June 11, 2016

"Listening to 'Sleep with Me,' I often feel as if Ackerman’s ramblings work by tricking my brain into believing it is drifting off..."

"... emulating the peripatetic workings of the dreaming mind. But, when I asked sleep experts if that sounded plausible, they dismissed the idea. Milena Pavlova, a neurologist in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, warned that, if the podcast was prolonging my slide from wakefulness to sleep—during which it’s possible to have fragmentary dreams—it might even be harming my rest. Even the doctors who saw nothing wrong with the podcast considered it, at best, 'a Band-Aid,' in the words of Rafael Pelayo, a clinical professor at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. Distracting a racing mind, they insisted, was no substitute for ameliorating it through better sleep hygiene: limiting caffeine, alcohol, and screen time, and soothing anxious thoughts through meditation or circumscribed list-making before hitting the bedroom, which is reserved for 'sleep and intimacy' only. But Ackerman, who has struggled with insomnia since childhood, thinks the podcast may work, in part, because it isn’t prescriptive like a doctor’s orders—which present insomniacs with yet another opportunity for failure. The podcast 'is there, but you don’t have to fall asleep,' he said. 'There’s not a right or wrong way to use the show.'"

Writes Nora Caplan-Bricker in The New Yorker.

I had not heard of this podcast before, but I have used audiobooks to fall asleep for more than 20 years. I'd have a problem using Drew Ackerman's "Sleep with Me" podcast because it ends after an hour or 2, and I know I wake up if the speaking ends. But I think the idea for the podcast is great and I'm sure it helps many people. I'm annoyed by the doctors arguing that this approach to falling asleep isn't as good as other things like meditation.

Having a lot of interesting thoughts flowing through your brain isn't a problem. It's a good thing! It gets in the way of sleep, so you need something to displace it. A recorded voice supplying something that's like your own thoughts relieves the brain of its natural habit of producing thoughts. In the passive, receiving position, you fall asleep.

Why cut off your thoughts the hard way, with meditation, which is getting the brain to cut off its own thoughts (or to stop paying attention to its thoughts)? I'm happy preserving my own brain's tendency to produce continually interesting thoughts and to use the trick of an audiobook to switch off the thoughts to sleep.

To me, the doctor sounds puritanical (and not a little self interested). And, by the way, I have used the iPhone app Headspace and am familiar with the sleep meditation  routine. I ended up not wanting to spend my time doing that with my mind. It was solving a nonproblem.

Let's play Scrabble.

Presidential summer vacations were different in the old days, no?

I found that photo because I was searching for pictures of how Mamie Eisenhower dressed as I was listening to Tom & Lorenzo's new podcast, which looks into Hillary Clinton's fashion and the fashions of various first ladies. They call Mamie "frumpy" and have a lot of other things to say, including that Jackie was actually not all that great — she wore Chanel knockoffs — and Nancy Reagan was perhaps better — though emblematic of a fashion decade (the 80s) that feels so alien to us today.

As for Hillary Clinton's $12,000 Armani jacket, they say women's clothes are expensive, you should expect a wealthy woman to wear expensive clothes, and Hillary would be criticized if she did not put plenty of attention into wearing the right clothes (with lots of shapewear underneath). Not that they like the cut of the jacket. They don't.

They also talk about Michelle Obama... and her famously bared arms. That's why I loved this picture of Mamie's arms.

Are Mamie and Dwight really playing Scrabble? I think they're just posing. Who starts off Scrabble with 5 words like that?

ADDED: Here's a collection of photos of Presidents on their vacations, beginning with Grant and including the Eisenhower photo above.  And here's a collection of Presidents in their swimwear. My favorite:

"I usually enjoy Ms. Weiner's contributions to the Times. But this is one of the most blatant 'humble-brags' ever."

"Poor Jennifer: she went to Princeton, published a book (or books?) and writes for the NYT, but she's still learning to feel sufficiently good about herself. Blech!!!"

Top-rated comment at "The Snobs and Me," by Jennifer Weiner.

"... Clinton supporters are analogous to the wife in Battered Wife Syndrome...."

"In a brilliant critique that I've stolen from a young family friend of ours who recently earned his degree in psychology, Clinton supporters are analogous to the wife in Battered Wife Syndrome. Go ahead and look up BWS -- you'll see it works. Now plug in Media for Wife and you'll see the same. Trumpians too, though to a lesser degree because the abusive relationship is still in its early stage of dating -- romantic steak dinners, careful grooming, fancy golden hotels, and tender sexy words whispered in their hopeful ears."

Wrote Meade, in a comment, after HoodlumDoodlum said "No matter how much the Dems shit on the Media, the Media still love the Dems. Embarrassing!"

The 8th graders' relationship contract .

He signed it but it was found on the floor.

I have a lawyerly fascination with the word "these." It's a loophole, but how are you going to use it? And that's the thing. It's not a contract. There's no conceivable remedy for failing to meet these terms that wouldn't already be available without the acceptance of these terms. It's not as though he agreed to submit to the breaking of his face. He's just on notice that's how she intends to behave.

"It turns out that iconic photo of Hillary Clinton wearing sunglasses while using a Blackberry..."

"... not only launched a thousand memes, but the entire investigation about her private email account."

"What if PTSD Is More Physical Than Psychological?"

"A new study supports what a small group of military researchers has suspected for decades: that modern warfare destroys the brain."
For years, many scientists have assumed that explosive blasts affect the brain in much the same way as concussions from football or car accidents. Perl himself was a leading researcher on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., which has caused dementia in N.F.L. players. Several veterans who died after suffering blast wounds have in fact developed C.T.E. But those veterans had other, nonblast injuries too. No one had done a systematic post-mortem study of blast-injured troops. That was exactly what the Pentagon asked Perl to do in 2010, offering him access to the brains they had gathered for research....

June 10, 2016

"Look at the size of that one!"

"Why don’t you leave suburbia for once — come and see me — either here — or at the Cape next week or in Boston the 19th."

"I know it is unwise, irrational, and that you may hate it — on the other hand you may not — and I will love it. You say that it is good for me not to get what I want. After all of these years — you should give me a more loving answer than that. Why don’t you just say yes."

JFK wrote to in a letter to Mary Pinchot Meyer in October 1963 — a letter he never sent. JFK was shot to death the next month. And the following year, Meyer too was shot to death.

From the Wikipedia page for Mary Pinchot Meyer:
In 1983, former Harvard University psychology lecturer Timothy Leary claimed that in the spring of 1962, Pinchot Meyer, who, according to her biographer Nina Burleigh "wore manners and charm like a second skin", told Leary she was taking part in a plan to avert worldwide nuclear war by convincing powerful male members of the Washington establishment to take mind-altering drugs, which would presumably lead them to conclude that the Cold War was meaningless.

"Newly released State Department emails help reveal how a major Clinton Foundation donor was placed on a sensitive government intelligence advisory board even though he had no obvious experience in the field..."

"... a decision that appeared to baffle the department’s professional staff," ABC News reports.
The emails further reveal how, after inquiries from ABC News, the Clinton staff sought to “protect the name” of the Secretary, “stall” the ABC News reporter and ultimately accept the resignation of the donor just two days later.

"Using Google Earth, satellite imagery and drones, researchers have discovered a monumental structure amid the world-famous ruins of Petra, Jordan."

"It was apparently 'hiding in plain sight' — a structure the size of an Olympic-size pool 'just south of the city center, and archaeologists have missed this for 150, 200 years'...."

About those Steph Curry Under Armour shoes.

Everyone's making fun of them.

"Egg producers pledge to stop grinding newborn male chickens to death."

