July 23, 2016

Tim Kaine: "I’ll enforce the death penalty as governor and I’m against same-sex marriage."

"I’m conservative on personal responsibility, character, family and the sanctity of life. These are my values, and that’s what I believe."

A strange alignment there in the sidebar.

Hillary Ann grab-1

Just an ad that happened to get served up on Meade's computer. Is the Hillary campaign copying Althouse?

(Click to enlarge.)

At the Purple-and-Orange Café...



... go ahead and talk about the topics you like.

"But however promising adenosine may be as a treatment, the findings from this research do not prove that acupuncture itself 'works.'"

"For one thing, the researchers did not show that the release of adenosine was specific to acupuncture. Acupuncture needles might cause adenosine to flood the surrounding tissue, but so might a hard pinch, or applied pressure, or any number of other physical insults. In fact, both of the studies found that when adenosine was turned on in mouse tissue by other mechanisms, the pain response was equal to or better than the response generated by acupuncture."

From a Scientific American article currently titled "Research Casts Doubt on the Value of Acupuncture/Scientific studies show that the procedure is full of holes."

(The original title was "The Acupuncture Myth." I'm contemplating why the title was changed and thinking the magazine has some standards about what counts as a "myth" and that if you have utterly disproved something you are not yet in a position to call it a myth.)

ADDED: This article made me wonder how scientists can determine the extent to which a mouse feels pain. It can't point to one of the 10 pain faces on the chart. I found this article in Wired: "Mice Show Pain on Their Faces Just Like Humans":

"The development of the Common Core was funded almost entirely by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was a rush job..."

"... and the final product ignored the needs of children with disabilities, English-language learners and those in the early grades. It’s no surprise that there has been widespread pushback. In 2009 President Obama announced Race to the Top, a competition for $4.35 billion in federal grant money. To qualify, states had to adopt 'college and career ready standards,' a requirement that was used to pressure them into adopting national standards. Almost every state applied, even before the specifics of the Common Core were released in June 2010. The federal government, states and school districts have spent billions of dollars to phase in the standards, to prepare students to take the tests and to buy the technology needed to administer them online. There is nothing to show for it.... Standardized tests are best at measuring family income. Well-off students usually score in the top half of results; students from poor homes usually score in the bottom.... If we really cared about improving the education of all students, we would give teachers the autonomy to tailor instruction to meet the needs of the children in front of them and to write their own tests...."

Writes Diane Ravitch, the historian of education who was assistant secretary of education in the Bush I administration.

"Is a ‘Boring’ Choice the Right One for Clinton?"

I was a little surprised to see that teaser on the front page of the NYT (which otherwise seems to be puffing up Hillary and her roll-out of her VP). Clicking through, the title becomes — by leaving out "boring" — boring: "Is Tim Kaine the Right Running Mate for Hillary Clinton?" But it does focus our attention on the one of the 4 essays that is positive, the one in the top right quadrant, saying boring is good:

Well, that kind of reminds me of how I reacted to the news when I heard it yesterday:
I don't know if I really need to put up a post for this, because it's very boring...

... but Hillary picked Kaine.

ADDED: Don't get me wrong. I like boring. I'd like a presidential race between Pence and Kaine. I don't want my excitement from government.

Robo, the robot hobo.

"It’s part performance art, part social experiment, as people slowly start to realize that Dirk isn’t an actual human. But dressing it up as a homeless person serves as convincing camouflage for the robot, and helps temporarily overcome the uncanny valley that usually gives humanoid robots away."

Post-Roger Ailes, Fox News should redo its overly overly made-up blondes...

... in the style of Ivanka Trump.

It's a simple upgrade and modernization.

The seemingly scurrilous insinuation that Bernie Sanders is an atheist.

People are acting disgusted at this email — leaked by Guccifer 2.0 to WikiLeaks — from DNC's Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall:
"It might may [sic] no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist."
Last February, I had a post "'Why Not Question Trump’s Faith?'/Why not question everything everyone asserts about religion?"  — after an NRO writer (Kevin D. Williamson) questioned whether Donald Trump's faith. I said (boldface added):
I'm inclined to think we should judge each candidate in proportion to how much he or she relies on religion. If someone forefronts sanctimony, we should examine whether it's a lie. But if a candidate takes a minimal position — claiming a faith but grounding himself in morality that can exist apart from religion (which is what Trump does) — there's nothing to delve into. If it's a lie, it's an insignificant social lie, like saying you love your wife when your feelings have in fact gone cold.

There are no visible atheists or even agnostics at the presidential level of American politics. Do you want to start outing them? Maybe Bernie Sanders. He might be an atheist. What do you think? Want to try to smoke him out? He said:
“I am not actively involved with organized religion... I think everyone believes in God in their own ways... To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.”
To my ear, that sounds like an effort to say: Even atheists believe in God... in our own way. A mystical attitude toward all of humanity counts as belief in God.
Last March, I had a post — "How would you recognize an atheist if one appeared in American presidential politics?" — that looked at something Sanders said in a debate. Anderson Cooper prompted him to talk about religion, asking him whether he keeps his "Judaism in the background." Sanders said "No. I am very proud to be Jewish, and being Jewish is so much of what I am." But he proceeded to talk about his Jewishness in terms of history and culture — not religious belief. I was struck by the "absence of forthright atheism":
How would you recognize an atheist if one appeared in American presidential politics? He probably would speak of his family and ethnic background, showing respect and making a connection to a religious tradition, and he would present himself as a moral person with the same kind of values embraced by Americans who find those values in religion. He's not going to say "Look, I'm an atheist. There is no God. I believe in science. And as President, I will consult science, not this 'God' my opponent keeps talking about."
ADDED: Maybe Brad Marshall read the Althouse blog: "I think I read he is an atheist." Written in May 2016, after my posts.

AND: "can we get someone to ask"... Anderson Cooper asked. Correlation, not necessarily causation.

The pilot of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 conducted a simulated flight that followed the presumed flight path of the lost plane.

The 2 flight paths, plunging southward:

"New York has obtained a confidential document from the Malaysian police investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that shows that the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, conducted a simulated flight deep into the remote southern Indian Ocean less than a month before the plane vanished under uncannily similar circumstances."

"Our poor monkey brains just can't deal with complex combinations of certain logical operators, especially with respect to the logic of contemporary American politics."

Language Log indulges in more analysis than David Frum and The Atlantic deserve for publishing the ludicrous sentence "Many wavering Republicans will come home — even if the home to which they now return has changed in ways that render it almost indistinguishable from the dwelling it used to be."

"I look at Roger, it’s like 'Mad Men.' This guy came of age in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s when it was a whole different culture."

"I don’t think he was thinking that [what he was saying] was really all that bad."

Said an unnamed former Fox News executive, quoted in a WaPo article titled "The fall of Roger Ailes: He made Fox his ‘locker room’ — and now women are telling their stories."
Ailes... succeeded in obliterating his main rival, CNN, in the ratings and making huge profits. He also pushed for a very specific look: blond and leggy. Television had long been the realm of perfectly coiffed commentators and anchors, but under Ailes, Fox seemed to be taking the ethos to another level.

“Generally, women accept that at Fox you are expected to wear skirts [and] dresses and that the makeup people are going to slather it on and make you look like a bimbo,” said a former frequent guest commentator. One time, the former commentator said, higher-ups at the network reprimanded makeup artists for putting her on-air without false eyelashes, even though she hated wearing them.

A late-night anchor boasted about the “leg chair” on his set, where the audience could get a full view of the on-air talent’s legs.

“From the very beginning, Roger wanted attractive women, translucent desks,” a prominent early staffer said in an interview. The message from Ailes was unmistakable, the former staffer said: “I want to see her legs. I want the viewers to see their legs. I want people to watch Fox News even if the sound is turned down.”
What happens to Fox News now that its trademark style has become connected, in the minds of viewers, with the sexual exploitation of women in the grossest form (the executive punishing or rewarding employees based on their response to his demands for sexual access)? Do those overly made-up blondes seem different and creepy now that you know the allegations against Ailes? Or was what was on screen always overtly sexual, following a longstanding sex-sells formula that everyone already knew about that stands separate and distinct from any behind-the-scenes sexual transactions?

Does Fox News look different to you now?
pollcode.com free polls

"You don’t accept an invite to a woman’s wedding and then give a toast to the groom’s ex-girlfriend."

One of the top-rated comments from the past week at the NYT:
Cruz just ended his political career. And I say that as someone who supported Cruz in the primaries.

There is a time and a place for everything. You don’t accept an invite to a woman’s wedding and then give a toast to the groom’s ex-girlfriend. It is bad enough that he has gone back on his promise to support whoever won the GOP nomination. ... What he did tonight was beyond rude — and then standing there at the podium with a smirk on his face.

Until tonight I thought the rest of the Senate hated him because he would not play ball. While that still might be partly true, tonight I discovered another reason: he is a jerk. I will never support him again.
Well, that's a great bad analogy. A good chunk of the assembled group were delegates pledged to Cruz, not supporters of Trump. And a convention is not necessarily a celebration focused on one couple. Even the couple's kiss was not a thinking-alike sort of thing ....

It's not that hot —  not when you consider the circle of hotness.

More videos of the same brilliantly stupid lady here. As the top-rated comment at YouTube says: "Her an Carl Pilkington should meet."

I love that I already have the tag "hotness."

ADDED: Some people seem to think the woman is actually an idiot. Others recognize what is a Ricky-Gervais-and-Karl-Pilkington routine, with the "smart" one laughing, while the "idiot" continues with his delightfully absurd theory. Having a woman as the delightful idiot makes me want to categorize it as George Burns and Gracie Allen.

July 22, 2016

I don't know if I really need to put up a post for this, because it's very boring...

... but Hillary picked Kaine.

ADDED: Don't get me wrong. I like boring. I'd like a presidential race between Pence and Kaine. I don't want my excitement from government.

At the Red-Orange Café...


... talk about anything you want.

"Feel the Johnson."

Just a little something I found searching the phrase "Feel the Johnson," which I thought was pretty funny. The song doesn't play on the sexual meaning in the phrase, however. It's completely marijuana-focused.

"People seem to love [Trump’s family] in the same way the public loved the Kennedys."

Writes Scott Adams....
And notice how Donald Jr. and Eric both have the speaking cadence of John and Jack Kennedy. 
John and Jack, eh? I love Scott Adams... but he's not infallible. Here at Meadhouse, we were saying Donald Jr. is Bobby Kennedy. That's who he sounded like, and it's distinctive in a way that counting John twice doesn't equal.
Notice also how Melania reminds you of Jackie Kennedy – quiet, smart, and classy. These are coincidences, but your irrational brain doesn’t care. It sees a new batch of Kennedys and wants to see more of them. That’s powerful election magic for a nation that only pretends to care about policies.

A week ago you compared ugly Donald Trump with ugly Hillary Clinton and declared them a visual tie. That matters because our visual “brain” generally wins against whatever part of the brain is pretending to be logical that day. 
Ha ha. Perfect. All is forgiven. Whatever part of the brain is pretending to be logical that day. Love it.
[O]nce we got a look at the entire Trump family, acting as a group, our visual brains started seeing them as a package deal. And when you compare the entire Trump family’s visual appeal to the entire Clinton family’s visual imagery it’s a massacre.

Would you prefer seeing Bill and Hillary Clinton decompose in front of your eyes for eight years, or watch the Trump family develop their dynasty?

Here comes the daughter.

"Ivanka Trump glided onstage to the Beatles’ 'Here Comes the Sun.' It was apt. She was sun-kissed, her blond hair perfectly sleek, blowing photogenically, no doubt from a fan in the podium. The fashion entrepreneur’s blush-pink sheath and stilettos looked Fifth Avenue chic." So begins Maureen Dowd's column, "Ivanka the Fabulous Fabulist."

My post title is Meade's bon mot from last night.

Dowd uses the same word to describe Ivanka that seemed like the right word to meglossy. But Dowd extends the word into an insult: "She was glossy... She glossed over all of her father’s ugly rhetoric and incitements..."

Something Ivanka did that I wish Donald (and many other speakers) would have done.

When she got a crowd reaction, she paused only briefly, then continued to talk right over the noise. Of course, the microphone works to make every word come through, and the speech rolls on fluently. I wish everyone who speaks at these conventions would watch the video of her speaking and learn.

Great speech. Almost too great, since Trump had to follow her and his appearance and tone are far less glossily perfect. Trump said "I am your voice," but it seemed that Ivanka was stepping forward to be the voice for women. We'll see how the campaign goes forward with her, perhaps, doing the job of making him not merely acceptable to women, but distinctly preferable to Hillary. The factual material is there to be used for this sales job, and I can't imagine anyone more able to run with it than Ivanka.

A 70-year-old man spoke for almost 80 minutes after 10 p.m.

Trump had a long speech in the Teleprompter and he lengthened it with many impromptu additions along the way, even as the time approached midnight. Here's one of the last paragraphs, with the unscripted material in boldface:
Remember: All of the people telling you that you can’t have the country you want, are the same people that wouldn't stand -- I mean, they said Trump doesn't have a chance of being here tonight. Not a chance! The same people. Oh, we love defeating those people, don't we? Love it, love it, love it. No longer can we rely on those same people in politics and in the media, who will say anything to keep a rigged system in place. Instead, we must choose to Believe In America.
The man has energy. He didn't need to make that speech so long, and he certainly didn't need to deviate from the script, continually making it longer.

July 21, 2016

The last night of the convention.

What are you looking for?

Watch with me. Comment!

Politico has what's purported to be Trump's speech, here. But I'm not interested in reading it in advance. It's all in the delivery, no?

