September 3, 2016


RedState, sneering at a man for failing to sway properly in church.

"Look at the robotic swaying.  His awkward arms.  The look on his face.  Everything about this is perfect. Donald Trump: winning minorities over one by one with his sick moves and uncomfortable smile."

I don't know why Trump haters think they will get somewhere by expressing this kind of contempt. It feels utterly repellent to me. How on earth do you want to see a white man act in a black church? Is it supposed to be simply impossible?

By the way, only a few weeks ago, George W. Bush was criticized for improper church swaying:

What I said at the time: "The reason George Bush swayed and smiled during 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic' is that he actually believes his religion."

Trump speaks in a black church in Detroit and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild makes a "nice night" for Hillary Clinton on the lawn of her Martha’s Vineyard estate.

This undercuts those who've been saying Trump says he's reaching out to black people, but he's not appearing before a black audience. And it shows that Trump is actively campaigning, making himself the news of the day, every day, even the especially obscure day that is the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.

What is Hillary doing? The NYT, on its front page, puts a Hillary story above the Donald-goes-to-black-church story, but look at it:

That's just about the worst news about Hillary to juxtapose with Trump's Detroit outreach. Clicking through, I see an even worse headline: "Where Has Hillary Clinton Been? Ask the Ultrarich." Excerpt:
The public has gotten used to seeing Mrs. Clinton’s carefully choreographed appearances and her somewhat halting speeches and TV interviews over the course of the long — and sometimes seemingly joyless — campaign, but donors this summer have glimpsed an entirely different person....

Another advantage to choosing private fund-raisers over town halls or other public events is that Mrs. Clinton can bask in an affectionate embrace as hosts try to limit confrontational engagements.

Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a backer of Democrats and a friend of the Clintons’, made sure attendees did not grill Mrs. Clinton at the $100,000-per-couple lamb dinner Mrs. Forester de Rothschild hosted under a tent on the lawn of her oceanfront Martha’s Vineyard mansion.

“I said, ‘Let’s make it a nice night for her and show her our love,’” Mrs. Forester de Rothschild said.

"Better than nothing! Is it possible?"


At the theater last night. I was stunned to hear the line "Better than nothing is impossible" — so close to my oft-re-self-quoted "Better than nothing is a high standard." Had I nicked my line from Samuel Beckett?

In the cold light of morning, I buy the text on Kindle, do a search, and find that the line is: "Better than nothing! Is it possible?" That is, to one way of looking, farther from my line. The structure is different. 2 sentences. An exclamation and then a question. No flat assertion. But from another point of view, it's closer. It's got hope — hope for better things than nothing.
In spite of everything you were able to get on with it!

Oh not very far, you know, not very far, but nevertheless, better than nothing.

Better than nothing! Is it possible?

September 2, 2016

This election is pathological. Path-o-logical.

"Clinton’s advisers tell her to prep for a landslide Displaying unchecked confidence, the Democrat’s paid consultants see plenty of paths to the White House." So they say, according to Politico.
“Hillary Clinton has many paths to 270 electoral votes, more than any candidate in a generation,” said Jeff Berman, a paid consultant to her campaign....
Meanwhile, also according to Politico, "Inside Trump Tower: Facing grim reality/Three weeks until early voting, the campaign scrambles to pick a path and stay on it."

So, let me get this straight: Hillary has "plenty of paths," but Trump is struggling to "pick a path and stay on it."

Is it good to have different paths or is it bad? Good for Hillary, bad for Trump? Would it be pathological to want some logic in all this talk of paths?

I'm thinking the Hillary side figures it serves their cause to make people feel that it's all over, that there's no way to fight them off, because they've got another way and another way. It's like how you can't build a wall, because if you build a wall, they'll dig a tunnel and then another tunnel, and you'll never find all the tunnels. Ha ha! Give up! 

From the Trump article:
Late last week... Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with Republican National Committee brass... Those present for the meeting... said Kushner’s questions reflected a growing realization within Trump’s team that for all the party’s talk about implementing a major swing-state deployment plan, it hasn’t yet materialized.... The absence of a clear plan has spread to something even more fundamental — the campaign’s path to 270 electoral votes....

Making matters tough for Trump has been the ongoing reluctance of the party’s biggest contributors to open their wallets.... The billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch also have refused to come around.

The antipathy has had far-reaching consequences....
That's it. Antipathy! The opposition to paths.

The FBI releases the text of its interview with Hillary Clinton.

Just in time for Labor Day weekend.

Read it here.

That reality show that Donald Trump made with Omarosa.

Watch the trailer, here. I only made it halfway through (and I was trying).

Back in the earliest months of this blog, I blogged "The Apprentice." It was the season with Omarosa. I said: 
Meanwhile, I keep finding people coming to my blog after Googling "Omarosa + suing," so I guess I better find out what that's all about so as not to disappoint people. Especially, now that writing that will cause my site to come up even higher when they Google that. I'm thinking she's trying to sue her way back on the show or collect some cash on the theory that they aggravated her concussion by pressuring her to work for 48 hours straight without a sit-down lunch break. She shouldn't sue though. Omarosa don't sue! Don't you realize millions of people find you immensely entertaining? You could have a whole reality show built around you--I'd call it "Drama Queen"--but who will want to deal with you if you show yourself to be all litigious?
ADDED: The show was not called "Drama Queen." It was called "The Ultimate Merger." It was one of those find-a-husband shows.

The 4 beards of Tom Wolfe's "Kingdom of Speech," ranked in order of the prominence of the bearded one.

1. Charles Darwin's beard — which appears twice in Wolfe's delightful new book about the politics of linguistic science. First, when Darwin is 54: "[H]e had cultivated a so-called philosopher’s beard of the sort that had been the philosopher’s status symbol since the days of Roman glory. Darwin was forever pictured sitting slightly slumped in an easy chair… his philosopher’s beard lying on his chest all the way from his jaws to his sternum… like a big old hairy gray bib." And second, when Darwin is 60: "Vomiting three or four times a day had become the usual. His eyes watered and dripped on his old gray philosopher’s beard. The chances of his leaving his desk in Down House and going out into the world looking for evidence, as he had on the Beagle, were zero. Instead he chained himself to his desk and forced himself to write... So he wound his imagination up to the maximum and herded all the animals together in his head, like some Noah the Naturalist...." (I'm picturing Noah's beard now too, but Wolfe didn't mention that.)

2. The beard of the Creator: In Apache myth, there's a void and then a disk. "Curled up inside the disk is a little old man with a long white beard. He sticks his head out and finds himself utterly alone. So he creates another little man, much like himself... Somehow, up in the void, they take to playing with a ball of dirt. A scorpion appears from nowhere and starts pulling at it. He pulls whole strands of dirt out of the ball. Longer and longer he pulls them, farther farther farther they extend, until he has created earth, sun, moon, and all the stars.... The big bang theory desperately needs someone like the scorpion or the little man with a long white beard curled up inside a disk." (You might question my ranking the Creator of the Universe second, after Darwin, but Darwin is ultra prominent, and the Creator in question is not the God of the Bible or the Quran but a little tiny man who needs not only another tiny man but a scorpion to pull off the big creation trick.)

3. Alfred Wallace's beard: "Our story begins inside the aching, splitting head of Alfred Wallace, a thirty-five-year-old, tall, lanky, long-bearded, barely grade-school-educated, self-taught British naturalist who was off— alone— studying the flora and the fauna of a volcanic island off the Malay Archipelago near the equator…." (Alfred Wallace, do you even know who he is? He's the man you would know about if Darwin hadn't worked to eclipse him.)

4. The beard of  Daniel L. Everett (Everett is to Wallace as Noam Chomsky is to Darwin): "Everett was everything Chomsky wasn’t: a rugged outdoorsman, a hard rider with a thatchy reddish beard and a head of thick thatchy reddish hair.... He was an old-fashioned flycatcher inexplicably here in the midst of modern air-conditioned armchair linguists with their radiation-bluish computer-screen pallors and faux-manly open shirts. They never left the computer, much less the building." Later we see Everett's beard in a scene of terrible squalor, tending to his his suffering wife and daughter on a miserable boat: "The Brazilians couldn’t keep their eyes off the gringos who were gushing gringo misery out of their hindsides... The redheaded, red-bearded gringo kept taking the pot of sloshing diarrheic rot through crowds of passengers, constantly bending way down with his reeking pot to pass under the hammocks...."

Lester Holt, Martha Raddatz, Anderson Cooper and Chris Wallace.

"Mr. Holt, the anchor of the 'NBC Nightly News,' will moderate the first debate on Sept. 26; Ms. Raddatz of ABC and Mr. Cooper of CNN will moderate the town hall debate on Oct. 9; and Mr. Wallace of Fox News will handle the final debate on Oct. 19. All are first-time presidential debate moderators."

The NYT reports.

Looks like they took one from each network... except CBS. But: " the CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano will moderate the vice-presidential debate on Oct. 4."

Did Donald Trump describe an America of "lockups and surveillance and fugitive-hunting squads" hunting down "hotel maids and landscapers"?

"It was a mass-deportation speech, even if he avoided that phrase. Its intent was hard to miss," say the editors of the NYT, claiming that Donald Trump had previously stated a "promise to make 11 million unauthorized immigrants targets for deportation" and — even though his 10-point speech made no mention of deporting these people — that's what he means to do:
The entire speech, in fact, imagines that government at all levels will be used to hunt down and remove immigrants from their homes, families and jobs. Mr. Trump was describing a world of lockups and surveillance and fugitive-hunting squads, a vast system of indiscriminate catch-and-punish that works as hard to catch hotel maids and landscapers as it does gang members and terrorists.
What does that mean? How does the speech "imagine" something that he never said? Now, as I've been saying lately, I find it very hard to see where he ever said specifically that he wanted to deport anyone other than those who were convicted of crimes (or who were caught crossing the border). And clearly — the NYT admits it — his speech this week never said anything about rounding up the millions and deporting them. He did say he'd take back the "amnesty" Obama gave "to approximately five million illegal immigrants." And he didn't specifically refute the image some people have of what he will do.

Many people, myself included, do not believe he every envisioned deporting peaceful, well-settled, productive immigrants. But he obviously knows many people — his supporters and opponents — think or want to encourage others to think that he will do that — hunt down and remove immigrants from their homes, families and jobs. He is choosing not to state very clearly that's absolutely not his plan. But in leaving that subject unexplored, is he "imagining" and "describing" an America of "lockups and surveillance and fugitive-hunting squads" hunting down "hotel maids and landscapers"?

The NYT is imagining and describing that. Trump didn't do it. I don't like the NYT engaging in that kind of distortion and exaggeration and scaring readers. But Trump — knowing the media hate him and will distort and exaggerate — has responsibility for declining to disavow that plan. He must be charged with actively choosing to leave this empty place in his plan that people will fill with their hopes and fears.

He had 10 points in his plan. 10! 10 says: I'm covering this very comprehensively. And yet there is this very well known subject and somehow it didn't get a point.

Oh, but 10! 10 sounds so complete.

Yeah, well, this one goes to 11. The 11th point is unstated, and that's what's so beautiful/horrible about it. It's whatever you want it to be.

Watch out for scientific studies that read the evidence to support the belief that what is true of the male is superior.

Says the Vatican, saying something that's the reverse of something I've said so often other people have taken to calling it the "Althouse Rule."

Here I am, back in 2005:
I've said it before, and I must repeat, the rule is: If you do scientific research into the differences between men and women, you must portray whatever you find to be true of women as superior. And when you read reports about scientific research into the differences between men and women, use the hypothesis that the scientists are following that rule. It makes reading the reports quite humorous.
Here's the above-linked article about a piece called "History of Biological Difference" in L'Osservatore Romano:
Be cautious about scientific data that offer to be the sole basis and single explanation for the differences between men and women, the Vatican newspaper said. Different eras have produced different scientific conclusions about sex differences, it said, in part because assumptions were built on the knowledge available at the time.

But past scientific views were also inspired by the particular social concepts in force and were "marked, in general, by a strong 'male-centric' ideological slant, aimed at scientifically establishing female inferiority," the newspaper article said....

The article presented a rundown of different findings, spanning from the 1800s to present day, by scientists in explaining why men and women are different....

Biological views of the difference between the sexes, therefore, "have changed over time, according to the theories and dominant ideologies in each historical context, and the interests of medical research," it said.
Articulating what I might comically call The Reverse Althouse Rule, the Vatican is not disagreeing with what I've been saying. I've been writing about media reports in present-day America, where the bias is toward framing the scientific news as evidence of female superiority. But in times and places where people want to present and promote an ideology of male superiority, one ought to expect the same process to yield science that supposedly finds what people want to find.

I said that back in 2005:
To test my theory about whether scientists are following my rule, try rewriting their conclusions as if they were following the opposite rule. That is, take the same basic data, and write their statements as if they were leaning exactly as much toward portraying what is true of the male as superior.

I remember the days when people would routinely and openly characterize whatever was true of the male as superior, and I'm glad those days are over (at least in the U.S.)....

September 1, 2016

If we build a wall, we need to defend against tunnels.

The NYT article has an article today: "As Donald Trump Calls for Wall on Mexican Border, Smugglers Dig Tunnels." But Trump's speech last night did address the tunnel problem:
On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border. We will use the best technology, including above-and below-ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance and manpower to supplement the wall, find and dislocate tunnels, and keep out the criminal cartels, and Mexico will pay for the wall.
The Times article acknowledges this part of the speech, but says that "no technology exists to reliably detect the tunnels, and experts say it may be years before such a system is developed."
Technological advances such as ground radar to detect movement, hundreds of high-tech cameras with night-vision lenses and drones flying overhead have drastically transformed border security.... The American government has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into research in hopes of finding a way to detect tunnels, but most of these efforts have ended in disappointment....

