November 12, 2016

"Over the past several months, I've painted the portraits of 98 wounded warriors I've gotten to know - remarkable men and women who were injured carrying out my orders."

"I think about them on #VeteransDay and every day. Their paintings and stories will be featured in PORTRAITS OF COURAGE - a book and special exhibit - next spring, and I am donating all my proceeds to the George W. Bush Presidential Center and our Military Service Initiative's work to honor and support them."

What a fine ex-President George W. Bush has been!

Here's a link to pre-order the book at Amazon.

The most fascinatingly specific topic of research I've encountered in a good long while.

"Zeppo's Marion Benda and Valentino's Marion Benda: A Legacy of Confusion," by Mallory Curley.

"When she outed herself to me as a Trump supporter, I realized I had finally found the 'silent majority.'"

"I looked at her, this suddenly strange girl who sleeps a few feet away from me, my college roommate. The silent majority has seen me put on my head scarf in the morning and take it off at night. The silent majority has touched my face, done my makeup, watches 'Gilmore Girls' religiously. The silent majority occasionally enjoys sliced mango before bed. We fought; I packed. This was Tuesday evening, so I headed to my friend’s dorm, where a small group of us, mainly black women, tried to find solace in one another as the country slowly fell to red. I tried and failed to speak, to write. I ignored my roommate’s lengthy texts...."

So begins Romaissaa Benzizoune, an NYU freshman, who has an op-ed in the NYT titled, "I’m Muslim, but My Roommate Supports Trump."

I thought that was well written. It made me want to read to the end of the story. Do the friends make up?

I got to "it is no surprise that our argument proved hopeless" and  "There was no reasoning with her" and "My roommate’s reasoning reflected an 'us versus them' mind-set mind-set that has defined this nation for as long as it has existed" — that's in the middle of the column — and I felt queasy.

The roommate is a specific, identifiable individual. She might as well have her name printed in The New York Times. We haven't the details of the argument or anything close to a quotation of what the very young woman may have said. We hear only the conclusion: She was immune to reason and stuck in a mind-set that is stereotypically American. I'm stunned by the unfairness toward this real person.

I read to the end of the piece. I finally encounter a quote from that unnamed, identifiable individual called "my roommate." It's a 2-word quote:
My roommate’s main defense of Mr. Trump during our argument was that he didn’t mean the “stupid things” he said. 
The writer rejects any comfort that might lie in the notion that Trump didn't mean all the things he said. She ends, not with any reconciliation with the roommate, but distancing herself from this person she has lived with in close contact. The writer dedicates herself to writing and to the masses of people who are not in the group with her roommate:
Now that an us-versus-them system has been voted into office, I want to write for those who feel like the latter, the “them.”
And that's where she ends, convinced that it's an us-versus-them system, that her roommate — her nameless but identifiable roommate — is the other, and hot to intensify the us-versus-themness of it all.

ADDED: Whatever happened to diversity? Benzizoune had originally thought her roommate was like her, but then she was "this suddenly strange person." Benzizoun's college experience turned into something universities normally encourage: confrontation and dealing with diversity

Benzizoune's response was to reject her roommate and to go out and find a more homogeneous group to hang around with. And then she outed the roommate to the whole world, exposing her to contempt and hostility in The New York Times.

After gaining access through the imposed intimacy of roommateship in a university that (I'm sure) promotes diversity, she betrayed this woman — who is perhaps  18 years old — and invited hatred. She did it deliberately, with fervor, and facilitated by the most powerful newspaper in America.

And it seemed justified. Why?

UPDATE: 17 days later, the NYT publishes an op-ed by the roommate, who says:
My roommate has since apologized to me, but in the meantime I have felt the glare of her friends and been heckled on campus by other students. I have been labeled “racist,” “sexist” and “xenophobic” on Facebook. I have been called a “white without a conscious,” a “misogynist,” a “bigot” and a “barbarian” online by people all over the country.
She proceeds to tell us about her background, as if she needs to distance herself from the white-privilege slur with the news that she's half-Hispanic. But she's mostly conciliatory, eager to encourage us to all get along.

"With the chill barely out of his bones, Cohen took in the horseshoe-shaped harbor and the people drinking cold glasses of retsina and eating grilled fish in the cafés by the water..."

"... he looked up at the pines and the cypress trees and the whitewashed houses that crept up the hillsides. There was something mythical and primitive about Hydra. Cars were forbidden. Mules humped water up the long stairways to the houses. There was only intermittent electricity. Cohen rented a place for fourteen dollars a month. Eventually, he bought a whitewashed house of his own, for fifteen hundred dollars, thanks to an inheritance from his grandmother. Hydra promised the life Cohen had craved: spare rooms, the empty page, eros after dark. He collected a few paraffin lamps and some used furniture: a Russian wrought-iron bed, a writing table, chairs like 'the chairs that van Gogh painted.'... He alternated between extreme discipline and the varieties of abandon. There were days of fasting to concentrate the mind. There were drugs to expand it: pot, speed, acid. 'I took trip after trip, sitting on my terrace in Greece, waiting to see God,' he said years later... Here and there, Cohen caught glimpses of a beautiful Norwegian woman. Her name was Marianne Ihlen, and she had grown up in the countryside near Oslo. Her grandmother used to tell her, 'You are going to meet a man who speaks with a tongue of gold.'"

His grandmother... her grandmother....

The quote is from the New Yorker article about Leonard Cohen that I've already linked to at least twice. But that passage came back to me as I was reading the NYT editorial tribute to Cohen which plops this sentence...
Many people place Mr. Cohen in a musical trinity, with Bob Dylan and Paul Simon: writers who sail in deeper waters, beyond the chop and slop of the usual pop, filling their notebooks with words and our heads with songs — cryptic, surreal, original, unforgettable.
... which just disturbed me for about 5 reasons but then the Times eds serendipitously linked to that New Yorker article and made me want to show you that room.

Misreadable protest symbology.

Click to enlarge:

Here's a link to the tweet. Here's the article explaining why what most easily reads as a reference to diapers is actually supposed to say: "safe." Specifically: I am a safe person. Or even: I am a provider of safety. As one safety pin wearer said:
“My #SafetyPin shows I will protect those who feel in danger bc of gender, sexuality, race, disability, religion, etc.... You are safe with me.”
Actually, if the point is to "protect those who feel in danger" — to deal with feelings as opposed to dangers — a symbol is good enough — but not if the symbol is misread. If a safety pin is to mean I am a baby or I miss punk rock, one might feel even more despondent.

If you go to that #SafetyPin hashtag, I think you might find most of the tweets making fun of it. Example:

James Taranto has a response to Ross Douthat's "You Must Serve Trump."

"Anyone think it's strange that some of same ppl who got everything about the election so wrong--are trying to tell us why they got it wrong?"

Tweets Sharyl Attkisson.

I get the snark, but no, I don't think it's strange. There are people whose job it is to write. They're stuck cranking out whatever ideas they can muster, before and after the election.

What's strange is that we read these people — do we? — or that we read them without pulling their words apart and getting engaged in examining how this damned thing is constructed.

November 11, 2016

Did Lena Dunham "celebrate" "the extinction of white men"?

The comic writer/actress put up a tweet with this video, which begins with her voice asking her father "How are you feeling about the extinction of white men?"

The video is presented with the caption "It's not the end of men, it's the evolution of men into better men. (beautiful animation by Sophie Koko Gate!)"

