June 27, 2020

At the Wispy Gray Café...


... you can write about whatever you like.

This photo was taken at 5:21 this morning.

And let me add that I greatly appreciate the use of The Althouse Portal by readers who choose to support this blog when they do their shopping at Amazon.

"The Princeton University Board of Trustees voted on Friday to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from the university’s School of Public and International Affairs."

"It acted because Wilson’s racist opinions and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school whose scholars, students and alumni must stand firmly against racism and for equality and justice.... Wilson... discouraged black applicants from applying to Princeton. While president of the United States, Wilson segregated the previously integrated federal civil service.... Wilson helped to create the university that I love. I do not pretend to know how to evaluate his life or his staggering combination of achievement and failure. I do know, however, that we cannot disregard or ignore racism when deciding whom we hold up to our students as heroes or role models. This is not the only step our university will be taking to confront the realities and legacies of racism, but it is an important one. Our commitment to eliminate racism must be unequivocal, and that is why we removed the name of Princeton’s modern-day founder from its School of Public and International Affairs."

From "I opposed taking Woodrow Wilson’s name off our school. Here’s why I changed my mind" by Christopher Eisgruber, the president of Princeton (in WaPo).

"She’s a paragon of the values that Donald Trump, for all his practice as a performer, can’t even pantomime."

"She’s best described by words that are musty relics in his venal and vainglorious circle: 'sacrifice,' 'honor,' 'humility.' More than any of the many extraordinary women on Biden’s list of potential vice-presidential nominees, she’s the anti-Trump, the antidote to the ugliness he revels in and the cynicism he stokes. Americans can feel good — no, wonderful — about voting for a ticket with [Tammy] Duckworth on it. And we’re beyond hungry for that. We’re starving. That ache transcends all of the other variables that attend Biden’s deliberations as he appraises Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Val Demings and others: race, age, experience, exact position on the spectrum from progressive to moderate. Duckworth, a former Army lieutenant colonel who lost both of her legs during combat duty in Iraq, is a choice that makes exquisite emotional and moral sense...."

From "Biden’s Best Veep Pick Is Obvious/She, more than anyone, can get under Trump’s skin" by Frank Bruni (NYT).

By the way, I'm so tired of hearing about "getting under Trump's skin." But it's not Bruni's phrase. It's only in the headline.

The Brimley/Cocoon Line.

"PizzaGate is reaching a level that nearly exceeds its 2016 fever pitch..."

"[S]tarting in April, a confluence of factors renewed interest. A documentary promoting PizzaGate, 'Out of Shadows,' made by a former Hollywood stuntman, was released on YouTube that month and passed around the QAnon community. In May, the idea that [Justin] Bieber was connected to the conspiracy surfaced. Teenagers on TikTok began promoting both...."

"It is not safe to speak, but it is even less safe not to speak. … You'll just be a miserable worm at the end of about 20 years of that."

"No self respect, no power, no ability to voice your opinions, nothing left but resentment, because everyone's against you, because of course you've never stood up for yourself.… Don't be thinking you're alone. It's just that people … are afraid to talk or they don't know what to say.… The enemy is a cloud. They're a cloud of gnats. They're only courageous in groups. They're only courageous in mobs. If you stand your ground and don't apologize and articulate things properly, they'll disperse around you like they're not even there. So most of it's illusion." 

Said Jordan Peterson (in 2017) — from a longer passage transcribed by my son John, here, with video.

"Revolutionary moments also require public confessions of iniquity by those complicit in oppression. These now seem to come almost daily."

"I’m still marveling this week at the apology the actress Jenny Slate gave for voicing a biracial cartoon character. It’s a classic confession of counterrevolutionary error: 'I acknowledge how my original reasoning was flawed and that it existed as an example of white privilege and unjust allowances made within a system of societal white supremacy … Ending my portrayal of "Missy" is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions.'... If you find this creepy, but don’t want to say that out loud, just know that you are not alone. Ibram X. Kendi, the New York Times best seller who insists that everyone is either racist or anti-racist, now has a children’s book to indoctrinate toddlers on one side of this crude binary.... The use of the term 'white supremacy' to mean not the KKK or the antebellum South but American society as a whole in the 21st century has become routine on the left, as if it were now beyond dispute.... The word 'racist,' which was widely understood quite recently to be prejudicial treatment of an individual based on the color of their skin, now requires no intent to be racist in the former sense, just acquiescence in something called 'structural racism,' which can mean any difference in outcomes among racial groupings. Being color-blind is therefore now being racist. And there is no escaping this. The woke shift their language all the time, so that words that were one day fine are now utterly reprehensible. You can’t keep up — which is the point.... So, yes, this is an Orwellian moment. It’s not a moment of reform but of a revolutionary break, sustained in part by much of the liberal Establishment."

From "You Say You Want a Revolution?" by Andrew Sullivan (New York Magazine).

"Being color-blind is therefore now being racist." — That's been true for a long time, at least where I live. When was the last time you could say "I don't see color" and not be thought an idiot at best. I've lived in Madison, Wisconsin since 1984 — and that's not an Orwell joke — and assertions of colorblindness have always been regarded as racist. I think there was a chance to adopt the ideology and outward manifestations of colorblindness back around 1968, but America went in another direction. Everyone younger than the Baby Boomers could have been taught colorblindness from the earliest age. But that opportunity was lost, and now we are very far along in cranking up racial sensibilities. Sullivan's yearning for a time when you could get off the racism hook by being colorblind — or, realistically, claiming to be colorblind or believing yourself to be colorblind — is a yearning for a past that never existed. There was a time when it was posited as a goal — notably, MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech — but that goal was down a road not taken and a cynic would say you can't get there from here.

"Here is a newsflash for CNN — I have a name and it's Tim Scott... News outlets like CNN time and time again refuse to use my name when referring to me in article headlines."

"The double standard with CNN is stunning. In fact, check out these headlines for Democrat Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. Why is it that when I give a floor speech on the same topic, I am simply referred to as a black senator?"

Writes Senator Tim Scott in in fundraising email I received at 7:54 this morning (full text below, after the jump).

He quotes 2 CNN headlines — "Sen. Booker: This nation is greater than this" and "See Sen. Harris speech on anti-lynching legislation" — and and then the CNN headline about him: “See black senator’s emotional response to senator’s ‘token’ remark."

I had to use the Wayback Machine to get a look at that headline...

... because the relevant URL now takes you to a CNN page that has the headline Scott says he wants:

Using the Wayback Machine, I was able to figure out that the original headline went up on June 18th, and the new headline appeared on June 20th. So for 2 days, he was "a black senator" having an "emotional response." Notice that the photo changed too. In the emotional-black-senator picture, he's crying and covering his face with his hands. In the replacement picture, he's standing tall and speaking forthrightly and using his hands with speech-augmenting expressiveness.

I don't know exactly why the changes were made, but they do hide the evidence of what CNN did when the story was fresh. Presumably, CNN heard the criticism and reacted. It didn't stop Scott from using this in a fund-raising letter 7 days later.

Read the full text of the email below. Scott contends that "CNN and others in the media... don’t want to hear" that he owes his success in life to "a mentor who taught me about conservative values" and wants to deliver the message that "conservative values can unleash opportunity for all Americans."

Scott is a strong voice for a message conservatives very much would like to forefront in response to the George Floyd protests: The answer is conservative values.

"Why are you fighting me?"

