December 7, 2019

At the Saturday Night Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

And please consider using the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

The photo shows a western view, 3 minutes after the official sunrise time.

"[M]oderate Democrats are worried that liberals in their own party are going to put forward articles of impeachment that are hard to vote for and even harder to explain voting for..."

"Democrats in politically difficult districts tend to favor writing charges that most closely hew to the Ukraine affair and might be most easy to explain to voters, while lawmakers from more solidly Democratic turf are feeling more adventurous and tend to want to reach out toward former special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe and other matters.... 'Judiciary’s not really reaching out to the people' whose political fates could rest on their impeachment votes, one senior Democratic aide close to party moderates said. 'There are 31 Democrats who are going to have to live, breathe and die this vote for the next year.'... Meanwhile Republican-aligned outside groups... have been trying to influence Democratic lawmakers by running advertisements and conducting polling in their districts..."

From "Why moderates are holding back on impeachment/Analysis: Some Democrats say they don't want to commit to articles they haven't seen" (NBC).

Phallic Outrage of the Day.

"7,700 people have lost their jobs so far this year in a media landslide."

Business Insider reports. Wow! If you're hearing a lot of desperation channeled at you through media, maybe it's the media's own pain.

At the link, there's a ton of specific detail about numerous media entities.

Elon Musk — sued for defamation by the man he called "pedo guy" — has won at trial.

CNBC reports.
In his testimony during the defamation trial this week, Musk apologized to [Vernon] Unsworth and said he did not believe the cave explorer was a pedophile....

Musk and his employees developed a device that they billed as a mini-submarine or escape pod, and which they thought could transport the [trapped Thai] kids out of the caves.... After the rescue, Unsworth was asked during a television interview on CNN about the mini-sub and Musk. He said Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts,” and viewed the escape pod as “just a PR stunt.” Lashing back, Musk called the caver a “pedo guy”...

Musk’s lead attorney, Alex Spiro, in closing arguments characterized Musk’s offensive tweets as merely insulting and not statements of fact.
He argued that "pedo guy" was just a slang way to say "creepy old guy."
Spiro also said that Unsworth was telling the court, “I’ve been horribly damaged. Pay me lots of money,” but then failed to prove he had been damaged at all. Referencing the fact that Unsworth had earned a little money for speaking engagements since the cave rescue, he asked, “You wanna award damages? How about one dollar?” And he implored the court not to engage in policing speech.

"A good number of today's college students have been taught that civility is a manifestation of America's white patriarchy designed to reinforce white racial power and bypass black grievances..."

"Using a seminar format to box students into civility might be viewed as a racist tactic to patronize students of color. Instead of saving civility, it might be best to let it rest in peace. In our age of identity politics, it is remarkable if students feel free to speak their minds regardless of group dynamics. Whether at a family dinner table or around a seminar table, those of us who are conservative or are deranged enough to admit that we prefer the Trump we know to the Democrats we fear generally keep our opinions to ourselves."

A letter to the editor at The Wall Street Journal, responding to the op-ed, "The Seminar Course Can Save Civility."

"Civility" is an elitist power move. I agree with that. I would love to have civility all around, and I try for civility myself, but I believe that calls for civility are always bullshit. The agenda of the caller for civility is always to keep his side in charge and to suppress the other. When the caller for civility sees an advantage for his side in going big and ugly, the civility principle will be treated as invisible or — if he's prodded — inapplicable.

"See? They're so desperate. They're like 'Oh, no! Nobody cares!'"

I say out loud when I click on the link Meade just messaged me from across the room: "Why care about the Trump impeachment? Your right to vote in free elections is at stake/The Trump impeachment is about protecting our freedom and right to vote from lawless foreign election manipulation invited by a dangerous president" by Laurence Tribe (USA Today)

Meade: "That demonstrates where the Democrats are: They've worked themselves into a real fear that if Trump is re-elected, there's going to be a dictatorship."

Me: "They don't really believe that. You think Tribe believes that?"

Meade: "Yes. And it comes down to the right to vote: We will lose our right to vote."

Me: "That's just how they scare the little people."

Meade tells me the real reason he sent me that link is because, earlier this morning, I made fun of a NYT columnist who wrote that he would "bet you dollars to doughnuts" that people will not be thinking about the impeachment when we get to Election Day. The columnist, Michael Tomasky, isn't that old. "He's 59," I said, "I'm going to assume he's adopting a cornball, folksy style because he knows it's a con."

In that light, Meade wanted me to see the same thing going on in Laurence Tribe's prose:
In principle, we care about the Constitution. In practice, not so much. The question is why citizens ought to consider this situation with unique seriousness while so many other daily concerns — raising a family, going to college, paying for health care — feel so much more pressing. The answer is one the Democrats urging the impeachment and removal of this president have a unique obligation to provide if they — all right, I’ll say it: we — are to succeed in our goal of protecting the Constitution from a president who doesn’t give two hoots about it, much less understand a word of it.
Two hoots is the dollars to doughnuts, here. It's a tell, in my book. But Tribe is 2 decades older than Tomasky, so he might come about the cornball, folksy style honestly. Also, "doesn’t give two hoots" is the most ordinary way to clean up "doesn’t give a fuck" or "doesn’t give a shit," so it doesn't show the same strain as "dollars to doughnuts."

I'll just end this by saying that I'll bet you bitcoin to cronuts that the vast majority of Americans don't give a fucking shit about lectures from lawprofs.

"'Britain's Most Famous Christmas Tree' Criticized For Looking Sparse, Droopy And Sad."

NPR reports:
The Norwegian city of Oslo has given a Christmas tree to decorate Trafalgar Square in Central London since 1947 and it is a popular attraction during the holiday season.... During World War II, the Norwegian king and his family fled to the United Kingdom after Nazi Germany invaded their country. "The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree is a gift from the Norwegian people as a thank you for London's aid during WW2 against tyranny. They have continued to send a tree as a symbol of our enduring friendship," officials said.

Saturday sunrise.


This is the kind of sunrise that you'll miss if you assume things will look best in the few minutes before and after the official sunrise time. I took that photograph at 7:06, which was 10 minutes before the official time. Stopping before beginning my run, I caught what was just about the high point, and after that the color faded by the second, with all the warm colors gone within the next 5 minutes. If you arrived 5 minutes before sunrise, you'd have seen only blue gray clouds covering everything.

"There appears to be an emerging consensus that the impeachment of Donald Trump won’t matter very much in November, 2020."

John Cassidy writes in "Impeaching Donald Trump Is Already a Win for Democrats" (The New Yorker), and I note the weasel words "appears" and "emerging" and the lack of specificity about the set of persons who are coagulating into this consensus.

