November 19, 2016

Hyperdramatic post-election prose, visualizing Hillary as a goddess and Trump as a "whimpering dog."

I was listening to the audio version of a New Yorker piece called "The Rights of Women Under President Trump," by Hilary Mantel. Subtitle: "The state should not stalk her. The priest should seal his lips. The law should not interfere." I had to laugh out loud at this over-the-top paragraph:
We watched him, in the second debate, prowling behind his opponent, back and forth with lowered head, belligerent and looming, while she moved within her legitimate space, returning to her lectern after each response: tightly smiling, trying to be reasonable, trying to be impervious. It was an indecent mimicry of what has happened at some point to almost every woman. She becomes aware of something brutal hovering, on the periphery of her vision: if she is alone in the street, what should she do? I willed Mrs. Clinton to turn and give a name to what we could all see. I willed Mrs. Clinton to raise an arm like a goddess, and point to the place her rival came from, and send him back there, into his own space, like a whimpering dog.

"In ’08, they saw me coming, but I was a guy named Barack Hussein Obama coming up against the Clinton machine, so no way!"

"So they weren’t focussed on me, and I established a connection. Then came the stuff: Ayers and Reverend Wright and all the rest. What I’m suggesting is that the lens through which people understand politics and politicians is extraordinarily powerful. And Trump understands the new ecosystem, in which facts and truth don’t matter. You attract attention, rouse emotions, and then move on. You can surf those emotions. I’ve said it before, but if I watched Fox I wouldn’t vote for me!"

That's Barack Obama, talking to David Remnick in "OBAMA RECKONS WITH A TRUMP PRESIDENCY/Inside a stunned White House, the President considers his legacy and America’s future."

And I just want to say: It takes one to know one.

"I’m up there on the stage, I’m dancing, people are screaming — and the roaring got louder. It turned out it was Prince."

"He caught me off guard... He rode up to the stage on a bike, jumped off the bike, got his guitar, played, jumped back on his bike, and rode back to his own, purple dressing room. That’s the type of person he was. I’ll always have good memories of Prince. The most valuable thing he taught me was to know my worth, to trust in yourself, believe in what you’re doing and to not change for anyone." said Sharon Jones, who died yesterday.

(Prince appears at 6:45.)

"Ann, can you link to a post by you where you were heavy critical of the President-elect when he was doing his whole Birther shtick?"

"Yeah, I didn't think so," snarks Once written, twice in the comments to "Mike Pence goes to see the musical 'Hamilton'...."

That "Yeah, I didn't think so" is such cheap humor. And using the search box, you could easily find this from April 7, 2011:
Let's talk about Trump.
He's second only to Mitt in a recent poll. But there's no way he can be the nominee. What's going on? Name recognition? An early-in-the-game spirit of fun? I don't know, but he's in it now enough that he'll be listened to and included in the debates, and he can say whatever he wants until the moment arrives when he throws his support over to some realistic candidate. Meanwhile, we've got him stirring up the old birther issue, going where candidates who must coddle their credibility dare not go.

I see that in the last 2 hours, Trump has tweeted about 2 topics I was just blogging about.

Screen grab from his Twitter feed:

Here's my post on the "Hamilton" incident. What I said that's most similar to what he's saying is:
Years ago, in a theater, a President of the United States was shot by a politically overheated actor. I understand hustling Mike Pence out of that place.
Here's my post on the settlement of the lawsuit. What I said that's most similar to what he's saying is:
He'd said he wasn't the kind of person who settles lawsuits, but the circumstances are so radically different suddenly.... What's different now is that he owes his full attention to the transition, and his personal taste for fighting out lawsuits must be subordinated to the interests of the country.

"The only people who will think Trump is a racist going forward are people who haven’t read this article."

Writes Scott Adams, linking to this article.

It's a long article, so few will actually get through the whole thing, leaving almost everyone capable of clinging to their belief that Trump is a racist, if that's what they need to do.

It’s not surprising that they get bitter and look to the racial ideas that are familiar to them as a way to explain their frustrations.

Grabbing some Pussy Riot in Madison, Wisconsin.

Pussy Riot performed not a concert but a Q&A at the Wisconsin Union last night. The Progressive covered it:
Imagine if the colorful, costumed marchers protesting in the streets of Madison against Scott Walker in 2011 were rounded up and shipped off to a penal colony. Putin’s crackdown on dissent in Russia—after an outpouring of post-Soviet free expression—was just as much of a shock. When they started to make pointed critiques of the Putin regime, Pussy Riot caught the brunt of Putin’s backlash....

For my daughters and their friends, who took part in demonstrations against Walker, hearing from these radical young women who went to prison for their beliefs was eye-opening—especially in the wake of the election of Donald Trump....

Pussy Riot members Masha Alyokhina and Basha Bogina talked about standing up against Putin’s repression, why they felt a particular kinship with Wisconsinites during the uprising against Walker, and how they continued rebelling even in prison.
Their music, when they do play, is punk rock, but that didn't stop them from participating, the next day, at the Solidarity Sing Along at the State Capitol in some anti-Scott-Walker folksinging:

One of the Solidarity Singers quotes one of the Pussy Rioters: "She said last night that we have a good culture of rioting."

There are various old posts on this blog about the Solidarity Singers. From April 2013, there's "Solidarity Singers seek recognition as 'Longest continuously running singing political protest.'" There's this video I made of them singing in the Rotunda during the protests of 2011 (with me offering real-time commentary):

Then there was the time I got into what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called an "altercation": "'Capitol altercation involves Solidarity Singers, political blogger" — i.e. Althouse": " I was standing filming a man who was ranting about how Jesus would be on the anti-Scott Walker side. This man blows a vuvuzela right in my face more than once. He's yelling at a man who is a Christian minister, but was never given much of a chance to say anything. Then a very angry guy comes up and violently snatches my camera, but can't get it out of my hand. He tries a second time, and he also hits me. My son detached the man's hand from mine. Anyway, I have this on video... here."

IN THE COMMENTS: chickelit said: "Pussy Riot made a ridiculous anti-Trump propaganda video...."

I guess they're not the "trigger warning" type of feminist. That video is full of the graphic depiction of sexualized violence against women. I'm sure many people will find it sexually titillating in the old-fashioned way.

An atrocious sculpture has been recommended to be installed in our beloved Library Mall.

But it's not too late! The selection committee approved this thing...

I don't know what could possibly have convinced them that this thing belongs in the heart of the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus — as opposed to some soulless glass-and-steel corporate plaza in a city — but the City Council must still vote for the thing. Please help keep this horror out of sacred space.

It's by RDG Dahlquist Art Studio of Des Moines, Iowa — art studio of Des Moines, Iowa! —  and they've titled it "Both/And – Tolerance/Innovation." And just that title makes me mad. Some design studio in Des Moines, Iowa is trying to use language to influence a bunch of politicians in Madison, Wisconsin. And they've decided there are 2 things to jerk them around over that embody what the university is hot to express right now: diversity and technology. And diversity gets to be a misshapen/unformed stone and technology is a row of sharp-edged metal plates.

If that thing gets erected — and it is phallic (and therefore disinclusive of women (or are we the lumpy stone?)) — the only question will be how to employ it in political theater and protest. Lots of places to hang signs and symbols. You know that's what we do in Madison. Here's a scene from the 2011 Wisconsin protests when somebody hung a "solidarity" t-shirt on the public sculpture that is the statue of Civil War hero Hans Christian Heg:

You see the State Capitol in the background. In Madison, Wisconsin, you're not allowed to build a building taller than the State Capitol. And yet this sculpture the Des Moines studio presents to us looks like the skyline of a city filled with skyscrapers.

Is this what we want in our city as we enter the era of the sky-scraper-building President, Donald Trump?

ADDED: How about a completely traditional bronze sculpture — like the one of Heg — of one notable graduates or faculty of the University of Wisconsin. Wikipedia has a big list of the possibilities. Just pick one. I'll get the discussion going: Lorraine Hansberry.