Part of the problem in detecting tunnels, say experts like Paul Bauman, a Canadian geophysicist, is the ground itself.... With underground cracks, water tables, tree roots and caves, it is hard to tell what is and is not a tunnel, he said....

“For every tunnel we find, we feel they’re building another one somewhere, and they might get more creative in concealing it,” he said. “Next year, I could find 10. Until there is some device on the market to help us accurately detect them, we just won’t know.”
Tunnel detection is something we need to do — whatever you think of Trump's wall. I don't like the tone of defeatism, if that's what this is. You might be politically opposed to Trump and want to say his wall won't work because there will be tunnels, but whatever you think of illegal immigration, there's a drug crime problem that must be dealt with.

Here's an article in The New Yorker from last year about the building of tunnels: "UNDERWORLD: How the Sinaloa drug cartel digs its tunnels." Excerpt:

"Get hard! Whatever you do, make it sound scientific. Get out from under the stigma of studying a 'social science'!"

"By now 'social' meant soft in the brainpan. Sociologists, for example, were to observe and record hour-by-hour conversations, meetings, correspondence, objective manifestations of status concerns, and make the information really hard by converting it into algorithms full of calculus symbols that gave it the look of mathematical certainty— and they failed totally. Only Chomsky, in linguistics, managed to pull it off and turn all— or almost all— the pillow heads in the field rock-hard. Even before receiving his PhD, he was invited to lecture at the University of Chicago and Yale, where he introduced a radically new theory of language. Language was not something you learned. You were born with a built-in 'language organ.' It is functioning the moment you come into the world, just the way your heart and your kidneys are already pumping and filtering and excreting away."

From Tom Wolfe's new "Kingdom of Speech," which I've been audiobooking around town this week.

I also liked this passage, which is also about Chomsky (but made me think about Donald Trump):
Charismatic leaders radiate more than simple confidence. They radiate authority. They don’t tell jokes or speak ironically, except to rebuke— as in “Kindly spare me your ‘originality.’” Irony, like plain humor, invariably turns upon some indulgence of human weakness. Charismatic figures show only strength. They refuse to buckle under in the face of threats, including physical threats. They are usually prophets of some new idea or cause.
What it made me think about Trump was: By that description, Trump is not a charismatic leader. 

Trump has a 10-point plan.

It's a plan. And it has 10-points.

I'll let Roger L. Simon go into the weeds.

Here's the text of the whole speech. I'll just focus on:
End Catch-And-Release....
At Meadhouse, the dialogue was something like:
MEADE: Catch and release?! It's not called "catch and release."

ME: Oh? Hmm. You mean, catch and release is what you do with fish.
Calling it "catch and release" puts it in an interesting light — as if we're catching human beings for sport.

Did you notice that Hillary Clinton gave a speech on "American exceptionalism" yesterday?

"I don't like the term. I'll be honest with you....  I don't think it's a very nice term. We're exceptional; you're not.... I never liked the term. And perhaps that's because I don't have a very big ego and I don't need terms like that. Honestly.... I watch Obama every once in a while saying 'American exceptionalism.' it's [makes a face]. I don't like the term. Because... I want to take everything back from the world that we've given them. We've given them so much. On top of taking it back, I don't want to say, 'We're exceptional. We're more exceptional.' Because essentially we're saying we're more outstanding than you. 'By the way, you've been eating our lunch for the last 20 years, but we're more exceptional than you.' I don't like the term. I never liked it. When I see these politicians get up [and say], 'the American exceptionalism'... I think you're insulting the world. And you, know... if you're German, or you're from Japan, or you're from China, you don't want to have people saying that. I never liked the expression. And I see a lot of good patriots get up and talk about Amer—you can think it, but I don't think we should say it. We may have a chance to say it in the not-too-distant future. But even the, I wouldn't say it because when I take back the jobs, and when I take back all that money and we get all our stuff, I'm not going to rub it in. Let's not rub it in. Let's not rub it in. But I never liked that term."

Oh, that was Trump, of course. How far did you get before it became obvious? He said that back in April 2015.

Why am I quoting this now instead of quoting Hillary Clinton gave a speech on "American exceptionalism" in Cincinnati yesterday? Because all the news today is about Donald Trump. I know Hillary gave that "American exceptionalism" speech yesterday, but can you find a news story about it?

I'm looking at the front page of the NYT and there's nothing about Hillary — and plenty about Trump — in the whole top screen. I do a search-the-page for "Hillary" to find something, anything, and I find, down at the bottom, in tiny print: "News Analysis: Trailing Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Turns to Political Gymnastics." That's about Donald Trump! Further down: "The 2016 Race: Could ‘a Better Trump’ Be Leading Hillary Clinton Right Now?" That's about Donald Trump!

There's only one other thing, in the "Recommended for You" list at #5: "ON THE RUNWAY/Fashion Extends Its Support for Hillary Clinton." Ugh! She gave a speech on "American Exceptionalism" and the only news on the front page of is non-news from 2 days ago about how people in the fashion industry are doing something utterly predictable. And some fashion designer opines about Hillary's clothes: "She’s very tailored now. But I think she could go more feminine, and flowy."

Oh, yeah, well, how about some feminine and flowy American exceptionalism?

Did Hillary say anything in Cincinnati? Is it too boring to memorialize in a brief squib of a news article? Was it embarrassing or off-the-mark in some way?

I searched the NYT website for Hillary Clinton American exceptionalism, and I came up with an article, published yesterday: "Hillary Clinton, Swiping at Donald Trump, Argues U.S. Is Vital World Leader." It's off the website front page already, but it does exist. And yet the main point seems to be about Donald Trump. Maybe that's why it's not on the front page. The front page is already overloaded with Donald Trump material.

Here's the Hillary quote about American exceptionalism the NYT puts in paragraph #3:
"If there’s one core belief that has guided and inspired me every step of the way, it is this: The United States is an exceptional nation."
Why does everything sound like a lie? Compare the Donald Trump quote that begins this post. The words do seem to be coming unfiltered from his brain.

That's... exceptional.

IN THE COMMENTS: The very first comment comes from Rob:
Hillary chose her words carefully: "if there's one core belief that has guided and inspired me every step of the way . . . ." In fact, there is not one core belief that has guided her--unless you count ambition as a core belief.
MORE IN THE COMMENTS: So I answer Rob: "Rob, are you a lawyer? Good catch!"

And Rob says: "Ann, I knew Hillary at Yale Law. We go way back."

David Begley erupts: "As a classmate of Hillary's you can't leave it at that! Throw us a bone."

Rob says: "I was a year ahead of her, David. She was fine at law school, and far less militant and angry than several of the women there. Subsequent developments like her reported behavior on the impeachment staff, her commodities trading, her role in quashing bimbo eruptions and of course her private server have all seemed unlike the person I thought I knew, and apparently didn't know very well."