And it really is a very cool animation. The father's answer, heard in voiceover, is:
Well, white men are a problem. Straight white men are a big problem, that’s for sure. But I actually feel pretty good about it. I think straight white guys have been screwing things up for long enough. High time for straight white males to step back and let some other people do it.
At Breitbart, the video was said to be "celebrating the extinction of straight white men." I don't think she's "celebrating" anything but her own father. The implication is: Isn't he cool and funny? (Note that his last word, "it," refers to "screwing things up.")

The caption shows that she has the mild opinion that men are evolving into better men, not going extinct at all. But she got your attention, including getting somebody at Breitbart to raise up the righties in protest, which I'm sure she celebrates.

"This is a vocabulary that I grew up with... This Biblical landscape is very familiar to me..."

"... and it’s natural that I use those landmarks as references."

"It was a natural, self-driven eruption. Which makes it all the more impressive and moving. And it somehow makes it more beautiful that few saw it coming."

Writes Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal. (Get your link here.)

Noonan proceeds to talk about the "elderly, Italian-American, an immigrant" shoe-repair shopowner in her neighborhood who told her last winter that Trump would win, and she says:
In America now only normal people can see the obvious. Everyone else is lost in a data-filled fog.
So is it true that "few saw it coming" or that "normal people" saw it coming or just that there are few normal people in her circles?

Noonan somehow manages to get out and about and to encounter people who represent what we need to know now:
The past few days I’ve heard from a young man who fears Jews will be targeted and told me of Muslim friends now nervous on the street. There was the beautiful lady with the blue-collar job who, when asked how she felt about the election, told me she is a lesbian bringing up two foreign-born adopted children and fears she will be targeted and her children somehow removed from her.

Many fear they will no longer be respected. They need to know things they rely on are still there. They don’t understand what has happened, and are afraid. They need—and deserve—reassurance. Trump apparatus: Find a way.
So... from inside the elite, where people are "lost in a data-filled fog" and did not see what was coming, Noonan is able to report that there's fear and to demand reassurance. Her prescription is: Hire the elite insiders!
The president-elect should make a handful of appointments quickly, briskly, with an initial emphasis on old hands and known quantities. Ideological foes need not be included but accomplished Washington figures, especially those from previous administrations, should be invited in. It is silly to worry that Mr. Trump’s supporters will start to fear he’s gone establishment. They believe in him, are beside themselves with joy, and will understand he’s shoring up his position and communicating stability.

... [T]here are former officials and true experts with esteemed backgrounds who need to be told: Help him.... Donald Trump doesn’t know how to be president...
Trump needs help, she says. And these people need jobs and power, she doesn't say. The elite, her people, lost the election, but they should have the victory anyway, because a "young man" and a "beautiful lady" spoke of fear. Throughout the whole political season, Trump was battered with the fear of fear, and now he's won and he's told to pander to the people who said whatever they could to oppose him, the people who stoked the fear that he needs to prioritize calming. As if it could ever be calmed, as if his opponents will ever stop stoking it.

Not only does Donald Trump not know how to be President, in Noonan's view, he didn't even know how to run for President. He just happened to be there in the midst of a people's movement, an "uprising":
His presidential campaign was bad—disorganized, unprofessional, chaotic, ad hoc. There was no state-of-the-art get-out-the-vote effort—his voters got themselves out. There was no high-class, high-tech identifying of supporters—they identified themselves. They weren’t swayed by the barrage of brilliantly produced ads—those ads hardly materialized. This was not a triumph of modern campaign modes and ways. The people did this. As individuals within a movement.
Ah, so it wasn't "high-class"! It wasn't slick in the glossy professionalized style that the elite sell at a high price. These fine people in her circle — the kind of people she'd like Trump to hire on to assuage the fears of the young men and beautiful ladies — these people "lost in a data-filled fog," who didn't see what was coming — since they weren't running the campaign, the campaign that was run could not be the cause of what happened. "This is how you know" it was a movement of the people: The campaign was bad, and therefore what happened must be understood as the people identifying themselves and getting themselves out to vote.

Trump didn't do that. You didn't build that

"It was a natural, self-driven eruption."

Incredible! Trump didn't run a high-class, high-tech campaign. That's correct. But that doesn't mean he did nothing! He did something bold and unique, combining wild social media — tweeting — with big rallies in the manner of an old-time "whistle-stop" campaign — not with a train but that big Trump plane. How many rallies did he do? I couldn't find a list of all the locations, but he spoke rousingly to tens of thousands of people at a time, in all sorts of places, lighting up enthusiasm, touching off word of mouth.

Who is Peggy Noonan to say this is just "bad"? It's bad because it's "unprofessional"? Maybe it was good because it was unprofessional. 

Here was one man who looked at America and saw it his own way, jumped into something for the first time, and played it instinctively, screwing up sometimes, but standing strong and barreling on. It's the most amazing political performance I've seen in my life.

And Peggy Noonan would like to deem it nothing and to say it was the people who did it all. And now, as she sees it, Trump threatens to take his nothing performance into the White House. He didn't know how to campaign, and he "doesn’t know how to be president." So he needs help from the professionals, from Noonan's circle of highly educated, elite, befogged friends. He needed them before, and he's only lucky he won without their help. He stumbled into a people's movement, a "natural" uprising of "normal people." So he'd better bring in the abnormals who didn't see what was coming but who are finding it "somehow... more beautiful" because they didn't see it coming. They didn't position themselves properly to seem as though they belong close to the new President, but perhaps if Peggy strings enough words together Trump will see the strange, wonderful way that they really do belong.

And don't worry. Those people — the "natural, self-driven eruption" that's the only reason you're there to dole out all these jobs — they won't think you've "gone establishment." It's "silly to worry"! Those people are so "beside themselves with joy," they'll accept anything. The idiots. The normal people. The ones who saw what was coming. They'll never notice.

After Trump shockingly won Pennsylvania, we should remember that when Obama talked about "bitter clingers" back in 2008, he was talking about Pennsylvania.

Here's the Huffington Post article by Mayhill Fowler, originally published in April 2008, about a fundraising speech by the candidate Barack Obama. He was speaking in San Francisco, but he was talking about Pennsylvania. And Fowler describes Obama's interactions with people in town hall meetings in Pennsylvania:
In Harrisburg two weeks ago, one person called on by Obama chose not to ask a question. Instead a man who introduced himself as only Dennis told Obama, “Make a speech on patriotism because the Republican Party does not own the flag.” In Wilkes-Barre a few days later, Obama fielded a similar comment from a man who said, “I believe that this nation now has dangerously low levels of patriotism and national pride.... My question to you is How are we going to reestablish America’s reputation to Americans?” 
In other words: Can we make America great again?

At the link, you can read the full text and listen to the audio of what Obama said to the elite-donor types in San Francisco. I'll excerpt some of it and do some boldfacing. The idea is to understand how the Democrats lost Pennsylvania this year:

Is Amazon Prime moving beyond delivering items to coming into your house, putting the things away, and tidying up?!

"Two Seattle job postings for concierge-like 'home assistants' on Amazon’s website suggest so."
They call for potential recruits to join “Amazon Assistants,” which the company describes as “experts in helping Amazon customers keep up their home.”

That means helping customers with “tidying up around the home, laundry, and helping put groceries and essentials like toilet paper and paper towels away.”
More jobs in the gig economy. What do you think of this? Please indicate whether you see yourself receiving this service or giving it? If you're a receiver, I hope you'll order through the Althouse Amazon Portal, which is how I get paid in this gig economy called blogging.

I hallucinate the internet yelling at me: But, Althouse, aren't you a law professor? Or did they fire you after that last post?

In NYC — Protests include a Trump effigy hanging from a noose.

From "Liberals Gone Wild: Protests, flag burnings, Trump hung in effigy."

