January 28, 2017

The extremely wealthy survivalists of Silicon Valley and New York City.

Described at length by Evan Osnos in The New Yorker.
Tim Chang, a forty-four-year-old managing director at Mayfield Fund, a venture-capital firm, told me, “There’s a bunch of us in the Valley. We meet up and have these financial-hacking dinners and talk about backup plans people are doing. It runs the gamut from a lot of people stocking up on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, to figuring out how to get second passports if they need it, to having vacation homes in other countries that could be escape havens.”... He told me, “I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.’ ”...

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and a prominent investor, recalls telling a friend that he was thinking of visiting New Zealand. “Oh, are you going to get apocalypse insurance?” the friend asked. “I’m, like, Huh?” Hoffman told me. New Zealand, he discovered, is a favored refuge in the event of a cataclysm. Hoffman said, “Saying you’re ‘buying a house in New Zealand’ is kind of a wink, wink, say no more. Once you’ve done the Masonic handshake, they’ll be, like, ‘Oh, you know, I have a broker who sells old ICBM silos, and they’re nuclear-hardened, and they kind of look like they would be interesting to live in.’...

The original silo of [Larry Hall's Survival Condo Project] was built by the Army Corps of Engineers to withstand a nuclear strike. The interior can support a total of seventy-five people. It has enough food and fuel for five years off the grid; by raising tilapia in fish tanks, and hydroponic vegetables under grow lamps, with renewable power, it could function indefinitely, Hall said. In a crisis, his swat-team-style trucks (“the Pit-Bull VX, armored up to fifty-calibre”) will pick up any owner within four hundred miles....

"Where I think political correctness got in the way of what we all knew as reporters and didn’t fully deliver was how hated the Clintons were in the heartland."

"And I think it was a fear of, 'Oh, is it going to look like it’s sexist, anti-woman if we say that?'... I think we underplayed it a little bit out of political correctness fears... No member of the press corps wants to look like they’re singling out a group and making a group feel bad.... If we sort of were straight-up honest and blunt about hey do we understand the level of hatred that’s out there and you know, all the Hillary for Prison signs that are out there, we certainly would have at least made the viewer know, hey, you know, she’s not well-liked in some places in this country in ways that’s times 10 when it comes to Trump.... What do I think we did wrong in this election? The biggest thing is we didn’t tell the stories of all Americans. We told the stories of coastal Americans. And ultimately, that’s like the larger trust issue. We were more likely to do a story about the Dreamer that might get deported with new policies than we were about the 19-year-old opioid addict who feels hopeless in Rolla, Missouri. And, I’m not, I don’t pick on Rolla, Missouri, it’s, my point is that we just, we did not equally tell those stories very well, right, and, we were not, that is an out-of-touch issue."

Said Chuck Todd.

"I don’t consider myself a feminist. I think my generation isn’t a big fan of labels. My favorite label is mommy."

"I feel like the feminist movement has been hijacked by the pro-abortion movement or the anti-male sentiments that you read in some of their propaganda and writings. I’m not anti-male. One does not need to be pro-female and call yourself a feminist, when with it comes that whole anti-male culture where we want young boys to sit down and shut up in the classroom. And we have all of these commercials that show what a feckless boob the man in the house is. That’s not the way I see the men in my life, most especially my 12-year-old son. I consider myself a postfeminist. I consider myself one of those women who is a product of her choices, not a victim of her circumstances."

Said Kellyanne Conway to The Washington Post.

At Bad Lieutenant's Café...

... fine.


You satisfied?

The NYT view of "Trump’s First Week" — "Misfires, Crossed Wires, and a Satisfied Smile."

This sign over the door says: If you loathe Trump, you will get comfort here. The readership — dwindling? surging? — is offered a safe space. I don't want a safe space. But let's see what's beneath that headline:
If other new occupants of the White House wanted to be judged by their first 100 days in office, President Trump seems intent to be judged by his first 100 hours. No president in modern times, if ever, has started with such a flurry of initiatives on so many fronts in such short order.

The action-oriented approach reflected a businessman’s idea of how government should work: Issue orders and get it done. But while the rapid-fire succession of directives on health care, trade, abortion, the environment, immigration, national security, housing and other areas cheered Americans who want Mr. Trump to shake up Washington, it also revealed a sometimes unruly process that may or may not achieve the goals he has outlined.
That's a fair start. If you like Trump, you can read that as high praise. Imagine if a liberal President entered the White House and got things moving so quickly. The NYT would lavish praise.

What gets counted as "unruly" and potentially ineffective?
Orders were signed without feedback from the agencies they would affect. Policy ideas were floated and then retracted within hours. Meetings and public events were scheduled and then canceled....
I'm pretty sure those who like where Trump seems to be going have no problem with any of that and might even portray it in a positive light. He's not getting bogged down in process...
To get off to a powerful start, Mr. Trump chose speed over process.
... and the process is shaping up as he goes:

The panel of judges in the Wisconsin redistricting case decline the work of doing the new line-drawing.

The Republican-dominated state legislature will have to redraw the lines itself, which the panel had found to be unconstitutional political gerrymandering.
“It is the prerogative of the state to determine the contours of a new map,” the three-judge panel ruled.
That was a significant loss for the plaintiffs, after their win on the merits last fall.
The same three-judge panel ruled in November that Wisconsin’s legislative boundaries are an “unconstitutional partisan gerrymander” that “was intended to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters … by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats.”
And the win on the merits is unlikely to survive Supreme Court review. The state is going to appeal to the Supreme Court, and the jurisdiction statute requires the Court to take the case on appeal directly from the district-level panel. No stop at the 7th Circuit. No petition for certiorari. This will be heard in the Supreme Court — which has never found any redistricting to be unconstitutional political gerrymandering.

This case introduced a new way to measure the equal protection problem in districting, the "efficiency gap" which looks for each party's "wasted votes":
Wasted votes, accrding [sic] to the efficiency gap’s creators, are the number of “lost” votes cast for losing candidates and “surplus” votes for victorious candidates in excess of what they needed to win.
This test helps Democrats overcome the problem of having its voters concentrated in relatively small geographic spaces — that is, cities. It would make an equal protection problem out of a pattern of human behavior. It's basically the same problem Democrats have with the Electoral College: Their voters aren't spread out enough geographically. This is a terrible problem for Democrats, but I can't believe the Supreme Court will inscribe their mathematical fix into constitutional law.

And yet if the case were to go through the current 8-person Court, I think the panel's decision would be affirmed by an equally divided Court. And if Hillary Clinton had won the election and had the Supreme Court appointment to make, the new Democratic-Party-favoring test may very well have become the law.

Should the University of Wisconsin reconsider its policy of doing admissions without looking at the applicant's criminal record?

Yesterday, we learned that a UW-Madison student who'd been trying to start a "pro-white student club" had served prison time for racially motivated arson attacks on black churches. And:
"Chancellor Rebecca Blank said the university was not aware of student Daniel L. Dropik’s conviction when he was admitted to UW-Madison because the university is barred from asking about or considering an applicant’s criminal history."
So is it a bad policy? Blank asked the UW Regents to reconsider the policy, and the student government came out with a statement against her:
The statement from members of the Associated Students of Madison also repeated concerns UW administrators have not done enough to address racism on campus....
It's a crash in the racism intersection. The student that prompted the call for reconsideration was white, with a criminal record of anti-black racism, but the policy is designed to help minority applicants:

"Ms. Marnell turned the tropes of women’s magazine writing upside down, with stories like 'The Art of Crack-tractiveness: How to Look and Feel Hot on No Sleep'..."

