February 11, 2017

At the Dog-on-a-Pier Café...


... you can take a long walk.

Talk about whatever you like, and consider doing your shopping — if you've got shopping to do — through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"The child is a sort of vicious, innately cruel dwarf."

Wrote the French novelist Michel Houellebecq, quoted on page one of "No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not To Be A Mother,"* by Corinne Maier, which I found out about reading a Guardian article titled "'It's the breaking of a taboo': the parents who regret having children/It’s tiring, often boring – and can mean a return to more traditional roles. Why some mothers (and fathers) feel they made a mistake."

The Guardian article lists some chapter titles: "Kids Are The Death Knell Of The Couple"; "Your Kid Will Always Disappoint You"; "Wanting To Reproduce Yourself At Any Cost Is The Pinnacle Of Banality."

Lots more at the link. The article isn't mostly about Maier. It's more about women talking to each other on social media about regretting motherhood.

By the way, Houellebecq's quote felt wrong to me not for what it said about children, but for using the term "dwarf."

* That must be the title in the U.K. The book as I'm seeing it on Amazon, is "No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children." Is it that we in the United States are more upset by attacks on motherhood or is it that they're hoping to sell the book to men as well?

A man knew huge — "huge" was his word — but then... he saw the federal government — from the inside — and he found out what huge really was.

"Trump vexed by challenges, scale of government" — according to Politico, based on interviews with "nearly two dozen people who’ve spent time with Trump in the three weeks since his inauguration.

"We saw this coming, and it’s not a surprise.... But the Trump administration is a mess."

"They take on the people they perceive as the weakest first. I don’t think they understand how strong we are."

"I accidentally bought a giant pig/I was told she was six months old, had come from a breeder and wouldn’t grow any bigger than a very large cat."

"We trained her like a puppy and took her to the vet after about a month. He took one look at her cropped tail and said, 'I think you have a problem on your hands.'..."
By the time we realised her size, we were in love. She’s unlike any animal I’ve met. Her intelligence is unbelievable. She’s house trained and even opens the back door with her snout to let herself out to pee. Her food is mainly kibble, plus fruit and vegetables. Her favourite treat is a cupcake. She’s bathed regularly and pigs don’t sweat, so she doesn’t smell.

If you look a pig closely in the eyes, it’s startling; there’s something so inexplicably human. When you’re lying next to her and talking, you know she understands. It was emotional realising she was a commercial pig. The more we discovered about what her life could have been, it seemed crazy to us that we ate animals, so we stopped.

Like this time?

Which judge made the sua sponte request for an en banc review of the 9th Circuit panel's decision in the Trump immigration case?

Power Line wants to know:
The Ninth Circuit per curiam opinion authorizing the continued injunction prohibiting enforcement of President Trump’s executive order is a farrago of nonsense. The court should be embarrassed by its decision. Indeed, it appears that at least one of the Ninth Circuit judges may actually be embarrassed by it.

The court filed an order this afternoon stating: “A judge on this Court has made a sua sponte request that a vote be taken as to whether the order issued by the three judge motions panel on February 9, 2017, should be reconsidered en banc.” In other words, no party moved for the rehearing; one of the court’s many judges did so on his own (i.e., sua sponte). I’m guessing it might be Judge Kozinski or Judge Bybee. I would love to hear from a knowledgeable court watcher on this point....

The Ninth Circuit is insanely liberal. Evidence of its insanity is all over the oral argument of the case and the opinion on which the vote for rehearing has been called. The Ninth Circuit gets a lot wrong in its 29-page opinion, but can it be rectified by this court? Not bloody likely....
Yes, but it keeps the subject in play and forces us to keep looking and taking different perspectives on it.

Even the New Yorker is conceding "The Vulnerabilities of the Ninth Circuit's Executive-Order Opinion." It's a modest little piece by Jeffrey Toobin, but the important thing is that it exists at all. For the "farrago of nonsense" take, we'll have to look elsewhere.

("Farrago" is a great word. It just means a medley, mixture, hotchpotch.)

"Influential Mexicans are pushing an aggressive and perhaps risky strategy to fight a likely increase in deportations of their undocumented compatriots in the U.S...."

"... jam U.S. immigration courts in hopes of causing the already overburdened system to break down. The proposal calls for ad campaigns advising migrants in the U.S. to take their cases to court and fight deportation if detained.... Mexico’s government hasn’t endorsed the strategy or the group’s Phoenix mission. But it recently allocated some $50 million to assist undocumented migrants facing deportation, and President Enrique Peña Nieto has instructed the country’s 50 consulates in the U.S. to defend migrants.... Going through the courts, however, entails risks for undocumented emigrants, who may be held in U.S. detention centers for months while the deportation process plays out instead of being quickly sent back to Mexico...."

The Wall Street Journal reports.

The top-rated comment there is:
I will challenge any naive, progressive US liberal, to try to go to Mexico, stay as an illegal and try to benefit from the system. He would incarcerated and lucky if he is released in one piece. Liberal Americans are not just naive, they are quite stupid too.
NOTE: I am temporarily undisplaying the comments to this post. There are over 300, and perhaps half of them need to be deleted. We are going to this extra effort because we appreciate the contributions of the good faith commenters. If your comment ends up being deleted, that doesn't mean we necessarily consider you a bad faith commenter, only that you got caught up in a bad situation (perhaps pushing back against the phenomenon that we are deleting to eliminate. Basically, a few commenters took this place over for a personal back and forth that pushed out interesting discussion. As I've put it in the note above the comment composition window: "[T]ry to be responsive to the post, don't make personal attacks on other commenters, bring some substance or humor to the conversation...." Resist attacking the individual, because it can produce a back and forth that the attacked person may enjoy. It ruins the thread. Everyone already knows don't feed the troll. It doesn't matter whether a given person really is a troll — that is, actually wants to wreck the good conversation. Don't do personal back and forth.

"Meanwhile the Washington Post fact checker tweets a fake Fred Trump political ad. We can trust them!"

Says tim in vermont in the comments to "Ironically, the news that 'fake news' is 'killing people’s minds' is fake news."

Here's the shocking-if-true ad:

Here's WaPo's Philip Bump writing in an updated column that is now titled "No, Donald Trump’s father didn’t create racist ads for a mayoral bid":
A pair of ads allegedly created by President Trump’s father, Fred, for a 1970s mayoral bid circulated widely on the Internet this week. They were ads, one titled “Dope Man” and the other “Real New Yorkers,” presenting two depictions of the city during that decade. The first showed a black drug dealer wandering the streets of New York, culminating in a shot of two frightened-looking women with a “Paid for by the Committee to Elect Frederick C. Trump” banner at the bottom of the screen. The second was more optimistic — though the “real New Yorkers” depicted were only white New Yorkers.

If the ads were real, they would certainly be among the more racist ads in American political history, even by the standards of the 1970s. But they weren’t real.... The footage of the black drug dealer, which is available on at least one stock-footage site, is from a short film called “A Day in the Death of Donny B.” from 1969....

The idea that Trump’s father would have created starkly racist ads fits neatly into existing narratives about Trump and his family.
Here's the tweet WaPo's Fact Checker Glenn Kessler scrambled to delete:

And here's the Sidney Blumenthal piece that launched the fake news that took in the Fact Checker. It's now cleaned up and ends with the note:
A paragraph referring to Fred Trump’s campaign for mayor of New York, although it accurately reflected Trump’s racial attitudes and his hostility towards Mayor John Lindsay, has been removed because the campaign ads referred to appear to be clever fakes.
There's the old "fake but accurate" bullshit. The evidence is bad, and we tried to palm it off, but trust us, we were still correct about the facts were were trying to prove with fake facts.

"Mr. Trump, what's left in your life? You're 33 years old, you're worth all this money, you say you didn't say you want to be worth a billion...."

"No, I really don't. I just want to keep active and keep busy and be interested in what I do, and that's all there is to life as far as I'm concerned...."

The weight-loss celebrity wants overweight nurses to wear this button.

