August 1, 2020

At the Saturday Night Café...

... you can write about whatever you want, but I wanted to show you these 3 pictures of this morning's sunrise, taken at 5:45, 5:48, and 5:51. The actual sunrise time was 5:48.




The Lincoln Project indulges in fat shaming, color shaming, and the depreciating of masculinity in this tone-deaf attack on Trump.

I only got half way through this before clicking it off. It might be funnier to fans of David Attenborough nature programs, but to me the reliance on an English-accented supercilious male voice was just embarrassingly out of touch with present-day America:

I found that video via "Lincoln Project Gets Personal In New Ad, Mocking ‘Impotus Americanus’ Trump’s Weight and ‘Ruddy Orange’ Color" (Mediaite). Excerpt:
In an online town hall with supporters Thursday night, Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson discussed the philosophy behind ads like this.

“When you see the ads talking about Trump’s personal weaknesses, physical, mental, what have you, those are targeting one voter: Donald Trump,” said Wilson. “Now, we don’t troll Trump just for fun or to amuse ourselves — God knows, that would be a great job all day, ok? Trolling him would be a fabulous job, but we don’t do it just to troll him.”

“We do it,” Wilson continued, “because every second Trump is distracted by a Lincoln Project ad, that is playing with his psychological weaknesses, that is playing with his mental frailties, that is playing with his weird ego problems — every moment he’s focused on us, he’s not campaigning against Joe Biden.”
So, they are choosing to bully him, and they don't mind collateral damage to the many Americans who are fat, who have light pigmentation, and who worry about the vigor of their masculinity. The Lincoln Project doesn't do it "just for fun or to amuse ourselves" — but the "just" implies that they are enjoying themselves taunting Trump. So here's a picture of Rick Wilson. He has liberated you to say anything you want to roast him based on his appearance:

ADDED: Quite aside from the collateral bullying of men who have the same physical deficiencies as those that are attributed to Trump, many women — including me — don't like to hear judgment of men that is based on their ability to have sexual intercourse with women. We're sympathetic to men who have problems finding a woman or performing sexually, and we think publicly mocking them is jackassery. And I know Trump speaks crudely and tauntingly at times, but if you do the same thing, you sacrifice your power to criticize him on that ground.

"I believe in free speech but more so in good editing. This piece is unintelligible."

The top-rated comment at an article that I was going to blog, tried to blog, but gave up on blogging... until I saw that the way to blog it was to blog that comment: "The 'cancel culture' debate gets the fight for free speech entirely wrong" by Eve Fairbanks (WaPo).

Here's a quote from the article that I'd picked out, then gave up on: "A robust defense of free speech sounds impossible to dislike. But if you interrogate it, you somehow end up proving the absolutists’ point: that they cannot voice 'anodyne' opinions, as they’ve characterized them, without attracting accusations of bad faith."

Eminently guessable: What did this fisherman say to me?


Photo taken at 5:30 this morning. Meade took this picture from the car:


Kamala Harris allies do a conference call with Joe Biden campaign staff and we get to read about it...

... at Politico. So embarrassing! Can't he at least look like he's in command, seeing what's good and bad in the people he knows, making his own decision? Why am I able to see that there's a "vetting unit" that includes Christopher Dodd, who's said something about Harris having "no remorse" for her "little girl was me" remark at a debate last year? I'm seeing the names of all these people on the conference call who were pitching Kamala Harris to Biden's people:
The conference call included several of the state’s highest-ranking elected officials and labor and business leaders, including Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, state schools chief Tony Thurmond, state Treasurer Fiona Ma and Chad Griffin, a Democratic consultant and former head of Human Rights campaign, according to organizers. Representing the Biden campaign were the four main members of his vetting team: Dodd, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Biden's former White House and Senate counsel, Cynthia Hogan....
Somebody leaked all that. How messy!
A person on the call said Harris’ allies wanted the campaign to hear from people who know her best.... "This was about us sharing how much Kamala would be a stellar vice president," said one official who participated on the call, referencing Dodd’s earlier remarks. 'He spoke at length about her and said very nice things," the person said of Dodd’s comments about Harris on the conference call.... Dodd said “very supportive things” about Harris during the call, according to Kounalakis.... Critics suggested that Dodd was questioning a woman for being ambitious....
I don't think hearing about this call helps Harris! The call was intended to help Harris, and the leaker seems to want to help Harris, but now I'd be surprised if it's Harris.

Meanwhile, at the Washington Post, Dana Milbank is doing all he can to stomp on Susan Rice: "Why would Biden pick a human lightning rod as VP?"

I encounter the creatures...


And small...

Systemic racism at TikTok?

Problems with TikTok may be so yesterday, because today is the day Trump said he was banning TikTok. Interesting to see him getting ahead of The Woke, who were coming for TikTok anyway.

Keep an eye on James Lindsay. He's the author of that excellent essay "No, the Woke Won’t Debate You. Here’s Why" that we were talking about yesterday, here. He's got a book coming out, "Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody," which is going to be a big deal. And look at the high-level attention he's getting:

"As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States... Soon, immediately. I mean essentially immediately.... I will sign the document tomorrow."

Said Donald Trump last night, Bloomberg reports.
Trump said he had the authority to ban the app, owned by ByteDance Ltd., one of China’s biggest tech companies, a move he could make by executive order or under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
On Twitter, the name Sarah Cooper is trending. She's on the case:

Maybe you heard that Bill Gates was buying TikTok. From the Bloomberg article:
Trump’s move could upend a potential bid from Microsoft Corp., which was exploring an acquisition, according to a people familiar with the matter. The president downplayed that idea Friday. He said it’s “not the deal that you have been hearing about, that they are going to buy and sell, and this and that. And Microsoft and another one. We’re not an M&A company.” Microsoft declined to comment.

July 31, 2020

At the Friday Night Café...


... you can write about anything you want.

ADDED: I had an oversized photograph up overnight, so the composition displayed was not what I intended. Replacing it with the proper size at 4:35 a.m. Saturday morning. I hope this composition is more pleasing!

Kanye is "concerned for the world that feels you shouldn’t cry about" abortion.

Notice that he did not say he was concerned that the world feels you shouldn’t cry about abortion, so you don't need to say that many people in the world do feel you should cry about abortion. He's talking about the world that feels — the subsection of all people — that you shouldn't.

If you click through to see the comments he's getting on Twitter, you'll see lots of people telling him either that he should shut up because he's not a person who can get pregnant OR showering him with anti-abortion material. I didn't see anything that falls into the category that is his stated opinion (and also mine) that the woman does have a right to end a pregnancy but that it is terrible to abort a child.

Why must we be so divisive?

An effective presentation of what Trump got right and Biden got wrong about the coronavirus.

Things learned only this morning.

The Colossus of Rhodes did not straddle the harbor.
The harbour-straddling Colossus was a figment of medieval imaginations based on the dedication text's mention of "over land and sea" twice and the writings of an Italian visitor who in 1395 noted that local tradition held that the right foot had stood where the church of St John of the Colossus was then located. Many later illustrations show the statue with one foot on either side of the harbour mouth with ships passing under it.
Why were we talking about the Colossus of Rhodes?!

ADDED: We were talking about this:

"The race is not yet won.... we have not yet reached that blessed destination, where we are judged by the content of our character."

"[John Lewis] knew, from his own life, that progress is fragile, that we have to be vigilant against the darker currents of this country’s history, of our own history, with their whirlpools of violence, and hatred, and despair that can always rise again. Bull Connor may be gone, but today we witnessed with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks black Americans. George Wallace may be gone, but we can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators. We may no longer have to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar in order to cast a ballot, but even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations, and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws, and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the postal service in the run up to an election that’s going to be dependent on mail in ballots so people don’t get sick. Now, I know this is a celebration of John’s life. There are some who might say we shouldn’t dwell on such things. But that’s why I’m talking about it. John Lewis devoted his time on this earth fighting the very attacks on democracy and what’s best in America that we’re seeing circulate right now. He knew that every single one of us has a God given power and that the fate of this democracy depends how we use it. That democracy isn’t automatic, it has to be nurtured, it has to be tended to, we have to work at it. It’s hard...."

Said Barack Obama, from "Barack Obama Eulogy Speech Transcript at John Lewis Funeral July 30."

"The Woke view genuinely is that unless you agree with the Woke worldview, you haven’t disagreed with the Woke worldview in an authentic way, and therefore your disagreement cannot be legitimate."

From "No, the Woke Won’t Debate You. Here’s Why" (a very substantial article at New Discourses).

I got that from my son John's Facebook post, here. John extracts this quote:
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked why it is that the Woke won’t seem to have a debate....

It is not, as many think, a fear of being exposed as fraudulent or illegitimate—or otherwise of losing the debate or looking bad in the challenging conversation—that prevents those who have internalized a significant amount of the Critical Social Justice Theory mindset that prevents these sorts of things from happening. There’s a mountain of Theoretical reasons that they would avoid all such activities, and even if those are mere rationalizations of a more straightforward fear of being exposed as fraudulent or losing, they are shockingly well-developed and consistent rationalizations that deserve proper consideration and full explanation....

Critical Social Justice activists ... tell us constantly about the high emotional labor costs of doing the “work” they do (and never being taken seriously for it). To invite them to a public conversation or debate is to ask them to get exploited in this way for other people’s benefit by getting up on stage in a dominance-approved paradigm with a bad-faith moral monster who just wants his opportunity to reinforce the very dominance that exhausts them...

What do you think this article is about?

I captured that from the front page of the Times of London. Here's the article:

"So often, it’s in the wake of the darkest moments that America’s forged some of the most remarkable areas of progress."

"I believe we’re in the brink of one of those opportunities. If we can overcome this crisis, and I believe we can if we start doing the right things, we’ll be in an incredibly strong position to make progress."

Said Joe Biden, in "Joe Biden Speaks with the American Federation of Teachers Online Event Transcript July 30."

July 30, 2020

At the Sunrise Café...


... go ahead and write about anything.

The John Lewis funeral.

Live streaming:

I was just listening — on my car radio — to the eulogy by Bill Clinton. I want to say a few things about it — my key words are "cancel" and "infect" — but I will have to wait for the transcript.

ADDED: Obama is giving a eulogy now (at 12:46 CDT). There's a third President there today: George W. Bush. He spoke first, so his is the first transcript that's available. Excerpt:
John’s story began on a tiny farm in Troy, Alabama, place so small he said you could barely find it on the map.... Every morning, he would rise before the sun to tend to the flock of chickens. He loved those chickens. Already called to be a minister who took care of others. John fed them and tended to their every need, even their spiritual ones, for John baptized them. He married them and he preached to them. When his parents claimed one from family supper, John refused to eat one of his flock. Going hungry was his first act of nonviolent protest... He always believed in preaching the gospel, in word and in deed, insisting that hate and fear had to be answered with love and hope. John Lewis believed in the Lord, he believed in humanity and he believed in America. He’s been called an American saint, a believer willing to give up everything, even life itself, to bear witness to the truth that drove him all his life, that we could build a world of peace and justice, harmony, and dignity, and love.... 
AND: Here it is, the Bill Clinton speech, the one where I wanted to highlight "cancel" and "infect":
I think three things happened to John Lewis... that made him who he was. First, the famous story of John at four with his cousins and siblings holding his aunt’s hand more than a dozen of them, running around a little old wooden house, as the wind threatened to blow the house off its moorings, going to the place where the house was rising and all those tiny bodies trying to weigh it down. I think he learned something about the power of working together....

[A]s a child, he learned to walk with the wind... [H]e challenged others to join him with love and dignity, to hold America’s house down and open the doors of America to all its people.... [N]o matter what, John always kept walking to reach the beloved community.... When he could have been angry and determined to cancel his adversaries, he tried to get converts instead....

Twenty years ago when I came here after the Selma March to a big dinner honoring John and Lillian and John-Miles... ... I was almost out of time and people were to be present and people were asking me, “Well, if you could do one more thing, what it would be, or what do you wish you had that you had done that you didn’t?”.... I said, “If I could just do one thing. If God came to me tonight and said, ‘Okay, your time’s up. You got to go home and I’m not a genie. I’m not giving you three wishes.’ One thing, what would it be?” I said, “I would infect every American was whatever it was that John Lewis got as a four year old kid and took through a lifetime to keep moving and keep moving in the right direction and keep bringing other people to move and to do it without hatred in his heart, with a song and be able to sing and dance.”
I thought it was interesting that Bill Clinton took those 2 words that are so conspicuous in present-day American culture —  "cancel" and "infect" — and turned it to the positive. We have a cancel culture — Bill was acknowledging — but if we were like John, we'd have love and we'd keep working on winning converts. And we have the awful infection — the coronavirus — but we could come down with an infection of joy and love and dedication to living together in a better world.

Herman Cain has died.

My son John collects articles on the subject and gives a warning about Cain's Wikipedia page — "when I checked it today it had been vandalized with disgusting photos."

ADDED: Here's a tweet that has a screen shot of disgusting text put up at Wikipedia.

"The tweet marked the first time Trump has raised the idea of delaying the November elections, an idea he previously rejected amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic."

The Hill notes Trump's new tweet:
"With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"
Cue Trump fans to mock The Hill for taking the bait. He's just yanking your chain. Yeah, but it's gross, and we're already in pain.

How to find all the Black Lives Matter murals in Madison.

An excellent presentation of information using Google maps — here — marking the location of the murals with clickable icons to display a photo of the mural.

I got to that via "‘Crisis of expression and creativity:’ Mapping downtown Madison's Black Lives Matter murals" (Capital Times). Excerpt from the article:
When businesses boarded up their storefronts in the wake of ongoing protests against racism and police brutality, Karin Wolf of the Madison Arts Commission was tasked with finding a way to restore vibrancy to the street. Within 48 hours, Wolf gathered a coalition of artists to create murals on the plywood, giving very little direction other than to simply react and express their feelings through art....

In total, 84 artists painted 100 distinct murals on the half-mile stretch of State Street... Artists were paid a $250 commission for each mural to cover the cost of supplies. To receive the money, artists had to sign a form releasing the right of reproduction of the piece. Several artists said that they’re also hoping to receive royalties from business owners who choose to keep and display the murals, but are not sure how to navigate that process.
The process was navigated back when you signed away your rights for $250. But I'm not looking at the release. Maybe some artist-loving lawyers will help.
From the beginning, Wolf urged artists to approach their work with a “spirit of impermanence.”
You know, like the way you've already spent the $250. Gone! But there are photographs.
“In an ephemeral project, it’s the documentation that becomes the lasting product,” she said.
You know, the thing you don't own.
Wolf said that moving forward, she hopes people will invest in future art instead of fixating on these particular murals, which were never meant to last forever.
Meade texts "moving forward... how about moving Heg?"

(Last month, protesters moved a statue called “Forward” and another statue of Civil War hero Hans Christian Heg from their place of honor in the Wisconsin capitol square.)

NYT creates a video montage to demonstrate that Trump talks like George Wallace.

Check it out:

The main thing seems to be the phrase "law and order." It would help the anti-Trump cause quite a bit if people would believe the phrase "law and order" signals white supremacy. It's easy to do the counter-spin however: It is racist to hear "law and order" as white supremacy.

Accompanying that video montage is this article — "A Half-Century After Wallace, Trump Echoes the Politics of Division/George Wallace’s speeches and interviews from his 1968 campaign feature language and appeals that sound familiar again as the 'law and order' president sends federal forces into the streets" by Peter Baker:
The president rails about the “anarchists and agitators” and accuses “the radical left” of running rampant through the streets of cities run by “liberal Democrats.”...

Like Mr. Trump, Wallace denounced “anarchists” in the streets, condemned liberals for trying to squelch the free speech of those they disagreed with and ran against the elites of Washington and the mainstream media....

Like the pugnacious Mr. Trump, Wallace enjoyed a fight. Indeed, he relished taking on protesters who showed up at his events. “You know what you are?” he called out to one. “You’re a little punk, that’s all you are. You haven’t got any guts.”
MEANWHILE: At the New Yorker, they're talking about Joe McCarthy because — don't you know?! — Trump is like Joe McCarthy. The article, by Louis Menand, is "Joseph McCarthy and the Force of Political Falsehoods/McCarthy never sent a single 'subversive' to jail, but, decades later, the spirit of his conspiracy-mongering endures." Excerpt:
Larry Tye’s purpose in his new biography, “Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), is to make the case that Donald Trump is a twenty-first-century Joe McCarthy.... He more than makes the case. The likeness is uncanny.

McCarthy was a bomb-thrower—and, in a sense, that is all he was.... To his supporters, he could say and do no wrong.... He was... a conspiracy-monger.... What distinguished McCarthy’s claims was their outlandishness. He didn’t attack people for being soft on Communism, or for pushing policies, like public housing, that were un-American or socialistic. That is what ordinary politicians like Richard Nixon did. McCarthy accused people of being agents of a Communist conspiracy.... McCarthy lied all the time.... He was incapable of sticking to a script. He rambled and he blustered, and if things weren’t going his way he left the room. He was notoriously lazy, ignorant, and unprepared, and he had a reputation for following the advice of the last person he talked to. But he trusted his instincts. And he loved chaos. He knew that he had a much higher tolerance for it than most human beings do, and he used it to confuse, to distract, and to disrupt.
Trump is like McCarthy, who loved chaos, and Trump is like George Wallace, who loved law and order. Oh, that Trump — he's everything you need him to be.

Remarks overheard at sunrise offer insight into the mind of Generation Z.

I wasn't trying to eavesdrop, but I couldn't help hearing when one of the 5 teenage girls suddenly asked:

"Does anyone know what's wrong with TikTok? I'm only getting videos that I don't want to see."

I didn't notice the rest of the conversation. I, like them, was waiting for the sun to appear. But then one remark stood out, and I believe it was a critique of a short video, not of the sunrise:

"The beginning was kind of anti-climactic."

At the official sunrise time — 5:46 — they all picked up their things and left, though the sun had yet to appear:


I stayed around for another 5 minutes, at which point it looked like this:


The beginning was a little anti-climactic.

Does anyone know what's wrong with the sunrise? This wasn't the one I wanted to come up in my feed.

July 29, 2020

At the Clear Speech Café...


... you can be as subtle as you like.


Meade took those photos today on University Avenue — the main thoroughfare on the West Side of Madison.

"I’ve been on the front lines of the protests here, searching for the 'radical-left anarchists' who President Trump says are on Portland streets each evening."

"I thought I’d found one: a man who for weeks leapt into the fray and has been shot four times with impact munitions yet keeps coming back. I figured he must be a crazed anarchist. But no, he turned out to be Dr. Bryan Wolf, a radiologist who wears his white doctor’s jacket and carries a sign with a red cross and the words 'humanitarian aid.' He pleads with federal forces not to shoot or gas protesters.... Maybe the rioting anarchists were in front of the crowd, where there are discussions about Black Lives Matter? I found musicians and activists and technicians, who were projecting a huge sign on the wall of a nearby building — 'Fed Goons Out of PDX' — that seemed a bit geeky for anarchists.... Sure there are anarchists and antifa activists in the Portland protests, just as there are radiologists and electricians, lawyers and mechanics. Report on the ground here and any single narrative feels too simplistic. The protesters aren’t all peaceful, nor are they primarily violent. They’re a complicated weave, differing by time of day....  [W]hile there’s violence from both sides, what I’ve seen firsthand is that the most violent behavior overwhelmingly comes from the federal agents, and indeed the most serious injuries have been suffered by protesters."

Writes Nicholas Kristof in "Help Me Find Trump’s ‘Anarchists’ in Portland/The president has his politically driven narrative. And then there’s reality" (NYT).

It's been a while since I've stumbled across a sentence that called out to me to challenge you to diagram it.

But I ran into one today:
One could pass from heavy-set young men with a full chop of beard and a fifty-pound pack on their back to young adolescent poetesses, pale as Ophelia, prim as Florence Nightingale, from college boys in sweaters with hints of Hippie allegiance, to Madison Avenue types in sideburns, straw hats, and a species of pill-taking panache; through decent, mildly fanatic ranks of middle-class professionals—suggestion of vitiated blood in their complexion—to that part of theater and show biz which dependably would take up cause with the cleaner cadres of the Left.
That's from Norman Mailer's "Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968," which I'm reading again, not because the conventions are coming up but because — as you can see from the previous post — I've been thinking about journalism in relation to violent protests. I've been asking for better investigative journalism and thinking about how much the journalism we're seeing today is a devolution of the "new journalism" that Mailer participated in creating. I had a long off-blog conversation this morning about how the article discussed in the previous post compared to Mailer's writing about the riot outside the Democratic convention in 1968 (and how today's riots aspire to attain the reputation of the 1968 riot, which is that it was the police who rioted).

Anyway, that long sentence — which my readability calculator tells me is on the 20.4 grade level — comes from a description of the crowd that had gathered to welcome Eugene McCarthy:
[T]he crowd of 5,000 at Midway waiting for Gene McCarthy were remarkably homogeneous, young for the most part, too young to vote, a disproportionate number of babies in mother’s arms—sly hint of middle-class Left mentality here at work! (The middle-class Left would never learn that workingmen in greasy dungarees make a point of voting against the mother who carries the babe—the righteous face of any such mother reminds them of schoolteachers they used to hate!) 
"Too young to vote" back then meant under 21.

I'm still looking for some high-quality investigative journalism about who is responsible for the violence and disorder accompanying the protests.

On June 22, I wrote,"Why isn't there more reporting in the NYT about who's responsible for the violence and disorder accompanying the protests?" And then 2 days ago, I wrote, "I want to know who is doing the violence! Is it Antifa? Where is the investigative journalism? Are there peaceful protesters who deserve recognition for their dedication to nonviolence, whose cause is undermined by a separate set of people?"

A reader sent me a link to "What You Need To Know About The Battle of Portland" by Robert Evans (at Bellingcat)(July 20, 2020). Let's see if it's what I'm looking for:
I have been in the streets of Portland documenting this movement since the very first riot. Before the national press unleashes a flood of new stories based on their first few hours in town, I’d like to explain what’s been happening: State and Federal law enforcement are at war with the people of Portland....
[On] May 29th, Portland’s first night of large scale protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death... [a]t 10:35 p.m. local time, the crowd at the Justice Center marched off into the streets of downtown Portland and, several minutes later, met up with the crowd from Peninsula Park. Together, both groups marched back to the Justice Center and surrounded it.

At a little before 11 p.m., several dozen protesters began to shatter the windows of the Justice Center. They entered the building, trashing the interior and lighting random fires inside. I watched all this happen from feet away, and it is my opinion that the destruction was unplanned, yet more or less inevitable — you could feel it in the mood of the crowd.
Evans is a first-person observer, but he's not interviewing participants and asking them why they are doing what he's seeing them doing. He is only saying what it felt like to him. We're told the crowd had a "mood" and he purports to be able to read that mood and offers the opinion that what happened was "unplanned" and "more or less inevitable." The next sentence is simply an assertion about the basis for his belief that it was inevitable:

The science musings of Louie Gohmert.

"Instagram has deleted a post by Madonna in which the pop star shared a coronavirus conspiracy theory with her 15 million followers."

"She captioned the video with claims that a vaccine for Covid-19 has 'been found and proven and has been available for months.' She continued: 'They would rather let fear control the people and let the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.'... Pop star Annie Lennox commented on the post: 'This is utter madness!!! I can’t believe that you are endorsing this dangerous quackery. Hopefully your site has been hacked and you’re just about to explain it.' Donald Trump Jr was banned from tweeting for 12 hours after posting the clip later shared by Madonna. Facebook and Twitter have previously removed it, citing it as misinformation."

The Guardian reports.

I don't think Donald Trump Jr claimed there was a vaccine and that it's being hogged for use only by the rich! However bad the underlying video may be, the material added by Madonna is especially cruel. It fits with the larger protest culture, which relentlessly tells people that the world has been engineered to oppress them.

"Hey Siri, play music."

I said into my AirPods. So nonspecific! I was out and about and not in a good position to skip things, but I was also forcing myself to accept whatever it was that I had put into my iPhone music library. I have so many audiobooks, but they're in a different app, so it's only rarely that spoken word comes up when I'm playing the "Music" app randomly. I can tell Siri to skip a track, so it's not as though I'd need to dig the iPhone out of my bag and squint to read it in the sunlight. But I sometimes adopt a discipline of listening to what The Randomness wants from me at any given moment.

Yesterday, it was "Kaddish," written and spoken by Allen Ginsberg, because a CD collection I bought long ago — "Holy Soul Jelly Roll: Poems & Songs" — took up residence in the Music app and not the audiobook app. There's other spoken word in the Music app. In fact, there was one thing I told Siri to skip yesterday — the oral argument in King v. Burwell. I will submit to The Randomness, but only so far. I considered skipping "Kaddish," but, I thought, I can do this. How long can it be? I dug in. It's an hour. (Audio. Text.)

Anyway... that radically changed the nature of my outing. But I stuck it out. Sample text:

Do white women command special care? — I wondered as I got snagged on Jonathan Turley's typo.

I'm reading Turley's blog post about the 2 Madison women who were arrested in the attack on state senator Tim Carpenter.
What is interesting is that the punitive measures are not just criminal charges against the women. [Samantha R. Hamer, 26] is particularly likely to suffer immediate employment consequences as a teacher. She is a specialist in helping kids with “social-emotional needs” and “behavioral issues.”... According to reports, Hamer works as a licensed social worker for the Mount Horeb School District in suburban Madison and [Kerida E. O’Reilly, 33] is a licensed physical therapist in Madison with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy program from Marquette University....

Both women however also fall under licensing authority of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, which will now review their licenses for possible revocation. One issue may be whether the concussion is treated as “serious” or “great” bodily harm under the statute....

Given the serious injury to the senator and the evidence that he did nothing to provoke the assault, this would seem a care almost certain to be handled in a plea agreement if prosecutors are in the bargaining mood....
It's obvious to me now that Turley meant to write, "this would seem a case," but I watched myself in real time getting caught up in the word "care" and trying to understand it. Who knows when a typo is a Freudian slip?
A Freudian slip, also called parapraxis, is an error in speech, memory, or physical action that occurs due to the interference of an unconscious subdued wish or internal train of thought. The concept is part of classical psychoanalysis. Classical examples involve slips of the tongue, but psychoanalytic theory also embraces misreadings, mishearings, mistypings, temporary forgettings, and the mislaying and losing of objects.
Whether Turley was revealing what he really felt or not, his typo made me think about the ideas of caring that could have been flowing about in the mind of the typist. The conscious, scrupulous Turley would not come out and say that these 2 women matter more than other people.

They are educated in the helping professions! They have so much to give! They made an unfortunate decision in a moment of weakness and surely we don't want to deprive society of all they have to give! We need to care about them because they care! They are carers in caring professions! They cared about social justice, so they were out on the street caring with other carers, and, yes, they cared too much in that instant about whether Senator Carpenter might hurt their cause — their caring cause —but in the grand scheme of caring we should care that the carers could be prevented from giving us all the care they embody.

And that's why the slogan is Black Lives Matter.

"House Democrats have been waiting for more than a year to grill Attorney General Bill Barr, a man they’ve accused of all manner of professional misconduct..."

"Today they finally had their chance, as Barr testified, at long last, before the House Judiciary Committee. For Trump and Barr’s toughest critics, however, it was a frustrating experience.... Many of the committee’s senior Democrats chose to use their limited time not to seek answers from Barr but to make speeches. 'Reclaiming my time' quickly became the anthem of the day. 'This is a hearing,' the attorney general complained at one point. 'I thought that I was the one who was supposed to be heard.' The Democrats who did interrogate the attorney general often interrupted him before he could respond, or neglected to follow up when he did.... Frequent viewers of congressional hearings might say, understandably: Well, what did you expect? Hearings have long been venues for grandstanding and partisan bickering as much as oversight."

From "Why the Democrats Can’t Nail Bill Barr/The long-awaited testimony of Trump’s most powerful Cabinet member yielded more venting than questions, and few answers. There’s a reason for that" by Russell Berman (The Atlantic).

That's the best I could come up with as I looked for articles covering yesterday's hearing and mostly noticed the absence of news articles. The top of the NYT homepage is full of items about various longterm ongoing struggles: the coronavirus, the wealthy, Trump. If Our Masks Could Speak, Amazon Has Too Much Power, Trump Is Trying to Bend Reality to His Will. I'm not doing parody. Those are all real headlines at the top of the NYT today. I'm just documenting the absence of coverage of what happened at the Barr hearing and too lazy to make links for things I don't believe are worth clicking on. I'm citing them as evidence of a vacuum.

Scrolling to the lower portion of the NYT homepage, I do find an article: "Barr Clashes With House Democrats, Defending Responses to Protests and Russia Inquiry/The deployment of federal agents to confront protesters and rioters and attacks on the Russia investigation highlighted a contentious hearing." The news is that Barr clashed with Democrats and the hearing was contentious — not that the Democrats clashed with Barr or that anyone in particular was contentious. The Democrats get cover as the squander the opportunity to investigate and appropriate the occasion to make political speeches.

But I'm just judging the headline. Let me be fair to the reporters, Nicholas Fandos and Charlie Savage. From the body of the article:

"People come here for the scenery and beauty of the place but leave red Solo cups at the bottom of the swim hole, and people defecate and pee in the woods and it smells like a latrine after Woodstock."

Said Daryl Legg, the town supervisor of Hunter, New Jersey, quoted in "‘Hidden Gem’ Made Popular by TikTok Is Shut to Keep Out-of-Towners Away/A lake in New Jersey was closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but some complaints about recent crowding there focused on the ethnicity of visitors" (NYT).

Legg was defending his townsfolk from the charge of ethnic animosity that the NYT highlights. More highlighting:
“We have droves of out-of-state Spanish people and they leave their crap lying on the ground,” said Lester Tomson, 58, who regularly fished the stream.

Mr. Tomson, a registered Democrat, is one of a number of people who, on social media and in conversation, have suggested that Immigration and Customs Enforcement should have been called to the park.

“It’s not a racist thing,” he said in an interview. “It’s a thing where you observe things, and your observations are based in facts and not in racism.”
I appreciate that the NYT let us know that Tomson is a Democrat. I had to look it up myself, but Legg is also a Democrat. We are told that the mayor is a Democrat. Here's what she said:
“We are an inclusive community. We are going to be accepting of everybody, regardless of race or faith or who you love,” Mayor [Michele] Lee, a Democrat, said. “We did what we have to do because it was really becoming a safety concern.”

July 28, 2020

At the Tuesday Night Café...


... you can write about whatever you want.

“In the wake of George Floyd’s death, violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests to wreak senseless havoc and destruction on innocent victims.“

“The current situation in Portland is a telling example. Every night for the past two months, a mob of hundreds of rioters has laid siege to the federal courthouse and other nearby federal property. The rioters arrive equipped for a fight, armed with powerful slingshots, tasers, sledgehammers, saws, knives, rifles, and explosive devices. Inside the courthouse are a relatively small number of federal law enforcement personnel charged with a defensive mission: to protect the courthouse, home to Article III federal judges, from being overrun and destroyed.

"There has long been debate about which painting was van Gogh’s last work, because he tended not to date his paintings."

"Many people believe it was 'Wheatfield With Crows,' because Vincente Minnelli’s 1956 biopic 'Lust for Life' depicts van Gogh, played by Kirk Douglas, painting that work as he goes mad, just before killing himself. Andries Bonger, Theo van Gogh’s brother-in-law, who wrote down some of the events surrounding Vincent’s death, noted in a letter, 'The morning before his death, he had painted a forest scene, full of sun and life.' In 2012, the Van Gogh Museum published a paper... arguing that the letter referred to 'Tree Roots,' an unfinished painting in the museum’s collection. That claim has now largely been accepted by scholars. Because of the way light is depicted on the roots, [scholar Wouter] van der Veen says he believes that van Gogh was looking at his subject matter at the end of the afternoon, about 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. He says he thinks this means that van Gogh probably spent the entire day painting. Mr. van der Veen added that the new evidence challenged a theory put forward in 2011 by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith... They argued that van Gogh did not commit suicide, but may have gotten drunk and argued with two young boys, who then accidentally killed him, not far from the Auberge Ravoux.... 'Now that we know he was painting all day, there was even less time for that to happen,' Mr. van der Veen said. Mr. Naifeh responded that it would be impossible to time-stamp a painting based on the angle of the light. 'It’s not a photograph; it’s a painting.... The fact that he went out and painted all day, not just an average painting but a very important painting, indicates that he may not have been depressed... It was otherwise a productive normal day, and that runs counterintuitive to the idea that he might then go and kill himself.'"

DNYUZ reports.

Here's "Tree Roots":

What time of day do you think that looks like? A time that excludes time enough to get into a fatal argument?

How about the mood? Do you think it's more likely that the artist went directly from painting that to ending his own live or to getting into an argument with 2 young boys?

If "Tree Roots" was painted on the day Van Gogh received his gunshot wounds, it increases the likelihood that Van Gogh... free polls

"A masked man who was seen in a viral video smashing the windows of a south Minneapolis auto parts store during the George Floyd protests, earning him the moniker 'Umbrella Man,' is suspected to be a member of the Hell’s Angels biker gang..."

"... seeking to incite racial tension in a demonstration that until then had been peaceful, police said. A Minneapolis police arson investigator said the man’s actions at the AutoZone on East Lake Street set off a chain reaction that led to days of looting and rioting. The building was later burned to the ground.... Police have also connected the 32-year-old man to a widely-publicized incident in Stillwater late last month, in which a Muslim woman was confronted by a group of men wearing white supremacist garb.... Investigators finally caught a break when a tipster e-mailed the Minneapolis Police Department identifying the man as a member of the Hell’s Angels biker gang who 'wanted to sow discord and racial unrest by breaking out the windows and writing ['free (expletive) for everyone zone'] on the double red doors,' the [search warrant] affidavit said. A subsequent investigation revealed that the man was also an associate of the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood, a small white supremacist prison and street gang based primarily in Minnesota and Kentucky."

From "Police: 'Umbrella Man' was a white supremacist trying to incite George Floyd rioting/Police say the suspect has been identified, but no charges had been filed as of Tuesday afternoon" (Minneapolis Star Tribune).

5:47 a.m.


When is it okay to liken human beings to nonhuman animals? I'm seeing "like a cheetah running down an impala on the Serengeti."

It's a column in The Washington Post by Jonathan Capehart, who appears to be a black man, and I'm pretty sure that a white columnist would refrain from animal metaphors and similes when speaking about a black person. But Capehart writes:
Two polls out of South Carolina show that Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R) is the impala to the cheetah that is Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison.
Graham is white, and Harrison is black. Harrison is within 2 percentage points of Graham in the new poll, and Harrison has raised much more money than Graham. But there's nothing else in the story that justifies portraying Graham as a prey animal on a plain in Africa and his challenger as a wild predator. I think if a white columnist called a black politician a "cheetah" there would be hell to pay.

I'm trying to figure out if Chester Cheetah was black. The answer is complicated, but see if  you can tell:

Wikipedia explains (boldface added):

"It's my theory that American society exhibits many pathologies resulting from generations being perfectly aware that, when misfortune strikes, you are on your own."

"In other words we've become acculturated to a weak and stigmatized social safety net. Every situation becomes a zero-sum event. In those circumstances, we have to be wary of every new face, we have to arm ourselves to defend against crimes that we know the police can't prevent, we have to have AR-15s to be ready for the rebellion of the poor and nihilists we see looming just behind the Black Lives Matter protests, we have to protect our property values and our children from incursions of undesirables, and we have to hoard our advantages to meet yet-unimagined contingencies. Paranoia is the central thread of the pathology."

Says a top-rated comment on "The Cult of Selfishness Is Killing America/The right has made irresponsible behavior a key principle" by Paul Krugman (NYT).

Krugman's idea is: "Many on the right are enraged at any suggestion that their actions should take other people’s welfare into account. This rage is sometimes portrayed as love of freedom. But people who insist on the right to pollute are notably unbothered by, say, federal agents tear-gassing peaceful protesters. What they call 'freedom' is actually absence of responsibility. Rational policy in a pandemic, however, is all about taking responsibility.... Just to be clear, I’m not saying that Republicans are selfish. We’d be doing much better if that were all there were to it. The point, instead, is that they’ve sacralized selfishness...."

I looked up "sacralized" in the OED. It's a good word, based on "sacred," but making it clear that human beings have endowed something with sacred significance. Krugman used "sacralized" as a verb (in the past tense), and that's been around since its introduction — in sociological anthropology — since 1899. "Sacralized" as an adjective has been around since 1979, and the OED gives 2 historical examples, the second of which is a little surprising in its disrespect for minority religions:
1986 P. B. Clarke Black Paradise vi. 81 Rastafarians also present a chosen race, along the same lines as the Jews; this, some may argue, is simply a sacralized form of racism.
If Republicans have sacralized selfishness, what have Democrats sacralized?

"I don't think [Madison public school] teachers are qualified to give online instruction, and my experience in the spring would confirm that."

Said a man identified only as Mike, who "was initially considering forming a learning pod with a small group of neighbors and hiring a teacher to help with virtual learning" but is now "renting a house in Columbia County where he can send his children to in-person classes before returning to Madison next June."

Quoted in "Expert cautions learning pods could worsen Madison's achievement gap" (Wisconsin State Journal).

You can see from the headline that public school officials and proponents are worried about the least-privileged children falling behind, but every parent is going to be most concerned about his or her own children, and this isn't even a situation where taking less for your child will leave more for someone else's child. Why would anyone be deterred from setting up a learning pod for the benefit of their own child? What good could it do to hold more children back?

How privileged are learning pods anyway? What if someone with almost no money to spend wanted a great learning pod for his or her child? How is that done? Googling, I did not find it easy to see how to set up a learning pod without spending much money. I assume the experts in education want to keep people focused on public schools, not on showing that it's easy to set up an alternative.

