June 16, 2018

At the Deep Purple Café...

IMG_2125

... have your Saturday night conversation.

And here's the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

I'm finding my own little entry points into the IG report, and what's calling to me now is that damned phrase "Viva le resistance."

The IG report describes an instant message exchange on November 22, 2016. FBI Attorney 1 — referring to how much some subject of the FBI investigation got paid working for the Trump campaign — said "Is it making you rethink your commitment to the Trump administration?"

And FBI Attorney 2 said “Hell no” and “Viva le resistance.”

If that's supposed to be French, the word is "vive" not "viva," and "resistance" should have the feminine article, "la," not "le." If it's Spanish, "viva" is fine, there's no "le" in Spanish, "resistance" is not the Spanish word, and it's still feminine, so "la" would be the proper article. I'm seeing "Viva le resistance" repeated a lot — like here, at Instapundit — and I'm getting tired of looking at something so formally ignorant.

But as long as I'm moved to make that formal critique, I'll look at the substance (pages 415 to 424).

FBI Attorney 2 was asked what he meant by that "Viva le resistance," and he said:
So, this is in reference to an ongoing subject. And then following that, like I interpreted [FBI Attorney 1’s] comment to me as being, you know, just her and I [sic] socially and as friends discussing our particular political views, to which I see that as more of a joking inquiry from her. It’s not something along the lines of where I’m not committed to the U.S. Government. I obviously am and, you know, work to do my job very well and to continue to, to work in that capacity. It’s just the, the lines bled through here just in terms of, of my personal, political view in terms of, of what particular preference I have. But, but that doesn’t have any, any leaning on the way that I, I maintain myself as a professional in the FBI.
Obviously, he's just asserting what he must (and what the Executive Summary will also assert) that he has political opinions but they don't bleed into his work because he is a professional.

The IG "asked FBI Attorney 2 if 'Viva le resistance' signaled he was going to fight back against President Trump" and he said:
That’s not what I was doing.... I just, again, like that, that’s just like the entire, it’s just my political view in terms of, of my preference. It wasn’t something along the lines of, you know, we’re taking certain actions in order to, you know, combat that or, or do anything like that. Like that, that was not the intent of that. That was more or less just like, you know, commentary between me and [FBI Attorney 1] in a personal friendship capacity where she is just making a joke, and I’m responding. Like, it’s not something that, that I personally believe in that instance.
That's a repetition of the same idea. Personal opinions and professional work are kept separate. It really is a convention to believe that people can do that. You can be cynical or skeptical or just plain realistic and think that's not how human minds function, but it's a fiction we actually do need to believe in (at least up to a point) if we are going to put human beings in a position of trust.

The IG said that it showed "extremely poor judgment and a gross lack of professionalism" to use the FBI's systems and devices to send these messages, because "It is essential that the public have confidence that the work of the FBI is done without bias or appearance of partiality, and that those engaged in it follow the facts and law wherever they may lead and without any agenda or desired result other than to see that justice is done."

Perhaps in the interest in maintaining what is "essential," the IG "found no documentary or testimonial evidence directly connecting the political views these employees expressed in their text messages and instant messages to the specific Midyear investigative decisions." I notice the words "directly" and "no documentary or testimonial evidence." You can read the report yourself and see the basis for inference and suspicion, but you're on your own. There's plenty of evidence that does shake our confidence that the FBI does its work without bias and without any agenda or desired result. But — the IG encourages us to think — it's also possible to maintain your confidence, so why don't you do that? Because your confidence is essential!

Jeff Sessions is making us talk about what the Bible says.

I'm reading "Sessions says the Bible justifies separating immigrant families. The verses he cited are infamous" by Kyle Swenson in The Washington Post. Asked to defend the separation of children from parents taking them illegally across the U.S. border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said:
“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes... Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent, fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”
Swenson observes:
The passage — “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” — has been read as an unequivocal order for Christians to obey state authority, a reading that not only justified Southern slavery but also authoritarian rule in Nazi Germany and South African apartheid.
And what about other things in the New Testament? Stephen Colbert joked darkly:
“Hey, don’t bring God into this. I don’t think God picked you, because I don’t worship Vladimir Putin... Jesus said, ‘Suffer the children to come unto me.’ But I’m pretty sure all Sessions saw was the words ‘children’ and ‘suffer’ and said, ‘I’m on it.’ ”
Swenson collects other pro-immigrant Christian responses
“I guess Sessions forgot about the Gospels part of the Bible. Matthew 25:35 says ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,’ ” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said on Twitter. “Nothing in the Bible says to separate kids from parents. It teaches the opposite.”...

Theology scholar Mike Frost wrote in 2016 that Romans 13 should not be used to quell dissent because it comes from a period when Christians faced persecution from the Roman Emperor Nero.

“This is the guy who was said to have had Christians dipped in oil and set on fire to light his garden at night,” Frost wrote. “It makes perfect sense that Paul would commend the fledgling church to keep its head down, to avoid rocking the boat, to submit quietly to the prevailing political winds. They had no choice. They lived under the authority of a dictator.”
Quite aside from what the Bible says, should the Attorney General be using the Bible to defend a government policy? One might answer yes, because the policy was challenged morally, and even though it is theoretically possible to discuss morality without religion and some people can only discuss morality without religion, for many people morality is bound up with religion, and it should be at least permissible to discuss the morality of a public policy in terms of religion. There are consequences to using religion this way, though, of course. It may feel exclusionary to those who don't share the religion or who have a religious problem with interpreting scripture for a political purpose. And if you've got a passage for your position, then I'll have a passage for mine, and I can reinterpret yours and you can reinterpret mine, and we may find ourselves making garbage out of what we were only using in the first place because we posed as believing it was holy.

By the way, we all feel bad for the children, but I'm seeing a spotlight on the point when the children are removed from parents who are being sent to prison. If the separation is wrong, what is the less wrong thing that ought to be done instead?  I'm not seeing anyone talking about that. Am I missing everything that answers my question or are there reasons why no one wants to talk about that?

ADDED: At National Review, Rich Lowry explains the limitation imposed by the Flores Consent Decree (from 1997):
It says that unaccompanied children can be held only 20 days. A ruling by the Ninth Circuit extended this 20-day limit to children who come as part of family units. So even if we want to hold a family unit together, we are forbidden from doing so.

"And I remember at that point saying, well, you know, thank you very much kind of thing, and he sort of continued chatting and, and said, and made a comment about his travels he was headed on."

"And I said, well, we’ve got to get going to the hotel. And I said I’m sure you’ve got somewhere to, to go. And he said yes. And I forget where he told me he was going. He was flying somewhere, but...I’ve forgotten where. He said I’m going to wherever I’m off to. And then he made some comment about West Virginia. And I do not know if he was headed to West Virginia. I just don’t know...if that was the reference to it. And he made a...comment about West Virginia and coal issues and how their problems really stem from policies that were set forth in 1932. And he talked about those policies for a while. And, and I said, okay, well."

I have read part of the IG's report. I read pages 202 to 211, about Bill Clinton's weird, extended intrusion onto Loretta Lynch on the tarmac in Phoenix on June 27, 2018. Could you please read that section and tell me what you think Bill Clinton was doing and the extent to which Loretta Lynch understood it and when in the 20 minutes or so she realized it was a problem?

The Executive Summary (page v) says "we found no evidence that Lynch and former President Clinton discussed the Midyear investigation or engaged in other inappropriate discussion during their tarmac meeting" but there was "the appearance problem" and Lynch made "an error in judgment" by not "tak[ing] action to cut the visit short."

We could talk about how narrowly the statements in the Executive Summary are framed. There's a lot of talk of finding no evidence, often tied to a particular issue, like whether Lynch and Bill Clinton discussed the Midyear investigation or another topic that they shouldn't have discussed. But I'd like to talk about the evidence that that the IG did find and the inferences that can be made from that evidence. There is a lot of evidence on pages 202 to 211, and I wish you'd read it before I tell you the inference that came through loud and clear for me.