"I especially hate seeing a man drinking from a straw."

I said, responding to Brando, in the Coca-Cola post, who said "[Coca-Cola] is an intellectual beverage, if you sip it in a tall glass with a bit of ice and a straw, and wear a monocle. It's all in the presentation." My reaction was: "I absolutely loathe straws. The only reason for them is to pierce those plastic lids on take out cups. I especially hate seeing a man drinking from a straw."

Is this some weird quirk of mine or do I have support? I have support:

1. "After ordering a drink, do you take the straw out?"
I'd get a good chuckle out of seeing a man drinking his hard liquor through a tiny mixing straw.
2. "Real Men Don't Use Straws," by Malcolm Freberg:
I want you to think about the most macho movie characters imaginable. The ones who define hero, the ones your dad hero worships. James Bond. Indiana Jones. John McLane. Now think about any scene in which they drink anything, be it water or alcohol or exotic space poison. I bet your Luminosity-trained brain couldn't insert a straw into that scene if it tried.

Harry Stamper does not suck Sprite through a bendy straw. Bruce Wayne does not drink pina coladas with a crazy straw. Real men don't use straws.... Hollywood and society had a meeting in our collective subconscious and decided that straws are for sissies. Obviously no one's going to see you sipping a gin and tonic through a cocktail straw and yell, "Hey Sally, that guy looks like he's sucking a tiny dick!" You may not have even considered that straws look like penises until you read that. I'm sorry -- but knowing is better than not knowing.
3. "Why Men Hate Straws":

In the future, barn wood will be famous for 15 minutes.

It will even have its own TV show.

I'd always heard there was cocaine in Coca-Cola.

Workers in a Coca-Cola factory in Signes, France found $56 million worth of cocaine in a shipment of orange juice concentrate

Yeah. Orange juice concentrate. And the cocaine was in bags. Boring.

But this is interesting: Coca-Cola was originally considered an "intellectual beverage." But when it started coming out in bottles:
Anyone with a nickel, black or white, could now drink the cocaine-infused beverage. Middle-class whites worried that soft drinks were contributing to what they saw as exploding cocaine use among African-Americans. Southern newspapers reported that "negro cocaine fiends" were raping white women, the police powerless to stop them. By 1903, [then-manager of Coca-Cola Asa Griggs] Candler had bowed to white fears (and a wave of anti-narcotics legislation), removing the cocaine and adding more sugar and caffeine.

"Trump sticks the landing by engineering a rare reverse-Khan. (Good luck, critics!)"

ADDED: Clicking over to Adams's Twitter feed, I see that he used Periscope during Trump's speech last night. You can't watch it now, but if you'd thought of doing it at the time, you could have watched Trump speak and simultaneously had Scott Adams watching with you — would you aim your iPhone at the TV to enhance that watching-with-you effect? — and heard him saying whatever came into his head. It's like your own old-fashioned living room but with an assuredly interesting seat-mate. And you can turn him off if he annoys you, unlike your dad.

It wouldn't work too well for me, because I have Meade and he talks and I talk too, and it's already so much talking that we frequently pause the TV. Periscope is live, so that pausing habit would have to go.

ALSO: Adams has a blog post on the speech. Excerpt:
Trump needed to undo the persuasion that Clinton’s side has been laying on the public for months. Specifically, Trump needed to demonstrate that he is…

1. Not crazy.

2. Not uninformed.

3. Not the wrong temperament to lead.

4. Not scary.

5. Not racist.

By my scorecard, Trump achieved all five objectives in the eyes and of his core supporters, and 3-out-of-5 with his opponents. I’ll break it down....

August 31, 2016

At the Motor-Trike Café...


... you can go anywhere you want.

Women visiting India "should not venture out alone at night in small places, or wear skirts,"

Said Mahesh Sharma, India’s culture minister.
Sharma clarified his remarks later on Sunday, denying they amounted to a dress code for foreign women. "We have not given any specific instructions regarding what they should wear or not wear. We are asking them to take precaution while going out at night. We are not trying to change anyone’s preference,” he said. 

"In a subdued joint appearance before the press in Mexico City," Donald Trump and Enrique Peña Nieto "described the meeting as warm..."

"... despite significant disagreements on issues of trade and immigration," the NYT reports.
Mr. Trump, first reading slowly from a statement and then speaking more freely in response to a question, said he now considered Mr. Peña Nieto a friend and heaped praise on Americans of Mexican descent. Mexican-Americans, Mr. Trump said, were “beyond reproach” and “spectacular, hard-working people.” But Mr. Trump said he also told Mr. Peña Nieto directly that he felt Mexico had benefited disproportionately from its trade agreements with the United States, and that he had described illegal immigration as a problem for both countries....

Mr. Peña Nieto pushed back in the gentlest of terms on several of Mr. Trump’s claims on Nafta... Without mentioning specific remarks by Mr. Trump, Mexico’s president said that hurtful comments had been made. “Mexican nationals in the United States are honest people, working people,” he said, adding, “Mexicans deserve everybody’s respect.” But Mr. Peña Nieto stopped well short of scolding Mr. Trump on the international stage. On the contrary, he expressed optimism that they could work together if Mr. Trump was elected president, “even though we do not agree on everything.”
There were only a few protesters, even though there were efforts on social media to drum up protesting. One protester who did show up — “Maldito Perro”  (Damned Dog) — said  “These days people protest by clicking ‘like’ or ‘dislike.’ ”

But Mr. Trump showed up in Mexico. And Mrs. Clinton clicked "dislike," essentially, saying, in Cincinnati: "It certainly takes more than trying to make up for a year of insults and insinuations by dropping in on our neighbors for a few hours and then flying home again."

"The presidential race and U.S. Senate contest have tightened in Wisconsin..."

"... according to Wednesday's Marquette University Law School Poll."

"Look, if I were a liberal Democrat, people would say I'm the super genius of all time. The super genius of all time."

"If you're a conservative Republican, you got to fight for your life. It's really an amazing thing."

Said Donald Trump, about a year ago. August 16, 2015. "Meet the Press." I'm reading the transcript because someone on Twitter offered it as the answer to my challenge to find a place where Trump himself said that he would deport 11 million undocumented aliens. In the interview, Chuck Todd asks him about his immigration plan, which, if you check the text, you'll see only talks about removing 2 categories of people: 1. those who are caught crossing the border and 2. those who've been convicted of crimes.
DONALD TRUMP: We have to make a whole new set of standards. And when people come in, they have to come in legally--
That most closely refers to Category #1, people who are crossing the border.
CHUCK TODD: So you're going to split up families?
Todd is stirring things up here, trying to pull the focus to the well-settled people who are living productive, peaceful lives in the United States.

"Hillary Clinton danced with Paul McCartney while Jimmy Buffett played 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' during a fundraiser at his house..."

So beautifully, tragically tone deaf.

