June 13, 2020

Sunrise, 5:19.


The "actual" sunrise time was 5:17.

Free free to use the comments section for any topics you might want to raise.

And remember to use the Althouse Portal to Amazon if you have any shopping to do.

"While Melania stayed in New York, Ivanka continued to establish herself in the West Wing, notorious for its cramped and limited working spaces."

"According to several people, she was eyeing real estate in the East Wing as well, the domain of the first lady. Among other proposals, Ivanka suggested renaming the 'First Lady’s Office' the 'First Family Office.' Melania did not allow that to happen. It was tradition, and she was not going to let her stepdaughter change it. Ivanka’s office remained in the West Wing. Melania’s delay in moving from New York initially put her at a disadvantage. Even some of the staff positions and budgets that would have been available to support the first lady’s office were gone, diverted to support those in the West Wing, including Ivanka.... With Melania away, Ivanka used the private theater, with its plush red seats, and enjoyed other White House perks. Some said she treated the private residence as if it were her own home. Melania did not like it. When she and Barron finally moved in, she put an end to the 'revolving door' by enforcing firm boundaries.... People working in the West Wing say they have heard Trump criticize Don Jr. and Eric and even Ivanka for doing or saying something that the president thought was not helpful, but none could recall hearing him say anything negative about Melania.... More than a dozen past or current White House officials interviewed attributed Melania’s influence to the fact that Trump believed that just about everyone else had an agenda, except Melania. He believed she had no ulterior motive and just wanted him to succeed...."

From "How Melania Trump blocked Ivanka Trump from encroaching on her domain" by Mary Jordan (adapted from the book, "The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump")(WaPo).

At the Third Quarter Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like.

Would the person named Yin who is trying to comment, please try again?

We have tried to put through your comments, but they are not appearing. We are worried that there's some kind of censorship happening that is not coming from us. We will look for you and make a screen shot next time we see you!

"So dogmatic was the dictate that we all stay at home that any attempt to question or even balance it... was deemed immoral."

"Those who questioned state-mandated lockdown and stay-at-home orders, let alone left their homes to actually protest against them, were condemned as sociopaths who were willing to sacrifice the lives of old people for economic prosperity or the trivial, troglodyte desire to go to Applebees. Oftentimes those protesting lockdowns were vilified as white nationalists or at least driven by white racialist sentiments.... How is it remotely within the scope of the expertise of epidemiologists to pick and choose which political protests should be permitted and/or encouraged and which ones banned and/or denounced? Those are plainly political judgments, not scientific ones, and the shoddy, glaring conflation of them is nothing less than a manipulation, an abuse, of public health credentials. For scientists to purport to dictate which citizens can and cannot safely choose to leave their house — based not on health judgments but on their political ideology — is repressive, and certain to erode the credibility of their profession. Yet this is exactly what they are doing: explicitly and shamelessly.... At the very least, it is vital that we have the same health and legal standards apply to all citizens and all political ideologies when it comes to the right to leave one’s home, protest or engage in other legal activities. And at least as importantly, we need to understand whether public health experts were too restrictive in their advocated measures at the start of the pandemic, are being too lax now, or somehow can reconcile the radical shift in their posture on scientific rather than political grounds."

From "The Abrupt, Radical Reversal in How Public Health Experts Now Speak About the Coronavirus and Mass Gatherings" by Glenn Greenwald (The Intercept).

"John Bolton, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, wanted to write a book."

"He knew that the White House would do everything it could to stop him. He hired a flashy white-shoe law firm to handle the prepublication review process required by the nondisclosure agreement he signed when he got his security clearance. As expected, the White House weaponized the prepublication review process against him to keep him from publishing. If he published without approval, it said, he could face severe legal consequences. Then his lawyer, Chuck Cooper, wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week intended to put public pressure on the White House. In it, Cooper volunteered that Bolton had violated both his NDA and perhaps a few criminal laws, including the Espionage Act. Now, even if Bolton’s book is never released, he is facing stiff penalties. As unforced legal errors go, that’s a doozy...."

From "Here’s How John Bolton’s Lawyer Just Threw Him Under the Bus/If you can be prosecuted for keeping a classified document in your garage, you can be prosecuted for giving it to your lawyer" (The Daily Beast).

"Jonathan Turley rips Cornell Law faculty letter against me: 'It is the antipathy of the intellectual foundations for higher education.'"

A new post by William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, linking to "Cornell Professors Declare 'Informed Commentary' Criticizing The Protests As Racism" by Jonathan Turley.

An excerpt from Turley: "What is most striking for me is the inclusion of Professors Mark H. Jackson and Cortelyou Kenney, who teach in the Cornell First Amendment Clinic. They are in fact the Director and Associate Director of the First Amendment Clinic, which is presumably committed to the value of free speech even at private institutions. So these professors teach free speech and just signed a letter that people who question the BLM movement or denounce the looting are per se or at least presumptive racists. It is reflection of how free speech is being redefined to exclude protections with those who hold opposing views."

From Jacobson: "The law school, as an institution, picked sides and declared in a Dean’s Statement that my writings 'do not reflect the values of Cornell Law School ….' I vigorously disagree with that, but was not given a chance to be heard on it, much less some process to contest it.... [T]he Dean’s statement on behalf of the institution... should have been something along the lines of: 'Though I vigorously disagree with Professor Jacobson’s views, those views are protected by academic freedom and no disciplinary action will be taken.' Period."

ADDED: "'It is the antipathy..." — Doesn't he mean "It is the antithesis..."?

In context:
Not a word about academic freedom or free of speech [sic]; not a suggestion that critics of these protests could have anything other than racist motivations. It is the antipathy of the intellectual foundations for higher education. Rather than address the merits of arguments, you attack those with opposing views personally and viciously. That has become a standard approach to critics on our campuses. Unless you agree with the actions of the movement, you are per se racist. It is a mantra that is all too familiar historically: if you are not part of the resistance, you are reactionary.

"We're supposed to be for each other! We're supposed to be for each other! No! No! No!"

"There is little or no liberal space in this revolutionary movement for genuine, respectful disagreement, regardless of one’s identity, or even open-minded exploration."

"In fact, there is an increasingly ferocious campaign to quell dissent, to chill debate, to purge those who ask questions, and to ruin people for their refusal to swallow this reductionist ideology whole. The orthodoxy goes further than suppressing contrary arguments and shaming any human being who makes them. It insists, in fact, that anything counter to this view is itself a form of violence against the oppressed. The reason some New York Times staffers defenestrated op-ed page editor James Bennet was that he was, they claimed, endangering the lives of black staffers by running a piece by Senator Tom Cotton, who called for federal troops to end looting, violence, and chaos, if the local authorities could not. This framing equated words on a page with a threat to physical life — the precise argument many students at elite colleges have been using to protect themselves from views that might upset them.... In this manic, Manichean world you’re not even given the space to say nothing. 'White Silence = Violence' is a slogan chanted and displayed in every one of these marches. It’s very reminiscent of totalitarian states where you have to compete to broadcast your fealty to the cause. In these past two weeks, if you didn’t put up on Instagram or Facebook some kind of slogan or symbol displaying your wokeness, you were instantly suspect. The cultishness of this can be seen in the way people are actually cutting off contact with their own families if they don’t awaken and see the truth and repeat its formulae.... If you argue that you believe that much of this ideology is postmodern gobbledygook, you are guilty of 'white fragility.' If you say you are not fragile, and merely disagree, this is proof you are fragile. It is the same circular argument that was once used to burn witches. And it has the same religious undertones...."

From "Is There Still Room for Debate?" by Andrew Sullivan (New York Magazine).

"Each passing day sees more scenes that recall something closer to cult religion than politics."