Did Justice Scalia win the election?

Ted Cruz says so, but only in the weak sense:
"President-elect Trump assured the American people that if elected, he would nominate a constitutionalist in the mold of Justice Scalia. So in a very real respect, Justice Scalia was on the ballot as well. And thanks to the historic victory we saw last week, it gives me immense pleasure to say the people have spoken and Justice Scalia has won as well."
Consider whether Justice Scalia won the election in the strong sense of winning the election.

How would the election have played out if Justice Scalia had not died and left a seat — the seat that tips the Court left or right — to be filled by the new President? How many voters decided based on that factor, and of the voters within that set, did they vote more for Trump or for Hillary? If Scalia had remained alive, perhaps conservatives would have felt more complacent that the balance of the Court would remain the same, but I think that people on both sides would have thought about the Supreme Court less. Yet even with that empty seat staring us in the face, we didn't make that much out of the power to tip the Court in the direction we prefer.

So I'd say for 2 reasons Scalia did not — in the strong sense — win the election: 1. Not many votes were determined by the vacancy on the Supreme Court, and 2. Of the votes that were determined by concern about which way to tip the Court, Hillary probably got as many as Trump — perhaps a lot more.

Did Justice Scalia win the election? free polls

Subsidiary poll to help think about the question:

Which is the more powerful political plea? free polls

Mike Pence goes to see the musical "Hamilton" and the crowd boos him as he walks to his seat.

Here's video of that:

And when the show was over and the actors lined up on stage for the ovation, one cast member steps forward to lecture Pence. Pence is already leaving, but the actor, imploring him to stay, pulls a written speech out of his pants and reads about "the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents."

The audience had just witnessed the reenacted shooting to death of the great American, Alexander Hamilton. The actor delivering the lecture was Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, the man who killed Hamilton.

Years ago, in a theater, a President of the United States was shot by a politically overheated actor.


I understand hustling Mike Pence out of that place.

November 18, 2016

Dr. Phil is disgusting. Is he trying to make it as obvious as possible?

Somebody should get help for him and make a show out of it.

ADDED: I think I've only watched Dr. Phil's show once. It was when Suzy Favor Hamilton was on. I didn't think much of what he was doing:
Phil never got around to asking SFH what treatment she's had or is having, and she looks so strange, that we had to wonder whether she's on any treatment at all. How could he not have asked? He's supposed to be Dr. Phil. Where's the doctor part? Isn't that atrocious set supposed to be kind of like a psychologist's office? And what's with the ominous music playing continually in the background? I had the feeling Dr. Phil was also purveying sex for daytime-TV-watching women who want porn with deniability.

"The date ended pretty fast. She said she was jet-lagged because she flew in from Florida.”

"That's the same time zone. She also flew Sunday, and it was Wednesday."

"Surprisingly, some Iraqis seem less offended by Mr. Trump’s comments linking terrorism to Islam than American liberals."

That's the grudging observation in paragraph 5 of this NYT article, and look where it goes from there:
Iraqis have endured years of Islam being used to justify mass killing, and some see Mr. Trump as a truth-teller in calling out Islam — or a certain brand of it — as the problem.

Iraqi Shiites, in particular, say they believe Mr. Trump will take a harder line on Saudi Arabia, the regional Sunni power that many see as the incubator of the extreme form of Islam, known as Wahhabism, that forms a basis of the Islamic State’s ideology.

“The victory of Trump is the beginning of the end of extremist Islam and Wahhabism,” said Mouwafak al-Rubaie, an Iraqi lawmaker and the country’s former national security adviser.

In Mr. Trump’s vow to defeat terrorism many Iraqis say they have hope that decisive American power will be marshaled to eradicate the Islamic State, the extremist group also known as ISIS, which has occupied parts of Iraq and Syria for the past two years.

“We have no concerns about the policy of Trump because he is against extremism,” said Saad al-Hadithi, the spokesman for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. “We think we are facing one enemy, and that is fighting ISIS. Therefore, I do not think there are fears or concerns about a new American policy.”
ADDED: "Surprisingly..." — actually, why is this surprising to the NYT? 

Trump settles the Trump University lawsuit for $25 million.

He'd said he wasn't the kind of person who settles lawsuits, but the circumstances are so radically different suddenly.

As the NYT puts it:
The settlement was announced by the New York attorney general on Friday, just 10 days before one of the cases, a federal class-action lawsuit in San Diego, was set to be heard by a jury. The deal... averts a potentially embarrassing and highly unusual predicament: a president-elect on trial, and possibly even taking the stand in his own defense, while scrambling to build his incoming administration.
It's always been embarrassing, of course. What's different now is that he owes his full attention to the transition, and his personal taste for fighting out lawsuits must be subordinated to the interests of the country.

The news from Yellowstone.

1. Mapping what's underground: "This is really kind of a last frontier if you will, in Yellowstone, of being able to look at a large part that’s underground that people have not looked at.... There’s just a lot we don’t know, and this survey is really exciting because it’s going to be the first view of a large portion of the groundwater system, of the water underground that feeds all of these thermal features."

2. Getting closer to taking grizzly bears of the Endangered Species List: "At that time, there were approximately 136 bears in Yellowstone. Today, officials estimate that there are more than 700 bears.... [Yellowstone superintendent Dan] Wenk says, if the grizzly populations shrink, it could threaten Yellowstone tourism. While hunters cannot pursue grizzlies on national park land, hunting could be allowed just outside of the parks, and therefore impact the grizzlies that live in or near Yellowstone and other national parks such as the Grand Teton National Park."

3. A 23-year-old man who fell into a hot spring not only died — his body dissolved overnight: "An Oregon man who died after falling into a scalding Yellowstone National Park hot spring in June was looking for a place to 'hot pot,' the forbidden practice of soaking in one of the park's thermal features, officials said. Sable Scott told investigators that she and her 23-year-old brother, Colin, left a boardwalk near Pork Chop Geyser.... As Sable Scott took video of her brother with her cellphone on June 7, he reached down to check the water temperature and slipped and fell into a thermal pool about 6 feet long, 4 feet wide and 10 feet deep.... Search and rescue rangers spotted Colin Scott's body floating in the pool the day of the accident, but a lightning storm prevented recovery, the report said. The next day, workers could not find any remains in the boiling, acidic water. 'In very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving,' said [Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress]."

Germans using English dirty words...

... without realizing how bad it sounds to native English speakers.

This 2012 ad is a hilarious example. Watch all the way to the end for the laugh:

"Stop focusing on racism. We are in a racist country — period."

Said Kanye West, who didn't vote but if he had, "I would have voted for Trump."
"This is my platform and I'm going to talk about the paradigm shift that's happening right now," he said at the top of a 40-minute political speech that came at the cost of several songs.

It's hard to ascertain exactly the point he was trying to make as we only have tweets and videos from attendees, not a transcript, to go off, but it sounds as though he was mostly praising the disruptive nature of Trump's campaign, which 'inspired racists to reveal themselves'.

Misophonia suicide.

We've talked about misophonia here before — back in 2011 when there was an article in the NYT by Joyce Cohen titled "When a Chomp or a Slurp Is a Trigger for Outrage."

Now, Joyce Cohen tells us about a woman — a wealthy NYC scholar named Michelle Lamarche Marrese — who seems to have killed herself because of the condition. Marrese — having read that NYT article — wrote to Cohen:
“My husband is a noisy eater... He breathes like he just ran a marathon even while sitting still. Of course, noise does not bother him, so he manages to forget that I really am in emotional pain most of the time... The noise is literally unbearable. And if anyone else hears it: they will say it is a ‘nothing.’ It is not nothing for me... I am trapped here. I have far too much material when I’m working [on my book] to go to the library, and you know the endless sniffling, coughing, gum chewing that goes on there.... Forgive the intrusion and the outpouring. I have left your name for my husband. If I can’t stand any more agony, at least you can write about me.”