My inference, from the evidence, is that Bill Clinton intended to cause Loretta Lynch to believe that she would be shown favor in a Hillary Clinton administration and to think that she was a front runner for the empty Supreme Court seat. Bill did not need to talk about the Midyear investigation. In fact, he needed to avoid it as he made himself at home on the plane, sitting down and staying far too long. In this interpretation, talking about the grandchildren made sense...
Well, after he was sharing with us his story about how...they introduced the two grandchildren to each other, which involved a toy...and that was green, and just, again, the family issues...
... because it created an aura of friendly closeness — a toy... that was green — and was meant to lodge in her mind that she was indeed a good friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton's.
At some point, after two or three minutes, President Clinton turned around. I had my tote bags on the bench seat of the plane, because I had put them there when he came on board. I had been holding them. I put them down. He picked up my tote bags and moved them, and then he sat down. So he sat down, and my husband and I were still standing in front of him having the discussion. And...he sort of sat heavily, and...I didn’t know...how he felt, so I can’t say one way or the other. But he sat down and started talking about, you know, the grandkids and how they introduced them to each other. And so, and ultimately, because this went on for a little but, my husband and I sat down also, and, you know, had that discussion about his family and the kids[.]
He moved her tote bags! He used bodily movements to convey the idea that this is a sit-down session that is going to last, to draw her close and give her time to feel that something will come her way if she returns the good, warm, close feelings. I don't know if she ever got the idea: He's trying to say without saying that I will get the Supreme Court nomination. Or at least: Is he trying to make me think I'll get the Supreme Court nomination? And then, if she thought that, what next? Of course the IG has no evidence of what she thought, but I assume that the idea of getting the nomination flashed through her head. And when it did, what did she think?

I imagine that Lynch thought he's trying to make me think I've got a lot to gain if I treat Hillary Clinton well and that Lynch wanted what Bill Clinton was implicitly offering but also knew what he was doing was horribly wrong and had more potential to hurt her reputation than to get her the prize he was dangling.

ADDED: Bill moved the tote bags to create room "on the bench seat." Here, Loretta. Here's a seat on the bench. Won't you sit down?

ALSO: Did Lynch have reason to think she was a major contender for the empty Supreme Court seat?  Yes. She was enough of a contender at the time when Barack Obama was trying to be the one to fill the seat that she publicly withdraw her name for consideration (in early March of 2016):
“While [Lynch] is deeply grateful for the support and good wishes of all those who suggested her as a potential nominee, she is honored to serve as Attorney General, and she is fully committed to carrying out the work of the Department of Justice for the remainder of her term,” [said a  Justice Department spokeswoman].

There is speculation that Lynch did not want a long, drawn-out confirmation battle, which is almost assured given that congressional Republicans have said that they will not confirm any nominee put forth by the president—but especially one who might tip the court to the “left.”
It's easy to infer that she knew the odds were much better to wait for Hillary Clinton to win. Of course, Bill Clinton knew all this when he approached Lynch in June on that tarmac.

And here's an article in The Washington Times from about a month before the election about Hillary Clinton's possible nominees:
Mrs. Clinton, unlike Donald Trump, hasn’t released a list of names she would recommend to the court, saying only that Congress should confirm President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. That’s the politically correct thing to say right now — but if Mrs. Clinton wins in November, there’s no doubt she’ll name her own, more liberal choice to the bench. There’s been some speculation that Loretta Lynch, the attorney general of the Department of Justice, could be on Mrs. Clinton’s short-list....

June 15, 2018

Trump is "sort of... like a ship — you just keep going — bing bing."

"I'm kidding. You don't understand sarcasm. Hey, who are you with? You're with CNN? Hey, you are the worst"

Trump, responding to a question — "What did you mean just now when you said you wished Americans would sit up at attention?" — about something Trump said earlier this morning about Kim Jong-Un — "He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same."

I was watching MSNBC a while ago — because Meade had it on — and there was a long panel discussion taking "I want my people to do the same" completely seriously.

ADDED: The quote in the post title happens about 6 minutes into this fascinating media feast:

"Harvard consistently rated Asian-American applicants lower than any other race on personal traits like 'positive personality,' likability, courage, kindness and being 'widely respected'..."

"... according to an analysis of more than 160,000 student records filed Friday in federal court in Boston by a group representing Asian-American students in a lawsuit against the university. Asian-Americans scored higher than applicants of any other racial or ethnic group on admissions measures like test scores, grades and extracurricular activities, according to the analysis commissioned by a group that opposes all race-based admissions criteria. But the students’ personal ratings significantly dragged down their chances of being admitted, the analysis found.... In court papers, Harvard said that a statistical analysis could not capture the many intangible factors that go into Harvard admissions.... [The plaintiffs] compare Harvard’s treatment of Asian-Americans with its well-documented campaign to reduce the growing number of Jews being admitted to Harvard in the 1920s. Until then, applicants had been admitted on academic merit. To avoid adopting a blatant quota system, Harvard introduced subjective criteria like character, personality and promise. The plaintiffs call this the 'original sin of holistic admissions.'"

The NYT reports.

"Mindfulness might be unhelpful for dealing with difficult assignments at work, but it may be exactly what is called for in other contexts."

"There is no denying that mindfulness can be beneficial, bringing about calm and acceptance. Once you’ve reached a peak level of acceptance, however, you’re not going to be motivated to work harder."

The last paragraph of "Hey Boss, You Don’t Want Your Employees to Meditate" (NYT) by the behavioral scientists Kathleen D. Vohs (of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota) and Andrew C. Hafenbrack (of the Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics).

"I am that guy" — the husband of "You May Want to Marry My Husband.”

Jason Rosenthal writes (in the NYT) about his life in the year after his wife died of ovarian cancer 10 days after publishing a "Modern Love" essay (which I blogged about here).
Many women took Amy up on her offer, sending me a range of messages — overly forward, funny, wise, moving, sincere....

I couldn’t digest any of these messages at the time, but I have since found solace and even laughter in many of them. One thing I have come to understand, though, is what a gift Amy gave me by emphasizing that I had a long life to fill with joy, happiness and love. Her edict to fill my own empty space with a new story has given me permission to make the most out of my remaining time on this planet....

[A]s she described, we followed Plan “Be,” which was about being present in our lives because time was running short. So we did our best to live in the moment until we had no more moments left....

I am now aware, in a way I wish I never had to learn, that loss is loss is loss, whether it’s a divorce, losing a job, having a beloved pet die or enduring the death of a family member....

So many people are talking and writing about that 500-page report, but they can't have read it.

They can't even have decently skimmed it, let alone studied it and learned what's in and thought about it carefully. I'm wondering why I should read articles like "Report Gives Trump an Opening, but Undercuts His Narrative" (NYT). Look, they're already jumping ahead to the question of how the report will be used in gaining political advantage. But we haven't absorbed what is in the report, and we are moving on already.

ADDED: I'm just trying to absorb Attachment G:

"I was not certain I was right about those things at the time. That’s the nature of hard decisions; they don’t allow for certainty."

"With the added benefit of hindsight, the inspector general sees some things differently. My team believed the damage of concealing the reopening of our investigation would have been catastrophic to the institution. The inspector general weighs it differently, and that’s O.K., even though I respectfully disagree."

Writes James Comey in "This Report Says I Was Wrong. But That’s Good for the F.B.I." (NYT).

"After arriving in Singapore on Sunday, an antsy and bored Trump urged his aides to demand that the meeting with Kim be pushed up by a day — to Monday..."

"... and had to be talked out of altering the long-planned and carefully negotiated summit date on the fly, according to two people familiar with preparations for the event. 'We’re here now,' the president said, according to the people. 'Why can’t we just do it?' Trump’s impatience, coupled with a tense staff-level meeting between the two sides on Sunday, left some aides fearful that the entire summit might be in peril. Ultimately, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders persuaded Trump to stick with the original plan...."

The Washington Post reports.

1. Why are we hearing about this at all? Can I infer that Trump and/or his people believed this tidbit made Trump look good or serves to his advantage in some way? If not, who was leaking to hurt him?

2. WaPo chose the words "antsy and bored" but presumably the sources (if they were loyal to Trump) used words that signified that Trump is never complacent or idle and always looks for new angles, engages in lateral thinking, and weighs the possibilities for creative destruction.

3. The idea was floated by Trump and ultimately rejected by Trump, so the question isn't whether it was a better approach than the planned one, but whether it was good enough that it was worth considering at all. Is the idea — the rejected idea — so impulsive and bizarre that we need to worry about Trump's stability, or was it something to contemplate and use to test the benefits of the planned approach?

4. What if — with the press and the world waiting for the sober, stately planned event — suddenly a much more informal meeting happened? How would that look? What would that mean? How would that help get Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump started working with each other? Trump was indicating that he's flexible and can think on the spot, and would Kim Jong-Un react by showing that he's like that too? Remember, it only needs to be an idea worth considering, since Trump ultimately rejected it.

