February 25, 2017

In the Big Room...


... we talk about everything.

(And, when we've got shopping to do, go through The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!"

Trump tweets.

It's enemy territory.

"Look at how beefed up she is. It’s because she’s taking an enhancement. Whether she’s a boy, girl, wants to be purple or blue it doesn’t matter."

"When you’re using a drug and you’re 10 times stronger than the person you’re wrestling because of that drug, that shouldn’t be allowed."
While Beggs has said he’d prefer to wrestle against boys, University Interscholastic League rules force Beggs to compete as a girl. The UIL uses an athletes birth certificate to determine gender, a measure overwhelmingly approved by the state’s school superintendents a year ago.

The rule prohibits girls from wrestling in the boys division and vice versa.

UIL provides an exception for a steroid that is prescribed by a medical practitioner for a valid medical purpose. The UIL has reviewed Beggs’ medical records and granted him permission to compete while taking testosterone.
Mack Beggs is 55-0.

"Nearly 150,000 American teenagers from 13 to 17 years old — or one out of every 137 — would identify as transgender if survey takers asked..."

"... according to an analysis of state and federal data that offers an answer to a question that has long eluded researchers."

That mysterious sentence begins a NYT article.

What kind of analysis sees the answer to a question that is not asked?
The analysis, an extrapolation based on adult responses to a federal survey, represents an indirect way of arriving at a figure that many advocates consider to be of crucial importance.
So if you really, really want a number badly enough, a number can be derived?
[T]he researchers applied an advanced statistical technique regarded by some academics as an emerging gold standard for making state estimates using national data, based on well-worn demographic and geographic patterns...
An emerging gold standard.  Some academics.

Pick the option that is closest to what you think of the news story:
pollcode.com free polls

"Law professors seek to have Kellyanne Conway disbarred for bringing 'shame upon the legal profession.'"

"Here’s the actual letter, complete with the names of the law professors who have disgraced themselves. But if you want to establish a rule like this for all lawyers in the public eye, well, enjoy it. Sauce for the goose, and all that."

"Perez came very close to winning DNC chair on the first ballot. There were 427 votes cast, making the threshold for victory 214.5 votes."

"Perez received 213.5 votes. Ellison got 200. The crowd is stunned. A second round of balloting is about to get underway...."

UPDATE: "With 235 votes, former Labor secretary Tom Perez wins the DNC chairmanship on the second ballot. Ellison received 200 votes."

ADDED: Meade is laughing over the "Breaking News" headline at the NYT: "Democrats elected former Labor Secretary Thomas Perez as party chairman over Keith Ellison, a liberal from Minnesota." Do you see what's so funny? Why is Ellison referred to as "a liberal from Minnesota"? Yeah, where's Tom Perez from? Ah. New York. Why isn't he called "a liberal from New York"?

Commenter — without realizing it — takes my side in what has been a 2-day debate between me and Meade.

In the comments to yesterday's post about "Captain Fantastic," robother said:
I read the end of the movie as pure fantasy in his head after leaving Albuquerque. If not, The Man is far more benign and forgiving than Chomsky, Mortenson's character or even I imagine.
Thank you! And spoiler alert for those who haven't seen the movie. (You can stream it from Amazon, here. Please do that first, then join this discussion.)

"There was a moment, sometime between 2008 and 2010, when a woman’s insides — her exploits, her eating habits, her feelings, her sex life — became a lucrative internet product."

"Women, of course, have been writing about such things for years, including on the internet, but commodifying that writing had proven fraught. Marketing the entirety of the self through a personal blog — like Heather Armstrong’s Dooce, or Emily Gould’s iteration of Gawker — led to writer burnout and reader disillusionment. A better, more sustainable way to commodify the self was to do so piecemeal. For female authors, this meant writing personal essays on the most sensational slivers of their lives. For websites, this meant paying those authors — hundreds of them, the supply was nearly unlimited — somewhere between $0 and $100 for each sliver. I know about this economy because, for about four years, I was part of it...."

So begins "Tales From the Personal Essay Industrial Complex" by Anne Helen Petersen (a NYT book review, covering "How to Murder Your Life" by Cat Marnell and "All the Lives I Want/Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers" by Alana Massey).

Word that I'm glad to see doesn't appear in this article: Feminism.

Why I'm glad: I don't see how this sort of self-exploitation by young women counts as feminism.

ADDED: "I am myself the matter of my book. You would be unreasonable to spend your leisure on so frivolous and vain a subject."

The disruption of people who won't accept disruption: Those terrible "legacy customers."

At WaPo, Larry Downes, co-author of "Big Bang Disruption," takes aim at people who "who simply refuse to migrate to disruptive innovations even after they’ve become both better and cheaper, and even after almost everyone else has made the shift."
[T]he real holdup is that non-adopters — mostly older, rural and less-educated — just aren’t interested in Internet access, at any price.... [T]he resisters are wrong....

[N]on-adopters ultimately cost more to serve. Printing information is increasingly a waste of scarce resources as digital alternatives continue to get better and cheaper. And all of us pay for the waste...

To overcome the inertia of legacy customers, it may be appropriate for governments to step in....

[S]ome technology dinosaurs need help being euthanized. Here, regulators can serve as a catalyst, providing the final nudge for legacy customers. Once it was clear that smart LEDs would become better and cheaper than inefficient incandescent lightbulbs, for example, governments around the world began passing laws banning production of the older technology.

And while things got a little messy at the end, in 2009 Congress succeeded in turning off analog TV, switching the few remaining holdouts over to digital. To ensure no one had to go without “Let’s Make a Deal,” lower-income families were given converter boxes for older tube TVs.
What about hipsters who insist on old-fashioned turntables and vinyl record albums? How come they're not in the article? I don't have to answer the question. To ask it is to have the answer jump off the page: older, rural, less-educated, Let’s Make a Deal....

And by the way, what's newer is not necessarily better. Consider: "The TV Is Hard to Hear... Flat-screen TVs, inconsistent streaming boxes and cinematic series have many asking, ‘What did they say?’"

IN THE COMMENTS: rehajm said: "Isn't the WaPoasaurus calling for its own death here?"

"Video captures mouse walking on baby’s crib in Kushner-owned Brooklyn home."

But why is the mouse there? I'm reading all the way to the end of that Daily News article:
Some in the building said video and the complaints stemmed from a rent dispute.

“This is a small group of people who have been here from the beginning and have stopped paying rent,” one resident said. “They haven’t paid rent in about eight months and they don’t want to pay.”

But others say they have complained about many issues, to no avail.

“There have been vermin, and the mouse video is crazy,” said another tenant. “We’re all paying about $4,000 a month — that’s a great deal of money to put up with all of this.”

When we see video, what do we know?

Tricking CPAC Trumpers to wave the Russian flag — What are the lessons?

Social media had great fun with something that happened yesterday at CPAC:
Jason Charter, 22, and Ryan Clayton, 36, passed out roughly 1,000 red, white, and blue flags, each bearing a gold-emblazoned “TRUMP” in the center, to an auditorium full of attendees waiting for President Trump to address the conference. Audience members waved the pennants—and took pictures with them—until CPAC staffers realized the trick: They were Russian flags.
What are the lessons?

1. There are lots of people out there who are not on your side. Withhold your trust until you know who you're dealing with. There are endless scams. Don't be a soft touch.

2. Young guys and their pranks lighten the grind of politics. It was fun back in the 60s when Yippies found cool ways to put across what were weighty political opinions, and it's fun now. We need our clowns, including the pranksters who figure out ways to offload the clownery onto others.

3. Don't pass on messages that others have handed you. Think of your own ideas. Let the words of your mouth and the gestures of your body come in a form shaped by your mind. Be original. Be yourself. Have a self that's worth being.

February 24, 2017

"Reporters from The Times, CNN and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing."

"Aides to Mr. Spicer allowed in reporters from only a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed to attend."
Organizations allowed in included Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, all with conservative leanings. Journalists from ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox News also attended....