Trump picks Flynn for national security adviser, Pompeo to head CIA.

The NYT reports, brashly:
President-elect Donald J. Trump has offered the post of national security adviser to Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, potentially putting a retired intelligence officer who believes Islamist militancy poses an existential threat in one of the most powerful roles in shaping military and foreign policy...

Mr. Trump and General Flynn both see themselves as brash outsiders who hustled their way to the big time. They both post on Twitter often about their own successes, and they have both at times crossed the line into outright Islamophobia.

They also both exhibit a loose relationship with facts....
President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected Representative Mike Pompeo, a hawkish Republican from Kansas and a former Army officer, to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, according to officials close to Mr. Trump’s transition team.

Mr. Pompeo, who has served for three terms in Congress and is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, gained prominence for his role in the congressional investigation into the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. He was a sharp critic of Hillary Clinton on the committee....

He has close ties to Wichita-based Koch Industries....
Lots of news coming from the transition team today — Flynn, Pompeo, Sessions. I guess that the MSM will do an abrupt shift from its theme of the last few days — that the transition is in disarray and falling way behind. The new theme — let me guess — is: all the President's men are terrible.

"The dollar held a nine-day advance against the euro, its longest winning streak since the shared currency’s debut in 1999."

"The U.S. currency touched its strongest level in almost a year, driven by expectations for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s reflationary economic policies...."

Reflationary? Did we just vote for inflation?

"Metallica joins Jimmy and The Roots in the Tonight Show Music Room to perform 'Enter Sandman' with classroom instruments."

James Hetfield - Vocals, Toy clarinet
Jimmy Fallon - Vocals, Bass Drum, Casio Keyboard, Kazoo
Lars Ulrich - Fisher Price Drum, Toy Cymbals
Kirk Hammett - Melodica
Robert Trujillo - Baby Electric Axe
Questlove - Hand Clappers, Kazoo
Kamal Gray - Xylophone
James Poyser - Melodica
Captain Kirk - Ukulele
Tuba Gooding Jr. - Kazoo, Banana Shaker, Apple Shaker
Mark Kelley - Kazoo
Frank Knuckles - Bongos
Black Thought - Tambourine, Brown Hat
For reference, here's the original "Enter Sandman" video.

Toni Morrison in The New Yorker: "Making America White Again/The choices made by white men, who are prepared to abandon their humanity out of fear of black men and women, suggest the true horror of lost status."

Spoiler alert if you haven't read William Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom," but Morrison seems to think it's valuable in understanding what just happened in the election. Here's how her essay ends:
On Election Day, how eagerly so many white voters—both the poorly educated and the well educated—embraced the shame and fear sowed by Donald Trump....

William Faulkner understood this better than almost any other American writer. In “Absalom, Absalom,” incest is less of a taboo for an upper-class Southern family than acknowledging the one drop of black blood that would clearly soil the family line. Rather than lose its “whiteness” (once again), the family chooses murder.

Purple morning.



Just now, as seen from the Meadhouse deck.

The new Attorney General will be Jeff Sessions.

The NYT reports.
Mr. Sessions was also under consideration for secretary of defense, creating debate within the Trump transition team over which job he should fill.

Mr. Sessions, a former prosecutor elected to the Senate in 1996, serves on the Judiciary Committee and has opposed immigration reform as well as bipartisan proposals to cut mandatory minimum prison sentences....

While serving as a United States prosecutor in Alabama, Mr. Sessions was nominated in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan for a federal judgeship. But his nomination was rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee because of racially charged comments and actions. At that time, he was one of two judicial nominees whose selections were halted by the panel in nearly 50 years.
What were the "racially charged comments and actions" from decades ago and is it something that reflects on Trump now?
In testimony before the committee, former colleagues said that Mr. Sessions had referred to the N.A.A.C.P., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other civil rights groups as “un-American” and “Communist-inspired.” An African-American federal prosecutor then, Thomas H. Figures, said Mr. Sessions had referred to him as “boy” and testified that Mr. Sessions said the Ku Klux Klan was fine “until I found out they smoked pot.” Mr. Sessions dismissed that remark as a joke.
"That remark" refers to the KKK, presumably, and not to calling Thomas H. Figures "boy." Here's an article in The Guardian from 2009 (and thus disconnected from current efforts to heighten everything racial that has to do with Trump):

"Over the past two years, we found that a total of 127 deaths have been reported to be caused due to selfies, of which a whopping 76 deaths occurred in India alone!"

"Table 1 shows the country-wise distribution of selfie casualties across the world."

"The reasons for these selfie casualties were found to broadly belong to the following categories (Figure 2)..."

Via The Daily News, "‘Me, Myself and My Killfie’ study shows India has suffered nearly 60% of the world’s 127 selfie deaths":
The researchers also broke down the fatalities by age and gender. Men died from dangerous selfies much more commonly than women, even though earlier studies showed that women were more likely to click selfies.

If you're going to make up fake stories for the internet.

Make them like this.

IN THE COMMENTS: Martin L. Shoemaker says:
It's fake? I don't see where it says that.
Well, first of all, if it were fake, it wouldn't say it's fake. And the news site passing a story along might not realize it's fake. But, as I say in the comments:
I didn't say it was fake. I have no idea. But it has a distinct whiff of fakery about it. Enough that I'm not trusting it. Maybe it's true. How the hell would you know?

I'm just saying this is the kind of story I like to see, so if you're going to make fake news stor[ies], make stories that bring us together and inspire us to be kinder and more inclusive.
If these nice people in the story — the white grandma and the young black man she accidentally texted an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner — really had the experience depicted at the link, then that's just lovely. Nothing against them, of course. I liked it. I liked it so much I had to be skeptical that I'm being fed fluff, marshmallow fluff. Mmm. Dollop some of that on the sweet potatoes. I'm coming over.

"And I don’t expect that the president-elect will follow exactly our blueprint or our approach, but my hope is that he does not simply take a realpolitik approach."

Said President Obama, speculating about how President-elect Trump might behave with respect to Russia and Vladimir Putin. This came at a press conference in Berlin, with German chancellor Angela Merkel standing beside him. I made a clip putting the remark in a slightly larger context.

I'd seen the remark quoted in various places — such as the NYT — and I'd thought it was inappropriately disrespectful to Trump, who should not be undercut in the difficult enterprise that lies ahead. If Obama is genuinely worried that Trump might "simply take a realpolitik approach" and fail— as he puts it — "to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms," should he be airing this suspicion on a stage in Berlin, inviting the world to mistrust the next President?

In the larger context of the clip I made, the airing of suspicion does not feel as stark. I'm not surprised that the American news media chooses the quote that heightens the sense that Obama mistrusts Trump. But I do think Obama should take care to preserve confidence in the new administration, especially when speaking about foreign policy in a foreign country. But Obama does seem to be taking great care. He's speaking slowly and deliberately — maybe in part because he's truly weary — and the statement you see here is a highly processed version of what he really thinks about Trump and Putin.

Compare it to what he said when he was campaigning for Hillary in September:
“Just last week, [Trump] went on Russian state television to talk down our military and to curry favor with Vladimir Putin. He loves this guy... Think about what’s happening to the Republican Party... They used to be opposed to Russia and authoritarianism... And now their nominee is out there praising a guy, saying he’s a strong leader because he invades smaller countries, jails his opponents, controls the press and drives his economy into a long recession.... Think about the fact that that’s Donald Trump’s role model... I have to do business with Putin, I have to do business with Russia, that’s part of foreign policy, but I don’t go around saying, ‘That’s my role model.’ Can you imagine Ronald Reagan idolizing somebody like that?”

November 17, 2016

"Anyone who is appointed to Donald Trump’s administration will be banned from becoming a paid lobbyist for five years after leaving the White House..."

