May 30, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk 'til dawn.

That photo was taken at 5:06 this morning, which is a good reason to remember to use the Althouse Portal to Amazon as you do you Saturday night shopping.

Here's how things looked at 5:25:


The "actual" sunrise time was 5:21 a.m. We're slowly closing in on the earliest sunrise time, which is 5:17. I've been able to do 5:21, so there's no reason to think 5:17 — 4 minutes earlier — will be difficult. The 5:17 will begin on June 10th and continue to June 19th. The latest sunset of the year — at 8:41 p.m. — lasts only 3 days, from June 25th to June 27th. The longest day of the year, June 20, is 15 hours, 22 minutes, and 15 seconds. The following day is 1 second shorter. Who can notice such subtle differences? You have to look up the numbers, or do what I did for most of my life, just keep thinking stray thoughts like man, these days are so long, how long can they possibly get, how am I going to sleep until it finally seems that darkness, your old friend, is creeping back in.

"An emotional, peaceful demonstration in Downtown Madison on Saturday to condemn the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis devolved into a window-shattering, tear-gas-filled riot later in the evening..."

"... with at least one person injured in a fight after some people started looting a State Street store.... Some protesters could be seen throwing rocks and other items at police and their vehicles; others worked together to overturn several large planters. But in a game of cat and mouse, hundreds of demonstrators followed police back up the street toward the Capitol, where another, larger crowd began to gather.... Erin Beehner and Gina Nolan, who are both Madison educators and created the Facebook group for the protest, said the idea started with hopes of providing a place to come together. Beehner and Nolan, who are both white, said they felt it was important to try to confront a difficult conversation...."

The Wisconsin State Journal reports.

I get text alerts from UW, and today at 6:07, I got: "Police Activity on lower State Street to deal with a civil disturbance. Avoid the area." Then, nearly 2 hours later, I got: "Police activity continues on State St for civil disturbance. Continue to avoid the area." The area in question is about 2 miles from where we live.

"I can't stop thinking about waffles."

Kentucky iconoclasm.

"World’s saddest looter..."

Play on mute if you don't want to hear "Oh, shit!"

"Great job last night at the White House by the U.S. They were not only totally professional, but very cool. I was inside, watched every move..."

"... and couldn’t have felt more safe. They let the 'protesters' scream & rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone.... too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on them, hard - didn’t know what hit them. The front line was replaced with fresh agents, like magic. Big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would.... ....have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least. Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action. 'We put the young ones on the front line, sir, they love it, and.... ....good practice.' As you saw last night, they were very cool & very professional. Never let it get out of hand. Thank you! On the bad side, the D.C. Mayor, @MurielBowser , who is always looking for money & help, wouldn’t let the D.C. Police get involved. 'Not their job.' Nice!"

So tweeted Donald Trump this morning.

"I've been struggling with how to respond to the President's tweets and posts all day. Personally, I have a visceral negative reaction..."

"... to this kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric. This moment calls for unity and calmness, and we need empathy for the people and communities who are hurting. We need to come together as a country to pursue justice and break this cycle. But I'm responsible for reacting not just in my personal capacity but as the leader of an institution committed to free expression. I know many people are upset that we've left the President's posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies... These are difficult decisions and, just like today, the content we leave up I often find deeply offensive. We try to think through all the consequences, and we keep our policies under constant review because the context is always evolving. People can agree or disagree on where we should draw the line, but I hope they understand our overall philosophy is that it is better to have this discussion out in the open, especially when the stakes are so high. I disagree strongly with how the President spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open."

Zuckerberg speaks (at and about Facebook).

I strongly support this commitment to freedom of speech, and I'm glad to see the theory of freedom of speech articulated clearly where lots of people will see it and maybe even believe it.

"Masks cover critical cues that those who are HoH rely on to distinguish speech and expressions of the speaker."

"Today we refer to the holistic process of seeing facial expressions and lip reading to communicate as speech reading," said an audiologist quoted in "Coronavirus masks pose challenges for those hard of hearing."
Only 30% of sounds in English are visible on the lips, so for people who are HoH, the capacity to see the speaker’s face is important in distinguishing between words like “beer” and “cheer.” The speaker’s face also communicates mood and intent. Is the person mad? Happy? It all makes a difference in interpreting speech.

In a study about medical masks degrading speech reception published in the April issue of the journal Hearing Review, researchers found each type of medical mask essentially functioned as an acoustic filter for speech. “The speech quality degradation, in combination with room noise/reverberation and the absence of visual cues, renders speech close to unintelligible for many patients with hearing loss.”
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the problem deaf people have understanding masked speakers. It's important to see the larger problem affecting the hard of hearing. And I think even for those of us who are not hard of hearing, it is more difficult to hear and understand people who are wearing masks.

We should be careful about overextending the use of masks. I've seen some people advocating masks on the mere theory that it might help and with little attention to how it might hurt. I myself am avoiding doing anything that requires a mask, and I admit to an aversion to the things, but I'm trying to be fact-based and scientific.

About those newly declassified Flynn transcripts...

At The Federalist, from Sean Davis: "Declassified Flynn Transcripts Contradict Key Mueller Claims Against Flynn/Newly released declassified transcripts of call transcripts and summaries between Flynn and Kislyak contradict key claims made against Flynn by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller." ("Although Obama officials claimed via leaks to the press that Flynn, a decorated combat veteran and retired three-star Army general, was illegally operating as a secret Russian agent, the transcripts show that Flynn’s primary focus throughout his conversations with Kislyak was ensuring that Russia and the U.S. could work together to defeat Islamist terrorist [sic] and the growing influence of ISIS throughout the Middle East. Obama officials never explained how working with international partners to defeat ISIS constituted a federal crime.")

At NY Magazine, from Jonathan Chait: "New Transcript Shows Trump Adviser Michael Flynn Colluding With Russia in 2016." ("Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak were not part of a criminal conspiracy. They were, however, part of a secret channel of communications, the premise of which was that the two parties had a secret common interest against the United States government. One word that might describe this relationship would be 'collusion.'")

At the NYT, from Julian E. Barnes, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos: "Flynn Discussed Sanctions at Length With Russian Diplomat, Transcripts Show/The former national security adviser now says he does not remember those discussions as he fights a criminal charge he had previously pleaded guilty to" ("Critics of the Trump administration seized on the transcripts’ discussions as evidence that Mr. Flynn was undermining existing Obama administration foreign policy. They argued that the Constitution allows for only one president at a time and that if an incoming administration begins foreign policy negotiations before taking office, it confuses the issue of who holds power.... Conservatives have said that Mr. Flynn did nothing wrong and that it was in the public interest for him to represent the views of the incoming administration.")

"Last night the Supreme Court declined to intervene in challenges by churches in southern California and the Chicago area to stay-at-home orders issued as a result of the COVID-19 crisis...."

