you?

The actress has died at the age of 95, and I hadn't noticed, but I got a text from RLC saying: "I assume you're going to blog about Noel Neill!!" I didn't even remember the name, and I looked it up and saw the obituary, and I wondered why my ex-husband had that assumption about me. Or was it just that he liked her?

Then I was looking at old pictures of Neill and I saw one that took me back to a childhood memory that perhaps, long ago, I conveyed to RLC. Here's the picture:



"Adventures of Superman" was on TV from 1952 — when I was 1 — to 1958 — when I was 7. That show made some kind of impression on my undefended, very young mind. When I thought about becoming an adult — turning into a woman — I pictured Noel Neill. Dressed like that, hair like that, demeanor like that.  I had my own particular look and ways about me as a girl, but I believed a finished condition, adulthood, stood at the end of childhood. My formative period — girlhood — would end, and I would, of necessity, at the age of 21, become an adult woman, and that woman I saw in my head for years and years, was — as I got closer to actual adulthood I recognized her — NOEL NEILL!!

"FBI recommends no charges against Clinton in email probe."

Politico reports that Comey said:
"Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before deciding whether to bring charges."
Drudge presents it this way:
How do you feel about this? I'm relieved. I wouldn't have liked to see a criminal law proceeding skewing and meddling with the political process now that it's so far along.

The Prince Online Museum...

... presenting all Prince's old websites scrolling down through a time line, going all the way back to 1994, with "Prince Interactive."

But don't expect too much: "The timeline explains the concept behind each of the sites — none of which are active today — and provides testimonials from the people who were involved in creating and running them for Prince. What’s more, the entries contain links as well as screen shots and videos."

"Whether or not he has read a word of Nietzsche (I’m guessing not), Mr. Trump embodies a Nietzschean morality rather than a Christian one."

"It is characterized by indifference to objective truth (there are no facts, only interpretations), the repudiation of Christian concern for the poor and the weak, and disdain for the powerless. It celebrates the 'Übermensch,' or Superman, who rejects Christian morality in favor of his own. For Nietzsche, strength was intrinsically good and weakness was intrinsically bad. So, too, for Donald Trump."

Writes Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, in a NYT op-ed titled "The Theology of Donald Trump."

Shall we judge the "theology" of all the politicians we know? Shall we ask are they all more Nietzschean than Christian? And if so, must we do it as if we believe God is peering directly into our soul and will send us to Heaven or Hell if we are power-seekers who don't really, truly care about the poor and the weak? Or can we just do this in whatever way serves our power-seeking goals in the here-and-now?

ADDED:  I'd like to write a book continuing the topic I'm raising here. I'll never do it, so let me just tell you the title: "Who Really Cares?"

AND: My title has been used, I see. Here's a 2007 book called "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism."
In his controversial study of America’s giving habits, Arthur C. Brooks shatters stereotypes about charity in America-including the myth that the political Left is more compassionate than the Right. Brooks, a preeminent public policy expert, spent years researching giving trends in America, and even he was surprised by what he found. In Who Really Cares, he identifies the forces behind American charity: strong families, church attendance, earning one’s own income (as opposed to receiving welfare), and the belief that individuals-not government-offer the best solution to social ills....
And Janis "Society's Child" Ian wrote a book of poetry she called "Who Really Cares?"

"Because it was never about me being the guy who's right about everything..."

"So on an intellectual level I'm kind of like, you know, well, fuck it, we do the best work that we can. On a kind of emotional level, it's never fun to read criticism about you...."

Says Nate Silver, who made his name being the guy who is right, quoted in Politico in "Nate Silver is happy to be wrong... Blowing Trump’s primary win made me humbler, smarter."

"A Mississippi project, a centerpiece of President Obama’s climate plan, has been plagued by problems that managers tried to conceal, and by cost overruns and questions of who will pay."

The NYT reports.
The Kemper coal plant is more than two years behind schedule and more than $4 billion over its initial budget, $2.4 billion, and it is still not operational. The plant and its owner, Southern Company, are the focus of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, and ratepayers, alleging fraud, are suing the company....

Many problems plaguing the project were broadly known and had been occurring for years. But a review by The New York Times of thousands of pages of public records, previously undisclosed internal documents and emails, and 200 hours of secretly though legally recorded conversations among more than a dozen colleagues at the plant offers a detailed look at what went wrong and why....