The transition team announced. 
Throughout the campaign, the president-elect vowed to “drain the swamp” of Washington, partly by decreasing the role of lobbyists and special interests in policymaking. [Trump aide Sean Spicer] said this is the first step toward that goal.

The Obama administration has its own ban in place. Anyone who had been a registered lobbyist in the prior two years is prohibited from joining — unless they get a waiver. Former Obama administration officials have also been banned from lobbying the White House.

On the UW–Madison campus last night, student activists obstructed the speech — by conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro — "Dismantling Safe Spaces: Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings."

There were about 20 protesters, Wisconsin Watchdog reports:
Shapiro, invited to speak by the UW’s Young Americans for Freedom and Young America’s Foundation, got through his introduction and then all hell broke loose.

The demonstrators stood up and chanted, “Safety! Safety! Safety,” interrupting Shapiro’s address...
The protesters, including children, constantly interrupted Shapiro’s speech, which in part was on why “diversity doesn’t matter, decency matters.”

“Shame! Shame! Shame!” chanted the leftists in response....
Shapiro mocked the practice of wearing of safety pins to protest the election of Trump:
“They started wearing safety pins. They can wear them with this diaper,” Shapiro said, in a jab at the sentiment.

“You want to wear a swastika?” a safe space protester shouted.
Shapiro is Jewish, and he taunted back.
Campus police watched but did nothing to stop the interruptions. At one point, they looked on as the protesters stormed the stage and continued their chants. Shapiro was told by police that they were instructed not to stop the demonstrators, who made their intentions to disrupt clear on Facebook days before the speech.
Local conservative radio talk show host Vicki McKenna was there.
Upon leaving the event, she was surrounded by demonstrators. They shouted all kinds of vile things at the talk show host, the kind of offensive, “war on women” words for which liberals castigated Trump. One protester even charged that McKenna was responsible for the murder of a University of Wisconsin-Stout student from Saudi Arabia.

“The black supremacists mob shout me down–all 5’3″ &48 years old of me–and UW cops try to move ME away because I am the THREAT Film at 11!” McKenna wrote on Twitter.
The Badger Herald has an article with pictures and video of the protest and the crowd's response to the protest. Here's the harrowing and NSFW video McKenna's team shot after the event.

ADDED: Here's the University's official statement. Excerpt:
The university worked to ensure the event would be safe and provide a forum for both the speaker and those dissenting with his statements to express their views, by meeting with organizers and protesters, along with providing security for the event....
I'd like to see a statement on how the university police treated Vicki McKenna. Why was she pushed out when she was trying to cover the news and she was the one being subjected to physical intimidation?

"Mr. Kushner is regarded as Mr. Trump’s eyes and ears inside the evolving presidential transition."

"He is weighing formally joining his father-in-law in the White House, people familiar with the transition say. The 35-year-old Mr. Kushner would have a role in the White House along the lines of senior adviser or special counsel...."
Perhaps his most important role, though, is that of son-in-law, in which he meets Mr. Trump’s need to talk shop constantly. The president-elect skips small talk, which was true even when the family left Trump Tower on Tuesday night, leaving the transition press pool behind, for a celebratory dinner at the 21 Club in Manhattan. Messrs. Trump and Kushner, along with the family, spent most of the evening discussing the president-elect’s thinking on who would be his secretaries of Treasury, Defense and other key departments, advisers said.

"I hope the president-elect does such a great job that I vote for his re-election in four years."

Said Hollywood actor Tom Hanks.
"We will take everything that has been handed to us as Americans, and we will turn our nation and we will turn the future and we turn all the work that we have before us into some brand of a thing of beauty."
Some brand.... Trump is a master of branding. 

The Donald Trump supporter pollsters missed: "I'm the guy who never answered the phone when caller ID said 'Number Unavailable.'"

"I don't want every opinion, every perspective, and every trend to be visible to those who would mold public opinion," writes Bill Duncan.
I am suspicious that had the power brokers in Washington known what was coming, they'd have found a way to get Hillary Clinton into office. I didn't want that. I'm fed up. Enough is enough. I want my country back. This is supposed to be a government of the people — not of the banks, lobbyists and foreign donors. I am one of an endangered species called the American middle class.....

[Y]ou, the pollsters and the incredibly biased "mainstream" media, wouldn't listen to me. You have been too busy promoting your own poisonous agenda. You did everything you could to brand conservatives as homophobic, xenophobic, greedy racists...

America is not intolerant, it is kind and welcoming and insists only that people follow the rule of law and assimilate if they come here....
You fail to understand this because you are listening exclusively to America's worst critics; people who believe only in tearing down the traditions, perspectives and governmental foundations that made us great. You were trained up by liberal professors... And now, you scratch your heads, wondering how you could have been so clueless. You spend endless television and radio hours interviewing not the typical Americans like me, but one another — asking what happened.
That was actually kind of incoherent. He says he wouldn't talk to the pollsters and then he complained that the pollsters didn't listen to people like him. I get that he's angry. And his side won, so go ahead and taunt them for not figuring out how to see you. I'm not quite sure why this man is able to think that he personally is the voice the pollsters didn't hear. He's a voice that wasn't heard. Except it was, wasn't it? It just wasn't counted accurately, and — more aptly — it was discounted. People like this should be ignored because they can be overwhelmed by other voters. But not enough of those voters — the unreliable reliable Democrats — showed up.

Trump's interview style, on display in 2011.

I'm watching this because YouTube suggested it to me me this morning as I was immersed in this freaky 60s video of The Hollies singing Bob Dylan's "All I Really Want to Do" (a song I quoted in the previous post).

At 4:34: "Have you dropped your political ambitions now forever or do you still want to be President one day?"

At 5:07: "You're wearing a hat today, and obviously, you're famous for your hair..."

Oh, he'll be famous for his hat too.

The British interviewer, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, tries for 5 minutes to catch Trump on something, anything — golf course environmentalism, property-acquisition bullying, the weather in Scotland — and Trump never misses a beat, never responds to pissiness with anything but strong balanced optimism.

"Hillary Clinton did everything right in this campaign, and she won more votes than her opponent did. She won."

"She cannot be faulted, criticized, or analyzed* for even one more second. Instead, she will be decorated as an epochal heroine far too extraordinary to be contained by the mere White House. Let that revolting president-elect be Millard Fillmore or Herbert Hoover or whatever. Hillary is Athena."

The last lines of Virginia Heffernan's "Hillary Clinton Is More Than a President/She is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself."

Didn't anyone ever teach you not to idolize political leaders? I find that deification pretty damned funny after all the times I heard Trump supporters reviled for wanting an autocrat.

Anyway, Herbert Hoover? Are you saying you'll be delighted if the country ends up in some Great-Depression-like predicament?

I know Ms. Heffernan thinks she's amusing and she's trying to cheer up a basket of depressives. But really, you ought to be ashamed to love a political figure so much, and if you're not, I've got no sympathy for the pain you feel as you witness Trump receiving adoration from those of your fellow citizens who are ecstatic about the results of the last election.


* "I ain’t lookin’ to... Analyze you, categorize you/Finalize you or advertise you/All I really want to do/Is, baby, be friends with you...." — Bob Dylan lyric that independently occurred to both Meade and me on reading that text.

"Bob Dylan won’t be coming to Stockholm to pick up his 2016 Nobel Prize for literature at the Dec. 10 prize ceremony..."

"... the Swedish Academy said Wednesday."
The Academy says Dylan told them that “he wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible.”
It doesn't say what his other plans are. His website shows his last scheduled concert on November 23d. Bob has been doing his "Never Ending" tour since 1988, but, Meade tells me, he takes a break every year at Thanksgiving, and that begins the time he spends with his family. It's not that he takes only December off, though. The tour doesn't get going again until March or April.