"... which offered tips like 'Brush your teeth!' along with a how-to guide to real beauty products for fellow partyers who might, like Ms. Marnell, have spent the night in a warehouse, as she wrote, with a 'bunch of U.K. dustheads for five straight hours.' It was irresistible, and also appalling, and the internet tied itself up in knots debating Ms. Marnell’s honesty, talent, authenticity and narcissism, along with the exploitative and enabling behavior of her many bosses. Naturally, she got a book deal and a half-million dollar advance from Simon & Schuster."

From a NYT piece, "Cat Marnell, a Former Beauty Editor, on Her New Addiction Memoir."

There's a big interview with the woman, whose "hair fell out a few years ago." (She has many wigs.) She was smoking furiously and drinking a lot of coffee, then switching to wine.
I’ve just finished reading your book, which is harrowing, so I’m a little shaken.

Dude, that was four years ago. I have everything now but hair, though I’m not in recovery and I’m not clean. People are like, “Is it so brave to tell everything?” I’m like, “No.” For me, being brave would be being in a program and getting clean, instead of “I found a way to talk about my problems ad nauseam and somehow get paid for it.” Not that I want to reduce what I’ve accomplished. I want to say good things.
The interviewer is female, by the way. Penelope Green.

Here's the book: "How to Murder Your Life."

She does have an amusing writing style. You might think only other addicts would want to read about excessive drug use, but I think it all depends on the quality of the writing. You don't have to be an addict to like reading "Naked Lunch" and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." But that's the male addict point of view and set of experiences. Marnell is telling us about being a "party girl" in NYC, loving fashion magazines — "I wanted to huff Anna Wintour" — and all that makeup.

And an obsession with aging:

"We don’t want them here. We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas."

"We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people."

Said Donald Trump, signing an executive order that suspends immigration into the United States from from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

I'm reading the NYT story on the subject, which puts the quote above in the third paragraph and makes it clear that that Trump's "them" refers to "radical Islamic terrorists."

Outside of quotes, the NYT changes the term to "Islamist terrorists." (Based on this Public Editor piece from 2013, I believe the NYT uses the word "Islamist" for those who believe in fusing the religion with governmental power.)

The Times news reports includes 2 serious criticisms of Trump's order. First, the choice of countries:
Announcing his “extreme vetting” plan, the president invoked the specter of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Most of the 19 hijackers on the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pa., were from Saudi Arabia. The rest were from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. None of those countries are on Mr. Trump’s visa ban list.
Second, the charge that it's religious discrimination:
The International Rescue Committee called it “harmful and hasty.” The American Civil Liberties Union described it as a “euphemism for discriminating against Muslims.” Raymond Offensheiser, the president of Oxfam America, said the order would harm families around the world who are threatened by authoritarian governments.
The Times also observed the "irony" that the order issued on International Holocaust Remembrance.

Here is the full text of the order.

January 27, 2017

"For those who don’t have our back — we’re taking names; we will make points to respond to that accordingly."

Said Nikki Haley on her first outing as our U.N. ambassador.

Does Jerry Seinfeld care that some people are pissed at him for tweeting "New! Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. Lewis Black. Black’s life matters"?

He's getting pushback like: "Who's writing your tweets now? The Breitbart humor section staff?" And: "What the f— Jerry."

Jerry is known to hate political correctness and to avoid doing college campuses these days. Who knows? Maybe he wanted to draw fire and get some edgy viral promotion for the new episode. It worked on me! I went right over and watched: here. We laughed a lot. Jerry makes it very clear that he works for the laughs and only for laughs. Black talks about starting out as a playwright and doing the Yale drama program, where theater was all about importance. Jerry found that quite absurd.

"Actually, I'm not as brash as you might think."

I'm reading the transcript from today's press conference with President Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May. I'll put the full transcript below the fold and just highlight one thing:
QUESTION: People are fascinated to know how you're going to get along with each other, you're so different; the hard-working daughter (inaudible), the brash TV extrovert. Have you found anything in common personally yet?

TRUMP: Actually, I'm not as brash as you might think. (LAUGHTER) And I can tell you that I think we're going to get along very well. You know, it's interesting because I am a people person. I think you are also, Theresa. And I can often tell how I get along with somebody very early, and I believe we're going to have a fantastic relationship....

MAY: ... I think we have already struck up a good -- good relationship. But you asked what we had in common. I think if you look at the approach that we're both taking, I mean, one of the things that we have in common is that we want to put the interests of ordinary working people right up there, center stage....
That's not what most of us mean by personal. It may be that the personal is political, but it would be a logical fallacy to think you can just flip that and say the political is personal. But I'm glad they put on a nice show of hitting it off. 

At the Convex Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like.

The photograph is from 2007, explained here.

And remember to consider using The Althouse Amazon Portal when you've got shopping to do.

The NYT detects a "budding bromance" between Elon Musk and Donald Trump.

The article, by James B. Stewart, is "Elon Musk Has Trump’s Ear, and Wall Street Takes Note." Musk had been anti-Trump before the election — or so he said in his public statements (who can know what is in a man's head?).

I absolutely adore the photograph — by Sasha Maslov — that accompanies this article. The unusual color, composition, and mood made me think of Edward Hopper paintings. Musk looks so alone and so pensive. I'd like to give this painting the title "The Man Who Is Not Smoking" (because of the hand positions and the smoke-like reflection in the background).

Now, back to Stewart's article.
[Musk, at a White House meeting,] broached the subject of a carbon tax. Surprisingly, Mr. Trump didn’t reject it out of hand....

Mr. Musk has broached the subject of the nation’s aging electricity transmission grid in conversations with Mr. Trump, according to an insider with knowledge of the discussions.
Trump lets Musk broach. Fine.
It’s still early in the Trump administration, and some (or all) of this may turn out to be wishful thinking by fans of Mr. Musk, Tesla investors, environmentalists and hopeful space colonists.
Hmm. Seems to me Trump is gathering people in. He lets people approach. Approach and broach. Then what?

"Voting Fraud Inquiry? The Investigators Got Burned Last Time."

I'm reading this op-ed in the NYT by Michael Waldman, who is the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. Waldman looks back at efforts by the Justice Department during the Bush II administration. Voter fraud was a priority, and, as Waldman tells it, the failure to bring lawsuits led to firings.
Soon scandal erupted. At one congressional hearing, Attorney General Gonzales answered “I don’t recall” or some variant 64 times. In August 2007, after his top aides quit or had been fired, he resigned.

All this should rattle the new administration.... The president of the United States is peddling conspiracy theories that undermine our democracy for political gain. Lessons from recent history suggest that the ultimate victims of such a witch hunt will be those who pursue it.
Meanwhile, over in The Washington Times, I'm seeing "Trump argument bolstered: Clinton received 800,000 votes from noncitizens, study finds":

"Common stereotypes associate high-level intellectual ability (brilliance, genius, etc.) with men more than women."

"These stereotypes discourage women’s pursuit of many prestigious careers; that is, women are underrepresented in fields whose members cherish brilliance (such as physics and philosophy). Here we show that these stereotypes are endorsed by, and influence the interests of, children as young as 6. Specifically, 6-year-old girls are less likely than boys to believe that members of their gender are 'really, really smart.' Also at age 6, girls begin to avoid activities said to be for children who are 'really, really smart.' These findings suggest that gendered notions of brilliance are acquired early and have an immediate effect on children’s interests."

The abstract for "Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests," published in Science. 

"Everyone seems to be mourning your exit from office... I'm glad you're gone. I'm not delusional — you're not a saint."

"You were a mediocre president with unoriginal ideas.... I thought you would finally right this wrong..."

This wrong = the conviction of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

"You didn't have to pardon him, only commute the sentence. You just had to let him come home. You didn't. You released others, like Chelsea Manning or FALN terrorists, who actually committed reprehensible crimes, but you failed to release an innocent man.... I am shocked at how bitter and full of hate I have become.... I truly thought you were a good person. I guess I was just as brainwashed as everyone else. At least now I can see the blood on your hands."

