July 19, 2019

Why are 2 power stations in Madison burning?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Two fires burning at Madison Gas and Electric substations in downtown Madison."
The first and larger of the two fires appears to be at the MG&E property on East Washington Avenue. A second fire could be seen at the substation behind Ogg Hall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus....

ADDED: "Update: MGE explosion shot flames 150 feet high, thousands still without power Downtown" (Wisconsin State Journal). Video at the link. ALSO: here:

"Put your money on someone who energizes and excites you rather than someone who appeals to a voter in a diner in rural Michigan who you invited in your head."

Said Adam Jentleson, "a Democratic strategist working for a group focused on suing Mr. Trump," quoted in the last line of a NYT article titled, "Why 2020 Democrats Won’t Stop Talking About Wisconsin."

Seems to me Jentleson stopped talking about Wisconsin. He talked about a guy in a diner in rural Michigan. It's just mythology, these flyover people. Once upon a time in a faraway land — Michigan, Wisconsin — what's the difference?

The point is, apparently, Democrats are sick of thinking about that guy, the "guy in a diner in rural" whatever. Once they were safely stowed in a basket — a basket of deplorables — and that worked out so disastrously that the reaction could be to obsess over these imaginary people. Are Democratic Party candidates expected to actually venture into the hinterlands? No, they'll just worry about those people, and then they come to Madison (where I live) or Milwaukee to try to score enough votes to outnumber those diner people. That's what Democrats do to win Wisconsin.
“We have created an electorate full of pundits and strategists, and the result is that we’re puzzling through not who we like but who we imagine someone else will like,” said Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii. “It’s a fool’s errand to imagine who will be appealing to someone else.”
Yeah, it's a fool’s errand to imagine... Stop imagining what other people are like inside, and just say what you want. Says the man from Hawaii, which is 4,000 miles away from Wisconsin. I can imagine — no, I can't — what people way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean think of the opinions of people up there in that part of Wisconsin where at some point it turns into Michigan.

Screen Shot 2019-07-19 at 8.10.02 AM

What is that stuff? Watersmeet? Iron Belt? It'll make you crazy if you think about who lives there and what they want.
“There’s something fundamental about the fact that Trump presented himself as a noxious human and still won that is disconcerting and unsettling about America,” said Adam Jentleson.... “But the why, we don’t know. It depends who you talk to.”
Who should be President of the Disconcerting and Unsettling States of American?

"They stole my ideas"/"They copied my novel"/"They ripped me off"/"Since [the studio] stole my novel, I poured out the liquid and set it ablaze."

Statements allegedly made by Shinji Aoba, arrested for killing 33 persons at Kyoto Animation in Japan (reported in Variety).
Since its founding in 1981, Kyoto Animation has regularly adapted novels into anime series....

Local authorities said two bodies were found on the first floor of the burned-out building and eleven others on the second floor. Another body was discovered in a stairwell leading from the first to second floors. The remaining 19 bodies were found in a stairwell leading from the third floor to the roof, whose door was closed but which could have been opened from the roof.

"Lemon and Cuomo reenact Trump's 13 seconds of silence."

This made me think of the way George W. Bush was treated for how he reacted on 9/11 when he was told that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center. Interestingly, it's very hard to get to video clips and mockery of the ex-President (by Googling). The top hit on my search was "Bush explains slow reaction to September 11 attacks" (Reuters)("Former President George W. Bush says his apparent lack of reaction to the first news of the September 11 2001 attacks was a conscious decision to project an aura of calm in a crisis").

But for many years, an extremely negative interpretation of his silence prevailed. Eventually, I found this clip from the Michael Moore documentary:

George W. Bush Reads 'My Pet Goat' in 'Fahrenheit 9/11' from MMFlint on Vimeo.

ADDED: Writing this post, I wondered whatever happened to Michael Moore. I see that The A.V. Club a few weeks ago had "15 years later, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 remains essential American agitprop":
One of the most striking things about watching Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2019 is realizing just how deeply, uncomfortably resonant it is with our current state of the union. Within the first half hour, it depicts a venal, intellectually bankrupt administration led by a preening dimwit as he spends most of his time in the White House golfing and avoiding responsibility....

But even without the striking parallels to our current fiasco of an administration, Fahrenheit 9/11 remains a potent and stirring work, cinema with the ability to boil the blood and activate righteous indignation in the viewer. True, Moore’s reputation has diminished somewhat in recent years. ... A lot of this has to do with his self-aggrandizing persona, a loudmouthed man-on-the-street type...
He means Moore.... though it sounds like Trump. Isn't that Moore's problem now?! George W. Bush had the dullness off which the exuberantly expressive Moore could bounce. That's the style Trump himself displays. Ask the other Bush, Jeb.

ALSO: Is Michael Moore shadow banned on Twitter? I've followed him for a long time, but I never see his tweets in my timeline. When I go to his Twitter page, I see that he has been putting things up, maybe not every day, but a few things each week.

July 18, 2019

At the Ducks-in-a-Row Café...


... get your ducks in a row.

"President Trump on Thursday disavowed the 'send her back' chant that broke out at his re-election rally Wednesday night..."

"... when he railed against a Somali-born congresswoman, as Republicans in Congress rushed to distance themselves and their party from the ugly refrain. Mr. Trump said he was 'not happy' with the chant [and] claimed that he had tried to cut off the chant, an assertion contradicted by video of the event. Asked why he did not stop it, Mr. Trump said, 'I think I did — I started speaking very quickly.' In fact, as the crowd roared 'send her back,' Mr. Trump looked around silently and paused as the scene unfolded in front of him, doing nothing to halt the chorus. 'I was not happy with it,' Mr. Trump said on Thursday at the White House. 'I disagree with it.'"

From "Trump Disavows ‘Send Her Back’ Chant as G.O.P. Frets Over Ugly Phrase" (NYT).

Are we supposed to have a big debate about what was in his head at the time and whether he — the only one with access to the place — is lying when he purports to tell us what was going on inside? Do we have nothing better to do?! The important thing is that he's distancing himself from the chant and letting his fans know they shouldn't chant it.

We talked about the chant earlier this morning, and I took a poll. Here are the results (with almost a thousand voters):

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I'm surprised anyone voted for the disgusting option, "Yes. It's thrilling to see one individual singled out and scared." I'm going to assume those were trolls. That was the last of the "yes" options, and it led to "no" options, the first 3 of which signaled why that last "yes" ooption was off-the-charts bad. Perhaps some voters were influenced by the Alinsky answer: "Yes. Alinsky said it best: 'Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.'" I think that nudges some people to think: The left would do it to the right, so the right should do it to the left.

I like to develop and express my opinion through poll options, and I try to write each one fully committing to the state of mind one would need to make that choice. Sometimes I do polls when I don't really have a right answer in mind. But in this case, my answer was most certainly "no," and I really felt like an actor playing a villain when I was composing 2 or 3 of those "yes" options.

ADDED: Assess "I started speaking very quickly" for yourself:

If you've watched that whole video, please vote here:

Did Trump lie when he said "I started speaking very quickly"?
pollcode.com free polls

"In ancient times purses were a male accessory because carrying money was a man’s job; for much of history, women didn’t need bags because they didn’t venture far from home...."

"It wasn’t until the Renaissance that women’s massive skirts allowed them to cache the stuff they needed in large pockets that dangled beneath their clothes.... Around the French Revolution, women’s silhouettes grew slimmer and bulging interior pockets were seen as an impediment to style. Instead, women were encouraged to carry their stuff in a small bag on a string called a 'reticule.'... The Rational Dress Society, founded in the 1890s, arose along with the burgeoning suffrage movement; its adherents argued that female independence could not be achieved in a tight-fitting, pocketless dress. True liberation required loose-fitting clothing that allowed freedom of movement — and pockets for keeping necessities close, including a revolver if necessary. But fashion won, and near the end of the 19th century, when it became permissible for women to travel alone, luggage designers like Louis Vuitton began peddling large handbags for women, positioning their wares as a signal of female independence.... But what’s independent about being so useful, so encumbered, as if every trip to the office were a trek on the Appalachian Trail?... The male purse went out of fashion more than 300 years ago, when tight breeches prompted the invention of the slender wallet.... Freedom from having to carry stuff is power...."

From "Men Know It’s Better to Carry Nothing" by Lisa Miller in The Cut.

I eschewed purse-carrying from the age of about 18 until... when was it? I insisted that clothes have pockets, only carried around a skinny wallet and keys, and considered it a feminist issue. Also a freedom issue. At some point, I decided it was simpler to carry a very small handbag, big enough for a wallet and keys and — ah, yes, the cell phone. It was the cell phone that made me want to get my carry-ables out of my clothing and separately compartmentalized.

These women who carry about large, heavy bags (discussed at some length in the linked article) — I have never understood how they could stand being weighed down like that. The article goes on at some length about the female obligation to take care of everything, such as wiping up spills, as if women are overly responsible, while men skate free.

I remember a particular handbag that I got when I was about 11. It was suede and a lovely shade of orange. I'd love to have it now. But I had no idea what to put in it. I asked my older sister and she went about finding things to fill up the empty space. I remember her getting the idea to throw in a few hair curlers. That seems so absurd to me now.

"Harris probably needs to start plotting out a media and expectations-management strategy now that allows her to remain viable even if she strikes out in the first four states."

