November 20, 2021

Sunrise — 6:47.


Write about anything you want in the comments.

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"The Blue States are the problem."


Meade sent me that after seeing the link at Maggie's Farm.  

If you see The New York Times as a Democratic Party mouthpiece, that video — “Liberal Hypocrisy is Fueling American Inequality. Here’s How" — might leaven your criticism.

Who needs rational argument when you've got hashtags?

I mean, I could just as well tweet: Brainlessness is ruining everything #LadyGaga 

Or: Logic leaps R Us #hashtags

Tulsi goes big.


"The jury got it right—finding Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges. The fact that charges were brought before any serious investigation is evidence that the government was motivated by politics, which itself should be considered criminal."

ADDED: Gabbard has quite a different view of the Ahmaud Arbery case:

What is the meaning of "meaning"?

I don't think these answers match up with the question asked: "What Makes Life Meaningful? Views From 17 Advanced Economies/Family is preeminent for most publics but work, material well-being and health also play a key role."

"Most publics" — who talks like that?

Why would health be the meaning of life? I guess the question is interpreted to mean what is needed to have a meaningful life and health is a prerequisite to finding meaning, since illness is so distracting.

Read the article at the link, which goes to Pew Research Center. I'll just copy this handy (and puzzling) chart:

"In the new book version, Nikole Hannah-Jones... cautions that the [1619] project is 'not the only origin story of this country — there must be many.'"

"Then, in the opening chapter, Hannah-Jones repeats the text of her original magazine essay and refers to Black Americans as the country’s 'true "founding fathers,"' as deserving of that designation 'as those men cast in alabaster in the nation’s capital.' Some 400-plus pages later, in a concluding chapter, she writes that the origin story in the 1619 Project is 'truer' than the one we’ve known. What might an assiduous reader conclude from all this? That 1619 is a thought experiment, or a metaphor, or the nation’s true origin, but definitely not its founding, yet possibly its inception, or just one origin story among many — but still the truer one? For all the controversy the project has elicited, this muddle over the starting point is an argument that the 1619 Project is also having with itself. These distinctions matter because, with this subject, framing is everything. History, Hannah-Jones writes in the new book, is not just about learning what happened. 'It is also, just as important, how we think about what happened.'... Reframing America’s start from July 1776 to August 1619 — from the 'wrong' date to the 'truer' story — and placing those landmarks in conversation with each other is what forces you to stop and think, to peer within competing frames...."

Remember, when you ask who are "The Founders," ask who are The Framers?

"If tomorrow, a person wears a pair of surgical gloves and feels the entire body of a woman, he won't be punished for sexual assault as per this judgment."

Said Attorney General of India KK Venugopal, arguing against a court order that limited the crime of sexual assault to situations where there is "skin-to-skin contact," quoted in "No skin-to-skin contact: 'Outrageous' India sexual assault order struck down" (BBC).

Did Joe Biden get angry over the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse? And did he refuse to take back his baseless assertion that Kyle Rittenhouse is a "white supremacist"?

I'm seeing headlines to that effect — for example, "Kyle Rittenhouse: Biden angry after teen cleared of shootings" (BBC). Biden spent part of yesterday morning under sedation, getting a colonoscopy, but he was back in the world of the conscious by the time the verdict came out, able to hear the news and fly into a seething rage or whatever happened that got reported as anger.

First, let's look at the video. Video was important in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, and it's important now as we judge the emotional state of our President:

He's asked for a reaction to the verdict, which he says he just heard, and his first words were exactly what a calm, rational person would say if he didn't watch the trial: "I didn't watch the trial." The reporter loads in a challenge: "Do you stand by your past comment" accusing Kyle Rittenhouse of "white supremacy"?

Biden is cautious: "Well, look, I stand by what the jury concluded. The jury system works, and we have to abide by it." That is absolutely not anger. He's not losing his cool in the slightest, and he simply ignores the problem of his ignorant remark about white supremacy. And that's the end of it. Immediately, there's another question on another topic (his health). 

Second, there's a "Statement by President Biden" at the White House website. Here's the whole thing, and I've put the anger material in boldface:

Eerie early-morning happenings.

I got up just before 3 a.m. and, brushing my teeth, I dipped back into my new audiobook, "Our Country Friends: A Novel," by Gary Shteyngart.

He messed up the bed’s careful sheets as if two lovers had just enjoyed a tussle on it. He spotted two carved wooden statues of pineapples on the modernist desk... and knocked over one of them, adding some asymmetry to the deathly hospital order around him. What would his mother say from her immovable Gangnam cocoon, her throat tingling with hot barley tea? Advice she would never follow herself. Be strong for your friends. 

A woman—Masha, it would have to be—was screaming...

Her what cocoon? Cheongsam? That's a tight-fitting dress, perhaps cocoon-like, but it's a Chinese dress, and the character was born in Korea.

Settling in at my desktop, I open up the Kindle version of the book and do a word search on "screaming" to find the page and see "Gangnam cocoon." It's a place name — the mother's not trapped within her clothing, but her district of Seoul. The word is familiar to me because of that song, "Gangnam Style."

Idly, I scan book titles in my Kindle app and notice "Pain: When Will It End?" What's that? Something I added to the Kindle at Meade's request? I open it up. Oh! It's a fantastic book of cartoons. I don't recognize the artist's name — Tim Kreider — but I must have put this in the Kindle. (Yeah, I see now, that I blogged about the purchase back in 2019.)

