July 25, 2020

At the Gayfeather Café...


... you can write about anything you want.

"A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 75% of American Adults think the term 'racism' refers to any discrimination by people of one race against another."

"Just 15% say it refers only to discrimination by white people against minorities. These findings have changed little in surveys for the past several years.... Eighteen percent (18%) say most white Americans are racist. But 25% believe most black Americans are racist. Fifteen percent (15%) think most Hispanic-Americans are racist, while nearly as many (13%) say the same of most Asian-Americans.... Blacks see themselves, whites, Hispanics and Asians as equally racist. Whites consider themselves more racist than Hispanics and Asians in this country but less racist than blacks."

Rasmussen reports.

"She was wearing a head piece made of Vantablack, the blackest black that anything could be."

"There was only one person who noticed and that was Stephen Colbert. On the back of my tuxedo jacket — which was sort of like an inverted priest jacket with the jacket being white and the collar being black — I had in big, black, gothic script, 'Novus ordo seclorum.'"

Said Elon Musk, describing how he met Grimes, the mother of his newest baby. He's quoted in "Elon Musk, Blasting Off in Domestic Bliss/The billionaire space oddity on life with Grimes and Baby X, Trump, Tesla, tunnels, short shorts, stock surges, Facebook fumbles and everything else under the sun" by Maureen Dowd (NYT).

BLM describes itself as explicitly atheist?

I googled my question Does BLM describe itself as explicitly atheist? I'm not seeing that. Is this just an inference from the idea that it's Marxist? The phrase "explicitly atheist" should be based on more than an inference. And it's an inference on an inference on an inference if we have to infer that Black Lives Matter is Marxist and to be Marxist is to be an atheist.

I googled Is Black Lives Matter explicitly Marxist and I'm not getting a clear answer that it's Marxist, so my working assumption is that the group is not explicitly Marxist.

It does seem to be the case that 2 of the founders have described themselves as "trained Marxists." Here's an editorial from a month ago in The Washington Times, "The matter of Marxism: Black Lives Matter is rooted in a soulless ideology" that reports the quotes and makes some inferences:

"[Igor] Danchenko’s identity is noteworthy because it further calls into question the credibility of the [Steele] dossier."

"By turning to Mr. Danchenko as his primary source to gather possible dirt on Mr. Trump involving Russia, Mr. Steele was relying not on someone with a history of working with Russian intelligence operatives or bringing to light their covert activities but instead a researcher focused on analyzing business and political risks in Russia.... Born in Ukraine, Mr. Danchenko, 42, [a resident of the United States] is a Russian-trained lawyer who earned degrees at the University of Louisville and Georgetown University.... He was a senior research analyst from 2005 to 2010 at the Brookings Institution....

5:44 a.m.


"Local TV stations across the country set to air discredited 'Plandemic' researcher's conspiracy theory about Fauci."

CNN reports.
In this week's episode of "America This Week," [Eric] Bolling spoke with Judy Mikovits, the medical researcher featured in the discredited "Plandemic" video that went viral earlier this year and which was banned from platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Throughout the segment, the on-screen graphic read, "DID DR. FAUCI CREATE COVID-19?"...

During the interview Mikovitz told Bolling that Fauci had over the past decade "manufactured" and shipped coronaviruses to Wuhan, China, which became the original epicenter of the current outbreak. Bolling noted that this was a "hefty claim," but did not meaningfully challenge Mikovits and allowed her to continue making her case....

But Bolling, a former Fox News host, told CNN Business in a series of text messages that he invited Mikovits onto his show to "question and challenge her beliefs." Bolling also said he does not control the on-screen graphics that appear during his show.

"I did challenge her," Bolling said, noting he called her claim "hefty."

When pressed over whether calling a claim "hefty" constituted effectively challenging the conspiracy theory Mikovits pushed, Bolling said that he did believe he challenged her.
Interesting debate over the meaning of "hefty." He's saying calling it "hefty" was like saying, That's a mighty big claim you're making, so you'd better have some very substantial evidence. CNN is  saying — more believably — that calling a claim "hefty" is saying it has weight, so it seems as though it's substantial on its own, without evidence.

I was motivated to look up the word "hefty" in the OED. "Heft" means weight, and "hefty," meaning weighty, is originally U.S. dialect. Early examples all sound like rural Americans talking:
1867 F. H. Ludlow Little Brother 167 I reckon I could forgive him..but I'm afeard it'd come hefty on me.
1871 N.Y. Tribune 21 Jan. He is, as a Yankee would say, a little hefty for the ideal lover.
1873 ‘Josiah Allen's Wife’ My Opinions & Betsey Bobbet's 372 I never looked well in the saddle any way bein’ so hefty.
Ha ha. It seems to have been a way to call someone fat.

Oddly enough, it also meant (in the U.S.) "Easy to lift or handle": "It should be hefty, light and of a form that can be easily held in the hand" (1885). That makes sense because "heft," the verb, means (in U.S. dialect) "to lift."
1932 W. Faulkner Light in August xiv. 308 He was hefting the bench leg.
So even if something had heft — in that it was weighty — it could be hefty — if it was liftable. That's why "Hefty" is good branding for trash bags. The bags themselves aren't heavy, but they make what might be heavy relatively easy to lift.

"Yesterday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stood up and gave one of the finest speeches recently heard on the House floor, calling out not just Florida representative Ted Yoho..."

"... for having called her 'disgusting,' 'out of your freaking mind,' and a 'fucking bitch' on the steps of the Capitol in front of reporters on Tuesday, but also elucidating how that kind of language is normalized and deployed against all kinds of women, on all kinds of days. It was a remarkable piece of oratory, clear and thoughtful about some of the knottiest dynamics of gendered power imbalance in political, public, and personal life.... [Yoho] had offered up a floor speech purported to be apology, though it was actually far closer to pallid self-justification. 'Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language,' Yoho had said, in a speech in which he did not mention Ocasio-Cortez’s name, and in which he nonsensically refused to 'apologize for my passion, or for loving my God, my family, and my country.' It was this non-apology and not his original outburst, Ocasio-Cortez said on Thursday, that led her to make her own speech, in which she eviscerated Yoho’s use of familial pablum and domestic association with women as evidence of his respect for them. Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that she, too, was someone’s daughter, and that that did not in any way insulate her or other women, also daughters and wives, from the impact of degrading and sexist diminution."

Writes Rebecca Traister in "The Poison of Male Incivility/When a woman dares respond to it, she’s seen as 'disruptive'" (The Cut).

Why did Yoho defend himself like that? He could have said he was just doing equality, and behind the scenes this is how the men talk to other men, using strong language. His apology was sexist, and it, ironically, cast the original remark as sexist. And now Traister can feed us civility bullshit.

And if Donald Trump wins in the fall, will the first week of June have marked the beginning of the victory?"

"If Donald Trump loses in the fall, the first week of June might have marked the beginning of the end. On June 1, with the country consumed by historic protests against racism and police brutality, some of them violent, Trump decided to position himself as the 'law-and-order' president, made clear by his tweets and his now infamous march that evening across Lafayette Square, outside the White House. His path cleared by the National Guard and D.C. police who used chemical agents on lawfully assembled protesters and roughed up journalists, Trump walked across the street to stand in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church for an inscrutable and buffoonish photo op, in which he held up a Bible and said nothing much at all about the cities on fire and the country’s dismal legacy of racism. 'We have a great country,' Trump said. 'That’s my thoughts.' The moment was an emblem of Trump’s presidency: attention-seeking, bereft of empathy, gut over strategy. It was so embarrassing and borderline anti-American that one of his generals, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mark Milley, apologized for participating in the walk and reportedly considered resigning. Like so many of Trump’s decisions, it was a sugar-high tactic designed to please his base and get TV ratings, with almost no thought about the larger sweep of American history, let alone his reelection campaign. Politically, it was a disaster."

Or was it?

The quoted paragraph is the beginning of a Vanity Fair article by Peter Hamby — "'TRUMP COULD NOT BE MORE ON THE WRONG SIDE': NEW POLL SHOWS TRUMP’S BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTEST RESPONSE COULD COST HIM 2020/Exclusive polling suggests the protests changed Americans’ minds so quickly, and so profoundly, that Trump planted himself even further on the wrong side of public opinion than previously understood."