"California and some of the other Super Tuesday states should be good states for her, by contrast, but she needs to get there and to remain above the 15 percent threshold first."

Writes Nate Silver in "Bulletpoint: Does Kamala Harris Need A Win Before California?"

Is it too early to start talking about the potential for a brokered convention? No. From 2 days ago, Oregon Dem at Kos, "Prediction: The 2020 Democratic Convention Will be Contested, and Harris Will Emerge as the Nominee":
Per the revised DNC rules, “Superdelegates”... cannot vote on the first ballot.... Because of this change, for the current contest, those who are Superdelegates appear to be less vocal in who they may be supporting. I haven’t seen a single tabulation this time as to which candidates have which Superdelegate’s support....

"Federal prosecutors signaled in a court document released on Thursday that it was unlikely they would file additional charges in the hush-money investigation..."

"... that ensnared members of Donald J. Trump’s inner circle and threatened to derail his presidency. In the document, the prosecutors said they had 'effectively concluded' their inquiry, which centered on payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to buy the silence of two women who said they had had affairs with Mr. Trump.... The president’s former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, was convicted in the case. He has said he helped arrange the hush money at the direction of Mr. Trump, and prosecutors have repeated the accusation in court papers. Mr. Cohen is serving a three-year prison sentence."

The NYT reports.

ADDED: From the comments at the NYT: "Why does trump always get away with everything, every single time? he is completely immune from prosecution, let alone the very most basic of scrutiny. This is untenable and threatens the foundation of our democracy."

That makes me think of a Dylan lyric: "I can’t help it if I’m lucky." Original context:
Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out but when they will I can only guess
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
I can’t help it if I’m lucky

Ihan Omar takes to the high ground — the Maya Angelou high ground.

Very well played by Omar.

Here's the full text of "Still I Rise," which is not to be confused with "On the Pulse of the Morning," the poem — often mocked by Rush Limbaugh — that Angelou performed at Bill Clinton's inauguration, the one that begins with "A Rock, A River, A Tree" and the "dry tokens" (petrified droppings?) of dinosaurs:

From the Wikipedia article, "On the Pulse of the Morning":
The popular press praised Clinton's choice of Angelou as inaugural poet, and her "representiveness" of the American people and its president. Critic Mary Jane Lupton said that "Angelou's ultimate greatness will be attributed" to the poem, and that Angelou's "theatrical" performance of it, using skills she learned as an actor and speaker, marked a return to the African-American oral tradition of speakers such as Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Poetry critics, despite praising Angelou's recitation and performance, gave mostly negative reviews of the poem....
I think the move to poetry is good! Trump does poetry too. Famously, "The Snake"!

CORRECTION: The original headline for this post was "Ihan Omar takes to the high ground — the Maya-Angelou-at-the-Clinton-inauguration high ground." That lets you see that I myself confused "Still I Rise" with "On the Pulse of the Morning." I'd discovered my mistake as I put the post together, but I forgot to change the post title until after publication. Fixed!

And, as you know, hot dog is Mitt Romney's favorite meat.

Meat 'n' Mitt — America's favorite combo.

Actually... if I were Mitt, I'd worry about prodding people with "dog"... If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's an entire Wikipedia article, "Mitt Romney dog incident." From that article:
Responding to Democrats who emphasized the Seamus story, conservative bloggers such as Jim Treacher drew a comparison between the Seamus incident and Barack Obama sampling dog meat as a child in Indonesia, where it is a local delicacy, as mentioned in Obama's autobiography. While an Obama spokesman called it an attack on a small child, Obama himself has displayed a sense of humor about it.

The White House Correspondents' Dinner saw Obama saying that Sarah Palin's stint guest hosting The Today Show reminded him of an old query: "What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? A pit bull is delicious." Delaney, Arthur; Stuart, Hunter (April 30, 2012). "Obama Ate Dog, And He'd Do It Again To Remind You Of Seamus Romney". Huffington Post (Video).
Ah, I got to use my old "Obamedy" tag again. And it's interesting to see Sarah Palin again. She's been off the radar screen for quite a while. Do we ever hear of her these days? Well, there's this outré acknowledgment from Sacha Baron Cohen, who just got an Emmy nomination for that barely watchable show he put out:
"While I am flattered at these nods, it is a shame that my co-stars were not recognized," Cohen wrote on Twitter. "Particularly Dick Cheney, who I had hoped would come across on camera as someone who’d gleefully sent hundreds of thousands to their pointless death — and boy did he deliver." He added, "There’s one more person I need to thank even though she didn’t appear in the final project, Sarah Palin. Sarah, if you are out there, and you are WAY out there, please know the last time unseen footage generated as much interest, was when Donald Trump visited a Moscow hotel room."
Well, this post went down the rat hole. Here we are in the Steele dossier!