Gawker's Ashley Feinberg trashes Trump’s Director of Social Media Dan Scavino over the Star-of-David/sheriff's star, and 9 minutes later takes it back and begs for him to unblock her so she can apologize.

The post is: "Trump Campaign Blames Anti-Semitic Tweet on 'Microsoft's Shapes.'" Feinberg is reacting to Savino's statement:



Feinberg's first attack on Savino is that the source of the graphic really is anti-Semitic because, this is another image from that source:



Hillary's face all over a swastika. What can that mean other than Hillary is a Nazi? If calling somebody a Nazi makes you anti-Semitic, then an awful lot of Trump's critics are anti-Semitic.

But Feinberg has another argument. She looks at the "shapes" tag in Microsoft Word and finds no 6-pointed star. She mocks: "There is, however, a triangle which can be used to create a six-pointed star—so maybe Dan was getting creative."

9 minutes later, she posts an update:
Update 10:38 p.m.: Some versions of Microsoft’s products do, in fact, carry the star. Dan, I would love to apologize to you personally. Please unblock me.
Brilliant. The star? Generic now. You mean the Star of David? Or just some 6-pointed star, giving evidence that a 6-pointed star can be just a star, just as not every 5-pointed star is a Satanic pentagram.

Feinberg does avoid the specious argument I've seen elsewhere, that sheriff's badges have little circles on the points. Some do:



Some don't:



Those who make the little-circles argument ought to have to deal with the intersecting-triangles aspect of the Star of David. The clearly intentional Stars of David I am seeing — for example at the Wikipedia article — have lines separating the points into little triangles around a hexagram. Look at the flag of Israel:



The Nazi's crude patch did not omit those lines:



But what a distraction! This was the weekend after Hillary Clinton's interview with the F.B.I., and her supporters successfully jammed the American brainwaves with the loud message that Trump is a bigot. That's a message they're yelling over and over. It's what they've got. Is it even a message at all or just raw emotional manipulation?

July 4, 2016

It's only a ban on sleeping on the sidewalk and on lying down on the sidewalk.

It's not a ban on sleeping while sitting on some higher surface, and it's not a ban on sitting on the sidewalk. And it only applies 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

After seeing a TV teaser report, I looked up the details of Madison Mayor Paul Soglin's plan, but not before thinking of a hundred problems and rereading this passage in George Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London."

Overcast at noon on the 4th of July — limning the lake.

2 guys were fishing on the pier by the Limnology building...

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... and one man out by the boathouse, past the "no trespassing" signs...

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... lily pads...

"... Democrats close to Mrs. Clinton say she may decide to retain Ms. Lynch, the nation’s first black woman to be attorney general..."

Oh?!

Sometimes the prosecutor offers the accused a deal and, on rare occasions, the accused offers the prosecutor a deal.

But offering it right out in the open like that? It's as ballsy as a former President strutting across a tarmac in 107° heat, fueled by a raging desire to talk about his grandchildren.

"Althouse, far from ditzy, is an amazing creature, rare in today's world..."

"... a law prof, fairly liberal (as far as I know from reading her blog) who not only will listen to alternative ideologies, ideas, arguments or policies but who will argue against those actual things rather than attacking only straw arguments. She may not get it right (her frequent rants against men wearing shorts comes to mind) all the time, but I'd rather read a month of her blog than a day of, say, Joan Peterson's."

A comment chez Instapundit that Meade noticed and pointed me toward.

I'd never heard of Joan Peterson but, looking at her blog, I don't know why she'd be the point of comparison to me. Maybe it's like the old "better than a sharp stick in the eye."

As for men in shorts, let's take another look at that John Trumbull painting:



If that were a picture of the signing of the The Declaration of Independence on July 4th, I could tell you that the temperature hit a high of 76 in Philadelphia that day. But the painting actually shows the presentation of the draft to Congress on June 28, 1776, and it's not so easy to nail down the temperature.

But weren't these men terribly hot? All those layers! Yes, the pants are shortish but they are anchored below the knee and the lower legs are swathed in hosiery. How could they bear it? And these were men ready to their Lives, their Fortunes and their sacred Honor to the cause of liberty! Yet they did not liberate their legs and open up airflow to the crotch.

