April 18, 2019

Barr is about to speak.

But it's time for my Pilates lesson, so you're on your own for now.

UPDATE: I'm back, but I've got a bunch of things to do. You'll have to enjoy/rail against the great Muellering on your own.

Here's the text. Search and you shall find!

"I had two priorities: to save the crown of thorns and a statue of Jesus."

Said Rev. Jean-Marc Fournier, quoted in "The Chaplain, the Cathedral Fire and the Race to Rescue Notre-Dame’s Relics" (NYT).
“We needed keys and codes to save some of the world treasures, which I clearly didn’t have,” Father Fournier said.... The crown of thorns... was locked in a chest.

While Father Fournier ran to look for the keys, some of his fellow firefighters opted for a more direct approach: They broke open the chest....

With the statue [of Jesus] in hand, Father Fournier, alone in the nave... "thought Jesus could help us a little bit and work, too,” he said. “I invited him to worry about his own house if he didn’t want to finish the night under a tent by the Canal Saint-Martin.”...

“The one who tells you that he’s not afraid in that kind of situation is either very dangerous or foolish,” the chaplain said. “Even for a firefighter, to go inside a building in flames isn’t that natural.”

"I'm just going to get ahead of the spin and announce that the Mueller report supports everything I already thought."

"And if the redactions were removed, it would support everything I already though[t] even more."

Glenn Reynolds gets ahead of the spin.

I almost feel sorry for the TV news people. They have to put on a show, but they'll have to talk about the report without reading it. It's 400 pages. What can they do except roll out some pre-written material?

William Barr is doing a press conference on the report at 9:30, and the report won't be available until 11. That pretty much forces everyone to give immense priority to Barr's presentation, and not just for the 1 1/2 hours between 9:30 and 11. They'll have to keep talking about that, because they'll only be getting started reading the material.

What can they do, once 11 rolls around, to avoid continuing to analyze the Barr presentation (which will include denouncing his decision to do a press conference and dominate the news in advance of the release of the text)? You can be cynical and say the text won't affect the media, and everyone will keep saying what they were already saying, and that is, in fact, my baseline assumption. The TV news is awful.

But what could they do if they wanted to immediately and competently cover the report — the report and not the Barr press conference? Presumably, the media have teams of people to read the report quickly and get ready to go on camera with something. There should be different strategies for diving into it. Someone should be ready to go on camera opening the report and trying to read the first page, right there in real time (the way reporters struggled with the final Bush v. Gore opinion on camera, genuinely trying to figure out, under extreme pressure, what the hell happened).

The second person could be quickly reading the introductory section during this time and go live with a deeper explanation, detailing the conclusions, and the particularities of the language in the introduction. Or the second person could be someone who'd completed something that can be done in 2 minutes: an assessment of the extent of the redactions and where in the report the redactions were heaviest (with some ideas about what this means about why the redactions took place).

You could fill the first 20 minutes or more with material like that, and it would all be new and text-based — not about the Barr press conference. During that time, you could have teams of readers with different strategies for getting into the report. Some readers could be assigned to sections of the report, others could be assigned search terms (such as names or letter strings like "obstruct" or "collu"). I don't know how many readers CNN or MSNBC or Fox has to put on the reading task, but use the people you have and break up the assignment. Others who are good at grasping and analyzing material can go on camera without reading. Let them ask the questions in an effort to get what they need from those who've done the reading, and have someone listening to that and directing readers onto specific tasks, and cue up these readers to go on camera as soon as they've come up with answers.

Hey, now I think it would be great fun to run this project! I believe it can be done well. I presume professional newsfolk could come up with an even better strategy than I just sketched out. I'll watch and judge their work. I don't trust them even to try to do it well, and I understand Glenn's cynicism. Or is it cynicism? Maybe he's just doing what he can to make it harder for the media to do a bad job. That's what I'm doing too. I have hope!

April 17, 2019

At the Springtime Table...


... there's a wide selection. Talk about what you want.

And shop through the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

"Twitter founder and CEO and billionaire Jack Dorsey... says he eats only one meal a day in the week and doesn't let any foodstuff pass his lips at the weekend."

"He also starts every day with an ice bath. 'Nothing has given me more mental confidence than being able to go straight from room temperature into the cold,' he says. And, rain or shine, he walks the five miles from his home to his office.... Dorsey's wellness-hacking habits are extrapolated from the ancient Greek and Roman philosophy of Stoicism.... [Dorsey has] created a platform that has allowed populists, alt-right types, and Russian bots to spread their messages to vast new audiences.... Twitter undeniably helped make Donald Trump president and gave Britain's Brexiteers a stage.... Dorsey has experienced how easy it is to create global pandemonium with a laptop and a smidgen of chutzpah. So for the Twitter CEO and his kind, trying to control biology with low-grade torture, plus a disinterest in traditional rich-people trappings, may be a kind of self-imposed penance for having built platforms and technology that have unleashed some pretty bad things on the world...."

From "Why are Silicon Valley billionaires starving themselves?" by Susan Margolis in The Week.

I don't believe there's any true penance here other than a desire for good PR (in that it makes him look serious, hard-working, and lofty — almost saintly). But I don't believe he's doing these things because he thinks he's done wrong — only that he wants to defend his company's reputation and freedom from regulation. I would guess that he's genuinely motivated by the desire for good health and long life and fascinated by extreme and challenging ideas about how to get that. Some people are drawn to stringent routines, and there's a sort of magical thinking about rituals.

And I don't think the philosophy of the Stoics had to do with penance. It's not about the sense that you've done something wrong and need to make up for it.

"Although Macron and donors... have emphasized that the cathedral should be rebuilt as close to the original as possible, some architectural historians... believe that would be complicated..."

"... given the many stages of the cathedral’s evolution. 'The question becomes, which Notre Dame are you actually rebuilding?,' [say architectural historians like Brigniani]... 'Any rebuilding should be a reflection not of an old France, or the France that never was — a non-secular, white European France — but a reflection of the France of today, a France that is currently in the making. 'The idea that you can recreate the building is naive. It is to repeat past errors, category errors of thought, and one has to imagine that if anything is done to the building it has to be an expression of what we want — the Catholics of France, the French people — want. What is an expression of who we are now? What does it represent, who is it for?,' [Brigniani] says. [Jeffrey Hamburger, professor of art history at Harvard,] dismisses this idea as 'preposterous.'... 'It’s not as if in rebuilding the church one is necessarily building a monument to the glorification of medieval catholicism and aristocracy. It’s simply the case that the building has witnessed the entire history of France as a modern nation,' he says. '[You] can’t just erase history. It’s there, and it has to be dealt with critically.'"

Writes EJ Dickson in Rolling Stone.

Who gets it more nearly right?
pollcode.com free polls

ADDED: It's fantastic how well the building held up:

So inspiring! There's such a glorious bright side to this. The wooden "forest" in the attic was fated to go out in a blaze, and the spire — a relatively recent addition — fell, but the flammable part will be replaced by something much more fireproof, and everyone is coming together, providing the money and the physical and mental labor, and everyone's focused on getting it done by the looming conspicuous goal that is the Paris Olympics in 2024.

"We can be whatever we have the courage to see."

That's called "A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez."

Meade watched that over my shoulder as I played it. I was fascinated by how fast that hand could paint, and I guess if I had the courage to see my own hand painting that fast, I could speed paint perfectly too — and without ever dipping the brush in paint or cleaning it between colors.

As for Meade, he made it hard to hear the audio track, because he insisted on singing this song:

I'm doing fine on Cloud 9...
You can be what you wanna be
Cloud 9
You ain't got no responsibility
Cloud 9
Every man in his mind is free
Cloud 9
You're a million miles from reality
Cloud 9
You can be what you wanna be
I'm feeling fine on Cloud 9

"The SWAT team, the overdose, the complaints of pot smoke in the air and feces in the stairwell... at Sedgwick Gardens, a stately apartment building in Northwest Washington."

"[T]he Art Deco complex, which overlooks Rock Creek Park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places... [l]ocated in affluent Cleveland Park... was once out of reach for low-income District  residents. That changed two years ago, when D.C. housing officials dramatically increased the value of rental subsidies [up to $2,648 a month]. The goal was to give tenants who had previously clustered in impoverished, high-crime areas east of the Anacostia River a shot at living in more desirable neighborhoods.... As of February, tenants with city-issued housing vouchers had filled nearly half of [Sedgwick Gardens's] roughly 140 units.... Some tenants with vouchers say they have been made to feel unwelcome by their new neighbors, a dynamic that has unavoidable undertones of race and class in a largely white neighborhood.... Cleveland Park is a bastion of urbane liberalism where just 1 in 20 voters supported President Trump in the 2016 election. Yet from the beginning... it was clear that some of the building’s older residents were discomfited by the new basement dwellers.... After moving into the building about two years ago, voucher holder Joseph A. Bundy, 69, said he was smoking outside one day when another resident approached him: 'This lady came up and said, "Don’t you know there’s a park up the street?" I said, "What you talking about, a park up the street? My home’s right here."'"

From "D.C. housed the homeless in upscale apartments. It hasn’t gone as planned" (WaPo).

"... a bastion of urbane liberalism... Yet..." — oh, the assumptions in that "yet"!

"The massive search for Sol Pais is over. She is dead from possible self-inflicted wounds..."

"The 18-year-old female suspect was on the run after after making threats that led to the closure of school for more than half a million students on Colorado’s Front Range Wednesday.... The 18-year-old was from Florida and made some comments about the Columbine shooting on April 20, 1999, that apparently caused great concern. She was apparently 'infatuated with the perpetrators of Columbine.' Authorities haven’t said exactly what she said, and it’s not clear if those comments were made before or after her purchase of a pump-action shotgun once she arrived in Colorado on Monday night. She apparently wasn’t specifically threatening any specific school in her comments."

CBS4 Denver reports.

"In one case... prosecutors said, patients consented to having their teeth pulled so they could obtain opioid prescriptions from a dentist..."

"In a number of cases, according to the indictments, doctors across the region traded prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone for sexual favors."

From "Doctors in five states charged with prescribing pain killers for cash, sex" (WaPo).
The 60 people indicted include 31 doctors, seven pharmacists, eight nurse practitioners and seven other licensed medical professionals. The charges involve more than 350,000 illegal prescriptions written in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama and West Virginia, according to indictments unsealed in federal court in Cincinnati.

“That is the equivalent of one opioid dose for every man, woman and child in the five states in the region that we’ve been targeting,” Brian Benczkowski, an assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in an interview. “If these medical professionals behave like drug dealers, you can rest assured that the Justice Department is going to treat them like drug dealers.”...
On the front page, the teaser is "Doctors in five Appalachian states charged with prescribing opioids for cash, sex," and at first I thought the "Appalachia" specificity was WaPo's distancing its readers from the deplorables, but, in fact, the stress on Appalachia comes from the Justice Department:
Benczkowski said he created the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force late last year to target the region, which has been devastated by the epidemic. The department analyzed several databases to identify suspicious prescribing activity and sent 14 prosecutors to 11 federal districts there.

“The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, and Appalachia has suffered the consequences more than perhaps any other region,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement.

Trump is jovial this morning...