So perhaps Bob Dylan puts so high a value on family time that it's a commitment that has absolute top priority and not even the Nobel Prize ceremony can trump it.

For Halloween give her a trumpet/And for Christmas, buy her a drum...

November 16, 2016

"Masterpiece Reviews" on "Blonde on Blonde."

"Every few years I try to let my white hair grow in, then give up after about an inch. I keep saying I’ll do it when there’s more..."

"... when it might look like a choice rather than inevitability. But the collateral benefit to the new trend among the young is that older women are now freer to discover what might be a natural asset hiding under a veil of dye. Some women discover they look better with white hair — who would have thought?"

From a NYT article with the subtitle "Fashion’s fixation with frosty manes has made white locks desirable — even for those old enough to own them."

"We were dealing with somebody who could say whatever he wanted. It is like being at the Olympics..."

"... and somebody is on steroids and somebody is not, and then blaming the person not on steroids,”

Said Adrienne Hines, chair of the Democratic Party in Ottawa County, Ohio, quoted in "The Clinton Campaign Was Undone By Its Own Neglect And A Touch Of Arrogance, Staffers Say/In key battleground states, calls for help weren’t taken seriously enough" in HuffPo.

"Typical Trump voters... white men with work boots and fuzzy beards in their early 30s to mid 40s."

The words of Wisconsin state Democratic Sen. Kathleen Vinehout.

(Vinehout is one of the Democrats you typically see listed as a possible challenger to Scott Walker in the 2018 gubernatorial race.)

"The greater conniption the left has, the better the decision is, and that's what everybody needs to come to realize."

"The bigger conniption fit the media has or the left, the better the decision."

Said Rush Limbaugh today, talking about the Trump transition.
The Trump transition team is not imploding, folks.  It is getting set to kick ass.  What the media is trying to tell you, apparently there was some movement.  Trump decided to get rid of some people, the Chris Christie team, apparently, in the process of putting together a national security team, and Mike Rogers was part of this, and Christie made a mistake, he went out and he was recruiting some lobbyists.  Trump has made it plain and been very clear about it, that there aren't gonna be any lobbyists.  He's not going to have the traditional Washington trappings to his administration....

[H]e found out people were doing things he didn't want done and he moved them out and he's replacing them.  What's imploding is the media.... They're already ticked off that Trump went to dinner last night.  Have you heard about this?  Trump ditched the media and went to dinner.  He went to 21.  He had dinner with his family.  Media is outraged.  How dare he leave without telling us.  How dare he leave without taking us....
I've been advising anti-Trumpers to resist over-emotionalism, to be respectful, and to wait for specific policy proposals to object to and protest. I like peace and rationality and hate seeing the losing side in the election freaking out. But Limbaugh thinks the freakout — the "conniption" — is good for Trump. It's a test of whether he's really "draining the swamp." And I would add that disorder looks bad to people on the outside. You may get your protests cranked up and feel that your righteous anger is helping your cause, but don't forget how it looks to the rest of the country, especially people who just saw their side win the election. Don't they deserve the fruits of their victory? I said much the same thing when people here in Madison went wild after Scott Walker took office in 2011. I think the protesters believed they'd pulled off something epic and wonderful, but they were cementing Walker's victory, and 5 years later, the state government is even more firmly in the grip of a Republican majority.

ADDED: Here's the headline at NBC News, which I found very funny: "As Trump Leaves Press Behind for Steak Dinner, Incoming Admin Already Showing Lack of Transparency."

"I came to see if it was true, that there really was a penis museum in Reykjavik...."

The museum started in 1980, with 13 specimens, nine from land mammals and four from whales.
Within a decade, that number had grown to 34.

But it was years before the museum got its hands on a human specimen, sent in by a 96-year-old Icelandic donor who was worried his manhood would shrink as he got older, Sigurdsson says.
I think that means the donor died first.

Iceland... shrinkage... there's a joke wanting to happen.

"Upworthy showed everyone that you get more pageviews with two-sentence headlines. What happened next will blow your mind."

From a Facebook discussion of the Slate article titled "Republicans Stole the Supreme Court/Democrats, don’t let them get away with it."

"Clinton believed her major appeal was her gender. She also counted on women to be offended by Trump’s misogyny."

"But it turns out 'woman' isn’t much of an identity – or even basis for solidarity – in itself," writes Liza Featherstone in The Guardian.
[N]ot only did Trump carry white women, so did Romney in 2012, McCain in 2008 and Bush in 2004. Presumably, many white women have conservative views, whether on taxes or abortion, and neither Trump’s misogyny nor Clinton’s anatomy could override those commitments.

Trump also appealed to many women who feared downward mobility and poverty, winning a majority of women without college degrees, as well as rural women. He denounced the trade deals that they felt had wrecked their economies, and vowed to create jobs by rebuilding America’s decaying infrastructure. Meanwhile, Clinton partied with her funders in the Hamptons. She represented an out-of-touch elite, and many women felt that deeply and resented her – or simply didn’t care about her campaign....

Feminism has to mature beyond childish appeals to female unity, and recognize our many differences. It’s not the first time we’ve had to learn this lesson, but perhaps the trauma of Trump’s election will finally make it stick.
CORRECTION: I had the wrong name for the author before. The Guardian confused me with its layout, showing another name right beside the article.

How can this be called stalking or trolling?

One Instagramming woman — with 700,000 followers — has photographed  herself in beautiful places around the world and another woman went to the same places and photographed herself in similar clothes in the same places:
Diana only has about 3,600 Instagram followers — and has since deleted all her posts and made her account private — but Bullen provided side-by-side screengrabs of several of the most egregious copies. It quickly becomes apparent that this is the Single White Female remake for the Instagram era.

Not only are the outfits similar, but Diana has also taken the time and spent the money required fly all over the world — from the Greek islands to the Sahara Desert — to troll her more famous counterpart, which is some real dedication to her cause, whatever that cause may be....
Isn't the point of travel writing and photography to persuade the reader to travel to the same places and see these sights for yourself? Travelers often stand in front of the same beautiful views and take very similar photographs. It seems as though Bullen's gripe is that her persuasion through photographs has been very effective.
Bullen wrote that she and Diana had been in contact, explaining, “I believe her word, she is NOT a stalker and this labelling needs to stop, so does the hate messages.” Bullen also claimed that she did not create this story as a publicity stunt and said that Diana was “copying and stealing someone’s art to a ridiculously creepy level.” 
Well, it sure works as a publicity stunt. Thanks for putting that idea in my head. And I would not otherwise have noticed Bullen's website, but it sure is pretty.

I'm not buying the stalking/trolling argument. At some point, you might have copyright infringement, but I'm not opining on where that point is except to say that the travel industry would be screwed if the first person to frame a shot of a scenic place could bar everyone else from taking the same shot.

New York Magazine and its readers make a point of taking pleasure in a group of teenagers shouting "Fuck your father!” at Eric Trump.

"As we reckon with the reality that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States, the nation’s teens have mobilized as well — by roasting Trump’s offspring in public."

"Fuck your father" is despicable harassment, not roasting.
A roast is an event in which a specific individual, a guest of honor, is subjected to good-natured jokes at their expense intended to amuse the event's wider audience.... The implication is that the roastee is able to take the jokes in good humor and not as serious criticism or insult, and it is seen by some as a great honor to be roasted. The individual is surrounded by friends, fans, and well-wishers....
A group of strangers yelling "Fuck your father!" is not good-natured or any kind of honor. There's nothing the slightest bit friendly about it. We're told there were "about eight" of these teenagers, accosting Eric (and his wife) as they crossed a street in NYC. This is ugly and should be condemned, but New York Magazine asks us to take a break from our own suffering (over the outcome of the election) and appreciate it. Vile.

A heated conversation between Glenn Loury and John McWhorter about Donald Trump.