And the tweet is so perfect, right down to the potential for misreading "per pool," which got me picturing Paul and Hillary dancing by a swimming pool. If only pools could talk! And there's Jimmy in a lounge chair strumming his guitar and croaking about "a big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat."

That called to mind the delightfully phony old picture of Hillary and Bill, her husband, dancing on the beach in their swimsuits back in 1998....
It was early January of 1998, and her husband was preparing for his deposition in Paula Jones's sexual-harassment suit. During their New Year's vacation in the Virgin Islands, the presidential couple were "caught" dancing together on the beach. In Bill's arms, Hillary gazed lovingly at her affectionate husband, her 50-year-old body revealed in all its bathing-suited glory. Most middle-aged women dread leaving a dressing room in a bathing suit, yet Hillary readily posed for a photo bound to grace front pages around the world. It was a perfect façade of normal matrimony, and succeeded brilliantly in distracting attention from the Jones suit. I remember thinking, "Wow, it's true that she will do absolutely anything for the sake of political survival."...

... a big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat...

ADDED: I hear the message: Talk of cheeseburger. No wiener!


No Weiner. Cheeseburger.

Donald Trump's big Mexican day.

I'm reading the NYT, where the headline is "Donald Trump to Visit Mexico After More Than a Year of Mocking It." Donald Trump has been mocking Mexico? He's been complaining that Mexico has taken advantage of us. That's more mocking us (and by us, I mean our government officials).
Donald J. Trump will visit Mexico on Wednesday for a private meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto... before quickly flying back for what is billed as a major immigration speech in Arizona.  Mr. Peña Nieto’s office said Tuesday night that the meeting would take place at the presidential palace in Mexico City, and Mr. Trump, on Twitter, said he looked “very much forward” to the visit....
Peña Nieto had invited both Clinton and Trump. Trump is just the one who jumped at the invitation, which was only issued last week.
Politicians in Mexico have largely remained silent on Mr. Trump, though there have been outbursts, including from Mr. Peña Nieto himself. In March, he compared Mr. Trump to Hitler and Mussolini for what he called Mr. Trump’s strident remarks and populism, though he later tried to soften his words without quite taking them back.
I had to look up the old quote. It was:
There have been episodes in human history, unfortunately, where these expressions of this strident rhetoric have only led to very ominous situations in the history of humanity. That’s how Mussolini got in, that’s how Hitler got in — they took advantage of a situation, a problem perhaps, which humanity was going through at the time, after an economic crisis. And I think what (they) put forward ended up at what we know today from history, in global conflagration. We don’t want that happening anywhere in the world. 
I can see why today's reports don't quote it. It's vague and blabby. The later softening was: "Hitler, Mussolini, we all know the result. It was only a call for reflection and for recognition, so that we bear in mind what we have achieved and the great deal still to achieve." Peña Nieto is not a pithy speaker.

Back to the NYT article. It characterizes Trump as taking a "gamble" because his campaign is "struggling":
But for all the risk it poses, it offers an image Mr. Trump relishes: of a wily negotiator willing to do the unexpected — meeting with a perceived enemy — to advance his agenda.
The article takes pains to remind us that a lot of people in Mexico don't like Trump. My favorite line is: "Artisans have fashioned Trump piñatas...." Artisans! Crude effigies are made for people to beat with a stick and we hear of "artisans" — humble, dedicated craftspersons — who don't merely make things, they fashion them.

We will see what Donald Trump can do in the spotlight on the last day of August, when normally no one would be paying attention to much of anything. He's popping down to Mexico, then up to Phoenix to deliver what is presented as his major immigration speech. The #1 thing people seem to be looking to hear in the speech is — I'm quoting The Hill now — "whether he will still stand by his call for a 'deportation force' to remove the 11 million undocumented immigrants":
That hard line helped him steamroll his GOP primary foes, but it is less helpful with a more moderate general election audience.... The Trump campaign has recently focused on his call to immediately deport “criminal illegal immigrants.” But that doesn’t settle what happens to those who haven’t committed other crimes besides violating immigration laws.... [H]e could stand by behind his primary rhetoric and call for the immediate removal of all 11 million undocumented immigrants. 
This should be interesting. I wonder if Trump can honestly say that he never did call for the immediate removal of all 11 million undocumented immigrants. When I research the question now, I only see articles that say that is his plan, but I don't see anything straight from him saying that. Did he allow people to think that's what he meant, while always maintaining the ground to say that he never said it?

Here's the text of his immigration plan, released last August. Under the heading "Defend The Laws And Constitution Of The United States," he speaks of 2 categories of persons that he would immediately return to "their home countries": "criminal aliens" (referring to crimes beyond simply being here illegally) and "Illegal aliens apprehended crossing the border."

"I had a sense that it was this intense adventure story. I equated it to Apollo 13 or even Das Boot."

"They lived through this incredibly intense period, where they’re under all this scrutiny, all this pressure. The logistics are wild and, in some instances, a little threatening to their health and well-being. Out of necessity, they’re inventing the stadium concert tour. It was because the police kept saying, 'If you play a place that holds 8,000 people, it means we’re going to have 38,000 people outside. You’ve got to play in bigger places.' So they sort of invented the arena tour before technology could support it, really."

Said the movie director Ron Howard, who has a new documentary, "8 Days a Week," about The Beatles in their years of touring and performing live. 

It was 50 years ago Monday that The Beatles played their last live concert — last official concert — a mere 30 minutes, crammed with 11 songs and constant fan screaming. It was in San Francisco, in Candlestick Park. The last song was a cover song, Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally.”

They did play an additional concert, on a rooftop in 1969, as seen in the movie "Let It Be," which isn't available on DVD, not officially.

August 30, 2016

Rick Perry is doing "Dancing with the Stars"?!

Fine with me. It's good to dance.

He'll be competing with Olympians Ryan Lochte and Laurie Hernandez.

Some very large, freakishly cartoonish mushrooms have been popping up around town.



"They say the clowns live deep in the woods, near a house by a pond."

"At the edge of dark, dark woods in South Carolina, children have been telling adults that a group of clowns have been trying to lure them into the cluster of trees...."

"Trump said something sarcastic about Kaepernick finding a country that he likes better."

"Persuasion-wise, the stronger play was to support Kaepernick’s right to free speech and invite him to be part of the solution, as I just did."

Says Scott Adams... who managed, without actually saying it, to create the idea in my mind — I know he's a hypnotist — that "The Star-Spangled Banner" will soon be widely regarded as racist and no longer acceptable as the national anthem. And that's before I read the CNN article he linked to: "Slavery and the national anthem: The surprising history behind Colin Kaepernick's protest."

And even though I personally reject the argument that Kaepernick needs to love America because it's better than the alternatives — it goes against my aphorism "Better than nothing is a high standard"* — I think Kaepernick's forefronting of the general abstraction of patriotism helps Trump.

I can imagine a psychological study that divides undecided American voters into 3 groups. Group 1 watches some well-crafted propaganda designed to inspire love for America. Group 2 watches a serious exploration of the pros and cons of whether Americans should love America. And Group 3 watches something — no more or less entertaining — that has nothing to do with patriotism. I'm guessing Group 2 would lean more toward Trump than Group 3.

* Yes, you have to live somewhere, but you don't have to love it. Back in the 60s, those who didn't like the various anti-war and other protests had a slogan "America — love it or leave it." It was kind of like the old parental demand — on presentation of some unappetizing food — "You'll eat it and you'll like it." Why must I also like it? And how can I be ordered to like it? More sensible parents — like mine — would just say: "That's what's for dinner." They didn't prod me to go see if I could go get dinner at someone else's house and taunt me with predictions that I wouldn't even like it. This is dinner. This is what we're having. You need to eat. But you can have your own thoughts about it and dislike it even as you use it to fulfill your needs.

IN THE COMMENTS: Balfegor said something I meant to make you think:
I wouldn't be surprised if Group 2 actually leaned more towards Trump than Group 1 too . . . sort of like what we saw with Obama, Obama benefited when race was made salient in voters' minds (e.g. by the media and his other proxies), but less so when voters were beaten about the head about racism (cf. his late fade against Clinton II back in the 2008 primary). However well-crafted, propaganda that articulates a clear point of view can provoke a counter-reaction. That said, I suppose that means it just wasn't well-crafted enough.

"He got this bright idea that he could save money on haircuts. So he let his hair grow, he got a perm, and decided he would never need a haircut again."

"Before he could change it back, though, the perm became his company's logo — Ross hated it. 'He could never, ever, ever change his hair, and he was so mad about that... He got tired of that curly hair.'"

The truth about Bob Ross.
"Bob used to lay in bed at night, he told me, he rehearsed every word," Kowalski says. "He knew exactly what he was going to say on every one of those programs."

Like this famous phrase: "You know without question that we don't make mistakes here. We just have happy accidents."

"This may be the first time that such routine fossil damage has been interpreted as evidence of tree dwelling and death by falling."

"For good reason. If palaeontologists were to apply the same logic and assertion to the many mammals whose fossilised bones have been distorted by geological forces, we would have everything from gazelles to hippos, rhinos, and elephants climbing and falling from high trees."

From "Archaeologists are fuming over a new study about how early hominin Lucy died."

I was just going to lambaste the NYT for this headline, but it's changed.

I'm looking at something my son John put up on Facebook 9 hours ago...

... and I'm snarking over there...
So the "research" is into how to needle him. It's positively professorial....

The headline makes HC look good and DT look bad, but why isn't it the opposite? This isn't about who's studying the policy issues more deeply.
... and thinking I need to blog it. But I click through... and the headline is...
Hillary Clinton Piles Up Research in Bid to Needle Donald Trump at First Debate
... and I've got no problem with that.
As Mrs. Clinton pores over this voluminous research with her debate team, most recently for several hours on Friday, and her aides continue searching for someone who can rattle her as a Trump stand-in during mock debates, Mr. Trump is taking the opposite tack. Though he spent hours with his debate team the last two Sundays, the sessions were more freewheeling than focused, and he can barely conceal his disdain for laborious and theatrical practice sessions.

“I believe you can prep too much for those things,” Mr. Trump said in an interview last week. “It can be dangerous. You can sound scripted or phony — like you’re trying to be someone you’re not.”
I don't think we really know who's doing what and who thinks what. I think we only know what the NYT chooses to say about how 2 campaigns choose to frame their candidate's attitude toward debates. Both the NYT and the campaigns are trying to influence how we think about the candidates. Hillary's people want you to think she's a thorough and hard worker and that Trump has flaws that she's going to skillfully extract and display for us when the debate finally happens. And Trump's people want you to think he's efficient and direct and doesn't need to develop a special show for the occasion, like Hillary, so get ready to see honest, capable Trump and big phony Hillary.

Let me collect 2 things that are spaced apart in the article (boldface added):
Mrs. Clinton, a deeply competitive debater, wants to crush Mr. Trump on live television, but not with an avalanche of policy details; she is searching for ways to bait him into making blunders....

Mr. Trump’s certitude — “I know how to handle Hillary,” he said — reflects his belief that the debates will be won or lost not on policy points and mastery of details, which are Mrs. Clinton’s strengths, but on the authenticity, boldness and leadership that the nominees demonstrate onstage....
So "his belief" is the same as her belief.
These Clinton advisers agree with Mr. Trump’s belief that the debate will not be remembered as pitting a policy expert against a Washington outsider. Instead, her campaign is preparing ways for her to unnerve Mr. Trump and provoke him to rant and rave.

The Clinton camp believes that Mr. Trump is most insecure about his intelligence, his net worth and his image as a successful businessman, and those are the areas they are working with Mrs. Clinton to target.
Hmm. I don't think Trump is insecure about any of those things. But maybe those are just the areas they want him to think they are targeting, and they're really targeting something else. Or maybe provoking him to "rant and rave" is not the idea at all. Maybe they're trying to lure him into toning everything down, being boring, and not riveting the audience with the kind of attacks on Hillary that we haven't seen yet and that she can't predict and prepare for.

So, who will play the role of Donald Trump in Hillary's practice debates? What friend of the Clintons will confront her with — for example — Bill's sexual offenses and her lies and enabling in the way that approximates what Trump might do?
Mrs. Clinton’s allies have floated several options: Representative Joseph Crowley of New York, who is from Queens, where Mr. Trump grew up; James Carville, Mr. Clinton’s chief strategist in 1992, who has a gift for lacerating banter; or Mark Cuban, another billionaire businessman... At least a few old Clinton hands have suggested enlisting professional entertainers, like Jon Stewart or Alec Baldwin.
It's easy to ape Trump's bluster, but these sessions are not a comedy show for the public. And Trump has the advantage of knowing what they think of him and how they'll portray him. And he's flexible — or so he says — and likes to surprise. But Hillary's people know that, and they can try to get a step ahead. Still, Hillary is Hillary, and how can she change? What is she going to do but plant herself on the stage, maintain a steely but smiling demeanor, and deliver long flat lines that will wear most of us down to the grim realization that this is what we've going to get for the next 4 years?

"[T]he professors recommend that white-dominated newsrooms no longer cling to traditional standards of pure objectivity, but instead try something they call 'active objectivity.'"

Capital Time editor and executive publisher Paul Fanlund writes about UW–Madison journalism professors Sue Robinson and Kathleen Bartzen Culver:
“When white reporters cover issues involving race, they often fall back on traditional, passive voices of objectivity, such as deferring to official sources and remaining separate from communities,” they wrote.

