December 11, 2021

"People around the world have been through so many alarms — both real and false — that many have been conditioned to stop fearing Covid-19 in the same way."

"And every trip outside the house that doesn’t result in people getting sick can serve to desensitize them further. At this point, it’s as if we have built up antibodies against fear.... Many are tired of being afraid — and just plain tired, too.... Safety behaviors have become so politicized that many people are skeptical not only of vaccines and face masks, but also even of the threat that Covid-19 presents....  In his pioneering studies of persuasion, the psychologist Robert Cialdini has shown that under uncertainty, people look to others who are similar to them for cues about appropriate behavior. If you see that many of your neighbors aren’t vaccinated, you might hesitate to get a jab, too.... One thing is clear: Repeatedly blasting an emergency alert brings its own risks. The last thing needed in a pandemic is a country of people too bored to pay attention and take action."

Writes the psychologist Adam Grant, in "We’re Living Through the ‘Boring Apocalypse’" (NYT).

"The storms — dark and immense funnel clouds that roared across the nighttime landscape — obliterated homes, churches and businesses, leaving unearthly scenes of devastation."

"In Mayfield, Ky., among the hardest-hit communities, the center of town had been become a perilous maze of downed utility lines, dangling tree limbs and scattered debris. Officials said that around 110 people had ben huddled inside a local candle-making factory when a tornado ripped through."

From "Live Updates: Tornadoes Hit Several States, With at Least 50 Dead in Kentucky" (NYT).

"This Fox weather bitch... Any help painting her as a far right crazy?"

Chris Cuomo allegedly texted an Andrew Cuomo staffer, quoted in "Chris Cuomo allegedly blasted Janice Dean as ‘that Fox weather bitch’ in smear plot" (NY Post). 

The "weather bitch" he wanted to discredited Fox News, meteorologist Janice Dean, had criticized Governor Cuomo for his policy of putting Covid patients in nursing homes. Her husband's elderly parents had died of Covid in March and April of 2020, and she said this in March 2021 on "Fox and Friends":

“We knew he was covering up the numbers and now we are getting more and more information and facts to prove this is true. And the fact that his top aide Melissa de Rosa was in on it to help cover up the numbers, to downplay them.... They have never apologized to the families, 15,000 that deserve an apology. The only thing the governor is going to be sorry about is that he got caught. You know what — he needs to go to jail and all of those around him.... Promoting that book and making money off of COVID and the deaths of our loved ones is disgusting, corrupt and it needs to be investigated."

Interviewed yesterday, Dean said: 

"Some 'courses' were slivers of edible paper. Some shots were glasses of vinegar. Everything tasted like fish, even the non-fish courses...."

"[W]e got twelve kinds of foam, something that I can only describe as 'an oyster loaf that tasted like Newark airport,' and a teaspoon of savory ice cream that was olive flavored.... [Y]ou can’t order anything besides the tasting menu... you are at the mercy of the servers to explain to you what the hell is going on.... 'These are made with rancid ricotta,' the server said, a tiny fried cheese ball in front of each of us.... 'Rancido,' he clarified. Another course – a citrus foam – was served in a plaster cast of the chef’s mouth. Absent utensils, we were told to lick it out of the chef’s mouth in a scene that I’m pretty sure was stolen from an eastern European horror film.... 'What are we having for the main?'... 'The… main, madame? Um… we’re about to move on to dessert.'... [I]t had been hours, and at no point had we been served anything that could be considered dinner. (There was one time when I thought it might happen – the staff placed dishes in front of us, and then swirled sauces on the dishes, and I clapped my hands, excitedly waiting for something to be plated atop those beautiful sauces. Instead, someone came by with an eyedropper and squirted drops of gelee onto our plates). 'We’ve infused these droplets with meat molecules,' the server explained, and left."

Served in a plaster cast of the chef’s mouth.... that was the best part. See it with the foam drooling out of it at that link. Or buy one at the restaurant's gift shop. It looks like this when unsullied by food:

I feel a little sorry for the restaurant, as all the world is getting pointed at this mocking review. I got there by Today — you know, the TV show "Today" — "27 courses, very little edible: Review of Michelin-starred restaurant goes viral/Would you want to eat foam served in a plaster cast of the chef's mouth?" 

Virality brings excessive mockery, that is, mockery not merely because the food was bad and the total amount was small but from people who don't know what a tasting menu is or get the idea but would never choose to eat like that. The best meals I've ever had have been in tasting-menu form, and I would be very annoyed to have people at the next table laughing at the food and asking where's "the main." But each item should be delightful and delicious, not gross and nasty.

"Hey, Jimmy, how are ya, man?"

I'll just watch this cold and tell you what I think (because what else am I going to do at 5:20 a.m.?):


Pausing at 1:44 — Fallon prompts him to tout the infrastructure bill, and he talks about how far "behind the curve" we are. He doesn't use the phrase "Make America Great Again," but that's his pitch. He mentions 2 details of greatness to come: removing lead pipes and providing high speed internet. Just the flow of essential material into our home — water and data. 

Pausing at 3:27 — Fallon prompts him to talk about "Build Back Better" — how will it help Americans with the cost of living? That made me think about inflation, but the answer was about helping people pay for childcare and providing schooling for younger children. Fallon followed up, but not about inflation, just about whether BBB could "pass the Senate before the year." I presume Fallon is working from a script and was supposed to say "before the new year" or "before the end of the year." 

Pausing at 5:29 — Fallon praises Biden for being "classy" and "bringing class back to the office." 

Pausing at 5:57 — Fallon asks what can be done about Covid when not everyone is getting the vaccine. Fallon himself will do anything Biden tells him to do, and "If you want me to wear red pants, I'll wear red pants." When is it not about science but about obeying orders?

Pausing at 9:26 — Prompted about his poll numbers, Biden offers optimism about the economy, then concedes, "We do have inflation." He's trying to reduce the cost of gas by increasing the supply using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Pausing at 10:06 — He's going to "shoot from the shoulder." He's said that before, as noted here. He's mixing up "shoot from the hip" and "straight from the shoulder."

Pausing at 12:01 — "I have enormous confidence. You're going to realize what a naive guy I am, but I really have faith at the end of the day. The American people are going to get it. They understand."

The video ends with Fallon announcing that there will be more with Biden. What have I got myself into? Here's Part 2:


Pausing at 1:16 — Biden says that he and Jill grew up middle class, so it's hard to get used to all the people in the White House waiting on them. He made a deal with people who do the food to leave them alone in the morning and let them get their own breakfast. He mentions eggs, and Jimmy expresses amazement. Jimmy: "You cook your own eggs?" Biden: "Well, I don't. Jill does." This gets a huge laugh, but I had the classic feminist reaction: That's not funny. They had chefs serving them breakfast, Biden told them to back off, because he's got a wife for that? 

Pausing at 1:28 — More laughing and Biden breaks in to tell a story of "When Jill was in graduate school, which was her whole life, it seems," which sounds like a criticism of Jill for getting her education. The story is about an interview someone did with "my daughter," who said her "daddy" couldn't do much, only boil water and cook "psghetti." Again, this is bad feminism! The man just can't cook. Ha ha. So the woman must do the cooking. For decades. And by the way, what's with "my daughter"? Why not "our daughter"?!

December 10, 2021

The second phase of today's sunrise — 7:12, 7:21.



"With infinite love we announce that Michael Nesmith has passed away this morning in his home, surrounded by family, peacefully and of natural causes."

 Said the family, quoted in "Michael Nesmith, Monkees Singer-Songwriter, Dead at 78" (Rolling Stone).

“This being, ‘What is this thing? What have we got here? What’s required of us? Is this a band? Is this a television show?’ When you go back to the genesis of this thing, it is a television show because it has all those traditional beats. But something else was going on, and it struck a chord way out of proportion to the original swing of the hammer. You hit the gong and suddenly it’s huge.”

I thoroughly loved The Monkees. I remember reading about the show before it began and awaiting it eagerly. I remember when Mike Nesmith was called "Mike Wool Hat Nesmith" — as if he was too hard to identify without the added attribute of the hat and the continual pointing out of it. I remember he was, essentially, the John Lennon of the group, sarcastic and a little mean. 

I still listen to The Monkees and too much time has passed to put them down, even if, long ago you did put them down, when they were too busy singing to put you down. They came up in my playlist as I was sunrise-running this morning: "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone."

Here are The Monkees — the Monkees then still living — last month:


And now there's one Monkee left — our dear Circus Boy:

The first phase of today's beautiful sunrise — 7:04, 7:07, 7:09.




"The Supreme Court on Friday allowed a challenge to a Texas abortion law that banned most abortions in the state after about six weeks to proceed... But the Supreme Court refused to block the law in the meantime...."

"... saying that lower courts should consider the matter. The development was both a victory for and a disappointment to supporters of abortion rights, who had hoped that the justices would reverse course from a Sept. 1 ruling that had allowed the law to go into effect, causing clinics in the state to curtail performing the procedure and forcing many women seeking abortions to travel out of state. The decision in the Texas case came less than two weeks after the court heard a direct challenge to the right to abortion established in 1973 in Roe v. Wade, in a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. Roe prohibits states from banning abortion before fetal viability, the point at which fetuses can sustain life outside the womb, or about 23 to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.... The court’s earlier encounter with the law left the justices bitterly divided, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s three more liberal members in dissent."

Space diapers.

On the off chance that you care about the NYT crossword but have not yet completed today's puzzle, I will protect you by putting this discussion after the jump.

"We want to have sex, not children.... Having a child or not is our choice to make and our fundamental right. We don’t need anyone to tell us how to live."

Said Zhou Muyun, a 23-year-old copywriter in Guangzhou, who was turned down by 2 different hospitals when he tried to get a vasectomy, quoted in "In need of a baby boom, China clamps down on vasectomies" (WaPo). 

Eventually, he found a doctor who would do the vasectomy, but "Even on the operating table, the doctor tried to discourage him from going ahead." We're told that Zhou and his girlfriend Han Feifei, who live together, "wanted to maintain a 'DINK' — double income, no kids — lifestyle."

Another man "Jiang, 30, who works in customer service at an Internet company, visited six hospitals in his home province of Fujian before finding one more than 1,200 miles away in Chengdu in Sichuan province that would perform a vasectomy." He said: "I felt like I had finally gotten rid of this huge burden.... Those around me who are married and have kids have nothing that makes me envious."

ADDED: I hadn't seen the term "DINK" in a long time. I have never used it on this blog — which is nearly 18 years old — and it's the kind of thing I tend to blog. I remember it from the 80s. I think that's because the 80s were a time for bragging about how much money you made — actually lording it over others. That went out of style.

"Prices climbed 6.8% in November compared with last year, largest rise in nearly four decades, as inflation spreads through economy."

WaPo reports. 
Top officials at the White House and Fed have maintained that unsustainably high prices won’t become a permanent feature of the economy... But over the past few months, they’ve been forced to back away from their initial message that inflation is temporary, or “transitory”.... The Biden administration has suffered low approval ratings and political attacks from Republicans, who blame Democrats’ stimulus measures for overheating the economy this year. Inflation has also emerged as a top concern for voters ahead of the 2022 midterms, especially because the cost of food or gas is often a test for how people perceive the economy....

This is a such an obvious disaster that WaPo can't find a way to help Biden or blame Republicans. There's an ineffectual slap at Republicans — for blaming Democrats. But you can't blame Republicans for blaming Democrats. The Democrats are in charge.

ADDED: Here's the shocking chart:

"I think secretly everyone just knows it’s the wrong thing to do... When the whole team is together, we have to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, go Lia, that’s great, you’re amazing.’ It’s very fake...."

"There are a bunch of comments on the Internet about how, ‘Oh, these girls are just letting this happen. They should just boycott or protest.’ At the end of the day, it’s an individual sport. If we protest it, we’re only hurting ourselves because we’re going to miss out on all that we’ve been working for." 

Women, being fake? That's an old sexist stereotype — female guile and deceit. 

And speaking of old patterns... feminism always steps back politely and allows others to go first. Young girls get the message: Don't be mean. No one will love you if you are mean. 

ADDED: Surely, Lia Thomas has read this news — the news that these teammates are 2-faced, fake friends. Here's a test of femaleness, just a thought experiment, not a real, proposed test: Did Thomas break down and cry? Did Thomas confront the teammates in an emotional outburst?: How could you treat me this way? Lying to my face! I thought you were my friends!

It occurs to me that the project of women's sports has played out. There was an idea — something that began after I graduated from high school (1969) — that sports could transform women into empowered competitors. Feminism boosted female athletes, and some young women participated, and they were highlighted and extolled, even as — everyone knew — they only excelled compared to each other.

Listen to Serena Williams. There's no stronger woman, but "I only want to play girls":


Maybe that's something beautiful — something women created that should be celebrated and preserved and jealously guarded.

But look at what transgender women bring to the discussion. It's the idea that there is an inward psychology that is female, that's more important than any outward manifestation. Does that feeling include athletic competitiveness? That's what the women-in-sports movement believed could be created. But if women in sports were really aggressively competitive, they would fight to exclude the transgender competitor, not welcome and cheer on this person who's going to deprive them of their victories. 

If kindness and friendship and sociability are predominant elements of the female psyche, then the transgender female destroys the foundation of the women-in-sports movement, though women can still do sports in a traditional female way — for fun, for good times with friends, for good health. It won't matter who wins. That's the male style of sports, where the saying is "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

But the women on Lia Thomas's team did not completely melt into kindness and inclusivity. That's only how they acted on the outside. Inside, they felt aggrieved. But perhaps that's the female way — nice on the outside, chronically unsatisfied on the inside. And that's a core concern of feminism. But to raise that concern in this context is to be a TERF. And mainstream feminism is now staunchly TERFphobic.

December 9, 2021

Smollett guilty.

"Actor Jussie Smollett was convicted by a Cook County jury Thursday of staging and reporting a hate crime on himself, marking a dramatic end to a case that captivated the nation ever since he reported being attacked on a frigid night in Chicago nearly three years ago" (Chicago Tribune).

A dim sunrise — at 7:15.


Reddit Recap 2021.

"Why wouldn’t I prostrate myself before the petulant mobs who insist that my standard journalistic investigation into a medical mystery..."

"... specifically, why so many teen girls were suddenly identifying as transgender and clamoring to alter their bodies—makes me a hater?... As an undergraduate studying philosophy, I spent an inordinate amount of time wondering whether my will was free.... Today, before any of us decides what it is we want, we open our phones and participate in our own manipulation at the hands of those who actively want us to think, and see, and vote differently than our own wills would have us do. If we were not entirely free before, in other words—we are far less so now..... When polled, nearly two out of three Americans (62%) say they are afraid to express an unpopular opinion. That doesn’t sound like a free people in a free country. We are, each day, force-fed falsehoods we are all expected to take seriously, on pain of forfeiting esteem and professional opportunity: 'Some men have periods and get pregnant.' 'Hard work and objectivity are hallmarks of whiteness.' 'Only a child knows her own true gender.' 'Transwomen don’t have an unfair advantage when playing girls’ sports.'... I didn’t write Irreversible Damage to be provocative. In a freer world, nothing in my book would have created controversy. I wrote the book because I knew it was truthful and I believed recording what I found—that there was a social contagion leading many teenage girls to irreversible damage—was the right thing to do...."

"It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Democrats have seriously erred by lumping Hispanics in with 'people of color' and assuming they embraced the activism around racial issues..."

"... that dominated so much of the political scene in 2020, particularly in the summer.... Crime as an issue rated higher with these voters than immigration or racial equality, two issues that Democrats assumed would clear the path to big gains among Hispanic voters.... The findings about relatively positive Hispanic attitudes toward police have been confirmed by poll after poll, as concern about crime in their communities has spiked. An important thing to remember about the Hispanic population is that they are heavily oriented toward upward mobility and see themselves as being able to benefit from available opportunities to attain that. Three-fifths of Latinos in the national exit poll said they believed life would be better for the next generation of Americans. They are also patriotic. By well over 3:1, Hispanics in the VSG survey said they would rather be a citizen of the United States than any other country in the world and by 35 points said they were proud of the way American democracy works....  Clearly, this constituency does not harbor particularly radical views on the nature of American society and its supposed intrinsic racism and white supremacy. They are instead a patriotic, upwardly mobile, working class group with quite practical and down to earth concerns."

"After Mitt Romney was photographed drinking a Diet Coke while running for president in 2012, the church posted a statement on its website clarifying its stance on caffeine, saying it 'does not prohibit the use of caffeine.'"

"The Word of Wisdom, the church’s health code, specifically bans hot caffeinated drinks, like coffee and tea. Brant Ellsworth, an associate professor at Central Penn College in Summerdale, Pa., specializes in the history of the church. He said that its clarification about caffeine did not likely spur the popularity of soda shops in Utah... 'Moms can’t function without caffeinated beverages,' said Ms. Durfey, a mother of two. 'We’re exhausted... I don’t know a single mom who cannot [sic] go through the day without some form of caffeine. I think that has definitely aided in the popularity of soda shops, because L.D.S. women can’t have coffee, they can’t drink alcohol. So their vice of getting that relaxation, that energy, and that whole kind of ritual I guess you could say — I feel like soda is their only option.'... As a nod to her hometown, Atlanta, Olivia Diaz, who is 27 and lives in Orem, Utah, likes to order Life’s a Peach — Dr Pepper with peach and vanilla syrup flavorings, and half-and-half to make it 'extra dirty.' (The term 'dirty' refers to the flavor add-ins, and its use in marketing was the basis of a 2015 trademark lawsuit, when Swig sued Sodalicious.)... Many of the dirty sodas, which come in sizes up to 44 ounces, can contain up to 1,000 calories."

The second-highest-rated comment over there is: "I’m not usually a humorless scold, but this is not a good thing. Completely empty calories, mountains of probably not biodegradable waste, and cutesy names/flavors tailored to an eight year old. I’ll stick with plain old water, and a glass of wine before bed. But then, I’m a grown up. And don’t get me started on 'The Church.' Cheers."

"To wander aimlessly is very unswinging. Unhip."

Said Paul McCartney, quoted in a NYT piece about the big Beatles documentary, "'Improvise It, Man.' How to Make Magic Like the Beatles." That's by Jere Hester, author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped Us Come Together as a Family" (NYT). 

I remember hearing that line in passing — I'm about half way through the 7-hour Disney Channel extravaganza —  and wanting to think about it, but missing the context. All Hester gives us is:
Even as wine, beer and more flows, the Beatles stay disciplined, working and reworking lyrics and arrangements until they get them right. “To wander aimlessly is very un-swinging,” Mr. McCartney says. “Unhip.”

I'm so fascinated by the insight that there's hipness and swing in discipline and order, and that chaos — wandering aimlessly — is what's really uncool. It's a great hypothesis. Who knows if it's true, but where did it come from in Paul? Without context, one is left to theorize that Paul criticized chaos because the other Beatles weren't rising to the level of organization he wanted, that came naturally to him.

Googling, I found this transcript of the whole conversation (published a few years ago). There's audio too, and it's crisper than the mix in the documentary. It's January 14, 1969 (in Twickenham Film Studios):

The Order of Orders.

In the previous post, I wrote: "[Chronological order is] the most obvious order, used by lovers of order all over the world and through the grand course of time. There are other orders — alphabetical order, order of importance...."

This made me want to put order... in order. I don't really want to do something I know I can't do. It's more that I want to do a top 10 list, with 10 types of order, ranked so as to amuse me and amuse or provoke you. 

I'm not going to fool around with alternative meanings of the word "order," so no need to steel yourself against jokes like "ham sandwich." I'm talking about orders like chronological order and alphabetical order. I like order, so I want order in talking about order. 

"I'm not that worked up about the Disneyfication of the interior of Notre Dame. The contents of those alcoves along the perimeter are transitory — they'll live out their little lives and pass away."

I wrote on November 27, in a post that has a quote from The Spectator for its title "Plans are afoot to turn Notre Dame cathedral, once it’s restored, into what some have called a 'politically correct Disneyland.'"

I'm rereading that this morning after encountering "Opinion: Sorry, Internet: Notre Dame is not being 'wreckovated.'" by art history professor Elizabeth Lev (at WaPo). She observes that the criticism is about what will be done with "the two dozen-plus side chapels" — what I called "those alcoves along the perimeter." Before the fire, they'd been "an ill-kept hodgepodge generally passed over by tourists."

In the new design, Lev explains, the side chapels will follow a chronological sequence beginning with Genesis and continuing through the resurrection and the story of the Church in the modern world. The visitor will follow a "catechetical path." That's less of a jumble, but chronological order isn't a special province of Disney. It's the most obvious order, used by lovers of order all over the world and through the grand course of time. There are other orders — alphabetical order, order of importance — but getting bent out of shape about chronological order is super silly.

There is also a plan to use 5 of the chapels to represent 5 continents, displaying Bible quotes in the languages of those places. That's a tad Epcot-y, but come on. Should the Church not flaunt its extension over the globe? If you think that, I must chide you, paraphrasing Jesus: Why do you look at the speck of political correctness in your brother’s mind and pay no attention to that plank of political correctness in your own? 

On the other hand, if you are on the left and usually condemn colonialism and cultural appropriation, why don't you take over the condemnation of the renovation of the Notre Dame side chapels?

December 8, 2021

Sunrise — 7:13, 7:40.



Talk about whatever you want... and please support this blog by doing your shopping through the Althouse portal to Amazon, which is always right there in the sidebar.

"I think the Commission's summary of the case against court-packing (pp. 79-84) includes much stronger arguments than its overview of the case for it (pp. 74-79)."

"But then again, I myself am a longtime opponent of the idea. Readers can judge the arguments in the report for themselves. The report does reject arguments that court-packing is unconstitutional, such as that advanced in co-blogger Randy Barnett's testimony before the Commission (see also Joshua Braver's response to Randy here). The Commission's conclusion on this point reflects the dominant view among legal scholars, though Randy and Michael Rappaport have offered serious arguments on the other side. I wish they were right, but so far remain unpersuaded."

I'm reading "Biden Supreme Court Commission Issues Final Report/The report doesn't endorse court-packing or term limits. But it's generally more to the latter than the former. It also provides valuable overview of a wide range of SCOTUS-related issues" — by Ilya Somin (at Reason).

If Court-packing ever happens, it will be the Supreme Court that decides whether Court-packing is unconstitutional, and if this happens soon, with the current configuration of the Court, I doubt that "the dominant view among legal scholars" will matter much. 

I feel like quoting the Thoreau adage again — last quoted 10 days ago — "Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already." In this light, Randy Barnett is the majority. Or will be to any Supreme Court that finds itself on the receiving end of a packing plan.

From Barnett's testimony (linked above):

"Asked which party they would back if the election were today, 37% of Hispanic voters said they would support the Republican congressional candidate and 37% said they would favor the Democrat..."

"... with 22% undecided. Hispanic voters were also evenly divided when asked about a hypothetical rematch in 2024 of the last presidential contenders, with 44% saying they would back President Biden and 43% supporting former President Donald Trump. In 2020, Mr. Biden won 63% support among Hispanic voters, nearly 30 points more than Mr. Trump.... [T]he poll showed that economic issues were the main concern among Hispanic voters, drawing Hispanic men, in particular, toward the GOP.... A majority of Hispanic men said they would like to return to the policies that Mr. Trump pursued as president, while a majority of Hispanic women said they would rather stick with Mr. Biden’s policies.... In the Journal survey, Hispanic voters had a negative outlook on the economy, with 25% saying it was headed in the right direction and 63% saying it was headed in the wrong direction. That 38-point gap compared with a 31-point gap among all voters.... The results showed Hispanic voters differing little from the overall electorate in their political preferences...."

"10-month review of Wisconsin’s 2020 elections conducted by a conservative Milwaukee law firm... found no evidence of the kind of fraud being alleged by allies of former President Donald Trump..."

"... who falsely contend last year’s presidential election was 'stolen.' At the same time, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty found 'it is almost certain' that 'the number of votes that did not comply with existing legal requirements exceeded Joe Biden’s margin of victory.' With the country’s two major political parties sharply at odds over whether the 2020 presidential election was legitimate, the review, released Tuesday, walks a fine line in asserting there were serious problems with the way elections were run in Wisconsin in 2020, but that it’s very unlikely those problems denied a Trump a second term.... 'I don’t think that you instill confidence in a process by kind of blindly assuming there’s nothing to see here,' [WILL president and general counsel Rick Esenberg said]. The report also says questioning an election’s legitimacy is not a one-party affair, pointing specifically to questions raised by some on the left about the legitimacy of George W. Bush’s election in 2000 and Trump’s in 2016, as well as voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams’ refusal to accept her loss in the 2018 Georgia’s governor’s race."

Here's the full report at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty website.

"On Monday, a partially eaten full turkey at one abandoned site had two hypodermic needles sticking from it and needles were easy to spot elsewhere."

"'It’s a public health concern... We don’t want needles being covered up by the snow. We are trying to get ahead of the weather.'"

"Sins of the flesh are not the most serious" — pride and hatred are "the most serious."

Said Pope Francis, quoted in "Don’t sweat about sins of flesh, says Pope Francis" (London Times).
The question came up [after]... the resignation of Michel Aupetit, the Archbishop of Paris, who offered to step down after the French magazine Le Point claimed that he had a consensual, intimate relationship with a woman, which emerged when he sent an incriminating email to his secretary by mistake....

Aupetit denies the accusation, but the Pope said: "It was a failing on his part, a failing against the sixth commandment, but not a total one" — not "total" because there were only — according to the accusation — "small caresses and massages." 

The Archbishop was, of course, not married, so was it really correct to cite the Sixth Commandment, "You shall not commit adultery"? The London Times raises this question, but doesn't talk about whether the secretary was married. You're participating in adultery if the other person is married to someone else, unless you're trying to weaseling out of coverage — looking for loopholes — which has got to be some kind of sin in itself. 

But I'll leave it to the Pope to define sins for Catholics. Maybe to break the priestly vow of celibacy falls within the sin of adultery. 

"We’re an employer too, the state of Michigan is... I know if that [vaccine] mandate happens, we’re going to lose state employees."

"That’s why I haven’t proposed a mandate at the state level. Some states have. We have not, we’re waiting to see what happens in court." 

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said on Monday, quoted in "Dems begin souring on vaccine mandates" (Politico). 

As for Biden, unnamed Democrats have "concerns... that they’re ending up with the worst of all worlds: a blunt policy that won’t go into effect but that will saddle them politically." As one "strategist" put it: "it’s just another thing added to the pile of shit that he’s already been dealing with." We're told: "Aides are convinced that the mandates are necessary to finally tamp down the pandemic, which they believe is Biden’s political end-all, be-all." 

Supposedly, Biden "wanted to steer clear of the politicization that has hampered much of the Covid-19 response, viewing mandates as a concept that could easily spark blowback." He's the President. Why didn't he get what he wanted? Others prevailed, somehow, and he's stuck with the political problem. 

"Like most kids, Henry spent the 2020-2021 school year learning from home...."

"Meanwhile, for more than ten years, we’ve had an 'owl box' in the tree above our driveway.... When our latest nesting pair showed up in late winter, Henry thought it would be a good idea to show the class through a 'broadcast.' So he got dressed up, we set up an iPhone on a tripod in the dining room, and the Weekly Owl Report was born! Sitting still and reading from cue cards was a big deal for Henry because he likes to move around a lot and sometimes has a hard time staying focused...." 

"This first video was just for kicks as a way to show the [5th grade] class what was going on in the owl box. Not only did [the teacher] make The Weekly Owl Report a highlight every Friday, but he also worked it into the weeks' lessons. The class read stories about owls, hosted bird experts, and had discussions about nature. [The school district science coordinator] was flexible and responsive, including The Weekly Owl Report in every [Columbia School District] Science Show. Both focused on promoting backyard ecology observation and getting kids outside. At home, the school encouraged students to get out in their yards and neighborhoods." 

I learned about this from Henry's father and checked to make sure Henry would enjoy a link on the Althouse blog. It's so encouraging to see kids finding ways to study science outdoors and to turn the unfortunate exclusion from the school building into something so positive. I love the way one boy's project energized the rest of the students. Congratulations to Henry!

Watch all of Season 1 here. I'm embedding Episode 3:

December 7, 2021

7:12 a.m. — the temperature was 10° — I bundled up well and got this photo of a bit of light in the heavy clouds.


"The priciest Advent calendar on the market is probably the new $150,000 Tiffany version, a four-foot-tall cabinet with a reproduction of the Jean-Michel Basquiat painting... on the front and 24 gifts inside."

" So why has the Chanel version gotten people so het up?... ... Chanel does lay out all the contents of the calendar on its website, so it’s not a secret what anybody is getting for their money. It’s not apparent that their offering is any more flimflam than that of other brands. But because it was new, and because it cost so much [$825], and because it was Chanel, with all the mythology built into the name, the stakes and expectations may have been higher. And the sense of betrayal when those expectations were not met, greater — and, it would seem, the desire to publicly pile on in response, irresistible. Those who profit from perception can also lose because of it. What Ms. Harmon opened up wasn’t just a new mini perfume. It was a new reality, now completely out of the box."

Here's Elise Harmon's viral TikTok video, showing her unboxing the Chanel Advent calendar. Here's Chanel's presentation, revealing what you get for the money (click to enlarge):

"I had told myself that I’d never try heroin because it sounded too perfect. It’s like 'warm, buttery love,' a friend told me."

"When I did yield to temptation... [i]t was relief from my dread and anxiety, and a soothing sense that I was safe, nurtured and unconditionally loved.... Opioids mimic the neurotransmitters that are responsible for making social connection comforting — tying parent to child, lover to beloved. The brain also makes its own 'endogenous' opioids.... Today... what is now known as the 'brain opioid theory of social attachment' is widely accepted.... [O]pioid systems have evolved in part to fuel the good feelings people get from spending time with friends and family, he explained. There are many factors that contribute to addiction, and isolation is often one of them.... A 2021 study found that over 60 percent of young American adults report that they are either frequently lonely or lonely nearly all the time.... Understanding the social nature of opioids and addiction should help policymakers better care for those who suffer from it.... Some need new friends...." 

What's with the "tough times" in the headline? Isn't the author's point that human beings need relationships with other people? How did love get translated to money so blithely?

I had to go back to the article to try to find things I elided that could support the economic theory of drug addiction. Here's the best sentence for that: "Conversely, neighborhoods riven by poverty tend to have less social connectedness — and more overdoses." 

"A 73-year-old volunteer died on Saturday after she was repeatedly rammed by a sheep while working at a Massachusetts farm that uses animals in mental health therapy...."

She was "rammed by a sheep," and we're informed that male sheep are "known as rams."

The farm — Cultivate Care Farms — has a website that "states that it is committed to improving the lives of children through 'farm-based therapy,' describing itself as a pioneer in the model, which it hopes to establish as a form of mental health treatment comparable to other models like cognitive behavioral therapy."

People do want to do volunteer work, and working with therapy animals must seem, to some people, to be the ideal form of charity. But farm animals are what they are, and they may be quite unfamiliar to the kindly people who volunteer. Obviously, the animals themselves have no idea that they are intended to do charitable work.

"Mr. Trump’s economic populism (at least in rhetoric) blasted through the libertarianism that has tended to dominate the G.O.P., a libertarianism that has made the party’s alliance with pro-lifers..."

"... one of strange bedfellows indeed. If the G.O.P. wants to be of any relevance in a post-Roe world — after all, with Roe gone, those single-issue voters will be free to look elsewhere — it will have to offer the country the matrix of ethnic diversity and economic solidarity that Mr. Trump stumbled upon, but without the divisiveness of the man himself.... A post-Roe America will need to move beyond its wrongheaded obsession with autonomy.... We humans are not best understood as rights-bearing bundles of desires who progress through life by the sheer force of our autonomous wills. We are beings who are deeply dependent on one another...  A world without Roe is a world lived in the reality of this existential interdependence, since none are more dependent than unborn children on their mothers. And as this dependence rightly calls forth maternal duties of care, so too does the mother’s greater vulnerability in pregnancy, childbearing and, should she opt for it, child-rearing place demands on the child’s father and society at large. The reknitting of these interweaving obligations — these solidarities — is the next political and cultural frontier.... The Democrats were once a closer fit for the solidaristic vision, which is why before Roe, pro-lifers once happily made their home in the Democratic Party.... The abortion regime has been deeply complicit in preserving a modern economy built not around the needs of families but on the back of the unencumbered worker who is beholden to no one but her boss....  After all, easy access to abortion (not to mention egg freezing and other technopharmacological interventions) helps businesses ensure that women are readily available to meet the all-encompassing needs of the globalized marketplace, thereby delaying real accommodations for time-consuming (and sometimes unexpected) parenting, especially for those women at the lowest socioeconomic levels in our society."

Writes Erika Bachiochi in a NYT op-ed with a title that obscures most of what's interesting about it — "I Couldn’t Vote for Trump, but I’m Grateful for His Supreme Court Picks." 

I was impressed by the quality of this writing, so here's a link to her book, "The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision (Catholic Ideas for a Secular World)."

ADDED: I was impressed by the quality of the writing, but the 2 top-rated comments call it "word salad." Bachiochi took some surprising turns, and you had to follow along and think. Accept the challenge. But if you read to see what you already know, I guess you think What the hell is this mess?! The food metaphor — salad — is apt. These readers are babies, reacting with disgust to the unfamiliar. Here's a clue: Vegetables are good for you! 

Congress drops the proposed requirement that women register for the draft.

 Politico reports.

One of the people with knowledge of the move said the provision was stripped as a trade-off so Republicans would accept reforms to the military justice system....

Calls to expand the draft beyond men have grown recently, particularly after the Pentagon opened all combat roles to women in 2015....

This article isn't very informative.  I suspect that requiring women to register for the draft isn't popular, but only certain Republicans want to speak against it publicly. On an abstract level, it's about treating men and women equally, and only social conservatives want to say anything other than that. 

No one is actually drafted these days. Registering for the draft is symbolism, so why not have the symbolism of everyone registering? But why have registration at all? The government knows where to find us if it ever gets in the mood to use us against our will.

Personal note: My mother was one of the first women to join the Women's Army Corp (which began in 1941). That was a choice. My father was drafted.

"The value of a woman’s Indiana home more than doubled between appraisals last year after she stripped it of all evidence that it was owned by a Black person and a White family friend stood in as the homeowner."

"Earlier this year, a Black family in Ohio removed family photos, artwork and their 6-year-old daughter’s superhero pictures, replacing them with belongings their White neighbors offered up. The appraised value of their house went from $465,000 to about $560,000."

The main couple discussed in the story had put $400,000 into improving a northern California house that they bought in 2016 for $550,000 and say they were shocked when it was appraised at $995,000. So they "whitewashed" their house by taking down their family photos and their "African-themed" artwork. They got a white friend to put up photos of her family — who I presume were all white people (WaPo fails to say!). When the house was appraised at $1.48 million, by a different appraiser, they sued the first appraiser. 

This article is disturbing, but it feels radically incomplete. One commenter writes:

December 6, 2021

At the Real Thing Café...


... maybe you’re sitting alone, smoking that cigarette, tending to your own bizarre, troubling thoughts,  talking to yourself

"White privilege, he told his nearly all-White class, is 'a fact.' Hawn apologized after at least one parent objected. But a few months later..."

"... he assigned the Ta-Nehisi Coates essay 'The First White President,' spurring more parent complaints. This time school officials issued a letter of reprimand to Hawn for one-sided teaching. After that, Hawn promised to stay away from the topic. But in late April, a student mentioned White privilege during a class discussion about the trial of Derek Chauvin — the White Minneapolis police officer who murdered George Floyd by kneeling on the Black man’s neck — and Hawn could not help himself. He navigated to YouTube and pulled up 'White Privilege,' a scathing and profane four-minute poetry performance by Kyla Jenée Lacey. 'Oh, am I making you uncomfortable?' the Black writer demands at one point. “Try a cramped slave ship.' 'I will probably get fired for showing this,' Hawn joked before hitting play. Less than a month later, he was."

"I remember...."

I remember something made me read this old blog post of mine, from 2013, when I had a little project going where I'd take one sentence from "The Great Gatsby" and present it for discussion, not in the context of the book as a whole, but purely as a sentence. I like to read on a sentence level, and this book has the best sentences.

The sentence of the day was "I remember the fur coats of the girls returning from Miss This-or-That’s and the chatter of frozen breath and the hands waving overhead as we caught sight of old acquaintances, and the matchings of invitations: 'Are you going to the Ordways'? the Herseys'? the Schultzes'?' and the long green tickets clasped tight in our gloved hands."

I believe what took me back to that post was the "gloved hands." They reached out to me from the past! What happened was that within the course of 2 days — November 18, 2021 to November 20, 2021 — I'd written 2 posts that had the tag "gloves." One was about Facebook's virtual reality device, a haptic glove, and the other was about a legal decision in India that meant groping while wearing surgical gloves was not a crime.

I love tags that are specific and concrete but that link up disparate things, and "gloves" is a great example. This is one of the true joys of blogging. Most things on that level of specificity do not get a tag. Excited about "gloves," the tag, I fell into a reading spree and ended up in that "Gatsby" post.

What I wrote back then about that sentence:

"In the Beatles circa 1969, Paul McCartney is the negotiator-in-chief, and he’s aware of every eggshell he has to walk around or smash to achieve greatness..."

"... or just to get shit done.... [H]e comes off as surprisingly aware of the minefield of sensitivities around him... and he’s certainly beyond aware that he’s paying a cost to be the boss. He’s a domineering older brother to George and rival/BFF/frenemy to John, and now he’s playing de facto manager to everyone — not necessarily because he’s taken pole position in the band on merit alone, but because Lennon is suddenly more invested in a woman... Seeing McCartney recognize and articulate all these shifts, and soldier on while he gets a little bit sad about them, is one of the pleasures of 'Get Back.' If you don’t come away from this with just a little more admiration for Paul, you may just be too in the bag for John and Yoko and their bag-ism, but that’s all right. Everybody is going to be your favorite or most admired Beatle, some time before you complete the eight-hour Get Back Challenge. 'Daddy’s gone away now, you know, and we’re on our own at the holiday camp,' McCartney says, about they’ve felt rudderless since the death of manager Brian Epstein. In the contretemps with Harrison where the guitarist famously says 'I’ll play whatever you want me to play, or I won’t play at all if you don’t want me to play,' McCartney tells the whole group he’s aware of turning into dad, and he doesn’t like it: 'I’m scared of that one… me being the boss. And I have been for, like, a couple of years – and we all have, you know, no pretending about that.'"

Lots more at the link. I resisted watching this show because I didn't want to subscribe to another streaming service — in this case, Disney. But I gave in, paid the $8 for the first month, and intend to exit as soon as I'm done watching this 8-hour extravaganza. I'm only one hour into it, after 2 sessions. I can only take so much. They look bored, that is, John, George, and Ringo look bored. Paul is more or less everything. That's pretty unpleasant! But I see that's the idea, and I have to watch it slowly enough to appreciate the details, the clues. Is John bored or is he utterly mentally absent, relocated somewhere in drugworld? Is Ringo bored or is he paying intense attention and just essentially, perpetually mute? Is George bored or is he an angry, resentful son of a bitch? 

ADDED: Willman casually used the term "bag-ism" — accomplishing a little play on words. I know what it means. I remember bagism, but I looked up the Wikipedia page anyway:

"There are four main goals for TikTok’s algorithm: 用户价值, 用户价值 (长期), 作者价值, and 平台价值, which the company translates as 'user value,' 'long-term user value,' 'creator value,' and 'platform value....'"

"The document, headed 'TikTok Algo 100'... offers a new level of detail about the dominant video app, providing a revealing glimpse both of the app’s mathematical core and insight into the company’s understanding of human nature — our tendencies toward boredom, our sensitivity to cultural cues — that help explain why it’s so hard to put down.... It succeeded where other short videos apps failed in part because it makes creation so easy, giving users background music to dance to or memes to enact, rather than forcing them to fill dead air. And for many users, who consume without creating, the app is shockingly good at reading your preferences and steering you to one of its many 'sides,' whether you’re interested in socialism or Excel tips or sex, conservative politics or a specific celebrity. It’s astonishingly good at revealing people’s desires even to themselves.... The app wants to keep you there as long as possible. The experience is sometimes described as an addiction, though it also recalls a frequent criticism of pop culture. The playwright David Mamet, writing scornfully in 1998 about 'pseudoart,' observed that 'people are drawn to summer movies because they are not satisfying, and so they offer opportunities to repeat the compulsion.'"

From "How TikTok Reads Your Mind/It’s the most successful video app in the world. Our columnist has obtained an internal company document that offers a new level of detail about how the algorithm works" by Ben Smith (NYT).

This article downplays the importance of ownership by a Chinese company (ByteDance): 

"David Perdue, the former U.S. senator from Georgia and ally of Donald Trump, plans to announce on Monday that he will run in a Republican primary..."

"... against the state’s incumbent governor, Brian Kemp.... Mr. Trump has vowed to orchestrate Mr. Kemp’s defeat as payback for the governor’s refusal to help overturn the former president’s November election loss in the state.... Mr. Perdue’s decision to try to knock out a fellow Georgia Republican in 2022 is... sure to ignite an ugly — and costly — intraparty war before a general election in which the Republican nominee will likely face Stacey Abrams, the Democratic superstar whose national fame will allow her to amass a huge campaign war chest.... The former senator has told people he was uncertain about running but decided to run because he’s gravely worried about her prospects for victory over an incumbent who has been weakened by Mr. Trump’s unrelenting attacks."

Bob Dole, in 2018, standing to salute in the Capitol Rotunda.

December 5, 2021

"Crews of burglars publicly smashing their way into Los Angeles' most exclusive stores. Robbers following their victims, including..."

"... a star of 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' and a BET host, to their residences. And this week, the fatal shooting of 81-year-old Jacqueline Avant, an admired philanthropist and wife of music legend Clarence Avant, in her Beverly Hills home.... 'The fact that this has happened, her being shot and killed in her own home, after giving, sharing, and caring for 81 years has shaken the laws of the Universe,' declared Oprah Winfrey.... 'The world is upside down.'... Some wonder if this could be a turning point for California, which for decades has been at the center of the movement for criminal justice reform, rolling back tough sentencing laws and reducing prison populations.... This has set off alarms among activists who led protests, want to see progressive justice measures enacted and hear echoes of past eras when, they believe, the overhyping of crime led to overpolicing and excessive incarceration. 'They're trying to move us backward,' said Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. 'We don't want to move backward; we want to move forward.... We need to think about what kind of economic desperation actually creates property crime and how do we get people out of that state... How do we create livable wage jobs? How do we create affordable housing?'"

"A former co-worker of Chris Cuomo made a sexual misconduct allegation against the former CNN anchor..."

"... who was fired Saturday for misleading the cable network about the extent of the role he played trying to mitigate the sexual harassment accusations that took down his brother, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.... The disclosure came as an outside law firm was probing new documents released by by New York’s top prosecutor Monday that suggested the younger Cuomo was more involved trying to control damage to his brother’s political career than he previously said. The woman who leveled the unknown accusations against Chris Cuomo, 51, was a former 'junior colleague' at another news network, according to Debra Katz, the accuser’s lawyer, the paper said.... Katz... told the paper her client 'came forward because she was disgusted by Chris Cuomo’s on-air statements in response to the allegations made against his brother, Governor Andrew Cuomo.' Specifically, Katz reportedly cited a March 1 broadcast where the anchor said 'I have always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so. I just wanted to tell you that.'"

"A group of white supremacists stormed through downtown Washington, D.C. on Saturday evening, bearing American flags and mildly menacing plastic shields while marching to the beat of a snare drum..."

"... down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.... Members wore a uniform: white gators, sunglasses, blue jackets, khaki pants, and brown boots and hats. Some donned plastic shinguards, seeming to anticipate violence. As Patriot Front’s leader Thomas Rousseau... said, 'Our demonstrations are an exhibition of our unified capability to organize....' At the end of the night... it became clear that more than two dozen members of the white supremacist group could not leave... But the large rented moving van could not fit them all, so many of them were forced to wait in 45-degree darkness as the bulky orange vehicle made multiple trips over the course of nearly three hours. As the group finally departed, one police officer yelled, 'Whose shield is that?' after one white supremacist apparently left his plastic shield behind."

From "White Supremacists Stage Bizarro Rally in Downtown D.C., Find Themselves Stranded/Though they intended to 'reclaim America,' members of Patriot Front had more than enough trouble reclaiming their own ride" (The Daily Beast).

White gators?
Oh, I get it. White gaiters. White gators would be a little scary, kind of a Moby Dick on land concept.

Anyway, it's clear that The Daily Beast had to choose between portraying this group as terrifying or mocking them for ineptitude. It's nice to see this easy victory for mockery, even as The Beast tripped over its own mockery and wrote "white gators."

"Less well-known than jurisprudence is what the law professors Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres have termed 'demosprudence' — the idea that legal change does not flow exclusively from courts and other government actors, but..."

"... may proceed from the mobilization of the people themselves. When Sotomayor switched gears and aimed her rhetoric at the public, she was planting the seeds for demosprudence, alerting the people to the imminent threat to abortion rights in the hopes that, hearing her alarm, we might mobilize. Not with a Jan. 6-style insurrection but with the sort of grass-roots energy that once fueled the civil rights movement and other progressive social causes. This could take many forms, such as enacting the congressional bill that would codify Roe’s protections, turning state legislatures blue so as to stanch the stream of increasingly restrictive abortion laws and building broader support for telemedicine and the distribution of pills that can induce abortion in a private setting. In a morning that offered little cause for optimism for those who favor reproductive freedom, Sotomayor’s subtle message was both pragmatic and — at least potentially — uplifting. The court will not save our rights. But maybe we can save them ourselves. "

There's no need to wait until the Court overrules Roe (i.e, Casey). 

Murray notes "the congressional bill" and links to "House passes bill to create statutory right to abortion as a battle over Texas law heats up" (from last September). There will only be bans on abortion if the democratic processes within government provide the relevant statutes — contrary to the delusion of those low-information citizens who think the fetus is about to acquire a constitutional right to life — and these democratic processes can just as well enact a statutory right to have an abortion. 

If we the people really want this right, we can get it. The Democrats have a lot of power now, and there should be pressure on them to use it, and you can see the House has already acted. We're told the President "strongly supports" the legislation. The trick is to get the bill through the Senate.

"The Michigan high school student accused of fatally shooting four classmates had numerous conversations with school counselors in the day and hours before the shooting..."

"... before staff sent him back to class despite finding images of bullets on his phone and disturbing drawings at his desk, the superintendent told parents in a detailed letter.... The Federal Bureau of Investigation, in a threat assessment of school shooters, said that 'the path toward violence is an evolutionary one, with signposts along the way.' One such signpost: 'fantasies of destruction or revenge,' including in drawings. According to the American Psychological Association, 'access to or fascination with weapons, especially guns' can be signs of potential violence 'and may escalate or contribute to the risk of violence.' The revelations in recent days that counselors at the school were aware of the troubling indicators but allowed Crumbley to return to class have fueled anger in the small Michigan community still reeling from the tragedy. 'So many missed opportunities,' Casey Smith, 45, whose 14-year-old daughter survived the shooting, told The Washington Post. 'It’s such a letdown. It’s unforgivable... I know it wasn’t malice ... but incompetence is not an excuse when it comes to something like that.'"

The WaPo article follows on a NYT article, which I blogged here yesterday.

Typical comment over at WaPo: "There are violent or depressed kids everywhere in the world. Lots of them play violent video games. Only in America are they allowed to act on their fantasies, because they have such an easy access to guns. Ban the guns, stop the massacres."

"The father plays absolutely no part in this. That is part of her rehabilitation. When she renounces her child for its own good, the unwed mother has learned a lot."

"She has learned an important human value. She has learned to pay the price of her misdemeanor, and this alone, if punishment is needed, is punishment enough.... We must go back to a primary set of values and the discipline that starts with the very small child." 

Said Dr. Marion Hilliard of Women's College Hospital in 1956, quoted in the Wikipedia article "Baby Scoop Era," which I was reading because that term, "Baby Scoop Era," came up in a new WaPo article, "Barrett is wrong: Adoption doesn’t ‘take care of’ the burden of motherhood/This view of adoption and abortion has failed American women." 

From that new article, which is by Gretchen Sisson, a research sociologist at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at the University of California, San Francisco:
Because of the social pressures that shaped notions of “appropriate” pregnancy and “respectable” motherhood, the decades between World War II and Roe were dubbed the “baby scoop era.”...

I didn't remember ever seeing that term before and couldn't even understand it. What was "scooped"? 

"I have 5 different colleagues who were in tight with him."

I decided to blog this with that quote in the headline before I listened to the end of the clip. The quote caught my ear because who were the colleagues? And "in tight" is such an evocative phrase when we're talking about not just friendship but sexual activity.

I finally listened through and heard how that sentence continued: "I have 5 different colleagues who were in tight with him — to my tremendous disadvantage because it meant that people would snap pictures and there I would be in a crowd with this sex criminal, one of the worst things that's ever happened to me."