From Madison, Wisconsin, David Blaska cracks the joke everyone here in Madison should get: "Assuming the folks with the noose won't be admitted to Camp Randall. Right?"

You might remember — click my UW noose incident tag — that here in Madison, much was made of an incident at the football stadium (Camp Randall) on the night of Halloween festivities, when people saw of a photo of a man in a black-and-while prison suit with a noose around his neck and an Obama mask on the back of his head. On the front of his head was a Hillary mask and holding the other end of the rope was a guy in a Donald Trump mask.

This wasn't tolerated as free speech and political street theater, but condemned as racism, and everyone was supposed to know that a noose refers to the lynching of black people and that the guy in the noose was enacting hate and had to be punished.

Initially, the University referred to freedom of speech and purported to have dealt properly with the incident by simply talking to the man and persuading him to voluntarily remove the noose. But criticism ensued and the University repositioned itself. On Monday, 9 days after the incident, the UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank apologized:
“I am personally very sorry for the hurt that this incident and our response to it has caused,” Blank read from a prepared statement at a Monday afternoon Faculty Senate meeting. “I have heard from students, faculty and community members who are dissatisfied with our response and I understand why. A noose is the symbol of some of the worst forms of racial hatred and intimidation in our country’s history. We understand this, and we should have communicated that more forcefully from the very beginning...I understand the deeply hurtful impact this particularly has on our students and communities of color.”...

Blank told the Faculty Senate that she was limited in what she could say, but that the season tickets of “a pair of individuals related to this event” were revoked because the person using them brought a prohibited item into the stadium, and failed to follow directions of event staff....

"This is a work in progress, and we are a long way from where we want to be," Blank said. "But with your advice and input of governance, we have invested time, energy and effort into things like the Our Wisconsin program aimed at incoming freshmen, a bias reporting system, a review of our ethnic studies curriculum, and a black cultural center."
You can read my old posts at the tag. I'll just repeat that hanging in effigy is long-standing political theater — notably in the American Revolution — and when current political figures are hung in effigy the reference is more naturally to that tradition and not to the history of racism and lynching. There is at least ambiguity, and the punishment of these individuals through revocation of their season tickets is shameful pandering and a violation of freedom of speech.

Maybe the hanging of Trump in effigy will restore some interest in the depth of the meaning of the noose in American history and the importance of freedom of speech in the form of street theater and protest.

November 10, 2016

"They are leaning out for love/And they will lean that way forever..."

Goodbye to Leonard Cohen. The beautiful songwriter was 82.

ADDED: "The big change is the proximity to death. I am a tidy kind of guy. I like to tie up the strings if I can. If I can’t, also, that’s O.K. But my natural thrust is to finish things that I’ve begun."

Rats laugh.

When you tickle them. Listen here.
Not only did they seek out the researchers’ hands to get tickled, and emit ultrasonic calls that are considered the rat’s equivalent of laughter, they also made joyful leaps....

Those calls, along with the ability to record brain activity while playing with the rats, allowed a deeper investigation of rat tickling. The researchers first accustomed young rats to play and tickling, which the rats would invite. “They are very eager to be tickled,” said Dr. Brecht.

Stories that begin "Trump Won Because" and name some specific thing can't be right.

Here's an example, from, which might make some good points, but it's just annoyingly overstated: "Trump Won Because Leftist Political Correctness Inspired a Terrifying Backlash/What every liberal who didn't see this coming needs to understand."

And over in the sidebar, I see: "Trump Didn't Win Because He's Trump. He Won Because Clinton Is Clinton/While many will call this a mandate for Donald Trump, it's better read as an anti-mandate for Hillary Clinton."

Other "Trump won because" headlines I'm seeing:

"Donald Trump Won Because of Facebook" — New York Magazine.

"Trump won because college-educated Americans are out of touch" — a professor published in The Washington Post.

"Trump Won Because Democratic Party Failed Working People" — according to Bernie Sanders.

"Trump Won Because Of An ‘Under-Educated Electorate’" — according to Wendy Davis.

"Dear America, This Is Important -- Trump Did Not Win Because of Racism" — David French at The National Review contradicting Van Jones on CNN.

"Donald Trump won because he listened to the people" — a columnist at MarketWatch.

"Trump won because voters believed the system was corrupt. They were right" — a columnist at the UK Telegraph.

"Trump Won Because Voters Are Ignorant, Literally/Democracy is supposed to enact the will of the people. But what if the people have no clue what they’re doing?" — Foreign Policy.

"I want to emphasize to you, Mr. President-elect, that we now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed, then the country succeeds."

Said President Barack Obama, meeting today with President-Elect Donald Trump.

The 2 men had never met before.

"Donald J. Trump’s victory saved the chief justice from irrelevance."

"A President Hillary Clinton... would have nailed in a five-justice progressive majority and left Chief Justice Roberts where no chief justice has been in modern memory: in a minority on his own court."

Writes Linda Greenhouse in the NYT.
The lists of 21 potential Supreme Court nominees that the Trump campaign put out include established and well-respected stars in the conservative judicial firmament.... The chief justice will have a reliable ally....

[Roberts] needs to make it clear that the Roberts court is not a tool of partisan politics....

I hope he understands the election not only as a gift but as a warning, and that he can summon the qualities of leadership to move the court he clearly cherishes to safer ground, for its own institutional well-being and for ours.
I'm just trying to imagine what Linda Greenhouse would have said if President-elect Hillary Clinton were set to nail in that 5-justice progressive majority. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's name would have come up, I think, as the rising leader of that progressive majority. Would Greenhouse have warned her that she'd better take pains to eradicate the impression that the Supreme Court follows partisan politics?

At the Ginkgo Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

"Notwithstanding [Election Day's] 'white working-class' wave, often linked to those voters’ purported latent racism and xenophobia..."

"... the net effect of Trump’s campaign was to make substantial progress with nonwhites relative to Romney’s performance in 2012."

Also: "Clinton Couldn’t Win Over White Women."

"I do think that Kellyanne Conway accomplished perhaps the biggest turnaround in campaign-management history..."

"... and I don’t think Trump could have won without her. But, you know, you’re not a real First Woman if you’re not also a Democrat, because sexism."

Why didn't the stock market crash when Trump won — like the experts said they would?

Ben Casselman looks into the wrong/bullshit prediction:
Investors didn’t necessarily want Trump to win...
You could stop right there. That's the answer. These people were lying to scare us out of voting for Trump.
... (although many probably liked some of his proposals, such as lower corporate taxes and reduced regulation), but even more than that they feared the chaos that could result from an uncertain or disputed outcome....

A few weeks back, I warned that it was risky — even irresponsible — to confidently predict how markets would react to a Trump victory. But it is just as unwise to read too much into one day of trading....

Even more uncertain is the effect that Trump’s victory will have on the economy as a whole.... But it’s too early to say how much of Trump’s agenda will be enacted.... Not all of Trump’s proposals would necessarily be bad for the economy. He wants to boost infrastructure spending, a position that’s broadly supported by economists (although Trump hasn’t given many details). He wants to implement a new tax deduction for child care expenses and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit. Some elements of his tax plan, such as eliminating the estate tax and lowering the corporate income tax rate, hew to standard conservative orthodoxy, although he departs from it in other ways.....
That reminds me. A day after hearing Trump's victory speech and thinking about what he would actually do in his endeavor to be a great President (which I believe he means to be), I thought of this paragraph:
We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We're going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.
The man is a builder, and I think he can get these things built. Do that as your signature achievement, and we'll love it. Don't mess anything else up, and it will be enough.