Robinson and Culver contend there is an ethical tension between this neutral tone and the need to build trust in communities of color.... “An active objectivity remains committed to credible, verified facts and information, but adds educated interpretation.... Active objectivity calls for news organizations as institutions and journalists as individuals to detach from power, emphasize social, historical and cultural contexts in stories, question explicit and implicit biases, build trust among communities not often visited, and invest efforts over time to build relationships with people rather than go-to leaders.”...

Their conclusion was edgy: “Through their embrace of value-neutral and facts-only reporting, many Madison news outlets failed to build trust, diversify their sourcing, and tell the true stories of race....  A journalism that is loyal to citizens is a journalism of courage — of recognizing the disparities and concerns that plague some within our communities and carrying them forward to the attention of all"....
Is that edgy? It seems to me all the journalistic outlets already have activism within whatever objectivity they maintain. The question is the nature of the activism, and those who don't like that can push back by saying the journalism isn't properly objective enough or openly talk about what they don't like about the way the activism is going.

The journalism professors concentrated on reporting on a 2011 controversy over a charter school that was aimed at helping young African American male students. I wrote about that several times, including, here, "Madison school board votes down charter school designed to lift up poor minority kids."

August 29, 2016

At the Cleome Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

(The photo is by Meade, taken just a short while ago, as twilight fell.)

On the strategy of huddling together...

323 reindeer, huddling together in a storm, were struck dead by a single bolt of lightning.

"It's only with the heart that one can see clearly..."

"Cause I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts..."

"... not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing."

MEANWHILE: As long as we're talking about the VMAs and not covering up, did you see this?

"A professor at the University of Iowa is concerned that the school’s hawk mascot, Herky, looks angry..."

"... and its appearance could be contributing to a culture of violence, depression, and even 'suicide.'"
“I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages,” clinical professor of pediatrics Resmiye Oral, wrote in an e-mail to the school’s athletic department...
This is so 3 years ago. Remember the angst when UConn made its husky less nice?
UConn basketball coach Geno Auriemma said the logo “is looking right through you and saying, ‘Do not mess with me.’ This is a streamlined, fighting dog, and I cannot wait for it to be on our uniforms and court.”

In response, [the feminist student] wrote, “What terrifies me about the admiration of such traits is that I know what it feels like to have a real life Husky look straight through you and to feel powerless, and to wonder if even the administration cannot ‘mess with them.’ And I know I am not alone.”
It actually is kind of sad when you can't get it just exactly right — fighting and tough and yet infinitely lovable:

"I want... I want... I want everything I've ever seen in the movies!"

"I'll do it! By God, I'll do it! I'm Leo Bloom! I'm me! I can do whatever I want! It doesn't matter! I'm Leo Bloom!"

He was Gene Wilder.

"As Boys Get Fatter, Parents Worry [Their Son's Penis] Is Too Small."

A NYT article.
The penis can be buried in the fat pad that sits in front of the pubic bone, and it can remain hidden as boys go through adolescence. What is called a “hidden penis” can be a combination of being prepubertal (so the penis has not begun to grow), being overweight (so the fat pad is significant), and in some cases an anatomical condition in which the soft tissue below the skin of the penis doesn’t adhere well to the Buck’s fascia, the thick covering that surrounds the penile nerves and arteries. This fixation problem can yield what [Dr. Aseem Shukla, a pediatric urologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and associate professor of urology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania] described as a “slidey” penis, in which the actual shaft retreats and only the skin, or the foreskin, in an uncircumcised boy, is clearly apparent....

Dr. Shukla said that he tries to reassure preadolescents that if they lose some weight and still feel that there is a problem when they reach puberty, they can come back to address it. “I push down and I show them the length and width,” Dr. Shukla said.

"There will be no formally assigned homework this year. Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance."

"Rather, I ask you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early."

The second grade teacher Brandy Young wrote to the parents. The letter has gone viral.

What do you think of the teacher's approach? (Multiple answers accepted.) free polls

"So Huma is separating from her husband... but wasn't she already separated... kinda?"

That's what I said out loud when I saw the headline: "Humiliated Huma FINALLY dumps sexting Weiner: Hillary's top aide separates from her husband just hours after he sent an admirer a photo of his crotch while their four-year-old son slept beside him."

And let me elevate my own comment from my earlier post this morning:
They're a fascinating mystery. She's so closed and he's so open. Why are they together? Why were they ever together? Why are they still together? Are they together now for the child? Would that explain the exposure of the child in a sexual context? What do I have to do to unlock myself from this locked off lady?
ADDED: Meade just said: "If this was really about crossing a line with a child, that child would never have appeared in the movie."

"The color of a lobster is no more important than the color of a person. This lobster is like all the others in the ways that matter."

"And all that matters is that lobsters want to be free to live their natural lives just like us, not cooked alive and eaten. Sending a yellow lobster to an aquarium while killing the rest isn’t praise worthy except in a society that fails to grasp the concept that all animals matter equally."

But people do care intensely about the color of their various pets and often choose one or the other based on color. Should we stop that because of the actual real-world human problem of racial prejudice?

Even with respect to human beings, we have lots of color preferences that aren't part of the race-prejudice problem. You might love seeing a woman in a red dress. You might want to dye your hair blue. You might want to see multicolored tattoos on other people's arms. You might adore Elizabeth Taylor because her eyes were a color that it seemed nobody else had.

Are all these pleasures something about which we should become self-critical?

If you want to be be self-critical, how about being self-critical about your precious attention to your own morality — that wonderfully named sin called scrupulosity — and consider whether likening the everyday joys of color perception to the age-old suffering of racism is itself a racist error.

What made me say "Oh! Interesting" in this new Trump ad.

"'Two Americas: Economy' is a 30-second spot that will run in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, Virginia and Colorado," says Politico pointing at this new Trump ad:

Did you catch what struck me? Let me clip it for you:

I'm thinking about Colin Kaepernick and the sudden intrusion of an old simmering issue: Why should black people love America?

Weiner's wiener is back in the news.

It's just another phallic Monday:
While his wife, Huma Abedin, travels the country campaigning for Hillary Clinton, the disgraced ex-congressman has been sexting with a busty brunette out West — and even sent her a lurid crotch shot with his toddler son in the picture, The Post has learned....

Weiner was clearly aroused by his conversation with the 40-something divorcee when he abruptly changed the subject.

“Someone just climbed into my bed,” Weiner wrote.

“Really?” she responded.

Weiner then hit “send” on the cringe-inducing image, which shows a bulge in his white, Jockey-brand boxer briefs and his son cuddled up to his left, wrapped in a light-green blanket.

“You do realize you can see you[r] Weiner in that pic??” the woman wrote.

Moments after forwarding the photo, Weiner freaked out over the possibility he had accidentally posted it publicly — just as he did during the infamous episode that forced him to resign from Congress in 2011.

“Ooooooh . . . I was scared. For half a second I thought I posted something. Stop looking at my crotch,” Weiner wrote back....
Carlos is into the danger. Have a little empathy. You know I do. It's his sexual orientation. And it's safe sex. Except the part where you humiliate your wife, whose name I'd put right next to the word "humiliate" if a thousand writers hadn't already done that juxtaposition. It's not a new humiliation, just another iteration of the old humiliation.

Karl Marx wrote that history repeats itself, "the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."

But this is Anthony Weiner's third time.

The first got him bullied out of Congress by who knows exactly which forces within the Democratic Party — Hillobaschumer? Tragic!

The second was when he was running for major of NYC, the comical repeat documented in the movie "Weiner," which we were just watching the other day. Yes, truly: farce. 

And now, again. Once more, with feeling. Once more, with the child in the picture. Once more, with open discussion of the excitement he gets from risking fucking his wife again. Fucking — I mean that metaphorically.

I'd say the third time is the modern psychological novel — inviting us to explore the complications of a modern marriage.

UPDATE: I put up a new post about Huma finally separating from Anthony: here.

"If you dedicate your existence to being likable... and if you adopt whatever cool persona is necessary to make it happen..."

"... it suggests that you’ve despaired of being loved for who you really are. And if you succeed in manipulating other people into liking you, it will be hard not to feel, at some level, contempt for those people, because they’ve fallen for your shtick. Those people exist to make you feel good about yourself, but how good can your feeling be when it’s provided by people you don’t respect? You may find yourself becoming depressed, or alcoholic, or, if you’re Donald Trump, running for president (and then quitting)."

From "Pain Won't Kill You," a 2011 commencement address, delivered at Kenyon College, by Jonathan Franzen, which you can read in the essay collection, "Farther Away." [AND: Full text here.]

ADDED: Do you even get why Donald Trump was used as a joke in 2011? It was May 28, 2011. Here's an article from May 16, 2011: "Donald Trump bows out of 2012 US presidential election race/US mogul formally announces he will not seek the Republican nomination, claiming he is 'not ready to leave the private sector.'"
Few US political commentators took his campaign seriously and many suggested he was only in it for the publicity.

In a statement, he said: "After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the presidency. This decision does not come easily or without regret, especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country."

Modesty is not a Trump characteristic and this is reflected in his statement. "I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and, ultimately, the general election."

He added: "I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognise that running for public office cannot be done half-heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector."

August 28, 2016

At Queen Anne's Café...


... chatter about anything, as long as you want.

ADDED: "When people get together they are never silent for a moment. They will always talk. When you listen to what they say, a great deal of it is pointless. There is much harm and little good for either party in such worldly gossip and judgement of others. But as they talk, they are unaware how futile for both of them this chatter is." — Kenko, "Essays in Idleness" (c1330).

"We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe.... Our zoo family is still healing..."

"... and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us," said Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo.
For example, replying to a Twitter post about zebras and their unique stripes, one user wrote: “U had a unique way of killing Harambe.”

On a post celebrating Elephant Day, another wrote: “Harambe loved elephants.”
Maynard's request for sympathy for the humans only encouraged the memesters, and Thane and the Zoo ended up deleting their Twitter accounts. 
Depending on how the meme is used, #JusticeforHarambe can either be associated with a petition with nearly 500,000 signatures that seeks to hold the boy’s parents responsible for his wandering into the exhibit, or serve as a launching pad for jokes that lampoon activism, according to Ryan Milner, an assistant professor of communications at the College of Charleston and the author of the coming book “The World Made Meme.”
Ironically, "The World Made Meme" is only available in hardcover. It is "invaluable to internet scholars" — did you know such creatures roam the earth? — according to the author of "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things/Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture."

A study of how young adults make the decision to go childless child-free.

"Blackstone and Stewart went with a qualitative approach, asking evocative, open-ended questions to 21 women and 10 men who have chosen not to have kids...."
A couple chords were struck again and again in people’s reasoning. Many saw their siblings or close friends have kids and decided that it was not something they wanted to arrange their lives around. The men tended toward individualized decision-making, noting that they wouldn’t be able to travel or pursue other meaningful projects.... Women were more outwardly focused in their decision-making, referencing how having kids would alter their adult relationships or contribute to overpopulation and other environmental impacts, or that the world as it is isn’t hospitable to new children. The authors reason that the outward-facing decision-making for women may be a result of the greater cultural pressure on them to reproduce.
We don't really learn what people think from what they say, only how they choose to talk about it. Why can't women, like men, just admit they want to keep more of their time and money for themselves? Or why don't men feel more of a need to couch their selfishness in terms of doing good for others and for the world?
It should be noted that a study at this scale is limited: It’s homogeneous in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation, and it would be super-useful to have more research done around how people of different identities decide whether to have kids, especially since birthrates, at a macro level, are so strongly correlated with education: The better educated people are, the fewer kids they have. 
That's a hell of a sentence. New York Magazine. What do you think of 2 colons in the same sentence? I don't think this author really thought about it. It looks more like he just kept this one sentence going so long that he forgot about the first one. And it's kind of sad to see a science writer trying to spice up the boring demand for more research with the childish "super-useful" and the righteous plea for more diversity. And by the way, this locution is silly: "The better educated people are, the fewer kids they have." You can't have any fewer than zero children. Get all the PhDs you want, you can't have negative numbers of kids.

"'Babies"' made from flour sacks or eggshells have been used for to teach children about the responsibilities of parenthood..."

"... but a new study using lifelike simulated babies in Western Australian schools had a surprising result: girls enrolled in the Virtual Infant Parenting Program (VIP) were twice as likely to give birth in their teens."

A Metafilter discussion that includes this comment:
This American Life had a segment about robot babies where (spoiler alert!) one of the teenagers turned out to have a better opinion of pregnancy and childrearing after her experience. Turns out the producer of that segment [Hillary Frank] wrote about the Lancet study two days ago.
From that last link (to the Hillary Frank piece):
17% of the intervention (robot babies) group had teen pregnancies; while 11% of the control group had teen pregnancies....
Was there evidence that the simulators made teens interested in becoming moms? Or less afraid of accidental pregnancy? [Dr. Sally] Brinkman said there was no way to know the answer to this question. The study was designed to track pregnancy, not whether the pregnancies were intended or unintended. But, she added, they did study the pregnancy termination rate in both groups. And the group that got the infant simulators had a 6% lower proportion of abortions, compared with the control group. But, of course, there’s no way to really know if that lower rate means the girls who experienced the infant simulators felt more comfortable with the idea of becoming moms....
The robot baby program was designed to push teenage girls to avoid pregnancy. They're supposed to see how much trouble it is to be woken up and to hear the crying and have to feed a baby. The study is especially bad news for the company that makes the robots... unless there are schools somewhere that think it would be a good idea to convince young people to accept the responsibilities of parenthood. We might be need that one day... as more and more young people resist the lure of babies and devote themselves to education and career launching and get used to the convenience and unshared wealth of life without children.

Poll results...

I assume some of the 2% in that last category are pranksters screwing up the poll. And yet maybe some of the people in the second-to-last category are racists trying to hide it.