"I want NHS staff to volunteer to wear it to inspire not just the patient but themselves to take action. I want them to be proud that they are losing weight. I want that communicated to the patient. I think it’s a very fair message."

Amazingly, the words "I'm FAT" are only the 5th most offensive thing about the button.

1. The most offensive thing is that there's a picture of the weight-loss guy on the button. (By wearing a button, you're supposedly saying something about yourself, but this other self in horning in on your self-expression.)

2. The colors are not only atrocious, they seem to assume that overweight nurses are female. If you want people to wear a button at work every day — and I assume this guy mainly wants publicity — you need much less color and a very simple design.

3. The viewer — already assaulted by an ugly button — is ordered to have a particular feeling: "Be inspired." The words are put in curly script and the man is making a magician's "presto" gesture at us. Inspiration doesn't come so easy. At least not in the form this guy purports to deliver. You might be inspired to hate this guy.

4. The message of blunt frankness — "I'm FAT" — is confused by the dubious, uncheckable claim that the button-wearer is in the process of losing it. And "losing it" has a double meaning that absolutely doesn't work. And you might "lose it" — in the get-violent sense — if you also misread with stress on the second "I'm."

"If less than twenty five people feel moved to comment on this alleged event, then it's the beginning of the end for Lena."

"If, on the other hand, more than one hundred people feel impelled to comment on Lena's unworthiness as a human being, then another season of Girls is in the bag."

Predicts William in the comments to "Maria Shriver way overreacts to Lena Dunham saying 'penis,'" a post that went up at 7:51 yesterday evening and has thus far racked up 32 comments.

Only 32. (But that's more than 25.) And that's with an excellent short short story by Laslo Spatula, in the persona of The Girl at Starbucks That Hates You. I'll put it here so you won't have to click back:

Ironically, the news that "fake news" is "killing people’s minds" is fake news.

The Guardian quotes Apple's Tim Cook:
Fake news is “killing people’s minds”, Tim Cook, the head of Apple, has said. The technology boss said firms such as his own needed to create tools that would help stem the spread of falsehoods, without impinging on freedom of speech.
I still have enough of an undead mind to be skeptical of the benevolence and honesty of the head of a big corporation looking to sell a product the whole purpose of which is to gum up the flow of speech, a product wrapped in a promise not to restrict speech.
Cook also called for governments to lead information campaigns to crack down on fake news in an interview with a British national newspaper. 
I'd like to crack down on the structure of that sentence. It unwitting locates the "fake news" in the interview. Unwittingly and falsely... unless it stumbled into telling the truth.

Anyway, how do "information campaigns" crack down on "fake news"? A crackdown would be some kind of censorship, some very real stemming of the spread of "fake news." And now my still-undead mind — It's alive! — is skeptical of every word I'm reading in this stew of Cook + Guardian words.
The scourge of falsehoods in mainstream political discourse came to the fore during recent campaigns, during which supporters of each side were accused of promoting misinformation for political gain.
Well, if it came to the fore, then our minds are not dying. They are getting better. Rallying. There have always been "falsehoods in mainstream political discourse," so if they seem more obvious now, our minds are the opposite of dying. A lie doesn't kill a mind when the mind sees it as a lie.

But to rely on Apple "tools" and government "information campaigns" is to swallow some dangerous medicine.
“It has to be ingrained in the schools, it has to be ingrained in the public. There has to be a massive campaign. We have to think through every demographic... It’s almost as if a new course is required for the modern kid, for the digital kid. In some ways kids will be the easiest to educate. At least before a certain age, they are very much in listen and understand [mode], and they then push their parents to act. We saw this with environmental issues: kids learning at school and coming home and saying why do you have this plastic bottle? Why are you throwing it away?”
And with the arrival of the little children, I throw the topic over to your undead mind. 

February 10, 2017

At the Frozen Lake Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

The photo is from 2 years ago.

Please remember The Althouse Amazon Portal. You might want to ccounteract the anti-Ivanka forces by shopping on this page. But I'm keeping it cruelly neutral here, so let me point you also to some Hillary stuff. And here are some Trump socks. And Trump haters and lovers alike need one of these.

Maria Shriver way overreacts to Lena Dunham saying "penis."

"You caught me there for a second. I’m not sure if you’re allowed to say that on television... Help, she just threw me off! … That’s the difference between generations. I wasn’t brought up talking like that."

"Donald, Mr President, you are an excellent businessman," said Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan...

... "praising Trump on everything from his meteoric political rise to his golf game."

At the link, a nice picture of Abe with his right hand nestled in Trump's 2 hands and the news that Trump declared Abe's hands "strong." And:
"When I greeted him today at the car," Trump said after an Oval Office meeting, "I shook hands, but I grabbed him and hugged him because that's the way we feel."
 He just grabbed him. And Abe let him. Because he's a star. 

If Russia sends Edward Snowden back to American — a gift to Trump?! — it "would be a win-win."

"They've already extracted what they needed from Edward Snowden in terms of information and they've certainly used him to beat the United States over the head in terms of its surveillance and cyber activity. It would signal warmer relations and some desire for greater cooperation with the new administration, but it would also no doubt stoke controversies and cases in the U.S. around the role of surveillance, the role of the U.S. intelligence community, and the future of privacy and civil liberties in an American context. All of that would perhaps be music to the ears of Putin."

From an NBC article titled "Russia Considers Returning Snowden to U.S. to ‘Curry Favor’ With Trump: Official."

Remember, Trump has talked about Putin giving him this present:
"I think he's a total traitor and I would deal with him harshly," Trump said in July. "And if I were president, Putin would give him over." In October 2013, Trump tweeted: "Snowden is a spy who should be executed."
I can't believe it would help Trump to get the present he asked for from the disreputable Putin and to become embroiled in trying to put Snowden to death. Not everyone thinks he's a hero/whistleblower, but he's a young, idealistic man, and an effort to kill him will bring out the empathy in who knows how many people. But maybe you think Trump will end up looking good forefronting the iniquity of treason. And it will distract us from all the other things that have been distracting us from things that would otherwise be distracting us.

"Just three weeks into his administration, voters are already evenly divided on the issue of impeaching Trump with 46% in favor and 46% opposed."

"Support for impeaching Trump has crept up from 35% 2 weeks ago, to 40% last week, to its 46% standing this week. While Clinton voters initially only supported Trump's impeachment 65/14, after seeing him in office over the last few weeks that's gone up already to 83/6."

That's from Public Policy Polling. The approval/disapproval question produced a 43%/53% split. I think it's really weird that 87% of the people who disapprove are ready to impeach the President. How did we get so damned dramatic?

(Not that I trust the polls. The Trump presidency is a monument to the inaccuracy of polling.)

"Oh, You Nasty Man."

Meade sent me that after YouTube recommended it to him for whatever reason. The only clue he gave me was that he went to the video "Wilhelmina" recommended by the commenter dreams, here. And that had to do with a commenter named Wilhelmina who seems to be aggravating Meade and dreams. I don't know, but those 2 short clips — from 1934 — are very funny. Meade was watching over my shoulder and comparing the men to Trump.

"I guess I should start by saying this is not a blog. Nor is it what one might call a column."

"It’s an experiment of sorts to see if there’s something in between those two. Most Fridays, from now on, I’ll be writing in this space about, among other things, the end of Western civilization, the collapse of the republic, and, yes, my beagles. If you’re a veteran reader of my former site, the Dish, you may find yourselves at times in an uncanny valley. So may I. The model I’m trying to follow is more like the British magazine tradition of a weekly diary — on the news, but a little distant from it, personal as well as political, conversational more than formal. I want to start with Trump’s lies...."

So begins Andrew Sullivan, in his new column at New York Magazine. And, yes, it's a column! You're aiming for a set length of words, on a regular time schedule that is not daily, and you're publishing it in a mainstream journal. Why pretend it's somehow inching over toward being a blog? What is more blog-like and less column-like about this? Personal, conversational... these words describe columns too.