"It’s a disturbing practice most Americans probably know nothing about..." (WaPo link.)
On the day they’re born, all the fluffy male chicks born to egg-laying hens at hatcheries are gruesomely killed — usually by being run, while conscious, through what is essentially a blender....

What’s the alternative? The main one is called in-ovo sexing, and it identifies the gender of a future chick inside a fertilized egg. The technology, developed in Germany and the Netherlands, will mean those male chicks will never be born....

A morning walk by the lake.



Mendota, this morning, when the temperature was around 70°. They're predicting 92° today, so the trick was to tear myself away from the blog early enough to have outdoor time while it was cool. That was fine, except for the part where the ice cream stand at the Union Terrace wasn't open yet.

"Warren to meet with Clinton this morning, fueling VP speculation."

Headline at WaPo.

I thought it couldn't be Warren because she's one of the Democratic Senators whose vacated seat would give a Republican governor the power to name the replacement. But I guess the need to win the presidency could supersede the desire to control the Senate.

I would guess that today's meeting is more about getting Warren lined up to lend her support to Hillary's campaign where it will be most helpful and to perform a little theater for us out here in the public. We can talk about the VP possibilities and what it would mean to have a ticket with 2 women.

Okay, let me do that for a second: Hillary just reveled in the history-makingness of her being the first woman to get a major-party nomination for the presidency. Why would she like that historical distinction to be immediately intruded upon by a second woman, sharing a second distinction, the first 2-woman major party ticket? I'll just gesture subtly at the "other woman" theme in Hillary's life and say that her preference is probably to stand alone as the woman, not to be there with another woman. I know some people are putting it in terms of whether America is ready for 2 women, as if it's America's fault for being so sexist, but I think Hillary herself doesn't and shouldn't want to share the stage with another woman.

Especially Elizabeth Warren. Elizabeth Warren is such a passionate speaker that it's actually pretty weird. If you align with her on the issues, you may think it's absolutely wonderful, but if you don't, you might feel very uneasy, as I did watching her on the Rachel Maddow show last night. Warren gets so excited, it's like she's in the middle of a heated argument. It's very theatrical. That alone could be off-putting to many people, if we were just deciding if we wanted to hand power to her. But think about the set of her and Hillary. Hillary's style is so emotionally flat, it's almost robotic. Why would you pair that with Warren? If it were a TV show, it might be great fun — a kind of Kirk and Spock effect, but with Spock in the captain's chair.

I don't care enough about "Star Trek" to know if there was ever an episode or movie plot where Spock got to be captain and Kirk was subordinated. If so, how'd that work out? Badly, right? The emotionless one in command would replicate traditional patriarchy, and the emotional, subordinated one would seem like a traditional wife. In traditional wife-and-husband stories where there is an emotionally vibrant wife and an stony, logical husband, the story would almost certainly have the wife ultimately undermining the husband's attempted domination.

How could Hillary set up a show like that?

When did "Delete your account" become a cute, hip thing to say to somebody on Twitter?

I don't know, but I read a whole article in the NYT that looked into the "Delete your account" trend (after Hillary Clinton used it on Donald Trump).

Presumably, the flat but supposedly snappy "Delete your account" response is a way to respond to a tweet that is so bad that person who published it is best advised to quit using Twitter forever. What Trump tweet — of his 30+ thousand tweets — was selected by Hillary['s people] as a platform for demonstrating her awareness of what the kids are saying these days? It was: "Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obama—but nobody else does!"

And why did the NYT choose to write an article about "Delete your account"? Is the phrase that amusing — a Twitter-specific shut up (or fuck you)? Trump's tweet is original and humorous, and Clinton's go-to-hell response was not just a stock phrase — if perhaps a stock phrase NYT readers didn't know yet — it made her seem like what she and Elizabeth Warren are intent upon getting us to think Donald Trump is: thin-skinned.

And Trump's response to her "Delete your account" was also original and funny, and it contained 2 pointed observations that should have made her wish she [her people] had never said that: "How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up--and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?" Did no one pause to ask: Is "delete" a good word for me or are there some associations with "delete" that could be thrown back at me? Apparently not.

Anyway, The New York Times informs us that "Delete your account" "has a long history as a dismissive rejoinder, especially on Twitter," but it doesn't tell us how long, where it started, or any other details of its history, like what kind of people tend to say it, when they've been saying it, and if the history is so long that some people — the coolest people? — regard it as stale and groan-worthy. And what about the whole history of old people adopting the slang of the young and how that tends not to be too well received?

Instead, the Times gives us:
Mrs. Clinton’s missive, likely written and sent by her campaign staff, quickly became one of the most widely shared tweets of the 2016 campaign. It was precisely the kind of tweet that political junkies, and anyone else checking Twitter for a midday distraction, thirsts for in the middle of the afternoon when they’d prefer to think about something other than work.
Precisely what we're thirsting for? It's so embarrassingly obvious that the NYT wants to boost Hillary that I could end this post with whatever would be the closing-down-a-newspaper equivalent of "Delete your account" — Fold your newspaper — but I need The New York Times. What would I talk about without The New York Times? And, in fact, I have something completely else that I want to say about this article.

The text is entirely about the "Delete your account" tweet, but at the top of it is an embedded video titled "Clinton Revels in Obama's Endorsement" in which we hear Clinton accepting Obama's endorsement with an astounding lack of enthusiasm. Listen to this:

"It is, uh, absolutely a joy and an honor..." She doesn't sound the slightest bit joyful. There's no revelry. It sounds like a struggle to say something appropriate.

Ah, but let's not look too closely at that. Let's talk about how she [her people] got off that "Delete your account" response to Trump.

June 9, 2016

"Empathy is a blessing. But empathy’s not even-handed. It’s idiosyncratic."

"Judges empathize with defendants who share their life experiences – and only a narrow and privileged slice of America shares the life experiences of a judge.... Last week Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Brock Allen Turner to six months in jail.... Here’s the problem: the judges are human, and they’re humans who have enjoyed enough good fortune to become judges. The quality of their mercy is strained through their life experiences, which don’t resemble the life experiences of most of the defendants before them. Judge Aaron Persky empathized with Brock Allen Turner and could easily imagine what it would be like to lose sports fame (as Persky enjoyed), to lose a Sanford education (as Persky enjoyed), to lose the sort of easy success and high regard that a young, reasonably affluent Stanford graduate (like Persky was) can expect as a matter of right. Judge Persky could easily imagine how dramatically different a state prison is from Stanford frat parties, and how calamitous was Turner’s fall...."

Writes Ken White.

This is such an egregious example of how empathy is unfair that it may create false hope of correcting the unfairness.

RELATED: "Good English is a small-time band from Oakwood, Ohio, three sisters with a garage rock vibe. In Brooklyn, this week, they became pariahs."

"I think this Barack Obama campaigning for Hillary is cover. She's going to get indicted."

"He knows she's going to get indicted. He'll be able to say, 'I didn't know. Why would I be campaigning for her?'"

Said Meade just now.

Here's the very nicely done video for Hillary that Obama just put out today:

ADDED: Does Drudge agree with Meade?

The red headline goes to The Weekly Standard: "WH Denies Endorsement Will Intimidate FBI Investigators/Obama meets privately with Loretta Lynch."

"My first reaction was, Norman Rockwell’s from New York City?"

"You really understand Rockwell’s work in a whole new way when you realize he grew up on the West Side. He formed a view of the world that can be traced right back to 103rd Street. You’ve got to imagine he was struck by the great disparities of wealth in New York City even then, and that awareness stuck with him through his career. You can see it in subtle but important ways in so much of his work."

Said Mark Levine, chairman of the New York City Council’s Parks Committee, who was part of the process of getting West 103rd between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue renamed Norman Rockwell Place. (Some high school students got it started, and they were pretty impressed by the artwork: "The first time I went to the museum, I was like, this can’t be a painting.")

