January 23, 2016

The gender-bending lioness.

What did Trump say about standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shooting somebody and what did it mean? Was it crazy?

No, it wasn't crazy. It was a colorful way of referring to polls that say people have definitely decided to vote for him and they're not going to change their mind. It's some comic hyperbole. Transcribed and punctuated correctly, it looks like this:
"And you know what else they say about my people —the polls — they say I have the most loyal people — did you ever see that? —  where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK? It's, like, incredible."

"... I’ve already been asked by several different people, virtually verbatim, 'Have you seen the movie where Daniel Radcliffe plays a farting corpse?'"

"Yes, I did, dear reader. I did indeed watch a movie where Daniel Radcliffe plays a farting corpse that Paul Dano rides across the ocean like a jet-ski, propelled by the power of Radcliffe’s post-mortem flatulence. This is also a movie where Dano and Radcliffe make out underwater while Dano is dressed like Mary Elizabeth Winstead, a movie where Radcliffe pukes up buckets of water that Dano eagerly swigs, and a movie where Radcliffe stares at a musty Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and then grows a stiff and mighty erection, which Dano then uses as a compass to point the way back to civilization...."


By the way, there was a farting corpse in the critically acclaimed 1976 Lina Wertmuller movie "Seven Beauties." ("[W]hen the anti-hero kills the gangster who has humiliated him and sent his sister into prostitution... the corpse farts incessantly as he tries to dispose of it. Wertmüller seems more comfortable to revel in the grottiness of humanity than consider anything even slightly uplifting.")

"A lot of people who in their hearts know that they are irrelevant are about to have it demonstrated."

"In their minds, that's their fear.  And so it's circle the wagons time, and the Republican Party, for these reasons and others, is really animated, motivated, energized by taking out both of their front-runners, so much so you have heard many of them say they would prefer to lose the presidency of the United States.  They would prefer to lose the most powerful office in the world if it meant somebody other than them within their party that they don't like or approve of winning that office."

Said Rush Limbaugh on his show yesterday, in a monologue that his website titles "Have You Ever Seen Anything Like It? GOP Tries to Kill Both Its Front-Runners."

"Pick and choose. Pick and choose. I am so tired of charter schools being compared to true 'public' schools."

"I have taught in a crowded urban public school for 20 years now. We have to take 'em all, Eva. We take them all. We can't boost our performance numbers by pushing out those on IEP's, English Language Learners, emotionally disturbed, or generally disruptive students. Charter schools are a means of destroying public schools. Just finally admit it. Once you destroy the public schools, Eva, where, exactly, do you expect all of those children you reject to go to?"

A highly rated comment from one Mark S on a NYT article that begins: "Eva S. Moskowitz defended her Success Academy charter schools on Friday, two days after a group of parents filed a federal complaint accusing the network of discriminating against students with disabilities."
On Friday, speaking at a public policy breakfast at New York Law School, Ms. Moskowitz, the network’s founder, offered a vigorous defense of her schools. She said that while Success had room to improve how it served students with disabilities, she had a “fundamental disagreement” with her critics about student discipline. “Safety is the No. 1 reason parents want out of the district schools,” she said. She said the network’s discipline policies, including suspension for violent behavior, were necessary to ensure a safe and orderly environment in which children could learn.
There's a lot of anti-charter-school sentiment in the comments, but I note that one answer to Mark S's question is to adjust the performance demands to account for the public school's accommodation of so many "IEP's, English Language Learners, emotionally disturbed, or generally disruptive students." Is is so wrong for the public schools to have to specialize in educating those who are not prepared from "Success Academy"-type places? 

"Jeb has been a very good father. A wonderful son. A hard worker; his heart is big."

"When push comes to shove people are going to realize Jeb has real solutions, rather than talking about how popular they are, how great they are. He's doing it because he sees a huge need and it's not being filled by anybody. Of all the people running, he seems to be the one who could solve the problems. I think he'll be a great president."

That's a pleasant enough ad for Jeb. Question who it works on. Trump's tweeted response is: "Just watched Jeb's ad where he desperately needed mommy to help him. Jeb --- mom can't help you with ISIS, the Chinese or with Putin." That will work on some people. And Jeb responded to that....

"Galled by Donald J. Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side..."

"... Michael R. Bloomberg has instructed advisers to draw up plans for an independent campaign in this year’s presidential race. Mr. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, has in the past contemplated running for the White House on a third-party ticket, but always concluded he could not win. A confluence of unlikely events in the 2016 election, however, has given new impetus to his presidential aspirations."

Write Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman in The New York Times.

He is kind of a combination of Trump and Sanders, isn't he? America wants Bloomberg... it's easy to extrapolate, no?

Could you see yourself voting for Bloomberg?
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Do the Taliban listen to "Serial" and do they like it? Yes!

Stephen Colbert interviews Sarah Koenig about the second season of "Serial," which examines the case of Bowe Bergdahl.

"Milk, Bread, and Eggs: The Trinity of Winter-Storm Panic-Shopping."

"Why do people reliably stock up on the same things before they get snowed in?," asks Joe Pinsker in The Atlantic.

He doesn't give the answer I saw in the comments section somewhere in the NYT: Everybody suddenly gets a craving for French toast. 

He says:
Storms can of course wreak awful damage, but for most people they are a harmless annoyance and perhaps even an excuse to stay inside—a culture-wide justification for renouncing FOMO for a day. To stock up on cozy foods like milk and eggs is to clearly demarcate the storm as a time to put on sweatpants and not go anywhere. Buying a bunch of canned foods—a more practical choice—is decidedly less cozy, and may even carry unwanted survivalist overtones.
FOMO — fear of missing out — becomes JOMO — joy of missing out.

Pinsker observes that bread is a very sensible choice. It doesn't need refrigeration, and there's concern about losing electricity. It's the milk and the eggs that are impractical and therefore deeply psychic. To say that is to make the motivation obvious. Pinsker doesn't say it, so I will: You're all running to Mother.

By the way, all the shelter-in-place news about a snowstorm looks pretty silly from my vantage point in Wisconsin. Yeah, I can see why the authorities don't want people out in cars slipping and skidding and getting stuck, and I'm sure the local drivers lack experience driving properly in snow, but the drama is absurd. I watched a little video at the NYT of a reporter wearing a GoPro-type camera and riding a bicycle through Washington DC to show us how terrible things were, and the street didn't even have a light coating of snow. It was wet and black. The man was using the word "blizzard" and commenting about the lack of visibility of the Capitol building in the distance, but there was no problem seeing his immediate surroundings. It was nothing like "whiteout" conditions. (And I've had the experience of driving in whiteout conditions on a mountain road where it was also dangerous to pull over. It was terrifying.)

Exactly 4 years ago, I was thinking and talking about Newt Gingrich the way, lately, I've been thinking and talking about Trump.

A reader sends a link to a post of mine from January 22, 2012 titled "Coming to terms with The Newt." My mental adjustment to presidential candidates is absurdly familiar:
Before going out on that dark night last night, I'd seen that [Newt Gingrich had] won the South Carolina primary. 
Oh! The schedule was a lot earlier then.
At intermission [at some classical music concert], I said to Meade: "I've come to terms with Newt." I didn't mean that I was prepared to vote for him. I still regard the idea of President Gingrich as bizarre. But I live in the moment. I embrace the now. It's fine the way things are. Newt has his role to play, and right now, I'm going to say it's a good one.
That sounds like something I'd say right now about Trump.
... [I]t's good that the Tea Party and other sorts of conservative factions contribute to the political mix in America. Newt — along with Santorum — has established that the Establishment can't dictate who the candidate will be. 
Trump, along with Cruz....
Whoever ultimately becomes the candidate — and I assume it will be Mitt — he won't achieve his place through the nods of insiders bypassing the people who have imperatives of their own. It's strange that Gingrich embodies their wants, but that's the way this strange campaign has evolved....
It's strange that Trump embodies anybody's wants but Trump's, but that's the way this strange campaign has evolved.
... Gingrich has achieved his position through the sheer force of putting ideas into words, words that people heard. There's something quite beautiful about that, quite American. And it's beautiful without the man being beautiful.... You'd think we'd be more influenced by the image of The Newt...

... but we're not. We're hearing the words, the speech, the ideas. I hear democracy maturing! Over The Newt! I think that's pretty cool.
Quite American... beautiful without the man being beautiful.... If I could just photoshop a Trumpion head of hair onto that little guy, that newt, I'd have this post done.

"Bernie Sanders lets us know that he has no idea how the Supreme Court works."

Says Jaltcoh, displaying a tweet where Bernie Sanders said: "Any Supreme Court nominee of mine will make overturning Citizens United one of their first decisions."

IN THE COMMENTS: Fritz said:
As a professional socialist, Sanders has pretty much made a career out of not knowing how things work. 
ADDED: At ThinkProgress: "Why Bernie Sanders’ Misinformed Supreme Court Tweet Matters."

January 22, 2016

"How many people have you spoken with today? Chances are that most of them lied to you..."

"... and that they did it more than once. It’s a hard fact to accept, but even your closest friends and coworkers lie to you regularly..."
People lie in everyday conversation to appear more likeable and competent. While men and women lie equally as often, they tend to lie for different reasons. “Women were more likely to lie to make the person they were talking to feel good, while men lied most often to make themselves look better,” [University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert] Feldman said.

"A man has been banned from having any form of sexual activity with a woman unless he tells police 24 hours in advance."

A "sexual risk order" in the UK.

Using a drone to take photographs of snow-covered Lithuania.

Nice work by Karolis Janulis.

"Massive rubbish dumps and sprawling landfills have led some birds to give up on migration."

"Instead of flying thousands of miles in search of food, they make the waste sites their winter feeding grounds."
“For the birds it is a very convenient way to get food. There are huge clusters of organic waste they can feed on,” said [Andrea Flack at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell]. The meals are not particularly appetising, or even safe. Much of the waste is discarded chicken heads and rotten meat, mixed in with other human detritus such as nappies, plastic bags and old toys.

The near inevitability of the DH in the NL.

"I do think there’s a certain purity to the idea that everybody plays by the same rules. The significance of that purity goes up when you have interleague play every day... Particularly given the difference between leagues, in interleague play, pitchers who don’t hit on a regular basis probably are more likely to have a problem than pitchers who do."

Terrible! I hate interleague play too, but if they need one rule, get rid of the DH for both leagues.

"Saudi Arabia’s top cleric has declared the playing of chess 'forbidden'... a waste of time and money that creates hatred between players."

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh called it “the work of Satan.”
“It makes the rich man poor, and makes the poor man rich,” he said. “It causes hostility and wastes time where it should not be spent.”
What's wrong with making the rich man poor, and the poor man rich?

What's the history of chess? Where is it from? Probably originally from China, and then from India to Persia. After the Muslim conquest of Persia in 651, it spread through the Arab world.

From "The Immortal Game: A History of Chess" by David Shenk:
From the very first exposure to the game, there had been a serious and recurring question as to whether chess was allowable under Islamic law. The Koran—the sacred text of revelations received by Muhammad—did not mention chess by name, but did explicitly outlaw the use of both “images” and “lots.”... [M]any first- and second-generation Muslims considered the game altogether tainted and plainly illegal. Others regarded chess as having no purpose other than recreation....

Meet 274,207,281 − 1, the newly discovered prime number.

It's almost 5 million digits longer than 257,885,161 − 1 (which is about 17 million digits long, written out), which had before now been the longest prime number known.

The new prime number was discovered by machine No. 5, a computer at the University of Central Missouri, an otherwise nondescript desktop computer, which took the trouble to multiply 74,207,281 twos together and subtract 1 and then to check that it was not divisible by any positive integer other than 1 and itself.
This is the 15th prime number found by the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, or Gimps, for short, a volunteer project that has been running for 20 years. “I’ve always been interested in prime numbers,” said George Woltman, who founded Gimps after he had retired. “I had a lot of time on my hands,” he said.

"People say the turtle’s death is bad luck, and a way for the gods to show that something’s about to happen."

"If I were to discuss the political implications of this, the government would think I was trying to destabilize it. But everyone thinks this is bad luck for the government."

Said Nguyen Thien Hung, the caretaker of the Vu Thach Buddhist temple, near the lake in Hanoi where the sacred, mythic, 360-pound turtle Cu Rua lived.
In the 15th century, the legend says, a nationalist hero borrowed a magic sword — possibly from a dragon king — wielded it to drive out occupying Chinese forces, and returned it to a turtle that surfaced in Hoan Kiem Lake, the “Lake of the Returned Sword,” in central Hanoi.... Thanks to the legend of the lake, the turtle is Vietnam’s clearest symbol of resistance to Chinese aggression....

"5 stages of GOP grief: Coming to terms with Trump."

The "5 stages of grief" meme is so trite, but this is done well enough to overcome my instinctive aversion to encouraging the old cliché, which, after all, has some real truth to it. Good illustrations, like this, from the "denial" stage:

Remember that, from last summer? Speaking of denial, there was a point when I was refusing to write Trump's name in posts that referred to his potential candidacy. Hard to find those old posts with the key word missing! But by August, I'd moved to open anguish (not really "anger," the official second stage):
I calmly consumed the entire [Trump speech], fell asleep early, and woke up anguished. This man is spending his own money, and he can easily blow a billion dollars on this fabulous ego trip. Who can match him? The others are fading and withering away.
Bargaining, depression, acceptance — those are the next 3 stages. Have I gone through all that? I do tend to get very quickly to acceptance when I believe something is really happening. The thing about the 5 stages is that they were originally about death, and you know you are going to die. You don't know that Donald Trump is going to be President. Why go through all the stages? I'm more about remaining calm most of the time, maintaining perspective, and intermittently getting activated over specific things that I can read, write, and talk about.

IN THE COMMENTS: chickelit somehow remembered that my old posts, refusing to write Trump's name, had the tag "nothing": "Here's the first one which you published as an 'Annagram'":
AND: The next one refers to classic advice from my mother:

"I came from Peru in 1963. I was legally given a visa. At the time when I came into this country..."

"... they didn’t give us money or anything like that. You came in. You put your money in the bank. And then you supported yourself. Nowadays, this country gives all the Muslims or whoever is coming, welfare, money, housing, furniture. I worked for the city of La Mesa in California and I used to deal with a lot of people from Afghanistan. They come into America and they give free rent, free food, free money and all of that. I worked all my life. I went to school. And, now, we have to work harder to support those people."

Adolfo Villalobos, 75, quoted in a NYT feature called "Of the People/Americans share their hopes, fears and frustrations in interviews from the campaign trail."

"National Review is dedicating a special issue of its magazine, one week before the Iowa caucuses, to stopping Trump. 'Against Trump,' blares the magazine cover."

"Inside, a blistering editorial questions Trump's commitment to conservatism, warning voters that backing him is tantamount to allowing the conservative movement to have 'fallen in behind a huckster.'"
"Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones,” the editorial reads.

And that’s just the start.

The National Review issue features anti-Trump essays from more than 20 conservative thinkers, leaders and commentators spanning the GOP’s ideological spectrum from David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian-infused Cato Institute, to William Kristol, the hawkish editor of the Weekly Standard, to David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth. All call for Republicans to nominate someone other than Trump.

“This is the time to mobilize,” said National Review editor Rich Lowry, who is also a weekly opinion columnist at POLITICO. “The establishment is AWOL, or even worse, so it’s up to people who really believe in these ideas and principles, for whom they’re not just talking points or positions of convenience, to set out the marker.”
Trump tweets:

Well, obviously.

Meanwhile, at least according to the NYT, "the cadre of Republican lobbyists, operatives and elected officials based in Washington is much more unnerved by Mr. Cruz, a go-it-alone, hard-right crusader who campaigns against the political establishment and could curtail their influence and access, building his own Republican machine to essentially replace them."
[M]any members of the Republican influence apparatus, especially lobbyists and political strategists, say they could work with Mr. Trump as the party’s standard-bearer, believing that he would be open to listening to them and cutting deals, and would not try to take over the party...

Of course, this willingness to accommodate Mr. Trump is driven in part by the fact that few among the Republican professional class believe he would win a general election. In their minds, it would be better to effectively rent the party to Mr. Trump for four months this fall, through the general election, than risk turning it over to Mr. Cruz for at least four years, as either the president or the next-in-line leader for the 2020 nomination.
But what if Trump wins? Somebody is going to have to win. The idea that each one "can't win" makes no sense. The establishment, we're told, is thinking that Trump would be a pragmatist and he wouldn't break their hold on the GOP. To flip that: If you want more disruption, Cruz is the one. 

If you had to choose between Cruz and Trump...
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What's Drudge trying to say?

Drudge is running a very dramatic image of Hillary Clinton:

The link goes to a Washington Post article by Chris Cillizza — "Who had the worst week in Washington? Hillary Clinton" — which has a far nicer picture of Clinton. It begins:
For Hillary Clinton, it’s starting to look like deja vu all over again.

Start a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination as giant front-runner. Check. Raise tens of millions of dollars and look unbeatable for large swaths of the year before the primaries start. Check. An insurgent challenger running to her ideological left? Check. Collapsing poll numbers on the eve of actual votes? Check.
There's nothing about the campaign aging her or ruining her health, which is what I think Drudge is selling.

"I said, 'Be careful that old man is really a commie...'"

Said SteveR in the comments to yesterday's post about the very effective Bernie Sanders ad that uses the brilliant Simon & Garfunkel song "America." The ad only uses the first verse:
Let us be lovers,
We'll marry our fortunes together.
I've got some real estate
Here in my bag.
It's funny, because you can't have real estate in your bag, so the speaker is either a huckster — not a good image for a politician — or, most likely, a poor guy comically conveying the fact that he's got nothing, so his offer to "marry fortunes" is, we realize, early on, nothing but the proposed love. The lyrics have to stop there because the next line is "So we bought a pack of cigarettes," and no one's going to be smoking in a political ad. But if we were to keep going, we learn that the man is on the bus with his girlfriend, Kathy, and to pass the time they are "playing games with the faces"...
She said the man in the gabardine suit
Was a spy.
I said, "Be careful,
His bow tie is really a camera."
Hence SteveR's "I said, 'Be careful that old man is really a commie...'"

If we go on with the song we get to the most evocative lines:
"Kathy, I'm lost", I said,
Though I knew she was sleeping.
"I'm empty and aching and
I don't know why."
In the comments, Meade quotes that and adds:
Then Kathy woke up and looked out the window.
Alarmed when she realized where we were.
"Art" she said,
Though she knew my name is Simon.
"We're somewhere near Greece!
Why didn't you wake me up?
We should never have made that left turn back there.
We need to make America great again!"
Mrs Whatsit drew attention to the same "Kathy, I'm lost" passage:
That song is an awful choice for a political campaign. It's not about hope and promise. It's about looking for America and not finding it.

The lovers hop on the bus hopefully enough, but by the end they're out of cigarettes and out of things to talk about, and she's flipping through a magazine rather than looking out the window at the country rolling by. Last verse:
Cathy, I'm lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I'm empty and I'm aching and I don't know why
Countin' the cars on the New Jersey turnpike
They've all come to look for America, all come to look for America
A sad, superannuated song for a sad, superannuated candidate.
Ah, but that's why I like it. There's this deep feeling we have about America. It makes sense to speak of looking for it, longing for it. Obviously, we are right here in America, so what's to look for? But that obviousness is obtuse. We understand the idea of looking for America, finding the real, more essential, more beautiful America, the America that fulfills our dreams and lives up to our ideals. Donald Trump says "Make America great again," as if there's one America and sometimes it's good and it can go bad and it can become great again. But another, more poetic way to put that would be "Make America America again" or "We'll find our way back to America."  I don't recommend that as a slogan for Trump. Too easy to call him reactionary and racist. But you see my point: Americans understand the idea of searching for America: We've all come to look for America.

Now, bagoh20 said, referring to the point in the ad when we see lots of faces in tiny squares:
Oh man, the dinosaurs are swooning. Lets all do a little more Baby Boomer damage before we go. If you want socialism, you specifically, and adamantly don't want America, but there are many places to go join the Borg - the huge cube of faces, all equally too small to see, drab, helpless and dependent. Please leave us individuals a home on this planet not ruined by guilt, fear, and sloth.
I said, Be careful that old man is really a commie....

January 21, 2016

"Wow. That is effective. I've got to turn myself away. That is effective."

That's what I said when Meade called me over to look at this:

I fired it up in my computer, because I knew I wanted to blog about it. I was in tears at 0:20, when the voices started and experienced chills seconds later. It's that song. My God! Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together....

The NYT has a little article about the ad:
An exploding grid of thousands of faces — digital photographs submitted by people who made online donations to Mr. Sanders — accompanies the song’s chorus: “They’ve all come to look for America.” Only in the last seconds of the commercial, as the candidate smiles delightedly from behind a microphone, is his unmistakable voice-over heard, approving the ad....

Children and young adults are the main focus, all of them with much to look forward to; the ad’s tagline promises them “a future to believe in.” (Still, older women — possibly the strongest demographic of his chief rival, Hillary Clinton — might well be moved by the music of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, both 74, the same age as Mr. Sanders.)
Uh... yeah

ADDED: This post originally pinned the tears point for me at 0:25, but when I read Surfed in the comments — "It had me at 20 seconds... Best campaign ad of the election so far. I'm old and sentimental - mea culpa." — I suspected that I'd looked at the time a few seconds after it affected me. I was right about that, and I've corrected the post. 0:20 it is.

AND: It's the best political video ad I've ever seen, save one. The one is this:

The mood for next fall — maybe it will help you predict the outcome of the election.

From the Gucci Fall 2016 menswear collection, as presented by the much-admired Tom & Lorenzo:

Listen to Justice Breyer explain very carefully the extent to which the Supreme Court is not political.

They don't change like the weather... but like the climate.

The question that takes him there is specifically about the case the Court just took about President Obama's go-it-alone immigration policy, which will be argued and in all likelihood decided within this period running up to the presidential election.

Frozen pants.

The trend.

"Yes, she does not look like a fruit basket anymore. And maybe she was really a black suit type all along."

"But whereas the quirkiness of her rainbow-clothing coalition gave humor to her policy-wonkitude, her clothes now say she will do what’s necessary to get the job (i.e., getting elected) done. Fair enough. But they say nothing about her tastes, her sense of humor, her idiosyncrasies. They do not humanize her. They do not suggest multiple dimensions."

From a NYT "Fashion & Style" piece by Vanessa Friedman titled "How Hillary Clinton Ended the Clothing Conversation."

"Trump Fear Stalks Davos as Elite Pray for Spring Reality Check."

Fabulous headline at Bloomberg. Excerpt:
The prospect of Trump in the White House is ratcheting up anxiety among the 2,500 business and political leaders gathered at the Swiss ski resort for the annual World Economic Forum....

“I am amazed at Davos about how many people are taking Trump as seriously as they are,” said Martin Sorrell, WPP’s chief executive. “I think it doesn’t matter who the Republicans put up, I think Hillary will win.”...

“If you bother to read some of the serious analysis of Trump’s support, you realize that it’s a very fragile thing and highly unlikely to deliver what he needs in the crucial first phase of the primaries,” said Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch professor of history at Harvard University. “By the time we get to March-April, it’s all over. I think there’s going to be a wonderful catharsis, I’m really looking forward to it: Trump’s humiliation. Bring it on.”
To what wonderful catharsis and humiliation are you looking forward?

"For a man who loathed being called a minimalist..."

"... Donald Judd surrounded himself with only the essentials—a mattress covered in plain white sheets on the floor, basic wooden tables and chairs, and bare lightbulbs in the ceilings."

From a Vogue slideshow "Monet, O’Keeffe, and More: Inside the Inspiring Homes of 10 Legendary Artists." Click the photos to enlarge them. The choices are all quite interesting. I love getting a look at workspaces that are very revealing of the person who worked there. (For example, I love the book "The Writer's Desk.")

"He Said It Like There's Something Wrong With Masturbating to Anime."

Said Dan Savage, writing about GOP strategist Rick Wilson — we were talking about it yesterday — saying that Trump supporters are mostly "childless single men who masturbate to anime."

He also said it like there's something wrong with being childless, like there's something wrong with being single, and like there's something wrong with being male, but I take it that observation is already implied in Savage's line and is what makes it especially funny.

There must be one of those Greek words for rhetoric, something for the device of creating an expectation that you are talking about one thing, then surprising us by going somewhere else.

The idea that the "Great American Nudes" painter Tom Wesselmann was sexist is "so completely the opposite of who he was and how he treated women in real life."

"He had the same wife for so many years and as their daughter I watched them be madly in love until he died. It was kind of disgusting... everybody was like, how do they have this wonderful, perfect marriage? I mean, he’s my dad so I don’t want to entirely think about it, but finding my mom he was reawakened by sex, so I think that really was a driving force – this woman he loved and was completely attracted to."

From "Great American Nudes artist Tom Wesselmann was no sexist, say the women in his life."

Sarah Palin's sweater — "a mini-black cardigan studded with what resembled needle-thin, glistening stalactites."

Yeah, endorsing Donald Trump, Sarah Palin did choose to wear what looked like a sweater full of needles!

Robin Givhan points — ouch — it out:
... the cardigan shimmered glamorously under the lights.... she picked at the wounds... The fashion industry may have long argued that spangles are not just for the cocktail hour and beyond, but that philosophy has made little headway in the world of campaign politics. So to see a politician — someone who is ostensibly not the star of the rally but a supporting player — dressed in such a bold manner, was to see someone who has come to steal the spotlight rather than share it.
Oh! The needles were out for Donald Trump? I would have thought they were armor against all her attackers. All the little pricks. The needle dicks.
Palin’s cardigan was not ugly — not exactly, not terribly — but it was distracting... Instead of listening to her, one tended to just look at her. 
That never happened to me, but I had YouTube playing on my iPhone which was lying on the counter as I did one thing and another, including taking a bath. Isn't that how you do video of political speeches? Also, I'm not a fashion critic, except when the spirit moves me.
The cardigan was flashy. It was proudly outside the realm of vetted political attire. It wasn’t safe and it wasn’t decorous. It was vaguely gaudy, with a hint of kitsch. And for a political affair it was inappropriate — which in the politically disruptive universe of Palin, made it perfect.
I agree! It was perfect. A sweater full of needles. What a message! Be the metaphor. But Givhan should have woven in Palin's use of clothing metaphor. In her million-pricks cardigan, she said:
[H]e’s got the guts to wear the issues that need to be spoken about and debate on his sleeve, where the rest of some of these establishment candidates, they just wanted to duck and hide. They didn’t want to talk about these issue until he brought ‘em up. In fact, they’ve been wearing a, this, political correctness kind of like a suicide vest
So get out of that suit of opinions that's killing you and slip into something softly knitted on your side with thousands of needles sticking out at everyone else. You can do it, and it will look way cuter than that political correctness outfit you'd thought was de rigueur these past 20 seasons.

ADDED: Clothes as armor was a Jackie Kennedy idea:
This was a woman who, upon learning that her husband had won the presidential election, confessed: "I feel as though I had just turned into a piece of public property. It's really frightening to lose your anonymity at 31." And who, a few weeks later, in a letter to Oleg Cassini, the designer charged with furnishing her official wardrobe, was pleading: "PROTECT ME, as I seem so mercilessly exposed and don't know how to cope with it."

The solution was a closet full of body armor... [T]he result was a tour de force of optical illusion: These were clothes that recognized Jackie's central position on the national stage without ceding an iota of her privacy. These clothes were Parisian in inspiration and unfailingly Modernist in cut, but their starchy fabrics and formless shapes were designed to guarantee not front-page coverage in WWD... but protection from the insatiable hordes.

Picture it: Sanders versus Trump.

Describe your visualization.

I picture a debate. Two old men are yelling at each other. One man is older and angrier than the other. America wonders how the hell did this happen?!

Oh, Netflix! You spend all this money on an advertisement and make such a conspicuous typo...

... I should watch 10 hours of sifting through legal issues and evidence when you can't even spell "crime" in the large letters of the banner ad you bought at the top of the New York Times website? Repeated in the sidebar:

How is it even possible not to see that error?

The coming cascade of smart, educated people embracing Trump.

"It troubles me that there can't be a serious discussion about immigration issues because people are afraid of being called racist. People are afraid of being called a bigot. And I think one of the things that people like about Donald Trump — those who like him — is that he's going ahead and saying it, and it's creating a kind of inoculation against something people have feared so much, which is being called a bigot. It's just too effective to call people bigots, and a lot of people are very intimidated and silenced and don't even want to talk about certain issues because they don't want to be called that. So I think part of his popularity is: He goes there, he says it, he takes the hit, and it still works for him. So that's a kind of a liberating change in the discourse."

I say, beginning this clip from a video dialogue I recorded on Monday with Glenn Loury:

Glenn agrees with me, says Trump is not doing "dog whistle racism," and proceeds, eventually, to endorse the Trump idea "You either have a country or you don't" and that "if you don't control your border, you don't have a country." (Which Glenn even punctuates with "Duh.")

Glenn goes so far that I eventually prod him with "I think you're a Donald Trump supporter." He doesn't deny it. He even laughs as if it's his secret that I've uncovered. I then propose the theory that there are many people who are intimidated and silenced about being Trump supporters. They don't want to identify with a group that's reputed to be uneducated and dumb. They're afraid of looking like a racist. I predict a cascade when people who've been silent realize that they can say it out loud: "There could be this breakthrough, where a whole lot of people you wouldn't expect would suddenly start saying they were for Donald Trump."

I invite Glenn to start the cascade. If Glenn is for Trump — how liberating! Again, he doesn't reject the idea. He's smiling and seems excited at the idea. He's excited about the political science idea of a cascade. He'd like to research it and write about it and get credit for spotting it. He exhibits so much delight that he abruptly says "I think I should stop talking."

And I say: "I think you're delighted by the possibility of embracing Donald Trump." He says: "I'm excited and amused by the possibility."

IN THE COMMENTS: Glenn Loury writes:
I just want to clarify something. I AM NOT A (CLOSETED) DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER!! I said as much during my conversation with Ann Althouse (listen to the whole thing.) Yes, I agreed with Ann that I don't see Trump's positions as dog-whistle politics meant to appeal to racists. And, I also agreed that some of Trump's formulations had a commonsense appeal ("you don't have a country without controlling its borders"; or, "friends and relatives of homegrown terrorists probably know something, and should tell what they know"...) But, while I do view the spectacle of Trump being the Republican nominee with a certain excitement and amusement, the chance I would ever vote for him is zero. As things now stand, I'm supporting Hilary ...
I respond:
Hi, Glenn. Thanks for commenting.

Of course, if you were closeted, you'd say you were not.

In any case, you decline the opportunity to live on the crest of the cascade, but it will be a more comfortable place soon, and the interesting question is why you didn't confront me about whether I am a closeted Trump supporter.

January 20, 2016

I talk about race, gender, guns, and the 2016 campaign with Glenn Loury...

... on the new Bloggingheads, recorded on Monday:

ADDED: This was the first time we used Skype. I am not happy with it at all. Not only do I look herky-jerky, out of sync, and ludicrously red-cheeked, but every time there is overtalking, he gets predominance. There are times when I am completely silenced, even when he is interrupting me!

AND: Here's the most intense feminist part, with the Skype-enhanced suppression on full display (and the deployment of the word "peccadillo"):

"Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system."

"The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun."

Planet Nine... I guess that's intentionally evocative of Planet 9.

Take a look at the Republican media consultant who says Trump supporters are "childless single men who masturbate to anime."

And: "These are not people who matter in the overall course of humanity."

It's Rick Wilson, appearing on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes."

I'm not sure if Rick Wilson is someone who matters in the overall course of humanity or even what he looks at when he masturbates. I've never heard of him.

Email received from Harper's Magazine after I tore page 35.

Dear Subscriber,

Please use care when removing the envelope attached to page 35 of the February issue. The releasable glue has proved stronger than expected and may tear the paper.

The full text of Tanya Gold's article, "The Queen and I," is available for free here.

We regret the error.

-Harper's Magazin
ADDED: I figured out independently that I needed to "use care" and I did use care. It was, in my experience, impossible not to tear the page. Thanks for hitting me over the head with the obsolescence of dead-tree media. I'm forced to go on line to read the article.

"I’d forgotten a reality of the world of Twitter. It’s a different audience, an unknown-by-the-author audience..."

"... especially as a message gets passed around. Over the next few hours, outraged responses poured in by the metric ton. All of them were self-righteously outraged about my closed-mindedness, and old-style thinking, and 'major fail,' and so on. I have never before received anything close to this volume of response on Twitter, and it has never been more vitriolic. And all of it from people taking obvious (to me) sarcasm right at face value."

Writes The Atlantic's James Fallows in "Why Twitter Doesn't Work with Sarcasm, Chap. 823."

His cry of pain boils down to the old Don't you know who I am?

It's supposed to be already understood that he's a good liberal who would never seriously align with Trump and Cruz.

In his natural habitat, he's free to use sarcasm. No one would ever take him for a bad person. But out in the wild world of Twitter, where endless names flow by, he's not free anymore. Sads!

Now, I think I know where Donald Trump got his speech-making style — from Sarah Palin.

I finally got around to watching the speech Sarah Palin gave yesterday, endorsing Donald Trump. I first saw it in the form of a BuzzFeedNess piece titled "So, Uh, Here’s The Full Text Of Sarah Palin’s Bizarre Trump Speech," which made me think she was inarticulate, saying "uh" a lot and going off on weird tangents. But a simple search of the text — the text transcribed without pity — shows she only said "uh" once other than the time she deployed a string of "uh"s for comic effect, saying that the GOP establishment "is wailing, 'well, Trump and his, uh, uh, uh, Trumpeters, they’re not conservative enough.'" That one "uh" comes near the one "um":
What he’s been able to accomplish, with his um, it’s kind of this quiet generosity. Yeah, maybe his largess kind of, I don’t know, some would say gets in the way of that quiet generosity, and, uh, his compassion....
Maybe "compassion" is a hard word for righties to say. Just yesterday, right here on this blog, we voted on whether "compassion" (along with "social justice") was a left-wing brand. Or maybe "compassion" is just too Bush-y. Remember "compassionate conservativism"?
In June, 1986, [historian and presidential advisor Doug] Wead wrote an article for the Christian Herald, describing then-vice-president George H. W. Bush, to whom he served as an aide, as a “compassionate conservative.” According to journalist Jacob Weisberg, George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush's son, first picked up the term "compassionate conservative" from Wead, in 1987.

In 1992, when Doug Wead ran for U.S. Representative from Arizona, he wrote a campaign book entitled Time for a Change. The first chapter was called “The Compassionate Conservative” and outlined Wead’s philosophy that the masses didn’t care if Republican policies worked if the attitude and purpose behind the policies were uncaring....

Nicholas Lemann, writing in New Yorker magazine in 2015, wrote that George W. Bush's "description of himself, in the 2000 campaign, as a 'compassionate conservative" was brilliantly vague—liberals heard it as 'I'm not all that conservative,' and conservatives heard it as 'I'm deeply religious.' It was about him as a person, not a program."....
But back to the Palin speech. I listened to it, which makes a different impression from reading. What struck me was how similar it was to the way Trump speaks — short, punchy statements. It's rousing, rallying. It feels nervy and brave. Sarah is at her best in this milieu. Whether you'd trust her to be President is an entirely different matter, but speaking to a crowd, she is brilliant. So she is simply wonderful speaking on behalf of someone else, as she was in the early days of the 2008 campaign, before the McCain people reined her in.

Speaking for Trump, not as Trump's running mate, she's able to be herself, let her Palinosity flow, and it's great stuff. Its similarity to the way Trump speaks creates an uncanny dynamic. And Trump is not like McCain. He's not going to seem dull or stodgy by comparison to Palin. He doesn't need to worry about her star power. He's already established his star power.

Seeing her next to him, I can tell it's a shared style. It's not just something only one person can do. Two are doing it. That gives hope to others. But what are the elements of that style? How could somebody else learn to do it?

Now, I just want to quote 2 things Palin said that jumped out at me. Maybe these can be studied in an effort to discern the elements of the style. First:
The permanent political class has been doing the bidding of their campaign donor class, and that’s why you see that the borders are kept open. For them, for their cheap labor that they want to come in. That’s why they’ve been bloating budgets. It’s for crony capitalists to be able suck off of them. It’s why we see these lousy trade deals that gut our industry for special interests elsewhere. 
That's great form and substance. Look at the vivid words: "bloating," "suck off," "lousy," "gut." I know the "suck off" — "suck off of" — refers to breastfeeding, but on an emotional level where the concrete images swirl together, that crony capitalist she's talking about looks a louse-ridden man with bloated gut getting a blow job.

[H]e’s got the guts to wear the issues that need to be spoken about and debate on his sleeve, where the rest of some of these establishment candidates, they just wanted to duck and hide. They didn’t want to talk about these issue until he brought 'em up. In fact, they’ve been wearing a, this, political correctness kind of like a suicide vest.
Wearing political correctness like a suicide vest. You don't really have enough time to think through the analogy, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but jeez, take off that vest, it's a suicide vest! Trump "wear[s] the issues" — the right issues! What are you wearing? Better wear the right thing! But you don't have time to analyze that. You just feel it as she's off and running to more short sentences...
And enough is enough. These issues that Donald Trump talks about had to be debated. And he brought them to the forefront. And that’s why we are where we are today with good discussion. A good, heated, and very competitive primary is where we are. And now though, to be lectured that, “Well, you guys are all sounding kind of angry,” is what we’re hearing from the establishment. Doggone right we’re angry! Justifiably so! Yes! You know, they stomp on our neck, and then they tell us, “Just chill, okay just relax.” Well, look, we are mad, and we’ve been had. They need to get used to it.
We are mad, and we’ve been had. They need to get used to it.

Yeah, get used to it. Get used to political speech that's not tame and calculated but emotive and in-the-minute, with enough substance showing through along the way that you never lose the sense that it's about real issues. You think that's "bizarre," BuzzFeed? Get up to speed. This is what America sounds like.

NYT: "'90s Scandals Threaten to Erode Hillary Clinton’s Strength With Women."

Why headline that now? Is it because anonymous sources say that Lena Dunham — before heading out to stump for Hillary — told some people at a dinner party at the Park Avenue apartment of the chief exec of HBO, that "she was disturbed by how, in the 1990s, the Clintons and their allies discredited women who said they had had sexual encounters with or been sexually assaulted by former President Bill Clinton"?

That's the anecdote that begins the story, but I don't believe having this particularly juicy nugget is what motivated the NYT to move this old issue — always available to hurt Hillary — to the front burner.

Another question is: What motivated "several people" from that exclusive dinner party to rat out Lena? The ratting out doesn't hurt Lena as much as it hurts Hillary so I don't think it's that Lena has enemies. I could see HBO-dinner-party co-guests having something against Lena, but it seems as though it would have to be political opposition to Hillary. That opposition could arise out of genuine, true-to-the-core feminism. Hillary really did get caught up in a sickening web of anti-feminism. That's something I've personally cared about for more than 2 decades.

I hope that's what motivated the dinner party guests to rat out Lena. But I suspect it was that they're feeling the Bern. They want Bernie Sanders.

And that connects to the NYT motivation to run the story. Does the NYT want Bernie Sanders? I doubt it. But I'm sure they want the Democratic nominee to win the election. Bernie's heating up so strongly, Clinton's weakness as a candidate is becoming more obvious, and the NYT is certainly privy to far more oppo-research material on Hillary than I know. Just yesterday, it ran the story "Hillary Clinton Email Said to Include Material Exceeding 'Top Secret.'" The FBI investigation looms. What else is coming? Is it not too late to bring Biden back out?

I suspect there's utter panic behind the scenes as Trump and Cruz dominate the GOP race. It would be one thing to let Hillary do her best, maybe fall short, and let nice Mr. Bush sit in the Oval Office for 4 years while the Democratic Party rebuilds itself. But Trump/Cruz won't be docile seat warmers. It's a dire emergency.

And so, at long last, what Hillary did to women matters. Women aren't Hillary's natural constituency, we're her victims.
Now that the stories...
The stories...
... are resurfacing...
You submerged them! You submerged them for partisan political ends and you're participating in dragging them back up because of — I can't help presuming — partisan political ends.
... they could hamper Mrs. Clinton’s attempts to connect with younger women, who are learning the details of the Clintons’ history for the first time.
Ha. Learning for the first time because you worked to submerge the story. If this had been out in the open all along, it wouldn't be coming as a surprise now. Of course, Clinton herself worked to submerge the story — the story not just of what Bill did sexually but of how Bill's people, including Hillary, discredited the women. This has gone on for more than 20 years, 20 years of distorting the development of women's equality in the workplace. 
Several news organizations have published guides to the Clinton scandals to explain the allegations to a new generation of readers. Alexis Isabel Moncada, the 17-year-old founder of Feminist Culture, a popular blog, was not old enough to remember the 1990s, but lately she and her thousands of young female readers have heard a lot about the scandals.

“I heard he sexually harassed people and she worked to cover it up,” Ms. Moncada said of Mr. and Mrs. Clinton. “A lot of girls in my age group are huge feminists, and we don’t react well to that.”...

“You have to give Trump credit,” said Jennifer Weiner, a best-selling novelist and feminist. “He’s a genius at poking and prodding his competitors until he finds their soft spots.”...
Ugh. The visual. Rape-y. 
Mr. Trump’s attacks make Mrs. Clinton look less like “a strong, self-actualized feminist leader who women can proudly get behind,” Ms. Weiner added, and more “like a craven opportunist, and an apologist for a predator.”
Mr. Trump's attacks! Why would it take a Trump attack to make you see Hillary that way? He can only make her look that way because the factual material is there. But you were looking away, conveniently. That looking away that you did on your own I call anti-feminism.

If you read far enough into the article, you'll get to a quote from Camille Paglia: "It’s not about Bill Clinton’s peccadilloes... It’s about Hillary Clinton’s behavior towards her husband’s accusers for all those years." Exactly.

(By the way, I recorded a Bloggingheads dialogue with Glenn Loury on Monday, and "peccadilloes" was the word he used to minimize the problem. I'll let you know when the diavlog is available.)

ADDED: The Drudge presentation is very funny:

January 19, 2016

"Wow!! Remember that increasing death rate among middle-aged non-Hispanic whites?"

"It’s all about women in the south (and, to a lesser extent, women in the midwest). Amazing what can be learned just by slicing data."

The average home has 100 distinct morphospecies of arthropod.

A meticulous study 50 homes within a 30 miles radius of Raleigh, N.C.: 
Over 98 percent of homes contained book lice, 96 percent housed dark-winged fungus gnats, and every home contained cobweb spiders, carpet beetles, gall midge flies and ants.... Every type of room surveyed contained bugs, and only five rooms (four bathrooms and a bedroom) of the 554 studied contained no critters at all....
But don't worry. There were very few pests. The entomologist Matt Berton said: "They’re just milling around at the edges of room, eating little bits of hair and dead insects. This isn’t something that should change people’s behavior."

"What is it with the giggling about Trump saying 'Two Corinthians' instead of 'Second Corinthians'? Either one sounds fine to me."

Says John Henry in the comments 2 posts down and referring to the nontroversy of the day.

I know. It's like laughing at somebody for saying a date as 19 January instead of the 19th of January. Who the hell cares?

Feels like the beginning of a joke....

Two Corinthians walk into a bar. The first Corinthian says "Boy, do I need some spirit." And the second Corinthian says "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." And the first Corinthian "Okay, make mine the Lord."

"If [Trump] were the Republican nominee he would get the highest percentage of black votes since Ronald Reagan in 1980."

"They listen to him. They find him fascinating, and in all the groups I have done, I have found Obama voters, they could’ve voted for Obama twice, but if they’re African-American they would consider Trump."

Said Frank Luntz, quoted in a Politico article titled "How Donald Trump defeats Hillary Clinton/Obama’s black supporters are crucial to a Trump win, and pollsters say he has a chance with this bloc."
Another longtime Republican pollster and veteran of multiple presidential campaigns has tested Trump’s appeal to blacks and Hispanics and come to the same conclusion. “He behaves in a way that most minorities would not expect a billionaire to behave,” explained the pollster, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid damaging relationships within the party. “He’s not a white-bread socialite kind of guy.”

"Wow. Palin's jet following Trump campaign; endorsement imminent."


This is very rich. Very very rich.

UPDATE: "I’m proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for president."
“I am greatly honored to receive Sarah’s endorsement,” Mr. Trump said in a statement trumpeting Mrs. Palin’s decision. “She is a friend, and a high-quality person whom I have great respect for. I am proud to have her support.”

The Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner reality show of a movie, "Weiner," that's about to premiere at Sundance.

The NYT has already seen it, and...
Huma Abedin and Anthony D. Weiner allowed filmmakers full access to his mayoral campaign with the hopes that the end result would document a spectacular political comeback, with Mr. Weiner being sworn in as mayor of New York having emerged from a scandal centered on explicit texting that forced him to resign from Congress.

Things did not go quite according to plan.... The film overflows with juicy moments about Mr. Weiner....
How bad is all this for Hillary?
In recent weeks former President Bill Clinton’s behavior has been raised in the Republican presidential primary by Mr. Trump, who questioned Mr. Clinton’s “terrible record of women abuse,” and also during the Democratic debate on Sunday, when Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton’s chief rival for the nomination, called the former president’s behavior “deplorable,” in response to a question about Mr. Clinton’s scandals.

Mrs. Clinton does not appear in the film (aside from in news footage), but her presence is frequently felt as Ms. Abedin — with facial expressions ranging from hurt to hostile — copes with the second sex scandal to engulf her husband’s career and crush her hopes of becoming a powerful political wife.

Ms. Abedin is portrayed from the film’s opening minutes as the linchpin to Mr. Weiner’s attempted comeback after his resignation from Congress. “Did Huma want you to go back into politics?” one of the filmmakers asks Mr. Weiner. He does not hesitate. “She did,” he says. “She was very eager to get her life back that I had taken from her.”

Even in scenes in which Ms. Abedin is not shown, the focus is almost always on her: How was she able to forgive Mr. Weiner the first time, the film repeatedly asks, and would she ever be able to forgive a second transgression?
So... extrapolate.  What has life behind the scenes been like for Hillary Clinton? Why does she need to be President? She was very eager to get her life back that I had taken from her....
Mr. Weiner says in the film, at the very end: “I don’t regret letting you follow me around. I wanted to be viewed as the full person I was.”
A man who swallows his own wife is indeed full.

"The Supreme Court said Tuesday that it would consider a legal challenge to President Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s immigration rules."

"The court, which has twice rejected challenges to Mr. Obama’s health care law, will now determine the fate of one of his most far-reaching executive actions," the NYT reports.

Why did the Court take this one, United States v. Texas, No. 15-674?
In their written arguments before the court, the states acknowledged that the president has wide authority over immigration matters, telling the justices that “the executive does have enforcement discretion to forbear from removing aliens on an individual basis.” Their quarrel, they said, was with what they called a blanket grant of “lawful presence” to millions of immigrants, entitling them to various benefits.

In response, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. told the justices that “lawful presence” is merely what has always followed from the executive branch’s decision not to deport someone for a given period of time. He added that the consequences of allowing immigrants to be lawfully present were positive. “Without work authorization,” Mr. Verrilli wrote of the people eligible for the program, “they are more likely to work for employers who will hire them illegally, often at below-market wages, thereby hurting American workers and giving unscrupulous employers an unfair advantage.”

Much of the briefing so far has been focused on the threshold question of whether the states have suffered the sort of direct and concrete injury that gives them standing to sue....
There is special reason to think the states have standing, after what the Court did in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, allowing the state to challenge the EPA's idea that the Clean Air Act didn't refer to greenhouse gases, back in the days when the Bush administration wasn't doing enough about global warming to suit the political party in power in Massachusetts. The tables are turned now, but the standing doctrine precedents are what they are. Fortunately for Obama, Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency is a murky mess of a case.

United States v. Texas coming up for oral argument and decision will add some interesting dimension to the issue of immigration and presidential power in this election year.

ADDED: Just a snippet from Chief Justice Roberts's dissenting opinion in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency to give you a sense of how the majority muddled standing doctrine where a state is a plaintiff challenging the work of the executive branch:

"Trump is like a Karass Negotiation Class that's run wild."

Writes Tom, fascinatingly, in the comments to the first post of the day (the one about what Rush said about Trump's complicated relationship to conservatism).

I'm sorry to see that there really is something called a Karrass negotiation seminar. 2 "r"s there, but I think that's what Tom meant. "Karass" in my book — which is "Cat's Cradle" — is "A group of people linked in a cosmically significant manner, even when superficial links are not evident."

I don't know how you could take a class or negotiate about that, but I loved the idea of Trump as a man finding his Karass.

Kurt Vonnegut wrote:
"If you find your life tangled up with somebody else's life for no very logical reasons," writes Bokonon, "that person may be a member of your karass." At another point in The Books of Bokonon he tells us, "Man created the checkerboard; God created the karass." By that he means that a karass ignores national, institutional, occupational, familial, and class boundaries. It is as free form as an amoeba."
One time we talked about this blog that way:
matthew said...
So are the readers here a karass, or is this blog just one giant granfalloon?
12/14/08, 11:25 AM

Ann Althouse said...
Clearly, a karass!
12/14/08, 1:11 PM

BJM said...
The internets are a granfalloon; blog Althouse a karass.
12/14/08, 5:15 PM
I love the idea of speaking and, by speaking, causing kindred souls to assemble. But does it make sense to think about Trump that way? It resonated for me, because I think there's some unusual variety to who responds to Trump. MSM may hope to brand Trumpions as the uneducated and unintelligent. But something more complicated is going on, and — as I said yesterday in a Bloggingheads episode that isn't up quite yet — there's a coming "cascade" of support for Trump when people feel liberated to reveal their affiliation — or, as I'm seeing this morning, their membership in the karass. I know, misreading, but it's that cascade that came to mind when Tom spoke of running wild.

Hillary puts a lot of effort into laughing and smiling.

It can't be that she's so happy and is genuinely finding lots of things very funny. Watch any recent interview. She's clearly doing something she's come to believe she needs to do. Telling women to smile... it's a well-recognized feminist issue:
Now, look at Bernie Sanders, who puts zero effort into smiling. He's zoomed in popularity even though his natural face looks angry and he speaks in an angry voice.

What if Hillary's natural demeanor were as angry looking and sounding as Bernie's and she just let it show? It would not work, would it? That's why she's decided she must smile and laugh and put in all that effort. Think about why it wouldn't work. If you think, it's because she's a woman, she'd be perceived as a shrew and hated, congratulations, you're a feminist. There are other answers, of course, and I expect to see them in the comments. Here. I'll get us started:

1. Natural demeanor? There's nothing natural about Hillary. Anything she might attempt to do now would be fake and properly rejected as fake.

2. Whatever anger she's got in there would not be the refreshing, righteous anger we get from Bernie. It would be horrifying and disgusting, and that's why she doesn't show it and why we'd recoil from it.

"But there are a lot of conservatives... that do not like Trump because they don't think he is one. There are a lot of conservatives who think that he's a wolf in sheep's clothing..."

"... that he's a traditional, lifetime New Yorker -- and that means something.  There are all kinds of conservatives with suspicions of Donald Trump.  Yet NBC [said], 'Among conservatives, Donald Trump can typically do no wrong...'  That's wrong right out the gate.... Trump's coalition is 20% Democrat, maybe more. There are a lot of Hispanics.  There are a lot of African-Americans.  There are a lot of women.  People who are traditionally not thought of in the Republican coalition.  So Trump's cross-section of people is pretty diverse, but it's not uniformly conservative.  So when you say NBC reporting on Trump being booed, they think it's big news inside conservatism, but it's not.  To those of us who are conservative and know the movement and know people in it, we've long been aware that there are conservatives that do not like Trump and some stridently do not like Trump."

Said Rush Limbaugh on his show yesterday, talking about reports that Trump was booed at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention when he attacked Ted Cruz for a failure to report a large loan from Goldman Sachs to the FEC.

So NBC doesn't really understand the people Trump and Cruz are competing to win, and Rush — who, of course, believes he understands these people very well — says that the way Trump is going after Cruz is "unsettling and unnerving to people." Trump is calling Cruz a "nasty guy," a guy "nobody likes."
Whenever a Republican or conservative attacks a fellow Republican or conservative using the same language or the same approach that Democrats and liberals would, that's a huge red flag. 
That is, a red flag that Trump isn't really a conservative. Now, Rush himself has spent some time with Cruz:
The criticism I hear most often about Cruz is that he doesn't seem natural, seems like he's just constantly... What's the word?  Earnest all the time. He just never seems relaxed, doesn't seem casual, ever. And it unnerves people.  
So Cruz's unnaturalness "unnerves people," according to Rush, who just got done saying that Trump calling Cruz nasty is "unnerving to people." Rush tries to explain Cruz. He's "just so smart" and he's "proud of it."
He's just decided he's gonna be who he is.  I just think it unnerves people, like it unnerves people whenever you encounter somebody that's so damn sure of themselves.
There's "unnerve" two more times. I think it's another way to say people don't like Cruz, which is what Trump said.
But smart people have the tendency sometimes to come off as calculating, and certainly not casual or relaxed. And it has... It just unnerves some people, and it makes them go from feeling unnerved and bothered to maybe, "I don't like it.  I just don't like it."  
Whoa! 2  more "unnerve"s. It reminds me of the way Trump came up with "nasty" and then kept repeating it. And, in fact, it's at this point that Rush gets back to Trump's word, "nasty":
So it's like, as I said earlier, the "nasty" guy that Trump is saying.  I don't think -- and I'm wild guessing here. I don't think he really believes that.  I don't think he thinks Cruz is a nasty guy.  It's just the way Trump campaigns. It's the way Trump deals. I mean, look at what he did to the guy that runs Macy's.  It's entirely in character and it isn't personal....
Trump uses plain, strong language — stronger than what Rush is using, at least in this context. Well, I think part of this is that Rush doesn't want to show his hand. He's being the observer, looking at various sides of things as he cogitates in real time for 3 hours a day. He's not picking yet, and he wants to have a decent foundation for supporting whoever the GOP nominee turns out to be. And he doesn't like seeing them hurting each other.

By the way, what did Trump do to "the guy that runs Macy's"? After Macy's dropped his line, Trump called for a boycott of the store. He used plain, strong language like: "Macy's stores suck and they are bad for U.S.A.”

January 18, 2016

Watch the long pause and the repeated, slow head shaking from Hillary Clinton when she's asked if the FBI has interviewed her.

The pause after the question is so long and the head shaking is so extensive — continuing even as Tapper moves on to thanking her for doing the show — that I felt sure she was lying. I thought the interesting question was not whether she was lying but how it felt — inside her head — from 0:08 to 0:10.5 as she decided a straight, one-word lie was the best approach. She must have calculated the risks and made a rough stab at how — if the fact of an interview ever comes out — she would do a depends-on-what-the-meaning-of-is-is explanation.

Tapper's question was "In terms of the status of the FBI investigation into your private e- mail server, have you been interviewed by the FBI yet?" I snarked: "It depends on what the meaning of 'interview' is." And: "It depends on what the meaning of 'yet' is."

In the NYT: "Just after 10 p.m., the Democratic Web blogger Ann Althouse wrote...: 'A glob of foam forms on the right side of his mouth! Yikes! That's really going to lose the women's vote.'"

That was Jim Rutenberg writing about me and other "livebloggers" back in October, 2004. I said:
Oh, I'm blogging as a Democrat? Well, I read it in the New York Times, so it's probably true. Did Rutenberg read enough of my blog to see that I'm voting for Bush, or is he just concluding from the fact that I don't mind saying that I observed spittle in the corner of Bush's mouth that I must be opposed to him?...
The NYT also got my URL wrong and used the term "Web blogger," with doesn't make sense, because "blog" comes from "web log."  Why the second "b"? (But, then, why the second "g" in "blogger"?) Back in the old days, discussions of the word "blog" were insanely common. Many people disliked the sound of the word and felt compelled to say so.

I was thinking about the perverse recognition I received long ago because, watching last night's debate, I recoiled at a blob of spit that bounced forward and then retreated on the right side of Bernie Sanders's mouth. Too bad I don't — I can't! — live blog like I used to. I could even have made a little video clip of the moment, which I can't find now, because the word I remember him saying, the only word I could search for in the transcript, is — of all words! — "the."

I'm fascinated to see that the old NYT article was written by Jim Rutenberg, because the NYT just gave him the position — "media columnist" — that had been empty since the death of David Carr.
“Our hunt for David’s successor has been exhaustive, and we were privileged to have had extraordinary candidates from both inside and outside The Times,” the newspaper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, and its business editor, Dean Murphy, said in a memo to the staff. “Jim brings to the job a passion for the story, a track record in covering the industry and the experienced eye of an astute observer.”
Well, he called me a "Web blogger" and a Democrat, got my URL wrong, and boxed me in as a person concerned with saliva 12 years ago, but I await his columns, none of which have yet appeared.

Of course, I am still a blogger concerned with saliva.

I experienced Bernie Sanders as rude to Hillary Clinton, but was it Rick Lazio rude?

Remember this?

It wrecked Rick Lazio in the New York senatorial race in 2000. Oddly, looking at it now, he doesn't seem that bad. Maybe it was always only making people feel that it was bad. I looked at it again to try to answer the question I put in this post's title, and I didn't think what he did was the kind of inappropriate male encroachment on a woman that it was (successfully!) made out to be:
This key exchange came at the end of the debate, when Lazio interrupted Clinton mid-sentence, walked across the stage with a campaign finance pledge in hand, and urged her to sign it. Clinton awkwardly tried to shake Lazio's hand as he towered over her, his finger wagging in her face. In the hours and days after the debate, Clinton's team worked mightily to turn this interaction to her advantage. Clinton aide Ann Lewis told the press that Lazio had "spent much of the time being personally insulting." Howard Wolfson, another veteran Clinton hand, said Lazio was "menacing" to Clinton.

"They saw this opportunity and they drove it and that's the clip that was on TV over and over again," Lazio says now. The next day, media outlets began to embrace Wolfson's portrayal of Lazio as a sexist bully. "In Your Face," proclaimed a headline in the Daily News. Jon Stewart titled his segment on the debate "Rodham 'N Creep." Eventually, the Clinton campaign's depiction became the dominant assessment. Lazio was "Darth Vader with dimples," Gail Collins wrote in the New York Times later that week. Clinton went on to win by 12 points.
I assume Sanders and his people know full well that anything domineering or encroaching or disrespecting will be used against him and that Hillary and her people are hungry for something to deploy to get that old feminist umbrage stirred up again. But time has passed, and he's getting loose, getting confident, getting... aggressive.... The power lust has welled up. We saw it last night. The lovable old Larry-David-befuddled-grandpa image can only protect him so long. Once we can visualize Bernie Sanders as winning, it's not cute anymore, and Hillary has an opportunity she can use.

If she dares.

It's a big risk when you are running for President. It's one thing to have a Senator who's a bit of a feminine flower, to be protected from the mean men of America. It's another to have a President — the one person standing in for us all face-to-face with the world's Putins — who needs our comfort and protection. 

What I found when I tried Googling to find out if anybody else was as bothered as I was by how rude Bernie Sanders was to Hillary Clinton.

"Bernie Sanders gives Hillary Clinton the side-eye treatment...."

"Apparently the University of Louisville law school has decided to meet declining enrollments and dwindling funds not by upping their game, but by 'branding' itself as a 'progressive' institution committed to 'social justice.'"

Writes lawprof Stephen Bainbridge:
Indeed... U of L's interim dean has filed trumped up charges against someone who limply objected to the project by encouraging his students to [think for] themselves. Which is obviously heresy in the left-liberal reeducation camp U of L has become.

The real tragedy, however, is that what's happening at U of L is just an express embracing of the leftist hegemony that pervades American legal education. Conservatives, libertarians, people of faith ... heck, anybody to the right of Hillary Clinton are hugely underrepresented in the legal academy and our students who profess such values have learned to hide their light under a bushel lest they be sent off to the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Tolerance, and Goodness (higher education's version of the Ministry of Love).
Here's an op-ed by Sam Marcosson, one of the school's lawprofs, defending the school's compassion-and-social-justice branding:
The premise of Professor Milligan’s polemic was that identifying the law school as a compassionate institution is somehow a “partisan” stance that takes sides in ideological wars in which he believes a law school should not take sides.... I do not believe it ever occurred to anyone who proposed this at the law school or voted for it that it had any ideological or partisan content at all, or that supporting it somehow sent a message that a commitment to compassion would, could or should exclude anyone based on party or ideology.....

It also dovetails perfectly with the emphasis on “social justice” that the faculty adopted as part of our most recent strategic plan.... In the public service context, we don’t force our students into any particular project when they fulfill this requirement, and many of them create their own....

Professor Milligan’s claims of enforced ideological conformity are a tired cliché, with no basis in the reality of what compassion actually means in the context of the law school’s participation in the City of Louisville’s initiative....
Are "compassion" and "social justice" neutral terms? Are they starkly, intentionally leftist? Maybe it's something in between: They feel neutral to those who are living within a left-wing environment, like fish in water. It's that third option that occurred to me when I read Marcosson's words: "I do not believe it ever occurred to anyone who proposed this at the law school or voted for it that it had any ideological or partisan content at all." 

"Compassion" and "social justice" are...
pollcode.com free polls

"I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits."

"I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land."

January 17, 2016

Another debate... "It's going to be a doozy."

According to Chuck Todd. Are you watching? It's kind of late, and maybe you've been watching football games all day. Well, say what you like in the comments. I'll try to stay awake, and maybe I won't say anything more until tomorrow.

ADDED:  Quite chaotic, with lots of interrupting and taunting. Harsh voices. Red-faced anger.

AND: Are they being annoying and rude in an effort to appeal to the young? I notice all the YouTube things featuring youthful characters, so I'm thinking maybe they're deliberately repelling me.