November 2, 2019

I'm trying to figure out what the 1,000 words would be. The Founders are toasting Nancy Pelosi... but...why?


It's unlikely Amy will be the Democratic nominee, but if she is, this post will be linked in my "How Amy lost me" retrospective. She's talking to me in a mindless cliché ("A picture is worth 1,000 words"), and she's sharing a cartoon that is not devoid of words and that has to label the caricatures "Founding Fathers" because the artist apparently thinks the picture is NOT even adequate to convey who the people being caricatured are, and she thinks a completely partisan vote straining to legitimatize the behind-closed-doors hearings is a cause for giddy, alcohol-soaked celebration.

I remember when Amy Klobuchar was sternly disapproving of beery revelry...

"I think that you’ve probably had beer," said Judge Kavanaugh...

"A presidential loathing for Ukraine is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry."

According to The Washington Post:
Three of President Trump’s top advisers met with him in the Oval Office in May, determined to convince him that the new Ukrainian leader was an ally deserving of U.S. support. They had barely begun their pitch when Trump unloaded on them.... In Trump’s mind, the officials said, Ukraine’s entire leadership had colluded with the Democrats to undermine his 2016 presidential campaign. “They tried to take me down,” Trump railed.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the senior member of the group, assured Trump that the new Ukrainian president was different — a reformer in Trump’s mold who had even quoted President Ronald Reagan in his inaugural address, for which the three advisers had been present. But the harder they pushed in the Oval Office, the more Trump resisted. “They are horrible, corrupt people,” Trump told them....

“We could never quite understand it,” a former senior White House official said... “There were accusations that they had somehow worked with the Clinton campaign. There were accusations they’d hurt him. He just hated Ukraine.”....

Trump’s hatred, they concluded, was ingrained, irrational and possibly irreversible.

"They’re women who, in their teens, realized that they were actually men, socially transitioned to the other sex, and then underwent hormone therapy..."

"... to change their bodies, faces, and voices to become transgender men. After varying amounts of time, however, they all realized they had made a big mistake, stopped testosterone therapy, and 'detransitioned' back to being who they were before.... They expressed not a smidgen of transphobia, just a pressing concern that many teenage women, particularly lesbians, struggling with gender dysphoria, have been convinced too quickly that the only solution is to change their sex. They worry that any kind of therapy apart from affirmation of transgender identity is now seen as transphobic, and that teens are able to get hormones far too easily.... In 2009–2010, there were reportedly 32 girls and 40 boys referred to the center for treatment. Since 2018, there have been 624 boys and 1,740 girls, overwhelmingly in their teens. One explanation is that, as stigma declined, more transgender kids identified themselves as such. But the shift toward girls, compared with boys, suggests that something else may be going on. Why should the female share of transgender patients suddenly shift from 44 percent to 74 percent girls in a decade?... [H]ow can you tell which gender-dysphoric kid is gay and just needs to be left alone, and which one is trans and needs urgent treatment?... How much of the extraordinary surge in transgender girls is related to their discomfort with being a lesbian?... I know that gender dysphoria throughout childhood is one thing; sudden gender dysphoria among teenage girls is another."

From "The Hard Questions About Young People and Gender Transitions" by Andrew Sullivan (New York Magazine).

ADDED: Sullivan never says the word "homophobic" — though he anguishes over what is and isn't "transphobic" — but he really is talking about homophobia.

Antifa in Madison?

We were driving on West Johnson Street right about where it crosses North Barrett, and we saw these guys:

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I shot this through the rear window and chose it for display because of the visibility of the object in the man's hand:

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On the other side of the Capitol Square, on the first block of East Washington, I saw these guys, perhaps converging on the same event at the square.

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Did something happen today? I will need to look it up and will update the post if I find anything. Let me know what this looks like to you. Part of me clings to the hope that the guys in the first 2 pictures were going to a Halloween party — going as Antifa guys. Looking at the photos, I asked Meade, "Are those jackboots or are they just those guys' snow boots... kind of moon boots?" Meade said, "They're jackboots."

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We also discussed what's in the cooler. Maybe beer. See? It could be a Halloween party. Do Antifa normally bring a cooler? Pulled in a little collapsible wagon? Does this add up to fun or thuggery? I don't like the seeming weapon in that one man's hand. The silly shoes give me hope... though Meade insists they're jackboots.

UPDATE: Here's video (on Facebook) showing the American flag group arriving at the Capitol and eventually participating in what seems to be a permitted rally. The other group can be seen (around 38:00) encountering them. The police keep the groups apart. There's a bit of yelling and taunting, but it seems more like hot air than any physical threat.

By the clock, this morning's sunrise was the year's latest sunrise — 7:33.

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Tonight, we set our clocks back, so tomorrow's sunrise — though later to those of us who are living by the sun — comes with an earlier clock time: 6:35. The time of the sunrise will be later and later, by the clock, but it will never get as late 7:33 (not until we're back on Daylight Saving Time and November comes around again).

On the shortest day of the year, the first day of winter, the sun will rise at 7:25. You might think that, after that, the sunrise will come earlier and earlier, but that is not so! Even though the days will start getting longer, the sun will come up later and later, and it won't come up earlier until January 7th. But as late as those later and later sunrises get, they won't get as late — by the clock! — as it was today. The latest Central Standard Time sunrise is 7:29 — and that will be on January 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

The day-to-day changes in the sunrise time are much smaller on the shortest days of the year. So don't worry too much when the days get short. The darkness seems to come very fast in mid-fall, but then the rate of change slows immensely. The day length will very very gradually approach 9 hours and bottom out at 8 hours and 59 minutes then barely change. The rate of change will pick up again in mid-January, and we'll be back to 10 hours of sun by February 3rd and then 11 hours of sunlight by February 25th.

I haven't been going out in search of sunsets, but the earliest sunsets, in case you are wondering, come before the winter solstice. They will be at 4:22 (here in Madison) on December 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. That's how the sunrises can keep getting later, up into January, even as the days start getting longer after the solstice (which is on December 21st).

CORRECTION: I’d written “8 hours and 59 seconds” instead of “8 hours and 59 minutes.”

Why is Adam Schiff — as chair of the Intelligence Committee — running the impeachment inquiry?

The Washington Examiner examines:
While the Judiciary Committee has traditionally handled the impeachment process and has held those hearings in public, [its chair Jerry] Nadler had run afoul of Pelosi over his handling of the investigation and his decision to hold a series of highly partisan public hearings that were criticized by both parties.

Republicans believe Democratic leaders were looking for a way to transfer control to Schiff, who is more closely aligned with Pelosi and runs a committee that traditionally holds hearings behind closed doors....

The whistleblower complaint prompted Pelosi to give Schiff total control over impeachment proceedings that he has so far conducted mostly out of the public’s view.
And didn't the whistleblower consult with Schiff before filing the complaint? Yes. Here is the Washington Post (from October 2):

6 NYT reporters try to catch up with Trump in "How Trump Reshaped the Presidency in Over 11,000 Tweets."

Here. Lots of counting things — like the percentage of tweets containing personal insults — and lots of graphs. Lots of effort at analysis — slanted toward disparaging Trump (predictably shrinking from acknowledging his greatness as a genius of social media):
Early on, top aides wanted to restrain the president’s Twitter habit, even considering asking the company to impose a 15-minute delay on Mr. Trump’s messages. But 11,390 presidential tweets later, many administration officials and lawmakers embrace his Twitter obsession, flocking to his social media chief with suggestions. Policy meetings are hijacked when Mr. Trump gets an idea for a tweet, drawing in cabinet members and others for wordsmithing. And as a president often at war with his own bureaucracy, he deploys Twitter to break through logjams, overrule or humiliate recalcitrant advisers and pre-empt his staff.