We tend to think of the same few Normal Rockwell paintings, and they're not the ones that show the city, like this one, called "Homecoming" (1945):

About the anti-Trumpers insult of the moment: thin-skinned.

Hillary said it: Trump is "thin-skinned and quick to anger [and] lashes out at the smallest criticism."  And now Elizabeth Warren has said it: "Donald Trump is a loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud who has never risked anything for anyone and serves nobody but himself,"

So let's think about this word. My first thought is, it's just an old trick to get your interlocutor to stop talking, like saying he's being "defensive." Who has not encountered an antagonist who criticizes you and then, when you respond, says something like: "Oh, I guess I hit a nerve" or "Don't be so defensive" or "You're awfully thin-skinned" or "You need to grow a thicker skin"? It's a call for unilateral disarmament! They want to keep attacking you, while you demonstrate how good you are at not fighting back. To be called "thin-skinned" heightens the aggravation yet if you react, they'll glory in your proving of their point. Aha! So you are thin-skinned! They knew it!

You've had that experience, haven't you? What did you do? 1. Accept the insight into your personality problems and try to model forbearance and a willingness to absorb blows without lashing back, 2. Withdraw from this fight and resolve to extract yourself from future discussions that might cause you to feel that you need to fight, 3. Confront your antagonist on his self-interested, phony psychoanalysis and insist on your right to respond to his attacks with commensurate forcefulness, 4. Ignore the distraction of the meta-conversation — the conversation about the conversation — and just keep fighting hard on the substantive issues that you were already talking about, 5. Take up the challenge of turning it into an argument about psychological shortcomings and hurl some equivalent insults at your opponent.

Now that you've thought about how you respond to this conversational gambit, think about what you want in a President. Maybe a good President needs all 5 options (and more), but it's obvious that all #1 all the time — or all #2 — would be absurd. I like ##3 and 4. Trump seems to like #5 —"If she wants to go the low road, I'm fine with that... I can handle the low road if I have to do it" — or at least he knows how to make his opponents feel they're not going to win that game.

But maybe Hillary and Elizabeth Warren think that "thin-skinned" is the one mean insult that can work, because it's the one where, when you try to return fire, you seem to be confirming their assessment. They also like it because it seems to fit a strategy of scaring people. The idea is that a thin-skinned President might lose his temper and take us into a war. Do people believe that? We've been in a lot of wars, but did they ever arise from a President getting mad? There have been bad decisions to go to war, but I think these had more to do with grim, sober analysis or with political calculation. Still, there's always the idea of the button. Hillary followed her "thin-skinned" remark with: "Do we want his finger anywhere near the button?"

Anyway, I got very interested in this word "thin-skinned" and did a search in the NYT archive. Here's a 1998 essay by Frank Rich recommending the "old-fashioned adjective thin-skinned" to describe the complaints of perpetually offended Americans:
Let any theater, museum or entertainment company float a project that might offend someone -- even sight unseen -- and that someone will scream, tempting the offending party to retreat or stick to the tried, the safe and the PG-rated in the future. No one can call this insidious syndrome censorship, because the protesters are always careful to say they are not demanding censorship and their targets are equally careful to say expressly that they do not back down in response to protests. But it's a disingenuous dance. Does anyone believe that NBC elected not to rerun the Puerto Rican Parade ''Seinfeld'' episode for any reason other than the public complaints? Or that the Library of Congress postponed an exhibit on Freud solely for budgetary reasons rather than because of a heated petition campaign by such prominent anti-Freudians as Gloria Steinem? This cautious cultural climate -- fueled by the right, the left and virtually every religious, ethnic and racial group -- can't be accurately described by that tortured term P.C., which is always in the eye of the beholder anyway. A better term would be that old-fashioned adjective thin-skinned
So Rich wanted to use the insult "thin-skinned" to push back political correctness. How interestingly Trump-related! Trump is notoriously thick-skinned when it comes to political correctness and his antagonists are betting on the thin skin of American voters, whom they nudge to feel outrage at anything Trump might say that could be interpreted as racist/sexist/xenophobic.

And here's something from April 5, 2008, when Hillary was fighting Barack Obama for the presidential nomination. Some young Obama supporter fretted about the hostility she'd been expressing toward Obama, and she said:
“For those of you who are new to politics,” she said, “it can be a little eye-opening especially when you choose sides and you’re for one or the other of us you can take personally anything one of us or the other says. Believe it or not, there have even been some things said about me. I don’t take it personally. I don’t take most of it seriously.”

Then, suggesting that perhaps Mr. Obama, or at least his supporters, were a bit thin-skinned, she added, “If you can’t take the heat, don’t run for president, because it’s a really hot kitchen in the White House. You’re supposed to present your case and critique the other case,” she added. “It is not a coronation. This nomination is worth fighting for and I’m going to fight for it.”
Isn't it funny? Obama is often praised for his cool temperament, but he's also been called "thin-skinned" quite a lot.

I think we should be thin-skinned about "thin-skinned." It's a tricky insinuation about a person, and I think we should be sensitive about it. I'll even be so sensitive as to suggest that it's an under-the-radar race word: Why are we talking about a person's skin?

The massive error in the much publicized "Correlation not causation: the relationship between personality traits and political ideologies."

That article in American Journal of Political Science that everyone was talking about — because it made conservatives seem mentally disturbed — had to run a correction admitting they'd botched the data and what they'd presented as correlating with conservatism actually correlated to liberalism. Power Line has the details and ends with this paragraph:
In other words, if this study hadn’t come out conforming to the liberal narrative and sliming conservatives, it wouldn’t have attracted much notice. By the way, your tax dollars paid for this essential social science research. A note at the end says, “The data for this article were collected with the financial support of the National Institute of Health.” And people wonder why Republicans in Congress want to cut off federal funding for social science research. As an alternative, I suggest redirecting federal social science funds to Retraction Watch.

Blue chairs in the rain.


Just now, in Madison, Wisconsin, where it's 60° (but they say it will be 90+ tomorrow and the next day). For now, we're enjoying the cool, with all the windows open.

Billionaire advises poor people to raise chickens.

Bill Gates writes "Why I Would Raise Chickens."

"would" = if he were "living on $2 a day."

"Politicians are so politically correct anymore, they can’t breathe... It is out of control. It is gridlock with their mouths."

Said the person who would obviously be the one saying that, having lunch with the NYT's Carl Hulse.
As he headed to the Trump Grill for lunch, tourists and workers hailed him, congratulated him and urged him on as they lined up to take photos with their phones.

He posed with some women and looked back at a reporter to point at the women and boasted “Hispanics!” Afterward, he bragged: “They say ‘We love you, Mr. Trump. We’re from Mexico.’ ”

After he was seated, the Secret Service erected a temporary partition to shield him from other guests.

“Look,” he said, amused, “we put up a wall!”
Trump had "a meatball lunch he barely touched" — which rhymes, you know (you could make a song).
“I disagree with a lot of things I’ve watched in politics over the years, that’s why I’m running... And that may make me less popular with politicians. But I have to be honest. I didn’t get there by doing it the way a lot of these people do it.”

"There are not enough white voters in America for Donald Trump to win while getting routed among minorities."

Said Joe Scarborough. But, actually, he's wrong, explains Nate Cohn.

It's conventional (and seemingly politically correct) to say what Scarborough said, and not too many people find it appealing to point out what Nate Cohn is pointing out, but the numbers are whatever the numbers are.

And I happen to think Donald Trump is good with numbers. I think he studies the numbers and thinks in terms of numbers. He doesn't talk about that much — other than poll numbers when he likes them — but I suspect his business practice is highly numerical and he's bringing this orientation to politics. The other day he referred to his "statistician" and then joked that the crowd would find statistics too boring. I think he's done the math and he's doing the math.

Cohn's main point is that exit polls seem to have undercounted the "whiter, less-educated and older" voters, and 2 other sources of data show significantly higher numbers.
The larger number of white working-class voters implies that Democrats are far more dependent on winning white working-class voters, and therefore more vulnerable to a populist candidate like Mr. Trump....
The real pool of missing white voters are those who haven’t participated in any recent election, or aren’t even registered to vote. There are millions of these missing white voters — but they will be much harder to mobilize. Many are young, and might not be especially favorable to Mr. Trump. The older ones are true bystanders in American politics.
To win, Mr. Trump will need to make gains among white working-class voters. The earliest evidence, and polling this early can be quite inaccurate, suggests that he is doing that handily.

So far, Mr. Trump leads Mrs. Clinton by 27 points among white voters without a degree, 58 percent to 31 percent, in the last six national surveys from major news organizations. In the final 2012 polls, Mr. Romney led by just 19 points among such voters, 58 percent to 39 percent, over Mr. Obama.
ADDED: Trump derangement syndrome is raging in the comments over there at the NYT. Here's the second most up-voted comment:
Very interesting analysis, but it is a snap-shot and does not take into account the effects of the campaign. Mr. Trump is medically unfit to become president. He suffers from a severe personality disorder and possibly the early stages of dementia. As the campaign progresses, he will become increasingly unhinged and all but the least informed voters will notice it.
You know, a lot of real people suffer from mental illness and dementia. You'd think it would be considered politically incorrect to use this as a metaphor or as some kind of actual prediction. Ironically, those who attack Trump this way are indulging in the kind of disgust and disinclusion that they seem to want to be able to hate Trump for using. 

"A 23-year-old man who walked off a boardwalk and slipped and fell into a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park has died..."

"... rangers said on Wednesday."
The man, Colin Nathaniel Scott, of Portland, Ore., had walked about 225 yards away from established trails near Porkchop Geyser on Tuesday. His sister saw him slip and fall into Norris Geyser Basin, a thermal feature, and reported the accident, Yellowstone officials said in a statement.
I've been to Yellowstone. Here's a picture I took:


June 8, 2016

"Democrats Begin Nudging Sanders Off the Stage" — sounds like they want to see the old man to tumble into the orchestra pit.

On the front page of the NYT right now:

Linking to "Hillary Clinton Is In, Bernie Sanders May Exit, and Democrats Seek Unity."

At the Rose Arbor Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

"24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear."

A good list... responding to a ridiculous "Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30" list.

I identified with #13 (on the should-wear list).

By the way, I saw an old man today who was wearing socks that were yellow with black silhouettes of horses all over them.

Cal Thomas asked Donald Trump: "Who do you say Jesus is?"

And Donald Trump answered:
Jesus to me is somebody I can think about for security and confidence. Somebody I can revere in terms of bravery and in terms of courage and, because I consider the Christian religion so important, somebody I can totally rely on in my own mind.

"McDonald's: you can sneer, but it's the glue that holds communities together."

"When many lower-income Americans feel isolated and empty, they yearn for physical social networks. All across US, this happens organically at McDonald’s," says The Guardian.
Walk into any McDonald’s in the morning and you will find a group of mostly retired people clustering in a corner, drinking coffee, eating and talking. They are drawn to the McDonald’s because it has inexpensive good coffee, clean bathrooms, space to sprawl. Unlike community centers, it is also free of bureaucracy....

These morning groups... are almost all segregated. There are all black groups, all white groups, and all Hispanic groups. Rarely are any mixed. The Natchitoches group is the exception. Mostly African Americans, there are a few white men who come and go....
ADDED: What I've seen in McDonald's are groups of men, older men, giving each other emotional support, of the sort you might be more likely to associate with groups of women — men keeping track of each others feelings, relationships, and health, in a very familiar, comfortable way.

"It’s been compared to a subwoofer blasting Barry White’s greatest hits or an idling diesel truck."

"Others say the low, rumbling noise that has stalked residents in the Canadian city of Windsor for years sounds like Star Trek’s Enterprise gearing up for warp speed."

"Bottom-feeder at Salon writes such a weak hit piece about me that I decided to tweet it."

"At the heart of the rage against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, the campaign aides closest to him say, is Bernie Sanders."

From "Inside the bitter last days of Bernie's revolution/For better and for worse, Sanders made all the big decisions" at Politico.
Convinced as Sanders is that he’s realizing his lifelong dream of being the catalyst for remaking American politics—aides say he takes credit for a Harvard Kennedy School study in April showing young people getting more liberal, and he takes personal offense every time Clinton just dismisses the possibility of picking him as her running mate—his guiding principle under attack has basically boiled down to a feeling that multiple aides sum up as: “Screw me? No, screw you.”...

Who defaced the map at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Memorial Union?

This is a lovely display in our beautiful Union, inviting students to use map pins to indicate where they are from:


I could see that part of the map had been scratched on, probably with one of the pins, but it was hard to see what the scratching was about. A closeup picture revealed it:


Click on the image to enlarge and see clearly:
Israel Palestine.

"This baffling legal thriller could be shown in film schools as a textbook example of how not to make a movie."

"Every decision, be it plot, casting, photography, sound, and probably even catering, is a bad one. Performances, particularly those of Hopkins (corrupt billionaire), Pacino (corrupt lawyer) and Malin Akerman (corrupt billionaire’s unhinged girlfriend), reach world-class levels of set-munching dreadfulness. Director Shimosawa is fond of ominous, slow camera pans that finally come to rest on something innocuous like a fridge. The score is thunderously stupid. And the plot is so tangled that you start to wonder if anyone actually read it before greenlighting the project."

Just one of the many bad reviews for "Misconduct," which I looked up after Drudge sent me to "Al Pacino-Anthony Hopkins Movie Has 16 Executive Producers, Cost $11 Mil, Made $0."

Most up-voted comment on the trailer at YouTube: "Thumbs up for Al Pacino's hair at 0:25."

"If you have been watching CNN, you know Anderson Cooper has been reporting about the discovery that a sitting judge is actually a robot."

"His name is Gonzalo Curiel and he is presiding over the Trump University case. Curiel looks human on the outside, and he has passed as human for decades. But Cooper made it clear in his interviews yesterday that while science understands that 100% of humans are biased about just about everything, this robot judge is not susceptible to being influenced by his life experiences. It sounds deeply implausible, but no one on CNN challenged Cooper’s implication that Judge Curiel is the only bias-free entity in the universe. Ergo, he must be a robot."

Writes Scott Adams, saying in what might be the funniest and best observation about judges I've ever read (and being an long-time law professor, I've read a lot).

"I really resent the inference that you thought that someone sitting behind you with a gun was going to be a clear and present danger to you."

Said Madison Police Chief Mike Koval at last night's Madison City Council meeting, after Alderman Samba Baldeh, 17th District, said that "based on the chief’s comments, he did not feel safe with Koval sitting behind him during the meeting with a gun."

I'm linking to Madison.com, which gives a verbatim quote from Koval but not from Baldeh.

The City Council vote 19-1 to approve of spending $350,000 from the city's reserve fund to hire to hire another expert to study the Madison police, which — as we discussed here yesterday —Koval strongly opposed. Koval had written:
(To [vote against the spending] would be tantamount to "treason" for those who wring their hands worried about currying favor with a small group of people who protest/blog/criticize the MPD at every turn.  The "perpetually offended" of Madison who use their small but vocal numbers to dictate agendas has an incredible grip on this City... but no one dares to raise a voice lest they be marginalized in the PC world of Madison....)...