Wrote Rod Blagojevich's 20-year-old daughter, Amy Blagojevich.

Adding tags to this post, I see I have an old tag Blagosmear on Obama. That goes back to a time when I pictured Blagojevich dragging Obama down. That didn't happen, and I think Obama figured out how to keep Blagojevichishness off of him.

Here's my original "Blagosmear on Obama" post, from December 14, 2008, before Obama even took office. The GOP had put out this video, obviously intended to wreck Obama before he got started:

I'm not surprised Obama never did anything to help Rod Blagojevich. I feel sorry for the man's daughter, but look how her father undercut Obama on the eve of his honeymoon.

IN THE COMMENTS: mccullough said:
Blagojevich's sentence was ridiculously long. Trump should commute to 6.5 years, which is what George Ryan's sentence was. The judge is an asshole who was pissed that Blagojevich got a hung jury on the first trial.
A few comments later, mccullough came back and said:
Trump fired Blagojevich on Celebrity Apprentice. It would be awkward for him to get involved now. So he'll probably get involved.
Ha ha. That made me go look up the old "Apprentice" scene:

Trump does fire him, but he also expresses respect for his tenacity and shakes his hand and wishes him well.

More "Apprentice" with Blagojevich (and Joan Rivers too):

"I'll do anything [PAUSE] legal and ethical and [PAUSE] honest."

50 years ago today: Apollo astronauts Virgil Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee die in a fire that breaks out inside the command module during preflight testing.

"We found the problems. We fixed them. And as a result, the first time we attempted to put astronauts on the moon, and get them back safely, we did. And so, from my perspective, I think that the Apollo 1 crew would be good with that."

Did Donald Trump utter what Ronald Reagan called the "9 most terrifying words in the English language": "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help"?

You might think so from this NYT headline: "‘I’m Here to Help,’ Trump Tells Tech Executives at Meeting."

But if you watch the video — provided at the link — and read the text, you'll see what he said was "I’m here to help you folks do well." And:
“There’s nobody like you in the world,” he enthused. “In the world! There’s nobody like the people in this room.” Anything that the government “can do to help this go along,” he made clear, “we’re going to be there for you.”
Yesterday, there was a much more conspicuous example of the NYT using a deceptively incomplete quote in a headline: "Trump Strategist Stephen Bannon Says Media Should ‘Keep Its Mouth Shut.'" The full quote — which does appear in the article, in the second paragraph — is "The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while."

We discussed that article here, and the commenters observed the problem. Harkin said:

Street art in Brussels: Gigantic and very gory details copied from famous 17th-century paintings onto the outside of building.

One is a gutted, bloody corpse hanging by its feet, painted 7-stories long on an apartment building. The instinct to condemn it outright is modified by the realization that it is a detail from the painting "The Corpses of the De Witt Brothers" which is on display in the Rijksmuseum.*

A stealthy anonymous artist accomplished the work "on a few bitterly cold nights in Brussels while dangling down a rope and staying out of sight of authorities."
The mural depicting a lynched De Witt brother can be seen far and wide, including by hundreds of thousands of commuters on Belgium's busiest stretch of railway.

Many art insiders suspect the painter behind the murals is the same one who created huge frescoes of human genitalia a few months ago....

"The artist is trying to give the public an answer to all of these people talking in the press," about the genital murals, [said  Bjorn Van Poucke, curator of the Crystal Ship, a major European street art festival on the Belgian coast]. "So he actually says with these last two works that if you still think these are shocking, please be aware that it is inspired by two historical paintings over 400 years old."...

"Some people say, 'Yeah, it really has to stay,' but then you ask them 'What would you think if you had the same violent image in front of the school of your children or in front of the bedroom of your children?' and they say "Ooh, I would not like it,'" [said  Brussels alderwoman Ans Persoons]. "And that makes it interesting art."
The current political solution is to leave the artwork where it is.


* "The ultimate humiliation: the nude, flayed corpses of Johan and Cornelis de Witt on public display in the Groene Zoodje, the execution ground on the Vijverberg in the middle of The Hague. On 20 August 1672 they were assassinated by their political opponents. Johan had been the most powerful man in the Republic for close to twenty years, steadfastly supported by his brother Cornelis. But they were held responsible for everything that went wrong in the year 1672, known as the ‘Year of Disaster.'"

"A UW-Madison student seeking to start what he calls a 'pro-white student club' was convicted in 2005 of setting fires at predominantly black churches in a racially motivated arson attack...."

"Chancellor Rebecca Blank said the university was not aware of student Daniel L. Dropik’s conviction when he was admitted to UW-Madison because the university is barred from asking about or considering an applicant’s criminal history."

ADDED: The link above goes to our local paper. Now, I see The Washington Post has picked up the story.

"Sorry to offend the black-stretch-pants women of America with a little color."

Said Kellyanne Conway, responding to all the snark about her Inauguration Day getup.

Her response doesn't at all deal with what weirded people out about the costume. And she took an unnecessary swipe at all the ordinary women who resort to black stretch pants to ease and simplify their lives.

ADDED: For completely the opposite of black stretch pants and Kellyanne's regalia, look at the Guo Pei Spring 2017 Couture Collection. Scroll all the way through before fixing on an opinion. I began completely dubious but ended as a true believer.

AND: When she picked out her clothes, Kellyanne had to know that she was giving everyone — haters and lovers and all in between — a big opportunity for some great snarky fun. She's in on the fun, even with quoted insult above (which doesn't work too well because it's not aimed squarely at the pop culture elite, since black stretch pants are a go-to choice for all sorts of women).

January 26, 2017

"A University of Wisconsin-Madison professor has apologized after showing a picture in class on Monday that showed a black woman above the word 'animals.'"

How does something like that happen?!
Professor Caitilyn Allen, who teaches the Plant pathology and Botany 123... [t]he image was shown during a class discussion on the Irish potato famine, caused by an oomycete organism. The rough tree-of-life diagram included images of bacteria, fungi, plants, animals and oomycetes. Allen said she attempted to use an image of an African woman farmer to illustrate the animal kingdom....

"I explained that too often, scientific images represent all humanity as a white male, and I wanted to give a more representative image, and especially to use a farmer because this class is about agriculture," she said....

"I told my class that it was a mistake to use that image because in addition to my intended inclusive biological meaning, the image also communicated a negative social message. This was the idea that women of color are 'animals' (in a derogatory, non-biological sense: less than human). I thanked her and regret this error. The image will be replaced in future version of this lecture. As I told the class this morning, I appreciate their feedback," she said.
But we are animals.

Is it too much to expect that the word "animals" be understood in a "biological sense" in a biological science class?

And I'm sure a teacher who does a slide like that and uses an image of a white man to represent the human animal risks criticism for perpetuating the assumption that the white man is the exemplar of humanity and for rendering women and minorities invisible. 

"The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while."

Said Steve Bannon on the phone with a NYT reporter.
“I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”...

“The elite media got it dead wrong, 100 percent dead wrong,” Mr. Bannon said of the election, calling it “a humiliating defeat that they will never wash away, that will always be there.”

“The mainstream media has not fired or terminated anyone associated with following our campaign,” Mr. Bannon said. “Look at the Twitter feeds of those people: they were outright activists of the Clinton campaign.” (He did not name specific reporters or editors.) “That’s why you have no power,” Mr. Bannon added. “You were humiliated.”...

On the telephone, Mr. Bannon spoke in blunt but calm tones, peppered with a dose of profanities, and humorously referred to himself at one point as “Darth Vader.” He said, with ironic relish, that Mr. Trump was elected by a surge of support from “the working class hobbits and deplorables.”...

"President Trump plans to make Mexico pay for his border wall by imposing a 20 percent tax on all imports into the United States from Mexico...."

"The proposal, which Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said the president discussed privately with congressional Republicans before giving remarks at a party retreat" in Philadelphia....

