July 16, 2016

"I'm here today to introduce my partner in this campaign and the White House to fix our rigged system — we are in a rigged, rigged system..."

"... and to make America safe again, and to make America great again," Trump said.
"Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is my first choice. I also admire the fact that he fights for the people and he also is going to fight for you. He is a solid, solid person," Trump said, praising Pence for leading his state well despite what he said was obstruction from the Obama administration.

"What a difference between crooked Hillary Clinton and Mike Pence," Trump said, saying that the Indiana governor would never be afraid to say the words, "radical Islamic terrorism."
ADDED: "So if Clinton and Pence are both experienced, and you prefer Trump over Pence, you somewhat automatically extend that thinking to Clinton – with all of her boring experience – and imagine her to be a weak version of Trump as well."

"There's a body of research showing that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws."

"These studies have generally assumed that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. But that's always been just an assumption. Now a new study, released in the journal Health Affairs, validates these findings by providing clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses...."

From "One striking chart shows why pharma companies are fighting legal marijuana" in The Washington Post.

ADDED: I'd like to see the analysis extended to states that have legalized marijuana beyond the medical/"medical" use. If we're talking about painkiller abuse, then it's not just about whether "medical marijuana" can replace doctor-prescribed drugs, but which drugs people are choosing on their own for whatever use they feel they have.

On the Gore Creek Trail.


... last Wednesday.


You can go there too. Here. The Gore Creek Trail was one of 6 trails we walked in 6 days. All 6 trails were beautiful and cost nothing.

This was the first time we used AirBnb, by the way. We found a nice apartment and committed to it for a week (which gets a discount), and that became our home base as we picked a different hike each day. A very thrifty, healthy vacation.

ADDED: Meade did a little video at the spot of the first photograph:

"I was looking at many scans, scans of murderers mixed in with schizophrenics, depressives and other, normal brains."

"Out of serendipity, I was also doing a study on Alzheimer’s and as part of that, had brain scans from me and everyone in my family right on my desk. I got to the bottom of the stack, and saw this scan that was obviously pathological..."
Knowing that it belonged to a member of his family, [the neuroscientist James] Fallon checked his lab’s PET machine for an error (it was working perfectly fine) and then decided he simply had to break the blinding that prevented him from knowing whose brain was pictured. When he looked up the code, he was greeted by an unsettling revelation: the psychopathic brain pictured in the scan was his own.

"Facial expression of someone with chronic anxiety."

From "Anxiety disorder" at Wikipedia.

I was looking up anxiety disorder to try to get some insight into those "Citizen Therapists" who were diagnosing something they called "Trumpism."

That image — depicting an individual psychiatric patient — was made by Alexander Morison in 1843. It's nicely done, I think, artistically and, I'm only guessing, as evidence of how a person with chronic anxiety looks. I'm quite struck by it because feel that I have often seen this look.

"The man behind the running-over operation in Nice, France, is a soldier from the Islamic State..."

"... and he carried out the attack to answer the calls for targeting the nationals of countries in the coalition that is fighting Islamic State."

"Citizen Therapists?!"

Exclaims Meade, reading the previous post, which begins with a quote from Historians Against Trump: "Along with Historians Against Trump, groups like Writers On Trump and Citizen Therapists are organizing in defense of the ideals in which their professions are grounded."

I clicked from the HAT page through to the Citizen Therapists page and hit this (click to enlarge):

Well, I would like to read their manifesto...

... but I don't want to read & sign it, so I dare not click the button, lest it constitute a signing.

My tag for posts on this subject is "Trump derangement syndrome," which is already a bit of a spoof of therapists. But here are the therapists walking straight into into it. Look at the grandiosity and anxiety and dramatic distortion that leaps off the page beyond which I dare not click:
is antithetical to everything we stand for as therapists.
is inconsistent with democracy, with the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, and with emotionally healthy living.
promotes hyper-masculinity, public hostility, the cult of the Strong Man, and the denigration of women.
presents a threat beyond a single election; the next demagogue may be less outrageous--and thus even more dangerous.
A therapist treats a particular troubled individual, encountered personally, but these therapists throw off their own profession. They want to get out from "behind closed doors" — i.e., leave the context for which they have training — and diagnose millions of people as suffering from a made-up disorder they call "Trumpism." They want to use their professionalism by throwing it away. Expertise doesn't work like that.

"Along with Historians Against Trump, groups like Writers On Trump and Citizen Therapists are organizing in defense of the ideals in which their professions are grounded."

"Historians Against Trump will be marching alongside these and many other groups as part of the peaceful protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. We will continue our work into the fall, publishing essays and articles that place Trumpism into historical perspective. We have a professional obligation as historians to share an understanding of the past upon which a better future may be built. This means equipping the public with historical skills and narratives that are 'factual, accurate, comprehensible, meaningful, useful, and resistant to cynical manipulators who sell snake oil as historical truth.'"

Historians are mobilizing and aggregating in an effort to wreck their credibility.

I ran across that because Stanley Fish is calling them out, in a NYT op-ed that begins "Professors are at it again, demonstrating in public how little they understand the responsibilities and limits of their profession." Excerpt:
The claim is not simply that disciplinary expertise confers moral and political superiority, but that historians, because of their training, are uniquely objective observers: “As historians, we consider diverse viewpoints while acknowledging our own limitations and subjectivity.”

But there’s very little acknowledgment of limitations and subjectivity in what follows, only a rehearsal of the now standard criticisms of Mr. Trump, offered not as political opinions, which they surely are, but as indisputable, impartially arrived at truths: “Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is a campaign of violence: violence against individuals and groups; against memory and accountability, against historical analysis and fact.” How’s that for cool, temperate and disinterested analysis?

July 15, 2016

"The cop tries to solve his violence by blanketing it with a uniform. That is virtually a commonplace..."

"... but it explains why cops will put up with poor salary, public dislike, uncomfortable working conditions and a general sense of bad conscience. They know they are lucky; they know they are getting away with a successful solution to the criminality they can taste in their blood. This taste is practically in the forefront of a cop’s brain; he is in a stink of perspiration whenever he goes into action; he can tolerate little in the way of insult, and virtually no contradiction; he lies with a simplicity and quick confidence which will stifle the breath of any upright citizen who encounters it innocently for the first time. The difference between a good cop and a bad cop is that the good cop will at least do no more than give his own salted version of events— the bad cop will make up his version."