Anyway, Sullivan titles his piece "The Madness of King Donald"....
Then there is the obvious question of the president’s mental and psychological health. I know we’re not supposed to bring this up — but it is staring us brutally in the face. I keep asking myself this simple question: If you came across someone in your everyday life who repeatedly said fantastically and demonstrably untrue things, what would you think of him?... Here’s what I’d think: This man is off his rocker. He’s deranged; he’s bizarrely living in an alternative universe; he’s delusional. If he kept this up, at some point you’d excuse yourself and edge slowly out of the room and the house and never return. You’d warn your other neighbors. You’d keep your distance. If you saw him, you’d be polite but keep your distance.

I think this is a fundamental reason why so many of us have been so unsettled, anxious, and near panic these past few months....

There is no anchor any more. At the core of the administration of the most powerful country on earth, there is, instead, madness....

And because he is also mentally unstable, forever lashing out in manic spasms of pain and anger, you live each day with some measure of trepidation.
We've seen this Trump-is-crazy trope many times, but I'll give Sullivan credit for pushing it so hard he seems to want us to say he's the one who sounds crazy. But what I really hate about this trope is the disrespect for the real people who live with mental disorders. If you value our culture of inclusiveness and diversity, why would you express your criticism of Trump by inviting us to think about how we should rightfully and justifiably insult and shun a person with mental illness?

"President Trump, after losing in court, says he will see the court. In court."

Says one of the supposedly witty tweeters reacting to Trump's "SEE YOU IN COURT...!" tweet. 

I say "supposedly" because I'm seeing these reactions laid out at The Hill — another one of these MSM reports of what's happening in social media — as if Trump's really getting slammed brilliantly, but I don't think the responses are very good.

Another one is: "oh no, not court —judges." And: "are u.. are u gonna sue the judicial branch."

Maybe I'm too much of a law professor to find that funny. So here's my possibly plodding reaction to the reactions:

1. There is no antecedent for the "you" in "SEE YOU IN COURT." The "you" isn't necessarily the judges, who, of course, are on their home court in court. It could be the opposing party (the state of Washington), or it could be America.

2. If it's America, what he's saying is: If you are looking to me to hear what I think of what's been going on in this lawsuit, I'm not going to say that now. It's going to be in the legal briefs and arguments, presented by lawyers in court. So, come on, everyone, watch the court. That's where you'll be seeing what happens.

3. Trump is actually backing away from attacking the court. He didn't just take a shot like "so-called judge." He indicated that he's going to litigate the case according to the normal process. That's not an effort to bully or intimidate or denigrate the courts.* It shows an intent to submit to the courts and implies confidence in his ability to win on the law. (And he should show that confidence! He's got great arguments on his side. Politicizing the matter makes his case look weak and may needlessly tempt courts to push back.)

4. "See you in court" is an old comic expression. Anti-Trumpers tend to assume Trump is crazed and angry, but much of the time he's being loose and funny. I figured out how to exclude Trump from my Google search of the phrase and I found plenty of evidence for the proposition that "See you in court" is funny. Example:


* The phrase "See you in court" does have a bullying connotation, but not when there's an ongoing lawsuit, especially when you are not the instigator of the litigation. The catchphrase exists to be used in a dispute that is not yet the subject of a lawsuit, where you are cutting off negotiations with a threat to file a lawsuit. So the usual context for the expression is missing here.

AND: If the tweeters want to laugh at the idea that Trump is at a disadvantage confronting judges in court, because judges wield the power in court, they need to step back and take a wider view. The President has the power to appoint judges, and his power to appoint judges who are different from the judges who are ruling against him is augmented by the public's perception that the judges are "activists" exceeding their proper power. It's not even obvious that Trump wants to win this particular lawsuit. He may get more power and more of what he wants by losing it. Trump antagonists are often caught laughing idiotically while he's playing a multilevel game and is several moves ahead.

"She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."

I agree with John. It's a great meme.

The quote is from Mitch McConnell, explaining his senatorial effort at squelching Elizabeth Warren, and the forces of the internet have turned it into wonderful things like this:

1 year ago today: You said you wanted a revolution...

... and I took a poll. Here were the results:

I'll do a new poll:

How did you like the revolution?
pollcode.com free polls

"President Donald Trump is said to be a gracious host at his golf courses. He high-fives his playing partners after a good shot..."

"... and keeps his cool when his own game goes awry, according to friends, never cursing or throwing his clubs. But he is also known to run afoul of the game’s play-it-as-it-lies rules. And his trash-talking habit is well-documented by his long-time golfing partners, sportswriters and even links legends like Tiger Woods."

So begins a Politico article, "Trump gets ready for some golf course diplomacy with Japan's Abe." I was surprised at how respectful to Trump Politico was willing to be, but it does get its digs in:
“He’s absolutely unscrupulous, absolutely completely bankrupt of any morality, when it comes to golf,” said Rick Reilly, a longtime sportswriter who joined Trump on the course for a 2004 book about caddying for celebrities. “I don’t know how the Japanese are going to like that.”...

“It’s like he bullies the ball,” added John Paul Newport, a former Wall Street Journal golf reporter who wrote a column about losing a one-on-one match to Trump in 2010....

In 2012, rock star Alice Cooper told Q Magazine: “The worst celebrity golf cheat? I wish I could tell you that. It would be a shocker. I played with Donald Trump once. That’s all I’m going to say.”
And here's what Tiger Woods wrote last December:
I recently played with President-elect Donald Trump. What most impressed me was how far he hits the ball at 70 years old. He takes a pretty good lash.

Our discussion topics were wide-ranging; it was fun. We both enjoyed the bantering, bickering and needling. I also shared my vision for golf and what I'm trying to do.

We didn't have a match and played for fun. I was testing drivers and fairway woods, and changed some settings. I think he enjoyed seeing the difference in shots when you experiment.

"The emotional wounds on college campuses have been raw since November. Campuses tend to lean liberal..."

"... and the election of Donald J. Trump as president has been seen as a rebuke to the values of higher education. Into those wounds, the right-wing provocateur and internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos has arrived like a bottle of salt. The Breitbart editor has appeared on many campuses over the past two years to perform one-liners and political commentaries designed to offend the sensibilities of liberals who have embraced a vocabulary of inclusivity and political correctness...."

From "An Internet Troll Is Invited to Speak: What’s a College President to Do?" in The Chronicle of Higher Education. It's mostly an interview with Ana Mari Cauce, president of the University of Washington, who "did not intervene last month to block Mr. Yiannopoulos, who had been invited to the campus by a student Republican club, despite the pleas of other students...."

February 9, 2017

At the Althouse Cafe...

... no picture. It's wintery and not photogenic. But you can talk about whatever you want.

And consider shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"Court Refuses to Reinstate Travel Ban, Dealing Trump Another Legal Loss."

The NYT reports, and I'm not at all surprised. 


The most common injuries everywhere but Colorado are open wounds or bruising.

(In Colorado, it's falling.) But what are the most disproportionately common injuries in each state? In Wisconsin, it's spine dislocation.

"Journalist Wondering Where To Mention Getting Yelled At By U.S. President In Article."

"'I can’t put it in the lede, of course, but I probably should at least bring up the fact that the commander-in-chief took nearly a full minute out of the press conference just to ream me out.... God, how do I even refer to myself in this? It’s weird if I say 'The president then yelled at a reporter from Politico,' but I also can’t say 'And then the president yelled at me.' Jesus, do I also have to include him saying I should be fired?"

"Twitter Posts 10th Straight Quarter of Lower Revenue."

The Wall Street Journal reports.

But I was just looking at Twitter and seeing so many ads that I said out loud: I shouldn't even go to Twitter. I should just bookmark the Twitter page of people I actually want to read. I hate looking at my Twitter feed and running into an ad that looks like another tweet, and I have to look closely to figure out it's not something I'm following and can unfollow.

I'm seeing things like this...

... which reminds me: There are too many pictures. Why do I need to see a graphic of the Wisconsin state capitol every time Madison.com tweets me another pointless update?

"I’m quite aggressive, and Reince is a calming influence on hey — bang bang bang, here’s how we ought to think about doing that."

