April 28, 2017

I'm so tired of all the 100-days-of-Trump articles, especially the idiotic assigning of grades...

... but I like where Glenn Reynolds came out in this USA Today roundup of grades for Trump:
President Trump was elected in no small part because he was not Hillary Clinton, and he's done an A+ job of not being Hillary Clinton during his first 100 days.... And, I'm happy to say, I expect President Trump to go on not being Hillary Clinton for the next four (or eight!) years. A+ job, Mr. President!
That reminds me of a conversation we had on this blog on April 1st, when I raised the topic, "Trump is down to the last month of his first 100 days/How do you think he's doing?" I copied this colloquy I'd had with a commenter in an earlier post:
David Begley said:
Trump has accomplished more POSITIVE things in less than 100 days than Obama did in 8 long years.
I reacted to that:
I like the way Trump has accomplished NEGATIVE things.

Less doing. More nothing. That's what I want.

I give him credit for what he has NOT done. Where are the big bungles? He DIDN'T get that health thing done. That was good, no? Nothing military has happened. No foreign affairs blowups. Etc.
David Begley said:
Item one: Trump has begun to tear down the CAGW scam. That single positive thing will save billions.
I reacted to that:
Notice how that is SUBTRACTIVE and further supports my argument that his accomplishments are NEGATIVE.
That got The Cracker Emcee to say:
Every single day he's been in office, Hillary has not. You can't get more positively subtractive than that.

The NYT profile of Rupert Murdoch’s sons, James and Lachlan, seems to have spurred talk about starting a new conservative cable news channel.

"The piece struck fear into the minds of some Fox News’ hardcore conservatives with talk of the sons wanting to rid the company 'of the old-guard culture on which their father built his empire' and bringing 'a warmer and fuzzier workplace' that would move away from an 'anti-politically correct environment,'" Mediaite reports.
Could the new channel include stars like the ousted Bill O’Reilly, who didn’t waste much time hitting the podcast waves after he was fired amid a sexual harassment scandal? Could Tomi Lahren, the conservative mega star, who was recently sidelined at The Blaze also take on a prominent role?...

“I just don’t see Fox News and Sean [Hannity] aving a long relationship. If Sean becomes available, you have 100 percent turnover in primetime and a huge opportunity,” a television executive, who didn’t want to be identified, but is involved in some of the talks, told Mediaite.

“I’m working on it (the new conservative channel) hot and heavy,” the source said. “It’s live, it’s real.” The new channel could come to fruition within the next 10 to 12 months, the executive said.
Would you like to see this new cable channel happen?
 
pollcode.com free polls

The return of "Roseanne."

Not just the delightful comedienne, the Lucy of the 90s. The actual sitcom, with the whole original cast (at least for 8 episodes).

What will the characters be up to after all these years? Perhaps what Roseanne herself sketched out on her website in 2009:
Roseanne and Jackie opening the first medical marijuana dispensary in Lanford; Dan reappearing alive after faking his death; DJ being published; Mark dying in Iraq; David leaving Darlene for a woman half his age; Darlene coming out, meeting a woman and having a baby with her; Becky working at Walmart; Arnie befriending the governor of Illinois and remarrying Nancy; Bev selling a painting for $10,000; Jerry and the grandsons forming a boy band; and Bonnie being arrested for selling crack.

At the Dropping Out Café...

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... I'm finding the morning news unreadable, unclickable. You say something, won't you?

"A Bahamas festival backed by a host of A-list models and with packages costing up to £10,000 ($13,000) has descended into chaos..."

"... amid reports guests have been stranded at an unfinished site overrun by feral dogs. The boutique Fyre Festival, due to start today and run over two weekends, was billed as a 'cultural moment created from an alchemic blend of music, art, and food'... While the website promised 'chef-curated culinary pop ups' one reveller posted a picture of a basic cheese sandwich served out of a polystyrene box. Paying guests were told they could expect to stay in 'modern, eco-friendly, geodesic domes.' But some online likened the 'cabanas' to disaster zone relief tents...."

Reports The Daily Mail.

Why is that so much fun to read? The top-rated comment there with 980 up votes and only 9 down votes is just, in its entirety, "LOL."

"The president took us to every room and looked at every painting and talked about every bed and every carpet and every rug and every bulletproof glass."