According to Spicer, the tax would raise $10 billion a year and the total cost of the wall is between $8 billion and $20 billion.

The name I looked for in the tributes to Mary Tyler Moore: Marlo Thomas.

When Mary Tyler Moore died, was she celebrated as a television first having something to do with feminism? You can't say "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" presented a new kind of woman without dealing with the earlier show, "That Girl":
That Girl is an American sitcom that ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971. It starred Marlo Thomas as the title character Ann Marie, an aspiring (but only sporadically employed) actress, who moves from her hometown of Brewster, New York, to try to make it big in New York City. Ann has to take a number of offbeat "temp" jobs to support herself in between her various auditions and bit parts. Ted Bessell played her boyfriend Donald Hollinger, a writer for Newsview Magazine...

That Girl was one of the first sitcoms to focus on a single woman who was not a domestic or living with her parents. Some consider this show the forerunner of the highly successful The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and an early indication of the changing roles of American women in feminist-era America...

At the end of the 1969–1970 season, That Girl was still doing moderately well in the ratings, but after four years Thomas had grown tired of the series and wanted to move on. ABC convinced her to do one more year. In the beginning of the fifth season, Don and Ann became engaged, but they never actually married. The decision to leave the couple engaged at the end of the run was largely the idea of Thomas. She did not want to send a message to young women that marriage was the ultimate goal for them, and she worried that it would have undercut the somewhat feminist message of the show.
"The Mary Tyler Moore Show" did not begin until 1970. Look how similar the opening credits are for the 2 shows:

When I first saw the MTM opening credits I wondered how could they get away with such a rip-off. Also, I think MTM was a throwback to the 1960s and actively old, not new at all. Now, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" turned out to be a great, great show, undoubtedly one of the best shows in the history of television. I just hate to see descriptions of it that give credit for being ahead of its time. It followed "That Girl."

"Still, it is wrong to read Trump’s November victory as an endorsement of his immigration policies."

"In fact, over the course of the 2016 campaign, supporters of both major parties have moved away from supporting a border fence and deportation, the two policies at the heart of Trump’s first executive actions on immigration."

The conclusion of "Trump’s Election Doesn’t Mean Americans Are More Opposed To Immigration" by Dan Hopkins, an associate professor of government at the University of Pennsylvania, writing at FiveThirtyEight. Graphs and polls at the link.

All the sororities at Northwestern reject this transgender man, Adam Davies.

You might expect a transgender woman to seek membership in a sorority. This was a transgender man — a person born with a female body who is living in a male gender identity.
Eighteen-year-old Adam Davies said he was drawn to the tenets of Greek life — philanthropy, bonding and leadership — but that with his changing body he might not feel comfortable living in a fraternity.

So he sought out the sisterhood of a sorority instead.

"I guess I see it on a level that transcends the gender binary," said Davies, of Appleton, Wis....

Just as sororities were established to give women a safe space in a patriarchal system, Davies believes they should now strive to provide that same kind haven to anyone marginalized for not fitting typical gender norms.

"I believe, over time, the gender of these organizations will fade," he said. "I hope."

"The peso is tumbling after Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, says he won't meet with US president Donald Trump."

Business Insider reports.

Trump likes to say you have to be willing to walk away from a deal.

ADDED: The next presidential election in Mexico is in 2018, and the incumbent is not eligible to run. So Nieto has no election to worry about. According to Wikipedia:
Peña Nieto began his term as President with an approval rating of approximately 50%, but the falling value of the Mexican Peso and sluggish economic growth had caused this figure to drop to 35% by 2015. Prone to gaffes, Nieto has also faced several major controversies as President.... According to the Newspaper Reforma, by August 2016, Peña Nieto's approval ratings had dropped to 23% - the lowest for any president since the paper began opinion polling in 1995. The approval decreased more by January 19, 2017, remaining at 12%.
He won the election in 2012 with 38% of the vote.

ADDED: What would Trump do if he — with his art-of-the-deal genius — were in Nieto's position?

"White people walked out of Kuso because it wasn't 50 years a slave, bye hoe."

Tweets Zachary Fox, who worked on the film, which is by the black artist Steven Ellison, AKA Flying Lotus. The film "Kuso" played at Sundance and a lot of people walked out. Presumably these were the same sort of Hollywood glamorous people who talk prettily about wanting to support black filmmakers. But what happens when those filmmakers do not stick to the conspicuously admired dutiful stories about the history of racism in America?
Kuso's official plot synopsis describes a collection of semi-connected short films that chronicle the lives of the mutated men, women and children of Los Angeles, after an earthquake...

Various scenes are said to feature a man having sex with a talking boil on a woman's neck, genital mutilation, and a doctor, played by George Clinton, who keeps a medicinal cockroach in his anus.
One reviewer, explaining the walkouts, said:
"Some folks stuck around after a woman chewed on concrete until her teeth disintegrated, but still peaced out when an alien creature force-yanked a foetus from another woman's womb (accompanied by a Mortal Kombat sound clip: 'Get over here!"), then smoked the tiny corpse."
It sounds awful, but Fox's tweet rang true.

MEANWHILE: A white actress has a scene where she just eats pie and the Sundance people were absolutely fascinated and can't stop talking about it.
... I thought it was oddly suspenseful. Rooney attacks that pie like a cake person, engineering such unusual fork scoops (she stabs the pie at least four times before each bite) that I started to wonder whether the actress had even ever seen a pie before. We all do weird things when dealing with grief, but I was tickled by the fact that Mara's bizarre pie-eating method still managed to leave the crust mostly intact....
And yes, I know, "The Help" had pie... and that was another one of those serious, instructive movies. The black characters were involved with pie in order to teach us a lesson about race in America. Where is the movie that expects us to fixate on a black actress eating pie as a way of revealing something about her deeply individual, personal problems?

The fantasy of shutting up Kellyanne.

Mediaite headline: "There Is Debate Over Whether Networks Should Stop Interviewing Kellyanne Conway Altogether."

That links to this at GQ: "Here’s an Idea: Stop Putting Kellyanne Conway on TV."

Which links to: "Journalists should stop interviewing Kellyanne Conway/Donald Trump's TV-friendly spokesperson just makes everything more confusing, journalism professor Jay Rosen says."
“I don’t think the people interviewing Kellyanne Conway know why they are doing that,” Rosen said.... “The journalistic logic of it is growing dimmer with every interview.”
If you've got to put her on, Rosen says:
“Just be real about it and say, ‘This isn’t actually of journalistic value... It has a different value and that’s why we’re putting it on the air.’ Just don’t pretend that this is a normal interview, with the normal rationale.”
Journalism professionals may want to be the arbiter of normal, but they don't know how to find that place in our mind. They've run so far afield in the last quarter century, and we've built up our resistance to propaganda. Now, you want to be our filter, but we're smoking unfiltereds.

"Contemplating marriage, I gave Carrie a sapphire ring and subsequently in the romance she gave me a Donald Roller Wilson oil painting of a monkey in a blue dress next to a tiny floating pencil..."

"... which I kept for years until it began to frighten my children. One of the most brilliant and hilarious minds of our eon, Carrie would say things like: 'I love tiny babies. When they cry they turn red and look like screaming tomatoes.' OR 'This romance is finished the second you let out even a threep. I’ll be sick for a year.' AND 'You have a jawline, hold your chin up otherwise you look like a tuna.' From then on I would identify myself on the phone as Tuna Neck."

Dan Aykroyd writes about the time he and Carrie Fisher were a pair.

I'm fascinated by the idea of a couple where the man would give the woman a sapphire ring and the woman would give the man a painting of a monkey in a blue dress next to a tiny floating pencil — and it's not the kind of situation where she's not a painter of paintings of things like monkeys in dresses near gravity-defying writing implements but she actually went out and located an artist who did and bought the thing for the man who might have imagined himself a bit individualistic for going with sapphire instead of the diamonds those ordinary men get for their ladies.

