November 4, 2017

At the Bicycle Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like.

(And remember to use The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"Senator Rand Paul suffered a minor injury after a man assaulted him on Friday at the lawmaker’s home in Bowling Green, Ky...."

The NYT reports.
The Kentucky State Police arrested Rene Boucher, 59, also of Bowling Green.... Mr. Boucher is an acquaintance of the senator, a police spokesman, Master Trooper Jeremy Hodges, said on Saturday...

Las Vegas nightscape.

The moon and the balloon...


The moon and the Eiffel Tower...


Blurred vision...


M... Britney...




"After Clinton’s fainting spell, some Democratic insiders were abuzz with talk of replacing her — and Brazile says she was giving it considerable thought."

"The morning of Sept. 12, Brazile got a call from Biden’s chief of staff saying the vice president wanted to speak with her. She recalls thinking, 'Gee, I wonder what he wanted to talk to me about?' Jeff Weaver, campaign manager for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), called, too, to set up a call with his boss, and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley sent her an email. Brazile also was paid a surprise visit in her DNC office by [senior Clinton campaign official Charlie] Baker, who, she writes, was dispatched by the Clinton campaign 'to make sure that Donna didn’t do anything crazy.' 'Again and again I thought about Joe Biden,' Brazile writes. But, she adds, 'No matter my doubts and my fears about the election and Hillary as a candidate, I could not make good on that threat to replace her.'"

And: "Brazile writes that she considered a dozen combinations to replace the nominees and settled on Biden and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), the duo she felt most certain would win over enough working-class voters to defeat Republican Donald Trump. But then, she writes, 'I thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them.'"

From "Donna Brazile: I considered replacing Clinton with Biden as 2016 Democratic nominee" (WaPo).

Brazile seems to be saying that she had the power to dump the candidate and she would have used that power but for the fact that Hillary is a woman.

To say "I could not do this" to "all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her" is to show the downside of getting so deeply into identity politics. Hillary's campaign was about the excitement of getting a woman President, not the importance of Democratic Party policies and values. That message becomes nothing if Hillary isn't the candidate. And they couldn't start over, even by swapping in the well-known Vice President, Biden, because replacing the woman with a man was symbolically awful, especially after all the hopes and dreams were pinned on the (presumed) excitement of getting a woman President.

"I want to apologize to Times readers — and to Sarah Huckabee Sanders — for a description that was insensitive and failed to meet the standards of our newspaper."

"It also failed to meet the expectations I have for myself. It surely won't be my last mistake, but this particular error will be scrupulously avoided in my future commentaries. I've removed the offending description."

Wrote David Horsey, quoted in "A Pulitzer-winning columnist took jabs at Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s weight and appearance. He then apologized" (WaPo).

I really don't give a damn that he apologized, because — big deal: He got lambasted for writing "Sarah Huckabee Sanders does not look like the kind of woman Donald Trump would choose as his chief spokesperson" and he's doing all he can to save his ass.
"By comparison [to Ivanka and Melania], Sanders looks more like a slightly chunky soccer mom who organizes snacks for the kids' games. Rather than the fake eyelashes and formal dresses she puts on for news briefings, Sanders seems as if she'd be more comfortable in sweats and running shoes."
He thought he had Trump-hate privilege. Didn't work out quite that way.

Actually the cartoon is very well drawn and I like seeing women criticized just as sharply as men, and that means the visual depictions should be just as cruel:

It's sexist not to trash women as viciously as men. And to say that we can't is to argue against giving women any power. Can't criticize them, can't make fun of them. Get ready for a long grim future of That's not funny.

Horsey should have defended himself. What apology weasels we've become!

"JFK files: FBI documents allege Martin Luther King Jr. had secret lovechild, orgies."

The Sacramento Bee reports.

The material is less salacious than it seemed when it wasn't revealed. The man had a longstanding affair and other sex outside of marriage, it is said. And he "enjoy[ed] the abnormal by engaging in group sexual orgies."

Amazing how little it matters now... other than to make me ask Where is this person? about the "love child."

And it's interesting that one of the lovers was, allegedly, Joan Baez.

Colossi of Las Vegas.

Devil woman:


Coke bottle:


"Newsweek is like Mad Magazine now apparently"/"Looks like something from Mad Magazine."

The first comment is what I wrote at Facebook when somebody put up this image of the cover of this week's Newsweek:

The second comment is what Meade said when I showed him the image (and he had not seen my Facebook comment (he's not on Facebook)).

ADDED: Most people will just see this cover and not even consider reading the article, so the question is: What is the subliminal effect of the cover? If it's not anti-Trump, then Newsweek has failed, and I would say Newsweek has failed. Reason:

1. Trump has a huge penis.

2. Trump is joyously throwing money at us. He seems to be Santa Claus, flying through the air, bringing wealth.

3. If you look closely you can see the plane says "Government Air," but what the hell is "Government Air"? I see the plane and think of Trump's own planes, and Trump is personally wealthy, so the money seems to flow from him, not the government. If there's supposed to be some idea that Trump is throwing away government money on bad things, I don't get it. Maybe I would if I read the article, but I'm not going to do that.

4. "SNAKES" spelled backward is SEXans. I'm seeing "SEX" with Trump's head right in the K turning it into an X (from a strikeout to a strike, to mix baseball with bowling). That's "SEX" on top and right under him "PLAN." In the arch of light right under the plane, the word is "PLAN." Once you see "PLAN," it seems to pop and glow.

5. The man falling out of the plane is funny. Who is he? Just some guy. Subliminally, who is he to you? He's near the words "the most corrupt," so he's corruption. That's how my head reads it. Corrupt Washington, the Democratic Party and the the GOP establishment.

6. There's Trump, some money guy helping him, and 2 beautiful women, riding that giant cock sidesaddle.

7. Speaking of phallic symbols: SNAKES!

"For the love of Earth, stop traveling."

An opinion piece in The Washington Post by Jack Miles ("a contributor to the University of California’s 'Bending the Curve' report on climate stability").
Atmosfair is a German public interest group that recommends limiting your air travel to about 3,100 miles per year — if you live in Los Angeles, that’s one round-trip flight to Mexico City... Last fall, having accepted an invitation to speak in Morocco, I used this online calculator to determine the carbon cost of my trip. My seats alone on the round-trip flights from Los Angeles to Casablanca (with a layover in Paris) helped emit about 8,400 pounds of carbon dioxide, prorated, into the atmosphere. Double that because my wife accompanied me. In sum, our seats alone on the planes to and from Morocco helped unload about 16,800 pounds of carbon dioxide. And this, of course, was just a small fraction of the emissions cost of the flight as a whole.

To put this into perspective, my wife’s and my annual carbon footprint in Orange County, California — counting gas, electricity, transportation and waste disposal — is about 33,000 pounds, according to the carbon footprint calculator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.... By taking one optional international trip that helped emit about 16,800 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, my wife and I increased our 2016 carbon footprint by more than a third. The harm we did with one international trip surely neutralized any good that we did all year as recyclers, eco-consumers and financial contributors to environmental organizations....

Take a deep, slow breath, and throw away that bucket list for good. You are needed at home, my friend, urgently needed. For the love of the Earth and of those who will inherit it when you are gone, stay right where you are.
It's easy for people like me — who love home and have to force ourselves to do a little travel because of a sense that you're supposed to travel — to forgo travel. The news that you're not supposed to travel — that you get virtue points for staying home — is happily received. It's like getting a compliment — how pretty you look today! — when you haven't done a thing to try to look good.

But for those who love to travel — who've built their conception of happiness around frequent travel — it's hard to hear this news. What do you tell yourself? These numbers must be wrong. 16,800... 33,000.... Denial. Bargaining: Can't I just turn down the thermostat and recycle more? Buy less? No, there's nothing you can do at home that will compensate for the extravagant carbon-spewing that is you on a plane.

IN THE COMMENTS: CStanley said:
People like Althouse who hate to travel should set up their own carbon credit exchange. Every week Althouse announces a trip she's not taking, and calculates the carbon emissions saved, and someone can purchase those credits for a trip they want to take.

Return to Madison...


... a very pretty city from the air.

From the ground too!

November 3, 2017

"Mother Jones magazine’s editor and chief executive acknowledged on Thursday that they investigated Washington bureau chief David Corn for inappropriate workplace behavior..."

"... warning him about touching female staffers and insensitive descriptions of sexual violence, and would now probe the allegations further in light of two emails written by former staffers in 2014 and 2015 and obtained by POLITICO."
One of the emails, written in 2015 by a former staffer outlining concerns she had heard from other women in the Washington office, said Corn, now 58, made “rape jokes,” “regularly gave [several women] unwelcome shoulder rubs and engaged in uninvited touching of their legs, arms, backs, and waists,” and “made inappropriate comments about women’s sexuality and anatomy.” The other email, from 2014, was by a former female staffer who claimed that Corn “came up behind me and put his hands and arms around my body in a way that felt sexual and domineering.”
ADDED: I guess it's just a coincidence, but clicking on my David Corn tag, I get back to 3 old posts about — of all people — Ashley Judd. (Ashley Judd is in the news lately because she's made accusations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein.)

I wrote on April 9, 2013: "Secret recording of Mitch McConnell strategy session about how to go after Ashley Judd."

"I would call him [a sexual predator] to his face. I would call him a pedophile and a sexual predator."

"When I turned 25, I looked at every 14-year-old boy I could see, to try to understand what those men had seen, because I still on some level thought I had been a tiny adult. That whole year I was 25, I tried to just see the ones who were like six-foot-two, and 200 pounds — they all looked like children. They all looked like somebody who was 10 years old four years ago. Nobody looks fuckable. Nobody … I couldn’t conjure it up.... I know that pedophilia is a sexuality, like homosexuality. You can’t necessarily — you can’t be cured of it. It is in your brain. That’s one of the tragic things about it for those people. You can become someone who does not act on those impulses, but the understanding in the psychological community is … that’s your sexuality.... They make themselves beloved.... He is a pedophile. When you look at his statement, you realize also he’s profoundly narcissistic. He thinks this is about being caught that he’s gay. And then he is spinning it, right? 'Oh, people like gays now. So I’ll throw them that. I’ll say I’m gay and I will betray my whole community and do something else that conflates pedophilia with male homosexuality.' That’s great. Thank you for that. And that was probably the thing that made me want to talk more than anything else. How repulsive that was."

From "Man Comes Forward to Describe an Alleged Extended Sexual Relationship He Had at Age 14 With Kevin Spacey" (in New York Magazine's Vulture).

Andy Dick defends himself.

He might be approaching the quit slut-shaming me idea I was wafting in the previous post:

"Andy Dick was off the rails Thursday night, threatening to grope a TMZ female photog, steadfastly refusing to apologize for allegedly sexually harassing people and talking about killing himself."

Language warning: He says "boo fucking hoo" at one point.

The "threat" to lick the TMZ person isn't a true threat. It's comedy. He also says that he licked Carrie Fisher's face, that she liked it, and now she's dead... and implies that his lick will kill. It's edgy humor, but it's amazing that he's talking at all, instead of just slinking off into the shadows.

Don't kill yourself, Andy. Lean into the edgy comedy.

Which accusations of sexual harassment are the same thing that has in the past been called "slut shaming"?

This is a question I've been puzzling over for a few days.

One answer is cynical but too easy and therefore boring and distracting: What men do is called harassment, but women can do the same thing and if you criticize them at all, you'll get criticized for slut shaming. Some might say it's a justified female privilege because the odds are so much greater that a man wants sexual overtures from a woman and because the odds are so much less that a man will feel physically threatened by a woman. Others will say this female privilege discriminates against men or is hypocritical, because you're ready to punish men for what women get away with all the time.

But maybe the term "slut shaming" is applied to different words/behavior than the term "sexual harassment." Please help me explore this topic.

Wikipedia has an article, "Slut Shaming":
Slut-shaming is defined by many as a process in which women are attacked for their transgression of accepted codes of sexual conduct, i.e., of admonishing them for behavior or desires that are more sexual than society finds acceptable....
Maybe "slut shaming" is mostly done because of the way the person is dressed and the knowledge that she is sexually active, it excludes things like groping and aggressive propositioning, and it does not include the element of pressuring anyone else to provide sex in order to get some non-sex benefit (like a career benefit). It's just a sex-for-sex exchange offered and freely rejectable, without consequences.

ADDED: I'm reading some comments and seeing one key issue. Slut shaming is something women do to other women, because they resent the competition and want to rein in the woman who is perceived as too sexually attractive. You might want to say sexual harassment is different, because the woman who attracts sexual attention doesn't want it and is asking to be defended from it. And yet the other women — the non-attractive — can also complain about sexual harassment. If a superior is offering career advancement if women get sexual with him, the women who don't want to be "sluts" have a grievance. And the woman who is perceived as sexually active and expressive — the "slut" — can inspire other people in the workplace to think she's going to get the advantage that isn't available to me.

That's all very different from what got me started thinking about the question in the post title. I was imagining Harvey Weinstein going on the offensive and saying, You're slut-shaming me! I'm a sexually active, sexually expressive man, and the prudes and the envious are trying to repress me.

"I always felt I would be running and winning against Bernie Sanders, not Crooked H, without cheating, I was right."

ADDED: Other Trump tweets reacting to Donna Brazile's spilling her story (in order from oldest to newest and with one in italics because I'm only suspecting that it belongs in the set):
Donna Brazile just stated the DNC RIGGED the system to illegally steal the Primary from Bernie Sanders. Bought and paid for by Crooked H....

....This is real collusion and dishonesty. Major violation of Campaign Finance Laws and Money Laundering - where is our Justice Department?

My Twitter account was taken down for 11 minutes by a rogue employee. I guess the word must finally be getting out-and having an impact.

Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn't looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems..

...New Donna B book says she paid for and stole the Dem Primary. What about the deleted E-mails, Uranium, Podesta, the Server, plus, plus...

....People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!

The real story on Collusion is in Donna B's new book. Crooked Hillary bought the DNC & then stole the Democratic Primary from Crazy Bernie!

Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Lets go FBI & Justice Dept.

Bernie Sanders supporters have every right to be apoplectic of the complete theft of the Dem primary by Crooked Hillary!

The rigged Dem Primary, one of the biggest political stories in years, got ZERO coverage on Fake News Network TV last night. Disgraceful!

The judge shows compassion to Bowe Bergdahl.

All Bergdahl got was a dishonorable discharge, his rank reduced to private, and a forfeiture of $1,000 pay for 10 months.

"Mr. Trump and his inner circle have benefited enormously from this coalescing around the word 'collusion'..."

"... a term with a legalistic feel but with close to 'no legal meaning whatsoever' said Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor and now a defense lawyer who has written a dissection of every public statement that a Trump associate has made to congressional investigators. If we care about the law — and about holding public figures accountable for their false denials — the impassioned disavowals of collusion by members of the Trump circle mean nothing. Donald Trump Jr.’s utterances to Congress, for example, were 'not denying that he committed a crime,' Mr. Mariotti said. 'Whether his denial is broader or more narrow than that depends on what exactly is meant by "collude" in this statement — which we don’t know.... The term’s elusiveness has also allowed for an easy shifting of goal posts. Back in June, Mr. Trump took to Twitter to say that President Barack Obama was the one who 'colluded' with the Kremlin to interfere with the election. When a reporter pressed the question — 'what evidence does he have that President Obama was colluding?' — the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, responded that Obama insiders 'knew about it and didn’t take any action.; If that were the standard for collusion, then if people on Mr. Trump’s campaign were aware of Russian possession of stolen emails and did nothing, they’d have no defense against allegations of collusion. But they do — because the term comes with no consensus as to its definition."

Writes lawprof Ryan Goodman in"Can We Please Stop Talking About ‘Collusion’?" (NYT).

Who started the use of this term? Who propagated it? I think it has been Trump's antagonists. If so, it's ironic that it now makes Trump look less culpable. I believe the term came into general use because it allowed everything to count as evidence and to cast a wide net and to generate as much suspicion and doubt as possible and deprive the newly elected President of the power and dignity of the office.

Trump appropriated the term for use against his accusers, and now Obama and Hillary supporters have to worry that the public's sensitivity to "collusion" endangers their side. Sad!

"We have chosen the word ‘void’ and nothing else because we don’t know what this void is."

"We don’t know if it’s a chamber, a tunnel, a big gallery or things like that," said the co-director of the ScanPyramids project, which used cosmic-ray collisions to detect a 100-foot long "void" inside the Great Pyramid, reported in the NYT.

Big deal?
Mark Lehner, an Egyptologist from Ancient Egypt Research Associates, said that previous work had shown that the ancient Egyptians most likely constructed gaps in their pyramids and that the voids the team found are nothing special, or new.

“The great pyramid of Khufu is more Swiss cheese than cheddar,” he said. He added that the steep incline of the void also casts doubts on whether it was some sort of room. “At that angle, it doesn’t make much sense for it to be a chamber that would contain artifacts, burials and objects and that sort of thing.”
By the way, did the ancient Egyptians have cheese?
The manufacture of cheese is depicted in murals in Egyptian tombs from 2,000 BC. Two alabaster jars found at Saqqara, dating from the First Dynasty of Egypt, contained cheese. These were placed in the tomb about 3,000 BC. They were likely fresh cheeses coagulated with acid or a combination of acid and heat. An earlier tomb, that of King Hor-Aha may also have contained cheese which, based on the hieroglyphic inscriptions on the two jars, appear to be from Upper and Lower Egypt. The pots are similar to those used today when preparing mish.

Mary Bono accuses a member of the House of Representatives of sexual harassment.

Bono (who served in the House for 15 years, ending in 2012) does not name the name, but does say the man is still a member:
Bono...said it seemed like the lawmaker didn’t know how to talk to a woman as an equal. “Instead of being ‘how’s the weather, how’s your career, how’s your bill,’ it was ‘I thought about you while I was in the shower.’ So it was a matter of saying to him ‘That’s not cool, that’s just not cool.’”...

“It is a man’s world, it’s still a man’s world,” Bono said. “Not being a flirt and not being a bitch. That was my rule, to try to walk that fine line.”

Bono said she found power in confronting her harasser, and that after she did so it never happened again. She emphasized that she understood her experience was different than those of young staffers who may face harassment from someone they rely on for a job, and that she was fortunate because as an equal elected by her constituents, she would not fear retaliation....

“My career didn’t suffer, I didn’t suffer,” Bono said. “But it did happen.”
In this telling, confrontation on the spot works. Why don't more targets of harassment just go with immediate rejection of the overture? As Bono says, other targets are fearful of retaliation in ways that she was not.

I had a dream about Obama.

I was walking with him in a group of people through some pleasant cityscape. He was looking great, showing his classic relaxed, happy demeanor. I said out loud "This is the Democrats' secret weapon." He heard me and wanted an explanation. I said: "Whatever happens, the Democrats need only bring you out again and parade you around and people will think 'This was a President. This is what a President should be,' and that will be enough." I saw the reaction on his face and added: "But if you ever believe that, it won't work anymore."

This dream was probably caused by something I'd been reading in Scott Adams's book yesterday. I'm thinking this:
On social media, and sometimes even in the mainstream media, Clinton’s supporters relentlessly compared Trump to Hitler. It was brutally effective persuasion when packaged with related accusations about his “temperament” and his strongman vibe. Fear is the strongest level of persuasion, and the Persuasion Filter would say the Hitler-related persuasion made a difference in the election.

You might wonder why I say analogies do not persuade while at the same time I say the comparisons of Trump to Hitler were effective.... Remember, analogies are great for explaining a new concept. And this concept of Trump as a new Hitler was filling an empty space for lots of voters who didn’t know much about Trump...

November 2, 2017



Just another creepy casino pic.

Open thread.

"The suspect told police ‘give me a lawyer dog.’ The court says he wasn’t asking for a lawyer."

"... the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the suspect was, in fact, asking for a 'lawyer dog'..." (WaPo).
“This is how I feel, if y’all think I did it, I know that I didn’t do it so why don’t you just give me a lawyer dog ’cause this is not what’s up.” The punctuation, arguably critical to Demesme’s use of the sobriquet “dog,” was provided by the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office in a brief, and then adopted by Louisiana Associate Supreme Court Justice Scott J. Crichton.

At Craps' Last Café...


... you can remember the unattainable laxation, sneer at what you call your youth, and close with a yelp to Providence. What remains of all that misery? A girl in a shabby green coat, on a railway-station platform? No?


Will Althouse figure out how to escape from the casino? I don't know but consider using The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"Dow hits record high in wild session after release of tax reform bill, Powell nomination."

Says the "breaking news" banner at CNBC above the headline "Trump picks Jerome Powell to succeed Yellen as Fed chair."

ADDED: In the NYT: "Shocking: Trump Makes the Right Choice With Jerome Powell." That's by Steven Rattner, "who served as counselor to the Treasury secretary in the Obama administration, is a Wall Street executive and a contributing opinion writer."
The other candidate — the economist John B. Taylor, the reported choice of Vice President Mike Pence and other hard-line conservatives — is openly hawkish, having warned for years that the central bank’s easy money policy was stoking future inflation.

Most prominently, in November 2010, Mr. Taylor was among 24 signatories to an open letter to Ben Bernanke, then the chairman, attacking a signature aspect of the Fed’s efforts to stimulate a sluggish economy, its “quantitative easing” program of purchasing debt in the market to keep interest rates low....

While the president’s musings on monetary policy have been characteristically inconsistent and even incoherent, he’s mostly sounded like this: “I do like a low interest rate policy, I must be honest with you,” he said in April.

"Robert Mercer, the hedge fund billionaire who has come under media scrutiny for his role in helping elect Donald Trump, announced today he would step down from his role as co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies."

"The decision, announced in a memo to Renaissance employees, followed a BuzzFeed News exposé revealing the connections of Breitbart News — partially owned by Mercer — to white nationalists and neo-Nazis. Sources familiar with Renaissance informed BuzzFeed News in recent days of significant anger within the company about the report, which revealed that former Breitbart News tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos had cultivated white nationalists and used them to generate ideas and help edit stories on the site."


ADDED: Here's a useful New Yorker article from last March: "The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency/How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency," by Jane Mayer. Excerpt:
Mercer is the co-C.E.O. of Renaissance Technologies, which is among the most profitable hedge funds in the country. A brilliant computer scientist, he helped transform the financial industry through the innovative use of trading algorithms. But he has never given an interview explaining his political views. Although Mercer has recently become an object of media speculation, Trevor Potter, the president of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan watchdog group, who formerly served as the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, said, “I have no idea what his political views are—they’re unknown, not just to the public but also to most people who’ve been active in politics for the past thirty years.”...

Through a spokesman, Mercer declined to discuss his role in launching Trump. People who know him say that he is painfully awkward socially, and rarely speaks. “He can barely look you in the eye when he talks,” an acquaintance said. “It’s probably helpful to be highly introverted when getting lost in code, but in politics you have to talk to people, in order to find out how the real world works.” In 2010, when the Wall Street Journal wrote about Mercer assuming a top role at Renaissance, he issued a terse statement: “I’m happy going through my life without saying anything to anybody.” According to the paper, he once told a colleague that he preferred the company of cats to humans.
I can see why a man like that would withdraw. 

Is it really that hard to figure out how to have a relationship with a co-worker?

I've been concerned about lumping too much together under #MeToo. Here's my post "#MeToo overload":
[Elie Wiesel] is deceased. It was 3 decades ago. The allegation is only that in a photo shoot, he put his hand on her ass. This kind of #MeTooism is diluting the category that we have been taking very seriously in the light of the Harvey Weinstein revelations.

I'm not approving of ass-grabbing. I have a problem with making an allegation this late against a dead man. And I have a problem with lumping things together the wrong way....

If too much is thrown into the category we've been activated to take seriously, many of us will deactivate. Those who want to keep the recent activation working should want to help keep up the distinctions. If the problem seems vague and expanding, the need to protect the unfairly accused will outweigh the interest in smoking out people like Weinstein, and — ironically — it will give them cover.
Today, I'm seeing Cathy Young writing in the L.A. Times:
[T]he #MeToo movement, which tends to lump together a wide range of male wrongdoing from rape to “creepy” or boorish behavior, raises a basic question about human relations in the working world: Can work and sexuality or romance ever mix? For many supporters of this campaign, the answer seems to be no....
But Young says many people want to initiate relationships with co-workers (and also enjoy some kinds of flirting or sexual banter in the workplace):
Instead of acknowledging such realities, current discourse on sexual harassment not only conflates predation with “low-level lechery” but generally reduces women to sexual innocents who must be shielded not only from sexual advances but from bawdy jokes. This did not begin with Weinstein or the #MeToo movement; however, the current moral panic is making the situation worse.

Sexual abuse in the workplace, or anywhere else, is unacceptable. Even boorishness that doesn’t rise to the level of harassment should be discouraged, especially from people in authority. On the other hand, sexual interaction will happen unless the workplace is regulated to a dehumanizing degree and realistically, some unwanted sexual attention will happen as well.
Creepy, boorish, abusive... these are all abstractions. And people are self-interested if left on their own to decide where's the line they shouldn't cross. What is Young proposing here? She doesn't like too many rules. They're "dehumanizing." But an individual judgment that X is a creep/boor/abuser will also be dehumanizing for X.

Not that I have a solution. For some people, going to work is all about sex. At the other extreme, work has nothing to do with sex — no no no, no means no, no.

I'd like to say the overarching principle is equality. That's the established legal concept: The working conditions for women and men should not be different.

By the way, have you noticed how impossible it is to apply that principle to Hollywood. Movies (and TV shows) tell stories that are highly gendered. There are roles for men and roles for women, and the actors are expected to show strong masculinity or femininity and to meet the extremes of sexual attractiveness. It's completely unfair if you think in terms of gender equality. But all of us are buying the product. We're serving our own sexual needs through these characters we see on the screen. We're seeking vicarious relationships.

Waiting for Britney.


A Britney Spears slot machine reflects on the Planet Hollywood casino floor as a woman in a spangly dress totters by. I took that photo last night near the Britney Spears show "Piece of Me," which Chris and I saw last night.

I'm reading Wikipedia's summary of the critical reaction:
MTV News contributor Sophie Schillaci wrote that "Spears delivered on her signature style of larger-than-life production, blaring beats and rapid-fire dance moves, whirling through seven costume changes and even a couple of wig changes." Schillaci also commented that long-time fans would appreciate the concert as it is "more of a look backwards than forwards," and added that, while Spears may not sing completely live, "[the singer's] sweet voice shone through the backing, or we could hear her catching her breath between numbers." She concluded her review saying that "if you're looking for a powerhouse vocal performance in your Vegas entertainment, head over to The Colosseum for Celine Dion. But Britney fans will find no better show on the strip than 'Piece of Me'."...
We had kind of bad seats... especially after a man who must have been 7 feet tall sat down in front of Chris. I laughed a few times at the sheer bad luck of that and wondered how the guy feels every time he sits down in front of someone.

Anyway, Britney Spears isn't exactly my kind of music and I don't even like concerts that much, but I thought it was a good choice for a classic Las Vegas experience. Lots of flashing lights and swirling imagery and undulating dancers. Undulating and also, very frequently, doing what I consider Britney's signature dance move: walking emphatically.

"Google's AI thinks this turtle looks like a gun."

"The 3D-printed turtle is an example of what’s known as an 'adversarial image.; In the AI world, these are pictures engineered to trick machine vision software, incorporating special patterns that make AI systems flip out. Think of them as optical illusions for computers. Humans won’t spot the difference, but to an AI it means that panda has suddenly turned into a pickup truck."

Metafilter, linking to The Verge. From The Verge:
“In concrete terms, this means it's likely possible that one could construct a yard sale sign which to human drivers appears entirely ordinary, but might appear to a self-driving car as a pedestrian which suddenly appears next to the street,” write labsix, the team of students from MIT who published the research. “Adversarial examples are a practical concern that people must consider as neural networks become increasingly prevalent (and dangerous).”

"Allahu akbar. It’s Arabic for 'God is greatest.' Muslims, an eccentric tribe with over a billion members..."

"... say it several times in our five daily prayers. The phrase is also a convenient way to express just the right kind of gratitude in any situation. I say 'Allahu akbar' out loud more than 100 times a day.... A common, benign phrase used daily by Muslims, especially during prayer, is now understood as code for 'It was terrorism.' It’s easy to forget that language is often hijacked and weaponized by violent extremists. Some people yell 'Allahu akbar' and others chant 'heritage,' 'culture' and 'white pride.' The preferred slogans of a killer don’t make much difference to the people whose lives are lost or their loved ones, but they make all the difference in Americans’ collective understanding of a tragedy.... If only the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico, leaving American citizens in desperate need of power, food or water, could have yelled, 'Allahu akbar,' triggering that kind of tough response. Perhaps our president would have been able to see the storm as evil. Perhaps he would have been energized by a 'them versus us' rage to insist on swift action to repair the damage."

From "I Want ‘Allahu Akbar’ Back," by playwright/lawyer Wajahat Alinov (NYT).

ADDED: If it were possible to fight a hurricane with a proactive military strike, we'd totally do that. And most of us don't particularly care about the enemy's ideology except as a way to figure out how and where it will attack so we can fight it better. We don't need to feel there is "evil." Understanding the religion behind Islamist terrorist attacks isn't that different from understanding the science of how a hurricane behaves. We want to protect our physical security. Most Americans — the vast majority, I think — prefer to let other people have their own religious beliefs. We're not about ferreting out heresy and blasphemy. The American values are freedom of religion, individual autonomy, and keeping government out of religion. Go enjoy your freedom and let us enjoy ours.

I'm absolutely not buying the argument that we care less about hurricanes than terrorist attacks and that the difference is some antipathy to Islam. We don't have a way to stop a hurricane. We can only clean up and make repairs after the disaster. The same is not true with terrorism, because human beings with minds that can be understood are plotting and planning and can be stopped before they strike. We don't just wait and then do an extra-good job of dealing with the destruction. There is evidence of what other people are thinking in part because they use words. It's sad that "Allahu akbar" is among the words that help us protect ourselves from attacks, and I'm glad Alinov cares enough to feel bad about the words he'd like only to feel good about.

Let's stop writing "[sic]" when it's clear from the context that the text was cut and pasted.

2 posts down, I wrote about a reason for not correcting typos. Then, 1 post down, there's a typo inside a quote I cut and pasted.

I'm still going to correct typos — despite Scott Adams's (possibly tongue-in-cheek) praise of typos — but what about typos within quotes from somebody else?

Normally the way to "correct" a typo in a quote is to write "sic" in brackets. I considered doing that in the post below — where Luciano had written "Dylan is a stone cold genius and a truly original artists" — but I realized suddenly that we shouldn't be using "sic" when readers can easily see by the context that we've cut and pasted the quote.

The "sic" is just a way to say that's not my typo. But there's no reason to imagine that I retyped the quote, so readers know it's Luciano's mistake. Putting in "[sic]" is unnecessary, distracting, and pedantic. You know it's not my typo, so I'm just intruding to say something very boring: I've noticed the typo.

Let's stop using "[sic]" in the cut-and-paste context. Either leave the typo or put the right word in brackets or write a separate sentence discussing the typo. The last option there should only be used if you have something interesting/funny to say about the typo. And be careful about overestimating how funny typos are. Humor about typos can be annoying, though I must say that's the perspective of a long-time blogger who has read many, many comments making fun of my typos.

I will now impulsively publish this, in first draft, and then read to discover what typos I've managed to include. And I'll correct them. Because I still care or want you to think I do.

"The latest installment in [Bob Dylan's] 'Bootleg Series' provides new perspective on the songwriter’s controversial Christian years."

Writes John Pareles in "Bob Dylan’s Songs for the Soul, Revisited and Redeemed" (NYT). A commenter named Luciano perceptively questions:
Why are these Christian years considered 'controversial'? If Dylan had instead gone through a Buddhist phase or gay phase would anybody consider those years controversial?

Dylan is a stone cold genius and a truly original artists, totally incapable of following fashions or trends. His willingness to explore Christianity is perfect proof of this.

"I don’t believe Trump purposely injects errors into his work except in the form of oversimplification and hyperbole, as in the wall example."

"That stuff is intentional for sure. But for the smaller 'errors' it is more that he doesn’t bother to correct himself. I use a similar technique with my blog when someone points out a typo. Sometimes I leave the typo because it makes you pause and reread the sentence a few times to figure out what the typo was supposed to mean. The 'mistake' attracts your energy to my writing, and that’s what a writer wants. I want your focus. Some mistakes are just ordinary mistakes. But when you see a consistent stream of 'mistakes' from a Master Persuader, be open to the possibility that some of those mistakes are about controlling your focus and energy. When you first saw the title of this book, did you think to yourself that Trump doesn’t say 'bigly,' he says 'big league'? If you noticed my title 'error,' it probably helped you remember the book. And now whenever you hear the words 'bigly' or 'big league' in some other context, it will make you think of this book. The things you think about the most, and remember best, seem more important to you than other things. That’s the persuasion I engineered into the title."

This book is, obviously, "Win Bigly," by Scott Adams.

Speaking of remembering things, I'm certainly going to remember that positive spin on typos. As you might have figured out, I impulsively hit "publish" as soon as I do a first draft. Then, I proofread, and there's always at least one error to correct. I've thought about overcoming my impulsive draft-publishing, but now, I'm thinking, why proofread at all? It's better with some typos. You'll slow down and contemplate, what is Althouse trying to say? You'll have to embody thinking like me to find an answer, and that process will get my thoughts across better than if the draft had been perfect.

"Debbie [Wasserman Schultz] was not a good manager. She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party—she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired..."

" she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was. How much control Brooklyn had and for how long was still something I had been trying to uncover for the last few weeks. By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart," writes Donna Brazile, who took over as interim chair from Wasserman Schultz. There's a lot of blaming (blame-shifting?):
Obama left the party $24 million in debt—$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign and had been paying that off very slowly. Obama’s campaign was not scheduled to pay it off until 2016. Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance.

If I didn’t know about this, I assumed that none of the other officers knew about it, either. That was just Debbie’s way. In my experience she didn’t come to the officers of the DNC for advice and counsel. She seemed to make decisions on her own and let us know at the last minute what she had decided....
Brazile presents herself as a very passive, inert member of the committee. Why didn't she exercise responsibility (or quit the committee if the chair is preventing her from taking responsibility)?

Brazile finds out about the debt after the convention, from Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of Hillary’s campaign:
“Gary, how did they do this without me knowing?” I asked. “I don’t know how Debbie relates to the officers,” Gary said. He described the party as fully under the control of Hillary’s campaign, which seemed to confirm the suspicions of the Bernie camp. The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearing house. Under FEC law, an individual can contribute a maximum of $2,700 directly to a presidential campaign. But the limits are much higher for contributions to state parties and a party’s national committee.

Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund—that figure represented $10,000 to each of the thirty-two states’ parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement—$320,000—and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.

“Wait,” I said. “That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You’re telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?”

Gary said the campaign had to do it or the party would collapse...
Read the whole thing. There's much more.
I wanted to believe Hillary, who made campaign finance reform part of her platform, but I had made this pledge to Bernie and did not want to disappoint him. I kept asking the party lawyers and the DNC staff to show me the agreements that the party had made for sharing the money they raised, but there was a lot of shuffling of feet and looking the other way....
Can we get a special prosecutor?
I had tried to search out any other evidence of internal corruption that would show that the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary.... The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical. If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity....
I'd like a neutral outsider, a respected prosecutor, to investigate whether this was criminal. I'm not accepting Brazile's self-interested assertion. It was bad, really bad, she keeps saying, but — magically — it was not criminal. My impression of campaign finance law — and I'm not an expert — is that many things that don't even seem wrong have been criminalized. Brazile has it the other way around.
I told Bernie I had found Hillary’s Joint Fundraising Agreement. I explained that the cancer was that she had exerted this control of the party long before she became its nominee. Had I known this, I never would have accepted the interim chair position, but here we were with only weeks before the election.
And yet you're only telling us all this a year later. Brazile wants us to see her as a victim:
I urged Bernie to work as hard as he could to bring his supporters into the fold with Hillary.... I knew he agreed with me, but I never in my life had felt so tiny and powerless as I did making that call.

When I hung up the call to Bernie, I started to cry, not out of guilt, but out of anger. We would go forward. We had to.

In his writing, Osama bin Laden sounds surprisingly dumb.

The headline, at The Guardian, stresses Bin Laden's ideas, as if perhaps he's some kind of thinker: "Bin Laden's disdain for the west grew in Shakespeare's birthplace, journal shows/CIA released journal as part of 470,000 documents collected from Bin Laden’s house, showing he visited the UK as a teenager and found it to be ‘decadent.’"

I'm drawn in by the Shakespeare connection and interested to see how he articulated his objections to the West, but forget all that. Read how flat and empty this is. This is from a period in his teenage years when he spent 10 weeks in Britain:
“I got the impression that they were a loose people, and my age didn’t allow me to form a complete picture of life there,” he wrote. “We went every Sunday to visit Shakespeare’s house. I was not impressed and I saw that they were a society different from ours and that they were a morally loose society."
"Loose," that's all he's got. He has to repeat it. He says the name Shakespeare, yet he has not one shred of interest in who Shakespeare was and why he is so important to the people of the West.

Perhaps he was sent to Britain by others and resisted learning anything, but he comes across as an incurious dummy.

November 1, 2017

At the Las Vegas Escalator Café...


... you can walk right by or come on up...


(And consider using The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

Hyper-politicizing sexual harassment.

I see I'm quoted this morning in a Wall Street Journal piece by Jason L. Riley, who wonders why the recent news about sexual harassment has been "hyper-politicized":
How did we get to this point? Ann Althouse, the University of Wisconsin Law School professor emerita and prolific blogger, has offered an explanation as plausible as any, and she contends that it has a lot to do with political expediency. "My hypothesis is that liberals -- including nearly everyone in the entertainment business -- suppressed concern about sexual harassment to help Bill Clinton," she wrote in an October blog post. "Giving him cover gave cover to other powerful men, and the cause of women's equality in the workplace was set back 20 years." She added: "Are these allegations coming out now because Hillary Clinton lost the election and the time for covering for Bill Clinton is over at long last?" Good question.

If Ms. Althouse is right, Mr. Clinton's predatory behavior -- and the left's response to it -- didn't just make Mr. Weinstein's antics more acceptable than they otherwise might have been. The former president also greased the skids for someone like Donald Trump. Post-Clinton, a presidential candidate's character became much more of a secondary consideration for voters. This is one reason so many were willing to look past Mr. Trump's misbehavior on the campaign trail and are still willing to give him a pass today.
A different take — politicized in the other direction — would be what the commenter Hari said in the comments at my blog post:
Is the corollary: now that Trump is president, the Left has a vested interest in rediscovering sexual harassment? Is this battlefield prep for future stories about Trump? Does giving Harvey Weinstein the death penalty make it easier to do the same for Trump?