Trump is even more wrong than anyone could possibly even ever imagined. Imagine all the journalists straining to imagine even more dire visions of defeat for Donald Trump. One thing you don't need to imagine is the past, and I remember 2016, and all this histrionic talk about the magnitude of Trump's looming loss is just too reminiscent of the lead-up to his mind-blowing victory.

Now, to be fair to Vanity Fair, there is some elaborate polling behind that headline:

"A&E Has Lost Half Its Viewers Since Dropping ‘Live PD’/Network’s prime-time viewership was up 4% this year before it canceled its hit police reality show..."

"... Nielsen data show.... The show, which follows police on their rounds in multiple cities simultaneously, averaged about 1.9 million viewers for its Friday and Saturday night episodes, repeatedly re-aired on other days. It spawned several successful spinoff shows, also canceled. A&E, co-owned by the Walt Disney Co. DIS -0.43% and Hearst Corp., dropped 'Live PD' in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.... The network said it has always been able to 'find new hits and reinvent ourselves.... In the entertainment industry, Mr. Floyd’s death has led to discussions about the role television and movies play in shaping perceptions of law enforcement and whether portrayals of police have been too one-sided and have failed to address concerns about excessive force and bad policing.... The franchise’s fan base—the self-dubbed “Live PD Nation”—has been very active on social media, encouraging a boycott of the network until the programs are returned, which A&E hasn’t ruled out."

The WSJ reports (and I didn't hit a paywall).

Here's a crazy idea for A&E: Arts & Entertainment. I remember when it would air entire ballets and operas and only go as low as to show British mystery shows like "Agatha Christie's Poirot" and "Sherlock Holmes," its own documentary series "Biography," and "An Evening at the Improv."

The top-rated comment at the Wall Street Journal is: "Go Woke, Go Broke. Enough Said. Back the Blue." Second highest-rated: "The poor things at A&E have lost money because they decided to virtue signal? Somehow, I don't feel sorry for them."

Here's an article from Vulture, last June: "Cops and Live PD Are Finally Gone. What Took So Long?"

July 24, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write about anything you want.

"The 'Wall of Moms,' while perhaps well-intentioned, ends up redirecting attention away from the urgent issue of murdered black bodies."

"This might ease the consciences of white, affluent women who have previously been silent in the face of black oppression, but it’s fair to ask: Are they really furthering the cause of justice, or is this another example of white co-optation?... The president and his allies want spectacle.... What is happening in Portland is the fuse of a great, racist backlash that the Trump administration is baiting us to light. We cannot fall for their deception.... This is a moment for serious action... We welcome our white brothers and sisters in this struggle. In fact, we need them. But I must ask them to remain humbly attuned to the opportunity of this moment — and to reflect on whether any actions they take will truly help establish justice, or whether they are simply for show."

Writes E.D. Mondainé, president of the Portland branch of the NAACP, in "Portland’s protests were supposed to be about black lives. Now, they’re white spectacle" (WaPo).

ADDED: In case you haven't heard of the "Wall of Moms," there's a link to "‘What choice do we have?’: Portland’s ‘Wall of Moms’ faces off with federal officers at tense protests" (WaPo).

"Like most baby boomers, I’ve been a hope junkie most of my life. I rejected the Vietnam War and materialistic values..."

"... and worked for peace, civil rights and environmental protections. I believed that we were living at the dawn of a new age and that the world was getting more democratic, just and free through the power of love.... But at some point, boomers lost their way.... We bought into a system that we knew was wrong.... There’s no particular moment when I gave up hope; it’s been a gradual, inexorable process.... Some 25 years ago, a Tibetan friend told me his spiritual practice involved pondering death every day. This struck me as somewhat morbid at the time, but not so anymore. Now I, too, live with the thought of death daily.... I think we may even be on a path toward rapid economic collapse, climate chaos, social unrest, famine and near-term human extinction.... Life gets more precious when you live with the presence of death. Giving up hope, and facing my imminent demise, has been a kind of liberation. I’m now more alert for ways to love my loved ones, and everyone else, with as much grace and beauty as I can. I’m noticing the needs that arise around me.... I’m deep in the 'don’t know' phase about what’s next in life. But I feel strangely calm, more curious and interested than anxious. I find myself paying attention to synchronicities, to song fragments and random comments that move me and to my memories and dreams. I’m listening for what is needed and wanted, and what is mine to do. And I know that the joy and sense of purpose I feel now would not be possible without first experiencing hopelessness."

From "Feeling Hopeless? Embrace It. And then take action" by Eric Utne (NYT).

"Joe Rogan and guest Abigail Shrier equate being trans to having anorexia, joining a cult, and 'demonic possession.'"

"Rogan's podcast is available on YouTube, which has removed other content for equating being trans to having a mental disorder." That's the headline at Media Matters, and it's woefully inaccurate. I can say that because I've listened to the entire Rogan/Shrier discussion, and they are clearly supportive of transgender people but are focusing on a set of young girls who say they are transgender (and who can quickly get drugs and surgery) when there is reason to think they are mistaken.

Once you get beyond the headline, the Media Matters article gets into the details with lots of quotes and clips, and yet it ends by characterizing the interview as hate speech and arguing that it should be removed from YouTube, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

Please understand what is being talked about here before commenting. This should be a new discussion.

"8 Big Reasons Election Day 2020 Could Be a Disaster/You may think you know how bad Nov. 3 will be. But all signs point to something far, far worse."

At Politico.

The reasons (each with a long explanation at the link):
1. An Uncontrolled Pandemic
2. New Technology and New Processes
3. A Drought of Funding
4. Dislocated Voters
5. A Storm of Foreign Attacks
6. Misinformation and Disinformation
7. A Famine of Voter Protections
8. A Volcano in the Oval Office
A "volcano," you say?
Sure, incumbents enjoy the advantage of campaigning from Air Force One, and may try to goose the economy to curry votes, but they’ve mostly abided by America’s strong democratic norms and traditions of not weaponizing the office’s powers against your opponent. Trump is different....

It's not easy being the mayor of Portland.

You give and give and it's never enough.

Trump and baseball.

ADDED: That was a very charming exchange between Trump and Mariano Rivera. Trump made it personal, with detail about Rivera, and Rivera did what most players do when interviewed, which is to move away from himself and speak of baseball in general.

Your blogger at sunrise.


Photo by Meade.

Bees at the beach.

Now that we're capitalizing "Black," why not capitalize "The Suburban Housewives of America"?

The argument for capitalizing "Black" is that "For many people, Black reflects a shared sense of identity and community." Now, think about "The Suburban Housewives of America." Who are these people? Women in the home-based half of a single-earner household — suburban-home-based. Is this a very large group? Is it a group with "a shared sense of identity and community"? Does Trump want to stimulate a feeling of shared identity and community within this set of people? Apparently he wants them to see themselves as a specific and specifically endangered group: Biden will destroy your neighborhood and your American Dream.

Click through to the link and see how long it takes you to figure out Biden's plot to destroy the suburban housewife dream.

I grew up with the suburban housewife dream, and I think it was destroyed long ago. It might be a good dream, worth restimulating. Let's discuss it. I've discussed it for years under my "single-earner household" tag. But I don't think Biden's vague aspirations about racial diversity in the suburbs are what could destroy what's left of the suburban housewife dream. The dream is eroded and obscured by a culture that encourages everyone to get a job and undervalues the role of the home-based partner in a single-earner household. Ironically, the phrase "suburban housewife" is part of the culture that undermines the single-earner household. It sounds like it's assigned to the woman because of her sex, and it sounds subordinate and dull.

When you read "The Suburban Housewives of America," what was your mental image? Did you picture women living in the present? If you flashed back to some housewife of the past, did she look like a fuzzy-slippered frump in "The Far Side" or like Mary Tyler Moore on "The Dick Van Dyke Show"?

ADDED: Speaking of the grouping of women into a traditional stereotype for political exploitation, there are these "moms":

Does everyone have a yellow T-shirt waiting to be pulled out of the laundry?

What's going on at The Wall Street Journal?

I'm reading "A Note to Readers/These pages won’t wilt under cancel-culture pressure" on the editorial page (boldface added):
We've been gratified this week by the outpouring of support from readers after some 280 of our Wall Street Journal colleagues signed (and someone leaked) a letter to our publisher criticizing the opinion pages.
There's not link to the letter, so we have to infer what it says (or go looking for it, which I will do in a minute).
But the support has often been mixed with concern that perhaps the letter will cause us to change our principles and content. On that point, reassurance is in order.