"White protesters in Floyd’s Houston hometown kneeling and praying to black residents for 'forgiveness… for years and years of racism' are one thing, but what are we to make of white police in Cary, North Carolina, kneeling and washing the feet of Black pastors? What about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer kneeling while dressed in 'African kente cloth scarves'? There is symbolism here that goes beyond frustration with police or even with racism: these are orgiastic, quasi-religious, and most of all, deeply weird scenes, and the press is too paralyzed to wonder at it. In a business where the first job requirement was once the willingness to ask tough questions, we’ve become afraid to ask obvious ones.... The media in the last four years has devolved into a succession of moral manias. We are told the Most Important Thing Ever is happening for days or weeks at a time, until subjects are abruptly dropped and forgotten, but the tone of warlike emergency remains: from James Comey’s firing, to the deification of Robert Mueller, to the Brett Kavanaugh nomination, to the democracy-imperiling threat to intelligence 'whistleblowers,' all those interminable months of Ukrainegate hearings (while Covid-19 advanced), to fury at the death wish of lockdown violators, to the sudden reversal on that same issue, etc. It’s been learned in these episodes we may freely misreport reality, so long as the political goal is righteous."

From "The American Press Is Destroying Itself/A flurry of newsroom revolts has transformed the American press" by Matt Taibbi (at his own website). Much more at the link.

Lake Mendota at 4:49 a.m.



"No. You can not base your life on frowning and glaring at others literally behind your shades and think you are making a positive impact on lives."

"Just like the met gala is a ridiculous, outdated event that does no good except for advancing privilege. I hope we begin to understand how many generous, kind people there are in the world and that those are the individuals we should be celebrating."

The second-highest-rated comment on "Can Anna Wintour Survive the Social Justice Movement?/A reckoning has come to Bon Appétit and the other magazines of Condé Nast. Can a culture built on elitism and exclusion possibly change?" by Ginia Bellafante (NYT).

The first-highest-rated comment: "It's kind of rich when a newspaper that oozes white privilege and credential worship, prints endless real-estate stories about zillion-dolllar properties, and covers celebrities endlessly in its style magazine and arts pages goes after Anna Wintour."

The NYT is going after Anna Wintour — not because she said anything arguably racist or got caught in blackface or anything like that, but simply because she is powerful and imperious and because, apparently, Vogue is a fashion magazine.

They also have this quote from André Leon Talley, "a black man and longtime former editor at Vogue": "I wanna say one thing, Dame Anna Wintour is a colonial broad; she’s a colonial dame. I do not think she will ever let anything get in the way of her white privilege."

A colonial broad, whatever "colonial" is supposed to mean. As for "broad"... it's a blatantly sexist word, but sexism was last year's concern. This year it's race, and for some perverted reason, we can't concern ourselves with both at the same time.

She is literally a "Dame" — I'm reading that at Wikipedia, where I also learn that she lives in Greenwich Village, rises before 6 a.m., "rarely stays at parties for more than 20 minutes at a time and goes to bed by 10:15 every night." For lunch she eats "a steak (or bunless hamburger)" but years ago it was "smoked salmon and scrambled eggs every single day." She wears sunglasses all the time because they are "actually corrective lenses" but also (as one acquaintance says) "you know, really, armour."

Politically, she's a big supporter of Democrats. They say if Hillary Clinton had won, Anna Wintour would have become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. And now, look what she gets. The NYT coming after her for nothing. You can't devote your life to fashion for the sake of fashion in the Social Justice Regime.

ADDED: From "Anna Wintour Isn’t Going To Cancel Herself/Vogue’s editor is now promising to do better for Black employees and readers. Does she not realize that she, largely alone, had all the power all along?" (BuzzFeed News):
Wintour has built her entire career on the foundation of fetishizing white-woman meanness... Wintour’s persona isn’t just of a boss that’s tough to please, but of a woman boss who’s just as awful as a man could be. It’s an earlier, less PR-optimized incarnation of the Nasty Woman/Girl Boss modus operandi: the idea that being authoritarian or contemptuous at work is feminist, because if men get to do it, why can’t women?

Wintour embraces a version of femininity that says you have to be skinny, white, elegant, aloof, and rich..... Wintour found power in being icy, while third-wave “feminist” bosses learned to hide their harshness behind public displays of feminist solidarity.... 
Feminism is so last year. This year is all about race. Wintour is white, so she's out.

"We can say we’re going to cancel her, but she’s going to get money for the rest of her life."

Said J’Neia Stewart, whose “House of Black Podcast,” looks at the "Harry Potter" series in terms of social justice, quoted in "Harry Potter Fans Reimagine Their World Without Its Creator/A slice of fandom divides itself from J.K. Rowling" (NYT). Also:
“J.K. Rowling gave us Harry Potter; she gave us this world,” said Renae McBrian, a young adult author who volunteers for the fan site MuggleNet. “But we created the fandom, and we created the magic and community in that fandom. That is ours to keep.”...

For Talia Franks, who is nonbinary and works with an activist group called the Harry Potter Alliance, Ms. Rowling’s comments were disturbing and demoralizing. But they said that they won’t have a problem continuing to write their fan fiction (where queer characters abound), attend Wizard Rock concerts and participate in the online Black Girls Create community, where they often discuss “Harry Potter.”

“I don’t need J.K. Rowling at all,” Mx. Franks said.

June 12, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write about whatever you want.

And do consider using the Althouse Portal to Amazon if you're doing any shopping.

"Do you think about mortality often?"/"I think about the death of the human race. The long strange trip of the naked ape."

"Not to be light on it, but everybody’s life is so transient. Every human being, no matter how strong or mighty, is frail when it comes to death. I think about it in general terms, not in a personal way.... There’s definitely a lot more anxiety and nervousness around now than there used to be. But that only applies to people of a certain age like me and you, Doug. We have a tendency to live in the past, but that’s only us. Youngsters don’t have that tendency. They have no past, so all they know is what they see and hear, and they’ll believe anything.... I like to think of the mind as spirit and the body as substance. How you integrate those two things, I have no idea. I just try to go on a straight line and stay on it, stay on the level."

From "Bob Dylan Has a Lot on His Mind." The question — "Do you think about mortality often?" — is from Douglas Brinkley and the rest of the quote above is Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan has a new album, "Rough and Rowdy Ways," coming out on June 19th.

Outrageous pessimism at the NYT: "On the Future, Americans Can Agree: It Doesn’t Look Good."

That's the headline — "On the Future, Americans Can Agree: It Doesn’t Look Good."

Hell, no. I won't agree.

This is a column by Lisa Lerer, a reporter, and David Umhoefer, a former reporter (and faculty member at Marquette University).

They say "The American experiment is teetering" and quote a random white man who says "It’s all screwed. It seems to me that we’re pretty close to a fall."

Further down in the column, they quote another random white man: "A lot of people are overreacting. We’ve been through tough times, and people thought it was the end of the world, but people come through." Yeah, that's closer to what I think. It's noted that this white man was "walk[ing] through Rittenhouse Square, a wealthy area," so we're prompted to think he's got the "white privilege" affliction and he's got it bad.

"A 56-year-old North Dakota [woman] drowned in a giant vat of sunflower seeds when she lost her footing and was sucked inside the grain bin..."

"The woman was wearing a harness, but it was not attached at the time of the accident and she plunged inside the massive container...." (NY Post).

"U.S. Olympic team boxer Virginia Fuchs will face no punishment for failing a doping test after the U.S. Anti-Doping Association determined the violation had been caused by..."

"... two substances transmitted by her boyfriend through sex.... 'While the World Anti-Doping Code requires that this no-fault finding be considered a violation and be publicly announced, we strongly believe this case and others like it, including meat contamination and prescription medication contamination cases, should be considered no violation,' [USADA CEO Travis] Tygart said. 'We will continue to advocate for changes to the World Anti-Doping Code so that where there is no intent to cheat and no performance benefit, an athlete should not face any violation or unnecessary public attention.'"

From "Sex gets Olympic boxer Virginia Fuchs out of doping ban" (NY Post).

