November 6, 2021

Sunrise, 7:41.

IMG_8087 2

"Many had run over to collect fuel... Anything spilled was viewed as wasteful in the wreck that didn’t seem dangerous until it burst into flames."

From in "Fuel tanker [truck] explosion kills over 90 in Sierra Leone" (WaPo).
Similar tanker blasts have killed hundreds of people across African countries in recent years — usually involving victims trying to bottle the leaking fuel.
One witness said, "There are dead bodies all around... There are people screaming, people burning alive... The firefighters came, but there was nothing they could do by then... The blaze was so much. There was nothing they could do to contain the inferno.”

"In my broadly shared dread that Republicans will nominate you-know-who yet again, I sometimes postulate desperately that..."

"... maybe we’ll all be saved by a deus ex machina, and the previous poser in the White House will be struck by some debilitating ailment. I’d settle for incurable laryngitis. Or maybe the guy could break out in hard, goitrous globules of insoluble lard. After all, when the supermodel Linda Evangelista had this adverse reaction to a fat-freezing procedure, she became a shut-in! ... I’m not the first to suppose that Biden... might serve only one term. Nor am I the only one who considers America’s vice-president an incompetent dolt who harbours no genuine political convictions, emits a compulsive, mirthless cackle under stress and only achieved her office by dint of sex, ethnicity and race.... Maybe something will indeed come out of left field, and I won’t have to face it. But right now I’m looking in wide-eyed horror at Kamala vs the Donald in 2024, as if standing mid-motorway with the two headlights of an HGV barrelling towards me and not being able to move."

From "Brace yourselves for Kamala Harris vs Donald Trump 2024" by Lionel Shriver (The Spectator).

"Knowing what we know now..."

What we know now: "8 dead, hundreds injured at Astroworld fest Friday night, hours after stampede" (ABC 13)("The worst of the incident began around 9:15 p.m. when the crowd of approximately 50,000 concert-goers began to move toward the front of the stage.... 'The crowd began to compress toward the front of the stage, and people began to panic'").

I'm reading about the song "Na Na Hey Hey" this morning because Republican taunted Democrats with it in the House last night.

As noted in the first post of the day, where I quoted Politico:
[A] rowdy group of Republicans taunted Democrats by singing across the chamber floor a lyric synonymous with schoolyard defeat: "Na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye." Democrats had mocked Republicans with the same chant in 2017, a year before the GOP lost the House after failing to repeal Obamacare....
Here's the 2017 WaPo obituary for one of the song's co-writers:

The song was last in the news in May when Democrats sang it to House Republicans, waving goodbye to them after they passed the American Health Care Act, the replacement for Obamacare.

As its use by the Democrats suggested, it wasn’t a friendly goodbye but a taunt. It was a “you’re outta here,” “you’re finished” kind of goodbye.

For Gary DeCarlo, one of the song’s co-writers, the revival in Congress was a sweet moment. Confined to a hospice with lung cancer and forgotten over the years, reporters called him up. He was thrilled  when the Democrats sang his song, he said, not for partisan reasons but because “it’s exposure”....

It was considered a throwaway song, and it was only a B-side, and the "na na" stuff was padding to make the song long enough.

But in 1977, as legend has it, the organist for the Chicago White Sox, Nancy Faust, started playing it when opposing pitchers were yanked from the game. The crowds began to chant along with the music — and a great taunt was born.

Today's Politico article calls it "a lyric synonymous with schoolyard defeat," but I think that's mixing it up with the very old schoolyard taunt "na na na na na." That's not the same thing. "Na na na na na na hey hey hey" is from that old Steam b-side, and it became a taunt in stadiums, not schoolyards. We're talking about adults choosing to be assholes toward losers. 

Which sounds Trumpian, doesn't it? But the taunt was conspicuously used against Trump:

I'm giving this post my civility bullshit tag, because the taunt is distinctly not civil, but who in politics has the credibility to decry the incivility? 

"It’s lovely being part of being part of this big blob of humans."

Said Hermione Spriggs, 33, quoted in "Tens of thousands expected at climate justice march" (WaP).

"The Women of the Wall have been holding their monthly prayers and clashing with their opponents at the Western Wall for over three decades but..."

"...the confrontations have taken on a wider significance recently as part of the political battle in Israel between the right-wing alliance of the former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is now in opposition, and the diverse coalition supporting Naftali Bennett’s government. Five years ago Bennett, then a minister in the Netanyahu government, brokered an agreement among Jewish groups under which the prayers at the main Western Wall plaza would continue to be held under the strictly Orthodox segregated rules while 'egalitarian' groups would be allowed to hold non-segregated services in an enclosure by the southernmost point of the ancient wall, built around the Jewish Temple 2,000 years ago by King Herod. However, the ultra-Orthodox parties that had accepted the compromise pulled out when their involvement was publicised and have since adamantly opposed any concessions to the non-Orthodox groups they accuse of 'desecrating' the holy site."

From "Clashes over women’s right to pray at Wall in Jerusalem" (London Times).

Occasionally the quote of the day comes from my Congressman, and that means something to me.

It's this, from Mark Pocan: "The whole day was a clusterfuck, right?"

Full quote: "The whole day was a clusterfuck, right? At the end of the day what we all want to do is get the president’s agenda done, and that’s what we’re going to do."

Quoted in "'Whole day was a clusterf---': Dems overcome distrust to send infrastructure bill to Biden/Democratic centrists and progressives reached a detente that cleared the $550 billion bipartisan legislation late Friday night and advanced their social spending package" (Politico)l

Why was the whole day a clusterfuck?

In the end, Pelosi only lost six Democrats on the infrastructure vote, all progressives.

Pocan is one of the progressives, and we're told that "helped negotiate the rapprochement with the moderates."

Thirteen Republicans voted in favor, giving Democrats more wiggle room on the floor.

The successful vote followed hours of painstaking negotiation between moderates and progressives that yielded a statement from caucus centrists committing to the party-line social safety net bill, if cost estimates met their projections. But the caveat in that centrist statement underscored the fragility of the underlying accord — House moderates are now staking their votes on an independent budget analysis that may take weeks to produce....

Despite the uncertainty, the centrists’ statement represents a significant detente between the Democratic caucus' two warring factions after months of ideological sparring that threatened to take Biden to the mat too -- despite Democrats having full control of Washington.