About those 2 women (with their 2 dogs) lost at sea for 5 months, buffeted by storms and sharks and rescued by the Navy.

You were skeptical of their story when we talk about it a while ago, and here's a new WaPo story about how people are doubting them:
On Monday, a spokesman from the Coast Guard told the AP there was an emergency beacon on board the sailboat that was never activated. Initially, the women said they were equipped with communications devices, including six different kinds that all died....

“We asked why during this course of time they did not activate the EPIRB,” a Coast Guard spokeswoman, Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle, told the AP. “She had stated they never felt like they were truly in distress, like in a 24-hour period they were going to die.”...

They said so in spite of the fact that upon being rescued, the women said they were doubtful they could survive another day and that they endured a shark attack lasting six hours.

That shark attack — in which the women described 20-foot sharks ramming the boat in a coordinated attack — is also being questioned by scientists who study sharks and their behavior. Kim Holland, a professor at the University of Hawaii and a shark researcher, told the AP that he has never heard of the kind of prolonged, coordinated attack described by the sailors. Sharks might home in on a single food source, but there would be nothing attracting them to a boat hull, Holland said....
Maligning sharks... that's particularly insidious. 

IN THE COMMENTS: Ignorance is Bliss said:
They're gonna need a bigger lie...

"The rampage ended when the motorist — whom the police identified as Sayfullo Saipov, 29 — smashed into a school bus, jumped out of his truck and ran up and down the highway waving a pellet gun and paintball gun..."

"... and shouting 'Allahu akbar,' Arabic for 'God is great,' before he was shot in the abdomen by the officer. He remained in critical condition on Tuesday evening.... Investigators discovered handwritten notes in Arabic near the truck that indicated allegiance to the Islamic State, two law enforcement officials said. But investigators had not uncovered evidence of any direct or enabling ties between Mr. Saipov and ISIS and were treating the episode as a case of an 'inspired' attacker, two counterterrorism officials said."

Mr. Saipov... God is great... yes, I'm reading the New York Times.
Five of the people killed were Argentine tourists who traveled to New York for a 30-year high school reunion celebration, said a senior official in Santa Fe Province, where they were from. The Argentine authorities said they were Hernán Mendoza, Diego Angelini, Alejandro Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi. Martín Ludovico Marro, a sixth member of the group, was wounded. Belgian officials said one of those killed and three of the injured were from Belgium.
Top-rated comment over there: "Eight deaths and a person is a terrorist but the killer of 59 people is labeled a disturbed mind. Please explain."

Well, one explanation is that this man used words. He shouted 2 distinctive words and he left a note. He wanted to be identified as a terrorist. That said, why give him what he wants?

As for the Las Vegas shooter, people think of him as crazy because he left no words. And he's dead, so there's a mind we'll never get to know. Blank chaos. We call it crazy to make some sense of it, because we're not crazy and we like some sense.

If it weren't for Tim McGraw's nipple, I'd have to say this casino is sexually harassing me.



Blogging from the Pacific Time Zone.

I tried not to get up too early, but I'm often up at 5 in the Central Time Zone. At least I made it to 5 in the Pacific Time Zone, but what do you think it's like at 5 a.m. on the floor of a Las Vegas hotel that the elevator designates not as "lobby" or "main" or "1" but "CASINO"?

There must be at least 10 restaurants in this hotel, and I'd like to sit in a place where a server fills your cup and asks how you want your eggs. But there's only one place open, a little snack bar that's playing disco and disco-like pop. Oh, now it's Prince, "Raspberry Beret." I love Prince, but still, it's not what I want with black coffee and blogging. I put her on the back of my bike/And we went riding/Down by old man Johnson's farm....

The casino operates around the clock, but it's mostly empty machines right now, flashing lights, eternally longing for one more ass to plunk down and feed in a few bills. I did see some gamblers as I made my way from the elevator to this nutty little snack bar. They can't be up early. They must be up late. But what difference does it make? The inner space called "CASINO" always looks the same, dark with lights.

No windows. But it's my duty as a blogger to attempt to look out on the world and have something to say about it. I'd like some windows. At home, my computer faces a wall of windows. But there's always the window that is the computer screen. It's hard to look in there though in this place that's designed to enclose you in an alternate, distorted, synthetic reality.

Talk to me! I feel like you're going to tell me that the news is an alternate, distorted, synthetic reality, so what difference does it make? But I'm feeling what I'm feeling from inside this strange place.


October 31, 2017

Looking for humans in Las Vegas.






Dog-lover, dog lover.

"A dog-lover is one who loves dogs; the dogs are the object of his love. James Thurber was a dog-lover. A dog lover, without the hyphen, is still a dog—the Tramp, say, in Lady and the Tramp.... A bird-watcher is a watcher of birds; a bird watcher would be a bird that keeps an eye on things. You can actually hear the difference (and feel the bird’s eye on you). This was brought home to me when a woman from California, one Alice Russell-Shapiro, wrote a letter to the editor—the copy editor—of The New Yorker complaining about (among other things) the term 'star fucker.' She was not the least offended by seeing the term in print, only by its lack of what she called the 'activating hyphen.'... In 'star fucker,' without the hyphen, each word has equal weight: a fucker who is a star. But in 'star-fucker' the hyphen tips the weight to the first element, the object (star) of the activity embodied in the noun (fucking)."

From Mary Norris, "Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen."

(And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.)

"Three [tenured] Dartmouth College professors whose research had included studies of sexual desire and attractiveness have been put on paid leave..."

"... while a criminal investigation of alleged sexual misconduct is carried out, the authorities said Tuesday.... Several students hanging out at the Collis student center on Tuesday said they were surprised by the allegations because all three professors were established and respected intellectuals in their fields. They were also popular with students.... 'It’s creepy, even though we don’t really know what it is,' [one student] said. 'People have been pretty weirded out by this.'"

The NYT reports.

The top-rated comment over there: "Absolutely NO information about what happened or even about what is alleged! New York Times, I am impressed!"

Second-highest-rated comment: "I don't know the specifics in this case, but as a former Psych professor in the seventies at American colleges, I have to say that I can't recall ever being subjected to such intense and persistent seduction as I was by my female students. I took to keeping my office door open during 'visits' by my most ardent admirers and had to physically peel attractive young women off me. Maybe it was my animal magnetism, but my female colleagues never reported this kind of behavior on the part of their male students. In fact, men and women tend to have different reactions to authority figures and power in general, which is the real issue here: men are generally diffident about sucking up to it, while women attempt to seduce it. Asking a thirty year old to hold out forever in the face of such pulchritude is unreasonable, when we're talking about people who have not taken an oath of celibacy. By the way, no, I never had sex with a student: it seemed obviously unethical. But the flesh is weak, and it is facile to think of these men as predators and their students as victims."

Finally we can buy "Win Bigly."

I've been waiting for the Scott Adams book to come out, and I put it in my Kindle... and added the Whispersync audio.

"At least six people were killed when a man drove a pickup truck as many as 20 blocks down a bike path next to the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon..."

"... before he jumped out with fake guns and was shot by police officers, the authorities said. The police did not immediately call it a terrorist attack. But two law enforcement officials said that after the attacker got out of the truck, he was heard yelling, 'Allahu Akbar.'"

The NYT reports.

“I didn’t see many men use the hashtag #MeToo. And the reason is because it’s a stigma, it’s a shame, you lose your manhood."

"When a young man is affected by being raped, or sexually harassed, or touched … you will never hear [about it] — but those people exist.”

From "Sex and the City's Gilles Marini: 'I Became a Piece of Meat for Many Hollywood Executives" (People).

"I don't grope people anymore. I don't expose myself anymore. I do understand that the temperature in the world right now is delicate."