In the spirit of collegiality, we won't respond in kind to the letter signers. Their anxieties aren't our responsibility in any case.
Good! Nice professional distancing.
The signers report to the News editors or other parts of the business, and the News and Opinion departments operate with separate staffs and editors. Both report to Publisher Almar Latour. This separation allows us to pursue stories and inform readers with independent judgment.
That's how it should work.
It was probably inevitable that the wave of progressive cancel culture would arrive at the Journal, as it has at nearly every other cultural, business, academic and journalistic institution.
So the letter is an exemplar of "progressive cancel culture" — signed by people who work at The Wall Street Journal but don't understand or don't wish to follow its professionalism.
But we are not the New York Times.
Oh! A short hard punch at The New York Times.
Most Journal reporters attempt to cover the news fairly and down the middle, and our opinion pages offer an alternative to the uniform progressive views that dominate nearly all of today's media.
The NYT was singled out, but the rest of new media were attacked with even less respect, namelessly.
As long as our proprietors allow us the privilege to do so, the opinion pages will continue to publish contributors who speak their minds within the tradition of vigorous, reasoned discourse. And these columns will continue to promote the principles of free people and free markets, which are more important than ever in what is a culture of growing progressive conformity and intolerance.

I found the text of the letter easily:

And here's Joe Pompeo at Vanity Fair, "“I’VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS”: WALL STREET JOURNAL STAFF ERUPTS OVER RACE AND OPINION/Reporters and editors are pressing management on newsroom diversity, coverage of race and inequality, and the accuracy of Opinion pieces—including Mike Pence’s recent contribution. As one predicts, 'this is not the end'":
Various Journal staffers I spoke with all made a point of noting that the latest letter to management is different than what’s been going on at the New York Times, where a series of convulsions involving its Opinion pages—culminating in a problematic Tom Cotton op-ed that advocated for sending in federal troops to contain protests—recently led to the ouster of editorial page editor James Bennet. “My takeaway,” one of them said, “is that I’m really happy and impressed our staff has remained so sane compared to the rest of media right now. I was worried a letter on the Opinion stuff would turn into something like the New York Times, where anyone with a conservative thought is awful and should be silenced. But the letter made clear how we respect diversity of views and don’t want to tell Opinion how to run their shop.”

Another journalist at the paper said, “It definitely feels like there’s sort of a moment right now where management is a little more open to hearing concerns. There’s more of a window to make asks for things.” And as a third pointed out, “I suspect this is not the end.”

July 23, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can write about whatever you like.

"As school districts across the nation announce that their buildings will remain closed in the fall, parents are quickly organizing 'learning pods' or 'pandemic pods'..."

"... small groupings of children who gather every day and learn in a shared space, often participating in the online instruction provided by their schools. Pods are supervised either by a hired private teacher or other adult, or with parents taking turns. At face value, learning pods seem a necessary solution to the current crisis. But in practice, they will exacerbate inequities, racial segregation and the opportunity gap within schools.... For parents who need to work and can’t supervise their children’s learning, joining a pod may feel like the only way they can educate their kids and keep their jobs.... Paradoxically, at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has prompted a national reckoning with white supremacy, white parents are again ignoring racial and class inequality when it comes to educating their children. As a result, they are actively replicating the systems that many of them say they want to dismantle.... The history of public schooling in this country is one in which white parents have repeatedly abandoned public schools, or resisted integration efforts at every turn.... We can either take this moment to continue that pattern by retreating into the comfort of our own advantages, or...." Or what?

I'm reading in "The Latest in School Segregation: Private Pandemic ‘Pods’/If they become the norm, less privileged kids will suffer" by Clara Totenberg Green, a social emotional learning specialist in the Atlanta Public Schools (NYT).

"A week after finding that Trump closed a 10-point gap with Biden to just 3 points, Rasmussen Reports today revealed that Trump has edged up another point as Biden hits a ceiling."

"On Wednesday, the race stood at 45% for Trump and 47% for Biden, well within the poll’s margin of error.... Separately, Rasmussen said that Trump has boosted his approval rating to 49%, with 50% of respondents disapproving. What’s more, at this stage of his presidency, former President Barack Obama also had a 49% approval rating and went on to win reelection with 51% of the vote."

Says The Washington Examiner.

"Kids are encouraged to express their own opinions. Everyone in the family, including the youngest, has a say."

"By the time Julius turned three, he had already developed adequate language skills to express what’s important to him. After that, it was all about teaching him how to formulate rational solutions. Negotiation-based parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. It can be exhausting, and your patience will be tested. But by allowing our toddler to negotiate, we were teaching him how to set his own boundaries. The notion was that each time Julius questioned our authority, he was simply trying to express what he was and wasn’t comfortable with. It’s a skill that will be useful when he’s older, whether it’s to resist succumbing to peer pressure, to cope when he finds himself in a possibly dangerous situation or to assert himself at work. Of course, there are rules. As parents, it’s important that we explain our position clearly and let him know, for example, why he needs to sleep early: 'So you can get plenty of rest and grow up strong and tall like everyone else.'"

#4 on the list in "I spent 7 years studying Dutch parenting—here are 6 secrets to raising the happiest kids in the world" (CNBC).

#5 is "Kids eat 'hagelslag' (chocolate sprinkles) for breakfast" — and here, you can order hagelslag at Amazon. I don't know how crucial each of the 6 things are in the achievement of happiness, but sprinkling chocolate bits on buttered toast is certainly easy to do and no worse of a bad habit that jam on your toast or a jelly with your peanut butter.

As for the #4 secret... I felt encouraged (retrospectively) by that, since it's what I did (except not with the idea of "negotiation"!).

5:44 a.m.


Trump was asked if his sending federal agents into cities run by Democrats is "just a political stunt... to divert attention from your failures on coronavirus."

At his coronavirus press conference yesterday. From the transcript:
Yeah. The cities, unfortunately, that are in trouble are all run by Democrats. You have radical left Democrats running cities like Chicago, and so many others that we just had a news conference. And unfortunately that’s the way it is. I mean, that’s the facts. When you look at Chicago and you look at the job, Mayor Lightfoot sent me a letter yesterday and I think in their own way, they want us to go in. There’ll be a time when they’re going to want us to go in full blast. But right now, we’re sending extra people to help. We’re arresting a lot of people that have been very bad. As far as the coronavirus, as you say, I think we’ve done some amazing things. And I think you’ll probably see that if you compare our statistics to other countries. And if you look at death rates, et cetera, you’re going to see. And especially into the future with what’s happening, you’re going to see some very, very impressive numbers for the United States.
And a bit later, responding to a similar question:

4K Mars.

"'Have you heard the news?' he said, with a grin/'The Vice-President’s gone mad!'/'Where?' 'Downtown.' 'When?' 'Last night'/'Hmm, say, that’s too bad!'"

"'Well, there’s nothin’ we can do about it,' said the neighbor/'It’s just somethin’ we’re gonna have to forget'/'Yes, I guess so,' said Ma/Then she asked me if the clothes was still wet...."

Full lyrics here.

Quotation of Bob Dylan inspired just now by texts from Meade (beginning with a screen shot from my 6:23 a.m. post):
ADDED: Here's a little essay about Bob's song, calling it "A wicked take down of 'Ode to Billie Joe'" ("As with Bobby Gentry’s equal parts mundane and maudlin charttopper, Dylan fills the narrative with teeth-splinteringly boring detail, singing about daily shores [chores?!] with a bored-shitless monotone to match").

PLUS: "There was a virus going 'round; Papa caught it, and he died last spring."

"In one of Kinzler’s studies, kindergartners were shown a clip of a white girl speaking English and then clips of two adults, one a Francophone white woman and..."

"... the other an Anglophone Black one. The children actually supposed that the white girl would grow up to be the Black woman, so deep-seated was their sense of language as marking identity. Fourth graders, on the other hand, had internalized race as the deciding factor.... Amid our discussions of racism, sexism and even classism, we don’t spend much time thinking about the ways we can be biased when it comes to how people speak. It is, however, one of the last prejudices permissible in polite society. As Kinzler notes, 'Linguistic bias is part of our basic cultural fabric. It is so ubiquitous that we don’t even think about it. It’s sanctioned by the law, it’s allowed by culture, and it’s practiced so frequently that people do not even realize when it is happening. Linguistic discrimination is seen as normal and typical, and because of this, it flies beneath the radar.'"