"Simon told police that he was walking his dog with his girlfriend in the 3000 block of North Fox Street when he told the dog to poop."

"He then heard a voice from a ground-level apartment yelling at them and asking if they were going to train the dog or just yell at it, according to the probable cause statement. Simon said he tried to ignore the yelling but then saw the man point a gun at him."

From "Suspect in homicide near Coors Field opened fire because of dispute over dog poop, police say/Michael Close, 36, accused of firing on victims from his apartment while they were walking their dog" (Denver Post).

"Yes, racism is real, but as a crucial factor that enables or prevents social advancement, it has lost a lot of force in the past half century."

"I am sure that there are deep-seated inequality problems in America that affect everyone, and black people in particular. Some are institutional, but many have to do with the culture and behavior of black people themselves. I’m talking about lack of educational achievement, and about the higher crime rate; I’m talking about the collapse of the black family. Seven out of ten black children are born outside of marriage. It is a plausible surmise that households where a mother is present, but no father, are more likely to produce adolescent males with behavioral problems. People are frustrated that conventional political solutions, such as expanding anti-discrimination and welfare programs, have not worked. That’s why they take refuge in the empty thesis of racism. They speak of 1619, when the first blacks landed in America, and they speak of slavery, which was abolished more than 150 years ago. They talk of 'centuries of oppression.' But, they don’t talk about how the social condition of blacks in America well may have been healthier in 1950 than it is today—the integrity of family structure, the level of the crime rate, the relationship to work of the poorly educated, and the values with which many children are raised.... I think we do not live in a really free space where we can discuss these questions. Pressure to conform is intense because nobody wants to give the impression that they stand on the wrong side of the great moral questions of our time.... Because racists say that black crime is terrible, you are afraid even to address the issue and admit that it may be part of the problem.... So you’d rather be silent. And that gets us nowhere—or rather, it gets us to where we are today."

From says Glenn Loury in "Racism Is An Empty Thesis/An African-American professor says that blacks hold their fate in their own hands" (City Journal).

How shocking is "And they went in and it was like a knife cutting butter"?

Trump used that phrase yesterday at the Roundtable on Justice Disparities in America (transcript). Context:
In Minneapolis, they went through three nights of hell. And then I was insistent on having the National Guard go in and do their work. It was like a miracle. It’s just everything stopped. And I’ll never forget the scene. It’s not supposed to be a beautiful scene. But to me, it was after you watched policemen running out of a police precinct. And it wasn’t their fault. They wanted to do what they had to do, but they weren’t allowed to do anything.... I said, “I’m sorry. We have to have [the National Guard] go in.” And they went in and it was like a knife cutting butter, right through, boom. I’ll never forget. You saw the scene on that road wherever it may be in the city, Minneapolis. They were lined up. Boom. They just walked straight. And yes, there was some tear gas and probably some other things and the crowd dispersed. And they went through it by the end of that evening. And it was a short evening. Everything was fine.... So I just want to tell you that we’re working on a lot of different elements having to do with law, order, safety, comfort, control, but we want safety. We want compassion. We want everything.
As I drove home from my sunrise run this morning...


... I had "Morning Joe" on the satellite radio, and he was riffing emotively on that phrase "it was like a knife cutting butter." Joe acted as though the phrase connoted murderously cutting into human flesh, and Who talks like that?!! In Joe's vivid nightmare, Trump is unfathomably evil. Joe said it's as if Trump were "running for President of the Confederacy" and Trump has decided to speak only to "angry white men — angry old white men."

Joe is 57, by the way, so that's a bit old, and he is also white and angry, so maybe he knows whereof he speaks, and yet he does not mean that he hears the siren call of Donald Trump.

But let's look at this phrase "like a knife cutting butter." It's an idiomatic expression! It means it was easy. You see the context. It doesn't mean the National Guard was sadistically injuring people. It means all they had to do was show up and walk straight in and everything worked out just fine.

It wasn't even a hot knife....

The inability to understand metaphor is, of course, highly selective. A commentator like Joe has to use what Trump gives him. He must scan the transcripts every day, looking for something to pretend to be anguished about.

A new Dave Chappelle special — "8:46" — and you can watch the whole thing right here, free.

Lines quoted at Variety:
"It’s hard to figure out what to say about George Floyd, so I’m not going to say it yet,” Chappelle opens, flipping through a black notebook, later adding, “I got to tell you, this is like the first concert in North American since all this s— happened, so like it or not, it’s history. It’s going to be in the books."...

“I seen Candace Owens try to convince white America, ‘Don’t worry about it. He’s a criminal anyway.’ I don’t give a f— what this n— did. I don’t care what this n— did. I don’t care if he personally kicked Candace Owens in her stanky p—. I don’t know if it stanks, but I imagine it does. If I ever find out, I’ll let you know for sure. I’ll tell like Azealia Banks. I’ll tell."
I haven't watched it yet.

"We want law and order. We have to have a lot of good things, but we have to have law and order. Got to have some strength. You have to have strength."

"You have to do what you have to do. And you look at a Seattle. We just came in. We just see over the screen and we’ve been hearing about it. Bill and I were talking about it. The law and order, look at what happened in Seattle. They took over a city, a city, a big city, Seattle, a chunk of it. A big chunk. Can’t happen. That couldn’t happen here I don’t think in the state of Texas. I don’t think so. I don’t think so."

Shockingly short sentences and sentence fragments began Donald Trump remarks at the Roundtable Meeting on Justice Disparities in America yesterday in Dallas, Texas (full transcript).

A city, a city, a big city, Seattle, a chunk of it. A big chunk. Can’t happen.

I wonder why he's doing that. Perhaps he can't help it, but I think he's choosing it. It's political poetry. It says: LAW AND ORDER. It's the simplest theme for a politician. He's there. On that theme. You know it. It's everything. Got to have law and order. Or you have nothing. Nothing.

The speech becomes somewhat less staccato:

June 11, 2020

At the Waning Gibbous Café...


... you can wax eloquent.

And you can shop though the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

They're back... the celebrities...

"Ever since I started Legal Insurrection in October 2008, it’s been an awkward relationship given the overwhelmingly liberal faculty and atmosphere."

"Living as a conservative on a liberal campus is like being the mouse waiting for the cat to pounce. For over 12 years, the Cornell cat did not pounce. Though there were frequent and aggressive attempts by outsiders to get me fired, including threats and harassment, it always came from off campus.... Not until now, to the best of my knowledge, has there been an effort from inside the Cornell community to get me fired. The impetus for the effort was two posts I wrote at Legal Insurrection regarding the history and tactics of the Black Lives Matter Movement: The impetus for the effort was two posts I wrote at Legal Insurrection regarding the history and tactics of the Black Lives Matter Movement: 'Reminder: “Hands up, don’t shoot” is a fabricated narrative from the Michael Brown case ,"  "The Bloodletting and Wilding Is Part of An Agenda To Tear Down The Country."... My clinical faculty colleagues, apparently in consultation with the Black Law Students Association, drafted and then published in the Cornell Sun on June 9 a letter [with] absurd name-calling, distorting and even misquoting my writings, to the extent it purports to be about me.... None of the 21 signatories, some of whom I’d worked closely with for over a decade and who I considered friends, had the common decency to approach me with any concerns.... We are living in extraordinarily dangerous times, reminiscent of the Chinese Communist Cultural Revolution, in which professors guilty of wrongthink were publicy denounced and fired at the behest of students who insisted on absolute ideological orthodoxy. It’s a way of instilling terror in other students, faculty, staff, and society, so that others shut up and don’t voice dissenting views."

From "There’s an effort to get me fired at Cornell for criticizing the Black Lives Matter Movement" by William Jacobson (at Legal Insurrection).

"Right now, our model thinks Joe Biden is likely to beat Donald Trump in the electoral college."

Says The Economist — which views Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida as likely wins for Biden.

What does a bird symbolize?


Sunrise, captured at its predictable time — it was 5:19 — with the sudden appearance of a bird. Seeing it only now, as I process this morning's photographs, I wonder what does a bird symbolize?

The internet answers most simplistically: Freedom!

Which cues "Ballad in Plain D"...
Ah, my friends from the prison, they ask unto me
“How good, how good does it feel to be free?”
And I answer them most mysteriously
“Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?
ADDED: I have made a study of the birds of the Bible, and I have produced a list of 8 quotations, which I've ranked in the order that seemed right to me:
8. Matthew 8:20 — "Jesus replied, 'Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'"

7. Ezekiel 38:20 — "The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground."

6. Psalm 50:11 — "I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine."

"Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is planning to resume his prepandemic routine, arguing it will send a positive message that the country’s problems are under control."

"For the first time since before the coronavirus gripped the United States and protesters took to the streets, Trump is lining up in-person fundraisers, trips to his luxury resort in New Jersey and campaign rallies. It’s a sign of the president’s approach to a series of historic crises that lack easy solutions and the longstanding comfort he draws from being bathed in adoration by rally-goers, donors and the rest of his base.... During the weekend, Trump will deliver a commencement address in New York. Next week, he will headline a campaign rally next week in Tulsa, Okla. And the next month he will view fireworks in South Dakota. He also expects to hold rallies in Florida, Arizona and North Carolina in the coming weeks. Plans are also being made for larger fundraisers in the Hamptons, as well as in Tampa the first week of July and in Mississippi the last week of August.... [T]hree people familiar with the situation said Trump expects to be criticized whether he remains inside the White House — he’s already been accused of 'hiding' inside while protests take place just outside the gates — or travels out of Washington, so he doesn’t see a reason not to go. And he contends that the protests, many of which lack social distancing, will make it more difficult for Democrats to criticize him...."

Politico reports.

If you're criticized for anything you do, you can see it as liberating. That's Trump style, empowered by the unrelenting hate. There are so many Trump haters in the media, and they will take whatever raw material he gives them any given day and whip it up into a steaming pile of ORANGE MAN BAD, so he doesn't have to worry about trying to give them raw material that might result in a tastier daily special. It's never going to happen. The man is free...

"Tiny worms often breed in the mish, but are not dangerous. The saying 'the worms of the mish arise from it' means it is a problem that cannot be solved..."

"... but is not worth worrying about. The maggots comes from flies laying eggs on the cottage cheese that is left to drain on a straw mat, by the farmer in the open air. Sometimes they add Borax to kill the maggots, but you cannot use again as fermenting agent. If Mish is prepared in a factory, it does not contain any maggots."

I looked up "Mish" in Wikipedia. I love the simplicity of the image of this stuff...

And I love the metaphorical potential of the worms that arise from the food itself and that are not worth worrying about... though I am always going to object to maggots in any food you might want me to eat and the worms actually don't arise from the food, they are introduced by the flies, and it underscores that you don't want flies landing on your food.

But, anyway, I was looking up "Mish" because I was trying to figure out if there was any reason why I shouldn't link to this piece — "Trump Demands CNN Apologize for a Poll Showing Biden in the Lead" — written by someone who goes by the name Mish. This is at TheStreet, a website co-founded by Jim Cramer. I haven't come up with any reason not to read this article. Don't know if there are any worms arising from within, so let's dip in:
The Trump campaign claims is the CNN poll is "designed to mislead American voters through a biased questionnaire and skewed sampling." "It's a stunt and a phony poll to cause voter suppression, stifle momentum and enthusiasm for the President, and present a false view generally of the actual support across America for the President"... Two days ago Trump says he "hired respected pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, to analyze today's CNN Poll"...

Unusual Cease and Desist Order

The demand for a retraction and a very unusual cease-and-desist order came out today....

Totally Amusing Response

“To the extent we have received legal threats from political leaders in the past, they have typically come from countries like Venezuela or other regimes where there is little or no respect for a free and independent media,” said CNN executive vice president David Vigilante. "CNN is well aware of the reputation of McLaughlin and Associates. In 2014 his firm famously reported Eric Cantor was leading his primary challenger by 34 points only to lose by 11 - a 45 point swing. The firm has a C/D rating from FiveThirtyEight"....

"Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations..."

"... who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either [Rowling] or I," writes Daniel Radcliffe — the actor who played Rowling's character Harry Potter — distancing himself from the elaborate essay J.K. Rowling published yesterday.

Radcliffe's statement is fascinating, because it stands so clearly apart from any interest in pursuing truth. The statement has 3 parts:

1. "Transgender women are women." This is a slogan, as simple and absolute as you can get. You could say it more elaborately: In my book, in my way of living, the word "women" will always be understood to include transgender women. To put it like that would be to make it more obvious that Radcliffe is actively involved in creating the culture that he wants to become pervasive, but to stick to the simple form, the slogan, is to perform creatively. It is effective. Daniel Radcliffe communicates that this is what we, the good people, are saying.

Part 2:  "Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people." This is a warning. Failure to get inside the performance of the idea that we are making pervasive within the culture is hurting people. Don't say anything inconsistent with "Transgender women are women" or you are doing something harmful. You might imagine that it's worthwhile to speak openly about many different ideas or that searching for "the truth" is healthy and valuable, but you're doing damage along the way, and you shouldn't want that. Daniel Radcliffe doesn't want to hurt people.

Part 3:  "Any statement to the contrary... goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either [Rowling] or I." There are experts, but they're not offering expertise on the subject of whether "Transgender women are women." That's beside the point. The expertise is on the subject of what will be helpful for people who have a health care issue, and these experts are saying that what we ought to do is manifest belief that "Transgender women are women." All other forms of expression are in defiance of the advice about what needs to be done to be helpful to people with a health care issue, and Daniel Radcliffe doesn't want to be that sort of person. He wants you to know that.

"A growing chorus of economists is seeking to dislodge the editor of a top academic publication, the University of Chicago economist Harald Uhlig, after he criticized the Black Lives Matter organization on Twitter..."

"... and equated its members with 'flat earthers' over their embrace of calls to defund police departments.... Mr. Uhlig’s Twitter posts criticized demonstrators.... 'Look: I understand, that some out there still wish to go and protest and say #defundpolice and all kinds of stuff, while you are still young and responsibility does not matter,' Mr. Uhlig wrote. 'Enjoy! Express yourself! Just don’t break anything, ok? And be back by 8 pm.'... Mr. Uhlig, a 59-year-old German citizen, also faced scrutiny over past writings on his blog.... Those included a 2017 post in which he asked supporters of National Football League players kneeling to protest police brutality, 'Would you defend football players waving the confederate flag and dressing in Ku Klux Klan garb during the playing of the national anthem?' Mr. Uhlig also wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times in 2016, complaining about calls for greater diversity in the motion picture industry at the Academy Awards. 'This whole "diversity = more American blacks in Hollywood movies" thing?' he wrote. 'So so strange. Really.' Janet L. Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, said in an email on Wednesday that 'the tweets and blog posts by Harald Uhlig are extremely troubling' and that 'it would be appropriate for the University of Chicago, which is the publisher of the Journal of Political Economy, to review Uhlig’s performance and suitability to continue as editor.'"

From "Economics, Dominated by White Men, Is Roiled by Black Lives Matter/The editor of a top academic journal faces calls to resign after criticizing protesters as 'flat earthers' for wanting to defund the police" (NYT).

ADDED: "Would you defend football players waving the confederate flag and dressing in Ku Klux Klan garb during the playing of the national anthem?" That's a perfectly phrased Socratic question, so let's raise a glass for Professor Uhlig.

"On the new rebel state’s first night, the atmosphere was festive and triumphant. Hooded men spray-painted the police station with slogans and anarchist symbols..."

"... renaming it the 'Seattle People’s Department East Precinct.' Raz Simone, a local rapper with an AK-47 slung from his shoulder and a pistol attached to his hip, screamed, 'This is war!' into a white-and-red megaphone and instructed armed paramilitaries to guard the barricades in shifts. Later in the night, Simone was filmed allegedly assaulting multiple protestors who disobeyed his orders, informing them that he was the 'police' now, sparking fears that he was becoming the de facto warlord of the autonomous zone. A homeless man with a baseball bat wandered along the borderline and two unofficial medics in medieval-style chain mail stood ready for action."

From "Anarchy in Seattle/Antifa-affiliated activists seize control of a city neighborhood and declare an 'autonomous zone'" by Christopher F. Rufo (City Journal).

At least it's an example: Don't do this in your city. (Can I trust this not to happen in my city?)

ADDED: Here's the NYT article on the subject "Free Food, Free Speech and Free of Police: Inside Seattle’s ‘Autonomous Zone’/President Trump challenged Seattle’s mayor to 'take back your city' after police vacated a precinct and protesters laid claim to the neighborhood around it":
[F]acing a growing backlash over its dispersal tactics in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, the Seattle Police Department this week offered a concession: Officers would abandon their precinct, board up the windows and let the protesters have free rein outside.

In a neighborhood that is the heart of the city’s art and culture — threatened these days as rising tech wealth brings in gentrification — protesters seized the moment. They reversed the barricades to shield the liberated streets and laid claim to several city blocks, now known as the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.”

"On 'Morning Joe,' they are talking about coronavirus all the time again."

I said, after listening to the show on the car radio in 2 4-minute stretches on the way out and back from the sunrise run.

"What does that tell you?" Meade asks.

"It says the ratings came in."

June 10, 2020



... it's your turn to howl.

Talk about whatever you want.

"I cannot promise that I will not make missteps along the way, particularly as a white woman... realizing that I cannot fully see the system that has been built up to benefit me and others like me."

Our mayor, Satya Rhodes-Conway, apologizes for her kind words to the police, which she had not intended to be heard by the general public. She thanked the police for their work during the protests, vandalism, and theft, and — as she puts it now — "failed to center" her message on Black Lives Matter. There's a hostage video quality to this:

Quite a powerful phantom, Antifa.

"Republican legislative leaders lashed out Wednesday at Democratic Gov. Tony Evers after his staff secretly recorded a May 14 phone conversation..."

"... over how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic the day after the state Supreme Court struck down the state's stay-at-home order. The recording and the reaction to it all but ensures a permanently broken relationship between Evers and Republicans who control the Legislature.... Evers' spokeswoman, Melissa Baldauff, said... 'This was not intended for release to the media or anyone else, however, we were obligated to comply with the open records law to release these records once they were requested.'...  Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, said recording a conversation without alerting the other parties isn't illegal in this state, but is in bad form — and that the nature of the meeting should have pushed the three to talk publicly instead of privately.... Evers at one stage said he was frustrated the state wasn't able to open up in a uniform, phased way.... Fitzgerald repeatedly told Evers the reopening of the state's businesses was now behind them and urged him to develop plans for dealing with large crowds at Brewers games and the eventual resumption of schools. Evers asked Vos and Fitzgerald what they wanted to do if there was a catastrophic increase in cases, expressing frustration with their hands-off approach. 'Do we just say the hell with it?' Evers asked. 'No. Someone should call Barry Alvarez and say is there going to be football in Camp Randall in August,' Fitzgerald said, referring to the University of Wisconsin athletic director."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. You can listen to the recordings at the link.


"I’ve wondered whether, if I’d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition. The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge."

"I struggled with severe OCD as a teenager. If I’d found community and sympathy online that I couldn’t find in my immediate environment, I believe I could have been persuaded to turn myself into the son my father had openly said he’d have preferred."

I'm reading "J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues" (at J.K. Rowling's website). Excerpt:
I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility. Some say they decided to transition after realising they were same-sex attracted, and that transitioning was partly driven by homophobia, either in society or in their families.

Most people probably aren’t aware... that ten years ago, the majority of people wanting to transition to the opposite sex were male. That ratio has now reversed. The UK has experienced a 4400% increase in girls being referred for transitioning treatment. Autistic girls are hugely overrepresented in their numbers.

"The decision to buy a handgun for the first time is typically motivated by self-protection. But..."

"... it also raises the purchasers’ risk of deliberately shooting themselves by ninefold on average, with the danger most acute in the weeks after purchase, scientists reported on Wednesday. The risk remains elevated for years, they said," the NYT reports.

Thanks, scientists, but did you exclude the people who bought guns because they'd already formed an intention to shoot themselves? Or maybe it's just the NYT that wrote it that way, making it sound as though there are a lot of people who buy a handgun for self-defense and then somehow — once they've got that handgun — embark for the first time into suicidal ideation.

Of course, it's easy to see that people who have a gun are more likely to shoot themselves than people who don't have a gun, but they're talking about first-time handgun owners. So the comparison is first-time handgun owners and longterm handgun owners? NO!
The study tracked nearly 700,000 first-time handgun buyers, year by year, and compared them with similar non-owners, breaking out risk by gender. Men who bought a gun for the first time were eight times as likely to kill themselves by gunshot in the subsequent 12 years than non-owners; women were 35 times as likely to do so.
Well, the non-owners number would be extremely small, so 8 times that and even 35 times doesn't sound so big.

Toward the end of the article, there's a reference to "so-called reverse causation." That's the situation that I mentioned, above, that the handgun was bought for the purpose of suicide, but the researchers had no way to tell the difference between these people and those who bought the handgun for self-protection (and the protection of others).

I got the feeling the article was written to inspire readers not to arm themselves lest the gun would change them into a person who'd commit suicide. This is the message that if you don't want to die, don't arm yourself because you'll be arming your most-likely murderer: YOU!

"For the first time ever, the weather getting nicer is *not* correlating with more men demanding that I smile, so that’s something. Thanks face mask!"

Tweeted Steph Herold, "an activist and researcher in Queens," quoted in "Silver Lining to the Mask? Not Having to Smile/Like everything else, seasonal catcalling will be different this year" (NYT).

Why be thankful for this? 1. It's approving of the hiding of a woman's face as the right approach to fend off male intrusion. That's retrograde! 2. You lose your opportunity to resist and demonstrate your power by maintaining the facial expression you've chosen for yourself. That's passive! 3. You're counting on the idea that smiling happens only in the mouth. That's delusional!
“Wearing a mask is so liberating I might hang on to it, even if they do find a Covid-19 cure,” said Clare Mackintosh, an author who lives in Wales....
As long as you get to choose your own liberation, have at it. I suspect that wearing a mouth-and-nose mask after the virus is gone will make you look quite strange, but it's always in your power to look uninvitingly strange. I'd recommend finding another way to express that you're not open to overtures from random strangers — one that doesn't have the symbolism of being prevented from speaking. It was just last year that women were protesting like this:

"In their eagerness to display dazzling empathy and solidarity, they only muddied the current conversation about race."

Writes Robin Givhan in "Congress’s kente cloth spectacle was a mess of contradictions" (WaPo).
A brief history of kente cloth would emphasize that it is the pride of Ghana, where it originated, and it is typically worn on special occasions....

[The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 isn't] “black” legislation. No one, whatever their race or ethnicity, should want inhumane police officers roaming through their city....

The stoles read as a vague and confused declaration by lawmakers that they stood together out of respect for the African-ness of their fellow citizens. What they needed to emphasize with their stagecraft is that this is a particularly American issue — a defect woven into our own country’s fabric.

"Day 10 of protests ends with 'defund police' painted on road leading to [the Wisconsin] Capitol."

The Wisconsin State Journal reports.
Protesters painted "defund police" in giant letters on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Monday night. The street leads from the state Capitol to Monona Terrace, passing between the Madison Municipal Building and City-County Building, at top.
We're told this was "without city permission," but I think that has to be read to mean without explicit city permission. Something that conspicuous — taking that much effort, in that location — is actively condoned. It had the tacit permission of the city.

Also at the link are other photos of the 10th day of protests. Based on the photographs, I would say that the protesters are overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly female.

If I were still the sort of person who roams around inside protests and talks to people, I would ask them how they would harmonize the #MeToo movement with defunding the police. A year ago, there was so much of a push to get men arrested for things that used to be ignored. Then, the slogan was "Time's up." We were never going back. Is time up on Time's Up?

I remember when it was a big feminist goal to force the police to take domestic violence so seriously that they were required to arrest someone when they answered a call. It became the statutory law here in Wisconsin. I'd like to ask the female protesters whether they ever supported that law and if they did whether they will now declare it to have been a mistake — a racist mistake.

ADDED: In "If they can, why can’t we?," David Blaska muses about painting over the "u" in "DEFUND THE POLICE." Changing the "U" to an "E" would flip the message: "Call it a little editing. Call it vandalizing the vandalism. Call it free speech. Call it civil disobedience. Call it a profile in courage or social suicide in the super-heated atmosphere of progressive Madison. Call a lawyer."

"The [coca] economy has collapsed. We plant coca because it is a solution for our survival. But now, no one is buying it."

Says a Peruvian cocalero, who, we're told, farms coca "for traditional indigenous uses," quoted in "The coronavirus has gutted the price of coca. It could reshape the cocaine trade" (WaPo). I don't really understand how he's the victim of the supposed global market collapse if he's only providing for traditional indigenous uses, but I do accept the proposition that coca farming in Peru is "a solution for... survival."

Are we, the readers of WaPo, supposed to feel bad about the collapse of the coca market? I think so, because the article goes on to say that drug trafficking will come back after the lockdown, but the big operations — the "supersized cartels" — will survive and prosper, and as usual, we are prompted to care about small business... including, apparently, small criminal businesses.

The comments at WaPo find their own path and — surprise! — make it about Trump: "This will be hard news for Trump supporters. If meth and heroin supplies are disrupted, a part of the economy they actually participate in will be taking a hit"/"Notice trump isn't sniffing his runny nose as much as he used to"/"Finally! Something to explain trump's impatience to reopen the country - it's screwing with his cocaine trafficking logistics. Shoulda knowed."

How crazy is America right now? We've had low-level crazy for a while, and then they put us under house arrest for 3 months and they've hidden the faces behind masks, then we all watched video of a mind-bending murder, which was the go-ahead to pour back into the streets en masse and express ourselves — suddenly, emotively, violently — and all the while we were starving for our usual drugs.

How crazy is America right now?
pollcode.com free polls

"Urban trekking around Denver the other day, I happened across a protest march of maybe a thousand people. Here’s what I observed. The marchers were almost all white...."

"Most were young women looking vaguely guilt-ridden. They were well-dressed, well-groomed and well-fed.... But one sign troubled me. It appeared in various incantations, but the gist was 'Justice NOW for George.'... I’ve watched the video of George dying, and it was horrifying. If no exculpatory evidence turns up, then I hope those cops rot in jail. I’m guessing nearly all people – including other cops – hope for the same. But notice the 'if' in the preceding paragraph.... Here, the cop has been arrested and is in jail on a million-dollar bond awaiting... trial. Given that, what exactly does the shouted word 'NOW' mean in 'Justice NOW for George'? Are the protesters demanding that we bypass the trial and just lynch the cops right now?"

From "A report from the big white suburban guilty girls picnic march" by Glenn K. Beaton (The Aspen Beat).

"Days after Bon Appétit's editor in chief, Adam Rapoport, wrote in a May 31 newsletter that 'food is inherently political'..."

"... he again denied a pay raise for the only Black woman on the magazine's staff. Ryan Walker-Hartshorn... whose annual base salary is $35,300... had not received a pay increase in her tenure as Rapoport's assistant. Aside from her editorial duties, she said, she had cleaned Rapoport's golf clubs, fetched his son's passport, and taught his wife how to use Google Calendar. So, once again, the Stanford graduate asked for more money. 'I thought this conversation might be different this time,' Walker-Hartshorn said in a recent interview. After all, Condé Nast, the parent company of Bon Appétit, had just donated $1 million to racial-justice organizations amid global protests over the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.... Instead, Walker-Hartshorn says, Rapoport told her, 'Well, maybe you should consider that this is not the right job for you.' 'I am the only Black woman on his staff,' Walker-Hartshorn said. 'He treats me like the help.'"

From "Bon Appétit's editor in chief just resigned — but staffers of color say there's a 'toxic' culture of microaggressions and exclusion that runs far deeper than one man" (Business Insider).

"'Gone with the Wind' was pulled from HBO Max while the long-running TV show 'Cops' was outright canceled..."

"... a sign that entertainment companies are re-examining the content they offer in the wake of nationwide protests for racial justice and against police brutality.... In a statement, HBO Max said 'Gone With the Wind' is a 'product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society.' When the movie returns to the platform it will be 'with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.'... On Monday, John Ridley, who won an Oscar for the adapted screenplay for the movie '12 Years a Slave'... call[ed] for 'Gone With the Wind' to be taken off HBO Max.... 'Cops,' once considered a groundbreaking look at the day-to-day life of police on the beat is now also out of fashion. Featuring the song 'Bad Boys'—with the lyrics 'Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?'— ...  'Cops' presented a very positive look at policing, showcasing officers handling everything from domestic disturbances and drunken driving to robberies and sex crimes...."

The Wall Street Journal reports (and this was not behind a paywall for me).

Day 1 of the 10 days of the 5:17 sunrise — the earliest sunrise time of the year.

It looked as though it was going to be an overcast sunrise, with, at best, some bumpily textured clouds — a Type #2 sunrise. But as I reached my vantage point — 0.7 miles into my run — I saw I had "The Broiler" — Type #7!

I don't think I've ever reached my vantage point in time for one of these broilers. They tend to disappear by the sunrise time, so I catch them from my car window or the parking lot, or I make a quick stop and see them at my secondary vantage point. But today, I didn't know it was happening, because the sun is positioned so far north right now that I don't get an advance look as I'm doing the run. And then I caught the view at 5:16:


I presume it was broiling even more hotly a minute or 2 or 3 before that point, because it was fading fast. Here's how it looked a minute later, at 5:17, the "actual" sunrise time:


And one minute after that, at 5:18, it had calmed down into this:


A minute later it had descended into the Type #2 format that was all I had expected. The lesson is: If you want to catch The Broiler, get to your vantage point 5 minutes before the actual sunrise — even if it's the earliest sunrise of the year.

"I was trying to stick it to the [Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation] for their invalidated models resulting in needless, economy-wrecking, life-wrecking lockdown..."

"... and when I saw they were announcing modeling a solution to our racial crisis, I was incredulous, angry, and overly emotional. Involving George Floyd's name in that effort was wrong."

Tweeted Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit who's now given up his position as CEO, quoted in "CEO steps down after inflammatory George Floyd comments/A major sponsor and affiliated gyms dropped their partnerships after Greg Glassman invoked Floyd's name when complaining about coronavirus restrictions" (NBC).

The Institute had tweeted "Racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response. #BlackLivesMatter." Glassman's response was, first, the disastrously curt: "It's FLOYD-19." A few hours later, he expanded his idea:
Your failed model quarantined us and now you're going to model a solution to racism? George Floyd's brutal murder sparked riots nationally. Quarantine alone is "accompanied in every age and under all political regimes by an undercurrent of suspicion, distrust, and riots." Thanks!
Glassman had also said some things behind the scenes that made his problem worse. BuzzFeed reports that — in a Zoom call with gym owners — Glassman was asked why Crossfit's website didn't have a statement addressing the death of George Floyd. Glassman was recorded saying: “We're not mourning for George Floyd — I don't think me or any of my staff are.... Can you tell me why I should mourn for him? Other than that it’s the white thing to do — other than that, give me another reason.”

It’s the white thing to do... Who talks like that? To my ear, it sounds like left-wing critique of of white people — that white people are making these pious statements of empathy and support, and it's not really enough, it's fake and shallow, and he's the one who wants a real revolution. But it could also be someone who wants to stay out of politics and resists pressure to do what everyone else is doing. He might be using "white" in the sarcastic sense of the phrase "That's mighty white of you." In that light, it might be a way to say: Putting up those statements is virtue signaling.

In any case, Glassman was hurting his business, which was a brand that other businesses needed to want to pay to adopt as their own. That leaves little room for adamant self-defense.

"Bedeviled for over 34 years by the mysterious killing of Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister who was shot in the back by an unknown assailant on a quiet Stockholm street..."

"... Sweden’s judiciary finally made its case on Wednesday. At a news conference in Stockholm, the prosecutor Krister Petersson said that there was 'reasonable evidence'that the assailant was Stig Engstrom, a graphic designer at an insurance company, who killed himself in 2000, at the age of 66....It was hardly a surprise, however, as the Swedish case was widely considered solved in 2018 by a freelance journalist, Thomas Pettersson, whose reporting led to Mr. Engstrom.... There has been widespread criticism about the way the Swedish judiciary and the police have handled the case over the past decades. The mystery endured through six investigations and three commissions over the years, but Mr. Engstrom eluded suspicion though he had presented himself to the police as a witness to the killing.... At the time of the killing, investigators were focused on the suspected complicity of Kurdish militants, and Mr. Engstrom was not taken seriously, according to Mr. Pettersson.... 'He has the right timing, the right clothing; he has unique information, he lied, he had close access to guns of the right type,' Mr. Pettersson said. 'He was right-wing and Palme unfriendly,” he added. “He had a deep political interest and a deep anti-Palme sentiment.'"

The NYT reports.

"Terrified after watching economies built over the course of decades hollow out in a matter of weeks, countries seem to be saying, in effect: Enough."

"For health officials who have been watching the virus with alarm as it began claiming a foothold in continent after continent, it is a dizzying moment.... While infection rates in the hardest-hit cities in United States and Europe may have slowed, the virus remains deeply woven into the fabric of the world. Indeed, the global peak of infection may still be months away.... Even some countries that moved against the virus head on are losing ground. Among them is India. 'There will be a total ban of coming out of your homes,' Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his citizens on March 24. 'Every state, every district, every lane, every village will be under lockdown.'...  India is a country of 1.3 billion, and hundreds of millions of its citizens are destitute, with countless millions living in packed urban areas with poor sanitation and weak public health care. Despite the swift action, the country is now grappling with a sharp surge of infections.... But this week, Indians can once again dine out, shop and pray at religious sites."

From "The World Reopens, Despite Skyrocketing Coronavirus Cases/The number of infections is rising faster than ever, but many countries have decided that this is the moment to ease lockdown restrictions" (NYT)

"The former Chair of Harvard University’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department was indicted... on charges of making false statements to federal authorities regarding his participation in China’s Thousand Talents Program."

"... According to charging documents, since 2008, [Dr. Charles Lieber, 61] has served as the Principal Investigator of the Lieber Research Group at Harvard University, specializing in the area of nanoscience. Lieber’s research at the Lieber Research Group has been funded by more than $15 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense (DOD). Among other things, these grants required the disclosure of all sources of research support, potential financial conflicts of interest and all foreign collaboration. It is alleged that, unbeknownst to Harvard University, beginning in 2011, Lieber became a 'Strategic Scientist' at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China. He later became contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan from at least 2012 through 2015. China’s Thousand Talents Plan is one of the most prominent Chinese talent recruitment plans designed to attract, recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security. According to court documents, these talent recruitment plans seek to lure Chinese overseas talent and foreign experts to bring their knowledge and experience to China, and they often reward individuals for stealing proprietary information. Under the terms of Lieber’s three-year Thousand Talents contract, WUT allegedly paid Lieber a salary of up to $50,000 USD per month, living expenses of up to 1 million Chinese Yuan (approximately $158,000 USD at the time) and awarded him more than $1.5 million to establish a research lab at WUT.... On or about April 24, 2018, during an interview with federal investigators, it is alleged that Lieber falsely stated that he was never asked to participate in the Thousand Talents Program...."

The Department of Justice says.

June 9, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write about anything you like.

And let me give you another gentle reminder about the Althouse Portal to Amazon, the door to an easy way to show some appreciate this blog. Thanks for using it!

"Senate Republicans said they are working on a comprehensive proposal to respond to racially motivated police misconduct and other reforms to the criminal justice system."

"Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is the only black Republican in the Senate, is leading the effort, GOP lawmakers said Tuesday. 'I’ve asked Sen. Tim Scott to lead a group working on proposals to allow us to respond to the obvious racial discrimination on full display on our television screens the last two weeks and what is the appropriate response of the federal government,' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said" (Washington Examiner).

They asked their black guy. Is that racist?

An endless loop of loopy Nadler.

An extremely light diversion: 4 completely different songs titled — variously spelled —  "La Dee Dah"

The most familiar one to me is this — on the first 4 Seasons album. Much as I've loved the 4 Seasons in my time, I've got to promote the Billy and Lillie version from 1958:

This is a silly song, with lyrics that include: "La dee dah, oh boy/Let's go/Cha, cha, cha/I feel so fine/Now that you are mine...." Excellent candy.

I'm not sure if I remember the Ringo song "La De Da" — spelled like that. This is from 1998, from his 11th album:

Could those who are talking about dismantling the police address the problem of violence against women?

"A ban against luring mothers from their dens with doughnuts and other treats will be lifted."

"Trump administration makes it easier for hunters to kill bear cubs and wolf pups in Alaska" (WaPo).
With a final rule published Tuesday in the Federal Register, the Trump administration is ending a five-year-old ban on the practices, which also include shooting swimming caribou from a boat and targeting animals from airplanes and snowmobiles. It will take effect in 30 days. State officials primarily composed of hunters in Alaska argued that the October 2015 regulations ordered by the Obama administration infringed on traditional native hunting practices and were more restrictive than what is permitted on state land....
Native... doughnuts... I need more context here.

ADDED: Speaking of ethnicity and doughnuts:

"We the People of the United States have hope for the future..."


Photographed yesterday on State Street in Madison.


The popcorn store is open... open to discussion... and it's been open...


Photographed yesterday on State Street in Madison.

"Isn't it beautiful?" — a middle-aged white woman enthused gently...

... as I was photographing this...


... in downtown Madison. Maybe she was just trying to say the right thing, but maybe she was delusional or had very low standards. I aim to help — and I have to admit that she wasn't the slightest bit intimidating to me — so I said, "Actually, I don't think this one is very good." In my endless search for positivity, I added that there were a lot of other murals and many of them were good. And then, because I'm always looking for a point of agreement, I said, "The eye is... interesting"....


Despite or maybe because of the roughness of the painting, it has a creepy drippiosity that's vaguely riveting....

"Their argument, then, is not necessarily that we don't need police officers. It's..."

"... how we can best ensure that police officers are serving the communities they are tasked with policing? But that subtlety is lost in chants of 'Defund the Police.' And Trump, desperate for an issue to latch onto as he watches his poll numbers both nationally and in swing states tumble, will destroy any nuance in the conversation over police funding in order to paint Biden (and Democrats more broadly) as wanting to get rid of the police entirely."

Ha. Yeah. Trump IS the destroyer of nuance.

I'm reading "Is 'Defund the Police' a massive political mistake?" by Chris Cillizza (CNN).