“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement. “We strongly protest the exclusion of The New York Times and the other news organizations. Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”
How bad is this? Pick the closest to your opinion:

pollcode.com free polls

UPDATE: The sentence quoted in the post title later included the names of more news organizations. I'm cutting and pasting this at 7:45 CT on February 25th: "Reporters from The Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, the BBC and The Huffington Post were among those shut out of the briefing." There's no notation at the article that it was updated, but the sentence just quoted is the only sentence in the article with the word "Politico" in it, so clearly the article was updated.

Here are the results on the poll (possibly skewed by my emphasis on the apparently false fact that only 3 organizations were excluded):

"Well @realDonaldTrump, from one Republican to another, this is a disaster. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me."

"What kind of a crazy person celebrates Noam Chomsky's birthday like it's some kind of official holiday?"

Just one of the many great scenes in "Captain Fantastic," which Meade and I watched on streaming video last night. I give it the Althouse seal of approval. You can stream it here. And let's talk about it!

I enjoyed listening to Tom & Lorenzo talk about that movie in this podcast. Tom was outraged at the Viggo Mortenson character, calling his treatment of his children "child abuse" and said that because the man was inculcating left-wing politics in his children, viewers were not going to be able to detect the badness of his fathering.

That resonates with something I said to Meade immediately after watching the movie (and before listening to Tom & Lorenzo): This movie would be experienced very differently by someone with left-wing politics, someone who actually thought Noam Chomsky was great. Things we found hilarious — and also painful — would read entirely differently. I think this was Tom's problem, but it forced Tom to see that there's something abusive about inculcating children with politics (he just thought the common people needed clearer instruction, which would have been there if the father's politics were right-wing or Christian fundamentalist).

The movie is complicated, hilarious and dramatic. A father is sort of leading his band of 6 children against the world. He's both good and bad. And the grandfather who disapproves — played by Frank Langella — is also good and bad, even though he's in the position that would normally be The Villain. (He's trying to take the children away.) There's a great dinner-table scene where the 6 children try to relate to their cousins, and it's complex to think about. There's some of the feeling Meade and I remember from many movies circa 1970 where the people who reject American society are morally and intellectually better, but that's also challenged as one of the boys yells at his father for making them into "freaks."

And I just want to say: Viggo Mortenson is 58 years old. He looks great. And we got a comprehensive look at him at one point.

It was horrible of that CNN editor to say it's the role of journalists to "aid the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

Good thing James O'Keefe smoked out that horror (spoken by Richard T. Griffiths, vice president and editorial director at CNN, when he thought he was off microphone).

It was horrible of Griffiths to mangle the great old aphorism, which is usually phrased "The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" and which was originally written — in the kind of dialect people don't find too amusing anymore — in the 1902 book "Observations by Mr. Dooley":
“Th' newspaper does ivrything f'r us. It runs th' polis foorce an' th' banks, commands th' milishy, controls th' ligislachure, baptizes th' young, marries th' foolish, comforts th' afflicted, afflicts th' comfortable, buries th' dead an' roasts thim aftherward.”
(Mr. Dooley, an Irish bartender, is the fictional creation of the newspaper humorist Finley Peter Dunne.)

How can Griffiths be a media editor and so lacking of an ear for language? What makes the saying great is the flipping of the 2 words, comfort and afflict.  In the first phrase, comfort is the verb and the noun is formed out of the word afflict. In the second phrase, afflict is the verb and the noun is formed out of the word comfort. That's some beautiful humor, full of meaning and poetry.

Then along comes this lummox Griffiths and he botches the first word, instead of beginning with comfort — the word upon which you're then supposed to cleverly end (in its variation comfortable) — he begins with aid, which never appears again in his clunky non-aphorism.

It's like saying: It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the amount of the fight in the dog.

"What do you think happens to the political sensibilities of young people watching a political discourse like that?'

It's 1992 and Bill Moyers asking his his intellectual panel about the remix video made from George H.W. Bush's "Read my lips: No new taxes." You can watch the video, followed — beginning at 2:11 — by the egg-headed discussion:

I got that over at Reason.com, where Jesse Walker writes:
The publisher of The Hotline replies that the video "debases the process"; the dean of the Annenberg School for Communication calls it an "invitation to cynicism that I think is very unhealthy." And they both go on from there, condemning in advance the entire media landscape of 2017. I'm not sure 1992 has ever felt as distant as it does while I'm watching this.

"We've had the privilege to carry a century of humanity. But maybe what we carry isn’t just people, it's an idea: that while we're not the same, we can be one."

Cadillac's ad (to play during the Oscars):

I got there via "Cadillac Ad Tries to Bridge Nation’s Chasm, Without Falling In," by James B. Stewart (in the NYT), who compares this ad to Audi's Super Bowl ad (which we talked about here). Stewart writes:
Uwe Ellinghaus, chief marketing officer of Global Cadillac, said, “We can have a point of view without adding fuel to any controversial political debate."...  [But] “I didn’t see how we could shy away from the division in the country,” he said. “We didn’t want to enter the political debate. We wanted to transcend it.”

Perhaps it took two non-Americans — Mr. Sadoun is French, Mr. Ellinghaus is German — to suggest that by acknowledging the divide, an ad campaign might actually help heal it. After all, America had been divided before in its history — at times far more than now. (Hence the image of a civil rights demonstration.) The nation had overcome the divisions, moved forward and prospered, the American dream intact.

For many years (though not in recent decades), the Cadillac brand embodied that dream. Perhaps Cadillac’s ad could remind Americans of the nation’s resilience and inherent optimism, and “celebrate what America is capable of,” Mr. Ellinghaus said....

“Cadillac realizes that it needs to connect with buyers emotionally,” Ms. Sewell said. “That’s never been more true than now in the luxury space.” In the ad, Cadillac is identified with “unity, optimism, courage — the great American values,” she said. “I think dealers and customers, too, are hungry to hear something positive like this.”

Leslie Jones is sick of you and your rescue dogs.

From a prominent NYT article about the comedienne's standup act:
During a riff about rescue dogs and self-righteous pet owners who say things like “Did I rescue the dog, or did the dog rescue me?” Ms. Jones spun a wicked fantasy.

“How about both of y’all get caught in a fire, and neither one of y’all get rescued?” she said.
“If I see another 45-year-old white woman from Williamsburg saying ‘black lives matter,’ I’m going to punch you in the mouth,” Ms. Jones said. “Stop doing that.”

When she observes these political protests, Ms. Jones said: “Not one black woman out there. Black woman at home watching ‘Housewives of Atlanta.’”

If 90,000 jump the subway turnstile in NYC every year and 2,000 are arrested for it in one month — is there too much law enforcement or too little.

This article at DNAinfo (linked from a linky page in the NYT) highlights the opinion of a transit authority board member, David Jones, whose objections are 5-fold:

1. Triviality. It's a mere "quality of life problem" that shouldn't preoccupy the police.

2. Poverty. It's a crime people commit because they're insufficiently rich. So it's "like Victor Hugo, 'Les Miserables,' persecuting people for stealing bread." And then the punishment is to collect a fine, but these are "people who have already indicated they don’t have money."

3. Race. Jones either knows or imagines that there is a disparate racial impact: "I’m also worried that if you start to look at the demographics, who’s interfacing with the criminal justice system on this, it’s generally young people, blacks and Latinos."

4. Illegal immigration. It will lead to deportations. "Even before the Trump victory, I would’ve been concerned because I don’t want young people having an interaction with the criminal justice system that doesn’t involve some very serious activity.... Now it’s heightened — we just don’t want to give more ammunition and more reason to deport people who have engaged with us because of poverty."

5. Sneakiness. The NYPD uses plainclothes officers to catch people in the act. Why don't they just have "a big sign there and a policeman under the sign"? Then that turnstile wouldn't be luring impulsive youngsters to leap.

Nicholas Kristof begs Trump-haters to "please don’t practice his trick of 'otherizing' people into stick-figure caricatures, slurring vast groups as hopeless bigots."