Norman Mailer, "Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968" (pages 181-182).

"Miami and the Siege of Chicago" was the book Meade and I listened to as we drove to Vail, Colorado and back over the past week. We're preparing for the present-day conventions coming up, and I wanted to get some grounding in the events that I remember from when I was 17, finishing high school, and thinking what a radical I would need to be when I got to college.

Althouse in 1970, age 19

That's the 5th time I've put that picture on the blog. (Previously: "The 51st State," "Norman Mailer died," "Althouse in 1970," and "It would be obscene to pine for the urban agony that fomented [Norman] Mailer’s run [for Mayor of NYC].")

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Cohen.

"Your brain thinks cops are probably Trump supporters (true or not) while you probably see cop-killers as Clinton supporters (true or not)."

"And that means the recent slaughter of five policemen in Dallas changed your mental equation. Now it seems – to our irrational minds – that we no longer have a contest between crooked and racist. Now we have a contest between cop-killers and racists. And in that contest, the racists win. That’s because most folks see in themselves at least a little bit of racial bias, but almost none of us see ourselves as cop-killers. So identity politics now favors racist because the alternative is cop-killer. There aren’t many ways to make peace-loving racists seem like a good thing, but compared to cop-killers, they come out slightly ahead."

Said Scott Adams.

"Kitten caused multi-car crashes on Mississippi River bridge...."

"... police say."

No, drivers not leaving enough space between the cars caused the crashes.

"UW-Madison’s Multicultural Student Center separated attendees by race to discuss a violent week of news that stirred debates about racism and law enforcement..."

"... prompting criticism from conservative news outlets that the arrangement amounted to segregation."

Amounted to? It clearly is segregation, whether you want to defend it or attack it.
Campus officials said the decision to hold separate meetings Monday for white and minority students, faculty and staff was made to ensure people of color had a place to discuss their concerns, and said the rules were not meant to exclude participants.

“No one was turned away from any session,” UW-Madison spokeswoman Meredith McGlone said in a statement.... McGlone said participants wanted “a space to express feelings without the fear of being judged. Our students of color often find such spaces hard to come by... It is a best practice in student affairs to allow quiet and reflective space for those who request it.”
That's defending it.
Still, McGlone said, the intent behind the different meetings “could have been communicated more clearly to avoid any impression of exclusion.”
The defense is that the officials meant well and didn't intend to demean anybody. Let's remember that the problem with "separate but equal" — as the Supreme Court put it in Brown v. Board of Education — was that the line separating the races was "usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of" the nonwhite group.

On July 9th, I walked in the snow...


... on the Shrine Mountain trail.

Shot, right in the gun.

"An off-duty sheriff's deputy under attack managed to fire his gun and made a 'one in a billion' shot. The deputy's bullet traveled up the barrel of a suspect's gun, colliding with the cartridge inside and lodging itself there."

"An army group in Turkey says it has taken over the country, with soldiers at strategic points in Istanbul and jets flying low in the capital, Ankara."

"A statement read on TV said a 'peace council' now ran the country and there was a curfew and martial law. There would also be new constitution. It is unclear who the army group is...."

Reports the BBC just now.

ADDED: The current report is that the coup has failed.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a speech from Istanbul’s international airport, blamed the coup attempt on a group of followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen. "They will pay a heavy price for their treason," Erdogan said....

"Attempts to unbind GOP delegates crushed, effectively ending ‘Never Trump’ movement."

"Paul Manafort, the chairman of the Trump campaign, heralded the win, tweeting that an insurrection was 'crushed.'"

Is it just a bad logo or a logo that makes you think bad thoughts?

"While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government..."

According to the long-suppressed 28 pages, released today.
The pages also say that the inquiry obtained information "indicating that Saudi Government officials in the United States may have other ties to al-Qa'ida and other terrorist groups," but the commission that authored them acknowledged that much of the info "remains speculative and yet to be independently verified."

A more precise clue...


... of where we were this past week.

Where we were.



Justice Ginsburg reveals plan to be "more circumspect."

"On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them. Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect."

The word "circumspect" comes from....
early 15c., from Latin circumspectus "deliberate, guarded, well-considered," past participle of circumspicere "look around, take heed," from circum- "around" (see circum-) + specere "to look" (see scope (n.1)).
If you do your judging right, you shouldn't have to look around and be guarded. It should inherently, already come out right. If you need to be more circumspect, you shouldn't be a judge. In this case, in particular, Justice Ginsburg saw fit to say something, and then — looking around — saw that it didn't work in the political direction she liked. Now, she's saying she should have looked around first and figured out it would be unwise to express her opposition to Donald Trump. How is that not political? She regrets doing politics badly.

"The law Pence signed — a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) — has been around since President Bill Clinton approved a federal version of the law in 1993."

"Traditionally, RFRAs were used to protect religious minorities, including the Amish and Muslims. But as conservatives have lost battles over LGBTQ rights (particularly same-sex marriage), they have turned to religious freedom laws in an attempt to carve out methods to continue allowing discrimination."

From a Vox article titled "Mike Pence for Donald Trump's vice president? It's an extra awful choice for LGBTQ rights" that at least tries to reconcile the recent denouncement of RFRAs with the 1990s bipartisan support for religious freedom exemptions.

It's funny to say "Traditionally" when you're talking about legislation that's only been around for a couple decades, and if you make a law like that it has to treat all religious the same. You can't favor one religion over another! You can't pick and choose and be sentimental about the Amish and politically correct about the Muslims and then turn around and reject the principle of exemptions when they're demanded by groups that you like seeing get pushed around.

But there is some reason to judge politicians by what they think they are doing — by their motivations — and not by what the legislation they produce will actually do when its language is applied in real cases and constrained by constitutional law. Back in the 90s, people weren't talking about using religion as a basis for avoiding complying with anti-discrimination laws. And last year, in Indiana, they were.