UPDATE: Why is the speech so long? To displace the commentators?

AND: You know who gave a famously long speech? Bill Clinton.

"To me, America First is a brand-new modern term. I never related it to the past."/"So it’s not what Lindbergh had in mind?"

From the transcript of Trump talking to the NYT.
TRUMP: It’s just, no. In fact when I said America First, people said, “Oh, wait a minute, isn’t that a historical term?” And when they told me, I said: “Look, it’s America First. This is not ——”

SANGER: You were familiar with the history of the phrase.

TRUMP: I was familiar, but it wasn’t used for that reason. It was used as a brand-new, very modern term.

HABERMAN: What does it mean to you?

TRUMP: Meaning we are going to take care of this country first before we worry about everybody else in the world.
Much more at the link.  Here's some background on the Charles Lindbergh use of the phrase "America First," including the famous Des Moines speech of September 11, 1941, which I'm reading in full for the first time. Excerpt:

At the Twisted Café...


... you can talk about anything.

Sinkless sinks.

Via Reddit.

"Brazilian police have arrested 10 people suspected of planning terrorist acts during the Olympics...."

"The group was inspired by ISIS and only had contact with the group via the Internet..."
Earlier this week, a jihadi channel on the messaging app Telegram called for attacks against the Games and detailed targets and methods, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

SITE said a message was posted to "Inspire the Believers!" saying, "Lone wolf from anywhere in the world can move to Brazil now."

"On his way to the hospital, Justin posted a photo on Facebook of his hand, which was red, swollen, and dotted with thick, bubbly, yellow, fluid-filled blisters. 'Poison oak?'..."

"... Shortly after, he added a picture of his hand wrapped in a thick glove of gauze and gingerly resting on a white-and-blue antimicrobial pillow.  'Update,' he wrote. 'It’s not poison oak, it’s phytophotodermatitis, or ‘margarita burn’…."

Burned by limes — "the other 'lime disease.'"

"Why Can Cruz Speak Without Endorsing Trump, But Bernie Had to Endorse Clinton?"

"Why did Bernie have to endorse Clinton if Cruz didn’t have to endorse Trump?"
With so much acrimony between Cruz and Trump, why did Cruz get a primetime spot at the RNC at all?... [S]ome wonder if maybe Trump gave Cruz the primetime spot just to try to embarrass him....

It was never known exactly why Bernie Sanders chose to endorse Hillary Clinton before the Democratic National Convention....  One of the big rumors that was circulating was that Sanders had to endorse Clinton so he could get a speaking spot and so his progressive ideals could be included in the Democratic platform. Articles like this one led Bernie supporters to erroneously believe it was a requirement for him to get into the Convention....
If Cruz is any indication, it’s possible that Sanders might have still gotten a speaking slot even if he didn’t endorse Clinton... What we do know is that we’re seeing two very different outcomes from similar starting points. Cruz chose to not endorse Trump, risking a platform slot and possibly risking taking votes away from Trump. And now he’s dealing with the fallout of speaking at the RNC without an endorsement and getting booed during his speech. Meanwhile, Sanders chose to make the endorsement so he could further his progressive platform, but it’s not known what will happen during his speech next week....

1. The question isn't so much about how similar Sanders and Cruz but how similar Clinton and Trump are. Clinton was always the candidate of her party's establishment, and Sanders challenged from the outside. But Trump blew away the establishment. Sanders only had to accept the predictable mainstream candidate of his party while maintaining some pride that he'd fought the good fight, his failed revolution. Cruz would need to accept a revolution. Cruz would be in the same position as Sanders if Jeb had won the nomination. It's quite another matter to accept your party's nominee when that guy just crushed the party.

2. Sanders was always a much more agreeable guy. He started off not even wanting to attack Clinton, throwing away the email question as if it wasn't worth anything. It's almost as if he were helping her all along, providing some theater to keep folks interested. Cruz was trying to carry out his own transformation of the party. He wanted to be what Trump ultimately was. He was leading his own revolution and the other guy's revolution succeeded. What happens next? From Trump's point of view, it was perhaps very important to fasten down the loose cannon.

"That pledge [to endorse the eventual nominee] was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I'm going to nonetheless come like a puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father."

Said Ted Cruz, explaining, the morning after, why he took up a speaking slot at the convention and the failed to perform on his pledge to endorse the GOP candidate.

But it seems that Trump knew Cruz wasn't going to endorse...
"He didn't ask me to endorse and, indeed, three days ago I talked on the phone with him and told him, ‘I'm not going to endorse you,’" Cruz said, defending his non-endorsement speech.
... so it's not as though he lied his way into that speaking slot. But he did choose to take the stage, unlike Rubio — who had a little video just before Cruz's slot — and Kasich — who's nowhere to be seen, even with the convention in his home state. 

Cruz's statement that Trump knew in advance there'd be no endorsement is backed up (after the fact) by Trump:

So you have to wonder whether Trump is lying to save face after the fact, whether Trump is easygoing and accepting of a diversity of views — No big deal!* — or whether Trump thought Cruz's sanctimonious on-stage preening would ultimately serve Trump's interests.**


* Says the man who's central concept is the deal.

** Everything seems to ultimately serve Trump's interests. Ever notice?

"You've got to be taught before it's too late/Before you are six or seven or eight..."

(There's a backstory to why I turned up that 2013 video today, but I'm leaving it out.)

2 articles in the NYT that I happened to read one after the other that made me wonder if the NYT is tired of journalism and just wants to blab.

1.  "A 'Heat Dome' Is Coming. Domes Are Bad." This is an article about the weather that is mostly riffing on the word "dome" with stuff that's easy to collect by googling "dome." ("There’s Mad Max’s Thunderdome, where gladiators died. There’s the Houston Astrodome, one of the nation’s largest abandoned buildings — too big and expensive to be blown up.... In 11th-century England, there was the Domesday Book....") A comment there says:
Does this writer think he is clever? What are you thinking, New York Times? Either this is a serious meteorological event, in which case information about its cause, effect and what we might need to do to take care of ourselves in extreme heat and humidity. Or it is a non-event, and not worth the effort it took to write this article. More and more this paper feels like it's written by 20 something who approach every day as a chance to prove their cleverness, rather than to really think about what is happening in the world they live in.
2. "Why Men Want to Marry Melanias and Raise Ivankas," by Jill Filipovic. This is an interesting idea, all summed up in the title, but it's full of godawful stereotypes and assumptions about 2 women and what one man thinks of them and women in general and what men in general think of them. "Maria Shriver’s Shriver Report" found that men tend to want their wives to be "attractive and sweet" and their daughters to be "independent, strong and principled," and "This dynamic seems to play out in the Trump family" in that "Mr. Trump’s wife is professionally attractive, anecdotally nice and by her own telling fairly traditional, while his elder daughter is a strong, independent and well-educated businesswoman." Never mind that Ivanka is just as attractive and sweet as Melania and that Melania has had her professional endeavors. And forget the obvious fact that whether you devote your efforts to the commercial world or the domestic sphere, you can be independent, strong and principled or not. What do the NYT commenters have to say about that? Nothing! Because the NYT doesn't put up a comments section for this article. So let me just quote something from the comments to that Domes-are-bad article:
Why does... the NYT always allow comments on these rather juvenile articles but rarely on anything with political, elitist or racial overtones?