5. "We're here now. Why can't we just do it?" That's a saying — like "Be here now" — that could be your new mindset, usable continually — a philosophy, a way of life.

June 14, 2018

At the Orange Latch Café...

IMG_2126

... don't keep it all locked inside.

(And do some Amazon shopping through the Althouse Portal.)

"Former FBI Director James Comey 'deviated' from bureau and Justice Department procedures in handling the probe into Hillary Clinton, damaging the agencies’ image of impartiality..."

"... even though he wasn’t motivated by politics, the department’s watchdog found in a highly anticipated report. 'While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice,' Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in the report’s conclusions, which were obtained by Bloomberg News."

ADDED: The NYT reports:
[T]he report paints an unflattering picture of one of the most tumultuous periods in the 110-year history of the F.B.I.... The report criticizes the conduct of F.B.I. officials who exchanged texts disparaging Mr. Trump during the campaign. The officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, were involved in both the Clinton and Russia investigations, leading Mr. Trump’s supporters to suspect a conspiracy against him. Many of those text messages have been released, but the inspector general cites a previously undisclosed message in which Mr. Strzok says the F.B.I. “will stop” Mr. Trump, according to two of the officials.

The inspector general said that, because of his views, Mr. Strzok may have improperly prioritized the Russia investigation over the Clinton investigation during the final weeks of the campaign. The F.B.I. officials “brought discredit” to themselves and sowed public doubt about the investigation. But the report did not cite evidence that Mr. Strzok had acted improperly or influenced the outcome of the investigation, the officials said....

The findings sharply criticize the judgment of Mr. Comey....
ALSO: CNN:
The report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that the prosecutorial decisions in the Clinton case were "consistent" and not affected by bias or other improper actions. But it said that senior leaders' handling of the Clinton case cast a cloud over the bureau and did lasting damage to the FBI's reputation.

"The damage caused by these employees' actions extends far beyond the scope of the Midyear (Clinton) investigation and goes to the heart of the FBI's reputation for neutral factfinding and political independence," the report states.

A key finding: Comey erred in his decision not to coordinate with his superiors at the Justice Department at key moments in the Clinton email investigation. Horowitz said that Comey was "extraordinary and insubordinate," and did not agree with any of his reasons for deviating from "well-established Department policies.",,,

The report found that the Strzok and Page texts "cast a cloud" over the credibility of the investigation, although they found no evidence "that these political views directly affected the specific investigative decisions that we reviewed."...

The report faults Lynch for her meeting with Clinton on a Phoenix airport tarmac. But it says there was no evidence that Lynch and Clinton discussed the investigation into Hillary Clinton or any other inappropriate discussions.

"HBO’s would-be minders are experts in distribution systems and profit margins who know little or nothing about the ego-fueled dramas that help put the show in show business."

"Will these telecommunications executives be able to put up with the producers, directors and stars whose work gave the network 29 Emmys last year? 'HBO’s and AT&T’s cultures also come from a very different financial perspective,' said Gary Arlen, the head of Arlen Communications, a research firm that examines the media and telecommunications industries. 'AT&T comes from a legacy of rate regulations, and every expense has to be justified.'"

From "Will AT&T Be Able to Handle HBO?" (NYT). The article refers to AT&T as "a conservatively run company based in Dallas." I don't think "conservatively run company" should mean politically conservative, and I don't think there are any references politics in the story. It's more a contrast between numbers-oriented businessfolk versus the magical creatures who make art happen, but I'm guessing the NYT is concerned about the freedom of HBO to continue a left-wing mission, and that anxiety slipped out in the words "conservatively run."

"Minnesota’s political apparel ban violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment."

That's the new Supreme Court case this morning, Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky.

The Chief Justice writes the opinion and there's a dissent from Sotomayor (joined only by Breyer).

From the majority opinion:
[T]he ban applies only in a specific location: the interior of a polling place. It therefore implicates our “‘forum based’ approach for assessing restrictions that the government seeks to place on the use of its property.”...  This Court employs a distinct standard of review to assess speech restrictions in nonpublic forums.... A polling place in Minnesota qualifies as a nonpublic forum. It is, at least on Election Day, government-controlled property set aside for the sole purpose of voting....

We therefore evaluate MVA’s First Amendment challenge under the nonpublic forum standard. The text of the apparel ban makes no distinction based on the speaker’s political persuasion, so MVA does not claim that the ban discriminates on the basis of viewpoint on its face. The question accordingly is whether Minnesota’s ban on political apparel is “reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum”: voting...

Tim Burton's live-action "Dumbo."



Too "uncanny valley" or nicely magical?

"Top 5 Wisconsin wildlife risks to humans? Maybe not what you think."

Okay. I'll  play. I only read the headline in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and have not glanced at the answers, though I did see the photo of bees. So I will include bees. The other 4? I'll say: spiders, bats, deer (car crashes), and ticks.

Okay, now I'm looking. Deer was correct. I left out mosquitoes (even though I was thinking about mosquitoes! I feel like cheating and adding mosquitoes to my list). Ticks was correct. Bees was correct. Bats and spiders were wrong. The final category is bears, wolves and cougars, and I must say I considered bears and wolves but decided against it, in part because of the "Maybe not what you think," but also because I can't remember ever reading about a bear or wolf attack in Wisconsin. You think of the big predators when you're out in the wilder places, but when do they ever get anywhere near you? It's those pesky ticks, waiting on the tip of every leaf, that will get you.
The threats to humans from Wisconsin's largest wild predators are, statistically speaking, extremely low.
Yeah, so why are they on the list?
The last recorded injury to a human from a bear was in June 2017 when a man sustained a bite to the thigh in Florence County.

"Most of these bear/human interactions are a result of dog/bear interaction and the human rushes in to save their dog," said USDA's Hirchert. "An actual predatory action towards a human from a bear is extremely rare in Wisconsin."

There has been no wolf or cougar attack on a human in Wisconsin in modern history, according to USDA records.

That said, the big animals rightfully elicit an abundance of caution.
That said! I'll that-said you. You said, "Maybe not what you think." That said, you shouldn't have put bears, wolves, and cougars on the list. Did you check bats and spiders? Hmm?! I'm checking.

Well... 2 brown recluse spiders have been found in Wisconsin in the last quarter century.

As for bats: "The last four cases of human rabies in Wisconsin occurred in 1959, 2000, 2004 and 2010. All four Wisconsin cases acquired the disease from infected bats." The thing about bats is that they can get in your house and you have to deal with it as if the bat carried the horrific disease. You're never lying in bed and suddenly think There's a bear in the house! and spring into action. I mean, I know it has happened....

"First, journalists must understand how propaganda works on the brain and grasp the cognitive science that marketers of propaganda have implicitly mastered: frames, metaphors, narratives and brain basics."

"Second, keep a steely focus on the fact that American democracy is under attack by a foreign power, possibly with collusion from the sitting president’s campaign. This is a crisis. Certain rules don’t apply in a crisis, especially the rule that the press must amplify the president’s words, whatever they are. Third, stop letting Trump control the news cycle. Newsgathering should be a serious affair controlled by editors whose power rivals any politician’s. Stop chasing his tweets and elevating every sideshow. Start every story with truth and the context of what’s really important to citizens in a democracy. More BBC, less TMZ. Fourth, don’t spread lies. Don’t privilege Trump’s lies by putting their specific language in the headlines, the leads or the hashtags. Don’t repeat the lies assuming people will automatically know they’re lies. People need to know the president is lying, but be careful about repeating the lies because 'a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.' Repetition of lies spreads them."

I am repeating the words of George Lakoff and Gil Duran, "Trump has turned words into weapons. And he's winning the linguistic war/From ‘spygate’ to ‘fake news’, Trump is using language to frame – and win – debates. And the press operate like his marketing agency."

"Under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is not to go to Iran... There is no place for an enforceable religious dress code in sports."

Said Soumya Swaminathan, a 29-year-old chess champion —  5th in India — who has withdrawn from a chess competition that will end in Iran, which is requiring females to wear a headscarf.

That's the first time I ever looked at the word "headscarf" and thought of the alternate meaning of eating a head. To "scarf" is "To pig out or 'down' food really fast and hastily."

By the way, is chess a "sport"? Here's "Ten Reasons why Chess is a Sport." The 10 reasons (detailed at the link): 1. Competitive. 2. Well established. 3. Physical fitness ("Peak mental condition requires being in good physical condition" (though the inclusion of disabled persons is counted as a reason under #7)) 4. Behaviour code. 5. Olympic Recognition ("Chess has been recognised as a sport by the International Olympic Committee since 2000.") 6. European Recognition. 7. Global game. 8. Mental component ("All sports have a mental component.") 9. National accolade. 10. Player ranking system.

"I am leaving this district, because I cannot serve the children I love in the current climate."

"I have never seen a building as deeply in crisis as Sherman Middle School, yet my cries for help went unanswered for three years. I saw 'Band Aid' fixes and many more promises. I saw a principal being given chance after chance and three years of her being coddled and coached with no substantive change. The problems being ignored by our district are of great magnitude. I cannot understand the purpose or priorities of any organization that allows this level of incompetence, particularly one that is supposed to serve children. We have a principal who is not visible in the halls or classrooms. There are many days when our building has been in crisis or there are special events and she has arrived late, left early, or not been present at all. It is clear that she is not aware of what is going on at Sherman — either that or she does not care to be a part of it. Staff and students alike notice this indifference. Without a visible leader, our environment has become unpredictable and chaotic...."

Writes Karen Vieth in a long blog post titled "Closing the Door on the Madison Metropolitan School District," which is the subject of an article by Chris Rickert in The Wisconsin State Journal, "Ex-teacher blog post a 'public shaming' of black principal, Madison school leaders say."
In response to Vieth’s blog post, district Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham and the School Board’s president and vice president sent an email Tuesday to Sherman parents... “We have grave concerns regarding the type of personal, public shaming of a principal, in this case a principal of color, that has taken place in recent days.” Vieth’s original blog post does not disclose Foreman’s race... In a statement Wednesday, Cheatham said the Tuesday message referenced Foreman’s race “because we think it is important.”

“There is a history in our community, and our school district, of not sufficiently welcoming, supporting, and providing grace to staff and principals of color,” she said. “This is not about deflecting criticism. We have to do better as a community.”
Interesting phrase, "providing grace." Is that like providing cover?

ADDED: David Blaska writes:
Ms. Vieth describes student fighting, swearing, teachers injured breaking up fights, do-nothing restorative justice, and nap time in Room 120 — all since adoption four years ago of the school district’s legalistic and impenetrable Behavior Education Plan (BEP). A Rubik’s cube of political correctness.... It was adopted in subservience to the Left’s obsession with implicit bias and racial equity. Too many children of color were suspended (or not enough whites. Take your pick)....
ALSO: To my ear, "grace" has a whiff of racism about it, and not just because four-fifths of the word is "race." It feels oleaginous and patronizing and quasi-religious.

"Italian groping case dropped because alleged victim was 'too old to be scared.'"

Headline at The Guardian.
The [prosecutors'] report said that Cortani’s age and the fact she had dealt with [Carlo] Tavecchio in the past, meant she would not have been in a state of fear or subjugation.
Elisabetta Cortani was 50.
In one allegation, Cortani describes going to Tavecchio’s office in May 2015 to ask him about some sports clubs joining the football federation. According to Cortani, Tavecchio approached and began touching her breasts and said: ‘You look good! You have great tits there!’ while trying to kiss her on her lips. Cortani, the report alleged, said she was shocked by his behaviour, pretended to ignore him, and left the room.

In August 2016, Cortani wore a hidden camera to a meeting with Tavecchio about a team’s application to a regional championship. According to the complaint, Tavecchio, closed the door behind him and began talking to her in a vulgar way, using an expletive to ask whether she had a lot of sex. He tried to push her on the couch and began kissing her, Cortani said, and began to grope her breasts; this action turned the camera off, though the audio continued. She wriggled away from him.

"It’s becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it? It’s not a good place for any party to end up with a cultlike situation as it relates to a president that happens to be of — purportedly — of the same party."

Said Senator Bob Corker, quoted in "Republicans embrace the ‘cult’ of Trump, ignoring warning signs," which is The Washington Post's response to this week's primaries, including the one in South Carolina, where a promising GOP newcomer, Katie Arrington, beat the well-known Mark Sanford in the Senate race.  WaPo identifies Sanford as "a firmly conservative member of Congress who had survived earlier scandal." It doesn't mention that he was the governor of South Carolina (when he became a national laughing stock, "walking the Appalachian Trail")( and that explains why my tag for him is "Gov. Sanford").

Why shouldn't WaPo celebrate Arrington's victory and exult at the rejection of the disgraced Mark Sanford? Why not use the template Women Triumph Over Sleazy Men? I know WaPo has that template, but I assume the answer is that everything must be understood through the loathing of Donald Trump.

Sanford criticized Trump, and Trump tweeted in support of Arrington. That seems to reflect the simple popularity of the man who got himself elected President, but somehow that's a "cult." By the way, was Obama a cult? I don't mind the use of the word "cult" to describe and explain personal political popularity, but WaPo is so aggressively slanted these days. It's propaganda. It's the cult of hating Trump.
Trump’s closest allies have largely dismissed the “cult” commentary, as Corker put it, as evidence of cultural and class tension inside the Beltway.
Oh!  As Corker put it. It's Corker's word, and when WaPo uses the word, it puts the word in quotation marks. Well, all right then. Journalism credibility protected — with scare quotes. And they go to the other side for balance. Look, it's Scaramucci again:
“They keep saying the cult stuff because they don’t like the disruption and change,” said former White House communications director and financier Anthony Scaramucci. “He doesn’t speak with an elitist vocabulary and the savoir faire that Washingtonians are used to,” referring to Trump.
The next line is a warning:
Disruption works both ways, however, and is no guarantee of success in midterm elections, which are often perilous to a president.
As if the Washington Post is inclined to give good advice to the GOP.

And then it's back to the Trump antagonists, this time to address the unstated question that WaPo must know readers have (and I said it myself, above, was Obama a cult?):
“I don’t think we, or any president, demanded personal loyalty to the degree Trump has,” said David Axelrod, an Obama adviser during his first campaign and term. “We made appeals around shared goals, ideals and agendas. We didn’t play in primaries. Popular as he was, Obama’s party was not the cult that the GOP is today.”
Here's the influential Trump tweet:


Ha ha. Argentina. Click on my "Appalachian Trail" link above. Sanford, as governor, told people he was off to hike the Appalachian Trail — so wholesome! — but he went to Argentina — to commit adultery.

The racism Albert Einstein — writing in his travel diary in the 1920s.

The diaries are newly published, so the issue is apt, the Washington Post apparently thinks, because no one can escape the glare of The Reckoning. WaPo finds the most politically incorrect things The Genius saw fit to write to himself as he endured the rigors of travel nearly a century ago:
The average Japanese, Einstein wrote, is “unproblematic, impersonal, he cheerfully fulfills the social function which befalls him without pretension, but proud of his community and nation. Forsaking his traditional ways in favor of European ones does not undermine his national pride.”

While Einstein used male pronouns for deeper reflections about the Japanese, his thoughts about women were more about their physical appearance than their personality. Japanese women, he wrote as he observed them on the ship, “look ornate and bewildered. … Black-eyed, black-haired, large-headed, scurrying.”

His reflections about the Chinese, with whom he spent far less time, were more callous, even insulting. Though he called the Chinese “industrious,” he also described them as “filthy” and “obtuse.” They’re a “peculiar herd-like nation,” Einstein wrote, “often more like automatons than people.” He saw them as intellectually inferior, quoting — instead of challenging — Portuguese teachers he met during his travels who claimed that the Chinese “are incapable of being trained to think logically” and “have no talent for mathematics.”

There was, as Rosenkranz described, a “healthy dose of extreme misogyny”:
I noticed how little difference there is between men and women; I don’t understand what kind of fatal attraction Chinese women possess which enthralls the corresponding men to such an extent that they are incapable of defending themselves against the formidable blessing of offspring.
His reflections in the few days he spent in China also reveal Einstein’s tendency to perceive foreigners as a threat.

“It would be a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races,” he wrote. “For the likes of us the mere thought is unspeakably dreary.”
I'll just say 2 things.

First, this is another argument against travel. The #1 pro-travel argument that I have heard in my years of openly questioning the benefits of traveling the world is that it is highly valuable to encounter the people who live in different places. But you'll never run out of individual human beings to meet and get to know in your own home town. The idea of traveling to meet people is that groups of people living far from your home will be different in important ways that you ought to perceive and understand. The experience will broaden you. But observations and beliefs about groups of people are stereotypes. You're setting yourself up to be racist. Look at Albert Einstein — The Genius. He went to Japan and China, and he formed ideas about how the Japanese and Chinese are different. If that's something we enlightened people of today are not supposed to do, then there's a big problem with that #1 pro-travel argument.

Second, there are still writers today, very popular American writers, who travel and compare the Japanese and Chinese. Check out David Sedaris's "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" — the chapter "#2 to Go."

June 13, 2018

At the Propagation Café...

IMG_2137

... let it grow.

And here's the Althouse Portal to Amazon, where you can buy whatever you like.

How Kate Spade stores are presenting the suicide of their namesake.

DSC05451

That's my photo of the shop window at Hilldale, here in Madison.

(This isn't meant as an open thread. The next post will be one.)

"I may not be Donald Trump now, but just you wait; if I don't make it, my children will" — said Barack Obama in 1991.

From the incredibly long Wikiquote page for Barack Obama. Full quote, from "Race and Rights Rhetoric", a law school paper:
[Americans have] a continuing normative commitment to the ideals of individual freedom and mobility, values that extend far beyond the issue of race in the American mind. The depth of this commitment may be summarily dismissed as the unfounded optimism of the average American—I may not be Donald Trump now, but just you wait; if I don't make it, my children will.
ADDED: Obama was not the "I" in his own statement. He was speaking in the voice of an American idiot.

"What are we supposed to do? Speak calmly while he’s praising neo-Nazis? Wag our finger when he walls us in? Abide his ignorance and hate with good grace?"

"Tsk tsk when he embraces murderers and war criminals while berating honorable Democrats? We’re not going to win over the deplorable nincompoops who voted for this man. Do you honestly think that we will offend their delicate sensibilities? These are the people who witnessed the vilest displays of hate, including his encouragement of skinheads to beat up protesters. They heard him brag about groping unwilling starlets. They watched as he mocked a disabled reporter. And yet they went into voting booths all across America and pulled the lever for this narcissistic, unread, vulgar excuse for a human being. Robert De Niro expressed openly the disgust that I have been feeling in my den, sitting in front of the TV and pretty much yelling the same sorts of things when I encounter the daily outrages that ooze from this pustule of a president. Who’s to say that Democrats aren’t scoring victories because of the palpable feeling of disgust that attends this so-called president’s every utterance? This man body-surfed into the White House on a wave of resentment and hate. Maybe a bigger wave of righteous anger will flush him and his Republican enablers out, and down into the metaphorical swamp from which they came."

The top-rated comment — by far — on the Frank Bruni column in the NYT "How to Lose the Midterms and Re-elect Trump" (which begins "Dear Robert De Niro, Samantha Bee and other Trump haters: I get that you’re angry. I’m angry, too. But anger isn’t a strategy. Sometimes it’s a trap. When you find yourself spewing four-letter words, you’ve fallen into it. You’ve chosen cheap theatrics over the long game, catharsis over cunning").

This post gets my tag "civility bullshit," which has been used restrictively over the years to highlight my proposition that calls for civility are always bullshit. They're not seriously based on some idea that discourse should be civil across the board. It's always a means to an end. Often it's calling out the other side's incivility, trying to get them to tone it down, when the comparable incivility on one's own side would be cheered on as tough and well-deserved.

The commenter here openly stating the proposition that is usually kept hidden. What Frank Bruni is doing is a bit different, but it's also civility as a means to an end. He thinks his side is overdoing it, impulsively seeking relief in stupid outbursts like De Niro's "Fuck Trump" at the Tony Awards, and it's going to hurt them politically.

Yeah, it's funny how De Niro stepped up to the role of straight man for Trump, who tweeted:
Robert De Niro, a very Low IQ individual, has received too many shots to the head by real boxers in movies. I watched him last night and truly believe he may be “punch-drunk.” I guess he doesn’t...

...realize the economy is the best it’s ever been with employment being at an all time high, and many companies pouring back into our country. Wake up Punchy!
Wake up Punchy!

"The ACLU is no longer a neutral defender of everyone’s civil liberties. It has morphed into a hyper-partisan, hard-left political advocacy group...."

"The headline in the June 8 edition of the New Yorker tells it all: 'The ACLU is getting involved in elections — and reinventing itself for the Trump era.'... Since its establishment nearly 100 years ago, the ACLU has been, in the words of the New Yorker, 'fastidiously nonpartisan, so prudish about any alliance with any political power that its leadership, in the 1980s and 90s, declined even to give awards to likeminded legislators for fear that it might give the wrong impression.' I know, because I served on its national board in the early days of my own career. In those days, the board consisted of individuals who were deeply committed to core civil liberties, especially freedom of speech, opposition to prosecutorial overreach and political equality. Its board members included Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, right wingers and left wingers, all of whom supported neutral civil liberties. The key test in those days was what I have come to call “the shoe on the other foot” test: Would you vote the same way if the shoe were on the other foot, that is, if the party labels were switched? Today, the ACLU wears only one shoe, and it is on its left foot. Its color is blue...."

Writes Alan Dershowitz.

"Admission to Stuyvesant was and remains determined by a single test available to all middle school students in the city. There are no soft criteria for admission..."

"... no interviews, no favoritism for legacies, no strings to be pulled. It’s all about whether you do well on the test, which best determines whether or not you can do the academic work. You would think that Mayor Bill de Blasio would celebrate Stuyvesant as the crown jewel of the city’s school system. Instead, he has announced a plan that will destroy it in all but name. This month, the mayor said he would seek legislation that would eliminate the test completely. Instead, he’d guarantee automatic admission to Stuyvesant — and the seven other specialized high schools in the city — for the top students at every middle school, regardless of their abilities. The mayor says he is trying to address what is undoubtedly a heartbreaking problem: the gross underrepresentation of black and Latino students at Stuyvesant and schools like it.... But the mayor’s solution is no solution at all. For one thing, his plan seems purposely oblivious to his administration’s utter failure to prepare students across the city for the admissions test — and for a school as challenging as Stuyvesant. In nearly one quarter of the city’s public middle schools, zero seventh graders scored at the advanced level on the annual New York State Mathematics Exam in 2017. Mr. de Blasio would send the top 7 percent of students at every middle school to the specialized high schools, but at 80 middle schools — or one out of every six — not even 7 percent of seventh graders passed the state math exam."

From "No Ethnic Group Owns Stuyvesant. All New Yorkers Do. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan would destroy the best high school in New York City" by Boaz Weinstein in the NYT. By the way, it's not that white people are overrepresented. The situation De Blasio feels compelled to change is one that is channeling benefits to Asian students, who are 75% at Stuyvesant students (and 62% of the specialized high schools in general).

Also in the NYT today: "De Blasio’s Plan for NYC Schools Isn’t Anti-Asian. It’s Anti-Racist. It gives a diverse group of working class kids a fairer shot, which shouldn’t be controversial," by Minh-Ha T. Pham.
[F]or school admissions to be truly unbiased, all students would need to have equal access to elementary schools and middle schools that receive equal shares of property taxes and state and federal aid and have the same cultural, educational and social resources. That kind of equality doesn’t exist, in large part because of the anti-Black racism that has been a defining feature of this country since its inception....

In other words, Asian-American critics of Mr. de Blasio’s plan are arguing to preserve a racist system in which whites, not Asians, are on top. They may gain short-term goals (a seat at a prestigious school) but they lose the long game of acquiring more seats for everyone: middle- class and working-class black, Latinos, American Indians, whites — and yes, other Asian-Americans, especially those from Southeast Asia....

"This raccoon is unifying all of Minnesota."



More here.

ADDED:

I was distracted by the gigantic feet of all the actors... especially the actress in bare feet... so weird.

But that was my fault for not buying my ticket in advance, like everybody else in that theater last night. I arrived rather early. In fact, I was the first person to take a seat in the theater. But I got the last seat sold, and it was in the front row, at the base of a huge screen.

The show was the captured-live theater performance of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," which played here in Madison last night. Only one showing, so no option of coming back another time. Either sit in that front row or drive home having seen nothing. The idea of seeing one of the movies playing at that big theater complex never crossed my mind. I'd have rather gone home to sit with Meade, who was watching the Brewers beat the Cubs and retake first place in the Central Division.