I'm interested in seeing how these attacks on Mike Pence will play out. People don't seem to do very well at understanding RFRA and the constitutional law that surrounds it. But Bill Clinton is such a central character. As I wrote last year:

Look at how pleased Bill Clinton was to sign what was then perceived as important civil rights legislation.
And the late Justice Scalia — whose empty seat figures so prominently in the election — is a central character. He wrote the constitutional law opinion that rejected religious exemptions and triggered the legislative response that was RFRA. 

Hillary's "Role Models" ad — great for 50 seconds and then the last 10 seconds took my mind to the wrong place.

The piano chords clunk slowly, meaningfully — as if the musician was told to play "Imagine" without playing it. We see sweet, impressionable children watching Donald Trump on TV as he delivers some of his famous quotes (e.g., "I could shoot somebody..."). Very effective argument by showing not telling.

But how do you make the transition from attacking Trump to promoting Hillary? He's a bad role model. Point made. The words appear on screen: "Our children are watching. What example will we set for them?" We hear Hillary's voice and are supposed to think: Hillary is a good role model for children. But is she? We see her — dressed in white — lecturing slowly about what those who are children now will think about the choice we are about to make about "the principles we will live by." And then there is a cut, at 0:50 to a cute little girl sitting on the edge of a bed. Then back to Hillary: "We need to make sure that they can be proud of us."

Why was the child actress posed sitting on a bed? I loathe the political exploitation of children. They have no real political opinions, but are used to symbolize innocence and to stimulate nurturing instincts. But this particular use of a child did not manipulate me in the direction intended.

When I saw that young girl sitting on a bed and heard Hillary Clinton talking about the choices we make and the principles we live by, I thought about her relationship with Bill Clinton. What principles has she been living by and how is she a role model for young people? That's where my mind ended up.

"I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M."

Tweets Trump.

From the NYT report on the tweet:
In his selection, Mr. Trump... gains a partner who is fluent in the ways Washington works, a background that complements Mr. Trump’s outsider status. Before his election as governor in 2012, Mr. Pence had served for six terms in Congress and rose to be the third-highest-ranking Republican in the House....

Mr. Pence brings credibility as a conservative, which should help Mr. Trump in the view of some on the right. A lawyer by training, Mr. Pence has described himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”...

He was at the center of a national debate last year over religious freedom laws that critics said invited discrimination against gay couples. In Congress, he pushed to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood.
ADDED: Here's the post I wrote at the time of that religious freedom debate last year: "Why am I avoiding this Indiana RFRA story?"
I've got to examine my own soul! I see it — e.g., here —  and I know I'm avoiding it. There is something to examine. Why is Indiana getting into so much trouble over a type of law that used to be extremely popular? I guess it has something to do with Hobby Lobby and something to do with all that wedding cake business. There was a time when religionists had the ascendancy, and their pleas for relief from the burdens of generally applicable laws fell on the empathetic ears of conservatives and liberals alike.

Look at how pleased Bill Clinton was to sign what was then perceived as important civil rights legislation.

The tables have turned. And now all the liberals are remembering how much they love Antonin Scalia. I mean, not really, but to be consistent, those who are denouncing hapless Governor Mike Pence should be extolling Scalia who ushered in the era of "Religious Freedom" legislation when he wrote:

"If the museum didn’t want people to follow the artist’s instructions, they should put up a sign to make that clear, she told police."

A 91-year-old woman inked words into "Reading-work-piece," which basically looks like a crossword puzzle. The sign next to it read "Insert words."

Somehow this piece has been around, unmarked, since 1977.
Eva Kraus, the museum director,  said the damage was not permanent and would probably be relatively easy to repair. "We do realize that the old lady didn’t mean any harm," she said. "Nevertheless, as a state museum couldn’t avoid making a criminal complaint. Also for insurance reasons we had to report the incident to the police.... We will let the lady know that the collector took the damage to the work in good humour, so she doesn’t have a sleepless night," Ms Kraus said.

The museum said that in future it would alter the label for the work to make it clear visitors were not permitted to fill in the blanks.
Doesn't that wreck the work of art? It's conceptual art, a Fluxus movement thing.

Based on that I say: Screw the collector. What was the artist, Arthur Köpcke, doing and what the woman's act mean to him? His Wikipedia page is not in English, but here's something:
In the mid-1960s Arthur Köpcke worked on a series of works that he called Reading-Work-Pieces. The individual ”pieces” consist of a wide range of materials, including picture puzzles, tests used within perception psychology, long philosophical texts, crosswords, and instructions for perfectly simple everyday actions. He painted the pieces in oil on canvas, adding cuttings from newspapers or magazines.

With his reading and training pieces, the artist wished to increase the spectators’ awareness of the systems, actions, and rituals that we persist in and carry out every day without reflecting on them. Behind the seemingly disparate and random materials, the cryptic statements, the subtly humorous tasks, and the banal pictures lies a deep interest in the functions and meanings of signs and sign systems....
So can we go for some depth here? 

"I think we saw last week that Facebook Live could become the most intelligent cable news network ever built..."

"Facebook effectively has one and a half billion news bureaus to capture news, and they’re capable of doing things that a cable news network could only dream of doing."

Said Jonathan Klein, "a former president of CNN, who now runs a digital media company called Tapp," quoted in a NYT article titled "Live Streaming Breaks Through, and Cable News Has Much to Fear."

"The death toll from the terrorist attack on a Bastille Day fireworks celebration in the southern French city of Nice rose to 84 on Friday..."

"... as the government raced to establish the attacker’s identity, extended a national state of emergency and absorbed the shock of a third major terrorist attack in 19 months," the NYT reports.
News organizations in France and Tunisia identified the man believed to have committed the attack as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, a delivery-truck driver who was born on Jan. 3, 1985, and raised in Msaken, a town in northeastern Tunisia, and who moved to France around 2005...

According to two officials briefed on the investigation but who were not authorized to discuss it publicly, Mr. Bouhlel had a history of petty crime, including burglary and theft, but his name was not in a French database of people suspected of being radicalized militants....

Only hours before the attack, [resident François] Hollande had confirmed that a nationwide state of emergency put in place after the November attacks would end on July 26...
ADDED: The NYT article does not refer to the method of attack in the headline or until the 5th paragraph of the article. The method of attack is particularly terrorizing, since motor vehicles are everywhere and no one has a plan to control them. 

Where's Althouse? Is she on vacation? No!

We are back from vacation. Drove the whole way home yesterday — 1,000+ miles — and got in at 1 a.m.

Opened up the refrigerator to find it hot inside. But the freezer section is still working, so it could be worse. Nothing melted. No escaped water. It's an opportunity, after all these years to throw out absolutely everything in the refrigerator, something I've never done. What's the oldest thing in your refrigerator? I'll try to figure out what mine is — could be as old as a quarter century — and I'll tell you later. I'll have some photos from the trip soon too.

But first — back from my balky laptop and on my familiar, comfortable desktop — some classic morning blogging.

July 14, 2016

"Mrs. Clinton’s six-percentage-point lead over the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, in a CBS News poll last month has evaporated."

"The two candidates are now tied in a general election matchup, the new poll indicates, with each receiving the support of 40 percent of voters," the NYT reports.

"When Trump instead issued a restrained message, expressing a need for moderation, you would have thought he had assumed the mantle of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr...."

"... although under the circumstances, this is precisely the kind of statement any normal politician would make," Writes Neal Gabler in "The Media’s Gift to Trump: Low Expectations"
The media have set the bar so low that we fully expect Trump to be a bigot, as he demonstrated in the anti-Semitic tweet [sic], so criticism of his bigotry is largely relegated to left-wing journalists. It isn’t news. It doesn’t change the narrative.

As for the mainstream media, it is a very short distance from “That’s Trump going ballistic again” to “That’s just Trump being Trump.” But when it comes to drawing political conclusions, it’s all the distance in the world. Similarly, that low bar will inevitably lead to high praise whenever Trump jumps it. A Trump debate in which he is even intelligible or slightly muted would undoubtedly unleash a media torrent of approval: Aha! He is more presidential than we thought. We already are getting a preview of this on the Republican Party side, where any hint of sanity by Trump is embraced in a bear hug. It is part of the process of normalizing him.
Normalizing him, eh? After the media ran with the he's-not-normal meme — and ran it into the ground — it's now time for crying about how unfair it is that Trump only needs to show that he's normal, and it seems special. Gabler would be happy if the approach the media took had worked, but now that it's failed, the media has unwittingly given Trump the gift of needing only to seem normal.

"Evangelical voters are rallying strongly in favor of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump."

"Indeed, the latest Pew Research Center survey finds that..."
... despite the professed wariness toward Trump among many high-profile evangelical Christian leaders, evangelicals as a whole are, if anything, even more strongly supportive of Trump than they were of Mitt Romney at a similar point in the 2012 campaign...

Meanwhile, religiously unaffiliated voters – those who describe their religion as “atheist,” “agnostic” or “nothing in particular” – are lining up behind Hillary Clinton over Trump, much as they supported Barack Obama over Romney in 2012... Religious “nones” are, however, somewhat less enthusiastic about Clinton’s candidacy (26% now strongly support her) than they were about Obama in June 2012 (37%).

Trump support among white evangelical voters on par with Romney in 2012....
Trump is so different from Romney. Isn't it odd that they get the same numbers when people are grouped by religion? Trump has been married 3 times and the media portrays him as immoral. (He is like Romney in that he doesn't drink.)

And those who've been pushing the idea that Trump is winning by attracting racists should wonder why his numbers with white evangelicals is no higher than Romney's. And why didn't Trump win some more of the nonreligious people? Aren't a good proportion of the country's racists nonreligious. 

One answer could be that Trump would get fewer evangelicals than Romney if Trump were not using racism, but the racism draws them back in.

July 13, 2016

The reason George Bush swayed and smiled during "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" is that he actually believes his religion.

That's my opinion.

Elsewhere on the internet:
Reports of Bush’s impassioned swaying [at the memorial service in Dallas], which many called “dancing,” began to circulate Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in videos, gifs and written accounts.... Some considered the impassioned and sometimes awkward swaying to be inappropriate, unpresidential and disrespectful.

One user called Bush’s reaction “absolutely bizarre.” Another tweeted simply, “good grief.” More than one user questioned whether Bush had been drinking alcohol. Some accused him of using cocaine. Several people even suggested — lacking any evidence and just after he had given a clear, concise and moving speech — that the former president might be suffering from the beginning stages of dementia....
These remarks all sound like they come from people whose eyes have never seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

"[S]ome students embrace Mr. Trump as a way of rebelling against the intricate rules surrounding privilege and microaggression, and provoking the keepers of those rules."

"... And Mr. Trump’s rise is shifting the country’s racial discourse just as the millennial generation comes fully of age, more and more distant from the horrors of the Holocaust, or the government-sanctioned racism of Jim Crow.... For a generation weaned on a diet of civic multiculturalism, supporting Mr. Trump breaks the ultimate taboo. Students writing Mr. Trump’s name and slogans in chalk have been accused of hate crimes and spurred calls for censorship. And on campuses frozen by unyielding political correctness and expanding definitions of impermissible speech, some welcome the provocation that Mr. Trump provides...."

I cherry-picked that from a NYT article by Nicholas Confessore titled "For Whites Sensing Decline, Donald Trump Unleashes Words of Resistance."

The 9th Circuit just said "that if you tell people not to visit your website, and they do it anyway knowing you disapprove, they’re committing a federal crime of accessing your computer without authorization."

If Orin Kerr is reading Facebook v. Vachani correctly.

Why did the NYT come out against Justice Ginsburg's political self-expression?

I'm reading "Donald Trump Is Right About Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg" by the Editors of The New York Times. And I'm thinking, there are 2 possible lines of reasoning here (and they are really different): 1. Proper judging is politically neutral, so judges ought to maintain an appearance of political neutrality, and 2. Justice Ginsburg's particular political statements are dangerous and damaging to the political cause she and the NYT support.

Knowing what you know about the NYT, you probably guessed that #2 is the right answer. But that doesn't mean the text of the editorial reveals the motivation of the NYT editors. It's analogous to a Supreme Court opinion: If the decision was made for what the author believes is the wrong reason — such as political preference — then reasons believed to be proper will be drummed up and belabored.

So I'm reading the text of the editorial with the kind of skepticism I use when reading Supreme Court cases. This is what they are saying, but what are they really doing? First, I note the predominance of Trump's opinion. Trump is right the headline begins, and they got a quote from him:
“I think it’s highly inappropriate that a United States Supreme Court judge gets involved in a political campaign, frankly,” he told The Times. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.”
Trump is going with reason #1. It's inappropriate for judges. But obviously, he doesn't like what Ginsburg said and wants to defend himself in his usual counterpunch fashion. You attack me, I attack you. Going with the old judicial neutrality idea is good politics, whether he really believes judges are above politics or not.

The Times accuses him of having "hands [that], of course, are far from clean on the matter of judicial independence." (Unclean hands... that are also very small... the editors, of course, refrain from making the obvious joke. They must act lofty.) The editors cite his "lambasting" of  Gonzalo Curiel, the judge in the Trump University case. But if a litigant, like Trump, is afraid that the judge in his case is biased, that isn't evidence that he doesn't believe judges should be neutral. The problem with what Trump said about Curiel was not that Trump didn't support judicial independence. Those who support judicial independence shouldn't assume that it exists. We should be vigilant about bias and politics. The problem was that Trump seemed to infer bias from the mere fact of Curiel's Mexican ancestry.

In the case of Justice Ginsburg, Trump isn't inferring bias and politics from what group she belongs to. It's a reaction to her particular statements. It's individual. She openly displayed her political leanings and her desire for political allies on the Court and her intent, going forward, to use those allies to get to a majority that would overrule cases that recognize important constitutional rights — including Heller, the case that says there is an individual right to bear arms.

And here's where it becomes clear that the NYT editorial proceeds upon the second reason I posited above, that Justice Ginsburg's particular political statements are dangerous and damaging to the political cause she and the NYT support. "In this election cycle in particular," it's important to keep voters believing that judges will be impartial and above politics, and here's Ginsburg "call[ing] her own commitment to impartiality into question." The Times tries to pass this off as Ginsburg "choos[ing] to descend toward [Trump's] level," but she's not joining Trump, she's proving him right: Judges are political, and that's a bad thing. Perhaps Curiel didn't deserve the criticism, but Ginsburg does, and it's very irritating to the NYT, it would seem, because the Curiel incident was so effectively used against Trump, and then along comes Ginsburg displaying herself as pleased to be political.

"The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has asked people not to play Pokemon Go on their phones during their visit."

"A spokesman for the museum in Washington said that playing the game inside a memorial to victims of Nazism was 'extremely inappropriate.' The Arlington National Cemetery, just three miles away from the museum, has also warned off Pokemon players."
Like many other landmarks, both the museum in Washington and the military cemetery in Virginia are places where players can come across Pokemon creatures.

They are both reportedly also Pokestops, where players can collect virtual items like snacks and medicine for Pokemon, but officials at the museum are trying to get it removed from the game.
There should be a way for places to get themselves removed from the game.
There has been no response yet from game developers Niantic Labs on whether it could stop Pokemon creatures from appearing inside the Holocaust Museum.
But I'm not convinced that it is best for these sacred/somber places to remove themselves. They should want to lure or welcome young people and those who otherwise steer clear of these imposing and (to many) terribly depressing places. Perhaps a way could be found to teach the game-users to recognize the need, in certain places, to deploy their preferred means of encountering the world in a discreet and respectful manner. I haven't observed how players act in these real places, but surely some code of behavior could emerge. Keep voices quiet. Don't assemble in groups. Protect others around you from noticing that you are here for the game.

Etiquette is important! This game presents an opportunity to develop some awareness of etiquette and to feel motivated to practice it. Isn't that a better approach than exclusion of the people you don't like? Now, the museum isn't barring anyone from the museum. It's only barring the use of the game in the place, but this does exclude the group — possibly a huge group — who want to go to the museum because of the game.

"Egypt’s National Security Agency (NSA) is abducting, torturing and forcibly disappearing people in an effort to intimidate opponents and wipe out peaceful dissent..."

"... said Amnesty International in a damning new report published today which highlights an unprecedented spike in enforced disappearances since early 2015."
Egypt: ‘Officially, you do not exist’: Disappeared and tortured in the name of counter-terrorism reveals a trend which has seen hundreds of students, political activists and protesters, including children as young as 14, vanish without trace at the hands of the state. On average three to four people per day are seized according to local NGOs, usually when heavily armed security forces led by NSA officers storm their homes. Many are held for months at a time and often kept blindfolded and handcuffed for the entire period.

"New swing-state polls released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University show Trump leading Clinton in Florida and Pennsylvania — and tied in the critical battleground state of Ohio."

Politico reports.
Trump leads by three points in Florida — the closest state in the 2012 election — 42 percent to 39 percent. In Ohio, the race is tied, 41 percent to 41 percent. And in Pennsylvania — which hasn't voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1988 — Trump leads, 43 percent to 41 percent...

While the Quinnipiac results are eye-popping, they don’t represent any significant movement — except in Florida. In three rounds of polling over the past two months, the race has moved from a four-point Trump lead in Ohio in the first survey, then tied in the next two polls. In Pennsylvania, Clinton led by one point in the first two polls and now trails by two.

But in Florida, the race has bounced around. Clinton led by one point in the first poll two months ago, but she opened up an eight-point lead in June — a lead that has been erased and more in the new Quinnipiac survey....
[T]he Quinnipiac polls are imperfect measures of a post-email investigation race. That’s because, like many of the school’s other polls, they were conducted over an unusually lengthy, 12-day time period: June 30 through July 11.
Here's Quinnipiac's press release:
By wide margins, voters in each state agree with the statement, "The old way of doing things no longer works and we need radical change." Voters also agree by wide margins that trade agreements with other countries have hurt them and their families' financial situation.

Voters still say Clinton is more intelligent than Trump and that she is better prepared to be president. But Clinton has lost her wide lead over Trump for having "higher moral standards." And Trump widens his lead over Clinton for being more honest and trustworthy....
And look at this 15 point spread on the jobs issue in each of the 3 states:
Florida voters say 54 - 39 percent that Trump would be better creating jobs.... Trump would be better creating jobs, Ohio voters say 54 - 39 percent.... Trump would be better creating jobs, Pennsylvania voters say 54 - 39 percent....
I'm shocked by the numbers who say "the old ways don't work and it's time for radical change": Florida, 71 - 25; Ohio, 73 - 24; Pennsylvania, 72 - 26.

A weird comparison is the difference between asking about "higher moral standards" and "more honest and trustworthy." In Florida, the 2 candidates are tied — 42 - 42 — on moral standards, but Trump beats Clinton — 50 - 37 percent — on "honest and trustworthy." In Ohio, it's close to a tie on moral standards — Clinton 43, Trump 42 — but Trump is 10 points ahead — 47 - 37 — on "honest and trustworthy." In Pennsylvania, Clinton edges out Trump — 43 - 41 — on moral standards, and Trump crushes her — 49 - 34 — on "honest and trustworthy."

Why do those 2 concepts diverge (consistently)? Higher moral standards could lead a person into  secretiveness. Being less caught up in morality could liberate a person to speak in an open and unfiltered way. There is shame and there is shamelessness.

July 12, 2016

"I’m here to say that we must reject such despair... I’m here to insist that we are not so divided as we seem."

"I say that because I know America. I know how far we’ve come against impossible odds. I know we’ll make it because of what I’ve experienced in my own life.”

Said Barack Obama, speaking at the memorial service for the 5 police officers shot to death in Dallas.

"Mr. Sanders... was in a bittersweet but resolute mood on Tuesday, according to his advisers, as he took the stage with Mrs. Clinton...."

"[H]e came around grudgingly to supporting her, the advisers said. But he was also determined to make a strong case against Mr. Trump and, in doing so, champion Mrs. Clinton as the only chance to defeat him.... One person close to Mr. Sanders said that the senator and his wife, Jane, were 'putting on a good face' on Tuesday, but that they were disappointed that his campaign had not been more successful after he gave it so much of his energy and rallied millions of people around his ideas.... Still, Mr. Sanders uttered the words that Mrs. Clinton needed him to say — 'I am endorsing Hillary Clinton.'"

From the NYT report "Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton, Hoping to Unify Democrats," by Amy Chozick, Patrick Healy, and Yamiche Alcindor. They include Trump's cutting reaction: “Bernie is now officially a part of a rigged system" for "endorsing one of the most pro-war, pro-Wall Street, and pro-offshoring candidates in the history of the Democratic Party."

"Normally Supreme Court justices should refrain from commenting on partisan politics. But these are not normal times."

Writes Paul Butler, one of 3 lawprofs addressing the questions "Can a Supreme Court Justice Denounce a Candidate? Is it ever appropriate or ethical for a justice to announce his or her preference in a presidential election?" — asked by the NYT on the occasion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's indicating she's horrified at the idea of a Trump presidency.

I addressed the question myself last night, here, and my answer is closest to what Erwin Chemerinsky writes in the NYT. The third essay, by Stephen Gillers, rests heavily on the Code of Judicial Conduct, which doesn't apply to the Supreme Court, but, in Gillers's view, should. He cites the provision that judges should not "make speeches for a political candidate, or publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office" or "engage in any other political activity." I wouldn't interpret those provisions too broadly. Judging would collapse if we took "any other political activity" too seriously, since deciding cases is political, depending on what you mean by political. All Ginsburg did was answer a question in an interview. She didn't stage or appear at a political event. And her answer was a modest display of feeling: "I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president... For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that." It's almost a refusal to respond, an oh, my.

But back to Professor Butler with his "normalness" template. I'm watching that. Click my "normal" tag to follow my interest in the idea of normal. These are not normal times, so suspend the normal rules. Who's being not normal? A. The person adjudged non-normal, thus unleashing others from the obligation to be normal or B. the person claiming things are now already non-normal and thus non-normal measures can be used?

And by the way, who's more like Hitler? A or B? I don't like bringing up Hitler, but those other people started it.

Donald Trump may think Pence is a safe choice...

... but Rich Lowry thinks Pence won't be much good at defending Trump.

Lowry thinks Christie — "comfortable at defending anything" — and Newt — "one of the most glib politicians of the last 30 years" — would be much better at defending Trump, but conservatives aren't "excited by Christie" and "Newt is famously ill-disciplined."

I'd say the problem with Christie and Newt is that they don't help normalize Trump. They don't envelop him in conventional politics. That could be okay if Trump's idea is — to steal an old Austin, Texas slogan — KEEP TRUMP WEIRD.

Pence seems to have a boring normalness about him, but the media will do all it can to deprive him of that. The gift he could bestow — assuming Trump wants it (normalness) — could explode in Trump's face. I'm picturing endless talk about Pence's dealings with gay people. Pence won't look like the steady, substantial statesman Trump needs to get to palatable normalization.  Pence will supply a new element of bigotry to the media's Trump template.

Trump is tempted to appease those who think he's too weird, but whatever he chooses will be portrayed as a new dimension of weirdness. There's no getting to the illusion of normal. The trick, I think, is to be weird in the right way, the way that doesn't make us think: Why would we want a weird President?

"So now we have a situation in which Team Clinton has scared citizens into thinking the threat to their lives is mostly domestic, coming from Trump, Trump supporters, and anyone who looks like them."

"People who are scared will act. And we see those actions now in terms of violence against police, violence against Trump supporters, and death threats to bloggers such as me. And we already have one attempted Trump assassination."

Writes Scott Adams.

ADDED, after reading a few of the comments: How should a smart person read Adams? You shouldn't take the statements at face value. He's talking about the art of persuasion, so he's performing the art even as he talks about it. You need to get to the next level and see what he's trying to persuade you to think. It might be something as simple as: He's the master of persuasion. If you want to train yourself, look at this cute video of Adams supposedly hypnotizing his dog Snickers. Think one more step forward and you'll see that Adams is also persuading you of his power to hypnotize the dog. Overtly, Adams is saying that the dog believes the food coming from his hand is better than the same food when it's sitting in the dish, because the dog could just eat all the food it wants right out of the dish, but nevertheless waits for him to pick up the food and feed it from the hand. If you believed that, you were tricked, however. Adams told you what you should believe, but if you believed it, you were failing to develop alternate theories of why the dog waited for the food, such as the dog's enjoyment of hand-feeding. Maybe the dog was the master persuader, intent on causing his man to pick up food and hand it to him and pleased to see it happen one more time. I'm not eating out of that bowl. You pick it up and hand it to me.

And now, you commenters, have caused me to hand feed you again.