Is he looking entirely at those who are hoping to steel the Democrats to get through this next phase?
“Impeachment will eclipse all for the next seven weeks. And then it will recede, and other events will supersede it as the election year moves on,” David Axelrod, the CNN commentator and former adviser to Barack Obama, commented in a Twitter thread on Thursday. 
That's already clearly untrue. Impeaching isn't eclipsing all. Just yesterday, the impeachment was eclipsed by good economic news, an act of violence, and Trump talking about toilets. If you can't even get the next day right, your assurances about the next year sound like made-up happy talk.
In a Times Op-Ed, Michael Tomasky, the editor of Democracy, wrote, “I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that when we pore over the exit polls next Nov. 4, impeachment itself will have been a minor factor in people’s voting, let alone the question of how many articles the House passed.”
Dollars to doughnuts? Is that anything like malarkey? I'm going to guess that Michael Tomasky is over 70, because I'm almost 70 and I've only ever heard "dollars to doughnuts" from people who seemed really old to me. I looked. He's 59. I'm going to assume he's adopting a cornball, folksy style because he's knows it's a con.
Axelrod and Tomasky are shrewd and experienced observers....
No, they're not shrewd and experienced observers. They're shrewd and experienced participants in political discourse, manipulators of opinion. They're not prognosticating because they're trying to get it right. They're trying to affect what happens and what people think.

Narcissist or self-deprecator? Trump talks about light bulbs that give you "an orange look. I don’t want an orange look. Has anyone noticed that?"

Ha ha. I love the twisted way he reconfigured what is used against him — his supposed narcissisism and his very real orangeness. I love the comedy of "Has anyone noticed...?" about something that everyone is always noticing and talking about.

The quote is everywhere, but I'm reading "Trump jokes that energy-efficient light bulbs make him look orange" (NY Post). It was a small business roundtable:
“They got rid of the light bulb that people got used to. The new bulb is many times more expensive and I hate to say it, it doesn’t make you look as good,” he said at the White House event. “Of course, being a vain person that’s very important to me...It gives you an orange look. I don’t want an orange look. Has anyone noticed that? So we have to change those bulbs in at least a couple of rooms where I am in the White House”...
The NY Post article doesn't include the railing against low-flow faucets and toilets, but that's included in this clip:

90,000 packages are stolen every day in New York City. 15% of deliveries in NYC don't reach their addressee.

The NYT looks at the various solutions NYC people are using to grasp at a chance of living in the modern America enjoyed by nonNYers.

You could luck out and have some saintly older lady in your building who accepts packages for all the residents.

You could pay for the services of businesses that will receive your stuff. Then you go there to pick up it (which could be more trouble than going to retail stores and buying what you need). The going rate seems to be $5 per package!

In a combination of those 2 ideas, there's a startup, sort of like Uber, where residents who are home all the time are matched up with people who need someone to receive your packages. The going rate still seems to be $5 per package, and that opens the way to a worse crime problem as vulnerable stay-at-homes open their door to strangers.

You could have your personal stuff delivered to your work place, mooching off your employer (such a problem companies are banning it).

You could get a much larger (locking) mailbox at your residence. And Amazon has its "Hub Lockers" where you could go pick up your stuff in their big locking boxes (but then you've got to travel to one of their places).

You could get one of those video doorbells and watch the theft. This is a good option if you're wondering what kind of people commit this crime. It can't be that the police will investigate. Maybe someday face identification software will make it easy to catch the thieves based on the doorbell video, but, no, they'll cover their faces, won't they?

Maybe it's sort of like the way it's not worth it to have a car in New York City. There's this modern convenience that people outside of the city love and won't do without, but you can get by without. Walk or take a bus or train or cab. People who don't live in NYC can't live like that. Ordering everything on line? Don't do it. Use the stores. Part of living in NYC is loving the things you can do that the nonNYers can't. Don't taint that good feeling with awkward efforts to do the things people easily do outside of NYC. The NYC tradition is to sneer at people who want to live in that nonNYC way.

(My basis for opining on NYC tradition: I lived in NYC from 1973 to 1984 and 2007 to 2008.)

December 6, 2019

At the Green Path Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want... and please consider using the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

I took that photo today in Morton Forest.

If you're wondering whether to care that John Kerry endorsed Joe Biden...

... there's this:

... and I remember exactly what got me started turning me against Kerry in 2004. From my elaborate self-analysis, "How Kerry Lost Me" (September 26, 2004):

"Downside of rep for investigative stories: called prominent dem politician involved in impeachment, whom I used to interview routinely. Instead heard from panicked comms dir..."

"... who said staff worried/politician refusing comment/punting to lawyer. I hadn’t yet said what it was about," tweets Ronan Farrow.

"My son is a big fan of Japanese anime and comics. One of his favorite characters is named 'One Punch Man.'"

"He's a regular looking guy with one amazing superpower: he can defeat any man or machine or monster with just one punch. In politics, however, there is no such thing as a 'One Punch Man.' The best one can hope for is a candidate who can withstand the inevitable blows that will come, while also being able to land a couple of punches on their opponents as well."

Writes Amy Walter in the last paragraph of "2020 Democrats Face Their Stress Test" (Cook Political Report), which talks about the importance of being able to take a punch and to punch back. As different candidates come to the fore — Biden, Warren, and now Buttigieg — each faces a "stress test." I've got to say that headline caught my attention because I misread it as 2020 Democrats Fail Their Stress Test. Aren't they all failing when they come into the spotlight and face their stress test?

Oh, wait, here, at Drudge... here's Biden stepping up for another stress test:

I don't know when that photo was taken, but the viral moment was his getting all pugilistic was some old guy who had the gall to ask him a question — how DARE you ask me a question! — at some town hall in Iowa yesterday.

The link goes to "Biden finally finds social media buzz with viral Trump video, voter spat" (Reuters). Well, yeah, anybody can get buzz by doing something awful.
"You're a damn liar, man," Biden told the man.... "No one has said my son has done anything wrong," Biden said. "Get your words straight, jack."... Biden... challeng[ed]  the man to a push-up contest or an IQ test - and appeared at one point to call him "fat."... A Biden campaign aide later said online that Biden had said "facts," not "fat."
He clearly said "fat," but I believe he intended to say "facts." It's just that he was looking at a man who was fat and he made one of those horrifying slips that we all hope we never make.

Now, people are interested in the Iowa man, who, it turns out is a former Marine and he's also 83, so that's 2 more reasons it was stupid for Biden to act like he wanted beat the hell out of him. The man is quoted in The Daily Mail:
"He [Biden] didn't have the guts to explain the situation, and that's what I wanted.... He got p**ed off and stomped around … I wish he had explained in a decent tone of voice why he got his son in that position over there and in my opinion he had no business whatsoever sticking his nose over there.... I am 83 and I know damn well I don't have the mental faculties I did when I was 30 years old... I know for a fact my mental faculties have slipped since I hit the 70s. I got a friend in New Hampton who is 105 years old and he can do push-ups, so it doesn't mean anything about how smart you are."

The Friday sunrise run.

1. In the car, waiting for Meade to join me for our morning outing, I listened to Bach's "Concerto for Flu"... you know, Bach's "Concerto for Flu"?


2. In the comments, Howard said, "What a Bum. Meade doesn't warm up the car for you? He better be fixing you bulletproof coffee or something." I had been up for 3 hours by that time (about 7 a.m.), and I had already had enough coffee. Meade was getting his first coffee of the day, and he probably would have preferred to have gotten to the car first, because he did not appreciate my style of driving, which he called "herky-jerky," because it splashed his coffee over the rim of the unlidded cup. Funnily, that happened at exactly the same place where his driving splashed my coffee out of its unlidded cup 2 weeks ago.

3. I've got other photographs to post here, but I took the time to put "Concerto for Flu" up over at Facebook, which — for its own reasons — quoted to me something I wrote exactly 3 years ago. It was interesting, because out on my sunrise run today, I was imagining someone asking me how I liked retirement, and my answer was simply I love the freedom and independence. Back then, I wrote: "I'm down to my last 3 classes. It's an interesting test of whether it's the right idea to retire. I could be thinking: Oh, no! I'll never do this again, I must savor the last few moments! But I'm not. I'm just in the usual mode of doing the same thing one more time. There are always new insights and unknowns and excitement about interacting with a group of students, but that I can see that I'd prefer to have my time free to read and talk about whatever I want at any given moment. And I prefer to have conversations with people who are talking to me because they're into doing exactly that — not as a means to an end or because it's required but because of its raw intrinsic value."

4. The northern view at 7:22 (actual sunrise time was 7:15):


5. If you got here a bit earlier, you'd have seen a different picture there at #4. I mixed up my pictures and mistakenly showed you the eastern — CORRECTION: WESTERN! — view at 7:32 (which was much more vivid!):


6. This eastern view is the classic sunrise orientation, and here's how it looked at 7:40 (with ducks and geese):


7. A glove ambiguously pointed the way:


8. The view of the Capitol at 7:24:


9. A view, looking north, at 7:26:


I don't know if it has anything to do with being Catholic, but Nancy Pelosi must know that it's the other party that is supposed to own the brand "hate."

Nevertheless, I will read the Karen Tumulty column in WaPo, "Nancy Pelosi and that four-letter word." Tumulty accepts the religious explanation for Pelosi's fury at the notion that she hates Trump — "those who know her well insist religious belief is at the core of everything Pelosi does." There's also this strange distinction:
Disgust, to a Catholic, is not the same as hatred....
Strange to me. I'm not a Catholic. Is "hate" a freakout word but "disgust" just fine? To me, disgust is worse than hate. Maybe. I'm not sure. Actions based on hate may be worse. The hater might act out in violence. Those whose insides roil with disgust — they shrink away, as from disease. If you disgust someone, you might count on them to stay away, but if they hate you, you're in danger. There's something so lowly about disgust.

Oh! Am I disgusted? Ha ha. But you see my point: What kind of person are you, if you feel disgust for other people? Isn't that the stuff of racism? Isn't that what makes you want to put half of your fellow citizens in a "basket of deplorables" where you won't have to see them?

Back to Tumulty:
Pelosi’s announcement that the House would proceed with impeachment was suffused with religion. “In signing the Declaration of Independence, our founders invoked a firm reliance on divine providence,” Pelosi said. 
She is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.

ADDED: The subject of disgust is profound, and I wanted to call special attention to the writings of Martha Nussbaum on the subject. Let me quote from "Back Talk: Martha C. Nussbaum/A conversation with the author of From Disgust to Humanity about various forms of opposition to gay equality" (The Nation, 2010). The subject at the time was gay people, and I presume the philosopher's ideas were not limited or unduly tied to that particular worldly concern, that the critique of "the politics of disgust" was not simply a means to the end of improving life for gay people.

Jonathan Turley writes that he was "a tad naive in hoping that an academic discussion on the history and standards of it might offer a brief hiatus from hateful rhetoric on both sides."

Hate! Don't say that word! Nancy Pelosi is a Catholic, and she freaks out at the word "hate."

Here — at The Hill — is Turley's reflection on his sojourn before the House Judiciary Committee. It's almost entirely a self-defense, because he's being attacked for contradicting things he said in testimony when Obama was President and when Bill Clinton was President:
Despite 52 pages of my detailed testimony, more than twice the length of all the other witnesses combined, on the cases and history of impeachment, [Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank] described it as being “primarily emotional and political.” Milbank claimed that I contradicted my testimony in a 2013 hearing when I presented “exactly the opposite case against President Obama” by saying “it would be ‘very dangerous’ to the balance of powers not to hold Obama accountable for assuming powers ‘very similar’ to the ‘right of the king’ to essentially stand above the law.”

But I was not speaking of an impeachment then. It was a discussion of the separation of powers and the need for Congress to fight against unilateral executive actions, the very issue that Democrats raise against Trump. I did not call for Obama to be impeached....

In my testimony Wednesday, I stated repeatedly [as I stated in my testimony during the Clinton impeachment] that a president can be impeached for noncriminal acts.... My objection is not that you cannot impeach Trump for abuse of power but that this record is comparably thin compared to past impeachments.... ... Democrats have argued that they do not actually have to prove the elements of crimes.... In the Clinton impeachment, the crime was clearly established and widely recognized.... [W]e are lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger.... 
There should have been a witness who did take the position that the President can only be impeached for criminal acts. Turley took a middle position, and perhaps he demonstrates the dangers of moderation. He's drawing distinctions that his antagonists can fail or decline to see.

I see there's a column at The Nation titled "The Republicans’ Star Impeachment Scholar Is a Shameless Hack/Jonathan Turley’s testimony was so inconsistent, it contradicted his own previous statements on impeachment." Elie Mystal writes:

Has Rush Limbaugh declined in the Trump Era? If so, is it because of Trump?

In the open thread here last night, Smerdyakov raised the subject. (Smerdyakov's Blogger profile gives no information about him, other than that he wants to be thought of as "the son of the reeking one.")

Here's Smerdyakov:
Is it me or is Rush losing his sense of humor over the this impeachment thing. Depressing, and I don't listen to Rush for that. And the half hour monologues about Papadapoulos and Mifsud every other day. He used to be a lot more entertaining.
Skylark responded:
Yeah, Rush has lost the movement on his fastball. I don’t listen to him to hear him rant like the guy in the bar, I listened to him for interesting analysis. He was always very good at that kind of stuff. Leave the ranting, fifes and drums and three cornered hats to Mark Levin and Hannity.
Narciso said:
Rush has been at this for 30 years, and he doesnt see it getting better, the most outrageous things get tractions and the things of value get derided.
Wild chicken said:
Yeah, Rush has lost the movement on his fastball He's gotten more shouty than before. None of the talk guys are much fun anymore.
It's the Era of That's Not Funny, but Trump is funny... maybe so funny (and shouty) that there's no room for anyone else in the game anymore. The contrast is lost, and Trump is so big, he blots out all competitors. I know Trump caused me to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh. I let my subscription to the podcast version of the show lapse, and I used to listen all the time. I can't say if he's declined in the Trump Era, that's why I'm reading these comments and trying to understand.