In a sign of how much trust has eroded, Congressional Progressive Caucus leader Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash) asked each of the centrists who signed the statement to look her in the eye as they committed both publicly and privately to vote for the broader spending deal after they’ve seen cost estimates, according to multiple Democrats familiar with the exchange.

She's just laying the groundwork for future rhetoric containing the phrase, "You looked me in the eye and...." I presume. I don't believe she could think politicians are the kind of people whose eyes betray them when they are lying.

Jayapal later addressed reporters outside on a wintry night...

The low temperature yesterday was 34° and we're in the middle of the fall, 7 weeks away from the winter solstice, so it's pretty silly to bring the weather into this melodramatic report. Now, I'm questioning what the standard is for "clusterfuck." I'm sure a Wisconsinite like Pocan wouldn't call that night "wintry," but what's the Wisconsin standard for "clusterfuck"? Legislators fleeing the territory while the capitol building is under seige?

Back to the Politico article:

While it’s all but certain the House will have to reckon with the social spending bill again after the Senate, Democratic leaders hope the deal Friday brings an end to their party's months-long internal standoff, which caused a string of embarrassments for leadership including two high-profile abandonments of votes after Biden visits to the Capitol.

By the time lawmakers gathered to vote around 10 p.m., tempers were running high as the House stood in recess while Democratic leaders worked to wrangle the few remaining progressive holdouts.

Rep. Brian Mast (D-Fla.) aggressively heckled Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), shouting about a provision in a Democratic bill to hire more IRS enforcement. "You're an idiot," Carbajal shouted back at him as he walked away.

Before that a rowdy group of Republicans taunted Democrats by singing across the chamber floor a lyric synonymous with schoolyard defeat: "Na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye." Democrats had mocked Republicans with the same chant in 2017, a year before the GOP lost the House after failing to repeal Obamacare....

November 5, 2021

November foliage at sunrise today.




"People Tied to Project Veritas Scrutinized in Theft of Diary From Biden’s Daughter/The F.B.I. carried out search warrants in New York as part of a Justice Department investigation into how pages from Ashley Biden’s journal came to be published by a right wing website."

The NYT reports. 

This causes National File — the place that published the entire diary last year— to write: "BOMBSHELL: New York Times, FBI Confirm Legitimacy of Ashley Biden Diary Published by National File."
While the vast majority of the media ignored the bombshell revelations, perhaps dismissing their verifiability, The New York Times on Friday reported that the FBI had engaged in two raids on addresses as part of an investigation into how Ashley Biden’s diary was obtained.

The NYT doesn't talk about what is in the purported diary, but it refers to the diary as if it is established that they diary is really Ashley Biden's diary. And of course, if it wasn't really Ashley Biden's diary then how could the FBI have gotten the search warrant?

You can still read that diary and find links to it at that second link, but I don't know if I'd recommend doing that. It's a personal diary. I think the worst thing about Joe Biden is a statement of a memory of taking a shower with him that was "probably not appropriate."  

Here's James O'Keefe on "FBI and Southern District of New York Raid Project Veritas Journalists’ Homes."

"[Hunter] Biden has described his art as 'literally keeping me sane,' and more than one painting here features text..."

"... detailing his addiction and recovery. ('He began to write a new story,' reads the trippy self-portrait.) The painting of the bald figure bears a citation of the pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides. Mr. Biden has scrawled these quotes, curiously, in a gold paint marker, the sort of craft-shop instrument beloved of scrapbookers. The gold marker recurs throughout this show, outlining bare trees and mountain ridges, rounded Gaelic characters, and quite a few snakes, some of which appear to have been done with a stencil. The snakes may have some personal significance, molting and rebirth and all that; the symbology may also, more than anything, just suggest being a dude. All of this feels rather random, rather personal, rather ingenuous."

From "Hunter Biden: Emotionally Honest, Generically Smooth/The president’s son has turned to art as a career. 'The Journey Home' is his first solo exhibition" by Jason Farago (NYT).

A look into how people talk at Microsoft.

"I believe strongly in bodily autonomy and the ability to make choices for your body, not to have to acquiesce to some woke culture or crazed group of individuals who say you have to do something."

"Health is not a one-size-fits-all for everybody. And for me, it involved a lot of study in the offseason. … I put a lot of time and energy researching this and met with a lot of people to get the most information about the vaccines before I made my decision." 

Said Aaron Rodgers, quoted in "Aaron Rodgers lashes out against NFL, ‘woke mob’ in defense of vaccination status" (WaPo). Or watch him making the statements on the Pat McAfee Show here.

He also says that he's getting advice from his "now good friend" Joe Rogan and that the NFL’s coronavirus protocols are "not based on science but on a more shame-based environment."

At the end of my sunrise run this morning, I encounter sandhill cranes in my path.

"The problem is here they want... White supremacy by ventriloquist effect. There is a Black mouth moving but a White idea through the running on the runway of the tongue..."

"... of a figure who justifies and legitimates the White supremacist practices. We know that we can internalize in our own minds, in our own subconscious, in our own bodies the very principles that are undoing us. So to have a Black face speaking in behalf of a White supremacist legacy is nothing new. And it is to the chagrin of those of us who study race that the White folk on the other side and the right wingers the other side don’t understand."

Do you know when you are speaking your own true thoughts and are not channeling someone's else's? Are you sure? Do you know when somebody else is speaking their own true thoughts and are not channeling someone's else's? I could see being eternally skeptical about whether anyone is ever truly speaking their own mind, 100% originality, but I'm just going to be skeptical of the people who choose to pronounce some and only some people to be the puppets of others. The selective puppet accusation itself might be channeling what somebody else is launching off the runway of your tongue.

When puppet accusations fly, I feel compelled — by my own true motivation of the heart — to post this video clip:


ADDED: Video of Dyson:

"Helpfully, the fashion for ladies to wear white gloves during the tea service and even bleach their hands porcelain-white with arsenic also increased demand for black-basalt teaware, as the darkness of the basalt highlighted the cleanliness of the hostesses’ wardrobe or the purity of their genealogy."

Writes Tristram Hunt, in “The Radical Potter," quoted in "A Transporting and Cozy Biography of a Pottery Pioneer" (NYT).

"11 states sue the Biden administration over its vaccination mandate for large companies."

 The NYT reports.

“This mandate is unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise,” the court filing says. Attorney General Eric Schmitt of Missouri led the group that brought the lawsuit, which was joined by private and nonprofit groups....

"I may be skeptical of the metaverse but I’m way more skeptical of the singularity. The singularity imagines a world in which our consciousness can transcend our bodies..."

"... where the virtual world of the metaverse would be the collective space our disembodied consciousness inhabits. Every few years, someone writes a book assuring us that the rate of technological change is so high that computers will increase beyond the complexity of the human brain and either we will be uploadable into the Matrix or machine intelligence will so outpace human intelligence that the machines will be where it’s at. I’m skeptical because human bodies are hard. I’ve been a Type 1 diabetic for more than 35 years. Get me a functional mechanical pancreas that can actually manage my chronic disease as well as I manage it with insulin shots and then maybe we can talk about uploading my consciousness into silicon."

Said Ethan Zuckerman, an associate professor of public policy, quoted in "Is Meta’s Facial Recognition Retreat Another Head Fake?" (NYT).

That reminds me... I've been reading Jonathan Franzen's new book, "Crossroads," and I encountered the word "metempsychosis." A 15-year-old boy — we've been told and shown that he's a genius — is watching his younger brother running in a heavy snowstorm:

"On Thursday morning... Manchin pitched his holding out on Democrats’ spending bill not just as a reflection of his conservative state, but of the country as a whole."

"We can’t go too far left,' Manchin said on CNN. 'This is not a center-left or a left country. We are a center — if anything, a little center-right country. That’s being shown, and we ought to be able to recognize that.'... The kind of people who have been bemoaning Manchin’s obstinance immediately cried foul.... As a whole, if everyone voted and the playing field were completely level, it’s evident Democrats would win more. That’s not quite the same as saying we’re a center-left country, though. As Manchin shows, electing Democrats doesn’t inherently mean you support liberal policies.... It’s also been true for a long time that many more Americans tend to view themselves as conservative than liberal.... Whether the United States is a center-right country is a very debatable proposition. And Manchin certainly has an interest in arguing that, given it would validate his position as a swing vote and his decision to hold out on the Democrats’ big spending bill...."

From "Joe Manchin suggests we’re a center-right country. Here’s what the data show" by Aaron Blake (WaPo).

Federal judge, sentencing a woman to jail, takes her to task for believing in Critical Race Theory.

I'm reading "She said she wasn’t going to jail for Jan. 6, citing ‘blonde hair white skin.’ A judge sentenced her to 60 days behind bars" (WaPo).

“For better or worse, you’ve become one of the faces of January 6,” U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper of D.C. told Jenna Ryan, 50.... “You suggested antifa was somehow involved. And perhaps most famously, you said that because you had blonde hair and white skin, you wouldn’t be going to jail.”

He was referring to a tweet Ryan posted in March saying, “Sorry I have blonde hair white skin a great job a great future and I’m not going to jail. . . . I did nothing wrong.”

But I'm going to stick with Critical Race Theory. Ryan made her belief in white privilege so overt that it threatened white privilege. Attacking her openly stated expectation helps maintain the privilege.

Complicating the analysis: The judge is black.

ADDED: I wrote "believing in Critical Race Theory," then I thought shouldn't it be "believing Critical Race Theory"? I realized the "in" implies that the correctness of what John McWhorter is saying in "Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America." Does one believe in Critical Race Theory or is it a methodology that one can choose to engage in? I do the latter.

November 4, 2021

"A large family featured on CNN discussing the rising costs of basic groceries like milk was mocked by some progressive media figures on Thursday."

"To demonstrate the 'squeeze' of inflation and supply chain issues on everyday Americans, CNN's 'New Day' featured the Stotlers, a Texas couple looking after nine children – two of whom are their biological kids, while they've adopted six more and have one foster child. Krista Stotler said she started seeing prices rising this summer and it was costing them an extra $100 a week on groceries....  'A gallon of milk was $1.99. Now it's $2.79. When you buy 12 gallons a week times four weeks, that's a lot of money,' she said.... '12 gallons of milk a week may sound like a lot, but they've actually had to cut out their milk baths on alternate days,' snarked New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait. The New York Times account on crossword puzzles also got into the act, tweeting – and deleting –, 'sorry, i can't do today's crossword. i'm too busy carrying my 12 gallons of milk home.'"
Fox News reports (embedding lots of very embarrassing tweets).

The mockery is based on the gut reaction that 12 gallons of milk a week is absurd. But with 11 people in the family, it's an average of two and a half cups — 20 ounces — of milk per person per day. 

One of the mockers — a sports editor at the Orlando Sentinel — tweets "Having to buy 12 gallons a week means you have an issue with contraception… not the price of milk." But as you can see above, only 2 of the children are the natural offspring of the parents. The Stotlers have opened their home to 7 more children. And he's sneering at them!

"450,000 per person? Is that what you’re saying? That’s not going to happen."

Said President Biden, when he was asked by a Fox News reporter whether paying families separated at the border $450,000 apiece would incentivize illegal border-crossing, as if Fox was making that up: “If you guys keep sending that garbage out, yeah. But it’s not true.”

It's worrisome that Biden seems to be out of the loop or forgetful, but encouraging — in a pathetic way — that he reacts to the proposal like an ordinary, down-to-earth, sensible person. It is possible that he's completely with it and informed, but he's just lying, perhaps as part of an effort to re-center the Democratic Party.

Here are the transcript and video of the interchange.

Exotic harvest.


Beets and carrots, grown by Meade.

Edward Durr spent $153 on a campaign that unseated the New Jersey state senate president, so let's watch and marvel at the ultimate political ad.

ADDED: This is such a low-budget ad that the line "I lived here all my life, raising my 3 kids" overlaps with a visual of 3 gravestones, making me wonder if his 3 kids died. Only after researching the question of his children and rewatching the video did I figure out that the graveyard is shown because the next thing he talks about is covid deaths. 

UPDATE: This just in from The Washington Post: "Edward Durr, who campaigned on $153 in NJ, defeats Sweeney." Some people in the comments (of this blog) are saying the number $153 isn't right, but the WaPo article says Durr spent "$153.31, according to Election Law Enforcement Commission documents."

"Igor Danchenko, a Russia analyst who worked with Christopher Steele, the author of a dossier of rumors and unproven assertions about Donald J. Trump, was taken into custody as part of the Durham investigation."

 The NYT reports.

Some claims from the Steele dossier made their way into an F.B.I. wiretap application targeting a former Trump campaign adviser in October 2016. Other portions of it — particularly a salacious claim about a purported sex tape — caused a political and media firestorm when Buzzfeed published the materials in January 2017, shortly before Mr. Trump was sworn in....F.B.I. agents interviewed Mr. Danchenko in 2017 when they were seeking to run down the claims in the dossier.... 

Mr. Steele’s efforts were part of opposition research that Democrats were indirectly funding by the time the 2016 general election took shape. Mr. Steele’s business intelligence firm was a subcontractor to another research firm, Fusion GPS, which in turn had been hired by the Perkins Coie law firm, which was working for the Hillary Clinton campaign. 

"Germany has been named the world’s best-regarded country for the fifth-year running..."

"... in an international soft-power survey that asked 60,000 people to score states on categories including culture, governance and exports. The UK fell from second place to fifth, dropping below Canada, Japan and Italy, partly because of a small decline in its global reputation for welcoming foreigners and protecting the environment. The US also recovered a little from tenth to eighth following the end of the Trump presidency."

Netflix seems to believe I'll be interested in the "Offbeat, Cerebral" type of movie, and it is correct.

I watched this 17-minute David Lynch movie last night.

I made that screen capture just as the monkey is saying "Who's going to believe an orangutan?" The monkey, Jack, is being interrogated for whatever it is the title "What Did Jack Do?" refers to. The interrogator is played by David Lynch, and the taunt "Who's going to believe an orangutan?" is aimed at the Lynch character. 

The movie came out in November 2017, so I don't know if the orangutan accusation has anything to do with Trump — who was famously taunted about looking like an orangutan— but maybe some resonance was intended. Lynch has something of a resemblance to Trump....

That ran in the NY Post. Lynch was clarifying his earlier remark, "Trump could go down as one of the greatest presidents in history." Oh! It's sad that Lynch should have had to clarify anything. Clarification isn't his lane. Let's get back to interrogating Jack the monkey. 

I'm going to need to rewatch "What Did Jack Do?," and I'm going to do it more offbeatly, more cerebrally. My hypothesis is that the interrogator (Lynch) is Trump, and We the People are the monkey. What did we do?

"A European campaign celebrating the 'joy' and 'freedom' of wearing the hijab has been cancelled after fierce objections from France."

"President Macron’s government denounced the campaign by the Council of Europe as deeply unacceptable, left-wing politicians criticised it and right-wing candidates for the presidency denounced it as Islamist propaganda.... The council, which works for human rights and democracy... showed young women in the head-covering with the slogans 'Bring joy and accept hijabs,' 'Beauty is in diversity as freedom is in hijab' and 'My headscarf my choice.'... Marine Le Pen, the National Rally leader who has been increasing her criticism of Islam to rival the more virulent discourse of Zemmour, called the campaign 'outrageous and indecent when millions of women fight bravely gainst this enslavement.' Voices were raised in the left-wing opposition, which subscribes along with most of the French political world to the view that the headcovering for Muslim women represents a denial of equality. Laurence Rossignol, a Socialist senator who served as women’s rights minister under President Hollande, said: 'A reminder that women are free to wear the hijab is one thing. Saying that freedom is in the hijab is another.' Under France’s tradition of strict secularism, known as la laicité, the wearing of religious head covering is barred in state schools and by women employed in public services."

If "freedom is in hijab," then France's forbidding of religious head covering in schools is a denial of freedom. Maybe that's correct, but France can't support the ad campaign while maintaining that policy. So it's really not surprising that both the right and left denounced the campaign.

By the way, I considered putting a "sic" after "gainst," but it's in the OED, spelled without an apostrophe. For example, Christopher Marlowe used it in 1602: "Why figthst gainst odds?"

IN THE COMMENTS: J Oliver writes:
Marlowe died in 1593, so he said nothing quotable in 1602, unless you believe his death was faked and he lived on in Italy writing Shakespeare plays. But All Well that Ends Well.
As I said in the comments, this uncovers a problem that is always there when I use the book publication date and language like "X wrote" or "X said." 

"Nobody familiar with office life will have managed to avoid the absurd pantomime of excitement which now attends almost all corporate activities..."

"... from the greying and weary middle managers who must pretend to be thrilled about PowerPoint presentations to the prospective interns who have to write begging letters proclaiming themselves to be 'passionate' about the prospect of making those same greying and weary middle managers coffee for a couple of weeks...  And as work (thanks to longer hours and ubiquitous email) encroaches on our time and becomes more defining of who we are, the boosterish values of the workplace have become more prominent in society generally. Employees find themselves colluding in this. For, if work is the defining activity of your life, how depressing not to be passionate about it. In a meritocracy passion is also a sign of worth. The top jobs — at least in theory — go to the eagerest beavers and are no longer insouciantly inherited by the upper classes. If you were insouciantly to inherit a job, a public display of enthusiasm might help convince sceptical colleagues you were there on merit.... We must not be afraid of indifference, which nowadays looks positively like a virtue."

Writes James Marriott in "The cult of enthusiasm leaves me indifferent All this talk of passion and excitement is crowding out the virtues of boredom and apathy" (London Times).

ADDED: It's important to keep in touch with your natural aversion to fakery, but what if your livelihood depends on existing with it all around you and generating plenty of it yourself? Ah, it's not the hardest job in the world, but it's horrible.

"Well, I wasn't expecting this: the Washington Post calls Trump 'nuanced.'"

Says my son John (at Facebook), reading this:
Democrats went all-in on Donald Trump in Virginia this year — but the far more nuanced game played by the former president and his Republican allies appeared to be on track to carry the day late Tuesday in the commonwealth’s race for governor.…
That's the first sentence of a WaPo article, "Youngkin’s balancing act with Trump pays off in Va. governor’s race."

I have a tag for "nuance" — going back many years — because I thought it was a funny buzzword, used by Democrats to express their sense of superiority. It's such absurdly vague praise: John Kerry was nuanced. And of course, George W. Bush was a simpleton. But the nuance on the left has faded. 

Looking back at my "nuance" tag, I see this from June 2020, reacting to "Defund the Police": "Liberals love to present themselves as the People of Nuance. But if you're going to do slogans and chants — and especially if you're going to do vandalism and looting — you're not doing nuance. And if your knee-jerk reaction for everything you do wrong is to flip it into ORANGE MAN BAD, you are not doing nuance."

It was un-nuanced to reflexively denounce Trump, but he was, it seemed, so crude that the crudeness of calling him crude was hard to see. If he comes to be seen as nuanced, the inadequacy of the un-nuanced denouncements might flummox his antagonists.

November 3, 2021

The path at sunrise.



This morning at 11:23 a.m., I texted Meade a photograph (and a couple updates about the Pennsylvantia election), and it went like this...

Sunrise panorama.


7:29 a.m.

"For his part, Youngkin threaded the needle nicely on Trump."

"When this race began last summer, Glenn Youngkin was unknown in Virginia politics. Those who did know his name remembered him as a high school basketball star in the Tidewater area whose father played hoops at Duke. Youngkin himself played collegiately at Rice before going into business. With wealth accrued as a partner in a private equity firm, Youngkin was able to self-fund a Republican primary campaign in which he dispatched with not one, but two, Trump disciples. But he managed to do so without alienating the former president. Trump might have preferred one of the others, especially when Youngkin quietly rebuffed his offer to come campaign. But Trump clearly appreciated that Youngkin never bad-mouthed him, and the 45th president responded accordingly: He told his supporters to flood to the polls. Successfully negotiating the mine field of Trump’s prickly ego not only helped Youngkin win on Tuesday. It also illuminated the path for future GOP candidates competing in states and districts that aren’t deep Republican red."

That's Reason #5 from "Seven Reasons Democrats Lost Virginia" by Carl M. Cannon (RCP).

By the way, don't you think it helped Youngkin that Trump wasn't on Twitter? Maybe one way for Democrats to stage a comeback would be for Twitter (and Facebook) to put Trump back where people are going to see him all the time.

"Some clichés about the cycle of life are true.... And when you’re a woman, you will, at about age fifty, become invisible.... Is nakedness invisibility’s opposite?"

"Maybe not, but, if it’s voluntarily, unapologetically displayed, it can be a kind of antidote to diminishment and erasure. A nude portrait of a woman older than, say, sixty is an unusual image—even a taboo one. To make such photographs, and, even more so, to pose for them, is an act of defiance.... 'The camera can be very cruel depending on how you use it.... There’s a whole tradition of photography that’s based on criticality and cruelty. Diane Arbus—whom I love, by the way—looked for unflattering moments to create a sense of drama. Sometimes that can be done with the juxtaposition of elements in a space, the exaggeration of the appearance of wealth or poverty, harsh lighting.' Lee said that, by contrast, her work had sometimes been criticized for being 'too earnest or romantic.'"

"How quickly Democrats absorb Tuesday’s results and begin to respond will determine how well they can hold down expected losses in the coming midterms."

".... Democrats would be foolhardy to underestimate what happened Tuesday. To lose a state like Virginia, which has been trending Democratic for a decade, and to struggle so much in New Jersey suggests that, unless things change, only the bluest of states or districts are likely to be safe in 2022.... It wasn’t just Virginia or New Jersey that suggested Democrats will need to regroup. In races across the country, there were signs that voters see the party as having moved too far to the left, even as its progressive wing has been flexing its muscles. In Virginia, the exit polls showed that a majority of voters said the party is too liberal. New Yorkers elected Democrat Eric Adams as their new mayor after a campaign in which he made public safety a prime issue and presented himself as more centrist than liberal. In Minneapolis, voters overwhelmingly defeated a referendum to dismantle the police department a year after the Black Lives Matter movement had elevated the issue of police reform to the front of the progressive agenda. In Buffalo, Mayor Byron Brown, who lost the primary to socialist India Walton, appeared to have been reelected as a write-in candidate...."

Writes Dan Balz in "A sobering reality hits Democrats after Tuesday’s elections losses" (WaPo).

We'll see if Democrats quickly reset after this kick in the head. 

ADDED: Here's my post from last June when India Walton won the Democratic Party primary in Buffalo:
"Mommy!! I won!!! Mommy, I'm the mayor of Buffalo!!! Well, not until January, but yeah. Like, yes. Yes, mom."... The NYT article points out that Walton will be "the first socialist mayor of a major American city since 1960, when Frank P. Zeidler stepped down as Milwaukee’s mayor."

It was assumed she automatically win in the general election. Didn't happen: "Byron Brown claims victory in Buffalo mayor's race; write-in ballots swamp India Walton" (Buffalo News):

"At the very beginning, they said we can’t win, that it was impossible to win as a write-in,” the mayor shouted to cheering supporters. "But you know, you can never count a Buffalonian out."

"When every vote is counted — and every vote will be counted — we hope to have a celebration."

New Jersey Governor Murphy can't lean too hard into challenging the results of the election. Expressing skepticism about the announced result is dangerously similar to Donald Trump. It will be interesting to see how mild-mannered Democrats will be in the face of a slim victory for the other side in an election that you and your supporters believe you were supposed to win. I don't want to see any hypocrisy!

Isn't this in the category of things that includes levitating the Pentagon?

You remember: "Fifty Years Ago, a Rag-Tag Group of Acid-Dropping Activists Tried to 'Levitate' the Pentagon/The March on the Pentagon to end the Vietnam War began a turning point in public opinion, but some in the crowd were hoping for a miracle" (Smithsonian).

That's what springs to mind when I see — in today's Washington Post — "Why hundreds of QAnon supporters showed up in Dallas, expecting JFK Jr.’s return." 

It means something, but it doesn't mean they really believe.
At the site overlooking where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated nearly six decades ago, scores of QAnon believers outfitted with “Trump-Kennedy 2024” shirts, flags and other merchandise gathered. They forecast the president’s son John F. Kennedy Jr., who has been dead for over 20 years, would appear at that spot, emerging from anonymity to become Donald Trump’s vice president when the former president is reinstated. The prophecy foretold online, of course, did not come true.... 
The spectacle captivated people, some amused at the ridiculousness of the far-fetched theory that Kennedy faked his death. But the size of Tuesday’s gathering was concerning for Jared Holt, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab who researches domestic extremism. The claim about Kennedy Jr. is considered fringe even for supporters of QAnon, a collective of baseless conspiracy theories revolving around an idea that Trump is battling a Satan-worshiping cabal that traffics children for sex. The sprawling set of false claims that have coalesced into an extremist ideology has radicalized its followers and incited violence and criminal acts. The FBI has designated it a domestic terrorism threat....

"When you don’t remember something, you have no idea of its existence. And upon awakening after the surgery, I remembered nothing."

"But it wasn’t a disorienting feeling. If I had known I was a guitarist, if I had known those two people standing by my bedside in the hospital were in fact my parents, I then would’ve felt the feelings that went along with the events. What they went through and why they were standing there looking at me then would’ve been very painful for me. But it wasn’t painful because to me they were just strangers.... I had to start from Square 1.... But once I made the decision to try, it activated inner intuitive familiarities, like a child who hasn’t ridden their bicycle for many years and tries to do so again to reach a destination. There are moments of imbalance, but it’s subliminal, and it emerges after some mistakes, and then it strengthens."

When are we going to stop doing this? When there's a third black mayor? A fifth? A tenth? Never?

When does it become obviously insulting, to make the very first thing you say about a black person's achievement that he's a black person achieving it. He's a specific person!

That screen shot is from the front page of today's NYT. The headline when you click through is "Eric Adams Is Elected Mayor of New York City/Mr. Adams, a Democrat and former police captain, will be the second Black mayor in the city’s history."

"I said #@!%@**# the kids in '67, let's do something for us."

I love this ad for the Village Voice that appeared in the NYT on June 11, 1967, "Now that you're tried Psychiatry, Self-Improvement Books, and Ceramics, try The Village Voice. It's cheaper." In choosing the form to fill out to subscribe, you're given 6 choices and encouraged to use the one that's the real you""

Why am I reading that this morning? I was thinking about yesterday's elections and the effect they may have on the Democrats' ambitious spending programs, and it got me thinking about the controversy — which I remember well from half a century ago — about the insanely high cost of building the Superdome. 

I went to the Wikipedia article on the Superdome just to find the price — $135 million — and got distracted by "[Sports visionary David] Dixon imagined the possibilities of staging simultaneous high school football games side by side and suggested that the synthetic surface be white." 

I had to check the source, and it was in that 1967 issue of the NYT: "How would you feel about white?... A white playing field and an orange football with luminous paint. When a quarterback throws a pass, we turn the lights out while the ball's in the air. Wild?"

Things were so much wilder then. Let's talk about Youngkin now.

November 2, 2021

"The domination of the shared countryside for one man’s personal satisfaction is just not acceptable."

Said a group called Keep the Wannies Wild, quoted in "Viscount Devonport wins battle to erect ‘giant toothpick’ in Queen tribute" (London Times).

The objected-to sculpture is a 55-metre sliver of steel poked into a hilltop. It supposedly expresses the Viscount's idea of the Queen's "anchoring of the Commonwealth around shared values of tolerance, respect and understanding." It's the Viscount's land, and the project is privately funded.

What are "the Wannies"?

Sunrise this morning came at 7:35.

It looked like this at 7:26:


This is 7:36: 


This is 7:47:


And this is 7:50: 


This CNN headline seems like it's trying to portray the Democratic candidate for governor of New Jersey as the underdog: It feels like pre-spinning a feared defeat.

"Phil Murphy tries to become first Democratic governor to win reelection in New Jersey in more than 40 years."

IN THE COMMENTS: Balfegor has a sound interpretation that I want to sign onto:
I mean, [that headline is] what it leads with, but it also notes:

Murphy's lead over Republican nominee Jack Ciattarelli in a number of late polls appears to be at or near double digits,

I don't think it's pre-spinning a feared defeat in New Jersey at all. I think it's trying to set up a counter-message against a feared defeat in Virginia, where Republicans do seem to have a good chance. If Republicans win there after Democrats won by 10 points in 2020 (much of the civil service living and voting in Northern Virginia), that would be a shocking reversal. But if you can counterprogram by saying Democrats beat a 40 year trend to win in New Jersey, it might help guard against demoralisation heading into 2022....

Right. The idea is to make Murphy's victory seem amazing. 

"There’s no debate, there’s no discussion. That’s something I want to disturb. I want to disturb the fact that we’re not encouraged to discuss it."

"I believe that [the artist's] job is to disturb the status quo. The censoring that’s going on in the world right now, that’s pretty frightening. No one’s allowed to speak their mind right now. No one’s allowed to say what they really think about things for fear of being canceled, cancel culture. In cancel culture, disturbing the peace is probably an act of treason.... The thing is the quieter you get, the more fearful you get, the more dangerous anything is. We’re giving it power by shutting the fuck up completely.... Ever since I stuck my finger in the cigarette lighter in the car, I kept pushing it and playing with it. Every kid does it and your parents tell you, 'don’t touch it, you’re going to burn your finger.' All you have to do is tell me that, and I need to touch it."

Said Madonna, in a V Magazine interview. She was asked about a quote of hers: "Artists are here to disturb the peace."

ADDED: That makes me want to embed my personal favorite Madonna song/video:

Believe the science... of tossing coins into fountains.

"McAuliffe told a modest crowd outside a Fairfax brewery Monday night at his final rally. 'He is doing an event with Donald Trump here in Virginia.' That was a lie."

"Trump wasn’t in Virginia and he never campaigned with Youngkin.... Thirty miles away, at the Loudoun County Fairgrounds, a crowd several times the size of McAuliffe’s was waiting for Youngkin to take the stage. You got a hint of why McAuliffe was desperate to manufacture the fake Trump event... [H]is Monday audiences in Richmond and Fairfax, where we caught up with him, were modest and listless. Youngkin’s were large and rollicking, with many of the trappings of a MAGA rally — a similar dad rock playlist, hats and flags and T-shirts paying homage to the former president — but, to the great disappointment of Democrats, not Trump himself."

From "POLITICO Playbook: Youngkin’s crowds dwarf McAuliffe’s on election eve."

The spirit of Trump is pervasive and evasive. It even made poor Terry McAuliffe lie about it. I certainly hope the vote count at the end of the day shows that McAuliffe has lost, because if it doesn't, people won't believe it, and I don't like that kind of chaos.

"No more blah blah blah."

If that seems crazy, it must not have been an "insurrection."

"Lindsey Graham Reportedly Called for Law Enforcement to Shoot Jan. 6 Rioters During the Attack: 'You’ve Got Guns. Use Them'" (Mediaite).

"I have always firmly believed that most of a parent’s energy should be invested in making sure your kid is healthy and happy and putting one foot in front of the other..."

"... the idea that they have to meet some bullshit level of achievement or hit the threshold for performative political awareness (i.e., the type of cutesy anecdotes of toddlers referring to RBG as a 'princess' that get thousands of likes on Resistance Twitter) has always been anathema to me. Trying to indoctrinate your child with a set of abstruse political values, at a time when parents should simply be encouraging kids to learn the basic building blocks of empathy and friendship, is pretty gross. And liberalism or conservatism aside, oftentimes aggressively copy-pasting your own politics onto your small child serves your own ego far more than it’s likely to benefit them...."

Writes E.J. Dickson — "your standard Brooklyn millennial lefty mom" — in Rolling Stone....

November 1, 2021

Sunrise — 7:27, 7:30, 7:32.




"An 'insurrection,' as the dictionary will tell you, is a violent uprising against a government or other established authority."

"Unlike the violent riots that swept the country in the summer of 2020—riots that caused some $2 billion in property damage and claimed more than 20 lives—the January 6 protest at the Capitol lasted a few hours, caused minimal damage, and the only person directly killed was an unarmed female Trump supporter who was shot by a Capitol Hill Police officer. It was, as Tucker Carlson said shortly after the event, a political protest that 'got out of hand.'" 

Writes Roger Kimball in "The January 6 Insurrection Hoax" (Real Clear Politics). 

When I see "uprising," I think of this:

Sometimes people want to be thought of as insurrectionists. Sometimes the political protesters that got out of hand want the bigger concept to apply to them. They use it to brag about the scope and significance of what they accomplished. 

It goes both ways, this spin. But it's funny to me to see leftists using "insurrection" against the protesters they hate when they — some of them — used the same notion to vaunt their 2011 takeover of the Wisconsin Capitol.

And don't forget Occupy Wall Street. 

Am I failing to distinguish "insurrection" and "uprising"? I've dabbled in researching the difference if any. I think the 2 words mean the same thing, though "insurrection" might have somewhat more of a connotation of armed rebellion. I don't think any of the things discussed above were armed rebellion. So I'd just use the word "uprising" and use it consistently to refer to the takeover of the Wisconsin Capitol and the takeover of the U.S. Capitol. If you don't want to use that word for both things, just don't use it for either. Or be exposed as a propagandist.

November 1st foliage (at sunrise).


McAuliffe accuses Youngkin of racist dog whistling.

 Transcript. Excerpt:

TERRY McAULIFFE: [P]eople were very happy that I vetoed the bill that literally parents could take books out of the curriculum. You know, I love Millie and Jack McAuliffe, my parents, but they should not have been picking my math or science book. We have experts who actually do that. And look what happened. [Glenn Youngkin] is closing his campaign on banning books. It's created a controversy all over the country. He wants to ban Toni Morrison's book Beloved. So he's going after one of the most preeminent African American female writers in American history, won the Nobel Prize, has a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and he wants her books banned. Now, of all the hundreds of books you could look at, why did you pick the one Black female author? Why did you do it? He's ending his campaign on a racist dog whistle...

 It's racializing to call it a racializing, of course.

... just like he started the campaign when he talks about election integrity. But Chuck, we have a great school system in Virginia. Dorothy and I have raised our five children.

But McAuliffe sent 4 of those 5 children to private school (Catholic school). 

"TRAVEL HELL"? Reframe your perception: It's environmental HEAVEN.


Here's why that's heaven — if you are genuinely concerned about climate change. A radical decrease in airline travel would make a dramatic contribution in what has been portrayed as a desperate fight. I'm not writing this post to debate whether that portrayal is accurate. I'm speaking to those who believe (or purport to believe) that carbon emissions are a severe emergency. I'm saying see how this "hell" is heaven.

Let the airlines scale back the number of flights to deal with the labor shortage. Let supply and demand determine the prices. And that's just it, people. Enjoy the new heaven of airline travel drastically reduced by the economic process that is already in motion. For God's sake, don't try to reverse this process!

The rhetorical stylings of Nancy Pelosi.

Text and video here.
So again, the transformative agenda, the president was knowledgeable. I mean, he knows chapter [inaudible 00:04:20] because he wrote this, he campaigned on this. He spoke to this in his state of the union address. I told him last night, on phone last night, but today in front of our colleagues, that when he gave that state of the union address, we were sitting behind him, the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, and the speaker of the House, me. And people said, “How did it feel? How did it feel? The two women.” I said, “Well, that was exciting and historic.” What was really exciting is the speech the president made about women, not about two women, but America’s women, and what would happen with this progressive agenda that he was putting forth. At the same time, we’re moving forward with BIF, a once in a century chance to rebuild the infrastructure that past the Senate a while back. The BIF has good things and it has missing things. And of course, the fact that we have the reconciliation… Let me not call it that anymore, let’s call it the Build Back Better legislation is essential because that’s where we have the major investment in climate. Although there is some in the BIF. Roads, bridges, water systems, crumbling. Some water systems are over 100 years made of, and our colleagues talked about their own experiences in their own communities, some made of bricks and wood. That’s a nice water system, right?

I'll just say it myself so I don't get 100 comments in moderation all saying this: If Trump spoke with that level of coherence, he would have been derided as a blithering idiot. 

I'll add that I pretty much always could understand Trump, and I can understand Pelosi there too. It's a kind of stream of consciousness that people are feeling okay doing in public these days. It's like wearing casual clothes. It feels more like direct thoughts, and I think people more or less like it when it comes from someone they like, and they enjoy the easy mockery they can do when it's someone they don't like.

3 takes on Zuckerberg's "metaverse."

1. "Facebook wants to be The Matrix" by Kevin T. Dugan (Fortune).
Zuckerberg still puts bringing people together as his guiding principal [sic], and this is how to do it, even if it just has them interact more with sensors and goggles than with other living, breathing people. It all seems kinda bleak, like when you first see how people are harvested to make up The Matrix. As Morpheus says, channeling the French postmodern philosopher Jean Baudrillard, “welcome to the desert of the real.” But as Facebook’s continued dominance in social media attests, you don’t really even need people to like your product very much in order for it to be extremely powerful and widely-used.
In the virtual and augmented future Facebook has planned for us, it's not that Zuckerberg's simulations will rise to the level of reality, it's that our behaviors and interactions will become so standardized and mechanical that it won't even matter.... We learn to downgrade our experience of being together with another human being to seeing their projection overlaid into the room like an augmented reality Pokemon figure... Now, just as we're waking up to ways Facebook has knowingly eroded our social, mental and civic well-being, Zuckerberg is back with a new offering: a way out.... But... to go in the direction that Zuckerberg is pushing us, we must leave our humanity behind.
[M]any companies that see the approaching catastrophe and dutifully try to adapt fail to do so. Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975, and nonetheless went bankrupt in 2012 thanks to digital photography.... If you wanted to create a digital photography company, you probably wouldn’t staff it with 145,000 employees of a company that made cameras and film....

When Zuckerberg founded Facebook, he was one 19-year-old college student with a computer, among millions. A decade ago, when he was pushing the company to focus on mobile rather than desktop and buying Instagram for $1 billion, he was a 28-year-old entrepreneur. Now he’s a billionaire, one of only thousands, and he has aged out of the coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic..... [I]t seems more likely that the future belongs to people we’ve never heard of — those without a legacy business to worry about or a thick layer of money and fame insulating them from the longings of ordinary users.

October 31, 2021

The Halloween sunrise — 7:30 and 7:34.



"Nerds are winning."

I said to a trick-or-treating kid just now, and he seemed amused. I am taking a survey, giving all kids a choice between Twix — which I consider the mature choice — and Nerds Ropes — the funny choice.

The near west side of Madison has voted and the choice is clear: Nerds are winning.

I don't know what this necessarily means for society at large, but it seems to me it's a vote for fun.

"Southwest Airlines is conducting an internal investigation after one of its pilots reportedly said a phrase used in right-wing circles as a stand-in for swearing at President Biden over the plane’s public address system..."

"The airline faced turbulence on social media over the weekend after an Associated Press journalist was on a flight from Houston to Albuquerque on Friday when she heard the pilot use the phrase 'let’s go Brandon,' writing that it brought on 'audible gasps from some passengers.' Audio of the pilot’s greeting, which The Washington Post could not independently verify, was separately circulating widely on social media. 'Southwest does not condone Employees sharing their personal political opinions while on the job serving our Customers, especially when comments are divisive and offensive,' the Texas-based airline said in a statement to The Washington Post on Sunday."

How can anyone qualified to be trusted with the lives of people who willingly strap themselves into seats inside an inescapable tube in the sky imagine that he can impose any sort of political statement on them, let alone a partisan taunt? 

It's such a failure of judgment! It's one thing for ordinary citizens to think they're smart or cute or gutsy or whatever to say "Let's go Brandon," but do it on your own time, not to captive listeners who are dependent on you. What jackasses people have come to be!

This is, perhaps, the freakiest coincidence in all my years of blogging.

1. This morning, before going out for my sunrise run, where I planned to continue listening to the audiobook of Jonathan Franzen's new novel "Crossroads," I opened up the NYT review, "Jonathan Franzen’s ‘Crossroads,’ a Mellow, ’70s-Era Heartbreaker That Starts a Trilogy." I wanted to read a review, and I selected that one, just because it's in the NYT (and written by Dwight Garner, a reviewer I like).

2. After the sunrise, with that tab sitting open on my browser, I sat down for my usual morning blogging session, and what caught my eye and set the tone for the morning was Donald Trump's participation in the tomahawk chop at the World Series game in Atlanta last night.

3. As I wrote in the previous post, that "jogged my thinking about gestures and chants that mimic the real or imagined traditions of indigenous people and I thought, remember drum circles?" That led me into a 1991 WaPo article about the men's movement 30 years ago, which entailed drumming and other "Native American" inspired rituals, much of which came from the musings of the poet Robert Bly. 

4. I click various windows out of my way and uncover that "Crossroads" review. It begins:
Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, “Crossroads,” is the first in a projected trilogy, which is reason to be wary. Good trilogies rarely announce themselves as such at the start. And the overarching title for the series, “A Key to All Mythologies,” may be a nod to “Middlemarch,” but it also sounds as if Franzen were channeling Joseph Campbell, or Robert Bly, or Tolkien, or Yes.

5. And don't even get me started on Joseph Campbell. That was so last week.

"American men face a desperate situation and don't even know it. There are large numbers of men wandering lost, in some personal wasteland..."

"... of jobs with little meaning, personal lives with little passion, and massive confusion about the reasons why. There's a lot of hurtin' cowboys out there." 

Said Ed Honnold, "the mild-mannered federal lawyer and founder of the Men's Council of Greater Washington, one of six such local groups salving men's deep inner pain through communal rituals of dancing and roaring, hugging and weeping," quoted in "MEN'S MOVEMENT STALKS THE WILD SIDE," a WaPo column by Phil McCombs, published on February 3, 1991 — 30 years ago. 

I'm reading that this morning because the news about Trump at the Atlanta baseball game doing the tomahawk chop — blogged here — jogged my thinking about gestures and chants that mimic the real or imagined traditions of indigenous people and I thought, remember drum circles?

Here's the part about drum circles from that 1991 article:

2 movies I watched this past week.

I used to watch a lot of movies, but these days, it's unusual for me to watch even 1 movie in any given week, even just on television, and I have a lot of access to movies with Netflix and Criterion. But I watched 2 in the past week — both highly recommended:


This sounds like the message he ran on, but not much like what his Party has been up to lately.

It seems to me that Biden got elected by offering to be not much more than the absence of Trump, but his Party seems to behave as if the people elected Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren (and won both houses of Congress with a comfortable margin). 

As long as I'm in the President's Twitter feed, I wanted to show you the vivid bodycon dress Dr. Jill wore:

The media genius strikes again — with a tomahawk.


I was in denial. He didn't go to the game, I thought. It was in the Daily Mail, Meade said, and that wasn't enough. I've got to check. There's the screen shot. Maybe that was some other occasion? But no, that's in The Guardian. It's real. The man went to the World Series. And Melania looks utterly pleased to be screwing with the haters alongside her eminent husband.

I think the tomahawk chop is awful and that the people of Atlanta ought to want to abandon it, but they're not succumbing to chop-shaming, and the irrepressible ex-President is with them: ADDED: The haters say she's faking it: