June 17, 2018

At the Peony Café...

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... bloom.

(And maybe shop Amazon (through the Althouse Portal)).

Garish hyperbole.

On Twitter today:



I like the Scott Adams riposte... or do you think it's in bad taste (in the Era of That's Not Funny)?

ADDED: By the way, it's Father's Day. What's with mothers and children? Are no children ripped away from fathers or is that just not visualizable as tragic and traumatic?

And as long as we're looking closely at the sex of the parents and children, "Where Are The Girls Being Detained By The Trump Administration?"
I've poured [sic] over these reports. I've scoured the photos. I've looked at every publication and every news outlets reporting. Not. One. Covers. Girls. Being. Detained.

Where are the girls?

Mark Sandford was living a lie, in the chapter of his life when he imploded, so he has a unique vantage point on Trump and his lies.

I wasn't going to turn on the Sunday shows today, but I did. You can see in the previous post that I watched "State of the Union." I blogged the discussion of the Bob Corker observation that "It's becoming a cultish thing, isn't it? It's not a good place for any party to end up with a cult-like situation as it relates to a president that happens to be purportedly of the same party."

I also watched "Meet the Press," and I'd scribbled a note for what I wanted to blog from the transcript, and I'm surprised to see that this too is something that began with that Corker quote. The host, Chuck Todd, was talking to Congressman (and former Governor) Mark Sanford, who tried to get the GOP nomination for South Carolina Senator, but lost out to someone who, unlike him, supported Trump.

Todd asked Sanford if he'd use the word "cult" to describe what has happened to the GOP, and Sanford said:
I wouldn't go so far as cult, but I would just say that, from an electoral sense, people are running for cover because they don't want to be on the losing side of a presidential tweet.... And from a popular standpoint, it's almost a Faustian bargain. I'll pander to you if you pander to me.... And that exchange is very dangerous really, with regard to, again, what the Founding Fathers set up, which is a system designed to garner debate and dissent. 
Garner! I exclaimed the word out loud.
The idea that you can't speak out and say, "I disagree with you here but I agree with you on 90% of the stuff"... is, again, a twilight world that I've never seen.
Huh? You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight World!

Todd pushed Sanford to talk about the way "that literally the president can just say whatever he wants, fact free, mischaracterized." And Sanford said:
That's a larger commentary on society and where we are. But because we've gone from George Washington, "I can't tell a lie by cutting down the apple tree"...
Apple tree?!!
... to they've become so replete that nobody even questions him anymore. And that's, again, a dangerous spot to be in a reason-based republic. I have a unique vantage point on this front.
Yeah! He's famously a liar!
We all know the story of 2009 and my implosion.
Implosion.
A lie was told on my half -- behalf, which means I own it. 
We paused after he said "half" and laughed a lot. Then when we got to "behalf," we were puzzled. What? Did someone else lie for him and it's big of him to take responsibility?
More to the point, I was living a lie in that chapter of life.
Yeah, get to the point. You were a liar. Living a lie. Chapter of life. Implosion. A lie was told on my half. Ludicrous! We were laughing here at Meadhouse.
But there were incredible consequences..... Financially, politically, socially, I lost my -- I can go down a long list. A long list. And so maybe the reason I'm so outspoken on this now is there is no seeming consequence to the president and lies. 
He's envious! How does Trump get away with all his lies? (It's like the sexual harassment conundrum: Why did Al Franken need to resign, why did all those Democrats crash and burn, and Trump gets to be President?)
And if we accept that as a society, it is going to have incredibly harmful consequences in the way that we operate going forward, based on the construct of the Founding Fathers.
Consequences, consequences. If the liar doesn't get consequences, there will be consequences for all of us, going forward. Ask the Founding Fathers.

"Number one, the camera of history is rolling. And it is on videotape now. And we will be able to see exactly what history is showing here."

Said Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) on Jake Tapper's "State of the Union" this morning (transcript here). It's all on videotape now. That amused me.

What was the topic? Oh, the panel was invited to talk about Senator Corker's statement "We are in a strange place. It's almost, it's becoming a cultish thing, isn't it? It's not a good place for any party to end up with a cult-like situation as it relates to a president." (We talked about that a few days ago on the blog, here.)