I don't friend most people who request Facebook friending with me.

My blog is for the general public, and Facebook is something for family and friends (including friends from the distant past). But I must admit I've friended some people that I don't actually recognize and don't remember why I accepted their offer of friendship. Some of them post political things. This morning, someone wrote "If you believe Ted Cruz should have endorsed Donald Trump, please let me know by leaving a comment. That way I can unfriend and block you." And I'm thinking: I don't even know why you're up here as my friend in the first place. So I unfriended him. What kind of bullshit is this — stating political opinions with a threat to unfriend if you don't agree? What the hell kind of friendship is that? You can't fire me, I quit. And I don't care one way or the other whether Cruz endorsed Trump. I just don't need my Facebook feed containing the candyass bullying that is a threat to unfriend.

More Satanism at the convention...

... apparently... per Drudge:

Tuesday night, we had Ben Carson linking Hillary to Satan (via Saul Alinsky's dedication of his book to Lucifer), and this morning "Hell's A-Burning" for Ted Cruz. I guess that means Republicans are mad at Cruz. Tuesday night, Chris Christie had the crowd chanting — "Lock her up" — about throwing Hillary Clinton into prison, and Wednesday night — "Ted Cruz booed lustily as he refuses to endorse Donald Trump" — I guess they were ready to chuck Cruz into Hell.

July 20, 2016

This is the convention post.

Watch along with me!

At the Don't-Be-Conventional Café...


... talk about anything except the convention. I'll have a convention post. Keep this one convention free.

"Rob was asking me to choose between my affection for him and my commitment to Christ."

"As deeply fond as I am of Rob, my relationship with Jesus is everything to me."

"The point was to ruin her... It was to send a message to the [people of] the state and the nation that if you dare to say ‘I refuse to violate my religious faith,’ they will literally put everything you own at risk."

How Michelle Obama's words got into Melania Trump's speech.

If we are to believe the letter written by the Trump Organization in-house staff writer — Meredith McIver — who offered to resign over the damaging incident, Michelle's words came from Melania Trump, who admires Michelle Obama and read lines from the 2008 speech to McIver as a way to express what she was looking for. McIver took notes that included some of the verbatim phrases and then fashioned the speech without checking to make sure there was no overlap.

Donald Trump rejected McIver's resignation and — according to McIver — told her that "people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences." So rather than take advantage of McIver as a sacrificial lamb, Trump saw an opportunity to demonstrate his magnanimity and forgiving spirit.

I don't know how much of that is true, but to me the most interesting part is that Melania "has always liked" Michelle Obama. Isn't that nice?! Michelle really did do a nice job with that speech back in 2008! This screw-up got us all looking back on something that we ought to acknowledge as good. We should have models for our speeches. Who should we emulate? You don't start with nothing. You show something of yourself by whom you chose to copy, but of course, you don't copy verbatim without acknowledging your source.

Now, I'm imagining Melania giving a speech that begins: When they asked me to give a speech at this convention and to millions of people watching this convention on TV, I wondered how could I do it? What could I say? And then I remembered: Michelle! What a beautiful speech Michelle Obama gave back in 2008! I never dreamed that 8 years later, I would be in her position. I'd have been terrified. I am terrified! But what gave me the nerve to step up and talk to you tonight was that image of Michelle Obama that impressed me so much, because she spoke from the heart — about her values, her values that she learned from her parents, and about her love for her husband and for her country. I want to say that too. Her country is my country, and I want to say, like her, that I believe that you need to work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do, and that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them....

"You swallow the robot, and when it gets to your stomach the ice melts and the robot unfolds."

"Then, we can direct it to a very precise location.... They tried rice paper and sugar paper and hydrogel paper, all sorts of different materials.... We found that sausage casing has the best properties when it comes to folding and unfolding and controllability."

"I wanted to shoot raw footage of [The Daily Show's] interview with a young, gay conservative, because I wanted to compare it to their final cut and see whether they had been fair to him."

"I didn’t want this person to be humiliated merely for being gay and having the ‘wrong’ political views... They told me not to film, then they told me —incorrectly — that I couldn’t film them, and then one of their reporters pushed me. Finally, they gave up, packed up their cameras and ran away."

I can't understand the NYT article "Twitter Bars Milo Yiannopoulos in Wake of Leslie Jones’s Reports of Abuse."

Something's missing from this. It begins:
For years, one of the main grievances among Twitter users has been the ability for anonymous trolls to send abusive comments to other people on the service.
Yiannopoulos isn't anonymous, so I begin puzzled. And "troll" and "abusive" are vague, abstract words. The next sentence is:
But on Tuesday, Twitter barred one of the most egregious and consistent offenders of its terms of service, Milo Yiannopoulos, in an attempt to show that it is cracking down on abuse.
So I'm thinking I'll want to know, specifically, what terms of service Yiannopoulos is thought to have violated and what were his "egregious" and "consistent" violations. Also, Twitter seems to be accused of using Yiannopoulos for show. Has he been singled out because of his visibility or because the people he's bothered are the ones Twitter wants to cause to think it's really doing something?
The ban against Mr. Yiannopoulos, a technology editor at the conservative news site Breitbart and known by his Twitter handle, @Nero, follows a campaign of prolonged abuse against Leslie Jones, a comedian and co-star of the recently released “Ghostbusters” movie..... Hundreds of anonymous Twitter commenters hurled racist and sexist remarks at the star’s Twitter account, rallied and directed by Mr. Yiannopoulos this week. The news media picked up on the abuse after Ms. Jones began retweeting screenshots of the litany of comments sent to her over the past few days.
I need to go to the linked article to see what kind of "abuse" has been aimed at Jones — not by Yiannaopoulos but by people he "rallied and directed" (whatever that means). You've got a gigantic Hollywood movie, which seems to me to be a big, ripe, deserving target for criticism, mockery, and — yeah — abuse. Of course we should savage this crap! Who is this movie star that her dramatic sensitivity and walking off in a huff should mean a damned thing to any sensible citizen?

Okay. Now, I've read the linked article about the "campaign of prolonged abuse," and I fail to see what's special about Jones as opposed to thousands of other actors, musicians, and politicians that little people say mean things about all the time. And I really don't know why the banning extended to Yiannopoulos.
Twitter did not comment directly on Mr. Yiannopoulos’s account or actions of the past 48 hours, but the spokesman said over that period, “We’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.”
Now, I've read the whole NYT article and I never found out what terms of service Yiannopoulos supposedly violated or what his "egregious" and "consistent" violations were or how he "rallied" and "directed" other Twitter users and I'm just left with my original suspicion that he was singled out because he was a high-profile antagonist to the people Twitter has decided to comfort and protect and because Jones was high-profile and dramatized great offense taken.

Could someone just quote the Yiannopoulos tweets in question? Does Twitter mean to say that if one user expresses hate for a particular celebrity, he'll be held responsible for the way other users express hate for that celebrity? That's not a workable policy. Think of all the big-time Twitter users who express hate for Donald Trump and the lesser users who come out with obscenities and true threats? Twitter wouldn't kick them all out.

A Pennsylvania pound.

Wikipedia's featured picture of the day.
A banknote for three pence, or 1/80 of a Pennsylvania pound, the currency of colonial Pennsylvania. Created as a response to the global economic downturn caused by the 1720 collapse of the South Sea Company, the currency was worth 25% less than sterling. It was discontinued in 1793 in favor of the United States dollar. This note was signed by Thomas Wharton and printed by Benjamin Franklin and David Hall.

"If one were to count up the number of times any American — or maybe anyone anywhere — laughed in the last half-century, the person responsible for more of those laughs than anyone else..."

"... might well be Garry Marshall, who died on Tuesday in Burbank, Calif. He was 81." — begins the NYT obit.

I wasn't going to blog this death. I don't blog every celebrity death, and I didn't think I cared much about the Marshall's work, but I went to IMDB and saw the list of shows he worked on, not just "Happy Days," "Laverne and Shirley," and "Mork and Mindy" — which happened in the 70s, when I didn't care about TV — but a whole slew of the 60s television that I lived with intimately: "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (18 episodes), "The Lucy Show" (10 episodes), "The Joey Bishop Show" (10 episodes), "Gomer Pyle: USMC" (2 episodes), "The Bill Dana Show" (2 episodes), "Make Room for Daddy" (5 episodes). He even wrote an episode of "Hank." Do you know what "Hank" was? I sure do! I blogged about it here

"Republicans Accused of Plagiarizing Entire Convention Scenario from Book of Revelation."

“The first thing that struck me, on Night One, was when the sun became black as sackcloth of hair and the moon like blood... That was just too close to be a coincidence.”

Watch Theresa May doing her first Prime Minister's Questions...

"... she... seemed to impersonate Margaret Thatcher...."

Because she's a woman, so, exhibiting political strength, she gets compared to a woman (the only woman who's held her position).

And didn't you — if you watched that and if you're, like me, American — think about Hillary Clinton? Why doesn't Hillary Clinton step up to challenging questioning by opponents? She hasn't even done a press conference — and the press is on her side — since last December!

Well, soon enough, we'll see her in a debate with Donald Trump. She'll have practiced, with somebody who'll be trying to impersonate Donald Trump, and she'll have worked out some steely demeanor to counter his domineering presence. Maybe she'll impersonate Margaret Thatcher.

UNESCO — with its "World Heritage" site designation — honors Le Corbusier and snubs Frank Lloyd Wright.

The test is “outstanding universal value” to humanity, and as The Washington Post presents it...
Among the nearly two-dozen new sites inscribed on the list are Canada’s Mistaken Point, rough Newfoundland cliffs studded with some of the oldest evidence of complex organisms — fossils of spindly living things that date back 565 million years.

Included as a single “site,” too, are 17 works by renowned Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier.... UNESCO called the structures “works of creative genius” in an announcement on Sunday, which “attest to the internationalization of architectural practice across the planet.”

The announcements came with celebrations concentrated in pockets around the globe. A group gathered in the fishing village of Portugal Cove South, in Newfoundland, to await with baited breath the decision regarding Mistaken Point....

Among those that failed to make the grade in 2016 was the U.S. contribution of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, including the Fallingwater building in Pennsylvania. Somewhat complicating matters is the fact that the United States no longer has a vote in UNESCO; as...  the United States ceased contributing roughly $80 million a year after Palestine joined in 2011. In 2013, per the organization’s rules, the United States lost voting status. 
There's only one comment over there at WaPo: "Please tell us more about the fishermen with 'baited breath.' Do they lean over the side and attract the little fishes?"

It's very funny to see the old "baited breath" mistake happening in the context of fish. We don't use the word "bated" other than in "bated breath" so "baited breath" is a mistake far too easy to make... unless you follow Orwell's good advice and "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print." But the other Englishman, Shakespeare, pulls us in the opposite direction, having left all those fresh phrases in print that have aged into our present-day figures of speech — like "bated breath," which is something Shylock (the Jew!) says in "The Merchant of Venice":
Shall I bend low and in a bondman's key,
With bated breath and whispering humbleness, Say this;
“Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn'd me such a day; another time
You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies
I'll lend you thus much moneys”?
By the way, a "bondman" is a slave. Here's the word used in the 1866 poem by William Cullen Bryant, "The Death of Slavery":
O THOU great Wrong, that, through the slow-paced years,
   Didst hold thy millions fettered, and didst wield
   The scourge that drove the laborer to the field,
And look with stony eye on human tears,
          Thy cruel reign is o'er;
          Thy bondmen crouch no more
In terror at the menace of thine eye;
   For He who marks the bounds of guilty power,
Long-suffering, hath heard the captive's cry,
   And touched his shackles at the appointed hour,
And lo! they fall, and he whose limbs they galled
Stands in his native manhood, disenthralled....

July 19, 2016

"The Chair announces that Donald J. Trump, having received a majority of these votes entitled to be cast at the convention, has been selected as the Republican Party nominee for President of the United States."

Said Paul Ryan, just now, before slamming down the gavel.

And then he appoints the Escort Committee and lists 5 names — Donald Trump's 5 children.

UPDATE, about 10 minutes later: The nominating of Mike Pence for VP is also accomplished. 

UPDATE, 7:31: "And as First Lady, you viciously attacked the character of women who were sexually abused at the hands of your husband!" — Republican National Committee Co-Chair Sharon Day.

Update, 8:22: "Students of trivia will recall" that Paul Ryan was VP nominee 4 years ago, Paul Ryan says.

Update, 8:41: Christie invites the conventioneers to judge Hillary and they chant "Lock her up."

Update, 8:46: Christie just made me say out loud: "He would have been so much better as the VP. He's got so much more going on." That prosecutor vibe!

9:00: Tiffany, the outsider child, has her say. She's got a classic young woman style, like Miley Cyrus. She's followed by a Trump wine business lady, pushing the theory that Trump pushes women forward.

9:14: Donald Trump Jr. is doing a great job. Meade says "Like Bobby Kennedy" and that's what I was thinking.

9:45: Dr. Ben Carson was on fire, totally committed. Nice performance. A little weird, when he tied Hillary to Satan.... but other than that, nice job.

Details from the front yard.




I'm just trying to figure out my new camera, which is a Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100, perhaps more camera than I need, but the slight extravagance motivated me to try to read the manual, a mind-bending — eye-bending — experience that led me to buy this book, which seems to be written in actual English sentences meant to be read by a human being. And now I'm going to try to become more knowledgeable about all the features.

I'd had my eye on this camera after reading this article about what a photographer packed on his trip around the world, but I'd decided against splurging. I had a good-enough, cheaper Lumix — about like this — and it was still working. But then on our first day in Colorado last week, I did something stupid with it. I really shouldn't reward my bad behavior, but I needed a new camera and I'd already done the desire-formation around a particular camera, so I closed the deal. It was very much like the way I wanted an Audi TT, but I had a perfectly good VW Beetle and resisted the urge to buy something new and expensive. Then I wrecked the Beetle and got the TT.

New from Nate Silver: "Election Update: Clinton’s Lead Is As Safe As Kerry’s Was In 2004."

"I’ve... detected a lot of consternation among Clinton voters: Why isn’t her position safer? There’s really about a 35 or 40 percent chance that Trump will become president?"
Based on the polls, we think the model is setting those odds about right. The race is a long way from being a toss-up, but a 3 or 4 percentage point lead heading into the conventions isn’t all that reliable, either. While Obama won twice with pre-convention leads of about that margin, John Kerry went into his convention with a lead of about 3 percentage points in 2004, but lost to George W. Bush. And in 2000, Bush had about a 4-point lead on the eve of the conventions, but lost the popular vote to Al Gore. (Bush won the Electoral College, of course.)

Pie in the Horse.

The entrance, like the song, is perfect in its comical grandiosity.

Trump's "We Are the Champions" entrance:

The cosmic green-blue with the blinding white light across the bottom: at 0:16, it's like the point where the aliens are about to emerge from the spaceship in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

At 0:24, Trump steps into the light and we know him from his silhouette, though it's just a pudgy old man shape. It's not the kind of glorious female body we're used to seeing introduced in silhouette. For example, the models just before the runway walk on "Project Runway"...

... or this bit from "Seinfeld":

But it's not the only time an unshapely man has worked a silhouette. Alfred Hitchcock used it every week to walk onto our television screen:

"Clinton’s message has been that America is divided by race and gender, and suddenly we see a horrifying uptick in police shootings because it fits that world view."

"That blood is on team Clinton’s hands (my side), in my opinion. My guess is that the genders also have a more negative view of each other than at any time in history. That’s coming from my team as well. Trump, on the other hand, is drawing us a picture of America as one team and everyone else as the competing teams. In terms of persuasion, this is a super-strong message.... Just tell us we’re on the same team, and that we’re in a friendly competition with the rest of the world. I don’t care what gender and ethnicity you are, so long as you’re with me on the American team and helping to compete against the rest of the world. The words 'Team America' would be the strongest persuasion this country has ever seen. That framing loses the xenophobia and hate, and defines us as part of a friendly competition with the world that is good for all. The only downside is that Team America is the name of a hilarious puppet movie. But I think we can get past that. I’m on Team America. If you’re on my team, I don’t need to know anything else about you. We’re good."

Says Scott Adams.

I don't think you really get past the hilarious puppet movie. You plunge more deeply into it until the hilarity evolves — matures, blossoms — into truth.

I woke up this morning with a memory of it that consisted of nothing but his scary head yelling.

Here it is, Rudy Giuliani's speech in full:

Did he say something I need to remember, something I didn't already know or something I did know put in some alarming, urgent new way?

According to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, Giuliani was "the emotional peak" of the night. Yeah, but what emotion was that? Morrissey said "Giuliani amplified the energy on the floor all the way to 11." But the show is for the home audience, the TV watchers, and I don't want Republicans amped up to 11 in my living room. Morrissey realizes this...
I’d say that no one up to that point captured the spirit of the convention better on the first night — and any dissension left over from the afternoon appears to dissipate entirely. Perhaps it might have been too intense for people at home, but the delegates ate it up.
... but doesn't seem to want to have to admit that it's us people at home who matter.

For insight into the live crowd/home view problem that plagues podium speakers in a big room, reconsider the Dean scream:
SALZMAN: If you watch the clip in isolation, the one that played over and over again, it seems like he had this unhinged moment. But that's just not what happened....

TRIPPI: The biggest mistake you can make in American politics is to provide ammunition for your enemies.

MORDECAI: We didn't understand unidirectional microphones. Dean refused to get media training, so he didn't either....
IN THE COMMENTS: Unknown asks: "Ann, do you ever consider that maybe you're too fearful?"

I've considered it and I've also considered that this post does not express fear. It expresses aversion to an ugly old man yelling at me through the television. He may have wanted to reach into my psyche and stir up fears that lie deep within, but I felt nothing but superficial resistance to somebody coming at me like that. 

Unknown's full comment is actually: "Ann, do you ever consider that maybe you're too fearful? It's not flattering." And that's how men attempt to use female vanity to manipulate women. I should be afraid that I don't look pretty being afraid.

Stephen Colbert revives his "Colbert Report" comic-conservative character on the occasion of the GOP convention.

The comedy includes stuff like: "A lot of people are wondering how America, God’s girlfriend, ended up in relationship with this guy" (i.e., Trump).

Well, some speechwriter is going to get the old "You're fired."

Melania Trump’s speech uses lines from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech.

ADDED: On the positive side, no one will ever say "Your word is your bond" again. You're going to need another bond. Or screw the bond. No one cares about your bond anymore.

AND: Maybe there's some other speech that Michelle's speech was based on. I googled word is bond and got to some fascinating Urban Dictionary background and beyond.

MORE: Why was I wondering about some other speech? It's just so stupid to copy Michelle's speech that I theorized that Melania's speechwriter found some obscure speech to use and it just happened to be the same one Michelle's speechwriter used. These speeches are so generic, but good Lord, change the words. Swap in synonyms. What are they paying you for?

July 18, 2016

The GOP convention begins.

Let's talk about it.

Things men did to Martha Nussbaum that she didn't react to in a conventionally feminist way.

Sorry but I've got one more New Yorker article to blog about "THE PHILOSOPHER OF FEELINGS/Martha Nussbaum’s far-reaching ideas illuminate the often ignored elements of human life—aging, inequality, and emotion," by Rachel Aviv. I just wanted to pull out 2 things:

1. From her experience in the graduate program in classics at Harvard, in 1969: "When her thesis adviser, G. E. L. Owen, invited her to his office, served sherry, spoke about life’s sadness, recited Auden, and reached over to touch her breasts, she says, she gently pushed him away, careful not to embarrass him. 'Just as I never accused my mother of being drunk, even though she was always drunk,' she wrote, 'so I managed to keep my control with Owen, and I never said a hostile word.' She didn’t experience the imbalance of power that makes sexual harassment so destructive, she said, because she felt 'much healthier and more powerful than he was.'"