Said Steve Bannon.
“We talk a lot, pretty much all day long,” Priebus said. “And then we communicate at night —”

“Until we fall asleep,” Bannon interjected with a laugh.

Priebus cut in, “Until somebody falls asleep … You fell asleep last night.”

“I did,” Bannon said.

“I think, like, a quarter to 11,” Priebus added.

“I did,” Bannon said.

“He became unresponsive,” Priebus laughed.

Did the NYT talk about "the Quiet Grandeur of the Courts" when decisions went against President Obama?

I'm seeing "After Mr. Trump’s Din, the Quiet Grandeur of the Courts" — by the Editorial Board of The New York Times — and inclined to scoff. I'd like to feel inspired and exalted about courts, but there's just way too much past history to waft "quiet grandeur" with a lofty disinterested attitude. The NYT Editorial Board has made too much din of its own attacking the courts over the years to act so offended when the President lets us know what irks him.

And, frankly, I listened to the oral argument in the 9th Circuit the other day. I didn't hear "quiet grandeur" from the panel of judges. I heard grandeur — haughtiness, imperiousness — but it wasn't quiet. It was interrupting and argumentative and it chewed into the limited time the lawyers had to complete their thoughts.

But I don't have a huge problem with what the NYT also celebrates as "aggressively questioning." It's just not "quiet grandeur."

And federal judges are fallible human beings hanging onto lifetime appointments* and the power to say what they will about what the law is. So let's not get too sentimental. You may want to attack them tomorrow. They are not above criticism. They should be criticized. They are not godlike oracles, but human beings whose work is laid out in the open, in writing, where we have the opportunity — the responsibility — to judge them. We should not shrink from that work. (And I do judge the district judge for his failure to provide a decent written explanation for his activism.)

You want quiet grandeur? How about celebrating Clarence Thomas? That guy never interrupts. Barely ever even talks.


* One of the judges on the panel is 85 years old.

"The main characteristic of any American or Western Head of State is that he must be a Machiavellian president and a professional, accomplished liar."

"He must... be an expert in deceiving his audience and the entire nation. In the democratic system, the first station to test his reprehensible talent (lying and deceiving) is the election campaign. If he succeeds in this, then he will practice it during his presidency in the Oval Office and around the world."

From the January 2015 letter from Khalid Sheik Mohammed to "the head of the snake," Barack Obama.

Here's a PDF of the whole letter.

"He said, 'Do you practise? Which mosque do you go to? What is the name of the imam? How often do you go to the mosque? What kind of discussions do you hear in the mosque? Does the imam talk to you directly?'"

From "Canadian woman turned away from U.S. border after questions about religion, Trump 'We found videos on your phone that are against us,' Fadwa Alaoui says she was told by a border agent."

That made me think of a segment of this week's episode of "This American Life": "Heavy Vetting":
One of the justifications for the executive order from the administration was that we needed to temporarily stop admitting immigrants and refugees from these seven countries in order to scrutinize and improve the vetting process. Ira speaks with the vetters about how they vet and what they make of the new order. (11 minutes)
(The transcript isn't available yet, but I urge you to listen. The vetters complain that they were not consulted about the change in policy and that they in fact have long been doing what they consider to be "heavy vettting." That segment made a big impact on me. Anyway, the questions in the post title sound an awful lot like what those vetters were saying they have been doing for years.)

"Who is the state senator? Do you want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career."

Said Trump, and another state senator, Daylin Leach, promptly responded:
Hey @realDonaldTrump I oppose civil asset forfeiture too! Why don't you try to destroy my career you fascist, loofa-faced, shit-gibbon!
Toto, I've got a feeling we're not subject to Rule 19 anymore.

WaPo's Dana Milbank is mocking Trump for all the stupid spelling errors in his tweets.

The article is snarkily titled "Shoker! Rediculous chocker Trump attaks and dishoners English with ever-dummer spellings."
It was no shoker, by contrast, that Trump also tweeted that Cruz “will loose big to Hillary.”

Again and again, Trump loosed his way. Ridiculous became “rediculous,” Phoenix became “Phoneix” (a felicitous phonics failure), and many paid attention when Trump proclaimed that he was not “bought and payed for.”
Etc. etc. etc.

Laugh at him all you want, elitist snobs. You laid back and laughed — layed bak and laffed — and let him win the presidency. I will never assume that any damned thing Trump does is not a devious genius plan to win. N neether shd u.

Some historical background on the Senate's Rule 19 (which was used to shut up Elizabeth Warren the other day).

From Robert A. Caro,  "Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson III" (pages 92-93):
Courtesy and courtliness were characteristics of the southern aristocracy— and of the Senate, where these traits were not only esteemed but were reinforced by the body’s rules. The rules imposed a verbal impersonality on debate to ensure civility and formality. All remarks made on the floor were required to be addressed not directly to another senator but to “Mr. President” (the presiding officer at the time)— a device that functioned as a psychological barrier between antagonists. Senators speaking on the floor were also required to refer to each other only by title, a device which placed the emphasis on the office rather than the individual (“If I may venture to offer a reply to the distinguished senior Senator from North Dakota”) and was therefore, as a Senate historian notes, “a safeguard against asperities in debate and personalities of all kinds.”

"She Showed Up Yearly to Meet Immigration Agents. Now They’re Deporting Her."

An article in the NYT.
For eight years, Guadalupe García de Rayos had checked in at the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office here, a requirement since she was caught using a fake Social Security number during a raid in 2008 at a water park where she worked.

Every year since then, she has walked in and out of the meetings after a brief review of her case and some questions. But not this year.

On Wednesday, immigration agents arrested Ms. Rayos, 35, and began procedures to send her back to Mexico, a country she has not seen since she left it 21 years ago....

The Obama administration made a priority of deporting people who were deemed a threat to public or national safety, had ties to criminal gangs, or had committed serious felony offenses or a series of misdemeanor crimes. Ms. Rayos did not fit any of these criteria, which is why she was allowed to stay in the United States even after a judge issued a deportation order against her in 2013.
So she was an exceedingly easy target once the policy changed.

How do we feel about prioritizing easy targets like this? In general, do we expect law enforcement to let conspicuous petty offenders go and insist that they limit themselves to finding the worse criminals who are working harder at evading discovery?

"Umm, maybe the problem is with sweet, oblivious white girls taking pictures next to graffiti walls they have never even looked at before their pics were taken...."

Top-rated comment on a Buzzfeed article titled "This Teen Just Discovered 'A Big Ass Penis' In Her Widely Shared Senior Photo/'Girl me too.'"

Late-breaking news.

"Judy Garland 'sexually harassed' by munchkin co-stars on Wizard of Oz set."

February 8, 2017

"I used to have a patchwork theory about the makers of children’s literature: that they were not so much people who spent a lot of time with kids as people who were still kids themselves."

"Among the evidence was that Beatrix Potter had no children, Maurice Sendak had no children, Margaret Wise Brown had no children, Tove Jansson had no children, and Dr. Seuss had no children. Even Willems began writing for children before he had a child. But what makes these adults so in touch with the distinct color and scale of the emotions of children? I now have a new theory: Tove Jansson began her Moomin series during the Nazi occupation of Finland; Paddington Bear was modelled on the Jewish refugee children turning up alone in London train stations. Arnold Lobel, the creator of the Frog and Toad books, came out to his children as gay and died relatively young, from AIDS. I wonder if the truer unity among children’s-book authors is sublimated outrage at the adult world. If they’re going to serve someone, it’s going to be children."

From "Mo Willems's Funny Failures/How the author teaches young readers to confront problems and be resilient" by Rivka Galchen (in The New Yorker).

I haven't read children's books in a long time, so I'd never heard of Mo Willems. I greatly enjoyed reading about him, especially: "Many parents have told me that they find Pigeon too angry or too snarky or too adult. And Pigeon is angry and snarky.* Years ago, many grownups were similarly skeptical of the tantrums of Max, in Maurice Sendak’s 'Where the Wild Things Are.' The children of those grownups are now grownups who name their children Max."

