June 23, 2018

At the Sidewalk Café...


... don't trample the flowers.

(And please remember the Althouse Portal to Amazon when you've got some shopping to do.)

"Is water racist?"

Baptizing babies violates fundamental human rights, says the former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese.

"You can’t impose, really, obligations on people who are only two weeks old and you can’t say to them at seven or eight or 14 or 19 'here is what you contracted, here is what you signed up to' because the truth is they didn’t," The Irish Times reports. McAleese said that for centuries "people didn’t understand that they had the right to say no, the right to walk away... But you and I know, we live now in times where we have the right to freedom of conscience, freedom of belief, freedom of opinion, freedom of religion and freedom to change religion. The Catholic Church yet has to fully embrace that thinking."

I thought it was the parents, the godparents, and the congregation who were making vows about how to bring up the child and the child was only receiving a benefit — or what the adults present believed would be a benefit. Adults must make decisions about what is good for a new human being at least up to some point when it's in a position to think for itself. The idea that adults should refrain from making decisions for a child isn't even coherent. To hold back from imposing any values is itself a decision. You might think it is best for a child to maintain a religion-free environment, but you could be wrong about that and why not go hysterical and call that too a violation of fundamental human rights?

"Faced with open antagonism, Trump’s millennials over the past year and a half have quietly settled on the margins..."

"... a stretch of Washington that spans from the Wharf—a shiny new development three blocks south of the National Mall—southeast along the Waterfront and into Navy Yard, on the banks of the Anacostia River. It’s a string of neighborhoods that peer out over the water, separated from most of the city by an interstate, and facing away from official Washington. It’s a bubble within the Washington bubble: Here, young Trump staffers mix largely with each other and enjoy the view from their rooftop pools, where they can feel far away from the District’s locals and the rest of its political class.... When it comes to disclosing their affiliation with Trump, no ground is more fraught than courtship. 'Trump supporters swipe left'—meaning 'don’t even bother trying'—might be the single most common disclaimer on dating app profiles in Washington.... 'I literally got the other day, Thanks but no thanks. Just Googled you and it said you were a mouthpiece for the Trump administration. Go fuck yourself,' says [a 31-year-old female administration official].... 'I’m no longer on Bumble,' she says...."

From "Young Trumpies Hit D.C./… And D.C. hits them right back." (Politico).

"Mueller’s Fruit of the Poisonous Tree: It makes no difference how honorable he is. His investigation is tainted by the bias that attended its origin in 2016."

"It seems pretty clear that this is a case of investigating a man in the hopes of finding a crime, rather than investigating a crime and hoping to find the man behind it."

"In non-question mark [NYT crossword] clues, I think I actually laughed, or at least internally chuckled, when I finally got AFFAIRS at 32D: Business, either personal or otherwise."

"It seemed like such a dull clue at first, but then AFFAIRS gave 'Business' a sexual implication that I was not expecting. At least that's how I read the 'personal' part of the clue."

Text and video reference from Rex Parker, who always blogs the NYT crossword. I've watched that video before but still laughed about 20 times in less than 4 minutes. As for the crossword, it took Rex 9 minutes and 9 seconds of crossword time. Is that it? I took my time and kept it going for 13 minutes and 34 seconds. Why do men think it's better to get it done fast?

He likes to keep his fire engine clean. It's a clean machine...

"There is a stream of bourbon and water running down the hillside that has taken much time to properly and thoroughly assess..."

"Thousands of full barrels of bourbon, and possibly other spirits, came crashing down when a storage warehouse in Bardstown, Ky., partly collapsed on Friday... [Tt]he Barton 1792 Distillery... structure houses about 20,000 barrels, and... 9,000 barrels were amid the rubble... Each barrel holds 53 gallons....The Environmental Protection Agency responded to the collapse because of concerns that alcohol may have seeped into the area’s groundwater."

The NYT reports.

A view of the aftermath:

"In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream. So, to vote against his party’s cowering congressional caucuses..."

"... is to affirm the nation’s honor while quarantining him. A Democratic-controlled Congress would be a basket of deplorables, but there would be enough Republicans to gum up the Senate’s machinery, keeping the institution as peripheral as it has been under their control and asphyxiating mischief from a Democratic House. And to those who say, 'But the judges, the judges!' the answer is: Article III institutions are not more important than those of Articles I and II combined."

Writes George Will (WaPo).

Rat eats 1.3 million rupees — $19,000.

In an ATM machine in Gauhati, India.

Version 4

"Melania Trump’s East Wing team includes only 10 aides, compared with the 25 or so who worked under Michelle Obama and Laura Bush."

"She also a eschews a 'body person,' a personal aide who typically travels with a president or first lady and acts as an assistant. In an interview in April, the first lady’s chief of staff, Lindsay Reynolds, said Mrs. Trump determined that she didn’t need to fill that role. 'She is so low-maintenance, so efficient, that she does everything herself,' Reynolds said. 'So in the very beginning, I started interviewing people for the role. I said, Okay I have people for you to meet. And she said, I don’t need one.' Mrs. Trump is known for taking on the kind of decisions that previous first ladies typically delegated to others. For her first state dinner, she opted not to hire an outside party planner, as is the norm, and chose everything, including the flowers and the table linens, herself, with the help of Rickie Niceta, her social secretary. And she often selects her clothing without assistance, relying less on stylists and personal shoppers than on her own taste. Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham [said last December] that the first lady 'chooses what she likes and what is appropriate for the occasion. She does not worry about her critics.'"

I'm extracting the interesting, pro-Melania factual material at the center of a duly anti-Melania article at The Washington Post, "Why didn’t someone stop Melania Trump from wearing that jacket? That’s not how this White House works."

That's a great click-bait headline for WaPo readers, who might find the material I've excerpted mind-bending. The top-rated comment fights back against the line that must be the most disturing — "She is so low-maintenance, so efficient, that she does everything herself":
Because she doesn't actually DO anything. I like how they're trying to paint it like she doesn't need as many assistants as previous First Ladies because she's just soooo much harder working and awesome, when in actuality, she doesn't need them because she doesn't do even a fraction of the stuff those other First Ladies did. She exists solely as a prop.

June 22, 2018

At the Late Night Cafe...

... talk all you want.

"The original version of this story misstated what happened to the girl in the photo after she taken from the scene. The girl was not carried away screaming by U.S. Border Patrol agents; her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together."

Time Magazine adds a correction to its cover story "‘All I Wanted to Do Was Pick Her Up.’ How a Photographer at the U.S.-Mexico Border Made an Image America Could Not Ignore/'This one was tough for me. As soon as it was over, they were put into a van. I had to stop and take deep breaths,' Getty photographer John Moore said."

Time doesn't seem that distraught about its separation from the truth, but I'm assuming that's because it sees its story as fake but accurate.

"ABC's 'Roseanne' Spinoff Officially a Go — Without Roseanne Barr."

Hollywood Reporter reports.
ABC stressed in its announcement Thursday that former star Barr will have no financial or creative involvement in the new series....

"I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from Roseanne. I agreed to the settlement in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved, and I wish the best for everyone involved,” Barr said in a statement....

"We have received a tremendous amount of support from fans of our show, and it’s clear that these characters not only have a place in our hearts, but in the hearts and homes of our audience," [the castmembers] Goodman, Metcalf, Gilbert, Goranson and Fishman said in a joint statement. "We all came back last season because we wanted to tell stories about the challenges facing a working-class family today. We are so happy to have the opportunity to return with the cast and crew to continue to share those stories through love and laughter.”...

"The Conners’ stories demonstrate that families can always find common ground through conversation, laughter and love. The spinoff will continue to portray contemporary issues that are as relevant today as they were 30 years ago,” ABC said in a statement....
But it's fiction! In real life, they demonstrated that they don't always look for common ground through conversation, laughter and love. They made Roseanne Barr an instant pariah and shut her out of her own TV home, and she can never ever come back. The public had to be assured she was gone forever — that monstrous women, the greatest female in the history of television — so it can bear to watch another show that instructs them in the fictitious banality that families can always find common ground through conversation, laughter and love.

ADDED: More of what I think about "Roseanne" without Roseanne here, including an idea for a new show of Roseanne's own.

"Parents of a New Jersey sixth grader who killed herself last year after months of bullying sued school officials this week..."

"... stating that the school failed to take their repeated complaints seriously... At one point, the school asked Mallory and her bullies to 'hug each other,”' according to the lawsuit. When Mallory was bullied at lunch, the suit says, the school directed her to eat in a counselor’s office. Hours before Mallory’s suicide on June 14, 2017, at a meeting about the bullying, her principal handed Mallory a poker chip and asked her to inscribe her initials and the date on it, and used a poker metaphor to address the situation, according to the lawsuit. 'Are you all in?' the principal asked Mallory, according to Ms. Grossman. 'There is this attack on the victim to suck it up,' Ms. Grossman said. 'I knew they weren’t taking it seriously.'... She wanted help, but she didn’t want to draw attention.... She didn’t want to be labeled a tattletale.'"

From "Sixth Grader’s Parents Say School Didn’t Do Enough to Stop Her Suicide" (NYT).

"What is Justice Elena Kagan doing?"

"So far this term, the liberal justice has crossed ideological lines at least three times to join the Supreme Court’s conservatives. Most recently, on Thursday, Kagan authored the majority opinion in Lucia v. SEC, a huge case that threatens to erode the political independence of multiple federal agencies. Tearing down the 'administrative state' is supposed to be Justice Neil Gorsuch’s pet project. In Lucia, though, it was Kagan who took the lead in undermining the civil service, authoring an opinion that prompted a sharp dissent by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who accused her colleague of making legal and factual errors. Why is Kagan playing nice with the conservatives this term? What, put bluntly, is in it for her?... It’s possible... that these defections are tactical maneuvers—efforts to build a moderate coalition to keep the court from veering rapidly to the right. Kagan isn’t losing the battle to win the war. She’s wrestling the court’s far-right justices to a draw in order to forestall disaster...."

That's Mark Joseph Stern at Slate.

"In a major statement on privacy in the digital age, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the government generally needs a warrant to collect troves of location data about the customers of cellphone companies."

Adam Liptak reports in the NYT. The case is Carpenter v. United States.
“We hold only that a warrant is required in the rare case where the suspect has a legitimate privacy interest in records held by a third party,” the chief justice wrote. The court’s four more liberal justices joined his opinion....

Mr. Carpenter’s lawyers said cellphone companies had turned over 127 days of records that placed his phone at 12,898 locations, based on information from cellphone towers. The records disclosed whether he had slept at home on given nights and whether he attended his usual church on Sunday mornings....

Technology companies including Apple, Facebook and Google filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to continue to bring Fourth Amendment law into the modern era. “No constitutional doctrine should presume,” the brief said, “that consumers assume the risk of warrantless government surveillance simply by using technologies that are beneficial and increasingly integrated into modern life.”
AND: From SCOTUSblog:
Here’s the limiting language from the majority opinion in Carpenter:
Our decision today is a narrow one. We do not express a view on matters not before us: real-time CSLI or “tower dumps” (a download of information on all the devices that connected to a particular cell site during a particular interval). We do not disturb the application of Smith and Miller or call into question conventional surveillance techniques and tools, such as security cameras. Nor do we address other business records that might incidentally reveal location information. Further, our opinion does not consider other collection techniques involving foreign affairs or national security. As Justice Frankfurter noted when considering new innovations in airplanes and radios, the Court must tread carefully in such cases, to ensure that we do not “embarrass the future.” Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Minnesota, 322 U. S. 292, 300 (1944)

"In first grade, I arrived at my suburban elementary school as a sort of academic vaudeville trickster."

"My classmates stood speechless as I absorbed thick tomes on medieval history, wrote and presented research reports, and breezed through fifth-grade math problems like a bored teenager. My teachers anointed me a genius, but I knew the truth. My non-Asian friends hadn’t spent hours marching through the snow, reciting multiplication tables. They hadn’t stood at attention at the crack of dawn reading the newspaper aloud, with each stumble earning a stinging rebuke. Like a Navy SEAL thrown into a pool of raw conscripts, at 6, I had spent much of my conscious life training for this moment...."

The first 2 paragraphs of "The Last of the Tiger Parents" an op-ed by Ryan Park (NYT).

"When it comes to romantic trips, shorter is better... Doing what you desire increases satisfaction of the vacation as well."

"Don’t mope around a maritime museum or embark on a punishing hike in hopes of pleasing your partner if you’d rather thumb through a magazine by the hotel pool. Be upfront about what each person needs from the trip — relaxation, adventure, culture, excitement — and do your best to make sure everyone’s requirements are met.... Resentment over how time and money was spent is the biggest issue [one marriage counselor] sees with couples when they return from a trip.... 'In order to ensure the trip is the best it can be, couples should recognize that traveling in each other’s company requires compromise' [said another counselor].... People who have their hearts set on a romantic, whirlwind vacation full of rose petals and moonlight beach walks might be in for disappointment when the trip doesn’t deliver an Instagram-perfect love-a-thon.... Lucie Josma, 32, a social media manager and travel photographer based in New York... was fixated on the idea of taking a gondola ride down the canals [on a trip to Venice]; it was supposed to be the ultimate picture-esque couple’s moment. Unfortunately, because of a lack of funds and a throng of tourists who edged her out, the boat ride didn’t happen. 'It wasn’t enjoyable, and I was so upset,' she recalled...."

From "How to Plan the Perfect Trip With Your Significant Other This Summer/Make sure your bae-cation is one to remember — without the logistical headaches" (NYT).

Interesting illustration at the link. It shows 2 kissing couples. All 4 individuals are female (I think!). And that's even though the problems anticipated in the article seem to be stereotypical male/female problems, where the woman needs to back off from expecting too much romance and the man, well, the man just isn't reading the article. I guess he wants the hike which, because the reader of the article is presumed not to be the one who wants the hike, is a "punishing hike."

By the way, everything I quoted from the article sounds to me like a screamed warning: Don't go on vacation!

ADDED: I love the phrase "a throng of tourists." It should be "a throng of other tourists," but Lucie Josma, the character the reader is supposed to identify with, is not to be seen as another one of the tourists, all crowding up the place and ruining it for each other, messing up each other's photographs by being there. No, she's special. She's a "travel photographer based in New York," not another snapshotting plebe with an Instagram account. How is it a professional photographer didn't know that a gondola ride in Venice is tourist bullshit that could not possibly yield a good photograph, unless you were doing a photo essay satirizing tourism?

"The task is so onerous that a new profession, called senior move managers, has arisen to help retirees sort their way through their mountains of possessions, one of many new industries in today’s longevity economy."

"Senior move managers exist for good reason: Without help, we may find that moving simply falls into the too-hard category, especially in later older age.... All of us live in many homes throughout our lives, but for many of us, the home of greatest significance is the one in which we spend our midlives, cultivating marriages, paying off mortgages, accumulating memories, raising children, progressing in our careers, and amassing possessions. Many, if not most, older adults have lived in the same residence for decades. After so much time spent in the same place, our memories are transferred onto the objects and environment around us. The architecture of our homes becomes part of the architecture of our minds. If we find ourselves restless at night, we can put ourselves to sleep just by performing a slow mental survey of every room in the house (try it, if you’re ever feeling insomniac). For those in later older age, in their 80s and 90s, a sudden unexpected move out of a long-lived residence can have a devastating effect on mental and physical health. Those of us with stronger constitutions might not crumble to dust, but still the experience is serious, natural doubts at the prospect of moving on from our longtime home. 'Am I really doing this? Am I really giving up my castle?'"

From "Want To Downsize In Retirement? Problem One, Millennials Don't Want Your Stuff" (Forbes).

What if all your memories could be saved? You've filled your head with that stuff. It's so important to you. But if, as you must leave this world, it could all be saved, would anyone want it? What are your favorite memories? What you could give them away, lodge them in someone else's head, where that other person could look upon them as if they were memories they acquired naturally — see "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick (AKA "Total Recall") — would anyone want them?

No, there are some things of yours that are great to you only because they are yours. Without you, they are worse than nothing, so it's best to let them go entirely. Let them become nothing, and not junky clutter for other people to hate.

"The last Jurassic World film grossed a massive $1.67 billion worldwide but was critically panned..."

"... with much of the conversation revolving around why Howard’s heroine spent the entire film running from dinosaurs in heels (in a hilariously petty 'fuck you' to critics, our first shot of Howard in Fallen Kingdom delivers a close-up of her heels and, when she arrives on the island, a close-up of her wearing appropriate boots)."

From "‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Proves the Dinosaur Franchise Should Go Extinct" by Ira Madison (in The Daily Beast).

