July 29, 2017

Where we were...

... yesterday, when I got the "Stay in Love with God" photograph. Here's another:


I felt like I was doing my Google Street View screen-grab photography, but in person:


Here's a good clue:


"In some ways young men have been catching up with young women over the last few years, they are more sensitive and vigilant about how they should look..."

"...and this is becoming more acute... I think it is to do with appearance and masculinity, and the messages we absorb through social media."

From "Steroids see four-fold increase, data shows, fuelled by rise in muscle-conscious young men" (UK Telegraph).

Name-calling in the Trumposphere.

We all know that Trump used name-calling (at least during the campaign) to get the better of his rivals, mostly by attaching a relatively ordinary adjective to the first name: "low-energy Jeb," "little Marco." Trump would repeat his chosen phrase until it stuck in your head.

Scaramucci is like Trump, but a step beyond. He's using name-calling, but it's not presented for public consumption. It just (somehow!) leaks out. And what leaks out is so nasty that: 1. It supports the claim that it was never intended to be heard by the general public, and 2. You only need to hear it once to get it stuck in your head.

What am I talking about? According to a HuffPo source in the White House, Scaramucci called Reince Priebus "Rancid Penis."

And then there is Scaramucci's notorious sideswipe of Steve Bannon: "I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock." It's not name-calling, per se. (No adjective attached to the name.) It's not even a direct insult, since he's talking about himself. You have to make an inference to get to Steve Bannon is trying to suck his own cock. But this is a characterization of Steve Bannon that only needs to be heard once to become unforgettable.

Some people think Trump is his own parody. No exaggeration needed to lampoon him. Just look at him as he is. Amazingly, Scaramucci shows the parody level that could be used by a Trump lampooner. But Scaramucci is doing it in real life and in service to Trump. We don't need a comedian to show us the leap from this service to Trump to sucking Trump's cock. (Remember the quaint old days of acting horrified that a comedian called Trump a "cock holster"?) Scaramucci has already said it about himself.

"The male escort, who in due time we also interviewed, told us Morgana’s story isn’t uncommon."

"He tells us that he sees many women who want sex, but who also want a human connection after being ignored for so long. Isolation and lack of intimacy within marriage, it turns out, is a very common issue. After that night, Morgana was imbued with a new sense of purpose. Her fire was reignited and she decided she wanted to see the escort again. She held off her plans to end her life with a growing sense of hope that there was more for her yet to come.... Fast forward three short years.... [s]he is a... pornographer, creating films that document her experiences in real time as she develops and learns about her newly explored sexuality—a process she never got to experience in her youth. Morgana’s work is sex-positive and age-positive...."

From "The Desperate Housewife Who Reinvented Herself as a Porn Star" (in The Daily Beast).

July 28, 2017

At the Stay-in-Love-with-God Café...


... do good and do no harm.


Twitter gangs up on a 9-year-old boy who wrote a too-sweet-to-be-true letter to Trump.

But he's real. "Did a 9-year-old called ‘Pickle’ really write that letter to Trump? Yep, he’s real." (WaPo).

And Scaramucci is fired... by his wife.

"Anthony Scaramucci, the White House’s potty-mouthed new communications director, has been dumped by his beautiful blond wife because of his 'naked political ambition,' multiple sources exclusively tell Page Six."
The source said that the Wall Street financier, 52, had been “hell-bent” on claiming his position at the White House after he was originally pegged for a senior role and sold SkyBridge Capital in preparation in January.

He was blocked by Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff. But, after an aggressive campaign, Scaramucci was made communications director on June 21 by Trump, prompting Sean Spicer to quit.

He's fired. Reince is out.

"I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great American...."

"..and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration."

"I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his service and dedication to his country. We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!"

3 tweets, just now.

"Trump 'loved' Scaramucci's quotes — but he hates being upstaged."

According to Mike Allen at Axios.
The President likes people with backbone. And at the moment, Scaramucci is empowered: We're told the President loved the Mooch quotes. But President Trump doesn't like being upstaged. "Mini-me" can't forget the "Mini" part. Being more Trump than Trump, in Trump's house, is a dangerous game.
Scaramucci knew enough to say: "I’m not trying to suck my own cock." That means a lot.

"When Medication Side Effects Make You Rethink What it Means to Have a ‘Good Life.'"

"Many commonly prescribed antidepressants, in particular, can come with a host of side effects that can paradoxically contribute to depression..." (New York Magazine).

Wrong font?

It looks like this was unintentional, but the company BelleChic is sure getting a lot of free publicity over "My favorite color is Hitler."

"Around Los Angeles, Dr. Puliafito garnered attention as a kind of bon vivant at glittery parties, grinning for the camera alongside celebrities like Pierce Brosnan, Martin Short and Jay Leno..."

"... while bringing in as much as $9 million in a single night. But last week, this city was abuzz when a different side of the dean came to light after a scandalous report in The Los Angeles Times detailed how he associated with criminals and used drugs on campus, with some escapades captured in videos. Now the university is under intense scrutiny over the circumstances of Dr. Puliafito’s exit from the school’s leadership and whether the administration deliberately turned a blind eye to problems with a prodigious fund-raiser...."

"Blind eye"... is that an intentional metaphor? The subject is "world-class ophthalmologist" Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito. That guy didn't just get attention. He garnered it.

The article, in the NYT, is "At a Moment of Success, U.S.C. Is Rocked by Scandal."

"The clerk read the Arizona senator's surname in the microphone of the tense Senate chamber. The two words were met with silence..."

... McCain had stepped out of the room minutes before. But moments later, he reappeared."
By then, the alphabetical roll call had reached Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan. McCain walked over to the front of the chamber, raising his right arm. He held it up in the air until he had the attention of the clerk. No," he said, with a swift thumbs-down.

It was a "no" that could barely be heard on C-SPAN, and a thumbs-down that viewers would not have been able to easily make out. But the moment was crystal clear for the dozens of reporters watching from the gallery above, who let out a collective gasp and made a stampede exit for the wooden double doors behind them to report the news.
Listen for the "gasp":

July 27, 2017

At The Red Bloom Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like.

And do remember The Althouse Amazon Portal.

And some readers use the PayPal buttons in the sidebar and make a simple contribution. When you make a one-time contribution, there's a space that lets you leave a note, and I receive those notes by email. Someone might tell me about something in particular I'm doing that they like, which is really nice! Other readers use the "subscribe" button, which lets them set up a monthly contribution, such as $5. It's really wonderful to know there are readers who visualize the blog as something like a magazine, worthy of a subscription. I wanted to thank you for that.

"Researchers analysed the writing of regular bloggers with either terminal cancer or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) who all died over the course of the study..."

"... and compared it to blog posts written by a group of participants who were told to imagine they had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and only had only a few months to live. They looked for general feelings of positivity and negativity, and words describing positive and negative emotions including happiness, fear and terror. Blog posts from the terminally ill were found to have considerably more positive words and fewer negative ones than those imagining they were dying – and their use of positive language increased as they got close to death."

From "We fear death, but what if dying isn't as bad as we think?/Research comparing perceptions of death with accounts of those imminently facing it suggest that maybe we shouldn’t worry so much about our own end."

Shorter version: Dying is better than you think.

Morbid cartoon about John McCain.

Published in The Nation.

It's very well drawn and written. You might not like the message, but it's excellent work by Matt Bors.

And as long as I'm talking about cartoons in magazines I know many of you disdain, I really liked "Reasons Your Creative Type Has Broken Up with You," by Ruby Elliot.