"The court issued only a terse order in the Illinois case that referred to the new guidance issued by the state earlier this week. But the justices were closely divided in the California case, with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the deciding vote and writing a late-night opinion to explain his decision to deny relief. The California case was filed on Tuesday by the South Bay United Pentecostal Church, which is located in Chula Vista, California – just south of San Diego. The church argued that the reopening plan outlined by California Governor Gavin Newsom and San Diego County discriminated against houses of worship by keeping them closed while allowing retail stores, offices, restaurants and schools to open.... At approximately 6:30 p.m. ET, the justices turned down the request from the Illinois churches without any public dissents.... The justices did not act on the California case until nearly midnight on Friday. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh indicated that they would have granted the church’s request. Roberts wrote a short opinion to express his agreement with (and to explain) the denial of the church’s request..... The California order at the heart of this case, he observed, temporarily restricts the number of people who can gather in public 'to address this extraordinary health emergency.'... The state has limited the size of similar, non-religious gatherings like plays, concerts and sporting events. Although the state treats activities like grocery stores and banks differently, Roberts continued, those activities are in fact different, because they do not involve large groups of people coming together in close proximity for extended periods of time. 'The precise question of when restrictions on particular social activities should be lifted during the pandemic,' Roberts reasoned, 'is a dynamic and fact-intensive matter subject to reasonable disagreement.'"

SCOTUSblog reports.

Here's the PDF of the Roberts opinion.

Here's the dissenting opinion written by Justice Kavanaugh. Excerpt:

When did political leaders first start showing their teeth in official photographs?

This is a question that occurred to me as I was looking at Wikipedia's list of Vice Presidents of the United States to try to answer a question I had about former Vice Presidents who run for the presidency.

Most of these VPs are not smiling at all, and it seems that only a hint of a smile seemed consistent with the exercise of political power. They look grumpy to us today, but presumably the idea was to look completely serious. We expect smiles now. The emergence of teeth comes in 1953 with Richard Nixon, a person whose smile made many people uneasy and suspicious, oddly enough.

Here's the list of U.S. Presidents, with their official pictures. The first one to smile showing teeth is JFK. Beginning with Gerald Ford in 1974, all the Presidents are smiling showing teeth, except one — Barack Obama.

The baring of teeth is a serious matter. How and when did it become part of a nice, warm smile? "How Did the 'Smile' Become a Friendly Gesture in Humans?" (Scientific American):
Anthony Stocks, chairman and professor of anthropology at Idaho State University, responds: "The evolution of smiles is opaque and, as with many evolutionary accounts of social behavior, fraught with just-soism. Among human babies, however, the 'tooth-baring' smile is associated less with friendship than with fright--which, one might argue, is related to the tooth-baring threats of baboons. On the other hand, a non-toothy, not-so-broad-but-open-lipped smile is associated with pleasure in human infants. Somehow we seem to have taken the fright-threat sort of smile and extended it to strangers as a presumably friendly smile. Maybe it is not as innocent as it seems. All cultures recognize a variety of mouth gestures as indexes of inner emotional states. As in our own culture, however, smiles come in many varieties, not all of them interpreted as friendly."
Here's "When did humans start to smile?" by Professor Antony Manstead (British Academy):

"We cannot arrest people when we’re trying to hold ground because of the sheer size, the dynamics and the wanton violence that’s coming out there."

"There’s simply more of them than us," said Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, quoted in "George Floyd Updates: ‘Absolute Chaos’ in Minneapolis as Protests Grow Across U.S." (NYT).
Gunshots rang out near a different police precinct and flames streamed from businesses over several city blocks — a gas station, a post office, a bank, a restaurant — as residents asked where the police and firefighters had gone.
Gunshots rang out... and flames streamed.... The NYT is writing as if human individuals are not in the picture even as the Governor is speaking specifically about people and calling attention to the us-versus-them situation.
Commissioner John Harrington of the state’s Department of Public Safety said the police were preparing to be at the center of an “international event” on Saturday, pledging to "restore order” on the same Minneapolis block that was burning as he spoke. Mr. Harrington said he expected the largest crowds the state had ever seen.
What does that mean — an “international event”? Is he characterizing the rioters as foreigners?

ADDED: Some people in the comments are saying that all Harrington meant is that people in other countries are paying attention to what's happening in Minneapolis — something like the old Chicago 1968 chant "The whole world is watching." But now I am seeing that Governor Walz is saying things that make it sound as though there are international elements to the riots: "Furious Gov. of Minnesota says George Floyd protests are being manipulated by 'domestic terrorists' and international forces trying to destabilize the nation and fully mobilizes the National Guard as US descends into chaos" (Daily Mail):
The governor of Minnesota has called for full mobilization of the state's National Guard, as he suggested that foreign and extremist influences are fueling chaos as protests over the in-custody death devolve into violence in cities across the country....

'As you saw this expand across the United States, and you start to see whether it be domestic terrorism, whether it be ideological extremists to fan the group, or whether it be international destabilization of how our country works,' he continued....

'The cartels, who are wondering if there was a break in their drug transmissions, are trying to take advantage of the chaos. That's why this situation is on a federal level.'

With violent protests in Atlanta, has potential VP nominee Stacey Abrams taken the opportunity to distinguish herself?

Now is the time to show leadership and courage. I found "Georgia politicians condemn violent protests, others see 'day of reckoning'" at AJC. The "day of reckoning" quote is not Abrams's. The part about her is just:
Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate and a potential vice presidential nominee, urged those infuriated by the police brutality to channel their anger to the ballot box.

“As long as those who suborn injustice are in charge, nothing changes,” she said. "So we must vote. Not because voting is the only answer, but it is one that we can’t afford to ignore.”
I don't understand the idea. Is she suggesting that Atlantans vote against Democrats? The mayor of Atlanta has been a Democrat since 1855, with one exception from 1871 to 1872. That one exception was a Republican. How is voting an answer in Atlanta? What does Abrams even mean? How can it resonate with violent protesters in Atlanta?

Who governed Atlanta before 1855? There were 3 mayors from no party at all, and before that, 2 mayors from the Moral Party, and before that, 3 mayors from the Free and Rowdy Party.

What was the Moral Party? The 4th mayor of Atlanta Jonathan Norcross said the Moral Party was "American statesmen defend[-ing] their principles of 'classical republicanism, with arguments drawn from Aristotle, Publius, and Cicero.'"

The Moral Party was distinguished from the Free and Rowdy Party, the party of the first 3 mayors of Atlanta.
The Rowdies included many owners of distilleries, bars and brothels, and represented most of what the city was, especially as an outpost along the railroads. They existed in direct opposition to the Moral Party, which called for temperance and chastity. The two parties were also said to differ on approaches to civil engagement, and so where the Rowdies were the party of militant disorder, the Moral Party promoted law and order. Atlanta's fourth Mayor, Jonathan Norcross, was a member of the Moral Party, and used city hall to so harass the Rowdies that many moved out of what was then incorporated into the city, to places like Snake Nation and Murrell's Row.
So...  the Rowdies were the party of militant disorder.... That resonates with Atlanta these days.

If we look at Minneapolis, the site of the death that led to the current protests, we see another city  run by the Democratic Party — which is called the Democratic Farmer Labor Party there. That party has run the city since 1945, when Hubert H. Humphrey became mayor. [ADDED: There were actually 2 Republican mayors since 1945, one from 1957 to 1961 and another for 2 days, December 31, 1973 to January 2, 1974. And there was an independent who served from 1969 to 1973 and again from 1976 to 1977. So no one but a Democrat since 1977 and no Republican since 1961 unless you count that one guy who was mayor for 2 days.]