Said Andy Dick, whose out-in-the-open sexual comic japery is not — or cannot be — appreciated in Hollywood anymore, as he is fired from his current movie project after allegations of sexual misconduct.
The Hollywood Reporter was not able to reach any of the alleged victims, however, two sources detailed Dick’s inappropriate behavior, which included groping people’s genitals, unwanted kissing/licking and sexual propositions of at least four members of the production. It’s unclear if those involved were actors or crew....

"Can I tell you my side of it," Dick then asked before asserting that the filmmakers could've been upset that he was talking about or perhaps defending Weinstein, with whom he made two films. "They were so incensed by what I was saying. People are so sensitive," he said, without elaborating on exactly what he said.
Notice what's going on here. He was tolerated (encouraged?) before, and at least some people liked his transgressive comedy. But now that sexual harassment is in the news, he's cut off like a gangrenous limb. There's a lot of hypocrisy, and firing each person as they get accused is a coverup attempt, and it may be unfair to the accused.

I'm afraid that the seriousness of the Weinstein-type problems will be diluted with #MeToo style allegations and overreactions. But I also think that these overreactions toward individual accused persons suggest that the people who've been enabling and facilitating feel guilty and are themselves trying to escape consequences.

I regard Hollywood as a whole as a sick, corrupt system, and this firing of Dick only heightens my suspicion. 

ADDED: "I didn't grab anybody's genitals... Of course I'm going to proposition people. I'm single, depressed, lonely and trying to get a date. They can just say no, and they probably did and then I was done."
Dick contends that part of his problem is he's 51 and unaware of what the rules are for proper behavior. "I don't know the difference between sexual harassment and trying to get a date. In the '70s, all the girlfriends I got was by kissing and licking their cheek. I don't know anymore," he said. "There were beautiful women and beautiful guys on the set. I flirt with them. I might kiss someone on the set and ask them to go to dinner. They are the ones that took it south."
AND: For comparison purposes: "You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."

"Why George Papadopoulos Is More Dangerous Than Paul Manafort."

That's a cagey headline at the NYT. It only makes a comparison, and that depends on how dangerous  Manafort. This is the same construction: Why a kitten is more dangerous that a mouse.

But an argument is made that there's something particularly dangerous about Papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The argument is made by Harry Litman, "a former United States attorney and deputy assistant attorney general, teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles, Law School and practices law at Constantine Cannon."
A footnote in Mr. Papadopoulos’s plea agreement includes a detail that is particularly damning when combined with previously reported information: Mr. Manafort wanted to be sure that Mr. Trump himself would not accept a Russian invitation to travel to Russia. In March 2016, George Papadopoulos sent an email to seven campaign officials, including Mr. Manafort and the campaign manager at the time, Corey Lewandowski, saying that Russian leadership wanted to meet with the Trump team. Mr. Manafort forwarded that email to Mr. Gates with a note saying: “We need someone to communicate that D.T. is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”...

Third, a paragraph in the plea agreement indicates that Mr. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 and the plea was sealed so that he could act as a “proactive cooperator.” The meaning of that phrase is unclear. But one nerve-racking possible implication is that Mr. Papadopoulos has recently worn a wire in conversations with other former campaign officials....

Fourth, the plea agreement makes clear the Trump campaign knew about the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails well before it was publicly revealed....

Fifth, the episode that prompts the guilty plea is a virtual carbon copy of the infamous July 9, 2016, meeting that Mr. Manafort, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. attended with a Russian lawyer....

It's hard to blog from the Pacific Time Zone.

Sorry to get such a late start, but this is not a late start for me. I'm in Las Vegas...


... doing some family reunionizing.

I'll still be blogging. Don't worry. But it will be Pacific Time Zone blogging.

October 30, 2017

At the Cleopatra Café...


... I am extended well beyond my comfort zone.

(Please consider using The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"The president digested the news of the first indictments in Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe with exasperation and disgust..."

"He called his lawyers repeatedly. He listened intently to cable news commentary. And, with rising irritation, he watched live footage of his onetime campaign adviser and confidant, Paul Manafort, turning himself in to the FBI. Initially, Trump felt vindicated. Though frustrated that the media were linking him to the indictment and tarnishing his presidency, he cheered that the charges against Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were focused primarily on activities that began before his campaign. Trump tweeted at 10:28 a.m., 'there is NO COLLUSION!'... 'The walls are closing in,' said one senior Republican in close contact with top staffers who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. 'Everyone is freaking out.'"

Somehow The Washington Post knows this. (It claims to have 2 sources "close to" Trump.)

"The Manafort Indictment: Not Much There, and a Boon for Trump."

Says Andrew C. McCarthy at The National Review.
Do not be fooled by the “Conspiracy against the United States” heading on Count One (page 23 of the indictment). This case has nothing to do with what Democrats and the media call “the attack on our democracy” (i.e., the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 election, supposedly in “collusion” with the Trump campaign). Essentially, Manafort and his associate, Richard W. Gates, are charged with (a) conspiring to conceal from the U.S. government about $75 million they made as unregistered foreign agents for Ukraine, years before the 2016 election (mainly, from 2006 through 2014), and (b) a money-laundering conspiracy....

The so-called conspiracy against the United States mainly involves Manafort’s and Gates’s alleged failure to file Treasury Department forms required by the Bank Secrecy Act....
ADDED: Meanwhile, at the NYT, you've got headlines like "Will Manafort Sing?" That's in terrible taste. So disrespectful to the prosecutor that we've been instructed to respect.
If Manafort pursues his self-interest, my bet is that he’ll sing. That then can become a cascade: He testifies against others, who in turn are pressured to testify against still others. And all this makes it more difficult to protect the man at the center if indeed he has violated the law.
That's Nicholas Kristof, sounding as though he's drooling over the keyboard... until he hit that big "if."

What "cascade" can there be if it's about Manafort financial dealings long before he had anything to do with Trump? Things need to be connected for there to be a cascade.

Why is the NYT feeding its readers this kind of wild speculation? Why not get back to the newly released JFK papers? People love conspiracy theories.

"In a Friday night phone call, President Trump's former chief strategist and enforcer Steve Bannon told Trump he was going 'off the chain' to destroy Paul Singer..."

"... a New York hedge fund billionaire who is one of the most influential donors to the Republican Party. Trump agreed with Bannon that it needed to be done, according to two sources familiar with the conversation.... Bannon spoke to Trump shortly after the New York Times broke the news that a Singer-funded conservative website first paid for anti-Trump research by the firm, Fusion GPS, that later produced the infamous Russia dossier... Trump loathed Singer during the campaign, when the billionaire was a lead financier of the 'Never Trump' movement. But the two made up earlier this year, and Singer has been financially very helpful since Trump won the presidency. He donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration and has supported various administration efforts including funding the successful outside campaign to back the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.... In Bannon's worldview, Singer belongs to a 'globalist' cabal that favors open borders and includes other bogeymen and bogeywomen such as George Soros and Hillary Clinton...."

Reports Axios (with detail on why this matters).

Corey Feldman went to the police in 1993, but "all they cared about was trying about to find something on Michael Jackson.”

But Jackson was innocent, the former child actor told Matt Lauer.
I told them, [Michael] is not that guy. And they said, maybe you don’t understand your friend. And I said, no, I know the difference between pedophiles and somebody that is not a pedophile because I have been molested. Here’s the names, go investigate. And let me push this forward, there are thousands of people in Hollywood that have the same information. Why is it all on me? Why is it, if I don’t release the names in the next two months, six months or a year, I’m the bad guy. I’m the victim here. I’m the one who has been abused. I’m the one who is trying to come forward and do something about it....
Lauer presses him to go to the police now, but "There’s a statute of limitations, Matt, in the state of California," so to go to the police would only expose himself to lawsuits and threats of violence. He's asking for lawyers and security people to step up and help him, and they he will "get this message done.
I vow I will release every name that I have any knowledge of, period. And nobody’s going to stop me this time, as long as people support this.
Feldman says "there are thousands of people out there" who know, and that you could look at the "teenage soda pop clubs" where the child actors went back then. He wouldn't name the place(s) — I think he's afraid of liability — but he says you can look back at the teen magazines of the time and find the name.