Expression, sunrise.


5:05, reenvisioned at 7:40.

Please don't keep asking.

5:05 a.m.


Joe Rogan and Jon Stewart enthuse about the protests turning into something "foundational."

It seems different this time, they say.

One thing that's different is that it happened on top of the coronavirus lockdown. It's been something of a national nervous breakdown.

"The man whose arrest Tuesday helped spark the protests that led to two landmark statues being knocked down and a state senator being assaulted is now facing federal charges..."

"... for activities that allegedly occurred a day earlier. The U.S. Department of Justice has charged Devonere Johnson with extortion after authorities say he threatened two Madison businesses unless they sent him money and his associates were provided with free food and beverages.... According to the complaint... [t]he owner of the business told the FBI that on June 22, Johnson and another man were inside the business blasting music from a boom box. The complaint states Johnson said to the owner, 'Give me money or we’ll break windows' and then added 'Venmo me money.' The owner said that he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and that he had donated money to the movement. The owner then received Johnson’s Venmo information. That’s when Johnson walked to the bar and said 'You are all KKK.' The second man with Johnson added that the owner will get a call from a number with a Chicago area code. The owner told investigators that the next time he saw Johnson was the next day, June 23. Johnson walked into the business with a bat and a megaphone and started yelling and calling people racists. The owner says... Johnson said 'I am disturbing the (expletive) out of this restaurant' and that 'I got a (expletive) bat.' The second business... owner told investigators...  that Johnson... put his feet up on the bar and said 'I can do whatever I want, we got [Business 3] shut down and we’ll do the same to you'.... The complaint states that Johnson returned the next day with the megaphone and the baseball bat. He and two other men who accompanied him told the owners they wanted free food and beer 'for their troubles.' Johnson then threatened to bring 600 people to the business and burn the business down. 'We can end this now and you won’t be marked like [Business 3]' Johnson allegedly told the owners."

WMTV reports.

Here's the video of how Johnson acted on Tuesday, when he was arrested, leading to the protests in which 2 important Capitol Square statues were torn down. Here's my post about that protest. The federal case is about things Johnson allegedly did at 2 other restaurants on the previous day. The federal charge is extortion, with a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

June 26, 2020

At the 5:05 Café...


... you can write about anything you want.


The photos were taken at 5:05 a.m. this morning. The pictures I put up here, earlier today, were done at a different vantage point at 5:22.

And let me remind you to use the Althouse Portal to Amazon if you've got some shopping.

"What's at stake in this election as you compare and contrast...?"

"In a seminar... Mary [Trump] and her 15 or so fellow students analyzed the Compson family portrayed in novels such as 'The Sound and the Fury.' The Compsons bore some similarities to her own family..."

"...Like Donald Trump’s mother, the Compsons immigrated to the United States from Scotland, and the family was riven by dysfunction. At the time, Donald Trump was running his Atlantic City casinos, which went into bankruptcy, and preparing to divorce his first wife, Ivana, and marry Marla Maples."

From "Mary Trump once stood up to her uncle Donald. Now her book describes a ‘nightmare’ of family dysfunction" (WaPo).

The Compson family, eh? Here's the rundown of the supposedly Trump-like clan:
Jason Compson III – father of the Compson family, a lawyer who attended the University of the South: a pessimist and alcoholic, with cynical opinions that torment his son, Quentin. He also narrates several chapters of Absalom, Absalom!.
Caroline Bascomb Compson – wife of Jason Compson III: a self-absorbed neurotic who has never shown affection for any of her children except Jason, whom she seems to like only because he takes after her side of the family. In her old age she has become an abusive hypochondriac.
Quentin Compson III – the oldest Compson child: passionate and neurotic, he commits suicide as the tragic culmination of the damaging influence of his father's pessimistic philosophy and his inability to cope with his sister's sexual promiscuity....
Candace "Caddy" Compson – the second Compson child, strong-willed yet caring. Benjy's only real caregiver and Quentin's best friend. According to Faulkner, the true hero of the novel. Caddy never develops a voice; rather, her brothers' emotions towards her provide the development of her character.
Jason Compson IV – the bitter, openly racist third child who is troubled by monetary debt and sexual frustration. He works at a farming goods store owned by a man named Earl and becomes head of the household in 1912. Has been embezzling Miss Quentin's support payments for years.
Benjamin (nicknamed Benjy, born Maury) Compson – the mentally disabled fourth child, who is a constant source of shame and grief for his family...
Which one is Trump? Obviously, none, but WaPo is likening these characters to the Trump family, as if Mary Trump's book is a literary work like something by William Faulkner. There's even a long quote from the professor in that long-ago college seminar. He remembers here — 40 years later — as "smart and accomplished." She wrote "absolutely stunning papers, long, deep and elegant."

Room Rater gives Matt Yglesias a 6 out of 10 even though the background is an unmade bed.

This grading on a political curve is ridiculous:

"Just because he was anti-slavery doesn’t mean he was pro-Black" — UW-Madison students demanding the beloved Lincoln statue be extracted from its place of honor in the center of campus.

I'm reading the news report at Channel 3000 with near disbelief. This is not like the Lincoln statue in Washington D.C. that's been deemed problematic because he's looming over the figure of a slave like he's such a big shot "Emancipator."

This is a lone, seated figure that has presided over Bascom Mall for decades and is inscribed on the hearts of those who have spent time — as I did for more than 30 years — at Wisconsin's beautiful university. I've taken many photographs of the statue, but I'll give you Lincoln in winter:

Statue of Lincoln on Bascom Mall at the University of Wisconsin

The Channel 3000 article quotes Nalah McWhorter, the president of the Wisconsin Black Student Union:
“He was also very publicly anti-Black. Just because he was anti-slavery doesn’t mean he was pro-Black. He said a lot in his presidential campaigns. His fourth presidential campaign speech, he said that he believes there should be an inferior and superior, and he believes white people should be the superior race.”
UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank responded, saying that "Lincoln’s legacy is complex and contains actions which, 150 years later, appear flawed," but that "Lincoln is widely acknowledged as one of our greatest presidents," because he issued the "Emancipation Proclamation, persuaded Congress to adopt the 13th Amendment ending slavery and preserved the Union during the Civil War."

McWhorter rejects that response: "For them to want to protect a breathless, lifeless statue more than they care about the experiences of their black students that have been crying out for help for the past 50, 60 years, it’s just a horrible feeling as a student, as a black and brown student on campus."

Who can balance the caring for the statue against the caring for students? These things — assuming we could assign weights to them — are not on opposite sides of a balance. We can leave the statue where it is — do nothing about it — and concentrate our efforts on helping students as much as possible. Why put these things in conflict, as if to leave the statue alone is to express callous disregard for students? Because demands need to be made — made about tangible objects that can be acted upon?

It's so much harder to figure out how to really help students. But giving in to a demand like this will not help. It will only set the stage for the creation of another demand to do something that can be done right now. Acquiring a real education cannot happen instantaneously, nor is it something that occurs in a theatrical way before the eyes of an assembled crowd. It's complex and subtle and never truly accomplished. But if the university doesn't dedicate itself to real education, what does any of this matter?

Where is Madison police?

Some Whole Foods employees are walking out because they're forbidden to wear "Black Lives Matter" masks and other gear.

Fox News reports.

Now, maybe you're like me and the first thing you think is the important thing is whether Whole Foods has a neutral policy against wearing messages. That ought to make it an easy question. But no. The company did have that all along:
“In a customer-focused environment, all Team Members must comply with our longstanding company dress code, which prohibits clothing with visible slogans, messages, logos or advertising that are not company-related,” the company said in a statement. “Team Members who do not comply with dress code are always given the opportunity to comply. If a Team Member is wearing a face mask that is outside of dress code, they are offered a new face mask. Team Members are not able to work until they comply with the policy.”
The message at Whole Foods is: Whole Foods.  But the company does support the cause. It's given "$10 million to organizations fighting for racial justice." And the company's website says: "Racism and discrimination of any kind have no place at Whole Foods Market. We support the Black community and meaningful change in the world."

But that's not good enough for some people:
“We can’t just put a label on this and say we care and not let our own workers wear stuff in support of the movement,” Savannah Kinzer, a white employee who walked out of the Cambridge store, told the Globe. “Until we see it as a white person’s problem and not a Black issue that white people have to empathize with, racism will persist.”
I have empathy for businesses that are trying to operate as businesses. Keep the workplace politically neutral. That's supportive of diversity.

"He’s the only man I think I ever met -- I knew him for a year -- I don’t think I ever saw him smile once. I said to him, ‘John, do you ever smile?’ And it tells you something about somebody."

Trump, talking about John Bolton, at a Town Hall on Fox News yesterday.

ADDED: It's what he said right before that that caught my attention and actually shocked me enough to click it off. I transcribed this part myself:
But I'll tell you, he was good for one thing. Everyone thought he was crazy. Because all he wants to do is bomb people. He'll fight Russia. Let's fight Russia. Let's fight China. Let's take them on at the same time. He's crazy. When I walked into a room with him, I knew that. When they saw Bolton, they always gave me what I wanted, because they said, Trump's going to drop bombs on me. He's got this maniac with him. So, in a way, he helped me in terms of a negotiation. 
That's where I clicked off, but I turned it back on this morning to do the transcription and here's how it continues:
But seriously...
But seriously! So he was kidding??

I don't kid.

Yikes. I slept on it, disturbed, then come back this morning and catch the "but seriously"...
But seriously, he didn't do a good job. He wasn't smart. He wasn't sharp. And he's the only man I think I ever met -- I knew him for a year -- I don’t think I ever saw him smile once. I said to him, ‘John, do you ever smile?’ And it tells you something about somebody."

"It’s getting more scary. My customers, they call me, and they don’t want to come down to State Street anymore. I don’t know what we’re going to do. Business is very tough. Very tough."

Said Abbul Lababidi, owner of Princess of India Imports on State Street, here in Madison, quoted in "State Street businesses threatened, harassed as worry escalates/From the Pain and protest: Madison responds to the police killing of George Floyd series" (Wisconsin State Journal).
Statues were toppled, a state senator assaulted, windows broken and the state Capitol vandalized over several hours after the arrest of Devonere Johnson, 28, a Black activist.
Passive voice.

We're told, "Merchants say they are grateful that a man they claim repeatedly harassed and threatened several State Street business owners." When he was arrested, Johnson had gone into a restaurant with a bullhorn and a baseball bat. Using the bullhorn, he expressed the opinion that the people in the restaurant were racists.
[S]everal business owners... said Johnson and others entered multiple businesses on State Street on Monday and Tuesday, played loud music, called business owners racists, threatened to burn buildings, demanded free food and drinks and knocked over patio chairs and tables.

The storm was about to hit.

Here's how the radar map looked when we got back to the car:


About 12 minutes before that, this was the view of the western sky:


This was the north:


This was the east:


Biden says "I would do everything possible to make it required the people had to wear masks in public"...

... then says that he can't "imagine" himself "taking the oath of office wearing a mask," "because I could take the mask off at this distance," CBS Pittsburgh responds.

1. Maybe "do everything possible to make it required" is clever phrasing and he's really thinking the President lacks the power to order everyone to wear masks or to commandeer local law officials to enforce a mask requirement. So it wouldn't, in fact, be possible.

2. "... to make it required the people had to wear masks in public" — That's substandard English. Maybe the transcription is off, but if not, this is either more evidence of his declining ability to communicate or an awkward effort to avoid speaking like a normal person. A normal person finding himself in the middle of that sentence would finish it something like this: "I would do everything possible to require people to wear masks in public." That is, he threw in extra words, which put the brakes on sloppily: "I would do everything possible to make it required the people had to wear masks in public." "Required the people had" is especially bad. You could say: "I would do everything possible to make it required that the people have to wear masks in public." But he didn't get that far. I presume he got started saying "I would do everything possible to require people to wear masks in public," realized it sounded too controlling or too far beyond legitimate federal executive power and patched in some extra words.

3. The idea of a federal requirement to wear masks is so bad, so out of touch with the values of federalism. The conditions vary from place to place, even within states, even within municipalities. It's wrong to have one rule for everyone. Presumably, any federal rules would have exceptions for people who do things outdoors when they're not near other people. But the impulse to control from above is worrisome. And it's politically bad. It generates mistrust. And I'm saying this from my remote outpost in flyover country.

4. No sooner does he announce that "the people" should all be wearing masks than he tells us he can't even imagine himself wearing a mask to take the oath of office. Rules are for little people? That was an unforced error. He could so easily have said yes to the question whether he could "imagine" wearing a mask. That wouldn't even box him in. Later, he can say he imagined it, but thought it wasn't the best option. But apparently he wasn't agile enough to get that far on the fly.

June 25, 2020

"Hear me when I say: Trump is the first woman President of the United States."

I get it. I have said essentially the same thing myself. On April 17, 2020, I wrote:
[A]s I've said a few times and have thought all along — there's something womanly about Trump. And I'm not saying that as an insult. He often displays machismo or seems to do the voice of a mob boss, but not all the time. He has this softer lilt that comes through some of the time....
I had to put this post up, so you've got to go down to get to tonight's café.

At the Milkweed Café...


... you can write about anything.

And you can support this blog by using the Althouse Portal when you shop at Amazon through .

"Personally I see no need for presidential debates. I'm voting Biden. Nothing Trump can say will make me change my mind"/"Oh so because you've made a decision that's it? Yea, I need to see these two nitwits make fools of themselves"/"If you have not yet made up your mind, you're the nitwit."

Comments on the WaPo column "It’s time to rethink the presidential debates" by Karen Tumulty. Tumulty is only proposing that the debates take place in a TV studio with no audience, but I expect to see a push to eliminate the debates. Not campaigning has been working well for Biden, and not debating is another step in the do-nothing game. Will he look worse doing the debate or worse avoiding the debate? I think the press will do what it can to make him look especially principled, lofty, and judicious as he declines to appear in the presence of the orange monster.

Did mainstream media just make a decision to downplay the protests? Was there some poll? Did the ratings come in?

Did the events in Madison, Wisconsin — with the toppling of a statue to the abstraction of progress and a statute of an antislavery hero — suddenly wake everyone up to the downside of encouraging chaos?

I'm looking at The NYT and The Washington Post, and all the top stories are about Covid19 — the big story that the protests had overcome and submerged. Covid is back with a vengeance.

On the WaPo home page, the "above the fold" area is full of Covid19 headlines. Then there are a few things about the 2020 elections, something about Michael Flynn, something about the Palestinians, and — this is the closest we get to the protests — the defeat of Tim Scott's police reform bill. Scrolling past the top screen, there's "Trump lashes out at Black Lives Matter in two tweets/The president accused one of the movement’s members of treason and lamented alleged plans for a new mural in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan that honors the cause" and "Blackface has long been an issue in comedy/Look no further than SNL" — both racial but still not about whatever protests/riots might be happening. Scrolling further, I'm reading many many headlines, but nothing about the protests. Finally, near the bottom, in tiny print, I see "Perspective/Toppling more statues isn’t working when there’s other work to be done." That's all there is right now, I believe.

On the NYT home page, the entire "above the fold" space is devoted to Covid19. After that, there is one protest-related story — "How the Philadelphia Police Tear-Gassed Trapped Protesters" — but it's focused on police tactics and grouped with a couple other stories about police tactics that happened outside of the protests. There's also a set of 3 headlines about "The Debate on Statues." That's the sober issue of whether they should they be removed, not the exciting drama of a mob tearing them down in the night. There are 11 headlines for opinion columns, and only one is at all related to the protests (and not even directly — "We Know How George Flynn Died"). Again, it's about the police. Further down, there's stuff about Louisa May Alcott and Leo Tolstoy and Biden's VP. There's nothing about what's going on in any "autonomous zones" or where anybody marched or rioted.

I really think a big decision was made to stop talking about it! I'm just going to guess: Word got around that the ongoing protests were hurting Democratic Party candidates.

ADDED: Maybe they were waiting for right-wing counter-protesters to come in and provide a place to shift the blame for the chaos or for the police to get tough and drag the attention back onto them where it was in the early days before the protests went to hell. But the riots were occurring in cities like mine where Democratic mayors were holding the police back...
Madison police officers desperately trying to keep the peace during Tuesday night’s Capitol Square riots were told by command to stand down — even as credible reports of radical activists were preparing to firebomb the City-County Building.
And the blame for chaos was remaining  squarely on the protesters. The mainstream-media ultimately realized — I would say —  that celebrating and encouraging that sort of thing was not going to get them where they wanted to go.

Sunrise, 5:07 and 5:22.



The actual sunrise time was 5:19.

"I can't read Left-wing twaddle. It reminds me that the Right sometimes has a valid point, and that upsets my world-view."

"Thanks again, Chait for doing the deep(depressing)-dive so I don't have to."

A comment at "An Elite Progressive LISTSERV Melts Down Over a Bogus Racism Charge" by Jonathan Chait (NY Magazine). I can't possibly copy the whole thing, and you probably don't have a subscription to NY Magazine, but here's a bit:
On May 28, progressive election data analyst David Shor tweeted about a new paper by Princeton professor Omar Wasow, showing that peaceful civil-rights protests moved public opinion toward protesters while violent protests had the opposite effect. The tweet violated a taboo in some left-wing quarters against criticizing violent protest and led within days to his firing. What happened after that was even more bizarre. On June 11, I wrote an article briefly describing Shor’s tweet and firing. Four days later, “Progressphiles,” a LISTSERV for left-of-center data analysts, kicked Shor off....

[T]he debate offers a case study in the norms of discussing race and gender within the progressive universe. Many progressives have sidestepped the problem presented by the illiberalism of these norms, dismissing them as goofy campus pratfalls. Over the past few years, and especially the past few weeks, these norms are gaining a foothold in elite professional settings, codified by tomes like White Fragility into tightly circumscribed scripts of accusation and confession....

The premise that “allyship” prohibits the questioning of any charge of racism is a common one. Not only is the rigor of Wasow’s research no defense, neither is the fact that he is also Black, which is dismissed as a “my best friend is Black” form of tokenism....
Horrible. And totally ridiculous.

"Last week, when Sue Schafer learned that the Washington Post planned to publish a story about one of the dumbest things she had ever done, she had the same question that many readers would have..."

"... about the resulting 3,000-word article, 'Blackface Incident at Post Cartoonist’s 2018 Halloween Party Resurfaces Amid Protests': Why is this newsworthy? Readers within the Post newsroom were asking the question, too. 'No one I’ve spoken with at the Post can figure out why we published this story,' said one prominent reporter at the paper. 'We blew up this woman’s life for no reason.' In 2018, Schafer attended a Halloween party at the home of Tom Toles, the Post’s Pulitzer Prize–winning editorial cartoonist. The basis for Schafer’s costume was topical. NBC had recently fired Megyn Kelly after she said, on the air, that she didn’t understand why it was necessarily considered racist for people to wear blackface as part of a Halloween costume. Schafer, who is white, decided to lampoon the anchor by dressing as Megyn Kelly–in–blackface.... The Post said Schafer’s transgression was news because it happened in front of Toles and somewhere possibly in the vicinity of columnist Dana Milbank.... The story first arrived at the Post via management consultant Lexie Gruber, who, along with her friend Lyric Prince, an artist, had confronted Schafer that night in 2018.... Nineteen months later, on June 9, Gruber contacted Toles, whom she didn’t know, to ask for help identifying the woman... Toles claimed, falsely, not to recognize her.... Schafer told New York that when she asked [the author of the WaPo article] why the story was news, he replied, 'We have to do it or they will go to another outlet.'... Gruber expressed surprise that the reporters directed so much attention to Schafer — and to herself and Prince — instead of the more notable people at the party. 'I can understand people being curious: Why did they write a piece so focused on a private citizen?' she said. 'But Tom [Toles] is a public citizen. To me, it’s about a larger problem, where people go to marches and then drink and dance with people in blackface.'... How can Toles’s failure to promptly order Schafer out of his house be simultaneously so important that it merits feature-length coverage in the paper and not important enough to merit workplace discipline?"

From "Why Did the Washington Post Get This Woman Fired?" (NY Magazine).

What a clusterfuck! I think it's rather obvious that the ball got rolling when everybody hated Megyn Kelly and imagined they were enjoying her downfall. I wonder if Megyn Kelly is getting some weird muffled last laugh out of all this.

"A man critically injured in one of the shootings inside Seattle’s chaotic, cop-free CHAZ claims it was a hate crime committed by racist infiltrators who dropped the N-word."

"DeJuan Young told KIRO 7 that he was fleeing the sound of gunshots from where a teenager was shot dead early Saturday when he was accosted by at least four men who dropped a racial slur when they shot him. 'I’m not sure if they’re Proud Boys or KKK,' Young told the station... 'But the verbiage that they said was, "Hold this n—r" — and shot me.... And they stood over top of me and continued to fire.... I tried to protect myself and got shot in the arm,' he claimed of the assailants, who apparently managed to disappear afterward. 'I’m positive this was a hate crime,' he told King 5 news in a separate interview.... Young says he is angry at the lack of help from cops.... 'I understand everybody’s going to say, "Oh, it was the CHAZ zone and y’all asked for the police not to be there, so don’t act like y’all need them now."'"

The NY Post reports.

Meanwhile, in Madison, Wisconsin, the police have released this report of a hate crime:
The MPD is investigating an assault on an 18-year-old bi-racial woman as a hate crime after she was burned with lighter fluid early Wednesday morning. The victim believes she was driving on W. Gorham St. when she stopped for a red light at State St. Her driver's side window was down and she heard someone yell out a racial epithet. She looked and saw four men, all white. She says one used a spray bottle to deploy a liquid on her face and neck, and then threw a flaming lighter at her, causing the liquid to ignite.
She drove forward, patted out the flames, and eventually drove home....

Well, you know my saying: Better than nothing is a high standard.

I'm reading "Dems warm to Biden’s bunker strategy/Since the former veep launched his stay-at-home campaign, his lead has grown to double-digits in national polls" (Politico).
Democrats who were once alarmed that Biden needed to do more are suddenly perfectly happy with a schedule that keeps him as close as possible to his Wilmington, Delaware, home most days....
Nothing is better than Trump!

That's my slogan. It works for both candidates.  Perfectly ambiguous.
Biden’s advisers, operating on the principle of not fixing things that aren’t broken, say they have little intention of trying to match Trump in the volume of events he holds or news he produces. They contend that an exhausted electorate wants a return to normalcy and competent governance....
Aside from the political campaigning, he could bring that theory into the government — don't fix things that aren’t broken. Ah, but who could hear a message like that over the din of media telling us everything is horribly broken?

"If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it. All right?"

"And I could be speaking figuratively. I could be speaking literally. It’s a matter of interpretation... Let’s be very real.... What is this country rewarding? What behavior is it listening to? Obviously not marching. But when people get aggressive and they escalate their protests, cops get fired, Republican politicians talking about police reform... Wow, it’s interesting that you would [ask what Black Lives Matter hoped to achieve through violence] because this country is built upon violence. What was the American Revolution? What’s our diplomacy across the globe? We go in and we blow up countries and we replace their leaders with leaders who we like. So for any American to accuse us of being violent is extremely hypocritical..... I think you should be applauding me, seeing how you guys are huge supporters of the Second Amendment..... But it seems to be the hypocrisy of America that when black people start talking about arming themselves and defending themselves, [that] talk is ‘violent.’ But when white people grab assault rifles and go to our nation’s, their state capitals, it’s all good... I just want black liberation, and black sovereignty. By any means necessary."

Said Hawk Newsome, the president of Greater New York Black Lives Matter, in an interview with Martha MacCallum on FoxNexs (reported at the NY Post).

"Now, in America, there's quite, I'll say, narrow-minded thinking. Black people, white people — we are same... human, brother, sisters..."

"We should emphasize oneness — sameness — emphasize that. All these strong feelings of differences, that's shortsighted — narrow-minded."

Said the Dalai Lama, rejecting what he called "old thinking," quoted at "The Dalai Lama on the coronavirus, Donald Trump, and 'old thinking' in America" (NBC).

Sorry, "wolf whistle" is already taken.

As I got into my car this morning, I caught the end of a discussion of what I think was Donald Trump's racism. I had MSNBC on the satellite radio, so it was "Morning Joe." Somebody with an English accent was bemoaning someone who I can only assume was Trump and he casually used the words "wolf whistle" to mean what "dog whistle" normally means, but much more dangerous.

But a "wolf whistle" is...
... a distinctive two-note glissando whistled sound made to show high interest in or approval of something or someone, especially a woman viewed as physically or sexually attractive. Today, a wolf whistle directed at a woman is sometimes considered a precursor to sexual harassment, or a form of sexual harassment in itself.

According to Adam Edwards of Daily Express, the wolf whistle originates from the navy General Call made with a boatswain's pipe. The General Call is made on a ship to get the attention of all hands for an announcement. Sailors in harbour would whistle the General Call upon seeing an attractive woman to draw fellow sailors' attention to her. It was eventually picked up by passers-by, not knowing the real meaning of the whistle, and passed on. During a 2015 broadcast of A Way with Words, doubt was cast upon this explanation by lexicographer Grant Barrett, who noted that it was very thinly supported. The Turn To Call is far closer to the wolf whistle than the General Call.

The standard sound for a coin insertion for the Bally Manufacturing pinball machine "Playboy" (featuring iconography from Playboy magazine) is the wolf whistle.
Not everything is about racism and Trump.

In the never-ending quest to impugn Donald Trump, as you invent new terms and think you are clever, try checking whether the terms are already taken.

"You have to humanize the protest and the struggle. If you don’t have the faces of the protesters in 1968 in Prague..."

"... you don’t have a story. If you don’t have the people trying to take down the wall in Berlin in 1989, you don’t have a story. If you don’t have the faces of the protesters in Tiananmen Square, you don’t show to the rest of the world the reality of the situation."

Said Eric Baradat, a photo editor, quoted in "Face of a Dissident As images from protests circulate online, some fear that individuals will become targets" (The Cut (NY Magazine).

Consider this:
“Six young men died within the first 4 years following Ferguson. All with ties to the movement. Mysteriously,” tweeted writer Resita Cox in June. “When we say blur ppl faces we mean, you bout to get folks killed for Instagram views and retweets.”

The Cut hedges in the end:
Each publication must determine what they feel is ethical. Pictures can help inspire, strengthen, and grow a movement. They can galvanize people into action. Some people want to be photographed, to be seen so that their stories will be heard. At the same time, identifiable pictures of protesters, on social media and in publications, can potentially be used as evidence against them should they be arrested. Perhaps, when possible, ask the people in your photos if they would mind being identified, and if that’s not an option, ask yourself if posting might cause undue harm....
The rule I follow photographing people in public is: Are they making a spectacle of themselves? Protesters are making a spectacle of themselves, so I regard that as their intentional relinquishment of privacy. But obviously, the question changes when the people who are making a spectacle of themselves are committing crimes. You can assume they don't want to be identifiable in photographs.

The Cut seems to be suggesting that the photographer ought to be hoping to contribute to the goals of the protesters — to "help inspire, strengthen, and grow a movement." I think journalism should have professional distance and journalistic photographers should be trying to capture the reality of whatever is going on (if it is newsworthy). To decide that your photographs should advance the movement is to become an activist and to abandon journalism. And yet if you believe that the protests are against an evil, unjust regime, you should want to protect the protesters from criminal charges.

There's also the problem of the photographer getting physically attacked. Here in Madison the other night, a state legislator — a Democrat — decided to take photographs and got badly beaten. People who are already committing crimes may simply include you, the photographer, as one of their targets. Simple self-preservation may supersede ruminations about ethics.

June 24, 2020

At the Inky Café...


... you can write about whatever you like.


And please consider using the Althouse Portal to Amazon if you're doing a little shopping tonight.

"The thing that I believe more than anything is that Donald Trump needs the roar of a crowd to feel he is in charge. And Joe Biden was born to be in charge."

Said Democratic convention CEO Joe Solmonese, as Democrats announced that they would have their convention not in Milwaukee's basketball arena but in a smaller convention hall. The delegates will participate from home. All the parties and press events are cancelled. It's yet to be decided who will be seated there in person and whether there will be confetti and balloons.

WaPo reports.

"Born to be in charge" sounds absurdly entitled, but Solmonese is so obviously bullshitting that it doesn't matter.

The smaller place is the Wisconsin Center. You can take a virtual tour of the main ballroom here. I'm going to say there will be no balloons and confetti because the ceiling is too low. It would look stupid.

"Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a Republican-drafted bill aimed at overhauling the nation’s policing practices..."

"... spelling a potential death knell to efforts at revisions at the federal level in an election year. In a 55-to-45 vote, the legislation written primarily by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) failed to advance in the Senate, where it needed 60 votes to proceed. Most Democratic senators said the bill fell far short of what was needed to meaningfully change policing tactics and was beyond the point of salvaging. ‘The Republican majority proposed the legislative equivalent of a fig leaf — something that provides a little cover but no real change,' Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a floor speech Wednesday morning. 'The harsh fact of the matter is, the bill is so deeply, fundamentally and irrevocably flawed, it cannot serve as a useful starting point for meaningful reform.'... On one major point of dissension between the parties, the Republican bill leaves intact the 'qualified immunity' standard that Democrats want to erode to make it easier for law enforcement officials to be sued for misconduct.... In its veto threat, the Trump administration called the Democratic legislation an 'overbroad bill' that 'would deter good people from pursuing careers in law enforcement, weaken the ability of law enforcement agencies to reduce crime and keep our communities safe, and fail to bring law enforcement and the communities they serve closer together.'"

WaPo reports.

"[Madison Police Department] command telling cops to STAND DOWN.... Police KNEW the [City-County Building] would be firebombed... They did NOTHING."


A common purpose, especially for those on the proper side.

"It's coming! Get ready!... It's coming. Get ready."

A warning we heard back in August 2011:

That was right in front of the "Forward" statue — the statue that was pulled down last night. Here's a view of the "Forward" statue on June 5, 2012. It was the day of the Scott Walker recall election, and someone had put a Guy Fawkes mask on the figure:


Here's the "Forward" statue in February 2011, at the height of the anti-Scott Walker protests:


And here's "Forward" in a pussy hat, on the day of the "Women's March," January 21, 2017:

Women's March, Madison

Those were kinder, friendlier days, when the lady was appropriated for use in the protest of the day. Now, she's torn down. For what? She represented Progressivism!

Anything about a noose... I stand back and wait for more details.

"You're white and you're telling this to 2 black police officers — do you see the problem with that a little bit?"


ADDED: She fell into that white-person rhetoric — which I think has been identified as not politically correct — where you start naming the colors and go on to colors that are not people colors. She says: "white, black, fucking brown, purple."

"Fucking brown"? Is that like shocking pink?

"Handwritten notes from fired former FBI agent Peter Strzok show that Obama himself directed key aspects of the campaign to target Flynn during a Jan. 5, 2017 meeting in the Oval Office."

The Federalist reports.
The new notes, which record Comey’s accounting to Strzok of the meeting’s substance, constitute definitive evidence that Obama himself was personally directing significant aspects of a criminal investigation into his political enemy’s top foreign policy adviser.
NSA-D-DAG = [illegible] Other countries
D-DAG: lean forward on [illegible]
VP: “Logan Act”
P: These are unusual times
VP: I’ve been on the intel cmte for ten years and I never
P: Make sure you look at things — have the right people on it
P: Is there anything I shouldn’t be telling transition team?
D: Flynn –> Kislyak calls but appear legit
[illegible] Happy New Year. Yeah right
“Make sure you look at things and have the right people on it,” Obama is quoted as saying.

"The box of live cockroaches delivered to their door was the last straw for David and Ina Steiner. For more than two decades..."

"... the professional collectors ran a niche e-commerce blog out of their home in the Boston suburbs, with a focus on Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc. Then, last August, the couple started receiving threatening emails and tweets. Not long after, according to federal investigators, a package arrived with a mask of a bloody pig’s head. Next, they received a funeral wreath. Neighbors were sent pornographic videos addressed to one of the Steiners. Strange cars seemed to follow them around... [T]he local police tracked the license plate to a rental car checked out to a Veronica Zea, staying at Boston’s Ritz-Carlton hotel along with a man named David Harville, according to an affidavit from a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent working the case.... Both Ms. Zea and Mr. Harville worked for eBay, the $34 billion online marketplace based more than 3,000 miles away in San Jose, Calif. The once dominant site was a frequent target of the Steiners’ blog posts on their site, called ECommerceBytes.... Last Monday, the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Massachusetts said it charged six former eBay executives and employees, all part of its security team, with taking part in a weekslong harassment campaign that included threatening emails and tweets, fake Craigslist posts and the mysterious deliveries. Now the U.S. attorney’s office is investigating whether eBay targeted any other critics with harassment campaigns, according to a person familiar with the investigation...."

From "‘Crush This Lady.’ Inside eBay’s Bizarre Campaign Against a Blog Critic/Security employees allegedly orchestrated deliveries of live cockroaches, pornographic videos and a mask of a bloody pig’s head" (Wall Street Journal, where I did not encounter a paywall).

"It’s going around that they were electrocuted. The fact that they had an electrician’s truck show up shortly thereafter — I mean, it wouldn’t make sense that three people just drowned right away like that, with an adult there, too."

Said the neighbor, quoted in "NJ family found dead in backyard pool died from drowning" (NY Post).

"This is liberal governance for you: Miss Forward, the seven-foot statue of a strong and proud woman standing at the prow of a boat as if to direct Wisconsin into the bright future, toppled...."

"Here are your civil rights: A liberal state senator, Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, pummeled for trying to record the carnage. All because a petty criminal with a lengthy rap sheet resists arrest — an arrest for harassing and threatening with bullhorn and a baseball bat) at point-blank range innocent restaurant-goers? Accusing random diners of unproven racism? This is your hero? This is your George Floyd?... If Tony Evers does not call in the National Guard today he should be removed from office. It is too late for Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway, the mayor of Madison who apologized for sympathizing with Madison’s tormented police. Who has directed the police innumerable times to stand down. She must, herself, stand down.... Where is Dane County Executive Joe Parisi? The City-County Building was firebombed Wednesday night? Why hasn’t Sheriff Dave Mahoney deployed his deputies? Madison is burning. Where were the Capitol Police? The police union must declare a vote of No Confidence in the mayor.... It is the Broken Windows theory of crime; give an inch and they take a mile. There is no way to satisfy the anarchists’ demands. Madison is doing its best to re-elect Donald Trump. How long before The Proud Boys, the Boogaloo Bois, et cetera show up in town?"

Says David Blaska in "Resign, Mayor Satya. Declare martial law, Gov. Evers!"

That last question is chilling, and isn't that what the protesters want? No one who opposes the chaos should hope for the right-wing crowd to add to this discord. Our own government should protect us, but it is displaying its unwillingness to do so. This is completely unfair to those of us who are peace-loving.

UPDATE: "Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers says his administration is prepared to activate the Wisconsin National Guard to protect state buildings after statues were toppled in Madison and buildings were damaged" (WBAY). Prepared... after.

"Appeals court orders judge to grant DOJ motion to dismiss Flynn case."

The Washington Examiner reports.

From the opinion (which you can read in full at the link):
Although Rule 48 requires “leave of court” before dismissing charges, “decisions to dismiss pending criminal charges no less than decisions to initiate charges and to identify which charges to bring lie squarely within the ken of prosecutorial discretion."... "To that end, the Supreme Court has declined to construe Rule 48(a)’s ‘leave of court’ requirement to confer any substantial role for courts in the determination whether to dismiss charges."... More specifically, “[t]he principal object of the ‘leave of court' requirement is to protect a defendant against prosecutorial harassment when the Government moves to dismiss an indictment over the defendant’s objection.”... Rule 48 thus “gives no power to a district court to deny a prosecutor’s motion to dismiss charges based on a disagreement with the prosecution's exercise of charging authority."

"Yawn. Nobody cares what law professors think, and this is a good illustration of why.

"80% Of George Washington Law School Faculty Call For Alumnus William Barr To Resign As Attorney General. Advice to people on the right: Get your ticket punched if necessary, but never donate or do anything for your alma mater, because they will show no loyalty to you. See also, Clarence Thomas’s shameful treatment by Yale Law. Of course, in retrospect it should be obvious that a strong black man would be treated badly by a school named after a slave trader."

Writes Glenn Reynolds.

Why doesn't Biden step forward to bring us together and calm the discord?

I wondered out loud, as I was worrying about how the mainstream media and many politicians, including Trump, are stirring things up and playing upon the frayed emotions and weakened minds of the American public.

Well, maybe Biden is doing something, I thought  as I clicked over to the collection of new headlines at Memeorandum. I exclaimed, "OH!" because I thought he really was doing something, when I saw the first 3 words of this NYT headline: "Biden Takes Dominant Lead as Voters Reject Trump on Virus and Race" the New York Times.

I thought Biden was doing something dominant — demonstrating dominance in some way, maybe saying something that showed strong leadership and could help restore rationality and order.

But no, it's just a report on some poll, and Biden is — big surprise — doing better than Trump. Subheadline: "A New York Times/Siena College poll finds that Joseph R. Biden Jr. is ahead of the president by 14 points, leading among women and nonwhite voters and cutting into his support with white voters."

Well, isn't that nice for the old man in the basement? But what about us?

The article begins: "Joseph R. Biden Jr. has taken a commanding lead...." Commanding! There's nothing commanding about Biden, the man.

But the lead is "commanding." The lead is leading. The article is full of prose admiring the commanding leadership that is the lead in the polls:
... a commanding lead... a wide advantage... deep inroad... Mr. Biden is currently... garnering 50 percent of the vote...
The dominant picture that emerges from the poll... enormous margins...  an even wider margin... Mr. Biden’s towering advantage... The exodus of white voters from the G.O.P....
It's Biblical!
... especially pronounced... More voters feel strongly about Mr. Trump than they do about Mr. Biden....
That's squirreled away at the bottom. There's nothing about Biden that's "commanding" and "dominant" or even much of anything at all:
The picture of Mr. Biden that emerges from the poll is one of a broadly acceptable candidate who inspires relatively few strong feelings in either direction....  The limited passion for Mr. Biden among other Democratic constituencies does not appear to be affecting his position against Mr. Trump....
So, presumably things will continue with maximizing the hatred of Trump and Biden just waiting there, being not-Trump. Why doesn't he DO something?!

"This is absolutely despicable. I am saddened at the cowardice of Madison officials to deal with these thugs."

Tweeted Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, quoted in "Madison protesters tear down Capitol statues, attack state Senator from Milwaukee as fury erupts again."
Vos also questioned why Gov. Tony Evers hadn't intervened in the destruction of the statues, given it took place on state Capitol property. Protesters also broke windows of a state building near the Capitol which houses the state jobs agency, among other state offices.

Spokeswomen for Evers and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway did not respond to questions late Tuesday about police force's slow response.

After 1 a.m., a line of about 20 police officers stood in riot gear as a crowd of about 100 remained, breaking into occasional chants; police played a recording stating the gathering was unlawful and telling people to leave.

The most honored statues on the Wisconsin State Capitol Square came down last night.

Here are the photographs I took just before 6 a.m. this morning:





Here's a news article, "Protesters pull down Forward statue, Col. Hans Christian Heg statue outside State Capitol" (WKOW):
Protesters pulled down the Forward statue that normally stands outside the State Capitol and left it lying in the middle of the road. Demonstrators had been marching around downtown Madison, frustrated after the arrest of a protester earlier in the day. The same group also tore down the Col. Hans Christian Heg statue a short time later. The group then went on to throw the statue into Lake Monona. Heg fought for the Union during the Civil War and was a stark opponent of slavery during that time.

AND: "Madison protesters tear down Capitol statues, attack state Senator from Milwaukee as fury erupts again" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel):
During the melee late Tuesday, Democratic state Sen. Tim Carpenter was assaulted after taking a photo of protesters.

"I don't know what happened ... all I did was stop and take a picture ... and the next thing I'm getting five-six punches, getting kicked in the head," Carpenter told a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter following the assault.

Protesters, chanting for the release of the man who'd been arrested earlier, also broke glass at the Tommy Thompson Center on West Washington Avenue, smashed windows and lights at the state Capitol, and set a small fire at the Dane County jail before police arrived just before 1 a.m.
ALSO: Here's what the man who got arrested did (warning: the "n-word" is in the man's tirade):

And here's what the arrest looked like:

June 23, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write about whatever you want.

And shop for whatever you want going into Amazon through the Althouse Portal.

Timothy Leary "had no interest in politics. He called student activists 'young men with menopausal minds' and suggested that LSD could stand for 'Let the State Disintegrate.'"

"But by 1968, his slogans were so poised between derangement and Madison Avenue that they could pass for visionary; 'Everyone should start their own nation,' he uttered, just days after Martin Luther King's assassination. It was awfully hard to tell charlatans from prophets at the time, and besides, the denatured, anti-intellectual language that dominated discourse then (and is still with us, in a New Age guise) had been rolling off Leary's tongue since before he had ingested a single microgram of lysergic acid: people engaged in emotional 'games'; all the world's bad stuff was a 'system'; the state of being clued-in was 'consciousness,' and so on.... [60's culture had] its gaseous rhetoric, its reliance on mahatmas and soothsayers, its endless bail-fund benefits and sometimes dubious appeals to conscience, its thriving population of informers, its contribution to the well-being of lawyers, its candyland expectations and obstinate denials of reality, its fatal avoidance of critical thinking, its squalid death by its own hand.... In part because of Leary, however, ideals and delusions were encouraged to interbreed, their living progeny being avid consumerism and toothless dissent."

Wrote Luc Sante in 2006, reviewing a biography of Timothy Leary. I blogged that at the time and stumbled across it today. I was struck by how much some of it spoke of what young people today are doing.

And who remembered Leary as the source of calling all the world's bad stuff was a "system"? Today, we hear about — and are pressured to assert belief in — "systemic racism." How much is that like the old hippie horror at "the system"? I know I was against it... but what was it?!

Our art museum — the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art — boarded itself up and has repurposed the utilitarian protection into a surface for painting.

Is it art? That's a boring old question, but is art made under duress art? I think of the writer tortured to write in Stephen King's "Misery." I think of Scheherezade. I think of the old cowboy trick of shooting at a person's feet and shouting "Dance!" (Is the stepping crazily out of the way of bullets properly termed a "dance"?).

Ah, but the museum isn't doing the art. It's bringing in the artists and saying Go ahead, draw on my wounds.





"... fucking for virginity... the path to a deeper heart..."


Butterflies, a pear-sized teardrop, and hair on fire:


Exulting in the inculcation of a 5-year-old:


"The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner":


A long view of the side of the museum:


Closeup shows a woman's head split down the center, revealing a starry sky within:


"Silence Is Made In America" (a found slogan).


You may have to click twice to enlarge and see the plywood stamp "Made in America." Oh, let me help:


Here's the full image, with the intended slogan ("Silence Is Violence"):


Here's the Wikipedia article "Found Poetry" (which I'm choosing over "Found object" because we're talking about words):
Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them (a literary equivalent of a collage) by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning. The resulting poem can be defined as either treated: changed in a profound and systematic manner; or untreated: virtually unchanged from the order, syntax and meaning of the poem.
I invite you to reflect on the meaning of the phrase no human mind intended to say, but that I saw and regarded as worth reflecting upon: "Silence Is Made In America." It's not something I am happy about, this American product, Silence. It is not one of the world's most beloved brands.

Here's a statement about silence that was made with intention: "Silence is death, and you, if you talk, you die, and if you remain silent, you die. So, speak out and die." That was said by the Algerian journalist and writer Tahar Djaout (who was assassinated).

ADDED: Is "silence"/"violence" a good rhyme? Dylan used it:
My love she speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence

“I don’t kid.”

"The University of Michigan is withdrawing from hosting a presidential debate..."

"U-M is making the move because of concerns of bringing the campaigns, media and supporters of both candidates to Ann Arbor and campus during a pandemic.... The move comes on the same day Biden's campaign said he would commit to participating in three debates, not four like Trump's campaign was pushing for. 'Our position is straightforward and clear: Joe Biden will accept the Commission’s debates, on the Commission’s dates, under the Commission’s established format and the Commission’s independent choice of moderators,' said Biden Campaign Manager Jen O’Malley Dillon.... ... Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani [proposed adding] another, earlier debate to the current schedule of three. They also proposed that each campaign have a role in selecting the debate moderators."

The Detroit Free Press reports.

"Glass from shattered car windows and storefronts littered the ground, whipping demonstrators along with tree branches and trash, video and interviews show. "

"Dirt and grit collected in mouths. Anyone without goggles had trouble keeping their eyes open. The roar of the blades was deafening. To calculate the approximate altitude of the Lakota [helicopter], The Post used geospatial data, building elevations, street widths and measurements of other street objects to create a precise scaled model of the intersection. It also used metadata from a photograph of the helicopter taken at 10:03 p.m. in the same spot to further build the 3-D environment. Sam Ward stood on 5th Street NW and watched the Lakota blast the nearby trees into a frenzy. 'It was pretty wild, and it certainly appeared they were using it as an intimidation tactic,' Ward, 27, said.... [T]he use of a helicopter’s rotor wash is a common military tactic to incite fear, disperse crowds and warn of other capabilities, like rockets and guns, said Kyleanne Hunter, a former Marine Corps pilot who flew Cobra attack helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan.... [T]he Lakota had an estimated 48 mph rotor wash.... That force was strong enough to snap a thick tree branch outside the National Portrait Gallery, a Smithsonian official said."

From "A low-flying ‘show of force’/Two military helicopters roared over demonstrators in Washington protesting after the death of George Floyd, producing winds equivalent to a tropical storm" (WaPo)(analyzing events that occurred on June 1st).

With the "Pomodoro technique," you divide whatever you're doing into "intervals of 25 minutes, with five-minute breaks in between — 25 minutes on, five minutes off, over and over again."

"A pomodoro, once started, must not be interrupted, otherwise it has to be abandoned. But in this stringency, there is relief: You are not allowed to extend a pomodoro, either. After a set of four 25-minute intervals are completed, you’re supposed to take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes before continuing.... We waste hours keeping on going when our concentration’s long gone, caught in drowsy, drawn-out moments staring glumly at a screen, and not only when we’re supposed to be doing our jobs. Leisure time has also taken on a timeless, hypnotic quality lately. Everything our culture produces feels at once never-ending and meaningless — or perhaps meaningless because it’s never-ending. Movies explode into cinematic universes; series are designed to be binge-watched; every video, song or podcast tips over and auto-plays another; social media scrolls toward infinity and the news never stops broadcasting. An everlasting present expands around us in all directions, and it’s easy to get lost in there — all the more reason to set some boundaries. Now that my breaks are short and fleeting, I think more carefully about what I’d like to do with them, and I’ve found it’s quite different from the unimaginative temptations I would otherwise default to (flopping on the sofa, scrolling on my phone, becoming annoyed). Instead I’ll make a sandwich, do a quick French lesson, reply to a few texts, have a shower, go to the laundromat; and such humdrum activities, now that they’re restricted, have become sources of great pleasure."

From "This Time-Management Trick Changed My Whole Relationship With Time" by Dean Kissick (NYT).

"Pomodoro" is just the Italian word for tomato. The technique was invented by a guy who used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer. These are quite common. Here — you can buy one on Amazon. Perhaps that would make the technique feel more real, more tangible. Oh, now I want a tangerine timer.

And here's the inventer's book, "The Pomodoro Technique." I bought that. I'm interested in breaking my concentration and getting little things jauntily done.

And I like the way it interlaced with something I heard David Mamet say in his Master Class "Dramatic Writing." It was something like: It's hard-wired in the human being to fall into a minor lull every 7 minutes and a major lull at every third interval of 7 — basically every 20 minutes — so it's best to think of 7-minute-long scenes and 20 minute acts.

I have a vague memory from my college years of calling out "7 minute lull!" when a conversation fell into what was about to be an uncomfortable silence. That was based on some sort of scientific study we'd heard about that said conversations have a rhythmic cycle with a lull every 7 minutes. Was it 7? I'm not sure. Does anyone else remember calling out "X minute lull" back around 1970?

Ah! I did some research. It is "7 minute lull" and George Carlin has something to say about it:

"post-dead mom."

"Anti-trans revanchists have centered their battles in wordplay — if you can call it that. J.K. Rowling, in a recent tweet..."

"... noted that 'people who menstruate' were once referred to as 'Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?' (She meant 'women.' There’s that wordplay.) She also argued, 'If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased' and 'erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.' Ms. Rowling’s linguistic wizardry cloaks her political goal, to assign gender purely by sex, and therefore relegate trans-ness to a closet under the stairs. It should be noted that trans people do not generally believe sex is not real; indeed, discomfort with the sex of our bodies is a frequent challenge for trans people. Ms. Rowling knows this, since she knows what the word 'trans' means. Words hold power, and it’s no surprise that pushback to a rising trans presence has come in the form of definitional conservatism. But the battle extends beyond language, and Ms. Rowling’s semantic battle has been taken to new theaters by the Trump administration. From our schools to our hospitals to the federal work force, the administration has pursued new rules that define trans people out of existence. This is an attack on trans lives. As with Ms. Rowling, the language of the proposed rules is the language of bodies: the social roles of 'man' and 'woman' are the only two available, and we are all assigned one at birth according to our bodies..... When you use words like 'male' as shorthand for those privileged by the patriarchy, you leave trans women uncertain whether you have our backs or — like the Trump administration and J.K. Rowling — you are trying to write us out of existence. It’s impossible to dismantle the patriarchy while wearing a 'pussy hat.'"

Writes Devin Michelle Bunten, who is an assistant professor of urban economics and housing at M.I.T. in "Sex Does Not Mean Gender. Equating Them Erases Trans Lives/Embracing the experiences of trans people means leaving old vocabularies behind" (NYT).

I had some trouble understanding the aphorism "It’s impossible to dismantle the patriarchy while wearing a 'pussy hat.'" But I think I get it now, so let me help you with it.

The idea is to get people to think in terms of gender and not sex, with "sex" understood to refer only to the physical body — notably, the genitalia. A pussy hat represents and flaunts female genitalia and therefore intensifies the conflation of sex and gender. The way to make progress — "to dismantle the patriarchy" — is to clarify the distinction between sex and gender and to stress the importance — in our social roles — of gender.