Jake Tapper was so into Corker's idea that he teased it before the commercial by saying, "Everyone, stick around. We're going to take a very quick break. Look into my eyes. What do you see? I'm the cult of personality."

I wonder what percentage of Tapper's audience just thought he was being pretty weird as opposed to realized he was saying some lines from this old song:



Lyrics printed and annotated here. The lines that follow the ones Tapper quoted are: "I know your anger, I know your dreams/I've been everything you wanna be ohhh/I'm the cult of personality/Like Mussolini and Kennedy/I'm the cult of personality." Kennedy! Also mentioned in the song are Stalin and Gandhi.

Anyway, Rick Santorum was also on the panel, and he said: "I would just say any president has a cult-like following within -- to say Barack Obama didn't have a cult-like following. He had absolutely a cult-like following --" Then he got cut off by Jennifer Granholm, who interrupted him and invaded his space like mad. (That lady is on fire. Earlier, talking about separating migrant parents and children, she said — with big passionate gestures — "You could drive nails through my hands. You could whip me on my back but do not take my children away.")

Meeks followed Santorum's effort to include Barack Obama in the idea that there's a "cultish thing" around a President:
MEEKS: Number one, the camera of history is rolling. And it is on videotape now. And we will be able to see exactly what history is showing here. Barack Obama when he was president, there were Democrats that did not agree with some of the things that he said. For example, TPP, they spoke out about it. They didn't reel it in. Even (INAUDIBLE) to immigration. There were members of Congress, Democrats who said -- and pushed it more on DACA, to create DACA.... But the Republicans here is yielding everything and the Republican Party no longer exists. It is the Trump party. We are losing our values. And when we took our oath of office it wasn't to a president. It was to a country. We are on a dangerous —
Obviously, there are Republicans who don't agree with some of the things Trump says. What's the real distinction here? Shouldn't a party reshape around a President if the President's any good? What compliment is it to Obama to say he didn't recreate the Democratic Party?

"When they gas the young ones, they literally cry out and squawk for their parents. The adult geese are slaughtered."

"It’s horrific. When they call it a goose roundup it doesn’t sound so bad. But what they are doing is cruel and unnecessary.... I get it. People who use the parks don’t want goose poop everywhere. But I don’t think those people are saying, ‘Hey. Let’s kill the geese.' We can deal with the problems geese create this year and then take more preventive steps next year to ensure no geese have to be killed. My organization is willing to help out. I’m confident lots of other people will, too. I just want to do the right thing."

Said Mary Telfer, executive director of Alliance for Animals, quoted in "Madison moving forward with annual geese kill/Goslings found in city parks are gassed; adults are slaughtered" (Isthmus).

"Grandma strangles rabid bobcat with her bare hands."

ANY Post headline. The "Grandma" is a 46-year-old woman, DeDe Phillips. She was taking a photo of the animal when it "took two steps and was on top of me . . . it came for my face."
“I took it straight to the ground and started inching my hands up to its throat... Once I got him where he wasn’t moving I started screaming for my daughter-in-law to call 911,” she said....

“They go for your jugular . . . when they can get the vein you’re dead in a couple of minutes,” she said, noting she was careful not to yell until the cat was subdued, because she didn’t want her 5-year-old granddaughter to come outside.

Phillips refused to release the beast until her son showed up and stabbed the animal “four or five times.”

“It never budged, so I knew it was completely dead,” she said.

Whatever happened to the sweet comedians?

I ask the internet, a propos of a conversation in last night's "Deep Purple Café," which had a photograph of some lush purple flowers. Xmas said:
I'm surprised they are still selling purple lupines. I thought you were far enough East that they'd be considered invasive.
And I said:
These are not lupines. I am certain they are salvia because I have another picture of the same set of plants where the label, a sticker on the pot, is clearly readable. These are May Night Salvia. The 2 plants are completely different, not even the same order. Salvia are Lamiales, which include 23,810 species, including (Wikipedia says) "lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, the ash tree, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, and a number of table herbs such as mint, basil, and rosemary." Lupines are Fabales, which include "the families Fabaceae or legumes (including the subfamilies Caesalpinioideae, Mimosoideae, and Faboideae), Quillajaceae, Polygalaceae or milkworts (including the families Diclidantheraceae, Moutabeaceae, and Xanthophyllaceae), and Surianaceae."

Lupines are in the family Fabaceae or Leguminosae — "commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family..."
Blah blah blah... I had to reverse that line of Wikipedia-powered blather:
I'm just cutting and pasting from Wikipedia and not showing off my own knowledge. I had to look it all up. If you'd have told me, 10 minutes ago, that salvia and lupine were 2 words for the same plant, you could have fooled me.
rhhardin reacted aptly:
Furze and gorse are the only two exact synonyms in English.
And I said:
I'd like a comedy team named Furze and Gorse.
And then I started thinking of all the comedy teams that were around in the 1960s. There was a sweetness to them. Who was I thinking of? Allen & Rossi?



That's a random men-in-shorts occurrence. Anyway, back then, the audience laughed easily at Marty simply saying "Hello dere."

The second sweet comedy team I think of is Shields & Yarnell:



That was back when we loved mime. Mimes were so sweet. And Sonny and Cher were a pretty sweet comedy team too. But where is the sweetness now?

The internet returned this 2017 NYT article, "Sick of Angry Comics? Try Some Sweet-Tempered Stand-Up":
Comedy clubs have long been packed with head-shakers airing grievances and heatedly picking apart nonsense. But [Josie] Long is part of a new breed of young performers more likely to begin a joke with affection than annoyance and to end with ridiculousness, not ridicule. This sunnier stand-up is in part a function of the times, when social media keeps count of likes and favorites, and late-night television is a chummy safe space for celebrities. But the hopefulness is also a refreshing artistic change of pace, a backlash against generations of smug finger-pointing and knowing raised eyebrows. When irritation becomes so common, good cheer can be novel, if not downright irreverent....
Is there a nascent sweetness trend in comedy? If so, can we also get a sweetness trend in politics? I'm sick of all the anger there too.

Walking at sunrise (because I don't want to walk when it's hot).

I had a nice 2-mile walk after putting up that first post of the day. It's going to get up in the 90s and I don't even like it when it's in the 80s. The solution is to be up and out early. Today, I got a low-70s walk, which was just fine. Only slightly hot for my taste, but good enough. We had a massive rainstorm the night before last, and there were some big branches down in our neighborhood.

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... and some giant pools of standing water...

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Some fascinating photography and dance at the Louvre...

... in this new Beyonce and Jay-Z video, which is called "Apeshit":



There's lots of "Mona Lisa" in that video, but there's other Louvre art shown very well. Watch for "The Coronation of Napoleon" (beginning at 1:37 and then at 4:01). And the "Winged Victory of Samothrace" and the museum's beautiful staircase make a stage set for lots of interesting dancing.

I've got nothing to say about the music, because I don't listen to this kind of music enough to be able to hear it, let alone have an opinion, but I'm extremely interested in the use of artwork — the long views, the closeups, the combination with dancers.

I can hear some of the words, and they seem to be just expressing gratitude about having become rich and famous. The title — which had me thinking about Roseanne's recent ape-related screwup — seems to be simply a reference to the enthusiasm of Beyonce and Jay-Z's fans — "Have you ever seen a crowd going apeshit?"

Let me look up the lyrics and read them. Here. I see there's something about pay equity:
Rah, gimme my check
Put some respeck on my check
Or pay me in equity, pay me in equity
Or watch me reverse out the dick (skrrt)
The annotation explains that last line as "a simple threat: she’ll leave projects and especially men that are cutting her a less-than-satisfactory check for her work."
He wanna go with me (go with me)
He like to roll the weed (roll with me)
He wanna be with me (be with me)
He wanna give me that vitamin D (D!)
I did not need to click on the annotation or use Urban Dictionary to understand the term "vitamin D."

When Jay-Z finally gets his closeup, he begins:
I'm a gorilla in the fuckin' coop
Finna pull up in the zoo
I'm like Chief Keef meet Rafiki
Who been Lion King to you
Pocket watch it like kangaroos
Tell these clowns we ain't amused
Banana clips for that monkey business...
Last night was a fuckin' zoo
Stagedivin' in a pool of people
Ran through Liverpool like a fuckin' Beatle
Smoke gorilla glue like it's fuckin' legal....
All that "ape" and "gorilla" business seems like an invitation to white people to Roseanne ourselves. According to the annotation at the lyrics link:
Jay directly quotes rapper, Chief Keef’s “Faneto”, the first of many animal references he makes throughout this verse.

I’m a gorilla in a fuckin' coupe, finna pull up to the zoo...

“Gorilla” is a racial slur directed towards black people who are perceived by some to be primitive or ape-like. Jay embraces this word proudly and uses it as a sense of empowerment.

“Coupe” or “Coop” are interchangeable. The latter continues Jay’s animalistic theme, saying he is a Gorilla among chickens.
ADDED: This is missing all the art, but musically, it's so much more my style (from 1970):



The lyrics are as fresh as ever:
I think I'm so educated and I'm so civilized
'Cause I'm a strict vegetarian
But with the over-population and inflation and starvation
And the crazy politicians
I don't feel safe in this world no more
I don't want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man
We had crazy politicians and a threat of nuclear war back in 1970s. That's not just some new thing cooked up for you kids today.

June 16, 2018

At the Deep Purple Café...

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... have your Saturday night conversation.

And here's the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

I'm finding my own little entry points into the IG report, and what's calling to me now is that damned phrase "Viva le resistance."

The IG report describes an instant message exchange on November 22, 2016. FBI Attorney 1 — referring to how much some subject of the FBI investigation got paid working for the Trump campaign — said "Is it making you rethink your commitment to the Trump administration?"

And FBI Attorney 2 said “Hell no” and “Viva le resistance.”

If that's supposed to be French, the word is "vive" not "viva," and "resistance" should have the feminine article, "la," not "le." If it's Spanish, "viva" is fine, there's no "le" in Spanish, "resistance" is not the Spanish word, and it's still feminine, so "la" would be the proper article. I'm seeing "Viva le resistance" repeated a lot — like here, at Instapundit — and I'm getting tired of looking at something so formally ignorant.

But as long as I'm moved to make that formal critique, I'll look at the substance (pages 415 to 424).

FBI Attorney 2 was asked what he meant by that "Viva le resistance," and he said:
So, this is in reference to an ongoing subject. And then following that, like I interpreted [FBI Attorney 1’s] comment to me as being, you know, just her and I [sic] socially and as friends discussing our particular political views, to which I see that as more of a joking inquiry from her. It’s not something along the lines of where I’m not committed to the U.S. Government. I obviously am and, you know, work to do my job very well and to continue to, to work in that capacity. It’s just the, the lines bled through here just in terms of, of my personal, political view in terms of, of what particular preference I have. But, but that doesn’t have any, any leaning on the way that I, I maintain myself as a professional in the FBI.
Obviously, he's just asserting what he must (and what the Executive Summary will also assert) that he has political opinions but they don't bleed into his work because he is a professional.

The IG "asked FBI Attorney 2 if 'Viva le resistance' signaled he was going to fight back against President Trump" and he said:
That’s not what I was doing.... I just, again, like that, that’s just like the entire, it’s just my political view in terms of, of my preference. It wasn’t something along the lines of, you know, we’re taking certain actions in order to, you know, combat that or, or do anything like that. Like that, that was not the intent of that. That was more or less just like, you know, commentary between me and [FBI Attorney 1] in a personal friendship capacity where she is just making a joke, and I’m responding. Like, it’s not something that, that I personally believe in that instance.
That's a repetition of the same idea. Personal opinions and professional work are kept separate. It really is a convention to believe that people can do that. You can be cynical or skeptical or just plain realistic and think that's not how human minds function, but it's a fiction we actually do need to believe in (at least up to a point) if we are going to put human beings in a position of trust.

The IG said that it showed "extremely poor judgment and a gross lack of professionalism" to use the FBI's systems and devices to send these messages, because "It is essential that the public have confidence that the work of the FBI is done without bias or appearance of partiality, and that those engaged in it follow the facts and law wherever they may lead and without any agenda or desired result other than to see that justice is done."

Perhaps in the interest in maintaining what is "essential," the IG "found no documentary or testimonial evidence directly connecting the political views these employees expressed in their text messages and instant messages to the specific Midyear investigative decisions." I notice the words "directly" and "no documentary or testimonial evidence." You can read the report yourself and see the basis for inference and suspicion, but you're on your own. There's plenty of evidence that does shake our confidence that the FBI does its work without bias and without any agenda or desired result. But — the IG encourages us to think — it's also possible to maintain your confidence, so why don't you do that? Because your confidence is essential!

Jeff Sessions is making us talk about what the Bible says.

I'm reading "Sessions says the Bible justifies separating immigrant families. The verses he cited are infamous" by Kyle Swenson in The Washington Post. Asked to defend the separation of children from parents taking them illegally across the U.S. border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said:
“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes... Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent, fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”
Swenson observes:
The passage — “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” — has been read as an unequivocal order for Christians to obey state authority, a reading that not only justified Southern slavery but also authoritarian rule in Nazi Germany and South African apartheid.
And what about other things in the New Testament? Stephen Colbert joked darkly:
“Hey, don’t bring God into this. I don’t think God picked you, because I don’t worship Vladimir Putin... Jesus said, ‘Suffer the children to come unto me.’ But I’m pretty sure all Sessions saw was the words ‘children’ and ‘suffer’ and said, ‘I’m on it.’ ”
Swenson collects other pro-immigrant Christian responses
“I guess Sessions forgot about the Gospels part of the Bible. Matthew 25:35 says ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,’ ” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said on Twitter. “Nothing in the Bible says to separate kids from parents. It teaches the opposite.”...

Theology scholar Mike Frost wrote in 2016 that Romans 13 should not be used to quell dissent because it comes from a period when Christians faced persecution from the Roman Emperor Nero.

“This is the guy who was said to have had Christians dipped in oil and set on fire to light his garden at night,” Frost wrote. “It makes perfect sense that Paul would commend the fledgling church to keep its head down, to avoid rocking the boat, to submit quietly to the prevailing political winds. They had no choice. They lived under the authority of a dictator.”
Quite aside from what the Bible says, should the Attorney General be using the Bible to defend a government policy? One might answer yes, because the policy was challenged morally, and even though it is theoretically possible to discuss morality without religion and some people can only discuss morality without religion, for many people morality is bound up with religion, and it should be at least permissible to discuss the morality of a public policy in terms of religion. There are consequences to using religion this way, though, of course. It may feel exclusionary to those who don't share the religion or who have a religious problem with interpreting scripture for a political purpose. And if you've got a passage for your position, then I'll have a passage for mine, and I can reinterpret yours and you can reinterpret mine, and we may find ourselves making garbage out of what we were only using in the first place because we posed as believing it was holy.

By the way, we all feel bad for the children, but I'm seeing a spotlight on the point when the children are removed from parents who are being sent to prison. If the separation is wrong, what is the less wrong thing that ought to be done instead?  I'm not seeing anyone talking about that. Am I missing everything that answers my question or are there reasons why no one wants to talk about that?

ADDED: At National Review, Rich Lowry explains the limitation imposed by the Flores Consent Decree (from 1997):
It says that unaccompanied children can be held only 20 days. A ruling by the Ninth Circuit extended this 20-day limit to children who come as part of family units. So even if we want to hold a family unit together, we are forbidden from doing so.

"And I remember at that point saying, well, you know, thank you very much kind of thing, and he sort of continued chatting and, and said, and made a comment about his travels he was headed on."

"And I said, well, we’ve got to get going to the hotel. And I said I’m sure you’ve got somewhere to, to go. And he said yes. And I forget where he told me he was going. He was flying somewhere, but...I’ve forgotten where. He said I’m going to wherever I’m off to. And then he made some comment about West Virginia. And I do not know if he was headed to West Virginia. I just don’t know...if that was the reference to it. And he made a...comment about West Virginia and coal issues and how their problems really stem from policies that were set forth in 1932. And he talked about those policies for a while. And, and I said, okay, well."

I have read part of the IG's report. I read pages 202 to 211, about Bill Clinton's weird, extended intrusion onto Loretta Lynch on the tarmac in Phoenix on June 27, 2018. Could you please read that section and tell me what you think Bill Clinton was doing and the extent to which Loretta Lynch understood it and when in the 20 minutes or so she realized it was a problem?

The Executive Summary (page v) says "we found no evidence that Lynch and former President Clinton discussed the Midyear investigation or engaged in other inappropriate discussion during their tarmac meeting" but there was "the appearance problem" and Lynch made "an error in judgment" by not "tak[ing] action to cut the visit short."

We could talk about how narrowly the statements in the Executive Summary are framed. There's a lot of talk of finding no evidence, often tied to a particular issue, like whether Lynch and Bill Clinton discussed the Midyear investigation or another topic that they shouldn't have discussed. But I'd like to talk about the evidence that that the IG did find and the inferences that can be made from that evidence. There is a lot of evidence on pages 202 to 211, and I wish you'd read it before I tell you the inference that came through loud and clear for me.

My inference, from the evidence, is that Bill Clinton intended to cause Loretta Lynch to believe that she would be shown favor in a Hillary Clinton administration and to think that she was a front runner for the empty Supreme Court seat. Bill did not need to talk about the Midyear investigation. In fact, he needed to avoid it as he made himself at home on the plane, sitting down and staying far too long. In this interpretation, talking about the grandchildren made sense...
Well, after he was sharing with us his story about how...they introduced the two grandchildren to each other, which involved a toy...and that was green, and just, again, the family issues...
... because it created an aura of friendly closeness — a toy... that was green — and was meant to lodge in her mind that she was indeed a good friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton's.
At some point, after two or three minutes, President Clinton turned around. I had my tote bags on the bench seat of the plane, because I had put them there when he came on board. I had been holding them. I put them down. He picked up my tote bags and moved them, and then he sat down. So he sat down, and my husband and I were still standing in front of him having the discussion. And...he sort of sat heavily, and...I didn’t know...how he felt, so I can’t say one way or the other. But he sat down and started talking about, you know, the grandkids and how they introduced them to each other. And so, and ultimately, because this went on for a little but, my husband and I sat down also, and, you know, had that discussion about his family and the kids[.]
He moved her tote bags! He used bodily movements to convey the idea that this is a sit-down session that is going to last, to draw her close and give her time to feel that something will come her way if she returns the good, warm, close feelings. I don't know if she ever got the idea: He's trying to say without saying that I will get the Supreme Court nomination. Or at least: Is he trying to make me think I'll get the Supreme Court nomination? And then, if she thought that, what next? Of course the IG has no evidence of what she thought, but I assume that the idea of getting the nomination flashed through her head. And when it did, what did she think?

I imagine that Lynch thought he's trying to make me think I've got a lot to gain if I treat Hillary Clinton well and that Lynch wanted what Bill Clinton was implicitly offering but also knew what he was doing was horribly wrong and had more potential to hurt her reputation than to get her the prize he was dangling.

ADDED: Bill moved the tote bags to create room "on the bench seat." Here, Loretta. Here's a seat on the bench. Won't you sit down?

ALSO: Did Lynch have reason to think she was a major contender for the empty Supreme Court seat?  Yes. She was enough of a contender at the time when Barack Obama was trying to be the one to fill the seat that she publicly withdraw her name for consideration (in early March of 2016):
“While [Lynch] is deeply grateful for the support and good wishes of all those who suggested her as a potential nominee, she is honored to serve as Attorney General, and she is fully committed to carrying out the work of the Department of Justice for the remainder of her term,” [said a  Justice Department spokeswoman].

There is speculation that Lynch did not want a long, drawn-out confirmation battle, which is almost assured given that congressional Republicans have said that they will not confirm any nominee put forth by the president—but especially one who might tip the court to the “left.”
It's easy to infer that she knew the odds were much better to wait for Hillary Clinton to win. Of course, Bill Clinton knew all this when he approached Lynch in June on that tarmac.

And here's an article in The Washington Times from about a month before the election about Hillary Clinton's possible nominees:
Mrs. Clinton, unlike Donald Trump, hasn’t released a list of names she would recommend to the court, saying only that Congress should confirm President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. That’s the politically correct thing to say right now — but if Mrs. Clinton wins in November, there’s no doubt she’ll name her own, more liberal choice to the bench. There’s been some speculation that Loretta Lynch, the attorney general of the Department of Justice, could be on Mrs. Clinton’s short-list....