ADDED: Don't forget: Obama wanted to build the infrastructure. He cared about putting people to work, and he got played out of it. In 2011, I wrote about how he got played. Read that and think about what a different political environment Obama had to operate within:

"If someone can pay 15 bucks for one piece of bluefin tuna, they can pay 15 bucks for a bottle of soy sauce that they’re going to put on every piece of fish."

Don't you want artisanal soy sauce?
Soon, Mr. Blum was making trips to far-flung corners of Japan to sample the soy sauces produced by small family breweries with centuries-old traditions. With an interpreter in tow, he met with the owners to discuss their concoctions, and he snapped up small bottles of sauces to try out in sushi restaurants. In tasting more than 150 sauces, he found a wide range of colors, from white to inky black, and flavors that included coffee and chocolate....

"You should write a blog: Eavesdropping From My Ground-Floor Apartment."

I said, reading my son's Facebook post:
Overheard in NYC today:

This morning, a woman on the street outside my bedroom window: "I can't believe it! It's embarrassing!"

This evening, a man on a cell phone: "It wasn't a referendum on the rich; it was a referendum on elites."
"Eavesdropping" isn't really the right word, since it refers to hanging around outside someone else's private space to listen in. John is in his own private space and people out on the street pass by and give him an earful. [ADDED: The second remark was heard on the street, not from the window.]

By the way, the word "eavesdropping" does not come from the idea that the listener is up on the roof and putting his ear out over the eaves. The "eavesdrop" is the place on the ground where rainwater drops from the eaves of the roof, so "eavesdropper" became the word for the person who stands there, that close to the house — too close for a decent person to stand and hear what is said inside.

I learned that over at Wikipedia, where the concept of eavesdropping is illustrated by this hilarious 1895 painting "Cardinals eavesdropping in the Vatican," by Henri Adolphe Laissement:

The Madison left-wing talk radio station suddenly switches its format to holiday music.

That's not the kind of reaction to Donald Trump’s victory I'd expect here in my left-wing home town. What the hell??!!!

Jay Rath reports in Isthmus:
In a press release Keith Bratel, iHeartMedia Madison market president, stated, “We’re excited to spread cheer throughout the community with popular holiday music on WXXM. Madison’s Home for the Holidays 92.1 BEST FM is a great way for our listeners to get into the holiday spirit!”...

The Mic aired programming from progressive national commentators including Alan Colmes, Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller and Bill Press....

“We don’t need more Christmas music or another oldies station,” says [Matt Rothschild, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, formerly senior editor of The Progressive]. “We do need intelligent political talk, especially at this moment, when our democracy is hanging by a thread.”

Now that there's no influence to peddle, the Clinton Foundation must soldier on, lest it look like it was an influence-peddling operation.

That's what I think.

I don't know what other people are saying. I found a Daily Caller article, "Experts Question If Clinton Foundation Will Survive." That's about the investigations looking into what the Foundation did during the period, now ended, when donors could gain influence with a Secretary of State and quite possibly the next President. I'm wondering how the Foundation will operate going forward. It can be what it has purported to be, a legitimate and beneficent charity that gives luster to the Clinton legacy. Whether that's what it has been all these years or not — and especially if that's not what it was — that's what it must be now.

Facing the reality of a Trump presidency: "Donald Trump’s Victory Is Met With Shock Across a Wide Political Divide."

That's the headline at the NYT website for an article that looks like this in the printed newspaper:

The photos in the 2 places are different. On the website, there's actually a picture of Hillary, seen from the back, her arms outstretched and touching the shoulders of 2 men — unidentified "supporters." She needs support as she exits from the the center of the national stage.

Meanwhile, here's Trump, marching onto the stage. He's clapping his hands at the head of an army of Trumpions. If you were here at Meadhouse, you would have heard my spontaneous singing of "Trump, Trump, Trump, the Trumps are marching," to the tune of "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp":
Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching,
Cheer up comrades they will come,
And beneath the starry flag
We shall breathe the air again,
Of the freeland in our own beloved home.
That's a Civil War song, written to give hope to war prisoners. Speaking of the starry flag, I'm seeing this:

That's featured at another NYT article, "'Not Our President': Protests Spread After Donald Trump’s Election":
Thousands of people across the country marched, shut down highways, burned effigies and shouted angry slogans on Wednesday night to protest the election of Donald J. Trump as president.
Speaking of marching.
The protests on Wednesday came just hours after Hillary Clinton, in her concession speech, asked supporters to give Mr. Trump a “chance to lead.”...
And Obama, for his part, had said "We are all now rooting for his success...The peaceful transfer of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy.”
In New York, crowds converged at Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue at 56th Street in Midtown Manhattan, where the president-elect lives.

They chanted “Not our president” and “New York hates Trump” and carried signs that said, among other things, “Dump Trump.”...
Outside the man's home.
The demonstrations forced streets to be closed, snarled traffic and drew a large police presence. They started in separate waves from Union Square and Columbus Circle and snaked their way through Midtown.
Stopping the flow of traffic in NYC... that might not be the best way to build political support. Ask Chris Christie.

But the protests are a predictable and an inevitable part of American election expression. One can only imagine the opposition that would have confronted Hillary Clinton, had she won. More important is how the winners handle themselves. I'm seeing grace, modesty, and respect. Or that's what I hope I'm seeing. I think we should expect and demand the best from Trump. As a newcomer to politics, he invented a way to win the presidency. He saw how to win, and even if you think he made some scurrilous choices, it worked, and he won. The candidacy is over now. That job is done. That building is built. You can look back on it and say what you like and don't like about it, but he got the job done. The new job is being President, and I want to believe that he's applying his unusual mind to the invention of a way to be an excellent President. I'm not one of the not-our-President protesters. I'm a citizen who knows damn well he's the next President and I'm going to be insisting that he excel at what he's undertaken to do.

November 9, 2016

At the Elephant and Donkey Café...


... can we all please get along?

"Trump didn't build that."

"Democrats have been arguing for years that President Obama should have the power to get a lot done on his own, without going through Congress: executive orders, going to war, etc. If President Trump exercises similarly broad powers, remember: Trump didn't build that!"

Quips my son John.

"Even those of us who were rooting for the nine marijuana initiatives on state ballots this year did not expect so many of them to pass."

"Yesterday voters made marijuana legal for recreational use in four states (California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada) and approved or expanded medical access in four more (Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota). The only loss was in Arizona, where voters who very narrowly approved medical use in 2010 declined to take the further step of making marijuana legal just for fun."

Writes Jacob Sullum at Reason.
The next step is for that government to go beyond the uncertain forbearance the Obama administration has offered by actively accommodating states that have rejected marijuana prohibition. Among other things, that means changing federal law so that it no longer threatens or obstructs state-legal marijuana businesses, as legislators such as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) have been urging for years.

President-Elect Trump (God help us) has suggested he is open to such accommodation. While personally frowning on legal pot (and disavowing his previous support for legalizing all drugs), Trump says marijuana policy "should be a state issue," which also happens to be what the Constitution requires.
That's an exaggeration (or a hopeful assessment) of "what the Constitution requires," but the point is the federal statutes need to be changed so there's no longer a conflict with these state laws. I think this would be a nice move for the new GOP Congress and President. It's got that federalism zing to satisfy conservatives. And at this point there's so much chaos, having something the state is conspicuously permitting and taxing that's somehow nevertheless a federal crime. It's just not fair to confuse people this much, and it breeds disrespect for the law. And it's generally better to let people decide what to do with our bodies. There are many bad decisions we can make, but having fun with various substances is not always bad, and the law isn't good enough at stopping us from enjoying ourselves anyway.

Also, some people are really feeling bad right now. It could cheer them up.

"The Democrats will now control next to nothing above the municipal level."

"Donald Trump will be president. We are going to be unpacking this night for the rest of our lives, and lives beyond that. We can’t comprehend even 1 percent of what’s just happened. But one aspect of it, minor in the overall sweep, that I’m pretty sure we can comprehend well enough right now: The Democratic Party establishment has beclowned itself and is finished."

So flows the hysteria over at Slate. That's by Jim Newell, who might need to settle down.

It was so recently that we were told that the GOP was permanently over, that America was now structured so that the Democrats were going to win everything from here on out.

I do like this paragraph of Newell's:
We should blame all those people around the Clintons more than the Clintons themselves, and the Clintons themselves deserve a ridiculous amount of blame. Hillary Clinton was just an ambitious person who wanted to be president. There are a lot of people like that. But she was enabled. The Democratic establishment is a club unwelcoming to outsiders, because outsiders don’t first look out for the club. The Clintons will be gone now. For the sake of the country, let them take the hangers-on with them.

I can't believe we're still waiting for Clinton to come out and do her concession speech.

This should have happened last night, and now we've had announcements of speaking times that have been missed. The newsfolk on CNN are blabbing — about Clinton, not the President-elect — on a split screen with an empty lectern in front of a line of American flags. They're talking about Hillary's whole life. I'm hearing about how she does "her homework" and how she was inspired by religion and her mother and how she believes that "Donald Trump would hurt little girls."

It's bad enough that her entitlement to the nomination blocked fresher Democratic prospects and that she created so many problems with the email and the Foundation and ran such a terrible campaign. That alone should generate intense anger at her. But for her to now...

Ah! Here she is!

UPDATE: No, it's just Tim Kaine. He's so proud of Hillary Clinton. The delay goes on.

So I can continue my sentence above: But for her to now absorb all our attention this morning is so enraging. I know there are a lot of people who are mad at Trump for winning (or mad at the people who voted for Trump), but I think the anger should be directed at Hillary Clinton. She lost this disastrously. So much was done to clear competition out of her way, and the news media were dedicated to helping her. What does she have to say for herself?

UPDATE 2: She's finally here. She'd better not say "glass ceiling."

UPDATE 3: She's done. There was a mention of the glass ceiling, but in all, I think it was decently generous. She still believes we're "stronger together," and she urged us to go forward accepting that Donald Trump is President but, at the same time, she said we should never stop fighting — fighting him and his Congress, I presume.

UPDATE 4: On CNN, David Gergen is going on about Bill and Hillary Clinton both wearing purple. It means something. The color of spirituality.

Not much talk about the popular vote.

Is that odd? It looks as though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but there's little talk about that. I guess we Americans understand the Electoral College. I think it's obvious that if Trump had been going for the popular vote, he would have campaigned in California and New York. There were stores of potential votes that could have been opened up in many places. Clinton too could have drummed up more votes in states she couldn't win or in states she knew she'd win by a wide margin. The popular vote is a stray statistic relating to a game that wasn't played.

Do Americans understand that much better than we did in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote? Probably not. What was different in 2000 that generated so much talk about the popular vote was that the Electoral College vote was decided by such a narrow edge that it felt like a tie, and the popular vote seemed to point at the fairer outcome. I mean, it seemed that way if you were for Gore.

But the Electoral College is decisive this time, and that is how the Electoral College usually functions, sparing us the delay and anxiety of nationwide recounts.

Can we expect the repeal of Obamacare?

Here's Alison Kodjak at NPR:
"It's a challenge for a Trump presidency," says Jack Hoadley, a research professor at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute. "To get a true repeal and replace through, he needs 60 votes in the Senate." That's the minimum number of votes needed to block Senate action through filibuster.

"Repeal of the law is absolutely going to come up, and the only potential defense against that would be a Democratic filibuster — if Republicans even allow a filibuster," says Austin Frakt, a health economist who runs the blog The Incidental Economist.

But even if Trump can't repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.... "He could change the details of how the marketplaces work," Hoadley says. "It's all worked out through regulation. You could just suspend the regulations."

Suddenly, the place where I live isn't called the "Blue Wall" or the "Fire Wall" anymore. It's: "Rust Belt."

When we ceased to operate to generate power for the Democratic Party, it was back to the old insult.

"In an extremely narrow sense," Nate Silver is "not that surprised by the outcome..."

"... since polling — to a greater extent than the conventional wisdom acknowledged — had shown a fairly competitive race with critical weaknesses for Clinton in the Electoral College. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that Clinton will eventually win the popular vote as more votes come in from California. But in a broader sense? It’s the most shocking political development of my lifetime."

I'm reading that this morning because I was wondering how Nate Silver — after getting all those clicks — would protect his lucrative brand. 

Waking up in a red state.

"This game's not over until we win" — said Russ Feingold in my favorite Russ Feingold clip. I filmed this clip during the anti-Scott Walker Wisconsin protests of 2011:

I posted it again 3 weeks ago, when the conversation was about Donald Trump's failure to say that he will "absolutely accept the result of the election." People jumped all over Trump's hesitation, and now Trump has won, and the Hillary side hesitated to "absolutely accept the result of the election." Hillary Clinton never came out on the stage last night to thank her supporters who'd waited so long and suffered so much. She sent out John Podesta — her partner in email trouble — and he expressed resistance to the outcome that was staring them in the face:
"We can wait a little longer, can't we? They're still counting votes. Every vote should count. Several states are too close to call. So we're not going to have anything more to say tonight."
But by the time Trump came out to deliver his victory oration, Hillary Clinton had called him. So she had conceded. Perhaps she was in no condition to be seen on camera at 2 a.m. It's hard to get put together enough to want to been seen after such a long night — a long night full of so much pain. Did she really owe it to her supporters? Maybe. But she couldn't do it. Not yet. She'll be out at 9:30 ET this morning. [UPDATE: The time got pushed back to 10:30.]

And Russ Feingold lost too. Here he is giving a gracious* concession speech. Ron Johnson, the Republican who ousted him from his Senate seat in 2010, has won reelection. And Johnson even won by a wider margin than Trump won Wisconsin.

On the morning after Election Day in 2010, I wrote a blog post titled "Waking up in a red state." Scott Walker had been elected governor, the state legislature went GOP, and Ron Johnson had upset Russ Feingold. But I was wrong. Wisconsin continued to be called a blue state, because pundits based the color on the presidential vote, and Obama had won Wisconsin in 2008. Obama also won in 2012. Even though Scott Walker won his recall election in 2012 and won the regular election in 2014, Wisconsin was still called a blue state.

But Donald Trump won Wisconsin, and now, I find, for certain, that I am waking up in a red state.

* I wrote "gracious" based on hearing this clip: "We as Americans have to do the best we can to heal the pain in this country and get people to come together. I would urge you to be as restrained as you can be as the next steps occur." But on listening to the entire clip, I'm noticing that Feingold doesn't congratulate Ron Johnson. He doesn't say the name Ron Johnson or even refer to his opponent. He only mentions the "outcome" and his own failure "to get the job done."

"We must reclaim our country’s destiny and dream big and bold and daring. We have to do that."

"We’re going to dream of things for our country — and beautiful things and successful things — once again."

Full transcript of speech here (at the NYT).

The quote I remembered and wanted to highlight here is the third-to-the-last sentence before he enters the thank-yous. The next 2 sentences are:
I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone — all people and all other nations. We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.
The thank-yous included a long acknowledgment of the Secret Service:
So I also have to say I’ve gotten to know some incredible people — the Secret Service people. They’re tough and they’re smart and they’re sharp, and I don’t want to mess around with them, I can tell you. And when I want to go and wave to a big group of people and they rip me down and put me back down on the seat. But they are fantastic people, so I want to thank the Secret Service.
That struck me as unusual. And the recognition of Reince Priebus was particularly strong and a tad weird, including, as it did, the bust of Secretariat:
Reince is a superstar. But I said, “They can’t call you a superstar, Reince, unless we win,” because you can’t be called a superstar — like Secretariat — if Secretariat came in second, Secretariat would not have that big, beautiful bronze bust at the track at Belmont. But I’ll tell you, Reince is really a star. And he is the hardest-working guy. And in a certain way, I did this — Reince, come up here. Where is Reince? Get over here, Reince. oy oh boy oh boy. It’s about time you did this, Reince. My God.
He thanked his wife and each of his children in one long sentence:
To Melania and Don and Ivanka. and Eric and Tiffany and Baron [sic], I love you and I thank you, and especially for putting up with all of those hours.
The NYT will have to learn how to spell Barron. And for those of us watching on TV, it was quite something to watch Barron, who was within the camera frame throughout the speech, the 10 year old, at 2 a.m., struggling to stay awake. Who can imagine what the world looked like to him from that stage? Perhaps it felt more normal to him than it did to the rest of us. What a wild dream!

But we need a dream — a big, bold, daring, beautiful, successful dream. And maybe Trump can make it come true. He's gotten himself elected President under circumstances that looked utterly impossible.

How did that happen? We'll never hear the end of efforts to figure it out, and commentators are getting a horribly late start, having devoted themselves for over a year to explaining how it couldn't possibly happen.

November 8, 2016

"Whoa."/"Ooh."/"Well, that's a bitch."

Voices of MSNBC panelists heard reacting to the announcement, just now, that Donald Trump has won North Carolina.

Donald Trump is going to be President of the United States?!

Here's the NYT prediction right now:


Trump seems to be winning in Michigan and in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Election night. I know you're not all watching.

You took my poll:

And alan markus said:
I will be watching the discussion here - much more interesting than what any talking heads on TV will have to say.
And I said:
Hey, good point! I should have provided that option: I will be hanging out on Althouse and seeing whatever is visible from this vantage point.
The option wasn't available on the poll, but it's available right now. Hang out here and watch with me. I know we can't all get what we want, but if what you want is company and conversation, you can get that here.  My vote is secret, and I'm sympathetic to everyone's feelings.

Beautiful squalor — in the name of a religion seen from a distance.

Is there something morally wrong with the NYT's photographic presentation of the nuns of Yarchen Gar? The America eye luxuriates in the exotic, subtle color...
The homes are patchworks of boards and thin metal sheets, with the occasional piece of plastic tarp covering a part of the roof or walls. Narrow lanes wind among them. Depending on the wind, the air can be thick with the smell of undrained sewage....
This "gar" — a Buddhist monastic encampment  — has grown up since 1985 from nothing. 10,000 human beings live like this. We're told Chinese officials are dismantling another gar, an even larger one. The text doesn't tell us to love the gars and hate the Chinese officials, but I feel that's what I'm being told, and I don't like this manipulation or the tendency of Americans to romanticize things like this, seen from afar.

A gar from afar.

"If you dismiss David Hockney and Robert Crumb and believe only avant garde conceptual art has value, you won’t like Dylan’s landscapes."

"Yet if you do admire either of those meticulous artists, there is no reason to look down on Bob Dylan just because he happens to be a rock star. He has a surprising amount in common with Hockney. His art looks more serious with every exhibition. He is turning into a hero for anyone who thinks drawing is a noble thing to do."

Writes Jonathan Jones in The Guardian about Bob Dylan's art show in London.

The deed is done. Too late trying to convince me of anything now.


Meade and I walked over to the First Congregational Church, walked through the dark hallways, and passing us right at this point was a young man in a black T-shirt that said in big letters: TRUMP.

I'm keeping my privacy about how I voted, so don't even ask. I wish the best for my fellow Americans and hope that whatever happens, you'll be able to handle it.

ADDED: I was the 522nd person to vote in my polling place, and there was no one ahead of my in line at the A to L table and no one after me. But we selected a time when we thought voting would be lightest, and the place was set up to process crowds.

In Washington Square last night, Madonna gives an impromptu 5-song concert for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The NYT reports:
On Monday evening, the singer announced online a surprise concert in Washington Square Park in Manhattan with just enough time for fans to drop their forks, reroute their taxis and arrive to see her sashay onstage in a bomber jacket with fluorescent green sleeves and a winter hat sprinkled with stars....

It was mainly a singalong, in the folk music tradition of the Village.
I much prefer this kind of thing to the big rallies that use pop stars to draw crowds into a big holding pen where they'll be subjected to harangues.

Nice work, Madonna!

Are you going to follow the election returns tonight?

Are you going to follow the election returns tonight? free polls

ADDED: The results:

Will the GOP keep both houses of Congress?

Here's Real Clear Politics's final Senate No Toss Ups 2016 map:

Go here to see the toss-ups tossed back in. There are 8 of them. I'm most interested in my home state, Wisconsin, where there have been very few polls, but the trend lines have been converging.

I've mentally adjusted to what I think will be the outcome today: Hillary wins, but the GOP keeps both houses of Congress. But I can also imagine something surprising happening. There's that idea of the "hidden Trump voters." There don't need to be too many to upset the prediction that Hillary will win, but what a kick in the head it will be if there's a decisive victory for Trump. And a Trump victory with the GOP holding both houses of Congress will make this a shocking change election. I'm picturing the GOP Congress as a brake on the power of the President, not an accelerator.

Here's a NYT article from yesterday: "Are There Really Hidden Trump Voters?" How do you go about answering that question? (Other than waiting for the election results.) The article is by 2 professors — Peter K. Enns and Jonathon P. Schuldt — who teach a public opinion course at Cornell and had students design survey questions that could smoke out hidden Trump supporters. Go to the link and read about the 3 questions why they think the answers showed that there are hidden Trump supporters. (I'd have to copy the whole column to explain the question, the answers, and the interpretation.) The professors also think these hidden Trumpers will not come out and vote.

I guess you could be secretly, at heart, a Trumper, but unwilling to admit it even to yourself. To go to the poll and mark a ballot, you have to at least show yourself what you think. That can be hard to do.

"When you sign a contract with Disney, the things it says your film cannot have are beheadings, impalement or smoking."

"Those are literally the three things you are not allowed to put into a Disney film."

Said David Lowery, the director of "Pete's Dragon."

The outlier on that list isn't smoking. It's impalement. Nixing smoking is a standard Hollywood thing — trying to undo the deadly damage movies have done glamorizing smoking for so many years.

And beheading is understandable, being so extreme.

But impalement. Of all the violent things that might happen to a character — and violent things happen all the time in cartoons — why single out impalement? It's got to be sensitivity about the sexual metaphor. They don't want an image interpreted — even if misinterpreted — as sexual intercourse.

"He is dressing in drag as me? And carrying a mattress? He'll get a sense of how it feels. That's fantastic."

"I hope he carries a real one, and doesn't cop out with an air mattress."

Okay, good. Maybe everybody has a sense of humor now. Wouldn't that be cool?

"Lady Gaga accidentally dressed a bit like a Nazi at Hillary Clinton's Presidential rally."

Oh? But if a Trump-supporting celebrity had dressed like that it wouldn't be characterized as an accident. The explanation for why this...

... should not be viewed as a Nazi look is: "the jacket was actually the same one that Michael Jackson wore when he visited the White House, which is a nice tribute to the late pop icon."

You still need a reason for deciding to pay a tribute to Michael Jackson at a Hillary rally. If a celebrity at a Trump rally had dressed like that and then — after it's perceived as a Nazi look and tweeted about furiously — sought refuge in the Michael Jackson provenance, not only would the excuse be rejected — it looks Nazi and you wanted that look — but the sins of Michael Jackson would be loaded on top.

And why did Michael Jackson wear that jacket? There have been stories published saying that Michael Jackson was fascinated by Nazis:
It turns out that Jackson had a huge collection of Nazi movies and documentaries that he displayed on the walls at his Neverland ranch.  Norman Scherer, the videotape distributor who procured the rare videos, said he assumed that Jackson just loved the military garb and lockstep marching – a perfectly normal assumption when someone reveals to you that they’re obsessed with Nazis.
So that's another reason why tracing Gaga's jacket to Jackson fails to break the Nazi association. I don't know what Jackson meant to be doing with his military get-up and why he loved Nazi imagery (if he did), but saying the jacket was Jackson's doesn't make it not a Nazi jacket.

The reason Lady Gaga will get away with dressing like that isn't because the jacket's Jackson's, but because she came out for Hillary Clinton and not Donald Trump.

"The fact that so many informed, sophisticated Americans failed to see Donald Trump coming, and then kept writing him off, is... a sign of a democracy in which no center holds."

"Most of his critics are too reasonable to fathom his fury-driven campaign. Many don’t know a single Trump supporter. But to fight Trump you have to understand his appeal. Trump’s core voters are revealed by poll after poll to be members of the W.W.C. His campaign has made them a self-conscious identity group. They’re one among many factions in the country today—their mutual suspicions flaring, the boundaries between them hardening. A disaster on this scale belongs to no single set of Americans, and it will play out long after the November election, regardless of the outcome. Trump represents the whole country’s failure."

Writes George Packer in "Hillary Clinton and the Populist/The Democrats lost the white working class. The Republicans exploited it. Can Clinton win it back?"

Packer challenges his readers — New Yorker readers — to understand the identity group Trump was able to see and willing to rouse to self-consciousness. With references to Thomas Frank's "Listen, Liberal" — a book I've blogged here, here, and here — Packer blames the Democratic Party for letting this group slip out of its hands.

To President Bill Clinton, speaking in his last SOTU in 2000, "[e]ducation was the answer to all problems of social class."
(His laundry list of proposals to Congress included more money for Internet access in schools and funds to help poor kids take college-test-prep courses.)

“My fellow-Americans,” the President announced. “We have crossed the bridge we built to the twenty-first century.”

In our conversation, Hillary Clinton spoke of the limits of an “educationalist” mind-set, which she called a “peculiar form of élitism.” Educationalists, she noted, say they “want to lift everybody up”—they “don’t want to tell anybody that they can’t go as high as their ambition will take them.” The problem was that “we’re going to have a lot of jobs in this economy” that require blue-collar skills, not B.A.s. “We need to do something that is really important, and this is to just go right after the denigration of jobs and skills that are not college-connected.” A four-year degree isn’t for everyone, she said; vocational education should be brought back to high schools.

Yet “educationalist élitism” describes the Democratic thinking that took root during her husband’s Presidency. When I asked her if this had helped drive working-class Americans away from the Democratic Party, she hedged. “I don’t really know the answer to that,” she said.

November 7, 2016

"My goal with these photos was simply to document the various ways I saw people in New York City expressing themselves with respect to the 2016 presidential race."

"I don't intend these photos to express any of my own views about the candidates depicted or referenced in these images," writes my son John Althouse Cohen, posting a set of 17 photographs, here. I'm showing you 3 of them, and my choices have nothing to do with what I might think of the candidates.

"Admit It: You People Want To See How Far This Goes, Don’t You?"

An Onion piece from July 2015.
I can tell you’re practically salivating right now. And I’m going to keep riding this fascination, this little fixation you have with me as far as you’ll take me. You know I will....

You know what you have to do to make me go away. Just quit paying attention. Stop reading this right now.

That’s right, I didn’t think so. I have the power to make the next 16 months one of the most incredible times in our nation’s history, and not a single one of you can say you’re not at least a little bit curious to see how this wild ride shakes out...
Oh, yeah, we are curious. 

(Via John Althouse Cohen, posting on Facebook this morning.)

"We all want to feel that we’re the same person on the outside as we are on the inside, and when we can’t achieve that congruence, we feel alienated and depersonalized."

Wrote Annie Murphy Paul in "The High Cost Of Acting Happy," quoted in The New York Magazine article "Huh, Would You Believe That Forcing Employees to Act Happy Is a Bad Idea?"

I'm interested in this idea that there is a Real You and that You needs to be out and proud even when it's grouchy or contemptuous or sad and lonely. I think if we were forced to exhibit our Real Self all the time, it would hurt even more than if we put on a Game Face for the public. The Real Me wants some privacy, not exposure to everybody's judgment. And they'd better show it too, or they'll be alienated and depersonalized with their lack of inside/outside congruence.

Too much of a discrepancy between inner and outer selves might be a problem, but in a job, isn't it only a problem when you are not well suited to the position? If you're unhappy smiling and acting as though you like the customers, the company shouldn't want you at the front counter... unless they've got some kind of hipster vibe concept and they think the customers will cotton to getting snubbed by The Sullen Barista.

50 years ago today: John Lennon met Yoko Ono.

As John told it:
I got the word that this amazing woman was putting on a show the next week, something about people in bags, in black bags, and it was going to be a bit of a happening and all that. So I went to a preview the night before it opened. I went in - she didn't know who I was or anything - and I was wandering around. There were a couple of artsy-type students who had been helping, lying around there in the gallery, and I was looking at it and was astounded. There was an apple on sale there for two hundred quid; I thought it was fantastic - I got the humor in her work immediately. I didn't have to have much knowledge about avant-garde or underground art, the humor got me straightaway. There was a fresh apple on a stand - this was before Apple - and it was two hundred quid to watch the apple decompose. But there was another piece that really decided me for-or-against the artist: a ladder which led to a painting which was hung on the ceiling. It looked like a black canvas with a chain with a spyglass hanging on the end of it. This was near the door when you went in. I climbed the ladder, you look through the spyglass and in tiny little letters it says 'yes'. So it was positive. I felt relieved. It's a great relief when you get up the ladder and you look through the spyglass and it doesn't say 'no' or 'fuck you' or something, it said 'yes'.

"Half of America Is About to Get Gut-Punched."

There's a good headline. From Bill Scher.
Democratic Hillary Clinton supporters, while congenitally skittish, are incredulous that an immigrant-bashing, misogynistic blowhard could even make this presidential race competitive, and are taking to the bank the poll lead Clinton has held essentially all year.

Republican Donald Trump’s superfans... believe America is on the verge of a “Brexit” moment, in which a silent nationalist majority outperforms the polls and humiliates the Establishment....

Neither side is going into Election Day expecting to lose. Whichever party ends up being shocked by the results will have a protracted, painful, but perhaps rejuvenating, period of soul-searching ahead.
It's going to be painful either way. Sometimes I stop and wonder which way will it be more painful, but it's not as though my deciding would get us to the less painful option. There will be pain, and we will never know what would have happened in the alternative reality.

And I'm maintaining my cruel neutrality to the end. So don't blame me. I may have voted for the loser.

FBI Director writes a letter supplementing that letter he wrote 9 days earlier.

He writes:
Since my [letter of October 28th], the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation. During that process we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State.

Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.

I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time.
What does it mean? It at least means that Comey stands by his recommendation that Hillary Clinton should not be prosecuted over the way she handled classified information. I can't see that it means Comey thinks he did wrong in sending that letter on October 28th or that there are no ongoing investigations involving Clinton. It says nothing — as far as I can tell — about investigations into the Clinton Foundation or the usefulness of the new email in that regard.

Here's how the NYT puts it:
While the new letter was clear as it related to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Comey’s message was otherwise vague. He did not say that agents had completed their review of the emails, or that they were abandoning the matter in regard to her aides. But federal law enforcement officials said that they considered the review of emails related to Mrs. Clinton’s server complete, and that Mr. Comey’s letter was intended to convey that. 
The NYT doesn't mention the Clinton Foundation. CBS News gives us this statement from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus:
"None of this changes the fact that the FBI continues to investigate the Clinton Foundation for corruption involving her tenure as secretary of state.”

"By the way, Janet Reno still walks the face of the earth. It's not too late to tell whatever truth she may have suppressed to keep her job."

I wrote that on April 15, 2014, and I'm digging through my archive this morning, looking for Janet Reno, because I see that Janet Reno has died. She was 78 and had been suffering from Parkinson's disease since 1995, when she was the Attorney General of the United States. Her name is associated with 2 painful events in the Bill Clinton administration, Waco and Elian Gonzales. Reno was also the person under the now-defunct Ethics in Government law who determined when an independent counsel would be appointed and when that person should be removed for misconduct, so she was connected to the Bill Clinton impeachment, since she caused the independent Whitewater investigation to begin and she allowed Kenneth Starr to complete his mission.

From the NYT obituary:
Mr. Clinton, committed to naming a woman as attorney general, settled on Ms. Reno after his first choices — the corporate lawyer Zoe Baird and the federal judge Kimba Wood — withdrew their names in the face of criticism after it was revealed that they had employed undocumented immigrants as nannies....

Two months later, she gained the nation’s full attention in a dramatic televised news conference in which she took full responsibility for a botched federal raid of the Waco compound of an offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventists, the Branch Davidians.

The assault, after a long siege involving close to 900 military and law-enforcement personnel and a dozen tanks, left the compound in flames and the group’s charismatic leader, David Koresh, as well as about 75 others, dead, one-third of whom were children....

Questions about her handling of the Waco raid resurfaced in 1999, when new evidence suggested that the F.B.I. might have started the fire that destroyed the compound....

... Elián González, the 6-year-old Cuban boy who was found floating on an inner tube off the coast of Florida after his mother and 10 others drowned in a failed crossing from Cuba by small boat... became a unifying figure among Cuban exiles in South Florida, who were determined to see him remain in the United States in defiance of the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro.

Ms. Reno favored returning Elián to his father in Cuba, and she became immersed in negotiations over his fate because of her ties to Miami.

Ms. Reno was on the phone almost up to the moment agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service burst into the Miami home of Elián’s relatives and took him away at gunpoint.....
Waco was the subject of that 2014 post of mine, quoted above. That old post was titled "Dick Morris says Bill Clinton 'hated' Janet Reno but wouldn't oust her because he feared 'she would tell the truth about what happened in Waco.'"
"Reno threatened the president with telling the truth about Waco, and that caused the president to back down."
"Then he went into a meeting with her, and he told me that she begged and pleaded, saying that . . . she didn't want to be fired because if she were fired it would look like he was firing her over Waco... And I knew that what that meant was that she would tell the truth about what happened in Waco.

"Now, to be fair, that's my supposition. I don't know what went on in Waco, but that was the cause. But I do know that she told him that if you fire me, I'm going to talk about Waco."
Morris was on TV to discuss the Cliven Bundy incident. What bad luck for Hillary: It has people needing to talk about Waco again....

By the way, Janet Reno still walks the face of the earth. It's not too late to tell whatever truth she may have suppressed to keep her job. What is Morris saying? First, the point seems to be that Reno convinced Clinton that to oust her would give rise to inferences that he believed his administration had done something wrong in Waco. Then Morris adds his inference of what he "knew" it "mean": that there was some "truth" that had been suppressed that would come out.

But Reno's argument didn't require that there be anything more to tell, and Morris knows that, because he goes right to his "to be fair" remark. He doesn't know. And if there was some suppressed truth Reno could tell, why hasn't she told it yet? One answer is that she doesn't want to tell on herself, but that would have been true at the point when she was begging and pleading to keep her job.
Perhaps she left a note. More likely, we will never know.

Here are the names and ages of the 76 people who died at Waco, including Startle Summers, Hollywood Sylvia, Chanel Andrade, and Paiges Gent, who were only 1 year old. They would be 23 years old if they had lived. There were also four 2-year-olds, including one with the sad name Little One Jones.

As for Elian Gonzalez. He's 22, and he just graduated from University of Matanzas with a degree in  industrial engineering. He spoke at his graduation ceremony, promising Fidel Castro that he and the whole class would "fight from whatever trench the revolution demands."

November 6, 2016

Al Franken sees anti-Semitism in Trump's new 2-minute ad: "This was something of a German shepherd whistle, a dog whistle...."

On "State of the Union" this morning, the host Jake Tapper asked Franken about Trump's ad (which we were talking about yesterday, here). Here's the ad:

Did you see the anti-Semitism? Tapper froze a frame that showed billionaire George Soros, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein — all of whom, Tapper said, are Jewish. Franken said:
Franken, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, said his reaction to the ad was: “This was something of a German shepherd whistle, a dog whistle, to sort of the, a certain group in the United States” and said it speaks to “a certain part” of Trump’s base in the alt-right.

“I’m Jewish, so maybe I’m sensitive to it, but it clearly had sort of [an] ‘Elders of Zion’ kind of feel to it,” Franken said. “International banking plot or conspiracy, rather, and then a number of Jews.”

“I think that it’s an appeal to some of the worst elements in our country as his closing argument,” he added. “And I think that people who aren’t sensitive to that or don’t know that history may not see that in that, but that’s what I immediately saw.”
If an anti-Semitic message was intended, Franken gave it air, but Franken had to think that accusing the other side of anti-Semitism would help his candidate. Maybe the message from Trump works, but only if it's kept at a subconscious level — or maybe that's just what Franken thinks. What if anti-Semitism works and it was not intended by the ad, but Franken originated the charge and unintentionally helped Trump?

This is an awful subject to bring up now, but maybe the Democratic cause is desperate. Franken certainly looked very depressed. He could barely get his words out. It was painful to watch.

Now, I do want to add that I'm sympathetic to the argument that political material can sneak in an anti-Semitic message. That's what I thought I saw in Michael Moore's movie "Capitalism: A Love Story," blogged here in October 2009:
The most striking thing in the movie was the religion. I think Moore is seriously motivated by Christianity. He says he is (and has been since he was a boy). And he presented various priests, Biblical quotations, and movie footage from "Jesus of Nazareth" to make the argument that Christianity requires socialism. With this theme, I found it unsettling that in attacking the banking system, Moore presented quite a parade of Jewish names and faces. He never says the word "Jewish," but I think the anti-Semitic theme is there. We receive long lectures about how capitalism is inconsistent with Christianity, followed a heavy-handed array of — it's up to you to see that they are — Jewish villains.

Am I wrong to see Moore as an anti-Semite? I don't know, but the movie worked as anti-Semitic propaganda. I had to struggle to fight off the idea the movie seemed to want to plant in my head.