By the way, HHH was one of the ex-Vice Presidents who became the Democratic Party's nominee for President and then lost. When is the last time the Democratic Party nominated an ex-Vice President who went on to win the presidency? The recent losers are Al Gore (2000), Walter Mondale (1984), and Hubert Humphrey (1968). I invite you to go back into the list of candidates for President and see if  you can find an example. I'm not asking for Democratic Vice Presidents who became President because the President died. I mean a former VP who ran to become President and then won. You'll find some Republicans, but I don't think you'll find a Democrat in the last 100 years. Was there ever one? I know there's a Democrat who lost as a VP nominee and then went on to win as the party's presidential nominee. But find me an example of a Democrat in Joe Biden's position.

ADDED: One answer to my question is Martin Van Buren, who was VP under Andrew Jackson and then ran for President and won in 1846. I believe he is the only one.

May 29, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk 'til dawn.

And given that 172 years ago today, Wisconsin became the 30th state, it's a good time to buy yourself some things you want using the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

"Let my building burn, Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail."

Words spoken by Ruhel Islam, owner of the restaurant Gandhi Mahal, in Minneapolis:

Via New York Magazine, which says:
Published on the restaurant’s Facebook page and since widely shared, [the daughter] Hafsa’s post asks people not to worry.... Hundreds have responded with messages of support and pride, with one person writing “thank you for living your public life with such integrity and continual love for your community.”... Ruhel’s words have been shared across social media by everyone from San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Soleil Ho, a former Minneapolis resident, to television host and chef Andrew Zimmern and activist DeRay Mckesson, as a powerful expression of the value of human life over property.

"After illegally having strippers at its establishment, Bennett’s Meadowood Country Club — a bar and grill on the Southwest Side known for its 'Porn in the Morn' breakfasts on the weekends..."

"... is facing an uncertain future. Madison’s Alcohol License and Review Committee on Wednesday reluctantly recommended renewal of the bar’s liquor and adult entertainment licenses, with a condition of no strippers at any time. But committee members had concerns about how Bennett’s was operating and said they would discuss possible revocation of the licenses at the committee’s June 17 meeting.... Bennett’s held an event with strippers in January, in violation of their entertainment license, Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Zilavy said. The bar is allowed to feature hardcore porn on its TVs as patrons dine during its notorious 'Smut and Eggs' breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but Bennett’s license does not allow it to host live adult entertainment, Zilavy said. The bar has been operating in Madison for more than 40 years...."

The Wisconsin State Journal reports.

2 phases of the sunrise.



That was rather sedate, so I stopped at my secondary vantage point. This is 5:39:


The "actual" sunrise time was 5:22.

How thinking the word "mansplaining" is like finding yourself in a lucid dream.

In this post I put up an hour ago, I talked about the photograph of Joe Biden at the top of the WaPo article "Racial tragedies stoke pressure on Joe Biden to pick a nonwhite running mate."

Here's a fragment of the photograph to show the "gesture and demeanor" I wanted to describe:

I said (jocosely): "I could only think of 'mansplaining.' Is there a word 'whitesplaining'?"

In the comments, Fernandistein said, "It's a standard gesture for politicians and other salesmen" — linking to "7 Hand Gestures to Get People to Listen to You."

All 7 gestures are depicted with a stylized image of a white man. The closest one to Biden's is this:

Biden's gesture is actually more open, but it's so open it reads as more of shrug, more What the hell am I supposed to do about it?

But anyway... I thought the "7 Hand Gestures to Get People to Listen to You" could just as well have been titled "7 Hand Gestures for Mansplaining." And, of course, Fernandistein observed, these are  standard gestures for politicians and other salesmen.

It's the standardness that makes it useful to have the word "mansplaining." It's why mansplaining is worth talking about openly. You see so damned much of it.

Yeah, it may work to fix people into listening mode, even as then they wonder why am I listening to this guy and when is this going to end and what can I possibly do to regain my agency in this interaction.

The term "mansplaining" helps the listener. It's like when you're dreaming and and you find a way to realize you're in a dream, and that makes it a lucid dream, and you gain powers of your own and can do things you want and serve your own interests.

If you find yourself in thrall to one of these men who've gotten you to listen — with their hand gestures and words and whatnot — if you can think "mansplaining," then you've acquired the kind of consciousness you have in a lucid dream. You can think: Now, what do I want to do?

"It’s not the racist person in the KKK that we have to worry about. It’s the white, liberal Hillary Clinton supporter walking her dog in Central Park."

Said Van Jones on CNN — noticed because "Van Jones" is trending on Twitter:

"Racial tragedies stoke pressure on Joe Biden to pick a nonwhite running mate."

A WaPo headline. The photo at the top shows Biden, at a debate, next to Kamala Harris. I was trying to think of a word to describe his gesture and demeanor. I could only think of "mansplaining." Is there a word "whitesplaining"? There's got to be.
Against this backdrop [the "explosive incidents involving race and police violence"], several nonwhite prospects have emerged from the pack. Top Biden allies see Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), who is African American and Indian, as a leading contender. Biden has also said he is considering Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.). And Democratic leaders have suggested former Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). Demings, Abrams and Fudge are black; Duckworth’s mother was Thai, and Cortez Masto, who said Thursday that she had removed herself from consideration, is Latina.
Is half Thai going to relieve the stoked pressure?

Biden really got himself cornered by already promising to pick a woman — otherwise black men would be in consideration. What about Cory Booker?!

From the Wikipedia article on Val Demings:

"Mr. Nice Guy won't cut it. He does it his way."

A new Trump ad (pinned at the top of Trump's Twitter feed right now):

Bombastic music, clearly intended to be very upbeat and optimistic. Did that work on you or did you find it annoying? The voiceover actor seemed awfully hammy. I'm just showing this to you. I'm pretty sure if you're already a Trumpster, you'll find it rousing and encouraging, but you're fooling yourself if you think it will do anything but have the opposite effect on those who don't like Trump.

Earlier this morning, before I saw this ad, I was thinking about how some speech works against the proposition asserted. I was listening to "Morning Joe," and I can't remember exactly what he was saying, but it put the opposite idea in my head. It got me thinking about why I voted against Jimmy Carter in 1976. My opinion flipped on the last day after something Carter said.

This year, it seems the best arguments against both candidates are the things they themselves say.

Police arrest CNN reporters in Minneapolis, but strings are pulled, so apparently they're okay.

And then...

"Twitter has hidden one of Donald Trump’s tweets behind a warning that it 'glorifies violence,' further escalating the social media company’s row with the US president."

"The US president’s tweet, posted on Thursday night Washington time, warned people in Minneapolis protesting against the killing of a black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer that he would send the military to intervene if there was 'any difficulty.' 'When the looting starts, the shooting starts,' Trump wrote, apparently quoting the former Miami police chief Walter Headley, who in December 1967 promised violent reprisals to protests over stop-and-frisk tactics. Two hours later, Twitter added a notice to the tweet: 'This tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the tweet to remain accessible.' The warning was accompanied by a link to its policies about public interest exceptions. Users who try to reply to the tweet are instead presented with a second notice that reads: 'We try to prevent a tweet like this that otherwise breaks the Twitter rules from reaching more people, so we have disabled most of the ways to engage with it.' Existing replies no longer appear below it. The tweet’s spread will also be limited by Twitter’s algorithms, according to the company’s policy documents."

The Guardian reports.

Notice that Twitter grounds its actions in its own stated terms of service, which counters the theory of unfair trade that — as discussed in the previous post — Trump's executive order asks the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.

Twitter's stated policy is:
We... prohibit the glorification of violence.

Content that threatens or glorifies violence can result in some of the most severe and immediate harms our rules are meant to address, and public-interest exceptions are therefore unlikely. We will especially err on the side of removal in cases where there is evidence the content may be leading to actual or likely offline harm. In very rare instances, we may decide that content is worthy of a public-interest exception if there is a more attenuated connection to actual violence, or if Twitter is the only source of the information.
AND: Trump reacts:

Is Twitter engaging in unfair trade by holding itself out as a neutral platform for free expression and then engaging in viewpoint discrimination?

That's the theory suggested by this part of Trump's Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship:
Sec. 4. Federal Review of Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices....

(b) In May of 2019, the White House launched a Tech Bias Reporting tool to allow Americans to report incidents of online censorship. In just weeks, the White House received over 16,000 complaints of online platforms censoring or otherwise taking action against users based on their political viewpoints. The White House will submit such complaints received to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

(c) The FTC shall consider taking action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, pursuant to section 45 of title 15, United States Code. Such unfair or deceptive acts or practice may include practices by [providers of an interactive computer services] that restrict speech in ways that do not align with those entities’ public representations about those practices.

(d) For large online platforms that are vast arenas for public debate, including the social media platform Twitter, the FTC shall also, consistent with its legal authority, consider whether complaints allege violations of law that implicate the policies set forth in section 4(a) of this order. The FTC shall consider developing a report describing such complaints and making the report publicly available, consistent with applicable law.
Elsewhere in the order, I'm seeing the suggestion that "large, powerful social media companies" have deceived people into thinking they will get a free speech forum, with the terms of service stating the limits on speech and giving the assurance that these are the only limits, when in fact there is a hidden practice of treating users differently based on their political orientation. So the order isn't merely talking about depriving the companies of immunity in private defamation lawsuits (immunity provided by the Communications Decency Act). It's talking about federal governmental action against the companies, accusing them of unfair trade.

Here's 15 U.S.C. § 45.

May 28, 2020

At the Hit-the-Wall Café...


... you can write whatever you want... within reason.

I couldn't get a sunrise picture today, because it rained, and it rained all day, so it's a good day to use the Althouse Portal to Amazon. The warmer weather is here, and we bought 2 of these Bionaire window fans (which the NYT rated as by far the best window fan).

"Amy Klobuchar didn't prosecute officer at center of George Floyd's death after previous conduct complaints."

Yahoo News reports.
Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derick Chauvin saw at least 10 conduct complaints during his 19-year tenure before he was fired Tuesday, according to a database that documents complaints against police. In particular, he was involved in the shooting death of a man who had stabbed other people before attacking police, as well as some other undisclosed complaints. Klobuchar did not prosecute Chauvin and other officers involved for the first death, which occurred in October 2006 while she was running for Senate. The case was under investigation when Klobuchar took office in the Senate in Jan. 2007, and later went to a grand jury, which declined to charge the officers... ...Klobuchar "declined to bring charges in more than two dozen cases in which people were killed in encounters with police" as Hennepin County attorney. Instead, she "aggressively prosecuted smaller offenses" that "have been criticized for their disproportionate effect on poor and minority communities"....
Biden will need to gently close the door on Vice President Amy.

"In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand pick the speech that Americans may access and convey on the internet."

"This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power. They cease functioning as passive bulletin boards, and ought to be viewed and treated as content creators.... Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see. As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the internet.... Prominent among the ground rules governing that debate is the immunity from liability created by section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act... [T]he immunity should not extend beyond its text and purpose to provide protection for those who purport to provide users a forum for free and open speech, but in reality use their power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints....  Section 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans controlling vital avenues for our national discourse under the guise of promoting open forums for debate, and then to provide those behemoths blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike. When an interactive computer service provider removes or restricts access to content and its actions do not meet the [statutory] criteria... such a provider should properly lose the limited liability shield... and be exposed to liability like any traditional editor and publisher that is not an online provider."

From "Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship" (at

ADDED: This order isn't just about immunity in defamation lawsuits, it's about fraud. I'll do a new post to highlight the language that I think points at the argument that the companies are committing fraud by holding themselves out as a neutral free speech forum and amassing users who they are in fact treating differently based on viewpoint.

"How to Wear a Mask to a Bar or Restaurant..."

"Move it aside briefly, then take a sip or a bite or whatever. This is mostly just about being respectful of other people.... What if I wear the mask to the bar, but not in the bar? Why would you do that?... If I have to wear a mask to a restaurant, I might as well just stay home and eat there. That is an excellent idea." A FAQ at New York Magazine.

If that's the way it's going to be, I simply won't go to a bar or restaurant until the mask phase ends. I can't see the pleasure in keeping a mask on while eating and drinking and moving it aside for every bite or sip. I thought you weren't supposed to touch it.

I got an email from my hair salon explaining how they were going to reopen and one of the rules is that the customer needs to wear a mask through the entire appointment. Okay. I understand, but I'm not picturing myself going back until the masks are gone. I'm eager to go back to my Pilates lessons, but I'm not going to do it while wearing a mask.

I'm simply dealing with the mask issue by not going anywhere or doing anything that requires a mask. Writing that made me think of Henry David Thoreau's warning: "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes." And what's the context?

"In a disturbing number of the recent cases of the police being called on black people for doing everyday, mundane things, the calls have been initiated by white women."

"And understand this: Black people view calling the police on them as an act of terror, one that could threaten their lives, and this fear is not without merit. There are too many noosed necks, charred bodies and drowned souls for these white women not to know precisely what they are doing: They are using their white femininity as an instrument of terror against black men."

From "How White Women Use Themselves as Instruments of Terror/There are too many noosed necks, charred bodies and drowned souls for them to deny knowing precisely what they are doing" by Charles Blow (NYT).

"The abundance of sightings has also garnered the attention of another New York journalist and author: the 84-year-old biographer himself."

1. And I've garnered the attention of "garnered."

2. The quoted sentence is from "Lights. Camera. Makeup. And a Carefully Placed 1,246-Page Book/‘The Power Broker,’ a biography by Robert Caro, has become a must-have prop for numerous politicians and reporters appearing on camera from home" (NYT).

3. Robert A. Caro is the one nonfiction author I keep track of and "garner" is a word I keep track of, so this article hit right in my zone. I like the interior decoration angle too — interior decoration in the time of the virus.

"'Why are you not burying him?': Trump allies fret over rising Biden threat/Outside advisers and donors want the Trump campaign to unleash more resources quickly to dent Biden’s strength in the polls."

A headline at Politico. From the text:
“Take the gloves off and put him away,” said one Republican close to the White House. “If you have the cash advantage and you have all of June, why are you not burying him?”
I think the answer is obvious, but I will let you go first.

So the lefties are turning people into conservatives!

That's my reaction to "On pandemics and hippies" at my son John's blog, which has a long quote from Matt K. Lewis. You have to read the whole thing to understand my reaction. I'm sure you can think of various ways that lefties might turn people into conservatives, but this is something about the politics of the pandemic.

"I was obsessed with femininity for years after I transitioned in 2001. I reveled in using cosmetics..."

"... and flattering outfits to look both more convincing and attractive as a woman, forms of expression my old gender denied me. But apart from how much time it took to dress up this way, I also grew weary of the awful feeling that my beauty was always on the verge of collapse, that a mere rub of the eyes or bunching of the cloth would ruin the effect. Also, the attention from men that at first felt intoxicating turned oppressive over time.... So I stopped wearing so much makeup.... More comfortable clothes steadily replaced my fussy dresses.... I turned to face my reflection in the mirror... and I suddenly wondered whether I could imagine myself with a man’s face.... I might have let go of the need to be feminine at all times, but I wasn’t sure it would be healthy to actively envision myself as male.... [R]eality is so much more malleable than people make it out to be; that the first step in making something real is believing it could be real.... [O]ver time, I’ve come to realize that every woman — whether transgender or cisgender — evolves a unique perception of herself, one that need not conform to any specific model of what a woman should be.... Making those judgments for myself is at the core of why I transitioned to be a woman in the first place: to express my gender how I want to, regardless of society’s expectations.... [A]s long as gender matters to the world, I will always be a woman to myself."

From "On Being a Trans Woman, and Giving Up Makeup/I have short hair. I don’t wear heels. Because there is no one way to be a trans woman, either" by Meredith Talusan (NYT).

Who could possibly break up this nasty street argument between a pro- and an anti-mask-wearer?

An old man wanders into the shot...

"If you give your mail-in ballot to a friend to drop in the mailbox, you didn't actually vote. Your friend voted twice."

Could one of you math geniuses check the math? If your friend knows your vote is for the other candidate and he chooses not to mail his, then he prevents his vote from being canceled by yours and keeps his vote as a vote. Is that equivalent to voting twice? I'm looking for a sophisticated math answer to that question.

Anyway, if he knows you're voting for the same person, and he goes ahead and mails your vote, then you're getting your vote counted only because he followed through, so that's 2 votes at his option, but we're just guessing that he might be tempted to trash your envelope if he didn't like the idea that it was canceling his vote.

Now, I'm thinking about this mythical devious friend. To accept Adams's clever point, you have to think that people don't feel bound by principles of integrity. The "friend" has to see that he has a choice before we can say that he "voted" when he mailed or did not mail your ballot. Have you ever looked back on your life and seen a place where you could have taken an advantage but you can't even give yourself "credit" because it didn't occur to you to be dishonest?

Anyway, Adams doesn't mention the possibility of a friend whose only deviousness is laziness. He's got your envelope and he knows you've checked the box for the other guy, and he decides he can simplify the whole thing by trashing your ballot and not voting. Now, do the math: How many times did that guy vote? Do your own math and do the math within the Scott Adams concept. He didn't vote, so you might say 0. But he didn't vote and he threw out your ballot, so how can it be the same number as if he just voted and you handled your own mail. So is the answer -1? If it's -1, then when he does vote, if he also throws out your ballot and you were against his guy, then it seems as though we should say he voted 0 times, but Scott says he voted 2 times.


The "bonkers idea" of doing a makeup job and photo shoot with the model in the U.S., the makeup artist in the U.K, and the photographer in Portugal.

View this post on Instagram

New Cover - CREATED IN THE MIDDLE OF LOCKDOWN (no one left their homes!) 💓 When I was asked to come up with a cover and shoot idea for the annual Beauty Special issue of @theststyle and Covid 19 had just hit hard, I had an idea ... a model in the US , me in the UK and someone fabulous in Portugal to help me pull this madness off . I met amazing mixed media artist @jon_jacobsen a few years ago and knew his combined talents of illustration, photography, painting , digital art plus genuine love of makeup (he always hung out in the makeup room on shoots) would be winning! We were lucky to have incredible model @yumilambert (who was actually in Maui) and Jon talked her through creating a series of beautiful self portraits that we could then use to create a cover and makeup story from. Inspiring editors @sarahjossel @sundaytimeslorraine and art director @leilahartley trusted in this bonkers idea (Thank you ) and then the fun/stress began. My main concern was that it shouldn’t look overly graphic, ‘digital’ and futuristic. So I started shooting makeup on my own face and arms with a good camera, macro lens and a mixture of daylight and ring light . I did five shoots like this so we had actual shapes and ‘makeup on real skin’ textures. Then (over probably about 100 🤪hours )Jon and I sat together on zoom as he layered and blended each bit of gloss, sparkle & colour directly from, in some cases, my arm on to Yumi’s eyelids! You can see some of the makeup is shot in soft daylight while other bits have ring flash highlights. Lorraine wanted something bright optimistic and warm for the cover and I think this combination of pinks, oranges and yellow delivers that . I’ll post the other shots tomorrow and Jon and I are working on a short video of the process. Someone asked me I’ll ever go on a shoot again as it can all be done from home ? The answer is resoundingly yes I will - as interesting as it’s been there is no substitute for the magic of applying makeup directly on to a human face. The issue is out tomorrow , don’t miss it I’m really excited for you to see all the other looks 🌈🌈🌈

A post shared by Lisa Eldridge (@lisaeldridgemakeup) on

"How did I meet Larry? He called me a murderer and an incompetent idiot on the front page of the San Francisco Examiner magazine."

Said Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking in a tribute to Larry Kramer, the playwright and AIDS activist, who died yesterday, at the age of 84. The article is "‘We Loved Each Other’: Fauci Recalls Larry Kramer, Friend and Nemesis/In public, the activist berated the infectious disease expert for federal inaction on AIDS. But their affection lasted decades and changed the course of the epidemic" (NYT).
“It was an extraordinary 33-year relationship,” Dr. Fauci said. “We loved each other. We would have dinner. I would go see him in the West Village, he would come down to Washington. But even recently, when he got pissed at me about something, he said to some paper, ‘Fauci’s gone over to the dark side again.’ I called him up and said, ‘Larry? What the….’ And he’d say, ‘Oh, I didn’t really mean it. I just wanted to get some attention.’... He was iconoclastic, he was theatrical — he wanted to make his point.”...

“During the administration of George H.W. Bush, he told me, ‘Tony, you should chain yourself to the gates of the White House,’” Dr. Fauci said. “I said, ‘Larry, how would that help? I can go talk to President Bush any time. He’s a friend.’ He said, ‘You should still do it.’”...

Mr. Kramer’s autobiographical play in 1992, “The Destiny of Me,” includes a character based on Dr. Fauci. “He’s named Anthony Della Vida — Tony Of Life,” Dr. Fauci said. “He told me he wanted the actor who was playing me to come down to Bethesda and go on hospital rounds with me and learn my mannerisms. He made the character a mix of goodness and rigidity.... On opening night... at the reception afterward... he comes up to me sheepishly and says, ‘Do you hate me?’”

Let's have some fresh orange juice...

... got to put the video after the jump — not because it's dirty, it's just TikTok, and I know some of you have troubles with your browser in TikTok. This is really super-wholesome and refreshing orange juice:

"We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this. I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn't be the arbiter of truth..."

"... of everything that people say online. Private companies probably shouldn't be, especially these platform companies, shouldn't be in the position of doing that."

Said Mark Zuckerberg, quoted at Fox News. Links to Fox News never seem to work, so I apologize in advance for this bad link. Why does Fox News not play well with social media?

Anyway... I'm glad to hear that from Zuckerberg. I love Zuckerberg's self-effacing term "these platform companies." I have long argued that these platform companies should uphold the free speech values that the law requires government to uphold. (Here's my 2011 argument with Bob Wright on the subject.)

Meanwhile, Trump is choosing the worst way to fight for freedom of speech — governmental suppression: "Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen." That's a tweet, quoted at CNN. From the CNN article:

"It is a shame that December 7th is remembered as a dark day when America was attacked, when it could be seen as a bright day in our history, the beginning of constitutional ratification."

I wrote on December 7, 2007 — the 220th anniversary of the day the first state ratified the Constitution — the first state, AKA "The First State," my state, Delaware. Maybe you don't know that Delaware is the first state, but if you grow up in Delaware — at least if, like me, you grew up in Delaware in the 1950s — you know that Delaware is The First State, and you know that December 7th is Delaware Day. When you get a little older, you find out that other Americans don't even mention Delaware on December 7th. They call it Pearl Harbor Day. Another event vastly overshadowed the little state's pride. We weren't even the smallest state, if smallness can be a point of distinction, only the second smallest. But we were first. First! No one outside of Delaware ever seemed to notice.

But Joe Biden is a person from Delaware. He wasn't born there. He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1942, but his family moved to Delaware in 1953. Maybe I crossed paths with young Biden. Maybe he was seated at the next table at the Charcoal Pit. Clearly, he knows about Delaware Day, and wouldn't he have heard — every year of his life — the reminiscences about Pearl Harbor that overshadow Delaware Day? It's something that has affected me all my life, that caused me to write that line you see in this post title.

In the video below, we see Biden, bringing up Delaware Day as he lightly taunts the Governor of Pennsylvania over the fact that Delaware was once part of Pennsylvania: "But we declared our independence." Delaware separated from Pennsylvania at the point of the Declaration of Independence, in 1776. That's not the basis for Delaware Day, which marks the ratification of the Constitution on December 7, 1787. Biden not only mixes up the 2 important events in Delaware history — "We declared our independence on December the 7th" —  he forgets that December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day. He calls it D-Day:

The clip begins with Biden tracing the arc of the northern border of Delaware, which I can attest, is something people from Delaware believe is very interesting but really just shows how little there is to say about Delaware.

Anyway... what's up with Governor Tom Wolf? Did someone instruct him to abase himself by keeping the top of his bald head lower than Biden's effulgent smile?

May 27, 2020

At the Effulgence Café...


... you can radiate everything you are.

And now that the geese have flown off, it's a good time to use the Althouse Portal to Amazon. Something I just bought — a new FlipBelt.

Today's sunrise in 3 distinct phases... at 5:14, 5:30, and 5:52.

It was most dramatic at 5:14, before the sun crossed the shoreline:


The "actual" sunrise time was 5:23, and here's 5:30, with the sun in view, which makes it hard to photograph:


But there was a cloud for the sun to slip behind so that made an entirely new concept of sunrise, here at 5:52:


I hope that's not too much effulgence for one post, but I wanted to collect the wildly different presentations of a single sunrise.

"I get your point, but fresh and Joe Biden are two things that just don't go together."

Says mezzrow, reacting to my reaction to Blogger telling us about its new interface and saying it has "a fresh feel."

I'd said: "Rereading this I paused to visualize 'a fresh feel.' Somehow Joe Biden was in the picture." I was picturing his various old-mannish gropings of women and girls. (This one is fake.)

Mezzrow continued: "Does anyone use 'fresh' as a synonym of 'boorish and handsy' any more? I understood immediately, but then Althouse and I are in the same age cohort."

That makes me old enough to remember 1985, and this is as fresh as ever:

Wikipedia: "The song introduced a new meaning to the word 'fresh,' meaning 'good.'"

The top definition for "fresh" at Urban Dictionary is "This word originated during the 80's hip hop era in New York hip hop culture. It was used to describe something new or nice." So Kool & the Gang's usage is also historical.

But Urban Dictionary does treat "get fresh" like part of the living language: "The act of a guy or girl, (commonly used when describing a guy) making (or attempting to make) covert advances towards the object of their affection, typically to illicit sex later on, or 'test the waters' for further advances, typically physcial [sic] in nature." ADDED: I think they meant "typically to elicit sex," but you might elicit illicit sex.

Blogger is talking like a robot.

Here's a message that's been appearing lately on the pages I'm seeing as I work on Blogger:
In late June, the new Blogger interface will become the default for all users. The legacy interface will still be optionally available. We recommend trying the new interface by clicking “Try the New Blogger” in the left-hand navigation. Please file any critical issues encountered.
Please file any critical issues encountered? Is that any way to talk to a human being? It sounds like they're saying if you don't like it, shut up about it. I mean, I feel like adopting that phrase as a jocose way to tell someone not to bother me about their problems: Please file any critical issues encountered.

"According to a recent Qualtrics study, a majority of surveyed Americans now say they won’t return to the office unless their company makes wearing face masks mandatory."

"Mask-Wearing Needs to Be Easy, Understood and Expected/Persuasion works better than compulsion" by Angela Duckworth, Lyle Ungar and Ezekiel J. Emanuel (NYT).

Didn't anyone notice the flaw in that statement?!

It assumes that everyone works in an office!

The survey question was actually "Before returning to work, I want my company to require... a mask all of the time." It was the NYT that changed "work" to "office." What blindness!

Notice that in the question, each respondent would be thinking about his own workplace, with whatever conditions of indoorsiness and crowding that existed there. They were not saying what they thought the rules should be in other workplaces.

I used to work in a law school, and within that workplace, I had my own office, and also a classroom. I wouldn't call the whole building "the office," only my own room. And if I were working alone in my office and had the door closed and was subject to a university-wide rule that I had to keep a mask on, I'd think that was crazy — or just an example of bureaucratic rule that's written in a bluntly simple form so everyone would get the message that it's mandatory — rules are rules, no exceptions.

During office hours, during class time — that would be different. But how awful it would be to need to wear a mask when your role is speaking to other people and communicating! But the #1 message to be communicated now is: I am trying as hard as I can not to spread a sometimes-deadly disease. And we're all saying it constantly, forced to say it. Fortunately, I am retired, so this scenario is merely imaginary for me.

But I should be clear. I've been harping on the use of the word "office" — an unwitting mistake that no one corrected — and the cultural bias it betrays. There's a lot more to this op-ed, and the key point is that that compulsion is the wrong way to proceed:
It is human nature to adhere to social norms. When uncertain about what to do, people tend to look around and copy what other people are doing.... How do we create a social norm of mask-wearing when, in fact, so many Americans are doing exactly the opposite? One common mistake is drawing attention to the lack of compliance. For instance, highlighting littering as a commonplace problem can inadvertently lead to more littering because it strengthens the perception that littering is the norm. Instead, in press releases and public service announcements, officials should emphasize that the clear trend in this country is toward universal mask-wearing.... 
I agree that compulsion isn't going to work. Something they don't say is that if you force people to do something, they get rebellious. It's much better to get them to feel that they have a choice and that they're choosing this thing you'd like to make them do. I'm sure the op-ed writers thought of that point, but to say it is to encourage rebellion, and they're inside the project of manipulating opinion, and that project is not furthered by getting people to see the manipulation.

"We don't talk about the commerce of squirrels."

Said Meade, just now, long into a conversation that began when he read the previous post, which was published 40 minutes ago.

"Because what if no one picks you for their bubble? And how do you decide who belongs in yours? How do you issue an invitation, or reject one?"

"What if your parents swear they’ve been following the rules and are dying to see their grandchildren, but you’re not ready to risk it because they’re Fox News viewers and who the hell knows what they think 'observant' even means? What if you’re desperate to hang out with your bestie, but she’s already committed to a guy she met three weeks ago on a dating app and wants to get to know in person? And again: What if no one picks you?... If the very thought of being picked last or going completely, utterly unchosen is giving you flashbacks to junior high where Michelle Goldman said that you couldn’t sit at her table in the cafeteria because all the seats were taken when clearly all the seats were not taken, I am right there with you. And would like to remind you that you are a successful, accomplished, beloved adult and also how many novels has Michelle published?"

Writes Jennifer Weiner in "The Quarantine Bubbles Are Coming and I, for One, Am Stressed/How do you decide who belongs in yours? What if you join and find it’s not working out? And what if you aren’t invited to one at all?" (NYT).

1. Jennifer Weiner has published 13 novels.

2. Is "observant" a standard term people are using to mean observing the rules about coronavirus? The most standard meaning of "observant" — used as shorthand — has to do with religion, meaning actually following the rules and not merely identifying with the culture of the religion.

3. There's an obsolete meaning of "observant" — "Deferential, respectful; considerately attentive; assiduous in service; obsequious" (OED). Mary Wollstonecraft used it in "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" (1791): Would men but generously snap our chains, and be content with rational fellowship, instead of slavish obedience, they would find us more observant daughters, more affectionate sisters, more faithful wives, more reasonable mothers — in a word, better citizens."

4. Imagine extending the separation of grandchildren and grandparents for more months because your parents watch Fox News. It's not the politics, per se, but the Fox News as evidence that they're not fact-based, not connecting with science and the right experts.

5. Are you worried about the coming "bubbles" — these enclosed groups of households that are phasing out of one-household-only lockdowns? Is it obvious which other household you'd take on as part of your bubble or are you beset with other households who'd like to bubble-ize you?

6. What's the bigger bubble problem — being left outside of any good bubble like the high-schooler who can't find a table in the cafeteria or having too many people who want you in their bubble? I think the latter is the bigger problem, because you can always continue to shelter alone, and no one sees how alone you are. It's not like standing there in front of the whole school holding a tray, feeling unwanted, and getting rejections right in your face.

7. If you weren't one of the popular kids in high school, but you've become a pretty successful adult, how do you feel about the popular kids now? Do you think about them at all? Do you still agonize about whether you are popular? Or are you a popular adult?

8. If you are a popular adult, did you learn anything interesting from your time in seclusion? Have you changed what you want out of relationships, or are you just eager to get back to socializing?

9. If the seclusion for you was not that different from the way you were living before the virus, are you wistful seeing other people wonder and worry about their bubbles, or are you ready to see your lifestyle once again reserved for those who come about it only in ways that have nothing to do with the virus?

10. Do you want a bubble but not know how — or not have the nerve — to ask anyone to be in yours? What if all the people who you might ask feel the same way too? What if that's not so different from how you and they were living in non-virus times?

May 26, 2020

At the Allium Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.


It's allium season, so remember to use the Althouse Portal when you are shopping at Amazon.

Twitter adds a subtle correction to a Trump tweet.

Discussed at Fox News:
Within minutes, Trump accused Twitter of "interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election ... based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post." The president added that the platform "is completely stifling FREE SPEECH" and vowed: "I, as President, will not allow it to happen!"

Twitter's new warning label was issued even though a Twitter spokesperson acknowledged to Fox News that Trump's tweet had not broken any of the platform's rules, and even though several experts have called mail-in balloting an invitation to widespread fraud.
ADDED: I was surprised to see that the correction didn't carry over into the tweet when it's embedded. At Twitter, it looks like this:

And if you click on the "get the facts" link, it goes here.

"Seinfeld" — A Coronavirus Montage.

How to question the re-opening plan in Madison, Wisconsin: argue that the risk "falls disproportionately on poor people and people of color."

I'm reading "Madison City Council members, Dane County supervisors question county’s reopening plan" (Wisconsin State Journal).
"Poor, uninsured, low-wage workers ... have no alternative but to go to risky jobs that make them vulnerable," they write. "Multiple studies have shown that the pandemic has been devastating economically, especially in black and brown communities where people may live with extended families and are more likely to be employed in public-facing occupations such as food service, transportation and home health care where they are more susceptible to become infected."...

All but four of the letter's [14] signatories are members of the left-wing local political party Progressive Dane... The City Council has 20 members, the County Board 37....

"Sheltering in place forces roommates together and raises the stakes on everyday squabbles... You’re only as safe as your least-careful roommate."

"One friend of mine repeatedly scolded a roommate who refused to stop going to parties or to wash his hands, until the guy moved out in a huff. Another friend became ill with what seemed like covid-19 while subletting in Brooklyn; whenever she went into the common area to eat soup, her roommate would slam the bedroom door and send a nasty text. 'To be inside of all this, like we all are, with not only zero love around me but actual hate, as I’m sick, is a loneliness that is a new deep for me,' my friend wrote me. (She has since recovered.)..."

From "The Bushwick House Share Was a Haven—Then COVID-19 Struck" in The New Yorker.

At about exactly the point when I saw that, I saw "How a 16-Person Poly Pod Is Isolating in Bushwick" in New York Magazine. Different cast of characters. "A polyamorous lifestyle is undoubtedly ill-suited to our germophobic moment. Yet, the Villa’s residents seem to have an edge when it comes to thorny conversations about health and risk. 'We’re all about responsible humanism, so we’re used to talking about how our behavior affects other people,' Kenneth Play, a sex educator and co-founder of Hacienda Villa, said.... Play... has had hundreds of lovers over the years (he usually has an assistant book his liaisons), but he always wears a condom unless he is with his fiancée. She, in turn, has unprotected sex with only one other person, her other fiancé, who wears a condom with everyone else. 'I think the sex-positive community has something to teach in a time like this, because we all know how to follow strict protocols to make sure everyone is safe,' Play said."

"... we all know how to follow strict protocols to make sure everyone is safe...." I hate to inform the seemingly savvy Play but "make sure" is so last year. Here's my post on the subject from July 2019: "I've been noticing the phrase 'We need to make sure' in political speech lately. [Bernie] Sanders says 'We need to make sure that kids go to community schools, which are integrated and that means we have to focus on fair housing legislation and enforcement.' I see 'We need to make sure' as a sort of lie. It really only means we ought to try to get to a place out there that would be really nice to get to...."

Sunrise, 5:28.


Actual sunrise time today was 5:24. Compare this sunrise picture to the very different one I put up earlier this morning, which was done at 5:46, after the sun went behind a cloud, which is generally the best place for it if you want a good photograph.

"[O]ne of the biggest obstacles to dining in a restaurant, renewing a doctor’s appointment or going back to the office is the prospect of having to use a public restroom..."

"... a tight, intimate and potentially germ-infested space.... Laura Maxwell is eager to find an entertainment option that would let her take her children, ages 11 and 13, out of the house safely. Maxwell, who lives in San Luis Obispo, would happily return to the Sunset Drive-In, but...  'Bathrooms are a problem,' she said. 'They’re huge contact places, and if you’re shedding the virus, it’ll be all over. Maybe they could just open up without bathrooms and people would know in advance and make the decision not to go, or to wear Depends.'... 'Americans have always had a fear of contamination from public restrooms,' [said the president of the American Restroom Association.] 'What we’re seeing now is part just heightened anxiety, but it’s also part reality-based. Public restrooms in this country generally have open toilet seats — no lids — and high-pressure flushes create a plume of droplets that extends at least six feet.'... Going away: Push-button soap dispensers, and those high-velocity hand dryers that can blow germs across an entire room.... Outdoor venues might seem to be the easiest to reopen, but whether they are sports stadiums, concert facilities or parks, visitors still eventually need to go.... The American Hiking Society has recommended that people limit their walks to places in their neighborhoods, in part to avoid having to stop to answer nature’s call.... Even police officers are having trouble finding a place to go during their shifts. Coffee shops are closed, and fire stations formerly hospitable to other first responders are taking a newly cautious approach. In Manchester, Maine, the fire station restroom was closed to the state and county cops who usually pop in. 'No law enforcement,' said the sign on the door."

From "The need to go is a big barrier to going out. Why public bathrooms are a stumbling block for reopening" (WaPo).

I'm surprised WaPo didn't bring up the gender equity problem: Women need bathrooms much more than men do.

"There’s a closed Facebook group... called Into the Unknown, 'for those of us who have decided or are considering — willingly or otherwise — to join the exodus from NYC to greener pastures, as it were'..."

"Faced with a June 30 deadline to renew the lease on their two-bedroom duplex in Brooklyn, Naomi Mersky, 44, and her husband decided to bail. 'We know we’re lucky that we have options,' she said, but they also couldn’t keep paying rent indefinitely if their kids, ages 5 and 9, didn’t feel safe. They’ve bought chickens and are looking into starting the next school year in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, where they’re living in a summer cabin they own. Krista Sudol, 42, a mother to two young children who just lost her job in fashion 'and possibly my career,' summed up the zeitgeist bluntly: 'I love New York so much I could cry, but for the first time ever, it feels all wrong.' For many artists who came to the city to make it big and wound up waiting tables, the city’s promise that hustle and paying dues leads to achieving your dreams is starting to feel like a broken contract.... Since March, Nancy Lee, 39... confirmed she’s pregnant, gotten engaged and hunkered down with her fiance — who is also out of work — and their pug, Biggie, in an East Village studio apartment. 'It’s just resonating that I think it’s my time to leave New York,' Lee said. 'The value of living here is the way of life. And if the sexiness has worn off, then why pay the expensive price tag?'"

From "Frustrated and struggling, New Yorkers contemplate abandoning the city they love" (WaPo).

One thing about living in NYC (which I did for 10+ years) is that your lease keeps coming up for renewal, confronting you with the question whether this is where you want to be. That happens at a specific time, and you have to say yes or no. When you have a house, you can sell at any time, but you have to initiate and do the hard work of selling, and you've probably settled in and it's complicated to clear out all your stuff.

And yet, I think people who live in NYC find it especially hard to leave, because so many of them have the feeling that NYC is utterly unique and better than everywhere else. That's how I ended up living in NYC. I married a person who felt like that about New York, and my vague notions of wanting something quite different were no competition for the overwhelming power of New York. But it was hard living there. So many simple things, like getting your laundry done, become an ordeal. But at least you never think, Step One, buy chickens.

And yet... I have to Google... people who raise chickens in nyc...

I get lots of hits — like "Raising chickens in NYC: Laws, tips, and everything else you need to know" ("I think in the future, community-based urban agriculture will continue to grow because tackling food issues also allows people to tackle other social and economic issues within their communities such as racial equity, gentrification, and climate change").

People don't know how to keep it simple. It's hard living in NYC, but people make it harder for themselves. There are people who raise chickens in NYC. There are people who live in a studio apartment but get a dog — a pug named Biggie. And then there's the part where your animal-tending pastime has to be interwoven with things you're supposed to be thinking about. You've got to take care of those birds and make it feel like that's helping with climate change. And racial equity. And for God's sake put that pug on a leash.

"The boogeyman plunging him and the family of his late wife into the very worst of memory holes is a conspiracy-theory-loving, twitchy-fingered and often shameless tweeter who also happens to be the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump."

Writes Kara Swisher in "Twitter Must Cleanse the Trump Stain/The president is spreading a vile conspiracy theory on the platform. Maybe Twitter should finally hold him to its rules" (NYT).

The "conspiracy theory" in question is that Joe Scarborough had something to do with the death of a woman long ago. The woman's husband wants some Trump tweets deleted. There's also the idea — pushed by Mika Brzezinski (Scarborough's wife) — that Twitter should throw Trump off the site entirely.

But what exactly did Trump tweet? The woman's husband is quoted saying that Trump "allud[ed] to the repeatedly debunked falsehood that my wife was murdered by her boss, former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough." Alluded! We need the text of the tweet, but, incredibly, it's not in this long column.

I had to look it up. I found: "A blow to her head? Body found under his desk? Left Congress suddenly? Big topic of discussion in Florida...and, he’s a Nut Job (with bad ratings). Keep digging, use forensic geniuses!"

One reason not to quote the tweet is that it's just asking questions, and we'd have to spend time going into a subject we don't know. The woman's husband implies that the questions have all been asked and answered, but all he says is that there is one "falsehood" — that Joe Scarborough murdered the woman (Lori Klausutis). But Trump didn't tweet that statement. Does the debunking of the idea that Joe Scarborough murdered the woman make the things Trump actually did tweet into the sort of statement Twitter should take down?

First, Trump just asked questions, but even if we reject that loophole — I'm only asking! — it is true, I take it, that the woman suffered a blow to her head, that her body was found under his desk, that he left Congress suddenly, that it's a big topic of discussion in Florida, and that "Morning Joe" has bad ratings. And it's nothing but inane opinion to call Joe Scarborough "a Nut Job." Trump is called things like that constantly on Twitter, so there's no way there's a Twitter policy against calling famous people mentally ill.

I'm interested in "The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip," but come on!

You're going to show these people in masks when it's not any sort of event or personal appearance. You just need a headshot, and you show them in a mask?! That silliness is at The Hill.

The mask look must make very different impressions on different people. To me, it's utilitarian, to be worn when needed but generally a bad look. I want to see faces. But I think there are a lot of people who want to see the covering up.

Why is The Hill showing 2 Senators in masks and one without? There isn't a caption, and I have no idea who any of them are. I'm just going to guess that the guy without a mask is a Republican and the 2 with masks are Democrats.

Since the 2 with masks are a female and a male, I'm getting the the ridiculous impression that there's a male and a female way of wearing a mask. The male is staunch, staring forward, ever forward, into the future. The female tilts her head downward and peeks out over the edge of a silky, fluttery scarf.