I do like the meeting of the minds in blueness — sapphire and monkey dress. 

Here's a Pinterest page of paintings by Donald Roller Wilson. They are quite fabulous. An example:

I can't imagine getting one of these — especially when it was a gift selected by someone you loved — and then getting rid of it because it scared your children. Put it in a room where the children don't go or hang a drapery in front of it to be pulled back when the children are in bed. Wait for the children to grow up. Daughters rescued from nightmares of dubious monkeys.

I'll bet they'd like that painting now.

Mayors of "sanctuary cities" cry out as Trump threatens to withdraw federal funding if they don't abandon their independent ways.

The NYT reports on mayors from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Haven, Syracuse, and Austin.*
“We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status,” Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said at a news conference with other city officials.

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared: “I want to be clear: We’re going to stay a sanctuary city. There is no stranger among us. Whether you’re from Poland or Pakistan, whether you’re from Ireland or India or Israel and whether you’re from Mexico or Moldova, where my grandfather came from, you are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American dream.”
It's part of American federalism that state and local governments set their own agenda and perform their separate functions in their separate ways. Immigration is a matter that belongs to the federal government, but it can't force state and local government to do the work it wants done.

When cities are doing their own work, they don't have to load in tasks assigned by the federal government. They can choose to do so, and they can be tempted to make that choice by conditions imposed on federal spending, but those conditions need to be made clear at the point when the money is offered, so that they do have a choice.

That's the protection for federalism that the Supreme Court has built into its doctrine about the Congress's spending power. Congress is trusted to take account of the interests of state and local government when it attaches conditions to spending, which is why it has to make the conditions clear. You can't sneak up on the local government and trick it into a position where it later figures out the autonomy it has lost.

So I don't see how President Trump can go looking for spending to withdraw to bully local government officials into caving into his new policy agenda. That's not how American federalism in the present-day constitutional law doctrine works, and it's certainly nothing close to what someone who cares about the original understanding of federalism would think proper.


* Is Madison, Wisconsin a "sanctuary city"? No, but the mayor likes to say it is!

A South Koren court rules that a South Korean temple can keep a statue of Buddha that is known to have been stolen from a Japanese temple.

The statue was stolen by South Koreans in 2012...
But a South Korean temple, Buseoksa, which says the Buddha statue was made there in the 14th century, won a court injunction in 2013 preventing its return until it could be determined whether it had originally been brought to Tsushima legitimately.

The statue, of the Buddha in the lotus position, has been in the government’s custody since then, and on Thursday a district court in Daejeon, a city south of Seoul, ruled that it should be given to Buseoksa...

The temple’s chief monk, the Venerable Wonwoo, hailed the ruling as a milestone that should inspire South Koreans to try to bring home what he claimed were 70,000 ancient Korean artifacts that had been looted and brought to Japan.
So... steal things now, bring them back to their place of origin, and the fact of the known recent theft is overridden by the possibility that they were stolen long ago?

It's not quite that easy. There was some evidence that it was stolen — a document inside the statue showed its time and place of origin but not a record of transferring ownership, Japanese pirates were active at the relevant time and place, and there's some burn damage on the statue, possibly caused by pirates. The South Korean judge said that was good enough to rule that the statue belongs to the South Korean temple.

But what happens now? Venerable Wonwoo seems to be openly encouraging South Koreans to swipe their artifacts back from Japan. He's saying there are 70,000 of them. And yet the modern-day thieves still face criminal charges for theft. Buseoksa got to keep this statue. That doesn't mean the men who lifted it from Japan didn't face criminal charges.

I'm sorry, I just got distracted looking back at the story of why O.J. Simpson is in prison. But that happened in Nevada. I have no idea how a South Korean court would analyze such matters, nor do I have a good grasp of the current political sensibilities in South Korea about Japan.

"Read leaked drafts of 4 White House executive orders on Muslim ban, end to DREAMer program, and more."

Vox has "Apparent Trump administration drafts suggest a harsh crackdown on immigrants."

January 25, 2017

At the Snowfall Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like.

(And remember, when you have some shopping to do, consider ysubg the Althouse Amazon Portal — which you can always find in the banner and the top of the sidebar.)

PBS's "Frontline" showed "An examination of the key moments that shaped President-elect Donald Trump."

"Interviews drawn from The Choice 2016 with advisors, business associates and biographers reveal how Trump transformed himself from real estate developer to reality TV star to president."

You can watch the whole thing at the link. We watched it. It's sort of like 2 documentaries edited together, one made by a someone who wanted a glossy, neutralish story of how Trump became President and another by someone with some edge who wanted to bring out the ominous dark side. Almost as if the show is based on sort of an "alternative facts" concept.

Here's the NYT review of the show.
As the program runs through Mr. Trump’s greatest hits — “They’re rapists,” “He’s a war hero because he was captured,” “Blood coming out of her wherever,” “I moved on her like a bitch” — his strategists recall how they believed that each new gaffe would be the one that finally ended his campaign. They do not, however, express any disagreement with his statements, and they describe approvingly how Mr. Trump would “double down” each time he seemed to have crossed another inviolable line.

There is also a Greek chorus of reporters and writers, who recount the fear and surprises of the campaign trail and discuss how Mr. Trump manipulated the news media without getting into how the media allowed itself to be manipulated. Most of them project an air of getting on with it, except for Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker, whose agony in discussing Mr. Trump’s rise is palpable.

"In a perverse twist, Trump may even have run for President as payback for a comedy routine..."

"Obama’s lacerating takedown of him at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner."

From "How Jokes Won the Election/How do you fight an enemy who’s just kidding?" by Emily Nussbaum (in The New Yorker).

Here's video of the "lacerating takedown" (including the unsmiling Trump).

Accidentally skiing off a cliff, falling 150 feet without getting hurt at all, and catching the whole thing on camera.

This is Devin Stratton in the backcountry of the Wasatch Range in Utah.

WaPo story here.
“I immediately thought about my cousin who was [left a] quadrapeligic from a car accident and thought, ‘I’m gonna be paralyzed,’ ” he said Wednesday. “And then when I saw how big the cliff was when I was going over the edge, I thought I was dead for sure.”

“I [prayed] in my head in midair,” Stratton added. “It doesn’t sound like it in the raw footage because I’m cussing. But in my head, I was praying.”

Stratton said when he first hit the ground, it took him a few seconds to realize he was actually alive. He said he then immediately started yelling up to his friend who was skiing behind him to watch out, lest he follow in Stratton’s tracks and fly over the edge, as well.

“I saw him come around and I was relieved that he’s not gonna come land on me and kill us both,” Stratton said of his buddy, who helped him locate a ski he lost in the accident.

Bad Lip Reading at the Inauguration.

"These are the most beautiful phones I’ve ever used in my life... The words just explode in the air."

Trump loves the White House telephones.

According to a NYT article about Trump's life in the White House, which supposedly follows this pattern:
His mornings, he said, are spent as they were in Trump Tower. He rises before 6 a.m., watches television tuned to a cable channel first in the residence, and later in a small dining room in the West Wing, and looks through the morning newspapers: The New York Times, The New York Post and now The Washington Post.

But his meetings now begin at 9 a.m., earlier than they used to, which significantly curtails his television time. Still, Mr. Trump, who does not read books, is able to end his evenings with plenty of television.

In between, Mr. Trump signs executive orders in the Oval Office and has meetings in the West Wing.
 So... he's admiring the telephone and watching a lot of TV. Noted.

It's a funeral, so no laughing....

Goodbye to Mary Tyler Moore.

"But it is amazing that this Texas tornado dislodged the bathtub with the woman in it, lofted into the air..."