"The shock expresses itself in women and girls who sleep for days on end, seemingly unable to wake up..."

"... said Hussein Qaidi, the director of the abductee rescue bureau. 'Ninety percent of the women coming out are like this,' he said, for at least part of the time after their return.... A video... shows what happened when the sisters saw their family for the first time after their return. Their relatives rushed to embrace the gaunt women. They cried.... A day after the video was taken, reporters went to see the women, and they could no longer stand. They lay on mattresses inside the plastic walls of their tent.... Family members said that except for a few brief moments, the women have not awakened since then, over a week ago."

From "Freed From ISIS, Yazidi Women Return in ‘Severe Shock'" (in the NYT).

"'Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,' Scaramucci said."

"He channelled Priebus as he spoke: '"Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months."'"

From "Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon/He started by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. It escalated from there," by Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker.
Scaramucci also told me that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”...

Unlike other Trump advisers, I’ve never heard [Scaramucci] say a bad word about the President. “What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people,” he told me.
ADDED: Scaramucci responds via Twitter:
I sometimes use colorful language. I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump's agenda. #MAGA
I made a mistake in trusting in a reporter. It won't happen again.

"Kakutani was a fearsome and unpredictable gatekeeper, more so because she has been a singularly private person, almost never seen or heard from outside of her reviews."

"She is said to be close friends with Maureen Dowd and Alessandra Stanley, part of a long-standing clique of empowered and influential women at the Times.... Kakutani joins dozens of other Times employees who have opted to take voluntary buyouts as the Times implements a plan, as I wrote about earlier this week, to free up budget for some 100 additional reporters. While the buyouts, which are to be finalized today, were primarily aimed at copy editors, both writers and other editors were eligible to apply for the exit packages, too. Kakutani is the most high-profile taker to emerge so far...."

From "MICHIKO KAKUTANI, THE LEGENDARY BOOK CRITIC AND THE MOST FEARED WOMAN IN PUBLISHING, IS STEPPING DOWN FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES/Kakutani, who helped make the careers of writers from Foster Wallace to McEwan, and put fear in the hearts of Mailer and Vidal, will leave her post as one of the most formidable critics in the Times history" by Joe Pompeo (in Variety).

That was a nonapology from the leader of the Boy Scouts.

All day, I've been seeing that there was an apology, and I just got around to reading it:
I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree. That was never our intent. The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition that has been extended to the leader of our nation that has had a Jamboree during his term since 1937. It is in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies. For years, people have called upon us to take a position on political issues, and we have steadfastly remained non-partisan and refused to comment on political matters. We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.
The leader (Michael Surbaugh, the Chief Scout Executive) is obviously reacting to criticism. He knows there are people who were offended, and he's mollifying them. It's not the most exaggerated form of nonapology, because he doesn't say I'm sorry if you were offended or I'm sorry that you were offended, but he's speaking to the offended and showing that he cares about their feelings.

It's also missing the most important element of an apology: An admission of wrongdoing. In fact, Surbaugh argues that the Boy Scouts did everything right. They were completely politically neutral, making the same invitation to the President that they always make and not intending for the President to inject any politics into the event. I'd say Surbaugh's purpose here is to defend the Boy Scouts and concede nothing.

Interestingly, Surbaugh does not even say that the President did wrong. The President got the standard invitation, accepted it, and showed up and said what he decided should be said. He was given a speech opportunity and he operated independently of the Boy Scouts, who just gave him the platform. He was free to speak, and, as is often the case, some people think he made some bad choices. What Surbaugh seems to care about is that the President's choices about what to say not be attributed to the Boy Scouts, because he, understandably, doesn't want any political positions to seem to belong to the Boy Scouts.

(It reminds me of cases in which a public school gives the valedictorian the podium at graduation and the valedictorian, given a speaker's slot, chooses to thank Jesus. The school isn't endorsing religion, just following a neutral policy of giving a forum to the student with the highest grades. In that situation, the school has an obligation to avoid taking a position on religion, and the valedictorian, speaking for herself, is free to thank Jesus. That can be accepted as perfectly fine.)

Something else that makes what Surbaugh said not a real apology is that there's nothing about the future. It sounds as though the Boy Scouts are going to keep doing what they've done since 1937 and invite the President to speak and that the President will be on his own. Surbaugh doesn't even say he hopes that the criticism the President received this year will influence Presidents in the future to keep politics out of the Jamboree speech. He just regrets that it happened this time. Regret is an element of an apology, but only one of several elements.

Conclusion: That was a nonapology.

"The military’s policy permitting transgender individuals to serve remains in place, the country’s highest military officer said on Thursday..."

"... clarifying some of the confusion surrounding President Trump’s announcement on Twitter that transgender people would no longer be accepted or allowed in the military.... [T]he policy on who is allowed to serve will not change until the White House sends the Defense Department a rules change and the secretary of defense issues new guidelines."

The NYT reports.

I've been wary of the Trump = chaos template, but this is too chaotic for me.

The most embarrassing thing about this CBS News puff piece isn't that it proclaims that "Hillary Clinton lets her 'guard down'" based on nothing more than that...

... the Introduction to her new memoir makes the statement "Now I'm letting my guard down."

If NBC News cared about factual reporting, it would say "Hillary Clinton Claims She Is "Letting [Her] Guard Down' in Her New Memoir." Most of us won't believe that, and NBC must know that, so why would it ludicrously tout the book as if someone at NBC had read the book and found it revealing and forthcoming?

But the most embarrassing thing in that NBC news article is in the third paragraph. Did you notice? Let me close in on it:

They called it a "novel"!

Ironically, that's more believable than the idea that she's letting her guard down.

By the way, the book is called "What Happened." No question mark. You're supposed to read that title in a flat just-the-facts tone of voice. Not in a comical what-the-hell-just-happened? way.

IN THE COMMENTS: tcrosse said: "'What Happened' has to be the most disingenuous book title since 'If I Did It.'"

At the Purple Café...


... you can talk while I go air myself out.

And please — I know it's weird after that last post — use The Althouse Amazon Portal.

Bezos just became richer than Gates.

He's now the richest person in the world, the NYT reports.
Forbes now estimates the wealth of Mr. Bezos, currently Amazon’s chief executive, at about $90.6 billion, compared with $90 billion for Mr. Gates.

Mr. Bezos has added tens of billions of dollars in wealth — at least on paper — over the last year as Amazon shares surged more than 40 percent during that time period....

According to a filing with securities regulators in April, Mr. Bezos holds nearly 81 million shares of Amazon — almost 17 percent of the company. Forbes also estimates the value of his other investments — including his ownership of The Washington Post and the rocket company Blue Origin — and cash from the sale of securities as part of its wealth calculations....
In this light, what explains the pay wall at The Washington Post? Isn't owning that, for him, something to do to influence what people think? Why make it harder to read? Ah, if I understood stuff like that, I'd be wealthier myself. I'm going to assume he's one of those people who are excited about money as money and love bigness as bigness. How big can it get? It's an orientation.

UPDATE, later the same day: Gates pulled back ahead of Bezos.

"The elders — who effectively served as the family’s 'panchayat,' or village council — decided that justice should be served as revenge."

"They instructed the victim’s brother, who is also about 16, to rape the teenage sister of the attacker in return for his crime, Ahsan Younis, head of the Multan city police, told The Washington Post."
So the 16-year-old brother followed suit, assaulting the teenage girl in his family’s home and effectively carrying out what Younis called a “revenge rape.”