There are 2 more Rush-related comments in the thread. Limited Perspective said:
I can't listen to Rush anymore. He used to find interesting topics in the news, insight into politics and human nature with a sense of humor. Now when I tune in, it's all rants and the repetitive, repeat, repeat, repeat, of last month's rant. I guess everyone winds down in time. I did enjoy listening in the day.
He sees change. And rhhardin said something that I remember him saying from time to time in the past, not seeing change (and perhaps not listening lately):
Rush is popular for a larger-than-life persona, which is actually self-deprecating humor.

When he moralizes he's awful, because he can't do self-deprecation at the same time.

This has been going on for years, it being a question of a ratio, is all.
I'll do a little poll. If you haven't been a listener to the show in the Trump Era, you should refrain from participating. Do not vote just to express support or hostility for Rush!

Has Rush declined in the Trump Era? (Pick the answer that's closest to what you think (and don't answer if none are close).) free polls

UPDATE: Poll results:

December 5, 2019

The sun rose at 7:14 today.

I liked how it looked at 7:19...


... 7:20...


... and — with the sun stowed behind a tree trunk — 7:22:


Feel free to talk about anything in the comments, and please think of using the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

Just when Trump is calling the Democrats "crazy," we get some loonily angry outbursts from Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi.

Is this ludicrous theatricality as a cynical tactic to get attention in the Era of Twitter or are they really this unsteady and short on self-control?

MEANWHILE: There's some talk about making Trump crazy:

AND: Here's where Trump is calling them "crazy":

ALSO: It sure seems to me as though Biden calls that man "fat." Why is Biden yelling at that guy? He's asking a question that Biden should be prepared to answer briskly and soundly. There's zero reason to go off on the man.

PLUS: Biden did the same thing back in 1988 — challenged a citizen interlocutor to an IQ test:

2 TikTok selections for you.

"North Korea has threatened to redeploy its arsenal of formidable insults against Donald Trump, referring to him once more as a 'dotard' if he continues to use nicknames like 'Rocket Man' for Kim Jong-un."

"The threat, issued by the first deputy foreign minister, Choe Son-hui, has a serious undertone. The last time the two leaders were exchanging epithets, their countries were on the brink of conflict, and North Korea was conducting nuclear and long-range missile tests...."

The Guardian reports.

In the complicated emotional manipulation that was yesterday's lawprof hearing, one almost random thing stuck way out.

I can only guess what goes on in other people's head. It was hard enough for me as a law professor to understand how much law students were getting out of a discussion, and those were carefully selected participants who were supposed to have read a text that was exactly what we were talking about. But what did Americans get out of yesterday's hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, where professors jabbered all day, prodded by posturing politicos professors?

What would James Madison think of us right now, can you tell me, professor? How about Hamilton?, what does he think, because we care about what that guy thinks now because of the Broadway musical about him. Well, this is the most impeachable thing that ever came down the impeachment trail. If this isn't impeachable, then nothing is impeachable, and any President will be able to do anything and it won't be impeachable! On the contrary! If this is impeachable, then every President will always have to be impeached!

Ugh! Such a crazy clutter! I turned away, and I'm used to absorbing legal-ish stuff like that. It's no challenge to understand. For me, it's like reading a young adult novel. It's just a matter of whether I'd want to consume something on that level. But I'm a former law professor. I taught all the separation of powers materials they were talking about. And I'm old and have lived thought not just the Clinton impeachment hearings but the Nixon impeachment hearings.

So who am I to guess at what was going on inside 100 or so million heads? What, if anything, got from that hearing into the mind of the voter? Maybe mostly just a vague sense of reinforcement in whatever level of hostility or support they already felt for Donald Trump. But I think there was one thing that rose about the chaotic verbiage: The Child!

My Google search just now (click to enlarge and clarify):

"It’s always a constitutional crisis when liberals don’t get what they want."

Instapundit frontpages a comment.

That reminds me of something I wrote in 2018 and came back to last spring.

In August 2018, I'd run into a lawyer friend of mine who asked me whether I — a former constitutional law professor — was all excited about the "constitutional crisis."
What "constitutional crisis"? It seems to me the Constitution is in place, working as usual. There are some legal issues in play, but what's constitutional other than that some of the various actors in the drama have positions defined in the Constitution and obtained by normal constitutional procedures? It was assumed that I would excitedly spring into action because of this assumed "constitutional crisis," but my response was that I felt distanced from all the ugly divisions, though I thought some good might ultimately come from the crumbling of the 2 political parties. They were "getting what they deserve," I said darkly, adding, "We all are." That brought the conversation in for a landing, and as I walked on, I thought, What constitutional crisis? It isn't a constitutional crisis. It's emotional politics, a national nervous breakdown.
Last May, I quoted that and said "The phrase 'the constitutional crisis' must have been what everyone was talking about — what exactly was it back then? And these days we're hearing 'constitutional crisis' and what exactly is it now?" Yeah, what was it then? It was before the Ukraine phone call took place.

In the comments on that May post, David Begley started the thread with:
The Dems now claim we are in a constitutional crisis because they know that the Fake News will eat it up. Controversy generates readers and viewers. It also supports the “Trump is chaos” narrative.
And I said: "Too much wolf-crying. And who wants to believe they're chaos everywhere? That's not how the human mind works."

That can serve as my reaction to yesterday's hearing with the law professors, and it's why 3 other lawprofs urging panic, anguish, and quick, dramatic action were outweighed by Jonathan Turley's telling everyone to calm down:

December 4, 2019

The Wednesday Sunrise...

1. Sunrise today came at 7:13. The sky was clear, and I had made it out to my favorite vantage point 10 minutes before that, but I chose not to wait there for the sunrise, because I know the clear-sky sunrise well enough.

2. I looped back and caught this at 7:20:


3. The sun peeked above the obstructions at 7:22:


4. The lake isn't at all frozen yet, but there's this swale that's iced over:


5. I stopped to take this photograph as I ran along the shore:


6. I wanted that to compare with this photograph of approximately the same place on September 15th:


7. Without a photograph, it's hard to remember just how lush the path was in mid-September and how many flowers there were. When you see the place every day, the change is gradual enough to seem so gentle. The 2 photos together show a stark change in — what was it? — 80 days.

8. You could go around the world in 80 days, but you can also see a lot in 80 days of going around your own neighborhood.

9.  And so, I've continued my short tradition of making a 9-point list to go with my sunrise photographs, even though I had no special thoughts or conversations to relay. Please consider this post a cafĂ©, and feel free to discuss any subject, and please tolerate the continuation of my other tradition, reminding you to show your support for this blog by using the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

I thought the law professors would give a very somber, neutral-seeming presentation of what they would characterize as law.

I am surprised that they spoke so severely and stridently and launched right into stating conclusions, applying the law to the facts, and expressing these conclusions in a tone I'm used to seeing in the movies, where hammy actors argue to a jury.

I thought — as I said 2 posts down — the idea would be for the 3 law professors called by the Democrats to provide cover for the Democrats by performing the theater of making everything sound like law and not politics and by speaking in a tone that would feel academic and sadly, grimly inevitable.

But they came on so strong, righteously angry and in an exaggerated tone, making assertions that the things Trump did are impeachable. They did not work to establish our confidence that they were operating in a scholarly zone that was truly their expertise. They did not give us reason to believe we should listen to them as expert witnesses.

What an awful display! And I'm not even counting the motions for who knows what and the roll call votes (which seemed to be the GOP strategy for making the show as annoying as possible). The first 2 witnesses — Noah Feldman and Pam Karlan — scolded and yelled. Michael Gerhardt was a bit milder, but he mumbled and stumbled, and I couldn't believe he brought up the musical "Hamilton."

It was not at all the "constitutional law seminar" that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone decried. It was an unwatchable harangue.

The GOP witness Jonathan Turley stepped back and made an important argument: You need to be careful that whatever you do is going to set a precedent that will be used against future Presidents. Also (and this was quite apt after listening to Feldman and, particularly, Karlan): Everyone is too angry and this isn't the sort of thing we should be doing in a state of high hysteria. Turley bolstered his testimony by assuring us that he didn't like Trump and didn't vote for him. That, ironically, made him the least political of the set of 4 professors, but it isn't quite fair that there's no one on the panel to balance Feldman and Karlan and simply make a scenery-chewing pro-Trump argument.

That's funny, I'm going to wear my "Cruel Neutrality" top hat to my inauguration!

"Elizabeth Warren says she'll wear Planned Parenthood scarf to her inauguration."

If you're wondering whether I'm going to watch the big lawprof show today...

... the answer is I am going to try, but I'm not going to be your law professor, only your blogger, and we'll find out what that means.

My take on it, to start, is that the House Democrats are using their law professors to create a theater of principled neutrality, to waft the illusion that it's not partisan politics. I am certain the law professors know this, and it's most likely that these are the chosen law professors because they will play their role in grand style. The more the professors speak about law, the more it will be politics, ironically. But will that show at all or will they keep it leaden and serioso?

The House Republicans have their one professor, and he'll be performing in much the same way for the other side, I presume.

Just my working theory.

ADDED: I was wrong, and, oh, my lord, this is so much worse than I thought it would be. I need to turn away.

To hell with the potential all-white Democratic debate!

I'm reading "'It’s a shame': Castro, Booker blast potential all-white Democratic debate lineup after Harris drops out."

"Blast" is an old-timey euphemism, befitting a party whose front-runner says "malarkey."

I get out my OED. "Blast" means "To strike or visit with the wrath and curse of heaven." Selected historical examples:
1793 T. Hastings Regal Rambler 74 Leaving all the ladies below to blast or bless their eyes, no matter which.
1823 W. Scott St. Ronan's Well I. viii. 197 ‘As I think, he laid hands on your body...’ ‘Hands,, blast him—not so bad as that neither.’
1955 N. Marsh Scales of Justice ix. 209 ‘Damnation, blast and bloody hell!’ Alleyn said.
"Malarkey" is U.S. slang that means " Humbug, bunkum, nonsense; a palaver, racket. (Usually of an event, activity, idea, utterance, etc., seen as trivial, misleading, or not worthy of consideration.)" Selected historical examples:
1924 Indiana (Pa.) Evening Gaz. 12 Mar. 13/1 The rest of the chatter is so much malarkey, according to a tip so straight that it can be passed thru a peashooter without touching the sides.
1938 Down Beat Mar. 5/4 We've got to say to the recording companies..‘Cut out the Mullarkey and give us some down-home stuff!’
1958 Sunday Times 20 Apr. 31/1 I will only give you the politician's malarky about imponderables and changing circumstances.
Why, you might ask, are Cory Booker and Julian Castro the ones blasting the potential all-whiteness of the December debate? They have presented themselves as nonwhite.
“I’m a little angry, I have to say, that we started with one of the most diverse fields in our history, giving people pride,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).... “And it’s a damn shame now that the only African American woman in this race, who has been speaking to issues that need to be brought up, is now no longer in it.”
Booker has yet to qualify for the debate. The implication is you Democrats had sure as hell better get me into that debate or you're in immense trouble.
With the deadline to qualify days away, four white men and two white women have qualified so far, including former vice president Joe Biden, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, billionaire Tom Steyer, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who are both nonwhite candidates, each need one more good poll to qualify, whereas Booker, who is black, and former housing secretary Julián Castro haven’t hit 4 percent in any of the required polls. Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, who is black, entered the race Nov. 14 and also does not have any qualifying polls....
It must be so frustrating to Booker (and Harris) to see how many black people just really like Biden. Blond leg hair and all.

America is in a creepy downward spiral... or so it appears in this awful juxtaposition at The Washington Post.

At 5:29 this morning, I took the screen-grab of the right top corner of the WaPo website.

Everything is dead or dying. Everything is wrong.

Imagine hitting this animal with your car, stopping, and picking it up — thinking it's a dog — and laying it down in the backseat:

Oh, but is it not a metaphor for the election of Donald Trump?

"Footage appears to show world leaders joking about Trump at Nato summit" — ha ha ha... what a letdown!

I clicked on that Guardian headline and watched the video...

There isn't one audible/subtitled line that can be characterized as a joke. It's just Princess Anne, Boris Johnson, Justin Trudeau, and Emmanuel Macron talking — bellyaching? — about how he was late because he did a press conference.

Anyone running with the story of "world leaders joking" is taking a prompt from Russian government-owned media, Sputnik News, which is where the video was originally posted.  Fake news.

It's interesting that Princess Anne is in that group. In other Princess Anne news, she screws up getting in line with the Queen to meet Donald Trump. Now, this is the funny clip from The Guardian:

Side note: I love the colors Melania is wearing — a brilliant mustard cape-coat with magenta sleeves poking out. The idea seems to be to absolutely sear all eyeballs while being entirely dignified and elegant.

And as long as I've mentioned that, I need to give you this (so that you don't feel you have to show it to me): "Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations are lovely, but that coat looks ridiculous" by Robin Givhan (WaPo). The coat, in this video, is white, and what's "ridiculous"?

Givhan watches that video and sees a woman with "little affinity for the occasion" and "cold, dismissive aloofness."

Like the "jokes" among the world leaders, the "ridiculous"ness is in the mind of the reader.

That's The Washington Post, where the #1 most-read story right now is: "Candid video appears to show Trudeau, Macron and Johnson joking about Trump." No mention of Sputnik news. No quotation of anything that anyone neutral could label a "joke," but you do see these characters laughing, and they had said something that was probably about Trump, so there's circumstantial evidence that somebody said something that made laughing the socially lubricated thing to do.

"North Korea said on Tuesday that its leader, Kim Jong-un, had opened a new mountain resort this week, calling it 'an epitome of modern civilization'..."

"...  as the isolated country tries to attract more foreign tourists to blunt the pain of international sanctions.... Tourism is excluded from the sanctions that the United Nations has imposed on the North, which prevent it from earning hard currency by exporting its coal, iron ore, fisheries and textiles. ​Transforming Samjiyon​ from a decrepit holiday town into a modern resort complex complete with ski slopes, spas and hotels has been one of ​Mr. Kim’s pet projects....  As his diplomatic efforts with Mr. Trump have faltered, Mr. Kim has increasingly emphasized a 'self-reliant' economy.... He has been particularly ​focused on building resort towns, a taste some analysts suspect he had acquired when he studied in Switzerland in his teens...."

The NYT reports. The tourists come from China.

According to Wikipedia, Kim Jong-un lived in Switzerland from about 1992 until 1998 — something like ages 9 to 15. (He's only 35 or 36 now (did you realize he was so young?).)
He was described as shy, a good student who got along well with his classmates... a well-integrated and ambitious student who liked to play basketball.... According to some reports, Kim was described by classmates as a shy child who was awkward with girls and indifferent to political issues, but who distinguished himself in sports and had a fascination with the American National Basketball Association and Michael Jordan....

The Washington Post reported in 2009 that Kim Jong-un's school friends recalled he "spent hours doing meticulous pencil drawings of Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan". He was obsessed with basketball and computer games, and was a fan of Jackie Chan action movies....
On the topic of tourism and a country's economy, let me give you this passage I read last night in "The Thing Itself: On the Search for Authenticity" (a book I put in my Kindle a while back, perhaps because one of my readers recommended it):

December 3, 2019

At the Late Night Café...


... I can't call it the Tuesday Night Café because that's what I absentmindedly called last night's café. Anyway, the rule is you can talk about anything, and I like to say remember to use the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

The photograph is from yesterday, and it shows a sunrise, not a sunset.

"The President demanded that the newly-elected Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce investigations into a political rival that he apparently feared the most, former Vice President Joe Biden..."

"... and into a discredited theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 presidential election. To compel the Ukrainian President to do his political bidding, President Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcement of the investigations: a coveted White House visit and critical U.S. military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary."

From the just-released Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report.

"Kamala Harris poised to withdraw from 2020 presidential race"/UPDATE: "Kamala Harris ends 2020 presidential campaign."

CNN reports.
The California Democrat informed her senior staff of the decision Tuesday morning and is planning a public announcement later in the day.
Wow. I guess the new polls were devastating.

The new Politico/Morning Consult poll had her at 5 (the same as Bloomberg), and the new Hill/HarrisX poll had her at a horrifying 2 (the same as Steyer, Yang, and Castro).

I remember making my "NYT pushes Kamala" tag — back on December 29, 2018. I really thought the press was going into coronation mode over her. Maybe she thought it would be easy, that she could lean back and let all good things come to her. Why wouldn't they? But if she got conned by that, she does not have what it takes to be President. Too bad... but who does? Nobody. Still, you've got to give a better impression of having what it takes than she ever did.

ADDED: Who's the biggest beneficiary of Kamala Harris's withdrawal? I say Amy Klobuchar. Woman + moderate compared to Elizabeth Warren. Second best answer: Cory Booker.

Am I not taller than he is richer?!

De Blasio is steamed. He's "decr[ying]," "castigat[ing]," and "excoriat[ing]" all things Bloomberg. According to Politico.

Or maybe he's not steamed, and it's all theater:
People close to the mayor say de Blasio’s crusade against the Bloomberg presidential campaign is in fact rooted in strategy. It presents an opportunity to reassert why New Yorkers elected him in the first place, to recapture some bit of that 2013 energy that swept him into office.

But the obvious scorn in de Blasio’s skewering of his predecessor, and the contempt in his jeremiad, some former advisers concede, threatens to outweigh whatever strategic value it might otherwise have.

“It just looks like he’s complaining,” said one former adviser, who sought anonymity to be able to speak freely.

The Tuesday sunrise, photographed at 7:13.


1. The actual sunrise time was 7:12. The truth is that the best time for a photograph was about 7:00, when there were some vaguely rounded pink rectangles. If I'd delayed the start of the run, I could have captured that unusual sight, but I had it for my personal, private viewing as I ran the first half of my out-and-back. The half run took about 12 minutes, and that's where I stopped and got out my iPhone, and that's the best picture of the morning.

2. At 7:00, I didn't know it wasn't going to get better, so it was hard to decide whether to stop or or to try to get out to the best vantage point sooner. It was cold, so maybe getting out there later would have been better, because once I got out there I ended up waiting, thinking the light would become more dramatic. Post-run, Meade said: "I told you you should take picture at the beginning." I said: "Why didn't you take a picture?" He said: "That's not my thing." I said: "Who was it who was just saying 'That's not my thing'?" Meade, joking, said: "Zabriskie." Ah, yes! Zabriskie Point, site of some of my best sunrise photography (from back when I had no idea I'd be going out for all the sunrises):


3. It was Zelensky, the President of Ukraine. He said: "Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing." And I wondered aloud — as we drove back home — how it is that he used the colloquial expression "That's not my thing"? Meade said: "He speaks good English." Which naturally caused both of us to switch to our Bob Dylan voice: "He speaks good English as he invites you up into his room."

4. The Bob Dylan song is "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues": "Sweet Melinda/The peasants call her the goddess of gloom/She speaks good English/And she invites you up into her room/And you’re so kind/And careful not to go to her too soon/And she takes your voice/And leaves you howling at the moon." There was some confusion over the line "careful not to go to her too soon." Maybe it was "careful not to come to her too soon." There was a long involved discussion about whether the line referred to the male orgasm, which got tangled up with the subject of Trump's imitation of Peter Strzok's orgasm. Even if the word were "come," I think the idea is about accepting the invitation and coming up into the goddess of gloom's room, but you never know about poetry. A woman's room could be her womb, her womb-room. Who knows where Sweet Melinda was inviting Bob Dylan and why it was kind for him to delay? But anyway, she got whatever counts as his voice that somehow didn't render him silent. He could howl. Howl at the moon. Moon, room, gloom, soon.

5. That conversation gets us all the way home. It's only a short drive. It's not as though we dragged out those musings. I had a big handful of mittens and gloves as I walked from the car back to the house. And then I thought I'd lost one of the gloves. (I wear iPhone-sensitive liner gloves — these, at Amazon — with fleece mittens over them when the weather is as cold as today (27°)). But I looked again through the handful of handwear and found it. When you're afraid you've lost something, it's usually best to check to make sure you've lost it before you go looking for it.

6. I wanted to express that principle of lost things in the style of Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz." What is it? If you haven't something something something then you haven't really lost it at all? I try about 12 variations before I look up the text in the script:  "If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard, because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with." That's not really apt when it comes to losing a glove. If it's not here in the house, I never really lost it? Makes no sense. I just wanted to say, it might be right here with me, and it's most efficient to look here first, before going outside.

7. But why did Dorothy's line ever make sense? Suddenly, I see the sense of it. She's not talking about searches for all sorts of things. She's only talking about the search for her "heart's desire," and the desire is always in the heart. The desire is not the thing that is desired. The desire is the desire. If the desire is not there in your heart, then you don't have the desire in the first place. There is the desire to desire. As soon as you think you need to look for your "heart's desire," you have the desire to desire. It's there and you have not lost it.

8. "The Desire to Desire" is the title of a book I had on my office shelf for many, many years. Something feminist. What was it? Ah, here: "The Desire to Desire: The Woman's Film of the 1940s (Theories of Representation and Difference)." There was a time when I had the desire to desire to read "The Desire to Desire." That book has 2 reviews — useless, spammy reviews — "I'm very happy with this book. I was glad to purchase it. There is always wonder in the pages of it. Thank you seller!" and "Thank you for the great book, it was better than I thought it would be for my very first used book order online. Thank you so much."

9. There is always wonder in the pages of it...

It depends on what the meaning of "know" is.

"This is why [Macron] is a great politician, because that was one of the greatest non-answers I've ever heard. And that's okay."

Trump deploys a strategic, sarcastic compliment in the middle of a back-and-forth that you'll want to watch:

"It's really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their own judgments. And, you know, I don't think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news."

Said Mark Zuckerberg, wisely, quoted in "Zuckerberg on allowing political ads: 'People should be able to judge for themselves'" (The Hill).

I'm only blogging this because I see it's controversial. He's getting a lot of pushback, but he stood his ground, even as the interviewer challenged him with the same 2 ideas that I always see: 1. When people pay to get their message out, it should be different, and 2. If messages are false, it should be different.

I'm enjoying this Twitter spat between Greg Gutfeld and Molly Jong-Fast (the journalist/daughter of Erica Jong who got the big scoop interview of Lisa Page).

We talked about the interview yesterday, here. I didn't think there was anything in it worth reading. I just was fascinated by Page's calling attention to Trump's imitation of her boyfriend's orgasm. So I'm inclined to believe Gutfeld's "You’re the recipient of media welfare and the drooling posts after your 'scoop' prove it."

And while I'm here and talking about the attention given to the imitation orgasm, let me show you this other tweet from Jong-Fast:

We'd have all forgotten Trump's fake orgasm if Page and Jong-Fast hadn't dug it up and thrust it in our face yesterday. Take some responsibility.

And I think there are quite a few of us who remember having kids who suddenly needed explanations about Bill Clinton having oral sex in the White House.

But the news is the news. Keep your children away from all the news if knowing about the world as it is seems more damaging than protecting them from reality. There are so many things in the news that could hurt a youngster. Hearing a hard-breathing "I love you, I love you" from Trump is close to nothing unless the parent chooses to go graphic about it and explain what adults know. Why couldn't you just say "Oh, he's being silly and exaggerating how these 2 people were so in love with each other"?

I'm giving this my "using children in politics" tag because Hasan and Jong-Fast are just dragging children into view for their own political purposes. It's the desperate old what-about-the-children? plea.

IN THE COMMENTS: Freeman Hunt said:
Windows 10 was popping up little news notifications on our new computer, so when my ten year old logged on to math class this morning, he was greeted with the news that teens tortured a deer and a woman hung her children with a leash. The notifications are now disabled.

I think I can handle explaining Trump's impression.

The new Hill-HarrisX poll has Bloomberg at 6% and Kamala Harris crashing to 2%.

The Hill reports.

She was only at 4 the previous poll, so the crash is "only" a loss of half her support.

If Peloton was ever a cool brand, this effort at making it a great Christmas gift (I guess because it's expensive) disastrously failed.

I'm seeing that mocked all over the place, but this lovely parody will stand in for all the mockery:

ADDED: In the comments, there's some discussion of the idea of Meade buying me one of these things for Christmas. But if I wanted a Peloton bike, I would have just bought it for myself already. I wouldn't be jumping around like a baby at Christmastime.

What's with the assumption that the woman needs her husband to make a decision behind her back about whether the household money should be spent on something like this?

The commercial makes some sense if we assume he knew she wanted it but she believed it was too expensive. Then the Christmas jumpy-time is happiness about getting something expensive. But if these people have a budget that's strained by a Peloton, why is he leaving her out of the loop about how to spend their shared money?

Are we supposed to assume he's Mr. Moneybags, looking for ways to please his wife (or looking for things to give her that double as gifts that she — the one who has a body and doesn't have money — can craft into a gift for him)?

But the husband in the Peloton ad is young and attractive, and that's why I suspect this isn't an ad for the man at all. It's an ad directed at women. It's women who will buy the thing for themselves, and the handsome, generous husband is merely a fantasy. Imagine pedaling a stationary bike until you get to that place in this world where you have that beautiful house and a child and a wonderful guy and you are thin. You might get all those things if you begin the list in reverse order, which you can do with this thing that's heavily and stubbornly planted on the floor of the apartment you never have to leave. Yes! — says the cheerleader on the little screen clamped onto the handlebars that don't turn — Pedal, pedal, pedal, you can do it, you can get there. Pedal to nowhere, pedal to your dreams.

Here's the poll on impeachment I'd like to see.

I want to know the ratio between...

1. Those who voted against Trump in 2016 but who want to vote for him in 2020, and...

2. Those who voted for Trump in 2016 but who now support impeachment and removal.

ADDED: The poll you can't possibly take is the poll to catch liars. A big problem with the poll I'm saying I want is that there would be a huge incentive to lie (much more than on the usual poll). If you're guessing the ratio between my categories 1 and 2, then move on to guessing what would happen if a poll really did try to ascertain how many people are in those 2 categories. Then I would want to know the ratio between...

1. The proportion of those who said they were in category 1 but were lying, and...

2. The proportion of those who said they were in category 2 but were lying.

"I’d like to say that he is absolutely a pig and I’d like to thank the brave men and women from Starbucks for their service..."

"He was blatantly, proudly racist when I was a kid.... Said things I would never repeat. He treats women like dogs, including his own daughter.... The deputy [who actually got the cups marked 'PIG']  told my mom he didn’t really care and that it was a harmless joke, no big deal... but my father is a camera whore who couldn’t resist the attention.... update: he has seen it and had someone call my mom to ‘get that s–t off twitter’ lmao he is upset."

Tweeted @MissOMara, quoted in "Daughter of police chief in Starbucks cup scandal says he’s ‘absolutely a pig’" (NY Post).

December 2, 2019

At the Tuesday Night Café... [CORRECTION: It was Monday.]


... you can talk all you want.

And please consider using the Althouse Portal to Amazon. I wasn't kidding about the microwaveable slippers. They really are a solution if you or your loved one has the kind of feet that won't warm up.

In case you noticed that he was still in...

... Bullock is out.

Predictions on who will go next? Try to put this list — this is everyone still in — in the order they'll go down: Bennet, Biden, Bloomberg, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Delaney, Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, Patrick, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, Williamson, Yang.

I'll try: Bennet, Delaney, Castro, Booker, Harris, Klobuchar, Patrick, Gabbard, Williamson, Steyer, Yang, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Bloomberg, Biden.

Sometimes, you just gotta cry in public.

It worked for Hillary that time... until it didn't.

"The United States of America is a signal, for the world, for everyone. When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country..."

"... that is the hardest of signals. It might seem like an easy thing to say, that combination of words: Ukraine is a corrupt country. Just to say it and that’s it. But it doesn’t end there. Everyone hears that signal. Investments, banks, stakeholders, companies, American, European, companies that have international capital in Ukraine, it’s a signal to them that says, ‘Be careful, don’t invest.’ Or, ‘Get out of there.’ This is a hard signal. For me it’s very important for the United States, with all they can do for us, for them really to understand that we are a different country, that we are different people. It’s not that those things don’t exist. They do. All branches of government were corrupted over many years, and we are working to clean that up. But that signal from them is very important.... During my meeting with [Trump], I said that I don’t want our country to have this image. For that, all he has to do is come and have a look at what’s happening, how we live, what kinds of people we are. I had the sense that he heard me. I had that sense. At least during the meeting, he said, 'Yes, I see, you’re young, you’re new, and so on.'... Ukraine is different now. Ukraine wants to stop it. There is no radicalism. No one is killing and eating anyone in that country. See for yourself. Come on.'... Look, I never talked to the President from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing. … I don’t want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying."

Said Volodymyr Zelensky, interviewed in TIME.

Trump's reaction:

Why is Van Halen trending on Twitter?

Don't worry, nobody died.

It's just this. Somebody you may not know who's youngish writhed and twitched and said "Who?" when asked on one of the late-night talk shows if she could "name a Van Halen":

ADDED: Here. Give her a fair shake. I found this pretty pleasant (but then I like soft rock much more than I did when I was young):

"Inviting the administration now to participate in an after-the-fact constitutional law seminar with yet-to-be-named witnesses only demonstrates further the countless procedural deficiencies..."

"... that have infected this inquiry from its inception and shows the lack of seriousness with which you are undertaking these proceedings. An academic discussion cannot retroactively fix an irretrievably broken process."

Wrote White House Counsel Pat Cipollone in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chair Nadler. The hearing in question, is scheduled for December 4th, and — as Cipollone understands "from rumors and press reports" and not from any official notice — "will consist of an academic discussion by law professors."

ADDED: I must say that as a longtime law professor, I'm finding the disrespect for law professors inadequate. You heard me right. I do not for one minute believe that the 3 lawprofs the Judiciary Committee will put on display will be speaking as if they are conducting something that deserves to be called an "academic seminar." But I understand Cipollone's refraining from getting into the problem of the politicalization of the academic field of constitutional law.

AND: "Seminar" is an interesting word. It's only been in the English language since the late 19th century, according to OED. It was originally something done in German universities, "a select group of advanced students associated for special study and original research under the guidance of a professor" and it came to mean "a class that meets for systematic study under the direction of a teacher." The oldest appearance in English is:
1889 A. S. Hill Our English v. 209 In New York and Washington, if I am not misinformed, ‘seminars’ are periodically held, at which a clever woman coaches other clever women in the political, literary, and ethical topics of the day.
Clever women. You can really feel the insult in "clever." In Samuel Johnson's dictionary (1755), the entry for "clever" is: "This is a low word, scarcely ever used but in burlesque or conversation; and applied to any thing a man likes, without a settled meaning."

Lisa Page talks like Trump.

That's the way things look at The Daily Beast.
For the nearly two years since her name first made the papers, she’s been publicly silent (she did have a closed-door interview with House members in July 2018). I asked her why she was willing to talk now. “Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she says. The president called out her name as he acted out an orgasm in front of thousands of people at a Minneapolis rally on Oct. 11, 2019.
Yes, it was that fake orgasm! That was the last straw! Did he really do that? I had to track down the video myself. Here (I think the "orgasm" is between 1:20 and 1:32):

Anyway, it was the headline that got me. Page is talking like Trump. I did nothing! No crime! But the "orgasm" motivation icing on the cake.

ADDED: Big Streisand effect on that fake orgasm. I had forgotten it, and now I'm watching it over and over and laughing a lot. Maybe Page thinks she can get women stirred up on her behalf, because the fake orgasm was "demeaning." But Trump was imitating Strzok, the man, so let's just see if the men of America take umbrage that Trump did a comical male orgasm.

Monday sunrise, 7:15.


1. The actual sunrise time was 7:11. I didn't pick that photograph because I was late for the sun, but because it struck me the hardest when I got home and uploaded my collection of snaps.

2. In fact, I was out there, halfway into my morning run, at 7:02, when it looked like this:


3. I liked that, but I had thought, based on the configuration of clouds, that it would be one of the most spectacular sunrises in the series (which began on September 9th). I was surprised by the mild yellow orange. Where were the pinks and purples?

4. Does the sunrise know it will be a pleasant day and not one about which fishermen should "take warning"?

5. I say "fishermen," because that's what I heard growing up, perhaps from my Uncle Henry, who was a fisherman (in his leisure time). But I see the most common form of the rhyme is "Red sky at night, sailors' delight/Red sky at morning, sailors take warning." The couplet has its own Wikipedia page, and that includes numerous variations — "pink" for "red" and "shepherds" for "sailors" — but none of the variations has "fishermen."

6. Matthew 16:1-4: "The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired [Jesus] that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed."

7. That's the King James Version, which says "Jonas." Jonas is Jonah. Why Jonah? Back in Matthew 12, Jesus gave the same answer to the Pharisees when they asked for a sign — "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas" — but with more of an explanation: "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."

8. "It's a Beautiful Morning" — a Young Rascals song that played in my earphones during today's run. "There will be children with robins and flowers/Sunshine caresses each new waking hour/Seems to me that the people keep seeing/More and more each day...."

9. See more today.