"We’re all complicated, and stereotypes are not helpful — including when they’re of Trump supporters."
First, stereotyping a huge slice of America as misogynist bigots is unfair and impairs understanding. Hundreds of thousands of those Trump supporters had voted for Barack Obama. Many are themselves black, Latino or Muslim. Are they all bigots?

Second, demonizing Trump voters feeds the dysfunction of our political system. One can be passionate about one’s cause, and fight for it, without contributing to political paralysis that risks making our country ungovernable.

Tolerance is a liberal value; name-calling isn’t....
 I agree: Tolerance is a liberal value. But that's why an awful lot of those in this country who call themselves liberals ought to be referred to as so-called liberals.

"The new '... nevertheless, she persisted'?"

Writes my son John about the statement "She got exactly what she wanted, which wasn't to speak.... She wanted to cause a scene...."

The statement appears in an L.A. Times article, "A state senator is removed from the chamber for her comments about Tom Hayden and Vietnam":
After trying to make a statement about the late Tom Hayden and his opposition to the Vietnam War, Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) was removed from the floor of the state Senate on Thursday, a tense scene that ended in a slew of angry accusations from both Republicans and Democrats.

Nguyen, who was brought to the United States as a Vietnamese refugee when she was a child, said she wanted to offer "a different historical perspective" on what Hayden and his opposition to the war had meant to her and other refugees....

In the statement which she later posted on her official Senate website, Nguyen criticized Hayden for siding "with a communist government that enslaved and/or killed millions of Vietnamese, including members of my own family."
A procedural rule was cited as the basis for wanting shut Nguyen up. She was ruled "out of order" for using a "point of personal privilege." Nguyen had refrained from airing her opinion during a remembrance of Hayden that had occurred earlier in the week.

February 23, 2017

A hot new Bloggingheads episode.

I can't figure out how to embed it, so you have to go here.

How bad were Milo’s pedophilia comments? 8:21
Are evangelicals demonized? 5:40
Debating the limits of free speech 18:35
Is the media’s coverage of Trump unprofessional? 7:38
Is Trump anti-Muslim? 7:26
Ann’s “hypothetical Trumps” thought experiment 11:10
How not to oppose to Trump 3:36

ADDED: This might work:

At the Ulmus New Horizon Hotel...


... you can stay up all night.

(And if you're staying up shopping, you know you can shop through The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

The most interesting sentence in George Packer's musing about whether Trump is insane enough to be removed under the procedure set forth in the 25th Amendment.

"The gaudy gold drapery of the East Room contributed to the impression that at any moment Trump might declare himself President for Life, and a flunky would appear from behind the curtain to pin the Medal of National Greatness on his suit jacket, while, backstage, officials and generals discussed his overthrow."

So let me get this straight — who's crazy?

"If you look at these Cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason, and that is the deconstruction."

"The way the progressive left runs is if they can't get it passed, they’re just going to put it in some kind of regulation in an agency. That’s all going to be deconstructed."

Steve Bannon, speaking at CPAC.

"#CNNLeaks: Project Veritas Releases Over 100 Hours of Audio From Inside CNN."

ADDED: I put up the video before watching it. I've watched it now and I'm not seeing anything significant in the few little clips of audio presented. There's also an invitation to us to go through all the hours and hours of audio at the Project Veritas webpage.

"Mr. Sessions, who has opposed expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, pushed Ms. DeVos to relent."

"After getting nowhere, he took his objections to the White House because he could not go forward without her consent. Mr. Trump sided with his attorney general... and told Ms. DeVos in a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he wanted her to drop her opposition. And Ms. DeVos, faced with the alternative of resigning or defying the president, agreed to go along. Ms. DeVos’s unease was evident in a strongly worded statement she released on Wednesday night, in which she said she considered it a 'moral obligation' for every school in America to protect all students from discrimination, bullying and harassment. She said she had directed the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate all claims of such treatment 'against those who are most vulnerable in our schools,' but also argued that bathroom access was not a federal matter...."

From "Trump Rescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students" (in the NYT).

"As I previously mentioned on the show last year, there would be times I would be taking off from the show to deal with a medical issue."

"This is why I’ve been out recently and will be out this week as well. But I will be back taking your calls as soon as I can."

Wrote Alan Colmes on January 30th.

This morning:

What can we say about the new Washington Post catchphrase: "Democracy Dies in Darkness"?

It looks like this on the homepage:

Without reading any of the articles on the subject, I'll just jot down all the thoughts I can come up with:

1. Somebody loves alliteration!

2. Why not forefront death? There's usually lots of death on the front page of the newspaper? "If it bleeds, it leads," they say. So why wait until something bleeds? Why not scream DEATH!!! right at your bloodlusting readers?

3. It makes me think of the emotionalism of the Scott Walker recall election of 2012 — "Democracy died tonight!"

4. They're giving the premise for an unstated assertion. The assertion is: We are the light! The idea is that you need this newspaper because we are what keeps democracy alive.

5. So then why not put it positively? If only I could have listened into the brainstorming session:
We are the light that shines on democracy!

No, we don't just show democracy by illuminating it, we actually cause its continued existence. If you shine a flashlight on a brick wall at night, it lets you see a wall that is always there. It doesn't build the wall. It doesn't keep the wall from crumbling.

We need it to be more like a plant in the sunlight, feeding on the light, and dying in darkness.

We are the blazing sun keeping the plants of democracy growing...

Like kudzu strangling the gnarled trunk of Trump!

That monster. That Satan.

The Prince of Darkness.

The Prince of Darkness is killing democracy.

Death darkness democracy.

Democracy Dies in Darkness!
6. Maybe they knew they could get everybody to write about it and then they would take it out later. 

Language deleted from Melania Trump's lawsuit against The Daily Mail.

"[The] plaintiff had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person, as well as a former professional model, brand spokesperson, and successful businesswoman, to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multimillion-dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world."

Well, that really was embarrassing, that blatant statement of intent to cash in on that First Lady cachet.

Good thing she took that out. And I like how taking that out had the collateral effect of ousting that word you know I hate — click on the tag — garner.

"Why Was Times Theater Critic Charles Isherwood Fired?"

Asks Boris Kachka at Vulture:
[L]ast year Isherwood asked culture editor Danielle Mattoon for a promotion to co-chief theater critic, an arrangement the art and movie critics share. He was turned down and wound up storming out of the office.

“Most of us were thinking, ‘What the fuck is wrong with you? You have the best job in the world,’” says a colleague. “If I had the role of second-string critic, where you could discover things and make a different kind of mark … I don’t think there was a lot of sympathy for the way he was behaving.”

Yet the dismissal still confuses this colleague, who notes, “It’s very rare for the Times to fire somebody. They could have shifted him to the municipal-bonds beat and the guild wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, so it is kind of shocking. But Charles had no rabbi left at the paper, nobody really protecting him, and maybe he was aware of that and gave up, or kept pushing the limits.”....

February 22, 2017

At the Crack-Up Café...


... it's time to break the ice.

(And buy some stuff for yourself at Amazon — using The Althouse Amazon Portal. You know you deserve it — and so do I.)

Bill Maher proclaims himself the "sunlight" that served as the best "disinfectant" to Milo Yiannopoulous.

Here's the interview with Maher (in the NYT).
I said, specifically, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Then we had Milo on, despite the fact that many people said, “Oh, how dare you give a platform to this man.” What I think people saw was an emotionally needy Ann Coulter wannabe, trying to make a buck off of the left’s propensity for outrage. And by the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, he’s dropped as a speaker at CPAC. Then he’s dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through. As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You’re welcome.
I think Maher is wrong. I watched the show and thought he made Yiannopoulos look good. My observation at the time was that Maher saw something of himself in Yiannopoulos. Maher's boosting of Yiannopoulos may have contributed to the timing of the release of the edited audio recording that crushed Milo, but that's all. Speaking of "emotionally needy," Maher is taking credit he doesn't deserve.