Liberals love to present themselves as the People of Nuance. But if you're going to do slogans and chants — and especially if you're going to do vandalism and looting — you're not doing nuance. And if your knee-jerk reaction for everything you do wrong is to flip it into ORANGE MAN BAD, you are not doing nuance.

I've been following this "nuance" theme since I started this blog in 2004. Remember how John Kerry was fawned over as the candidate of nuance, compared to that vicious dimwit George Bush?

Sunrise, 5:19.


Actual sunrise time: 5:18.

Tomorrow is the first of the 10 days of sunrise at 5:17 — the earliest sunrise time of the year.

I woke up before the alarm this morning, so I've got myself trained to meet the sunrise. I am up for it.

"Appreciate the article but the sanitizing and glossing over of the serious crimes including assaulting a pregnant woman with a gun does a disservice to reporting reality."

"He need not be perfect for all of us to mourn and demand change but by manipulating the life story we lose the ability to educate many who don’t see the problem as they focus on the spin versus the real story - his murder."

The second-highest-rated comment at "George Floyd, From ‘I Want to Touch the World’ to ‘I Can’t Breathe’/Mr. Floyd had big plans for life nearly 30 years ago. His death in police custody is powering a movement against police brutality and racial injustice" (NYT).

Also highly rated: "I am confused. I believe the autopsy report said he was high on fentanyl and methamphetamine. This seems relevant to the full picture yet is not mentioned in the meticulously researched article."

I've read the NYT for more than 50 years, and I don't believe I have another option for reading a real newspaper here in America. I've always been looking out for the propaganda. In fact, I was taught to that by my high school history teacher, whose class included required daily reading of the NYT. After the ousting of James Bennet a few days ago, you would think the NYT would feel extra pressure to show that it will pursue high journalistic principles and not skew things to please the people who are demanding propaganda. I can't say I'm surprised to see this sanitized portrait of George Floyd, but I want to go on record saying that this is bad.

And it's bad not only as bad journalism, but it's bad on the subject of police brutality. It doesn't matter that the man who died had big dreams of the future or professional-level athletic ability. The police shouldn't be executing anybody.

Let's analyze the comedy stylings of Woody Harrelson.

This made me look up Woody Harrelson to see what exactly are his politics. I found "Woody Harrelson: I'm an anarchist" (Politico, 2013):
So you dislike Democrats as much as you dislike the GOP?

It's all synchronized swimming to me. They all kneel and kiss the ring. Who's going to take on the oil industry or the medical industry? People compare Obama to Lyndon Johnson, but I think a better comparison is between Obama and Nixon. Because Nixon came into office saying he was going to pull out of Vietnam, and then he escalated the war. A lot of us were led to believe that Obama was the peace president, but there are still, I think, 70,000 troops in Afghanistan....

Do you want to get more involved in politics?

No. I don't believe in politics. I'm an anarchist, I guess you could say. I think people could be just fine looking after themselves.
So... presumably the real Woody would like to dismantle the police, and he adopts a redneck character to taunt the abolitionists. He has the character speak as though he would wildly kill people if left to his own judgment of how to behave in a police-free America. I'm going to guess that what Woody is trying to do is make fun of the people who want to scare us out of getting rid of the police. What do you think?

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Commenters question whether that's really Woody Harrelson, but couldn't get to a definite answer whether it is or not! I did a search and found "George Floyd protests: Is Woody Harrelson defending police brutality? Video of lookalike man baffles internet" (at meaww):
In the video, a man who resembles Harrelson, (perhaps it is Harrelson himself, we wouldn’t know) is supporting the police saying the public needs to deal with him before attacking the cops.... While the video has garnered a lot of attention...
... internet users are rather concerned if it’s actually Harrelson who has featured in it. While one wrote, “I'm scared to even look up what's going on with Woody Harrelson”. Another tweet read, “@WoodyHarrelson stop with your hillbilly mean guy videos. I'm skeert.” However, a few have established that it isn’t Harrelson but a random man who holds a striking resemblance to the actor....

Meanwhile, a few were convinced that the viral video was in fact a parody by Harrelson. “I ain’t gon’ lie, I thought this was Woody Harrelson doing a parody of a redneck,” wrote one follower.
I'm going to say that if it isn't Harrelson in the video, then Harrelson ought to have done something by now to disavow the video or try to get it taken down.

"Jerry thinks Marc is pretentious and Marc thinks Jerry is shallow."

From a Reddit discussion a year ago on the question "Any reason why Marc hasn’t been on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee?" "Comedians in Cars" is Jerry Seinfeld's show, and Jerry hadn't been on Marc Maron's podcast either.

Now, this week we got an episode of Marc's show with Jerry. Here. I listened. I can sum it up: Jerry thinks Marc is pretentious and Marc thinks Jerry is shallow. But that doesn't mean it's a bad show. I enjoyed the conversation. I would criticize Marc Maron for pushing the theory that Jerry is compulsive when Jerry was talking about the importance of writing. But Maron succeeds in getting Jerry angry... or at least getting Jerry to admit that something on the "anger spectrum" is a necessary element of comedy.

"People are kind of freaking out. They feel like all of the hard work they’ve been putting in for so long is at risk of going to waste."

Said Jahkeen Washington, co-owner of boutique gym in Central Harlem, quoted in "New York City’s Kettlebell Shortage: ‘People Are Kind of Freaking Out’/After fitness enthusiasts were forced to reimagine how they could keep in shape, demand led to a shortage of workout equipment" (NYT). Apparently, it's impossible to buy a kettleball in NYC.
“It’s pandemonium,” said Ed Pryst, the chief sales officer of Gym Source, a New Jersey-based workout equipment retailer with several offices in New York....

The shortage is a problem, factory workers said, that could have been prevented were the U.S. not so reliant on foreign manufacturing and iron production.... There are more than 3,000 foundries that work with the iron needed to create kettlebells, but their efforts almost wholly go to larger industrial items like car parts or iron gates.... The process of equipping a foundry to make a new product is expensive and time consuming. In the case of a kettlebell, a design mold of the equipment has to be created, which can sometimes cost up to $100,000. Then a foundry must equip itself with the necessary materials (for a kettlebell, gray cast iron) and possibly, special machinery....
But people have only wanted kettleballs now, in the lockdown, because they can't get to the gym, so there's little reason for U.S. foundries to adapt to this demand, which is, presumably, transitory.

Why kettlebells? When did that become the home exercise equipment of choice? Here's Joe Rogan last December:

June 8, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... say what you like.

Photo taken at 5:20 this morning. The "actual" sunrise time was 5:18, but the sun broke over the shoreline at 5:20.

And here's the Althouse Portal to Amazon. I appreciate it when you use it. Thanks!

"Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway came up with the idea for the murals and tasked city arts administrator Karin Wolf with the job."

"Wolf says she reached out to community cultural partners the city already has a relationship with in order to tap local artists. 'We definitely wanted to amplify the voices of people who have been directly impacted by racial injustice,' she says.... Not all the murals are part of the city program, says Wolf. Some store owners arranged for their own art and others artists went rogue. 'People didn’t know better,' says Wolf. 'A lot of people wanted to help and didn’t know how.'" — Isthmus reports on the murals of State Street.

There was a noticeable change from the condition of the plywood 4 days ago, the last time I'd checked. There's an effort to replace harsh graffiti with real murals and, as you can tell from the quote above, a prioritizing of black artists — with spaces marked as "reserved" and this message to white artists that "giving up some white privilege means saving this space for artists of color"...


A space that looked like this 4 days ago...


Is now painted over in yellow and marked "Reserved for a black female artist/Please respect this space":


I think some white artists were painting flowers rather than a "Black Lives Matter" image, and this looks as though someone who'd chalked out her design thought better of it, quit in the middle of things, and requested that a black artist "claim this space":


At the art museum, they were painting out the graffiti, presumably prepping for a nicer mural...