I become completely absorbed in the brilliance of "Pain: When Will It End?" and I arrive at this cartoon:

We're so self-absorbed. I get it. But I wondered, what would happen on earth if the moon were to disappear? I click out of Kindle and over to Safari and google:

5 suggested completions and 4 of them are about the loss of the moon?! How can that happen? I was in Kindle, and I hadn't typed "moon." I hadn't even encountered "moon" in searchable text, only seen it handwritten in a drawing. 

But maybe the disappearance of the moon is the number one thing people are wondering about when they muse about what might happen on earth. Perhaps there's some movie or TV show where the moon is suddenly gone for some reason and all sorts of disasters ensued. 

But what disasters? Something about the tides? The oceans go wild? Is there some weird psychic damage that would occur if we could no longer gaze upon that big white circle in the sky?

November 19, 2021

Sunrise — 7:00.


Write about whatever you want in the comments.

And please think of supporting this blog by doing your shopping through the Althouse portal to Amazon, which is always right there in the sidebar. Thanks!

"Rittenhouse Jury Is Said to Reach a Decision" ... NOT GUILTY on all counts.

The NYT reports. 

"There are students and faculty who complain that they don’t want to express centrist or right-wing views because they fear being criticized or stigmatized."

"They may not see themselves as hypersensitive, but they do crave some protection from students and colleagues whom they perceive as demanding leftist ideological conformity. Those who complain of such conformity should recognize that their fear isn’t the fault of anyone’s wokeness or hostility toward free expression. It is a sign that they need more courage — for it requires courage for students, or anyone, to stay engaged with difference. Whatever your political position, embracing intellectual diversity means being brave enough to consider ideas and practices that might challenge your own beliefs or cause you to change your views, or even your life.... In the current climate of political pessimism and manufactured outrage, we can work with students to reject the tired tropes of the past and embrace what many in the older generations have forgotten: how to engage with and, yes, debate people who have a variety of points of view and who imagine the future with a mix of hopes sometimes very different from their own."

From "Anxiety About Wokeness Is Intellectual Weakness" by Michael S. Roth (NYT).  Roth, the president of Wesleyan University, wrote a book called “Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist’s Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness on College Campuses.”

This is the top-rated comment (from a reader in NYC):
When my daughter was in high school, the teacher and the students of color in her psychology class all agreed that there is no such thing as free will for young black men. That when young black men commit crimes, it is out of the desperation brought on by lack opportunity compounded over generations. My 16 year old daughter argued that individuals always have a choice and the opportunity to exert free will. She was loudly called a racist. The teacher allowed that comment and encouraged discussion of her racism. How much more courageous should she have been? How many more similar stories does this author need to hear before they're no longer dismissed as "anecdotal,["] and instead seen a portrayal of life in "progressive" institutions?

ADDED: Lots of other comments over there — the highest ranking ones all disagreeing with the op-ed. I'll give you a bunch of them:

"Internal disputes rarely come to light, employees allege, and lawsuits are uncommon because Tesla requires many workers to sign mandatory arbitration agreements..."

"... which mandate that disputes are settled outside court. Barraza’s attorneys say the agreement is 'illegal and unenforceable.' Barraza said this workplace culture is bred at the top of the company, citing a joking tweet by CEO Elon Musk referencing a university he planned to start: Texas Institute of Technology & Science. (He left readers to interpret the acronym: TITS.) 'That doesn’t set a good example for the factory — it almost gives it like an … "he’s tweeting about it, it has to be OK,"' she said. 'It’s not fair to myself, to my family to other women who are working there.'"

"It creates a grounding feeling - a moment of stillness. I feel like our dinners at home are much better now - like, 'Now we are together, and this is what we're doing.' I mean, I'm not going to say we have Rockwellian dinners or anything."

Said one father, quoted in "Saying grace: How a moment of thanks, religious or not, adds meaning to our meals" (originally published in WaPo, but linked to Greenwich Time, where I arrived via Drudge). 

Also: "M.J. Ryan, whose books on gratitude include 'A Grateful Heart: Daily Blessings for the Evening Meals from Buddha to the Beatles,' says... 'Taking in the good is a counterbalance to that negativity bias we have in our brains... [Grace is] a built-in moment.... The food is an objective thing to look at that we have and can be grateful for.'" 

And Tim O'Malley, the academic director for Notre Dame's Center for Liturgy: "If you think about the modern household, it's efficient - we get together, we eat, we run.... It might be the most damning thing in modern culture, that receiving without gratitude...."

"What can you say about an institution that is willing to break faith with its members and engage in blackmail and the subornation of false statements to wage a political vendetta?"

"Sadly, you’d have to say that it’s pretty typical these days. As we’ve seen in the willingness of the press, with help from the FBI and other government agencies, to spread many false stories, from the Russian 'collusion' myth to the phony reports on the Covington boys in Washington to the bogus University of Virginia 'rape' case, politics trumps all in America’s elite institutions. Which, by all appearances, aren’t so elite after all. Maybe we should stop acting as if they are."

Writes Glenn Reynolds, in "Students suing Yale Law show America’s elites have a low opinion of minorities" (NY Post).

November 18, 2021

Sunrise — 6:59:10 and 6:59:23.



Talk about whatever you like in the comments.

And please think of supporting this blog by doing your shopping through the Althouse portal to Amazon, which is always right there in the sidebar. Thanks!

It was 7:04 in the morning, and the temperature was 27°.

The sun lit up the last of this fall's very tenacious foliage....


And a sturdy young man had decided shorts were the appropriate level of running gear....


"I don’t know if it’s going to be funny—it might be really shitty. We’re still going to put it up, because I don’t care! It’s literally throwing spaghetti at the wall. That’s the only thing that’s brought me any sort of success."

Says Petey, quoted in "Petey’s Earnest Songs and Absurd TikToks/He has become famous online for silly and sweet comedy videos. Now fans are discovering his music" (The New Yorker). 

Petey is a TikTok star, one that I've had served up to me many times as I scroll, mesmerized, on TikTok. I like a lot of people on TikTok, often more than I like Petey, so I was interested to see that — according to The New Yorker — Petey is extra special. 

Watch all the Petey you want at TikTok, here. And I'll just embed a few of his things in YouTube form so you who won't look at TikTok know what we're talking about:

"At this point, there is only one way to make YLS suffer: deny it the prestige it so desperately seeks."

"Specifically, conservative and libertarian 1Ls and 2Ls should transfer out en masse to ensure that other schools can take credit for their appellate and SCOTUS clerkships. Good luck placing clerks with only three of the nine Justices and half the federal judiciary."

What an extravagant proposition! Yale may "desperately" seek prestige — in this case the prestige of winning clerkships — but don't the students equally desperately seek prestige? Even if some of them are not so desperate, the proposition depends on en masse transfer. 

Yale Law School must feel so secure after all these years on the top of the charts. Being #1 leads to being #1 as everyone chooses #1. Who can stop?

"I looked very blond, very Germanic and younger than my own age, so I wouldn’t be stopped often to be asked for papers because I looked so innocent and angelic. I was really unaware of the danger. To me, it was something that was adventurous in many ways, somewhat romantic too."

Said Justus Rosenberg, quoted in "Justus Rosenberg, Beloved Professor With a Heroic Past, Dies at 100/As a teenager, he helped provide safe passage to artists and intellectuals out of Vichy France. He went on to teach literature at Bard College for six decades" (NYT). 

He was explaining why he was chosen as a courier by the Emergency Rescue Committee, a group of New York intellectuals who worked to save "cultural figures stranded in Vichy France." His parents had sent him from Danzig to Paris in 1937, when he was 16, and he had fled Paris in 1939 — alongside "thousands of others on roads filled with people pushing their possessions in wheelbarrows."
When he ended up in Toulouse, fate was waiting for him. He found refuge there in a cinema that had been converted into a rest stop, with straw bags laid across its floors. 
Settling in for the night, he met an American student named Miriam Davenport, who took a keen interest in him. She encouraged him to follow her to Marseille, and when he did, she offered him an unexpected assignment.  
“Gussie,” she told him, “I’ve got a job for you.”...

Eventually, he was caught and he learned that his group would be transferred to a labor camp in Poland and that he needed to find a way out: 

NPR tries (pathetically) to deliver some cheerful news about Biden.

 Why isn't this sort of thing too embarrassing to use?

The headline is: "Biden looks for a fresh start as he reunites the North American 'Three Amigos.'" 

The article begins: "The last time the leaders of the U.S., Mexico and Canada met was in 2016, and the bonhomie among the trio that year was so apparent that it blossomed into an internet meme: #3Amigos."

Trump didn't continue the "3 Amigos" approach, because he "forced through a North American trade pact to replace NAFTA," and Canada and Mexico didn't find that very nice — not very amigo-ish of him to put America first the way he did. So here comes Biden, and NPR sure hopes he'll inspire cutesy internet memes the way Obama did back in 2016. 

And won't that be so much better than Trump's "North American trade pact"? By the way, Trump's pact has a name. Unlike NAFTA, NPR can't see fit to say the name. It's the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

"The White House strongly supports this historic nomination"/"Since this historic and eminently qualified nominee...."

Oh, how I loathe this overuse of "historic"!

The quotes are from a spokesperson for the White House and a spokesperson from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, from "Police report reveals striking details about Biden nom Saule Omarova's 'retail theft' arrest/Omarova admitted to stealing $214 worth of items from T.J. Maxx in the police report" (Fox News).

I don't know what's supposed to be striking about the details. That the items were 4 pairs of shoes, 2 bottles of cologne, 2 belts and and some unstated number of socks? That Omarova was 28 when this happened? That the charges were dropped under a Wisconsin "first offender" program? That she's a Cornell Law School professor? That she's written about Marxism and recommended an end to banking "as we know it"?

I really don't know. But I also don't know what's supposed to be historic about her. If the article says, I missed it. Is it that she is in some minority group that hasn't yet been represented in the leadership of the particular part of the government — Office of the Comptroller of the Currency — that Biden nominated her to lead? 

Can we stop using "historic" that way? Everything is a "first" if you define the category narrowly enough. "Historic" denotes great importance.

Feel Facebook/Touch Facebook... On Facebook, we'll see the glory/From Facebook, we'll get opinion/From Facebook, we'll get the story...

Did you know you'll be able to feel and touch the glory that is the Facebook Metaverse? They're inventing a glove. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, made a supposedly exciting announcement: a glove... the prototype haptic glove uses principles from soft robotics and employs pneumatic and electroactive actuators to quickly inflate tiny air pockets on the fingers and palm of the glove. These actuators are essentially tiny motors that can create the sensation of pressure and, hence, touch. The idea here is that if Meta could fit thousands of these actuators onto a haptic glove and combine those sensations with the visual input of a VR headset or augmented reality glasses, which project digital images onto the real world, the wearer could reach out and feel virtual objects. With gloves like these, you might one day shake the hand of someone else’s avatar in the metaverse and feel the squeeze.

Okay, everyone just thought about sex. We're not going to all this trouble to shake hands (or are you one of those sick freaks who get pleasure from crushing a hand offered to you for an innocent shake?). 

Here's a vision of Metaverse, felt with a glove:


My go-to rock music reference was The Who, but I must acknowledge the obvious 2 runners-up: 

1. The Beatles — Glove! 


2. Spinal Tap — "Smell the Glove":


It's such a fine line between stupid and clever.

"Cow struck and killed by milk truck..."

The Wisconsin State Journal reports.

And this is news because....? 

It's a test of whether you're an asshole — i.e., did you think it was funny? The irony or something. Poetic justice? What's the literary term that applies when a humble being is further humbled by the force that has been humbling it all along?

I think the editors must think it's funny. The struck/truck rhyme is evidence. Or do you think the headline writers are so inept with language that they don't notice and fix unintended rhymes? Actually, that's what I think. If you wanted the rhyme, wouldn't you improve the meter? 

November 17, 2021

Sunrise — 6:52, 7:04, 7:05.




Feel free to write about whatever you want in the comments.

"What has happened to [Kamala] Harris reminds me of another — but very different — female vice-presidential pick: former Alaska governor Sarah Palin..."

"Republican influencers handpicked Palin because.... She was striking, popular and (at least to some) was a family-values exemplar.... Uncharacteristically, McCain, after meeting with Palin for just over an hour, surrendered to the argument that she could rally the troops with a wink and a pair of red heels. Why, Republicans could even claim a feminist coup. And they were right — for about 30 minutes at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Things went downhill after that.... Several years ago, I wrote about Palin that men used her the way men have always used women — as bit players on a stage set for their success and her failure. I’m afraid Harris, who by most accounts has been sidelined by the president, is beginning to get the picture."

Writes Kathleen Parker, in "Has Kamala Harris been sidelined?" (WaPo).

There are some similarities but also some differences. Sarah Palin was immensely charismatic, a vigorous presence who drew enthusiastic crowds. She needed to be reined in. Kamala Harris has never shown a glimmer of political oomph. Yes, they are both women, and I can see that Kathleen Parker wants to defend women, but part of the defense of women is the avoidance of stereotypes, and though both of these women served the interest of a presidential candidate who wanted credit for picking a female running mate, the details of what they liked about the woman — and what they, later, did not like — are very different.

TO BE FAIR: Parker does say Palin is "very different."

"'My friends always like all my photos,' the 26-year-old says. Whenever she notices her pals aren’t as quick to like a post or..."

"... suddenly cut down on emoji use in texts, a pit forms in her stomach. 'I have some friends that are very dry texters, but they’re not dry in person,' she says. 'If you send "K" then I think you’re mad, but maybe to them sending "K" is whatever. And I’ve had those [conversations] where people are like, "No I’m not mad, what are you talking about?" The actions themselves aren’t necessarily the issue, it’s our interpretations of their meanings. We can incorrectly cast meaning onto an unanswered text message and internalize it as a sign of a doomed friendship when, in reality, a friend could be overwhelmed with work, school or parenting...."

From "Why you always think your friends are mad at you — even when they’re not" (WaPo).

I think there's a tremendous amount of low-level suffering in this mode, but what I want to focus on is "a pit forms in her stomach." The original expression in "in the pit of my stomach." There isn't supposed to be something like a cherry or peach pit that's in the stomach. What's in your stomach is a bad feeling, and it's located at the bottom — the pit — of the stomach.

I know that from living in the English-speaking world over a long stretch of time, but I checked my understanding, and here's verification of my position from Paul Barnes, who wrote "Common Errors in English Usage":

Authorized artist paints over the work of an unauthorized artist, and the unauthorized artist comes in with a roller and white paint and obliterates the authorized work.

The whole story is in that video, but if you prefer to read it: "Artist heartbroken after painting destroyed in front of her/'He blamed me for his painting being destroyed and he wanted to hurt me because he felt that I hurt him. He felt that I disrespected him'" (4WWL). 

"Fearing violence, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers sent the National Guard in to Kenosha in advance of the jury verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case."

"Wise enough — except that, if he’d had the guard out in force as soon as the riots started last year, there probably wouldn’t be a trial now. That is: If Kenosha hadn’t descended into chaos, the chances of such a deadly encounter ever happening would have been much diminished. Two lives wouldn’t have been ended, and Rittenhouse would still be just another basically normal kid.... Rioting attracts trouble-makers, whether Antifa goons or militia loons. In the chaos, even sane people can go mad.... Joe Biden last year called Rittenhouse a 'white supremacist'; no one’s ever shown the least evidence of that.... But Biden, and all the others who’ve polarized this case, saw some value in fueling the flames."

"I had never heard of a Josephite marriage, a union inspired by the relationship between Joseph and the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus."

"And to this day, I am astonished that my parents undertook a similar path with the blessing of the Roman Catholic Church.... My father was a worldly 32 and my mother a winsome 19 when they met.... He was agnostic, though his parents were Presbyterian. She was Catholic.... [A] brush with death prompted him to convert to Catholicism.... Not long thereafter, my three siblings and I noticed that our parents’ double bed was replaced by twin beds.... What we didn’t know was that my father had been married before meeting my mother. His first marriage lasted about two years, and because the church refused to recognize the divorce and end of that union, my parents could not receive the sacrament of matrimony. During my father’s immersion into Catholicism, it was pointed out that without the sacrament of matrimony performed by a priest, my parents were technically living in sin. Mortal sin.... Mom and Dad, with the bishop’s permission, and after taking a solemn vow, could leave the marital bed and replace it with chaste cohabitation.... 'No one is to know of the brother-sister relationship except the Advocate Father O’Brien, the Pastor, the Tribunal, and the confessors of the parties,' the tribunal’s letter said....  [N]ine years after my father’s heart attack and their decision to have a celibate marriage, his first wife died. On an ordinary Tuesday evening in 1970, Mom and Dad were married in secrecy at our parish church...."

"Given the absence of artists of color in Monday’s sale and the scarcity of women... the auction to some symbolized a chapter from the past."

"'This is the collection of a generation that’s passing — an old white man’s collection,' said Adam Lindemann, the gallerist and collector. 'Yes, these things are always going to be great, but is this what a young tech billionaire wants? I don’t think so.'"

From "Blue-Chip Art From Bitter Macklowe Divorce Brings $676 Million at Sotheby’s/A Sotheby’s executive called the court-ordered sale on Monday night 'the most valuable single-owner auction ever staged.'"

Lindemann, endeavoring to look woke, makes a gaffe. The article is clear that it was the wife who made the selections. It's an old white woman's taste. Not an old white man's. She picked "The Nose":

Pun intended. 

Sculpture by Alberto Giacometti.

The comments over at the NYT don't pick up the racial justice theme. They're nearly all about wealth: This sale proves the rich should be heavily taxed. It's not enough that these bastards buy more things made by people of color and women. Their money ought to flow massively to government, so that things can be given to other people. 

The top-rated comment comes from someone who claims he was involved in "the packing and delivery of this collection to Sotheby’s." Did the NYT fact-check that? He says: "We were there for weeks busting our humps and the Macklowes will make well over a billion dollars from this sale but couldn’t even bothered to offer us so much as a glass of water. Typical billionaire behavior."

I presume that the NYT wants the art market to rage on, and that can only happen if the rich survive. So there's no disparaging the rich in the article (as in the comments). The racial justice theme is shoehorned in to give the newspaper the look of progressivism. 

It's convenient sometimes — isn't it? — this racial topic. 

November 16, 2021

Yesterday at Devil's Lake.




All 3 photos taken at about 3 in the afternoon in Devil's Lake State Park. I took the first 2, and the third one, showing me, was taken by Meade.

Talk about anything you want in the comments.

Just once...

"I 'died' during my first trip.... In my trips I’ve seen that death is beautiful. Life and death both have to be beautiful, but death has a bad rep."

"The toad has taught me that I’m not going to be here forever. There’s an expiration date.... Before I did the toad, I was a wreck. The toughest opponent I ever faced was myself. I had low self-esteem. People with big egos often have low self-esteem. We use our ego to subsidize that. The toad strips the ego.... It has made me more creative and helps me focus.... I’m more present as a businessman and entrepreneur.... If you knew me in 1989 you knew a different person. My mind isn’t sophisticated enough to fathom what happened, but life has improved. The toad’s whole purpose is to reach your highest potential. I look at the world differently. We’re all the same. Everything is love.... I’m fighting for psychedelics to become medicine you can buy over the counter...."

"If Biden declines to run again, and Harris declares her candidacy in 2023 or even 2024, it will be very hard to stop her without being accused of racism and/or sexism and/or disloyalty."

"Biden himself will be put on the spot — endorse or not endorse? The time to short-circuit Harris is now, before she begins her run. Signal that you’re giving potential opponents time and political space to build up their reps and their networks. This is what the Biden team, worried that Harris will be a loser, seems to be diligently doing. I suppose that's obvious.... The Republicans’ equivalent dilemma — the Trump Dilemma — seems completely insoluble.... Could Trump perhaps be.... bribed...."

 Writes Mickey Kaus.

Sunrise — 6:40, 6:52.



"Facebook took down a New Mexico militia group’s accounts. Prosecutors say it deleted key evidence."

 WaPo reports.

“We preserve account information in response to a request from law enforcement and will provide it, in accordance with applicable law and our terms, when we receive valid legal process,” said Andy Stone, Facebook’s policy communications director, in an emailed statement. “When we preserve data, we do so for a period of time, which can be extended at the request of law enforcement.”

"Two Yale Law School deans, along with Yale Law School’s Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, worked together in an attempt to blackball two students of color from job opportunities as retaliation for refusing to lie to support the University’s investigation into a professor of color."

So reads the complaint quoted in "Two students sue Yale Law administrators for alleged retaliation in Amy Chua case" (Yale News).

ADDED: David Lat has this — very intra-Yale — at Substack:
If Dean Gerken wants to be renewed, I think she might have to fire some folks—specifically, Ellen Cosgrove and Yaseen Eldik. This isn’t something Gerken would do willingly; she doesn’t relish admitting mistakes, and rumor has it that Cosgrove is the Littlefinger of the YLS kingdom, a canny operator with all sorts of dirt to spill. But I find it hard to imagine that some heads won’t roll over all this—and if Gerken doesn’t want it to be her head, she’ll have to offer up some others.

"Think of the other narratives the MSM pushed in recent years that have collapsed. They viciously defamed the Covington boys."

"They authoritatively told us that bounties had been placed on US soldiers in Afghanistan by Putin—and Trump’s denials only made them more certain. They told us that the lab-leak theory of Covid was a conspiracy theory with no evidence behind it at all. (The NYT actually had the story of the leak theory, by Donald McNeil, killed it, and then fired McNeil, their best Covid reporter, after some schoolgirls complained he wasn’t woke.) Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. The MSM took the ludicrous story of Jussie Smollett seriously because it fit their nutty 'white supremacy' narrative. They told us that a woman was brutally gang-raped at UVA (invented), that the Pulse mass shooting was driven by homophobia (untrue) and that the Atlanta spa shooter was motivated by anti-Asian bias (no known evidence for that at all). For good measure, they followed up with story after story about white supremacists targeting Asian-Americans, in a new wave of 'hate,' even as the assaults were disproportionately by African Americans and the mentally ill."

Last calls Sullivan's attack "nonsense," his point being that "the MSM universe is so large that you’re always going to be able to cherry-pick examples to support the notion that 'they' are feeding 'us' false narratives." 

And it's easy for Last to dish up the false narratives Sullivan himself has served up: He called "people skeptical of the Iraq War as the 'Hate-America-First crowd,' he asserted "that Barack Obama would put an end to America’s culture wars," he pushed the notion "that Sarah Palin had faked a pregnancy and that 'the media' was complicit in this coverup."

Last writes:
The MSM is like a giant peer-review system, but where the peer-reviewing takes place after publication. Jonathan Rauch talks about this at length in The Constitution of Knowledge—that the scientific enterprise and the journalistic enterprise have similar modes of operation. Is the journalistic mode great? No. Like democracy, it is the worst system there is—except for all the others.

"Great analogy" says the top-rated comment on a WaPo column that makes a terrible analogy.

I hesitate to link to it because I don't think this writer should be encouraged, but I'll give you the link with the headline and tell you that the piece is intended to be a satire about Kyle Rittenhouse so you can understand my point without actually clicking. The piece is "Teen who showed up in operating room with scalpel had idolized doctors all his life." The author's name is in the tags.

"Americans say by a roughly 2-to-1 margin that the Supreme Court should uphold its landmark abortion decision in Roe v. Wade..."

"... and by a similar margin the public opposes a Texas law banning most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. The lopsided support for maintaining abortion rights protections comes as the court considers cases challenging its long-term precedents, including Dec. 1 arguments over a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Post-ABC poll finds 27 percent of Americans say the court should overturn Roe, while 60 percent say it should be upheld, attitudes that are consistent in polls dating to 2005. More broadly, three-quarters of Americans say abortion access should be left to women and their doctors, while 20 percent say they should be regulated by law."

The good news for supporters of access to abortion is that if the Supreme Court happens to nullify the longstanding right to have an abortion, the strong support from the public ought to lead quickly to statutory law guaranteeing that right. That process of getting back to the right we'll have lost will radically affect American politics, but who has the inclination now or the skill to accurate predict how that will work out? If I say it will help the Democratic Party, who will believe me?

"I want socialism to win, and to do that, socialists must be ruthless with ourselves. The idea that most Americans quietly agree with our positions is dangerous..."

"... because it leads to the kind of complacency that has dogged Democrats since the 'emerging Democratic majority' myth became mainstream. Socialists can take some heart in public polling that shows Americans warming to the abstract idea of socialism. But 'socialism' is an abstraction that means little without a winning candidate. And too much of this energy seems to stem from the echo-chamber quality of social media, as young socialists look at the world through Twitter and TikTok and see only the smiling faces of their own beliefs reflected back at them. Socialist victory will require taking a long, hard road to spread our message, to convince a skeptical public that socialist policies and values are good for them and the country. Which is to say, it will take decades. Americans have lived in a capitalist system for generations; that will not be an easy obstacle for socialists to overcome." 

From "Democratic Socialists Need to Take a Hard Look in the Mirror" by Fredrik deBoer in the NYT. He's the author of "The Cult of Smart: How Our Broken Education System Perpetuates Social Injustice." Nice illustration, by Gary Ellis, at the link.

November 15, 2021

Sunrise — 6:45, 7:00, 7:01.




Mid-November foliage — 7:04 a.m.



My hypothesis: The Bidens deliberately froze Kamala Harris's political career.

I'm reading this CNN article — "Exasperation and dysfunction: Inside Kamala Harris' frustrating start as vice president" — and reading between the lines.

Read it yourself. It's very long. Too long to excerpt adequately. But let me know what you think. My hypothesis is based, first, on a belief that Jill Biden hated the way Harris treated her husband in that first debate. Let me cherry pick from the CNN article and quote just the things that reinforce my suspicion that the Bidens want to disable Harris:
Many in the vice president's circle fume that she's not being adequately prepared or positioned, and instead is being sidelined. The vice president herself has told several confidants she feels constrained in what she's able to do politically. And those around her remain wary of even hinting at future political ambitions, with Biden's team highly attuned to signs of disloyalty, particularly from the vice president....
She could be just a year away from launching a presidential campaign of her own, given doubts throughout the political world that Biden will actually go through with a reelection bid in 2024, something he's pledged to do publicly and privately....

 She can't start running unless and until he says he won't run. She can't compete with him. 

If you read the previous post without thinking of the mask mandate...

 ... explain yourself.

Hugh Hewitt writes "'Roe' will be overturned. The federal courts will go back to normal" in The Washington Post.

Okay, I'll bite. Let's read it. I'm reacting in real time ("live-blogging" my reading):
One of [the weight-bearing walls of constitutionalism] is a federal judiciary confined to its proper role, which is most definitely not that of reviewing state statutes having to do with the regulation of abortion.

I'll just have to guess that he's positing this because he thinks abortion isn't a constitutional right, but he might be saying he doesn't think courts should protect individual rights from the choices of the majority or because he thinks only state courts should protect individuals from rights-invading choices made by state and local government authorities. 

The high court has been doing it steadily since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973, but with its consideration next month of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the pattern is likely ending.

Is that "likely"? I'd place my bet on the side of preserving the longstanding precedent, but we shall see. 

“Out, out damn spot” is the perfect summary of the thinking of serious conservatives toward Roe, as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 case that narrowed Roe.

Out, out damn spot?!! That's what Lady Macbeth says — it's "damned" though, not "damn" — when she hallucinates blood on her hands after committing murder. How going insane perfectly summarizes the thinking of "serious" conservatives I don't know.

And spare me the claim that your people's thinking is "serious." My son John recently asked on Facebook "What word do you think is overused?" and I said: "I have 3: serious, deeply, and garner." Watch out for it and you'll see the idiotic effectiveness attributed to the word "serious." If you're serious, demonstrate seriousness. Don't just tell me you're serious. And don't use "serious" in the "true Scotsman" sense, which is what Hewitt is doing with "serious conservatives." The serious conservatives are the ones who see Roe as a bloodstain that's driving them crazy (or whatever HH thinks "Out, out damn spot" perfectly summarizes). 

"During the interview, Winfrey said she thinks women are going to feel 'liberated' by Adele choosing to leave a marriage that wasn’t working, rather than stick it out only for her child."

"'I’ve read where you said you weren’t miserable, but you also knew you weren’t happy,' Winfrey said. 'And so you wanted to bring a happy version of yourself to your son. Which I think is about the best gift anybody can give to their children.'"

Make yourself happy, because a happy version of yourself is about the best gift anybody can give to their children. free polls

November 14, 2021

"In the 1860s, New England was in the grip of a 'pear mania,' an enthusiasm for amateur horticulture which irked Henry David Thoreau, who felt pears were..."

"... a finicky and 'aristocratic' fruit compared to the apples he loved. 'The hired man gathers the apples and barrels them. The proprietor plucks the pears at odd hours for a pastime, and his daughter wraps them each in its paper,' he wrote. 'Judges & ex-judges & honorables are connoisseurs of pears & discourse of them at length between sessions.'… In his 1862 essay 'Wild Apples,' Thoreau describes an apple-picking walk through the Massachusetts countryside in November as a full sensory experience, in which the fruit can only be appreciated as part of the environment that produced it—as a way to taste late autumn. 'These apples have hung in the wind and frost and rain till they have absorbed the qualities of the weather or season, and thus are highly seasoned, and they pierce and sting and permeate us with their spirit. They must be eaten in season, accordingly,—that is, out-of-doors.' Wild apples, randomly cross-pollinated by bees, have a wide range of flavors, sometimes even when grown from the same tree, and a love for them requires a palate that can tolerate the occasionally sour, gnarled, irregular, intense. This is a kind of novelty that has been eradicated in our quest for endless choice. Thoreau himself predicted that 'The era of the Wild Apple will soon be past… I fear that he who walks over these fields a century hence will not know the pleasure of knocking off wild apples. Ah, poor man, there are many pleasures which he will not know!'"

(The illustration, from the NYRB article, is of a Belle Angevine pear from Fleury-sous-Meudon, Île-de-France, France, 1900.)

"My life is completely different now. I can’t imagine myself living 100 percent back in Tokyo anymore. I love how I’m surrounded by nature here, and I feel healthier and emotionally full."

Said Kana Hashimoto, 25, quoted in "Goodbye, city life. Green acres in Japan beckon as pandemic shifts priorities" (WaPo).
In April, she moved to Minami-Aso, a village of about 11,000 people in southern Japan, and now balances many jobs she loves: farming, helping distribute local ingredients to nearby restaurants, working at a miso soup shop and a hot-spring spa.... 
[Y]oung workers are seeking alternatives to Tokyo’s corporate grind, marked by long hours, cramped subway commutes, meetings with bosses over after-work drinks and strict corporate hierarchies. About one-third of the people in their 20s and 30s living in greater Tokyo said they had taken steps in the past six months to move to rural Japan, according to [a] survey. Among 20-somethings alone, 44.9 percent said they were interested in moving to rural Japan.... 

ADDED: Here's the top-rated comment at WaPo, from ZanHax:

Stories like this are so inspirational to me. In America, however, I don’t think it would be so easy for all people. I would love the opportunity to move to a rural community and work the land. The reality, for many Black and minority people, is that policies and rural communities themselves, may not be supportive, safe and welcoming to people like me. There are communities here that I fear driving through when traveling. I think it is simpler to do something like this when a society is more homogeneous. I do wish these young people success, because this grind? It isn’t all life is about.

Rural Americans "may not be supportive, safe and welcoming." You "fear driving" when you pass through their territory. But do you know any of these people or are you just prejudiced against them? Where did you learn that prejudice? In the city? And here you are wishing for a more homogeneous society. This is a prime example of how much racism is woven into anti-racism.

"Overcharging may please the public, but it can demolish a case. While jurors can convict on 'lesser included' offenses..."

"... the credibility of the prosecution is established by the lead charge. Jurors tend to start at the top and work their way down on the charges. If the first-degree charge is wildly out of reach, they are more likely to doubt the lesser charges, too. Even with some lesser included offenses, it will be hard for prosecutors in the Rittenhouse case to make this cat walk backward. They promised the jury that it would see a vigilante rampaging in utter disregard of human life. Instead, the jury saw a much more confusing, chaotic scene in which Rittenhouse was threatened with a gun, hit repeatedly and chased down a street."

Is "make this cat walk backward" an idiomatic expression? Google returns only 4 results on this search, one of which is the article I've quoted above. The other 3 — 1, 2, 3 — are all from July 2014, and they are all reports of a quote — on the topic of whether members of Congress can sue the President for violating separation of powers — that came from Jonathan Turley.

"Make this cat walk backward" seems related to the expression that it's hard/impossible to "herd cats." I guess it's hard to make a cat do anything, so make up your own cat expression and try — like Jonathan Turley — to get your idea to go viral. 

What can the prosecution do to make the metaphorical cat walk backward? Find a metaphorical Roomba:

ADDED: As many commenters here are saying, you will find non-Turley examples of the phrase "walk the cat back." To walk back isn't the same as to walk backward. When you go out for a walk, in the end, you walk back home. That doesn't mean backward! 

Here are the Everly Brothers, and I assure you that they are not imploring the woman to walk backwards, just to walk — in a frontward-facing position — back to them:

Here's a Phrase Finder piece on "Walk the cat back." It begins with a usage by Maureen Dowd (in 2010) that seems to be a misunderstanding of the phrase "walk back the cat." If you think there's no significant difference between those 2 phrases, read that piece. "Walking Back the Cat" was the title of a 1997 spy thriller by Robert Littell who explained it as an expression used by spies to mean "attempting to retrace a process to its origin, when that process had been tentative and indirect in the first place." 

"The Post-ABC poll finds that, if elections were held today, 46 percent of adults overall would back the Republican candidate for Congress and 43 percent would support the Democratic candidate."

"Among registered voters, the GOP advantage goes to 51 percent vs. 41 percent for Democrats, a historically strong result for Republicans on this measure.... [Biden's] overall approval rating now stands at 41 percent, with 53 percent saying they disapprove.... Biden’s overall approval rating is down from 50 percent in June and 44 percent in September, although his current standing is not statistically different from two months ago. Biden’s popularity also has slumped among his own base. In June, 94 percent of Democrats approved of the way he was handling his job compared with 3 percent who disapproved. Today, 80 percent of Democrats are positive and 16 percent are negative. Barely 4 in 10 Democrats strongly approve of Biden today, down from about 7 in 10 who did so in June. Biden’s approval rating on the economy has also tumbled and now stands at 39 percent positive and 55 percent negative.... Today, just over one-third of Americans say Biden has accomplished a great deal or a good amount during his time in office, with more than 6 in 10 saying he has accomplished 'not much' or 'little or nothing.'... Still, that means nearly one-third of Democrats say Biden has not accomplished much or anything during his first 10 months...." 

"Spears is still in a profoundly difficult position, despite, and perhaps because of, her new control of her life."

"If Spears acts in any way that could be construed as irresponsible, it could be taken, in legal battles to come, as proof that she can’t handle her own life. In August, police records show, she placed three calls to police that she subsequently cancelled, and police were also dispatched to her home after she was accused of damaging a housekeeper’s phone. (The matter was referred to the district attorney’s office, which did not pursue charges.) In mid-October, Spears wrote on Instagram, 'I’ll just be honest and say I’ve waited so long to be free from the situation I’m in . . . and now that it’s here I’m scared to do anything because I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake !!!' She had just regained the freedom to drive, for the first time in thirteen years, and the paparazzi were chasing her, 'like they want me to do something crazy.'"

This NYT headline displays an unabashed belief that censorship is desirable and expected, as if the tradition of freedom of speech has evaporated.

With dismay, I am reading "On Podcasts and Radio, Misleading Covid-19 Talk Goes Unchecked/False statements about vaccines have spread on the 'Wild West' of media, even as some hosts die of virus complications."

Talk goes unchecked! 

Freedom of speech is an artifact of the "Wild West," not the foundation of our republic!

Well, the New York Times is free to print such things, misleading though they are. The NYT is trying to induce private companies to undertake censorship.
[One] podcast is available through iHeart Media... Spotify and Apple are other major companies that provide significant audio platforms for hosts who have shared similar views with their listeners about Covid-19 and vaccination efforts, or have had guests on their shows who promoted such notions.

“There’s really no curb on it,” said Jason Loviglio, an associate professor of media and communication studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “There’s no real mechanism to push back, other than advertisers boycotting and corporate executives saying we need a culture change.”...
That would be a culture change in favor of censorship, and the NYT is doing what it can to instigate demand for that change.
“People develop really close relationships with podcasts,” said Evelyn Douek, a senior research fellow at Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute. “It’s a parasocial medium. There’s something about voice that humans really relate to.”
There’s something about voice that humans really relate to. Yes, the spoken word feels more like a real relationship than the written word, but that makes it more dangerous, it seems. More "parasocial." 

I know I like to stick with the written word. It feels more rational. It's easier to pull apart and critique, at least as long as the private company known as Google allows me to continue — continue my parasocial life — and doesn't virtual-murder me.