Two rapes, within two days, all in one extended family. It turns out the first assailant’s father is a brother of the second assailant’s grandfather....

Authorities ordered the arrests of 29 people — all members of the extended family.... Family members admitted to police that the second rape was ordered as retaliation for the first one. But they asserted that the decision was a consensual one between the two families.

The "aggressive thrill ride" — The Fire Ball — breaks in mid-swing, riders topple out, and at least one person dies.

Here are search results from which you can choose a story/video.

This happened at the Ohio State Fair.

The death of Rocky the Squirrel (and Natasha of Boris and Natasha).

Did you know June Foray?

"June Foray, the last of the great old voice actors, has passed away at the age of 99...."

"There are thousands of transgender people already serving among the 1.3 million active-duty members of the military."

"These are people who have volunteered their service and have potentially put their lives on the line, and yet their President, who managed to come up with a flimsy doctor’s note back in the day, denies them their dignity, their equality. He will not 'accept or allow' them in the military. Imagine the scale of this insult.... When you begin to consider the meanness of what Trump has done, it is worth remembering him saying that he was 'smarter' than the generals on military matters, and that he mocked John McCain’s service in Vietnam because 'I like people who weren’t captured.' When you begin to think about the scale of this offense, it is worth remembering Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who lost a son in Iraq, addressing Trump directly from the lectern of the Democratic National Convention: 'You have sacrificed nothing and no one.'"

From "The Cruelty and Cynicism of Trump’s Transgender Ban/The President’s tweets are a naked attempt to divert attention from his scandals," by David Remnick (in The New Yorker).

ADDED: Look how positive Trump was to LGBT rights when he was campaigning:

A lefty buzzword has become Scaramucci's "favorite" word, and the Columbia Journalism Review endeavors to explain it to us.

Do you know the word? Had you noticed Scaramucci relying excessively on any particular word )or words)?

The word is "binary."

Now, when I first saw — in "The meaning behind Scaramucci’s favorite word" — that the word was "binary," I thought it must be that Scaramucci is using it to destablize a question. Some interviewer tries to pin him down, and he distances himself from the question by calling it "binary." Actually, the issue is complex and multifaceted. And then he can explain why and work his way toward something he is willing to say.

But, no. Scaramucci uses the word like this:
“Tomorrow I’m going to have a staff meeting,” he said on the CBS program Face the Nation. “And it’s going to be a very binary thing.…If they want to stay on the staff, they’re going to stop leaking.” A few seconds later, he said, “But if you’re going to keep leaking, I’m going to fire everybody. It’s just very binary.”
He's not using the word to inject complexity. He's the one imposing the clarity. Either you're with us or you're against us. 

I associate the word with the left because, as Columbia Journalism Review puts it:
[R]ecently, “binary” has been applied to gender, with the traditional view being that biological sex is binary, only male or female. Many people, though, identify themselves as “nonbinary,” meaning they don’t think of themselves as either male or female, or as only male or female, and the concept of the “gender binary” is often questioned.
Searching this blog's archive, I'm seeing the word used in various things I've quoted. For example, in March 2015, I quoted a Slate writer who said:
Dividing the world into males and female is such a big part of the culture that it can seem impossible, and perhaps even aggravating, to try to think outside those categories. This is not only a problem for squares stuck in a binary way of thinking — many of the terms associated with genderqueerness end up referring back to masculinity or femininity in some way, which is a bit tricky if the ideal is to move beyond the gender binary entirely.
But just a couple weeks ago, "binary" came up in the context of good and evil. I quoted the Wikipedia entry for "Goofus and Gallant":
Philosopher Theodore Sider used the characters [Goofus and Gallant] in an argument against the notion of a binary Heaven or Hell conception of the afterlife. Sider conceived of Goofus and Gallant as near-equals, with Gallant only marginally better than Goofus, in arguing that sending the former to Heaven and the latter to Hell is antithetical to God's justice.
So the word has been used, I observe, to disparage those who see things simplistically in black and white. Sophisticated people are not stuck in a binary way of thinking.

And now, here comes Scaramucci. He may have put some sophisticated thought into what he's doing, but as he delivers the message, he's out-and-proud binary. Very binary.


Scaramucci used "very" with "binary" both times in that quote at the top of the post. If you're the kind of usage stickler who frowns at "very unique," you should see the problem with "very binary." You shouldn't say "very unique," because "unique" already means only one. There's no way to be more one than some other one. The same goes for "binary." It means exactly two. Just as there's no way to be more one than one, there's no way to be more two than two.

But I see the argument on the other side. When we speak of people who have a binary way of thinking, we mean that they have a tendency to think in terms of opposites that seem clearly distinct to them. The strength of the tendency can vary. Scaramucci would like us to think that he is a binary thinker of the most intense sort. I'm the kind of person who imagines that he probably has nonbinary reasons for wanting us to think that's how he operates. There's some 3-dimensional chess in there, won't you agree?

July 26, 2017

At the Revery Café...


... you can talk all night.

And maybe you have some shopping to do — a Bob Marley album, some new Nine Inch Nails, the greatest album by a woman, a book about the wild horses of Sable Island, or men's pajamas with a rubber-ducky pattern — so please use those links or The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"Because of Bob’s mixed blood, he was often teased as 'the little yellow boy' or 'the German boy.' He was described as shy, resourceful, and clever."

"In 1957, Marley and his mother moved to Kingston, settling in a dense, ramshackle neighborhood referred to as Trench Town. Marley fell in with a crowd that dreamed of making music. He formed a group with Neville (Bunny Wailer) Livingston, Peter Tosh, Beverley Kelso, and Junior Braithwaite. They eventually called themselves the Wailers, and their sound fused American-style soul harmonies with the island’s jumpy ska rhythms. Under the guidance of Joe Higgs, a singer and producer, the Wailers were a local sensation by the mid-sixties. But island stardom brought little financial security. After moving briefly to Wilmington, Delaware, where his mother had relocated, Marley returned to the Wailers in 1969, just in time for a revolution in Jamaican music: the jolting, horn-inflected styles of ska and rocksteady were slowing down. Reggae was the new craze."

From "Manufacturing Bob Marley/A new oral history shows just how much of his story is up for grabs," an article in The New Yorker (about this book, "So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley").

There are many interesting things in that article, but the most interesting thing to me was that Bob Marley lived in Wilmington, Delaware in the 1960s. I look up his address — 2312 Tatnall Street — and find it in Google Street View:

Google calculates how far that was from where I lived — 5.5 miles. I left in 1964, and he didn't arrive until 1965.

In a New York Magazine interview with Trent Reznor, will there be any mention of Donald Trump?

There shouldn't be, but there can't not be.

1. "I’m very familiar with the rage that seems to fuel the Trump voter or the angry internet commenter..."

2. Prompted with "Trump is the question hanging over so many artists right now": "I’ve been struggling with that, especially as far as the live performance and my trying to be a provocateur. I’m sure I’m doing what many people are trying to do in response to the election: understand, quantify, justify, rationalize, find comfort, feel animosity, should I say something? Should I do something? Should I give up?"

3. Asked "So have you landed on anything helpful?": "Well, the weird thing now is looking at politics as a father. My kids walk in the room and I’ve got CNN or MSNBC on and I have to hit the mute button because I don’t want to get into a discussion about how embarrassing the president is. He’s a fucking vulgarian. Aside from whatever ideological beliefs he has — if he has any — he’s a grotesque person who represents everything I hate. I’m repulsed by everything about him and he’s the president, you know? I haven’t figured out how to rationalize that to my kids’ beautiful little optimistic minds. I grew up in a shitty little town full of Trump voters, so I think I can I understand the point of view of someone who supports his message. What I don’t understand is supporting that messenger."