"... and then apparently gently laid it back on the ground — with the woman unharmed."

"President Trump reiterated his false claim that at least three million illegal immigrants cast ballots for Hillary Clinton..."

"... calling on Wednesday for an investigation into voter fraud, even though his own legal team has argued that no such fraud occurred," says the NYT.

I disapprove of the use of the phrase "false claim" in a news article. Trump deserves criticism if he is purporting to know things that he does not know, but the NYT is also asserting that it knows something it does not know. Trump's allegation could be true. How can you know for certain without a thorough investigation?

It would be much stronger for the NYT to say that Trump's statement is unsupported and merely a suspicion (a suspicion that supports his political interests).

The obvious reason for choosing to call it a false claim rather than an unsupported claim is that if we actually already know it's false, then no investigation is needed.

So the question is why would the NYT want to take that position? It makes me suspect that they are afraid something will turn up — if not 3 million illegal immigrants* voting, then other voting problems that are damaging to the Democratic Party.

I can see another reason to want to avoid an investigation: If there is an ongoing investigation, it will keep the question of illegal voting in the public eye. The NYT might want to say: There's no significant illegal voting, so let's just move on (or just talk about how dangerously delusional Trump is). But if there is an investigation, it prolongs our attention to the issue, and people's feelings about illegal voting are kept raw. There's no closure.

And there is resonance with other immigration issues. People hearing about the allegation and the investigation may feel stimulated to see the presence of illegal immigrants as a bigger problem than it actually is and they may increase their support for deportations and wall-building. Whatever the investigation eventually shows, those policies are going forward now and depend on public acceptance.

An investigation takes the pressure off Trump. We needn't dwell on whether he got it completely wrong or just alternative-factishly wrong. We can wait to see what the investigation says. And if the investigation says there is no illegal voting, Trump can take credit for finding that out for us (as he took credit for solving the mystery of whether Obama was born in the United States). The investigation, however, is likely to find at least some problems, and the focus can easily shift to those, causing us to forget about the precise allegation that got the investigation started. (I'm thinking about how the Whitewater land deal started Ken Starr's investigation into President Clinton but led to other things that completely distracted us from the question whether anything was corrupt about Whitewater.)

*I would normally avoid using the phrase "illegal immigrants," because I think some people find it offensive, but the NYT used it!

If "Reefer Madness" isn't enough anti-marijuana fun for you, there's this movie...

... about "a young orphan who is trying to pay for her brother's college education," who meets a drug dealer, and runs wild.

"She Shoulda Said No!" is Wikipedia's featured article of the day. I love the poster:

Here's another poster for the same movie (under its alternative titled):

At least her brows are right.

"Esten Ciboro told the court his Bible is 'the only law book that truly matters' and that 'there’s a great deal of strategy in Scripture' that he uses in every facet of his life...."

Ciboro, 28, is on trial along with his father, for imprisoning a 13-year-old relative in their basement and raping her for years.
Last Friday, the court granted the pair’s request to bring a Bible into the courtroom as reference for their defense....

"Dow hits 20,000 for first time ever."

"After weeks of close calls, the Dow made history on Wednesday by blowing past that key level for the first time ever."
The historic milestone leaves the Dow up a stunning 1,667 points since President Donald Trump's victory in November.

The achievement is evidence of how optimistic investors have become about the prospects for the U.S. economy.

The execution-style fatal shooting of a man whose cocaine-dealing sentence was commuted last November by President Obama.

"Demarlon Thomas, 31, was shot and killed on Monday night by a man with an assault-style rifle in Saginaw, Michigan...."
Two masked men with assault-style rifles entered the [federal halfway house] where around two dozen people were staying, Michigan State Police Lt. David Kaiser told local news website MLive.com.

"One person watched over a group of them while another subject located the victim and executed him," Kaiser said, according to the website. "They were looking for this person."...

Thomas was sentenced to 19 years in prison in 2008 for distribution of cocaine after being caught in a three-year federal investigation called "Operation Sunset," aimed at taking down Saginaw's Sunny Side Gang, the website reported.
It must be hard to protect yourself in a halfway house.

A problem with Democrats looking at 2018 and counting on the way the party out of power has, historically, lost ground.

I'm reading the Wisconsin State Journal's report on a memo Senator Tammy Baldwin just sent around to supporters:
The first-term Baldwin, D-Madison, says she’s prepared to have the GOP target on her back. In a memo to supporters Monday, Baldwin campaign manager Scott Spector said she’s “in strong position” to win re-election....

The Baldwin memo notes midterm elections historically favor the party out of power — which, in 2018, will be Democrats.
How will that work this time? The relationship between the GOP and President Trump is too tenuous to lay the usual foundation. With Trump, one might say both parties are out of power.

Expensive dog movie — "A Dog's Purpose" — struggles for its life in the roiling waters of public opinion...

... after a video leaked out of one of the stunt dogs resisting pressure to serve his purpose of playing the role of a dog willingly leaping into roiling waters to save a human life.
Dennis Quaid, one of the stars of the film, said on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Monday that “the video does not tell the entire story,” and that the animals “were treated with the greatest respect and care and compassion.”...
The kind of people who would be interested in this movie are the kind of people who will feel they need to avoid it if they've heard the story at all. 

Here's Quaid — cheered on by gentle Ellen — paddling furiously in the raging current:

UPDATE: "Third-party report finds that the Dog’s Purpose video was intentionally misleading."

Very nice graphic presentation of varied political opinion by the Washington Post.

"What young America wants/On Inauguration Day, we asked those ages 18 to 35 who flooded the nation’s capital in support — and in protest — of the new president what their hopes were for the next four years."

You probably don't have a subscription. I don't have a subscription because, unlike the NYT, the Washington Post doesn't let subscribers get URLs that will work for nonsubscribers. But the page at the link I am giving you is so nicely done that you might want to open up a private window to get in.

There's a single page to scroll down, with 2 side-by-side pictures filling each screen, excellent photographs of different 18-to-35-year-olds, and as your cursor hits a picture the person's voice plays a succinct statement. When you move the cursor away the recording stops.

The design work is credited to Jake Crump.

"I don't think you needed to tell us you are a Trump supporter - it was writ all through your comment."

From the comments of a Washington Post article titled "Three puppies are found alive in the avalanche that buried a hotel in Italy":

January 24, 2017

At the Everything's-Going-Wrong Café...


... maybe your "brows" are right.

When did the word "brows" get to mean "eyebrows"? It sounds perfectly nutty to me. This ad was posted in the window of a waxing place on State Street. Meade took the photo (complete with window reflections). There's so much wrong with this ad, but it does suggest that waxing is about getting a sense of control in life.

Anyway... this is a café post. You can talk about whatever you want.

Here's the other photograph Meade texted me as he was out walking today:


A nicely designed van and you can probably figure out why he thought I would be amused.

The allegation that, at the Liberty inaugural ball, Kellyanne Conway punched a tuxedoed man 3 times.

And, as the story is told, it sounds like he deserved it. 2 men were having a fistfight:
"Inside the ball we see a fight between two guys in tuxes and then suddenly out of nowhere came Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway who began throwing some mean punches at one of the guys," [Fox Business correspondent Charlie Gasparino]. "Whole thing lasted a few mins no one was hurt except maybe the dude she smacked."
Here's more detail at Gasparino's Facebook page:
More detail on my post trump inaugural fun and games: first met my pal Scott baio outside the victory ball. We said hello when a bunch of anarchist thugs began to descend on us screaming "hey Chachi are u fascist?" One made an aggressive move toward us i shoved him away and he said "touch me again u little prick and I'll smack u" my response: "GFY asshole" that's when my producer Brian Schwartz intervened and crisis was averted. Part two was even more insane: inside the ball we see a fight between two guys in tuxes and then suddenly out of nowhere came trump adviser Kellyanne Conway who began throwing some mean punches at one of the guys. Whole thing lasted a few mins no one was hurt except maybe the dude she smacked. Now I know why trump hired her. Btw I exaggerate none of this-cg
Makes me think of what Trump said at the pre-inaugural dinner: "There is no den she will not go into."