From "The Biases We Hold Against the Way People Speak" by John McWhorter (NYT) — reviewing the book "HOW YOU SAY IT/Why You Talk the Way You Do" — and What It Says About You" by Katherine D. Kinzler.

"On day one, I’m going to stand the legislative immigration reform bill to Congress, provide a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants."

Said Joe Biden yesterday in a virtual town with the Service Employees International Union (transcript). I'm guessing the transcript is off and he said "send" not "stand," so don't assume it's Biden who's off. Not unless you've studied the video, which you can see in my previous post.


"The way he deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening. No sitting president has ever done this. Never, never, never."

"No Republican president has done this. No Democratic president. We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed. They’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has."

So said Joe Biden yesterday. He was answering a question in a virtual town run by the Service Employees International Union, The Guardian reports.

I was asking yesterday, "Does Biden ever take questions?," and here's an answer. He did a town hall yesterday. I keep trying to find a full transcript or video, but all I get is this one answer that he gave.

What exactly was the question? The Guardian just says "a questioner complained of racism linked to the coronavirus outbreak and mentioned the president referring to it as the 'China virus.'"

One problem with his answer is that if Biden's idea of what a "racist" is doesn't include any President before Trump, then Biden is saying that slaveowners were not racists.

Ah! Here's video of the entire town hall. I haven't watched it, but I will. I'd like to see how he holds up, speaking for an hour:

Oh! And here's a full transcript. The news articles (like the one from The Guardian) all seem to be fixated on Biden's calling Trump the first racist President. I am more interested in Biden's overall mental fitness for the job.

ADDED: Sample from the transcript:

July 22, 2020

At the Spear Thistle Café...


... you can write about whatever you want.


"California city washes away Black Lives Matter street art after resident asks for ‘MAGA 2020’ painting."

WaPo reports.
Despite granting permission for the temporary street art and even providing the paint for the July 4 project, officials in [Redwood City, California] ordered the painting be cleared from its prime location late last week, KPIX reported....

The request [to paint MAGA 2020] came from local attorney Maria Rutenburg, who [argued] that once the words “Black Lives Matter” were painted on the street, it effectively became “a public forum.” “Everybody has a chance of saying whatever they feel like,” she added. “My speech is just as important as BLM.”
Under First Amendment law, if it's a public forum, then the decisions must be viewpoint neutral. If, on the other hand, you see it as government speech, government can say one thing and not another if it wants. But not everyone wants to litigate.

"When I compare the cultural, intellectual and historical heft of the three categories, 'Black' comes out well ahead of 'white' and 'brown.'"

"We have whole libraries of books and articles about 'Blackness,' world-beating traditions of music and literature, even entire academic departments 30 to 50 years old specializing in African American/black studies. Compared with blackness, whiteness and brownness are severely under-theorized.... [And] I considered the asymmetry of racial identities of blackness and whiteness — and how they function differently in American history and culture. These two identities don’t simply mirror each other — one works through a pronounced group identity; the other more often is lived as unraced individuality. However much you might see yourself as an individual, if you’re black, you also have to contend with other people’s views. W.E.B. Du Bois summed this up as 'twoness,' as seeing yourself as yourself but also knowing that other people see you as a black person. You don’t have to be a black nationalist to see yourself as black. In contrast, until quite recently white Americans rarely saw themselves as raced — as white. Most of them, anyway. The people who have embraced 'white' as a racial identity have been white nationalists, Ku Klux Klansmen and their ilk. Thanks to President Trump, white nationalists are more visible than ever in our public spaces. But that group does not determine how most white people see themselves. Instead, in terms of racial identity, white Americans have had the choice of being something vague, something unraced and separate from race. A capitalized 'White' challenges that freedom, by unmasking 'Whiteness' as an American racial identity as historically important as 'Blackness' — which it certainly is. No longer should white people be allowed the comfort of this racial invisibility; they should have to see themselves as raced. Being racialized makes white people squirm, so let’s racialize them with that capital W."

From "Why ‘White’ should be capitalized, too" by Nell Irvin Painter, the author of "The History of White People," who originally thought only "Black" should be capitalized (WaPo).

But what if being racialized doesn't make white people squirm? Just go back to the lower-case "w"? How does this dynamic of systemic white supremacy work? Why are you trusting white people to stick to feeling bad about the race you want them to pay much more attention to?

"When the FBI arrests a mafia don on RICO charges, when DEA arrests a drug kingpin on narcotics charges, when ATF arrests an unlicensed gun dealer for illegally shipping firearms..."

"... they do not need a green light from the state. And consider for a moment the concept of a 'sanctuary city.' That is a municipality that obstructs the federal government’s enforcement of the immigration laws. The concept would make no sense if the feds needed the state’s permission – the state would simply refrain from asking the immigration authorities to conduct arrests and deportations. Cities purport to become 'sanctuaries' only because the local authorities realize that the federal government has an independent obligation to enforce federal law; they can’t prevent the feds from coming in, so they try to impede federal action.... Federal officers in Portland are not a military force. They are deputized law enforcement agents of the Department of Homeland Security and other federal police agencies. They are not, as Senator Paul misleadingly suggests, 'rounding up people at will.' They are making arrests based on probable cause that laws enacted by Congress have been violated. To my knowledge, Senator Paul has not proposed any legislation to repeal federal penal statutes that prohibit, for example, mutilating federal property, arson, and conspiring to oppose government authority by force...."

From "Portland riots – it is Trump's constitutional duty to enforce federal law and he should/The Constitution says it's the presidents job to enforce the law" by Andrew McCarthy (Fox News).

ADDED: I've encountered SO many law professors who were outraged that the Supreme Court took the position that the federal government couldn't FORCE local government officials to participate in the enforcement of federal law. I've written law review articles on this subject and participated in symposia, so I know what I'm talking about. The key case is Printz v. United States, which was about a federal law (the Brady Bill) that required local law enforcement officials to do background checks on gun buyers. The Court, in an opinion written by Justice Scalia, said that the federal government could not commandeer local government to do its law enforcement work. If it wanted background checks, the feds had to do it themselves (or get local government do it voluntarily). The dissenters — Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer — all said the federal government could force state and local government to enforce federal law even if they adamantly opposed the policy. It seemed that every law professor I ran into thought the dissenters were right (and Scalia was awful). If you think the feds can force local government to enforce federal law, how could you possibly think the feds can't enforce federal law unless the locals request it?

For all you "Comeback" fans... this was live on YouTube last night:

"How Voter-Fraud Hysteria and Partisan Bickering Ate American Election Oversight."

A long read at ProPublica.

Ironically, the subtitle — "The federal Election Assistance Commission has neglected key responsibilities or ceded them to other agencies — and two of its four commissioners are parroting the president’s unfounded warnings about vote by mail" — sounded to me like the kind of "partisan bickering" decried in the title.
[EAC Commissioner Donald Palmer] had testified at the second and final meeting of Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission. He frequently retweets popular conservative talking points, denouncing Antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Palmer’s backyard has an inground pool. On March 18, as election officials across the country grappled with the implications of a pandemic for upcoming primaries, Palmer tweeted a midday poolside selfie. Elections directors were outraged. “I’m trying to I figure out how to completely rehaul my election, and this asshole is tweeting pictures of himself sunbathing,” one texted to me.

"Do you agree with this step, or do you feel like you should be allowed to read what you want and make up your own mind?"

Does Joe Biden ever take questions?

I wondered... and did this Google search:

I was amused — in a dark, scary way — by the first headline that came up — "Trump needs to stop making fun of Joe Biden’s mental lapses" in The Washington Post. I want Joe Biden's brain tested by questioning him in front of us, the people, so we can judge for ourselves. But the WaPo piece — a column by Marc A. Thiessen — looks like another example of what, for me, is making much of the news unfit for human consumption. Whatever happens is turned into a way to say Trump is bad.

Thiessen's argument is twofold: 1. Trump is hurting his own cause by lowering expectations for Biden (because now Biden can be perceived as doing well if he does nothing more than "string together a few coherent sentences"), and 2. It's "offensive to seniors." Thiessen advises Trump to shut up about the problem and just "let Biden continue to show" his deficiencies. Well, that would be better, but the press is protecting Biden! They're not putting him to the test.

The other link I clicked on from my search was: "Chris Wallace on Trump interview: He took all the questions, Biden hasn't faced the same scrutiny" (Fox News):
“The fact is, the president is out there. He's out there in this broiling heat with me for an hour, he took all the questions. You can like his answers or dislike them but he had answers and Joe Biden hasn’t faced that kind of scrutiny, hasn’t faced that kind of exposure,” Wallace told Fox News’ Bret Baier on Monday.

“You’ve got to feel at some point he’s going to come out from the basement ... he’s gonna have to be more exposed and take questions just as tough as the ones I asked this president,” Wallace said. “He’s gonna have to do it with a bunch of people and, of course, he’s going to have those three debates with the president and you know that the president can handle himself in these debates... I think there is an open question there, can Joe Biden do the same?”
Then Baier asked a question that tracks what Thiessen said in his column:
“Just from a political analysis standpoint, is there a danger here, going down this road?" Baier asked. “In other words, all Biden has to do is show up and the bar is very low for him to have a success.”
Wallace reveals this is the conventional opinion among Republicans:
Wallace responded, “That’s what a lot of Republican strategists are worrying about. If you set that bar, and the expectation so low for Biden... three presidential debates, if he shows up and doesn’t drool his supporters can say, ‘Well he had a good debate.’”
I'm suspicious of this line of reasoning, because Trump shutting up on this topic — his opponent's mental weakness — is also consistent with the massive collusion to protect Joe Biden. If Trump doesn't keep this subject going, it might allow the people to become complacent about the topic. Oh, Joe Biden, he's just, you know, the thing, you know the thing, the guy, the guy, you know, the guy that's not... you know... not Trump!

"She told us he would never be able to get a job, and that teachers wouldn’t want to teach him. 'I tried to explain that we are not religious people, and Lucifer in Greek means "light-bringer" and "morning" but she wouldn’t listen.'"

Says a father quoted in "HELLUVA NAME/Couple win battle to name son Lucifer after registrar tried to bar them because it is another name for the devil" (The Sun).
[Dan Sheldon] 37, a plant hire company boss, lodged an official complaint over how he and Mandy, 32, were treated at their local office in Chesterfield, Derbys. He said: “We were really excited to go and get him registered but the woman looked at us in utter disgust.... She even told us that it was illegal to name a child that in New Zealand and that maybe we could name him something else but refer to him as Lucifer at home....”
Chesterfield is in England.
“We were gobsmacked with her behaviour. Eventually she did it, but it was through gritted teeth. Honestly, we just thought it was a nice name . . . a unique one. We didn’t expect to get so much grief about it.”

Derbyshire County Council said: “We apologise if they were offended but it is the job of our registrars to advise in these matters as sometimes people are not aware of certain meanings or associations around certain names.”
So the problem here is not that the parents wanted to name their child Lucifer, but that the government official gave them any friction at all. The name was registered, the parents made an official complaint against the government worker, and the county council apologized.

From the Wikipedia article, "Lucifer":
The motif of a heavenly being striving for the highest seat of heaven only to be cast down to the underworld has its origins in the motions of the planet Venus, known as the morning star. The Sumerian goddess Inanna (Babylonian Ishtar) is associated with the planet Venus.... A similar theme is present in the Babylonian myth of Etana...

July 21, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...



... you can write about whatever you like.

"[Margaret] Sanger still has defenders who say the decision to repudiate her lacks historical nuance."

"Ellen Chesler, a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, a think tank, and the author of a biography of Ms. Sanger and the birth control movement, said that while the country is undergoing vast social change and reconsidering prominent figures from the past, Ms. Sanger’s views have been misinterpreted. The eugenics movement had wide support at the time in both conservative and liberal circles, Ms. Chesler said, and Ms. Sanger was squarely in the latter camp. She rejected some eugenicists’ belief that white middle-class families should have more children than others, Ms. Chesler said. Instead, Ms. Sanger believed that the quality of all children’s lives could be improved if their parents had smaller families, Ms. Chesler said, adding that Ms. Sanger believed Black people and immigrants had a right to that better life. 'Her motives were the opposite of racism,' Ms. Chesler said, citing Ms. Sanger’s relationships with prominent Black leaders like W.E.B. Du Bois, a founder of the N.A.A.C.P....  As the story goes, Ms. Sanger treated a woman named 'Sadie Sachs,' who had given herself an abortion. Sadie asked a doctor how she could avoid having another baby, and the doctor recommended abstinence. A few months later, Ms. Sanger was called to treat Sadie again after she had given herself another abortion, and she died in Ms. Sanger’s arms. Ms. Sanger went on to start clinics, including one in Harlem. She pushed for reproductive rights, even after she was arrested and sent to jail for opening her first clinic, in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn."

From "Planned Parenthood in N.Y. Disavows Margaret Sanger Over Eugenics/Ms. Sanger, a feminist icon and reproductive-rights pioneer, supported a discredited belief in improving the human race through selective breeding" (NYT).

Sunrise with duck.


5:18 a.m.

"Who Actually Wants Trump to Send in the Feds? Police Unions/Protesters say local cops and the feds are clearly colluding on the spooky crackdown that began in Portland and could soon spread to Chicago and other cities."

Says The Daily Beast.

"At the end of the class, inmates are asked 'is there a God?' The only permitted answer is 'no.'"

"Every waking moment is an onslaught on their cherished beliefs and traditions. The half-starved inmates are even forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, in defiance of their Muslim faith. Afternoon brings interrogations. To break their mental resistance, inmates are forced to watch others being tortured before their own sessions of questioning. They are made to denounce friends and family, to confess to fictitious crimes such as bomb-making and espionage, and to express abject contrition — even for such harmless acts as having a copy of the Koran. Any resistance brings beatings, electric shocks and sleep deprivation. Nakedness is another dehumanising tactic. Nudity is taboo in Islam, but prisoners of all ages are made to parade before each other and in view of the guards. For women, humiliating gynaecological inspections are mandatory. Rape is routine. The prettier younger women disappear at nights and weep silently during the day. An injection every 15 days appears to be forced contraception — monthly periods cease. Worst of all is the dreaded orange tabard. Prisoners assigned these soon disappear, never to be seen again. Rumour has it that they are murdered for their organs — kidneys, corneas, hearts and livers are looted from their bodies, to fund the lucrative international black market, or serve the needs of the Communist Party elite."

From "'A naked brutality worthy of the Nazis': EDWARD LUCAS on the harrowing evidence of Beijing's concentration camps dedicated to 're-educating' a million or more Muslims" (Daily Mail).

"Kanye West claimed in a since-deleted Twitter rant that his wife, Kim Kardashian, tried to have him hospitalized after his remarks about their eldest daughter, North."

Us Magazine reports.
“Kim was trying to fly to Wyoming with a doctor to lock me up like on the movie Get Out because I cried about saving my daughters life yesterday,” the rapper, 43, tweeted on Monday, July 20, referencing a statement he made during his first presidential campaign rally about initially wanting to abort the now-7-year-old.

During his tweet spree, West twice referred to his wife of six years as “North’s mother,” claiming he put his “life on the line” for their children that Kardashian, 39, “would never sell her sex rape [sic].” He also tweeted that the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star “would never photograph [North] doing playboy and that’s on God.”

The Yeezy designer used Twitter to try to get in touch with Kardashian and her mother, Kris Jenner, too.

“Kriss [sic] don’t play with me you and that calmye are not allowed around my children Y’all tried to lock me up,” he tweeted, seemingly using a nickname for the momager’s longtime boyfriend, Corey Gamble. “Kriss [sic] and Kim call me now.”
West has mental health problems, and I presume Kim Kardashian is only or mostly trying to help and protect him (and to protect and help herself and her children), but it occurred to me that larger political forces are working against him to extract him from national politics. Yesterday, I had 2 posts about his strange, ranting rally speech in South Carolina — 1, 2 — and I can see how those who want to clear Biden's path don't appreciate his chaotic emotional contributions to the debate.

It's conceivable that Kim Kardashian might be working to rein him in to keep him from interfering with Biden's success. Just a theory based on what is possible. West sounds paranoid, but that doesn't mean he has no antagonists. The black vote is crucial to Biden, and it's impossible to predict or understand how West could distort the election.

Why wouldn't Kim Kardashian help the Biden forces? Though she's Republican-friendly some of the time, she supported Hillary in the last election.

Tucker Carlson accuses the NYT of planning an incitement of violence against his family.

"Scientists behind a Nordic study have found that keeping primary schools open during the coronavirus pandemic may not have had much bearing on contagion rates."

"There was no measurable difference in the number of coronavirus cases among children in Sweden, where schools were left open, compared with neighboring Finland, where schools were shut, according to the findings."

Bloomberg reports.

"Republicans were once despised because they were anti-intellectuals and hopeless neurotics."

"Trained to disbelieve in peaceful coexistence with the liberal enemy, the average Rush Limbaugh fan couldn’t make it through a dinner without interrogating you about your political inclinations. If you tried to laugh it off, that didn’t work; if you tried to engage, what came back was a list of talking points. When all else failed and you offered what you thought would be an olive branch of blunt truth, i.e. 'Honestly, I just don’t give that much of a shit,' that was the worst insult of all, because they thought you were being condescending. (You were, but that’s beside the point). The defining quality of this personality was the inability to let things go. Families broke apart over these situations. It was a serious and tragic thing. Now that same inconsolable paranoiac comes at you with left politics, and isn’t content with ruining the odd holiday dinner, blind date, or shared cab. He or she does this infuriating interrogating at the office, in school, and in government agencies, in places where you can’t fake a headache and quietly leave the table."

From "The Left is Now the Right/We laughed at the Republican busybody who couldn't joke, declared war on dirty paintings, and peered through your bedroom window. Now that person has switched sides, and nobody's laughing" by Matt Taibbi (substack).

"A majority of Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement... But the public generally opposes calls to shift some police funding to social services or remove statues of Confederate generals or presidents who enslaved people..."

"... a Washington Post-ABC News poll finds.... Americans’ confidence in police appears shaken after a wave of national protests following Floyd’s killing. Compared with 2014, fewer Americans say they are confident that police are adequately trained to avoid using excessive force. Meanwhile, more people say recent police killings of black people are 'a sign of broader problems' in police conduct. The share of Americans saying that black people and other minorities do not receive equal treatment in the criminal justice system has risen by 15 percentage points from 2014 — and this year marks the first time a majority of whites has held this view.... Almost 6 in 10 white people, along with just over half of Hispanic people, oppose removing statues of Confederate soldiers, while over three-quarters of black people support their removal. Opposition is even greater to the removal of public statues honoring former U.S. presidents who enslaved people, with 68 percent of Americans opposed and 25 percent in support of their removal. But while at least 7 in 10 white and Hispanic people are opposed, 6 in 10 black Americans support removing these statues. Half of Americans oppose renaming military bases currently named after Confederate generals, while 42 percent support the changes. Once again there is a significant partisan split, with 81 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of independents opposed and 66 percent of Democrats in favor. A majority of Americans ages 50 and older are opposed to any renaming, while a plurality of those under 50 support the change."

WaPo reports.

So 25% of Americans support taking down statues of George Washington?

The top-rated comment over there is: "If a crowd of citizens decides to pull down a racist statue, I'm all for it. After all, it was probably a handful of racist white guys who decided to put it up in the first place. So don't act like democracy is in tatters because a hateful symbol has fallen."

"But if big-city businesses find that work from home doesn’t hit their productivity too hard, they might reassess the need to pay top dollar to keep employees in, say, Seattle or the Bay Area. "

"Workers cooped up in a two-bedroom in Long Island City, Queens, might prefer moving to the suburbs or even farther away, and save on rent. [Harvard economist Edward] Glaeser studied surveys tracking companies that allowed their employees to work from home at least part of the time since March. Over one-half of large businesses and over one-third of small ones didn’t detect any productivity loss. More than one in four reported a productivity increase. Moreover, the researchers found that about four in 10 companies expect that 40 percent of their employees who switched to remote work during the pandemic will keep doing so after the crisis, at least in part. That’s 16 percent of the work force. Most of these workers are among the more highly educated and well paid. Will they stay in the city if they don’t need to go to the office more than a couple of times a week? Erik Hurst, an economist at the University of Chicago, argues that people will always seek the kind of social contact that cities provide. But what if their employers stop paying enough to support the urban lifestyle? Young families might flee to the suburbs sooner, especially if a more austere new urban economy can no longer support the ecosystem of restaurants and theaters that made city life attractive.... [E]mployers might be better off, paying lower wages and saving on office space. And workers might prefer a state of the world with somewhat lower wages and no commute..... Smaller cities might benefit. If they don’t have to go into the office more than a couple of times a year, highly skilled workers in places like Seattle or Los Angeles might prefer Boulder or Vail."

From "Coronavirus Threatens the Luster of Superstar Cities/Urban centers, with a dynamism that feeds innovation, have long been resilient. But the pandemic could drive a shift away from density" (NYT).

Speaking of commuting, another article in the NYT this morning is: "N.Y. Subway, Facing a $16 Billion Deficit, Plans for Deep Cuts." So subways, in the time of coronavirus, are going to get more crowded.

It's interesting that the NYT writer — Eduardo Porter — came up with Boulder and Vail as the specific smaller cities that workers who could live anywhere would choose. I've spent a lot of time in both of those place, and I see the attraction. There must be many other locations across America that would be great and could become great with an influx of well-paid younger people, especially if they bring children into the community.  (How much healthier these children can be, away from the air pollution and dangers of the city and with plentiful outdoor activities.)

ADDED: What the choice of Boulder and Vail expresses is the desire for beautiful natural scenery and easy access to outdoor athletics and pleasures. The University of Chicago economist argued that "people will always seek the kind of social contact that cities provide." But maybe that's not true. The problem of disease contagion makes the bustling crowded contact a negative, and people who live in New York City sacrifice so much of the benefits of nature and the outdoors. Why wouldn't the coronavirus experience drive people to replace the city "kind of social contact" with social contact of a more distanced kind and all the health benefits of getting outdoors and exercising?

But people need to think more widely about where to go to live this new way, not pack into already expensive and rather crowded famous travel destinations. Where can you actually live a good life?

"Roy Den Hollander was a self-described 'anti-feminist' lawyer.... [H]e openly seethed against a federal judge in New Jersey, Esther Salas..."

"... whom he described in a self-published, 1,700-page book as 'a lazy and incompetent Latina judge appointed by Obama.'... Mr. Den Hollander, 69, identified with a broader movement of men who in often abusive, misogynist and hateful language rail against 'feminazis.'... Mr. Den Hollander had a long history of filing lawsuits against programs that he believed favored women. In 2008, he told The New York Times that his anger toward feminists stemmed from his bitter divorce from a woman he married in Russia. He called women 'the real oppressors' in a 2008 Fox News appearance and wrote online about his grievances against female judges.... In 2008, he accused Columbia University of trying to establish feminism as a 'religion' at the school through its women’s studies program and proposed creating a men’s studies program that could 'train males to recognize and handle the power females often use to manipulate them.'... 'The future prospect of the Men’s Movement raising enough money to exercise some influence in America is unlikely,' he wrote. 'But there is one remaining source of power in which men still have a near monopoly — firearms.'... 'The only problem with a life lived too long under Feminazi rule,' he said, 'is that a man ends up with so many enemies he can’t even the score with all of them.'"

From "‘Anti-Feminist’ Lawyer Is Suspect in Killing of Son of Federal Judge in N.J./Roy Den Hollander had openly seethed against the judge, Esther Salas. After the shooting at her home, he was found dead in an apparent suicide" (NYT).

July 20, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... write about anything you want.

And thanks for doing your Amazon shopping by clicking on the Althouse Portal (which is always right over there at the top of the sidebar).

What an awful change! So fake... and permanently smirking. She already had a problem of laughing too much.

"The thread began with a tweet that simply read 'Drunk' and began ending with one that read, 'I am goi f to sleep. My husband has asked me five hundred rimes@if I am alright.'"

"'That means it’s go to sleep o’clock.' At some point in the middle, she tweeted: 'Ok a newborn colt rocks it totally and he thought my hand was his mom. It was not. He has tasted life’s infinite tragedy. As I mentioned Earlier I am inebriated.'"

From "Susan Orlean explains her drunken viral Twitter thread, candy-coated fennel seeds and the comfort of cats" (WaPo). Susan Orlean is a much-praised New Yorker writer, best known for "The Orchid Thief."

There's an interview with Orlean — after she recovered from her drunkenness and learned how popular her drunken ravings had become. Excerpt from the interview:
At some point, my husband came in and said he had gotten a few texts from friends saying they thought that my Twitter account had been hacked. And I said, “It hasn’t been hacked!” I was incensed at the thought that someone thought it was hacked. Then he said, “Are you sure you want to be tweeting in your condition?” I said, “Yes, yes, it’s fine. Everything’s fine.” But I was just sort of tweeting, and I wasn’t looking to see if anyone was responding. I was just typing, stream-of-consciousness, without giving a great deal of thought to if anyone was reading it. To me, it was late at night, even though it wasn’t late. I had gone to bed at 8:30, because I was hammered.
I noticed the tweets at the time, and it revived my interest in Susan Orlean. So whatever that crazy stuff was it was effective in boosting her visibility and maybe even her reputation. It caused me to go read the article of hers in a recent New Yorker, which I'd noticed but skipped with a vague plan to get back to it later. The article is about rabbits: "The Rabbit Outbreak/A highly contagious, often lethal animal virus arrives in the United States." Sample paragraph:

"You have someone who is not afraid of anyone and only afraid of God... and is at a 132 I.Q. genius that literally went to the hospital because his brain was too big for his skull...."

"… We are all equal in God’s eyes. Sometimes, people are controlled by demons. Sometimes, people are controlled by the environment that we are in, but we are all God’s people. There’s no bad people. There are lost people, but we are all God’s people. There’s not left, right, red, blue. That’s why everybody here is purple today.... But when God calls Moses, he has to leave his comfy job working for the Egyptians and free the people. And the freedom does not come from an election. The freedom comes from you not loading up pornography. The freedom comes from you not taking the Percocet. The freedom comes from you not doubting your brother and your sister. The freedom comes from you putting that gun down and not shooting people at the gas station. It has nothing to do with this election. It only has to do with God and God’s people... He set pause for us to take a moment and breathe and not TikTok ourselves out. He sent pause for us, now we have a moment to breathe. It has nothing to do with black, white, rich, poor, red, blue, Native American, pilgrim. It has to deal with being truthful to what God has."

Said Kanye West at his rally yesterday. He's running for President. Do you think he's out of his mind enough to be President?

Here's the part about abortion:

"It isn’t fair to ask me to be part of a massive, unnecessary science experiment. I am not a human research subject. I will not do it."

Writes teacher Rebecca Martinson in "I Won’t Return to the Classroom, and You Shouldn’t Ask Me To/Please don’t make me risk getting Covid-19 to teach your child" (NYT).

Here's the top-rated comment (many more votes that the next highest-rated and there are over 4,000 comments):
I'm a public school teacher with an underlying condition, and I frankly don't know what to do. I may not have a choice -- I can't just lose my job. I LOVE teaching. I love my classroom, and I love my kids. But I have to keep myself, my husband, and my 9-year old safe, too. It's an impossible and absolutely unfair position. Schools are taking the brunt of economic inequality and an anti-science administration.

"Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people...."

"Now the Harriet Tubman thing is, I’m sick of this black iconography being used by white organization for us to look up to and say 'This is us.' I do not… I own 100% of the Yeezy trademark, but up until now Adidas was getting 85%. And now after this, they either out of business with me or they going to get 10%. I decided not to not make it 15. I decided to make it 10."

Said Kanye West at a rally in South Carolina yesterday. Read the whole transcript. I just wanted to get the part about Harriet Tubman out verbatim, because I'm seeing things like, "Kanye West criticizes Harriet Tubman at his political rally."

He's criticizing white people for taking advantage of black people one way or another. He's not criticizing Harriet Tubman. He's criticizing white people for using Harriet Tubman to show off what they think is their own virtue!

And he's defining slavery broadly to include all sorts of exploitation of black people by white people, including Adidas taking such a large percentage of the proceeds of the shoes they make and sell. He only got 15% for letting them use his name! That's on a continuum with slavery, no?

I didn't watch Trump's interview with Chris Wallace, but I'll read the transcript.

Why didn't I watch?! I told myself to watch, but I did not. I've turned away from watching the news on television. It's becoming a real aversion. I prefer to get my information from reading, so let's look at this transcript. I'll just do a few excepts, I think:
WALLACE: But -- but this isn't burning embers, sir? This is a forest fire.

TRUMP: No, no. But I don't say -- I say flames, we'll put out the flames. And we'll put out in some cases just burning embers. We also have burning embers. We have embers and we do have flames. Florida became more flame like....
Ugh. They're debating about the metaphor — the ember/flame distinction.
They don't talk about Mexico.... But you take a look, why don't they talk about Mexico? Which is not helping us. And all I can say is thank God I built most of the wall, because if I didn't have the wall up we would have a much bigger problem with Mexico....
He wants to tell you about this wall he built "most of."

They have a dispute about how high the "mortality rate" is in the United States. I think that means the number of deaths in proportion to the population (not in proportion to the number of detected cases), and the website I look at puts the U.S. in 10th place. Wallace said we were in 7th place. Trump asserts, "I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world." That's just wrong and Wallace tells him so. Trump doubles down, "I heard we have one of the lowest, maybe the lowest mortality rate anywhere in the world."

That sound crazily wrong, but he might be thinking the "mortality rate" is the ratio of deaths to cases. We do so much testing that we get a very high number of cases, and that causes the percent who die to look very low. Trump asks Kayleigh to get the numbers and insists, "I heard we had the best mortality rate... number one low mortality rate." Knowing this disarray looks bad, he says: "I hope you show the scenario because it shows what fake news is all about." Ridiculous to attack Chris Wallace like that, to call him "fake news" to his face.

5:24 a.m.


A duck is nonchalant, and the sky is trying too hard. On the car radio, what Joe Scarborough is angsting over this morning is Trump's expression of pride in the cognitive test he took a while back — the one that you pass by saying that a picture of a camel is a camel — and something Trump said that seemed to Joe to suggest that Trump would not accept the results of the election. I thought: So I guess Trump didn't do anything bad over the weekend. All Joe has is old material, moved to the front burner, where Joe's fevered brain heats things up for his audience, which might have an appetite for leftovers.  Okay, everything's fine. It's a new day.

The Lady Godiva of Portland.

ADDED: Consider the protest group FEMEN — which I've blogged about before. Its website says:
In the beginning, there was the body, feeling of the woman’s body, feeling of joy because it is so light and free. Then there was injustice, so sharp that you feel it with your body, it immobilizes the body, hinders its movements, and then you find yourself your body’s hostage. And so you turn your body against this injustice, mobilizing every body’s cell to struggle against the patriarchy and humiliation. You tell the world: Our God is a Woman!

Our Mission is Protest!

Our Weapon are bare breasts!

And so FEMEN is born and sextremism is set off....

FEMEN is an international women’s movement of brave topless female activists painted with the slogans and crowned with flowers.

FEMEN female activists are the women with special training, physically and psychologically ready to implement the humanitarian tasks of any degree of complexity and level of provocation. FEMEN activists are ready to withstand repressions against them and are propelled by the ideological cause alone. FEMEN is the special force of feminism, its spearhead militant unit, modern incarnation of fearless and free Amazons.
Browse through over 4,000 photographs of FEMEN activists at Getty Images.

July 19, 2020

Sunrise flowers.



Write about anything in the comments.

Romanticizing falling — the New Yorker's angle on women and mountain biking.

I'm a woman and I like mountain biking, but I found this presentation ludicrous:

"The new anti-racism has a confessional, religious energy that the secular meritocracy has always lacked."

"But there is also something important about its more radical and even ridiculous elements — like the weird business that increasingly shows up in official documents, from the New York Public Schools or the Smithsonian, describing things like 'perfectionism' or 'worship of the written word' or 'emphasis on the scientific method' or 'delayed gratification' as features of a toxic whiteness. Imagine yourself as a relatively privileged white person exhausted by meritocracy — an overworked student or a fretful parent or a school administrator constantly besieged by both.... 'Wouldn’t it come as a relief, in some way, if it turned out that the whole 'exhausting "Alice in Wonderland" Red Queen Race of full-time meritocratic achievement,' in the words of a pseudonymous critic, was nothing more than a manifestation of the very white supremacy that you, as a good liberal, are obliged to dismantle and oppose? If all the testing, all the 'delayed gratification' and 'perfectionism,' was, after all, just itself a form of racism, and in easing up, chilling out, just relaxing a little bit, you can improve your life and your kid’s life and, happily, strike an anti-racist blow as well?"

Writes Ross Douthat in "The Real White Fragility/Does the white upper class feel exhausted and oppressed by meritocracy?" (NYT).

So it's sort of like the hippie movement all over again... but without the joy and the fun and the music and the flowers and the crazy clothes and the love of freedom and the willingness to say outrageous things. Instead there's grimness, guilt, pessimism, and the grueling realization that you do have to work, but it's not work at some job, it's work on yourself — you with the bred-in-the-bone racism problem.

Karl Marx wrote: "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce." I'm seeing this repetition the other way around. We got the comedy first. The tragedy is now.

"What is Goya in the Latino community? It’s an icon, a statue. The left wants to destroy all icons."

Said Alexander Otaola, "a Cuban-American in Florida with 105,000 followers on Instagram," quoted in "How Buying Beans Became a Political Statement/The boycott and counter-boycott of Goya comes as the major political parties seek to energize Hispanic support ahead of the 2020 election" (NYT).

The Goya chief executive of Goya, Robert Unanue, appeared at the White House rollout of the the "Hispanic Prosperity Initiative" and said "We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder. And that’s what my grandfather did." That led to a boycott and a reaction to the boycott.

You probably know all that. I'm just blogging because of the beans/statue analogy.

"Almost anyone, with a little exaggeration, would make a good comic character. There is no lack of raw material. Not only the woods, but the streets and houses are full of it."

Said Frank King (1883-1969), quoted in "Growing Old in Gasoline Alley: Ninety-four Years And Counting" (Comics Journal).
For a while, King focused exclusively on the car talk of his regular cast (Walt, Doc, Avery, and Bill), and then in 1921, Colonel McCormick’s cousin, partner and head of the Tribune-Daily News syndicate, Captain Joseph Patterson, decided that the cartoon would be even more popular if something in it appealed to women. "Get a baby into the story fast," he commanded the flabbergasted King, who protested that Walt, the main character, was a bachelor. It was then decided to have Walt find a baby in a basket on his doorstep—which he did on Valentine's Day, 1921.

"It’s the diet version of the N-word, but as an African-American man, it’s something I deal with pretty frequently."

"If there’s a takeaway from the conversation, it is that Roger Stone gave an unvarnished look into what is in the heart of many Americans today."

Said Morris W. O’Kelly (of radio's "Mo’Kelly Show"), quoted in "Roger Stone Uses Racial Slur on Radio Show/Mr. Stone, while being questioned about the commutation of his sentence by President Trump, used a racial slur in referring to his interviewer, who is Black" (NYT).

The "diet version of the N-word" is "Negro," and Stone, in the middle of talking to O'Kelly, muttered something to the side. The beginning of the sentence was hard to make out, but it ended with "arguing with this Negro."
When Mr. O’Kelly asked him to repeat what he said, Mr. Stone let out a sigh, then remained silent for almost 40 seconds. Acting as if the connection had been severed, Mr. Stone vehemently denied that he used the slur. “I did not, you’re out of your mind,” Mr. Stone told the host.
Afterwards, O'Kelly said: “The only thing that I felt was true, honest and sincere that Roger Stone said was in that moment that he thought I was not listening. All of my professional accolades, all my professional bona fides went out the window because as far as he was concerned, he was talking and arguing with a Negro.”

Stone is ludicrously dishonest here. And no one should take solace in the fact that "Negro" was once the polite term. For background, read "When Did the Word Negro Become Taboo?," a 2010 Slate article dealing with a newly released statement Senator Harry Reid had made before the 2008 election, saying Barack Obama could win  because he was "light skinned" and had "no Negro dialect." That was 10 years ago, and people were calling on Reid to resign. I remember when "colored people" was the polite term (and so does the NAACP).

But it hardly even matters here, because even if Stone had muttered "arguing with this black man" or "arguing with this African-American man,"it would have been offensive. Do the interview, answer the questions. If you have a valid reason to object to the interviewer, go ahead and say it, but if your objection is that he's black, you're horribly wrong. Saying "arguing with this black man" is in the category of remarks like "It's like arguing with a 2-year-old" or "It's like talking to a wall." It's disrespectful even if the source of your irritation is not the race of your interlocutor. Add race, and it's a cruel insult. Make the racial word different from the normal words that decent people use in public speech, and you make yourself a pariah.

Stone paused for 40 seconds and denied that he said it. He knew it was wrong. If he knew it was wrong, and it's so obviously wrong, why did he say it? It's his secret thought but it just slipped out, because he lacks brain/mouth control? Or did he actually really want to hurt O'Kelly?

Why wouldn't the Trump campaign get the rights to use the music before putting up the ad?

I don't know why I'm able to see it here, so watch quickly before this one goes down too.

The Trump tweet showing us the ad switched to an announcement that it had been disabled because of a copyright claim, and and later the Trump tweet was deleted.

Anyway, here's a Yahoo article explaining what happened. It wasn't an ad made by the Trump campaign but a fan-made ad that Trump just retweeted. People just use things and don't attend to the legal niceties. The campaign would, I assume, clear the rights. Retweeting lets Trump give the rights-violating thing extremely wide reach... up until the artists complain and the remedy is that it goes down (and then we talk about that).
The controversial two-minute video in question — which had been tweeted a day earlier by White House social media director Dan Scavino — mashed up a cover by Fleurie and Jung Youth of Linkin Park’s 2002 hit “In the End” with audio from Trump's 2017 inaugural address, and depicted presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as a member of the “Washington elite.”

The surviving Linkin Park band members shared their fans’ outrage, tweeting, “Linkin Park did not and does not endorse Trump, nor authorize his organization to use any of our music. A cease and desist has been issued.” Jung Youth also commented on Trump’s tweet, writing, “F*** Trump!!!! Def do not approve this usage of my music just FYI.”
I'd like to discuss the ad! When I watched it, I believed it was an official campaign ad, so it seemed very weird — just images and ominous music and it was up to you to feel your way to a message.

ADDED: Rewatched the ad. It's not just images and music. There's also Trump speaking, saying that the government elite have only helped themselves. And the song has lyrics, so we're hearing 2 layers of words. Here are the lyrics of the song — "In the End." The ad only uses the first verse and stops before the chorus. (The chorus, I realize, is something I've heard many times as background music for many random things on TikTok.)

It's obvious to Glenn Greenwald that "the Letter was signed by frauds, eager to protect their own status."

He continues in a series of tweets:
2/ I’ve been defending these principles for decades, as a lawyer & journalist — **not** as a way of protecting honored elites from criticism, but by defending those with no power punished for their views: often by people like those who signed The Letter: [link to "GREATEST THREAT TO FREE SPEECH IN THE WEST: CRIMINALIZING ACTIVISM AGAINST ISRAELI OCCUPATION"]

3/ That large numbers of the Letter’s signatories don’t give the slightest shit about principles of free speech & discourse — many have been at the forefront of “cancelling” — but are only petulantly objecting because they now hear criticisms is obvious. Dozens of them are frauds

4/ All that said, that many of the Letter’s signatories are frauds does not impugn the principles they’re cynically invoking for their petty, self-absorbed interests. I devoted our show yesterday to this: it’s the marginalized that need these protections: [link to the video "Elites are Distorting the 'Cancel Culture' Crisis - System Update with Glenn Greenwald"]
Also, in that thread, Matt Yglesias responds:
I’ll just say I had nothing to do with deciding who was and wasn’t asked, had no idea who else was signing it, but think the obvious spirit of the enterprise was that they should welcome as many co-signers as possible.
Greenwald answers Yglesias:
I’m sure that’s true. TCW has been clear that he worked with a small handful of people — 4 in particular — to help spearhead the letter and I’m sure they’re the ones who played the key role (“outvoted” as he put it re: me). I’m almost sure I know who did it but won’t speculate.
Poya Pakzad asks:
I think Chatterton was being unclear about who did the voting. In that interview he said they were five ppl that did the reaching out to people. Were it those five people that out-voted you and didn't want to associate with you, or were it some of the signatories?
Greenwald answers:
Yeah, one was George Packer. He and I have had harsh criticism of each other’s work over the years. I’m sure it was stuff like that that drove it. But that’s kind of ironic, no? They were all proud of themselves, claiming they wanted to sign with those they disagree with.