50 years ago today: Day 4 of the 12th Street Riots.

We've been following the story of this 5-day incident using Wikipedia. Earlier posts here (Day 1) and here (Day 2).
Starting at 1:30 on Tuesday, July 25, some 8,000 Michigan Army National Guardsmen were deployed to quell the disorder. Later, their number would be augmented with 4,700 paratroopers from both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions [sent by LBJ], and 360 Michigan State Police officers....

Some analysts believed that violence escalated with the deployment of troops, although they brought rioting under control within 48 hours...  Tanks and machine guns were used in the effort to keep the peace.... By Thursday, July 27, sufficient order had returned to the city that officers withdrew ammunition from the National Guardsmen stationed in the riot area and ordered them to sheath their bayonets...

The Detroit riot was a catalyst to violence elsewhere as the riot spread from the city into adjoining suburbs and to other areas of Michigan.... The state deployed National Guardsmen or state police to other Michigan cities as simultaneous riots erupted in Pontiac, Flint, Saginaw, and Grand Rapids, as well as in Toledo and Lima, Ohio; New York City and Rochester, New York; Cambridge, Maryland; Englewood, New Jersey; Houston, Texas; and Tucson, Arizona. Disturbances were reported in more than two dozen cities.

"Foxconn Technology Group will announce at the White House on Wednesday its plans to build a massive plant in Wisconsin that would employ thousands."

"The project could reshape the economy of southeastern Wisconsin and involve not just a large factory but a virtual village, with housing, stores and service businesses — spread over as much as 2,300 acres, one source said. That acreage, an area totaling more than 3 square miles, potentially could be assembled from parcels that initially weren’t contiguous, he said."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

" The psychiatric establishment should follow the American Psychoanalytic Association’s defiant lead and retire the Goldwater Rule altogether."

Argues Jesse Singal (at New York Magazine).
As Stat News reported yesterday,* earlier this month the executive committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association told its 3,500 members in an email that they should feel free to flout the Goldwater Rule... To be sure, this is a drop in the bucket in terms of the wider world of psychiatry, given that the American Psychiatric Association has more than 37,000 members...

[A] psychiatrist commenting on a public figure is simply making informed inferences based on the publicly available information, in much the same way an aviation expert might comment on a deadly plane crash without having direct access to the crash site or the details of the subsequent government investigation....

In reality, it is very unlikely that credible psychiatrists would make public statements of concern about public figures’ psychiatric well-being in all but the most urgent cases, given the potential hit to their professional reputations. Those who would take these claims too far, who would politicize vital questions of mental health, would be drowned out and ostracized by their more professionally responsible colleagues
In reality? Singal's grasp of reality is way different from mine. 76% of psychiatrists are Democrats. Their political beliefs are very likely to skew their assessment of when it's "urgent" to get the word out that a political candidate is disordered and when they should "ostracize" a fellow psychiatrist who's spoken out. What happened with Goldwater is what will happen again. Even if only 1% of psychiatrists jump into the public spotlight to opine on the craziness of Candidate X, that's still 370 psychiatrists. And how many of the rest of them — the "more professionally responsible colleagues" — will passively enjoy the damage done to the candidate they'd like to see taken down? Meanwhile, a profession that needs to be believed in is going to get its credibility undermined. And that self-interest is the driving force behind the Goldwater rule.

* I blogged that here.

"As long as white children are constructed as innocent, we must continue to demand that children of color are as well."

"Because the idea of childhood innocence carries so much political force, we can’t allow it to be a whites-only club. The problem, however, is that every time we insist that the gates of innocence open to children of color, we limit ourselves by language, a 'frame,' as the linguist George Lakoff would say, that is embedded in racism. When we argue that black and brown children are as innocent as white children, and we must, we assume that childhood innocence is purely positive. But the idea of childhood innocence itself is not innocent: It’s part of a 200-year-old history of white supremacy.... All children deserve equal protection under the law not because they’re innocent, but because they’re people. By understanding children’s rights as human rights, we can begin to undermine the political power of childhood innocence, a cultural formation that has proved, over and over, to be one of white supremacy’s most potent weapons."

From "Let Black Kids Just Be Kids" by Harvard African-American Studies professor Robin Bernstein (in the NYT).

You might want to read that alongside this New Yorker article, which I happened to read earlier today, "The Life of a South Central Statistic/My cousin became a convicted felon in his teens. I tried to make sure he got a second chance. What went wrong?," by Danielle Allen. Excerpt:
A kid from a troubled home, trapped in poverty, without a stable world of adults coördinating care for him, starts pilfering, mostly out of an impatience to have things. In Michael’s first fourteen years, his story includes not a single incidence of violence, aside from the usual wrestling matches with siblings. It could have had any number of possible endings. But events unfold along a single track. As we make decisions, and decisions are made for us, we shed the lives that might have been. In Michael’s fifteenth year, his life accelerated, like a cylinder in one of those pneumatic tubes, whisking off your deposit at a drive-through bank. To understand how that acceleration could happen, though, another story is needed....

"The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women."

According to NPR.

#1 is an album Meade and I were just talking about this morning as we were talking about something that made it appropriate for one line in our dialogue to be Meade singing "I am on a lonely road and I am traveling, traveling, traveling...."

"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military."

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you."

Said Trump, just now.

Here's the NYT story.
Mr. Trump made the surprise declaration in a series of posts on Twitter, saying he had come to the decision after consulting with generals and military experts, whom he did not name.

The closest statement to my reaction is:
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Trump can fire Sessions, Rosenstein, and Mueller, so "The real question is why Trump doesn’t fire them himself rather than whine constantly about all three of them."

Ed Morrissey frames the question, and once the question is framed, I think you see the answer, don't you?

And that's why "Trump will sit and fume, but do nothing about it."

And if you see it, obviously Sessions, Rosenstein, and Mueller know it.

"Gorsuch’s maiden Martin-Quinn score is 1.344. (Higher positive numbers represent more conservative positions.)"

"The final score of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whom Gorsuch replaced, was 1.577. Even with his small sample size, Gorsuch is lining up with the court’s conservative bloc and is beginning to resemble the 'Scalia clone' we predicted in January. Gorsuch’s score is also comparable to certain select terms of recent right-leaning justices Sandra Day O’Connor (1.382 in 1986) and William Rehnquist (1.371 in 2003)."

"We" = FiveThirtyEight.

Insane government billboard: "We don’t need pot to have fun. We’re Hispanics… We’re cool by default."

That was done by the Washington State Department of Health. The AP reports that the Department is "apologizing after some people were offended."

Some people were offended?!!

It's patently bad. It's not something that happened to offend "some people" and is therefore the subject of an apology. The government should have known all along that the message was offensive.

But the advertising idea reminds me of something I've seen around here, an ad against drunk driving that says something like: real men drive sober. It's appealing to the pride of a particular group. I don't know about that "real men" ad. I find it offensive, but I don't think it's insane to think it would be okay.

But "We’re Hispanics… We’re cool by default" is a terrible thing for the government to be saying. Even though the billboard has a photograph of a bunch of smiling young people who are being made to look as if they are saying that, it is the government putting out an ethnic stereotype.

It's also stupid because it sends the implicit message: If you're not Hispanic and thus not automatically cool, you should use marijuana so you can be cool too. And also: Hispanic people seem like they're on marijuana even when they are not. Which ought to remind us of why the government calls the substance "marijuana" and not "cannabis":
Throughout the 19th century, news reports and medical journal articles almost always use the plant's formal name, cannabis. Numerous accounts say that "marijuana" came into popular usage in the U.S. in the early 20th century because anti-cannabis factions wanted to underscore the drug's "Mexican-ness." It was meant to play off of anti-immigrant sentiments.

A common version of the story of the criminalization of pot goes like this: Cannabis was outlawed because various powerful interests (some of which have economic motives to suppress hemp production) were able to craft it into a bogeyman in the popular imagination, by spreading tales of homicidal mania touched off by consumption of the dreaded Mexican "locoweed." Fear of brown people combined with fear of nightmare drugs used by brown people to produce a wave of public action against the "marijuana menace." That combo led to restrictions in state after state, ultimately resulting in federal prohibition....

"You have to be very smart.... You can never have somebody so smart that he's smarter than you. You have to be the smart one."

Said Trump (a while back), getting the response from Meredith Vieira: "But that sounds like you surround yourself with stupid people?"

That's an NBC video from July 2016 that collects a lot of interesting clips. I don't know when the interview with Vieira occurred. I just thought it was a funny exchange and one that might shed some light on what's going on today.

"What does one wear when one will be photographed hugging a person dressed like a turd?"

"You just hugged poop, lady. We’re not so heartless as to bother you about your style choices at this difficult time for you."

"Well, he’s huge. And he — I don’t mean to be unkind, but he’s so unattractive it’s unbelievable.”

"Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this Playboy bunny?"

Said Senator Susan Collins, caught on a hot microphone. (WaPo has the quote with the recording.)

She was talking about Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), who deserved her ire for saying something that had me calling him "a loser" the other day.

Here's the photograph Senator Collins was talking about:

Let's be clear. Collins didn't call him "fat." She used the ambiguous euphemism "huge" — Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime was huge — and the generalization "unattractive." And she softened it with the silly denial "I don’t mean to be unkind." It's silly because it means the exact opposite: I do mean to be unkind. If you didn't mean to be unkind, you'd stop at the point where you're conscious of and confessing that what is about to come is unkind. Like this:

A woman has lived alone for more than 40 years on a small island off the coast of Prince Edward Island.

There are about 400 horses on Sable Island, which is 26 miles long and less than a mile across. When Zoe Lucas was 21, "I squawked and squawked, I wanted to come so bad. I originally came out here for the horses."

She has a small house there, built by National Parks Canada, and she works on projects with them (so she does have some contact with people — parks staff — on the island). The link goes to The Daily Mail, where the woman is portrayed as a respected naturalist and doesn't seem to be weird or anti-social, just someone who loves the island and the horses. 

July 25, 2017

This is even funnier knowing that Scaramucci retweeted it.

Painting your stretch marks.

"This started a stage in my artistic career where I began to show every aesthetic pressure that against women and non-normative bodies," says Tort Cartró. "Maybe that inspiration led me to transform stretch marks into art, to work with colour and have the ability to make people reflect on the beauty that they have."

AND: Let me front-page something I just wrote in the comments: "Deciding that stretch marks are beautiful strikes me as pretty similar to coming to think that tattoos look good all over a woman's arms and shoulders. Do we want unmarked skin or not? Does a blank expanse of skin look too plain to people now?"

McCain returns to the Senate, receives a standing ovation, and casts the vote to open debate on repealing Obamacare that makes it a tie...

... and since Mike Pence has the tie-breaker vote, what would, without McCain, have been a loss becomes a win for the repeal-Obamacare side.

Despite how confused McCain sounded a few weeks ago (at the Comey hearing) and despite the ferocity of the opposition to repealing Obamacare, no one said a word — did they? — about McCain's capacity to participate. But the truth is, McCain sounded strong and lucid as he addressed the Senate today:

"Bret Weinstein, the Evergreen State College professor who was driven from campus by a mob of students earlier this year, is preparing to file a $3.8 million claim against the public institution."

Campus Reform reports.

The art donation tax evasion.

Compare how the NYT treats this story to what the commenters there say. I hate to cut and paste any of this because the text by the NYT is so evasive (about tax evasion) that I have to copy too much to get my point across. But let me try:
Someone — and absolutely no one involved seems ready to say who — came up with an idea in 2012 for a patron to purchase 2,070 photos by the American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz and then donate them to a museum in Canada. This was a colossal score for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, which owned nothing by Ms. Leibovitz at the time. For Ms. Leibovitz, who had a financial crisis several years earlier, the transaction meant she earned several million dollars.

And the donor, [Harley Mintz, the Deloitte Canada partner]... stood to qualify for a generous tax deduction and recognition as an arts patron. Four years later, though, a Canadian government panel that must sign off on the deduction is still balking at approving it, partly because the panel won’t accept a $20 million valuation for a collection that the donor purchased for just $4.75 million....

... Ms. Leibovitz has received only half of the promised $4.75 million. By contract, she does not receive the rest of the money unless the government panel signs off, according to Mr. Mintz.
This goes on at great length. By contrast, the commenters are brief and cutting:

1. "For the record, Ms. Liebovitz is generally considered a passable magazine photographer unworthy of museum collections. The MoMA, for example, has none of her photographs in its vast collection."

2.  "Ah, the good old-fashioned donation evaluation for taxes. The wealthy have been doing this for a very long time. Museums are there for this very reason. To deposit overly valued art pieces in lieu of a tax deduction. Same goes for property, buildings and other funding to arts, medicine and pet projects. Art is tricky. How is it exactly evaluated? And by whom?"

3. "High-end highly-paid & highly dated celebrity photography seems an odd multimillion-dollar art investment for Nova Scotia even without that dodgy tax dodge."

4. "Herein lies the heart and soul of the art industry in our time."

At the Ugly Lily Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like while I go out for a walk on this nicely cool July morning in Madison, Wisconsin, where there are way too many lilies in far too many grotesque colors.

And you can shop about whatever you like through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"Many of today’s couples are planning their elopements more closely than ever..."

"... some plotting secret ceremonies several months in advance and spending $15,000 or more for their dream weddings — without a hundred of their closest family and friends," the NYT reports.
They search for stunning exotic backdrops for their ceremonies, shop in secret for the perfect dress, hire florists to arrange a Pinterest-worthy bouquet, hire photographers, even order specialty cakes. But in lieu of the invitations, friends learn about the wedding afterward in a cheeky Facebook or Instagram post, a photo announcing, “We Eloped.”...

Of course, there’s a downside to eloping. Family members are often stung when they get the news — parents’ dreams of seeing their son at the altar or their daughter walking down the aisle crushed, since they’ll never share with their child one of life’s greatest traditional rites of passage....
Well, if you make a big fancy thing out of it, you give people more reason to feel left out. Maybe for some people, that is what they want to say.

ALSO: There's a difference between the surprise "We eloped" announcement and going off and getting married on your own when everyone knows that's what you are doing (as Meade and I did). There are many other important variables here: Is it a financial decision — a preference for a big honeymoon rather than a big wedding? Are you under the impression that people don't really want to attend your wedding? Is this a second wedding? Have you already been living together? Is a sincere religious ceremony part of the wedding?

AND: Maybe what's happening is that for many people, social media is more important than in-person social relationships. Doing things so they'll look great in social media may make sense. Everyone can see it. The photographers don't get in anyone's way. No one needs to spend money to travel see an elaborately staged event or take any real time out of their day. They get an immediate intimate look at something lovely and heart-warming and they power on through their day. Meanwhile the couple doesn't have to worry about tending to all the logistics and catering to the feelings of so many people who've troubled themselves to arrive at an event that might not really be that much fun for them. It may be better for almost everyone.

"Psychiatry group tells members they can defy ‘Goldwater rule’ and comment on Trump’s mental health."

The executive committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association emailed its 3,500 members, STAT reports.
The impetus for the email was “belief in the value of psychoanalytic knowledge in explaining human behavior,” said psychoanalytic association past president Dr. Prudence Gourguechon, a psychiatrist in Chicago. “We don’t want to prohibit our members from using their knowledge responsibly.”

That responsibility is especially great today, she told STAT, “since Trump’s behavior is so different from anything we’ve seen before” in a commander in chief.

An increasing number of psychologists and psychiatrists have denounced the restriction as a “gag rule” and flouted it, with some arguing they have a “duty to warn” the public about what they see as Trump’s narcissism, impulsivity, poor attention span, paranoia, and other traits that, they believe, impair his ability to lead....

“In the case of Donald Trump, there is an extraordinary abundance of speech and behavior on which one could form a judgment,” [said Dr. Leonard Glass, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School]. “It’s not definitive, it’s an informed hypothesis, and one we should be able to offer rather than the stunning silence demanded by the Goldwater rule.”
Let them speak, and then the rest of us will speak about whether they are professionals deserving of deference or human beings like the rest of us who can't keep our political preferences from skewing whatever it is we might think about some pressing issue of the day.

Go ahead, expose yourselves. Let us see all narcissism, impulsivity, poor attention span, paranoia, and other traits that impair your ability to lead.

IN THE COMMENTS: David said:
The percentage of hacks, cranks and fools in the mental health "profession" is stunningly high. And many of them are in a position to make individual lives worse.
And Michael K (who is a surgeon) said:
I personally know several who went into Psychiatry to deal with their own mental health problems. One guy was a former surgery resident who went full psychotic and started to be treated by the chief of Psychiatry at a university medial center. That chief of Psychiatry then accepted him into the residency which he finished. He was brilliant but as crazy as anyone I've ever seen.

How to get employees to volunteer to have company microchips implanted in their hands.

It's happening at Three Square Market, a technology company here in Wisconsin, the NYT reports:
“It was pretty much 100 percent yes right from the get-go for me,” said Sam Bengtson, a software engineer. “In the next five to 10 years, this is going to be something that isn’t scoffed at so much, or is more normal. So I like to jump on the bandwagon with these kind of things early, just to say that I have it.”...

“Because it’s new, I don’t know enough about it yet,” [Melissa Timmins, the company’s sales director]. “I’m a little nervous about implanting something into my body.... I think it’s pretty exciting to be part of something new like this... I know down the road, it’s going to be the next big thing, and we’re on the cutting edge of it.”...

“We are a technology company, when all is said and done, and they’re excited about it,” [said Dewey Wahlin, general manager of Three Square.] “They see this as the future.”
What future do you have in a technology company that is about the future if you don't want the technology of the future?

How can you be the nervous person who says no, when the other employees are openly enthusing about liking to "jump on the bandwagon"?

The jumping-on-the-bandwagon metaphor has traditionally been a way of disparaging people who are acting unthinkingly out of a fear of getting left behind. Making it seems as though there's a bandwagon is a way to get people to go along without serious contemplation.

In the OED, we see the development of "bandwagon" as a metaphor:
855 P. T. Barnum Life 205 At Vicksburg we sold all our land conveyances excepting four horses and the ‘band wagon’.
1893 Congress. Rec. 25 Aug. 897/1 It is a lamentable fact that.. our commercial enemy..should come along with a band wagon loaded with hobgoblins.
1899 T. Roosevelt Let. 28 Apr. (1951) II. 999 When I once became sure of one majority they tumbled over each other to get aboard the band wagon....
1933 Amer. Speech 8 i. 22/2 The socialists climbed on the alliteration band-wagon with Sail safely and surely with Socialism....
1958 Times Lit. Suppl. 15 Aug. p. xxxii/1 The whipping-up of public emotions has been made the excuse for the cult of band-waggon personalities.

"I Don’t Want to Watch Slavery Fan Fiction."

Writes Roxane Gay (in the NYT) on the occasion of the announcement that HBO will be doing a series called "Confederate," an alternative history story based on the interesting if obvious premise that the South pulled off its secession from the Union and kept slavery going.
When I first read about “Confederate,” however, I felt exhausted, simply because I have long been exhausted by slavery narratives...

This show’s premise highlights the limits of the imagination in a world where oppression thrives. These creators can imagine a world where the Confederacy won the Civil War and black people are still enslaved, but they can’t or aren’t interested in imagining a world where, say, things went in a completely different direction after the Civil War and, say, white people are enslaved. Or a world where slavery never happened at all. What would happen in a show where American Indians won the conflicts in which they were embroiled as the British and French and other European nations colonized this country? What would happen if Mexicans won the Mexican-American War and Texas and California were still part of Mexico?

It is curious that time and again, when people create alternate histories, they are largely replicating a history we already know, and intimately. They are replicating histories where whiteness thrives and people of color remain oppressed....

We do not make art in a vacuum isolated from sociopolitical context. We live in a starkly divided country with a president who is shamefully ill equipped to bridge that divide. I cannot help worrying that there are people, emboldened by this administration, who will watch a show like “Confederate” and see it as inspiration, rather than a cautionary tale.

"Trump leaves Sessions twisting in the wind while berating him publicly."

I'm not a fan of recent Washington Post headlines, but that one expresses how I've been feeling.
Sessions’s tight relationship with Trump and the White House has unraveled since he recused himself in March from the Russia probe. The president had privately complained about that decision for weeks, and in an interview with the New York Times last week he said he would not have appointed Sessions as attorney general had he known that Sessions would do such a thing....

Among the names being floated as possible Sessions replacements are Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, according to people familiar with the conversations....
I am not comfortable with the way Sessions is being treated, even though I get why Trump is bitterly disappointed in him. Must this be done in public? It's so awkward, so... unpresidential.

Or is this what we've been told to see as MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL?

Look at how cute he thinks he is:

Oh, I don't know, maybe Obama and Bill Clinton and the Bush I & II and Ronald Reagan all answered reporters with wordless facial expressions like that. You can tell how much you hate or love the President by how much this sort of thing works on you.

How did you react to Trump's expression in that clip? Pick what's closest to your response:
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Headline — "School racism row: Parents don’t want a black principal" — doesn't mean what I thought.

It's news from Johnannesburg, South Africa:
School Governing Body member Henry Charles said... “During the process we were asked what criteria are we going to use with race. I stood up and said I would score five for coloureds and I’ll score four for black people... They said coloureds and blacks are the same and I said but this is a coloured area and they said I am being racist. We want a coloured principal because this is a coloured area”....

The department spokesman Oupa Bodibe said: “The department has learnt the disturbing news that the community in Klipspruit West has rejected the principal because of skin colour. This action is strongly condemned, as it runs against the non-racial principles of our society. Educators are appointed on the basis of qualification and experience.”
IN THE COMMENTS: Paco Wové asks:
So, why are you getting news from South African school districts? Do you have some kind of Racial Grievance Aggregator news feed software running?
I answer:
I have a Google alert set up for Robin Givhan, whose writing I enjoy. Her name appeared in an article in IOL (which I'd never heard of) called "Why Serena was victorious in her nakedness," which I clicked on but wasn't interested in blogging. There was a 5-item "most read" list on the page:

1. News of son's death kills dad
2. Man breaks car's window, tries to snatch girl from dad
3. School racism row: Parents don’t want a black principal
4. Fears of ‘Ramaphosa camp’ purge
5. Kushe ucansi emcimbini kamaskandi eMabhida

Tempting as #5 is, I chose #3.
On a more serious note, surfed said...
The predominately black inner city high schools schools in my city get black principals EVERYTIME and have for decades upon decades upon decades. The thought of a white principal at these schools is laughable - call it what you will. I know, because I spent 37 years as a teacher there for immigrant and refugees there. There's much more I could elaborate on but won't. It is what it is.

July 24, 2017

"Richard Dawkins' Berkeley event cancelled for 'Islamophobia.'"

BBC reports.
[KPFA Radio in Berkeley, California], which is not affiliated with the University of California, said in a letter - which Mr Dawkins published online - that it does not support "hurtful" or "abusive speech."...

[Dawkins] said harsh statements he has made in the past have been directed at "IslamISM" - apparently referring to those who use the religion for political objectives - and not adherents of the faith.

"I have criticised the appalling misogyny and homophobia of Islam, I have criticised the murdering of apostates for no crime other than their disbelief," Professor Dawkins writes. He also pointed out that he has been a "frequent critic of Christianity but have never been de-platformed for that"...

"It is entirely possible that our intelligence agencies know Russia interfered with our elections."

"But they packaged it exactly like a bunch of lying weasels who are simply hoping they are right. I hope that’s just bad brand management and nothing worse."

Writes Scott Adams in "How 'Confident' are Intelligence Agencies that Russia Interfered with the Election?" ("Confident" is the word you'd use when you were not certain.)

"Rep. Blake Farenthold on Monday blamed 'some female senators from the Northeast' for hampering Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare..."

"... telling a local radio station that he might challenge them to a duel if the allegedly obstructive lawmakers were men."

What a loser. His attempt at posing as manly is so lame he doesn't even get the ethic of dueling right.

"The Clinton Foundation has confirmed it accepted a $1 million gift from Qatar while Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of state without informing the State Department..."

"...even though she had promised to let the agency review new or significantly increased support from foreign governments."
Qatari officials pledged the money in 2011 to mark the 65th birthday of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton's husband, and sought to meet the former U.S. president in person the following year to present him the check, according to an email from a foundation official to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta. The email, among thousands hacked from Podesta's account, was published last month by WikiLeaks.
ADDED: I read that as new news, but I see it's from just before the election. I didn't remember.

AND: Someone at Facebook was highlighting the story. I need to learn to double-check dates before I assume that what looks like news to me is actually new. Presumably, this Facebook friend is making some sort of point about proportionality and Trump's perceived misdoings.

"Prominent French academic and author, Anne Dufourmantelle, who wrote about the importance of taking risks, died Friday while trying to rescue a drowning child."

Anne Dufourmantelle, 53, suffered a heart attack trying to reach a 10-year-old boy in high waves at a beach in Saint-Tropez.

Here's something she said a couple years ago:
"The idea of absolute security — like 'zero risk' — is a fantasy. ... Being alive is a risk.... When there really is a danger that must be faced in order to survive, as for example during the Blitz in London, there is a strong incentive for action, dedication, and surpassing oneself."

2 clouds with the same number.

I'm watching those right now as a consequence of a conversation I started on Facebook, which began:
I'm thinking of the old Rolling Stones song "Get Off of My Cloud," because I'm aware of my own instinct to step on the clouds of others. Even though you can't step on a cloud. I'm cynical re clouds. Joni Mitchell sang "Clouds got in my way." No, they didn't. But if you'd like to say I need to stop thinking about all those songs from the 1960s, get off of my cloud.
Pick a cloud.
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"Impeachment is an outlet for anger and frustration, which I share, but politics ain't therapy. [The President] would much rather debate impeachment than...."

Just a quote from Barney Frank from 2006 that I happened to run across and thought might be helpful to people these days.

The words at the ellipsis were "the disastrous war in Iraq." The President at the time was, of course, George Bush, and a motion had been filed in the House to investigate and perhaps impeach him.

50 years ago today: Day 2 of the 12th Street Riot.

ADDED: From the Wikipedia article on the riots:
The violence escalated throughout [the second day], resulting in some 483 fires, 231 incidents reported per hour, and 1,800 arrests. Looting and arson were widespread. Black-owned businesses were not spared. One of the first stores looted in Detroit was Hardy's drug store, owned by blacks and known for filling prescriptions on credit. Detroit's leading black-owned women's clothing store was burned, as was one of the city's best-loved black restaurants. In the wake of the riots, a black merchant said, "you were going to get looted no matter what color you were."Firefighters of the Detroit Fire Department who were attempting to fight the fires were shot at by rioters. During the riots, 2,498 rifles and 38 handguns were stolen from local stores. It was obvious that the Detroit, County, and Michigan forces were unable to restore order.
The city police were overwhelmed, and the Michigan State Police and the Wayne County Sheriff's Department came in. The Michigan National Guardsmen arrived but were "not authorized to arrest people." The governor, George Romney, wanted President Lyndon B. Johnson to send in federal troops, and Johnson too the position that Romney needed first to declare a "state of insurrection." Johnson pointed at the Insurrection Act, but it was also about the upcoming presidential election:
George Romney was expected to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968, and President Johnson, a Democrat, did not want to commit troops solely on Romney's direction. 
Romney also had trouble with the mayor:
Added to this was Mayor Jerome Cavanagh's own political and personal clash with Romney. Cavanagh, a young Irish Catholic Democrat who had cultivated harmonious relations with black leaders, both inside and outside the city, was initially reluctant to ask Romney, a Republican, for assistance.
And John Conyers — then as now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives — opposed federal troops and thought he could help by "driving along 12th Street with a loudspeaker asking people to return to their homes."
Reportedly, Conyers stood on the hood of the car and shouted through a bullhorn, "We're with you! But, please! This is not the way to do things! Please go back to your homes!" But the crowd refused to listen. Conyers' car was pelted with rocks and bottles.
Conyers joined the House of Representatives in 1965, and he is now the Dean of the United States House of Representatives, which means he's the longest-serving member of the house. He's been there 52 years, and he's 88.

"Our son is an absolute warrior and we will miss him terribly. One little boy has brought the world together."

"His body, heart and soul may soon be gone but his spirit will live on indefinitely and he will make a difference for years to come. We are now going to spend our most precious moments with Charlie who will not make it to his first birthday. We now ask for privacy. Mum and dad love you so much. We always have and always will and we say sorry we didn't save you. We had a chance and we were not allowed. Sleep tight baby boy Charlie Matthew William Gard. Our little hero. Thank you."

The parents of Charlie Gard end their legal battle. We're told that new tests have convinced them that the damage the baby has already suffered is irreversible and that further treatment would inflict pain (which is what the doctors seem to have believed throughout the legal proceedings).

"Some 12.2 million people live within the 70-mile-wide band where the eclipse will be total — and millions more are expected to travel to witness it firsthand."

"From Oregon to South Carolina, hotel bookings have skyrocketed. Charleston, SC (where totality will be visible for more than a minute), is almost at capacity, with some lodgings having sold out two months ago. In Oregon, cases of motels dropping reservations and then attempting to resell them for up to $1,000 a night have gotten so bad that the state’s attorney general has opened an investigation.... Two-thirds of America lives within a day’s drive of the path of totality, and highways could turn into the Great American Traffic Jam. For a New Yorker, the fastest route to totality is a 10-hour drive down I-95 to the vicinity of Santee, SC. The problem is that that’s also the 'fastest' route to the eclipse zone for 74.4 million other people along the Eastern Corridor. As [retired NASA astrophysicist Fred] Espenak put it: 'Surfaces are gonna be stressed.'"

From "This August 2017 date could paralyze America" (in the NY Post).

ADDED: Can some of you experts advise us on what kind of equipment we'll need to look at the eclipse? Is something like this good enough? Should we spring for these?

AND: These look excellent.

"It’s hard to appreciate how little Warhol’s art was worth at the time. Twenty-five hundred was the going rate at the time. Why would Andy give him a fake?"

"He had plenty of electric chairs. They were not an easy sell. They weren’t decorative in the conventional sense. It’s a brutal image."

He = Alice Cooper, who "says he remembers having a conversation with Warhol about the picture. He thinks the conversation was real, but he couldn’t put his hand on a Bible and say that it was."

"Little Electric Chair" (from the "Death and Disaster" series) was found rolled up in a tube in storage.
Never stretched on a frame, it sat in storage alongside touring artefacts including an electric chair that Cooper used in the early 70s as part of his ghoulish stage show.
I saw that show, actually. I remember the electric chair. It must have been July 28, 1971 in Wildwood, New Jersey. That was the "Love It to Death" tour:
The Love It to Death tour featured an elaborate shock rock live show: during "Ballad of Dwight Fry"—about an inmate in an insane asylum—Cooper would be dragged offstage and return in a straitjacket, and the show climaxed with Cooper's mock execution in a prop electric chair during "Black Juju."
Let's see if Alice Cooper is mentioned in "The Andy Warhol Diaries." Yes! Exactly once:
Bianca took us to On the Rox, owned by Lou Adler. When we got there it was Ringo Starr and Alice Cooper. I’m not saying they were the only celebrities there— they were the only people there, and they were in the john. Whoever is there is in the john taking coke. Bianca introduced me to Ringo. Alice came over to say hello. Bianca left because she was staying out in Malibu and Mick was coming in and then leaving town the next day so she wanted to get home early to see him.
Those were the days.

And here's what Alice Cooper said last August about the 2016 election:
[The election is] funny in a Kurt Vonnegut kind of way. It's also funny and kind of seriously demented that nobody wants to vote for a candidate; they want to vote against the other candidate. I can't think of anybody that's going, "I really like Hillary. I'm going to vote for her." No, it's: "I'm voting for Hillary 'cause I hate Trump." Or it's: "I hate Trump, but I hate her worse." Nobody's actually for anybody.... I honestly cannot in my head look at either candidate and say, "Oh, yeah. I'm behind that." So it's weird. I'm going to vote, but it's really going to be one of those last-minute decisions going."
Ha ha. Me too. That's exactly what happened to me. I decided which one I would vote for as I walked to the poll. (That's all I'll say about how I voted.)

In Myanmar, after heavy rains, the Thiri Yadana Pyilone Chantha Pagoda slid into the Ayeyarwaddy River.

Beastly graphics.

The Daily Beast is going for a distinctive graphic style. Here's how the top of the front page looks right now:

Red and yellow predominate, but notice the streaks of magenta in the red background and the intense blue of Melania's shoulder (and also dotted around around her jacket).

Like the colors, gender is heightened and highly contrasted. 2 of the 4 rectangles are feminine, 2 are masculine. The males are: 1. In shadows, 2. Brutally violent, 3. Not individuals. The females are: 1. Specific individuals, 2. Distinguished from each other through color and style, 3. Distinguished morally: One is depicted as a saint, the other as complicated, mysterious, and dangerous.

Here's "Inside the Cult of Melania Trump/Does the first lady of the United States have something she’s afraid to confront in the little city where she grew up?" It's really just an article about Melania's home town:
Today, [Melania's] family has a modern two-floor white house in the center of the modern part of Sevnica. It has a built-in garage, a mansard floor, a balcony, and a small satellite dish on the roof. While not grandiose, it is still far from the modest apartment where Melania and her sister Ines grew up.
What's a mansard floor? That's a mistake, no?
The house is not far from a statue of an enormous boot, a monument installed at the entrance to the city in honor of local Kopitarna shoe factory. (Last year Kopitarna sent Ms. Trump “White House” slippers as a present.)...
That's comically dull. Meanwhile, we hear of Bojan Pozar, who's writing (or has written) a book about Melania and who "interviewed several local men who claimed that they had once been Melania’s boyfriends" and said she was "cold" — which either means Melania was (and maybe is) cold or that these guys never really attained the elevated status that we in the United States call "boyfriend."

Also in the article, the way some Slovenians would like to hear Melania speak Slovenian and would like her to wear Slovenian clothes. So... basically, this is a completely inconsequential puff piece about Melania, and it contains absolutely nothing that's religion-like or cultish about anybody's interest in her. Nor is there anything to justify the subtitle, nothing about Melania's fear of anything back home.

But it's a fascinating graphic. It made me think of another article about an American First Lady, one that really did work on the idea religion — "Saint Hillary," a cover story by Michael Kelly in the NYT Magazine in 1993 (previously blogged here). Sample text:
Driven by the increasingly common view that something is terribly awry with modern life, Mrs. Clinton is searching for not merely programmatic answers but for The Answer. Something in the Meaning of It All line, something that would inform everything from her imminent and all-encompassing health care proposal to ways in which the state might encourage parents not to let their children wander all hours of the night in shopping malls.

When it is suggested that she sounds as though she's trying to come up with a sort of unified-field theory of life, she says, excitedly, "That's right, that's exactly right!"
The 1993 cover image of Hillary makes a nice contrast to the graphics that sear the Daily Beast today. The color idea here was white white white:

Finally, the Wisconsin State Journal addresses a question I want to know the answer to.

"Why is Michigan's Upper Peninsula not part of Wisconsin?"

Or as I've always liked to see the old question phrased: Did we lose a war?

Interestingly, the answer is Michigan lost a war — to Ohio — the Toledo War.
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 established a borderline between what would become Ohio and Indiana and the Michigan Territory from the southern tip of Lake Michigan across the Lower Peninsula. The original survey of the land didn’t accurately place the line, which led to the war.

When Michigan applied for statehood in 1833, Ohioans in Congress blocked its admission until the territory accepted the Ohio-preferred state border..... In June 1836, an act of Congress would allow Michigan into the Union, providing it accepted the Upper Peninsula... instead of the Toledo Strip.
Michigan agreed and became a state in January 1837. In between those 2 dates — June 1836 and January 1837 — the Wisconsin Territory was created — in July 1836. So Michigan got the Upper Peninsula — which wasn't even what it wanted — before Wisconsin was even anything.

And if you look at the map of the Wisconsin territory, you'll see that we Wisconsinites should look with more of a sense of hey, that's ours at the northeast corner of Minnesota:

"Michael Phelps didn’t actually race a real shark on TV, and viewers aren’t happy."

A Washington Post headline, but you probably won't click on it, because you don't have a WaPo subscription, and why invest in learning about the disappointment of people who somehow heard about something you didn't hear about and got invested in an absurd idea that a man and a shark would swim side by side?

July 23, 2017

At the Water Lily Café...


... you can talk all night.

And consider doing some shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.