CORRECTION: I pictured Conway punching the man in the face, but I don't think that's right. I took the phrase "in the face" out of the post title. 

"Here's what happens when you wear a Trump cap in downtown Manhattan/I never realized how much I fit in until I didn't."

Wrote Dina Kaplan at Medium.com, but now it says the article has been taken down by the author. I guess Ms. Kaplan really is sensitive about fitting in. I'm seeing the link at Facebook, where my son John preserved some of the text:
During the election I supported Hillary Clinton, whom I’ve known since I was a kid. But today I feel empathy for Trump supporters in New York and other heavily blue zip codes around the country.

You don’t have to be racist to support Donald Trump. You don’t have to love what he said on the Access Hollywood tape. Perhaps you just wanted change. And I respect that.

Today I realize how divided our country is. That people in lower Manhattan want to stare, curse at, or leave restaurants that serve people who support the man who is now our President.

From now on, I’ll respect people who... hold views that might not be popular where they live. I was in their shoes for just one hour, and I was scared...."
I guess she was scared enough to not even want the people who scared her to know she was scared.

We've heard of the hidden Trump supporters. Also hidden are people who just think there should be some decent respect for people who support Trump.

"Most people I know felt that 2016 was the beginning of a long decline with Brexit, then Trump and all these nationalist movements in Europe."

"It looked like things were going to get worse and worse. I said: ‘Well, what about thinking about it in a different way?’ Actually, it’s the end of a long decline. We’ve been in decline for about 40 years since Thatcher and Reagan and the Ayn Rand infection spread through the political class, and perhaps we’ve bottomed out. My feeling about Brexit was not anger at anybody else, it was anger at myself for not realising what was going on. I thought that all those Ukip people and those National Fronty people were in a little bubble. Then I thought: ‘Fuck, it was us, we were in the bubble, we didn’t notice it.’ There was a revolution brewing and we didn’t spot it because we didn’t make it. We expected we were going to be the revolution.... Actually, in retrospect, I’ve started to think I’m pleased about Trump and I’m pleased about Brexit because it gives us a kick up the arse and we needed it because we weren’t going to change anything. Just imagine if Hillary Clinton had won and we’d been business as usual, the whole structure she’d inherited, the whole Clinton family myth. I don’t know that’s a future I would particularly want. It just seems that was grinding slowly to a halt, whereas now, with Trump, there’s a chance of a proper crash, and a chance to really rethink."

Said Brian Eno.

In case you're about to comment "Who's Brian Eno?," let me send you back to my old post from 2005, "Music to read by: the suggestions."

You can play "Music for Airports" here. I like dead silence for reading, but if I'm in a place where the sound is distracting, this is probably the first thing I'd choose to plug my headphones into.

The author of "Fight Club," Chuck Palahniuk says he coined the term "snowflake" and he stands by it.

After Kellyanne Conway used the term recently, the Evening Standard called up Palahniuk to ask him about it:
“It does come from Fight Club,” he confirmed down the phone from his home in Oregon. “There is a line, ‘You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.’”

In Fight Club, Tyler Durden leads a generation of emasculated men to rediscover their inner strength by beating the hell out of each other.

Two decades later, Palahniuk sees the modern generation as delicate flowers more than ever. “There is a kind of new Victorianism,” he said. “Every generation gets offended by different things but my friends who teach in high school tell me that their students are very easily offended.”...

Chuck says this is a problem with the Left, not the Right. “The modern Left is always reacting to things,” he opined. “Once they get their show on the road culturally they will stop being so offended.” He added self-effacingly: “That’s just my bulls**t opinion.”
Asked about Donald Trump, Palahniuk said “I’m going to pass on that one.” So who's the snowflake? Is he one of the hidden Trump supporters? But I can understand a culture-critic wanting to avoid any partisan alliance. He's not necessarily bullied into silence. It can be a way of making your own writing better. It's what I call cruel neutrality.

"Oscar voters showered the neo-musical 'La La Land' with 14 nominations on Tuesday, a tie with 'Titanic' and 'All About Eve' for the most in Academy Award history."

The NYT reports.
But the academy also moved past two #OscarsSoWhite years by honoring six black actors — a record — and including diverse films like “Moonlight,” “Fences” and “Hidden Figures” in the best picture race.
"Moved past" = either became enlightened about the true worth of black actors or got ass-covering about how bad it's looked not to have honored enough black people.

The real question — papered over with nominations — is whether black actors are getting good enough roles to show what they can do.

Another thing that happened: Mel Gibson got a Best Director nomination — "officially ending his 10-year status as a Hollywood pariah for his offscreen behavior."

ADDED: The NYT has this:
“Arrival” emerged as one of the most-honored films, with support in eight categories, but its star, Amy Adams, failed to receive a nod for best actress. Instead, her slot likely went to the newcomer Ruth Negga for her understated performance in “Loving.” Joining her were Isabelle Huppert from the French film “Elle,” Emma Stone from “La La Land,” Natalie Portman from “Jackie” and Meryl Streep from “Florence Foster Jenkins.”
Which provoked this apt comments (at the NYT):
"Instead, her slot (Any Adams) likely went to the newcomer Ruth Negga for her understated performance in “Loving.”

How dare you NYT. The black woman can't be nominated on her own merit. She 'takes' her spot from a white woman.

Shame on you. Shame.
Wow! I predict the NYT will be apologizing about that. 

Is caricature a lost art?

This is the best The Washington Post can do?!

Note that the name of the new podcast is "Can He Do That?" It will be interesting to see how much the failure to ask that question with respect to things Obama did will affect the answer to the question now that they are roused to ask it.

ADDED: Interesting to use the word "can" — so famous in the Obama catchphrase "Yes We Can."

That could be an answer to WaPo's question about Trump. "Can he do that?" Yes we can.

Or does parallelism require Yes he can? If so, I need to ask where Obama got the "we."

And, of course, Trump himself likes to say "we." Many people pointed out that Trump's inaugural address had very little use of the word "I" and a lot of "we."

I'm just asking for consistency from the press if it wants to be seen as professional. It's so far gone that it hardly matters, but it's my self-appointed job to notice these things.

I thought I knew what #1 would be, but the actual #1 made me laugh.

So I was a sucker for a Forbes click-through list of "Ten Guaranteed Ways To Appear Smarter Than You Are" because I felt sure one of them would be: Listen to what other people say.

I think people are vain, and if you look like you understand and value what they are saying, they'll judge you to be smart.

I hate the multi-page format, but my desire — my vain desire — to see my answer in the set caused me to click all the way through to the end.

The advice includes stuff like wearing glasses and using a middle initial, but #1 is "Skip that drink." That surprised me. I had to laugh. Not drinking isn't a way to appear smarter than you are. It's a way to avoid actually becoming dumber.

You know, sometimes you might actually want to become dumber. But that's material for a different list: 10 Situations in Which You Would Be Better Off If You Weren't So Smart, 10 Reasons Why You Might Want to Take the Edge Off Your Intelligence, etc.

To be fair to Forbes, reading the fine print, I see that "Skip that drink" goes beyond advising you not to drink. It says that even holding a drink causes other people to lower their assessment of your intelligence.

What if Trump's inauguration crowd had been bigger than Obama's? You know very well how the press would have presented it.

Once I've prompted you with the question, I expect you to take less than 10 seconds to think of the same answer that occurred to me.

I'll reserve my answer to give you a chance to confirm what I think is so obvious.