That passage reminds me of how the Trump administration is doing so well, though the media critics have panned it, and — when Melania Trump went to Texas after the floods of Tropical Storm Harvey, — how much of the conversation revolved around the stilettos she wore, and how— in this week's sequel trip to Texas — in a hilariously petty "fuck you" to critics, our first shot of Melania delivers a close-up of the back of her jacket that reads "I REALLY DON'T CARE..."

My more detailed and serious reaction to Melania's talkative jacket is here. All I mean to say in this new post is that there are some things that launch high over the heads of the critics, and the cries of disgust from the critics only energize the love that is felt by the people who love that stuff.

And here's Trump's reaction:

ADDED: "A Psychological Explanation for Kids’ Love of Dinosaurs" (NY Magazine):
Researchers don’t know exactly what sparks them — the majority of parents can’t pinpoint the moment or event that kicked off their kids’ interest — but almost a third of all children have [an "intense interest"] at some point, typically between the ages of 2 and 6... And while studies have shown that the most common intense interest is vehicles — planes, trains, and cars — the next most popular, by a wide margin, is dinosaurs....

“Maybe at home the interest was being reinforced, and the positive feedback loop was, ‘Johnny knows that’s a pterodactyl, Johnny’s a genius!’ When you’re getting praise over and over again for having information about a subject, you’re on a runaway train to Dinosaurland,” [therapist Elizabeth] Chatel says. “But then school begins and the positive feedback loops shift to, ‘Johnny played so well with others, Johnny shared his toys and made a friend.’”

Too many strikeouts? It's "sucking the action out of [baseball] to the point where it too often feels like a funeral for all those runners left dying on base."

Writes Bill Madden in The Daily News.
We are inexorably headed for the first season in baseball history in which there will be more strikeouts than hits... The analytics people say strikeouts are okay as long as they’re the end result of batters swinging hard and upward in an attempt to hit the ball in the air and hopefully over the wall....

Just to demonstrate how different hitters are today when it comes to strikeouts, Mickey Mantle led the American League in strikeouts five times from 1952-60 and never came close to having more K’s than hits. The closest was 1960 when the Mick whiffed 125 times to 145 hits. Even the all-time whiffmeister, Reggie Jackson, had only 13 more career strikeouts (2,597) than hits (2,584).

Besides the strikeouts going up and up, so, too are the pitching changes. When Manfred took over as a commissioner in 2013, they were averaging 7.9 pitchers per game. It’s gone steadily upward to the 8.5 it is today.

The pitching changes, of course, are another prime factor in the rise of strikeouts, with batters now facing a steady diet of 98-100 mph relievers from the sixth inning on....
Interesting that the problem isn't just the number of strikeouts, but the kind of strikeouts — because it's all about how they make people feel and whether we'll want to be spectators.

"In May, U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston released a report saying the United States has the highest rates of youth poverty, infant mortality, incarceration, income inequality and obesity..."

"... among all countries in the developed world, as well as 40 million people living in poverty. Alston accused President Trump and the Republican Congress of deepening poverty and inequality in the country, citing the Republican tax law passed last fall. 'The policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege,' Alston wrote in the report."

From "Nikki Haley: ‘It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America’" by Jeff Stein in WaPo.

Haley's statement, which came out yesterday, continued: "In our country, the President, Members of Congress, Governors, Mayors, and City Council members actively engage on poverty issues every day. Compare that to the many countries around the world, whose governments knowingly abuse human rights and cause pain and suffering."

The top-rated comment at WaPo, by our_kakistocracy is:
Nothing false about the UN report summary... Nikki Haley denying the truth fits right in with all the other liars, truth-deniers, and outright fabricators in the Trump administration. All of them. Vote in Nov 2018. Tie them up.
But where is the lie in what Haley said? Even assuming every word of Alston's is true, Haley's response contains no lie, just political spin. Those who want Trump crushed in the 2018 elections ought to do some truth-based, real-world thinking about what political spin works in American.  I doubt if it's the U.N.'s leaning on us about "youth poverty, infant mortality, incarceration, and income inequality" in the abstract and how fat we are.

"Kakistocracy" — based on the Greek for "worst" + "rule" — means " The government of a state by the worst citizens"(OED).
1829 T. L. Peacock Misfortunes Elphin vi. 93 Our agrestic kakistocracy now castigates the heinous sins which were then committed with impunity ["Agrestic" = ruralrough and uncouth.]
1876 J. R. Lowell Lett. II. vii. 179 Is ours a government of the people, by the people, for the people, or a Kakistocracy rather, for the benefit of knaves at the cost of fools?
I see that Salon got to the OED and deployed that word and those quotes before Trump was even sworn in: "Degeneration nation: "It takes a village of idiots to raise a kakistocracy like Donald Trump’s/Donald Trump’s government will be 'for the benefit of knaves at the cost of fools'" (December 17, 2016):
As Amro Ali explains in a piece calling for a revival of the term “kakistrocracy” [sic] “In a world where stupidity penetrates multiple levels of government, policies and personalities; it is strange that the term coined to best describe it has actually ended up in the endangered and forgotten words books.”...

Forbes contributor Michael Lewitt reminds us that “kakistocracy” should be used to describe a state or government run by the most unscrupulous or unsuitable people: “Corrupt, dishonest and incompetent politicians, regulators and bureaucrats were put in charge by self-absorbed, selfish and ignorant citizens.” He goes on to acknowledge that we are probably not the first society to consider our leaders as part of a kakistocracy....

The word kakistocracy comes to us from Greek. Kakistos means “worst,” which is superlative of kakos — “bad” — and if it sounds like shit, that’s because it is.
That link on "if it sounds like shit" goes to an etymology dictionary entry for "kakistocracy":
.... from Greek kakistos "worst," superlative of kakos "bad" (which perhaps is related to PIE root *kakka- "to defecate") + -cracy.
In that view, the real "shithole country." When will the U.N. give us credit for having the most nerve and confidence to criticize those we elect and continually threaten to oust?

June 21, 2018

At the Late Night Café...


... please talk about whatever you like.

Goodbye to Charles Krauthammer.

"Charles Krauthammer, a longtime Fox News contributor, Pulitzer Prize winner, Harvard-trained psychiatrist and best-selling author who came to be known as the dean of conservative commentators, died Thursday. He was 68."

FoxNews reports.

"How much apes really do resemble us in their emotional range and mental capacity will probably remain a mystery for longer than many of us will live."

"But when it comes to Koko, that may not really matter. Our response to a creature at once so like us and so different was to seek out the similarities — to experience empathy and to trust that Koko experienced it, too. It didn’t matter that she didn’t speak English the way we did, or even that she wasn’t human the way we were. What mattered was that somewhere in Koko’s eyes, we saw ourselves."

From "How Koko the gorilla spoke to us" (WaPo).

Koko died this week, at the age of 46.

Here's something I wrote about Koko back in 2005:
The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said that if a lion could speak, we would not be able to understand him. But people taught a gorilla to speak and she said the very thing – if we are to believe this new lawsuit – that drunken guys say to women at Mardi Gras. If a gorilla could speak, we would understand her all too well!

Perhaps sensitivity to gorilla culture ought to have moved the women who worked with the renowned Koko to show her their nipples, but, America being what it is, they sued. Ah! Our litigious society! Should that be part of a job? Accommodating a gorilla? Make that, accommodating a celebrity gorilla! Well, there's no hope – exceedingly little hope – of convincing the gorilla that sexual harassment is wrong.

Being human, we love Wittgenstein's idea that the lion – or the gorilla -- would say something stunningly new. But the truth may be that the animal would just say "show me your t**s" – again and again. Oh, Koko! We once thought you were so profound. We believed we could make you human through language, but what have we done? Have we only reminded ourselves of our own lack of profundity?
Interesting, that bit about " accommodating a celebrity gorilla." It makes me think of Donald Trump's "And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab 'em by the pussy." Donald Trump, by the way, is not a gorilla. He's an orangutan.


(In California.)


Come on, that must be fake! But no, "Melania Trump wears a $39 jacket with 'I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?' scrawled on the back as she boards plane to visit immigrant children at the Texas border - but insists there is 'no hidden meaning' in her choice/The first lady wore the khaki green Zara jacket upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland but changed before she disembarked the plane in Texas...  Melania, 48, visited a shelter for children in McAllen, Texas, the day after her husband signed executive order ending policy of family separation for illegals/Her spokeswoman said it was her idea to visit before the president signed his executive order and he supported her trip...." (Daily Mail).

How does that happen? What sense does it make? Generally, serious people making public appearances avoid wearing clothes with any written messages on them. It simply must be intentional. So why? What does it mean?