I got an idea of how great the live theater experience would be, but the real effect of the staging cannot come through a movie screen, at least not one looming hugely over me in the front row, staring up at foreshortened heads across the expanse of monstrous feet. 

Speaking of monstrous feet, the audience was seated in "Dreamloungers" — big old recliners — and I did occasionally look back at the group — mainly to see if there was an empty seat farther back — and everyone looked quite ridiculous, halfway horizontal, with feet stretched out in front. It's one thing to sit like that at home, but out in public? Kind of embarrassing, or maybe no one is embarrassed anymore. Half a century ago, we all got naked at Woodstock.

Anyway, this goes to show that I do occasionally go out to the movies, if you can call that a movie. I prefer live theater, and this "movie" reinforced that preference.

I also went to the movies last week and failed even to tell you about it. I saw "RBG," the documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg's wonderful husband Marty.

"It might be the best thing that anyone ever did in a negotiation... in the history of the world."



Scott Adams loves that weird video Trump's people made for Kim Jong-Un.

Here's the video:



Mainstream media is less enthusiastic than Scott Adams. See, for example, "The Sensational Idiocy of Donald Trump’s Propaganda Video for Kim Jong Un" (The New Yorker).

One difference is that Scott Adams is cool with propaganda and he's simply analyzing how good it is as propaganda. Others are appalled by propaganda (when, for whatever reason, they are triggered to regard something as propaganda).

If the intended target of the propaganda knows he's looking at propaganda, then how can the propaganda work? If Kim is the intended target, it might fail because he'll think they're insulting my intelligence to imagine that I will be swayed by such obvious propaganda.

But it's possible that something more subtle was intended. For example, maybe the idea was for Kim to recognize that it's frankly propagandistic and to enjoy it because he is hip to it, to appreciate the American corniness of it, and to feel in on a shared joke about something monumentally serious.

Or, maybe the target isn't Kim at all but the American media, and they are being lured into mocking and disparaging Trump, which will ultimately help Trump, as the American people will watch the video and be taken by the optimism the elites find appalling.

ADDED: Writing the last line of this post, I thought of the line associated with Robert F. Kennedy, "There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

I say "associated" because:
Though Kennedy stated that he was quoting George Bernard Shaw when he said this, he is often thought to have originated the expression, which actually paraphrases a line delivered by the Serpent in Shaw's play Back To Methuselah: “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’". This phrase was first used by his brother John F. Kennedy in 1963 (June 28th), during his visit to Ireland, in his address to the Irish Dail (Government): "George Bernard Shaw, speaking as an Irishman, summed up an approach to life, 'Other people, he said, see things and say why? But I dream things that never were and I say, why not?"...  Robert's other brother Edward famously quoted it (paraphrasing it even further), to conclude his eulogy to his late brother after his assassination (8 June 1968): "Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say why not?"
AND: The Serpent?! Maybe we should read this play. I've never read the whole thing, but here's the whole text. Let's get some context for that quote. As you've already guessed, we're in the Garden of Eden:

"It sure looks as if President Trump was hoodwinked in Singapore."

"Trump made a huge concession — the suspension of military exercises with South Korea. That’s on top of the broader concession of the summit meeting itself, security guarantees he gave North Korea and the legitimacy that the summit provides his counterpart, Kim Jong-un. Within North Korea, the 'very special bond' that Trump claimed to have formed with Kim will be portrayed this way: Kim forced the American president, through his nuclear and missile tests, to accept North Korea as a nuclear equal, to provide security guarantees to North Korea, and to cancel war games with South Korea that the North has protested for decades. In exchange for these concessions, Trump seems to have won astonishingly little...."

Writes Nicholas Kristof in the New ?ork Times.

Looks... seems.... I'm not s?re what to make of that. Who is the observer — Kristof? Kim? And does Tr?mp want to be perceived as having gotten the better of the deal? If the idea is shaping the mind of Kim, how do ?o? do it and how wo?ld it look and seem when ?o? have done it?

And wh? is Altho?se writing like that this morning? Is it some enigmatic commentar? on the s?mmit or the commentar? on the s?mmit or is she s?ffering from a m?sterio?s ke?board problem this morning? The latter!!! An? ideas? Help me, techie readers!

UPDATE: I solved the problem for $99 — a new keyboard. The old keyboard lasted a long time and, like the keyboard before it, went bad with the failure of one or 2 keys. I'm not disappointed at the failure, really. I use my keyboards for hours a day, day after day, and they last for years. How many hours. I think they go bad after, perhaps, 5,000 hours. That's good enough.

June 12, 2018

At the Rusty Café...

IMG_2134

... you can talk all night.

And please think of using The Althouse Portal to Amazon.

Biden confronted about groping women.



At a book tour event in Wilmington, Delaware, someone in the audience asks, "What about the girls you molested on C-SPAN at the Senate swearing-in?" Biden's answer: "This is not Trump world" (whatever that means).

"Madison’s organics-collection pilot program will end next week, a victim of people putting too many non-compostables into their compostables carts..."

"While the load of food scraps, soiled paper and other material delivered to a Middleton digester in March had fewer plastic bags, metals and other noncompostables than the prior load, 'the contamination within the material created a very labor-intensive and slow process, which also requires thousands of gallons of water'.... That contamination included lumber scraps and two seemingly full bottles of liquor... and the extra water and labor needed to separate debris and process the compostables meant a $200-per-ton fee from the digester’s operator...."

The Wisconsin State Journal reports.

Two seemingly full bottles of liquor? Why are people so bad at doing things? Are they so drunk they don't notice they're throwing out full bottles of liquor? Are they trying to ruin the program?? I don't get it. You'd think composters would be the punctilious sort.

Justice Breyer "apparently" took "judicial notice" of "'the human tendency not to send back cards received in the mail'"...

... so that the failure of a voter to send back a card to keep their registration active in fact "'has no tendency to reveal accurately whether the registered voter has changed residences'; it is an 'irrelevant factor' that 'shows nothing at all that is statutorily significant.'"

Wrote Justice Alito for the majority in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, released by the Supreme Court yesterday. The internal quotes are from the Breyer dissent. For more detail into this statutory interpretation case, here's Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog. I just wanted to call attention to that freewheeling belief about human nature that made it into Breyer's opinion. Ohio was sending cards to people who hadn't voted in 2 years and then purging them fro, the list of registered voters if they did not return the card or vote in the next 4 years. So 6 years of not voting would cause your registration to lapse unless you returned the card. Federal law prohibited removing voters for mere failure to vote, so that card was really important in the analysis.

Justice Breyer noted that of the 1.5 million cards sent out, 60,000 were sent back to say they have moved and 235,000 were sent back to say I'm still here. So more than 1,000,000 were not sent back. That's 13% of Ohio’s voting population. People just can't be moving at that rate, he says (without mentioning death).
[T]he streets of Ohio’s cities are not filled with moving vans; nor has Cleveland become the Nation’s residential moving companies’ headquarters. Thus, I think it fair to assume (because of the human tendency not to send back cards received in the mail, confirmed strongly by the actual numbers in this record) the following: In respect to change of residence, the failure of more than 1 million Ohio voters to respond to forwardable notices (the vast majority of those sent) shows nothing at all that is statutorily significant.

"Interestingly, men (55%) are more likely to consider Clinton a predator than women (50%) are."

A new Rasmussen poll.

Also see "Bill Clinton: Norms of ‘What You Can Do to Someone Against Their Will’ Have Changed" (stressing a quote out of that Judy Woodruff interview we were dissecting last week)": " I think the norms have really changed in terms of, what you can do to somebody against their will, how much you can crowd their space, make them miserable at work."

"Over my lifetime I've done a lot of deals with a lot of people and sometimes the people you most distrust turn out to be the most honorable ones and the people that you do trust turn out to be not the honorable ones."

Said Trump, in this new interview with George Stephanopoulos. Watch the whole thing:

Not just for Justin Trudeau anymore: Fake eyebrows are worn by the fictional President of the United States in that novel "co-written" by Bill Clinton.