A quote from Ted Nugent is the jumping off point for a WaPo style piece titled "Alone in the White House, Trump is enjoying the perks of his new home." The WaPo writer, Krissah Thompson unleashes the inferences:
But the fact that Trump entertained Nugent’s party, which included Sarah Palin and Kid Rock, for four hours on a Wednesday night may indicate his hunger for company. Trump currently has more than 20,000 square feet to himself in the official residence on the second and third floor of the East Wing — at least until his wife, Melania, and son Barron move from New York to Washington....
It is weird to think of him being alone there. I'd watch that movie. But he's not alone if you count the staff. There are "95 full-time ushers, butlers, chefs, housekeepers and other workers." I'm picturing something like the old TV show "Benson" — "Benson" on steroids, because Trump is the President, not just a governor, and he doesn't just have one butler, but 95 butlers and other servants. And the Governor in "Benson" may have had no spouse, but he had a daughter. The Governor did have some other staff (including, for a while, a delivery boy, Frankie, played by Jerry Seinfeld).

Here's 12 minutes from first season of "Benson," in case you'd like to visualize a TV show about lonely Trump, shot in the style of "Benson."



ADDED: I know there was show with the President in the White House done like an old-time sitcom, Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "That's My Bush!"
The duo were "95 percent sure" that Democratic candidate Al Gore would win, and tentatively titled the show Everybody Loves Al. It was, essentially, the same show: a lovable main character, the sassy maid, the wacky neighbor. Parker said the producers did not want to make fun of politics, but instead lampoon sitcoms. 
And there was a full-size family, as in so many sitcoms, and the idea involved cutting the President down to the size of an ordinary sitcom dad. I want something about a full-size President, who is lonely and rattling around in the spooky old mansion, trying to get different D-list celebrities to come by and then making them uneasy by showing them every bed and talking about it.

"Foreign countries and companies might appreciate the idea that they can more easily handle Donald Trump if they lavish his daughter with attention..."

"... this is a common enough practice when dealing with authoritarian governments. But it should at least cause a little unease here at home," writes Amy Davidson in "The Global Effort to Flatter Ivanka" (in The New Yorker). She's writing about that panel discussion about women and entrepreneurship that happened at the W20 conference, where Ivanka Trump got to share the stage with Angela Merkel, Queen Máxima, Christine Lagarde, and Chrystia Freeland.
And one saw, again... how the perceived need to pander to Ivanka Trump can distort almost any conversation. At one point, Freeland, the Canadian Foreign Minister, while making a point about the important role that fathers play in their daughters’ progress, said, as she looked at Ivanka, who nodded in agreement, that behind “every successful woman” was a very supportive father.
So it's Ivanka's fault that the Canadian Foreign Minister said something plainly wrong and obviously damaging to the self-esteem of millions of women?!
The moment played less as a shout-out to men in the developing world (which was likely what Freeland intended) than as a validation of the First Daughter concept.
Why does Freeland get the benefit of charitable interpretation and Ivanka get the blame for the negative aspect of a remark she did not make?
And it left little room for the fatherless, or for the defiant, or even for the sort of complexity experienced by, say, Queen Máxima, who is originally from Argentina, where her father was a member of the junta that ran that country’s Dirty War. Whatever their relationship, Máxima went along with the decision not to invite him to her wedding to the Crown Prince of the Netherlands, in deference to Dutch public opinion. Even royalty has to listen, sometimes.
Even royalty? Here you have Davidson complaining about the stature acquired by the daughter of a U.S. President, and somehow simultaneously viewing royalty as lofty. Ivanka may have her position by birth but the U.S. President was elected by the people. Royalty gets its power by birth and by marriage.

By the way, did Davidson ever critique the global effort to flatter Barack Obama's wife (not to mention the truly insane effort to flatter Bill Clinton's wife — which is the main reason we've got Ivanka Trump's father as President).

"... the Old Vic's upcoming production of Girl From the North Country which is written and directed by Conor McPherson with music and lyrics by Bob Dylan."

"Brought to life by a 20-piece company of actors and musicians, award-winning playwright Conor McPherson beautifully weaves the iconic songbook of Bob Dylan into this new show full of hope, heartbreak and soul."

IN THE COMMENTS: AReasonableMan said...
From their web site:

"Duluth, Minnesota. 1934. A community living on a knife-edge huddle together in the local guesthouse. The owner, Nick, owes more money than he can ever repay, his wife Elizabeth is losing her mind and their daughter Marianne is carrying a child no-one will account for. And, when a preacher selling bibles and a boxer looking for a comeback show up in the middle of the night, things start to spiral beyond the point of no return…"

I guess they ran out of cliches at that point, the 'point of no return'.