First, I assume, that she (and whoever worked with her on that jacket selection) wanted the image to go viral, as it has. It's in your face: Here, think about this, talk about this, assail me over this as I know you will.

Take that one step forward: I know you'll find a way to attack me, like for the wrong shoes or whatever, so let me make this easy for you. Let me have written on my back the precise statement you're looking to project onto me: I really don't care. It doesn't matter what I do. That's what you'll bend over backwards to find a way to say, so let me save you the trouble of straining yourself.

But if you get through that first phrase — "I really don't care" — you'll have to confront the rest of it: "DO U?" What are you doing here, photographing me, attacking me? You're doing the Theater of Empathy, but it's all political. You act like you care because it's useful to look that way, but you don't really care, DO U?

And then, step back, what exactly is Melania saying she doesn't really care about? The children? But she's here to see them first hand. (Yeah, she's doing the Theater of Empathy too.) Maybe what she's saying she doesn't care about is what you haters think of her. She has her shell of uncaring. I mean, why was that jacket made like that? Who was it for, that $39 jacket? I think it was made for people who want to feel self-sufficent and sure of their own values and mission and to let the would-be critics know the wearer of the jacket is on her own, doing what she thinks is right, and nothing you say can shake her.

ADDED: Over the past couple weeks, there's been so much anxiety about showing that you care and so much shaming about insufficient caring. To say "I really don't care" is an amazing counterpoint. It may be experienced by some people as a deep breath of fresh air. It's okay not to care. Maybe we don't have to jump at the intense demand to express caring. Do something that actually helps somebody, and enough with the noise about how much you care. "I really don't care" that you say you care, she says, and I wonder if you really even do.

SCOTUSblog is live-blogging the release of new Supreme Court opinions.

Here. At this point, all we know is that there are 2 boxes, which might mean 2 new cases.

ADDED: One of the cases is Lucia v. SEC:
Indeed, this is a case that Ronald Mann, who is covering it for us, says “may be as important a decision for the administrative state as any case the justices have heard all year.” The Constitution’s appointments clause requires that all “officers” of the United States be appointed by the president, by the “courts of law,” or by the “heads of departments.” At issue in this case is whether administrative law judges (commonly known as ALJs) of the Securities and Exchange Commission – who are not appointed by the SEC, the president or the judicial branch – are “officers” of the United States; if so, the ALJs’ appointments were unconstitutional....

The justices hold that the ALJs ARE "officers of the United States" for purposes of the Appointments Clause.
AND: Another case is Pereira v. Sessions:
When a non-citizen is eligible for deportation, he may (in some narrow circumstances) avoid deportation by having his removal cancelled. One requirement for cancellation of removal is that the non-citizen have had a “continuous physical presence” in the United States for specific periods of time. That presence stops, though, when the government serves the non-citizen with a “notice to appear” for removal proceedings. The question in this case was whether the clock stops when the notice to appear does not specify when the proceedings will be held....

The court holds that a notice to appear that does not designate the specific time or place of the non-citizen's removal proceedings is not a "notice to appear" for purposes of the statute and therefore does not stop the clock on the "continuous physical presence."
SCOTUSblog is discussing why the Kennedy concurrence is "a big deal." It has to do with whether or not the decision ignores Chevron (and some of you know what that means).

Next, in South Dakota v. Wayfair, the Court does something that makes it easier for states to tax retailers that don't have a "brick and mortar" presence within their borders: "The Internet's prevalence and power have changed the dynamics of the national economy." This meant rejecting an old case called Quill.

"The female political candidate’s uniform developed largely as a feminized version of the men’s suit, chosen to demonstrate that women could fit into what was a male-dominated world."

"But that does not necessarily mean that the opposite choice — the clichés of floral or frilly garments often associated with the word 'girlie' — is the answer.... But there’s no question that the dominant dress code and mind-set about dress still hews to the Elizabeth Warren/Hillary Clinton/Kirsten Gillibrand mold.... That mold says the pantsuit — and its cousin, the stewardess skirt suit — is the Garment Least Likely to Offend Any Interest Group, and thus the garment of choice. All else is a risk...."

From a NYT article by Vanessa Friedman titled "It’s 2018: You Can Run for Office and Not Wear a Pantsuit/As unprecedented numbers of women enter the political arena, what does it mean to 'dress to win'?"

I clicked on that title because I thought it was going to say that it's a mistake for female candidates to wear pants (in any form) rather than a skirt/dress (of some kind). But the article lumped skirted suits and pantsuits together.

To my eye, women in pants look less dressed up than a man in a standard business suit, and I don't think women should put themselves at that disadvantage, especially since pantsuits look sloppier on a woman's body than a business suit on a man's body.

I don't mean to insult women by saying that, but women's bodies are (generally) shaped differently than men's and women's pants are (generally) fitted differently from men's suit pants. Men's suit pants do not hug the legs or crotch, so they completely deflect attention away from the lower body. Men's suits bring us right up to the shoulders — the idealized shoulders — and and then, via shirt and tie, aim us straight at the face.

Women's pantsuits are more fitted in the leg and use color in a way that draws the eye downward, and they often do things with the jacket — such as making it very long — to cover up what's happening down there in the legs. But then the jacket is distracting.

In the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton's jackets were flat-out weird, with perplexing patch pockets. In fact, I don't like Vanessa Friedman's reference to the "Elizabeth Warren/Hillary Clinton/Kirsten Gillibrand mold," because Warren and Gillibrand wear very low-key things and Hillary Clinton launched into clothes that we struggled to understand, that got compared to loungewear or sci-fi costumery.

I don't really know what the best answer is. It depends on the individual. But you're asking to be trusted with responsibility, not to be enjoyed as a pop star or fashion maven. You don't want to look as though you're seeking power for purpose of expressing your individuality. Rather than go into more detail on that subject, I'll just give this post my tag "I'm for Boring."

"And this is my Nelson Mandela couch... with matching suit."

"Obama cyber chief confirms 'stand down' order against Russian cyberattacks in summer 2016."

Writes Michael Isikoff at Yahoo News.
As intelligence came in during the late spring and early summer of [2016] about the Russian attack, [Michael] Daniel instructed his staff on the National Security Council to begin developing options for aggressive countermeasures to deter the Kremlin’s efforts, including mounting U.S. “denial of service” attacks on Russian news sites and other actions targeting Russian cyber actors....

Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, asked about a [passage in the book “Russian Roulette”] in which one of Daniel’s staff members, Daniel Prieto, recounted a staff meeting shortly after the cyber coordinator was ordered by Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, to stop his efforts and “stand down.” This order was in part because Rice feared the options would leak and “box the president in.”

“I was incredulous and in disbelief,” Prieto is quoted as saying in the book. “It took me a moment to process. In my head, I was like, did I hear that correctly?” Prieto told the authors he then spoke up, asking Daniel: “Why the hell are we standing down? Michael, can you help us understand?”

Daniel has confirmed that the account was “an accurate rendering of what happened” in his staff meeting....

"Like many Americans, I am very impassioned and distraught over the situation with children separated from their families at the border, but I went way too far."

"It was wrong and I should not have done it. I immediately regretted it and sincerely apologize to the family for what I said and any hurt my words have caused," wrote Peter Fonda, admitting that it was "highly inappropriate and vulgar" to tweet "We should rip Barron Trump from his mother’s arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles and see if mother will stand up against the massive giant asshole she is married to."

I wonder where the pedophilia idea came from? The problem under discussion was the separation of children from adults and putting children in cages/"cages" with other children. If the idea was to give the Trump family the same treatment, parallelism would have Barron Trump in a cage apart from his parents and held captive with other children. Why introduce a new evil, pedophilia, which actually seems to be something the complained-of policy protects against?

What a strangely disordered mind was put on display! No wonder Mr. Fonda is sorry.

"Silence white supremacy!"/"Get him out" — that was the chant at a meeting of the Madison school board ad hoc committee on police officers in schools.

Here's the video, with David Blaska attempting to speak and getting shouted down by the crowd:

Blaska — a local conservative politico — blogged about his experience here:
Room 103 of the Doyle administration bldg was packed with the usual suspects, a term I used in my remarks.... They sprayed the F-bomb liberally and insulted the committee members at will. They brandished the usual posters, including “Expel Cops, Not Kids.”...

Committee chairman Dean Loumos (whom I was seated behind) shouted into my ear (to be heard above the cacophony) if I would be willing to stop right there. Given the pandemonium, I did so. Still had 17 seconds left of the allotted three minutes, but Blaska is public spirited.