The suddenly extremely popular phone game Pokémon Go can "see and modify nearly all information in your Google account."

"[I]f you played the game on an iPhone and signed in with your Google account, you also just handed the keys to your entire Google account to Niantic, the developer behind the game," and "nothing in the sign up process indicates that you're giving the app full access to your account."

But the company says it didn't mean to request all this access and is working to fix it. (I feel like I should make some snarky Hillary joke before you do.)

On the popularity of the game, here's a NYT article:
[One player's mother] especially loves one of the rules of the game. It requires users to walk around to achieve certain rewards and uses a pedometer to ensure compliance.

“She doesn’t realize she’s getting so much exercise,” Mr. Cann said. “She’s just playing Pokémon.”

Whether exercising or gaming, players need to know where they are. When a trainer opens the Pokémon Go app a warning appears: “Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings.”
It's getting indoorsy people out of the house, apparently, but there's a danger that they may get hit by a truck. Everyone's out and about but inside a game and looking in part at the real world but focused on chasing illusions. But then, aren't we all?

July 11, 2016

"The story of how Theresa May, the United Kingdom’s Home Secretary, became the presumptive Prime Minister is one of tragi-farcical, politico-comic self-destruction."

Writes Amy Davidson in The New Yorker. Read the whole thing. I just want to excerpt the part about how one of May's rivals, the Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, flamed out after the Times of London published an interview with the headline: "BEING A MOTHER GIVES ME EDGE ON MAY—LEADSOM" that began "Tory minister says she will be better leader because childless home secretary lacks ‘stake in future.'"
It went on to quote Leadsom, who often included the phrase “as a mum” in her pro-Leave statements, as saying that May “possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people. But I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next.” This, she said, set her apart from May as a potential leader. She added, “I am sure Theresa will be really sad she doesn’t have children, so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t,’ because I think that would be really horrible.” But, she went on, “genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.” In other words, Andrea has children; Theresa hasn’t....

As a matter of logic, this disparagement of childless leaders is ludicrous... And, as a matter of politics, Leadsom’s comments were a wreck. She insulted the childless, and she seemed personally cruel to May, who has quietly said in the past that she is, indeed, sad about having never had children. (May, who is fifty-nine, has been married to her husband, a banker she met when they were both students at Oxford, for thirty-five years.)

... [Leadsom]  responded... by attacking the Times, tweeting that the story was “truly appalling and the exact opposite of what I said. I am disgusted.” Leadsom demanded that the paper release the transcript, which it did, along with the audio, and which not only confirmed the story but made Leadsom look worse. When the Times asked, “What is the main difference between you and Theresa May?,” her children and her “huge” family were practically the first things that Leadsom mentioned, after a passing reference to her knowledge of the economy and her “optimism.”

It's nice to get mentioned in Best of the Web.


That won't work without a subscription, but it's mostly a quote from my post "What's missing from 'Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Struggle to Be Unifying Voice for Nation' by Patrick Healy in the NYT."

James Taranto says I'm "right that the omission is glaring."

ADDED: I was wrong to say "it's mostly a quote from my post." I was only looking at the top of a column that (I didn't realize) really did go on to try to answer my question (How can we think about what Trump or Hillary could do about racial divisions unless we understand why Obama has not done more?). Taranto ends with:
The election of a black president was indeed—and still is—a sign of how far America has progressed since the 1960s, never mind the 1860s. Perhaps a nimbler politician could have dealt more effectively with the clamor of the past couple of years. But Obama is uniquely constrained by the unreasonable hopes that so many Americans placed in him.

Did Justice Ginsburg express so much contempt for Donald Trump that she'll have to recuse herself, if he becomes President, in all the cases involving the President?

This Washington Post column entertains that proposition.

Imagine a Bush v. Gore type election this year, with the outcome subject to a Supreme Court vote. There will only be 8 Justices on the Court. If Ginsburg has to recuse, it produces a 4-to-3/conservative-liberal balance on the Court.

The irony! Ginsburg's horror at the idea Donald Trump winning the presidency could cause Donald Trump to win the presidency.

Here's the NYT interview where Ginsburg displayed her political feelings. What she said was: "I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president... For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.” And then, quoting her husband, she added, "Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand." We're told she was "smiling ruefully."

IN THE COMMENTS: HoodlumDoodlum said:
Professor: how do you feel about Ginsburg's statement and/or her decision to make it? 
I don't think she really said that much. She just said "I can't imagine...." You have to flesh it out with ideas of your own for it to mean anything. I would have ignored it. I ignored the interview when it appeared in the NYT, even though I always read the Times and the story was pushed heavily on the front page. I was annoyed at the NYT playing to its readers in the usual way — fawning over Ginsburg, eager to serve up more Trump hate in what must have seemed to be a delicious new form. But when The Washington Post took it so seriously and interviewed lawprofs about recusal, it got interesting. I would have left her alone to have a little freedom of speech about politics, and it's helpful to the people to get some information on how political the Justices might be. What Ginsburg most clearly expressed is that she wants Scalia's seat filled with someone who's on her side.

What does Black Lives Matter think about gun control?

In "After Dallas, the Future of Black Lives Matter," in The New Yorker, Jelani Cobb interviewing Alicia Garza, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, asks about guns: "Does Black Lives Matter have a position on that? Is that something that you all have thought about in the wake of those incidents?"

Garza says:
When it comes to gun control, I think it’s too simplistic of a conversation. Both Alton Sterling and Philando Castile had guns on them, which is part of their Second Amendment right. It is a part of a culture that is largely protected by special-interest groups like the N.R.A., but the right to bear arms, it seems, only exists for white people. When black people have arms, legally, they can still also be killed at the hands of the police. That’s what we saw this past week.

At the same time, because it’s a question of police and vigilante violence is so prevalent at this particular moment in this country, it feels asinine to be calling for gun control when black people, in particular, are on the losing end of that conversation, so there’s that. But then there’s the reality that, in this country, we have more guns than people, and we put guns into the hands of more people than any other country on the planet, and so that dynamic needs to be shifted. I’ll be honest with you, I really struggle with the conversation around gun control.