2. From the 1990s, when she was in a relationship with Cass Sunstein: "In an influential essay, titled 'Objectification,' Nussbaum builds on a passage written by Sunstein, in which he suggests that some forms of sexual objectification can be both ineradicable and wonderful. Straying from the standard line of feminist thought, Nussbaum defends Sunstein’s idea, arguing that there are circumstances in which being treated as a sex object, a 'mysterious thinglike presence,' can be humanizing, rather than morally harmful. It allows us to achieve a state that her writing often elevates: the 'abnegation of self-containment and self-sufficiency.'"

Gary Johnson "tells Sanders supporters to take an ideological quiz at the Web site ISideWith.com."

"'You get paired up with a Presidential candidate most in line with your views,' he said. 'I side with myself the most, and then, amazingly, I side with Bernie next closest.' Polls so far show that Johnson actually takes more voters from Clinton than from Trump. 'It’s about everything but economics,' Johnson said, ticking off the issues on which he and Sanders agree: 'on legalizing marijuana, on "Let’s stop dropping bombs," crony capitalism.'... Johnson’s theory of politics is highly rational. He assumes that voters don’t need to know much more than his positions to make up their minds. In his stump speech, he goes through a long list of his stances on issues in the areas of fiscal matters, social concerns, and foreign policy. It’s the live equivalent of the ISideWith.com quiz."

From "THE LIBERTARIANS’ SECRET WEAPON/The third-party candidacy of Gary Johnson might make the most unpredictable election in modern times even weirder," by Ryan Lizza (in The New Yorker).

The New Yorker really forefronted the stuff about marijuana. In the "history" tab in my browser, the article shows up as having the title "Flying High," and it begins: "Not long ago, Gary Johnson..., put a halt to his considerable consumption of marijuana. 'The last time I indulged is about two months ago, with some edibles,' Johnson..." The edibles, we're told, were "Cheeba Chews, a Colorado brand that High Times has called 'America’s favorite edible.'" And while we're on the subject of edible marijuana, Johnson, until recently, was C.E.O. of Cannabis Sativa, Inc., "a marijuana-branding company that hopes to benefit as legalization spreads":
At the company, Johnson told me, he hired the person who developed the branding for a product line called hi. “Small ‘H,’ small ‘I’—really cool logo,” he said. He also contributed to the development of a strain-specific edible lozenge that he said “is as good a marijuana high that exists on the planet.” How did he know? “As C.E.O., I did some testing,” he said. “Nothing was better.”

“So, if someone wanted to try that strain, how would they acquire it?” I asked.

“Legally, they couldn’t,” Johnson said.

“What about illegally?”

“Well, I’d probably be able to connect you up illegally.”

Seems like good branding. Why not a lozenge? It seems to suggest an anti-smoking message, soothing rather than irritating.

Trump's ghostwriter — telling "all" to The New Yorker — says he's giving his 2016 royalties from "Art of the Deal" to charities...

... charities chosen with an eye toward undoing the damage he feels he's done by leveraging Trump's career...
... the National Immigration Law Center, Human Rights Watch, the Center for the Victims of Torture, the National Immigration Forum, and the Tahirih Justice Center. He doesn’t feel that the gesture absolves him. “I’ll carry this until the end of my life,” he said. “There’s no righting it. But I like the idea that, the more copies that ‘The Art of the Deal’ sells, the more money I can donate to the people whose rights Trump seeks to abridge.”
Since there's no righting it, there's no use donating anything more than the royalties from just this one year, 2016. How much has Tony Schwartz made from all these years of getting half the royalties from "Art of the Deal"?

Is Schwartz a reliable storyteller? His current story is that the story he told back then was total trash, but he was useful — was then and is now, to different people.

Interestingly, Schwartz got the co-writing job in the first place after he'd "published a piece in New York called 'A Different Kind of Donald Trump Story,' which portrayed him not as a brilliant mogul but as a ham-fisted thug." Trump, we're told, "loved the article.... and sent a fan note to Schwartz." Not long after that, Trump asked Schwartz to write his book for him. Schwartz, a "lifelong liberal" who "was hardly an admirer of Trump’s ruthless and single-minded pursuit of profit," decided to do it for the money, even though he felt "his journalism career would be badly damaged." He "knew [he] was selling out."

When The New Yorker called Trump about Schwartz's "critical remarks," Trump said "He’s probably just doing it for the publicity," and "Wow. That’s great disloyalty, because I made Tony rich. He owes a lot to me. I helped him when he didn’t have two cents in his pocket. It’s great disloyalty. I guess he thinks it’s good for him—but he’ll find out it’s not good for him."

Because who's for Tony Schwartz now? Certainly not the people who got him to trash Trump.

Here's the schedule for the GOP convention.

Here. Are you going to watch much of it? I've set the DVR to record it. I hope to find at least some of it bloggable.

Each day has a theme, expressed in the form of the campaign slogan with the word "great" replaced by another simple word, safe/work/first/one*:
Monday: Make America Safe Again....

Tuesday: Make America Work Again....

Wednesday: Make America First Again....

Thursday: Make America One Again....
The first speaker on the first night is... who else?... Willie Robertson, the star of "Duck Dynasty."

I couldn't figure out who, if anyone, is the "keynote" speaker.

* Maybe Trump has the same idea as Randall Munroe, author of "Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words" ("In Thing Explainer, he uses... only the thousand (or, rather, 'ten hundred') most common words to provide simple explanations for some of the most interesting stuff there is....").

Titanic fight between Rex Parker and Will Shortz over the Sunday crossword.

What seemed like a terrible puzzle became damned good once we found out what the clues were supposed to be.

The NYT puzzle editor, Will Shortz, showed up in the comments section of Rex Parker's blog to say: "I don't usually read this blog, because I can't take the constant personal bashing" — but he just had to defend himself. He did so cagily — "The version [of the clues that the constructor] Jeff gave was not what I got" — and Rex called him on it — "That could mean anything" — and Shortz came back and essentially admitted that he'd changed the clues in a way that ruined the whole point of the puzzle.

If you didn't do the puzzle, the theme answers (the main long answers) were the titles of 2 different movies: FROZEN WATERWORLD, TITANIC SKYFALL, SAW THE DEPARTED, etc. These had clues beginning with "Double feature" and ending boringly: "Double feature about the Arctic Ocean?," "Double feature about baseball-sized hail?," "Double feature about attending a funeral?" But in the original version of the puzzle by Jerry Miccolis, the idea was that the clue referred to another movie: "Ice Age," "Armageddon," "The Sixth Sense."

Why did Shortz eliminate what made the theme interesting? As Shortz explains it:

"Despite her delicate features and voice, Disney expects us to believe that Mulan’s ingenuity and courage were enough to carry her to military success on an equal basis with her cloddish cohorts."