Then Dean Loumos did the unforgivable. He apologized to the disrupters! Dean Loumos said he did not know Blaska would use “coded language.”

What coded language? The protestors were black, white, hispanic, and east Asian. Very few are parents. All but a handful are very young, very loud, and very obnoxious....

What else is new? Madison school board leadership race-shamed Karen Vieth for complaining about the dysfunction in her school. So why shouldn’t school board member Loumos do the same when a citizen and parent speaks in favor of keeping the police?!...
There's a second Blaska post here, with the video that I've embedded.

Blaska maintains a calm demeanor throughout the disturbing intimidation, but you can see that his hands shake (something commented on by the videographer, DuersttheWuerst), and I can only imagine how scary it must be to publicly express opinions in a small room that is packed with people denouncing you. The committee members do nothing to push back the intimidation or to protect Blaska's right to speak to the group.

Blaska called attention to the Madison teacher, Karen Vieth, who quit because of the terrible situation at one middle school. Here's my post from last week where I linked to her detailed and disturbing blog post.

June 20, 2018

At the Belleville Café...


... you can talk about anything.

And do consider using the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

"During the procedure, an instrument called the 'UltraFemme 360' is repeatedly inserted into the νagina."

"'It introduces heat which stimulates cellular turnover which makes you feel younger again... And it gets tighter and nicer and functions like it did when we were back in our twenties.' An additional attachment is also worked around the labia and the urethra 'which does make the appearance sometimes tighter and helps with stress incontinence and you become more supple.... So it’s easier to have sex again.' According to the Vitality Institute’s website, the treatment works to 'stimulate your body’s healing response, cell regeneration, collagen synthesis, and blood supply.... Two out of 10 women do have a happy time while they’re getting the treatment. That’s what the literature told us.”

The first quote within the quotes is from Kelly Rainey, the owner of the Vitality Institute, which is getting a lot of publicity because Jada Pinkett Smith says she had that procedure and that her "yoni is like a 16-year-old — I’m not kidding. It looks like a little beautiful peach."

I'm blogging this because I'm seeing other blogs taking the angle that Smith is absurdly vain — e.g., "FIRST-WORLD BRAGGADOCIO: Jada Pinkett Smith is 46 but says her vagina is ‘like a 16-year-old'" (Instapundit). But I think what's important here is the commercial venture that involves sticking an instrument repeatedly into the vagina to "introduce heat" and the claim that this is somehow healing and tightening.

By the way, the yoni is the vulva, not the vagina, and it's the vulva, not the vagina, that might look something like a peach.

Here, from Buzzfeed, is "33 Images Of Food Just Straight-Up Looking Like Vaginas" (funny images, but they're funny because they look like vulvas, not vaginas).

None is a peach.

"President Trump is preparing to issue an executive order as soon as Wednesday that ends the separation of families at the border by indefinitely detaining parents and children together..."

"... according to a person familiar with the White House plans," the NYT reports.
Mr. Trump’s executive order would seek to get around an existing 1997 consent decree, known as the Flores settlement, that prohibits the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention — even if they are with their parents — for more than 20 days....

The order would keep families together, though it is unclear how Mr. Trump intends to claim the legal authority to violate what have been legal constraints on the proper treatment of children in government custody, which prevented former President Barack Obama from detaining families together during a similar flood of illegal immigration two years ago.

And the president could quickly find himself the subject of another legal challenge to his executive authority, much the way he attacked Mr. Obama for abusing the power of his office with an immigration executive order in 2014.
People (e.g., Chuck Schumer*) have been saying Trump has the power to solve the problem with an executive order, so if Trump attempts to do that, and he gets challenged, that will support his earlier position that he needs legislation and put more pressure on Congress to give him that legislation and undermine the argument that Trump has the power. He'll be better off politically.

But the Trump haters will regroup and hit him with new arguments. For example, right here in the NYT article:
While Mr. Trump’s actions appear to stop short of calls for an end to the “zero tolerance” policy, it would be a remarkable retreat for a president who has steadfastly refused to apologize in almost any other context. And it would be a testament to the political power of the images of the immigrant children to move public opinion.
It's "a remarkable retreat" for Trump. Also, images of children are powerful, so whatever their new situation is, it will be sub-optimal, and there will be new images reframing the story of the plight of the children.



"Do I look crazy? So far, you know, I still have all my senses, and I’m a heck of a lawyer. And I get drummed out of the profession if I did. I mean, the reality is, you don’t put your client in a kangaroo court."

Rudolph Giuliani, quoted in "'Kangaroo court': Giuliani says he would be crazy to let Trump be interviewed by Mueller’s team" (WaPo).

The Tuesday NYT crossword puzzle had a "trigger warning" theme with answers — like "bazooka bubblegum" — that began with guns, and the regular crossword-puzzle columnist at the NYT refused to blog it!

The crossword editor, Will Shortz, took over:
There was a behind-the-scenes discussion regarding Peter Gordon’s crossword, which is why I’m writing about it rather than Deb Amlen, the Wordplay editor.

She was so disenchanted with the puzzle’s gun theme — especially in this era of widespread violence — that she didn’t feel she could give it a fair write-up. [This is true. I believe that this puzzle will be upsetting to some people because of its timing, subject matter and revealer, and did not think I could be respectful or kind to it. So I thought that it would be better for you to hear from Will today. — D.A.]

I respect that, so I am writing today’s column, instead.

I liked the puzzle because of the freshness and simplicity of the idea and the elegance in the way it was done.... The revealer of TRIGGER / WARNING (26D/25D) — using this modern phrase in an unexpected way — was icing on the cake.

I added the photo for metaphorical zing. Back to Shortz (somebody stop me from saying "men in shorts"):
The puzzle’s subject of guns didn’t bother me. For better or worse, guns are part of American life. I have my own opinion about guns and their regulation, but as a general matter I try to keep my political views out of the puzzle.
Lots of things are part of American life but kept out of the NYT crossword because they're thought to be inconsistent with the escapist fun of doing the puzzle at breakfasttime. For example, defecation — also part of American life — is excluded.

I don't normally read the NYT puzzle column, though I always do the NYT crossword and I usually read Rex Parker's blog about it. It's via Rex that I ended up looking at Shortz, and the guns bothered Rex too (and before he saw Deb Amlen's resistance:
[G]uns, violence, yuck. This is a personal thing, but I don't really want to participate in crossword gunfests. Guns don't "tickle" me, I guess. Too much daily slaughter in this country for me to be able to enjoy cutesy gun-related wordplay.... But if I just pretend there's no theme, I actually like this grid pretty well, except for WANGLE, which is about the most off-putting word in the English language (67A: Accomplish schemingly). I really wanted WRANGLE there, as it's a good word, as opposed to WANGLE, which is like WIGGLE and DANGLE got together pretended to be a phallus. I mean, come on. It's got WANG right in the name.
An interesting train of thought, but the guns/phallus association is so common it's trite, except to the extent that it's funny, it's some serious analysis of the human tendency toward violence, or it's revelatory of why some people feel instinctive disgust about guns.

The Shortz column has an update:
The original photo on this column, which showed a man firing an automatic rifle at a firing range, was my choice, not Will’s. It was a misguided attempt to demonstrate that words are not just words, and pictures are not just pictures. I apologize for it, and have replaced the photo.
The replacement photograph is of an old man at a lectern, with the caption "English-Canadian musicologist Dr. Alan Walker lecturing on the music of Franz Liszt at the Mannes College of Music." That must seem to fit because the title of the column — and the clue for the answer "trigger warning" — is "Caution Before a Potentially Upsetting Lecture."

A misguided attempt to demonstrate that words are not just words, and pictures are not just pictures... I'm really not sure what that means. The explanation is itself misguided. What was Shortz Amlen attempting to do? Why would a picture of a gun demonstrate that a picture of a gun is not just a picture of a gun and that a word is not just a word? All I can think is — and thanks to the person* who made this image (which I was hoping would exist):

* The poster — based on the famous Magritte painting "The Treachery of Images" — seems to be by Dave Kinsey. I think you can buy it here.

"Calling the shots as his West Wing clears out, President Donald Trump sees his hard-line immigration stance as a winning issue heading into a midterm election he views as a referendum on his protectionist policies."

AP reports.
“You have to stand for something,” Trump declared Tuesday... While the White House signaled Trump may be open to a narrow fix to deal with the problem [of separating parents and children], the president spent the day stressing immigration policies that he has championed throughout his surprise political career...