To the Common Council:  You are being watched.  And be on notice:  this is a pre-emptive first strike from me to you. I am going to push back hard when MPD is constantly used as a political punching bag and you are nowhere to be found....

At my age and at this stage of a sun setting  career, I am not checking my polling numbers.  I am doing my job and trying to live up to my credo to "GSD!'  (Get "Stuff" Done)!
Then, at the meeting, Baldeh said he felt unsafe because the Chief of Police had his gun.

ADDED: I transcribed Baldeh's statement myself, from the video (beginning at 4:59:30):
So, I, first of all, just want to say that for my one year and a couple of months I have been in this council, this is the first time I've seen it so tense. And so this is the first time, actually, I've seen the police chief behave in a way that, in my opinion, I felt kind of not feeling comfortable with him sitting behind me with a gun....

I have the utmost respect for the police chief.... But the behavior of the chief tonight, honestly, is unimaginable. I was totally afraid for him to be behind me with a gun. I have said to some of my colleagues, if... we have to question him, then we better ask him to hand in the gun until when we are done.
ALSO: At 5:13:45, we hear Alderwoman Rebecca Kemble questioning Koval about his use of the phrase "pre-emptive first strike":
When you tell an elected body you are doing a "pre-emptive first strike" against us... I'm just asking you to really think about how that felt to us, when some of us are out there promoting and supporting the work of your department and you're using this military language as if we're your enemies.
Koval's response is that he's familiar with the way the council meetings go, with the members allowed to make their "cut-and-run comments" and he has no opportunity to respond: "I'm tired of always being on the recipient end, without any sense of cover or timely rebuttal."

Kemble responds: "You are the guys with guns, and it's up to us to interpret" what pre-emptive first strike means. And: "Quite frankly, in this era of Trump, that's chilling."

"My daddy used to come to my bedroom at four-thirty in the morning when I was workin’ on the highway gang..."

"... right out of high school, and he’d twist my big toe, real hard so it hurt, and he’d say, 'Git up, Lyndon, every other boy in town’s got a half hour’s head start on you.'"

Said LBJ, quoted in Robert A. Caro's "The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson IV."

"One of the three standard items in the Iron Age toiletry set... is the nail scraper..."

"... the other two are a tweezer (for epilating body hair, including facial hair) and an ear-spoon (for removing earwax). The nail-scraper remains in use up to the Viking period; Vikings believed that one should not cut one's nails, as nail clippings would add to the ship made of the fingernails of the dead which plays a role in Ragnarok."

From an answer to the question how did people cut their finger- and toenails before the invention of the nail clipper. Another commenter insists that the ship was made of the untrimmed nails of the dead. And that sounds right:
In Norse mythology, Naglfar or Naglfari (Old Norse "nail ship") is a boat made entirely from the fingernails and toenails of the dead. During the events of Ragnarök, Naglfar is foretold to sail to Vígríðr, ferrying hordes that will do battle with the gods... The boat itself has been connected by scholars with a larger pattern of ritual hair and nail disposal among Indo-Europeans, stemming from Proto-Indo-European custom....

In the Poetic Edda... the enthroned figure of High...  describes the composition of Naglfar as that of the untrimmed nails of the dead, and warns about burying the dead with untrimmed nails, stating that "the ship is made of dead people's nails, and it is worth taking care lest anyone die with untrimmed nails, since such a person contributes much material to the ship Naglfar which gods and men wish would take a long time to finish".

Can dazed and disappointed Bernie-ites hear the call of Donald Trump?

Here's the full transcript of last night's scripted, teleprompted speech from Donald Trump.
I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle and I will never, ever let you down. Too much work, too many people, blood, sweat, and tears. Never going to let you down. I will make you proud of your party and our movement. That's what it is, a movement.
Insert obvious joke. Who writes this stuff? Maybe the idea is to write lines that sound like what he might ad lib.
Recent polls have shown that I'm beating Hillary Clinton and with all of her many problems and the tremendous mistakes that she's made — and she has made tremendous mistakes — we expect our lead to continue to grow and grow substantially.
Trump loves his bigness words: tremendous... tremendous... grow and grow substantially.

Trump, thanking his supporters, says he's going to work to win support from everybody, especially the Bernie Sanders people:
To all of those Bernie Sanders voters who have been left out in the cold by a rigged system of superdelegates, we welcome you with open arms.
Why would Sanders supporters go for Trump? The idea is: rigged system. Later in the speech he comes back to that:
Why would politicians want to change a system that's totally rigged in order to keep them in power? That's what they're doing, folks. Why would politicians want to change a system that's made them and their friends very, very wealthy?...  We can't fix the rigged system by relying on — and I mean this so, so strongly — the very people who rigged it. And they rigged it.
Rigged, rigged, rigged. If you don't like the rigged system, you'd better vote for Trump. He's your only hope. That's the pitch to Bernie-ites.

Trump picks up a couple of Hillary's themes: fighting for you and bringing us together*:
Now, I know some people say I'm too much of a fighter. My preference is always peace, however. And I've shown that. I've shown that for a long time. I've built an extraordinary business on relationships and deals that benefit all parties involved. Always. My goal is always, again, to bring people together. But if I'm forced to fight for something I really care about, I will never, ever back down. And our country will never, ever back down.

I've fought for my family, I've fought for more business, I've fought for my employees. And now, I'm going to fight for you, the American people. Like nobody has ever fought before. And I'm not a politician fighting, I'm me. You're going to see some real good things happen. Just remember this, I'm going to be your champion. I'm going to be America's champion....
This was the one line I remembered on my own: I'm going to be your champion.
We love our country. We love our country. But we can turn this all around. We're going to do it by putting America first....

The beauty of America first is that it brings us all together. Every American worker of every background is entitled to the same benefits, protections, and rights and privileges. It's got to be that way....

We're going to rebuild our inner cities, which are absolutely a shame and so sad. We're going to take care of our African-American people that have been mistreated for so long. We're going to make you and your family safe, secure, and prosperous. Prosperous again. Together, we will put the American people first again.
He's trying to leaven the right-wing nationalism with left-wing empathy. Can the dazed and disappointed Bernie-ites hear his call? It seems impossible... and yet, I think: Hillary.


* Actually, "Bring Us Together" was a slogan of the Richard Nixon campaign in 1968. It originated on a sign held by a 13-year-old girl named Vicki Lynne Cole:

Nixon's speechwriter William Safire put this into his victory speech:
I saw many signs in this campaign, some of them were not friendly; some were very friendly. But the one that touched me the most was one that I saw in Deshler, Ohio, at the end of a long day of whistle-stopping. A little town. I suppose five times the population was there in the dusk. It was almost impossible to see, but a teenager held up a sign, "Bring Us Together." And that will be the great objective of this administration at the outset, to bring the American people together.
The "again" got dropped, perhaps as clutter, perhaps because it raises a distracting question, the same distracting question raised by Trump's "Make America Great Again": Again? When were we ever together/great?

"The first time in our nation's history that a woman will be a major party's nominee."

Said Hillary Clinton, last night, proclaiming her individual historicity and immediately including everyone else:
Tonight's victory is not about one person.

It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible. In our country, it started right here in New York, a place called Seneca Falls in 1848 where a small but determined group of women and men...
She put a little special, comical stress on "and men"...
... came together with the idea that women deserved equal rights and they set it forth in something called the Declaration of Sentiments* and it was first time in human history that that kind of declaration occurred. 
I hear an echo of Barack Obama's It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation....
So we all owe so much to those who came before and tonight belongs to all of you....