IN THE COMMENTS: 7 minutes after I posted this, Shane said:
At least make the "answer" available so we can move on to our other blogs that are less condescendingly precious this morning, hopefully. Please?
15 minutes later, from me:
The comments are divided between the people who can't say it or are pretending not to know and the people who are saying it as plainly as possible, so why do the not-knowers not know yet?

Says Althouse, preciously condescendingly.
ALSO: Another question is: How would the press talk about Trump's relatively small in-person crowd if it wanted to portray Trump's support as better than Obama's?

I think this is a harder question, so I'll blurt out my answer right away. Trump had huge rallies before the election, which is when — in a democracy — physically showing up matters. That's why they call it a rally. There's something you need people to get up and go out and do: Vote and rouse other people into voting. That was done for Trump and he won the election. Trump supporters achieved that. It's now time to get back to your own life, your work and your family and friends and to give the person you've elected a chance to fix the problems he said he'd fix, make America great again, etc.

To go out to see him now has more to do with the adoration of the man — as if he's your idol or you want to merge with him and have an emotive need about being "part of history." That's deranged in a democracy. It's more normal to believe you've done your political work. You shouldn't show up at a rally to further boost this man's look of importance and to get photographed as an element of a crowd and to be used instrumentally to magnify his power and give his to swearing in a feeling of divine ascension. He's President, and that's an earthly reality that's plenty in itself and achieved through the election, which happened months ago. You don't have to further inflate him or devote yourself as a follower.

In this view, the Trump supporters are not nutty or deluded or in thrall to a god-like celebrity. They're just ordinary people who focused on electing the best President and who've gone back to living in the real world. They didn't need or want to go to a love-in for the man.

If you use this template, you can make what happened with Obama in January 2009 look bad!

Salvaging the litter of the Women's March...

... preserving it as history.
Archival projects aren’t typically spontaneous, but the material was available for only a short window, and the group had to act quickly, [said  Dietmar Offenhuber, an assistant professor of art and design and public policy].

Though many of the signs were funny and creative, said Alessandra Renzi, assistant professor in emergent media, the archive isn’t just about displaying the clever quips, but about understanding the women’s movement and sentiment around the march, she said. "It was one very large mobilization in a country that no longer has very large mobilizations."...

The signs illustrate concern and demands for Mr. Trump’s administration without getting lost in a social-media feed. As activism and democratic movements live increasingly online, physical signs are a rarity....
It's good to preserve protest signs. Not all of them, of course, but this was an example of abandoned signs that had fallen into the category of things people regard as trash and a quick decision to preserve the whole lot. In the end, only the best will be selected and preserved, though I assume the very best — like the one John photographed here — were not abandoned on the street in the first place.

And I didn't know you could be an "emergent media" professor. Is that just another way to say new media?

January 23, 2017

The media are going after Trump about the inaugural crowd size because it's part of "creat[ing] the illusion that Trump is not popular, that he didn’t legitimately win, that there isn’t that much excitement for him."

"To them, it’s not a nitpick, and that’s why Trump’s fighting back on it," said Rush Limbaugh, on his show today.
Trump knows exactly what they’re trying to do with this. What’s being reported is that Trump is a megalomaniac, that he’s an egomaniac, and that he’s a narcissist. And he cares about all these things like crowd size and everything.

What they’re not reporting is they start it. They report. They put up a couple of phony pictures side by side to try to create the impression that nobody cared about Trump’s inauguration. Well, I had Trump on this program back in October, and I asked him about the constant hit back via tweet or other method attempt use. And he said he did it because he’s not gonna sit there and allow his name to be muddied and just sit there and have a lie establish and the roots planted and have it start growing. If it’s about him, if it’s about his name, his business, or his family, he’s not gonna put up with it....
I'll just do a poll:

Should Trump keep fighting back about everything, as aggressively and continuously as he does?
pollcode.com free polls

SNL writer Katie Rich is "so sorry" for her tweet about Barron Trump but we are told that she's been "suspended."

Whatever that means. Not fired, I take it. Suspended. It's a gesture to the public. I assume she will recover.

The objected-to tweet — so wrong on so many levels — was: "Barron will be this country’s first homeschool shooter."

The worst thing about Katie Rich's tweet was...
pollcode.com free polls

New clothes.

From Thom Browne. Very arty and amusing. Seems like a walking cubist painting...

... worn by Harold Lloyd.

"There are times when we disagree with the facts," said Sean Spicer, just now.

At today's news briefing, going on now.

I think he meant to say: There are times when we disagree about the facts.

He's answering a question about whether he will promise never to lie — he did promise — and it struck me as telling that he said "we disagree with the facts."

ADDED: Spicer just said "cognizant to," instead of the normal "cognizant of." Maybe he's just weird about prepositions. Weird around prepositions. Weird beneath prepositions. 

AND: From the NYT live blog:
Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “Over and over again, there is this attempt to go after this president,” Spicer says. “There’s a rush to judgement every time.” He is back to talking about the King bust flap. This is the White House putting journalists on notice to watch what they report.
Maggie Haberman: This is Spicer channeling Trump pretty purely. Trump genuinely believes he’s been treated unfairly....

Peter Baker: It also reinforces Trump’s status as a more independent president, going against longstanding Republican orthodoxy from the start.

Maggie Haberman: And Peter, on making this bust mistake prominent, it really is a reminder of how asymmetrical covering this administration will be. Any mistake by the press, no matter how quickly it’s addressed, will be amplified to Trump’s supporters, even as the press secretary makes untrue statements.
I'm assuming you know what the "King bust flap" is.

"I never fit in very well. I was a very passive male and I didn’t fit into the male culture, especially back then."

"It was just really nice to not have social pressures, not have all the stimulus... I never was very hip, very cool. I mean, I had long hair and a beard and all that, but I never felt comfortable. It took a long time of living out here to become more comfortable.... I’ve always been pretty good at living alone obviously. God, if I wasn’t it’d be really nuts living out here.... I got up in the morning and looked out this picture window at this mountain and it was like, this is a good place to be."

Said Billy Barr, the lone resident of Gothic, Colorado.

"I just went to the Oval Office and found this beautiful letter from President Obama."

"It was really very nice of him to do that, and we will cherish that. We will keep that, and we won’t even tell the press what’s in that letter."

Said Trump to reporters in the East Room of the White House.

The Daily News reports it as "joking."

Is it joking? They didn't get the letter yet did they? It's not as if Trump gives them everything they've been accustomed to feeling entitled to get. He didn't show them his tax returns.

I think Obama probably wrote something lovely, not so much to inspire and bless Trump as to have another turn on the stage after Trump took office. But Trump isn't giving him that. The show's over.

The NYT joins the violent fun: "Attack on Alt-Right Leader Has Internet Asking: Is It O.K. to Punch a Nazi?"

This isn't distanced journalism. This is an invitation to hate and exult in violence. Because it's okay if they're a Nazi.

Challenge yourself, New York Times. Ask first whether what you are doing is more Nazi-like.

You are amplifying violence, giving voice to the justification of violence, pointing at people as targets and amplifying the argument that they deserve violence, and seeming to preen at some delusion of being on the cutting edge. (And it's just sad that you think it's cool to see an internet meme and that there's something cool about Bruce Springsteen.)

There's also the irony of making a despicable character sympathetic.

The NYT article has a single author, Liam Stack:
Liam Stack covers breaking news and social and political issues for the New York Times express desk. An Arabic speaker, he worked for seven years as a Middle East correspondent, covering authoritarianism and revolution in the Arab world.
Interestingly, given the internet-savvy posing, the NYT does not have comments enabled for this article. I wanted to blog about the reaction of NYT readers, but there's nothing there. Why?

“Why did you start the fire?"/"Because I felt like it, and because I'm just saying, 'Screw our president!'"

Children in politics.

ADDED: Was it ethical of Fox News to show this clip?