“I think this is one of his best moments. I think this is a profile in courage. This is why America elected him,” [said former Trump senior adviser Steve Bannon]. “This is not doubling down, it is tripling down.”...

Worried that the lack of progress on his signature border wall will make him look “soft,” according to one adviser, Trump has unleashed a series of tweets playing up the dangers posed by members of the MS-13 gang — which make up a minuscule percentage of those who cross the border. He used the loaded term “infest” to reference the influx of immigrants entering the country illegally....

"Man with a tattoo of a gun on his face charged with illegally possessing a gun."

USA Today reports. Here's the police photo:

ADDED: If you had to have a tattoo on your face, what would it be? And I mean a tattoo that large and conspicuous. So don't just make it very small or say you'd have tattooed eyeliner or your eyebrows "microbladed" or you'd wear long bangs to cover it up. Your only power is to pick the image. What is it? Not a gun! Let's say the image must be of a weapon. Still, a gun is just not graphically appealing or interesting. Even if you like guns, that tattoo is clunky and indistinct. A mess. If it had to be a weapon, I'd say: an arrow.

June 19, 2018

At the Little Library Café...


... have you been reading anything interesting?

Consider buying some books — or anything — at Amazon, through the Althouse Portal.

And when you're done, if you're in Madison, maybe you can find a "little free library" like this one, where you can leave a used book and take a book somebody else left.

"Congressman Trey Gowdy... does a beautiful job of tying together the now-familiar FBI text exchanges with the issues of bias..."

"...  the effect of that bias on the Clinton and Russia investigations, and the FBI’s total failure to investigate the 'intent' standard that it wrongly read into the Espionage Act."

"The number of Americans seeking Social Security disability benefits is plunging, a startling reversal of a decades-old trend that threatened the program’s solvency..."

The NYT reports.
Fewer than 1.5 million Americans applied to the Social Security Administration for disability coverage last year, the lowest since 2002. Applications are running at an even lower rate this year, government officials say.

All told, 8.63 million workers received disability benefits in May, down from a peak of 8.96 million in September 2014. A drop of several hundred thousand may not sound like much. But it is a sharp turnaround from what seemed to be an inexorable rise, in which the disability rolls more than doubled over the past 25 years. That increase led some conservative lawmakers to criticize the program as wasteful and riddled with fraud.

"Indiana trooper wins praise for stopping driver going too slow in left lane."

The Star Tribune reports on a popular tweet.

That's one of the "most read" stories at that news site, which is located in Minneapolis (not Indiana). I guess it's a "man bites dog" story.

"Yang [Bingyang] has developed a panoply of pseudoscientific theories that she claims are guaranteed secrets to success in the marriage market."

Writes Wang Qianning in "Ayawawa, Wang Ju, and China’s Confusing Female Role Models/Complex and contradictory images of women allow a hyper-conservative relationship guru to exist alongside an empowered, independent pop" at Sixth Tone.
Most of her advice equates happy marriages with material comfort.... Yang advises women to dress and act conservatively so that their male partners don’t feel insecure or threatened by perceived public displays of sexuality. She also says that women should not aspire toward conventionally attractive husbands... She encourages women to find themselves a man who will buy them a home and spend money on them. In her world, a man’s wealth and drive outweigh the need for him to be attractive and kind....

Yang is so influential in China because she has exploited the shallow opportunism of the country’s marriage culture.... Yang’s adherents argue for a hyper-practical view of marriage built around transactional relationships between husbands and wives. But they are not representative of Chinese society as a whole...

During the most recent season of the online girl group show 'Produce 101,' a 25-year-old contestant named Wang Ju became the poster girl for this emergent movement.... On a recent episode of 'Produce 101,' Wang made an impassioned speech in favor of female independence. Meanwhile, several old photos of her appeared on the screen, showing how she used to look. The long hair, white skin, slender frame, and a fresh-faced, wholesome appearance were every inch the romantic ideals of most Chinese men. In her monologue, Wang said that despite the fact that she now looks 'unconventional' by Chinese beauty standards, she loves herself more the way she is now....

As Wang sang in a recent rap, riffing on another female icon, Beyoncé: 'You don’t have to put a ring on me, I can buy my own.'"

"An emergency room doctor in California has been suspended after she was caught on video mocking and cursing a patient who said he had an anxiety attack."

"The doctor, identified by the San Jose Mercury News as Beth Keegstra, was recorded on June 11 while questioning the behavior of 20-year-old Samuel Bardwell. 'I'm sorry, sir, you were the least sick of all the people who are here, who are dying,' she can be heard saying in a video that has been viewed more than 4 million times.... At one point Bardwell, a 6-foot-9 basketball player, complained to the doctor at El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos that he could not inhale. It was at this point that Keegstra said, 'He can't inhale! Wow! He must be dead. Are you dead, Sir? I don't understand, you are breathing just fine.' The doctor asked if the patient wanted narcotics... Near the end of the conversation, the doctor tells the patient, 'You have changed your story the whole f-----g time.'"

The Daily News reports (with video of the doctor's interaction with the patient).

ADDED:  Years ago, I was in an emergency room in New York City, waiting to have a large embroidery needle removed from my foot. (I'd stepped barefoot on exactly the wrong spot on a crack in an old wood floor causing a needle that was lying there to spring up and go completely into my foot.) In the next bed, behind a curtain, was a woman who'd taken something in an effort to kill herself. She was yelling dramatically at the doctors, "Go! Go help someone who wants to live!"

The top-rated comment on a column titled "Harvard can’t have it all" (about the lawsuit charging discrimination against Asian-American applicants).

Sorry to link to WaPo one more time. I know you probably don't want to go there and read it and don't have a subscription, but I wanted you to see this comment:
What people don't realize is schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford don't select students for admission, they curate. My brother was on the admissions committee at Yale. A student with a 4.00 and 1600 SATs was no big deal, but a student who won the oboe competition in her state and had a 3.8 and 1530 was. My wife graduated summa cum laude from Yale, I graduated from Emory with no honors. She's no smarter than me and we're equally successful in our chosen fields. People get so upset about perceptions of status.
That's challenged by someone who calls himself mendacityofhope: "I wonder if she believes you are as smart as she is?"

The first commenter comes back and says: "She be the first tell you that while she is far better read than I, she doesn't hold a candle to me in terms of practical knowledge. There are many kinds of intelligence." Ha ha. Classic answer — street smarts and different kinds of intelligence.

Mendacityofhope snarks back: "So true! You are correct about the curating thing too. Applicants are specimens in a grand butterfly collection."

By the way, there are 50 states and — what? — at least 20 different instruments in an orchestra, so that's a thousand big-deal applicants just on the level of that street-smart guy's hypothetical oboe girl. I love when bullshit is so obvious.

And — ironically — when you picture those thousand competition-winning orchestra kids, what ethnicity are you picturing? I'll bet classical music virtuosity counts for very little in the Ivy League admission process because it would help Asian American applicants. Or does it help a lot when you are not Asian-America but not at all when you are?

"Trump defiant as crisis grows over family separation at the border."

That's the headline at The Washington Post, with this video of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen vigorously defending Trump's policy:

From the article:
The president on Monday voiced defiance and continued to falsely blame congressional Democrats for what he decried as a “horrible and tough” situation. But Trump is empowered to immediately order border agents to stop separating families as a result of his “zero tolerance” enforcement policy.
The insertion of the word "falsely" is such a distracting signal that WaPo doesn't want to be looked upon as neutrally professional journalism. If what Trump is saying is wrong for some reason, that should be brought out, with factual statements, somewhere else in the story. I also don't like "voiced defiant" (or, from the headline, "Trump defiant"). For one thing, it purports to know his state of mind. For another, it refers to something that he's defying before setting up what that is. We're dropped into the middle of things, and Trump is all emotional and spouting lies. I feel like I'm reading a pulp fiction novel.
The president asserted that the parents illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border with their children “could be murderers and thieves and so much else,” echoing his incendiary remarks about immigrants at his campaign launch in 2015. And in a series of dark tweets, he warned that undocumented immigrants could increase gang crime and usher in cultural changes.

“The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility,” Trump said in a midday speech. “You look at what’s happening in Europe, you look at what’s happening in other places. We can’t allow that to happen to the United States. Not on my watch.”
So he's doing more of the kind of talk that won him the election in 2016. What makes Democrats in politics and the media believe it will work out differently this time? Big bets are being made on which high-emotion scenario will capture the hearts of voting Americans. I wish this were not forefronted as the issue for 2018. Whatever happened to the IG's report or North Korea or — for that matter — Russia collusion and impeachment?
The crisis garnered round-the-clock television news coverage, with journalists reporting about their first glimpses of the ­concrete-floor and metal-cage conditions inside the detention centers.
So no human beings were making the decision to devote round-the-clock coverage of this issue. The "crisis" did the acting. The abstraction — there's that bullshit wordgarnered the coverage.
Nielsen acknowledged that she was not keeping pace with coverage of the crisis, including audio of wailing children published a few hours earlier by ProPublica....
As if her job is to monitor the media, and how to enforce the law should be determined by what video has been chosen to run on television. Nielsen should have her own accurate sources and should work on performing her duties, not spend her time consuming journalism/propaganda and continually modify what she is doing in response to the imagined mood of the country. The test will come when the elections arrive, more than 4 months from now. Will crying, "caged" children fill our TV screens that long?
Trump has been closely monitoring the coverage...
Yeah, Trump, who we've been told spends too much time watching television.
... but has been suspicious of it...
LOL. That's what he does.  Watches TV suspiciously. If you're going to watch the news on TV — a horrible practice (I can't stand it) — that's what you should do, watch suspiciously.
... telling associates he believes that the media cherry-picks the most dramatic images and stories to portray his administration in a negative light, according to one senior administration official.
Well, of course. What competent watcher of television would not conclude that the images are cherry-picked for drama? As for negativity to the Trump administration, can you be a competent TV watcher and believe the concern here really is purely for the welfare of children?
Meanwhile, Trump and his advisers were unable to stanch the wellspring of public opposition. 
I'm skeptical of the phrase "wellspring of public opposition." There are surveys — the article refers to a CNN poll and a Quinnipiac poll showing 67/68% of Americans disapprove of separating children from parents — but I suspect that millions of Americans want what they voted for in 2016, which is strong immigration enforcement, and these people may not want to talk about the innocents who get hurt along the way and they may embrace the idea (that Nielsen stated clearly) that the children are being hurt by the adults who are taking them on a dangerous, criminal journey or suspect that many of these children are not so young and are already involved in gang violence and will bring more of that violence into the United States. What about that wellspring of public sentiment?

By the way, "stanch the wellspring" is a mixed metaphor. "To stanch" is to stop the flow of blood or other fluid from a wound in a living body. A "wellspring" is the source of a river emerging from the ground. These are emotive, colorful words, but they have concrete meaning and they're being used in a way that makes no sense.*
Some Republican elected officials joined Democrats in expressing moral outrage and calling for an immediate end to the administration’s family separation policy.
Are these people saying that what they want is that the adults who arrive with children and make a claim for asylum should — as before — gain free access to the United States? Or do they just express their "moral outrage" and leave it there?

* And — one more time — I've got to remind you of what George Orwell said about dying metaphors:
Dying metaphors. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically "dead" (e.g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles' heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a "rift," for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying.

"Complaining the federal government has been 'thwarted' in its attempt to enforce immigration laws..."

"... Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene Monday in his feud with Chicago over so-called sanctuary city policies. Sessions wants the high court to limit to Chicago a nationwide injunction blocking him from applying new conditions to grant money as he tries to force cities to cooperate with immigration authorities. But in a 41-page application to the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Noel Francisco also framed the case as a larger fight over the use of sweeping, 'categorical' orders from district courts. He argued the high court should 'address the propriety of enjoining a federal immigration policy everywhere at the behest of one litigant.' U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber handed down the injunction in the Chicago case last September. Sessions has also tried, without success, to persuade the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to limit the injunction to the city...."

The Chicago Sun-Times reports.

June 18, 2018

At the Other Peony Café...


... keep blooming.

And keep using the Althouse Portal to Amazon, where you can find many of the nice things you need.

"The plaintiffs argue that their legal injury is not limited to the injury that they have suffered as individual voters, but extends also to the statewide harm to their interest 'in their collective representation in the legislature'..."

"... and in influencing the legislature’s overall 'composition and policymaking.'... But our cases to date have not found that this presents an individual and personal injury of the kind required for Article III stand­ing. On the facts of this case, the plaintiffs may not rely on 'the kind of undifferentiated, generalized grievance about the conduct of government that we have refused to countenance in the past.'... A citizen’s interest in the overall composition of the legisla­ture is embodied in his right to vote for his representative. And the citizen’s abstract interest in policies adopted by the legislature on the facts here is a nonjusticiable 'gen­eral interest common to all members of the public.'... [Professor] Whitford’s testimony does not support any claim of packing or cracking of him­self as a voter [in his district in Madison, Wisconsin].... His testimony points merely to his hope of achiev­ing a Democratic majority in the legislature—what the plaintiffs describe here as their shared interest in the composition of 'the legislature as a whole.'  Under our cases to date, that is a collective political interest, not an individual legal interest...."

From the Supreme Court's opinion today in Gill v. Whitford, finding no standing to challenge the alleged partisan gerrymandering here in Wisconsin.

You may remember that there was much talk of something called the "efficiency gap," a new way to calculate and give definition to the asserted constitutional wrong. (I blogged about it here, here, and here. ) The Court said:

"F--- you, Melanie. You know damn well your husband can end this immediately...you feckless complicit piece of s---."

Tweeted Kathy Griffin, in response to a message from Melania Trump's office that said "Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families & hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws but also a country that governs w/heart."

Interesting that she wrote out "fuck" and "shit" but merely gestured at "cunt" by writing "feckless."

ADDED, without comment:

Live-blogging the Supreme Court.

At SCOTUSblog this morning, beginning in 20 minutes. Maybe the gerrymandering case today? It's the oldest case we're still waiting for, and SCOTUSblog calculates that the opinion is being written by the Chief Justice.

UPDATE: 3 boxes of cases. The first 2 from Sotomayor and Breyer are about sentencing guidelines. The 3rd case, is written by Kennedy — as the cases are announced from the most junior Justice to the most senior, meaning only the Chief remains — is Lozman v. Riviera Beach:
In 2006, Fane Lozman was arrested when he got up to speak at a city council meeting. He filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, arguing that his arrest was retaliation for activities protected by the First Amendment – specifically, filing a lawsuit against the city and his criticism of city officials. A federal appeals court ruled against him, holding that he could not win on his retaliatory arrest claim because there was probable cause for police to arrest him.
Only Thomas dissents. Here's the PDF of the opinion:
Held: The existence of probable cause does not bar Lozman’s First Amendment retaliation claim under the circumstances of this case. Pp. 5–13.

(a) The issue here is narrow. Lozman concedes that there was probable cause for his arrest. Nonetheless, he claims, the arrest violated the First Amendment because it was ordered in retaliation for his earlier, protected speech: his open-meetings lawsuit and his prior public criticisms of city officials. Pp. 5–6....
UPDATE 2: The gerrymandering case is out. Whitford (my colleague) loses: No Article III standing. Opinion here. Will make new post.

AND: There are no dissents in Gill v. Whitford.
ROBERTS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which KENNEDY, GINSBURG, BREYER, ALITO, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined, and in which THOMAS and GORSUCH, JJ., joined except as to Part III. KAGAN, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which GORSUCH, J., joined.
ALSO: The separate post on Gill v. Whitford is here.

3 years ago, Trump announced that he was running for President, and, oh, how the media mocked him.

He was manifestly a joke. He could never become President. The question was only how much chaos and hilarity he could inject into the process before the serious candidates had the stage to themselves.

Via "FLASHBACK: Three Years Ago Today – Donald Announced His Historic Run for President — WATCH HOW MEDIA MOCKED HIM" (Gateway Pundit, June 16th), via Drudge.

My attitude was just about exactly what you see in that video except that I believed in ignoring him (because, don't encourage him). My post noting the occasion was just a collection 5 anagrams of the name I would not say, and the only tag was "nothing," which I used in the sense of muttering an obscenity.

But over the 3 years, my attitude has changed. I'm thinking of mining my archive to write a book with the title "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Donald Trump." Seriously, that's my title. I'll self-publish on Kindle Direct if I can make that happen. Consider encouraging me. Or not.

"Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support...."

A text from Peter Strzok, dated August 26, 2016. From a list of "text messages of a political nature commenting on Trump and Clinton" by Strzok and Lisa Page quoted in the IG report at pages 399-400.

February 12, 2016, Page: “I’m no prude, but I’m really appalled by this. So you don’t have to go looking (in case you hadn’t heard), Trump called him the p-word. The man has no dignity or class. He simply cannot be president. With a Slur for Ted Cruz, Donald Trump Further Splits Voters http://nyti.ms/1XoICkO.”
She's no prude, but she can't write the word "pussy" in a text to her paramour? She had to write "p-word." And:
March 3, 2016, Page: “Also did you hear [Trump] make a comment about the size of his d*ck earlier? This man cannot be president.”
She can't write out "dick" in a text to her dick-having sexual partner?!
March 12, 2016: Page forwarded an article about a “far right” candidate in Texas, stating, “[W]hat the f is wrong with people?”...
Oh, for fuck's sake.
July 18, 2016, Page: “...Donald Trump is an enormous d*uche.”
But enough about Page. I want to talk about Strzok and his detection of odor among the deplorable people who shop at Walmart... in southern Virginia.

"For perspective, let’s flip the script. Would you believe that answer if it came from Tiger Woods?"

"Mickelson insisted he had not acted in haste or irritation. Instead, he said, he knew that the penalty for striking a moving ball was two strokes, and he had quickly determined that was a better result than letting his wayward putt roll off the green into worse shape. (There is a separate rule for stopping or deflecting a moving ball that could have led to a disqualification, but officials determined that Mickelson had violated the rule for striking a moving ball, not the one for stopping or deflecting one.) 'I’ve thought about doing the same thing many times in my career,' Mickelson said about striking rather than stopping his moving ball. 'I just did it this time. It was something I did to take advantage of the rules as best I can.'"

From "What Was Phil Mickelson Thinking?" by Bill Pennington (NYT) about this bizarre golfing:

Quite aside from what you think about that bizarre golfing, what do you think of the "perspective" supposedly to be gained by asking what we'd think if it was Tiger Woods? Is that supposed to be some sort of racial analysis, like that if you believe Phil Mickelson, you're a carrier of the infection of white privilege?

This is the third NYT article I'm blogging this morning, and the first 2 are about race. Maybe my thinking is skewed to see race everywhere — because, you know, it's deeply complex, historically layered, powerful, and submerged.

"My dissertation chairman was Richard Brandt. Once after I had earned the doctorate and was meeting with him, he stood over me, lifted my chin toward him..."

"... and remarked that I looked like a maid his family once employed. Around the same time, early in the Ronald Reagan administration, an effort was made to rid Washington of the sex trade and shops that flourished along the 14th Street corridor a few blocks from the White House. I worked in nearby McPherson Square at the National Endowment for the Humanities and, as a volunteer at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. One day I was walking near my office with a white male friend, a philosopher at an Ivy League university. We were stopped by the police, who profiled us as a hooker and john. I had to answer questions and show ID."

From "The Pain and Promise of Black Women in Philosophy" (an interview with Anita L. Allen) (NYT).

"The backlash that forced ABC to cancel Ms. Barr’s television series reflects a distaste for passé, plainly stated racism..."

"... in a society that likes to see itself as having put bigotry behind it. Nevertheless, centuries of institutional racism — and the dehumanization of black people upon which it relied — have left an indelible imprint on how Americans process blackness. The notion that the country might somehow move past this deeply complex, historically layered issue by assuming an attitude of 'color blindness' is naïve. The only real hope of doing that is to openly confront and talk about the powerful, but submerged, forms of discrimination that have long since supplanted the undisguised version."

The last lines "The Racist Trope That Won’t Die" by Brent Staples (NYT). The trope under discussion is the likening of black people to apes. The column went up yesterday, the day we were watching the new video "Apeshit," in which Jay-Z calls himself a gorilla. The line is "I'm a gorilla." Unfortunately, Staples didn't incorporate that complexity, and he's left saying things like "The toxically racist ape characterization has been pushed to the margins of the public square." Jay-Z isn't on the margins!

The other problem with Staples is that he ends up with the age-old prescription, the conversation about race. He calls that the "only real hope." Why is it the only real hope? Is there no hope at all in creating a powerful social etiquette of never saying anything that is regarded as racist and waiting until the population is replaced by people who don't think racist things (or who only think them in vague, innocuous ways)? Is there no hope in the forthright, vigorous reclaiming of race in the Jay-Z manner?  Who gets to say where the "only real hope" lies? Maybe the idea that what we really need is a conversation about race is itself a racial trope that won't die.

But, look, here I am, doing conversation about race. Probably not the right kind, and I expect that if Staples were to notice this, he'd tell me I'm doing it wrong.

And that's one problem with the conversation prescription. It's not a freewheeling, endlessly flowing, back-and-forth kind of conversation. It's a conversation that needs to go the right way, and that can get you into bad trouble if you do it wrong, and that often seems to be a demand that somebody sit still and take a harsh lecture.

So it may be might be naïve to think that "assuming an attitude of 'color blindness'" could easily work, but it's also naïve to think that "this deeply complex, historically layered issue" can be processed through that precious human interaction we call conversation.

June 17, 2018

At the Peony Café...


... bloom.

(And maybe shop Amazon (through the Althouse Portal)).

Garish hyperbole.

On Twitter today:

I like the Scott Adams riposte... or do you think it's in bad taste (in the Era of That's Not Funny)?

ADDED: By the way, it's Father's Day. What's with mothers and children? Are no children ripped away from fathers or is that just not visualizable as tragic and traumatic?

And as long as we're looking closely at the sex of the parents and children, "Where Are The Girls Being Detained By The Trump Administration?"
I've poured [sic] over these reports. I've scoured the photos. I've looked at every publication and every news outlets reporting. Not. One. Covers. Girls. Being. Detained.

Where are the girls?

Mark Sanford was living a lie, in the chapter of his life when he imploded, so he has a unique vantage point on Trump and his lies.

I wasn't going to turn on the Sunday shows today, but I did. You can see in the previous post that I watched "State of the Union." I blogged the discussion of the Bob Corker observation that "It's becoming a cultish thing, isn't it? It's not a good place for any party to end up with a cult-like situation as it relates to a president that happens to be purportedly of the same party."

I also watched "Meet the Press," and I'd scribbled a note for what I wanted to blog from the transcript, and I'm surprised to see that this too is something that began with that Corker quote. The host, Chuck Todd, was talking to Congressman (and former Governor) Mark Sanford, who tried to get the GOP nomination for South Carolina Senatorut his congressional district in South Carolina but lost out to someone who, unlike him, supported Trump.

Todd asked Sanford if he'd use the word "cult" to describe what has happened to the GOP, and Sanford said:
I wouldn't go so far as cult, but I would just say that, from an electoral sense, people are running for cover because they don't want to be on the losing side of a presidential tweet.... And from a popular standpoint, it's almost a Faustian bargain. I'll pander to you if you pander to me.... And that exchange is very dangerous really, with regard to, again, what the Founding Fathers set up, which is a system designed to garner debate and dissent. 
Garner! I exclaimed the word out loud.
The idea that you can't speak out and say, "I disagree with you here but I agree with you on 90% of the stuff"... is, again, a twilight world that I've never seen.
Huh? You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight World!

Todd pushed Sanford to talk about the way "that literally the president can just say whatever he wants, fact free, mischaracterized." And Sanford said:
That's a larger commentary on society and where we are. But because we've gone from George Washington, "I can't tell a lie by cutting down the apple tree"...
Apple tree?!!
... to they've become so replete that nobody even questions him anymore. And that's, again, a dangerous spot to be in a reason-based republic. I have a unique vantage point on this front.
Yeah! He's famously a liar!
We all know the story of 2009 and my implosion.
A lie was told on my half -- behalf, which means I own it. 
We paused after he said "half" and laughed a lot. Then when we got to "behalf," we were puzzled. What? Did someone else lie for him and it's big of him to take responsibility?
More to the point, I was living a lie in that chapter of life.
Yeah, get to the point. You were a liar. Living a lie. Chapter of life. Implosion. A lie was told on my half. Ludicrous! We were laughing here at Meadhouse.
But there were incredible consequences..... Financially, politically, socially, I lost my -- I can go down a long list. A long list. And so maybe the reason I'm so outspoken on this now is there is no seeming consequence to the president and lies. 
He's envious! How does Trump get away with all his lies? (It's like the sexual harassment conundrum: Why did Al Franken need to resign, why did all those Democrats crash and burn, and Trump gets to be President?)
And if we accept that as a society, it is going to have incredibly harmful consequences in the way that we operate going forward, based on the construct of the Founding Fathers.
Consequences, consequences. If the liar doesn't get consequences, there will be consequences for all of us, going forward. Ask the Founding Fathers.