June 20, 2020

At the Hope-and-Optimism Café...


... you can write about whatever you like.

And please remember to use the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

Are you watching Trump’s Tulsa rally?

It’s about to start.

Talk about it here.

ADDED: “Do you want to bow before the left-wing mob, or do you want to stand straight and tall as Americans?”

The more religious of the murals of State Street.



"An attempt to not be weird while being interviewed by Terry Gross."

A comic by Adrian Tomine in The New Yorker... and don't come crying to me if you don't have a subscription. Here are 2 of the 47 panels just so you'll know what I'm linking to... 

"You want people to walk down the street with a mask on?"

ADDED: Joe Rogan is trending on Twitter, but probably not because of that clip. You click on his name in the Twitter sidebar and you get all manner of things. The sidebar says "Trending with: Joey Diaz," so.... whatever.

Anyway, there's this, at the Daily Wire yesterday: "Joe Rogan: ‘News Media On The Left Has Completely Ignored’ Biden In ‘Cognitive Decline.'"

"There are two Americas: one fights for Black lives and the other fights for brunch."

The quote in the post title is in the linked article and from a tweet that made the photo go viral. The photo was taken by Nick Swartsell last month in Cincinnati (in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood).

"It is, unfortunately, a zombified collective fighting a bogeyman that they have invented."

"... these people have de-individuated and they've become a true mob and they are pushing policies that make no sense and endanger us all...."

Do you remember Bret Weinstein?

Toppling Albert Pike... "Why are the cops letting this happen?"

I had to ask who was Albert Pike. Here's Wikipedia:

In 1861, Pike penned the lyrics to "Dixie to Arms!" At the beginning of the war, Pike was appointed as Confederate envoy to Native American nations. In this capacity he negotiated several treaties, one of the most important being with Cherokee chief John Ross, which was concluded in 1861. At the time, Ross agreed to support the Confederacy, which promised the tribes a Native American state if it won the war. Ross later changed his mind and left Indian Territory, but the succeeding Cherokee government maintained the alliance.

"The difference between a vacation and an adventure is..."

Well, you tell me before I complete that quote for you. I'm listening to a Master Class from David Mamet. He's teaching "Dramatic Writing" and the lesson is on "Structuring the Plot":

"Is it me, or do we seem to have a problem with sculpture today? I don’t mean contemporary sculpture..."

"... whose fashionable stars (see Koons, Murakami et alia) pander to our appetite for spectacle and whatever’s new. I don’t mean ancient or even non-Western sculpture, either. I mean traditional European sculpture — celebrities like Bernini and Rodin aside — and American sculpture, too: the enormous universe of stuff we come across in churches and parks, at memorials and in museums like the Bode. The stuff Barnett Newman, the Abstract Expressionist painter, notoriously derided as objects we bump into when backing up to look at a painting.... [S]culpture skeptics from Leonardo through Hegel and Diderot have cultivated our prejudice against the medium. 'Carib art,' is how Baudelaire described sculpture, meaning that even the suavest, most sophisticated works of unearthly virtuosity by Enlightenment paragons like Canova and Thorvaldsen were tainted by the medium’s primitive, cultish origins. Racism notwithstanding, Baudelaire had a point. Sculpture does still bear something of the burden of its commemorative and didactic origins. It’s too literal, too direct, too steeped in religious ceremony and too complex for a historically amnesiac culture. We prefer the multicolored distractions of illusionism on flat surfaces, flickering in a movie theater or digitized on our laptops and smartphones, or painted on canvas. The marketplace ratifies our myopia, making headlines for megamillion-dollar sales of old master and Impressionist pictures but rarely for premodern sculptures...."

From an essay by Michael Kimmelman, published in the NYT in 2008, which I'm reading this morning because I blogged it at the time with my tag "sculpture" and I'm going through all my old posts with that tag looking for things that deserve my new tag "destruction of art."

The new tag is something I'd thought about creating for a very long time. I've been interested in violence directed at art much longer than I've been writing this blog — at least as far back as 1974 — but somehow my resistance to tag proliferation kept me from breaking this subtopic out of my generic topics "sculpture" and "art." There was also the "protest" tag. "Destruction of art" is (usually) a subtopic of that one too. But the pulling down of statues of Junipero Serra and Francis Scott Key — last night in San Francisco — finally dragged me over the line.

Speaking of Junipero Serra, I remember Richard Serra and his "Tilted Arc." I was one of the workers of lower Manhattan in the 1980s who rankled at the hostility the artist expressed toward mere pedestrians. I've written about that a few times. The people in the plaza have feelings and interests and may richly resent the impositions of artist ego and elitist civic pride. Once art is in place, it demands admiration, and what happens? It might be ignored — that's what Kimmelman fretted about — and it might be attacked — the present-day rage.

I'd like to look up what the "sculpture skeptics" — Leonardo, Hegel, Diderot, Baudelaire, et al. — had to say. Oddly, they — at least some of them — expressed racism. The sculpture skeptics of today style themselves as anti-racists. But there's resonance in Kimmelman's summary of the skepticism:
Sculpture does still bear something of the burden of its commemorative and didactic origins. It’s too literal, too direct, too steeped in religious ceremony and too complex for a historically amnesiac culture. We prefer the multicolored distractions of illusionism on flat surfaces, flickering in a movie theater or digitized on our laptops and smartphones, or painted on canvas. 
We — some of us — prefer the multicolored distractions of illusionism on the flat surface of the embedded video on Twitter as protesters drag down another stately chunk of metal.

ADDED: From "Why Sculpture Is Tiresome" in "The Mirror of Art: Critical Studies by Baudelaire":

Protesters in San Francisco pull down statues of Junipero Serra and Francis Scott Key.

June 19, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write about whatever topics you like.

That photo was taken at 5:05, on a day when the actual sunrise time was 5:17, the earliest sunrise of the year. We've been parked on 5:17 for 10 days now, and tomorrow we finally begin moving toward a later sunrise. The sun will rise (here in Madison) at 5:18, but the day length will still be the longest of the year — 15 hours and 22 minutes. There are 5 days that long, and today was the second of those days. The latest sunset — 8:41 — is not until next Thursday, the 25th. So when is the first day of summer? It's tomorrow — June 20th. That is, in fact, the longest day of the year, if we count down to the seconds. It's 15 hours and 22 minutes and 15 seconds. The following day will be 1 second shorter. Who can notice such things?

Here's how today's sunrise looked at 5:22 — at a different vantage point (midway through my sunrise run):


If you're interested in any of that or if you are not, please think of me when you're about to do some shopping on Amazon and go in through the Althouse Portal.

"Is support for free speech correlated with intelligence?/3 studies on that question all point to the answer: yes!"

My son John blogs.


Murals on the boarded up windows of State Street, photographed today, in Madison, Wisconsin.

Madisonians in shorts trudge past a mural of Barack and Michelle Obama that is painted on the boarded-up window of Which Wich Superior Sandwiches:


On the boarded-up window of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, a drooling troglodyte cop observes what might be a pile of burning doughnuts that give off smoke that reads — like a thought balloon — "Defund the Police":


A longer view of the side of the museum featuring an ironic "Right turn only" sign:


There's the notion that "being a revolutionary" has an element of being fun, loving, and beautiful:


There's the grievance that you can't play your music really loud without people calling the cops:


More Madisonians trudging along, this time past dripping letters that few will read, but I'm seeing "Tell the President/To prepare the bunker/When he flee/Because until we see/Justice you will/Never see peace!"


"Yes, we can!" the old President says, as a waiter sets up an outdoor café table.


"Of course they despise Washington. Notice the graffiti '1619' on the toppled statue...."

In all my sunrise runs on this path, I'd never seen a deer before, and today, suddenly, up ahead, there were 2...

They kept disappearing then reappearing at a later point, and I kept getting my camera out, then putting it away, concluding that they were gone for good, and then, finally, I caught one...


"Bolton is extremely famous for his fervent hawkery, including on the Iraq war. If Trump bothered to do a cursory Google search on Bolton before appointing him..."

"... to the most powerful national security position in his administration, he’d have turned up headlines like 'John Bolton: No regrets about toppling Saddam.' Sadly, there was too much good stuff [on] television in the days leading up to Bolton’s nomination to do that search. Trump does not seem to realize how bad it makes him sound that he never bothered to ask what he later identified as the key question about the worldview of his own national security adviser."

From "Trump: I Didn’t Realize Bolton Supported Iraq War Until After I Hired Him" by Jonathan Chait (New York Magazine). Chait is reading the WSJ interview in which Trump says:

"I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous. It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it."

Yes, Trump said that.*

Yes, it's hyperbole. The "nobody" is outrageous and false. It gets your attention, and it increases the power of his fame-making machine, further inflating the importance of Juneteenth, and further connecting it to Trump, where it never belonged before.


*Link goes to Jonathan Chait at NY Magazine, quoting this WSJ interview. Chait:
... Trump has caused more people to become aware of Juneteenth, just as he has caused more people to become aware of the 25th Amendment, the Emoluments Clause, narcissistic personality disorder, “democratic backsliding,” the two-thirds threshold required for impeachment, and other concepts that had largely been excluded from daily news coverage. This has not been an era of progress. But it has been a time of enlightenment.
What's "democratic backsliding"? I don't remember hearing that phrase before. I see it has a Wikipedia entry:

"Years ago, while working on a story for Rolling Stone about why so few white-collar offenders went to jail..."

"I realized I needed to better understand why the criminal-justice system worked with such monstrous efficiency to put poorer people in prison. What I thought would be a short detour to tackle that question ended up consuming five years, ending in two books about structural inequities in modern policing: The Divide, and I Can’t Breathe, the story of the brutal killing of Eric Garner on Staten Island. There are obvious similarities between the Garner case and that of George Floyd. Both victims were African American men in their forties, grandfathers trying to put troubled pasts behind them. Both were approached over minor offenses.... Both Garner and Floyd died of asphyxia from being sat or knelt upon by police officers with long abuse histories. In both cases, numerous other officers and/or medical personnel refused to stop this clear abuse, or even administer aid long after the suspect had been subdued and stopped breathing.... s I learned through years of talking to brutality victims and police alike, and by following cases like Garner’s through the courts, episodes like the Floyd killing happen thanks to a variety of interlocking bureaucratic and political imperatives. The individual racism of officers (and the structural racism underpinning police departments) is clearly a major part of the picture. But there are more immediately fixable problems at play as well. Here are four troubling logistical reasons these tragedies keep recurring...."

Writes Matt Taibbi in "Why Policing Is Broken/Years of research on brutality cases shows that bad incentives in politics and city bureaucracies are major drivers of police violence" (Rolling Stone). Read the whole thing. The 4 headings are "Time Works Against Victims," "Abuse Records Are Secret," "Juking the Stats," and "‘Law and Order’ Wins Votes."

"If the Chief Justice believes his political judgment is so exquisite, I invite him to resign, travel to Iowa, and get elected. I suspect voters will find his strange views no more compelling than do the principled justices on the Court."

Just a line from Tom Cotton I wanted to memorialize, quoted at Fox News.

It's of a piece with the sort of rhetoric about judges I've been reading for the last 50 years and more. I can't remember a time when I was able to understand anything about the Supreme Court when there wasn't a notion that what they are really doing is politics. And I saw "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards when I was first learning to read — back when I had no idea what "impeach" meant (something about a peach?) or who Earl Warren was.

So it's an old, old theme. But it plays well, and I think Tom Cotton found a spiffy way to do the phrasing. Instead of calling Roberts unprincipled, he points to the other justices — "the principled justices" — and imagines them finding the Chief's "views" "strange" and uncompelling. That's a nice variation on the theme.

And you've got to give Cotton credit for complexity. He addresses the Chief Justice and invites him to do something he's obviously not going to do, though it's more realistic and respectful than the common insults that tell people to do things — like go to hell or kiss my ass — that they're not going to do. "Invite" is polite, and running for President is very grand. But the idea is that if you ran for President with your agenda, you would lose. Cotton predicts the loss in an elegant comparison of voters to "principled justices," who, he suspects, would have the same low opinion of the Chief's ideas.

Now, the so-called "principled justices" oppose the Chief because he's finding something in the law that actually belongs in the political decisionmaking process, and if the Chief were to run for President, he would be taking these ideas to the place where the "principled justices" say they belong. So if the voters rejected these ideas, it would not be for the same reason the "principled justices" rejected them.

Ah! Now, I see the little flaw in Cotton's rhetoric! The only way the voters and the so-called "principled justices" could share the same opinion of the Chief Justice's "strange views" would be if the "principled justices" were thinking in political terms — in which case, they would be no more principled than the Chief Justice.

But if Tom Cotton is reading this — hi, Tom! — I know you already know how to get off that hook. You only said the voters and the "principled justices" would find the Chief's views to be equivalently compelling. It can still be the case that these views are not compelling in court, because they are not law but merely political, and that they are not compelling in the political arena, because people just don't like them.

"The 'blue wall' is reforming in the Rust Belt."

Writes Lara M. Brown, the director of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, in The Hill.
In 2016, President Trump broke through Hillary Clinton’s “blue wall.” He won three states that Democrats had carried since the 1980s: Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin....

[N]ow, less than four years later, all three of those states have shifted again and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is leading Trump....

According to Pew Research Center’s analysis of the exit polls, [Hillary Clinton] earned only 37 percent of the white Catholic vote.... As poorly as Clinton did, the largest percentage point decrease for a Democratic candidate occurred between 2008 and 2012, which suggests that white Catholics had “soured” on Obama’s presidency before Trump declared for the presidency. Clinton should have seen this coming...

While it remains unlikely that Biden, a Catholic, will be able to pull a majority of white Catholics towards the Democratic Party in November, were he to garner 45 percent of their votes, it seems likely that Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin will again be colored blue....

The wall that Trump may have erected by November is not along the country’s southern border, but a blue one across the Rust Belt.
First, "were he to garner 45 percent of their votes" — I just have to note the use of that word, "garner."

Second, I've said it before, and sometimes I think I'm the only one who feels this way, but "Rust Belt" is an offensive term. On November 9, 2016, I wrote:

Suddenly, the place where I live isn't called the "Blue Wall" or the "Fire Wall" anymore. It's: "Rust Belt."

When we ceased to operate to generate power for the Democratic Party, it was back to the old insult.

If you call us the "Rust Belt," you are saying our time has passed, that we once prospered because there was manufacturing, but it's gone and it's not coming back. That's not what Donald Trump said to us when he campaigned through the Midwest in 2016. Where is the optimism?

"White fragility is the sort of powerful notion that, once articulated, becomes easily recognizable and widely applicable.... But stare at it a little longer..."

"... and one realizes how slippery it is, too. As defined by [author of 'White Fragility' Robin] DiAngelo, white fragility is irrefutable; any alternative perspective or counterargument is defeated by the concept itself. Either white people admit their inherent and unending racism and vow to work on their white fragility, in which case DiAngelo was correct in her assessment, or they resist such categorizations or question the interpretation of a particular incident, in which case they are only proving her point. Any dissent from 'White Fragility' is itself white fragility. From such circular logic do thought leaders and bestsellers arise. This book exists for white readers. 'I am white and am addressing a common white dynamic,' DiAngelo explains. 'I am mainly writing to a white audience; when I use the terms us and we, I am referring to the white collective.' It is always a collective, because DiAngelo regards individualism as an insidious ideology. 'White people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy,' DiAngelo writes, a system 'we either are unaware of or can never admit to ourselves.'... Progressive whites, those who consider themselves attuned to racial justice, are not exempt from DiAngelo’s analysis. If anything, they are more susceptible to it. 'I believe that white progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color,' she writes. '[T]o the degree that we think we have arrived, we will put our energy into making sure that others see us as having arrived...'... It is a bleak view, one in which all political and moral beliefs are reduced to posturing and hypocrisy...."

Writes Carlos Lozada in "White fragility is real. But ‘White Fragility’ is flawed," reviewing the book "WHITE FRAGILITY: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism" in The Washington Post.

"America must seize on the moment and I truly believe — as I actually told the VP last night when I called him — that I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket."

Said Amy Klobuchar, who says she called Biden on Wednesday to tell him she was withdrawing from competition for the VP slot, NBC News reports.

I think we all already knew her chance was blown:
In the immediate aftermath of Floyd’s killing, Klobuchar’s time as chief prosecutor for Hennepin County came back under scrutiny, specifically the lack of prosecutions she pursued in cases of police brutality....

Asked if those questions about her past record on police brutality would have made it harder for her in the role of vice presidential nominee, Klobuchar said Thursday: "I think I could've functioned fine and there's a lot of untruths out there about my record and now is not the time to debate those."
So what I hear in her effort at a high-minded statement is an undercutting of the other women who are in the running. First, Elizabeth Warren — who is not a woman of color except in her memory of younger days when family lore and a desire to identify were enough. Why step on her chances, Amy? Second, all the various black women who are in the running. Amy is ensuring that when one of them is picked, everyone will believe they were picked because of their race.

June 18, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write about anything you want.

Meade took this picture of me looking at the sunrise at 5:24.

And let me remind you about the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

I told you I was going to do something today that I've never done before.

I shot a gun!

"Trump Can’t Immediately End DACA, Supreme Court Rules."

The NYT reports.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court’s four more liberal members in upholding the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” the chief justice wrote. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”...  Chief Justice Roberts... said the administration may try again to provide adequate reasons for shutting down the program....

In a dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Samuel A. Alito and Neil M. Gorsuch, said the majority had been swayed by sympathy and politics. 'Today’s decision must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision,' Justice Thomas wrote. The court could have made clear that the solution respondents seek must come from the legislative branch. In doing so.... it has given the green light for future political battles to be fought in this court rather than where they rightfully belong — the political branches."

"Facebook on Thursday said it had take action against ads run by President Trump's re-election campaign for breaching its policies on hate."

"The ads, which attacked what the Trump campaign described as "Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups," featured an upside-down triangle. The Anti-Defamation League said Thursday the triangle 'is practically identical to that used by the Nazi regime to classify political prisoners in concentration camps.' 'We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate. Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group's symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol,' Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesperson, told CNN Business. The ads targeted the far left group Antifa, calling on Trump supporters to back the President's calls to designate the group a terrorist organization."

CNN Business Reports.

John Bolton's book "has been written with so little discernible attention to style and narrative form that he apparently presumes an audience that is hanging on his every word."

According to the review in the NYT, written by Jennifer Szalai.
... Bolton has filled this book’s nearly 500 pages with minute and often extraneous details, including the time and length of routine meetings and even, at one point, a nap. Underneath it all courses a festering obsession with his enemies, both abroad (Iran, North Korea) and at home (the media, “the High-Minded,” the former defense secretary Jim Mattis). The book is bloated with self-importance, even though what it mostly recounts is Bolton not being able to accomplish very much. It toggles between two discordant registers: exceedingly tedious and slightly unhinged....

5:22 a.m.


That's today, the 9th of the 10 days with the earliest sunrise time, 5:17.

I was there at 5:17, but the sun had not yet broken over the shoreline.


I don't have a view of the horizon. The first direct bit of sun became visible at 5:20:


You see why I picked 5:22 as the best. It wasn't because I was 5 minutes "late." I wasn't late! Were you?

I'm going to do something today that I've never done before.

Try to guess. If you begin with "I hope it's..." I predict somebody will get it quickly.

IN THE COMMENTS: The second commenter, Rockeye said:
Going shooting. A boy can hope.
That's the answer. I shot a gun!

I had 2 hours of training and practice at shooting range.

AND: Here's my new post with video.

"I admit to having a complicated relationship with Aunt Jemima... For a period of time in the late 1940s and early 1950s, my grandmother, Ione Brown..."

"... was part of an army of women who worked as traveling Aunt Jemimas, visiting small-town fairs and rotary-club breakfasts to conduct pancake-making demonstrations at a time when the notion of ready-mix convenience cooking was new. I never knew about my grandmother’s work until long after she died... [W]hile researching a family memoir... I learned that she made good money and covered a region including Iowa, the Dakotas, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. She was often treated like a celebrity in small towns, but could not stay in local hotels. She kept an eye out for houses that had a small sign in the window that said 'TOURIST,' a code for homes that provided lodging and meals to black people.... As a family, we are offended by the caricature that Aunt Jemima represents, but deeply proud of the way my grandmother used the stage that was available to lift herself up. You see, in those days Aunt Jemima didn’t look like the lady you see on the box today. She was a slave woman, and Ione was expected to act and talk like a slave woman, using the kind of broken patois that blighted the full-page ads in magazines like Women’s Day and Life.... One of the things that irks me most about the Jemima brand is the way the mammy stereotype hijacked what should be an endearing image for black America and tried to turn it into something toxic. Most of us have someone in our family with fleshy arms and a loving smile who serves up cherished advice along with delicious food. They are our aunts and mothers and grandmothers. Our godmothers. Our queens.
You tried to make us ashamed of what Aunt Jemima stood for."

From "Why did it take so long to set Aunt Jemima free?" by Michele L. Norris (WaPo). (Quaker Foods announced that it is retiring the Aunt Jemima brand because to "make progress toward racial equality.")

ADDED: At the NY Post, I'm seeing "After Aunt Jemima, people call to cancel Uncle Ben’s and Mrs. Butterworth’s." I understand about Uncle Ben, but Mrs. Butterworth? I've never perceived Mrs. Butterworth as black.
The syrup, sold in a matronly woman-shaped bottle, is accused of being rooted in mammy culture and was modeled after the body of Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen, the black actress who played Prissy in “Gone With The Wind.” The Jim Crow-era “mammy” character was often used to show that black women were happy working in white households....
That's news to me. I looked up Mrs. Butterworth on Wikipedia and it did not contain that information. I did learn that the voice for the character was done by Mary Kay Bergman, who looked like this:
"Her parents were Jewish," and she died by suicide at the age of 38 in 1999. She was the original lead female voice on "South Park."
Her characters included Liane Cartman, Sheila Broflovski, Shelly Marsh, Sharon Marsh, Carol McCormick and Wendy Testaburger.... Bergman credited South Park for pulling her out of a typecasting rut. 'I'm known for these sweet, cute little characters,' she said, noting her roles in various Disney films. "So I've been doing them forever. My agents were trying to submit me on shows that are edgy, and they're laughing, 'Mary Kay, are you kidding? No way!'" After Bergman's death, the two episodes "Starvin' Marvin in Space" (the final episode for which she recorded original dialogue) and "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" (the final episode in which her voice was used via archive footage) were dedicated in her memory.
No comment on the role of Starvin' Marvin and Mr. Hankey in the quest for progress toward racial equality. RIP Mary Kay Bergman. Watch this (it's phenomenal):

Mrs. Butterworth voice at 1:11.

ADDED: Norris writes that her grandmother, in the role of Aunt Jemima had to use a "kind of broken patois." And I see in the comments that David Begley is asking, "Just asking, but isn’t 'broken patois' the language of today’s rap music?" Which makes me wonder, what's wrong with a patois? To answer my own question, I naturally look up "patois" in the OED.

I see that it's "dialect spoken by the people of a particular region (esp. of France or French-speaking Switzerland), and differing substantially from the standard written language of the country" or — and this is "frequently depreciative" — "a regional dialect; a variety of language specific to a particular area, nationality, etc., which is considered to differ from the standard or orthodox version."

I was intrigued by this example from "The Sheltering Sky" by Paul Bowles (who was born in New York City):
Then he remembered having heard that Americans did not speak English in any case, that they had a patois which only they could understand among themselves. The most unpleasant part of the situation to him was the fact that he would be in bed, while the American would be free to roam about the room, would enjoy all the advantages, physical and moral.

"As the book nears publication and details spill out, many congressional Democrats quickly assailed Mr. Bolton for not telling his story during the impeachment proceedings and instead saving it for his $2 million book."

"Mr. Bolton explains his position in the epilogue, saying he wanted to wait to see if a judge would order one of his deputies to testify over White House objections. Once the House impeached Mr. Trump over the Ukraine matter, Mr. Bolton volunteered to testify in the Senate trial that followed if subpoenaed. But Senate Republicans voted to block new testimony by him and any other witnesses even after The New York Times reported that his forthcoming book would confirm the quid pro quo. Some of those Republican senators said that even if Mr. Bolton was correct, it would not be enough in their minds to make Mr. Trump the first president in American history convicted and removed from office. Mr. Bolton blames House Democrats for being in a rush rather than waiting for the court system to rule on whether witnesses like him should testify, and he faults them for narrowing their inquiry to just the Ukraine matter rather than building a broader case with more examples of misconduct by the president. 'Had a Senate majority agreed to call witnesses and had I testified, I am convinced, given the environment then existing because of the House’s impeachment malpractice, that it would have made no significant difference in the Senate outcome,' he writes."
From "Five Takeaways From John Bolton’s Memoir 'The Room Where It Happened' describes Mr. Bolton’s 17 turbulent months at President Trump’s side through a multitude of crises and foreign policy challenges" by Peter Baker (NYT).


"Hours after the Fulton County district attorney announced felony murder and other charges against the former Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks... a number of Atlanta police officers called in sick just before a shift change Wednesday evening."

"The city was left scrambling to cover absences as the Atlanta Police Department tried to tamp down rumors of a mass police walkout that spread widely on social media.... 'We do have enough officers to cover us through the night,' Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) told CNN. 'Our streets won’t be any less safe because of the number of officers who called out.'... 'This is not an organized thing, it’s not a blue flu, it’s not a strike, it’s nothing like that,' Vince Champion, a spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, told NBC News. 'What it actually is is officers protesting that they’ve had enough and they don’t want to deal with it any longer.'... Champion added that many officers felt prosecutors had not publicly shared sufficient evidence to back up the charges leveled against Rolfe, in part because the district attorney only released a video still that appears to show the former officer kick Brooks rather than the full video itself.... Although the quick action in Atlanta has been praised by civil rights advocates and hailed as a victory for activists, some in the police department have decried the quick process. Bottoms said that morale in Atlanta’s police department was at a low.... 'The thing that I’m most concerned about is how we repair the morale in our police department,” Bottoms.... 'and how do we ensure our communities are safe as they interact with our police officers.'"

WaPo reports.

In the comments over there, somebody says:
They harassed the guy for 45 minutes and when he panicked and grabbed their taser, they shot him when he was running away. Then kicked him. Sorry guys, if you think that's what policing is, you should be calling in sick.

Why do these cops think someone like Dylann Roof should be gently apprehended (and given a cheeseburger) but a black guy should be harassed? And that he isn't expected to panic? And that those cops couldn't let him run, and go after him later?
That draws this sarcasm:
Cops should wait until 0.1 milliseconds before the stun gun barb pierces the cornea of the eyeball before shooting the perpetrator in the kneecap of their non-dominant leg to slow him down and then snuggle him into compliance.

"Reading Justice Gorsuch’s Bostock opinion, I was thrown back to the summer of 2017, when I found myself in a social gathering of a half dozen fellow progressives and one prominent conservative lawyer..."

"... with whom we were all friendly. It was a civil but increasingly pointed conversation as we pressed the lawyer, first gently and then more firmly, on whether he actually supported the Muslim travel ban and other actions of the Trump administration’s opening months that troubled the rest of us. He took the bait in good humor but finally, all but throwing up his hands, he cut the conversation off. 'Look,' he said. 'We got Gorsuch.' Yes, we did."

Writes Linda Greenhouse in "What Does ‘Sex’ Mean? The Supreme Court Answers/We’ll soon find out whether the court inflames the culture wars or cools them as its term winds down" (NYT).

The top-rated comment over there:
Forgive my cynicism, but I suspect that Roberts, being acutely aware of how politically biased his court appears, decided to select this case as a means of deflecting attention from the flood of conservative opinions yet to come. Having determined that they already lost the culture war on LGBT equality, they tossed progressives this bone, fully prepared to nullify it with a decision that it can be ignored by people with "sincerely held beliefs." They will point to this case as evidence of their neutrality.

June 17, 2020

At the Pre-Dawn Café...


... you can write about whatever you want.

The photo was taken at 5:10 a.m. today, the 8th of the 10 days when the sun rises at 5:17, the earliest sunrise time of the year.

And please remember to use the Althouse Portal when you need to do some Amazon shopping. I really appreciate your support for this blog.

"Unlike many artists who reacted to the pandemic with a kind of dutiful tenderness—'Let me help with my song!'—Dylan has decided not to offer comfort, nor to hint at some vague solidarity."

"Lyrically, he’s either cracking weird jokes ('I’ll take the "Scarface" Pacino and the "Godfather" Brando / Mix ’em up in a tank and get a robot commando') or operating in a cold, disdainful, it-ain’t-me-babe mode.... Dylan is a voracious student of United States history—he can, and often does, itemize the various atrocities that have been committed in service to country—and 'Rough and Rowdy Ways' could be understood as a glib summation of America’s outlaw origins, and of the confused, dangerous, and often haphazard way that we preserve democracy. He seems to understand instinctively that American history is not a series of fixed points but an unmoored and constantly evolving idea that needs to be reëstablished each day—things don’t happen once and then stop happening. In this sense, linear time becomes an invention; every moment is this moment.... [F]or me, Dylan’s vast and intersectional understanding of the American mythos feels so plainly and uniquely relevant to the grimness and magnitude of these past few months. As the country attempts to metabolize the murder of George Floyd, it is also attempting to reckon with every crooked, brutal, odious, or unjust murder of a black person—to understand a cycle that began centuries ago and somehow continues apace. What is American racism? It’s everything, Dylan insists. Indiana Jones and J.F.K. and Elvis Presley and Jimmy Reed—nothing exists without the rest of it. None of us are absolved, and none of us are spared."

You can tell by the diaeresis in "reëstablished" that it's The New Yorker. Amanda Petrusich reviews Bob Dylan's new album, "Rough and Rowdy Ways," which will be released on Friday.

Petrusich sure is putting a lot of her own clunky words into Bob Dylan's mouth. She's insisting that he's insisting — insisting that everything is American racism. Why would you go and assume that what he's saying is what you're fired up to think everybody is supposed to be saying right now?

She did say "for me." You can listen to whatever you want any way you want.

"With the slogan 'Silence is Violence' being used at the law school, there will be enormous pressure for student groups to go along. Not to do so would be deemed an act of 'violence.'"

Writes Professor William Jacobson about an effort by some students at Cornell Law School to get student groups to sign a letter that seems — I don't have access to the letter — to be accusing Jacobson of racism and urging students to boycott his classes.
This is an attempt not just to scare students away from my course, but to scare students away from speaking their minds, and to create a faculty and student purity test.

I have received numerous emails from students telling me I have a lot of “quiet” support at the law school, but that students are afraid to speak out for fear of career-ending false accusations of racism....

This toxic atmosphere didn’t need to take place. At a time when the law school desperately needs an adult in the room, so to speak, we have faculty and a Dean who denounce me.

Can the cop cry?

"Scroll casually through your platform of choice and you’ll see kids. Kids protesting on Pinterest; kids posing on Instagram..."

"... kids socially distanced proms and graduations on Facebook. Kids of people you know I.R.L. and kids of people you don’t. Kids who most likely haven’t given their permission for you and me to see them or who have simply accepted this exposure as part of modern life. Every time we post a picture, we’re telling a story, crafting the myth of our own life. Images of our children become part of that mythology. A shot of kids frolicking on the beach or posing at Disney World tells a story about prosperity, happiness and ease. A photo of well-scrubbed kids on the first day of school says My children are thriving. I’m a good mom.... When my older daughter and blogs were both in their infancy, I posted pictures of my new baby and wrote about new motherhood. I found community and support from other new mothers. But as my daughter got older, as she went from a sleeping, pooping blob to an actual person, and as the world soured on so-called mommy blogging, the sharing got harder to justify. After all, my daughter had never consented to appearing on my blog. How would she feel when she got old enough to Google and discovered her entire life online?"

Writes Jennifer Weiner in "Should Any Parents Be Instagramming Their Kids?/Sure, those of us who do may not all be Myka Stauffers. But we’re all selling some kind of story about ourselves, and using our children to do so" (NYT).

Should have?

I'm giving this my "Althouse the pedant" tag, so stop now if you don't like where this is going. I'm reading the headline at The Washington Post, "Why Scalia should have loved the Supreme Court’s Title VII decision."

The man is dead. There's NOTHING he should have done.

Why not say "Why Scalia would have loved the Supreme Court’s Title VII decision"? I think I know why. The article is by George Conway. It's in WaPo. I'm going to say: They don't want to concede that Scalia would have joined the majority in this case, that he would have stuck to his principles (and that this case was truly an instance where these principles dictated the outcome the majority reached).

"I wasn’t always quite as comfortable with queering our hetero-union."

"She came out to me a few years into our marriage, late on a weeknight.... Silent tears flowed down her cheeks as she confessed her desire to transition.... I responded with an affirmation of her feelings before I shared my own fears and frustrations.... At the time, I couldn’t say whether I wanted to be with a woman. It was something I’d never even considered before.... I struggled with my own internalized transphobia, expecting to mourn her body hair, mannerisms, deep voice and broad shoulders — the features I’d grown to know and love about her former appearance — but the transformation hasn’t been a hurdle for me.... [H]er body’s changes feel like part of the uneventful shifts in appearance everyone encounters as we age and develop or abandon certain habits. Over the years, I’ve gained more than a few pounds — making my midsection lumpier, my face rounder, my thighs thicker. I changed my own hairstyle once or twice.... My breasts sag now that I’ve fed two children from them.... We already act like the two old ladies that we will one day become...."

From "I’m a straight woman whose spouse came out as trans. It didn’t change a thing/Our friends were sure we were on the verge of a breakup at the time. They shouldn’t have worried" by Lauren Rowello (WaPo).

I didn't think it would work...


... but you actually can point your iPhone camera directly at the sun.

To the eye, the sun looked perfectly orange and the sky was blue. The camera interpreted the sun as white, and that required the sky to be perfectly orange.

"The trouble with drinking is sipping. Give us water only because we'll drain that quickly."

"The same principle will be applied to all aspects of life. Anything you might savor contemplatively will be withdrawn. You will have periodic gulps, and in between, nothing."

I wrote, at Facebook, responding to a post by my son John, which quoted a CNN article: "Many airlines are limiting drink options to water only. As face masks must be kept on other than when passengers are eating and drinking, it's a way of ensuring passengers are lingering over their refreshments for no longer than necessary."

"Federal judge lambastes amendment to rename confederate bases as 'madness'/Gets thoroughly bodied by clerk."

Headline at The Intercept.

The judge is Laurence Silberman of the D.C. Circuit.
Silberman [wrote]... that his great-grandfather had fought for the Union as part of Ulysses S. Grant’s army and was badly wounded at Shiloh, Tennessee. His great-grandfather’s brother, meanwhile, joined the Confederate States Army and was captured at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. “It’s important to remember that Lincoln did not fight the war to free the Slaves Indeed he was willing to put up with slavery if the Confederate States Returned,” he wrote (lack of punctuation and errant capitalization in the original, and throughout). “My great great grandfather Never owned slaves as best I can tell.”
From the clerk's pushback:
[M]y maternal ancestors were enslaved in Mississippi.... [M]y ancestors would not have been involved in the philosophical and political debates about Lincoln’s true intentions, or his view on racial equality.... [Y]ou talked about your ancestors, one that fought for the confederacy and one that fought for the Union.... [N]o matter how bravely your uncle fought for the Confederacy, the foundation of his fight was a decision that he agreed more with the ideals of the Confederacy, than he did with those of the Union.
Silberman, a Reagan appointee, is 84 years old. Giving him the Medal of Freedom in 2008, President George W. Bush said:

The Interactive Social Contract.


That's a photograph I took in Brooklyn in October 2007. Just ran across it as I was searching (unsuccessfully) for a post about something that happened to me around that time. That caught my eye. It was right next to this...

Breaking wave

One of my New York photos. What is it? I can see what it's not. It's not a wave breaking on a beach.

Anyway, I thought perhaps the Interactive Social Contract from 2007 could speak to us in this famously screwed up year, 2020.

What I wanted to learn.

I wanted to take the "Master Class" from David Sedaris, but I couldn't bring myself to pay $99 for a subscription to the app until I saw that they also had a class from Billy Collins, a poet I've liked ever since I randomly picked a book off a high shelf at Paul's Books and read one poem.

Both Sedaris and Collins, I see now, begin their writing by noticing some little thing that is present in their own life. Both teach that you ought to carry a notebook with you everywhere and jot down these little things as they happen.

That's all writing. Of course, I wanted to learn about writing, but what else? Master Class has 80+ famous people teaching how they each do their thing. I've watched 2 others, neither in the writing category. I watched Bobbi Brown, who teaches about makeup — the kind of makeup that honors whatever face you happen to have. (You do not need to "contour" your nose or "overline" your lips.) And I watched Alice Waters, the restaurateur, who says you really need to start your cooking by getting in touch with your local vegetables.

Do you see the theme of these 4, which I chose without thinking of a theme? The theme occurred to me as I was doing my sunrise run this morning. I don't listen to headphoned-in music anymore when I run. I listen to the immediate environment and let thoughts rise up from within my own head, and I got where I could see how these 4 choices represented a single desire on my part. All these lessons have to do with awareness of what is right here.

When I got back to my car, the radio was on MSNBC, which I'd listened to on my little drive out to my running place. I'd put up with Joe Scarborough angsting about Republicans being less likely  to wear masks than Democrats — what is wrong with them?! — but I didn't want that infecting me on the ride home. I clicked over to music. It was Neil Young:
Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleeping
We could dream this night away
But there's a full moon rising
Let's go dancing in the light
We know where the music's playing
Let's go out and feel the night
Neil was getting what was for him an unusual idea: To go out and experience the moon.

I got the idea a while back to get out and experience the sunrise, to go running in the light.

"Should you happen to find yourself near a statue that you decide you no longer like, we asked scientists for the best, safest ways to bring it to the ground without anyone getting hurt—except, of course, for the inanimate racist who’s been dead for a century anyway."

Popular Mechanics obviously wants a link, and I topple for it.

June 16, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write until dawn.

That photo was taken at 5:20 this morning, the 7th of the 10 mornings with the earliest sunrise of the year — officially: 5:17.

Don't forget about the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

"Shortly before Elizabeth Warren joined their virtual happy hour on a recent Friday afternoon, the five African American women co-hosting the #TheSipHour mused about calling her by her first name."

"The Massachusetts senator had her own moniker in mind. 'I was going to say I’m here today as an ally, but can we really just say co-conspirator?' laughed Warren, one of the few white women to appear at the events organized by Higher Heights For America, which promotes the organizing and voting power of black women. 'Nothing’s going to change unless it is black women’s voices that are uplifted.' Such overtures could help Warren’s bid to become Joe Biden’s running mate. The presumptive Democratic nominee is under mounting pressure to pick a black woman in the wake of recent outrage over racial injustice and police brutality. But some black leaders say Warren’s progressive politics, economic populism and specific policy proposals addressing everything from maternal mortality to the coronavirus could put her in a strong position. 'I think she’s totally still viable,' said Nelini Stamp, director of strategy and partnerships for the Working Families Party, a progressive labor activist group that endorsed Warren in the primary. 'Warren is one of the folks whose been talking about big structural change. And when we’re thinking about re-imagining public safety, that is something that’s going to require some actual structural change.'"

AP reports.

"Patients with underlying conditions were 12 times as likely to die of covid-19 as otherwise healthy people, CDC finds."

A WaPo headline, quoted along with substantial text from the article by my son John at Facebook, where I expressed surprise that the factor was so low and asked:
Did they count obesity as a "condition" when they did that calculation?
I looked at the CDC report, and I see it only counted "severe obesity (body mass index ≥40 kg/m2)" as a condition. I'm a 5'5" woman, and I would need to weigh more than 240 pounds — more than 100 pounds over normal weight — to enter that BMI range.

Obesity begins at a 30 BMI, which would be 180 pounds for my height. That's 60 pounds less than the weight the CDC counted as a "condition" when it did its calculation. It wouldn't be 12 times as likely but what? — 100 times? — if they'd included the merely obese. And what if they'd counted the overweight but not obese? That would go all the way down to 150 for my height. It would be useful to know, because we have some power over our own weight!
ADDED: My son questions my observation. The factor should be lower if they included less severe conditions. I agree with him. I'm thinking in terms of being less likely to die. When you're trying to figure out how dangerous the illness is to you, you consider how likely it is for a person in your condition to die if they get the disease. Perhaps it's the case that 99.9% of those who died of the disease were obese. Of course, that's not the same as saying if you get the disease and you're obese, you have a 99.9% chance of dying. But if the overall percentage of those who get the disease and die is 0.1%, then I'd like to know what's the percentage for those who get the disease but are not obese? Is it 0.01%? That would be extremely useful information! For one thing, it would give people something to do to protect themselves: lose weight. But also, it would show us who should continue the more extreme form of social distancing and who should feel free to get out and about.

"The administration has been working to pursue a narrow definition of sex as biologically determined at birth, and to tailor its civil rights laws to meet it."

"Access to school bathrooms would be determined by biology, not gender identity. The military would no longer be open to transgender service members. Civil rights protections would not extend to transgender people in hospitals and ambulances. But the administration’s definition is now firmly at odds with how the court views 'sex' discrimination."

From "Supreme Court Expansion of Transgender Rights Undercuts Trump Restrictions/The ruling focused on employment discrimination, but legal scholars say its language could force expanded civil rights protections in education, health care, housing and other areas of daily life" (NYT).

Why is "sex" in quotes? I'd say the Court's case is also at odds with the effort to banish talk of sex and replace it with the concept of gender. I wonder, now will there be a new focus on sex?
Monday’s case was focused on employment law, a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 known as Title VII. But Justice Neil M. Gorsuch’s opinion used language that is likely to apply to numerous areas of law where there is language preventing discrimination “because of sex” or “on the basis of sex.” Under the ruling, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity ran afoul of the standard....

“They’ve ruled,” [President Trump] said. “I’ve read the decision, and some people were surprised, but they’ve ruled and we live with their decision.”
He's read the decision. Ha ha. Did anyone tell him it was 172 pages long before he concocted that lie? I assume it's a lie. And go ahead and bullshit that if you've read any of the opinion — a paragraph, say — you've "read the decision."

Anyway, I'm sure he doesn't mind the Supreme Court taking this pesky issue out of his hair.* "They’ve ruled and we live with their decision." If he really objected, he'd talk about how important it is to reelect him so he can appoint more Justices like Kavanaugh. Oh, but there is the complication that his #1 choice for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, wrote the opinion. He can't purport to have the power to control where the Court goes with all the legal issues.

But I don't think Trump is keen to hold back gay and transgender people. At most, he hopes to maintain the enthusiasm of the religious conservatives he needs to get reelected. But I don't think he is the slightest bit interested in reining in sexual — or gender — expression. Has he ever reined in his own?

* His orangified, poofed up, spray-spritzed hair.

"In the first presidential race in which the combined age of the two leading candidates exceeds 150 years..."

"... mental acuity and physical health have become a central theme as the 77-year-old Biden and the 74-year-old Trump compete for votes. While previous presidential contests have included whisper campaigns and rumors about candidates’ health, the open charges of senility flying between the two camps sets the 2020 contest apart.... As the video of Trump on the ramp trended online Saturday, the president took to Twitter to explain his cautious stroll. 'The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery...'...  'I honestly don’t think he knows what office he’s running for,' Trump said.... 'They’re going to put him in a home and other people are going to be running the country and they’re going to be super left radical crazies.'... A Washington Post-ABC News poll released May 31... found that only 46 percent of voters thought Trump had the 'mental sharpness' necessary to serve effectively as president. For Biden, the number was 51 percent.... Some Biden supporters have pushed him to take Trump on more directly and more aggressively on the issue of mental and physical fitness. Some have highlighted how Trump effectively raised doubts about Hillary Clinton’s health in 2016. Philippe Reines, a former top Clinton adviser... publicly pleaded... 'PLEASE force the TRUTH about donald trump’s physical & cognitive health into the open... BEFORE his LIES about YOUR health harden any further.'"

From "As Trump casts Biden as ‘sleepy Joe,’ his critics raise questions about his own fitness" (WaPo).

I'm worried about both of them, so I'm creating a tag — "candidate infirmity" — to keep track of them. That's my absurd little way to help — make a tag about it. I dislike both candidates. Maybe you've noticed. Ever since Trump's West Point ramp descent down that ramp...

... I've visualized him taking the off ramp from the presidency and letting Pence go forward into the election. I can't believe we're left with the choice of Trump or Biden.

ADDED: Presidential visits are carefully set up, with the safety of the President meticulously attended to. How could they have provided him with a long, steep, slippery ramp?! That makes no sense.

June 15, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write until dawn.

That photo was taken at 5:19 this morning — the 6th of the 10 days with a 5:17 actual sunrise, the earliest sunrises of the year.

Here's how it looked — at my secondary vantage point — at 5 a.m.:


And please consider using the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

"We've researched it and it has nothing to do with slavery. James Penny was a slave trader, but he had nothing to do with the Penny Lane area."

Says a Liverpool tour guide, quoted in "The Beatles 'Penny Lane' Controversy, Explained/The street the song is named after has come under fire for a potential link to a slave trader" (radio.com).

"Amid calls for taking down statues tied to France’s slave trade or colonial wrongs, Macron said 'the republic will not erase any trace, or any name, from its history ... it will not take down any statue.'"

"'We should look at all of our history together with lucidity' including relations with Africa, with a goal of 'truth' instead of 'denying who we are,' Macron said."

From "Slave-trade statues stay, Macron insists" (Arkansas Online).

Why are college students ever trusted to run their own lives?

I'm reading "Expecting Students to Play It Safe if Colleges Reopen Is a Fantasy/Safety plans border on delusional and could lead to outbreaks of Covid-19 among students, faculty and staff" by Laurence Steinberg (a psychology professor who wrote a book called "Age of Opportunity: Lessons From the New Science of Adolescence').
Most types of risky behavior — reckless driving, criminal activity, fighting, unsafe sex and binge drinking, to name just a few — peak during the late teens and early 20s.... Under calm conditions, college-age individuals can control their impulses as well as their elders, but when they are emotionally aroused, they evince the poor self-control of teenagers.... But it’s hard to think of an age during which risky behavior is more common and harder to deter than between 18 and 24....

My pessimistic prediction is that the college and university reopening strategies under consideration will work for a few weeks before their effectiveness fizzles out. By then, many students will have become cavalier about wearing masks and sanitizing their hands. They will ignore social distancing guidelines when they want to hug old friends they run into on the way to class. They will venture out of their “families” and begin partying in their hallways with classmates from other clusters, and soon after, with those who live on other floors, in other dorms, or off campus. They will get drunk and hang out and hook up with people they don’t know well. And infections on campus — not only among students, but among the adults who come into contact with them — will begin to increase....

[U]niversities must be informed by what developmental science has taught us about how adolescents and young adults think. As someone who is well-versed in this literature, I will ask to teach remotely for the time being.
We need to keep these little monsters locked up until they're 25. Who knows what they will do with their freedom? They might party in their hallways and become cavalier about wearing masks and sanitizing their hands. There's no end to the dangers of freedom. You really cannot trust people to put safety first, week after week, month after month. At some point, they will hang out and hook up.

"Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender."

"The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbid.

Writes Justice Gorsuch, and Chief Justice Roberts is with the majority as well.

The answer is clear, because we've got 2 of the conservative justices joining the liberals. Nice work!

I'm reading the live blogging at SCOTUSblog.

Here's the PDF of the opinion. 172 pages. SCOTUSblog explains:
Alito has a long dissent with at least 4 appendixes, Appendix D is full of images of government forms....

kavanaugh [dissenting] ends with: "Notwithstanding my concern about the Court’s transgression of the Constitution’s separation of powers, it is appropriate to acknowledge the important victory achieved today by gay and lesbian Americans. Millions of gay and lesbian Americans have worked hard for many decades to achieve equal treatment in fact and in law. They have exhibited extraordinary vision, tenacity, and grit—battling often steep odds in the legislative and judicial arenas, not to mention in their daily lives. They have advanced powerful policy arguments and can take pride in today’s result. Under the Constitution’s separation of powers, however, I believe that it was Congress’s role, not this Court’s, to amend Title VII. I therefore must respectfully dissent from the Court's judgement. "
ADDED: From Alito's dissenting opinion, we see how much everyone pays obeisance to Justice Scalia:
The Court tries to convince readers that it is merely enforcing the terms of the statute, but  that is preposterous. Even as understood today, the concept of discrimination because of “sex” is different from discrimination because of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” And in any event, our duty is to interpret statutory terms to “mean what they conveyed to reasonable people at the time they were written.” A. Scalia & B. Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts 16 (2012) (emphasis added). If every single living American had been surveyed in 1964, it would have been hard to find any who thought that discrimination because of sex meant discrimination because of sexual orientation––not to mention gender identity, a concept that was essentially unknown at the time.

The Court attempts to pass off its decision as the inevitable product of the textualist school of statutory interpretation championed by our late colleague Justice Scalia, but no one should be fooled. The Court’s opinion is like a pirate ship. It sails under a textualist flag, but what it actually represents is a theory of statutory interpretation that Justice Scalia excoriated––the theory that courts should “update” old statutes so that they better reflect the current values of society. See A. Scalia, A Matter of Interpretation 22 (1997). If the Court finds it appropriate to adopt this theory, it should own up to what it is doing.

Many will applaud today’s decision because they agree on policy grounds with the Court’s updating of Title VII. But the question in these cases is not whether discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity should be outlawed. The question is whether Congress did that in 1964.
I understand your argument, but right now, I am busy applauding.

ALSO: This does help Trump, of course.

PLUS: Here's something from the Gorsuch majority opinion:
By discriminating against homosexuals, the employer intentionally penalizes men for being attracted to men and women for being attracted to women. By discriminating against transgender persons, the employer unavoidably discriminates against persons with one sex identified at birth and another today. Any way you slice it, the employer intentionally refuses to hire applicants in part because of the affected individuals’ sex, even if it never learns any applicant’s sex....

We agree that homosexuality and transgender status are distinct concepts from sex. But, as we’ve seen, discrimination based on homosexuality or transgender status necessarily entails discrimination based on sex; the first cannot happen without the second. Nor is there any such thing as a “canon of donut holes,” in which Congress’s failure to speak directly to a specific case that falls within a more general statutory rule creates a tacit exception. Instead, when Congress chooses not to include any exceptions to a broad rule, courts apply the broad rule. And that is exactly how this Court has always approached Title VII. “Sexual harassment” is conceptually distinct from sex discrimination, but it can fall within Title VII’s sweep. Oncale, 523 U. S., at 79–80. Same with “motherhood discrimination.” See Phillips, 400 U. S., at 544. Would the employers have us reverse those cases on the theory that Congress could have spoken to those problems more specifically? Of course not. As enacted, Title VII prohibits all forms of discrimination because of sex, however they may manifest themselves or whatever other labels might attach to them.

"The book will... allege that Trump and his father, Fred Trump Sr, contributed to the death of Trump's alcoholic elder brother Fred Trump Jr by failing to help him."

From "Donald Trump’s niece reveals in new book that she leaked details of his 'fraudulent' tax schemes, alleges he contributed to his brother’s death and says his retired federal judge sister disapproves of him" (Daily Mail).

The niece is the daughter of the brother who died. It's sad to think about what could have been done to prevent a death — sad to look for living persons to blame.

Most of the time, we soothe the survivors and tell them there's nothing they could have done, and when we choose to say, no, there are things you could have done that you did not do, it is probably not because those things were more obvious or had more potential to help.

"'Now there’s an IQ test,' said another prominent Hamptons media figure. 'I’d have to be insane to let you quote me.'"

From "Newsrooms Are in Revolt. The Bosses Are in Their Country Houses/Those who can afford it left the city, shining a spotlight on class divisions in the media" (NYT).
Were media leaders in the right place to cover the horror of the early days of the outbreak, when they weren’t being kept awake by sirens? And did they overplay the violent fringes of protests, when they’ve been overwhelmingly peaceful and the city’s broader mood has been a kind of revolutionary good cheer? Walking with a television executive past boutiques on Newtown Lane in East Hampton last week, I tried to convince him that his teenage children would be fine walking around their native Upper East Side unaccompanied. During the protests, the city could look terrifying on television, and reporters on the scene faced violence, mostly from police; but the mood away from the police billy clubs was not exactly the Reign of Terror. (Though stay tuned: When The New York Times forced out the opinion editor James Bennet over a controversial column a week ago, two employees reacted in Slack with a slackmoji of the word “guillotine,” prompting internal complaints, a Times reporter said. “We encourage constructive, honest dialogue among our colleagues but there are lines that can be crossed, and this was one of them,” Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said in response.)

Fists — a blackface fist and Biden doing fists.

At Drudge right now:

The link on "Long, Hot Summer" goes to "In Miami-Dade, dueling rallies in support of Black Lives Matter and President Trump" (Miami Herald). I don't really know what's in that article that justifies the photograph of what I'm calling a blackface fist or that headline using a phrase that back in the 1960s meant there would be "race riots" in the city all summer....

It's got to be to chime with that blackface fist that Drudge chooses 2-fisted Biden to illustrate "POLL: Trump losing female vote by historic margin..." That picture is one of several pictures at the link, which goes to "LADY TROUBLES/Trump ‘losing female vote to Biden by a historic margin not seen in more than 50 years’ – but men still on his side'" (The Sun).  In that poll, Biden has a 20-point advantage with women, and Trump has a 2-point advantage with men. Polls — who believes them?! But why 2 fists when the issue is his appeal to women? Don't we imagine that the female preference for Biden over Trump is that he seems to be a kinder, gentler fellow?

Perhaps Drudge means to suggest that women are going to need a strong protector, and there's Biden, balling up his fists — does he look adequate to fight for you, as this "long, hot summer" comes on? In that light, consider the third item in my screen shot: "Winston Churchill's picture mysteriously vanishes from Google amid rising tensions" (knewz):
Searches for ‘British prime minister’ and ‘World War 2 generals’ called up photos of everyone else but the legendary British prime minister — just after his statue in London was defiled. The images were eventually restored. The picture of Winston Churchill suspiciously vanished from Google search results on Saturday just as the legendary British prime minister was under siege from racial justice protesters in the United Kingdom. The images reappeared about 12 hours later on Sunday, with Google saying it was an unintentional “updating issue.”
The old-school belligerent male protector is disappearing from the scene, and all we've got left is old man Biden, because the women seem to think he'll have to do.

"The scope of what some museums now call 'rapid response collecting' has expanded significantly in recent years."

"Curators often mingle with crowds, scoop up fliers and ask people to part with signs, or perhaps a piece of clothing. Such collecting has taken place at demonstrations around the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore in 2015, and during the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Mo., after the death of Michael Brown."

From "Museums Collect Protest Signs to Preserve History in Real Time/Curators surveyed the area outside the White House on Wednesday for artifacts that will help record the emotional turmoil" (NYT).

They swoop in.

This morning, driving to the sunrise, at the turtle crossing, we saw birds picking over the smashed body of a plate-sized turtle.


I thought: How mean of the birds. But the birds didn't smash the turtle. Yes, but they delighted in the corpse.

"The only thing I’ll tell you is she never spoke directly to a person. She always spoke through her dog, and in a baby voice. It was really bizarre."

Said a 60-year-old woman named Maria Meade, who lived near Amy Cooper, the woman in the story "How 2 Lives Collided in Central Park, Rattling the Nation/The inside story of the black birder and the white woman who called the police on him. Their encounter stirred wrenching conversations about racism and white privilege" (NYT).
Another neighbor, Marisol De Leon, 40, said Ms. Cooper frequently walked Henry unleashed, and became irate when told not to. “There was a sense of entitlement,” Ms. De Leon said.

Alison Faircloth, 37, a neighbor and dog owner, recalled that last winter, she came upon Ms. Cooper on the verge of tears outside the building’s lobby. A doorman had cursed at her for no reason, Ms. Cooper told her. Ms. Cooper vowed to get the doorman fired, Ms. Faircloth said. But when Ms. Faircloth asked the doorman what had happened, he told her that Ms. Cooper had complained about a broken elevator, then cursed at him after she barged into a security booth and had to be removed by a guard.

“There’s always a narrative from her about someone who has done her wrong,” Ms. Faircloth said.
ADDED: Bob Boyd said:
It's too bad nobody got her on video cursing the door man through her dog in a baby voice.

I'd like to see that.

June 14, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write about whatever you like.

And do think of using the Althouse Portal to Amazon, if you are shopping.

"... without barely a wimpier..."

"It was while in the lower house of Congress that Franklin Pierce took that stand on the slavery question from which he has never since swerved a hair’s breadth."

"He fully recognized, by his votes and by his voice, the rights pledged to the South by the Constitution.... [W]hen the first imperceptible movement of agitation had grown to be almost a convulsion, his course was still the same. Nor did he ever shun the obloquy that sometimes threatened to pursue the northern man who dared to love that great and sacred reality — his whole, united, native country — better than the mistiness of a philanthropic theory.... With his view of the whole subject, whether looking at it through the medium of his conscience, his feelings, or his intellect, it was impossible for him not to take his stand as the unshaken advocate of Union, and of the mutual steps of compromise which that great object unquestionably demanded.... Those northern men, therefore, who deem the great causes of human welfare as represented and involved in this present hostility against southern institutions, and who conceive that the world stands still except so far as that goes forward,— these, it may be allowed, can scarcely give their sympathy or their confidence to the subject of this memoir. But there is still another view, and probably as wise a one. It looks upon slavery as one of those evils which divine Providence does not leave to be remedied by human contrivances, but which, in its own good time, by some means impossible to be anticipated, but of the simplest and easiest operation, when all its uses shall have been fulfilled, it causes to vanish like a dream. There is no instance, in all history, of the human will and intellect having perfected any great moral reform by methods which it adapted to that end; but the progress of the world, at every step, leaves some evil or wrong on the path behind it, which the wisest of mankind, of their own set purpose, could never have found the way to rectify."

From "The Life of Franklin Pierce" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, consulted on the occasion of the University of New Hampshire's idea that maybe it ought to rename its Franklin Pierce Law School.

Trump retweets Michael Moore.

"So... I don't get what's 'problematic' with Madonna's putting her son's incredible dance on Insta? Thanks, in any case, it was great to see it."

That's the first comment I read on the New York Magazine article, "What Do We Want From White Celebrities Right Now?" Here's the section that labels Madonna "problematic":
[S]ome celebs have shown up to protest. Others have “opened up their purses” and lent their voices to decry racism and support detailed and specific calls for reform. But just like the rest of us, they have some problematic colleagues: Madonna celebrating her son’s interpretive solidarity dance; Ashton Kutcher posting an incongruously emotional video about Black Lives Matter that veered off on a bizarre and lengthy tangent about parenting; Ellen DeGeneres tweeting “for things to change, things must change”; Drew Brees’s willfully ignorant understanding of peaceful protests and inability to have his mind opened by the steady murders of Black people on film.... More of these bizarre blathers will surely come....
Here's Madonna's son's interpretative solidarity dance. The son is black, it helps to know. You can judge for yourself. According to Madonna: "David Dances to honor and pay tribute to George and His Family and all Acts of Racism and Discrimination that happen on a daily basis in America." Yes, it's miswritten. She didn't mean "to honor...  all Acts of Racism," but that is what she said.

Maybe I don't understand the way dance works these days. I was driving home this morning at 5:30 a.m. and a man up ahead of me was crossing the street in the middle of the block. I drove slowly. It didn't matter to me. There was a red light up ahead anyway. Midway through his crossing, he did a little dance, complete with pirouette. Was he dancing for me? Was he honoring some abstraction?

There was this guy...

And this...