April 27, 2017

"Am I taking this too seriously? The casual racism of the Asian salad stems from the idea of the exotic — who is and isn’t American is caught up wholesale in its creation."

"This use of 'Oriental' and 'Asian' is rooted in the wide-ranging, 'all look same' stereotypes of Asian culture that most people don’t really perceive as being racist.... [T]he language of the Asian salad is revealing of the dangers of bland, disembodied generalization: When you fail to see countries and cultures as discrete entities, what kind of consideration could you be expected to give to individual people?"

From a NYT column titled "Why Is Asian Salad Still on the Menu?"

In the comments over there, a lot of people are answering that question "Am I taking this too seriously?" They're all saying yes. And the highest-rated comment is:
I'm just going to go out on a limb here and credit the "white audience" with the smarts to know that the Asian salad isn't any more Asian than the Ortega tacos are Mexican or the SpaghettiOs are Italian. I'm pretty liberal and Asian, but this is the kind of crying wolf - whining wolf actually - that makes people tune out when we complain about actual racism. Gimme a break.

"Several years ago, I lost my power of smell. So I can't smell anything...."

Says Scott Adams at the beginning of this video (which someone who knows I have the same disempowerment alerted me about):



ADDED: Adams makes 2 surprising claims:

1. His sense of taste is unchanged. I'm not going to say he's lying, but I don't believe him. I think he's right when he says he may be delusional about it, that his brain has filled in the experience of tasting. You've got the part of taste that isn't smell, so you're still getting salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and whatever (umami), and you're enjoying the texture and temperature and appeasement of hunger and you've learned to see that as enough. If you say it's the same, it's perhaps because you've forgotten what it used to be. Or perhaps your inability to smell is located in your brain (rather than your nose) and you have become unable to think of what smell is, so you literally don't know what you are missing.

2. He doesn't want his sense of smell back — even though once his house was filling up with leaking natural gas and he had no idea — because there are more bad smells than good. Of course, it's subjective which smells are bad and good — especially when it has to do with other people's bodies — and you have some choice about what you put near your nose — whether to live in a polluted city, how clean to keep your house and your clothing, what to cook, whether to use cologne, and so forth. But even if we assume he's right and there's more bad than good, a lot of what's bad is important information — about what not to eat, whether a place is safe, when to clean. And I don't think what smell gives you is just plus and minus, with zero being a good setting. Smell is an integral element of emotion and memory and the feeling that the world is real and alive.

"Does Le Pen have a chance of winning French presidency?"

"Since his impressive first-round victory on Sunday, Mr Macron is still at least 20 points ahead, which sounds an unassailable lead.... So what could go wrong for him?"
All she needs is to advance a little more in the polls, and this is how she could do it.

"If she gets 42% of the vote, which isn't impossible, and Macron gets 58%, normally she loses the election," physicist and Sciences Po political expert Serge Galam told RMC radio. "But if 90% of people who said they would vote for Le Pen do it, and at the same time only 65% of people who declared they would vote for Macron actually do it, then it's Marine Le Pen who wins the election with a score of 50.07%."

Under Serge Galam's mathematical formula, he gives three examples of how Marine Le Pen can win, where she is candidate "A turnout x" and Emmanuel Macron is "B turnout y" with a Turnout (T). He calls this model "differentiated abstention."

Movie review that I literally almost blogged.

"The Circle literally plays as if it has been written by a bunch of elites that have spent a little bit too much time on their phones, decided that the world has become too dependent on technology, and now they're going to make a film that saves people from themselves. It's smug, condescending, and completely without incident. In fact, The Circle is the reason why people hate Hollywood. It feels like a decree laid down to 'the people' from those up in their ivory towers, a call to arms for everyone to put down their keyboards and just come together in peace, love, and heart-emojis, but which unfolds in an overly heightened and sensationalized world with barely a semblance of reality. There's literally no complexity to the characters...."

That's where I stopped reading this movie review by Gregory Wakeman at Cinema Blend, which I'd arrived at via Rotten Tomatoes, where I looked to see what critics were saying about the movie made from a novel I read a few years ago.

At the Wet Pink Café...

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... you can talk about whatever you want.

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(And if you're doing any shopping, you can think about supporting this blog by using The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"… there’s a weird number of people battling snails from medieval times … Why is this?"



"We don’t know. Seriously. There are as many explanations as there are scholars."