"In a perverse gesture, the gunmen separated the Muslims from the non-Muslims. The Muslims were given food and water."

From the CNN article about the Dhaka massacre, which I linked to last night. The commenter Mary Beth extracted the line I've quoted above and said "Perverse?"

"Perverse" is a key word in the American processing of the religious dimension of terrorist attacks.



I have a post from mid-June — just after the Orlando massacre — titled "President Obama's Sermon of 2 Perversions."

It happened to be Flag Day — today is Independence Day — and I quoted a line from the Supreme Court's famous case about pledging allegiance to the flag: "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion...."



Obama used his position of authority to instruct us about what is orthodox in religion:
Since before I was president, I've been clear about how extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism. As president, I have called on our Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world to work with us to reject this twisted interpretation of one of the world's great religions.
I said:
There are many versions of all of the religions. How is he supposed to know what versions are perversions? It sounds awful: perversion! But how can it mean more than that it's religion that seems bad to him? In which case, it's still religion. It's religion he doesn't like.

"Underwritten Female Character: The Movie."

In the American Revolution, would you have been a Loyalist?

"Yale historian Leonard Woods Larabee has identified eight characteristics of the Loyalists that made them essentially conservative and loyal to the king and Britain...."
They were older, better established, and resisted radical change.
They felt that rebellion against the Crown—the legitimate government—was morally wrong.
They were alienated when the Patriots resorted to violence, such as burning houses and tarring and feathering.
They wanted to take a middle-of-the road position and were angry when forced by the Patriots to declare their opposition.
They had a long-standing sentimental attachment to Britain (often with business and family links).
They were procrastinators who realized that independence was bound to come someday, but wanted to postpone the moment.
They were cautious and afraid that chaos and mob rule would result.
Some were pessimists who lacked the confidence in the future displayed by the Patriots. Others recalled the dreadful experiences of many Jacobite rebels after the failure of the last Jacobite rebellion as recently as 1745 who often lost their lands when the Hanoverian government won.
Other reasons:
They felt a need for order and believed that Parliament was the legitimate authority.
In New York, powerful families had assembled colony-wide coalitions of supporters, Men long associated with the DeLancey faction went along when its leadership decided to support the crown
They felt themselves to be weak or threatened within American society and in need of an outside defender such as the British Crown and Parliament.
They had been promised freedom from slavery by the British.
They felt that being a part of the British Empire was crucial in terms of commerce and their business operations.
Who does that sound like — of the Americans around today? You? 

In the American Revolution, would you have been a Loyalist?
 
pollcode.com free polls

"That's not my son, that's not my son. He was full of humanity."

Said Meer Hayet Kabir, father of the 18-year-old Meer Sameh Mobasheer, one of the terrorists in the Dhaka massacre.
Mobasheer was always interested in religion, and his family didn't discourage his curiosity in his faith. But his father said he told his son that if he wanted to explore further, he should read the Quran directly. He even gave Mobasheer an English translation of the Quran because he didn't want his son to get a warped interpretation elsewhere.

Was that an IED in Central Park that blew off a young man's foot?

Commanding Officer of the NYPD Bomb Squad Mark Torre said:
"Clearly, I would say that this is somebody that had knowledge of chemistry.... This is clearly explosive material. But there's nothing to indicate that this was an explosive device that was placed or put in this area with a specific intent to harm any individuals."
NYPD Deputy Chief John O'Connell said:
"We do not have any evidence of a constructed device or commercial-grade fireworks. There are no specific, credible threats directed at New York or the July Fourth celebrations."

"That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown..."

"... and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

July 3, 2016

The dog can't log-roll...

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... but he's there, in Lake Wingra today amongst the rolling logs.

"The attackers told [Faraaz] Hossain, the American college student, that he could leave along with some hijab-wearing women — but his two female friends couldn't."

"Hossain decided to stay behind to be with them, survivors later told his family."

Cory Booker wants CNN's Brianna Keller to think that she's "frustrating" voters by "parsing" the Hillary email story over distinctions "with barely a difference."



Booker is there with his talking points, but Keller is dogged. She says: "Back in 2003, Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself from the Valerie Plame case, this was because of his longstanding relationship with Karl Rove, and he wanted to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Why doesn't the same standard apply here?"

Booker's answer: "You're going far back into history with a case that I'm not truly familiar with. I can't make a distinction there."

So Booker pushes Keller back for making distinctions without a difference, and then he shows a woeful inability to make distinctions: 2003 is "far back into history." 2003!

ABC's Martha Raddatz hilariously misreads a Donald Trump tweet — She adds "Crooked" in front of "Hillary Clinton"!

Here's Trump's tweet...



... and here's video, where you will see that tweet on screen, and Raddatz inserts the word "crooked"



I love the emphasis she puts on the word "crooked" as if she's stressing that's his word, not mine. But why did that word jump out of her head? Why did she imagine it there in the tweet? It could be that she actually thinks Hillary is crooked, but it at least means that Trump has — with his repeated use of the same adjective in front of Hillary's name — insinuated his way into our mind or at least the mind of Raddatz, causing us to see it when it isn't even there.

Disillusionment.

Here's Kokichi Sugihara's amazing and delightful "ambiguous cylinders":



And here's the almost equally charming disillusionment from Devon of Make Anything:

"Mere reading... is not enough; rather, we must mark our texts lest we forget the wisdom so recently acquired."

"Inscription is a critical part of 'use.' Far from being passive, readers, in their act of marking — a conscious deciding to remember — become participants in a historical body of understanding.... [T]hese marks constitute a kind of graffiti, albeit one stripped of its transgressive connotations... [Books] were items to be improved, even perfected, by the marginal additions of their owners. This historical understanding of books as locations, as readerly edifices within which one might store practical information, binding legal documentation, jokes, and ownership lists, alongside more traditional textual engagement, challenges our contemporary perception of a book’s materiality, one which often equates pristine margins with the value of the new. 'At what point did marginalia […] become a way of defacing [the book] rather than of increasing its value?'..."

From an essay on marginalia by Dustin Illingworth.

Marginalia is the oldest topic on this blog, the subject of the first post, and actually the original name of this blog.

Did Trump mean to tweet a Star of David?



Criticized, he replaced that tweet with the "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!" in a circle instead of a star.

Could it have been a mere failure to perceive a Star of David? It is missing the internal lines showing intersecting triangles. It is stupid to fail to perceive even the unintentional image, and a candidate's operation should not be that stupid. And I'm the one who held Hillary Clinton responsible — back in the '08 campaign — for the letters "NIG" on the pajamas of a black/possibly black child in her 3-a.m.-in-the-White-House ad:
Is the campaign responsible for sending out a subliminal message to stimulate racist thoughts in the unsuspecting viewer? It is either deliberate or terribly incompetent. There is no other writing on screen until the very end of the commercial, and if letters appear in any place in a commercial, they should be carefully selected letters. Certainly, each image is artfully composed and shot and intended to deliver an emotional impact. Could this be a mere lapse?...

The intense scrutiny of [GWB's] "RATS" ad heightens the assumption that presidential candidates these days pay close attention to any incidental lettering that appears in their ads. "RATS" as part of the word "bureaucrats" in an ad criticizing Gore's prescription plan is nothing compared to "NIG" isolated on a sleeping child's shoulder in an ad intended to create doubts about a black man's ability to take an urgent phone call at 3 a.m., an ad authorized by a candidate who has already heard accusations that her campaign is slipping racial material into its attacks on her opponent.

This is either a revolting outrage or shocking incompetence.

"The people who consider themselves 'cosmopolitan' in today’s West... are part of a meritocratic order that transforms difference into similarity..."

"... by plucking the best and brightest from everywhere and homogenizing them into the peculiar species that we call 'global citizens,'" writes Ross Douthat (in the NYT).
Genuine cosmopolitanism is a rare thing. It requires comfort with real difference, with forms of life that are truly exotic relative to one’s own. It takes its cue from a Roman playwright’s line that “nothing human is alien to me,” and goes outward ready to be transformed by what it finds....

[I]t’s a problem that our tribe of self-styled cosmopolitans doesn’t see itself clearly as a tribe... They can’t see that their vision of history’s arc bending inexorably away from tribe and creed and nation-state looks to outsiders like something familiar from eras past: A powerful caste’s self-serving explanation for why it alone deserves to rule the world.

Hydrate with milk.

It's significantly more hydrating than water and as hydrating as Pedialyte.

And go ahead and hydrate with coffee and soda and beer. The study found them just as hydrating as water.