So yes. Yes...
... Yes, we can. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can.
... there are still ceilings to break for women and men for all of us.
The metaphor that won't go away. Broken ceilings don't sound inherently good, and I wonder how many people remember (if they ever knew) why, in that metaphor, breaking part of a building is supposed to be good.
But don't let anyone tell you that great things can't happen in America. Barriers can come down. Justice and equality can win. Our history has moved in that direction. Thanks to generations of Americans who refuse to give up or back down.

Now you are writing a new chapter of that story.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure....
This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings...
No ceilings?!
... no limits on any of us and this is our moment to come together. Join our campaign. Contribute what you can... Now I'm going to take a moment later tonight...
So this is the moment... but there's another that's going to happen later. Mixing up the moments. Where's the poetry? I'm hearing an echo of Obama again. "Moment" is an Obama word... This was the moment...
... and the days ahead to fully absorb the history we've made here. 
That's just an unnecessary lie. She's been working so long to get this nomination she's wanted so badly. It's not believable that she's going to spend time in an effort to fully absorb the history. But, obviously, somebody decided the theme of the speech should be history, and it was flabbily fleshed out.

* I cut and pasted the text from Vox, but I've corrected the transcript. Vox, with sublime ignorance, wrote "the declaration of sent." At least they didn't write "the declaration of scent." From the video, Hillary's enunciation of "sentiments" is clear, and you'd think basic pride would force a transcriber to google the name of the Seneca Falls document. Oh, Vox.

June 7, 2016

At the Glass Wall Café...


... look inside and outside.

"One of the two Stanford graduate students who came to the aid of a rape victim on campus last year is speaking out..."

"... just days after a judge let her attacker off with a light sentence."
The two friends quickly decided to approach the young man.... 'When he got up we saw that she still wasn’t moving at all, so we walked up and asked something like, "What are you doing?"' Arndt recalled in an interview with the Swedish news outlet Expressen on Tuesday.

The two men spoke briefly with Turner, then 19, before he got spooked and tried to run away. Jonsson chased after him and tackled him to the ground while Arndt stayed with the victim and made sure she was alive.

'She was unconscious. The entire time. I checked her and she didn't move at all,' Arndt said in another interview with CBS News.  The two then called 911 and restrained Turner until police arrived to make an arrest. 

"'This is such an emotional roller coaster,' said Tim Heim, a homeowner who started the group Connecticut Coalition Against Crumbling Basements."

"'You can’t eat, you can’t sleep. When you’re told your home is now worthless and your biggest investment is now worthless, it’s devastating.'"
The scope of the problem is so vast that state officials have begun an investigation, and they recently announced that the crumbling foundations had been traced to a quarry business and a related concrete maker, which have agreed to stop selling their products for residential use. The stone aggregate used in the concrete mixture has high levels of pyrrhotite, an iron sulfide mineral that can react with oxygen and water to cause swelling and cracking. Over the past 30 years, the quarry has provided concrete for as many as 20,000 houses.

"Should Western relationship norms be taught to migrants?"

"The BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme attended a controversial class in Norway that aims to teach asylum seekers how to interact with women...."
Preben Svendsen, who runs the refugee centre, does not think the classes stigmatised the men, as statistics show most rapes in Norway are not committed by migrants. "What we do is give them the most information possible about society they just arrived to, so they can be as successful as possible," he says. "It's not just about the training itself, it's about creating a good relationship with the people who live with us, so they can build trust, and if they have any challenges in the future they will hopefully have the confidence to come and ask us for advice if they need to."

The men say they do not feel patronised by the classes. "It's known in society that sexual violence is wrong. Any rational person knows that," one says. "The difference is that you guys talk about it, and we don't. So it's a good thing."...

"I found a fish inside a jellyfish! He was trapped in there..."

"... but controlled where the jellyfish was moving."

Photo at link.

"You had us until we got to the shoes, dear...."

"Sure, it’s all very Lena Dunham, and we suppose the fashion crowd ate it up with a spoon because it’s ever-so-cheeky, but as far as we’re concerned, this ensemble makes her look like she stumbled there half-drunk."

"It is unfortunate that my comments have been misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage."

"I do not feel that one's heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial."

Said Donald Trump, adding: "I do not intend to comment on this matter any further."

I guess he felt the pushback, notably from Paul Ryan:
"Claiming a person can't do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment," Ryan said at an event where he unveiled the GOP agenda to fight poverty in America. "I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It's absolutely unacceptable."
Is this the first instance of Donald Trump backing down? He's only changing a little, and only saying others have misunderstood, not that he's said anything wrong.

I'm only giving this the "apology" tag because it's an example of not apologizing. 

ADDED: Here's Trump's full statement. Let me quote an additional portion of it:
Normally, legal issues in a civil case would be heard in a neutral environment. However, given my unique circumstances as nominee of the Republican Party and the core issues of my campaign that focus on illegal immigration, jobs and unfair trade, I have concerns as to my ability to receive a fair trial....

Due to what I believe are unfair and mistaken rulings in this case and the Judge’s reported associations with certain professional organizations, questions were raised regarding the Obama appointed Judge’s impartiality. It is a fair question. I hope it is not the case.

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."

Said Sonia Sotomayor in 2001, quoted in a 2009 NYT article titled "A Judge’s View of Judging Is on the Record," and linked to, today, by Drudge, like this:

The NYT article tells us that Sotomayor's remarks were published in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal and that she also said:
“Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences,” she said, for jurists who are women and nonwhite, “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”...

... Judge Sotomayor questioned whether achieving impartiality “is possible in all, or even, in most, cases.” She added, “And I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society.”

She also approvingly quoted several law professors who said that “to judge is an exercise of power” and that “there is no objective stance but only a series of perspectives. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see,” she said.
So has Donald Trump refrained from doing a disservice both to the law and society?

"Unlike most people involved in lawsuits, Donald J. Trump can be hostile toward judges."

A caption containing a questionable assumption, under a photograph of Donald Trump, at a NYT article by Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey titled "A Biased Judge? Donald Trump Has Claimed It Before."

I guess the accuracy of the statement depends on what the meaning of "be" is.

How could reporters possibly know the level of hostility people in court cases feel toward the judge? There are plenty of reasons to be hostile toward the judge in your case. This person holds government power directly over you. He or she orders you around, constrains your speech, and may take your money or your liberty or deny you a remedy for your injuries — all for reasons that will be presented as punctiliously neutral and rational while you're deprived of the knowledge of what's really going on inside their head.

But maybe what the NYT means by "be hostile" is not feel hostile, but express hostility. Yes, of course, most litigants don't express hostility toward the judge in any way that the judge is likely to hear. Behaving strategically, you wouldn't normally choose to let the judge know you don't like him. And that's one more reason to be afraid of judges: They don't hear honest opinion about what people think of them. They're treated with extreme, even servile respect by most of the people around them.

This convention — borne of fear and need — makes deviation from the norm all the more striking.

That's Donald Trump. Saying things you feel but don't dare say. Oh, no, not you, specifically, but those other people out there in the hinterlands. They must be people who are unlike most people... because if most people feel that Donald Trump is saying what they think but are afraid to say, then, in a democracy, Donald Trump would win.

Most people don't say they're hostile toward the judge in their case, and most people don't say Donald Trump expresses what they only think and don't say. But Donald Trump is winning....

By the way, I love this line from the NYT article: "He does this despite his close ties to a federal judge, Maryanne Trump Barry, his sister." Wow! That's what you call the Butterfield Fallacy (presenting a cause-and-effect relationship as a paradox). If your sister were a long-time federal judge, you'd be less intimidated by judges, less respectful, more likely to see judges as real people and not neutral dispensers of law, more likely to take it personally, to get angry, and to express your antagonism.

"Hello My Name Is" sticker found in the yard after the block party.