“He needs to tweet like we need to eat,” Kellyanne Conway, his White House counselor, said in an interview.
If I were — like these reporters — into counting things, I would count the number of times this article uses the word "attack." As they look at Trump's tweeting, what they see is relentless attacking — like he's always agitated and angry. But I read Trump's tweets every day — his is one of the 310 Twitter accounts I follow — and I see lots of humor and good fun... in tweets that are also, of course, eligible for classification as an "attack."
The president has tweeted more attacks so far this year than in the previous two years combined. In total, he has attacked at least 630 people and things in 5,889 tweets since taking office.
Yes, he fluidly uses Twitter to defend himself. He's under constant attack and the media transmit and amplify the attacks. The NYT should have counted how many of 5,889 attack tweets were in defense after he'd been attacked. Trump calls himself a "counterpuncher." How true is that? The NYT doesn't say.

To its credit, the NYT does tell us that his campaign aides say that Trump is using Twitter stand up to what Trump has called "the unholy alliance of corrupt Democrat politicians, deep-state bureaucrats and the fake-news media" and that they think "his unvarnished writing, poor punctuation and increasing profanity on Twitter signals authenticity — a contrast to the polished, vetted, often anodyne social media style of most candidates." And the NYT gives the last word to Kellyanne Conway:
“It’s the democratization of information,” she said. Everyone receives Mr. Trump’s tweets at once — the stay-at-home mom, the plumber working on the sink, the billionaire executive, the White House correspondent.

“They all hear ‘ping,’” she said, “at the same time.”
ADDED: There's a second NYT article — "In Trump’s Twitter Feed: Conspiracy-Mongers, Racists and Spies" — which is about tweets Trump might be seeing because they tag him:
The president is also awash in an often toxic torrent that sluices into his Twitter account — roughly 1,000 tweets per minute, many intended for his eyes. Tweets that tag his handle, @realDonaldTrump, can be found with hashtags like #HitlerDidNothingWrong, #IslamIsSatanism and #WhiteGenocide. While filters can block offensive material, the president clearly sees some of it, because he dips into the frothing currents and serves up noxious bits to the rest of the world.
Anyone can tag him. It's absurd to try to hang this stuff on him. Really unfair. What is the actual process by which Trump looks at things as potentially retweetable? How about if I look for the ugliest hashtags in tweets that tag the NYT and its reporters?

Tools.

"Elizabeth Warren swatted back at Joe Biden’s criticism of her $21 trillion Medicare-for-All plan Friday, accusing him of 'running in the wrong presidential primary.'"

"'Democrats are not going to win by repeating Republican talking points,' the Massachusetts senator said in Des Moines, Iowa. 'So, if Biden doesn’t like that, I’m just not sure where he’s going.'"

Bloomberg reports.

"Smuggling gangs in Mexico have repeatedly sawed through new sections of President Trump’s border wall in recent months by using commercially available power tools..."

"... opening gaps large enough for people and drug loads to pass through, according to U.S. agents and officials with knowledge of the damage. The breaches have been made using a popular cordless household tool known as a reciprocating saw that retails at hardware stores for as little as $100. When fitted with specialized blades, the saws can slice through one of the barrier’s steel-and-concrete bollards in a matter of minutes, according to the agents, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the barrier-defeating techniques."

From "Smugglers are sawing through new sections of Trump’s border wall" (WaPo).

"Probably the most annoying thing is when someone asks you about your height and you tell them, and then they say, 'OMG! That short?'"

"It's like, 'Dude, I'm standing here, did I suddenly get shorter when I told you my height in numbers?'... I'm aware that short guys often complain that it's hard to find a woman, but I have never felt that way at all. It's always been easy for me to befriend women. It just comes naturally and maybe that is the key, not trying too hard and not feeling that your height is a handicap. If I'm on a date I don't give my height a second thought. The women I have dated have ranged from 155cm (my height) to 175cm (5ft 9in)."

From "Dating as a short man: The highs and lows" (BBC). The man I'm quoting is 5'1". The article collects statements of 3 men — the others are 5'4", 5'7" — and one woman who is 5'9". The woman says:
I have found that smaller men have assumed, for whatever reason, that I'm a threat and try to belittle me by making out that I'm not very bright!... In my teens, small men would laugh... I found small men to be arrogant, with something to prove....

Trump in Tupelo last night: Beto "quit like a dog."



I didn't like that. In the category of dog rhetoric, I prefer the talk of the hero dog.

November 1, 2019

Snowy trees in the dawn light.

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"I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism."

"I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity."

Said the novelist Haruki Murakami, quoted in "How To Wake Up at 5 A.M. Every Day/An unconventional and compassionate guide to becoming an early bird" (in Medium). The author of the essay, Brian Ye, likes this idea of repetition as mesmerism and describes using it to become an early riser.

I liked this piece because I love repetition. Sometimes I puzzle over why I'm so happy to live another  day composed of the same elements, so I'm interested in the suggestion that repetition itself is mesmerizing. I've had some success introducing new elements — notably breaking up the morning writing with a venture outdoors at sunrise.

"Good. Beto O'Rourke was abysmal in the debates. It seemed like he wasn't thinking through what he was saying about issues like gun bans and tax exemptions for churches."

"Once the consequences of his statements were pointed out to him, he seemed weak and confused. Beto will join Scott Walker, the Republican former governor of Wisconsin, in showing that a politician who makes a big splash in their own state can't necessarily transplant their local star power onto the national stage."

My son John reacts to Beto O'Rourke's dropping out of the presidential race.

Did Beto make a big splash in his home state? He never held statewide office. The most you can say is he lost a Senate race by a narrower margin than in other recent Texas Senate races. Scott Walker was a 2-term governor who made huge changes and set off an immense protest (and a recall election). And Scott Walker dropped out of the presidential race — I think! — because Jeb Bush dominated the fundraising. Walker started out making a big impression, and if he'd had access to money, he might have had a chance. Also, Walker had to outshine Trump to look like a star on that stage. Who did Beto have to outshine? The Democratic candidates are all pretty dull compared to Trump.

"Are you me? Are you me?! For Halloween?"

"Despite its usage by academics and cultural influencers, 98% of Latinos prefer [terms other than 'Latinx'] to describe their ethnicity."

"Despite its usage by academics and cultural influencers, 98% of Latinos prefer other terms to describe their ethnicity. Only 2% of our respondents said the label accurately describes them, making it the least popular ethnic label among Latinos. Some have speculated that 'Latinx' resonates with women and Latino youth. We found no evidence of this in our study. While Latinos’ preferences for other labels vary by age, the limited appeal of 'Latinx' is consistent across generations and genders....  Paradoxically, ad agencies and political campaigns that believe they are being trendy by using the term may be alienating or confusing the voters and consumers with whom they are attempting to build meaningful connections."

From "Progressive Latino pollster: 98% of Latinos do not identify with 'Latinx' label" (ThinkNow).

Frenchface again?!!



(If you missed yesterday's discussion of Frenchface, it's here.)

An impeachment trial would help Joe Biden — because Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Cory Booker would all face the obligation to do their job as Senator.

I'm reading "Could a Long Impeachment Trial Derail the Senators Running for President?" by Ed Kilgore (in NY Magazine).
An impeachment trial doesn’t allow for time off to do campaign events: The Senate rules require that once the trial begins, it must stay in session six days a week...

[T]he current Senate rules compel virtual silence from senators during the trial itself... [A]ll senators get to do is to send written questions to be posed by the House managers or the president’s attorneys, and then stand up and vote “guilty” or “not guilty” when the deal goes down.... McConnell … warned that senators won’t be allowed to speak because they are jurors....

