March 16, 2019

At the Saturday Night Cafe...

... talk about whatever you want.

"Paris Jackson was hospitalized Saturday after she attempted suicide -- and family sources tell us it's due in large to the fallout from 'Leaving Neverland.'"

"Law enforcement sources tell us police and EMS responded to Paris' LA home at 7:30 AM. We're told Michael Jackson's only daughter slit her wrists. Our sources say she was transported to a hospital and placed on 5150 hold. She's currently in stable condition.... The fallout from 'Leaving Neverland' has been severe.... Paris has had a hard time since her dad's death in 2009. She attempted suicide back in 2013 as well, and has been open about her struggles with depression in the past."

TMZ reports.

ADDED: "'F– you you f–ing liars,' the model and actress tweeted at [TMZ] just minutes after they published their report.... It was followed by another tweet from her: eight question marks and a scowling emoji." the Wrap reports.

"When Chelsea Clinton showed up at a vigil Friday night in New York City for victims of the New Zealand mosque massacre, she was confronted by a small group of college students who blamed her for inciting the violence."

"Last month, the former first daughter joined throngs of Democrats and Republicans in condemning language used by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), one of the two first Muslim women elected to Congress last year, to critique U.S. policy in Israel as perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes. At the vigil, the New York University students said reactions like Clinton’s 'stoked' hatred of Muslims. 'This, right here, is a result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world,' one student told Clinton, according to a video of the confrontation. 'And I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deep down inside. Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.' 'I’m so sorry that you feel that way,' Clinton said. 'Certainly, it was never my intention. I do believe words matter. I believe we have to show solidarity.'"

WaPo reports. Here's the video:

"Bono’s partner in ethical investing falls from grace in admissions scandal."

The Boston Globe reports.

I can't read the whole thing because I don't have a subscription. So here's some detail at Deadline Hollywood.

"There’s still a big part of the party that wants to fall in love, and there’s another part of the party that will settle for anything that will beat Trump."

"I think that’s a real, daily tension in the party that’s going to play out in real time.... It just happened that in 2008 and 2012 we fell in love with the most electable candidate.... I would generally make the case that the Democratic Party should always be nominating the next-generation candidate... except I’m not sure any of the old rules apply."

Said Democratic Senator Christopher S. Murphy, quoted in "Beto O’Rourke is 46. Bernie Sanders is 77. Does Age Matter Anymore for Democrats?" (NYT).

I like to say I'm for Boring, but I can see elections are about love... and hate.

Murphy sounds pretty boring, but that's what appealed to me in that quote.

"My mother does not like to admit that anything is ever sad or wrong, so if my father would say something like, 'During the Depression …' She’d say...'"

"'Oh, Dick, there was no Depression.' She was like a Depression-denier"/"My mother was more like a personal depression-denier. Her whole thing was if you were sad, she would say, 'Stop staring at your navel.' When I grew up, I didn’t know what other people talked to each other about, because there were so many things we didn’t talk about"/"My mother was very can-do. She told me, 'Nobody needs more than four hours of sleep.' I hate sleeping. Guilt gets me up"/"I like to sleep because I’m interested in dreaming, but it’s more like profound laziness or momentum. Once I’m awake, going to sleep just seems so annoying, and once I’m sleeping, waking up seems so annoying."

From "Roz Chast and Patricia Marx Mine the Mother Lode/The longtime friends on their new book, the pleasures — and perils — of childhood, and the remarkable success of their indie uke band" (NYT).

I've liked both of them for a long time. It's a funny interview. Their new book is "Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?: A Mother's Suggestions" — and I just pre-ordered it.

I just happened to run into that, but with 3 in a row on the topic of motherhood, this gets my "blog has a theme today" tag. First time since last November!

"At Stanford, she said, she saw students rely on their parents to set up play dates with people in their dorm or complain to their child’s employers when an internship didn’t lead to a job."

"She" = Julie Lythcott-Haims, "the former dean of freshmen at Stanford and the author of 'How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success,'" quoted in "The Unstoppable Snowplow Parent/Helicopter parents are so 20th century. Snowplow parents keep their children’s futures obstacle-free — even if it means crossing ethical and legal boundaries" (NYT).
In the 1990s... parents began filling afternoons and weekends with lessons, tutors and traveling sports games... [T]oday’s working mothers spend as much time doing hands-on activities with their children as stay-at-home mothers did in the 1970s....
So sad! I grew up in the 1950s, and my mother stayed home, and I don't remember her doing any "hands-on activities" with us kids. There wasn't even the concept of mothers arranging "play dates." You went outside and found your own friends, and no one needed to drive you to their houses. You found them because they lived on your block. It pretty much worked for mothers to be completely hands-off in those days.

Imagine a mother arranging play dates for a college student!
In a new poll by The New York Times and Morning Consult of a nationally representative group of parents of children ages 18 to 28, three-quarters had made appointments for their adult children, like for doctor visits or haircuts, and the same share had reminded them of deadlines for school. Eleven percent said they would contact their child’s employer if their child had an issue.

Sixteen percent of those with children in college had texted or called them to wake them up so they didn’t sleep through a class or test. Eight percent had contacted a college professor or administrator about their child’s grades or a problem they were having....
Then there are the mothers who act like they know children should be independent but they're up to something else for their own little darlings:
Felicity Huffman, an actress charged in the college admissions scheme, has long extolled the benefits of a parenting philosophy in which children are to be treated as adults. On her parenting blog, What the Flicka (which was taken down this week), she described raising children as “one long journey of overcoming obstacles.” In another post, she praised schoolchildren “for walking into a building every day full of the unknown, the challenging, the potential of failure.” This week, Ms. Huffman was accused of paying $15,000 for an SAT proctor to secretly inflate her daughter’s test scores.

"Beto O'Rourke said Friday night that he had been wrong for joking... that his wife has been raising their three children 'sometimes with my help.'"

CNN reports.
"Not only will I not say that again, but I'll be more thoughtful going forward in the way that I talk about our marriage, and also the way in which I acknowledge the truth of the criticism that I have enjoyed white privilege," he said....

"So yes, I think the criticism is right on. My ham-handed attempt to try to highlight the fact that Amy has the lion's share of the burden in our family -- that she actually works but is the primary parent in our family, especially when I served in Congress, especially when I was on the campaign trail -- should have also been a moment for me to acknowledge that that is far too often the case, not just in politics, but just in life in general. I hope as I have been in some instances part of the problem, I can also be part of the solution," he said....
O'Rourke also apologized for fiction he wrote when he was a teenager. Using the pen-name Psychedelic Warlord, he wrote about murder from the murderer's point of view.
He said he was "mortified to read it now, incredibly embarrassed... whatever my intention was as a teenager doesn't matter."
No. I want him to apologize to the teenager, the boy he once was. Apologize for saying he doesn't matter. Apologize for being embarrassed for him. Who the hell are you to be embarrassed for him? You are erasing him. You are misappropriating him. What about the teenagers today who hear you and resolve never to write fiction lest it trip up some aggressively ambitious person they may grow into some day?

And as for Amy, your ham-handmaid, did she have any help — any nannies and other servants? Aren't you two rich?

And I can't believe you said "she actually works"! Oh, good lord, you'll have to apologize for that too. You think a woman who devotes all her time to maintaining the household and raising children doesn't work?

My real point here is once you adopt the lifestyle of apologies, you can never do enough. The demands for apologies are endless. Where are you going to draw the line? And how are you going to seem presidential? Everybody's trying to take you down, Beto. Don't be beta.

March 15, 2019

At the Friday Night Café...

... you can talk about whatever you like.

Why did The Southern Poverty Law Center fire Morris Dees?

The Alabama Political Reporter has this:
[I]nternal emails obtained by APR related to Dees’ firing appear to show that the problems — which employees said spanned from sexual harassment to gender- and race-based discrimination — were more systemic and widespread, creating an atmosphere over several years in which female and minority employees felt mistreated. The employees also said that they felt their complaints were either not heard or resulted in retaliation from senior staff.

The spark that ignited the near-mutiny at SPLC appears to have been the resignation of senior attorney Meredith Horton, and an email she sent to senior leadership. That email noted the hardships women and employees of color faced at SPLC....

An email signed by numerous SPLC employees... alleged multiple instances of sexual harassment by Dees, and it alleges that reports of his conduct were ignored or covered up by SPLC leadership. Instead, while acknowledging that his firing was a good thing, the SPLC employees are more concerned with the overall atmosphere, which they specifically say goes well beyond Dees....
Dees was asked about the allegations and said, "I don’t know who you’re talking to or talking about, but that is not right."

"'I don’t really,' Trump said when asked... whether white nationalists were a growing global threat. 'I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. It’s certainly a terrible thing.'"

WaPo reports.
Trump said he had not seen a manifesto, purportedly from one of the attackers, that named him as an inspiration for white identity ideology.... The alleged shooter wrote that he was a supporter of Trump in one sense but not completely: “As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policymaker and leader? Dear god no.” In the document, the man also stated that he was following the example of notorious right-wing extremists, including Dylann Roof, who killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., in 2015.

"[Elizabeth] Holmes, the ousted Theranos founder who was indicted last year on federal fraud charges for hawking an essentially imaginary product to multi-millionaire investors, pharmacies, and hospitals, speaks in a deep baritone..."

"... that, as it turns out, is fake. Former co-workers of Holmes told The Dropout, a new podcast about Theranos’s downfall, that Holmes occasionally 'fell out of character' and exposed her real, higher voice — particularly after drinking.... Holmes is obviously guilty of many more serious crimes, but faking one’s voice is just weird, and embarrassing, in much the same way that bad toupees are: they place one’s bodily insecurities center stage.... Personally, the episode has brought me back to an equally thrilling (if smaller) faked-voice scandal, in which a former co-worker of mine, after speaking in a straightforward East Coast accent for more than a year, suddenly developed an accent she labeled British, but which sounded more Australian...."

From "What Kind of Person Fakes Their Voice?" in New York Magazine. I was a little surprised that the author, Katie Heaney, didn't protect herself against criticism like this (from her comments):
As a transgender woman, I "fake" my voice all the time, as my "natural" deep baritone voice doesn't really match my feminine appearance. The author seems to take issue with the awkwardness -- for the author -- of a sudden voice change in somebody in her social circle. She fails to consider the awkwardness the voice "faker" experiences and that that person likely has a compelling reason if they are willing to endure the ridicule, criticism, and judgment of those around them.
To listen to Elizabeth Holmes's ludicrous phony voice, watch this:

And if you're looking for The One Where Ross Gives a Lecture in a British Accent — "You guys had me all worried I was going to be boring, I got up there and they were all like staring at me, I opened my mouth and this British accent just came out" — it's "The One Where Joey Loses His Insurance." Keep it up and you may get a call from Dr. McNeeley from the Fake Accent University:

"Of course, I don’t believe that Alex and Wendy exist. But as a cultural journalist, as a book critic, I’ve been put on notice that I work for them."

Writes Christian Lorentzen, who — email from Harpers tells me — was "New York magazine’s lead book critic until last fall, when the magazine told him that his contract would not be renewed, because what he did had 'little value.'" Lorentzen's essay — "Like This or Die/The fate of the book review in the age of the algorithm" — begins with this amusement envisioning of the nonexistent Alex and Wendy:
Alex and Wendy love culture. It’s how they spend their free time. It’s what they talk about at dinner parties. When they go jogging or to the gym, they listen to podcasts on their phones. On Sunday nights they watch their favorite new shows. They go to the movies sometimes, but they were bummed out when ­MoviePass went south, so now they mostly stream things. They belong to book clubs that meet every couple of weeks. Alex and Wendy work hard at their jobs, but they always have a bit of time to check their feeds at work. What’s in their feeds? Their feeds tell them about culture. Their feeds are a form of comfort. Their feeds explain things to them that they already understand. Their feeds tell them that everyone else is watching, reading, listening to the same things. Their feeds tell them about the people who make their culture, people who aren’t so different from them, just maybe a bit more glistening. Alex and Wendy’s feeds assure them that they aren’t lonely. Their feeds give them permission to like what they already like. Their feeds let them know that their culture is winning.

Alex and Wendy believe in the algorithm. It’s the force that organizes their feeds, arranges their queues, and tells them that if they liked this song, video, or book, they might like that one too. They never have to think about the algorithm, and their feeds offer a kind of protection. Alex hates to waste his time. His time is so precious. It makes Wendy feel sad when she reads a book she doesn’t love. She might have read one of the books her friends loved. If their feeds lead them astray, Alex and Wendy adjust them. There’s only so much time, and when they have kids, there’ll be even less time. Alex and Wendy aren’t snobs. They don’t need to be told what not to like. They’d rather not know about it.... The negative opinion wastes Alex and Wendy’s time.

David Lee Roth explains jazz using The Beatles.

The Van Halen frontman was asked by Joe Rogan to explain jazz:
“…We will do it in the old Beatles style, here is the best way to go for somebody that’s interested [in Jazz]. The old Lennon note and McCartney note. The McCartney note is always kinda happy... There’s a darkness among those last three notes. That’s where you get a little bit of pepper in the chocolate, ya know. It’s a little wistful, a little melancholy and when you put them together it doesn’t sound like they do but if I could I would sing both parts and it goes together. Bittersweet like my fucking career, like my last three relatio-here we go!”
Rogan: "So you kinda have to listen to jazz like you’d taste wine?" Roth:
“The best for this is Thelonious Monk, the same thing, the right hand is Paul, the left hand is John, it’s working and you can’t tell is it happy or sad? I don’t know how was dinner last night? Same! It’s indicative of what’s around you because it’s not just happy, that’s Disney. It’s not just sad, think of someone just tuning his guitar to sad, think of Leonard Cohen. [Roth imitates Cohen] That sounded more like Bowie but whatever.”
Here's the whole interview.

I have not listened (yet), so I can't pinpoint the place where Roth plays the notes and Joe Rogan tries to sing like Leonard Cohen. If you know the timestamp, let me know.

"[Michael Jackson] nurtured relationships, including with the boys’ mothers. He spent hours on the phone with James and Wade, he would also call their moms, just to talk to them."

"Jackson also spent time at the Safechucks’ modest home in Simi Valley, Calif. He could have been anywhere in the world, Stephanie Safechuck said, but he chose to be with them. 'He was a son I started to take care for,' Stephanie Safechuck said. 'He would spend the night, I’d wash his clothes.' She said that she once told Jackson that she had prayed for her son’s success in getting into commercials, and that he went on to find success right away. In response, she said, Jackson told her that he had prayed, too. He had prayed for a friend, and then he found James."

From "'Leaving Neverland': Viewers React With Shock at Disturbing Accounts of Life With Michael Jackson" (NYT).

I've watched about half an hour of this 4-hour documentary. I don't know if I will keep going, but if you've watched some or all of this, talk to me about your reaction to the mothers. They are still, after all these years, lit up and glowing.

I'm experiencing them as I'm absorbing the college admissions scandal, which challenges me to understand parents who experience their own emotions through their child and re-envision bad as good when it is — in some twisted way — seen as for the good of the child.

I've often entertained the thought that parenthood elevates a person into altruism — a mundane and relatively easy form of altruism, but altruism nonetheless. You must and so you probably will subordinate your own desires and pleasures for the sake of another person.

But in the college admissions scandal — and, perhaps, in "Leaving Neverland" — parenthood drives you further away from ethical behavior. You prioritize getting things for your child, and you feel urgent and justified, and you lose sight of right and wrong.

I've been thinking about this problem in light of that question from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "Is it OK to still have children?" If I were a young woman today — looking at Lori Loughlin and Stephanie Safechuck — I might think what a terrible risk it is to become a mother.

"Why did I pay all this money for your education?"

ADDED: I realize some of you don't know who these people are. Please read the post from 3 days ago, "Olivia Jade Giannulli, 'Daughter of Lori Loughlin, Is Caught Up in College Admissions Scandal/Ms. Giannulli, an influencer with big audiences on YouTube and Instagram, posted sponsored content about being a student.'" I'll make tags for both names.

Agustin Huneeus Jr. — charged in the college admissions scandal — "has been a popular big money-political donor to California’s Congressional Democrats from the San Francisco Bay Area, and Napa Valley."

The California Globe reports:
In 2016, his family hosted a Democratic mega-donor lunch and wine pairing at their Quintessa Winery for Rep. Nancy Pelosi, with Google’s executive chairman Schmidt as the luncheon speaker.... Huneeus has made seven contributions to House Speaker Nancy Pelois (D-San Francisco), totaling $18,300, and $10,000 to Pelosi’s political action committee, PAC to the Future....

Agustin also made:
  • six contributions to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-San Francisco), totaling $21,600.
  • six large contributions to the Democratic Congressional Committee totaling $118,500, as well as contributions totaling $33,200 to the Democratic National Services Corporation.
  • a $500 contribution to Amanda Renteria, former political director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and a Democratic candidate for Governor of California, who lost the primary on June 5, 2018.
  • a $1000 contribution to Michael Eggman, a Democratic candidate for California’s 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House. Eggman unsuccessfully tried to unseat Republican Rep. Jeff Denham.
  • $1,000 contribution to Jessica Morse, a Democratic candidate who unsuccessfully tried to unseat Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), of California’s 4th Congressional District.
  • contributions of $5,000 to Hillary Clinton, and $2,500 to Barack Obama.
ADDED: The Globe asked these politicians if they'll give back the money, now that Huneeus has been charged.  I don't see why that would be ethically required.  There's no charge that Huneeus's money came through any criminal enterprise.

I do think it's interesting if the individuals involved in this particular type of crime are all Democrats. We could examine the thought structure that encompasses:  1. the desire (or pretended desire) to tend to the needs of the underclass at the expense of the ordinary people who work hard and play by the rules, and 2. the belief that the rules don't apply to you and yours and you can take whatever you want.

"Forty-nine people were killed in shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday..."

The NYT reports.
The police said that four people, including three men and one woman, had been taken into custody....

A 17-minute video posted to social media appears to show part of the attack. The clip, ... may have been taken from a helmet camera worn by a gunman.... “There wasn’t even time to aim, there was so many targets,” he says at one point...

Before the shooting, someone appearing to be the gunman posted links to a white-nationalist manifesto on Twitter and 8chan, an online forum known for extremist right-wing discussions. The 8chan post included a link to what appeared to be the gunman’s Facebook page, where he said he would also broadcast live video of the attack.....

In his manifesto, he identified himself as a 28-year-old man born in Australia and listed his white nationalist heroes. Writing that he had purposely used guns to stir discord in the United States over the Second Amendment’s provision on the right to bear arms, he also declared himself a fascist. “For once, the person that will be called a fascist, is an actual fascist,” he wrote.
ADDED: Why would a right-wing fascist want to "to stir discord in the United States over the Second Amendment’s provision on the right to bear arms"? I understand that the man is (he says) Australian and may not understand American ideology and politics and there may be something wrong with trying to make sense of the thinking of a mass murderer, but it seems to me that discord over the Second Amendment boosts the cause of limiting the right to bear arms. When Americans are not under stress, our resting state is to accept widespread gun possession.

Someone posted the video he took of his own shootings on a thread in Twitter. I didn't want to see it. It just started playing.
Twitter should disable autoplay.

ALSO: Daily Mail reports:
The gunman, who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant from Grafton, New South Wales, Australia, named [Candace Owens] as his biggest influence in his 74-page manifesto [posted on Twitter]. [He] said that Owens helped 'push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness' - but claimed some of the 'extreme actions' she calls for are 'too much, even for my tastes'.
Owens is getting attacked for reacting to that tweet with a laughing emoji. She also reacted in words (including "LOL"):
'I’ve never created any content espousing my views on the 2nd Amendment or Islam. The Left pretending I inspired a mosque massacre in...New Zealand because I believe black America can do it without government hand outs is the reachiest reach of all reaches!! LOL!' she said.

She continued to tweet over the next several hours that she refused to be blamed for the massacre. When followers pointed out the impropriety of her response, she was indignant.

'Laughter is not the response one would expect after these murders,' one follower said.

Owens shot back: 'No. But a bunch of racist white liberals flooding my mentions is almost exactly what one would expect. You guys will never de-platform me.'
It's a mistake to use laughter as opposed to straight outrage.

MORE IN THE COMMENTS: Freeman Hunt said:
I actually read his screed. He's not a right winger. He's an eco-fascist. He's not a fan of capitalism or conservatives or Marxists. He wants the United States to have a civil war and thinks that will come about by provoking people to fight over the Second Amendment.

March 14, 2019

At the Tiny-Creatures-of-Madison Café...


... the snows have receded and we're seeing what we can cook up.

"I’ve never seen so much hand movement. I said: 'Is he crazy or is that just the way he acts?'... Study it. I'm sure you'll agree."

Said Trump, apparently trying to get us to see crazy when we look at Beto O'Rourke.

Here you are:

Study it.

If you studied it, did you agree with Trump? free polls

"In Clinton v Jones, the United States Supreme Court held that separation of powers concerns did not preclude a federal lawsuit against a sitting President of the United States..."

"... based on unofficial acts allegedly committed by him before he assumed office. The Court expressly cautioned in that decision that different concerns, including the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, might influence the result if such a case were brought against the President in state court. However, the Court did not rule that such a suit could or could not proceed. This matter gives us an opportunity to squarely address the question.... [S]ubjecting the President to a state trial court's jurisdiction imposes upon him a degree of control by the State of New York that interferes with his ability to carry out his constitutional duty of executing the laws of the United States. Since the Supremacy Clause guarantees that any effort by the individual states to annul, minimize, or otherwise interfere with those laws will be struck down, it follows that any effort by a state court to control the President must likewise fail.... Plaintiff sees no functional difference between the effect a federal court's supervision of litigation would have over a President's executive power and the effect a state court's would... Defendant argues that the Supremacy Clause acts as an absolute bar to state courts' authority to exercise jurisdiction over a sitting President, citing McCulloch v Maryland... which held that 'the states have no power, by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden, or in any manner control, the operations of the constitutional laws enacted by congress to carry into execution the powers vested in the general government.'... [T]he President should not be forced to defend this lawsuit while he is in office. Therefore, in my view the action should be stayed until such time as defendant no longer occupies the office of President of the United States."

Writes Justice Mazzarelli, dissenting in Summer Zervos v. Donald J. Trump, in which one of the intermediate appellate courts in NY held that a defamation case against a President of the United States can go forward in state court. The case isn't based on the President's official actions as President, so the President's absolute immunity does not apply. It's like Clinton v. Jones, where the President is sued for actions outside of his official duties as President of the United States, but different from Clinton v. Jones, in that the case isn't in federal court.

"Boeing executives sat down last November with pilots at the Allied Pilots Association’s low-slung brick headquarters in Fort Worth."

"Tensions were running high. One of Boeing’s new jets — hailed by the company as an even more reliable version of Boeing’s stalwart 737 — had crashed into the ocean off Indonesia shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board the flight operated by Lion Air. After the crash, Boeing issued a bulletin disclosing that this line of planes, known as the 737 Max 8, was equipped with a new type of software as part of the plane’s automated functions. Some pilots were furious that they were not told about the new software when the plane was unveiled. Dennis Tajer, a 737 captain who attended the meeting with Boeing executives, recalled, 'They said, "Look, we didn’t include it because we have a lot of people flying on this and we didn’t want to inundate you with information."'"

From "At tense meeting with Boeing executives, pilots fumed about being left in dark on plane software" (WaPo).

Making Beto seem like John Edwards....

ADDED: The Beto photo is much bettah. Humanizing politicians with a dog is so tired. Both men have a truck — are they guys who'd really have trucks? — but the Edwards truck is blocking the entire background. Beto has a long windy dirt road. Is it the road ahead or the road behind? Needs to be the road behind. He came from Texas and he's going on to the White House. Not likely, but we can dream along with our little dreamboat.

Beto's in.

"Beto O’Rourke, the 46-year-old former Texas congressman whose near-miss Senate run last year propelled him to Democratic stardom, announced on Thursday that he was running for president, betting that voters will prize his message of national unity and generational change in a 2020 primary teeming with committed progressives. His decision jolts an early election season already stuffed with contenders, adding to the mix a relentless campaigner with a small-dollar fund-raising army, the performative instincts of a former punk rocker and a pro-immigrant vision to counteract President Trump’s."

The NYT reports.

ADDED: This post gets my "Bernie-Beto-Biden triad" tag. Back on the last day of last year, I wrote "I've been seeing the simultaneous crushing of the white male triad — Bernie, Beto, Biden — and I get it..."
2 days ago, I was strongly impressed by the NYT article that promoted the Senate Foursome (Harris, Gillibrand, Warren, and Booker) and, on their behalf, gave the BBB triad a shove:
For the Senate foursome, moving quickly into the race is also a pre-emptive effort to undercut the early advantages of a duo of universally known contenders, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who may enter the race in the coming months. Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders would start off with important advantages....

But as white men, Mr. Biden, Mr. Sanders and Mr. O’Rourke do not reflect the gender and racial diversity of many Democratic candidates and swaths of the electorate that dominated the 2018 midterms. Ms. Harris, Ms. Warren, Ms. Gillibrand and Mr. Booker, by contrast, would instantly make the 2020 Democratic field the most diverse array of presidential candidates in history. And they might well scramble the early polling leads held by Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders, who benefit from strong name recognition but would be in their late 70s by Election Day 2020, at a moment when some in the party are agitating for generational change....
The NYT was trying to crush the BBB triad in one fell swoop, for the sake of The Foursome....
I thought the triad might get the message and stand down, but Bernie went it, and so did Beto. That eases the way for Biden.

March 13, 2019

At the Fog Mouse Cafe...

... it all seems so hazy.

"Huffman was arrested in L.A. on Tuesday in relation to the charges, but her famous husband William H. Macy was not."

"Transcripts from wiretapped phone calls included in the documents mention Huffman’s 'spouse,' and even have quotes from him. But Macy is never named in the documents and has not been charged so far, unlike Loughlin’s fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli."

From "The 10 most shocking revelations from the Operation Varsity Blues scandal court docs" (Entertainment Weekly).

Any thoughts about how William H. Macy escaped getting accused?

"Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page admitted... that 'the FBI was ordered by the Obama DOJ not to consider charging Hillary Clinton for gross negligence in the handling of classified information'..."

"... [Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe] alleged in a social media post late Tuesday, citing a newly unearthed transcript of Page's closed-door testimony..... 'So let me if I can, I know I’m testing your memory,' Ratcliffe began as he questioned Page under oath, according to a transcript excerpt he posted on Twitter. 'But when you say advice you got from the Department, you’re making it sound like it was the Department that told you: You’re not going to charge gross negligence because we’re the prosecutors and we’re telling you we’re not going to —' Page interrupted: 'That is correct,' as Ratcliffe finished his sentence, ' -- bring a case based on that.' The document dump was part of a major release by House Judiciary Committee Republicans, who on Tuesday released hundreds of pages of transcripts from last year's closed-door interview with Page, revealing new details about the bureau's controversial internal discussions regarding an 'insurance policy' against then-candidate Donald Trump. Fox News has previously reviewed portions of Page's testimony."

Fox News reports today (about testimony from last summer).

Trump tweeted: "The just revealed FBI Agent Lisa Page transcripts make the Obama Justice Department look exactly like it was, a broken and corrupt machine. Hopefully, justice will finally be served. Much more to come!"

Conundrum of the Day.

Technical point: Removal would be by expulsion, not impeachment, and it would be done by a 2/3 vote of the House acting alone.

Of course, it's not a serious proposal. It's not possible to remove members of Congress on such a sensitive standard of what it means to be "violating the solemn oath." Who would be left?

On a subtler level, I don't think Nancy Pelosi is violating her oath in ruling out impeachment. There's discretion in deciding when to go forward on impeachment, even if there is an impeachable offense. She's simply exercising her discretion, and I'd say she's even doing that well. What I like about Greenwald's wisecrack is that it supports the decision not to impeach Trump, not that I think Greenwald intended to do that.

I'm seeing an awful lot of stuff like, "The bribery scandal is no more abhorrent than the completely legal industry that helps many wealthy kids get into the schools of their dreams."

That's the sub-headline of a column at the NYT that I am not bothering to read. I'm seeing this argument all over Facebook and on the front pages of plenty of newspapers, and I don't like it.

It strikes me as the equivalent of letting a robber, caught red-handed, argue that there are so many things that are essentially theft — worse things really! — so what's the big deal?

In fact, I'd be more sympathetic to the robber, since he may have grown up as a deprived outsider who might think the rules never work for him at all. But these rich people in the college admissions scheme have had the advantages and have benefited by and used the rules in their favor and still want more, and of course, they'd call the cops if anyone committed a crime against them.

I do not want to see these people get off easy on some bullshit theory that the whole system is rigged. Those of us who've tried to live an ethical life and follow the rules don't want to hear that the rules don't matter. What kind of message is that?

Sure, fix things in college admissions that are rigged in favor of the rich, but don't tell me what these people did — if they did it — is just part of a big amorphous mess of privilege. They're accused of crimes, and they deserve the same treatment we give to other criminals. Other problems, outside of the criminal sphere, deserve attention too, but don't let criminals obfuscate their way out of their predicament. That's another rich-guy move!

"Above the Law leaked the latest edition of the U.S. News law school rankings last week..."

Wow! I didn't even notice. I really am retired.

"... but now the actual publication date is upon us, and the 2020 rankings are officially out. We’re very pleased to announce that all of our leaked information has been confirmed (with the exception, of course, of the Penn State schools and Rutgers, all three of which were curiously absent from the leaked data; we know their ranks, and will get to them in a moment)."

Above the Law blogs.

"But if you support the Catholic Church, isn’t that like the same thing as being an R. Kelly fan? I don’t really see the difference, except for one’s music is significantly better."

That's a joke, told by Pete Davidson on "SNL," quoted in "Pete Davidson made a joke on SNL about the Catholic Church. Now officials are demanding an apology" (WaPo).
Definitely not amused was the Catholic Church’s Diocese of Brooklyn, which on Monday released a lengthy statement condemning the joke and seeking an “immediate public apology” from the sketch comedy show and from NBC, the network that airs it. “The faithful of our Church are disgusted by the harassment by those in news and entertainment, and this sketch offends millions,” the statement reads, in part. “The mockery of this difficult time in the Church’s history serves no purpose.”
Here's the lengthy statement from the Diocese of Brooklyn. Excerpt:
Apparently, the only acceptable bias these days is against the Catholic Church. 
Oh! You're the victim.
The faithful of our Church are disgusted by the harassment by those in news and entertainment, and this sketch offends millions. The mockery of this difficult time in the Church’s history serves no purpose.
It's the Era of That's Not Funny, but has the Catholic Church ever had a sense of humor? It's a "difficult time" for the Catholic Church because the Church actively closed off our view of the problem. If you'd been open about it all these years, would our jokes about you have had a "purpose"? What is the general principle that the Diocese of Brooklyn is trying to state? It seems to be: It's wrong to react with jokes when we get news about X because the news is already hurting X — X is the victim and we, the jokesters, are the bullies. That's rich!
The clergy sex abuse crisis is shameful, and no one should ever get a laugh at the expense of the victims who have suffered irreparably....
And by "victims," you mean the Church? Because that's the only target of the joke. What's the general rule here? If X victimizes Y, it's wrong to joke about X, because it makes light of the entire situation and that hurts Y. Maybe, but if it's X who invokes the rule, can we at least laugh about that?
It is likely that no other institution has done more than the Catholic Church to combat and prevent sexual abuse. 
Oh, now you're making your own joke? Or... the only way I can understand this is as a confession of the vast, horrific scale of the abuse. It's not that you've done so much in proportion to the problem, but that you've got such a huge problem.
The insensitivity of the writers, producers, and the cast of SNL around this painful subject is alarming.
Ridiculous. The reason SNL's joke hurt so much is that it directly provokes your adherents to get the hell out. I'm sure that is alarming.

Achievements in graphic depiction.

"This... Did not age well."

March 12, 2019

At the St. B Café...

St. Bernard lounging in the snow

... you can talk until your tongue curls.

"I just played what I felt and they let me play. You know, once you kind of make a name for yourself, then when producers would come in..."

"... they would say, 'Oh Hal, just do your thing, you know, don't worry about it — just whatever you feel.' They felt that I would always do the right thing."

Said Hal Blaine, who has died at the age of 90. NPR has put together a play list of 40 amazing recordings on which he played the drums — "Be My Baby," "Good Vibrations," "Strangers in the Night," "California Dreamin'," The Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," and on and on:

"So what exactly are Americans’ biggest gripes with traveling with people?"

"The top worry is that your travel buddy may not want to do something you want to do (58 percent), while another 53 percent are worried about exactly the opposite — being pressured to do something they don’t want to do. An additional 1 in 3 (36 percent) are concerned they’d simply get on each other’s nerves."

From "Americans are traveling alone more than ever" (NY Post), which reports that 22% of Americans always travel alone and 45% say that traveling with another person holds them back.

"Olivia Jade Giannulli... is the daughter of the actress Lori Loughlin and the designer Mossimo Giannulli.... a social media influencer with close to two million YouTube subscribers and over a million Instagram followers."

"In September, she posted two paid advertisements on Instagram that highlighted her identity as a student. The legitimacy of her college acceptance has been called into question as a result of a Justice Department indictment, along with that of a number of others.... The fall semester at her school began on Aug. 20; a day later, Ms. Jade announced on Twitter that she had just arrived in Fiji.... Ms. Giannulli’s parents were described in the investigation as having paid multiple bribes amounting to $500,000 in order to have Olivia and her sister, Isabella, listed as recruits for the university’s crew team. (Neither participated in crew; both are influencers.)... She was criticized in August after posting a video with the title 'basically all the tea you need to know about me (boys, college, youtubers)' in which she said that she was only going to college for 'gamedays, partying.' 'I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know,' she said."

Olivia Jade Giannulli, "Daughter of Lori Loughlin, Is Caught Up in College Admissions Scandal/Ms. Giannulli, an influencer with big audiences on YouTube and Instagram, posted sponsored content about being a student" (NYT).

More about the case here, at "College Admissions Scandal: Actresses, Business Leaders and Other Wealthy Parents Charged" (NYT):
Federal prosecutors charged dozens of people on Tuesday in a major college admission scandal that involved wealthy parents, including Hollywood celebrities and prominent business leaders, paying bribes to get their children into elite American universities.

Thirty-three parents were charged in the case and prosecutors said there could be additional indictments to come. Also implicated were top college coaches, who were accused of accepting millions of dollars to help admit students to Wake Forest, Yale, Stanford, the University of Southern California and other schools, regardless of their academic or sports ability, officials said....

The authorities say the parents of some of the nation’s wealthiest and most privileged students sought to buy spots for their children at top universities, not only cheating the system, but potentially cheating other hard-working students out of a chance at a college education....
So despicable.

The top-rated comment at the NYT is: "So how do you think the low level Bushes and even lower level Trumps and Kushners got into 'top' schools?"

By the way, I'd never heard of Lori Loughlin before I read about this indictment.

AND: Here's that "I don’t really care about school" "influencer" video.

I don't know about you but this style of speech, mugging, and behavior is like fingernails on the blackboard to me. It actually makes me feel bad to think about young women teaching each other this phony, irritating cutesiness.

"The MLB Coach Who Played Only T-Ball — Jonathan Erlichman hasn't played baseball since the age of 5."

From the Wall Street Journal.
Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Tommy Pham wanted help with his defensive positioning one day earlier in spring training, so he sought guidance from... a 28-year-old with a math degree from Princeton whose entire playing career consists of T-ball in Canada at the age of 5....

Some teams even have a numbers guru travel with the team as a member of the front office. But those people wear polo shirts and khaki pants and watch games from a box high above the field. [Jonathan] Erlichman has a uniform —No. 97 — and will see the action from the angle of the players....

"I wanted him to see the trajectory of the bat and how the ball comes off the bat," Pham said. "Other teams' analytics guys, they just see the numbers from a computer, from a piece of paper. He's seeing it in-game, in-person, and he can apply what the numbers say on the computer and on paper to what he's actually seeing."...

A brief history....

"You fell for the 'fine people' hoax?"

Who blows out birthday candles like that? Mitt Romney (with his cake made of Twinkies).

The tiny creatures of Madison.

Snow scene

The NYT "Daily" podcast traps Jerry Nadler into an implicit confession that his investigation into Trump is biased and political.

I'm listening to today's episode of the NYT "Daily" podcast, which is the 3rd part in a series about what to expect from the Mueller report. It's an interview with Representative Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating President Trump and where an effort to impeach Trump would begin.

The NYT interviewer is the host of the "Daily" podcast, Michael Barbaro, and, at about 8 minutes into the conversation, he traps Nadler with this stunning question: "You said that you believed the President obstructed justice, and I wonder why you would... say that publicly before the release of the Mueller report? What's the value in doing that? Does it not kind of inherently portray whatever investigation..."

Those 2 ellipses are places where Nadler interrupts. On the second interruption, I believe Barbaro was about to say that the Judiciary Committee is going to look political and biased.

Nadler, seems to anticipate that accusation, and he says says, "Well, I believe in answering questions honestly. I was asked a question." There follows a snorty little laugh. The laugh might mean: Hey, it's your fault, Barbaro, for asking me. Or it might mean: Oh, I get how you boxed me in, Barbaro, you rascal.

Barbaro observes that when Nadler was asked if he thought Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice, he could have just said "Let's wait until the Mueller report comes out." That wouldn't have been dishonest. Nadler responds, "Well, maybe I should have." Which I interpret to mean: Yeah, I wish I'd thought of that.

Listen for yourself, and check my interpretation. Don't miss the snorty little laugh after he asserts "I believe in answering questions honestly." To my ear,  it's creepy and villainous.

"Facebook removed several ads placed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign that called for the breakup of Facebook and other tech giants."

"But the social network later reversed course after POLITICO reported on the takedown, with the company saying it wanted to allow for 'robust debate,'" Politico reports.
“Three companies have vast power over our economy and our democracy. Facebook, Amazon, and Google," read the ads, which Warren's campaign had placed Friday. "We all use them. But in their rise to power, they’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field in their favor.”...

“We removed the ads because they violated our policies against use of our corporate logo," the spokesperson said. "In the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the ads.”
Getting censored is really boosting attention to the ad. I mean, it's making me search for it. I want to see how the logo is used. But I haven't found the ad. I stopped when I realized I was putting a lot of effort into trying to see an ad and that was a form of viral ad that was happening inside my head. At that point, I resisted.

I'm just glad it's Meatless Mondays, because meatless Fridays would seem religious.

"And they believe in Meatless Mondays...."

I mean, it still does sound like religion, just steering clear of intersection with traditional Christian religion.

Anyway, I see that "Meatless Monday" has a substantial Wikipedia page. It suggests that Monday is the best meatless day because it's the day you get back to work after the indulgent activities of the weekend. You re-establish your regular routine, so maybe going without meat on Monday will lead to going without meat on Tuesday and even Wednesday before the decline into the weekend sets in again.

The current "Meatless Monday" campaign began in 2003, "endorsed by the Center for a Livable Future (a division of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) as well as over 20 public health schools."

It seems that in the U.K., it's called "Meat-free Monday," and that's got me wondering about the difference between "meatless" and "meat-free." Is it like the difference between "careless" and "carefree"? I'm looking a lists words and conclude that the "-less" ending is the one you use with something you want, and the "-free" ending is the one you use with something you don't want. That's why "careless" and "carefree" have such different meanings. "Careless" refers to the good kind of "care" — attention and thoughtfulness — and "carefree" has the bad kind of care — trouble and worry.

So isn't it interesting that the Americans say "meatless" — highlighting the deprivation and sacrifice to the greater good — and the Brits say "meat-free" — suggesting that meat taints you and you ought to want to be rid of it? Those 2 different orientations are also found in religion, by the way.

Here's Paul McCartney talking about "Meat-free Monday":

The idea is to get people started going without meat, and maybe they will go fully vegetarian, because they'll see how easy it is to go a day without meat. I think, if we really want to reduce the greenhouse gases produced by livestock, it's more effective to get a lot people to eat less meat than to get a much smaller number to go completely vegetarian. But — as Paul says — once people get used to enjoying going without meat one day a week, they may ultimately go vegetarian.

Maybe now we can!

March 11, 2019

At the Demo-Cats Café...

... let's all go to Wisconsin.

Put on your hock-dockies, and let's read a little more...

... from the 1869 book, "The Slang Dictionary: Or, the Vulgar Words, Street Phrases, and 'Fast' Expressions of High and Low Society."

What do you think of the "Gipsy" origin of "hocus pocus" and the alternative explanation that it's a mockery of the Eucharist? Etymonline buys into the "sham-Latin" explanation, but the OED says "The notion that hocus pocus was a parody of the Latin words used in the Eucharist, rests merely on a conjecture...."

I like these other words. "Hodge" as a clown, "hocus" as drugging a person to rob him, "hocks" as feet," and "hob and nob" as opposed to our "hob-nob." The OED has the oldest definition of "hob-nob" as drinking together, with the oldest example from 1763: "Do I go to hob or nob in white-wine, I am probably told red, is better for my nerves." Wait. That doesn't close it up into the simple "hob-nob." The OED's oldest example of "hob-nob" is from 1828: "I have frequently heard one gentleman, in company, say to another, will you hob-nob with me? When this challenge was accepted, the glasses were instantly filled, and then they made the glasses touch or kiss each other. This gentle striking of the drinking vessels I always supposed explained the term hob-nob." That's interesting, too, because it suggests that clinking glasses was a new thing.

I've never thought about why people clink glasses or how that originated. I see that there was a theory that it had to do with worries the drinks could be poisoned, but Snopes has ruled that false. In the old days, people drank from the same bowl. Having your own drinking vessel is pretty recent, and clinking glasses is — per Snopes! — a way "to compensate for the sense of unity lost"... and maybe people just like the sound of clinked glasses.

As for "Hobson's choice"... you knew what that meant, didn't you? Wikipedia has an article on the subject. I'll just excerpt the John Stuart Mill part:
John Stuart Mill, in his book Considerations on Representative Government, refers to Hobson's choice: "When the individuals composing the majority would no longer be reduced to Hobson's choice, of either voting for the person brought forward by their local leaders, or not voting at all.'

In another of his books, The Subjection of Women, Mill discusses marriage: "Those who attempt to force women into marriage by closing all other doors against them, lay themselves open to a similar retort. If they mean what they say, their opinion must evidently be, that men do not render the married condition so desirable to women, as to induce them to accept it for its own recommendations. It is not a sign of one's thinking the boon one offers very attractive, when one allows only Hobson's choice, 'that or none'.... And if men are determined that the law of marriage shall be a law of despotism, they are quite right in point of mere policy, in leaving to women only Hobson's choice. But, in that case, all that has been done in the modern world to relax the chain on the minds of women, has been a mistake. They should have never been allowed to receive a literary education."
This isn't tonight's café, so don't go off track. There are a lot of topics here... but not infinite topics.

"The database, whose server is in China, included fields labeled in English for sex, age, education, marital status, as well as a column titled 'BreedReady'..."

"... which could be a poor translation of Chinese terms to describe whether a woman has children or is of child-bearing age, observers noted.... The data breach is alarming in the context of official concerns over China’s falling birthrates. Women rights advocates and critics of China’s use of strict family planning rules worry about how far the government will go to encourage more women to have children.... In a thread titled 'Is this the prologue to The Handmaid’s Tale?' on the discussion forum Douban, Chinese internet users likened the database to the television show based on a future where women are forced to reproduce. 'This kind of database is very indicative and frightening,' said one user, adding: 'I’m a pessimist and the fact that stories like The Handmaid’s Tale exist means the signs are already there.'"

From "China database lists 'breedready' status of 1.8 million women/Dutch researcher finds cache of information including phone numbers, addresses and ages" The Guardian).

"How would I describe my relationship to the president? My relationship toward him is respectful..."

"... respectful of the office that he holds. Straightforward, just tell him what I think. And I always say you’re not going to hear me saying anything publicly that I’m not saying here in the office. Hopeful that at some point we can find common ground that he’ll stick to. So, yeah, respectful, honest and hopeful.... I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it."

Says Nancy Pelosi, quoted in "Nancy Pelosi on Impeaching Trump: ‘He’s Just Not Worth It’ In a wide-ranging interview, the country’s most powerful Democrat says Trump is unfit to be president — 'ethically,' 'intellectually' and 'curiosity-wise' — but impeachment would be too divisive" (Politico).

"[Hillary Clinton's] attempt to analogize the Southern struggle for voting rights with her fate in Wisconsin subordinates some uncomfortable, and likely more relevant, truths — in the service of a narrative offered by an element of the Democratic Party..."

"... that would prefer to see cheating and illegality, rather than politics and policy, as the causes of its collapse. That narrative glosses over a remarkable, decadeslong decline in black economic conditions and political disillusionment outside the Southern, black Democratic firewall. Wisconsin embodies these trends perhaps more acutely than anywhere else in the country.... Today... Milwaukee’s joblessness rate among black men in their prime working years is higher than any major city’s in the country. The median black household income in the state is about half that of whites, the third-highest disparity in the country. Jobs were essentially replaced with prisons, giving Wisconsin the highest black male incarceration rate in the U.S.... In the face of extreme wealth and income disparities between Wisconsin’s black and white residents, state Democrats have taken the black vote for granted....  The ground was fertile for Clinton to dig in and excite black Milwaukee voters once inspired by Obama’s messages of hope and change...."

From "Hillary Clinton Is Still Deeply Confused About What Happened in Wisconsin. Here’s Why That Matters" (The Intercept).

Milwaukee and socialism.

From the Wikipedia article on Milwaukee:
During the first sixty years of the 20th century, Milwaukee was the major city in which the Socialist Party of America earned the highest votes. Milwaukee elected three mayors who ran on the ticket of the Socialist Party: Emil Seidel (1910–1912), Daniel Hoan (1916–1940), and Frank Zeidler (1948–1960). Often referred to as "Sewer Socialists", the Milwaukee Socialists were characterized by their practical approach to government and labor.
From the Wikipedia article, "Sewer Socialism":
With the creation of the Socialist Party of America, this group formed the core of an element that favored democratic socialism over orthodox Marxism, de-emphasizing social theory and revolutionary rhetoric in favor of honest government and efforts to improve public health. The sewer socialists fought to clean up what they saw as "the dirty and polluted legacy of the Industrial Revolution", cleaning up neighborhoods and factories with new sanitation systems, city-owned water and power systems and improved education. This approach is sometimes called "constructive socialism"....

Although the Socialists had many ideas and policies similar to those of the Wisconsin Progressives, tensions still existed between the two groups because of their differing ideologies. Socialist Assemblyman George L. Tews during a 1932 debate on unemployment compensation and how to fund it argued for the socialist bill and against the Progressive substitute, stating that a Progressive was "a Socialist with the brains knocked out"....