One answer is: "Since human knights are often seen trembling before—or, indeed, losing to—the harmless, slow-moving snails, it makes sense that the image is a way to emphasize cowardice."

I finished reading "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign."

Here's the book. You might remember that I was pulling out interesting quotes — here and here — as I went along, and the last one I had was 30% of the way through. Maybe it's me, but the book seemed to get tedious after the first third, as though they'd edited it more intensively but then didn't bother and just left us with dumped notes from their interviews with Clinton insiders. There was a lot of semi-digested material about the mechanics of getting speeches written and where to expend funds and how nervous and uncomfortable various people felt at various times. I got pretty bored.

But there were 3 more things I highlighted as I read. I'll give you these:

1. 34% of the way into the book: "While they were in the car, thinking about how Nevada could really turn the race on its head, [Democratic campaign operatives Tad] Devine’s phone rang. It was Podesta. The Clinton campaign chairman was upset. The day before, Bernie’s brother, Larry, had wondered aloud to a reporter whether Bill [Clinton] was 'really such a terrible rapist' or 'a nice rapist.' President Clinton doesn’t like being called a sexual predator, Podesta told Devine, especially not by a Democratic candidate. What kind of bullshit strategy is that? Devine tried to calm Podesta.... 'Did you see what I said?' Devine said of a television appearance he’d made the previous day. 'Larry is eighty years old. He lives in England. He gave this interview, and he’s not going to talk to the press anymore. This is not a strategy.' Podesta was not assuaged."

2. 67% of the way in: "But [Hillary] accepted the conventional wisdom that she could win or lose the presidency based on her performances [in the debates] against Trump — a rival who thrived on getting under the skin of an opponent. And what [Phillippe] Reines found, [playing the role of Trump] as he practiced against her, round after round, is that Hillary’s heavily nuanced policy arguments were boring and easy to pick apart with a sharp retort. Her strength and her weakness were one and the same: she mastered so much material. 'As the guy who would kick her ass over and over again,' it was obvious to Reines that Trump’s messaging was better, said a source with singular knowledge of his thinking.... [H]er stiffness and her inability to reply to specific questions with thematic answers... were painfully obvious in the debate-prep sessions. Reines had been able to exploit them and outperform her. Heading into the first debate.... Hillary and her team were nervous that Trump might do the same thing. "

3. 68% of the way: "As she had done before facing Bernie Sanders in the primaries, Hillary huddled with Klain, Dunn, Sullivan, and Podesta before the debate. This time, she seemed on edge. There was so much riding on a curious, nationally televised piece of performance art. It was such a poor test, she thought, of which candidate would make a better president. Normally so stoic, she betrayed the butterflies in her stomach by nervously joking with her aides about the outsize significance the debates took on. They tried to reassure her. Have fun, they advised. The winner of the debate was usually the candidate who appeared to be enjoying the moment more." (That was bad advice, don't you think? Her laughing, I'm-having-fun routine seemed phony, smug, and not well matched to the subject matter.)

"You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely."

Said the anonymous email that caused Portland to cancel its Rose Festival Parade, WaPo reports.
Set to march in the parade’s 67th spot this year was the Multnomah County Republican Party, a fact that so outraged two self-described antifascist groups in the deep blue Oregon city that they pledged to protest and disrupt the April 29 event.

Then came an anonymous and ominous email, according to parade organizers, that instructed them to cancel the GOP group’s registration — or else...  200 people would “rush into the parade” and “drag and push” those marching with the Republican Party.

“We will not give one inch to groups who espouse hatred toward LGBT, immigrants, people of color or others,” it said....
So now that's all it takes to end freedom of expression in Portland. What a flimsy, pathetic place.

And it was only a threat to drag and push a specific set of people who were going to be present at a particular place and time. Do the police in Portland not know how to manage crowds? Let the parade happen, let the protesters arrive and protest, and deal with the situation as it unfolds. If you won't do that, you don't have a free society.

ADDED: The threat to shut down roads is particularly absurd to me after what I've seen in Madison down at the state capitol. When the protesters were coming, the police themselves would shut down the roads to make it easier on everyone. I've also seen the police here deal with situations where they knew antagonistic groups were going to be in the same place at the same time. There are techniques for this. You don't just give up and say now we can't assemble in groups anymore.

$10,000! This should be entertaining. How close to $10,000 do you think the bidding will ever go?

"United Airlines will offer up to $10,000 when a traveler voluntarily gives up a seat on an oversold flight, part of a policy overhaul following the passenger-yanking video seen around the world."

Can state law require that churches permit women to breastfeed openly — with no covering — in the congregation during a service?

Virginia has a law that gives women a right to breastfeed wherever they are "lawfully present." I can see why laws like this get passed, and I feel sympathy for this woman who was embarrassed to be told she can't breastfeed in the manner she presumably believed was okay (especially after the government has purported to enshrine this right in the law)...


But I think privately owned places — especially religious institutions — should be allowed to impose their own standards of modesty. There's a big difference between being deprived of the freedom to  breastfeed wherever you are and being required to drape a light cloth over the exposed breast.

This WaPo report on the subject completely takes the perspective of the woman and makes the churchgoers seem prudish and ignorant of the law:
A woman promptly asked the Dumfries mother to decamp to a private room, she said. Peguero declined and was later told that the church does not allow breast-feeding without a cover because it could make men, teenagers or new churchgoers “uncomfortable,” she said. One woman told her the sermon was being live-streamed and that she would not want Peguero to be seen breast-feeding....

It is also a legally protected right in Virginia, where the legislature passed a 2015 law that says women have a right to breast-feed anywhere they have a legal right to be....
The woman, Annie Peguero, is described as a "42-year-old personal trainer and fitness and nutrition specialist" and — these are her words — a “hippie mama."

It seems to me that churches — and other religious organizations — have rules about how covered up you need to be in the building or during a service. And the last time I looked, Virginia has a Religious Freedom Preservation Act, § 57-2.02:
No government entity shall substantially burden a person's free exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability unless it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is (i) essential to further a compelling governmental interest and (ii) the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
Quite aside from whether Peguero has a statutory right to breastfeed uncovered in church (and I don't think she does), as a matter of etiquette and caring for others, she should have willingly covered her breast as soon as she noticed the exposure distracted or bothered anybody.

Here's the highest-rated comment at WaPo:
As someone who has lived all over the world, I can assure you America is the only place on earth where people get hysterical seeing mothers breastfeed their babies.

Exactly what is it about a breast that has you guys upset? It is not a sex organ. It was made for women to feed their babies. The fact that it has been sexualized by men does not make it a sex organ.
Here's the second-highest-rated:
I get the whole "it's natural" thing, but have a little consideration for those around you. You still cannot walk around nude freely in our society. And, it does make people uncomfortable ... which is also "natural". Use a blanket or step out of the room. Why is that such a huge deal?
 ADDED: I'd originally misread a sentence in the article that said: "Now Peguero, and an attorney, are pressing church leaders to issue a statement and reverse their policy." I've corrected the post.

IN THE COMMENTS: I Have Misplaced My Pants said:
Haha. Women who make a fuss about this are almost always attention seekers best ignored.

I am on my fourth breastfed-into-toddlerhood child over 15 years (didn't breastfeed the adopted one, alas) and I have always nursed wherever I happen to be and no one has ever once given me so much as the stink-eye, let alone approached me and been an ass. Of course I've been discreet when appropriate, finding a quiet corner if it seemed like the thing to do, but I have never nursed under a drape or cover of any kind and I have never nursed in a bathroom.

The whole "zomg men sexualize the breast waah waah waah" thing is a hoax. Again, in 15 years of off and on public breastfeeding and hanging out with other public breastfeeders I have never had a man be anything but polite. I'm calling bullshit.
Policraticus said...
You know, I'm all for modesty and things having a time and place. I am sure the mother in question could have been a little more discreet.

But... the reaction of the church officials crosses over into the absurd. The idea that a woman breastfeeding a child should hardly be shocking. The image of Maria Lactans is ubiquitous in Christian art and you can find images of Mary breastfeeding the infant Jesus pretty much everywhere you look. Irony. It can be pretty ironic sometimes.
Good point (though I think the images of Mary are not so common among protestants). Here's an example:



There's also Lactatio Bernardi, where Mary squirts some milk sideways onto Saint Bernard:

April 26, 2017

"Ann Coulter said Wednesday that she was forced to cancel her speaking event Thursday at the University of California, Berkeley amid concerns of violence..."

"... calling it 'a dark day for free speech in America.'"
"I have my flights, so I thought I might stroll around the graveyard of the First Amendment," Coulter said in an emailed message when asked if she was still coming to Berkeley.

Taking a picture of a water droplet and, later, seeing the inverted tree.

I couldn't really see what I was getting in the rain in the Arb today, but when I saw this on the computer screen, I was truly delighted:

Version 3

Closeup, in case you don't see it:

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