January 21, 2017

The Women's March in Madison.

At the state capitol today:

Women's March, Madison

The photos are all by my son Chris, not me.

Let's close in on the "Forward" statue — often seen in my old pictures of the Wisconsin protests of 2011. Today, it had on a "pussy hat":

Women's March, Madison

I was critiquing a Women's March poster earlier today — one that was way too complicated — and I said: "Keep it simple. Pick one idea and present it clearly." So I was pleased to see this image:

Women's March, Madison

The Fallopian tube is giving the finger. And it's saying "Boy, Bye," which obviously means about the same thing as giving someone the finger — brusque rejection. If you know the  Beyoncé song, "Sorry," it calls to mind the lyric:
Middle fingers up, put them hands high
Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye
Tell him, boy, bye, boy, bye, middle fingers up
I ain't thinking 'bout you
I'm reading the placard to mean: Get government out of my uterus. The "boy" is Trump and the sign is warning him away from any impingement on the female body. This is a good, straightforward message, and I agree with it.

I do see 2 problems:

1. One might read the "boy" as an unwanted child, waved "bye" through abortion. That's unfortunately mean and not helpful to the abortion rights cause. Abortion is better presented as the woman's choice about what do with her body, not any hatred toward the unborn.

2. The message Get government out of my uterus is a compelling libertarian message, but the Women's March may be seen as demanding more than the continued protection of reproductive freedom (which Trump does endanger, since he's said he wants a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade). Here's a list of the Women's March "unity principles," and it is not a "boy, bye" to the government. It's demanding that the government get very involved in women's bodies:
We do not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education.
It's more of a "hi" than a "bye" — more of a hi, get in here and never go away. If that's your message, that Fallopian tube ought to be waving furiously.

Can someone explain to me why Chuck Schumer spoke at the Trump inauguration?

I've searched many articles and can't find an answer. If you leave out the religious speakers — doing invocations and benedictions — and the Supreme Court Justices administering the oaths, you only get — other than Trump himself — Inaugural Committee chair, Roy Blunt, who gave the opening remarks, and Schumer. Why Schumer?

Schumer's remarks were widely perceived as antagonistic to Trump. Why was Schumer allowed to step on Trump's big day? I don't think he was entitled to speak. I don't think there's a tradition of letting the other party insert a dissenting voice. So why did that happen?

Was it Trump's idea — perhaps some deal-making guile involving flattery and extracting buy-in? I noticed Trump being cozily friendly with Schumer at the Congressional Luncheon and the signing ceremony. Is this a campaign to co-opt Schumer?

But was the Schumer speech antagonistic to Trump? Here's the full text. I'm reading it. He refers to our "challenging" times and our aptitude for dealing with challenges. He praised democracy (without any suggestion that Trump didn't fully win the election). And he mainly used his time to read a letter from a Civil War soldier that showed fortitude and patriotism. That letter, Chuck Schumer says, gives him "solace, strength," and he hopes it "will give you the same."

I guess what's anti-Trump is the suggestion that some people are needing solace and strength to get through the Trump administration and the hyperbole of likening our post-election divisions to the calamitous breakdown that was the Civil War. It's not that big a deal.

I'm just wondering why Schumer was speaking at all.

ADDED: I just happened to turn on CNN and hear:
Maggie Haberman (of the NYT): "Schumer's speech... was not exactly sort of a come-together we're-all-in-this-together. It was essentially a party doctrine."

Dan Balz: "It was a pre-buttal."

Haberman: "Exactly. And it was much more so than we have heard in a while. I understand what Schumer is doing. But if you are Trump, you hear that and then you say, you're only yelling at me about why we're not doing things together."
Fake news!

What Schumer actually said is being forgotten and replaced by a fake story that Schumer went completely partisan and divisive. 

"You know, we’re all worried about living in this fact-free world we’re in right now. The great thing about the local level is you don’t get to do that."

"Either the pothole got filled or it didn’t. It’s not like proving I wasn’t born in Kenya."

Said the 35-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg, who's in the running for chair of the Democratic National Committee. Does it seem absurd that the major of a population-101,000 town could beat out Tom Perez and Keith Ellison? But he's an Afghanistan veteran, a Harvard graduate, and a Rhodes Scholar, and he's gay too, so you've got your diversity angle.
“Thanksgiving morning, by the way, I spent in a deer blind with my boyfriend’s father, so how’s that for a 2017 experience?,” he said. “But in the afternoon, we were sitting around the coffee table and his mom showed me this tube of cream, about the size of a tube of toothpaste. Only it’s not skin cream. Well, it is, but it’s topical chemotherapy her life depends on. It costs $2,000 a month. What is she supposed to do if they take away the ACA she used to pay for that?”

It's the "Here our Voice" poster for Women's March on Washington.

That's what it says in the caption at Isthmus, and I can't "here" it, but I c it, and it looks just terrible:



Elsewhere, I'm seeing the poster as "Hear Our Voice," so let me move past the inane caption and look at the poster.

There's just way too much going on. Too many elements. That's a problem in itself. But look at these elements.

Everyone was saying Melania got her inspiration for that blue outfit from Jackie Kennedy...

... but I'm seeing the tie to Laura Bush...



Here's how Melania showed up to appear with her predecessor:



Note the similarity in the sleeve length and the flapped over section at the top as well as the color. The colors are interestingly different, and — funnily enough — for all of Melania's matchy-matchiness* — Laura's color would have much more closely matched the Tiffany box...



... the box that led to so much awkwardness yesterday — laughed at by me here.

I ran across that picture of Laura because, in the comments at that last link, MadisonMan said:
The picture of the Obamas' arrival at the White House 8 years ago includes Michelle handing a package to Laura. Why should she have been surprised to receive something today?
I still haven't found a picture of Michelle arriving with a package for Laura. I have no idea whether bringing a gift is traditional and required or bizarre and rude or somewhere in between, but I do think there is a principle of etiquette that overrides all others which is that when someone else is trying to be nice but gets something technically wrong, you do what you can to smoothly erase the appearance that anything is awry. The classic trope is Drinking the Fingerbowl. Thus, if Melania committed a faux pas, Michelle committed a worse faux pas.
____________________

* "Matchy-matchy" has been a standard fashion insult for many years, but as Maureen Dowd said in her live-chatting of the inauguration:
Matchy-matchy used to be bad but Melania may make it a trend. Coats and dresses that match, like old Doris Day movies. Monochromatic outfits that make you look tall and slim, like Marlene Dietrich and Audrey Hepburn in the “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” scene where she’s all in fuschia.
ADDED: Here's the video showing that Michelle did in fact bring a gift and hand it to Laura. Watch how deftly Laura hangs onto it while keeping it out of the photo op:



Laura carries it as if she appreciates it and hands it off discreetly to an unseen person after she enters the house.

The NYT banner-headlines Trump's lurid phrase "American carnage."

On the front page, right now:



I love the novelty sunglasses, and I was going to give the NYT credit for highlighting a beautiful woman who supports Trump, but after I did the screen-capture and uploading, my impression that I was looking at a Jean Seberg type of woman...



... gave way to a realization that this is a young man and then that the NYT wasn't saying even some hip, pretty women love Trump but — Listen for the first strains of "Tomorrow Belongs to Me."



In that light, AMERICAN CARNAGE isn't political hokum, it's a dire warning.

So let's find the phrase in context. The article linked through that front-page headline has a different, milder headline, "Donald Trump Is Sworn In as President, Capping His Swift Ascent." But the cherry-picked phrase appears in the first paragraph:
Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, ushering in a new era that he vowed would shatter the established order and reverse a national decline that he called “this American carnage.”
Shatter the established order! Does that seem at odds with ending carnage? No, not if you think he is lying about the existence of carnage and gulling Americans into believing we need dramatic change. The "established order" was presided over by a man, Barack Obama, who got elected under the banner of "change," and "change" was a worship word then. The existing order of the time needed to be overthrown, and it was delightful that Obama had descended from the heavens to perform the miracle.

But Trump has ascended — up from hell? — and the change he's threatening is shattering.

In the NYT's annotated transcript of the speech, we see the carnage line — "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now"— is accompanied by an attempt at factual correction:
Violent crime increased about 4 percent in 2015, but that is a small blip in a decades-long decline in crime. The United States remains far safer than it has been in generations.
But did the speech equate "American carnage" with "violent crime"? Let's look at the text. The line appears about halfway in, after Trump has accused Washington insiders of channeling the rewards of government to themselves and denying the "just and reasonable demands of righteous people."

The demands are 3: "great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves." That's all The People want and it's what they deserve — good schools, neighborhoods, and jobs.

With that premise, Trump unleashes exactly one sentence before the end-to-carnage announcement:
Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
So you see the "carnage" is not merely violent crime. It refers to everything that is robbing people of good lives: poverty, the loss of manufacturing businesses, bad schools, gangs, and drugs, in addition to crime. Trump embraces the people — we are "just and righteous" and "beautiful," but deprived of what government fails to give us as it funnels benefits to its own insiders.

That scam is over. That's what the carnage ends now means.

AND: Sometimes I feel that I'm making things happen. Here's the NYT front page right now, linking to the same article:

January 20, 2017

I'm reasonably proud of my Inauguration Day blogging. There were times — I'm sure you knew...

... when I bit off more than I could chew, but through it all, when there was doubt, I ate it up and spit it out, I faced it all, and I stood tall, and I am done for the night.

I've still got the TV on....

I don't know. This entertainment. It's really bad. It's just not at the level to belong on this grandiose stage.

ME (to Meade): "What were those piano guys called? The Piano Guys?"

MEADE: "Yeah."

ME: "Yeesh." (I can't believe I watched them at the concert last night, and now I have to sit through this again.)

MEADE (reading the internet): "They're a YouTube sensation. From Utah."

YouTah.

Did that one lady who sang "Mack the Knife" end with "Now that Trump is back in town!"? The character in the song "Mack the Knife" is a serial murderer!

I couldn't believe the children singing. It went on so long! Wasn't it their bedtime? All those 60s pop songs that never go away, so you never miss them. I never want to hear "Can't Help Myself" again, but I'm utterly appalled when a little girl who looks about 9 sings the line "I'd do anything you ask me to." Have words lost all meaning?

I know there was a lot of bullying of performers, so that it was very difficult to put this show together at all creditably. I appreciate the predicament. And I know I don't have to watch. I do think averting one's eyes would be best.

Now a bunch of men are clogging. They're attractive men. Oh! He's doing his horse routine and they projected a photo of a statue of a soldier on a horse. Oh, no, they projected the Iwo Jima, flag-raising sculpture. What does Iwo Jima have to do with buff men clogging?

ME (doing voiceover for a dancer): "Let me waggle my ass at you in a military fashion."

I don't really want Sam Moore's backbone to slip. He's 81.

FINALLY: Trump and Melania appear. Her white dress reminds me of cake decorating. Her bare shoulders glimmer. Trump's tux has extremely baggy pants. He eschews tailoring. That's his style. They dance that dance that's not really a dance — just rocking back and forth. I'm worried that the bulky Trump will squish the delicate swirl of fabric that extends from Melania's extensive bust. The dress is floor-length and then some, and I'm sure he's treading on it. Don't tread on me!

The song is "My Way" — "I ate it up and spit it out."

About Donald Trump's incredibly short speech at the Congressional Luncheon.

It may seem that the most distinctive thing about it was how much of it was devoted to applauding Hillary Clinton. That took up about half of the speech, because the applause was long and the speech was so short.

The most distinctive thing was that he made his remarks to the members of Congress so small in relation to the length of the Inaugural Address, which was a speech very much directed to Us the People.

To the members of Congress, he said there was work to be done, and they need to get together to do it. "We all want the same thing. We're all good people. Whether you're a Republican or Democrat doesn't make any difference. We're all going to get along." That's it.

It's not true — other than as an aspiration. But it's his big ask. It's the premise upon which future dealings will be made.

But it's not important. The people in that room were minimized. Humble servants. Our eyes are directed back to the main speech outdoors, to The People. The We-the-People Speech:
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort.... Together, we will determine the course of America and the world.... We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done....
That's a lot of "We."
[W]e are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People. For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost....
The smallness of the remarks to the "small group" at that luncheon implicitly said: It's not about you anymore. It was a call to humility, coming in soft-spoken words from the man who's been portrayed as the biggest narcissist in the world.

And maybe he is. Maybe the cleverest way for him to be the narcissist is to diminish the others who hold governmental power. If he says to them: We of the government must be humble together for the sake of The People, the humility of Congress is more real than any humility that he can possibly take on. He is the President of the United States.

He has perhaps only humiliated all of his serious competitors for power, all the more aggrandizing himself.

So watch out. Don't be taken in. Stand back. Maintain your objectivity. You can't. But try a little. Let's be careful. And hope for the best.

Live-blogging the Trump Inauguration.

1. We've been watching for a couple hours, but I think it's time to get the blog going.

2. I'll say what I suppose everyone is saying — I haven't looked — Melania's outfit is delightfully perfect. The color, the gloves, the length of the sleeves, the high cut of the jacket revealing the slimly columnar torso, the wrapped up, folded over neckline. Love it!

3. There's a scene we here at Meadehouse have watched 3 times and discussed at length. I think the title is: Delivery of the Tiffany Pizza. Donald and Melania drive up to the Obama's house. Donald gets out of the car and amiably greets the Obamas as Melania emerges from the far side of the car and walks around to the steps, and she's carrying a horizontal, flat box — the size and shape of a pizza box — and we know by the color and the white bow that it's from Tiffany. Melania, smiling warmly, joins the group, and she hands the box to Michelle. Michelle reacts as if a box of crap has been foisted on her, and she looks around as if she's truly pissed to be stuck with the box. No one off camera comes forward, presumably because they're all instructed to stay out of the photo op. The 2 saluting military men can't stop saluting. They're not like apartment doormen or hotel bellhops. They can't wrangle the packages. Michelle could pretend to appreciate the gift and hold it in a discreet sideways position. It's not really pizza. It's not as though the cheese will slide off if she turns it vertical. Obama sees he must cater to his wife's emotional needs, and he, in his last moments as President of the United States, walks over, gets the package, and takes it inside the house, and then he comes back out to line up for the big, historical photo.

4. Kellyanne Conway arrives at the Capitol. I saw her earlier on one of the morning shows and thought her majorette outfit could use a hat, so I'm glad to see she's got a nice red hat to complete the costumery. [ADDED: I'm seeing a closeup of the buttons on her coat. They seem to be the heads of lionesses. I think of what Donald Trump said about her last night: "There is no den she will not go into."]

5. Hillary Clinton arrives at the Capitol. She's wearing a nice champagne-colored pantsuit and puts on a matching light overcoat. From off-screen, some reporter yells out, "Madame Secretary, how does it feel to be here today?" Another one says: "How are you feeling, Madame Secretary?" What's she supposed to say? I'll say it for her: How the fuck do you think it feels? We overhear the CNN commentators giggling and one of them — maybe Axelrod — mutters "probably come up with a different question."

6. Axelrod says he finds it "irritating" that some Democratic Party members of Congress are boycotting the inauguration. When Trump takes the oath he will be President for all of us and there's business we need to do as a country, and we need to do it together, he says.

7. The Supreme Court Justices — all 8 of them — are here, arriving together, all in robes. Justice Breyer is carrying a ziploc bag of supplies. Alongside him is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with a brown-colored lace collar. Is that a deliberate variation from white?! Remember she's on record having called Trump "a faker" with "no consistency about him." The Chief Justice looks determined — do not botch the oath. Clarence Thomas — who's doing the oath for Pence — looks happy. Kennedy and Alito seem spry. Elena Kagan seems fine. Sonia Sotomayor, perhaps rather weary, lumbering.

8. Trump and Obama emerge from the White House. They both look grim. Grumpy. CNN has a split screen so we also see Bill and Hillary Clinton arriving at the Capitol. They look grim too. Oh, no, now Bill is smiling. He's on camera, living in the moment, looking good. Good old Bill.

9. "She looks stunning. She looks great. She's stunning in defeat. She looks great." Meade is watching Hillary walk through the halls out toward the inaugural stage.

10. Oh, that steep stairway! So great that no one falls.

11. Trump swivels toward the camera. Looks right at us. He's waiting inside while Pence comes out. Pence has to shake many hands — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, all the Trump ladies, etc. etc.

12. Trump is announced. He walks out. Gives a thumbs up then an upraised fist. Kisses Melania. Kisses Michelle. Takes his place. Who's that lady standing behind him doing an iPhone video?

13. Shots of Trump include Barron, sitting right behind him. Barron looks as though he might be staring into an iPhone. He's corrected by his mother at one point. He yawns. He looks annoyed, even angry.

14. "And God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you..." The Bible reading seems to refer to Trump.

15. Clarence Thomas administers the oath to Mike Pence.

16. An ultra-smooth rendition of "America" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

17. President Donald Trump. It's real now. It happened. Good luck, America!

18. Oh! The speech. I'd forgotten. We have a whole speech to go. "We are transferring power from Washington D.C. and giving it to you."

19. The theme: YOU. Today is "The day The People became the rulers of this nation once again... Everyone is listening to you now."'

20. "When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice."

21. Trump ends his speech and raises his fist. Waves it around in the air.

"It may rain, it may not rain. I don't care, it doesn't matter. If it really pours that's OK because people will realize it's my real hair and that's OK."

Said Donald Trump, at last night's pre-inaugural dinner. Lots of pictures at the link (to The Daily Mail). Unlike the previous night's dinner, this one had not just Kellyanne Conway but the full triumvirate of Trump women. Melania was sheathed from neck to wrists to floor in skin-tight, nude-tone sparkle. Ivanka was a tower of white with a black void midsection.

Rounding out the female entourage — in addition to Tiffany — was Caitlyn Jenner, dripping fringe and displaying side-boob.

But I want to concentrate on the little speech Trump gave, his last pre-President speech. I was a bit critical of the remarks he made, earlier in the evening, at the feet of the statue of Abraham Lincoln. I said it was too partisan, with the bragging about the campaign and the polls. Some of it was fine, and I'm looking forward to hearing the Inaugural Address, which I hope turns out to be if not appropriate in the standard way at least some new kind of Trump appropriate — Trumpropriate.

The post title is from the text of last night's dinner speech, and now I'm reading the whole thing, live-blogging my reading. Go to the first link to find the full text. I'm just picking out things I want to talk about:
That was some big victory, some victory. And records were set that haven't been beaten since Ronald Reagan from the Republican side. 
That's how he begins, partisan and bragging about winning. And a bit incoherent. If you haven't beaten Reagan, you haven't set a record.

January 19, 2017

"The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word 'We.' 'We the People.' 'We shall overcome.' Yes, we can."

President Obama leaves a final note to his fellow Americans.

Trump arrives at the Inaugural Concert — stopping to salute the statue of Abraham Lincoln — to the tune of The Rolling Stones' "Heart of Stone."

"You'll never break this heart of stone," Mick sings — in recorded music — as Donald Trump walks out, holding hands with Melania.

Let's keep watching.

Here's the NYT coverage:
With cameras filming his every move, even his airplane, Mr. Trump arrived in Washington a day before he is sworn in, appearing at a luncheon with supporters at the Trump International Hotel, where he praised the collective I.Q. of his cabinet members.

“We have by far the highest I.Q. of any Cabinet ever assembled,” Mr. Trump said in the remarks, which reporters heard only the first several minutes of before being escorted out.
UPDATE 1: Is Trump tweeting? Seems like he's using a device.

UPDATE 2: 3 Doors Down is performing a song — "Kryptonite" — with the line "If I go crazy then will you still/Call me Superman."

Let me get back to "Heart of Stone." That blew my mind. It was clearly cued up to began as Trump began his walk out. The song begins "There've been so many girls that I've known/I've made so many cry and still I wonder why." Given the gender politics of the campaign, that's radically insolent. And he's walking with his wife. She has to hear of the many "girls" that he's known? The song continues:
Here comes the little girl
I see her walking down the street
She's all by herself
I try and knock her off her feet
Try and knock her off her feet?! Does she just let you?

And later:
Don't keep on looking that some old way
If you try acting sad, you'll only make me glad....
UPDATE 3: Toby Keith is singing, "We'll raise up our glasses against evil forces" and holding up a big red cup of what he calls whiskey. [AND: We know Trump sees alcohol in the light of his older brother's tragic descent and death, so I don't think the alcohol-based crowd-rousing suited the occasion.]

UPDATE 4: I loved the fireworks with the military performance of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." That was properly elevated and spectacular, with reverence appropriate to the occasion and the setting. I'd have liked it if all the music had been done by the military performers, but I understand that some of the popular music suited Trump's man-of-the-people theme.

Trump's speech, with a hand-held mike, was very casual. There were some good references to national unity and a desire to serve all of the people, but too much of it leaned toward the partisan, with bragging about the campaign and even talking about polls.

I thought everyone looked great. Trump had very glossy hair. His black coat went nicely with Melania's black coat. Ivanka stood out in green. Tiffany looked better than I'd ever seen her. All the adults were super-tall. The children were adorable. But kids: No chewing gum!

Stephen Tucker, a 27-year-old farmer in Tennessee, poses with world-record antlers — 47 points.


(Photo by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.)

"When the full rack was scored, the total was 312 ⅜ inches. That made it the highest-scoring buck ever shot by a hunter."
The previous record, 307 ⅝, was set in Iowa in 2003 by 15-year-old Tony Lovstuen, also with a muzzleloader. The biggest rack ever measured was 333 ⅞ on a deer in Missouri, but that was a pickup, or found deer, not one shot by a hunter.
IN THE COMMENTS: Annie C said:
Frankendeer. I hate them. Too many land managers using boosted feed.
Here's a Humane Society article on the subject.

"We don't want your tiny hands/Anywhere near our underpants/We don't want your tiny hands/Anywhere near our underpants..."

A very minimal anti-Trump song by Fiona Apple gets an article of its own in The New York Times.

ADDED: I was glad to have a chance once again to use my underpants tag.  I hadn't used it since March 1st of last year. Oddly enough, the post was about Trump. I was linking to something in the NYT, something tragically titled "Inside the Clinton Team’s Plan to Defeat Donald Trump":
“They’ll flip their top, and they’ll flip their panties...” read the subject line of a recent news release from Emily’s List, a group that works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights. The quote came from comments Mr. Trump made about women on “The Howard Stern Show” in the 1990s, unearthed by BuzzFeed last month.

Those types of comments, spoken by Mr. Trump over the years as he served as a tabloid regular and reality TV star, could help Mrs. Clinton excite suburban women and young women who have been ambivalent or antagonistic toward her candidacy....
The excited suburban and young women will need to content themselves with the women's march. Apple's tiny-hands-underpants song is intended to be chanted by the marching women.

Before that, there was a Jeb Bush interview in February 2015:
When Hannity said he had one more question, Jeb said "boxers." (Bill Clinton's answer to the famously inappropriate question, by the way, was "Usually briefs. I can't believe she did that." Obama's answer was:  "I don't answer those humiliating questions. But whichever one it is, I look good in 'em.")
And remember that sculpture of a man stumbling about in his underpants that disturbed the women of Wellesley College?

And all the posts about Anthony Weiner's underpants? And references to the underpants gnomes? There was the underpants bomber.

And there was the time The Gatsby Project — should I bring back The Gatsby Project? — got to a sentence with underpants:
The prolonged and tumultuous argument that ended by herding us into that room eludes me, though I have a sharp physical memory that, in the course of it, my underwear kept climbing like a damp snake around my legs and intermittent beads of sweat raced cool across my back.
And "Hey, look! It's my giant underpants!"



ALSO: I do want to give Fiona Apple credit for inventing a new chant. "We don't want your tiny hands/Anywhere near our underpants" really is chantable. I'd like to see marches with new chants. I'm really tired of the continual repurposing of: 1. "What do we want?/X!/When do we want it?/Now!" and "Hey, hey, ho, ho/X has got to go." (The Wisconsin protests of 2011 were notable for their distinctive chants: "What's Disgusting?/Union busting" and "This is what democracy looks like.")

"One of the most beautiful photographs I know of is an image of a woman standing in the doorway of a barn, backlit in a sheer nightgown..."

"... peeing on the floorboards beneath her. It was taken in Danville, Virginia, in 1971, by the photographer Emmet Gowin, and the woman in question is his wife, Edith. The picture is so piercingly intimate that I find it difficult even to look at it. This is not because I feel as if I am intruding, or being shown something that I was not meant to see, but simply because it seems to hover too close to the vital force of human connection. It is too poignant, too alive. Rather than merely avoiding clichés—about love and intimacy, artist and muse, public and private­—the picture seems to repel them, as an amulet repels evil spirits. Clichés are prophylactics against the complexity and intensity of direct experience, tools used to distance ourselves from reality, but this photograph brings love near enough that we can feel its hot breath..."

Writes Chris Wiley in The New Yorker. 

ADDED: Isn't it funny that the New Yorker is being so reverential and arty about this in the same week everyone's been talking about the fake news peeing story?

"I simply can't understand people who are driven to work harder than necessary. I admire them. They tend to do great things."

"But I'm in my 30s now and never once has my mind suggested 'You know what sounds fun — working harder!' I've never found myself without some sort of leisure that would be more personally fulfilling."

Another comment in the same discussion:
In one of my last college classes before graduation, I had a professor ask us what we would do if money was no object. We went around the room. Everyone had these answers like 'I would still use my degree" or "I would still work". I was one of the last. I told everyone I would find a beach somewhere and do nothing but be a beach bum and learn to surf. Then when I got sick of that beach, I would go to another beach. And just keep going places but doing mostly nothing except what makes my soul happy. Being a beach bum makes my soul happy. Everyone in the class did not understand that. I would, however, probably volunteer some time to somehow help people and animals. Man, I would start every morning with some mango, paddle out in the water, smoke a joint, and surf. Then beach bum stuff or volleyball. Some sushi, another joint and a fire. Then repeat. Mix in some volunteer work and some hikes. I would be perfectly content being that guy and leaving the world mostly behind except for a dog.

WaPo's Fact Checker looks back on "Obama’s biggest whoppers."

"The Fact Checker started during the 2008 campaign and then went on hiatus for the first two years of President Obama’s presidency before becoming a permanent Washington Post feature in 2011..."

Was the hiatus because you didn't want to fact-check Obama?

We get to see 10 4-Pinocchio statements by Obama, in chronological order, but only beginning after the first 2 years.

The most-remembered one is: "If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it."

The one that relates to the tricking of Mitt Romney was: "The day after Benghazi happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism." What Obama had said the day after "Benghazi happened" was: "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for."

That vague "no acts of terror" must have been carefully chosen, because he said it again, twice, the next day (with "act" instead of "acts"),  "No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world," and "no act of terror will go unpunished." That states a general proposition without saying that Benghazi was an act of terror. And there is a distinction between "terror" and "terrorism" that Glenn Kessler (the Fact Checker) finds important. 

Trump thought of the line "Make America Great Again" the day after Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election.

"Five days later, Trump signed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office..."
... in which he asked for exclusive rights to use “Make America Great Again” for “political action committee services, namely, promoting public awareness of political issues and fundraising in the field of politics.” He enclosed a $325 registration fee....

The slogan itself was not entirely original. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush had used “Let’s Make America Great Again” in their 1980 campaign — a fact that Trump maintained he did not know until about a year ago.

“But he didn’t trademark it,” Trump said of Reagan.

His decision to claim legal ownership reflected a businessman’s mind-set. “I think I’m somebody that understands marketing,” Trump said....

The trademark became effective on July 14, 2015, a month after Trump formally announced his campaign and met the legal requirement that he was actually using it for the purposes spelled out in his application.

"Even the chance position of a bird perched on a lamppost has been reproduced, the man who took the photograph was astonished to discover."

Bob's copying again.

What's worse — that Bob painted from somebody else's photograph or that Bob called it America when it was actually England?