June 15, 2018

Trump is "sort of... like a ship — you just keep going — bing bing."

"I'm kidding. You don't understand sarcasm. Hey, who are you with? You're with CNN? Hey, you are the worst"

Trump, responding to a question — "What did you mean just now when you said you wished Americans would sit up at attention?" — about something Trump said earlier this morning about Kim Jong-Un — "He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same."

I was watching MSNBC a while ago — because Meade had it on — and there was a long panel discussion taking "I want my people to do the same" completely seriously.

ADDED: The quote in the post title happens about 6 minutes into this fascinating media feast:

"Harvard consistently rated Asian-American applicants lower than any other race on personal traits like 'positive personality,' likability, courage, kindness and being 'widely respected'..."

"... according to an analysis of more than 160,000 student records filed Friday in federal court in Boston by a group representing Asian-American students in a lawsuit against the university. Asian-Americans scored higher than applicants of any other racial or ethnic group on admissions measures like test scores, grades and extracurricular activities, according to the analysis commissioned by a group that opposes all race-based admissions criteria. But the students’ personal ratings significantly dragged down their chances of being admitted, the analysis found.... In court papers, Harvard said that a statistical analysis could not capture the many intangible factors that go into Harvard admissions.... [The plaintiffs] compare Harvard’s treatment of Asian-Americans with its well-documented campaign to reduce the growing number of Jews being admitted to Harvard in the 1920s. Until then, applicants had been admitted on academic merit. To avoid adopting a blatant quota system, Harvard introduced subjective criteria like character, personality and promise. The plaintiffs call this the 'original sin of holistic admissions.'"

The NYT reports.

"Mindfulness might be unhelpful for dealing with difficult assignments at work, but it may be exactly what is called for in other contexts."

"There is no denying that mindfulness can be beneficial, bringing about calm and acceptance. Once you’ve reached a peak level of acceptance, however, you’re not going to be motivated to work harder."

The last paragraph of "Hey Boss, You Don’t Want Your Employees to Meditate" (NYT) by the behavioral scientists Kathleen D. Vohs (of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota) and Andrew C. Hafenbrack (of the Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics).

"I am that guy" — the husband of "You May Want to Marry My Husband.”

Jason Rosenthal writes (in the NYT) about his life in the year after his wife died of ovarian cancer 10 days after publishing a "Modern Love" essay (which I blogged about here).
Many women took Amy up on her offer, sending me a range of messages — overly forward, funny, wise, moving, sincere....

I couldn’t digest any of these messages at the time, but I have since found solace and even laughter in many of them. One thing I have come to understand, though, is what a gift Amy gave me by emphasizing that I had a long life to fill with joy, happiness and love. Her edict to fill my own empty space with a new story has given me permission to make the most out of my remaining time on this planet....

[A]s she described, we followed Plan “Be,” which was about being present in our lives because time was running short. So we did our best to live in the moment until we had no more moments left....

I am now aware, in a way I wish I never had to learn, that loss is loss is loss, whether it’s a divorce, losing a job, having a beloved pet die or enduring the death of a family member....

So many people are talking and writing about that 500-page report, but they can't have read it.

They can't even have decently skimmed it, let alone studied it and learned what's in and thought about it carefully. I'm wondering why I should read articles like "Report Gives Trump an Opening, but Undercuts His Narrative" (NYT). Look, they're already jumping ahead to the question of how the report will be used in gaining political advantage. But we haven't absorbed what is in the report, and we are moving on already.

ADDED: I'm just trying to absorb Attachment G:

"I was not certain I was right about those things at the time. That’s the nature of hard decisions; they don’t allow for certainty."

"With the added benefit of hindsight, the inspector general sees some things differently. My team believed the damage of concealing the reopening of our investigation would have been catastrophic to the institution. The inspector general weighs it differently, and that’s O.K., even though I respectfully disagree."

Writes James Comey in "This Report Says I Was Wrong. But That’s Good for the F.B.I." (NYT).