[An impeachment trial] could be a boon to non-senators — particularly Joe Biden, who can bloviate to his heart’s desire about the lessons he learned on impeachment and all the issues involving Trump during his 44 years as a member or presiding officer of the Upper Chamber....

[F]or senators who want to be president, knowing that Mitch McConnell and his troops will get the final say on some of the most crucial questions of timing and procedure is like knowing that Satan gets one final shot at your soul right there at the Pearly Gates.
As noted 2 posts down, the Senate could just entertain a motion to dismiss, vote "yes," and avoid the trial altogether.

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Cory Booker could all just go ahead and vote a dramatic and outraged "NO!!!" and the motion would still pass, relieving them of the burden.

Maybe burdening those presidential candidates is a good strategy for the GOP, good enough to make the GOP want the trial. There are other reasons for the GOP to want to do the trial — to vindicate Trump and make the Democrats look as awful as possible. But one of the arguments the GOP is making now is that the congressional Democrats are not getting anything done because of their foolish pursuit of impeachment. That's a reason for the Senate Republicans to act fast and move on to something else. Yes, I realize the Democratic House will resist anything the Republican Senate passes, but that will bolster the characterization of them as "do nothing" Democrats.

Running/simplicity/immigration.

A NYT video:

"The Pelosi impeachment resolution was supposed to deprive the GOP of its complaint that the process wasn't formal. Instead, it formalized a rigged process..."

"... and gives Republicans a solid rationale for rejecting the entire proceeding. Democrats gripe that the GOP refuses to talk about the substance of the case against the president. But it is Democrats who have made that impossible, given the secrecy and one-sided approach. Due process is at the heart of America's system of ordered liberty, and the 'evidence' Democrats are secretly compiling in the basement of the House is already soiled. That's why every House Republican -- even vulnerable ones -- felt confident in voting 'no' on Thursday's resolution. Republicans pointed out that even as Democrats were claiming the vote meant 'transparency,' Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff was holding another closed hearing, to which most of the House and the president's legal counsel weren't privy. 'Democrats cannot fix this process,' said House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney after the vote. 'This is a process that has been fundamentally tainted.'"

Writes Kimberly Strassel in "A Partisan Impeachment Vote" (WSJ). She notes that when the House impeached Bill Clinton, there was a motion to dismiss in the Senate. The motion was voted down, so the Senate went on to conduct its idea of a trial, so the Democrats established a precedent for a motion to dismiss, and — Strassel says — the GOP majority in the Senate could vote yes on such a motion in the Trump case, based on the unfairness of the process in the House.

"Option 1: Maintain our current system, which will cost the country $52 trillion over ten years... Option 2: Switch to my approach to Medicare for All, which would cost the country just under $52 trillion over ten years."

Elizabeth Warren explains the math.

ADDED: I don't know — and don't believe anyone could know — if the numbers will work out that neatly. Even if you pick an option and let the 10 years pass, you couldn't know, because you don't run the real-world experiment on the other option. Of course, everyone knows this. You still have to pick.

But let's assume for the sake of analysis that the 2 options cost roughly the same. Another way of putting this, is let's imagine the thought processes of an American voter who completely accepts the premise that the 2 options consume the same amount of money. Why would this person pick Option 1?

I think it would go something like this: I and my loved ones are on track to get a pretty decent share of the $52 trillion in health care services that will be provided in the next 10 years. I know everyone deserves access to health care, but I think there might some big groups of needy people — including people who are migrating to our country — who will be taking a lot more if we switch to Option 2, and my hopes and expectations, which I've built up over a lifetime, will not be met.

That is, even if the same amount of money is spent either way, there's an instinctive fear that if the money is amassed centrally and redistributed, you'll be worse off.

I'm not an economist or an expert on health care, and I haven't read the entire Elizabeth Warren document, and I probably never will. I loathe the subject of finance, and I respect it enough to refrain from offering half-assed opinions on the subject. All I am attempting to discuss is the instinctive emotional reaction to "socialized" medicine. And I'm saying that as someone who has always assumed that a single-payer system would be better and would save money.

ADDED: My thought experiment, above, includes wondering about health care for all the migrants who are continually arriving in the country and who would, presumably, arrive in greater numbers in a Warren administration. Warren's plan does say something about immigration.
I support immigration reform that’s consistent with our values, including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and expanded legal immigration consistent with my principles. That’s not only the right thing to do – it also increases federal revenue we can dedicate to Medicare for All as new people come into the system and pay taxes. Based on CBO’s analysis of the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, experts project that immigration reform would generate an additional $400 billion in direct federal revenue.
That is, the immigrants won't cost more. They'll provide more revenue.

"Scientists and genetic counsellors say that these unregulated tools can harm individuals and society, by causing anxiety, unnecessary medical expenses, stigmatization and worse...."

"The test 'is not grounded in science. It is not predictive. It won’t tell you anything,' says Benjamin Neale, a geneticist at the Broad Institute and an author of the Science analysis. He and his colleagues examined the DNA of around 475,000 people and found several genetic variations loosely correlated with people who said they'd had sex with someone of the same sex at least once. But none of the variants was so prevalent that the researchers could use them to predict a person’s sexual identity.... [The app's creator Joel] Bellenson says that there are much simpler ways of discovering a person's sexual preference, such as looking at their social-media accounts. 'The idea that a government would need a DNA test to figure out if someone is gay is ridiculous,' he adds.... [He] says he whipped together his app in a weekend. He knew enough about genetics and computer programming to write an algorithm, and find a home for it online. 'Genetics and bioinformatics is so mature,' he says. 'Academia can no longer control it.'"

From "Controversial ‘gay gene’ app provokes fears of a genetic Wild West/Debate highlights broader concerns about tools that use the results of direct-to-consumer genetic testing" (Nature).

November sunrise — with bird and plane.

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The long view:

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"As President, I will always be there to help New York and the great people of New York. It will always have a special place in my heart!"

Tweeted President Trump, announcing his new domicile...
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House, is the place I have come to love and will stay for, hopefully, another 5 years as we MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, but my family and I will be making Palm Beach, Florida, our Permanent Residence. I cherish New York, and the people of New York, and always will, but unfortunately, despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year, I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse. I hated having to make this decision, but in the end it will be best for all concerned. ...
He expresses love for the city and the people, but not for the political leaders (at the city and state level).

Trump didn't go so far as to say that no one has been treated worse than him. I wonder who are the "few" who've been treated worse by the city/state leaders (in his mind and in reality). I tried to think, and I thought of a victim of police brutality, but police officers, though they wield the power of government, are not "political leaders." The answer should have to do with the deliberate use of the highest power of government to torture and destroy a good person because of good things that he has said and done.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responds on cue:
"Good riddance. It's not like Mr. Trump paid taxes here anyway. He's all yours, Florida."
I think Cuomo is commenting on a pending criminal investigation of Trump. From a recent news report about that (in Reuters):
In August, Vance, a Democrat, subpoenaed Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns from 2011 to 2018, and other records from the president’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA. The subpoena is part of a criminal probe into Trump and his family business. The scope of that probe is not publicly known. Trump sued Vance’s office in Manhattan federal court to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, he cannot be subject to criminal investigation....
Using the criminal law to pursue a citizen is a very serious matter. Cuomo should not be making a pronouncement about the facts in that case. Aside from that, there's the implication that those who hold political power and purport to represent you really only want you so they can get tax money from you. Even if the political leader only cares about the economic value of its citizens, they should see the contributions that people make aside from the money they send to the government. Most of the positive value people provide to their community comes in a form other than tax money. Cuomo's insult to Trump is an insult to all New York citizens, many of whom don't pay much in taxes, but who do good things that benefit each other and make New York great... if New York is still great... make New York great again...

October 31, 2019

Snowy walk...

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Trump is hilarious, but the people who hate him are totally cut off from the fun.

It's kind of sad. I'm reading Poppy Noor in The Guardian, "Trump’s joke about Melania is just one of their many awkward moments/Trump is said to have joked about the state of his marriage – the latest chapter in the strange spectacle of their relationship."

Trump was doing a fundraiser and got to talking about Steve Scalise, the Republican Congressman who got shot.
But then he came out with this gem of a line: “[Scalise’s wife’] cried her eyes out when I met her at the hospital that fateful day … I mean not many wives would react that way to tragedy, I know mine wouldn’t.”

We can only guess that Trump said this in jest, of course. But that line can be read in so many ways that soon, it was an online talking point for people eager to share their views on his and Melania’s relationship.

Maybe he is saying Melania Trump hates him so much she wouldn’t even cry at his funeral. Maybe he’s saying that after all the strain that their marriage has gone through, she has no more tears left to give? Maybe he was genuinely being funny. Who knows?
People who don't hate him know. It's obvious to me. He was paying attention to Scalise and being super-nice to him, then he said that Scalise's wife was crying. Virtually all wives can be expected to cry profusely when their husband gets shot, so he hadn't really said anything special about her yet. He could have spoken realistically and said, "Of course, she's his wife, she's going to cry, all wives would cry." Instead, hilariously, he flipped it into the absurd and said what's plainly untrue, "Not many wives would react that way to tragedy." The "to tragedy" makes it clear he's being silly. It's a tragedy, so you cry. Duh. But he said not many wives would cry. Then, soaring into the stratosphere of absurdity, he said, "I know mine wouldn’t." That's funny because it's daring and it's self-effacing and it's wildly vaunting Scalise's wife for loving him so much (even though she really only did what all wives do).

But to Trump haters it's an occasion to talk about how Melania must hate Trump.

Now, I will give Poppy Noor credit. She's funny in her own way. She's collected videos of Melania avoiding kisses and hand-holding with Trump. There's some nasty fun in looking for evidence that a married couple actually hate each other. I'm not saying Noor has no sense of humor. I'm just saying I feel a little sorry for the people who are missing out on Trump's hilarity. And it's not just that they aren't getting some great and unusual laughs. It's that they're undermining their own capacity to understand the very strange person who is our President. Even if you want to keep hating him, you should try to understand him. Don't dumb yourself down. You won't fight too well if you don't know your enemy.

More Halloween...

I don't know the characters!

I just got some kind of mouse with 2 big swords, and before that, some kind of thing with a white headpiece and some red I don't know what, and then there was a bear — I got that — whose companion was dressed as — apparently — a ceiling fan.

Halloween is hard for me now that I don't watch any kids' shows and movies and I don't know the video games

"A top National Security Council (NSC) official who listened to President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky testified to Congress today..."

"... that he did not believe Trump had discussed anything illegal during the conversation. 'I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,' former NSC Senior Director for European Affairs Tim Morrison testified today.... Morrison testified that Ukrainian officials were not even aware that certain military funding had been delayed by the Trump administration until late August 2019, more than a month after the Trump-Zelensky call, casting doubt on allegations that Trump somehow conveyed an illegal quid pro quo demand during the July 25 call. 'I have no reason to believe the Ukrainians had any knowledge of the [military funding] review until August 28, 2019,' Morrison said. That is the same day that Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chief anti-Trump inquisitor in the U.S. House of Representatives, disclosed on Twitter that funding had been held up. Although Schiff claimed that neither he nor his staff ever spoke to the anti-Trump whistleblower, The New York Times reported that the complainant, whom RealClearInvestigations identified as Eric Ciaramella, coordinated with Schiff’s office before filing his complaint with the intelligence community inspector general on August 12. While Schiff initially demanded that the anti-Trump complainant be allowed to publicly testify, he quickly changed course following the reports that he and his staff had secretly colluded with the whistleblower and then lied about the interactions."

From The Federalist.

That's quite an important time line!
July 25 — Trump talks to Zelensky
August 12 — Schiff coordinates with the whistleblower
August 28 — Schiff reveals that the funding to Ukraine is held up, and Zelensky (according to Morrison) first learns this fact

"In good years, snowy owls build nests out of dead lemmings."

"As you can see, they killed waaaaaaay more lemmings than they could possibly eat and basically decided to build houses out of them."

That's from 2014. I was just googling "lemmings" today. Don't ask me why.

Walking in the Halloween snow.



This morning at sunrise.

Tagg Romney's son dresses up as Pierre Delecto for Halloween.


Funny. I laughed. But then I wondered: If blackface is wrong, is Frenchface wrong?

I asked the internet, and the first thing that came up was "Why it’s not okay to wear Frenchface (ever)" by kpopalypse (a blog about K-pop). A highly amusing read:
We’ve all seen it – k-pop idols wearing berets and hanging out in cafes, posing with antique furniture or standing around on rustic-looking street corners to give that “I’m a French person in Paris being all French and stuff” vibe....

It’s incredibly offensive because it is a caricature of a French person, meaning it exaggerates the French form to reinforce racist perceptions. Historically it has been used to perpetuate the fallacy that the French are an inferior beret-wearing cafe-frequenting too-lazy-to-go-to-war race....

Starting in the early days of cinema, non-French actors performing in movies would wear berets and hang around in cafes to impersonate French people and act out these racist stereotypes of French people. These movies were enjoyed by non-French people who wanted to dehumanize French people so they could continue to view and treat them as less than human....

Okay, look… I’ll be honest. When I was younger… I was really racist and would make racist jokes about French people in school all the time. In home group in class I’d wear a fake moustache and act like I was sipping a coffee or something and put on a fake French accent while we were waiting for the teacher. The whole class laughed at the time, and we all thought we were being hilarious, but since then I became all “woke” and stuff and now I realise that what I did was wrong....
CORRECTION: This post originally identified the guy in the costume as Tagg Romney. It's Tagg Romney's tweet, but the guy into the photo is his son Thomas.

"Are we really going to run an ad that claims Kamala Harris ran dog fights out of the basement of a pizza place while Elizabeth Warren destroyed evidence that climate change is a hoax and the deep state sold meth to Rashida Tlaib and Colin Kaepernick?"

The famous screenwriter Aaron Sorkin imagines the Facebook chief operating officer saying to Mark Zuckerberg. From "An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook isn’t defending free speech, it’s assaulting truth" (NYT).

The funniest part of the op-ed is all the corrections...
Correction: Oct. 31, 2019
An earlier version of this article misstated the year in which "The Social Network" was released. It was 2010, not 2011. The nature of the major lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker was misstated. It was an invasion of privacy lawsuit, not a defamation suit. In addition, information about Americans' use of Facebook as a news source was misstated. In 2018, over 40 percent of Americans said they got news from Facebook; it is not the case that half of all Americans say that Facebook is their main source of news.
I'm sure Sorkin thought he was writing true things and the NYT editors let it by. That conveniently shows why Facebook doesn't want to take responsibility for the truth of all the ads. It's too hard! And trying to do it gives the false impression that you've done what you've set out to do. That could be more anti-truth than standing back and announcing that we're not checking anything so smarten up Facebookers, because you're on your own.

2 Democrats voted "no" on the Democrats impeachment-legitimatizing effort, and no Republicans voted "yes."

Thanks to those 2, but who were they and why did they do it? I'll read "2 Democratic defectors join GOP in voting against Trump impeachment resolution/Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the unusual step of presiding over the House during the vote, which passed largely along party lines." (NBC) Largely along party lines... ha ha. It was completely along party lines... except for those 2 guys — both Democrats.

There's Jeff Van Drew, who represents New Jersey's 2nd congressional district, which is southern New Jersey. His district went for Trump in 2016 and for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Van Drew won that seat after a 12-term Republican retired. There was a 10-term Democrat before that Republican.
[After the vote], he released a statement... "Without bipartisan support I believe this inquiry will further divide the country tearing it apart at the seams and will ultimately fail in the Senate....”

The sunrise photograph where you can't see the sun, you can't even see the opposite shore of the lake.

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It's Halloween and it's really coming down.

The path:

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"The vote is on a resolution that would set rules for the public phase of an impeachment inquiry that has so far been conducted exclusively behind closed doors."

"It would authorize the House Intelligence Committee — the panel that has been leading the investigation and conducting private depositions — to convene public hearings and produce a report that will guide the Judiciary Committee as it considers whether to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump. The measure would also give the president rights in the Judiciary Committee, allowing his lawyers to participate in hearings and giving Republicans the chance to request subpoenas for witnesses and documents. But the White House says it still does not provide 'basic due process rights,' and Republicans complain that their ability to issue subpoenas is limited. They would need the consent of Democrats, or a vote of a majority of members. That has been standard in previous modern impeachments. The majority has the final say over how the proceedings unfold."

The NYT reports.

This is not the vote the Republicans have been demanding — that is not "a formal vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry," which is what happened in the cases of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. So the Democrats are doing some theater of voting out in the open today, but it's not the vote that accords with historical practice. It's not the vote the Republicans have been talking about. It's a vote about what the rules will be.

Of course, the House gets to make its own rules — that's in the Constitution — and the majority will win and get what rules they want and can get away with claiming for themselves. Apparently, the idea is to give the President's supporters nothing until the Intelligence Committee has finished its work. The Democrats apparently want the Intelligence Committee to produce a one-sided report, with any balance on the side of the President to come only after the matter is referred to the Judiciary Committee.

So the Democrats will be out in the open today, explaining to us Americans why that is fair and why that is about getting to the truth? How will that work out? Here's how the NYT puts it:
But Thursday’s vote indicates that Democrats, once wary of holding a vote on the issue, have now united solidly behind the idea.
Or they've heard enough criticism about their partisan, secretive ways and they're yielding to pressure to legitimatize themselves. The NYT's use of the phrase "a vote on the issue" hides the just-admitted reality that it's not a vote on the issue the Republicans demanded — the issue of whether to authorize the impeachment inquiry. It's a vote on procedural rules for continuing the inquiry. The difference in issues is obvious if you think of the consequences of a "no" vote. What would happen if there's a "no" vote on these rules? Things would continue as they've been going, right?
They believe it adds an air of legitimacy to the inquiry and gives them practical tools they will need to effectively — and quickly — make their case to the public. It is also meant to call the bluff of Republicans who have been arguing for weeks that the process lacks legitimacy because the full House hasn’t voted on it.
But it doesn't call the bluff because it's not a vote on authorizing the inquiry. The Democrats are trying to get something while playing it safe. They're trying to get our opinion of their legitimacy.

We'll see how that works out.

ADDED: The NYT gives a lot away in saying "They believe it adds an air of legitimacy..." Democrats are only trying for an air of legitimacy, not actual legitimacy. And right now, they see themselves as lacking even an air of legitimacy.

IN THE COMMENTS: Jake said:
Call the bluff?

How were the republicans bluffing?

Congratulations to the Nationals for winning the World Series.

Remember when the Brewers had them beaten in the Wild Card game and then the Nationals got that 2-out home run in the 8th inning? I was rooting for the Nationals after that, because I had a bit of the magical thinking that allowed me to feel: That was supposed to be us.

I see Washington, D.C. is jubilant and as long as I'm thinking magically, I'm going to hope that this day of joy will infuse those horrible Congresspeople who are going to come out into the open and take a vote on the impeachment inquiry today.

Oh, but just writing that, I can see that the high feeling could take the form of jazzed up hatred and jubilating at conquest.

(I'll do a separate post about what exactly they're voting on.)

October 30, 2019

This morning's sunrise.

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Time of photograph: 7:23. Actual sunrise time: 7:29.

I love the facial expression at 0:13. It's like: Oh, Joe, now you've done it.


Maybe he had a vivid flashback of hearing his parents copulating right there and the thought in his head was: Mother is not going to like this.  His mother is no longer with us, but you know how flashbacks are. Inside an old man's head, a departed mother can still give him that look, can still say "Now, son..."

Trump tweets "AMERICAN HERO!"

With this photograph:



Amusingly, this is getting attacked for being what it obviously is: photoshopped.

I'm seeing, for example:
Trump, bro, this is beyond gross. This is obviously photoshopped. It’s not even a meme or something funny to laugh at because the subject material is plausible for many people who do not examine the picture carefully and don’t notice the unnatural lines and silhouettes.
It's like they don't understand the internet.... They do, but as with everything else, when Trump does it, it's bad.

AND: Then there's the truly embarrassing confusion:
I've requested details from the @WhiteHouse on this photo. There was no such canine event on today's @POTUS schedule but there is a Medal of Honor ceremony set here for later today for an active duty Green Beret.
That's from a journalist, who proceeds to abuse a Medal of Honor winner:

Yeah, you've got a criticism, but you're kind of doing what you're trying to complain that Trump did.

"We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons..."

"A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money. While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions. Internet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale. These challenges will affect ALL internet communication, not just political ads. Best to focus our efforts on the root problems, without the additional burden and complexity taking money brings. Trying to fix both means fixing neither well, and harms our credibility. For instance, it‘s not credible for us to say: 'We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well...they can say whatever they want!' We considered stopping only candidate ads, but issue ads present a way to circumvent. Additionally, it isn’t fair for everyone but candidates to buy ads for issues they want to push. So we're stopping these too. We’re well aware we‘re a small part of a much larger political advertising ecosystem. Some might argue our actions today could favor incumbents. But we have witnessed many social movements reach massive scale without any political advertising. I trust this will only grow. In addition, we need more forward-looking political ad regulation (very difficult to do). Ad transparency requirements are progress, but not enough.... This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. It’s worth stepping back in order to address."

Tweets Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter.

Evoking Jesus, Obama said: "If all you're doing is casting stones, you are probably not going to get that far."

There's a lot of good in his call-out of call-out culture:



Some transcription at Business Insider:
"This idea of purity and you're never compromised and you're always politically woke and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly. I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, that the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people and that's enough. Like if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn't do something right, or used the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself because: 'Man, did you see how woke I was? I called you out.' The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids and, you know, share certain things with you. That is not activism. That is not bringing about change. If all you're doing is casting stones, you are probably not going to get that far."
I think the "casting stone" metaphor is a deliberate evocation of  John 8:

"Hillary Clinton emerged recently to claim, with no basis in fact, that I am being 'groomed' by the Russian government to undermine America...."

"I'm running for president to undo Mrs. Clinton's failed legacy. From Iraq to Libya to Syria, her record is replete with foreign-policy catastrophes. It's a primary reason why I resigned as vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2016 to endorse Bernie Sanders. Mrs. Clinton and the powerful media and political network she built up over decades have never forgiven this slight.... Those who are indebted to the war machine and the overreaching intelligence agencies, as well as their cheerleaders in the media, are determined to take me down because they know they can't control me. I'm directly challenging their power.... Democratic candidates adhere to [Hillary Clinton's] doctrine of acting as the world's police, using the tools of war to overthrow governments we don't like, wasting taxpayer dollars, costing American lives, causing suffering and destruction abroad, and undermining America's security.... Only when we recognize the failings of the past -- embodied by Mrs. Clinton and her minions in the media -- can we move forward to a future of peace, dignity, transparency and aloha."

Writes Tulsi Gabbard in "I Can Defeat Trump and The Clinton Doctrine" (Wall Street Journal).

She's less of a contrast to Trump... but that could be a good thing. Why do the Democrats want a candidate who advocates our acting as the world's police and overthrowing governments we don't like?

Cute and fun-loving but connected to Trump, so it must go to hell.


Seems mildly nice, but here's where it goes — reported by The Daily Mail — "Even Presidential plane food is bad! Photo of a deeply unappetizing-looking dish served on Donald Trump's Air Force One goes viral/A photo of a meal served to journalists travelling on Air Force One has gone viral/Snap shows an innocuous stuffed bell pepper with a Halloween face - but it is the unidentified object on a side-plate behind it that has caused a storm/Beige-looking dish has sparked jokes galore, with some suggesting the President himself would not eat it."

ADDED: I think the journalist who took the picture was experiencing it as cute and fun, but by tweeting it, she gave the tweetosphere something to shit on, so, of course, they did.

The item in the background is something to puzzle over. If you decide it's meat, it seems gross and it's the main course so if you don't eat it you're deprived. If you decide it's a glazed pastry, it's just at worst a caloric dessert that's easy to pass up and no loss at all.

IN THE COMMENTS: Big Mike said:
I ate worse-looking than that when I was in the army! You should see what chipped beef on toast looks like at 0 dark thirty!
I said:
My parents — who met in the Army in WW2 — often served us chipped beef on toast for dinner back in the 1950s and 60s. We loved it! If you know how to make white sauce properly and you can get that chipped beef that used to come in a little jar with a pry-off lid and you toast up just normal white bread, it's excellent!
AND: As long as we're talking about chipped beef on toast, here are the 3 Stooges in "Of Cash and Hash." Go to 4:26 to skip the set-up and focus on the food. Larry is serving a customer at a diner:

"'In the beginning, especially, sometimes Americans would come in S.S. uniforms, and it was always a big, big problem,' said Alain Rappsilber, a chimney sweep..."

"... and a Folsom board member who described himself as 'kink-free.' (When asked his profession, he emphasized that being a chimney sweep was 'not a fetish, it is actually my job.') The ban on Nazis appeared to be more widely respected this year than the prohibition on nudity and public sex, which became more loosely observed as the crowd got drunker and the afternoon turned to evening. Organizers said the people who act out each year tend to be tourists. 'Here in Berlin, people don’t need to go crazy because it is normal for us to have a beer in public or to walk around and see someone’s uncovered backside,' said Mr. Ruester, the festival co-founder."

From "Classical Music and Fetishes Unite in Historical Center of Gay Culture/Folsom Europe, a five-day festival of concerts and street parties, celebrates gay life, the leather scene and hard-won freedoms in Berlin" (NYT).

(Folsom is the name of a street in San Franciso, there's a Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, and that's why this is Folsom Europe.)

"Have we ever had a president before this one who so disdains the advice and policies of those who have spent their lives working for the government he leads?"

"Have we ever had a chief executive who is so skeptical of the judgments of career diplomats and military leaders, who rejects the advice of top intelligence leaders, who trusts his family more than those with a lifetime of experience? Yes we have. And his name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy.... Throughout Kennedy’s presidency, he came more and more to distrust the received wisdom of the 'permanent government' or 'deep state' or 'military-industrial complex' or whatever term seems apt today. In his case, that skepticism may have saved the planet from nuclear annihilation.... [I]n the reflexive rush to criticize Trump, we risk forgetting the lesson of the Kennedy years: There is danger in relying too heavily on the 'wisdom' of the elders. A president with a well-honed resistance to the certainties of experts and a strong sense of history can be a crucial protection against disaster..."

From "When JFK Was Trump/In the rush to criticize the current president, we risk forgetting the lesson of the Kennedy years: There is danger in relying too heavily on the 'wisdom' of the elders" by Jeff Greenfield (in Politico).

"He’s been changing the lyrics 'I’m not here to turn atheists into believers' to 'We’re here to turn atheists into believers."

"The idea that Vindman would have grown up with any sense of fealty to the Ukrainian volk is patently absurd, not only because he and his twin brother are clearly ardent American patriots..."

"... who have committed their lives to this country’s service but because I have yet to meet a single Jew who came to America from the Soviet Union who feels any kind of personal or historical tie beyond any relatives who might have been left behind."

From "Vindman is a Jew, Not a Ukrainian, Mr. Duffy/A loaded charge" by John Podhoretz (at Commentary).

I'm reading about attacks on Vindman, but let's look at why Vindman matters. I'll read "White House Ukraine Expert Sought to Correct Transcript of Trump Call/Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, who heard President Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president and was alarmed, testified that he tried and failed to add key details to the rough transcript" (NYT).

Excerpt:
The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter.

Colonel Vindman, who appeared on Capitol Hill wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military medals, told House impeachment investigators that he tried to change the reconstructed transcript made by the White House staff to reflect the omissions. But while some of his edits appeared to have been successful, he said, those two corrections were not made.

Colonel Vindman did not testify to a motive behind the White House editing process.
So there's the old question of whether the transcript is completely reliable and the new questions about the importance of these 2 things that were (allegedly) said but left out.
The phrases do not fundamentally change lawmakers’ understanding of the call...
Okay, then it's only about how complete and reliable the transcript is. It's reconstructed and not verbatim. But there's no new material from Vindman that matters. Vindman is only useful for the proposition that not everything is in the transcript, and then, I presume, the idea is to add in things that do matter from others who unlike Vindman, did not listen into the conversation but only heard about it second hand (or third or fourth hand). That feels quite tenuous.

If there was something important that was left out, why isn't Vindman the one to tell us about it? You have to say that he was troubled by what happened to trouble him and though that turns out not to be important, there were other things that were important but that just didn't happen to trouble Vindman, and here's a second/third/fourth-hand witnesses who can tell us about that.

I'm skeptical because I assume that things would tend to become more troubling as they are retold, remembered, and retold again.

"Katie Hill was taken down by three things: an abusive ex, a misogynist far-right media apparatus, and a society that was gleeful about sexually humiliating a young woman in power."

"None of those elements would be here if it were a male victim. It is because she is female that this happened.... Women are just so much more available for slut-shaming and victim-blaming. They face the terror and the fear and the gossip in a way that men generally just don’t.... [Hill says she resigned because] she was scared of what her abusive ex might do next.... Aside from the humiliation, being made into a national spectacle, she’s still dealing with somebody who is hell-bent on her destruction."

From "Revenge porn drove Katie Hill out of Congress. Would that have happened to a man?/She was taken down by people ‘gleeful’ about sexually humiliating a young woman in power, says lawyer Carrie Goldberg" (The Lily at WaPo).

ADDED: Compare "Katie Hill: Victim or Victimizer?/One misdeed does not negate another" (Commentary):
Hill has repeatedly (and without any evidence) claimed her husband has “abused” her.... She also denounced the political opponents who “happily provide a platform to a monster,” claiming her denouement came only as the result of a “coordinated effort to try to destroy me” and a “smear campaign” against her by the “right-wing media.” There are hints of Hillary Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy” rhetoric in Hill’s self-pitying claims and attempts to deflect attention from her own behavior by attacking those who made it public....

She is clearly the victim of whoever made public deeply private images of her.... But as for the implosion of her Congressional career, it wasn’t a patriarchal institution or a right-wing conspiracy that accomplished that: it was Nancy Pelosi....

A chastened Hill could have acknowledged her errors of judgment and poor behavior, resigned, and then advocated whatever causes she wants to as a private citizen. But by embracing victimhood and refusing to take personal responsibility, all while claiming to be the victim of a right-wing conspiracy against her, she doesn’t look like a bold and trailblazing young woman. She looks like a fool....

October 29, 2019

Morning snow pictures.

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Have you noticed that the term "Boomer" is now being used to refer to anyone at all old, including (at least) Gen Xers?

I was alerted to this evolution of language by this Tik Tok I saw yesterday:



I was reminded of that today when I saw this article in the NYT, "‘OK Boomer’ Marks the End of Friendly Generational Relations/Now it’s war: Gen Z has finally snapped over climate change and financial inequality." Generation Z has snapped and they've got a catchphrase "OK Boomer"...
Teens say “ok boomer" is the perfect response because it’s blasé but cutting. It’s the digital equivalent of an eye roll. And because boomers so frequently refer to younger generations as “snowflakes,” a few teenagers said, it’s particularly hilarious to watch them freak out about the phrase....
But that's not about just us official Baby Boomers, born before 1965. That's about way more older people, people born in the late 60s, the 70s, and maybe even the 80s.
In the end, boomer is just a state of mind. Mr. Williams said anyone can be a boomer — with the right attitude. “You don’t like change, you don’t understand new things especially related to technology, you don’t understand equality,” he said. “Being a boomer is just having that attitude, it can apply to whoever is bitter toward change.”
Anyone can be a boomer — with the right attitude.  "Boomer" is coming to mean something like "oldie." It's a taunt directed at the older generation, and these Gen Z people are probably thinking — as the Tik Tokker points out — more of Gen Xers. Their parents, not their grandparents.

If you look up "boomer" in Urban Dictionary, you'll see definitions that take account of this change in meaning. The second-highest-rated definition is:
A slang term for old farts who hate Millenials [sic] and act politically correct to get back at them.
Third-highest-rated:
A person over the age of 30 that likes 80s Rock and Monster Energy Zero Ultra, that wants things to go back to the way they were.
That's clearly Gen X (or even millennials).

Fourth-highest-rated is a long list, so I'll put it on page 2, but it comes right out and says you don't have to be in the "Baby Boom generation" to be called a "Boomer":

Obama and Trump, contrasted.

"Civility is a wonderful thing, when shared among equals. When people who have power require civility from those with less, or none, though..."

"... that demand is a cudgel, a weapon the haves use to keep the have-nots in line. When you’re confronted with evil, you don’t shake its hand or applaud it. If booing is incivility, bring it on.... The booing is fine. It’s my own reaction to the booing that troubles me — the joy I took from Mr. Trump’s pain and the example it sets for my kids.... We — Democrats, liberals, progressives, the resistance... are supposed to be better than that. We’re supposed to be the party of the downtrodden and the less fortunate... For [the other side], the cruelty is the point. For us, kindness matters. When they go low, we go high. Except, it turns out, going low feels wonderful. More than that, it feels effective and proper and just... But another part of me worries about the price of pragmatism, and the way I felt, watching the ballpark video over and over, thinking not just I hope that works but I hope it hurt. If we’ve got to smear and slime and meme and mock our way to victory, who will we be after we’ve won? When does a necessary evil become just evil?"

From "Why Did It Feel So Good to See Trump Booed? When he goes low, Democrats are supposed to go high. Except, it turns out, going low feels wonderful" by Jennifer Weiner(at the NYT).

I'm giving this my "civility bullshit" tag not because it is civility bullshit — because it's not — but because it's close to my topic and I don't like tag proliferations. Here's why it's not civility bullshit. She is not telling the other side to be civil. She's critical of Trump's (supposed) incivility but isn't trying to get him to cut it out. It's assumed (wisely) that he will not. Nor is she saying everyone ought to be more civil, which is the most common civility bullshit that I've been saying is always about trying to get the other side to unilaterally disarm.

She's considering 2 options: 1. Her side should go ahead with the incivility (because the other side isn't going to stop), and 2. The unilateral disarmament of her own side (for the greater good or because it might work).

She concludes: "Maybe we can take a stand and do what’s necessary without discounting the cost; go low when it’s required without reveling in the other side’s pain, taking care we don’t get stuck down in the dirt." Is that #1 or #2? It's #1! But pay some respect to the virtuous road you're not taking (option #2) by taking care not enjoy the incivility you dish out. Think of yourself as that mythic grim parent spanking a child and asserting "This hurts me more than it hurts you."

Meanwhile, Trump openly enjoys his trash-talking. And I think it's rather obvious that having fun with it is more effective. Or do you think enjoying the evil/"evil" makes you villainous?

What's the solution to Weiner's incivility conundrum? Anti-Trumpsters should respond to his incivility with...
 
pollcode.com free polls

Snow run.

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Katie Hill shouldn't have resigned! She Frankened!

Get your Katie Hill background info by Googling "Katie Hill." I'm not into filling in on the details on this one. I think there's too much willingness to resign and get out of the way. You got elected by a set of people. Are they asking you to get out or are you letting members of Congress tell you to get out of their way? They're not you're constituents. Don't Franken!

ADDED: This is my first and perhaps only post about Katie Hill, but I've seen lots of talk about her in comments to my posts, and I responded to one of those comments, so let me front-page myself. I had a post about a WaPo column about Trump's supposedly horrible treatment of women (which began "Ew"). The commenter Leland wrote:

Emma Sulkowicz ("mattress girl") is back — back from a "political journey," back from listening to "centrists, conservatives, libertarians, and whatever Jordan Peterson is — various and sundry souls that Jezebel has canceled, whose names chill dinner conversation across progressive New York."

The Cut reports.

The journey started when...
Swiping through Tinder, a man she found “distasteful” super-liked her.... They began messaging, and she found him witty. “He was actually way more fun to talk to than any other person I matched with.”

Eventually, Sulkowicz stalked him on Twitter and realized that he was conservative — “like, very conservative.”... [S]he asked him to recommend one book to help her understand him, and he picked Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind. It’s a book that explains, in evolutionary terms, the human tendency toward political tribalism and the importance, in light of that, of learning from one another’s beliefs. She calls the book “mind-opening.” Its resonance with her new friendship did not escape her.

"I, personally, am not afraid of other people's freedom of expression. ... And I'm sorry if I hurt anybody. Etc., etc. Yada, yada, yada. Everything I'm supposed to say. PBLPPH!"

"What I can't figure out and what really interests me is why today feels different."

Wrote Annie C in the comments to my post, earlier this morning, "Today, I will reveal something that I have kept secret for 3 years — who got my vote for President, here in swing-state Wisconsin, in 2016." I'd said, "I've had my reasons for keeping my vote secret, but this morning, I woke up with the thought that I now have a very good reason to reveal it, because I have something specific to say, and I want to recommend something, and knowing how I voted will reinforce my recommendation."

What's different today is that yesterday Nancy Pelosi announced that there will be a vote in the House on Thursday on whether to "affirm" the impeachment inquiry. As you may be able to tell from my post on the subject — "Maybe they hope it will be voted down! Suddenly, House Democrats want a formal vote on impeachment" — I would very much like to see a "no" vote. As I've said many times on this blog, I think election results deserve respect, Democrats have failed to accept that they lost an election and that those who won deserve their victory and that those who were disappointed should be focusing on winning the next election, not undoing the results of the election they lost.

Democrats need to turn back from the precipice. They need to give up the drama and hysteria about Trump and show that they are more stable and responsible than Trump. A "no" vote on the impeachment proceedings will only happen if Democrats — some of them — have the sense to say "no."