I wonder what connection, if any, this story has to the Kevin Spacey allegations discussed earlier today, here.

"The indictment of [Paul] Manafort and [his associate Rick] Gates makes no mention of Mr. Trump or election meddling."

"Instead, it describes in granular detail Mr. Manafort’s lobbying work in Ukraine and what prosecutors said was a scheme to hide that money from tax collectors and the public. The authorities said Mr. Manafort laundered more than $18 million. 'Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income,' the indictment reads.... 'As part of the scheme, Manafort and Gates repeatedly provided false information to financial bookkeepers, tax accountants and legal counsel, among others,' the indictment read.... Mr. Manafort has expected charges since this summer, when F.B.I. agents raided his home and prosecutors warned him that they planned to indict him."

Says the NYT, in "Paul Manafort, Once of Trump Campaign, Indicted as an Adviser Admits to Lying About Ties to Russia."

Trump's reaction:

And that's followed by:
....Also, there is NO COLLUSION!

"For the Ohio governor, the campaign against Trump never stopped. And it won’t till 2020."

Writes Lisa Miller at New York Magazine.
The debates were ridiculous,” he told me recently over dinner at an Italian restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia....

It had been a long day, and Kasich was hoovering his spaghetti and clam sauce like a man who eats for fuel. “I wasn’t pitching myself. I was being myself.” ... He came to his point: “I have a right to define what it means to be a conservative and what it means to be a Republican. I think my definition is a lot better than what the other people are doing.”

In Kasich’s view, the election of Trump and the complicity of party leaders represent a widespread abandonment of good American values — “a momentary lapse of reason,” he says, “to quote Pink Floyd.” A believing Christian, Kasich talks about his contrasting vision as a “revival”; he has a yearning to restore to American citizens the “basic principles of caring, of love, of compassion, of connectedness, of a legacy … There has to be a fundamental change, in my opinion, with all of us. I’m willing to be part of that. I want my voice to be out there. I want it very, very much.”
Spaghetti, clams, Pink Floyd, believing Christians... I think I'm going to puke, reddish pinkly.

I watched Kasich on "Fox News Sunday" yesterday, and he came across as desperate. I had trouble understanding why he looked and sounded so desperate. Here, maybe you can see what I mean:

He keeps asserting that he is sincere and has high moral values, but it doesn't work. And I am saying this as someone who wanted to have a moderate Republican to vote for in 2016. Kasich seemed as though he was the one who would fit that slot, but he is hard to warm up to. Interesting to know he's never stopped striving. But that does not make him appealing.

At the Dogs Dogs Dogs Café...


... it's Monday morning, and things will happen. Who knows what? But I've got to run off early. I'll see you again later when the clouds clear.

And please consider shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"While not at all presidential I must point out that the Sloppy Michael Moore Show on Broadway was a TOTAL BOMB and was forced to close. Sad!"

A classic Trump tweet.

Some people — including me — find this hilarious, especially the "While not at all presidential," but some — I'm sure — are flummoxed. If it's not at all presidential, why the hell are you saying it?! That's so wrong.

But there's value in "a little bit of wrongness," as we discussed here.

"Corona brewer to invest nearly $200 million in Canadian marijuana grower, with plans to develop cannabis-infused drinks."

The Wall Street Journal reports (and I got in without a subscription).
The C$245 million (US$191 million) deal gives Constellation a toehold in an industry that the brewer expects to be legalized nationwide in the U.S. in the coming years.

“We think that it’s highly likely, given what’s happened at the state level,” Rob Sands, chief executive of the Victor, N.Y.-based beer, wine and spirits company, said in an interview. “We’re obviously trying to get first-mover advantage.”

Constellation—flush with cash after posting a 13% increase in beer sales in its latest quarter—is interested in developing drinkable cannabis products that don’t contain alcohol, he said. Products currently on the market in U.S. states where they are legal include buzz-inducing sodas, coffees and fruit elixirs.

"Actor Anthony Rapp: Kevin Spacey Made A Sexual Advance Toward Me When I Was 14."

Rapp speaks now — after 30 years — "not to simply air a grievance... but to try to shine another light on the decades of behavior that have been allowed to continue because many people, including myself, being silent. … I'm feeling really awake to the moment that we're living in, and I'm hopeful that this can make a difference."

Spacey says he can't remember — after 30 years — but he remembers enough (or respects Rapp enough) to allow that it could have happened:
But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.... This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are other stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy.... I now choose to live as a gay man.
As far as I've noticed over the decades, people were assuming Spacey is gay. Coming out as gay now, when confronted with behavior aimed at a 14 year old, is unfortunate. He's publicly identifying with a group at the point where there's something negative about his membership in it. It would have been better to come out when his fortunes were high and to add to the luster of the people you say are yours.

October 29, 2017

At Daisy's Café...


... come on in!

I record all the Sunday morning political talk shows, but I don't know if I'll be able to stand to watch even part of any of them.

I'm going to try. I'll let you know. But I don't want to listen to people guessing about the Mueller indictment. What are the other topics they might decide to fill the time with? I have no hope that any of it will be watchable. Political television is pretty awful. It seems that those who make the decisions about how the allotted time will be spent believe the spending of time on a subject says something about its importance and is, in fact, what's most important, overriding whether any of the words add much of anything.

I prefer print because I can instantly see where the headlines are placed on the front page and how long the articles are, and I can skim or jump to whatever I want. TV has no respect for your time and your autonomy. I try to get control by recording everything and jumping forward, but with these news talk shows, I find I'm speeding through everything and there's no significant difference from not watching at all. It's as though I just like the theoretical possibility of watching. But why?

Flying on a commercial airline depends very much on suppressing all your natural bodily feelings so you can ultimately be somewhere else (and then get back home from there).

The analogy that springs to mind is submitting to sexual harassment so you can get a career advancement. But it's not a good analogy, because there's nothing that's like needing to make the return flight.

(I've already said this in a private thread on Facebook.)

"One has to wonder why the Christ Church leaders in Alexandria decided to move both historic plaques. Is George Washington now to be equated with Robert E. Lee?"

"What sort of tortured reasoning led them this perverted decision?" — so reads one of the comments at "Historic Alexandria church decides to remove plaques honoring Washington, Lee" (WaPo).

Two commenters attempt answers:

1. "Since it's en vogue to judge historical figures with contemporary values and norms, perhaps the church just felt it was easier to remove all political figures from their sanctuary. After all, you go to church to worship God, not George Washington."

2. "The two plaques were installed at the same time and are arranged symmetrically about the alt[a]r. Removing one creates an imbalance. They are looking for a suitable other location within the church. Note that it is a church, not a museum or historical monument. As important as Washington was to the United States history and Lee was to Virginia history and confederate mythology, neither were saints of the church or figures of the Bible. Putting them behind the altar puts them on a level with Jesus and Moses."

"Gillespie is establishment. He hasn’t said one word about Trump. It’s a hold-your-nose vote, but I have to vote for him. We don’t want that goddamn Northam."

Said Bobbe Scruggs, "an 88-year-old retired administrative assistant who was excited about Stewart in the primary and now dutifully attended a picnic for Gillespie in Beaverdam."

Quoted in "What Va. voters can agree on: These guys and Trump are from different planets" (WaPo). The headline on the front page is different: "In Virginia governor’s race, two low-octane candidates vie for votes beyond their bases."

The use of children in politics... of course, Donald Trump Jr. knew the taunting this Instagram would touch off.

You'd have to regard him as an idiot not to credit him with the intent to instigate haters to attack with things like: "the only time you’ll see a trump in a uniform #draftdodger."

And of course, those terrible, mean comments — aimed at children! — bring massive support — protect the children!

It's an old game.