September 30, 2016

Machado About Nothing.

Pun noticed.

ADDED: "He can say whatever he wants to say, I don’t care. You know, I have my past. Of course, everybody has a past. I’m not a saint girl. But that is not the point now."

NYT election buzzword: "subtle."

From an op-ed, "Hillary Clinton Will Not Be Manterrupted," by Jessica Bennett:
Women are less likely to speak up, and less likely to be heard, in groups that are mostly men... women are less likely to have their own ideas attributed to them....

This is subtle sexism.... Subtle sexism is everywhere in this election, and not just from Mr. Trump. It’s in the way we question whether Mrs. Clinton is trustworthy, even though she’s been rated by PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checkers, as much more honest than her opponent....
You just have to be more honest than Trump and it's not fair to view you as dishonest? That's just nutty. We should always question whether a politician is trustworthy. At what point is "the way" we question honesty sexist? 
Subtle sexism is the fact that — while, indeed, Hillary Clinton has made mistakes — we judge mistakes more harshly in women, and remember those mistakes longer. It’s that she must strike a near-impossible balance between niceness and authority — a glimmer of weakness, and she doesn’t have the “stamina”; but too much harshness and she’s “cold,” “aloof,” “robotic,” scolded by a man who is all but frothing at the mouth for not having the right “temperament.”...
From a news analysis piece, "The Subtle Phrases Hillary Clinton Uses to Sway Black Voters," by Farah Stockman:
When Hillary Clinton talked about race during her debate Monday night against Donald J. Trump, she delivered a subtle and powerful message to black voters, speaking to them not only in the substance of what she said, but in her carefully chosen language....
The "subtle phrases" are, we're told, "systemic racism" — she said "We’ve got to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system" — and "implicit bias" — she said "I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police." What makes these stock phrases subtle? I think they're only subtle if they are subliminal — if they bypass your defenses. But these phrases are dropped in conspicuously, precisely to bonk people who like those terms over the head with the fact that she said them. Why wouldn't you be suspicious? Why wouldn't you think: Great, you said the words. I get it. You need my vote. But what will you actually do for me?

Some analysis by Amy Chozick, "Hillary Clinton, at Ease Onstage, Seems Utterly Herself":
When Mr. Trump interrupted her, she showed flashes of the steely calm she displayed during more than eight hours of testimony to a Republican-led House panel. As Mr. Trump spoke, she perched a leg in a subtle curtsy and calmly looked on. When it was her turn, she needled Mr. Trump by calling him “Donald.”
Even her leg is subtle!

Goodbye to Mr. Tucker.

My high school English teacher. Unforgettable classes. If only I could say my lines from Marbury v. Madison the way he could do "Moby Dick."

"Not looking so great anymore, Ann."

Email sent last night from the Democratic Party. I thought they were the ones who weren't disparaging women's looks. Oh, they're the ones who are not looking so great anymore:
Ann, up until this point, September has been a great month of fundraising for Democrats thanks to grassroots supporters like you.

When we hit our mid-month goal, it seemed like Donald Trump and the GOP wouldn't be able to catch us by the end of the month -- but I have to tell you I'm starting to get a little worried.

Donald Trump's grassroots donations are steadily climbing each month. He's getting record-breaking numbers of small-dollar donations -- something that's not typical of a lot of Republican campaigns we've been up against.....
I'm told to "pitch in $3 now" as a way of saying "hell no" to the question whether I want to the Democrats look bad because they got "outraised by Donald Trump and the GOP."

I never give any politicians money, by the way, but I do read the email, because I like to see how the different characters try to scare up money. This one is interesting not just because they played on a woman's fear that she's losing her looks — but thanks for appreciating how I used to look — but also because it calls attention to Trump's success getting a high volume of small donations. That reminded me of this article in the NYT, which also highlights how the 2 parties have switched positions: "Democrats Rake In Money, Thanks to Suit by Republicans":
Democrats denounced [McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission] as an assault on democracy and a sop to billionaires when the Supreme Court issued a ruling two years ago that loosened limits on campaign giving. But Hillary Clinton and Democratic Party leaders are now exploiting the decision, funneling tens of millions of dollars from their wealthiest donors into a handful of presidential swing states.... Just 250 donors have accounted for about $44 million in contributions to the Hillary Victory Fund during the last year....
At the very end of the article: "By contrast, the money raised by Mr. Trump and the Republicans, while robust, has been driven chiefly by small checks from his grass-roots supporters."

Imagine how the NYT would phrase the story if it were Trump taking advantage of McCutcheon — tapping the wealthy — and Hillary reaping huge numbers of small donations from ordinary people.

"Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?"

"Using Alicia M in the debate as a paragon of virtue just shows that Crooked Hillary suffers from BAD JUDGEMENT! Hillary was set up by a con."

"Wow, Crooked Hillary was duped and used by my worst Miss U. Hillary floated her as an 'angel' without checking her past, which is terrible!"

Things tweeted by Trump first thing in the morning. Via the L.A. Times: "Trump continues attacks on former Miss Universe with middle-of-the-night tweets." Is 5 a.m. for Trump the middle of the night? As someone who often blogs at 5 a.m., I can tell you that's not the middle of the night. That's morning for a person who gets up early, and I'm perfectly sharp and lucid, much more so than at 9 or 10 at night. I don't know about Trump. Some people think he's never right in the head.

How the New York Times portrays Hillary's failing in Ohio.

Headline: "Ohio, Long a Bellwether, Is Fading on the Electoral Map." Text:
After decades as one of America’s most reliable political bellwethers, an inevitable presidential battleground that closely mirrored the mood and makeup of the country, Ohio is suddenly fading in importance this year.
What a crazy flip! It's Ohio that's losing — Ohio that's "fading." If Ohio wants to be important, it will need to put Hillary Clinton in a competitive position.
It is a jarring change for political veterans here, who relish being at the center of the country’s presidential races: Because of newer battleground states, Mrs. Clinton can amass the 270 electoral votes required to win even if she loses Ohio.
Well, it is true that the states that lean too far toward one party end up getting ignored. States need to be more flirtatious if they want attention. Don't get married or exciting activity will pass you by.

"Nikki had few defenders on Twitter, but she was the better liked of the two roommates on their dormitory hall."

"Jessica said Nikki had gotten really close to most of the people on the hall and 'got them not to like me.' One of Nikki’s friends, Jessica said, came into the room and tore down her subtweet display... Nikki’s friends remained outside the room. Jessica said she called campus police about it, to report that she was being 'harassed' by them.... Jessica said she never intended her tweets to spread beyond her own friends, whom she assumed would find the whole thing really funny. I asked her how she felt about strangers digging through her roommate’s photos, independently trying to find things to damage Nikki’s reputation online and complete the picture that her viral story had started to paint of this person. 'I don’t know,' she said. 'I really don’t know. Part of me feels bad, but a part of me feels like she’s the one who instigated it.'"

"What happens when your college roommate ‘horror story’ goes viral" (in WaPo, unfortunately).

ADDED: Here's New York Magazine's presentation of the horror story, so you don't have a paywall problem: "Back in my day, if you hated your roommate, you’d march uphill in the snow to the mail center and send an angry telegram to your real friends."

The Supreme Court will hear a First Amendment challenge to the denial of a trademark to a band named The Slants.

The Patent and Trademark Office relied on the provision in the federal statute against registering trademarks that disparage "institutions, beliefs or national symbols."

The Slants won in the Court of Appeals, but agreed that the Supreme Court should take the case because of the importance of the question* (which is the same question that arises in the case involving the Washington Redskins).

The Slants also argue that he government is inconsistent, have rejected and granted trademarks on the names “Heeb,” “Dago,” “Injun” and “Squaw.” They also say that their intent is not to disparage, but to reclaim a term that others have used to disparage — the way some gay people use "queer."

The Redskins make the same argument: They mean the term in a positive way. Whose perspective matters?

 * It's also great publicity for the group. They don't need to register their trademark to be permitted to use the name. That's the government's argument: We follow our standards, and we're not going to support what you are doing, but we won't interfere with you. Even if The Slants lose in the end, after winning in the court below, they will have greatly elevated their profile in this world and it will infuse their trademark with more power than any mere registration could impart.

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, said he'd like to kill the 3 million drug addicts in his country.

"Hitler massacred three million Jews.... Now there is three million, there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them."
Killing that number of drug users would "finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition," he said.
Duterte took office in June, and the police have killed 1,000+ drug suspects (according to the police). Duterte's statement was a reaction to criticism about these killings — criticism from European Union officials.

ADDED: From a Washington Post article, published last April, quoted on this blog:
Duterte’s neo-authoritarian style, alongside ‘anti-Imperial Manila’ sentiments, has fueled his popularity, particularly in his birthplace of southern Mindanao. Duterte does not deny his poor human rights record — instead he brags about extrajudicial killings that he claims were necessary to pacify Davao.... Along with his bombastic style and rough language — which is typical of a many local politicians but unusual in national politics — this cavalier attitude makes him a kind of Philippine version of Donald Trump.
I don't know how seriously to take Duterte's statement about killing 3 million drug addicts. It's important to see that he was getting bombastic pushing back the Europeans who were assuming the high ground, lecturing him on how to behave. He also took a shot at them for not taking in migrants from the Middle East: “You allow them to rot, and then you’re worried about the death of about 1,000, 2,000, 3,000?”

Is Duterte properly comparable to Donald Trump? Well, both men use language in a way that works with the people, and both get compared to Hitler. Obviously, Hitler had a way early on of coming right out and saying what he planned to do. It was hard to believe.

Things that sound so much like hyperbole.

AND: "I believe that those who knew me in those days took me for an eccentric."

September 29, 2016

The real-life feminist bookstore that's the setting for the fictional feminist bookstore on "Portlandia" is mad at "Portlandia."

"Fuck Portlandia/Written by In Other Words Staff."
The Women and Women First segments that are filmed at In Other Words are trans-antagonistic and trans-misogynist and have only become more offensive as the show goes on. ‘LOL Fred Armisen in a wig and a dress’ is a deeply shitty joke whose sole punchline throws trans femmes under the bus by holding up their gender presentation for mockery and ridicule. In a world where trans femmes – particularly Black trans women – are being brutalized and murdered on a regular basis for simply daring to exist, dude in a dress jokes are lazy, reactionary, and actively harmful. They’re also just straight up not funny.

Also: there are no Black people on Portlandia. There are a tiny number of people of color on Portlandia. Portland is white but it’s not that damn white....

"Tigers, elephants, and rhinoceroses garner a lot of attention. But plants are often ignored."

"In fact, scientists even have a term for our tendency to overlook plants — plant blindness."
For example, if shown a picture of a lion on a tree, people would be more likely to point out the lion, and ignore the tree. This bias against plants is widespread, and seriously limits conservation efforts, scientists say....
1. Garner. The word. I must register my opposition once again.

2. I agree that people are gaga for animals and focus on them far more than on plants and (I would add) on the nonliving aspects of the natural world — rock formations, land, water, clouds. What's going on there? The animals are not more beautiful. It might have to do with an inborn instinct to hunt, and it might be that they have faces and eyes and we see ourselves in them, we narcissists.

3. I don't know if I would use the word "bias." That makes it sound as though we're against plants.

The "Party in the U.S.A." ad is "a little weird, a little off" and "agressively American," but does that work to make millennials anti-Trump?

Here's "an advertisement intended to convince young voters not to vote for Donald Trump, conceived and produced by the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, 'the nation’s largest grassroots anti-Trump organization'..."

"We wanted it to be a little weird, a little off — why am I seeing ISIS and neo-Nazis celebrating over ‘Party in the U.S.A.’? I guess we worried it was a little too poppy at one point, but it’s just so perfect — aggressively American, and a young song that you literally party to."

Yeah, well, you never know when these things will backfire on you. What you mean to be anti-Trump could just as well work pro-Trump. You're showing the enemy, and that could make people feel that they want the strongest opposition to the enemy. Also, "Party in the U.S.A." could mostly stimulate an amorphous pro-U.S.A. feeling, and I think Trump has pretty successfully merged his brand with the general idea of America. Hillary Clinton seems to have more of the Obama-style modesty about America, more reaching out to globalism. Yesterday, I was watching TV, just casually seeing some promotional ad for tonight's Dolphins/Bengals game that had an American flag mixed in with the football images and I felt that, subliminally, this was working pro-Trump. There's no reason why images of the flag and men in football costumes running about makes any kind of an argument for Trump, but I think he's managed to make pro-America feel pro-Trump.

So you can try to influence millennials (or other groups) with flashing images and sounds, but how are you predicting what will go on in their limbic system? You can just take a chance and stimulate and see what happens. Ironically, I think that's what Trump has been doing. And it's out of control. Why not jump in?

It's the political equivalent of treating kidney stones with roller coaster rides.

"Like I said earlier, maybe I am being a little sensitive, but it is how I feel."

"This represents, to me, our society, and I do not want it up on this wall. Why do we need a BEFORE and AFTER?"

From a complaint about a mural in a University of Wisconsin – La Crosse residence hall, quoted in a National Review piece titled "UW Student Files Report Claiming Harry Potter Mural Is Transphobic and ‘Represents White Power,'" by Katherine Timpf. Timpf is too dismissive of the student's concerns, I think, and resorts to mockery.
Listen, kid. If that’s how you “feel,” then fine. Well, at least kind of fine, because I’d say if you really are so “angry” about having to even “know” people who put up a Harry Potter painting, then you probably have some anger issues you need to address. It’s not like they’re ISIS, relax. But in any case, the biggest problem about all of this isn’t even the fact that this kid seems to “feel” a level of anger over a painting that seems like it would be more appropriate to feel over something like terrorism. It’s the fact that he or she goes right from “it is how I feel” into “I do not want it up on this wall” — right from “I feel like this” into “I am telling you I want you to take it down just because of the reasons I just outlined, those reasons being my feelings.” Honestly, this student’s report shows a level of entitlement and narcissism that’s far more offensive than any painting I’ve ever seen.
It's not just a painting somewhere in the museum. It's a mural, a permanent part of one of the walls that house the students, and it's directed at the students with the obvious intent to make them feel good about where they live:

The intent of the artist is to say to the residents: You should feel great about living here; this place will make you happy. The complainant is saying: It's having the opposite effect on me. That's useful information to the university, and it is, in fact, expressed modestly.

"Why do we need a BEFORE and AFTER?" That is: Why are you portraying me as ugly and awkward before I got here and in need of a change?

Now, I'm sure many of you will object to something else in the complaint that I haven't quoted yet:
It represents white power. Man power. Cis power. Able power. Class power.... etc.
That may sound a little hysterical, but as art analysis, it makes sense. The happy "after" character has distinctly lighter skin, and he is in many ways a conventional, idealized young white man. The boy looks gnomish and misshapen. I know it's a joke, and it's based on a real Harry Potter character, and I don't know enough about the Harry Potter series to have any insight into its race and gender politics, but the university can't assume everyone's into Harry Potter. I'm pretty sure the people involved in putting up the mural meant well and thought it was cute and pop and fun, but they should take seriously how they actually make people feel, and the anonymous complainant has brought new complexity to the analysis of art and that's something colleges should want to do.

Let's have more speech.

And let's have better murals. Come on. It really is a bad mural, a bad atmosphere for a college dorm. It's okay to be a funny looking kid. You are loved.

Big train crash in Hoboken, New Jersey.

"An NJ Transit train crashed into the station in Hoboken at the height of Thursday's morning rush, leaving twisted piles of metal and bricks as concern grew over the possibility of mass casualties and dozens of injuries."
"The next thing I know, we are plowing through the platform. It was for a couple seconds, but it felt like an eternity. I saw a woman pinned under concrete," [a passenger] said. "A lot of people were bleeding; one guy was crying."
Terrorism? The linked article has unnamed law enforcement officers expressing the view that it was only an accident. How is an accident like this possible?

"You can call us wrong, but don’t call us weasels. We are not weasels."

"We are honest people and … whether or not you agree with the result, this was done the way you want it to be done."

Said FBI Director James Comey, testifying yesterday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

ADDED: From deep in this blog's archive — February 2007 — a discussion of the funniness of the word "weasel":
So, we've established that "naked" is funnier than "nude," and now I feel like this is a subject comics have riffed on hundreds of times. I'm trying to find some good examples of this. Oh! Wikipedia has it -- don't you love Wikipedia? -- under the heading: "Inherently funny words" (a somewhat broader topic).
In Neil Simon's play The Sunshine Boys, a character says: "Words with a k in it are funny. Alka-Seltzer is funny. Chicken is funny. Pickle is funny. All with a k. Ls are not funny. Ms are not funny."

Barry Blitt mocks Trump's mockery of his beauty queen.

"Watching the debate, the artist Barry Blitt recognized a significant moment in the Presidential campaign. Of all Trump’s dangerous beliefs, Blitt said, his misogyny 'might just be his Achilles’ heel.'"

ADDED: That might be the ugliest New Yorker cover ever. I've been looking at New Yorker covers for more than 50 years, and I'm very familiar with the light touch and sweet charm of most of them. Blitt brings more political satire than anyone else, but he has a light touch too, with his very thin quill pen marks and highly diluted watercolor washings. But this one... yeesh.

At least he put Trump in a one-piece bathing suit. When's the last time pageant contestants wore one-piece suits?

ADDED: The original swimsuit competition — with Miss America in Atlantic City in the 1920s — had one-piecers like this...

... kind of a cool mini-dress. I like the dots. It's sort of: woman as Wonder Bread.

2-piece suits began in Miss America in 1997, when they were first permitted — with the top of the bottom no lower than 1-inch below the belly button. That rule went away.

And I can see that an occasional contestant still does wear a one-piece suit. I see some discussion back in 2011:
In this year's competition, all but one contestant wore a black bikini and high heels. (Apparently pageant officials give contestants few swimsuits to choose from.) The young woman who donned a one-piece swimsuit was not 17-year-old Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011, former Miss Nebraska, and a devout Christian. No, the brave one-piecer was 19-year-old Miss Idaho Kylie Kofoed, a Mormon and music major at Brigham Young University.
So, notice: It's not just feminists who have a problem with the body-judging in the swimsuits. There are also some conservative religionists. Trump has to appeal to a middle group that is more easygoing about exhibiting and enjoying the seeing the female body. 

"Don, I really like you. Get the hell out of here.… You’re not going to win this state.... But if anything changes, I’ll call you."

What Tommy Thompson said to Donald Trump, according to Donald Trump, who was speaking in Waukesha (Wisconsin) after, he said, Tommy Thompson called him up and said, "Don, time to come back."

I didn't know Trump called himself "Don." Or is that just what Tommy Thompson calls him?

"I guess I am having an Aleppo moment... I am having a brain freeze...."

Too bad Gary Johnson is so... weak/ tired/ lackadaisical/ apathetic/ dull...

What is this man's problem?!

Obama confronted with some terrible facts about female Marines in combat.

At last night's "Military and The Commander and Chief" town hall with President Obama, Captain Lauren Serrano asked a question about women in combat:
CAPTAIN LAUREN SERRANO: A study by the Marine Corps revealed that mixed gender combat units performed notably worse and that women suffered staggeringly higher rates of injury. Just one of those statistics showed that mixed gender units took up to 159 percent longer to evacuate a casualty than all-male units. As the wife of a Marine who deploys to combat often, that added time can mean the difference between my husband living or dying. Why were these tangible negative consequences disregarded and how does the integration of women positively enhance the infantry mission and make me and my husband safer?
Obama says:
I don't think any of - any studies are going to be disregarded. I think that what we have to do is to take a look at the particular deployments, the particular situations.... [I]f you can't do the job, if there is a problem with performance, then that has to be taken into account. But keep in mind that there are a lot of jobs that are considered combat that don't necessarily involve you being on the front lines going door-to-door in Fallujah.... [T]here may be situations in which [women] could do the best job. It may not involve physical strength or how many pull-ups you can do, it may involve the precision with which you can operate and you being able to keep your cool you being able to carry out a task with a low error rate. And it may be that in those situations, a woman can perform better than a man.
Did the Marine Corps study show that there were some things women did better? Or is the idea that individuals who can do these "precision" tasks best will be assigned to them, and some women will fit this group? And then there are physical-strength tasks that just aren't that dangerous, but are technically "combat," and that's also a place where female Marines can be assigned. There really aren't that many female Marines — only 6.8 % of Marines are female — so the point seems to be: Use them properly and the problem is taken care of without the blunt exclusion from combat.

The inclusion is not, Obama says, just "political correctness" or "some symbolic issue." The idea is to use everyone to the extent that they are useful. Except he doesn't say "use." He speaks in terms of giving "opportunities."
I don't want the presumption to be that a woman can't do the job, because I'm looking at you right now and I'm pretty sure that you're in better shape than I am and you can do a lot of stuff I couldn't do. And I don't want you not to have that opportunity.

I agree with you that we can't just out of some ideological notion make it more dangerous for your husband. But I don't want to - I don't want a military, an institution that starts with the premise that women can't do something. If it turns out they can't do something, then we'll deal with that specific situation. But I don't want to start off with that assumption.

September 28, 2016

Trump in Wisconsin... in Waukesha.

You can watch live here.

No, I'm not there. I'd be interested in checking it out, but it's an hour away. Meade's skipping it too. To me, it's interesting that Trump is paying attention to Wisconsin. FiveThirtyEight's intestine of the states...

... has Wisconsin 5 back in the line of states that Trump might try to reach to get to 270 electoral votes. That's after Michigan. It's interesting to be getting that kind of attention.

I'm hearing the former Senator Bob Kasten saying that there are 2,000 people who didn't make it into the room, so I'm sure if Meade and I had tooled down I-94 after my class ended, we'd only have made it into the overflow room, so I'm doing overflow back here at my remote outpost in Madison.