I was going to make a shorter clip, but this just takes off and keeps going. It's a fascinating emotional dynamic, because Loury gets very emotional about how the Trump haters need to calm down and move on and McWhorter stays super-calm justifying the emotional reaction resisting Trump as President.

Glenn Loury talked with me last January
about the Trump phenomenon and was sympathetic enough toward Trump that I pressed him about whether he might be a closet Trump supporter. He said "I'm excited and amused by the possibility," but then made it very clear in the comments to my post: "I AM NOT A (CLOSETED) DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER!!"

ADDED: Okay, here's a very sharp clip, just a few seconds:

"And whether this man is a sexual predator? Come on. That's hyperbolic language that I think... was not even well-suited for the campaign. It lost Hillary Clinton the campaign. People decided they weren't going to be led around by the nose by a bunch of moralizing hypocrites, who sneer and throw labels around. They decided to vote for what they took to be their interests."

Trump's speech would look a lot more coherent if the transcripts were properly punctuated.

I was watching Bill Maher's show last Friday, and was struck by this mockery of Trump:
BILL MAHER: I have seen this guy change his position from the beginning to the end of a sentence.

DAVID AXELROD: With no punctuation.
That got a big laugh, but what does it mean to say that spoken word lacks punctuation? Unless you're Victor Borge, you don't voice the punctuation. Occasionally, people say "period" to stress a sentence, but the great bulk of what we say has no punctuation. Only when words are written down does punctuation enter the picture.

Sidetrack: Punctuation had to be invented, and early written word was not punctuated. Greeks and Romans got some punctuation ideas and experiment, but the serious work in punctuation came with the spread of Christianity:
Whereas pagans had always passed along their traditions and culture by word of mouth, Christians preferred to write down their psalms and gospels to better spread the word of God. Books became an integral part of the Christian identity, acquiring decorative letters and paragraph marks (Γ, ¢, 7, ¶ and others), and many were lavishly illustrated with gold leaf and intricate paintings.

As it spread across Europe, Christianity embraced writing and rejuvenated punctuation. In the 6th Century, Christian writers began to punctuate their own works long before readers got their hands on them in order to protect their original meaning. Later, in the 7th Century, Isidore of Seville (first an archbishop and later beatified to become a saint, though sadly not for his services to punctuation) described an updated version of Aristophanes’ system in which he rearranged the dots in order of height to indicate short (.), medium (·) and long (·) pauses respectively....
Much more at the link, which goes to a article.

Punctuation developed out of the idea of preserving the meaning that a speaker would naturally convey if he were speaking from his own thoughts. And, of course, that is what Trump has been doing as he has successfully reached the minds even of "poorly educated" people as he speaks extemporaneously, tumbling out phrases, often inserting ideas inside ideas.

But the transcripts! Some speakers might end up looking clear and coherent in a verbatim transcript cranked out with no intelligent effort at punctuation, but Trump has all these phrases within phrases. The transcripts make the speaking look like a mess — changing his position from the beginning to the end of a sentence as Maher put it and with no punctuation as Axelrod quipped fancifully but aptly. Or... I should say: Axelrod's quip is aptly applied to the transcript but not to the live speaking, which does have the voiced quality that good punctuation would capture — at least in the ears of a sympathetic listener. If you don't like Trump, when you hear him speak, you might think Ugh! Word salad!

Hey, but salad can be good, even salad that's not salade composée. Sophisticated people are supposed to understand recursion:
In linguistics, the core application of recursion is phrase embedding. Chomsky posits an operation, unbounded Merge, that recursively merges words to create larger phrases. For example, given, “Jane said Janice thought June was tired and emotional,” merge would construct something like: {Jane, {said, {Janice, {thought, {June, {was, {tired and emotional}}}}}}}. In Chomsky's view, the evolution of unbounded Merge is the genesis of language:
Within some small group from which we are descended, a rewiring of the brain took place in some individual, call him Prometheus, yielding the operation of unbounded Merge, applying to concepts with intricate (and little understood) properties … Prometheus's language provides him with an infinite array of structured expressions. (Chomsky, 2010)
Wouldn't it be a kick in the head if Trump's rhetoric is the leading edge of evolution?

We are going somewhere, and social media is affecting our brains. Trump is a master of social media, perhaps the greatest master of social media the world has ever seen. The man leaped over traditional media, stodgily written, to wow us — some of us! — with a combination of tweeting and old-time blabbermouth rallies. It's too late to cower in fear of schizophasia (AKA word salad).

Stop scoffing at the mess of a transcript and start visualizing the missing punctuation. Yesterday, I was blogging about how the internet and social media were restructuring our brains and how I'd said, before the election, that "Trump may seem weird by old standards" but that he deserves credit for figuring out how to speak in this new culture that has emerged.

In the comments, prompted by gadfly, wildswan took a transcription of Trump speech that Slate had presented as "Help Us Diagram This Sentence by Donald Trump!"
Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you're a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what's going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what's going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it's all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don't, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.
Wildswan wrote it this way (intending some additional indenting that didn't show up on publication):
My uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT;
good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart,
the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—

You know, if you’re a conservative Republican,
if I were a liberal, if, like,
OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat,
they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—

it’s true!—

When you're a conservative Republican
they try— oh, do

They do a number—
That’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—

You know I have to give my, like, credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged— but

You look at the nuclear deal. The thing that really bothers me [is that]
—it would have been so easy, and

[The nuclear deal is not] as important [to us] as these lives are.

Nuclear is powerful;
my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and
that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what's going
to happen and he was right—who would have thought?),

But when you look at what's going on with the four prisoners—
now it used to be three, now it’s four—
but when it was three
and even now,

I would have said
It's all in the messenger, fellas.
and it is fellas because,
you know, they don't, they haven’t figured
that the women are smarter right now than the men, so,
you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but

The Persians are great negotiators; the Iranians are great negotiators;
so, and they, they just killed,
They just killed us.
Wildswan said:
So this is how I would diagram what Trump said. When he was speaking he puts in verbal cues that he is making a digression, making a joke, going back to the point. I've heard him speak and he is perfectly clear. As here: For thirty years the incredible power of nuclear weapons has been clear to me since it was explained by an MIT professor. (People say the conservative Republican are stupid whereas if I had run as a Democrat they would be saying I'm the smartest person in the world as Valerie Jarret said about Obama. It would happen!! But being a Republican, I have to explain credentials over and over as I just did.) Anyhow I know this about the nuclear deal (I won't be heard because what gets heard depends on who is saying it) but I know this - we gave the Iranians nuclear power in exchange for four hostages - and that was a bad deal for America.

Now why does Trump throw in all the side comments? I think they make the speech more interesting when you hear it because it resembles inner thought. When I write I strike out side issues but speaking isn't writing and maybe the internet is making speaking more important than writing. Also on the internet you do jump to little informational bits and sidebars.
And let me add this passage from Janet Malcolm's great book "The Journalist and the Murderer":
When we talk with somebody, we are not aware of the strangeness of the language we are speaking. Our ear takes it in as English, and only if we see it transcribed verbatim do we realize that it is a kind of foreign tongue. What the tape recorder has revealed about human speech — that Molière’s M. Jourdain was mistaken: we do not, after all, speak in prose — is something like what the nineteenth-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies revealed about animal locomotion. Muybridge’s fast camera caught and froze positions never before seen, and demonstrated that artists throughout art history had been “wrong” in their renderings of horses (among other animals) in motion. Contemporary artists, at first upset by Muybridge’s discoveries, soon regained their equanimity, and continued to render what the eye, rather than the camera, sees. Similarly, novelists of our tape-recorder era have continued to write dialogue in English rather than in tape-recorderese, and most journalists who work with a tape recorder use the transcript of an extended interview merely as an aid to memory—as a sort of second chance at note-taking—rather than as a text for quotation. The transcript is not a finished version, but a kind of rough draft of expression. As everyone who has studied transcripts of tape-recorded speech knows, we all seem to be extremely reluctant to come right out and say what we mean—thus the bizarre syntax, the hesitations, the circumlocutions, the repetitions, the contradictions, the lacunae in almost every non-sentence we speak. The tape recorder has opened up a sort of underwater world of linguistic phenomena whose Cousteaus are as yet unknown to the general public.
I've quoted that on this blog before. Back in 2012 — before Trump became a candidate — I said:
Now, I think some people do speak in unbroken, well-structured sentences that are free of grammatical errors that could be transcribed directly into excellent writing, but I don't think those stuck listening to them are very happy with it. We need the backtracking and disfluencies to feel comfortable.