In 1961, Progressive editor William Evjue wrote of the Wisconsin Socialist legislators he had known by saying: "They never were approached by the lobbyists, because the lobbyists knew it was not possible to influence these men. They were incorruptible".

"The best argument for impeachment is, ironically, the case for national unity. Americans ought to be able to agree..."

"... that, while all opinions are open to debate, some behavior really is out of bounds. An impeachment trial can’t be won? Well, the Republican Party may be obedient now, but there is just enough Never Trumping among those who were once the staunchest of conservatives to make it clear that the difference between constitutional conservatism and thuggishness is real and can be argued for, and maybe even partly won.... Pragmatism is not a way of negating principle but, rather, the realist’s way of pursuing principle. The arguments against impeachment today are primarily pragmatic, the arguments for it primarily principled, but the principled course could, before long, turn into the only practical course. Impeachment may be too good for Trump. It may yet prove just the thing for the country."

Writes Adam Gopnik in "The Pros and Cons of Impeaching Trump/Real and reasonable arguments among congressional Democrats—and, indeed, among the public—range from the practical to the procedural" (The New Yorker).

I'm posting this because it reads like nonsense to me. I presume it makes perfect sense from inside the bubble.

It's a Monday — the most magical time of the week... for the NYT crossword. This harsh truth should be saved for Friday or Saturday, when the children cannot see.

"Their message is simple — destructive but simple: Madison schools have a racial achievement gap because Bernie Sanders-loving Madison hates black children."

"[School Board candidates Ali] Muldrow & [Ananda] Mirilli peddled their bilious message during a candidate forum Saturday (03-10-19) at Badger Rock middle school. The event was sponsored by the Freedom Inc. Youth Squad — the same outfit coordinating disruption at the Madison Board of Education these last two years. (On October 29 and February 25.) Their top of the page goal is getting rid of Cops in Schools; their bottom line replaces classroom discipline with race shaming."

Writes David Blaska, another school board candidate, who participated in the forum, and has the video of the entire event. Here's what his opponent, Muldrow, said about him:
“My opponent would like to do all kinds of things to black students: punish them, humiliate them, hurt them, silence them, suspend them, expel them— pretty much anything but teach them. That is theme in Madison: how we blame black children, how we hurt black children, how we get rid of black children, how we do not listen to black children. A lot of people are afraid to have a real conversations about race. We are a society that has always thought black children are unfit for education.”
Blaska transcribes his answer:

Send in the cats!

"Milwaukee lands 2020 Democratic National Convention" (Wisconsin State Journal).
Milwaukee Bucks vice president Alex Lasry — who along with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, helped oversee the city's bid for the convention — hailed the news....

"For the next year and a half, everyone will be talking about the ‘Road to Milwaukee,' putting an emphasis on the importance of Wisconsin and the Midwest for winning the presidency," Lasry said....
Hail the news... and Hail, Wisconsin. You wanted to avoid us, but that worked out so badly for you last time, and now, you come crawling back. In my frozen cold heart, I await your endless mewling, Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin.

The post title can be understood by reading the earlier post, "Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen likens Ilhan Omar (and other colleagues) to cats — saying, 'The cats have to understand who provides the water and kibble and cleans the litter.'"

Just when I'd stopped getting ready to jump,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was Trump
Don't you love farce?
My fault, I fear...
I thought that you'd want what I want
Sorry, my dear!
But where are the cats?
Send in the cats!
Don't bother, they're here....

UPDATE, 5 minutes after posting:
The cat is ready to fight in The North!

"The Six Wings Of The Democratic Party."

According to FiveThirtyEight:
The Super Progressives — Very liberal on economic and identity/cultural issues, anti-establishment... Prominent examples: Ocasio-Cortez , Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin.... People in this bloc generally see the Democratic Party as too centrist and too cautious...

The Very Progressives — Very liberal on economic issues, fairly liberal on identity issues, skeptical of the Democratic establishment. Prominent examples: Bill de Blasio, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren.... a little less aggressive and less focused on identity issues and a little more willing to play nice with the Democratic Party establishment....

The Progressive New Guard — Liberal on both economic and identity issues but also somewhat concerned about the “electability” of candidates and the appeal of ideas to the political center; generally rose to prominence after Barack Obama was elected president. Prominent examples: Stacey Abrams, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Beto O’Rourke.... But what makes this group distinct from the next bloc of Democrats is a kind of performative wokeness, both on racial and nonracial issues.... The Progressive New Guard wants to appeal to white, working-class swing voters, but it sees another path to Democrats winning in purple states: mobilizing nonwhite voters and white millennials....

The Progressive Old Guard — Solidly center-left on both economic and identity issues, but very concerned about the “electability” of candidates and the appeal of ideas to the political center; generally rose to prominence before Obama was elected president. Prominent examples: Joe Biden, Cuomo, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer.... The old guard is less willing to placate the party’s most progressive wings. The defining phrase of this group might be “how do you pay for that?”...

The Moderates — More conservative and business-friendly than other Democrats on economic policies; somewhat liberal on cultural issues; anti-establishment. Prominent examples: Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia.... Many of them represent competitive (purple) districts and states... [They] have a political incentive to play up their differences with Pelosi and particularly Ocasio-Cortez — to tell their constituents essentially, “I’m a Democrat, but not that kind of Democrat.”

Conservative Democrats —  Skeptical of liberal views on both economic and cultural issues, often supportive of abortion limits, generally from conservative-leaning areas. Prominent examples: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.... Democrats may need more Democrats in this mold to win any of the three governor races in 2019 (Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi) or to gain seats in state legislatures in the West and the South....

I'm reading "I'm so, so, so sorry: A Baby Boomer apologizes on behalf of his generation."

By Steven Papamarcos (at The NY Daily News):
Dear Gen Xers and Millenials...
Well, first you're going to have to apologize for misspelling "millennials."

Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen likens Ilhan Omar (and other colleagues) to cats — saying, "The cats have to understand who provides the water and kibble and cleans the litter."

I'm reading "'Like herding cats': Pelosi struggles to unify Democrats after painful fight over anti-Semitism" (WaPo).

I know Steve Cohen is wielding the old cliché, It's like herding cats, but I thought it was completely unacceptable these days to equate persons of color with animals. (Ask Roseanne.) And look how bad this is:
“Being a speaker — especially on the Democratic side — is like herding cats,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.). “. . . The cats have to understand who provides the water and kibble and cleans the litter. Once the cats understand that, it’ll get better.”
He's emphasizing the physical functions — including excretion — and he's subtly threatening Omar and others. It would be crude to just come out and say, She needs to know her place and not speak so loudly and forcibly, but Cohen goes beyond that. He visualizes her as a cat, and, within that visualization, verbal expression becomes eating and defecating. Omar is brusquely informed that she'll be treated like an animal, disciplined by depriving her of her bodily needs, until she "understands" who's in charge here. That's demeaning. And it's revealing. Is that how you think about power?

"Like herding cats" was once a fresh enough notion to be funny, but it's a corny cliché these days. Its triteness is probably why Cohen felt comfortable calling Omar an animal. But he didn't glide past it. He stopped for the full visualization, complete with water and food bowls and a litter box. He meant to demean and diminish — in an offhanded, folksy-cutesy way.

When was this expression new, I wonder? The (unlinkable) OED traces it to the mid-80s:
transitive. colloquial (orig. and chiefly U.S.). to herd cats: used in similative expressions to suggest the unwieldiness or unfeasibility of an undertaking, esp. a managerial or organizational task, as like herding cats ( as hard as herding cats, etc.): extremely difficult to accomplish; unmanageable, futile.

1986 National Jrnl. 3 May 1062 Yerxa will have to continue to juggle the divergent views of the subcommittee members, a task he said ‘can be like trying to herd cats’.
1988 MIS Q. 12 65 At a recent academic meeting, an academic administrator stated that managing an academic department was akin to herding cats.
I was also curious about how Muslims regard cats. This felt important as I tried to assess the severity of the insult to Omar. Here: Wikipedia has an article, "Islam and cats":
The domestic cat is a revered animal in Islam. Admired for its cleanliness as well as for being loved by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, the cat is considered "the quintessential pet" by Muslims...

One of Muhammad's companions was known as Abu Hurairah (literally: "Father of the Kitten") for his attachment to cats. Abu Hurairah claimed that he had heard Muhammad declare that a woman went to Hell for starving a female kitten and not providing her with any water.... According to legend, Abu Hurairah's cat saved Muhammad from a snake. In gratitude, Muhammad stroked the cat's back and forehead, thus blessing all cats with the righting reflex. The stripes some cats have on their foreheads are believed to mark the touch of Muhammad's fingers.

The American poet and travel author Bayard Taylor (1825–1878) was astonished when he discovered a Syrian hospital where cats roamed freely.... Edward William Lane (1801–1876), a British Orientalist who resided in Cairo, described a cat garden originally endowed by the 13th-century Egyptian sultan Baibars, whose European contemporaries held a very different attitude towards cats, eating them or killing them under papal decrees.... [C]ats were valued by the paper-based Arab-Islamic cultures for preying on mice that destroyed books. For that reason, cats are often depicted in paintings alongside Islamic scholars and bibliophiles. The medieval Egyptian zoologist Al-Damiri (1344–1405) wrote that the first cat was created when God caused a lion to sneeze, after animals on Noah's Ark complained of mice.

I'm reading "Tucker Carlson unapologetic over ‘misogynistic’ comments on statutory rape, insults against women."

In WaPo.
Carlson was widely criticized on Sunday following a report from the nonprofit Media Matters for America that compiled and transcribed more than a dozen instances of the host appearing on the “Bubba the Love Sponge Show,” a popular radio program broadcast from Tampa [recorded between 2006 and 2011]...

On at least two separate occasions, Carlson voiced opinions on underage marriage and Warren Jeffs, the former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who is currently serving a life sentence for child rape.... “Now this guy may be . . ., may be a child rapist,” Carlson said. “I’m just telling you that arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old and a 27-year-old is not the same as pulling a stranger off the street and raping her.”

Three years later in another segment on the radio show, Carlson clarified that he was not defending underage marriage but added, “I just don’t think it’s the same thing exactly as pulling a child from a bus stop and sexually assaulting that child.... The rapist, in this case, has made a lifelong commitment to live and take care of the person, so it is a little different,” he said... ... Carlson continued to argue on behalf of Jeffs, saying he was in prison “because he’s weird and unpopular and he has a different lifestyle that other people find creepy.... He’s like got some weird religious cult where he thinks it’s okay to, you know, marry underaged girls, but he didn’t do it. Why wouldn’t the guy who actually did it, who had sex with an underaged girl, he should be the one who’s doing life.”...

In other segments, Carlson called for the elimination of rape shield laws.... “So if I’m alleging rape, I have the protection of anonymity. I can say whatever I want while hiding behind anonymity, while the person I accused, whether he’s guilty or not, has his life destroyed. That’s totally unfair.”

Then, in an October 2009 show, Bubba the Love Sponge launched into what appeared to be a hypothetical description of the young girls at the boarding school attended by Carlson’s daughter experimenting with each other sexually. “I ain’t got my mom and dad here telling me that they love me and tuck me in bed,” the radio host said. “So, here’s Trixie, she wants to explore my body a little bit, so hey, let’s go crazy.”

Carlson responded: “If it weren’t my daughter, I would love that scenario.”

[On another occasion he] said, “I love women, but they’re extremely primitive, they’re basic, they’re not that hard to understand.” In another appearance, he implied that women like being instructed by men to “just be quiet and kind of do what you’re told.”...

In May 2010, Carlson said he felt sorry for [Elena] Kagan, then a Supreme Court nominee, who was “never going to be an attractive woman.”

“I feel sorry for unattractive women,” he said, adding that the “problems” with Kagan’s physical appearance were “fundamental.”

He called [Arianna] Huffington “a pig” and used the c-word when discussing [TV personality Alexis] Stewart, noting that he wanted to “give her the spanking she so desperately needs."...
It's useful to know that he said these things, providing material for that Howard-Stern-type radio show. And it's useful to people who would like to get him off the air to get all excited about these things now. I'm resistant to getting excited about something somebody said years ago because somebody is telling me that's what everyone is supposed to get excited about today.

What's the real news? What is actually happening now? The news seems to have turned into the news of what old thing has been served up as news.

And what about the gratuitous collateral damage to Elena Kagan? These get-Carlson people have decided to make her looks today's topic of conversation. That's pretty rude. It was also rude for Carlson to have said what he did 9 years ago, but that rudeness had been forgotten, if it was ever noticed.

ADDED: Robert Stacy McCain writes: "Tucker Carlson must have read Vox Day’s SJWs Always Lie, because he is following Vox’s advice to those under SJW attack: Do not apologize!"

March 10, 2019

At the Brown Café...

... you can talk brown talk or whatever you like.

The image comes from the 1869 book, "The Slang Dictionary: Or, the Vulgar Words, Street Phrases, and 'Fast' Expressions of High and Low Society."

"Isn’t it a pity that you need to analyze cases? You can’t just go around with your mouth open waiting for a spoon that will feed it to you in one big, luscious bite!"

"Students should sue. The teachers should just give you the law," said Professor Robert S. Summers, transcribed by my son John when he was a student at Cornell Law School, quite a few years ago and posted to John's blog when Professor Summers retired in 2010. John wrote, "Summers took the Socratic method to the extreme. He rarely made any direct statement about anything, almost always preferring to ask questions instead."

Now, we see, "Robert Summers, pre-eminent legal scholar, dies at 85" (Cornell Chronicle):
Robert S. Summers, who grew up milking cows on his family’s farm in Oregon and went on to co-write the most widely cited treatise on U.S. commercial transaction laws and help draft laws governing Russia, Egypt and Rwanda, died March 1 in New Canaan, Connecticut. Summers, Cornell’s William G. McRoberts Research Professor Emeritus in Administration of the Law, was 85....

Summers joined the Cornell Law School faculty in 1969. During his career, he produced 55 books and more than 100 articles, including influential works on legal realism, statutory interpretation, and form and substance in the law....

[H]e was known for his dedication to the Socratic method of teaching: instilling principles and concepts through rigorous questioning and argument, rather than “ladling [information] out on a spoon,” as he said....
Goodbye to one of the great law professors. Was anyone else ever so dedicated to the Socratic method? I grew up with a father who wished he had become a lawyer and who liked to wield what he called the Socratic method in family conversations. I was a law professor myself, and the Socratic method was always only a distant ideal.

"If even a successful businessman and entrepreneur like Governor Hickenlooper can't openly support capitalism in the Democratic primary, it's clear this is Senator Sanders' party now."

Said Howard Schultz (the Starbucks founder who may run for President as an independent), which was quoted on "Face the Nation" this morning, in a question to John Hickenlooper, whose answer was so dispiriting that I turned off the TV in the middle. Transcript:
GOV. HICKENLOOPER: I've been-- the point I was making is that we defined people by these labels that- that often have all kinds of associations and baggage with them in that sense. Do I believe in small business? Of course I believe in small business. I started probably more than 20 different small businesses.
That's where I turned it off, judging Hickenlooper to be hopelessly mealymouthed (and he was my first-pick among the current Democratic candidates, but I'd never listened to him speak before). He continues:

"The meh is, like, worshipped now. For what?" — demands Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

By chance, I watched that right after "Scooby-Doo! Out of Context"...

... so it felt all Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, out of context.

I hope you can see why I'm giving this my "I'm for Boring" tag, and I'll just leave it at that. Or, I mean, obviously, I am one of AOC's Worshippers of Meh. She's AOC and I'm WOM.