"Obviously, this is Walt Disney’s attempt to add childhood expectation to the cultural debate over the role of women in the military. "

Wrote Mike Pence, back in 1999. I'm reading this out loud to Meade....
I suspect that some mischievous liberal at Disney assumes that Mulan’s story will cause a quiet change in the next generation’s attitude about women in combat and they just might be right. (Just think about how often we think of Bambi every time the subject of deer hunting comes into the mainstream media debate.)
At which point Meade says: "I'm bored." And I said: "That goes without saying. It's Mike Pence."

But let's continue:

"Who Is a Terrorist, and Who Is Simply Deranged?"

Asks the NYT on its front page, leading to an article about "wanton violence by deranged attackers — whether in Nice or in Orlando, Fla." that "are swiftly judged to be the work of terrorists."
These judgments occur even when there is little immediate evidence that the attackers had direct ties to terrorist groups and when they do not fit a classic definition of terrorists as those who use violence to advance a political agenda.

“A lot of this stuff is at the fringes of what we would historically think of as terrorism,” said Daniel Benjamin, a former State Department coordinator for counterterrorism and a professor at Dartmouth College. But, he said, “the Islamic State and jihadism has become a kind of refuge for some unstable people who are at the end of their rope and decide they can redeem their screwed-up lives” by dying in the name of a cause....

“If there is a mass killing and there is a Muslim involved, all of a sudden it is by definition terrorism,” he said.
There's nothing in this article about the shooting of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, but I wonder if the editors saw a need to make the point in the article to get out in front of thought processes that may lead people to begin to think of Black Lives Matters as a terrorist movement.

Madmen are acting alone and only haphazardly related to a movement they may have felt inspired by and wanted to seem to be part of.

"A fresh look at an old controversy, as a master provocateur suggests that human language renders the theory of evolution more like a fable than scientific fact..."

"... [Tom] Wolfe throws a Molotov cocktail at conventional wisdom in a book that won't settle any argument but is sure to start some."

(An Amazon link to a book that's not out until next month.)

Can Trump still criticize Hillary for voting for the Iraq war, now that he's picked a VP who also voted for that war?

Watch him — on "60 Minutes" — insisting on saying he can:
Donald Trump: Yeah, you went to Iraq, but that was handled so badly. And [Iraq] was a war-- by the way, that was a war that we shouldn't have entered because Iraq did not knock down--excuse me

Lesley Stahl: Your running mate--

Donald Trump: Iraq did not--

Lesley Stahl: --voted for it.

Donald Trump: I don't care.

Lesley Stahl: What do you mean you don't care that he voted for?

Donald Trump: It's a long time ago. And he voted that way and they were also misled. A lot of information was given to people.

Lesley Stahl: But you've harped on this.

Donald Trump: But I was against the war in Iraq from the beginning.

Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but you've used that vote of Hillary's that was the same as Governor Pence as the example of her bad judgment.

Donald Trump: Many people have, and frankly, I'm one of the few that was right on Iraq.

Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but what about he--

Donald Trump: He's entitled to make a mistake every once in a while.

Lesley Stahl: But she's not? OK, come on--

Donald Trump: But she's not--

Lesley Stahl: She's not?

Donald Trump: No. She's not.

Lesley Stahl: Got it. 
That's the part I wanted to excerpt from the transcript, but I recommend the entire interview. Watch for all the times Trump jumps in and answers a question directed at Pence. And watch the body language. It reminds me of an old-fashioned husband-and-wife routine where the couple has agreed in advance that the husband should do the talking and the wife will perform silent theater with the message: This man is excellent. At one of the few points where Pence speaks, it seems as though he's reciting the message he's been on task conveying with his face: "I think this is a good man who's been talking about the issues the American people care about."

July 17, 2016

"These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop...."

"We may not yet know the motives for this attack, but I want to be clear: there is no justification for violence against law enforcement. None. These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one. They right no wrongs. They advance no causes. The officers in Baton Rouge; the officers in Dallas – they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now – all of us – to be at our best."

President Barack Obama.

"I swear to God I love this city, but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform, I get nasty hateful looks..."

"... and out of uniform some consider me a threat. I’ve experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core.... This city MUST and WILL get better. I’m working in these streets so any protesters, officers, friends, family or whoever, if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer. I got you."

Wrote Montrell L. Jackson on July 8.

One of the police officers shot dead today in Baton Rouge.

On the Piney Lake Trail last week...

... near Vail, Colorado, we had a beautiful hike.


A gentle face on that rock, no? And then this:


It seemed as though one was supposed to add a rock. I found one that I thought looked like LBJ (in profile):


It blended right in:


"Three law enforcement officers were shot dead and at least three others wounded in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday...."

"One suspect had been killed, most likely by police gunfire, and two others, described as wearing all black, were being sought, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a police spokesman. 'We do believe there is more than one suspect.'"

Is Kerry lying?

This was on CNN's "State of the Union" this morning. (The topic is the extradition of Fethullah Gulen.) Watch closely:

If you've watched the clip, vote on whether Kerry is lying:
pollcode.com free polls

Trump-Pence post-coital...

... logo.

That's the first time I've seen fit to use the word "post-coital" on this blog, though it did appear — once — in a quote:
"I realised one day, as I gazed out on the treetops outside the bedroom of our little cottage, that the usual post-coital rush of a sense of vitality infusing the world, of delight with myself and with all around me, and of creative energy rushing through everything alive, was no longer following the physical pleasure.... I felt I was losing somehow, what made me a woman, and that I could not face living in this condition for the rest of my life."
Recognize the distinctive authorial voice? It's Naomi Wolf.

That post ends — aptly! — with this:

"Yes, a profound sense of fatigue, a feeling of emptiness followed [the physical act of love]. Luckily, I was able to interpret these feelings correctly."

Here's the Wikipedia article, "Post-coital tristesse":
Post-coital tristesse (PCT) or post-coital dysphoria (PCD) is the feeling in humans of melancholy, anxiety, agitation or aggression after sexual intercourse (coitus). Its name comes from New Latin postcoitalis and French tristesse, literally "sadness". Many people with PCT may exhibit strong feelings of anxiety lasting from five minutes to two hours after coitus.

The phenomenon is traced to the [ancient] Greek doctor Galen, who wrote, "Every animal is sad after coitus except the human female and the rooster." The philosopher Baruch Spinoza in his Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione writes "For as far as sensual pleasure is concerned, the mind is so caught up in it, as if at peace in a [true] good, that it is quite prevented from thinking of anything else. But after the enjoyment of sensual pleasure is past, the greatest sadness follows. If this does not completely engross, still it thoroughly confuses and dulls the mind."...
We'll see how Trump and Pence do. 

"In a 13-year span, Philando Castile was pulled over by the police in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region at least 49 times..."

"... an average of about once every three months, often for minor infractions."
Turning into a parking lot without signaling. Failing to repair a broken seatbelt. Driving at night with an unlit license plate. Driving with tinted windows....

His mother, Valerie, who was often called on to help when her son’s car was impounded, believes that the police were stopping Mr. Castile not because of his driving but because of his race. “Driving while black,” she said.