October 27, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write about whatever you want.

"Polls show Mr. Biden leading by five to 13 points, but I grew up around here and am dubious. This place — the land of hoagies and Bradley Cooper and Rocky Balboa worship..."

"... and Tina Fey’s 'Cousin Karen' accent — has transmogrified into Trumplandia. 'He has so much more support than in 2016, because it’s been four years of accomplishments,' said Darinna Thompson, 49, a homemaker who was talking with a group of women outside the Trump Store. They were part of a caravan that had just encircled the Democrats’ rally 'to say bye-bye to Biden' and let his supporters know they were outnumbered.... Pollsters say that suburban women are President Trump’s kryptonite, that they’ve turned on him.... 'I feel like that’s wrong — we’re the majority,' said Jennifer Girard, 41, a single mother working in consumer goods.... My mom says many of her girlfriends will go for Mr. Trump, and she hasn’t been able to match with any man on Bumble who isn’t a Trump voter.... The front yards of the houses flanking my mom’s, the one across the street and three more on the block feature Trump signs. There is one Biden sign on the street. One of my mom’s acquaintances recently held a Trump-themed birthday party for her child. Icing on each cookie read, 'Make ninth birthdays great again.'... Lochel’s bakery in Hatboro has become an overnight Oracle of (Phila) Delphi, selling red 'Trump 2020” and blue 'Biden 2020' sugar cookies. Whichever cookie sells the most will predict how this area, and thus the state, and therefore the election, will turn. Supposedly.... So far, the count stands at 3,367 blue cookies, 18,241 red. 'I do think that Trump supporters are more competitive,' said Dan Rutledge, standing in line outside of the bakery in the spitting rain on Sunday."

ADDED: At FiveThirtyEight: "Is Joe Biden Toast If He Loses Pennsylvania?" Answer to the question: "No, not quite. It is close to being a must-win for Trump, who has only a 2 percent chance of winning the Electoral College if he loses Pennsylvania. Biden, however, has a bit more margin for error. He’d have a 30 percent chance if he lost Pennsylvania.... The reason losing Pennsylvania wouldn’t necessarily doom Biden is because he could still hold those other Midwestern/Rust Belt states. Pennsylvania is fairly similar to Michigan and Wisconsin, but not that similar."

"In a stunning moment, Judge Garaufis interrupted [the defense lawyer] in the middle of his speech, yelling, 'No!'"

"During a back-and-forth in which the two men shouted through face masks, Judge Garaufis spoke forcefully about how intent did not matter when a 45-year-old man sexually abuses a child. 'It’s an insult to the intelligence of anyone who listens,' the judge said."

Look at how the Lincoln Project is trying to make us hate Trump!

This is a fascinating symptom of Trump derangement syndrome — an inability to see how the things that you hate are what make the people who love him love him. And I'm not talking about racism. 

"Skittering in the fading purple light."

A podcast about the posts of this morning.

Topics: Trump and Obama in Lititz, Amy Coney Barrett on Senators and their policy preference, and Obama writes another book.

"But, of all the pleasures that first year in the White House would deliver, none quite compared to the mid-April arrival of Bo, a huggable, four-legged black bundle of fur..."

"... with a snowy-white chest and front paws. Malia and Sasha, who’d been lobbying for a puppy since before the campaign, squealed with delight upon seeing him for the first time, letting him lick their ears and faces as the three of them rolled around on the floor. With Bo, I got what someone once described as the only reliable friend a politician can have in Washington. He also gave me an added excuse to put off my evening paperwork and join my family on meandering after-dinner walks around the South Lawn. It was during those moments—with the light fading into streaks of purple and gold, Michelle smiling and squeezing my hand as Bo bounded in and out of the bushes with the girls giving chase—that I felt normal and whole and as lucky as any man has a right to expect."

The return of the prose style of Barack Obama, from an excerpt from his forthcoming memoir, published in The New Yorker under the title, "A President Looks Back on His Toughest Fight The story behind the Obama Administration’s most enduring—and most contested—legacy: reforming American health care."

I am emphatically not a fan of Obamaprose: "with the light fading into streaks of purple and gold, Michelle smiling and squeezing my hand as Bo bounded in and out of the bushes with the girls giving chase." Please don't do that. The light is aways in "streaks." Fading into streaks. No, it wasn't. The girls couldn't just chase the dog. They had to "give chase."

Now, I'm positive that this style of writing will thrill a certain sort of reader, and the people who eat up prose like that probably buy a lot of books.

Hey, remember when I argued with Michelle Goldberg and took the position that Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" wasn't really that bad compared to "Dreams From My Father"? (Remember Sarah Palin?!)

And by the way, Obama wasn't really a dog person. The dog was a prop. The dog is still a prop... in the purple, fading, streaky sunlight. 

"The confirmation process has made ever clearer to me one of the fundamental differences between the federal judiciary and the United States Senate. And perhaps the most acute is..."

"... the role of policy preferences. It is the job of a Senator to pursue her policy preferences. In fact, it would be a dereliction of duty for her to put policy goals aside. By contrast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences. It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give into them. Federal judges don’t stand for election, thus they have no basis for claiming that their preferences reflect those of the people. This separation of duty from political preference is what makes the judiciary distinct among the three branches of government. A judge declares independence, not only from Congress and the President, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her. The Judicial Oath captures the essence of the judicial duty. The rule of law must always control."

Said Amy Coney Barrett in her short speech after she was sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas at the White House ceremony last night. Transcript.

I read that as more than an acceptance of the confirmation process that has developed in which Senators openly vote their policy preferences rather than truly or fakely premising their vote on the nominee's character and credentials. She's saying that Senators have a duty to take "policy goals" into account. Did she mean to say that the confirmation vote ought to embody the Senators' policy preferences? Or did she only mean that when Senators do their legislative work, they must consider policy — which is what corresponds to the judicial role and contrasts with it (as judges must refrain from considering policy)? It's ambiguous! I hope to get clearly written opinions from our new Justice, so I don't like running into ambiguity in the first thing she says as a Justice. 

Obama twirling and skittering in Lititz... Trump in Lititz...

On April 2, 2008, I blogged about Maureen Dowd's assertion that "Hillary has clearly raised Obama’s consciousness about the importance of courting the ladies." She fleshed out the theory like this: 
Touring a manufacturing plant in Allentown, Pa., Tuesday, he was flirtatious, winking and grinning at the women working there, calling one “Sweetie,” telling another she was “beautiful,” and imitating his daughters’ dance moves by twirling around 
Later, at a Scranton town hall, he went up to Denise Mercuri, a pharmacist from Dunmore wearing a Hillary button. “What do I need to do? Do you want me on my knees?” he charmed, before promising: “I’ll give you a kiss.”... 
At the Wilbur chocolate shop in Lititz Monday, he spent most of his time skittering away from chocolate goodies, as though he were a starlet obsessing on a svelte waistline. 
“Oh, now,” the woman managing the shop told him with a frown, “you don’t worry about calories in a chocolate factory.”

At the time, I said: "Wait, is [Hillary] toughening him up or feminizing him? And is the feminine stuff nauseatingly stereotyped?" Look at all the stereotypically feminine things pasted on Obama: He was "flirtatious." He was "twirling." His dance was an imitation of his daughters' dancing. He "charmed." He "skittered." He acted like " starlet obsessing on a svelte waistline." He was chided by another woman for worrying about calories. 

There's less shaming of Trump for seeming feminine, but it happens. He was mocked just 2 days ago for dancing like a woman.

But the reason I'm going back to that post is that it's about Lititz and Trump gave a rally in Lititz. My paternal grandparents are from Lititz. They are buried in the Lititz Moravian Cemetery. 

Lititz was founded by members of the Moravian Church in 1756 and was named after a castle in Bohemia near the village of Kunvald where the ancient Bohemian Brethren's Church had been founded in 1457.... For a century, only Moravians were permitted to live in Lititz....
Here's Trump in Lititz: 

I'm so pleased to see him in the home of my ancestors. From the transcript:

October 26, 2020

At the Monday Night Café...

 ... you can talk about whatever you like.

Amy Coney Barrett confirmed.

Just seen on TV. 

"The best taste on the planet."


It's a podcast... of the odd last few posts on a blog called Althouse.

Topics: Kanye and Black History Month, abortion, and the best taste in the world, Chinese millennials don’t want democracy, the abstruse sexual inaction of politics, Cher sings for Joe like Sinatra sang for JFK, Kazakhstan adopts the Borat catchphrase, and the idea that voting for Biden will push back the left.

This time around, Kazakhstan rolls with the "Borat" satire and makes tourism ads with the catchphrase "Very nice!"


[Dennis Keen, and American who lives in Kazakhstan] hosts a travel show on a state television channel. (“I’m kind of like the American Borat,” Mr. Keen said.) When Mr. Keen learned about the sequel, he thought... Kazakhstan should embrace the Borat character’s catchphrase and turn it into the country’s tourism slogan: “Kazakhstan. Very nice!”...  Two weeks ago, Mr. Keen and a friend, Yermek Utemissov, who helps foreign film companies arrange shoots in Kazakhstan, pitched the board of tourism....
The government of Kazakhstan banned the first film and threated to sue Sacha Baron Cohen, but now, Utemissov says, “It’s a newer generation. They’ve got Twitter, they’ve got Instagram, they’ve got Reddit, they know English, they know memes. They get it. They’re inside the media world. We’re looking at the same comedians, the same Kimmel show. Kazakhstan is globalized.” 

"But fears of a Biden presidency leading to a woke takeover misunderstand the way public opinion moves in America."

"Because Trump’s ample failings have given the most misguided claims of the far left a superficial veneer of plausibility, Trump himself has been the far left’s biggest ally. And if the Biden administration does overreach on key cultural issues, that will likely set the stage for a course correction—a cascade back to moderation. If you want to combat illiberalism, casting a vote for Donald Trump is the worst possible thing you can do.'

"Right now our country's gloomy/Fear is in the air/But when Joe's president/Hope is everywhere/Troubles fly away/And life will easy flow/Joe will keep us safe/That's all we need to know...."


Cher weighs in — that's all you need to know — at the 2020 I Will Vote Concert last night. 

As New York Magazine explains, "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe" is an old song — Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg song from the 1943 film musical "Cabin in the Sky." Here's its original context — question whether there's a problem of racial appropriation — with the devastatingly sweet Ethel Waters:


Original lyrics: "It seems like/Happiness is just a thing called Joe/He's got a smile that makes the lilacs want to grow/He's got a way that makes the angels heave a sigh/When they see little Joe passing by..."

ADDED: The all-time greatest political rewrite of a song was Frank Sinatra's "High Hopes" for JFK:


Here's the original version, from Sinatra's own movie, "A Hole in the Head":

"We are witnessing a new sexualization of politics, something quite other from 'repressive desublimation,' the term made famous by Herbert Marcuse in the 1960s..."

"... to describe the way an advanced industrial culture uses a mix of technology and partially satiated consumer desires to neutralize any potential working-class revolt. We might call it promiscuity in its psychotic mode. Brazenly, it displays itself without apology to a world excited and repelled in equal measure by unconscious forces—lust, greed, hatred, and rage—that no one readily admits to and that are being harnessed on behalf of everyone. No point, therefore, asking how bad it can get, how far they are willing to go, or how on earth they can get away with it all. Going too far is the point. The transgression is the draw and the appeal—transgression always carries a sexual tremor even when it is not manifestly about sex.... It is a truism of psychoanalysis that the law always nurtures the possibility, indeed the likelihood, of its own demise, because the super-ego, the agent of the law inside the head, is too tyrannical to be obeyed with any consistency...."

From "The Pleasures of Authoritarianism" by Jacqueline Rose (The NY Review of Books).

Millennials in China look askance at American democracy.

Or so we're told, in "Who needs democracy? China’s 400 million millennials prefer iPhones" (in the London Times): 
“These millennials represent a radical change from previous generations,” said Keyu Jin, a professor at the London School of Economics and consultant to Richemont, the world’s second-biggest luxury goods company. “They are confident. They’re prosperous. They’re privileged. And, most importantly, they’re incredibly proud of their nation and its economic prospects.” 
Despite the caveats about measuring public opinion, Jin said: “There has been a radical shift, even in the last few years. The new generation does not believe that democracy is suitable for China. It does not even believe that a multiparty system might be better for China than what it currently has.”