Meade just showed me that. We laughed a lot and speculated about who would have filled out their "Hello" sticker like that. Later, I'll show you the other side of the folded-in-half sticker, but I'm thinking it will be funnier for you to guess and then experience the delight of the reveal.


That Madison City Council is about to vote to spend $350,000 to hire another expert to study racial disparities in local policing.

And Madison Police Chief Mike Koval is opposed to this new expenditure. As the Wisconsin State Journal is putting it:
Koval’s long blog post — posted on Sunday afternoon and written in a tone that was often sarcastic, frustrated and incredulous — reiterated that he didn’t fear the review, while making it clear he thought its expanded price tag was a waste....

Ald. Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, the lead sponsor of the resolution...  took particular issue with Koval’s assertion that the review was being funded to cater to a small but vocal group of “perpetually offended” Madisonians.

“You have to be tone deaf in this community to think that, in this community and nationally, the issue of trust with law enforcement is an issue of a few people. It is not,” Bidar-Sielaff said. “There is not a room you can walk into in this community — specifically in communities of color — where that is not a conversation.”
Bidar-Sielaff seems to be addressing the question whether the "perpetually offended" are a small group, not whether she's catering to the perpetually offended. Koval accused Bidar-Sielaff, et al., "currying favor with a small group of people who protest/blog/criticize the MPD at every turn." He said this "small group" has an "incredible grip on this City" and can "dictate agendas" because "no one dares to raise a voice lest they be marginalized in the PC world of Madison."

Bidar-Sielaff, of course, doesn't speak of herself as accepting dictation from people she's afraid of. She speaks of listening to "conversation," and her response to Koval is couched in terms of his failure to proceed conversationally:
“If Chief Koval would like to have a conversation, I am certainly open to it. I think all my colleagues are open to it,” [Bidar-Sielaff] said. “I don’t think anybody can have productive conversations by firing blogs on Sunday afternoons with the kind of adversarial language that he uses.”
How awful to expect people to be ready to respond on a Sunday afternoon! How would a man in charge of the police get such an idea?

Oh, I'm being sarcastic. I think Koval probably didn't expect Bidar-Sielaff, et al., to interrupt their Sunday afternoon to take government spending and police work seriously. In fact, Sunday afternoon is a good time to post things that you want to be discussed when the work week begins on Monday morning. And the vote is scheduled for Tuesday. It seems to me that Koval picked an appropriate time. The real objection seems to be that Koval is fighting hard for respect for his police department, which is getting blamed for racial disparities that he believes are not caused by the police.

Here's a paragraph from his blog post that isn't quoted in the newspaper article:
[Madison Police Department] is intent on creating, supporting, and supplementing the kinds of programs and partnerships that attempt to drill down on societal problems that can manifest on our streets as desperate acts by desperate individuals.  Policing IS a form of social work and we are eager to expand our outreach and engagement activities.  But at the end of the day, the police are ill-equipped to be the primary source of parenting and educating our kids, job creation, providing affordable housing, dealing with issues of homelessness or drug abuse.  Certainly, we will do our level best to complement (not replace) families, schools, churches, neighborhoods, not-for-profits, and social service providers in meeting the challenges that lay before our City; but if nothing changes on these various fronts, I dare say that a pristine, "model" police department trying to do everything within our statutory power(s), will STILL have statistics that reflect racial disparities.
UPDATE: The Council voted, 19-1, to spend the money.

"A 4-year-old boy who was 'clinically decapitated' in a recent car accident in Idaho survived after a rescuer resisted the urge to pick up and cradle the screaming child..."

"... and instead held his head in place for a half-hour, most likely saving his life, his mother and the rescuer said...."
Killian’s skull was separated from his spine....

Leah Woodward and her husband, Joel Woodward, an officer with the Nampa, Idaho, Police Department, were driving home from a camping trip when they saw the accident and stopped to help....

Officer Woodward broke into Ms. Gonzalez’s vehicle using a hitch. Ms. Woodward sat the boy upright and held his head in place, Ms. Gonzalez said.

“Inside, I am panicking, and I am thinking, ‘I don’t know what I am doing,’” Ms. Woodward told the television station. She held the boy still until emergency medics arrived, it said.... “Thank God Joel knew what was needed because it definitely saved his life on that day,” she wrote, referring to her husband....
The article quotes a spinal surgeon, Nicholas Theodore, who has reattached 60 skulls to spines. The injury tends to happen to children, because their "head is like a bowling ball on a stick... Their head sort of bobbles."

Hillary's faux clinch. Who benefits?

First, it is a fake, since it's not a majority of the democratically chosen delegates who are pledged to vote for one of the candidates. It includes statements by superdelegates, who are free until they actually vote at the convention. 
The A.P. declared Mrs. Clinton the presumptive nominee by reaching out to superdelegates who had not announced which candidate they were supporting, and confirming that enough were backing Mrs. Clinton to get her to the magic number of 2,383. 
So A.P. proactively smoked out some superdelegates who had not been talking about what they planned to do.  I'd say A.P. benefited, by getting what looks like the scoop and choosing when to drop it. A.P. also loses credit to the extent that it seems to be forefronting itself and manufacturing dubious news. But the other news outlets had to jump on it.

I felt a twinge of pressure to get back on my blog last night and note the "clinch." I resisted. In the light of morning, I'm struck by how bogus this news event is. Did A.P. make this leap out of its own notions of journalism, and it just happened to come on the eve of 6 primaries, including California, a strikingly tight race, or was it dropped with precision where it could help one candidate or another?

The answer to that question seems to depend on whether it's obvious who is helped and who is hurt.
[Clinton's] aides were reluctant to proclaim the race over, for fear of depressing turnout on Tuesday — especially in California, where the race remains close — or appearing to take the victory for granted...

Advisers to Mr. Sanders took a dim view of the math. He previously said he would lobby Clinton superdelegates to shift their support to him by arguing that he is the party’s best chance to defeat Mr. Trump, and he particularly plans to target those superdelegates who represent states where Mr. Sanders won primaries and caucuses....

Moments before Mr. Sanders took the stage, former State Senator Nina Turner of Ohio led thousands of supporters in a chant shouting, “Fight on. Fight on. Fight on.” It was a sentiment shared by many audience members like Alex Borja, 18, of Castro Valley, Calif., who said he was happy Mr. Sanders had not conceded to Mrs. Clinton and hoped he would remain in the race through the summer.

“I don’t think it’s fair that they have basically coronated Hillary as the nominee from the beginning and, at this point, Bernie still has a chance to win the delegates needed to clinch the nomination at the convention,” Mr. Borja said....
I don't think it's clear who's helped. Plenty of people will still vote in today's Democratic Party primaries. Assume you're a Bernie supporter in California: Does the A.P. announcement make you feel fired up to get in there and say no to Hillary or does it depress you and make you inclined not to bother. Assume you're a Hillary supporter: Does the A.P. announcement make you want to scamper in there and participate in the satisfaction of backing the winner and build her margin of victory into an unquestionable swell of approval or does it make you think you're not needed and can safely structure your Tuesday without this one extra errand?

There are a lot of individual voters out there deciding what to do, but, generally, I think Bernie's supporters are more fired up and emotional and Hillary's are more blandly accepting of what seems to be already in the works. So I'm going to say Bernie benefits. His voters have something to outrage and invigorate them — and they're the kind of people who've been susceptible to outrage and invigoration. That's Bernie.

BUT: Did A.P. intend to help Bernie? Perhaps so. The media are benefited by the ongoing excitement. The news of the (faux) clinch was exciting for one night, so there was the temptation to go for that excitement without looking ahead at all. But if the "clinch" story was predicted to help Bernie, then the A.P. also stood to gain by the continuation of the Bernie-vs.-Hillary story. Quite aside from the excitement of an ongoing race, Bernie is the more exciting character, and it will be tedious on the Democratic side when we have only Hillary to watch. With the excitement of Bernie out of the picture, Trump will be the only one left who's compulsively watchable.

June 6, 2016

On the Weeping Rock trail...


... yesterday, early evening, in Blue Mound State Park.

"What is the ideal Muslim approach to Ramadan? My city, Istanbul, offers a good model."

"Here, we have no laws governing Ramadan. Many people decide to fast, many people decide not to fast. The latter can enjoy restaurants and cafes during the day, and some perhaps even enjoy bars at night, even though Islamic law prohibits alcohol. The pious, meanwhile, fast for the right reason: They are not forced to stay thirsty and hungry by the government. They freely decide to do so out of their sincere faith in God."

Writes Mustafa Akyol, author of “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty.”

 ("During Ramadan last year, more than a thousand people died in Pakistan from dehydration under extreme heat, despite calls from some more flexible clerics to cease fasting. Even those who did decide to give up the fast because they were in danger still could drink water only in private because of the social pressure they faced — a big problem for people who lived on the street.")

"A major Native American site is being looted. Will Obama risk armed conflict to save it?"

There's a clickbait headline. It goes to The Washington Post, so you might not want to use up your free views if you don't have a subscription. But this is a very interesting story about the potential for Obama, acting alone, to designate 1.8 million acres of Utah — to the southeast of Canyonlands and Glen Canyon National Parks — as Bear Ears National Monument. There is, we are told, a problem of people looting and vandalizing ancient archeological sites. And there are also "ATVs and motorbikes tearing through the desert terrain."

But what's the risk of armed conflict?
In a state where the federal government owns 65 percent of the land, many conservatives already resent existing restrictions because they bar development that could generate additional revenue. Out-of-state militias came to San Juan County two years ago, when Commissioner Phil Lyman helped lead an all-terrain-vehicle protest ride through a canyon the Bureau of Land Management had closed to motorized traffic in 2007. Lyman is appealing the 10-day jail sentence he received in connection with the protest, and he argues that his case shows how BLM officials place the priorities of environmentalists over those of local residents.

“I would hope that my fellow Utahans would not use violence, but there are some deeply held positions that cannot just be ignored,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, the veteran Republican lawmaker, said in an interview....

[S]ome lawmakers have suggested that unilateral action by the president, under the 1906 Antiquities Act, could provoke the same sort of resistance that led to the 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon earlier this year. “There is a lot of conflict that has escalated into being on the precipice of violence that is unnecessary and unwarranted,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who opposes the designation.
Much more at the link.

"DO: Figure out what attracts people to [the Alt-Right] and what you can do to attract them away."

"DON'T: Make it all about your own moral superiority. Basically, look at what the #NeverTrump movement did, and do something else...."

"And I would be a top-ten assassination target in that scenario because once you define Trump as Hitler, you also give citizens moral permission to kill him."

"And obviously it would be okay to kill anyone who actively supports a genocidal dictator, including anyone who wrote about his persuasion skills in positive terms. (I’m called an “apologist” on Twitter, or sometimes just Joseph Goebbels)."

Scott Adams explains his reason for endorsing Hillary (even as he maintains his prediction that Trump will win in a landslide).

By the way, here's a guessing game I made up. I took this picture from the TV yesterday (the Jake Tapper Sunday show). The question is: What word is Trump saying?

ADDED: The winner appeared at 9:05 AM. EDH:

June 5, 2016

Water lilies.


Photo taken within a mile of home.

"So I guess the biggest takeaway is, yes, this election cycle is bizarre. But it's no more bizarre than the election in 1800..."

"... wherein Jefferson accused Adams of being a hermaphrodite and Adams responded by [spreading rumors] that Jefferson died, so Adams would be the only viable candidate. He was counting on news to travel slow! That, weirdly, gives me hope."

Said Lin-Manuel Miranda (creator of the very popular musical "Hamilton") in his Rolling Stone interview, which is also prominently quoted in Maureen Dowd's new column, "John Adams Was a Hermaphrodite?"

Dowd's column is mostly about Hillary's unlikability and Trump's wily fighting style. I'll just quote this, because it made me laugh (and it's arguably genitalia-related):
Trump speculated at his rally that Hillary might share sensitive information with her aide Huma Abedin who might share it with her husband, saying: “I know Anthony Weiner. I don’t want him knowing anything. And I never, ever want him to tweet me.”

So, of course, Weiner tweated [sic] immediately and incoherently: “Wait, is he talking to me. I’ll hit that guy with so many rights, he’ll be begging for a left.”
Anyway... did Jefferson say Adams was a hermaphrodite? I found this:
Jefferson's camp accused President Adams of having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

In return, Adams' men called Vice President Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."

The NYT said "Donald Trump Could Threaten U.S. Rule of Law," but that's a reason to vote for him.

Because — as Glenn Reynolds puts it, linking to my "All Presidents threaten the rule of law!" post — Hillary Clinton is "less constrained than Trump would be by the media and the Deep State." The very fact that the NYT notices and calls out Donald Trump is a safeguard of some kind. Hillary, like Obama, will be facilitated.

Glenn also links to a USA Today column of his from last week:
[I]t’s nice to see the prospect of a Trump administration reminding folks on the left of [the imperial presidency], particularly as the journalist and pundit classes are dominated by lefties. It’s terrible, we’re told, that Trump is issuing veiled threats to journalists — though Obama joked about auditing his enemies, seized journalist phone records and threatened a journalist who refused to reveal sources with imprisonment. Trump would be a warmonger, we’re told, although in fact Barack Obama has been at war longer than any other U.S. president, if without any particular success. Trump would arrogantly ride roughshod over any opposition, though Barack Obama famously used “I won” as an excuse to ignore opponents and bragged that he had a “pen (and) a phone” to bypass congressional disagreement. (And he’s used them a lot.)

"Here are 5 situations that, for now at least, often confound self-driving cars...."

"In the midst of busy traffic, a ball bounces into the road, pursued by two running children. If a self-driving car’s only options are to hit the children or veer right and strike a telephone pole, potentially injuring or killing the car’s occupants, what does it do? Should its computer give priority to the pedestrians or the passengers?"

Don't you want to decide for yourself just how much, if at all, you're going to sacrifice for the kids? Or is the answer it depends on whether the engineers give priority to my self-interest? Won't your guilty conscience feel better if the car made the call?

"I think it's 104°. Is everybody okay?" — says Donald Trump, who is wearing the usual dark suit over a long-sleeved, cuff-linked shirt.

He has left off the tie for this one. Have we ever seen him out of a suit? How is it possible to campaign in the summer, in broad sunlight, and keep that jacket on? "This is hot out!" — he exclaims, then launches into his usual tirade, and the heat seems to have no noticeable effect on him. Maybe there's some air-conditioning system under that jacket.

Anyway, lots of material in that speech, including a harsh attack on Hillary, some of which is quoted in this New York Post article, for example: “Hillary hates Obama. She’s hated him for years. Bill Clinton really hates Obama. I know that as a fact... What a mess she’s in. Who would be so stupid to do what she did with her emails?... But I get why she did it — because she’s a thief. That’s why she did it... Hillary Clinton should be in jail for what she did to our national security. She could have used a government server...They are protecting her from going to jail, and she doesn’t want to anger the president by saying, ‘I disagree with you on this,’... If you choose Hillary Clinton, this country is going to die.... She’s got people like Huma, the wife of Anthony Weiner. Now how’d you like to have Anthony Weiner have our secrets? She goes home and she tells him everything...."