Similarly, most good writers "hear" their words and think about them as if they were speech — it feels speech-like as you go along — but it's actually different from speech.

I'd tend to be suspicious of anyone who seemed to be trying too hard to speak like writing or to write like speaking. I'd wonder what's up? What's the motivation? A speaker who strains to sound like writing might have an inferiority complex or a pompous, arrogant nature. A writer who affects an overly speech-like style may be padding or talking down to us.
A speaker who strains to sound like writing might have an inferiority complex or a pompous, arrogant nature. So maybe I should deduce that Trump does not have an inferiority complex or a pompous, arrogant nature. Oh, but his haters sure think he does. I'm just saying the man is going to be President. Your snorting about his character and coherence have gotten, suddenly, very old.

How can you get up to speed? Sit down with a Trump transcript and engage in the meditation practice called Punctuation.

"Fear has won. We are all scared."

Writes Maajid Nawaz at The Daily Beast in "Keith Ellison Is a Muslim—and the Man to Lead the Democrats Into the Future/The Democratic Party leadership needs to learn from Hillary’s flop and Bernie’s message. One man stands out as the voice of tomorrow."
Fear has won. We are all scared. But as this mourning process moves from denial, to grief, and on to acceptance, we liberals, not just in the United States, but globally, must begin to consider how to regroup, reform, and resurrect.

That resurrection cannot come without a realization that the Democratic Party establishment has had its day. They blew it, big time....
Fear has won. We are all scared.

Remember when Democrats used to say ""The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"?

Was that only for when a Democrat got elected? When a Republican gets elected... go for full-out fear-mongering.

And, I know. I'm sure Nawaz would contend that it's Trump who scared everyone, and the anti-Trumpers are simply observing all the fear that he created. FDR, likewise, saw that fear existed and sought to do something about it. He didn't deny that there was fear, and he even stirred up fear, one particular variety of fear: the fear of fear.

IN THE COMMENTS: Larry J said:
I know something of fear. Back in 1976, I was a young paratrooper getting ready for my 8th jump. Something bad had happened on my previous jump. I narrowly avoided being seriously injured. Now, waiting for my next jump, my imagination kicked into hyperdrive. We boarded the plane and climbed, heading for the drop zone. Soon after the "six minutes" call, we were told to "Stand Up!". We went through the drill. "Hook up." "Check static line." "Check equipment." "Sound off for equipment check." And then we waited. My fear was building on itself and I briefly considered unhooking and sitting down. That would've been the end of me as a paratrooper. I looked ahead to the door and saw my battalion commander was at the head of the line. He was eager to go. In that, he taught me the true meaning of leadership. He got me to do more than I thought I was capable of doing. The green light came on, the jumpmaster gave the order, and we all went out the door. Once outside, it was fun again.

Fear builds on itself if you let it. You have to be its master or it will dominate you. Perhaps some of those snowflakes truly are afraid of Trump. Perhaps they've believed the exaggerations and created some of their own, letting their fear build like compound interest. They can give in to their fears or they can learn to face them. Of course, there are those who benefit from sowing fear in others. Whether it's the latest doomsday prophesy or, as in this case, fear mongering to gain political power, they're the arsonists lighting fear's fires. What you do with them is up to you. 

At the top of the NYT this morning: Fanciful maps depicting 2 Americas — a GOP-majority America as a landmass with lakes and seas in places that voted majority Democratic...

... and a Democratic-majority America that is a collection of big and small islands in the waters of GOP-voting places with names like Old Glacier Gulf, High Plains Sea, and Great American Ocean.

On the first map, I'm in Madison Lake, and in the second, I'm on an island they didn't bother to label with a name. Madison Island, I presume.

The text around these elaborate maps begins: "For many Americans, it feels as if the 2016 election split the country in two. To visualize this, we took the election results and created two new imaginary nations by slicing the country along the sharp divide between Republican and Democratic Americas."

Well, that's not how it feels in Madison. The 2016 election didn't do that to us. We've been proudly envisioning Madison as its own special island since at least 1978, when the Republican Lee S. Dreyfus,  running for governor, called Madison "30 square miles surrounded by reality.” Dreyfus, who won, didn't mean it as a compliment, but Madsonians loved the phrase, and in 2013, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin proposed it as the city's official motto — with a slight update —  "77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality."
“It’s a statement about who we are,” he said.

The decision will probably take a series of meetings, Soglin said, seemingly half joking and half serious.

“This is Madison.”
It almost became the official motto, failing in the City Council by a vote of 10-9. Some people thought it might be perceived as an insult, but Soglin and many others thought it was quite positive in a self-deprecating, hip way.

In January 2015, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker used the familiar Wisconsin phrase in a jab at Washington DC:
"For a lot of folks here in our nation's capital in Washington it's kind of a dome.... In fact, I like to call it 68 square miles surrounded by reality.... What I see in the states and from people in this country outside of Washington is a craving for something new, something fresh, something dynamic, instead of the top-down, government-knows-best approach that we’ve seen in Washington."
I don't think Walker was imagining Trump as the way the people would satisfy that craving for "something fresh, something dynamic," but you can see in Walker's words a description of "this country" that corresponds to the NYT's first map, the one with 80% of the landmass. We here in Madison had long taken ourselves out of that mass. We were happy and willing to locate ourselves outside of reality. The NYT can portray us as a big lake, but that would never be our self-image, because we are a city of full of lakes. We saw ourselves as not even here at all, unreal.

That's what I've lived around for the last 3 decades. But, you know, there were still 23% of us in this county (Dane County) who voted for Donald Trump. And I bet there are few counties that were more skewed than that. So lefties and righties do live together. You have to choose to want to think of America as 2 countries. You can choose unreal if it suits your post-election freakout needs. It's a free country. A country called the United States.

November 15, 2016

"This interactive lets you play with the balance of power between the two parties by shifting the loyalties of the twelve groups."

"This year, when Pew Research collected its data, forty-eight per cent of voters identified as Democrats, and forty-four per cent identified as Republicans. As you move a group’s slider in either direction, you will see each party’s share of the electorate change. Winning coalitions are fragile—internal squabbles among groups are almost inevitable. That gives the opposing party an opportunity to woo disaffected voters. But bear in mind that, in order to achieve gains with a group, you may have to take positions that will alienate others. As you move the groups around, the interactive will point out any incompatibilities in your coalitions."

From "HOW TO SAVE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY/With this interactive, change voters’ political loyalties to build a winning coalition" (in The New Yorker).

"We have grown very used to the idea of time travel... Although it feels like it’s been around forever, it isn’t an ancient archetypal story but a newborn myth..."

"... created by H.G. Wells in his 1895 novel The Time Machine. To put it another way, time travel is two years older than Dracula, and eight years younger than Sherlock Holmes. The very term 'time travel' is a back-formation from the unnamed principal character of the story, whom Wells calls 'the Time Traveller.' The new idea caught on so quickly that it was appearing in the Oxford English Dictionary by 1914. Wells is described by Gleick as 'a thoroughly modern man, a believer in socialism, free love, and bicycles.' He was a serious thinker in his own way, forceful and coarse-grained, but the invention of the time machine wasn’t one of his deep philosophical conceptions. It was instead a narrative device for a story with two cruxes, one of them political-philosophical and the other imaginative. Its main argumentative point comes when Wells travels to the far future and finds that humanity has evolved into two different species, the brutish, underground-dwelling Morlocks and the etiolated, effete, surface-living Eloi. This, Wells implies, is what could happen if current trends toward inequality continue unchecked...."