It’s clear to me that this person who committed these acts was not well. And also was experiencing a level of emotional trauma, like the rest of this country, in particular like the rest of black people in this country, who watched two executions on television, so his stated motive was, “I’m really upset by what I’m seeing where police are killing black people.”
At that point, Cobb sees reason to remind Garza that most people say "they want better policing" and not "that they want to actually kill the police." Garza answers:
I don’t disagree, but the point that I’m trying to make is, I think it’s an error to look at the state of why this country is so violent and not understand the complexities that lie underneath the violence. The violence that was caused by that lone gunperson in Dallas was very complex. It wasn’t about him being an adherent to black-power ideologies, as the media tried to frame it. He may have been pro-black, but he was also probably a lot of other things, and similarly when we look at the underlying causes for police violence, it’s also not black-and-white. It’s not always only about racism, or it’s not always about “police just hate black people.”
By the way, when the Dallas shootings took place, there were many people in the protesting crowd who were exercising their right under Texas law to carry firearms openly:
The Dallas police chief, David O. Brown... said the event had attracted “20 or 30 people” who “showed up with AR-15 rifles slung across their shoulder... They were wearing gas masks... They were wearing bulletproof vests and camo fatigues, for effect, for whatever reason.”

When the shooting started, “they began to run,” he said. And because they ran in the middle of the shooting, he said, the police on the scene viewed them as suspects. “Someone is shooting at you from a perched position, and people are running with AR-15s and camo gear and gas masks and bulletproof vests, they are suspects, until we eliminate that.”...

"Once kids get hooked on e-cigarettes, they are more likely to go on to become cigarette smokers."

Said the director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, quoted in "More Nonsmoking Teens Inhaling Flavored Nicotine Through Vaping," in the NYT.

Is nicotine alone really a problem? The article just says "Nicotine disrupts neurotransmitter activity and is highly addictive, particularly in a developing brain." If that's worse than caffeine — which the kids consume all the time — I'd expect the NYT to say so. Instead it goes on to mention the other ingredients — "solvents, formaldehyde" — in the e-cigarettes and this problem of e-cigarettes leading to real cigarettes.

I'm not buying into the great vaping scare.

One answer to that question I asked yesterday is: Barack Obama has not been trying to bring racial harmony.

Instapundit linked to my post, in which I had said that before we can analyze whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump might succeed in healing racial divisions, we need to examine why Barack Obama has failed.

I don't give an answer in my post, but I fully expected to hear the answer: Barack Obama never intended to bring racial harmony. That is, he's only failed to achieve a goal the question assumed he had. That's not failure, that's success.

As Instapundit puts it, Obama was sold as a new hope for racial healing, but "it's not how he ruled" and: "President Chaos Umpire has no interest in racial healing."

I expected that. But I don't personally agree with it. It's a neat answer, a red-meat answer, but I think the situation is much more complex. I don't know who — if anyone — completely believed that Hope-poster Obama would magically solve all the racial problems in this country. Perhaps some people who didn't vote for Obama thought that now that we've elected a black President, everyone should stop talking about racial problems.

The problems are complicated, drawing them out makes them look worse, but some people think that looking at them is part of whatever progress could be made in solving them. And some people think those who are trying to expose problems are making them worse, and it would be better to stop talking about race altogether.

Trump "has boasted of his friendships with many gay people, saying 'I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay.'"

"He has supported AIDS charities for years, and welcomed gay couples at his Palm Beach club when doing so was considered remarkable. And he has recently started insisting that he would be a better friend to the gay community than Mrs. Clinton, even though he opposes legal rights like marriage. But as he tries to convince social conservatives that he is not acting as a moderate, Mr. Trump has been largely hands-off with the platform.... The Republican platform committee has long been dominated by some of the party’s most stalwart activists. And some of them have hardly been shy about their views. There is Cynthia Dunbar of Virginia, who has compared the gay rights movement to Nazism. Hardy Billington, a committee member from Missouri, placed an ad in a local paper asserting that homosexuality kills people at two to three times the rate of smoking. And Mary Frances Forrester of North Carolina has claimed that the 'homosexual agenda is trying to change the course of Western civilization.'"

From "Donald Trump Keeps Distance in G.O.P. Platform Fight on Gay Rights," by Jeremy W. Peters in the NYT.

It's usually Donald Trump who's portrayed as weird and out of the mainstream and, for this reason, does not really belong in the Republican Party. With this issue, he's the one who's normal and mainstream, and it's the party that looks embarrassingly out of it.

July 10, 2016

"We’re resigned to the Clintons focusing on their viability and disregarding the consequences of their heedless actions on others."

"They’re always offering a Faustian deal. This year’s election bargain: Put up with our iniquities or get Trump’s short fingers on the nuclear button. The Clintons work hard but don’t play by the rules. Imagine them in the White House with the benefit of low expectations."

The last few lines of Maureen Dowd's new column.

What's missing from "Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Struggle to Be Unifying Voice for Nation" by Patrick Healy in the NYT.

It begins:
No moment in the 2016 presidential campaign has cried out more for a unifying candidate than the police shootings of two black men last week and the ensuing national uproar, followed by the shocking sniper ambush that killed five police officers in Dallas.

And no other moment has revealed more starkly how hard it is for Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton to become that candidate....
Neither Trump nor Clinton, it seems, has what it takes to do what, it seems, America needs now. Clinton "lacks the public emotion, oratorical skills and reputation for honesty to persuade large numbers of Americans to see things her way." And Trump is "sowing division and hatred" and "electrif[ying]crowds... through provocations."

What's missing? Why is racial discord the problem of the summer of 2016? If anyone has what it takes to unify the country over race it is Barack Obama, who is President right now and who has been President for 7 1/2 years. If it makes any sense to be deciding the current presidential election on this issue, if this longed-for capacity is something that can possibly exist, then Barack Obama would be doing it now and would have been doing it for years.

Before you push us to judge whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would do better in bringing us together in racial harmony, Mr. Healy, please say a few words about why President Obama has failed. Of course, neither Clinton nor Trump inspires hope for a new opportunity at racial harmony. That's what Obama did in 2008. He was ideal for that issue and we voted for the hope. Now, so many years later, things seem even worse. Can you analyze how that happened? Because that did happen. I don't see how we can begin to think about what more Trump or Clinton could do unless we understand why President Obama failed.