And that line "If they’re going to serve someone, it’s going to be children" reminded me of 2 things: One that I blogged recently:
"The writer's only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' is worth any number of old ladies." — William Faulkner
And the other is something that long ago got wedged into my consciousness: David Foster Wallace (in "How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart") wrote:
Obviously, a good commercial memoir's first loyalty has got to be to the reader, the person who's spending money and time to access the consciousness of someone he wishes to know and will never meet. But none of [Austin's memoir's] loyalties are to the reader. The author's primary allegiance seems to be to her family and friends....

* Here's the book "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!"

"A Canadian man who has been missing for five years has been found more than 6,500 miles away in the Amazon jungle."

"Anton Pilipa trekked across two continents, walking mostly barefoot with just the clothes on his back, after he disappeared from his Vancouver home in 2012."
Anton... traveled through at least ten countries from Canada, including the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil - all without a passport and with little more than the clothes in his back.

His brother said he had one bizarre mission; to get to the National Library of Buenos Aires in Argentina.  Tragically, when he finally made it to the library, after walking thousands of miles, he was turned away because he didn't have any identification. So he turned around and began his trek into Brazil where he would eventually be found....

[W]hile he met some 'bad people' on his incredible 10,000 mile journey, he said he had 'received more generosity, especially in recent times. I've never felt alone,' he said. 'It's been a lot of thinking for years, sleeping in the open. It's very simple to live, we do not need many things.'

"Raising questions of a double standard, male Democratic senators including Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Jeff Merkley of Oregon..."

"... later read into the record the very same letter that Senator Warren was reading when the Senate voted, along strict party lines, to ban her from further debate on the nomination of Mr. Sessions as attorney general."

From "Elizabeth Warren Was Told to Be Quiet. Women Can Relate," by Susan Chira (in the NYT).

"I told him how abhorrent Donald Trump’s invective and insults are towards the judiciary. And he said to me that he found them 'disheartening' and 'demoralizing' – his words."

Said Richard Blumenthal, the Democratic Senator from Connecticut, quoting Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
Gorsuch “stated very emotionally and strongly his belief in his fellow judges’ integrity and the principle of judicial independence,” he added. “And I made clear to him that that belief requires him to be stronger and more explicit, more public in his views.”

Gorsuch’s comments to Blumenthal were confirmed by Ron Bonjean, a member of the judge’s group of aides tasked with helping him navigate the confirmation process.

Sentence of the day.

"Reading that second line, I immediately thought of an irksome scene in Megyn Kelly’s memoir, in which Kelly tells Sheryl Sandberg that she’s not a feminist, and Sandberg—whose entire feminist initiative is based on making the movement palatable to people like Kelly, and whose awkward accommodation of the Trump Administration should surprise no one—'passed no judgment' on Kelly’s distaste for the term."

Let me rewrite that with a bracketed phrase for "that second line":
"Reading [that the 'majority of women benefited from the work of these few {radical, heavily invested women}, while often quickly trying to disassociate themselves from them'], I immediately thought of an irksome scene in Megyn Kelly’s memoir, in which Kelly tells Sheryl Sandberg that she’s not a feminist, and Sandberg—whose entire feminist initiative is based on making the movement palatable to people like Kelly, and whose awkward accommodation of the Trump Administration should surprise no one—'passed no judgment' on Kelly’s distaste for the term."
The sentence is from "The Case Against Feminism," by Jia Tolentino (in The New Yorker), reviewing "Why I Am Not a Feminist," by Jessa Crispin. It's all very labyrinthine and tied up in knots, but the simple idea is that there's radical feminism and mainstream feminism.

"Do the courts, or the American people, have any recourse when the President lies?"

Asks Amy Davidson (at The New Yorker), attempting to analyze yesterday's oral argument in Trump's immigration case.

My instinctive reactions were, in order: 1. Courts don't seek recourse (they look to the law to resolve disputes that are filed by parties who are seeking recourse), 2. The people always have political recourse — criticizing the President, voting against him in the next election, and pressuring our representatives in Congress to use their political powers (including impeachment) — so it's always wrong to give the impression that there must be recourse in courts or there is no recourse, and 3. All Presidents lie, the political culture is awash in lies, it always was and it always will be, so the notion that something must be done!!! because a President is lying is — to my ear — more lying.

But let's keep reading:
August Flentje, a special counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, who was arguing the case for the Trump Administration, said, in effect, that the emergency was that the restraining order got in the way of the President’s power to say that there was an emergency—to announce that the country was in danger....

When he was asked if the government had pointed to any evidence connecting [the countries identified in the executive order] to terrorism, he rejected the idea that it had to.... “We’re not acknowledging any review on the facts of the case,” Flentje said.

Immigration law does give latitude to the President when the country is in danger. But what happens when you have a President who the courts, and any objective person, know tells lies?...
Davidson is losing me. I think all Presidents lie. Whatever concern you have for the dangers of deceitful claims of emergency, you've got to have neutral principles of law and not special law for the President you think everyone must know is a liar.
As it happens, this question has come up before in our jurisprudence, because Donald Trump is not the first politician to lie. 
Okay. I needed that.
Our courts have dealt with the prospect of dissembling and misstated motives, particularly in the area of racial discrimination.... Judges seem to believe that Presidents will lie about many things, but that they might have some shame when it comes to the nation’s safety, particularly as they have access to classified information that the public does not....
Shame? Why would a President be less likely to lie about national security? That's the place where I most expect to hear lies.
“Could the President simply say in the order, we’re not going to let any Muslims in?” Judge Canby asked, at that point.
If the answer to that question is no, then maybe courts need to be able to dig past the veneer. Flentje didn't seem to have thought through the value and the downside of saying yes, so he floundered and more or less said no.

Really, Flentje's argument was awful. The President needed a lawyer who would have calmly, boldly, and authoritatively laid down the strong argument for presidential power. Flentje was the one who needed to convince the judges to act, to issue a stay. So really, they don't have to get embroiled in that question I put in the post title. They only need to do nothing.

"The state has accepted my tax return!" — I exclaim with genuine happiness.

That's what it's come to.

My point is that this oppressive system is structured in such a way and you are beaten down so much in the process that you celebrate when the government accepts your obeisance.

I am still waiting for our federal tax refund from last year! I'm told my case made the rounds and finally came to rest on some actual person's desk some time in December and I could expect action in 30 to 90 days. I was quite relieved to get that information, because previously, I didn't know if the whole thing were down some blind rathole.
UPDATE: On February 13, I finally go the refund from my 2015 taxes.

"Even a 'bad high school student' would rule in my favor."

Said Donald Trump.

The "even" is horribly funny.

Shedding new meaning on...

"This came from a place of knowing we need to stand together and strong. We’re standing up to a state and federal government who are definitely ready to come after us."

Said the alderperson who introduced Madison's "safe place" resolution.

Last night the resolution was passed by the City Council, which also cracked down on panhandlers. (It's now, apparently, against the law to stand on the median and decline to continue crossing the street.)

They should make a movie about Kellyanne Conway.

It's obvious who should play the role.

ADDED: The "SNL" impersonation of Kellyanne Conway (by Kate McKinnon) does not get at what makes Conway an interesting character. There's too much hate, too much disrespect, and maybe just not enough acting ability (or time on that show to develop anything deep). I think Reese Witherspoon not only looks like Conway — especially in the photo at the top link — but she has the acting ability to bring out all kinds of interesting detail in the character of an ambitious, high-energy woman, as we saw in the great political film, "Election."

The woman must be destroyed.

A woman with a business is subject to special rules. Political rules. And if she does not hew to them, she must be destroyed. By a gang of women. You know how women help women? They don't. They expect women to hit a higher standard. Backwards in high heels. And if she looks pretty dancing backwards in those high heels, we'll actively trip her and laugh when she falls.

But in case you've forgotten:

IN THE COMMENTS: Greg said: "I just checked, Ivanka's stuff is available on Amazon, free delivery for most items via prime. Maybe Althouse could show her some love." Good idea!