The schools themselves are working on their alternative — on line instruction by public school teachers. But if you've got parents like Mike who are seriously unsatisfied with that option, then I would expect the "learning pods" alternative to be something the public school proponents would want to make hard to figure out.

But if it's hard to figure out, then the least privileged families — the ones the experts are supposedly so concerned about — will be impaired in doing what they might be able to do on their own to close the achievement gap. The experts are working hard to drive home the message that you can't do it, that your kids are losing out, that you need the public schools, and that those other people over there — the privileged people — are taking advantage again and their advantage is your disadvantage.

IN THE COMMENTS: ellie said:
I am a homeschool mom who normally utilizes a cooperative. We cannot meet in our building this year due to covid. I've set up a "pod" in my home. It was easy. All the moms got together and talked over what our kids needed for the year, then we divided the classes. Each mom took what they were good at or could reasonably handle. No money involved at all for us. We set a schedule for 2 days a week, and the other days, work is assigned for home.

"In March, Idaho became the first state in the country to bar transgender girls... from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity...."

"More than a dozen states have recently introduced legislation to ban transgender athletes from competition, including in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio and Tennessee, where lawmakers have argued that transgender athletes are gaining an unfair advantage in sports at all levels at the expense of cisgender girls and women.... Two civil rights groups, the American Civil Liberties Union and Legal Voice, along with a private law firm, have filed a federal lawsuit against the state... arguing that HB 500 violates the constitution and Title IX.... 'I just want the chance to run,' [Lindsay] Hecox said. 'I don’t want to be taking titles or spots away from cis girls. So this lawsuit, if we win, it will just be saying: I am a girl, I get to compete on these teams, and it shows that trans individuals get equal opportunities of the cis people.' The new Idaho law is at odds with NCAA policy, which requires one year of hormone treatment to compete on a female team.... 'I definitely feel honored to be a potential trailblazer for my community. If I win the case, it legitimizes the ultimate fact that I’m no different than a cisgender girl,' [Hecox] said. 'I should still be able to compete on the team. It would make me feel that society is valuing me as a member.'"

From "As transgender rights debate spills into sports, one runner finds herself at the center of a pivotal case" (WaPo).

The highest-rated comment at WaPo:
The science is proven - anyone who goes through male puberty has a significant advantage due to bone and muscle size, strength and structure. No amount of hormone use will change that. Use whatever bathroom you like, but it's just not fair for a male bodied person to compete against female bodied persons.
Another highly rated comment:
If you’re really trying to argue that males don’t have a strength and speed advantage over females, then you’re not going to be taken seriously. This is Trump-level denial of the obvious. Give it up, you only make the movement for transgender rights look bad and jeopardize all of its reasonable goals.
And there's this from someone who begins with a quote from the article:

"Whose story is being told with this monument? The hierarchy is very evident. White commander out front; Black soldiers in the background. It’s the first thing you see...."

"It’s not enough to just see the piece. You have to go deeper. There’s so much not told, but the monument is so moving that it can lead you to those things, if you’re curious."

Said L’Merchie Frazier, the education director at the nearby Museum of African American History in Boston, quoted in "Black soldiers monument faces scrutiny amid racial reckoning/Amid the national reckoning on racism, an unlikely monument is facing scrutiny: a Boston memorial to a famed Civil War unit made up of Black soldiers." The monument in question is the beautiful bas relief by Augustus Saint-Gaudens that depicts the story that many of us know from the movie "Glory."
The work, which sits across from the Massachusetts Statehouse, has been vandalized over the years, mostly by people snapping off Shaw’s broadsword. But during the unrest that followed Floyd’s killing in May, the monument was tagged with anti-police slogans, expletives and other graffiti, along with about a dozen others in and around the Common.

Kevin Peterson, founder of the New Democracy Coalition that’s calling on Boston to rename Faneuil Hall after Crispus Attucks, said the Shaw monument should be moved to a museum because it casts Blacks as “subservient” to whites.

Similar complaints have prompted the removal of other ostensibly well-meaning monuments in recent weeks, including a statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and a statue of Abraham Lincoln depicting a freed slave kneeling at his feet in Boston.

July 27, 2020

At the Monday Night Café...


... you can write about whatever you like.

"Police arrested two women Monday accused of beating a state senator as he tried to take video of a crowd that had torn down statues during a protest over racial injustice...."

"Police arrested Samantha R. Hamer, 26, and Kerida E. O'Reilly, 33, on suspicion of being parties to the crimes of substantial battery and robbery with use of force. They were both in custody Monday night, according to online records from the Dane County jail. The attacks occurred on a chaotic night in Madison in which a Molotov cocktail was hurled into a government office and two statues on the Capitol grounds were torn down. One was of Col. Hans Christian Heg, an abolitionist who died in the Civil War fighting to end slavery. The other is named after the state's motto, 'Forward.' At one point in the night, Carpenter came upon the crowd and began filming. People in the crowd rushed him and knocked his phone out of his hand. He fell to the ground after he was punched and about 10 people hit and kicked him, one witness told police. Stunned, Carpenter told them he was an ally and had long fought for the kinds of policies they were seeking."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Mug shots at the link.

"Madison police union approves vote of no confidence in Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway."

The Wisconsin State Journal reports.
Saying they were "misled" before endorsing Satya Rhodes-Conway in last year's election, the Madison police union on Monday announced members had approved a vote of no confidence in the progressive first-term mayor just as the city is roiled by the fallout from the death of George Floyd and COVID-19, as well as a sharp uptick in gun violence....

Her "unhealthy portrayal" of police creates an "us versus them" dichotomy, the union said in a statement... "We would never ask the mayor to ignore our inadequacies," the union says. "In fact, we call for a leader who is committed to rolling up her sleeves, diving in and working with us on systematic improvements rather than separating herself from us and further dividing our community."...

There is also an effort underway — led by a former Republican candidate — to recall [the mayor]...

5:46 a.m.



I had to look up Antonio Sabato Jr:
Antonio Sabàto Jr. (born February 29, 1972) is an Italian-American former model, actor, and politician. Sabàto first found fame in the 1990s as an underwear model for Calvin Klein and playing Jagger Cates on the soap opera General Hospital from 1992 to 1995. By the early 2000s, most of his acting credits were guest appearances, reality television, and budget films.
So... he's basically Joey Tribbiani?

"Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne is highlighting his identity as a Black man and his family’s roots in the Civil Rights Movement after protesters came to his house..."

"... for the second time in a month Saturday, this time demanding that charges be dropped against two Black men and calling Ozanne a racist. Ozanne said Sunday that scores of protesters with speakers, generators and a bullhorn showed up around 7:30 p.m. Saturday and stayed for about six hours blasting music, shouting profanity, chanting slogans, and calling him and even his family a racist.... Ozanne said the group at his home Saturday has not asked to meet with him, which is something he’s willing to do, just not at his Near West Side home outside of work hours. 'I don’t know if this group is realistic about meeting me,' he said in an interview Sunday night, but in his statement said he’s willing to speak with protesters about how to reduce incarceration, address the root causes of crime, reduce shootings and other issues. He said much of what protesters want, his office and other county officials are already doing or trying to do, including focusing on diversion programs rather than incarceration and reducing prosecutions for nonviolent misdemeanors. With activists questioning the cash bail system or claiming people are being held in jail simply because they can’t make small bond amounts, Ozanne said, 'we release about 82% of people on signature bonds.' He also pointed to training his office has received in racial disparities in the criminal justice system — a topic he said he requires prospective employees to address in their cover letters and interviews."

From "Faced with late-night protest at his home, DA Ismael Ozanne says he won't be intimidated" (Wisconsin State Journal).

He said much of what protesters want, his office and other county officials are already doing or trying to do — It's never enough!

Here's the press release from Ozanne. Excerpt:
When you talk about the need for a criminal justice system that understands the impact of racism, I hear you. When you talk about the need for change so that people of color are treated equitably, I hear you. When you chant, “Fuck Ozanne,” outside my house until 1:00 a.m. in the morning, I hear you. When you call me a racist until 1:00 a.m. and blast music outside my house, I hear you. Do you know who else heard you? My family who was at home with me, including my children. They also heard you tell them that my whole family was racist. One of my daughters turned to me and asked why you chose to come to our house to make her feel unsafe, when you claim that you want everyone to feel safe.

How old is thought? I don't know. Maybe thought is so old, it's dying out.

It sometimes seems that way. Here's a headline on the front page of WaPo:

Click through and you get a headline that has one more word — "Ancient teeth show history of epidemics is much older than we thought" — a mere 2-letters without which you have a ludicrous second meaning.

From the article, presumably a worthy article by a man who surely didn't write the front-page teaser:
Scientists and archaeologists now believe... that the plague bacteria, which caused the medieval Black Death that killed up to half of Europe’s population, infected humans roughly 5,000 years ago in the Stone Age. The bacteria, after it had entered the bloodstream and likely killed the host, circulated into the pulp chamber of teeth, which kept its DNA insulated from millennia of environmental wear and tear. In the past decade, scientists have been able to extract and analyze that DNA. The Stone Age plague was, however, an ancestor with a slightly different genetic identity....

Maskless Nadler says the violence from Antifa in Portland is a myth.

I can't tell what he's calling a myth — maybe only the role of Antifa — but he sure scurried out of there. Did not want to discuss any details.

He calls it "a myth spread that's being spread only in Washington D.C." That's plainly untrue.

IN THE COMMENTS: Earnest Prole said:
A month ago you were saying it was “horrible” to hold Antifa responsible for the violence and disorder accompanying the protests, and now you’re mocking Jerry Nadler?
I appreciate that he provided a link to my June 22nd post, but let's take a close look at exactly what I said, because there is absolutely no contradiction. It begins with a quote from the WaPo "Fact Checker":
"There has not yet been a single confirmed case in which someone who self-identifies as antifa led violent acts at any of the protests across the country. The president and his administration have placed an outsize burden of blame on antifa, without waiting for arrest data and completed investigations. This is not the first time Trump has pointed to antifa as a shadowy nemesis. But the misinformation created by his continued insistence of antifa’s involvement has led to more chaos and violence in an already turbulent moment. As always, the burden of proof rests with the speaker — and the administration has provided no evidence, only assertions that it has evidence. Trump earns Four Pinocchios."

Write Meg Kelly and Elyse Samuels at the Washington Post "Fact Checker," addressing the many statements by Trump that the Black Lives Matter protests involve antifa.
I go on to connect that to the recent problem at the NYT and quote an earlier post of mine:
This, by the way, was also the problem the NYT had with the Tom Cotton op-ed. As I said when the NYT first expressed regret for publishing the piece:
A particular problem with Cotton's piece was that it said "left-wing radicals like antifa infiltrating protest marches to exploit Floyd’s death for their own anarchic purposes," but the NYT has not yet reported that the violent element was antifa. Its news story on June 1 had said "conservative commentators are asserting with little evidence that antifa, the far-left anti-fascism activist movement coordinates the riots and looting."

Whether Cotton was right or wrong about the facts, there is a problem with factual assertions in op-eds. I've written op-eds for the NYT, and it was with a very short deadline and I was trusted to get the facts in order. I don't know how much the Times intends to change its process, but I assume it wants and needs to have some distance between itself and the writers it brings in from the outside to give a hot take on a breaking controversial story.
I added: "Why isn't there more reporting in the NYT about who's responsible for the violence and disorder accompanying the protests?"

I'm mildly glad to see the WaPo Fact Checker addressing this topic, but it's pathetic that this basic level of journalistic inquiry is coming so late. It is, however, horrible that Trump (and Cotton) have spread this meme. Maybe they are right and the Fact Checker is wrong, but it's not enough to luck out in the end and have said something that turns out to be the truth. We should care about the truth for the sake of truth and care about it all along. There's so little of that these days.
You see my use of the word "horrible." Earnest Prole wrongly paraphrased me as saying "it was 'horrible' to hold Antifa responsible." I clearly said that I didn't know one way or the other and I wanted the journalists and the politicians to focus on getting the facts. It's not horrible to hold Antifa responsible if Antifa is responsible.

In this post today, I said "I can't tell what [Nadler is] calling a myth — maybe only the role of Antifa...." I'm still showing you that I don't know who is doing the violence. The interview in the clip is cut off. I'd like to see the whole thing. Is Nadler denying that there is violence in Portland? It's very weird to say that, so I'm inclined to guess that he was only saying that it's a myth to say it's Antifa. Now, he's still plainly wrong — as I said above — to say that it's only in Washington that people are saying the violent element in the protests is Antifa.

So I'm completely consistent with my June 22nd statement. I want to know who is doing the violence! Is it Antifa? Where is the investigative journalism? Are there peaceful protesters who deserve recognition for their dedication to nonviolence, whose cause is undermined by a separate set of people? I still don't know. I would like Nadler to issue a clear statement telling us what he knows and what he believes is going on.

Is "Antifa" a useful word or concept? Is it a shibboleth of the right?

July 26, 2020

5:22, 5:39, 5:40, 5:41, 5:42.






The last photograph was taken at the exact time of the "actual" sunrise.

"I would like respect for difficult work, well done."

Said Olivia de Havilland.

Joe Rogan explains why he's leaving L.A. and relocating in Texas.

Key reason for rejecting L.A.: "too many people."

"By 2070, the kind of extremely hot zones, like in the Sahara, that now cover less than 1 percent of the earth’s land surface could cover nearly a fifth of the land..."

"... potentially placing one of every three people alive outside the climate niche where humans have thrived for thousands of years. Many will dig in, suffering through heat, hunger and political chaos, but others will be forced to move on.... People are already beginning to flee.... Should the flight away from hot climates reach the scale that current research suggests is likely, it will amount to a vast remapping of the world’s populations. Migration can bring great opportunity not just to migrants but also to the places they go. As the United States and other parts of the global North face a demographic decline, for instance, an injection of new people into an aging work force could be to everyone’s benefit. But securing these benefits starts with a choice: Northern nations can relieve pressures on the fastest-warming countries by allowing more migrants to move north across their borders, or they can seal themselves off, trapping hundreds of millions of people in places that are increasingly unlivable. The best outcome requires not only good will and the careful management of turbulent political forces; without preparation and planning, the sweeping scale of change could prove wildly destabilizing."

From "The Great Climate Migration" (NYT).

"In the Trumpian worldview — one certainly shared by other real estate developers — cities are not configured of neighborhoods and ecosystems..."

"... and a broad constellation of creative aspirations and complexities; they are sales shelves from which to market luxury apartments, ultimately occupied by people who don’t deeply embed in them so much as pass through. It is a notion largely out of step with how the world has evolved. The country has become increasingly urban. Between 2010 and 2013, according to the census, eight new cities were created in the South, three of them in Texas alone. Cities are home to nearly two-thirds of the population in this country. Do the people living in them want men in camouflage or better schools?"

So ends the NYT column "Why the Big City President Made Cities the Enemy/Donald Trump — a lifelong New Yorker — declares war on urban America" by Gina Bellafante.

What is this war? It's his criticism of the Democrats who run the big American cities without controlling the violence. He's "portraying metropolitan life as an unsafe, ugly dystopia, when the real hazard was a lacquered prosperity that continues to put it out of reach to so many working people."

I'm seeing a political dispute in which both sides claim to be the true champion the little people.

"SLEDHEAD/Sledding Athletes Are Taking Their Lives/Did Brain-Rattling Rides and High-Speed Crashes Damage Their Brains?"

The NYT asks.
On Feb. 22, 2013, [skeleton athlete named Alexis] Morris attached an accelerometer to his helmet, then launched his body down a 1,500-meter track at the sliding center in Whistler, British Columbia, which is considered the fastest track in the world and was a venue for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The run was routine, with speeds of 70 to 80 miles per hour and gravitational acceleration forces, or g-forces, as they are referred to, mostly five to 10 times what a person feels walking down the street. But in many of the twisting corners, the g-forces spiked, as high as 84.5 g in Turn 16, as his neck tired and his helmet ground on the ice, undergoing a series of fierce rattles, if only for a few milliseconds.

“You are in a straightaway, and your head is off the ice, and then the g-force sends your face slamming into the ice,” he said. “It’s a real problem.”...

"I’m careful [not] to over-acknowledge people just reading books by black people....I don’t think it should be a revolutionary act. It’s something people should have been doing for a long time."

Said Jazzi McGilbert, owner of Reparations Club in Los Angeles, quoted in "Demand for anti-racist literature is up/These black bookstore owners hope it lasts/Library and book sales data show how interest in anti-racist
and social justice titles exploded after George Floyd’s death"

I love the word "over-acknowledge."

The Reparations Club is a store in L.A. Here's its website and here's a NYT article about it, "Buying Black, Rebooted/In the newest iteration of the Buy Black movement, entrepreneurs are creating marketplaces that pool black-owned brands in one space":

"We support everyone’s First Amendment right for free speech and to gather and assemble in such a way. But what we saw today was not peaceful."

"It was not a peaceful demonstration at all, and criminal acts were occurring throughout the city, and many people were at risk." Said the Seattle police chief, Carmen Best, quoted in "Fires and Pepper Spray in Seattle as Police Protests Widen Across U.S." (NYT)(the same article linked in the last post).

"Portland is leading. They’re showing what it looks like to stay in the streets despite police oppression, despite the federal forces being sent in. This kind of energy is actually what’s needed."

Said Chantelle Hershberger, "an organizer with Refuse Fascism who was part of the Los Angeles activists protesting the presence of federal agents in Portland, where city officials have opposed the presence of the federal officers," quoted in "Fires and Pepper Spray in Seattle as Police Protests Widen Across U.S./From Los Angeles to New York, protesters marched in a show of solidarity with demonstrations in Portland, Ore. In Seattle, they smashed windows and set fires. A shooting at a protest in Austin, Texas, left one man dead" (NYT).

The protests are hitting the top of the front page of the NYT again, and you can see why.

ADDED: I had trouble reading "part of the Los Angeles activists protesting the presence of federal agents in Portland." I thought it meant that L.A. activists had traveled to Portland to protest. It took me a while to notice that it could mean activists were protesting in L.A. about what was going on in Portland. I had to root around in the article for other mentions of Los Angeles to try to puzzle out what Chantelle Hershberger was up to. Was she the sort of organizer who crosses state lines to participate in disorder going on in a place that's not her home or someone who stays in her home town and protests about what's happening elsewhere? It matters! Especially when we're talking about the proper role of the federal government.

Now that everyone's stuck at home and doing meetings through video cameras, there's the idea that it's a good time to sell men on wearing makeup.

I'm reading "Maybe he’s born with it, maybe it helps with video calls: Makeup for men finds a niche/How a new cosmetics brand is capitalizing on changing gender norms and the desire to look Zoom-ready" (WaPo). The tone is soppily uncritical, because of course, they want makeup companies to advertise. We hear about a new company, Stryx, that has makeup for men.
Discretion is a key part of the messaging, a spinoff of the classic no-makeup makeup look, and Stryx hopes changing ideas about masculinity will move the idea into the mainstream....

Chanel launched a men’s makeup collection that hit the U.S. market in 2019, offering foundation, an eyebrow pencil, lip balm, and a cleanser and moisturizer set for a “natural look.”... And a number of mainstream cosmetic labels have adopted gender-neutral marketing. But Stryx sees itself as something original, a brand made specifically for men from the ground up....

Some say the shift reflects changing attitudes toward masculinity and expression. Other see it as a new market to capitalize on, fueled by Instagram and a barrage of Zoom meetings....
From the comments:
Men's makeup. Also known as makeup. It's the spear counterpart to "vodka... for women" also known as vodka. Or "BIC pens... for women!" also known as pens.
Oh, yeah. Just recently WaPo made fun of a new vodka for women: "Bacardi targeted women with its new reduced-alcohol vodkas. It went over as well as you’d expect."
Susan Dobscha, a professor of marketing at Bentley University, says the brand missed the mark on multiple levels.

First, she notes, modern beverage companies don’t need to market by gender anymore — after all, White Claw hard seltzer became a market-dominating hit by eschewing the old stereotypes of bros guzzling brews and ladies sipping white wines. “You don’t have to rely on these sexist tropes to be successful in this product category,” she says. “Bacardi went the total opposite and decided to go full on girly. Where did they get that intel?”

The move seems to have put the products in league with widely mocked Bic “For Her” pens, Doritos lady-friendly chips, and Johnny Walker’s “Jane Walker” scotch logo.
All the links go to other WaPo articles.

Actually, it's easy to defend WaPo. It's consistent. The "for women" products are carrying forward the traditional stereotype, and the "for men" makeup is defying the traditional stereotype. If the company is centering its product on the old stereotype, boo. If the product is helping people overcome the stereotype, yay. That makes more sense of WaPo's treatment of new products than what I wrote in the first paragraph of this post. If they were really only about coddling advertisers, they wouldn't have mocked Barcardi, Bic, Doritos, and Johnny Walker.

Imitating Trump isn't something new for Sarah Cooper — "I've been making fun of BS from sleazy business guys my entire life."

Sarah Cooper — know for her visual comedy lip-synching snippets of Trump — explains her larger agenda and its origin in her real-world experiences observing people in business meetings.

She has 2 books that pre-date her sudden rise to comedy fame: "100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings: How to Get By Without Even Trying" and "How to Be Successful without Hurting Men's Feelings: Non-threatening Leadership Strategies for Women."

ADDED: From the Wikipedia article on Sarah Cooper, I clicked to a NYT interview with Jerry Seinfeld from last May:
Are [your teenage children] helping introduce you to new technology and social media?

Oh, no. I’m curious, very briefly. “What’s TikTok?” I look at it. “OK, I got it.” The thing that I enjoy the most is debating with them about why that’s not funny and why this is funny. I retweeted this video that this comedian Sarah Cooper did. She took the voice of Trump talking about injecting yourself with disinfectant and just acted it out. I said, “The reason this is funny is because she doesn’t think she’s being funny. When you think you’re being funny, that’s less funny for us as the audience. When you’re being dead serious, that’s funnier.” You don’t see her enjoying what she’s doing — she’s doing it because she has to do it. That’s what’s funny. They got it, they understood it. Those are the kinds of conversations I love to get into with them.
Interesting, but could he really have meant to say "The reason this is funny is because she doesn’t think she’s being funny"? It's got to be something more like The reason this is funny is because she doesn’t look like she thinks she’s being funny. She's a comedian! Of course she thinks she's being funny! I'm going to assume Seinfeld thinks he's being funny but just doesn't look like he thinks he is. In that interview. When he's on stage, doing his act, he always looks like he thinks he's being funny. That's his style of comedy — very old school, and he admits it (listen to his interview with Marc Maron, here).