I'm reading that brilliant, hilarious Anthony Lane essay in The New Yorker, "Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s Concussive Collaboration/'The President Is Missing' contains most of what you’d expect from this duo: politico-historical ramblings, mixed metaphors, saving the world. But why is there no sex?" As the title suggests, the essay is jam-packed with great observations, but I'm just blogging enough to tell you about the eyebrows:
Jon Duncan is the President of the United States... “a war hero with rugged good looks and a sharp sense of humor,” not to mention a beguiling modesty... Duncan is facing possible impeachment... Another problem: a female assassin is in the offing.... There are also a couple of computer wonks, motives unclear: the first, “a cross between a Calvin Klein model and a Eurotrash punk rocker,” if you can picture such a creature; the second, a frightened fellow who arranges a covert meeting with the President at Nationals Park. Nail-gnawing stuff.

No wonder Duncan dreams of sitting there in the stadium, crisis-free, with a hot dog and a beer. And he knows which beer, too: “At a ball game, there is no finer beverage than an ice-cold Bud,” he says to himself. Not since Daniel Craig practically ruined “Casino Royale” by pimping his watch to Eva Green (“Rolex?” “Omega.” “Beautiful”) has a product been placed with such unblushing zeal.

The reason Duncan can attend the game, alone, is that he’s wearing a Nationals cap, plus thickened eyebrows and spectacles. Aided by this impenetrable disguise, he slips out of the White House and, bereft of a security detail, goes on the lam....
Google books let me get a screen grab and saved me from having to buy the Kindle text to show you this. Click to enlarge:

"Melania’s lengthy disappearance was more a matter of degree than of kind. She has always been missing, in an existential way...."

"What’s more, the fact that the mystery was medical only amplified the usual effect: To wonder what was wrong with the First Lady’s health is to think about her internal body, her interiority. Medical matters force us to think about people’s inner human functioning. By denying us even the most minimally plausible account of the First Lady’s illness and treatment, the Trump administration denied us her physical reality, confirming instead her status as pure surface, a two-dimensional being, devoid of flesh and blood — not unlike the projected shadows and light of which film heroines are made. In her immateriality, Melania well represents the status of women under Trump — absent, frozen out, erased from the picture. This applies of course not only to those women within the administration, but to the way women in general are perceived: As inessential blank spaces, their humanity and concerns easily erased."

From "Melania’s Recent Behavior Is Right Out of Hitchcock The lady vanishes" by Rhonda Garelick (The Cut). Garelick is an English professor, and she is representing the status of women within English departments — present, heated up, inscribed.

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday made it all but impossible for asylum seekers to gain entry into the United States by citing fears of domestic abuse or gang violence..."

"... in a ruling that could have a broad effect on the flow of migrants from Central America. Mr. Sessions’s decision in a closely watched domestic violence case is the latest turn in a long-running debate over what constitutes a need for asylum. He reversed an immigration appeals court ruling that granted it to a Salvadoran woman who said she had been sexually, emotionally and physically abused by her husband.... Asylum claims have expanded too broadly to include victims of 'private violence,' like domestic violence or gangs, Mr. Sessions wrote.... 'The prototypical refugee flees her home country because the government has persecuted her,' Mr. Sessions wrote in his ruling... 'An alien may suffer threats and violence in a foreign country for any number of reasons relating to her social, economic, family or other personal circumstances... Yet the asylum statute does not provide redress for all misfortune.... Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by nongovernmental actors will not qualify for asylum.'"

The NYT reports.

I'm not sure what the NYT was trying to do by serving up this image in the middle of that article:



It was an ad for "luxury vehicles for older drivers" (which I didn't click into). But that image! Look at that hyper-privileged white woman! I guess she's older... older, blonder... more relaxed. More relaxed than the women who are sexually, emotionally, and physically abused by nongovernmental men in Central America. What is she watching so calmly on that TV that's large enough to annoy the driver but too small to be comfortable to watch at leg's length? It looks like an ad for a car, perhaps an ad with a lady like her watching an ad for a car like hers and ladies inside cars watching ladies inside cars ad infinitum. And who is that man, so staunchly serving, in white gloves with rigidly extended arms? He can't be assisting all the women of the world whose men happen to be brutes. He's got only this one languid woman to cosset and squire about — this woman named America.

Trump — the wolf — "is trying to transform the nature of relationships."

David Brooks writes:
Those who lost faith in [the dream that nations could effortlessly merge into a cosmopolitan Pan-European community] began to elect wolves in order to destroy it. The wolves — whether Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orban, Rodrigo Duterte, Recep Tayyip Erdogan or any of the others — don’t so much have shared ideology as a shared mentality....

Wolves perceive the world as a war of all against all and seek to create the world in which wolves thrive, which is a world without agreed-upon rules, without restraining institutions, norms and etiquette.... But in the low-trust Trumpian worldview, values don’t matter; there are only interests. In the Trumpian worldview, friendship is just a con that other people try to pull on you before they screw you over. The low-trust style of politics is realism on steroids.

Whether it’s on the world stage, at home or in his own administration, Trump is trying to transform the nature of relationships. Trump takes every relationship that has historically been based on affection, loyalty, trust and reciprocity and turns it into a relationship based on competition, self-interest, suspicion and efforts to establish dominance....

What Trump did to the G-7 is essentially the same thing he did to the G.O.P. He simply refused to play by everybody else’s rules and he effectively changed the game. Trump is really good at destroying systems people have lost faith in.....
Was it really "affection, loyalty, trust and reciprocity" before Trump came along and changed it? I think Trump would say that America was taken advantage of and got conned by what was only a superficial display of affection, loyalty, trust and reciprocity.  I think he'd say that American Presidents failed to take adequate account of the "competition, self-interest, suspicion and efforts to establish dominance" that were always involved. So is Trump changing "the nature of relationships" or speaking more clearly and openly about their complexity?

As for the metaphor, does the wolf deserve Brooks's contempt?

"President Trump said Tuesday that he was suspending joint military exercises with South Korean forces and that he was confident North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, would begin dismantling his nuclear arsenal 'very quickly.'"

The NYT reports.
Speaking after a historic summit meeting in Singapore, Mr. Trump described the joint exercises as “very provocative,” given the continuing negotiations. But he said economic sanctions against the North would remain in place until the North did more.

Mr. Trump’s decision to suspend the war games, which he attributed in part to their cost, was a significant concession to North Korea — and a gamble that Mr. Kim will follow through on pledges to abandon his nuclear weapons program.

In a televised ceremony, the two leaders signed a joint statement in which Mr. Trump “committed to provide security guarantees” to North Korea, and Mr. Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

But the statement did not go much further than previous statements by North Korea and was short on details, including any timetable or verification measures.

Asked if Mr. Kim had agreed to denuclearize, Mr. Trump said, “We’re starting that process very quickly — very, very quickly — absolutely.”

The Trump-Kim handshake happened.



It is beyond me to know what it means. I think it's beyond everyone else too, but the journalists had to do their thing, and I suppose I could read/watch their work and say something about them.

Reuters rolled out body-language experts:
Body language experts said that in the 13 seconds or so the U.S. president held on to the hand of Kim for the first time, he projected his usual dominance by reaching out first, and patting the North Korean leader's shoulder. Not to be outdone, Kim firmly pumped Trump's hand, looking him straight in the eye for the duration, before breaking off to face the media.

"It wasn't a straight-out handshake," said Allan Pease, an Australian body language expert and author of several books on the topic, including "The Definitive Guide to Body Language". "It was up and down, there was an argy-bargy, each one was pulling the other closer. Each guy wasn't letting the other get a dominant grip," he told Reuters by telephone from Melbourne.as the father and the little guy is the son."
Definitive guide, indeed. Pease sounds like he's talking about all the power handshakes he's ever seen, not the specific one that I saw on video. But points for using the word "argy-bargy."

It's a word I've used exactly once on this blog, back in 2005, just to say I "loved" it, when somebody else used it, and to express determination to use it again. I'd thought I'd blogged about Justice Scalia using the word, but the person using the word back in 2005 was the playwright David Hare. It occurred to me that Justice Scalia had used the word "argle-bargle," and that turns out to be correct. Here, back in 2013, he'd written "the real rationale of today’s opinion, whatever disappearing trail of its legalistic argle-bargle one chooses to follow...." Does it matter what the legal issue was or is that something you feel you could say about any nonunanimous Supreme Court opinion? I see I thought it was such a useful embodiment of opinion that I made a tag for it — argle-bargle.

"Argle-bargle" means "Disputatious argument, bandying of words, wrangling" (OED). Trump's tweeting often has an argle-bargle quality, but his tweet for the Kim meeting is wordless. Form your own opinions of the body language:

June 11, 2018

At the Althouse Alehouse...