Here are: Ivanka Trump Baby Emma Ballerina Flat, the Ivanka Trump Women's Tamine3 Pointed Toe Flat, and an Ivanka Trump Women's Elbow Sleeve Fit and Flare Sweater Dress, and an Ivanka Trump Women's Sweater with Jewels.

It's too late to rescue the man from the gator, but the fight to rescue his memory from the punchline goes on.

"Tommie Woodward yelled, 'Fuck that gator!' just before he was killed by one in Texas, and his death instantly became a national joke. For his family, grieving means having to rescue the person from the punchline."

Family, you are just reminding me of a punchline I had already forgotten. I had no memory anymore of your foolish son either.

The linked article — at Buzzfeed — is really long. I scrolled all the way down for you and snagged the last 2 paragraphs, which suggest why Buzzfeed decided to dive this deep:
Back at Burkart’s Marina, standing on the pier, near where his brother spent his final moments, Brian shares how a combination of fatalism and faith help him mourn. “Losing somebody ain’t easy, but what’s done is done,” he says. “Ain’t nothing I can do about it, can’t take it back.” He takes a deep breath. “Tommie just got to go home. I look forward to the day I get to go. One day I will get to see my brother again.”

For now, he will settle for the nights when he sees Tommie in his dreams. It doesn’t happen often, and there’s no hidden meaning, nothing to analyze. What Brian sees in his dreams and what it means is pretty overt. The same scenario plays out each time. Once Tommie appears, Brian stops whatever he’s doing. He then looks at his brother, smiles, and says, “Man, it’s good to see ya.”
There's a yearning for family and religion, and, sometimes, when you can't get it, you can nevertheless get some warmth from an ironic distance.

Republican senators play a comic role in Elizabeth Warren's star turn in The Theater of Racial Justice.

The clowns don't know they are the clowns:

That would have been painful — I'd have felt a twinge of sympathy to see them used so cruelly — but it was too funny.

February 7, 2017

"An incurable itch for scribbling takes possession of many and grows inveterate in their insane hearts."

Scribbled Juvenal.

Scribble what you will here. It's an open thread...  café, as we say at Althouse... alehouse, if you prefer.

And do take the open thread as a cue to use The Althouse Amazon Portal as you do your usual (and unusual) shopping.

Maybe you'd like to read "16 Satires" by Juvenal.

A 9th Circuit panel heard argument today on the judges restraining of Trump's immigration order.

I listened to it live. Here's the NYT report on it, by Adam Liptak, who found the argument "lively but technical."
“Are you arguing... that the president’s decision in that regard is unreviewable?” Judge Michelle T. Friedland asked.

The Justice Department lawyer, August E. Flentje, paused. Then he said yes.

Another judge, Judge William C. Canby Jr., asked, “Could the president simply say in the order, ‘We’re not going to let any Muslims in?’”...
Flentje tried to avoid answering that question.
The attorney for Washington State, Noah G. Purcell, fared little better in fending off questions from Judge Richard R. Clifton, who said the states’ evidence of religious discrimination was thin....

Mr. Purcell responded that the purpose of the executive order was religious discrimination. Mr. Trump has said he meant to favor Christian refugees. “The court can look behind the motives,” he said....

Judge Clifton, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, said that only a small fraction of the world’s Muslims were affected by the order, suggesting that he was unconvinced that its effect was religious discrimination.
I don't know how the panel will rule. There are ways that they could narrow the district judge's order and thereby take a moderate path. If not, I suspect the decision will be 2 to 1. 

What's the difference between "safe space" and "safe place"?

5 days ago, we were talking about a resolution in the Madison City Council that would "Designate City Council offices as a safe space, where all residents may enter and be safe and protected."

Threatening to veto the resolution, Mayor Paul Soglin said:
"The consequences of declaring the offices a safe space can be disastrous.... We have made the point that we are a sanctuary city. We are committed to justice. The law is on our side. Let us avoid a futile gesture that that may make us feel good but that does not add to the sanctity of our position and only creates enormous risk."
Today, the news is that the resolution has been rewritten to say — instead of "safe space" — "safe place."

The concern was always that people would misinterpret what the city was offering. I have no idea why changing "space" to "place" matters. I mean, "safe space" is a cultural buzz phrase, some kind of jargon, so it may take on meaning in a weird way or radiate political heat and stir up extra controversy. But to my English-as-a-first-language ear, "space" and "place" — when referring to specified rooms in a particular building — mean the same thing. The question is more what "safe" means. 

ADDED: The City Council meeting on the resolution is going on right now. You can stream it here.

"An insider who has worked closely on the [White House Correspondents Dinner] said that 'You would think that it would be easy to get a comedian for the dinner...'

"'... with this big crowd and the prestige — but it’s really hard and it takes up an inordinate amount of time and it’s really hard to get a commitment.'"
"This is a great opportunity, because every comic out there is doing commentary on Trump anyway. Here is a chance to do their material and right in front of him. This is an opportunity to do something new."...

Patrick Gavin, director and producer of the 2015 documentary about the event, “Nerd Prom: Inside Washington’s Wildest Week,” said via email that the “reason this is a tough decision for a comedian is because, if they’re too tough on Trump, they run the risk of violating the ‘singe, but not burn’ principle that guides the dinner (they also run the risk of perhaps not getting the gig in the first place). And if they’re too soft — or soft at all — they will suffer the wrath of half of the country that view taking it to Trump as nothing short of a civic requirement.”...

“The choice of comedian could by itself determine whether President Trump comes at all,” Gavin said. “I can’t imagine Trump being interested in taking grief from an edgy comedian and just taking it for an hour.”
ADDED: I just assumed it would be Dennis Miller:

IN THE COMMENTS: tcrosse recommends Susie Essman (of "Curb Your Enthusiasm") and points to this clip, a Friars Club roasting of Trump from 2004. I'm just closing in on 30 seconds near the end, which is interesting because it addresses Trump's gruff game face (which we're so used to now) and because we get to see Trump really laughing (and some people — notably Chuck Todd — have the idea that Trump never laughs)(NSFW):

Goodbye to Professor Irwin Corey — one of my all-time favorite comedians.

"Comedian and actor Irwin Corey, for whom the word "however" was the perfect opening line, has died at age 102. With an impish grin and wild hair, Corey was a nightclub and talk-show fixture who worked with stars from Jackie Gleason to Woody Allen. His admirers ranged from Damon Runyon to Lenny Bruce."

I celebrated him here on July 29, 2011, his 100th birthday:

"Donald Trump became president and I stopped being able to eat food. Everyone’s been asking like, ‘What have you been doing?’"

"And I’m like, 'Try soul-crushing pain and devastation and hopelessness and you, too, will lose weight.'"

"One of the first stories Barack told me when he and Michelle arrived on Moskito Island was how..."

"... just before he became President, he had been surfing on a dangerous break in Hawaii. When he came in from an exhilarating session, the new head of his security team turned to him and said: 'This will be the last time you surf for eight years.' For the next eight years he didn’t have the chance to surf, enjoy watersports or do many of the things he loved. So it was tremendous to offer him the chance to learn to kitesurf...."

"This clip has been making rounds lately in social media channels, sparking a sense of awe, and a little envy, at the attitude of the Korean drivers."

"One YouTube clip may not be enough to give a general description of Korean driving in general but it does paint a good picture of people working together in a time of emergency."

"Here are the 78 terrorist attacks the White House says were largely underreported."

Headline at The Washington Post.
The White House on Monday night released a list of 78 terrorist attacks in response to an assertion earlier in the day by President Trump that the “very dishonest press” often doesn’t report on them.

The list, which includes domestic and overseas incidents, starts in September 2014. It includes some very heavily covered news events, including last year’s attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the mass shooting and attempted bombing in San Bernardino, Calif., in 2015.
Top-rated comment:
Biggest terror attack media under-reported on: Russian hack of American Election.

Number of victims: over 300 million Americans and the rest of the world

Result: The take over of American Institutions by those who wish to destroy the nation from the inside.