The Times interviewer does challenge him: "Could there have been more accountability in your segments with him? For instance, it seemed like he was allowed to grossly understate his role in harassing Leslie Jones on Twitter." Maher went easy on himself:
It’s not my job to hold him accountable to everything he’s ever said or done. I had eight minutes with him, on the show itself. Sorry I don’t have time to go over everything everybody else would want to do.
And he kind of goes easy on Milo:
I don’t think he frankly knows what he’s going to say half the time, or knows what his philosophy is. But to see him as this monster is a little crazy. You know what he is? He’s the little impish, bratty kid brother. And the liberals are his older teenager sisters who are having a sleepover and he puts a spider in their sleeping bag so he can watch them scream.
ADDED: And now Maher has smoked out this disastrous old video in which he actively supports a woman "who is in jail, because she is in love." "That's how I view it," he says about a 35-year-old woman having sex with a 14-year-old boy. Maher announces that that the women — who is having a second baby with this boy — is being punished because "she won't conform to what society feels should be the perfect American family."

Nice to see Henry Rollins talking sense... as Maher mocks him for siding with a conservative woman on the panel. The woman calls it "rape," and Maher scoffs at her: "How can a woman rape a man?" (Yes, "man," to refer to a 14-year-old boy.)

"But let’s be clear what is happening here. This is a cynical media witch hunt from people who don’t care about children."

"They care about destroying me and my career, and by extension my allies. They know that although I made some outrageous statements, I’ve never actually done anything wrong. These videos have been out there for more than a year. The media held this story back because they don’t care about victims, they only care about bringing me down. They will fail. I will be announcing a new, independently-funded media venture of my own and a live tour in the coming weeks.... Don’t think for a moment that this will stop me being as offensive, provocative and outrageously funny as I want on any subject I want.... I’m proud to be a warrior for free speech and creative expression."

From the transcript of Milo's press conference.

I blogged the press conference yesterday, here, with just the video, and there are 200+ comments over there. I'm blogging again because I'm seeing a transcript for the first time, and I wanted to forefront that passage.

And let me propose a thought experiment, in the style of my Trump hypotheticals, 2 posts down.

What if there were a young, handsome, smart, funny provocateur who'd spiked into popularity spouting left-liberal politics, stirring up young people on college campuses and irking older liberals who didn't think he knew enough or had served his elders long enough to deserve his place in the spotlight? And what if then his antagonists dropped some edited audio of late-night podcasts he'd recorded some years ago in which he revealed that when he was 14 he'd had a sexual relationship with a 24-year-old priest but that he refused to think about himself as the victim and he displayed his rationalization of the victimhood experience by characterizing himself as the sexual aggressor and by claiming that the priest had actually helped him?

How would Leftist Milo be treated?

"His office conversation was permeated by sexual imagery. 'Take that tie off,' he would tell one of his male staffers. 'That knot looks like a limp prick.'"

"Standing in the middle of the outer-office desks, he retied the tie in the Windsor knot, wider and more shaped than the traditional four-in-hand, which was becoming fashionable in 1949, and then stepped back to admire his handiwork. 'Look at that!' he said. 'He’s got a man’s knot now, not a limp one.' And assignments to his staff were sometimes made in the same tone. When, during his presidency, a woman reporter wrote critical articles about him, he would tell White House counsel Harry McPherson, 'What that woman needs is you. Take her out. Give her a good dinner and a good fuck.' And, McPherson would learn, the President wasn’t kidding. Joseph A. Califano Jr., to whom McPherson related the incident, writes that 'Periodically the President would ask McPherson if he’d taken care of the reporter. Every time she took even the slightest shot at the President, he’d call Harry and tell him to go to work on her.' Lyndon Johnson was never kidding when he gave such instructions."

From "Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson III" by Robert A. Caro, quoted at the suggestion of John Henry in the comments to my post about the NYT op-ed about Donald Trump's necktie.

Imagine if Donald Trump had talked about female journalists like that. 

"What I saw was all those unique, offbeat character names" — Wigglesworth, Smytthe, and Jack Engle — "That was the moment I knew it was something."

"I said some unprincipled words, and I immediately told my wife. Well, I sort of couldn’t get words out, so she asked, ‘Good or bad?’ And I said, 'Good.'"

From "Texas graduate student discovers a Walt Whitman novel lost for more than 150 years."

Trump haters: Please do these 2 thought experiments.

1. Imagine a President Trump whose policies all accord with your own. Substantively, he's like, perhaps, Barack Obama. He'll appoint the Supreme Court Justice who will give the liberal faction a decisive 5-person majority. He's very accepting of undocumented immigrants, committed to Obamacare, etc. etc. — whatever it is that you like. But he has all the personal characteristics of Donald Trump. He entered politics from a successful business career, funded his own campaign using his private wealth, and figured out how to do politics on the fly, making mistakes and correcting his course. He got knocked around in the press and by party insiders who wanted to stop him, but he kept going, overcoming 16 opponents. He had his own way of talking and he took it straight to the people, with hundreds of rallies, and he especially connected with working class people. They just loved him, as the elite shook their heads, because he didn't have the diplomacy and elegance they'd come to expect from a President. Be honest now. How would you like this man? How would you speak about his personal style?

2. Imagine a President Trump with all of the substantive policies of the real Donald Trump — all of them, exactly the same. But this Donald Trump meets your stylistic ideal. He looks, acts, and speaks the way you picture a perfect President. He never seems at all rude or crude or imprecise in his words. His tone — you know the word 'tone'? — is well-modulated. His sentences are the right length, his vocabulary large without verging into show-offiness. He seems confident, but not arrogant. He's nice looking and the right age, perhaps 58, and his wife, who's only exactly as good-looking as he is, is almost the same age. He's got what everyone regards as a "good temperament." He's on task and organized — his administration is up and running like a fine-tuned machine — and putting through all these policies that you loathe and dread. What would you be saying about this Donald Trump?

"So many people think you have to look like a man, play like a man to get respect. I was the opposite."

"I was proud to a be a woman, and it didn’t fit well in that culture," said Candice Wiggins, speaking about the culture within the Women's National Basketball Association. She's abandoning her stellar career 2 years early, because of her "mental state." She says she was bullied for her femininity and heterosexuality.
"I didn’t like the culture inside the WNBA, and without revealing too much, it was toxic for me. … My spirit was being broken.... Me being heterosexual and straight, and being vocal in my identity as a straight woman was huge,” Wiggins said. “I would say 98 percent of the women in the WNBA are gay women. It was a conformist type of place. There was a whole different set of rules they (the other players) could apply..... People were deliberately trying to hurt me all of the time. I had never been called the B-word so many times in my life than I was in my rookie season. I’d never been thrown to the ground so much. The message was: ‘We want you to know we don’t like you.’... It comes to a point where you get compared so much to the men, you come to mirror the men,’ she said. “So many people think you have to look like a man, play like a man to get respect. I was the opposite.... There were horrible things happening to me every day...."
I don't know how much of that to believe. I don't understand the nature of the razzing that goes on behind the scenes in sports, whether Wiggins was unusually sensitive or arrogant, and what sexual orientation had to do with it. The other women are not telling there side of the story, so I feel compelled to imagine it.

If you read the story at the link, you'll see that Wiggins is writing a book, so she has a motive to stir up interest in her story. I'm interested in seeing how well this angle plays — this notion that she had more femininity than those other ladies and that there's something especially brutal about lesbians.

There's also the problem that the WNBA is just not popular, and that's what's really bothering Wiggins, who said: "Nobody cares about the WNBA. Viewership is minimal. Ticket sales are very low. They give away tickets and people don’t come to the game." And she's switching over to beach volleyball —where she sees a "celebration of women and the female body as feminine" — which people do seem to like to watch (perhaps because we only watch it every 4 years when the Summer Olympics come around).

When the law professor writes about Trump's necktie.

A Stanford law professor wrote a 700-word essay — published in the NYT — about the neckties Trump wears. The professor — Richard Thompson Ford — is "writing a book about dress codes," so he may not be going too far out of his way to analyze Trump at the fashion level. Obviously, we know Trump wears a plain, wide red tie and he ties it so it hangs very long. You could either search for the reason he has chosen that and sticks to it (he must intend the result) or you can find fault with that (why doesn't he learn how to tie the tie correctly?).