From "Can We Escape from Time?" by John Lanchester in The New York Review of Books.

The book reviewed is "Time Travel: A History," by James Gleick. (Gleick wrote "Chaos: Making a New Science." Maybe you read that.)

"Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Republican government" — said Paul Ryan, as he is chosen, once again, to serve as Speaker of the House.

"It feels really good to say that, actually. This will be a government focused on turning President-elect Trump’s victory into real progress for the American people. Our team is very excited, and we cannot wait to get to work."

What I said 2 months before the election about understanding what Trump is doing.

I found it interesting to listen to this again. I was taking Trump seriously and trying to understand how he was speaking to us:

After the election, I really notice the urgency in my voice, begging people to look closely and figure out what is going on. Partial transcript:
Before the election happens, we should try to step up to the challenge of seeing what is happening to us... America really is going through a transition, we're becoming different, our minds are changing [through the internet and social media]. And Trump may seem weird by old standards, but he has some place within what is becoming the new culture that we're in, and we ought to have some sensitivity and perception about noticing what it is and operating successfully within it.... And I think [Trump] deserves credit for perceiving that there was something that could be done and putting it together... on the fly as a complete newcomer. People don't want to give him credit, and an awful lot of people in the elite are... calling him stupid or racist, and I just think, we're going to be looking back on this, especially if he wins, which he could.... [What Trump says and the way it's paraphrased and understood and misunderstood] is very fluid and dynamic, and you have to not jump to a conclusion but go back into the actual texts that are there and try to figure out what happened. I don't think people are doing that enough, and I feel like the election is going to pass, and if he wins, we'll have to look back for the rest of our lives.

Trump chaos... as told by the NYT.

I don't trust the NYT to tell the story straight, so I'm picking my way "Trump Staff Shake-Up Slows Transition to Near Halt" looking for bits of real news and cherry picking evidence of bias:
President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition operation plunged into disarray on Tuesday with the abrupt resignation of Mike Rogers, who had handled national security matters....

An aide to Mr. Trump’s transition team who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal matters said that the delay was taking place because the wording of [a legal document required to conduct the transition] was being altered and updated, and that it was likely to be signed later Tuesday.

Still, the slow and uncertain start to what is normally a rapid and meticulously planned transfer of power could have profound implications for Mr. Trump’s nascent administration, challenging the efforts of the president-elect to gain control of the federal bureaucracy and begin building a staff fully briefed on what he will face in the Oval Office on Day 1.

The chaos caught the attention of some senior Republicans who criticized Mr. Trump during his campaign but said after he won that they would not necessarily rule out joining his administration or advising him....

The turmoil at the highest levels of his staff upended months of planning and preparation for a process that many describe as drinking from a fire hose even in the most orderly of circumstance....
So... Rogers left and they're finishing that legal document. But: disarray, chaos, turmoil...

I'm utterly jaded by the emotive prose from the NYT. 

By the way, who is Mike Rogers? Here's Bret Baier and panelist Laura Ingraham talking about him on November 11th:
"Here's a candidate [Trump] who ran in part on the Benghazi issue. You've got the 13 Hours guys that endorsed Donald Trump. And you've got a guy running your national security transition that comes under fire from conservatives over Benghazi," Baier said.

"The 13 Hours guys were infuriated, fuming when that report came out, because the report basically called their integrity into question—said that these heroes were doing it just to sell a book," Ingraham added.
Watch the video at that link. If you're a Trump supporter, I don't think you'll feel bad losing Mike Rogers.

What are people reading at The Washington Post?

It's a diet designed to fuel the Trump freakout:

That's in the sidebar as I read the item that's ranked at #2. I'm amazed at how much space they gave to that Biden internet meme. Some of the examples are sort of yummy junk food, but how much of that stuff are you going to eat?

"Though we realize that some members of our university community may be inspired by quotes from Jefferson..."

"... we hope to bring to light that many of us are deeply offended by attempts of the administration to guide our moral behavior through their use.... We would like for our administration to understand that although some members of this community may have come to this university because of Thomas Jefferson’s legacy, others of us came here in spite of it.... For many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotations in these e-mails undermines the message of unity, equality and civility that you are attempting to convey."

Letter to the University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan. Signed by 469 faculty members and students.

Sullivan's response is a wan disclaimer:
Quoting Jefferson (or any historical figure) does not imply an endorsement of all the social structures and beliefs of his time, such as slavery and the exclusion of women and people of color from the university.
Good luck fending off the critics with that kind of thing. You could quote Hitler and say that, and Sullivan's parenthetical shows she's perfectly aware of the weakness of her defense, which is no defense at all.

Charlie Hebdo addresses the American election.

"Obama — an ordinary citizen once again."

IN THE COMMENTS: Mid-Life Lawyer said:
Thanks to Obama led leftist agitators, this probably is the impression of the USA that many citizens of other countries have of us. 

"It’s a great form of communication... a tremendous form... I have a method of fighting back.... So it’s a modern form of communication. There should be nothing you should be ashamed of. It’s — it’s where it’s at."

Said Donald Trump, speaking about social media — "Facebook and Twitter and I guess Instagram" — to Lesley Stahl on "60 Minutes" the other day. She was probing into whether he's going to give it up once he's President, and his answer is that it's a way to easily reach 28 million people. That would be "very tough" to give up, but he's "going to do very restrained, if I use it at all, I’m going to do very restrained."

I like that Trumpism — "to do very restrained." Ordinarily, in English, we'd say "to be very restrained." But he's a doer. "Do" should get an adverb, not an adjective ("restrained"), so it's technically grammatically wrong.

But "do" is perhaps his "be," and "be" gets an adjective. See? I'm doing very pedantic. Hope you like it. I'm not ashamed. There should be nothing you should be ashamed of. Yikes! What a concept! No shame. No more shame. Do — and don't regret. Trump doesn't do regretful.

But the reason I'm writing this post — doing this modern form of communication — is because of the phrase "It’s where it’s at."

That's a real 1960s phrase — right in there with "Do your own thing" and "Let it all hang out." How much 1960s is in the mind of Trump? I only know what's in the mind of Althouse, and "It's where it's at" screams 60s to me.

If you're younger, maybe you know it from this highly honored 1996 recording by Beck:

But Beck's source for the phrase was from 1969, an educational recording titled "Sex for Teens: (Where It's At)," which you can listen to here.

I listened. Very sincere and thus very funny.

"Where It's At" was the title of a British TV show. The Beatles used it to present "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" to the world:
KENNY [Radio personality Kenny Everett]: "What do you think of this new LP? It's a bit strange compared to the others. Would you term it 'Psycho-Deeelic'?"

RINGO: "Only if you want to think of it as psycho-deeelic."

JOHN: "Now we'd like to play you one. It's a sad little song. (pause) Where's it gone?"

PAUL: (giggles)

JOHN: "Oh, this is it, yeah. Picture yourself on an old-fashioned elephant. Lucy in the sky for everyone, now."
The best use of "where it's at" is, I think, from Bob Dylan, in that most Bob Dylan of Bob Dylan songs, "Like a Rolling Stone." Forget the old-fashioned elephant. Bring on the chrome horse:
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal
I call out to Meade, and he points out that he already texted me what is to him the better Bob Dylan usage of "where it's at," "Positively 4th Street":
You say you lost your faith
But that’s not where it’s at
You had no faith to lose
And you know it
You're probably wondering by now whether the 60s and Bob Dylan and The Beatles are where it's at and, to put it another way, whether the Althouse blog is where it's at. Or maybe is Trump where it's at. But we're all here on social media, and Trump says it's where it's at.