Beneficiaries: Donald Trump's bank account, Putin, Russian Mob, ISIS recruiting, dictators around the world, KKK, right-wing and left wing news media, and the military-industrial complex.

That's the under-reporting that needs to be dealt with.

"Tamitude" — the attitude of Tamarack...

... the ski resort that failed as a big commercial enterprise, but lives on as a community of homeowners.
The debt pile has been cleared, and in October homeowners banded together to buy the resort’s operations....

[I]t seems unlikely that Tamarack will fulfill the original idea of a high-end resort for skiers flying in from around the world.... [L]ike so many projects that were stalled by the financial crisis and Great Recession, the resort has re-emerged to find value in a diminished sense of self. Real estate agents like Trisha Sears are talking up the value of $350,000 condos that are now largely bought by locals instead of the out-of-towners who used to pay $1 million. In place of celebrity sightings, presidential visits and an ambition to be the next Vail, Colo., there is talk about a family-friendly vibe and the absence of crowds....
Here it is on the map. That's a part of the country where I could see living. I don't know if I'd like all those expanses of parking lots and the burdens of the empty hotel (including the inevitable joking about "The Shining"). 

"A 'Breaking Bad' fan who killed a man he met on a popular gay dating app and, like the crime drama's protagonist, dissolved the remains in a bathtub full of acid..."

"... was found dead Sunday," WaPo reports.

But in "Breaking Bad," the bathtub method of body disposal failed spectacularly:

Judge He Fan of the Supreme People’s Court of China blogged that criticizing a judge makes Trump one of the "public enemies of the law."

“Even if you control the armed forces and have nuclear weapons, your dignity has been swept away and you are no different than a villain.”

Quoted in the NYT in "Donald Trump’s Tweets About a Judge Find a Critic in an Unlikely Place: China."
Judges like Mr. He admire the American legal system and study it to improve China’s rules, such as how to handle plea bargains or what to do with evidence obtained illegally, said Susan Finder, an American scholar who publishes the Supreme People’s Court Monitor, a blog that focuses on China’s top court.

Ms. Finder said that Judge He was an avowed “Scotus junkie” who translates books about the Supreme Court of the United States and works on the court’s judicial reform committee. Works that have been translated by Judge He include “Making Our Democracy Work,” by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, and “Becoming Justice Blackmun,” by Linda Greenhouse, about former Justice Harry A. Blackmun.
I'm glad Chinese judges look at the United States to get ideas about how a good legal system should operate. But judges are judges, and I am not surprised that a judge likes to think judges are above criticism. The independence of the judiciary is part of a system with 3 independent branches of government, and the structure is designed to protect the people from the abuse of power, and that protection comes as those occupying each branch jealously guard and fight for their power.

In the immigration case, the judge has said the President overreached his power, and the President is saying the judge overreached his power.

That's the way it's supposed to work.

"The reality of the difficulty of getting things done is sinking in. Democrats are feeling much better that there’s some chance of success."

Said Senator Chuck Schumer, quoted in the NYT article "From ‘Repeal’ to ‘Repair’: Campaign Talk on Health Law Meets Reality."

"I have never seen that level of sexual activity by a 19-year-old," said the judge...

... about a young man who had had 34 sexual partners (and viewed pornography).

The man, Cody Duane Scott Herrera, pleaded guilty to rape — the incident involved a 14-year-old girl when he was 17 — and received a 5 to 15 year sentence, but he can get probation instead of prison if he completes "intensive programming and education." However, he must then adhere to a condition:
“If you’re ever on probation with this court, a condition of that will be you will not have sexual relations with anyone except who you’re married to, if you’re married,” [Judge Randy] Stoker told him....

[Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant] Loebs said probation is intended to restrict certain behaviors related to the crime. For instance, for someone convicted and sentenced for drunken driving, the terms of probation may stipulate no drugs or alcohol....

“We don’t just put sex offenders on probation and then not care what they do,” Loebs told The Washington Post. He emphasized that probation is an agreement and, assuming that offer is made, Herrera can reject it.
Loebs also observes that — as far as the law on the books — fornication is a crime in Idaho. Obviously, it's not enforced, and if it were, it would, I presume, be struck down as a violation of substantive due process (the right of privacy). But does that make the condition on probation a violation of his constitutional rights? WaPo found a lawprof to say so:
“I think it infringes on his constitutional rights,” Shaakirrah R. Sanders, an associate professor at the University of Idaho College of Law, told the Times-News about the proposed celibacy.* “I think if he appealed,” Sanders said, “he would win.”
Herrera does have the option of refusing probation on going to prison for 5 to 15 years, and, as Loebs says: "a judge’s purpose is to keep them from committing another offense. A judge has [a] right to order things to keep him from doing that."

Is no sex until marriage (for a person convicted of rape) like no drugs/alcohol (for a person convicted of a DUI)? There are (at least) 2 dimensions to this question: 1. The causal connection between the forbidden activity and the criminal offense, and 2. The centrality of these activities to fundamental human dignity and autonomy.

* Celibacy is exactly the wrong word. I'm not usually a stickler about the celibacy/chastity distinction, but the judge's condition goes right to the traditional distinction between the words: Celibacy is the principle of abstaining from marriage (and sex too, of course). Herrera isn't forbidden to marry. (And if he were, the judge's condition would run into more serious constitutional problems, because the Supreme Court has applied the right to marry even to prisoners.)

ADDED: Some of the commenters at the link (to The Washington Post) are criticizing the judge for not seeing (or not believing) that rape can happen within marriage.

"I could not explain the feeling but I was sure it was some insect. Whenever it moved, it gave me a burning sensation in my eyes."

"'It was a full grown cockroach,' M.N. Shankar, the head of the ear, nose and throat department, told the Times of India. 'It was alive. And it didn’t seem to want to come out.'"
Doctors first tried to use a suction device to remove the cockroach, but the insect clung to the tissues. After a 45-minute process, using suction and forceps, doctors were able to extract the bug, still alive....

Shankar said this was the “first such case” he has seen in his three decades of practice, the New India Express reported. In the past, the hospital’s ENT department has removed a leach [sic], houseflies, and maggots from patients’ nasal cavities. “But not a cockroach, said S Muthuchitra, one of the doctors, “especially not one this large.”
Maybe you are more attuned to the delicacies of the correct spelling of the leech you don't want in your ear, but for you hardier souls, I found this video, which I haven't had the nerve to watch through yet:

ADDED: If there's a "Top 6 Removing Bugs in Ears Video," I'm not so sure this post deserves my "strange medical condition" tag.

"Applicants who are interested in admission to UW Law School this year but who have not yet taken the LSAT are in luck."

"UW Law School announced Friday that scores from the June LSAT will be considered for admissions this fall. Applicants must turn in all other materials by April 1, 2017, the Law School’s original application deadline."
According to Dean Margaret Raymond, the decision came in response to a spike in applicants’ requests. “We’re making this offer to accommodate an increase in demand from prospective students who tell us they missed the February LSAT deadlines, but who are interested in starting start law school next fall. Many prospective students feel now is a good time to start law school, and we affirmatively invite these students to apply,” she says.

The LSAT, an admissions requirement for most U.S. law schools, is offered four times each year: December, February, June and September. June test takers are encouraged to register now, especially if they want a seat at a popular test center. The last day to register is May 3, 2017.
I read this out loud to Meade and he was sarcastic: "That's a good way to start your legal career, missing a deadline." But this isn't the kind of "missing a deadline" where you've taken on responsibility and you're screwing it up. This is a matter of wanting to jump into a new activity and seeing it's an inopportune time. There's a long cycle and you'll have to wait for the opportunity to come around again.

I'm wondering if there's a special reason why "now is a good time to start law school." Something Trump-related? I'm thinking:

1. During the Obama administration, people were lulled into feeling that law was a bunch of boring, phony blabber trumped up to obstruct the flow of governmental goodness. Now that Trump's in power, the law suddenly feels like a repository of timeless truths, a glorious bulwark against governmental abuse. It's not only worth studying, you can feel good about being one of the lawyer-warriors who fight off hell.