Ford takes the latter approach: "The putative leader of the free world cannot tie a necktie properly." And he justifies his attention to the seemingly trivial by asking if it might "reflect weightier issues of self-discipline, competence and integrity?" And we, the readers, might ask if a law professor's enterprise of seeking meaning in the President's necktie might reflect "weightier issues of self-discipline, competence and integrity?" That is, does the professor begin with the necktie and find meaning in it, or did the professor begin with an opinion of the President and then ascribe that meaning to the necktie? What would the necktie mean if you loved President Trump? If the meaning would be different, then you're not analyzing the necktie.

Ford gets into some good detail:
Perfectly symmetrical knots with centered dimples betray an obsessive-compulsive personality. The Italians have mastered the insouciance of the slightly off-center knot — some even leave the narrower end a bit longer, letting it peek out from behind the thicker one in front, as if to say, I really couldn’t be bothered to redo it.
And political self-awareness:
Trump partisans may well complain: Why is the Italian imperfect tie-knot considered chic and the presidential idiosyncrasy déclassé? Isn’t this a double standard set up by liberal elitists?
I'd say double standards are an important part of the perception of fashion. The right stylish person can take something low class and make it elegant. And something stylish, widely adopted by gross people, can become horrible. I don't think elitists are imposing the standards. It's more about who's wearing what. That's why new fashions look so good: You only see them on models and styled-up stars. When that stuff finds its way onto the bodies of ordinary people, it looks dowdy and sad. Of course.

Ford's theory is that "the Italian" is showing "an aristocratic disdain for the trappings of masculine potency," but Trump's "symmetrical but overlong tie stands out like a rehearsed macho boast, crass and overcompensating." The Italian is high-class ("aristocratic") and not hung up on masculinity, while the billionaire betrays his low-class grasping at machismo. Does this theory save Ford from the "liberal elitist" charge? Why the love for a quality that feels to him like Italian aristocracy? Why the attitude about the wrongness of too much masculinity?

Ford does not progress that deeply into the subject. I guess the NYT reader is imagined to accept the notion that that "Italian" has it just right. There's only a picture of Trump at the link, so The Italian is a picture in your head. And doesn't he look excellent, your stereotype, this Italian?

The picture of Trump shows him exiting a plane with the tie flying backward in the wind, revealing, on its underside, an X of cellophane tape:
This is the opposite of the Italian’s devil-may-care. It betrays a devil who cares too much — and about the wrong things. Whereas the slightly imperfect tie knot demonstrates nonchalance, the badly tied and taped tie suggests a desperate but failed bid to look “correct.” It’s not only a failure, but also a fraud, a paper moon artlessly stuck over a cardboard sea.
So it's both haphazard — artless —and too careful? What's fraudulent about taping something in place? And why isn't that damned Italian considered overcareful in his taking the trouble to "master" the "slightly off-center knot"? The answer is easy: It's all in your head. You like this Italian, and you don't like Trump. Ask yourself, Professor Ford, if you caught a glimpse of the underside of Barack Obama's tie and there was tape, would you not find that "insouciant" and "devil-may-care"? It's like those models who make clothes feel like fashion: The person creates the mood. The perception is in your head.
Mr. Trump’s neckties tell us something about his social and political ties. He has made the persona of the loud, tacky mogul a sort of trademark. 
Oh, come on! It's the other way around! Trump's persona caused you to think about his tie the way you did. Here's Bernie Sanders in approximately the same tie:

What does it mean now?

February 21, 2017

Tonight's sunset.


Once again, I saw the color from my northern window, grabbed the camera and went out front for the western viewpoint... and crouched in the middle of the street to include the reflections on the street.

Milo speaks, embracing victimhood, seriousness.

Profligate De Blasio.

From "The Second Avenue Subway Is Here!/THE SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY IS HERE!/The début of New York’s newest train line took place at noon on New Year’s Day—ninety-seven years after it was first conceived" (in The New Yorker):
De Blasio, for his part, downplayed the advent of the new subway, even though its northern terminus is three blocks from Gracie Mansion, the Mayor’s residence. Technically, the state runs the subways, so his deferral to Cuomo makes sense in terms of structure, if not exposure. The Mayor has so far declined to work the Q into his commute to City Hall. This is in large part because he chooses to travel most mornings by chauffeured S.U.V., under police escort, from the Upper East Side to the Y.M.C.A. in his old neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn, in order to work out. Afterward, he is driven back across the East River to City Hall. His exercise regimen is reportedly a half hour on a stationary bike. The geographical illogic smarts. He might as well make a side trip to Staten Island for an egg-and-cheese.

"The first time I took LSD was in 1969, when I was seventeen.... The older people were drinking, and three or four of us teen-agers were tripping."

"For what I recall as a long time, I stood in front of a closet door by a washing machine. In the door’s grain I saw, to my astonishment, the span of history, as if on a scroll that was unwinding. I’d bring people to stand in front of the door with me, and I’d point out Jesus, and Charlemagne, and soldiers with lances riding elephants, and I’d say, 'See!'... Very few songs influenced by a drug reproduce the sensation of taking the drug, but 'She Said She Said' comes close. It’s a solemn song, and seems to coil snakelike in on itself... 'She Said She Said' is a witness song. A piece of theatre. You’re listening to an argument, a dialectic. 'I know what it’s like,' one character says. 'No, no, no, you’re wrong,' the other says.... I would listen over and over to the song while looking at the cover.*... Somewhere in the psyche is everything we can imagine. Cities we have never visited, characters, landscapes, circumstances that will appear in dreams, all brought into being by some agency we don’t fully understand and can’t summon easily in waking life. Alone in my room, 'She Said She Said' seemed to me like a bulletin from the other side of the fence** (even though I didn’t yet know there was a fence), and it still does."

From "My Obsession with a Beatles Song" by Alec Wilkinson (in The New Yorker).


* The "Revolver" cover is one of the 6 framed album covers on the living room wall at Meadhouse.

** That bit about he fence made me think about this video I saw on Facebook today:

It made me think: Something there is that doesn't love a fence....

At the Staircase Café...


... find some higher ground.


Or... you can shop, using The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"This Abstract Image Test Will Determine Your Dominant Personality Trait."

Kind of cool.

I got: Wisdom.

"This tour [of the National Museum of African American History and Culture] was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms."

"The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are a painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."

AND: "Such an odd way of speaking, not just the announcement of a fact in the future (that is outside of his control and unlikely) — 'It's going to stop' — but putting the future before the present — not 'It has to stop and it's going to stop,' but the other way around."

"The media is in a trance. They are concentrating on seeing 'Trump the idiot' or 'Trump the liar'..."

"... and no one sees the dancing bear."

AND: Here's Scott Adams discussing what's up with Donald Trump and the Sweden comments (and using some software I'm interested in getting and using something like this):

ADDED: There's a problem with the media, granted. I am looking at that. But there's also a problem with Trump that I see in "you look at what's happening last night in Sweden." I understand the explanation. He meant that if you looked at TV the previous night, you could have seen a segment on Tucker Carlson that was about Sweden. That eliminates the confusion caused by his slightly screwy language that had lots of people wondering about something that supposedly had just happened in Sweden. But it does show a problem with Trump that's worse than his somewhat word-salad-y approach to speaking. It shows how TV-oriented he is.

Trump did not instinctively, easily notice that he needed to say I saw a TV show about something last night. He comes across as having the delusion that when you look at the TV, you're looking through a window onto the world. I'm not saying he actually has that delusion, but he naturally falls into figurative speech and would say — un-self-consciously — I'm seeing X when he's only watching X on TV. And I am worried that he's not keeping reality securely separate from what is seen on TV. (Remember when Trump said that he "watched... thousands and thousands of people... cheering" in Jersey City as the WTC fell?)

Trump criticizes the media as fake and distorting, but then he seems to be the guy staring at the screen to see what's going on in the world. Notice how often he uses phrases like "you look at what's happening." I can't look at what's happening outside of my immediate surroundings. I have to watch TV, which I wish were more precise and fact-based. But I maintain my awareness that I'm getting these words and pictures through a filter. Does Trump not maintain his awareness? Is he just choosing the filter he likes and staring inanely through Tucker Carlson's window?!

BUT: What if Trump's TV is some freaky Twilight-Zone thing and he can see the future?
Just two days after President Trump provoked widespread consternation by seeming to imply, incorrectly, that immigrants had perpetrated a recent spate of violence in Sweden, riots broke out in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood in the northern suburbs of Sweden's capital, Stockholm....

"Rambling and long-winded anecdotes could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease..."

"... according to research that suggests subtle changes in speech style occur years before the more serious mental decline takes hold."
“Ronald Reagan started to have a decline in the number of unique words with repetitions of statements over time,” [said Janet Cohen Sherman, clinical director of the Psychology Assessment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital]. “[He] started using more fillers, more empty phrases, like ‘thing’ or ‘something’ or things like ‘basically’ or ‘actually’ or ‘well’.”

Worsening “mental imprecision” was the key, rather than people simply being verbose, however. “Many individuals may be long-winded, that’s not a concern,” said Sherman.
What about a blog that rambles on for 13 years?
Sherman and colleagues had initially set out to test the “regression hypothesis”, the idea that language is lost in a reverse trajectory to how it was acquired during childhood, with sophisticated vocabulary being the first thing to go.
I wonder what would happen if the words of this blog were analyzed in a computer — the growing/shrinking/stable vocabulary, the frequency of repetition, the drift to or from imprecision. You'd first have to extract all the quoted material....

As I said 4 years ago — oh, no, I'm repeating myself — if I got Alzheimer's, I'd blog right through it, like the man in this Washington Post article. Ah! Now, I'm looking to see whatever happened to this man — he's a retired doctor named David Hilfiker — and I see he published this a year ago:
I stopped writing this blog in October 2014 because I'd discovered that I did not, in fact, have Alzheimer’s disease.... Cognitively I've been stable now for almost two years and over the past six months certain abilities have actually improved: I'm able to concentrate a bit more, and I don't get confused as much as I did.  I still have significant deficits in memory, in word-finding, in organizing my thoughts, in multi-step cognitive processing, and in certain kinds of computation.  Aside from my memory decline and my difficulty word-finding, however, most people don't recognize anything wrong or they think that it's just a result of aging.  I believe it has to be more than aging, but whether it is or not is no longer important to me....

ADDED: Maybe the blogging cured him. The blog was titled "Watching the Lights Go Out." Maybe the real/secret title is Keep Turning Lights On.

"Because of a recent copyright dispute, Bulgarian National Radio, the public broadcaster for the country, has been limited to airing music recorded before 1946."

"And... [t]he station had a 20 percent increase in listenership in January, the first month in which the change was in effect, over December’s numbers...."
“We had some concerns but people keep calling to tell us that they really enjoy the music,” said Nikoleta Elenkova, Bulgarian National Radio’s spokeswoman.
Musicautor — which controls the distribution rights for "millions of Bulgarian and foreign songs" — had raised its fees from $271,000 to $978,000 and got its bluff called.

What if you had to forgo everything copyrighted and were limited to what's in the public domain? It's hard to limit yourself, but what if it were forced on you? After a month on that diet, you might think this is great.

"Cassidy’s revelation follows a roller coaster of personal ups and downs that the actor has faced in the past decade..."

"... including a show in Agoura Hills, California, this past weekend where Cassidy repeatedly struggled to remember lyrics to songs he had been singing for nearly 50 years."

David Cassidy — one of the classic teen idols — has Alzheimer's disease dementia.

"Have you ever woke up with your lips stuck together? It didn’t hurt and it was kinda fun."

"All you had to do was to wet your lips from the inside with saliva and they became unstuck. This is the principle behind Mensez...."

Milo needs to solve his own problems, but...

... to be fair, let's look at all the pedophilia talk that public figures have survived. I'll offer up Madonna:

Madonna jokes about asking her son (who was 14 at the time): "Do you have any friends you could introduce me to?"

That was easy for me to find because I blogged it at the time and I have a tag for pedophilia.

What should Milo do now? These Drudge screenshots suggest an answer. Yesterday:


I don't know how far Milo had gotten into writing an actual book. It seems to me that he was preoccupied with promoting an unwritten book and that the sensible way to cause the promised book to come into existence would be for someone else to cut and paste from transcripts of his many spoken-word performances and edited them into something as readable and amusing as possible.

But the life of Milo has taken a darker turn. This is a new and rich source of material. If the man is any good and worth listening to at all, he needs to sit down and write, really write — not just an object that can be sold as a book, but something true and worthy. Work through all of your experience, who you are and why you are here.

IN THE COMMENTS: MayBee brings up "The Vagina Monologues," and that got me looking back in my archive. I found this post from October 2006, just before the midterm election that was harshly affected by the Mark Foley scandal. David Brooks had written a column criticizing liberals for their celebration of "The Vagina Monologues," which includes one story of a woman who (like Milo Yiannopoulos) had as a young teenager been initiated into sex by an adult and who spoke of the experience in an excitedly positive tone. Brooks wrote:
This is a tale of two predators. The first is a congressman who befriended teenage pages. He sent them cajoling instant messages asking them to describe their sexual habits, so he could get his jollies.

The second is a secretary, who invited a 13-year-old girl from her neighborhood into her car and kissed her. Then she invited the girl up to her apartment, gave her some vodka, took off her underwear and gave her a satin teddy to wear.

Then she had sex with the girl, which was interrupted when the girl’s mother called. Then she made the girl masturbate in front of her and taught her some new techniques.

The first predator, of course, is Mark Foley, the Florida congressman. The second predator is a character in Eve Ensler’s play, “The Vagina Monologues."

Foley is now universally reviled. But the Ensler play, which depicts the secretary’s affair with the 13-year-old as a glorious awakening, is revered. In the original version of the play, the under-age girl declares, “I say, if it was a rape, it was a good rape, then, a rape that turned my [vagina] into a kind of heaven.” When I saw Ensler perform the play several years ago in New York, everyone roared in approval. Ensler has since changed the girl’s age to 16 — the age of Foley’s pages — and audiences still embrace the play and that scene at colleges and in theaters around the world.

February 20, 2017

At the Tiny House Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

(And think about doing your shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal. If you like nice dollhouses, you might like this bungalow. Or for big within the category of smallness, there this mansion.)

Is this the downfall of Milo?

"Milo Yiannopoulos Disinvited From CPAC Over Pedophilia Commentary."

Milo's defense of himself is included at that link:
I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim.

I would like to restate my utter disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors. I am horrified by pedophilia and I have devoted large portions of my career as a journalist to exposing child abusers. I've outed three of them, in fact -- three more than most of my critics. And I've repeatedly expressed disgust at pedophilia in my feature and opinion writing. My professional record is very clear.

But I do understand that these videos, even though some of them are edited deceptively, paint a different picture....

"Liberals may feel energized by a surge in political activism, and a unified stance against a president they see as irresponsible and even dangerous."

"But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right. In recent interviews, conservative voters said they felt assaulted by what they said was a kind of moral Bolshevism — the belief that the liberal vision for the country was the only right one. Disagreeing meant being publicly shamed. Protests and righteous indignation on social media and in Hollywood may seem to liberals to be about policy and persuasion. But moderate conservatives say they are having the opposite effect, chipping away at their middle ground and pushing them closer to Mr. Trump."

From a NYT op-ed by Sabrina Tavernise titled "Are Liberals Helping Trump?"

I'll just answer from my personal perspective (about how it affects me): Yes.

"But the appearance of the name of Felix Sater in this new article in the Times is one of the biggest shoes I've seen drop on the Trump story in some time."

Okay, you can go over here if you want to know what Josh Marshall is so exercised about. And here for the underlying NYT article, "A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates."