I don't normally try to persuade anyone of anything here on this blog. I'm a distanced observer, a natural-born inhabitant of political territory I call Cruel Neutrality. I'm averse to politics, but I like to write about the political scene in my homeland, America — Wisconsin, America. The big swing state that might determine the outcome of the next election. And I might be the biggest blogger here. I once was. Who even keeps track now? Blogging is past its prime, or so they say. But there could be a renaissance of blogging. Blogging is independent and personal — blogging that is real blogging. Which is what I do.

So if anyone wants to listen to me, I have one thing I want to add, as I choose to attempt to persuade Democrats to vote "no" on the affirmation of impeachment inquiry. I want to tell what I have held secret for 3 years: I voted for Hillary Clinton.

I could not stand Hillary Clinton. I didn't want to disclose my vote because I hated having to vote for her. I didn't want to say it even though I endure heavy social consequences here in Madison, Wisconsin for not dispelling the possibility that I voted for Donald Trump. Hillary did not deserve my vote, and I did not want to show any public support for her. She did not earn my vote. She got it by default, because I could not vote for Donald Trump.

I could not vote for Donald Trump because the whole idea was completely weird and chaotic. That can't happen. You've seen that video montage of all the celebrities and politicians saying, "Donald Trump is not going to be President"...



That's how my brain felt on election day: No freaking way!!!

I like when things feel normal and practical and realistic. Remember "no drama Obama"? That's what I'd like to see from the government. Stability. Good sense. Regularity.

Could you just do that, Democrats? Is that too easy for you?! Do you admire Donald Trump? Are you trying to beat him at his game? Chaos. Weirdness. You pathetic imitators! His chaotic weirdness should have kept him from getting elected in the first place, but what happened happened. And now he is President, so he's inherently less weird and chaotic. There's the continuing strangeness of his being President. I still fall into a reverie now and then: How the hell did that happen? On perhaps 6 occasions, I have watched video of the election night coverage — the real-time recording that goes on for hours — as if to drive it home into my resistant brain that it really did happen. It wasn't just a crazy dream.

The people who voted for Trump are real. They are not despicable or "deplorable." They are voters in a democracy, and democracy — crazy though it is — is our beloved system here in the United States of America. We're wedded to it, for better or worse, and I'm trying to make the best of it. There's some wild excitement and there's some serious work to be done. I don't want any more chaos than is needed to claw through the days to the next election. Let's have an election, not a kooky congressional extravaganza. I need Pelosi and Schiff and these various Congress critters to shrink back into their place and let the presidential candidates have the stage. Let's be normal.

I am not a Trump fan. I voted against the guy. I have voted in 12 presidential elections, and in 9 of them, I voted for the Democrat. In the 21st century, there have been 5 presidential elections, and I've voted for the Democrat in 3 of them. There have been 2 Presidents in the 21st century who have won twice and neither of them did I vote for twice. I am a true swing voter (in a swing state). All I want is a very competent, reliable, sensible, good person who can handle the presidency. I don't want your ugliness and hysteria. I don't want to see my fellow citizens cranked up into a frenzy. The very reasons I voted against Trump are getting cooked up into reasons to vote for him — by you, you idiots.

But this week, you have a chance to turn back from your crazy ways. It won't take all of you. Just some of you. Please, House Democrats, please vote "no." Stand down and let us get back to the 2020 presidential campaign. Surely, some of you still believe that elections matter and elections must be the norm in America. The rest of you seem as though you've already given up and ceded the 2020 election to Donald Trump. That's how I will interpret a "yes" vote on the impeachment, a disclosure of your consciousness of 2020 loserdom.

Sunrise in the snow.

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ADDED: At the actual sunrise time 7:29, it looked like this:

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Thick clouds at the "horizon" make the sun invisible. I had to look at my phone to see the time. Nothing broke through. The minutes before and after sunrise were similar. The most interesting thing was how activated the seagulls were this morning. The photo at the top of the post is from 7:57, after the configuration of the clouds changed and after I waited for the sun to get behind some clouds so it wouldn't blow out the camera.

The modest, gentle art of finishing the needlework of others.


Via "‘I had to buy it and finish it’: Why 1,000 people offered to crowd-stitch the quilt of a dead woman none of them knew" (WaPo).
Shannon Downey... said it’s a personal code she lives by, and hopes that when she dies, someone will collect any of her unfinished crafting projects and complete them....

“I am a crafter who finishes projects,” Downey said. “I live with this bizarre fear I’ll leave behind a project and be in project purgatory forever.”...

"I did not expect this response,” she said. “Folks are totally willing to throw down and finish things."

"I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God. I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator."

"I DO NOT want the negotiations for my release to be your duty... know you would want me to remain strong. That is exactly what I am doing."

Wrote Kayla Mueller, quoted in "Kayla Mueller was a U.S. hostage killed in ISIS custody. The raid against Baghdadi was named for her" (WaPo).

I was happy to see this article and this kind of strong, true religion in The Washington Post. But the article, which went up yesterday afternoon, is not on the front page at the website now and not on WaPo's most-read list.

And it's dispiriting that the top-rated comment — quoting Kayla's mother ("I still say Kayla should be here, and if [President Barack] Obama had been as decisive as President Trump, maybe she would have been") — is:
Grief only excuses so much. Obama was not responsible for Kayla Mueller's death, either directly or through the sort of passivity her mother implies. Crediting the narcissistic, exploitative Trump with decisiveness is delusional.
There are many other comments in that vein, and I didn't read them all but I didn't see anything expressing awe at Kayla's saintly religious faith.

Today, I will reveal something that I have kept secret for 3 years — who got my vote for President, here in swing-state Wisconsin, in 2016.

I've had my reasons for keeping my vote secret, but this morning, I woke up with the thought that I now have a very good reason to reveal it, because I have something specific to say, and I want to recommend something, and knowing how I voted will reinforce my recommendation.

I have revealed all my other votes in the presidential elections of my voting life: 1972 McGovern, 1976 Ford, 1980 Carter, 1984 Mondale, 1988 Dukakis, 1992 Clinton, 1996 Clinton, 2000 Gore, 2004 Bush, 2008 Obama, 2012 Romney.

Clearly, I'm a swing voter. Notice that there are 3 men on that list that I voted for once and voted against once. In 6 of the last 11 elections, then, there was a man I was capable of voting for and against. Carter, I voted against when he had not yet established that he was presidential material, and then I voted for him, when he had been a pretty bad President. That's because I thought Reagan was dangerously extreme. I voted against George W. Bush in 2000 because I'd settled into voting for Democrats and I didn't like the social conservatism, but I voted for him in 2004, because 9/11 happened and we were in the middle of a war. With Obama, I did the reverse, voting for and then voting against. I voted for because I thought his opponent was unprepared to handle the financial crisis. I voted against him because the congressional Democrats had overreached and because of the military disarray exemplified by Benghazi.

Maybe you can extrapolate what I must have done in 2016, but I have made a point of never telling you. And maybe you can figure out why today feels different to me and I'm going to reveal what I have held secret for 3 years.

First snow.

Seen in the dark...

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October 28, 2019

Maybe they hope it will be voted down! Suddenly, House Democrats want a formal vote on impeachment.

The NYT reports.

The vote will take place on Thursday, and it will be presented as whether to “affirm” the inquiry... which seems to say that they don't want to admit that they were doing it wrong, just asking for an affirmation.



Democrats are good enough. They're smart enough. And doggone it, people like them.

My first thought was, the Democrats are in trouble, they know the impeachment inquiry is dragging them down, and they want the vote to fail. But here's how Nancy Pelosi put it:
“This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the president and his counsel.... We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives."
In other words, the procedural arguments are damaging and distracting, and they want to knock them out of the picture.

If you keep reading the article at the link, you get to "an earlier version of the story," which begins: