July 26, 2017

"As long as white children are constructed as innocent, we must continue to demand that children of color are as well."

"Because the idea of childhood innocence carries so much political force, we can’t allow it to be a whites-only club. The problem, however, is that every time we insist that the gates of innocence open to children of color, we limit ourselves by language, a 'frame,' as the linguist George Lakoff would say, that is embedded in racism. When we argue that black and brown children are as innocent as white children, and we must, we assume that childhood innocence is purely positive. But the idea of childhood innocence itself is not innocent: It’s part of a 200-year-old history of white supremacy.... All children deserve equal protection under the law not because they’re innocent, but because they’re people. By understanding children’s rights as human rights, we can begin to undermine the political power of childhood innocence, a cultural formation that has proved, over and over, to be one of white supremacy’s most potent weapons."

From "Let Black Kids Just Be Kids" by Harvard African-American Studies professor Robin Bernstein (in the NYT).

You might want to read that alongside this New Yorker article, which I happened to read earlier today, "The Life of a South Central Statistic/My cousin became a convicted felon in his teens. I tried to make sure he got a second chance. What went wrong?," by Danielle Allen. Excerpt:
A kid from a troubled home, trapped in poverty, without a stable world of adults coördinating care for him, starts pilfering, mostly out of an impatience to have things. In Michael’s first fourteen years, his story includes not a single incidence of violence, aside from the usual wrestling matches with siblings. It could have had any number of possible endings. But events unfold along a single track. As we make decisions, and decisions are made for us, we shed the lives that might have been. In Michael’s fifteenth year, his life accelerated, like a cylinder in one of those pneumatic tubes, whisking off your deposit at a drive-through bank. To understand how that acceleration could happen, though, another story is needed....

"The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women."

According to NPR.

#1 is an album Meade and I were just talking about this morning as we were talking about something that made it appropriate for one line in our dialogue to be Meade singing "I am on a lonely road and I am traveling, traveling, traveling...."

"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military."

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you."

Said Trump, just now.

Here's the NYT story.
Mr. Trump made the surprise declaration in a series of posts on Twitter, saying he had come to the decision after consulting with generals and military experts, whom he did not name.

The closest statement to my reaction is:
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Trump can fire Sessions, Rosenstein, and Mueller, so "The real question is why Trump doesn’t fire them himself rather than whine constantly about all three of them."

Ed Morrissey frames the question, and once the question is framed, I think you see the answer, don't you?

And that's why "Trump will sit and fume, but do nothing about it."

And if you see it, obviously Sessions, Rosenstein, and Mueller know it.

"Gorsuch’s maiden Martin-Quinn score is 1.344. (Higher positive numbers represent more conservative positions.)"

"The final score of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whom Gorsuch replaced, was 1.577. Even with his small sample size, Gorsuch is lining up with the court’s conservative bloc and is beginning to resemble the 'Scalia clone' we predicted in January. Gorsuch’s score is also comparable to certain select terms of recent right-leaning justices Sandra Day O’Connor (1.382 in 1986) and William Rehnquist (1.371 in 2003)."

"We" = FiveThirtyEight.

Insane government billboard: "We don’t need pot to have fun. We’re Hispanics… We’re cool by default."

That was done by the Washington State Department of Health. The AP reports that the Department is "apologizing after some people were offended."

Some people were offended?!!

It's patently bad. It's not something that happened to offend "some people" and is therefore the subject of an apology. The government should have known all along that the message was offensive.

But the advertising idea reminds me of something I've seen around here, an ad against drunk driving that says something like: real men drive sober. It's appealing to the pride of a particular group. I don't know about that "real men" ad. I find it offensive, but I don't think it's insane to think it would be okay.

But "We’re Hispanics… We’re cool by default" is a terrible thing for the government to be saying. Even though the billboard has a photograph of a bunch of smiling young people who are being made to look as if they are saying that, it is the government putting out an ethnic stereotype.

It's also stupid because it sends the implicit message: If you're not Hispanic and thus not automatically cool, you should use marijuana so you can be cool too. And also: Hispanic people seem like they're on marijuana even when they are not. Which ought to remind us of why the government calls the substance "marijuana" and not "cannabis":
Throughout the 19th century, news reports and medical journal articles almost always use the plant's formal name, cannabis. Numerous accounts say that "marijuana" came into popular usage in the U.S. in the early 20th century because anti-cannabis factions wanted to underscore the drug's "Mexican-ness." It was meant to play off of anti-immigrant sentiments.

A common version of the story of the criminalization of pot goes like this: Cannabis was outlawed because various powerful interests (some of which have economic motives to suppress hemp production) were able to craft it into a bogeyman in the popular imagination, by spreading tales of homicidal mania touched off by consumption of the dreaded Mexican "locoweed." Fear of brown people combined with fear of nightmare drugs used by brown people to produce a wave of public action against the "marijuana menace." That combo led to restrictions in state after state, ultimately resulting in federal prohibition....

"You have to be very smart.... You can never have somebody so smart that he's smarter than you. You have to be the smart one."

Said Trump (a while back), getting the response from Meredith Vieira: "But that sounds like you surround yourself with stupid people?"

That's an NBC video from July 2016 that collects a lot of interesting clips. I don't know when the interview with Vieira occurred. I just thought it was a funny exchange and one that might shed some light on what's going on today.

"What does one wear when one will be photographed hugging a person dressed like a turd?"

"You just hugged poop, lady. We’re not so heartless as to bother you about your style choices at this difficult time for you."

"Well, he’s huge. And he — I don’t mean to be unkind, but he’s so unattractive it’s unbelievable.”

"Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this Playboy bunny?"

Said Senator Susan Collins, caught on a hot microphone. (WaPo has the quote with the recording.)

She was talking about Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), who deserved her ire for saying something that had me calling him "a loser" the other day.

Here's the photograph Senator Collins was talking about:

Let's be clear. Collins didn't call him "fat." She used the ambiguous euphemism "huge" — Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime was huge — and the generalization "unattractive." And she softened it with the silly denial "I don’t mean to be unkind." It's silly because it means the exact opposite: I do mean to be unkind. If you didn't mean to be unkind, you'd stop at the point where you're conscious of and confessing that what is about to come is unkind. Like this:

A woman has lived alone for more than 40 years on a small island off the coast of Prince Edward Island.

There are about 400 horses on Sable Island, which is 26 miles long and less than a mile across. When Zoe Lucas was 21, "I squawked and squawked, I wanted to come so bad. I originally came out here for the horses."

She has a small house there, built by National Parks Canada, and she works on projects with them (so she does have some contact with people — parks staff — on the island). The link goes to The Daily Mail, where the woman is portrayed as a respected naturalist and doesn't seem to be weird or anti-social, just someone who loves the island and the horses. 

July 25, 2017

This is even funnier knowing that Scaramucci retweeted it.

Painting your stretch marks.

"This started a stage in my artistic career where I began to show every aesthetic pressure that against women and non-normative bodies," says Tort Cartró. "Maybe that inspiration led me to transform stretch marks into art, to work with colour and have the ability to make people reflect on the beauty that they have."

AND: Let me front-page something I just wrote in the comments: "Deciding that stretch marks are beautiful strikes me as pretty similar to coming to think that tattoos look good all over a woman's arms and shoulders. Do we want unmarked skin or not? Does a blank expanse of skin look too plain to people now?"

McCain returns to the Senate, receives a standing ovation, and casts the vote to open debate on repealing Obamacare that makes it a tie...

... and since Mike Pence has the tie-breaker vote, what would, without McCain, have been a loss becomes a win for the repeal-Obamacare side.

Despite how confused McCain sounded a few weeks ago (at the Comey hearing) and despite the ferocity of the opposition to repealing Obamacare, no one said a word — did they? — about McCain's capacity to participate. But the truth is, McCain sounded strong and lucid as he addressed the Senate today:

"Bret Weinstein, the Evergreen State College professor who was driven from campus by a mob of students earlier this year, is preparing to file a $3.8 million claim against the public institution."

Campus Reform reports.

The art donation tax evasion.

Compare how the NYT treats this story to what the commenters there say. I hate to cut and paste any of this because the text by the NYT is so evasive (about tax evasion) that I have to copy too much to get my point across. But let me try:
Someone — and absolutely no one involved seems ready to say who — came up with an idea in 2012 for a patron to purchase 2,070 photos by the American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz and then donate them to a museum in Canada. This was a colossal score for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, which owned nothing by Ms. Leibovitz at the time. For Ms. Leibovitz, who had a financial crisis several years earlier, the transaction meant she earned several million dollars.

And the donor, [Harley Mintz, the Deloitte Canada partner]... stood to qualify for a generous tax deduction and recognition as an arts patron. Four years later, though, a Canadian government panel that must sign off on the deduction is still balking at approving it, partly because the panel won’t accept a $20 million valuation for a collection that the donor purchased for just $4.75 million....

... Ms. Leibovitz has received only half of the promised $4.75 million. By contract, she does not receive the rest of the money unless the government panel signs off, according to Mr. Mintz.
This goes on at great length. By contrast, the commenters are brief and cutting:

1. "For the record, Ms. Liebovitz is generally considered a passable magazine photographer unworthy of museum collections. The MoMA, for example, has none of her photographs in its vast collection."

2.  "Ah, the good old-fashioned donation evaluation for taxes. The wealthy have been doing this for a very long time. Museums are there for this very reason. To deposit overly valued art pieces in lieu of a tax deduction. Same goes for property, buildings and other funding to arts, medicine and pet projects. Art is tricky. How is it exactly evaluated? And by whom?"

3. "High-end highly-paid & highly dated celebrity photography seems an odd multimillion-dollar art investment for Nova Scotia even without that dodgy tax dodge."

4. "Herein lies the heart and soul of the art industry in our time."

At the Ugly Lily Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like while I go out for a walk on this nicely cool July morning in Madison, Wisconsin, where there are way too many lilies in far too many grotesque colors.

And you can shop about whatever you like through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"Many of today’s couples are planning their elopements more closely than ever..."

"... some plotting secret ceremonies several months in advance and spending $15,000 or more for their dream weddings — without a hundred of their closest family and friends," the NYT reports.
They search for stunning exotic backdrops for their ceremonies, shop in secret for the perfect dress, hire florists to arrange a Pinterest-worthy bouquet, hire photographers, even order specialty cakes. But in lieu of the invitations, friends learn about the wedding afterward in a cheeky Facebook or Instagram post, a photo announcing, “We Eloped.”...

Of course, there’s a downside to eloping. Family members are often stung when they get the news — parents’ dreams of seeing their son at the altar or their daughter walking down the aisle crushed, since they’ll never share with their child one of life’s greatest traditional rites of passage....
Well, if you make a big fancy thing out of it, you give people more reason to feel left out. Maybe for some people, that is what they want to say.

ALSO: There's a difference between the surprise "We eloped" announcement and going off and getting married on your own when everyone knows that's what you are doing (as Meade and I did). There are many other important variables here: Is it a financial decision — a preference for a big honeymoon rather than a big wedding? Are you under the impression that people don't really want to attend your wedding? Is this a second wedding? Have you already been living together? Is a sincere religious ceremony part of the wedding?

AND: Maybe what's happening is that for many people, social media is more important than in-person social relationships. Doing things so they'll look great in social media may make sense. Everyone can see it. The photographers don't get in anyone's way. No one needs to spend money to travel see an elaborately staged event or take any real time out of their day. They get an immediate intimate look at something lovely and heart-warming and they power on through their day. Meanwhile the couple doesn't have to worry about tending to all the logistics and catering to the feelings of so many people who've troubled themselves to arrive at an event that might not really be that much fun for them. It may be better for almost everyone.

"Psychiatry group tells members they can defy ‘Goldwater rule’ and comment on Trump’s mental health."

The executive committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association emailed its 3,500 members, STAT reports.
The impetus for the email was “belief in the value of psychoanalytic knowledge in explaining human behavior,” said psychoanalytic association past president Dr. Prudence Gourguechon, a psychiatrist in Chicago. “We don’t want to prohibit our members from using their knowledge responsibly.”

That responsibility is especially great today, she told STAT, “since Trump’s behavior is so different from anything we’ve seen before” in a commander in chief.

An increasing number of psychologists and psychiatrists have denounced the restriction as a “gag rule” and flouted it, with some arguing they have a “duty to warn” the public about what they see as Trump’s narcissism, impulsivity, poor attention span, paranoia, and other traits that, they believe, impair his ability to lead....

“In the case of Donald Trump, there is an extraordinary abundance of speech and behavior on which one could form a judgment,” [said Dr. Leonard Glass, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School]. “It’s not definitive, it’s an informed hypothesis, and one we should be able to offer rather than the stunning silence demanded by the Goldwater rule.”
Let them speak, and then the rest of us will speak about whether they are professionals deserving of deference or human beings like the rest of us who can't keep our political preferences from skewing whatever it is we might think about some pressing issue of the day.

Go ahead, expose yourselves. Let us see all narcissism, impulsivity, poor attention span, paranoia, and other traits that impair your ability to lead.

IN THE COMMENTS: David said:
The percentage of hacks, cranks and fools in the mental health "profession" is stunningly high. And many of them are in a position to make individual lives worse.
And Michael K (who is a surgeon) said:
I personally know several who went into Psychiatry to deal with their own mental health problems. One guy was a former surgery resident who went full psychotic and started to be treated by the chief of Psychiatry at a university medial center. That chief of Psychiatry then accepted him into the residency which he finished. He was brilliant but as crazy as anyone I've ever seen.

How to get employees to volunteer to have company microchips implanted in their hands.

It's happening at Three Square Market, a technology company here in Wisconsin, the NYT reports:
“It was pretty much 100 percent yes right from the get-go for me,” said Sam Bengtson, a software engineer. “In the next five to 10 years, this is going to be something that isn’t scoffed at so much, or is more normal. So I like to jump on the bandwagon with these kind of things early, just to say that I have it.”...

“Because it’s new, I don’t know enough about it yet,” [Melissa Timmins, the company’s sales director]. “I’m a little nervous about implanting something into my body.... I think it’s pretty exciting to be part of something new like this... I know down the road, it’s going to be the next big thing, and we’re on the cutting edge of it.”...

“We are a technology company, when all is said and done, and they’re excited about it,” [said Dewey Wahlin, general manager of Three Square.] “They see this as the future.”
What future do you have in a technology company that is about the future if you don't want the technology of the future?

How can you be the nervous person who says no, when the other employees are openly enthusing about liking to "jump on the bandwagon"?

The jumping-on-the-bandwagon metaphor has traditionally been a way of disparaging people who are acting unthinkingly out of a fear of getting left behind. Making it seems as though there's a bandwagon is a way to get people to go along without serious contemplation.

In the OED, we see the development of "bandwagon" as a metaphor:
855 P. T. Barnum Life 205 At Vicksburg we sold all our land conveyances excepting four horses and the ‘band wagon’.
1893 Congress. Rec. 25 Aug. 897/1 It is a lamentable fact that.. our commercial enemy..should come along with a band wagon loaded with hobgoblins.
1899 T. Roosevelt Let. 28 Apr. (1951) II. 999 When I once became sure of one majority they tumbled over each other to get aboard the band wagon....
1933 Amer. Speech 8 i. 22/2 The socialists climbed on the alliteration band-wagon with Sail safely and surely with Socialism....
1958 Times Lit. Suppl. 15 Aug. p. xxxii/1 The whipping-up of public emotions has been made the excuse for the cult of band-waggon personalities.

"I Don’t Want to Watch Slavery Fan Fiction."

Writes Roxane Gay (in the NYT) on the occasion of the announcement that HBO will be doing a series called "Confederate," an alternative history story based on the interesting if obvious premise that the South pulled off its secession from the Union and kept slavery going.
When I first read about “Confederate,” however, I felt exhausted, simply because I have long been exhausted by slavery narratives...

This show’s premise highlights the limits of the imagination in a world where oppression thrives. These creators can imagine a world where the Confederacy won the Civil War and black people are still enslaved, but they can’t or aren’t interested in imagining a world where, say, things went in a completely different direction after the Civil War and, say, white people are enslaved. Or a world where slavery never happened at all. What would happen in a show where American Indians won the conflicts in which they were embroiled as the British and French and other European nations colonized this country? What would happen if Mexicans won the Mexican-American War and Texas and California were still part of Mexico?

It is curious that time and again, when people create alternate histories, they are largely replicating a history we already know, and intimately. They are replicating histories where whiteness thrives and people of color remain oppressed....

We do not make art in a vacuum isolated from sociopolitical context. We live in a starkly divided country with a president who is shamefully ill equipped to bridge that divide. I cannot help worrying that there are people, emboldened by this administration, who will watch a show like “Confederate” and see it as inspiration, rather than a cautionary tale.

"Trump leaves Sessions twisting in the wind while berating him publicly."

I'm not a fan of recent Washington Post headlines, but that one expresses how I've been feeling.
Sessions’s tight relationship with Trump and the White House has unraveled since he recused himself in March from the Russia probe. The president had privately complained about that decision for weeks, and in an interview with the New York Times last week he said he would not have appointed Sessions as attorney general had he known that Sessions would do such a thing....

Among the names being floated as possible Sessions replacements are Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, according to people familiar with the conversations....
I am not comfortable with the way Sessions is being treated, even though I get why Trump is bitterly disappointed in him. Must this be done in public? It's so awkward, so... unpresidential.

Or is this what we've been told to see as MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL?

Look at how cute he thinks he is:

Oh, I don't know, maybe Obama and Bill Clinton and the Bush I & II and Ronald Reagan all answered reporters with wordless facial expressions like that. You can tell how much you hate or love the President by how much this sort of thing works on you.

How did you react to Trump's expression in that clip? Pick what's closest to your response:
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Headline — "School racism row: Parents don’t want a black principal" — doesn't mean what I thought.

It's news from Johnannesburg, South Africa:
School Governing Body member Henry Charles said... “During the process we were asked what criteria are we going to use with race. I stood up and said I would score five for coloureds and I’ll score four for black people... They said coloureds and blacks are the same and I said but this is a coloured area and they said I am being racist. We want a coloured principal because this is a coloured area”....

The department spokesman Oupa Bodibe said: “The department has learnt the disturbing news that the community in Klipspruit West has rejected the principal because of skin colour. This action is strongly condemned, as it runs against the non-racial principles of our society. Educators are appointed on the basis of qualification and experience.”
IN THE COMMENTS: Paco Wové asks:
So, why are you getting news from South African school districts? Do you have some kind of Racial Grievance Aggregator news feed software running?
I answer:
I have a Google alert set up for Robin Givhan, whose writing I enjoy. Her name appeared in an article in IOL (which I'd never heard of) called "Why Serena was victorious in her nakedness," which I clicked on but wasn't interested in blogging. There was a 5-item "most read" list on the page:

1. News of son's death kills dad
2. Man breaks car's window, tries to snatch girl from dad
3. School racism row: Parents don’t want a black principal
4. Fears of ‘Ramaphosa camp’ purge
5. Kushe ucansi emcimbini kamaskandi eMabhida

Tempting as #5 is, I chose #3.
On a more serious note, surfed said...
The predominately black inner city high schools schools in my city get black principals EVERYTIME and have for decades upon decades upon decades. The thought of a white principal at these schools is laughable - call it what you will. I know, because I spent 37 years as a teacher there for immigrant and refugees there. There's much more I could elaborate on but won't. It is what it is.

July 24, 2017

"Richard Dawkins' Berkeley event cancelled for 'Islamophobia.'"

BBC reports.
[KPFA Radio in Berkeley, California], which is not affiliated with the University of California, said in a letter - which Mr Dawkins published online - that it does not support "hurtful" or "abusive speech."...

[Dawkins] said harsh statements he has made in the past have been directed at "IslamISM" - apparently referring to those who use the religion for political objectives - and not adherents of the faith.

"I have criticised the appalling misogyny and homophobia of Islam, I have criticised the murdering of apostates for no crime other than their disbelief," Professor Dawkins writes. He also pointed out that he has been a "frequent critic of Christianity but have never been de-platformed for that"...

"It is entirely possible that our intelligence agencies know Russia interfered with our elections."

"But they packaged it exactly like a bunch of lying weasels who are simply hoping they are right. I hope that’s just bad brand management and nothing worse."

Writes Scott Adams in "How 'Confident' are Intelligence Agencies that Russia Interfered with the Election?" ("Confident" is the word you'd use when you were not certain.)

"Rep. Blake Farenthold on Monday blamed 'some female senators from the Northeast' for hampering Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare..."

"... telling a local radio station that he might challenge them to a duel if the allegedly obstructive lawmakers were men."

What a loser. His attempt at posing as manly is so lame he doesn't even get the ethic of dueling right.

"The Clinton Foundation has confirmed it accepted a $1 million gift from Qatar while Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of state without informing the State Department..."

"...even though she had promised to let the agency review new or significantly increased support from foreign governments."
Qatari officials pledged the money in 2011 to mark the 65th birthday of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton's husband, and sought to meet the former U.S. president in person the following year to present him the check, according to an email from a foundation official to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta. The email, among thousands hacked from Podesta's account, was published last month by WikiLeaks.
ADDED: I read that as new news, but I see it's from just before the election. I didn't remember.

AND: Someone at Facebook was highlighting the story. I need to learn to double-check dates before I assume that what looks like news to me is actually new. Presumably, this Facebook friend is making some sort of point about proportionality and Trump's perceived misdoings.

"Prominent French academic and author, Anne Dufourmantelle, who wrote about the importance of taking risks, died Friday while trying to rescue a drowning child."

Anne Dufourmantelle, 53, suffered a heart attack trying to reach a 10-year-old boy in high waves at a beach in Saint-Tropez.

Here's something she said a couple years ago:
"The idea of absolute security — like 'zero risk' — is a fantasy. ... Being alive is a risk.... When there really is a danger that must be faced in order to survive, as for example during the Blitz in London, there is a strong incentive for action, dedication, and surpassing oneself."

2 clouds with the same number.

I'm watching those right now as a consequence of a conversation I started on Facebook, which began:
I'm thinking of the old Rolling Stones song "Get Off of My Cloud," because I'm aware of my own instinct to step on the clouds of others. Even though you can't step on a cloud. I'm cynical re clouds. Joni Mitchell sang "Clouds got in my way." No, they didn't. But if you'd like to say I need to stop thinking about all those songs from the 1960s, get off of my cloud.
Pick a cloud.
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"Impeachment is an outlet for anger and frustration, which I share, but politics ain't therapy. [The President] would much rather debate impeachment than...."

Just a quote from Barney Frank from 2006 that I happened to run across and thought might be helpful to people these days.

The words at the ellipsis were "the disastrous war in Iraq." The President at the time was, of course, George Bush, and a motion had been filed in the House to investigate and perhaps impeach him.

50 years ago today: Day 2 of the 12th Street Riot.

ADDED: From the Wikipedia article on the riots:
The violence escalated throughout [the second day], resulting in some 483 fires, 231 incidents reported per hour, and 1,800 arrests. Looting and arson were widespread. Black-owned businesses were not spared. One of the first stores looted in Detroit was Hardy's drug store, owned by blacks and known for filling prescriptions on credit. Detroit's leading black-owned women's clothing store was burned, as was one of the city's best-loved black restaurants. In the wake of the riots, a black merchant said, "you were going to get looted no matter what color you were."Firefighters of the Detroit Fire Department who were attempting to fight the fires were shot at by rioters. During the riots, 2,498 rifles and 38 handguns were stolen from local stores. It was obvious that the Detroit, County, and Michigan forces were unable to restore order.
The city police were overwhelmed, and the Michigan State Police and the Wayne County Sheriff's Department came in. The Michigan National Guardsmen arrived but were "not authorized to arrest people." The governor, George Romney, wanted President Lyndon B. Johnson to send in federal troops, and Johnson too the position that Romney needed first to declare a "state of insurrection." Johnson pointed at the Insurrection Act, but it was also about the upcoming presidential election:
George Romney was expected to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968, and President Johnson, a Democrat, did not want to commit troops solely on Romney's direction. 
Romney also had trouble with the mayor:
Added to this was Mayor Jerome Cavanagh's own political and personal clash with Romney. Cavanagh, a young Irish Catholic Democrat who had cultivated harmonious relations with black leaders, both inside and outside the city, was initially reluctant to ask Romney, a Republican, for assistance.
And John Conyers — then as now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives — opposed federal troops and thought he could help by "driving along 12th Street with a loudspeaker asking people to return to their homes."
Reportedly, Conyers stood on the hood of the car and shouted through a bullhorn, "We're with you! But, please! This is not the way to do things! Please go back to your homes!" But the crowd refused to listen. Conyers' car was pelted with rocks and bottles.
Conyers joined the House of Representatives in 1965, and he is now the Dean of the United States House of Representatives, which means he's the longest-serving member of the house. He's been there 52 years, and he's 88.

"Our son is an absolute warrior and we will miss him terribly. One little boy has brought the world together."

"His body, heart and soul may soon be gone but his spirit will live on indefinitely and he will make a difference for years to come. We are now going to spend our most precious moments with Charlie who will not make it to his first birthday. We now ask for privacy. Mum and dad love you so much. We always have and always will and we say sorry we didn't save you. We had a chance and we were not allowed. Sleep tight baby boy Charlie Matthew William Gard. Our little hero. Thank you."

The parents of Charlie Gard end their legal battle. We're told that new tests have convinced them that the damage the baby has already suffered is irreversible and that further treatment would inflict pain (which is what the doctors seem to have believed throughout the legal proceedings).

"Some 12.2 million people live within the 70-mile-wide band where the eclipse will be total — and millions more are expected to travel to witness it firsthand."

"From Oregon to South Carolina, hotel bookings have skyrocketed. Charleston, SC (where totality will be visible for more than a minute), is almost at capacity, with some lodgings having sold out two months ago. In Oregon, cases of motels dropping reservations and then attempting to resell them for up to $1,000 a night have gotten so bad that the state’s attorney general has opened an investigation.... Two-thirds of America lives within a day’s drive of the path of totality, and highways could turn into the Great American Traffic Jam. For a New Yorker, the fastest route to totality is a 10-hour drive down I-95 to the vicinity of Santee, SC. The problem is that that’s also the 'fastest' route to the eclipse zone for 74.4 million other people along the Eastern Corridor. As [retired NASA astrophysicist Fred] Espenak put it: 'Surfaces are gonna be stressed.'"

From "This August 2017 date could paralyze America" (in the NY Post).

ADDED: Can some of you experts advise us on what kind of equipment we'll need to look at the eclipse? Is something like this good enough? Should we spring for these?

AND: These look excellent.

"It’s hard to appreciate how little Warhol’s art was worth at the time. Twenty-five hundred was the going rate at the time. Why would Andy give him a fake?"

"He had plenty of electric chairs. They were not an easy sell. They weren’t decorative in the conventional sense. It’s a brutal image."

He = Alice Cooper, who "says he remembers having a conversation with Warhol about the picture. He thinks the conversation was real, but he couldn’t put his hand on a Bible and say that it was."

"Little Electric Chair" (from the "Death and Disaster" series) was found rolled up in a tube in storage.
Never stretched on a frame, it sat in storage alongside touring artefacts including an electric chair that Cooper used in the early 70s as part of his ghoulish stage show.
I saw that show, actually. I remember the electric chair. It must have been July 28, 1971 in Wildwood, New Jersey. That was the "Love It to Death" tour:
The Love It to Death tour featured an elaborate shock rock live show: during "Ballad of Dwight Fry"—about an inmate in an insane asylum—Cooper would be dragged offstage and return in a straitjacket, and the show climaxed with Cooper's mock execution in a prop electric chair during "Black Juju."
Let's see if Alice Cooper is mentioned in "The Andy Warhol Diaries." Yes! Exactly once:
Bianca took us to On the Rox, owned by Lou Adler. When we got there it was Ringo Starr and Alice Cooper. I’m not saying they were the only celebrities there— they were the only people there, and they were in the john. Whoever is there is in the john taking coke. Bianca introduced me to Ringo. Alice came over to say hello. Bianca left because she was staying out in Malibu and Mick was coming in and then leaving town the next day so she wanted to get home early to see him.
Those were the days.

And here's what Alice Cooper said last August about the 2016 election:
[The election is] funny in a Kurt Vonnegut kind of way. It's also funny and kind of seriously demented that nobody wants to vote for a candidate; they want to vote against the other candidate. I can't think of anybody that's going, "I really like Hillary. I'm going to vote for her." No, it's: "I'm voting for Hillary 'cause I hate Trump." Or it's: "I hate Trump, but I hate her worse." Nobody's actually for anybody.... I honestly cannot in my head look at either candidate and say, "Oh, yeah. I'm behind that." So it's weird. I'm going to vote, but it's really going to be one of those last-minute decisions going."
Ha ha. Me too. That's exactly what happened to me. I decided which one I would vote for as I walked to the poll. (That's all I'll say about how I voted.)

In Myanmar, after heavy rains, the Thiri Yadana Pyilone Chantha Pagoda slid into the Ayeyarwaddy River.

Beastly graphics.

The Daily Beast is going for a distinctive graphic style. Here's how the top of the front page looks right now:

Red and yellow predominate, but notice the streaks of magenta in the red background and the intense blue of Melania's shoulder (and also dotted around around her jacket).

Like the colors, gender is heightened and highly contrasted. 2 of the 4 rectangles are feminine, 2 are masculine. The males are: 1. In shadows, 2. Brutally violent, 3. Not individuals. The females are: 1. Specific individuals, 2. Distinguished from each other through color and style, 3. Distinguished morally: One is depicted as a saint, the other as complicated, mysterious, and dangerous.

Here's "Inside the Cult of Melania Trump/Does the first lady of the United States have something she’s afraid to confront in the little city where she grew up?" It's really just an article about Melania's home town:
Today, [Melania's] family has a modern two-floor white house in the center of the modern part of Sevnica. It has a built-in garage, a mansard floor, a balcony, and a small satellite dish on the roof. While not grandiose, it is still far from the modest apartment where Melania and her sister Ines grew up.
What's a mansard floor? That's a mistake, no?
The house is not far from a statue of an enormous boot, a monument installed at the entrance to the city in honor of local Kopitarna shoe factory. (Last year Kopitarna sent Ms. Trump “White House” slippers as a present.)...
That's comically dull. Meanwhile, we hear of Bojan Pozar, who's writing (or has written) a book about Melania and who "interviewed several local men who claimed that they had once been Melania’s boyfriends" and said she was "cold" — which either means Melania was (and maybe is) cold or that these guys never really attained the elevated status that we in the United States call "boyfriend."

Also in the article, the way some Slovenians would like to hear Melania speak Slovenian and would like her to wear Slovenian clothes. So... basically, this is a completely inconsequential puff piece about Melania, and it contains absolutely nothing that's religion-like or cultish about anybody's interest in her. Nor is there anything to justify the subtitle, nothing about Melania's fear of anything back home.

But it's a fascinating graphic. It made me think of another article about an American First Lady, one that really did work on the idea religion — "Saint Hillary," a cover story by Michael Kelly in the NYT Magazine in 1993 (previously blogged here). Sample text:
Driven by the increasingly common view that something is terribly awry with modern life, Mrs. Clinton is searching for not merely programmatic answers but for The Answer. Something in the Meaning of It All line, something that would inform everything from her imminent and all-encompassing health care proposal to ways in which the state might encourage parents not to let their children wander all hours of the night in shopping malls.

When it is suggested that she sounds as though she's trying to come up with a sort of unified-field theory of life, she says, excitedly, "That's right, that's exactly right!"
The 1993 cover image of Hillary makes a nice contrast to the graphics that sear the Daily Beast today. The color idea here was white white white:

Finally, the Wisconsin State Journal addresses a question I want to know the answer to.

"Why is Michigan's Upper Peninsula not part of Wisconsin?"

Or as I've always liked to see the old question phrased: Did we lose a war?

Interestingly, the answer is Michigan lost a war — to Ohio — the Toledo War.
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 established a borderline between what would become Ohio and Indiana and the Michigan Territory from the southern tip of Lake Michigan across the Lower Peninsula. The original survey of the land didn’t accurately place the line, which led to the war.

When Michigan applied for statehood in 1833, Ohioans in Congress blocked its admission until the territory accepted the Ohio-preferred state border..... In June 1836, an act of Congress would allow Michigan into the Union, providing it accepted the Upper Peninsula... instead of the Toledo Strip.
Michigan agreed and became a state in January 1837. In between those 2 dates — June 1836 and January 1837 — the Wisconsin Territory was created — in July 1836. So Michigan got the Upper Peninsula — which wasn't even what it wanted — before Wisconsin was even anything.

And if you look at the map of the Wisconsin territory, you'll see that we Wisconsinites should look with more of a sense of hey, that's ours at the northeast corner of Minnesota:

"Michael Phelps didn’t actually race a real shark on TV, and viewers aren’t happy."

A Washington Post headline, but you probably won't click on it, because you don't have a WaPo subscription, and why invest in learning about the disappointment of people who somehow heard about something you didn't hear about and got invested in an absurd idea that a man and a shark would swim side by side?

July 23, 2017

At the Water Lily Café...


... you can talk all night.

And consider doing some shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

50 years ago today: Day 1 of the 12th Street Riot.

Wikipedia has the history of the Detroit riot that would go on for 5 days. There were 43 deaths, 1,189 injured, and 7,231 arrested. Ending the riot took the Michigan Army National Guard (sent in by Governor George W. Romney) and the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions of the United States Army (sent by President Lyndon B. Johnson). This is the account of the first day, 50 years ago:
In the early hours of Sunday (3:45 a.m.), July 23, 1967, Detroit police officers raided the unlicensed weekend drinking club in the office of the United Community League for Civic Action, above the Economy Printing Company, at 9125 12th Street. They expected a few revelers inside, but instead found a party of 82 blacks celebrating the return of two local GIs from the Vietnam War. The police decided to arrest everyone present. While they were arranging for transportation, a sizable crowd of onlookers gathered on the street. Later, in a memoir, Walter Scott III, a doorman whose father was running the raided blind pig, took responsibility for starting the riot by inciting the crowd and throwing a bottle at a police officer.

Jake Tapper encounters Anthony Scaramucci.

2 freeze frames I took watching "State of the Union" this morning:

Here's the whole thing. It was very lively. Scaramucci is very much like Trump, so I was picturing Trump watching this and loving it:

Scaramucci is there to fight for the President. That's plain to see. And Jake Tapper was there to fight too.

Here's the transcript. I made a note to tell you about 3 things, which are in no way the most important things:

1. Asked whether the President believes he has the power to pardon himself, Scaramucci said he didn't know, but he's talked to Jay Sekulow, who's a scholar, and he "took constitutional law from Larry Tribe." And then he spoke directly to Professor Tribe: "And if professor Tribe is listening, I know he doesn't like the president, but I did get an A-minus in your course."

2. Scaramucci was asked whether he was going to be appearing in more press briefings, he said "Sarah Huckabee" is the press secretary. And he kept jabbering...
I think Sarah does a great job. She's an incredibly warm person. She's incredibly authentic. And what I told Sarah on Friday, you get the big office. I will take the small communications office. You deserve the big office because you're taking the hits from the press. And bring the press into the office. Let's soften up our relationship with the press. They're tough on us. But let's be tough on them. I have no problem with. And my job, as I see it, Jake, is that these people work with me, and I'm there to serve them. If you think about the American military, the leaders eat last. If you think about the American military, the leaders' job is to serve the people that are working alongside of them. And so, me, for Sarah Huckabee, I want to do everything I can to make her better at that podium. I think she is phenomenal there now. But like every athlete that is training for the Olympics, every day, we have got to make ourselves incrementally better. The only thing I ask Sarah -- Sarah, if you're watching, I loved the hair and makeup person that we had on Friday. So, I would like to continue to use the hair and makeup person. 
I couldn't believe he ended that by talking about hair and makeup! She's a woman, so, you know, she's an incredibly warm person and we can get her fixed up to look the way women need to look. Tapper swooped in to change the tone with:
"All right, Anthony, you can always swing by CNN. We have hair and makeup here, if you ever need it. Thanks." 
Reading the transcript, I see that Scaramucci could have been referring to his own need for hair and makeup. He said "I loved the hair and makeup person that we had on Friday. So, I would like to continue to use the hair and makeup person." So maybe it was not another weird Trump-related comment by a male about a female. Maybe Scaramucci is looking out for his own appearance and liked that person they had on Friday, the one who stuck big, thick fake eyelashes on Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

3. You see in that "jabbering" quote above, Scaramucci said: "Like every athlete that is training for the Olympics, every day, we have got to make ourselves incrementally better." That reminded me of something he'd said earlier. This was in response to a question about Trump's NYT interview, in which he, as Tapper put it, "attacked the attorney general, the deputy attorney general, the special counsel, the former FBI director, the acting FBI director." Scaramucci used the athletics metaphor, and Trump is the coach:
Listen, I don't want to be a career guidance counselor for those people that [Trump is] talking about. But let me give some advice to those people on your show. That's the president. The president likes speaking from the heart. He likes telling what he likes and he dislikes. He's the type of coach that I worked very well with in high school football. It's OK with me if the president doesn't like certain things that I'm doing. We're all on the same team. I would prefer that direct and immediate feedback, as opposed to anything else. What I don't like about Washington, if we say one syllable or one sentence, or this guy said something bad about me, then, all of a sudden, they have to be my mortal enemy. I don't think that's how it works in American business. I can sit across the table from somebody that worked with me and my company that I founded and say, here are five things I don't like about what you're doing, and we have to fix it. And, by the way, tomorrow, I'm going to be having a meeting with the communications staff and say, hey, I don't like these leaks. And so we're going to stop the leaks. And, if we don't stop the leaks, I'm going to stop you. It's just really that simple.
Scaramucci also used that Trump-as-coach idea on "Face the Nation":
Okay. So from the business world... what I would say about that and from my experience with the president, the president's a pretty wear-his-heart-on-the-sleeve sort of a guy. If people are very, very thin skinned, I think it's going to be super tough to work for this president. The president has said things to me in a tough, and honest, direct way. I think he's a very good athletic coach, if you will. And so what I would recommend to all of my-my colleagues in Washington and know the president very well, if he's saying stuff about you that you don't like, call him up. Go see him. Go get in the Oval Office or the study.
4. One more thing Scaramucci said on "Face the Nation": Tweeting about everything is "the crystal essence of the president." The crystal essence!

5. One more from "Face the Nation": "What I know about President Trump is... he's got very, very good karma."

Watch media ruin a viral star before your eyes.

A 63-year-old woman confronts Bill De Blasio as he's doing a little appearance in Queens about reparing the tree-root damage to sidewalks. She looks and sounds great as she yells at him: "I want to know why you let your police officers down and our country down by going to Germany and protesting against our country."

But after he walks away, you see the reporters calling her over to perform for them. They've found a story. So she accepts the role, continuing her sound-off, aimed at their microphones. And it goes on and on, as she inhabits the stereotype of angry citizen for the cameras.

The story at The Blaze is "Elderly woman angrily confronts Bill de Blasio for jetting to Germany — so he takes cowards way out." "Elderly" — I'm sure that's not how she sees herself! And don't be afraid to put the apostrophe in "cowards."

The love curve.

Visual poetry from Maureen Dowd:
The column is "The Mooch and the Mogul" (that is, Anthony Scaramucci — the "Wall Street hedge fund guy and cable TV diva" turned White House communications director and Donald Trump). "The Mogul and the Mooch is a tender love story with dramatic implications for the imploding White House."

"I live in a double-wide trailer. It's not like I require a lot... It comes, delivered to the door, in 2 weeks..."

"Very easy to clean. Simplicity at its finest. Sure, you don't have some of the finer luxury things like big thick shag carpet... but that stuff's never really meant a lot to me."

Kid Rock explains to Dan Rather why he likes living in a double-wide trailer (even though he has money and will spend it on land and a private plane):

This gets the "tiny house" tag, of course. And I wouldn't make a new tag for carpeting, but I already have one, so I'm interested to publish this post so I can click on the tag and find out whatever made me blog about carpeting intensely enough that I — with my resistance to the creation of new tags — made a tag for it.

"Later came grad school, Sweet ’n Low, Datsun 240Zs, Tab, thong underpants and free love — it was clear: Life had been lovingly fashioned around us."

"Us" = Baby Boomers.

The line is from "Why Are the Baby Boomers in Such a Bad Mood?" by Marilyn Suzanne Miller (in the NYT).

If you begin with delusions like thong underpants are lovingly fashioned around you, you're on the path to disappointment.

Wikipedia provides this history of the thong:
The thong, like its probable predecessor the loincloth, is believed to be one of the earliest forms of human clothing and is also thought to have been worn mostly or exclusively by men. It is thought the thong was probably originally developed to protect, support, or hide the male genitals. The loincloth is probably the earliest form of clothing used by mankind, having originated in the warmer climates of sub-Saharan Africa where clothing was first worn nearly 75,000 years ago. Many tribal peoples, such as some of the Khoisan people of southern Africa, wore thongs for many centuries. Much like the Japanese fundoshi, these early garments were made with the male genitalia in mind.
It was so not lovingly fashioned around a female Baby Boomer.
A descendant of the loincloth and thong is the jockstrap, created by Chicago sporting goods company Sharp & Smith in 1874. The first historical reference to the thong since then is in 1939 when New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia ordered nude dancers to dress more appropriately...

Prior to its entrance into mainstream fashion, g-strings were primarily worn by exotic dancers. In the modern Western world, g-strings are more commonly marketed towards females but are worn by both sexes. By the late 1980s, the style (for females) had made its way into most of the Western world; thong and g-string underwear became more and more popular through the 1990s due to shows like Baywatch, where numerous females were recorded wearing thong swimsuits.
Maybe you thought that TV show was about you.
In the 1990s, the thong began to gain wider acceptance and popularity in the United States as underwear.... In the late 1990s and early 2000s, some people wore thongs with low-cut hipsters and deliberately exposed them over the top of their trousers....
Now that the history of the thong has reached the 1990s, the name Monica Lewinsky belongs in this Wikipedia article, but it's not there (yet). Oh, wait. There's a separate Wikipedia article, "Social impact of thong underwear." Excerpt:
Monica Lewinsky gave evidence during the Lewinsky scandal that she was flirting with Bill Clinton in Leon Panetta's office, and that she lifted her jacket to show him the straps of her thong underwear above her pants. Some of the news media in America used thong underwear as a metonym for smut in the Starr Report...
Metonym? Let's switch to the "Explainer" at Slate, "The Thong Show" (1998):
There has been much discussion of Monica Lewinsky's thong underwear. Thong underwear has even been adopted as a metonymic for the smuttiness included in Starr's report. (In fact, underwear isn't the raciest bit in the report--"oral-anal contact" is more shocking by far--it's just the raciest bit TV producers will air.)...

Lewinsky's... Aug. 11 testimony says "no one else in the room could have seen [the thong]..." In other words, showing the thong isn't a prudish way of saying that Lewinsky stripped for the president. Showing the thong was a lewd trick Lewinsky knew, something just slightly more salacious than a suggestive wink.
Lewinsky — who was not a Baby Boomer — might have thought the thong was lovingly fashioned around her. And Bill Clinton — definitely a Baby Boomer — would probably agree.

It's all narcissism. We Baby Boomers have soaked in it for a long long time, and if the illusion that it's all lovingly fashioned around us is wearing thin and we have no backup resources, we deserve to be sad.

July 22, 2017

At the Enjoyable Sandwich Café...


... you can talk all night.

And you can shop all night, too, preferably through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

That sandwich photograph originally appeared on this blog back here, in 2009. Sandwiches happened to come up twice on the blog today (if you count a cheeseburger as a sandwich), so that — in my entirely made-up rules of blogging — made it right to go into the archive for a sandwich photo for the café post.

"While concepts like the traditional Chinese zodiac are still relevant, they are often dismissed by millennials here as 'the older generation’s pastime.'"

"Western astrology, on the other hand, is seen as more fun. Much as some Westerners have embraced Eastern practices like Buddhism, young Chinese are gravitating toward Western astrology because they say it is new and exotic. “People don’t get as excited about traditional culture because it’s too familiar,” said Liu Hongchen, an astrologer known as Eskey among his more than nine million followers on Weibo, a popular microblogging site. 'The younger generation likes Western culture more, and the interest in Western astrology is a perfect example of this.'"

There's even job discrimination against Virgos and in favor of Scopios, Geminis, and Capricorns.

From "When Young Chinese Ask, ‘What’s Your Sign?’ They Don’t Mean Dragon or Rat," in the NYT.

Brilliant positioning by Kid Rock.

I love everything about the photograph, including the salt and pepper shakers that are luring haters to say things like "Nice salt and pepper shakers, grandma."

Stroh's = Detroit, Michigan.
In August 2016, Pabst partnered with a brewery in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood called Brew Detroit to begin brewing batches of Stroh's Bohemian-Style Pilsner, a beer derived from an original 1850's Stroh's recipe. The first batch was shipped to area bars, restaurants, and liquor stores on August 22, with special events all across metropolitan Detroit on the 26th.
Here's more about Corktown. It's named after County Cork in Ireland, from which many immigrants came during the great potato famine in the 1840s. I didn't know the name Corktown, but I have been there, because it's where Tiger Stadium is was, and I've been there a couple times (back in the summer of 1976, when Mark "the Bird" Fidrych was the rage).

Here's a Google maps link to let you take a walk around Corktown in Street View.

I took a stroll on a Brooklyn Street...

gloves 3

... down past the glove factory...

glove 2

"On Hand Since 1912."

ADDED: I'll bet Dan Rather regrets creating this showpiece:

Answer: Yes.

Can the President pardon himself?

"Mr. Forcements—may I call you Branden?" — so begins the response to email from Olive Garden's "brandenforcements."

From Vincent "Vino" Malone, a guy who blogs about eating at Olive Garden. Olive Garden is policing its brand name, in the typical galumphing way that big corporations do, more fearful of losing a trademark than looking like bullying idiots.

"The American news media’s respect for tech CEOs and foreign-policy experts are the photographic negative of their overwhelming contempt for Dumb Donald."

"These things don’t happen because the journalists that remain are liberals. It happens because so many of them are part of the same class – an exalted and privileged class."

Writes Thomas Frank (the author of "What's the Matter with Kansas?" and a book I've read and recommend, "Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?").
Consider Politico’s famous email tip-sheet, Playbook, which is read religiously every morning by countless members of the DC press corps, including myself. About two-thirds of the publication consists of useful summaries of the day’s news stories.

The rest, however, is a sort of People magazine for the Washington journalist community, in which the reader is invited to celebrate leading journalists’ (and politicians’) birthdays, congratulate leading journalists (and politicians) for their witty phrase-making, learn which leading journalist (and politician) was seen at which party and anticipate which leading journalist (and politician) is going to be on which Sunday program....

But there is an unwritten purpose to these daily honor rolls of journo/political friendship and that is to define the limits of what is acceptable.

Like the guestlist at Lally Weymouth’s party in the Hamptons, which was described so salaciously in Playbook a little while ago, a tiny handful of people and publications and ideas are in; everyone else is out....

They know what a politician is supposed to look like and act like and sound like; they know that Trump does not conform to those rules; and they react to him as a kind of foreign object jammed rudely into their creamy world, a Rodney Dangerfield defiling the fancy country club.
A foreign object jammed rudely into their creamy world...

Yes, he is a pricker forward.

I'm glad to get a perfect chance to use that term I learned yesterdaypricker forward, a synonym for instigator from the 16th century.

Frank is portraying Trump as a masculine stereotype (a rude jamming object) and the press as a feminine stereotype (swanning about in a "creamy world"). It's a rape metaphor.

Now stand back and let Donald Trump make a sandwich:

He hates small food, you know.

NYT crossword tries embarrassingly hard to seem young.

Have you done the Saturday puzzle yet? My reaction was similar to but much harsher than Rex Parker's:
This puzzle is just fine, though it feels like a parody of a puzzle that's trying extra super special hard to be current. Twitter! Facebook! Two Snapchat clues! Kids like the Snapchat, right? Am I Relevant Yet!? We are living in a digital world, and I am a digital girl boy, but take it easy.

"The professor was just offering up some red meat so the racists and phony hero's would crawl out of their caves and show their disgusting underbellies."

"This blog is one big troll and the commentariat are the unwitting subjects of a psychopathology experiment."

Said Howard in the post about the 5 teenagers who taunted and laughed and recorded video as a man drowned before their eyes.

I'll just say... The phony hero's what?

And let me give you an example of a commenter who used that thread as an occasion to tell a story of his own (phony?) heroism. Gahrie wrote:
I was a longterm substitute teacher at a middle school that took the entire 7th grade to the museums and beach in San Diego. The kids were allowed to go in the water, and at least half did. I was the only teacher in the water. Six kids, all of whom were chronic trouble makers I later discovered, got caught in a rip current and were trapped where the waves were breaking also. No one noticed but me, and I immediately swam out to them without thinking. All six grabbed on to me, and thank god I am a large man (buoyant), or I would not have been able to keep the seven of us up. The lifeguards eventually saw us and rescued all of us. They said I probably saved the life of at least a couple of the kids who were exhausted.

When I finally got the shakes and reacted, the scariest thing to me was that I didn't think about what I was doing, and instead just reacted.
And let's also see what the race-conscious analysis was like. (The drowning man was black, and people are assuming that the 5 teenagers are black.) First, here's Chuck:
I am going to give the [NY] Times a pass on their having not posted video. Although I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that if a black man had been drowning and the monstrous do-nothing onlookers had been white, that the Times would have posted all of it along with three [new] columns on the state of race relations.
And here's Clyde:
[T]o play devil's advocate: In Florida, any sizable body of water such as a pond has a very good chance of having an alligator in it. There's a very good chance that the black teens don't know how to swim. It's apparent from listening to the video that the victim drowned quickly and would have been dead long before help could arrive even if they had called 911. And since they were at the park smoking marijuana, calling 911 would just have gotten them involved with the police, which they obviously didn't want to happen, and you can't call 911 anonymously.
And, responding to Clyde, YoungHegelian:
Yes, all this is true.

I'd like to add, in my experience with teen-age boys, & especially the black teen-age boys in the DC area, that sort of goofy bravado is default behavior when caught in an unfamiliar situation. It's like you never, ever show fear or concern, for such would be seen as a sign of weakness.

You have no idea how many times I've been out driving & some young black man will just step out boldly to cross against traffic. And you know what? He'll never look up the entire time! It's almost as if when he makes eye contact with a driver, the jig will be up. Hell, I'd look up & around when jaywalking just to make sure I don't get splattered by some clown who's looking at his cell phone & not the road. Not these guys.

And, yes, it gets them killed. In my county in suburban DC (Montgomery County, MD), each year more pedestrians are struck & killed by cars then there are victims of murder.
And here's Big Mike:
I want to add that I'm very distressed to see the comments that raise a racial issue (or potential racial issue). I grew up in [a] small Midwestern quarry town, and the white teenagers among whom I grew up would have acted no differently. Well, except fifty-five years ago they wouldn't have had cellphones, they'd have been smoking cigarettes and not weed, and there was no 911, no Internet, no social media.

July 21, 2017

At the Late Night Cafe...

... you can talk all night.

"The low-quality, 2.5-minute cellphone video... shows a man flailing in the middle of a body of water as the teenagers describe his struggle and laugh at him from the shore."

The NYT reports:
One of the teenagers, using an expletive, calls Mr. Dunn a junkie. Someone tells him not to expect any assistance: “Ain’t nobody going to help you, you dumb bitch. You shouldn’t have got in there,” he says.

About a minute into the video, the man appears to let out a whimper before submerging, fully, underwater. “He just died!” a voice can be heard saying, as the others begin to laugh.
The police have identified the 5 cruel teenagers, but...
"In the state of Florida, there is no law in place that requires a person to render aid or call to render aid to a victim in distress..."...
Did the boys even have the ability to rescue the man? You could die trying to rescue a person. It's not surprising that the law doesn't require rescue. Such a law could cause more people to die. Imagine standing on the bank of a raging river thinking I'd better jump in there and give it a go or I'll be sent to prison.

As for the laughing and what the boys said, the law can't and shouldn't do anything. I haven't heard the recording, and I assume it's very disturbing, but I don't know that the boys are monsters. They happen to witness a person struggling and they decide that they cannot or will not help and they must deal with their predicament. They talk to the man. What they say is crude, but it communicates a truth to the man. They will not help him. And they struggle to explain why: He shouldn't have gone in there. They laugh in the end when he goes under. I haven't heard the laughing. But it could be anxiety, shock, and denial.

The boys may nevertheless be charged with a crime. The authorities are threatening to charge them under this statute, which imposes, in some circumstances, a duty to report that a death has occurred. I think they're grasping for a way to punish these boys for their speech and their laughter.

I intentionally wrote 2 posts about Salvador Dali today, and — surrealistically — he made a random appearance in a third post.

The 2 posts that are intentionally about him are "What could be more surrealistic than exhuming the surrealist?" and "His moustache is still intact, [like clock hands at] 10 past 10, just as he liked it. It’s a miracle."

Those 2 posts happened today as a result of a real-world event: The corpse of Salvador Dali was exhumed to cut out some body parts to test to determine whether he was the father of a woman who's seeking a chunk of his estate.

In between those 2 posts, there was a post that came into being solely because the word "instigator" popped up in conversation. (And it wasn't a conversation about Salvador Dali.) The word makes me want to hear the old song "Something in the Air," which begins with the line "Call out the instigators," which is the name of the post where I embedded the video. I had not watched the video all the way through, so I hadn't noticed what a commenter — Kassaar — pointed out: "Dali is in the Thunderclap Newman video... Coincidence?"

Let me clip out the precise point:

Either that's a coincidence or the awakened spirit of Salvador Dali is haunting me.

(Interesting lorgnette, by the way, with the handle in the center like a slingshot.)

"Look, I think that [Trump] has an amazing belief in his own ability to will what he thinks into reality."

"And I think that he thinks of reality as something that is subjective. So I think that what people characterize as 'he’s out of touch' or 'he’s not understating this' or 'he seems off,' or whatever—I think he has an amazing capacity to try to draw the world as he wants it. And I think that’s a lot of it."

Says the NYT reporter Maggie Haberman (who's had a lot of contact with Trump over the years), in an interview in The New Yorker with David Remnick, who asked her about Trump's "mental state" — "his grasp of life, of fact."

"The anti-Trumpers need a Pope. And apparently they want it to be me. I didn’t see this coming."

"I will consider the job over the weekend and let them know my decision. If you see white smoke coming from the man-cave in my garage, it means I have accepted the position."

Said Scott Adams, responding to the response to the podcast he did with Sam Harris. Adams likes to talk about Trump as a "master persuader," to explain the methods, and he purports to be leaving questions of morality and ethics to other people.

By the way, I listened to the whole podcast yesterday...

... and I thought it was fantastic how — no matter how hot and desperate Harris got — Adams slipped in laterally and calmly and gave a Trump-supporting explanation — without ever really saying that he personally supports Trump. Adams is like Trump's lawyer within a dimension where law is the actual structure of the human mind.

I don't know if Trump is a master persuader, but I'm leaning toward thinking Adams is a master persuader persuading us that Trump is a master persuader. 

"His moustache is still intact, [like clock hands at] 10 past 10, just as he liked it. It’s a miracle."

"His face was covered with a silk handkerchief – a magnificent handkerchief. When it was removed, I was delighted to see his moustache was intact … I was quite moved. You could also see his hair."

The exhumation of Salvador Dalí — already discussed in an earlier post today, here — does not respect the dead artist's privacy. Instead, an embalmer named Narcís Bardalet — who also handled the body at the time of the entombment in 1989 — gives the press his eyewitness account. He also said that the body "was like wood," and an electric saw had to be used to desecrate the body (that is, to collect the court-ordered bone samples).

These quotes appear in The Guardian, where there is a photograph of the woman who brought the lawsuit. She does look very much like Dali. Under Spanish law, she would be entitled to a quarter of the estate (though Dali willed everything to the Spanish state). The woman, Maria Pilar Abel, did not learn who her father was from her mother, but from her mother's husband's mother, who told her: "I know you aren’t my son’s daughter and that you are the daughter of a great painter, but I love you all the same."

Via Metafilter, where they are making jokes: "I will now enjoy imagining Dalí's mustache surviving the destruction of the earth, the guttering out of the sun, and even the heat death of the universe. In the end, there will only be the mustache, floating serenely in the void. An unguessable number of eons later, CREATION!"... "His moustache was in excellent shape, but his pocket watch apparently had melted."...

Speaking of Salvador Dali's mustache, here he is on "What's My Line?" in 1959, puzzling the blindfolded panel and cracking up the audience. It's a question about the mustache that identifies him:

"But if you can stand the ear-splitting music that renders 90 percent of the heavily accented dialogue incomprehensible..."

"... or follow what there is of the convoluted plot—or if you’re a fan of war and carnage in general—you won’t be bored."

Rex Reed, letting me off the hook on seeing "Dunkirk."

"Call out the instigators..."

Just a song on my mind after Meade used the word "instigator."

According to the OED — which, have I ever told you?, is unlinkable — the word goes back to 1598:
1598 J. Florio Worlde of Wordes Instigatore, an egger on, a prouoker, a pricker forward, an instigater.
A pricker forward. I love that!

I feel as though I've blogged about that song before, but I can't find where.

Here's an alternative video, showing the band playing. Here are the lyrics. It's one of the great "revolution" songs of a half century ago. Like the more famous Beatles song "Revolution," it wears its confusion about revolution openly:
Hand out the holy spirits
We got to remake all our life
Hand out the arms and ammo
We're going to blast our way through here
Because the moment will arrive, and you know its right
Because the revolution's here, and you know it's right
The band, Thunderclap Newman had something to do with The Who:
In 1969, Pete Townshend, The Who's guitarist, was the catalyst behind the formation of the band. The concept was to create a band to perform songs written by drummer and singer Speedy Keen, who had written "Armenia City in the Sky", the first track on The Who Sell Out. Townshend recruited jazz pianist Andy 'Thunderclap' Newman (a friend from art college),  and 15-year-old Glaswegian guitarist Jimmy McCulloch, who subsequently played lead guitar in Paul McCartney's Wings from 1974 to 1977 and died of a heroin overdose in 1979 aged just 26. Keen played the drums and sang the lead [and wrote the song].
"Something in the Air" would have been called "Revolution" if The Beatles hadn't made its use confusing. But there is another song called "Something in the Air," one of David Bowie's lesser known efforts (but 2 movies, "American Psycho" and "Memento").

Now, I'm guessing that what you're wondering is what was "Armenia City in the Sky." So here you are: 

"If you're troubled and you can't relax... If the rumors floating in your head all turn to facts...."

"I'm not elitist. I'm elite. There's a difference."

Overheard on the street in University Heights (Madison, Wisconsin).

Sean Spicer resigns.

"Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned on Friday morning, telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director," the NYT reports.

ADDED: Earlier this morning, from Politico:
Scaramucci, who is a frequent TV surrogate for Trump, is liked by the president. Trump "thinks he is really good at making the case for him," one of these people said. "He loves him on TV."
Here's how he looks on TV (from a month ago), in case you want to check out what Trump loves:

UPDATE: Scaramucci is the new communications director. The new press secretary is Sarah Huckabee Sanders (WaPo).

Man hands.

A Drudge theme right now:

A topic that came up in the Dali thread, where I'd said "What path did your eye take and how many points of interest did you take in before you saw... the snake around her wrist?" and holdfast said: "before you saw...the creepy man-hands?" Closeup:

Classic "Seinfeld" bit:

"Justin Bieber is a gifted singer, but he is also a controversial young foreign singer. In order to maintain order in the Chinese market and purify the Chinese performance environment..."

"... it is not suitable to bring in badly behaved entertainers. We hope that as Justin Bieber matures, he can continue to improve his own words and actions, and truly become a singer beloved by the public."

Said the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture (responding to an inquiry from a Chinese Bieber fan).

What could be more surrealistic than exhuming the surrealist?

You might say, no, it's not surrealistic. There's nothing more down to earth than digging a decayed corpse out of the ground. But Salvador Dali — the surrealist in question — was extracted not from some graveyard, but from a crypt within his own museum.

Here's the NYT article about the exhumation, done according to a court order in a case about whether Pilar Abel, "a 61-year-old Tarot card reader," has a claim to "the worth hundreds of millions of dollars that Dali left to the Spanish state." So it's not as though Dali avoided writing a will. He tried to give all his money to the government. (Am I wrong?)
The tombstone was lifted with a pulley to allow access to the painter’s coffin below. Forensic experts then collected hair, teeth and nail samples, as well as a couple of bones...
Are they making a collage?!
... which will be replaced once the DNA testing is completed.

Ms. Abel wants to be recognized as Dalí’s daughter, born as a result of what she has called a “clandestine love affair” that her mother had with the painter in the late 1950s in Port Lligat, the fishing village where Dalí and his Russian-born wife, Gala, built a waterfront house.

Dalí died at 84 in 1989, seven years after Gala, with whom he had had an unusual and childless relationship: Gala moved to a castle overlooking Púbol, another Catalan village, and Dalí could only visit her there if she extended a written invitation....
Gala was 10 years older than Dali. From her Wikipedia page:
Due to his purported phobia of female genitalia,* Dalí was said to have been a virgin when they met on the Costa Brava in 1929. Around that time she was found to have uterine fibroids, for which she underwent a hysterectomy in 1936. She was Dalí's muse, directly inspiring and appearing in many of his works.
Here's the most prominent image, "Portrait of Galarina":

What path did your eye take and how many points of interest did you take in before you saw...