I just want to talk about the mangled cliché "one of the biggest shoes I've seen drop" — because we had so much fun 3 days ago talking about "he is a bull looking for a china shop" (a NY Post description of Donald Trump). I'd said if you'd just avoid clichés, you'd escape the danger of screwing them up. The phrase is "a bull in a china shop," not "bull looking for a china shop" and:
Bulls aren't hot to relocate to china shops! They're not on a mission to break china. They just would break a lot of china if they ever were in a china shop, which never happens.
I enjoyed the conversation in the comments, especially the pointer to the episode of "Mythbusters" where they showed that a bull in a china shop would not break a lot of china but would actually move about with agility and avoid hitting anything:

And here's a follow-up I found on my own:

So, I love stuff like that. It's overriding my Russia paranoia right now. I want to talk about Josh Marshall's phrase "one of the biggest shoes I've seen drop." Shoes of different sizes don't randomly drop. The shoe cliché is about 2 shoes of the same size — a pair of shoes — where one has already dropped so you are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The idea isn't that shoes are important news and here comes another shoe and wow this one is really big. It's just predictability. Where one shoe has dropped, you know there is a second shoe:
A common experience of tenement living in apartment-style housing in New York City, and other large cities, during the manufacturing boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Apartments were built, similar in design, with the bedrooms located directly above and underneath one another. Thus, it was normal to hear a neighbor removing their shoes in the apartment above. As one shoe made a sound hitting the floor, the expectation for the other shoe to make a similar disturbance was created.
You never see these shoes. You only hear them. That's why waiting for the other shoe to drop involves distinct anticipation: You're not seeing the person unlace the shoe and reach the point where he will drop the shoe. You know he will, but you don't know exactly when, not until you hear the shoe hit the floor. And that goes to show just how badly Josh Marshall mangled the cliché when he wrote "one of the biggest shoes I've seen drop."*

You shouldn't be using clichés anyway, so why expose yourself to the lampooning you're going to get here at Althouse if you get them wrong?


* And I don't even want to talk about Marshall's image of shoe dropping on the Trump story. The shoe-dropping cliché is about the need to endure the sound of the shoe hitting the floor. The floor isn't hurt or changed in any significant way by the shoe.

Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out/Welcome back, to that same old place that you laughed about...

From "Liberals Are Still Angry, but Merrick Garland Has Reached Acceptance" (in the NYT):
After the election, the judge took a little time off, friends said... And on Jan. 30, two colleagues on the appeals court, Judges David S. Tatel and Laurence H. Silberman, hosted a more formal affair at the Metropolitan Club here.

“It was kind of, ‘Welcome back, Garland,’” Judge Tatel said. “‘Would we have been happy to see you on another court? Yes, but we’re glad you’re back.’”

Judge Tatel added, “He’s fully engaged and he’s back to being an extremely good chief judge.”...

“He did everything right — he never said a cross word, he never made a joke about it, he never politicized it,” said Tali Farhadian Weinstein, a former Garland clerk.....
In case you need to sing the post title: here.

As for the NYT article title... it's those insidious 5 stages of grief again. I don't for one minute believe that Merrick Garland had to process the experience like that, and remaining where you've been all along is not like dying. Getting an opportunity and then having it not pan out is a big experience in life, but I think anyone sensible enough to get a Supreme Court nomination isn't going to get so high on hope that he needs 5 stages to work through dashed hope. I'm sure Garland knew all along it was a game that he'd probably lose. He had the honor and distinction of being chosen, and I'm sure he accepted the nomination with the knowledge that he was being cast in a tragic role in some political theater.
“The character he showed through the whole process proves how qualified he was for the job,” [Tali Farhadian Weinstein] added, “and it adds to the tragedy that he didn’t get it.”

"From retirement communities to nursing homes, older Americans are increasingly turning to marijuana for relief from aches and pains."

"Many have embraced it as an alternative to powerful drugs like morphine, saying that marijuana is less addictive, with fewer side effects...."
“If residents are taking it, they are taking it undercover without the staff knowing so it’s not part of their care plan,” said Dr. Cheryl Phillips, senior vice president for public policy and health services for LeadingAge, an industry group representing more than 2,000 nursing homes. “I think that creates a safety problem.”

Fred Miles, a Colorado lawyer who represents nursing home operators, said nursing homes — unlike assisted living facilities — were regulated by the federal government, and were fearful of jeopardizing their Medicare and Medicaid funding....
The linked article (in the NYT) stresses access for pain avoidance and begins and ends with assurances that nobody is getting any affirmative pleasure. The piece begins with a 98-year-old woman who says "I don’t feel high or stoned... All I know is I feel better when I take this." And it ends with an 80-year-old woman who says "It’s got a stigma.... People don’t really believe you’re not really getting high if you take it."

Notice how she takes it for granted that there should be a stigma on getting high. She (and the NYT) want to assure you that the marijuana users used to tug our hearts are not only not using marijuana for the purpose of getting high, they are not even getting high at all.

It's interesting to me that the argument for legalization is so firmly based on puritanism ("the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy").

"Yes, nothing says female empowerment like a bunch of androgynous models dressed like homeless people."

"This displays the same cognitive dissonance as all the 'feminist' fashion shows featuring models in burqas and niqabs. It's like listening to a joke whose punchline never comes."

That's the second-highest-rated comment on a WaPo piece by Robin Givhan titled "After the Women’s March, designers try to bring their new woke energy to the runway." (The highest-rated comment is a complaint against the use of "slang" (presumably, "woke").

Another good comment is:
Hilarious - the "fashion" industry emphasizes treating women daily as objects to be ogled with ever skimpier clothing and NOW they are concerned about women's rights? Where was this concern when they were objectifying women all these years?

Did Trump make a sexist joke?

"What can look so beautiful at 30? An airplane."

New York Magazine says: "Trump Somehow Found a Way to Insult Women at the Unveiling of an Airplane."

Was that a sexist joke?

pollcode.com free polls

ADDED: Poll results:

"Her early life had been a Dickensian nightmare. By her own account, she was the unwanted child of a broken home..."

"... a ninth-grade dropout who was raped repeatedly by a relative, and a homeless runaway and thief consigned to reform school. She was married at 16, divorced and left pregnant three times by different men. She had bouts of suicidal depression, she said. Ms. McCorvey gave up her children at birth and was a cleaning woman, waitress and carnival worker. Bisexual but primarily lesbian, she sought refuge from poverty and dead-end jobs in alcohol and drugs. She was 22 and pregnant when she joined the abortion rights struggle, claiming later that she had not really understood what it was all about...."

Norma McCorvey, the person who happened into the role of Jane Roe, has died at the age of 69.

"As a trader in this village it's hard enough to earn a living without a prat like this sticking his fat nose where it['s] not wanted."

"You know who you are, u prat."

That made me look up "prat." It's English slang, going back to the 1500s, meaning "a buttock." Later, it came to mean both buttocks, i.e., a "bottom." (Source: OED.)

"Why, she's getting groggy on her pins, and if you don't pipe rumbo, she'll go prat over nut." That's from 1846. 

By 1955, it was slang for "An idiot, a fool; an ineffectual or contemptible person." Joe Orton used it in 1964 in "Entertaining Mr Sloane": "Go on, you superannuated old prat!"

I must say that before looking it up, I pictured it as a fish. I was thinking: sprat.

ADDED: This planted it in my head that Brits insult each other with fish:

IN THE COMMENTS: Laslo Spatula said: "I'm surprised Althouse din't also link o this Monty Python fish skit:"

The answer (to quell your surprise (I'm always alarmed at what surprises people around here)) is that — although I've had the DVD on my shelf for years — I've never gotten very far into "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life." There's only so much of this sort of foolery I can take in one sitting. A half hour is best for comedy. In the early days of movies, that was well understood. For example, this half hour of Chaplin from 1918:

That's all you need and all you want.

"The Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago could require a $1.5 billion endowment... three times what was raised for the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas."

"The Obama Center is due to be so expensive because it will require the construction of both a presidential library and a museum about the lives of Barack and Michelle Obama."

February 19, 2017


... it's a continent if you believe it is.

Fake news? (And should we care if a rich person throws an expensive party?)

2 camels @ $1500 each / 400 people = $7.50 per person
$200,000 for dinner / 400 people = $500 per person
$60,000 for service / 400 people = $150 per person
$500,000 for singer / 400 people = $1250 per person
$8 million / 400 people = $20,0000 per person
Innumerate NYT readers = Priceless!

"I propose that we teach death ed in all of our high schools. I see this curriculum as a civic responsibility."

"I understand that might sound radical, but bear with me. Why should death be considered more taboo than sex? Both are a natural part of life. We may think death is too scary for kids to talk about, but I believe the consequences of a bad death are far scarier. A death ed program would aim to normalize this passage of life and encourage students to prepare for it, whenever it might come — for them, or for their families."

From an op-ed (in the NYT) by Jessica Nutik Zitter, who practices critical care and palliative medicine.

IN THE COMMENTS: Jay Elink said:
Batshit crazy.

All that would do is scare a bunch of kids into thinking, "OMG, Grandpa's gonna croak, any minute now".

Themselves, they will continue to act and think as if they were indestructible. No high schooler walks around thinking about what's going to happen to him, someday in the distant future.

The only advice I would offer to kids on Death is the one John Cardinal Newman gave (paraphrasing):

"Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will have no beginning."

Catholic teaching and iconography have a lot of references to death, beginning with Jesus dying on the Cross. So Catholics don't need no steenkin secular teachers to come along and tell them what Death's all about.

In fact, secular types would do their damndest to dispel the ideas of Heaven and Hell , instead pushing "you're really stupid to believe that religious nonsense". But hey, that's what secular types see as their mission, i.e., undermining religion.

(sez I, a lapsed Catholic and agnostic)

Chelsea Clinton takes her 2-year-old daughter Charlotte to her "1st protest rally."

The event — in Times Square (in NYC) — was called "Today, I Am a Muslim Too," which doesn't sound like a "protest." Isn't it more of a positive happening, like what we once called a "love-in"?
“Thank you to all who organized #IAmAMuslimToo today – Charlotte’s 1st protest rally. #NoBanNoWallNoRaids,” Chelsea captioned a snap featuring a popular protest sign that shows a woman wearing an American flag hijab.
Speaking of hippies, I remember when clothing made from the American flag was considered a desecration — not pro-America at all. I mean, Abbie Hoffman got arrested for this:

I'm not saying there's no free-speech right to use the flag to express an opinion. I'm just asking why a woman in an American flag hijab reads as a Muslim embracing American values.

Why didn't Trump get a honeymoon?

Let me quote something else from the "Fox News Sunday" transcript:
WALLACE: There is another aspect to this first month, and that is the pushback by the establishment, various sources, and we asked you for questions from the panel, and we got a lot like this, a tweet from George who writes, "what other president has faced as much resistance in their first month in office? Where did the honeymoon go?"
I don't know how you watch the Sunday shows at home, but me, I just shout out the answers. I had 2 for this one:

1. Honeymoons are for women.

2.  I just start kissing them.... I don’t even wait....

Chris Wallace learns a new term, "deep state"... and he's loving it.

On today's "Fox News Sunday," first Chris Wallace was talking to Rush Limbaugh:
WALLACE:  You also use a phrase which I have to say that I only heard for the first time in the last couple of weeks, "the deep state".  And that’s the notion that there’s an Obama shadow government embedded in the bureaucracy that is working against this new president.  I think that some folks are going to think that’s right on and some folks will think it’s awfully conspiratorial. 

LIMBAUGH:  Well, I would love to claim credit for that, but actually, I think a reporter by the name of Glenn Greenwald at "The Intercept" who has got a relationship with -- what’s his name?  Assange.  I think [Greenwald] actually coined the term.*  And I think it works.  I don’t think -- who is driving this business that the Russians hacked the election?  It’s the Democrat Party.  It’s Hillary.  It’s Obama.  It’s all those people who just can’t accept...
And then later Wallace had WaPo's Charles Lane on a panel discussion:
WALLACE: [The Obama administration in 2009] didn’t get the resistance from the news media. Some would say that -- that it was very compliant and -- and you certainly didn’t get resistance from the -- the deep state, I’m now loving the expression --
I want to include all of Lane's answer just because I thought he said a lot of good things (not because they're on the topic of "deep state"):
LANE: You sure got a lot... of resistance from the problems. But let me make my second point. Of course you’re getting resistance from all these sort of establishment agencies, if you like, because Donald Trump himself came in promising to attack them, promising to disrupt them, promising to take them down. What does he expect them to do, just stand back and let him, you know, destroy their influence and their power? Of course there’s going to be resistance. But, you know, he -- it’s not as if he avoids provocation of these people, particularly the media, as you have been pointing out. He relishes this combat. A lot of what he’s complaining about as resistance and so forth is resistance that he himself is provoking for the very political reasons.... For his base, a battle with the media is wonderful. It’s almost as good as actual policy change because it makes -- it confirms their world view. It confirms their view of what’s wrong with the country and its terrific politics.

* Jonah Goldberg quickly tweeted "Note to Rush and Chris Wallace, 'the Deep State' is not a new term and Glenn Greenwald didn't coin it," and Greenwald retweeted that saying "FACT CHECK: True," with a link goes to "Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry 1st Edition," a 2013 book by by Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady. Goldberg's tweet linked to a Wikipedia article, "State within a state":
State within a state is a political situation in a country when an internal organ ("deep state"), such as the armed forces and civilian authorities (intelligence agencies, police, administrative agencies and branches of governmental bureaucracy), does not respond to the civilian political leadership. Although the state within the state can be conspiratorial in nature, the Deep State can also take the form of entrenched unelected career civil servants acting in a non-conspiratorial manner, to further their own interests (e.g., job security, enhanced power and authority, pursuit of ideological goals and objectives, and the general growth of their agency) and in opposition to the policies of elected officials, by obstructing, resisting, and subverting the policies and directives of elected officials. The term, like many in politics, derives from the Greek language (κράτος εν κράτει, kratos en kratei, later adopted into Latin as imperium in imperio or status in statu).
That article has a long list of historical examples, including one for the United States, which goes here. Excerpt:
According to Philip Giraldi, the nexus of power is centered on the military–industrial complex, intelligence community, and Wall Street, while Bill Moyers points to plutocrats and oligarchs. Professor Peter Dale Scott also mentions "big oil" and the media as key players, while David Talbot focuses on national security officials, especially Allen Dulles. Mike Lofgren, an ex-Washington staffer who has written a book on the issue, includes Silicon Valley, along with "key elements of government" and Wall Street....
IN THE COMMENTS: The Godfather said:
I'm concerned that this business of complaining about some "deep state" in the federal government is counterproductive.

I understand the "Yes, Minister" phenomenon, the beaurocracy's protection of its own position and power. I practiced law in Washington DC for almost 50 years, and I saw this all the time. One aspect of it is the glorification of "public service". The lawyer who got a job with a government agency was somehow a "better" person than his private sector counterpart. This is often quite sincere. When I was in law school in New York City, 1965-68, there was a dramatic shift in students' aspirations, no longer to Wall Street, but to Washington. They really wanted to go to the New Frontier and build the Great Society. They -- or more accurately their successors -- didn't sign on to "Make America Great Again". That's going to be a problem for Trump as it was for Reagan and GWBush, Presidents who came into office intending to reduce the size and power of the federal government.

But the problem I have with the term "deep state" (or "dark state" as one commenter referred to it) is the implication that there is a conscious and coherent conspiracy to undermine democratic and constitutional governance. References to the CIA and the Military, etc. seem to lead in that direction. Now I have no doubt that there are "spooks" out there who are willing to play their own games if they can get away with it. Somehow Nixon, who should have known better, allowed them to try to get away with it, and other "spooks" nailed him for doing so. But if there is a conscious and coherent conspiracy of government employees that is trying, in their official positions, to undermine the democratically-elected President, then that ought to be revealed to the public. So far, I haven't seen any evidence that this has happened. But if you think it has, let's have the evidence -- not inference, evidence. There are a lot of lawyers commenting on this blog, and you know what evidence is.