... you can talk all night.

"Researchers from the MIT Media Lab have trained an AI to be a psychopath by only exposing it to images of violence and death."

"It’s like a Skinner Box of horror for the AI, which the team has named 'Norman' after movie psychopath Norman Bates. Predictably, Norman is not a very well-adjusted AI. Norman started off with the same potential as any other neural network... The MIT team fed Norman a steady diet of data culled from gruesome subreddits that exist to share photos of death and destruction.... Norman was not corrupted to make any sort of point about human psychology on the internet — a neural network is a blank slate. It doesn’t have any innate desires like a human. What Norman does address is the danger that artificial intelligence can become dangerously biased.... The team now wants to see if it can fix Norman...."

Reports ExtremeTech.

ADDED: The Wikipedia article on the Skinner Box is called "Operant conditioning chamber." Excerpt:
Operant conditioning chambers have become common in a variety of research disciplines including behavioral pharmacology. The results of this experiments inform many disciplines outside of psychology, such as behavioral economics. An urban legend spread concerning Skinner putting his daughter through an experiment such as this, causing great controversy. His daughter later debunked this.... Skinner is noted to have said that he did not want to be an eponym.

In 1975, Deep Purple received $11,000 in advance to do a concert in Jakarta in a venue seating 7,000.

"After checking into Sahid Jaya Hotel, the band was told they would be performing for two nights at Senayan Stadium for 75,000 people per show. After the first concert, the band’s manager Rob Cooksey and bodyguard Patsy Collins met with [the Indonesian promoter] and tried to negotiate a fairer deal. The meeting ended in an altercation. Later, Collins allegedly got into a fight over a prostitute and fell down a lift shaft at the hotel. He survived and crawled outside, but died a few hours later. Police responded by arresting Deep Purple’s singer and bassist Glenn Hughes, as well as Cooksey and the other bodyguard, Paddy ‘the Plank’. Hughes was allowed out at gunpoint the next night for the second concert. Authorities declared Collins’ death an accident. Then Cooksey and Paddy had to pay US$2,000 each to get their passports back. The band was driven to the airport, where their plane had a flat tire. They had to pay US$10,000 to use a special jack and torque wrench, and their roadies had to change the tire."

That's only #3 on "Top 10 Concert Fails In Indonesia." I'm reading Indonesia Expat this morning because I have been fighting spam that contains the words "Jakarta" and "chloroform," and a Google search got me to the article at Indonesia Expat. The headline is "Delving into the Dark Web." Excerpt:
[T]here are dozens of Indonesian sites selling date-rape drugs. A typical spiel goes like, “Rohypnol pills have very powerful properties and can be used to drug a woman targeted for rape or for other crimes, but our intention in selling this sleeping pill is not for that purpose, but to make it easier for you to sleep.”

Another site offers chloroform, stating it “can be used for rape” and causes memory loss in the victim. A similar site, offering 250 ml bottles of chloroform for Rp.450,000, states “this anaesthetic is often misused by criminals who want to rob, kidnap or rape a target by first anesthetizing them”.

Police and the Ministry of Communication and Informatics are not blocking these sites or arresting their operators, so there’s no need for the culprits to use the dark web.

"Trump is simply not experienced enough or temperamentally inclined to handle the complexity of nuclear negotiations or issues as complex as those associated with the long history of the Koreas."

Said David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, quoted in "Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un likely to meet alone at Singapore summit" (USA Today).
Also, given the track record of North Korea and Trump to "dissemble," Rothkopf said that "it is a minimum best practice to have a witness to the conversation."
But if Trump brings in his witness, Kim will have his witness. And doesn't Trump know far more than Kim about how to deal one-on-one with another man? Trump has spent a lifetime doing that, but what has Kim had to do, given the adulation he's received and his propensity to resort to killing anyone who could challenge him? And, by the way, Kim is only 34 years old. In years alone, Trump has far more experience.

And yet the Peace scholar thinks Trump is "simply not experienced enough." Depends on what you mean by experience, but clearly Kim is far less experienced. Isn't it smart to put Kim at this immense disadvantage? Trump means to pull him in, to give him a big American hug and to warm up this young fan of America.

ADDED: I see in the comments, my phrase "this young fan of America" is being questioned. My source is Dennis Rodman:
Rodman, who brands Mr Kim a “friend of for life”, said... Mr Kim, who he dubs the “little guy”, was a massive fan of American music from the 1980's. “When he’s around his people, he’s just like anybody else. He jokes and loves playing basketball, table tennis, pool,” he told DuJour magazine. ...They love American ’80s music. They do karaoke to it. He has this 13-piece girls band with violins. He gets a mic and they play the whole time. He loves the Doors and Jimi Hendrix. Oldies. When I first went, the live band only played two songs for four hours: the theme songs from Rocky and Dallas.... He can’t say it enough. He wants to talk to him to try to open that door a little bit. He’s saying that he doesn’t want to bomb anybody. He said, ‘I don’t want to kill Americans.’ He loves Americans.”


ALSO: Look at where Trump and Kim are meeting, on a resort island, Sentosa, next to Singapore. One reason to choose that place is that it can be closed off for security, but it also vividly tantalizes with American-style attractions:
The island, which is nearly two square miles in size... features 17 hotels and luxury resorts, private beaches, two golf courses, a casino, a Madame Tussauds museum, a water theme park, Universal Studios Singapore, and the largest Merlion statue....
More about Sentosa at Wikipedia, with lots of pictures, a longer list of attractions. Here's the aerial view of the fun-packed place:


CC by Chensiyuan.

When I look at that picture, what I hear in my head is "Optimistic Voices" (from "The Wizard of Oz"), you know that song, perhaps not by its title. It's: “You're out of the woods/You're out of the dark/You're out of the night/Step into the sun/Step into the light/Keep straight ahead for the most glorious place/On the face of the earth or the sky/Hold onto your breath/Hold onto your heart/Hold onto your hope/March up to the gate and bid it open... OPEN."

"Fox & Friends" calls Trump a dictator...

"Robert De Niro Says ‘F— Trump’ at Tony Awards, Gets Standing Ovation."

Variety reports.
“I’m going to say one thing, F— Trump,” De Niro said while pumping his fists in the air. “It’s no longer down with Trump. It’s f— Trump.”

"I've been rethinking my spirit animal. I'm not sure how souls are transpositioned when we pass over to the great beyond."

"Perhaps because of my primate heritage I've always been partial to tree dwelling animals. Bonobos look like they have a pretty good deal, but they're a little too hyper for me. Althouse in a previous blog post really blew the lid ofd squirrels. Nothing much to recommend their manic, futile lives...... Of all tree dwelling creatures I'm most enamored of the sloth. They show an economy of effort in their struggles with existence, and their sad eyes demonstrate a zen awareness of the underlying futility of those struggles. I don't know how much say you're given in your choice for the next manifestation, but I would be comfortable with reincarnation as a sloth. Why wait? The way that that Kafka guy became a cockroach, I have evolved into a sloth. I don't cling to a tree branch, but I spend a lot of time on my posturpedic mattress. You can changer the position of the bed without ever leaving it. In some ways it's slothier than a tree branch."

Wrote William in last night's café. What I said about squirrels — in the first post of the day yesterday — was:
Squirrels don't have the brainpower to think of committing suicide. They don't even have the wits to think of not bothering to get food and just to waste away because what is the point of all this skittering around collecting nuts? They don't even think of scampering to another spot on the globe to see if the nuts taste different somewhere out there. And they don't think of throwing themselves off a high limb and ending it all. I have seen from my window squirrels falling from high in a tree. They hit the ground and immediately get up and run. Run run run. Get get get. It never stops until death snatches them. They don't go hurling themselves into the arms of death. It's just not a squirrel concept. I know. I read their mind from my vantage point here at the computer in front of the big window looking out on the trees.
The post had been about how to use all the mesclun from the garden, the potential to make a smoothie, the related need for a frozen banana "squirreled... away in the freezer," and a video of an squirrel — a Viennese squirrel — getting fed a banana. I only brought up suicide in the comments because Loren W Laurent, dragging in the demise of Anthony Bourdain, said:
The squirrel doesn't need to travel the world, compulsively looking for new tastes to satiate the hole in the self of wanting more.

Respect the squirrel....

For the squirrel survival is enough.

The kindness of a banana is magic.

Appreciate magic; don't expect it.

Don't become addicted to it.

Failed junkie.