2. Government employees are looking for a career change.

"Largely Based on an Accumulation of Data..."

"... I Am Calling This a New Meme."

February 6, 2017

At the Pink Sky Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

(And please consider going into Amazon through the Althouse Portal... assuming you have some shopping you were going to do anyway. Thanks!)

Does Trump want to lose the case about the immigration order?

Harvard lawprof Jack Goldsmith speculates that he does (because the other explanation is that his White House Counsel Donald McGahn is "incompetent or ineffectual"):
The Immigration EO has a surprisingly strong basis in law but was issued in haste, without proper interagency coordination, without proper notice, without adequate consideration of its implications, and with a media strategy, if it was that, that suggested that the EO was motivated by discrimination against Muslims....

The clearly foreseeable consequence of the roll-out combined with Trump’s tweets is to weaken the case for the legality of the EO in court. Why might Trump want to do that? Assuming that he is acting with knowledge and purpose... the only reason I can think of is that Trump is setting the scene to blame judges after an attack that has any conceivable connection to immigration.... If Trump assumes that there will be a bad terrorist attack on his watch, blaming judges now will deflect blame and enhance his power more than usual after the next attack....
It's easy for Trump's antagonists to get distracted running with the theory that he's a brutish lout who doesn't know what he is doing. It's important to pursue the alternative interpretation — that Trump does know what he is doing — and that is what Goldsmith is doing.

Goldsmith seems like the Scott Adams of Trump antagonists. This is something we need — analysis that assumes Trump is savvy and brilliant, coming from people who don't like what he is doing.

It makes sense to me to theorize that Trump is hoping to lose in court. It would relieve Trump of the burden of following through on a key campaign promise. He won't have any responsibility for the consequences and failures of a policy he was prevented from carrying out, and he can blithely insist that it would have worked. But the judges stopped him. People will be stirred up and angry at the judges — those terrible activist judges.

OR: Maybe Trump's trick is to get the judges to think he wants to lose so he can win. Devious!!

"3 Professors Are Fasting to Protest Their University's 'Silence' on the Travel Ban."

The 3 professors — at Clemson — are Todd G. May (philosophy), Chenjerai Kumanyika (popular culture), and Michael Sears (biology).

Professor May wrote:
The university's position is that it will not make a political statement.... [But] the university is taking a political stand. By refusing to speak publicly and cooperating with the ban, it is normalizing a situation in which its own students and alumni are being subject to egregious conduct.... I often disagree that it is always the case that silence is consent. In this case, however, silence is very much consent.

"The writer's only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one."

"He has a dream. It anguishes him so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' is worth any number of old ladies."

William Faulkner.

"Usually around 6:30 p.m., or sometimes later, Mr. Trump retires upstairs to the residence to recharge, vent and intermittently use Twitter."

"With his wife, Melania, and young son, Barron, staying in New York, he is almost always by himself, sometimes in the protective presence of his imposing longtime aide and former security chief, Keith Schiller. When Mr. Trump is not watching television in his bathrobe or on his phone reaching out to old campaign hands and advisers, he will sometimes set off to explore the unfamiliar surroundings of his new home."

From "Trump and Staff Rethink Tactics After Stumbles" (in the NYT), by Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman.

How do they know he's in his bathrobe?

At Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal, at Frankfurt Airport — "When you arrive, a valet parks your car. A personal assistant checks you in and accompanies you through security."

"Inside are amenities found in the airline’s first-class lounges and more, including a bathtub with a rubber duck (coveted by toddlers and business travelers alike), a dining room with food by Michelin-starred chefs and a bar with more than 120 whiskeys. When it’s time for your flight, you don’t walk to your gate; you’re chauffeured — usually in a Porsche or Mercedes."

From "The Airport Lounge Scene: What You Get and How to Get In" (in the NYT).

Here's the top-rated comment:
The average business class or airline club lounge is far from tranquil. They are almost always packed, noisy and messy. Often you have to wait for a seat. The food is generally both sparse and unappealing. You must pay for drinks beyond the most basic swill. Over the past 10-15 years the clubs and lounges have spiraled downward, just like the airlines that provide them.

"While visitors often see national parks as places of serenity, rejuvenation, or adventure, the African-American experience with the outdoors has historically been punctuated by lynchings, flights from slavery and trauma."

"'[There’s] something in our DNA that gives us a fear,' says one of the roughly two dozen Muir Woods hikers. She hadn’t gotten out into nature much until she was in her sixties. 'It just clamps you and grips you.'"
“When you come out of a history of segregation you don't willy-nilly think that you can just go to a place,” says African-American ranger Shelton Johnson, sitting on the floor of Yosemite Valley amidst the shadows of Half Dome and El Capitan. Changing that perception for national parks, he elaborates, is part of the same historical flow that brought about the end of Jim Crow laws or the advent of Black Lives Matter.

“This is an extension of the Civil Rights movement. Pure and simple,” he says. “[Reconnecting with the earth] is basically the last act of what it means to become an American.”

"I didn't follow the Super Bowl thread — because I went to bed early last night. What bliss!! Meteor last night, by the way."

Says MadisonMan, pointing here:

That's video from he east camera on the roof of the Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences Building here at UW.

"Judge Robart’s brisk ruling contained almost no reasoning. By contrast, Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton, of the Federal District Court in Boston..."

"... issued a 21-page decision on Friday refusing to block the program and discussing the legal arguments in detail. Judge Gorton also sketched out the broader picture. 'The rich immigrant history of the United States has long been a source of strength and pride in this country,' Judge Gorton wrote. 'Conversely, the public interest in safety and security in this ever-more dangerous world is strong as well.' The balance, he wrote, tipped in favor of Mr. Trump."

Writes Adam Liptak in the NYT, creating the impression that Judge Robart's decision simply represents a different tip in the balance between the value of immigration and the value of public safety. You know these judges, they're all about balancing, and a decision could go in either direction, depending on how the weights feel in the hand holding the scales of justice.

But Judge Robart took action and Judge Gorton refrained from taking action. It is Judge Robart who needs to identify a legal basis for interfering with another branch of government. How is it that Gorton gave us a 21-page opinion explaining the doing of nothing and Judge Robart interfered with the actions of the executive branch without putting legal reasons in writing?

I can see from the lawyers' brief — to which Liptak links in his search for a reason — that arguments were based on equal protection, due process, and the Establishment Clause. So which one was the basis for Robart's muscular exercise of judicial power?

For some reason, Liptak chose only to discuss the Establishment Clause. Does he think it's the strongest on the 3 arguments? I don't. Maybe he thinks it's best because it expresses the political debate around what many people are calling the "Muslim ban." Liptak quotes this from the plaintiffs' brief:
"President Trump and his advisers have made clear that the very purpose of this order is to tilt the scales in favor of Christian refugees at the expense of Muslims,” they wrote in their brief to Judge Robart.
And Liptak quotes this response from Trump's lawyers:
“The more searching inquiry envisioned by the states would create substantial separation-of-powers problems, by permitting probing of the president’s subjective motive in issuing the order,” the brief said.
Liptak questions this argument, made in the 9th Circuit by the plaintiffs' lawyer:
“The focus of our claim,” he said, “is on people who have been here and have, overnight, lost the right to travel, lost the right to visit their families, lost the right to go perform research, lost the right to go speak at conferences around the world. And also people who had lived here for a long time and happened to be overseas at the time of this order, which came with no warning whatsoever, and suddenly lost the right to return to the United States.”
That's very well put as a policy argument, and I certainly think the President should be responsive to it. As a legal argument, it expresses ideas that would be best classified as due process. If this is the basis for the judge's decision, however, I would think that the remedy would need to focus on the legal residents who happened to be out of the country — not newcomers.

And that problem of the breadth of the judge's order is a standing problem. Standing doctrine not only requires that the plaintiff have a concrete and particularized injury caused by what the defendant is doing. The plaintiff can only demand a remedy that is designed to relieve that injury — not other injuries that may also exist.